DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of the SG characters. Never have or things would've gone differently in various instances. However original characters -are mine. I do not own this Alternate Universe nor did I come up with its initial concepts concepts, Geonn and his story 'First Prime' do AND I have expressed permission from said author to continue/allow this sequel and any other continuations within this AU to be presented as they are written by myself. Also the song "Where is Your Heart" and its lyrics don't belong to me Kelly Clarkson sings it. (but my god do they fit into the end) Characters in their original depiction belong to MGM Global Holdings Inc
I'm just playing with them. *grin*
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Okay, the original concept of this AU certainly is anything but mine. In fact the AU and it's origins belong to one Geonn. Geonn's original ideal was as follows: "During the second mission of the SGC Sam was left behind. What did she do to survive, what will she sacrifice to go back?" Now for my own ramblings. I originally ran into the telling of 'First Prime' via HowlsThunder's extraordinary art/web site depicting Janet and Sam namely Samantha as Apophis' first prime. Once I saw the images I knew immediately I had to find the inspiration behind the pictures. They say a picture is worth a thousand words in this instance Geonn managed 37,567 of them. I in NO way claim this universe as it was originally conceived as my own, in truth I came up with 'Second Prime' because my brain wouldn't let go of certain ideas concerning this first prime like Samantha Carter. This seriously took on a whole internal mind of it's own. Like the FP AU as according to my brain. I mean shoot I've got pictures, I've got 'casting' and even a friggin' episodic theme song over here. Apparently my brain wraps around things and comes up with 'events' as opposed to minor inspirations. Succinctly, the content (outside of the pre-established) belongs to me. IE: original characters and over all transpiring situations etc. Thanks and hopefully it can be enjoyed as opposed to flamed. To me it's like an AU inside an AU inside a show that doesn't belong to any of us but manages to inspire such wonderful literary, and visual creations. Thanks to Geonn I've been blessed to post this. Were it not for their approval this would merely fester on my own laptop for my benefit. Enjoy.
SPOILERS: A lot Up to season 7 post Death Knell. Story takes place around and in the midst of "Heroes".
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Second Prime: Heroes
PA: "*UNSHEDULED OFFWORLD ACTIVATION. REPEAT. UNSHEDULED OFFWORLD ACTIVATION*"
" Off-world activation!" The klaxons sounded and Stargate control immediately halted everything else to focus on the wormhole as the event horizon pummeled the closed station of the iris. "Sir " Hammond had yanked himself from his office and stood looking down at the closed gate, his attention, in ear alone, turning to the operations manager at the board ahead of him.
"It's... it's an old SG-1 code..." the officer testified hurriedly. His attention eagerly settled on his commanding officer on what order to perform next.
"Which means?" he allowed, twisting to look at the other man.
"All codes are unique, split up and then reintegrated into other codes after use so as not to prevent compromise." He started, only to notice Hammond's agitated look. He quickly got to the point. "They're only replaced after they're used... this is one never used at its original issue date until now. It's one of our own." The private countered quickly.
"Unless one of ours got sloppy and someone else managed to figure the code out." Stated the General non-too impressed. Since the alarms hadn't been silenced the secondary defensive wave hurried into the gate room. Blast doors began to seal the room off as marine after marine filed in armed to the teeth with all the fire power they could muster.
"What's goin' on?" came the annoyed timbre of Jack O'Neill from behind Hammond. With a slight twist the General laid eyes upon the quartet that comprised SG-1.
Colonel Jack O'Neill, Jonas Quinn, Doctor Daniel Jackson and Major Adoraina Stallard.
"You tell me." He started, as he always did when about to lay into the carelessness certain officers carried about their every day walk of life when it came to the Stargate. "Your team's the one dia " He was halted however by the communications officer's furious scribbling upon a notepad; head dwarfed by a set of headphones.
"General, sir..." he began a moment after, still writing. "They're sending a message..."
That caused nearly everyone's brow to rise. "A message?" The general held a hand up silencing any comments from the peanut gallery as he strained to listen. "I don't hear anything." All communication links were silent or dead, zero radio contact or inter-stellar signal.
"It's Morse Code sir." The officer looked astonished, his eyes alone proved that outside of his expression. "Being sent against the iris."
There was a squelch before the iris itself began to open. "Oh my god.... they have a GDO..." came the breathless response from Raina as they all gaped at the retreating metal.
Janet Fraiser, CMO of the SGC was being interviewed, settled into her usual medical repose, a stack of files lain out before her. One in particular held open in the crux of her thumb and ring finger. Her gaze filtered over the text as her voice reiterated its contents in a summarized fashion. "Okay ... three gun shot wounds, four staff weapon burns, severe hypothermia." Setting it aside she moved to the next file. "I'm quite surprised he's actually authorized me to discuss all this." Referring to Hammond concerning the camera crew pin-pointed on her as she continued. "Just... err... nanite technology, artificially aged him... he had a shoulder punctured by an alien time capsule device. Erm... three knee operations..."
The second file discarded she grabbed the third, propping it open as she had the others before it, a new expression befalling her features. A hybrid of amusement and disgust. "Oh... that's the whole Hathor incident which he's asked me never to discuss..." Another flip, another file. "Oh yeah this is a good one... last year he was exposed to an ancient incurable disease..."
Emmett Bregman cut in, his attention leveled on the doctor, having only partially paid attention up to this point on what the woman was saying as opposed to how she was looking. "Obviously not incurable right ... or ...?" He let his words linger, allowing Fraiser to finish for him.
"Well, fortunately there was a Tok'ra symbiote in need of a temporary host at the time ... It managed to do the trick." Her tone was almost flippant, then again to the doctor placing a worm-like creature inside one of her commanding officers in order that it might attach to his brain and cure him was sort of commonplace. At least for her anyway, beggars couldn't be choosers around here.
Bregman just stared for a moment, "I don't understand a word you just said but it sounds amazing that colonel O'Neill is alive."
Fraiser couldn't help but grin, the man was so far out of his league. "Yeah, I never know what's next... you just..." Her expression narrowed minutely as she tried to come up with an easier segue. "Try and keep your head on straight... then again we also set a lot of broken bones and subscribe a ton of antibiotics so..." She gave a shrug then, alien virus' predating Earth's history and broken bones from falling through a Stargate at super velocities, no biggie.
"But still it sometimes must be overwhelming right?" He injected, surveying her response carefully.
"Yeah, you know it's funny, you think all the training, everything we know about medicine... really it amounts to very little..." Fraiser replied, her mind replaying countless times when she'd felt "I mean, often I'm faced with situations that there really is nothing I can do..." Her voice hadn't exactly fallen but the recall of past instances were there in her eyes.
"Is there an upside?" Bregman pressed lightly, for some reason he didn't really feel up to grilling the woman in front of him as much as the others around her.
Fraiser's expression broke, the darkness slipping back and away into the lockbox of her mind. "Are you kidding me? I think the reason we all manage to persevere is because we feel that we're on the brink of understanding so much more... and not just about medicine but about who we are, you know... and where we came from, what the future has in store, how..." She paused, her words and their meaning seeming to finally click within her own mind for once. "How we fit into the grand scheme of things..."
PA: "*UNSHEDULED OFFWORLD ACTIVATION REPEAT UNSHEDULED OFFWORLD ACTIVATION*"
Bregman looked about, half expecting MP's and other personnel to spring to life. "That unscheduled off ... we've heard that before, is that an unusual thing?"
Fraiser shook her head lightly, eyeing the man and his crew. "No, it happens from time to time."
"And ... what ... what does it mean?"
"Your guess is as good as mine." She watched him fidget, brow arcing slightly.
"Okay ... you got that announcement in the clear?" He questioned his sound man.
"Yeah, we're good sir."
"Okay... good..." He fidgeted again, toying with his watch and the wrist joint beneath it. "Well, thank you Dr. Fraiser... you know what guys, why don't you go roll some cut-aways... and get some sound bites over there."
"This ..." Fraiser began, only to get cut off by Bregman. "Yeah, we're done ... appreciate it. Err... anything you can "
With a stiff movement from the sound technician behind him the boom mic in his charge slips and accidentally hits Emmett. "Ow..."
"Sorry..." There was a small apologetic look from the man in regards to Bregman, and a secondary glance to Fraiser who stood her place. It was probably safer that way.
"I'm glad the pentagon sent you..." Came the sarcastic tone of Bregman as he rubbed at the offended spot. "Just go away... erm..." His gaze turned to Fraiser then, still trying to cover his nervousness. "Listen, I was just wondering... it seems like the unpredictable happens here a lot."
Fraiser couldn't help but laugh, more so at the situation and the fact this fully grown man had seemingly been reduced to an adolescent. "Yes ... pretty much."
Bregman continued, shifting on his feet a bit. "Yeah ... err ... yeah ... and you're not going to be needed for this thing ..."
Fraiser arced a brow, her smile still in place. Poor guy. "Well if I am they know where to find me..."
Unbeknownst to Bregman his camera crew began filming the pair again, an odd smirk nestled on the operator's mouth, "I was just asking because I was thinking of getting something to eat in the cafeteria, which I'm not even sure where..."
With a slight glance to the camera then back to Bregman, "It's a ... that way." With a file-less hand she gestured behind her, might as well take some charge of the situation.
"And I was wondering if... "
"If I'd like to join you..."
"Okay." Fraiser tipped her chin up slightly, cluing Emmett in on the camera trained on the pair of them yet again. "Yeah."
With an infuriated, and Fraiser could've sworn, break in the man's voice he turned from her to glare at his camera man. "What are you doing?!"
The blue pool of the open Stargate wavered about like a living entity. An entity soon pierced by the solidity of twin Goa'uld staff heads. Immediately the marines rose their weapons to fire.
"Hold!" came the shout from the general just as a pair of figures, one male one female came slowly walking out from the gate and down the gang plank. They were like animals stalking prey, of course the metallic mantles the pair wore didn't leave much to support otherwise.
The female of the two was bound to the visage of a panther-like feline. A testament, perhaps, to the following of Bast. A facade all too befitting of one appearing to be a walking, or more stalking contradiction. The play of muscle under the dark fiber of black mesh and gold streaked armor endorsed an individual dangerously anodyne, submissively feral, gregariously shy and inaudibly noticeable. In a phrase, she was passion contained.
Her companion had nothing less to offer. He stood nearly twice as tall even without the jackal head of an Anubis guard to aid him. His sheer character breadth was scarcely confined within the coat of his armor. His movements, while fluid held an edge of discipline that one would certainly not wish to test. He was tame with a feral nuance, controlled and subservient with a vicious fastidiousness rippling beneath the surface as if waiting to be triggered... The man was dilution and conviction made flesh.
Cats and Dogs... followers to a set of false gods that did anything but get along. The sheer contrast of the pair of animals and their humanoid bodies only set the surrounding assemblage into a deeper sense of trepidation.
Daniel was the first to lean over, murmuring towards Jonas who shook his head, equally astonished at the sight as the doctor. Both were equally dumbstruck at the co-existing pair.
Like hawks, marines, airmen and Stargate command watched the two figures as they descended only halfway down the plank, twisting about in slow half circles to survey their immediate area. Seemingly satisfied, their battle prowess stances eased into that of typical sentinels. Both straightening to their full heights, as if on command. Neither removing their head mask, nor bothering to utter a word.
It was then 'she' appeared.
Hooded, tall, lean, and coated in an armor type unseen before. Whether the suit was of her own forging or inter-stellar scavenging was hard to tell. Whatever the case, it fit the woman inside its confines perfectly.
Dark boots were coated by golden sabatons that ended in articulated claws. Their design mimicking a lion's hind foot up to the mid-shin where the motif twisted into dual wing pointed greaves. With each step the gold tipped talons click-clacked along the metal grating with an assertive tone. What could be seen of the thighs were bound in a blackish mesh of leather and mail that hugged close to the body. The rest was covered in a harder flexi-plate of gold similar in design to the First Prime cuisses belonging to a Jaffa. A thick armor band encircled the waist, its center clasp having no oppressive deity to claim the polished surface. From its lip, a gold mesh-chain loin cloth fell to mid-thigh, a length that doubled at the rear.
The torso was a fusion of the black under armor, thin metal panels that rode every bodily contour, and the fixed rib of piping made of the same flexi-plate as the thigh. Its intention one that seemed to pay particular concern to surrounding the cage of ones ribs and reinforcing the protection of the abdomen from all sides. The rest of the under chest plate was obscured, or more accentuated by the broad arc of a gold gorget/spaulder hybrid that correspondingly encircled Jaffa warriors. Only this was broader in shape, sweeping lower in back to protect the shoulder blades and spine whilst jutting out beyond the shoulder joint itself to blunted points.
Upper arms were enclosed in the same dark fibro-mesh to the elbow where another swirl of gold veined with brighter bullion sheathed the woman's forearms to the wrist. Hands were coated in a thicker ribbed mesh of black, their tips hardened and curved; sharpened to a wicked precision. A wedge of gold dusted black rode the topside of the woman's right limb; a weapon O'Neill quickly recognized belonging to one of the Kul Warriors they'd run into the last time they'd tackled Anubis' 'soldiers.' However what settled in the palm of her left and wove around her own gauntlet caused even Hammond to back a step.
Elegant fingers, revealing no skin were tipped in sheaths of gold, each point curved and sharpened to match the talons on its twin, talons that curled in a relaxed posture towards the deep set ocher crystal of a ribbon device.
"No friggin' way..." It was a breathless response to say the least. Raina moved ahead of her male companions, careful not to 'overstep' Hammond as she neared the glass partition between them and those below. "She's got a ribbon device." The voice was enthralled rather than repulsed, something Hammond couldn't help but frown at.
"Uh Daniel I don't mean to have a mental lapse here but I thought only those wonderfully high ranking Goa'uld could use those things." O'Neill murmured as he watched the figure descend. This just wasn't shaping up to be his morning, course it wasn't as if he'd started out on a good note anyhow. Still.
"Unless she's wearing it for 'fun'." Raina's low retort supplied. She recognized the woman almost instantly in voice alone, but for all intents and purposes that idea was absurd. Considering the woman descending the ramp, if it was indeed who her mind suspected, was supposed to be dead. "Helluva conversation piece "
"Uh.. yeah.. it's a marker left by the Go`auld in their host. I guess engineered that way by the Goa`uld for control so the Jaffa couldn't just pick up their own weapons to use against " Daniel faltered as Raina, Jack, Quinn and even Hammond looked over at him. Their intended sentences clear in each of their expressions. "Them."
"Well isn't that special."
"You're saying she's a Goa'uld?" Stallard and O'Neill's voices overlapped as nearly everyone in the command center looked at Daniel.
"No idea unless she uses that thing."
"Great." The air force officers' voices resounded in unison with opposing tones as they looked back to the scene below.
The hooded figure came to a halt a step or two behind her sentries, the cowl around her neck and head barely allowing more than her chin and mouth to show from the shadow cast. There was a determined pivot to her look as it swept over the armed crowd. So much fuss over three little people. She snuffed out a faint breath of a sound from the back of her throat, ignoring the internal argument with herself for later. "Rae`sh noe kra'." Her tone was barely above a whisper but her command was clear at least to her flanking companions. (lower your masks)
" any ideas you two?" followed the retort of O'Neill towards the pair of brains behind him.
Before either man could answer the masks jerked to life unfortunately the harsh movement startled a new transfer, his finger jerking back on his trigger as a spray of bullets burst out in a thunderous echo of fire and noise.
Chaos erupted from the commanding officers, shouts went in a round to hold fire and back down. Shouts that, alike the gunfire, came and went with a distant echo.
Fingers splayed and palm erect the glow of the ribbon device coiled about the veiled woman's forearm was hardly the room's focal point. In turn it was the family of bullets that spun dangerously in suspended motion millimeters from the center mass of the one with the mark of Bast emblazoned in gold into her forehead. If she was afraid of dying it never showed. Then again having someone who could stop not just one bullet but an entire series of them before one even had time to register that they'd even been shot at was a bit of a comfort to be considered.
"Tell your men.." the timbre of the man with the mark of Anubis was a thick rumble of a sound that drove deep into the heart of anyone caught in its wake like an unexpected roll of thunder. "..To lower their weapons to a safer target zone. Perhaps the leg." Pale eyes leveled on Hammond above them all, easily having sorted the crowd for the alpha. "We will give our own weapons freely to further ensure our safety. We have come not in the name of conflict but in peace."
In the time it took the man to finish, the bullets lost their momentum, posing no more danger than if someone had tossed a string of paper clips at the woman's chest. Long fingers curled then, allowing the projectiles to fall harmlessly at the feet of her sentinel with a small clatter before the limb returned to the side of her body once more.
"Guess that answered the sixty million dollar question." Raina murmured as Jack narrowed his gaze dangerously.
"Lower your weapons.." came the still angered command from General Hammond. He could feel the argument rising in O'Neill and stilled the thought with a glare that could fell an elephant. "Johnson, Sciortino their weapons." The named officers slung their MP's over their backs by the straps in a solid motion. Edging forward they retrieved the Jaffa staffs from offering hands. When Johnson turned and made for the woman between the guardians however the pair of them stiffened into action.
The male backing up and to his right as the female moved forward and to her left at a slight crouch. "Shak`ti`qua!?" Came her command, a faint growl in her tone.
"Stop!" Came the harmony of Daniel and Quinn as they both caught the woman's words. Jackson spoke up first, edging forward and grabbing the mic from the control room. "She wants to know what you're doing I don't think when he said we could have their weapons he meant hers." Came the quick response, a hand soon settling on his shoulder.
With a questioning glance in Raina's direction Daniel turned his attention to her hand then back to the scene below.
"It's hardly my intention to hurt anyone. Much like I argued the last time I was here." The all too familiar voice of one Samantha Carter drifted into the ears of those on deck, sending a barrage of emotions through the core crew present. Johnson quickly stepped back in line, if he needed to get something more he would do so when ordered. Daniel felt the hand at his shoulder tighten but paid it no heed, Raina on the other hand could only stare. The woman she'd constantly been reminded of as being a replacement for was very much alive and well below them all. "What the hell.."
The human barricade parted then, opening up in a 'v' shape to allow their leader in between. "I'm hardly a Goa`uld. Feel free to have your doctor examine me right here if you see fit. But I will not remove my armaments. " Her tone was austere in its undercurrent. If it wasn't obvious, the device as well as the woman's capability of the thing defiantly proved life saving-ly valuable. A value the woman was hardly going to do without.
When Samantha began to move forward a steadying hand fell to her shoulder, a softer feminine whisper flowing to her ears. "Si`nu, Sahar?" (Wait, Sahar?) The smaller woman took another dark look at the crowd, "Ya`tu`Kresh'ta. Qua'tu Shol'va si'kor." By her voice alone she was extremely concerned, and very uncertain of the Tau`ri surrounding them all. (We are outcasts. Yourself a traitor to them.)
At the mention of the word 'traitor' in the guards worrisome tone Daniel couldn't help but flinch. Her words rang truthful enough. Darkly insightful towards the government and the cruelties of people who helped run it at times.
"They're afraid we'll kill her this time." Daniel lied, turning a glance back to the others, Jonas especially, who had the smarts to keep his mouth shut. For now. "Since she wasn't exactly released before."
"Before?" Raina spoke up again, her hand slipping away from Daniel. In all their time together, musing and analyzing the supposed dead woman's notes and theorems he had never once mentioned the fact that Samantha Carter was alive.
Samantha couldn't help the faint ghost of a smile that dusted her lips at Daniel's words. Thankful to have some small measure of an alliance in an otherwise hostile place.
"She's still a traitor." Came the callous murmur from Jack, who was still near the back beside Quinn.
"Would somebody please tell me what the hell is going on?!" Raina let her anger show, it was bad enough she was reminded daily of being a replacement but this was beyond being left out of the boys club.
Hammond could only frown, ignoring SG-1 as he focused on the woman below. Here he was again faced with Samantha Grace Carter MIA and now officially deceased after nearly eight years. This wasn't the Carter he knew as a girl, the youthful aspiring air force officer, Jacob's daughter, before Everything was always 'before'. No, this was a woman who had been inadvertently left behind on Chu`lak by her own team members, forced into the false servitude of Apophis as his First Prime in order so that she might sustain her very existence and give hope to Jaffa forced into slavery in the name of these false gods at the threat of that existence. All with the hope of one day coming back to Earth to reclaim her life, her place as she had known it before the horrors she'd come to know on a world that wasn't hers. And never had been.
When she had made it here years before she was branded a traitor, yoked into responsibilities and consequences that'd never occurred to her in her service as first prime. Defamed of humanity and common courtesy, their own government had nearly killed her when trying to retrieve information. Then Apophis had found them, found their other SG team. Samantha Carter was used as barter for lives already lost, misconstrued as an object of currency in a way, by her own planet. When all she'd been trying to do since her first contact was aid in the safe guarding of renegade Jaffa...
If the General could do it over again from the start he would have. He would give almost anything for the chance. Even if it meant having to lose her just so that their first contact could be done over. That he could've helped more, formed an alliance with the renegades, assured them all that they weren't lost, or forgotten.
"Close the iris. Clear the doors and all teams stand down." The General's order never wavered, even when O'Neill audibly gawked at it. "Don't argue with me Colonel just do it."
His surety over the matter regained, the General turned and slipped from the command center above. Moments later, flanked by SG-1, he was stepping forward and offering his hand to the woman before him. "Samantha" he tested, and when she didn't counter with a different title he continued. "I apologize for the actions of my men."
With an inquisitive stare Samantha glanced about as everyone, or nearly everyone, went to work at the elder man's order. When his hand opened out to her she felt a low pulse deep in the cavity of her chest. The strength of the gesture forcing a long forgotten chord to be struck. She stepped forward, her guardian's hand slipping reluctantly from her shoulder in the process, and took the General's hand in a firm but welcoming grasp. "And my own. I should have warned them." Referring to his men, she felt the shake and the firm grip that lingered well beyond its original intent.
That was enough for Raina, with a glare towards the male compliment of her team she stalked off, more than aware of the looks that befell her retreating form.
Even Samantha glanced at the irate air force Major before returning her attention to the matter literally at hand. "Good to see you sir." She uttered with a much quieter resonance that was meant purely for the General's benefit. Funny, in the beginning he had such high hopes and aspirations for her. If only he knew
"However," he countered as gently as he could amidst his stern tone. "While I will honor your wishes to be kept... armed, I'm afraid you will have to be confined and under constant supervision." His tone was warning enough, there was still a lot of hurt abound from her previous visit. Some people had allowed things to fester while others worked through it. His officer entailed chaperone was as much for his personnel's safety as Samantha's own.
The blonde nodded curtly, her gaze drifting to a still scowling O'Neill as she finally retrieved her hand from the General's grasp to fall upon her forearm. There was a soft series of clicks before a sharp hissing sound of decompression. A moment later and she stripped the Kul weapon band from her arm, twisting it over and offering it to Hammond. "A sign of good faith " She stated minutely, openly studying the General before he stripped her of the weapon. If he'd had a choice she knew he would've preferred the ribbon device, but it was just too strong a commodity to do without for the time being.
"In exchange for no 'interrogations.' Any sign of the higher ups discussing capture or underhanded hostility with the intent to gain 'insight' to my inner workings and we will have no choice." She cautioned. Whatever 'choice' she was referring to it obviously wasn't something she wished to have to choose unfavorably towards.
Hammond sighed internally, already hearing the protestant sound of O'Neill from behind him. "I'll do what I can. I make no absolutions." It was the best he could give her, for now.
"But sir c'mon " Jack started as he stepped forward, grip on his mp5 unrelenting despite its 'at ease' posture. "For all we know she is one of those snake-heads." He punched his derogatory remark, leveling his gaze at her. She was still a traitor to him. Were he to get his second chance this time he'd have to aim a little higher.
"Colonel O'Neill!" The general practically bit off his name as he turned around to face his team leader. "If I'm not mistaken Major Samantha Carter was listed as deceased effective three years ago. I had hoped your opinion on the matter surrounding the Major had followed suit. However if you still require time to grieve for the loss of a fellow SG-1 team member that you left behind then I will more than happily grant you mandatory grievance leave." Jack's mouth opened and the General quickly snapped the words back down his throat. "Effective immediately."
O'Neill shifted his jaw, his mouth shut, and his gaze drifting from his CO to Samantha before abruptly turning on his heel and storming out. With a slightly stammering movement Jonas made to follow the Colonel, leaving a tri-compliment of MP guard, Daniel, Hammond and Samantha's entourage.
"Kel'mah?" (sanctuary?) Came the whispered hush of the female Jaffa's voice again to Samantha's ear. The taller woman casting a strong look over her shoulder with a murmured "Noc yas." (not now.)
With a slight gesture Hammond's men drew forward. "This way." Came the terse command before the well armed trio of green camo escorted Samantha and her companions from the gate room towards their would-be quarters.
Once out of ear shot Hammond allowed himself to relax, his shoulders and command stance going slack. "General?" came the quieter tone of Daniel Jackson from behind. His tone reflective of the notion that he could very easily walk away and inform the general at a later time what he wanted with a single word from the other man.
"What is it Doctor?"
"I think there's more that S 'she' is telling us." When Hammond turned to look at him he quickly continued. "I believe her escort just asked for sanctuary." The disbelief in his tone was evident as was the equally respondent look from the General.
Amidst the typical bustle of the mess, Bregman was settled across from Fraiser, who ironically enough was more involved with her fruit salad than the director, his left hand pressed against his forehead and easily revealing his wedding ring. 'Settled' was hardly the appropriate term for the overly nervous man as he continued to 'observe' her in silence. Surrounding a bite of grapes and melon, Fraiser glanced up at the glint from the band of gold which spawned an entirely unrelated series of movements and sounds from the man it belonged to.
Gesticulating and nervously rambling, Fraiser had to wonder if he knew the ring was the center of attention. "Oh I'm sorry. I was just ... I was just thinking that, you have a very natural quality ... I mean on camera. You let me film ... You allow the people to see ... grace under pressure."
Fraiser was seriously beginning to wonder if the man had a problem. Granted this was kind of cute but almost in a sad way. "Mmmm... are you... err... flirting with me?"
He was caught, and quickly tried to amend the situation to no avail. "Aahaha ... well, see I on the other hand am very clumsy under pressure."
Fraiser couldn't help but laugh at him yet again. "Well, I've seen worse." Okay the gold was getting on her nerves, glaring out at her like "So ... erhm... what's with the ring?"
The expression captured on the man's visage gave way to the notion that Bregman had truly forgotten he even had the referred piece of jewelry on. "Oh, er... it's sentimental... my wife died a few years ago." The memory, or more the glaringly obvious reminder of his departed wife, had thrown him. Already his mind was swimming for a way out. "So how do any of you have a personal life?"
"We don't really, I spend most of my time outside work with my daughter." She took that moment to enjoy another bit of her salad.
"Oh so ... you're married." He actually had the nerve to sound disappointed.
"No ... no ... she's adopted..." Her tone flippant again, watching him carefully she calculated the perfect moment of assault. Coffee mug lifted and... "She's from another planet." She speared another round morsel of a grape with her fork before devouring the helpless globe.
Opportunity strikes in all places. Bregman thought to himself, "Er... would you be willing to talk about that on camera?"
Fraiser stiffened slightly, Cassie had gone through so much in the past few years. They were only just now getting through her abandonment issues with true success. "You know I'd rather..."
The striking form of an airman with obviously less than positive news broke through Fraiser's line of vision. "Excuse me ma'am ... you're required in the ready room immediately."
"Thank you." She crumpled the napkin from her lap and set it over her salad, hurrying to rise. "Sorry." Whether she truly was was certainly up for debate.
Bregman gave an internal sigh, glancing at the airman and now the retreating Doctor. "It's okay "
Samantha and her Jaffa escorts stood in their new quarters, which were really a six sided cement box with three cots and an adjacent toiletry facility. Her companions were on edge, obviously not wishing to leave their friend ? master ? ruler? alone with the Tau`ri soldiers. With the outburst from the former follower of Bast, Samantha's hand had raised, talons threatening to split her skin with no more than a firmly placed rake.
The soldiers just inside the door and in the hall had nearly mistaken the movement as one used to finish off someone with a ribbon device and raised their weapons to fire. The only difference in this instance was the lack thereof of such a device not to mention the typical malice behind a gesture. Noting their error Samantha ignored them for the time at hand and stepped closer, non-threatening.
Black talons graced the edge of the shorter woman's hairline, whispering against her hair before fingers stiffened, allowing only the smooth metallic finger pads to sweep the woman's face in a slow calming movement downward that drifted away as soon as her mouth was reached. "Ne'nai Kel`tu'tu." Her voice was soothing and almost instantly the feral woman was stilled, not happily but she posed no further threat.
From another room Jonas and O'Neill watched the trio through an array of video screens placed about the room, each entirely for different reasons. "What'd she say?" O'Neill grated lightly, still standing, arms crossed, though his stance was no longer battle ready.
Jonas merely stared in awe at the screens, captivated by the ensemble and their actions in contrast to the typical depictions of Jaffa they'd run into in the past. They had yet to run into anyone from Bastet's juncture or even Bast herself, much less defective Jaffa. Aside from that however, was the fact they had never encountered female Jaffa... renegade female Jaffa to boot. Branded in gold and obviously in the service of a god. Funny how that, in Jonas' mind, seemed to take precedence. Of course the rumors had always been there for all those scenarios, but this was defiantly more than rumor. Or at least he hoped. "To stop and that everything would be alright."
The small humph from behind the younger man only forced a smirk onto his face. There was so much history there in the Colonel's hostility, everyone's reactions before but now was defiantly not the time to delve into its intricacies. Somewhere else in the back of his mind Jonas wondered how long his curiosity could hold out before he started to ask even deeper questions than he already had about this Samantha.
Observation/Medical Room One
Fifteen Minutes later.
Samantha was seated on a medical bed, form apathetic in pose, intentionally hiding the retreat she'd made from the here and now into the web working of her mind. The talons of her left forefinger and thumb pried faintly at her bottom lip as she worked things over and over in her head. Had this been the best choice? To come back to Earth after so long departed forgotten dead. General Hammond had distinctly pointed that out to all concerned. That slip hadn't been for O'Neill's benefit alone, he'd intended it for Samantha as well. As if letting her know to some people her slate with them was cleared.
Her musings were interrupted by the sound of the curtain being drawn from behind her. Shielding her body from the armed escorts liberally placed about the lab, not to mention the cameras placed there as well.
Samantha tipped her head to the side just enough to get a better sensory input of the one moving behind her without getting a look at them. An angle that quickly straightened when she felt the pressure of a hand atop her armor near the shoulder. "I won't hurt you Samantha."
The all-too familiar voice of Janet Fraiser rung deep within the blonde's ears, the sentiment and its intention serving the doctor well. Almost immediately Samantha relaxed her posture, the need to forcibly peel someone's hand from her armor gone. "It is not in your nature." Came the woman's sedate contralto with a hint of something more.
"You're probably going to have to take some of this off for me " The doctor stated gently, not bothering to remove her hand as she circled around to stand in front of the other woman. With a slow observation Janet took in the physical stature of her patient. Her skin from what she could see, which hardly went below mid-neck, was marred with the intermittent scar. The worst of which was a sort of burn-like web working of a brand that fanned out from the corner of Samantha's jaw down around the side of her neck and into her hair. By the shape of things a few bones had been broken in the process, hardening the blonde's features even more than they had been when the pair had first met years ago.
Samantha allowed the observation, taking her own time to do her own analysis. "Which parts?" Broke the silence with a quiet resolve a moment later. Samantha's mask was back in place; a near emotionless façade that kept everyone, and presently the doctor, away from her.
"Anything around the neck and upper back that I can't simply pull away from your skin to examine through." There was a beat, followed with the withdrawal of the doctors hand from Samantha's armor. 'It's been too long Janet and you've carried a stupid crush inside for its duration for nothing...'
The doctor cleared her throat lightly, turning her features away to busy herself with a pair of latex gloves.
Samantha noted the discomfort, sighing internally for the reason. ' You withdrew, shut her out immediately what do you expect?' Her inner voice chided her darkly, and she let it. The voice continued as she unhinged a few locks and straps from underneath the arc of her chest plate. A moment later and she separated the seam at her neck that ran down her chest, prying the armor apart like a rib cage and shrugging out of the leather harness connected to it. With her arms practically locked behind her in trying to get the armor off her limbs Janet took that moment to touch her, causing the blonde to stiffen and level her gaze on the doctor.
"Let me help." The smaller woman offered, though the hand resting against Samantha's collarbone didn't move away. Instead she leant forward and with her free hand gripped at the neck of the armor holding Samantha captive and pulled it loose and away. Janet lifted the remarkably light armor and set it beside Sam on the medical bed before turning her attention back to Sam's neck.
The blonde straightened, hands settling on either side of herself on the bed to push her torso up properly. "Thank you." Her reply was almost stoic and her gaze drifted ahead of herself to the blank white canvass of the curtain surrounding the pair. It would be so easy to do something, anything before anyone caught her.
"You always this touchy?" Janet's voice broke her train of thoughts, which was reflected only in a blink to coat suddenly dry eyes.
"Shouldn't I be? Given the situation and the welcome from last time?" Was the woman's retort. Her anger directed at the person now standing behind her considering she was the only one Samantha could direct her anger towards.
"I had hoped with me you wouldn't feel the need." Janet had been Samantha's only companion during her 'stay' last time. She had proved to be a valuable asset to Sam's well-being, sanity and escape. "With me anyhow." With one hand she held the overgrown length of Samantha's hair from the back of her neck, while her other probed and prodded for the typical signature bulk of a Goa'uld.
Samantha's jaw shifted darkly as she leant her head forward enough to press her chin against her chest. The murmur of her apology misshapen given her posture. When Janet released her, she hadn't known if the doctor had heard her or not. Sam guessed she hadn't when the woman continued on with her examination silently.
"Can you roll that up?" After a while Fraiser broke the silence as she pointed towards Samantha's forearm and the black mesh coating. "I need some blood samples."
Professional mode, Samantha recognized it easily and internally frowned at the fact of having just seemingly burned one of the only bridges of friendship and kindness. Silently she pinched at her forearm, keeping the talons away from the fabric before forcibly pulling the sleeve back and exposing her skin. The arm in question was a testament to abuse, the outer line marked with slash and burn scars no doubt from being used as a deflector or weapon catch in the heat of battle.
A sight that Janet's jaw stiffened towards, she grappled Sam's upper arm a moment after, twisting the band of rubber around the muscle to force the woman's veins to the surface. Samantha made a fist, fingers continuously pumping to get the blood to constrict faster. She wanted out of here, out from under the anger driven movements and gestures of the doctor.
She didn't even feel the needle when it slipped beneath the skin, her attention fixed on her opposite hand and the crystal secured in the center of her palm. She wanted to know what Janet felt, what she was thinking and why, if she remembered what had happened She wanted to know what had happened in her life from then up until now and every detail in-between. Her fingers flexed lightly, curling towards the gem. It would only take a second, she had enough control not to cause too much pain if any at all. With a small lift in her chin she let her fingers flex outward, the jewel in her palm beginning to darken with an inner light, only to be obscured a split second after with Janet's glove encased hand.
Instantly startled Samantha looked up, Janet's gaze forced onto hers and her message clear. 'Don't. Whatever you do don't do that.' Samantha instantly froze and the glow between their hands died to nothing. Her chest felt heavy and her mind was racing to catch any form of a thought only to come up blank.
With a shift Janet folded her other arm up, a cotton ball pressed against the wound caught in the bend. They held each other's gaze continuously until Janet forced herself to look away, detaching herself in all forms from the seated woman. Peeling off her gloves with a snap, it was like time returned to normal where before now it had been slowed into distortion. She made a few notes on a chart nearby and then offered Samantha a box of juice and a straw. "Drink this on your way back."
Her voice was overly loud and a moment later she was pulling the curtain shroud from around them, breaking the cocoon that'd been formed to keep the outside world away. "You can take her back now." She stated to the guards as they closed in on the table while Samantha got up. The blonde didn't bother replacing her armor, hooking it around her free arm as the other kept a firm hold of the juice.
She's ashamed, Janet thought, locking eyes with Samantha once again as she was escorted out. The look was near exact to the one her daughter Cass would give her when she'd either been caught doing something or scolded by her mother. Janet had only seen the glow out of the corner of her eye at Sam's hand and done the first thing that came to mind. Cover it up and hope the guards outside hadn't seen the amber light reflecting on the tile. It wasn't until after she'd done so that Janet had realized what the glow had been a part of; and only now did the fear of that catch up with her. Spurred further by the look Samantha let break through the barrier of the mask she'd put on.
Janet let a slow breath slip from her lungs with deliberate force, fingers curling around the nearest counter as she turned her backside into it and tried to relax.
The repetitive thumping of a racket ball reverberated loud enough to be heard halfway down the concrete corridor where Daniel cautiously made his way along the hall. He knew Raina was hurt and no doubt felt shut out from the rest of them even more so, though in all honesty he hadn't ever expected to see Samantha again after her last visit. Bringing it all up and drudging up the possibilities that in some very obscure, very slight chance in hell Carter could've taken Raina's place just didn't seem like the thing to do.
So he pretended she was dead, killed over 7 years ago on their first mission even despite her initial return. They all had. Some more willingly than others.
Daniel pulled in a deeper breath, he really hated this part, and gave a small push on the jarred door. "Raina?" His tone was cautionary, making sure she wasn't lobbing that blue ball at his head.
"Go away." Came her dark response, followed by the thicker, rougher echo of the ball that was probably going to burst any minutes from the pressure.
"Raina." He tried again, more insistent as he slipped into the room, watching the ball's trajectory as it triple bounced from the floor to the wall to the floor and back to the Major's grasp.
"What Daniel? What" She threw the ball at the floor again, her gaze never leaving the spot she was trying to burn into the wall. "-could you possibly want to say? That you're sorry?" She threw it again, harder this time. "That you didn't mean to keep anything from me?"
"Adoraina c'-" Daniel soon found himself ducking out of the path of a blue racket ball that he swore had flames on it from the speed alone.
"Don't." She allowed, her voice clenched. "Don't you dare use my name against me Daniel. With that boyish 'I can make it better' tone of yours." Daniel was still picking himself off the floor when Raina swung her legs off the cot with a heavy smack of her boots against the concrete.
He almost started to recoil, not sure where the ball was and half expecting it to be heading towards him again. "Let me get past the mad seething part first okay?" While her tone was hard it was also apologetic.
He chanced a look at her, pulling in a breath to say something but she held a hand up and Daniel just stood with a puffed out chest and a 'whas?' expression. "Least now I know why you guys were so clingy off world " she stated darkly, letting her hand fall back to her side, deflated for now. "Knew it couldn't just be 'me'."
PA: "*All SG-1 Members report to the Briefing Room.*" Hammond's voice rang clear over the p.a. system causing a soft growl of an exhale to force it's way through Raina's throat. With her look Daniel immediately scrambled out of the way, letting the woman get a good ten feet or so ahead of him before continuing. "Damn " his voice was a mere whisper as he rubbed at the back of his neck. Where was Jack when he needed an anger shield? He was much better at the rationality amidst someone else being pummeled.
"If she's not a snake then how's she control that thing huh?" O'Neill couldn't believe what he was hearing. Samantha Carter wasn't a Goa`uld, there wasn't any real threat to her being here and now it seemed as if in fact she and her little Jaffa groupies wanted sanctuary. That in some twisted way they were both on the same side. This was ridiculous, it was like he was in the damn twilight zone.
"She has a protein trace marker in her blood of once having been bound to a Goa`uld." Fraiser stated simply.
"Oh great, so she was one. We don't know if she's been compromised or is still influenced-"
"You don't seem to carry those symptoms Colonel. Her protein marker matched the one your own blood carries when you were bound to a Tok'ra." Janet interrupted him quickly, factually, and one could've sworn with a well placed bout of malice.
Fraiser's words effectively shut O'Neill up. There was only so much he could argue against and the fact his own blood had betrayed him in this instance only furthered his own lack of ammo concerning the matter.
"So what you're saying Doctor is that Samantha was infected by a Go`auld or Tok'ra at some point in time and because of that she's capable of using their own devices? Weapons, ships everything?" The general spoke up clearly, hesitant but his undertone was clear. Samantha was an advantage to them now, a huge one if the speculations were indeed true about her newfound abilities.
Raina didn't like the implications, didn't like the sheer and simple reason they were even having this briefing. However, instead of offering protest she merely stayed silent in her seat. On the one hand she agreed with O'Neill, perhaps not as whole heartedly, but she did agree Samantha was now a major risk factor. On the other, she felt some sort of allegiance to the woman in question, after all the only reason Raina was even sitting in the same room with these people was because of her follow up theorems of Carter's work and livelihood. They shared a legacy now, which again still made Samantha an even bigger risk factor as well as an asset to the SGC.
Fraiser let out a slow breath, leaning forward in her chair so that her hands came to rest on the table top. "Sir, Samantha Carter is essentially a Goa`uld without a symbiote as far as her capabilities are concerned. Unless there's some form of fail safe against a person who's survived without a Goa`uld, which to date we know isn't possible, then yes, Samantha has the ability to use their technology."
"So do I" O'Neill spoke up then, like a jilted child. He was marked just as she, which would make him capable of using their devices as well.
"What about her Jaffa?" Came Jonas' sharp inquiry before the weight of Fraiser and O'Neill's words could even settle on the group.
O'Neill made a face, well okay so there was her one up on him.
Jonas merely continued on, "Are they under her influence or are they true renegades? Admittedly I've never seen a follower of Bast much less a female Jaffa warrior before now. I mean did she really succeed?" Succeed in turning Jaffa against their masters where undoubtedly others in her place had failed, including SG teams.
"I haven't run any tests on them. My concern was only Carter, however if her companions have been influenced I doubt it's by any medicinal or mind control."
"Oh this is a load of crap. You just said she could effectively use their devices that means all of them. The ships, the weapons, the mind control devices, the stealth devices... "
"Jack " Daniel spoke up then, his inner-thoughts finally surfacing. "She's right. Think about it. When we ran into her before she said repeatedly she needed to get back to the others. To the Jaffa she'd helped escape from Apophis and undoubtedly a few other system lords." He gestured emphatically as he continued on. "Imagine, she's a human. A Tau`ri branded by Apophis as a first prime. She betrays him, takes his own people away from him and convinces them that they are truly free. That their 'gods' are no more than flesh and bone like them." Daniel circled the room with his gaze, his words undoubtedly penetrating all ears. "So much so that even she, again a Tau`ri in their eyes, can use their weapons. That's a huge influential power alone."
The variety of facial responses were vast with his pause, he even saw Jack's expression beginning to slacken in its hatred for the woman. "Samantha's been doing this for years and with obvious success. She has a power greater than any Goa`uld because she's an outsider forsaken by her own people who carries a hope for an alien race that've never had something to call their own before never had anyone to show them that they were better than slaves."
Hammond was suddenly very thankful Daniel was on 'their' side. Sometimes he could be the most convincing son of a bitch, especially when it came to an outside point of view. He was a civilian after all; he didn't see things in terms of militant black and white like himself or O'Neill and Stallard, nor with a medical preservation towards life, any life that the doctor tended to.
"Alright." He broke the internal workings of everyone at the table. "While we're certainly not finished with the matter at hand there are a few others who need to be advised of this news. You're all dismissed, save Stallard."
With a slow round of movement everyone pulled from the table and left the room, all except Fraiser who remained standing just behind her respective chair until the General acknowledged her.
"I said dismissed..." came his quiet statement, gaze lingering on the Doctor.
"Permission to speak freely sir?" Fraiser stood her ground, hands slipping from the chair back however. With Hammond's nod she took a breath, not bothering with the Major's presence. "She came to us freely before sir... with less influence and a lot more to lose in order to join 'our' fight on Earth. Despite all we put her through she's back again That says something."
Hammond studied his CMO carefully; there were so many unanswered questions, so many instances now that ran through his head forcing him to wonder if Samantha had aided them in times
He gave a small shake of his head, clearing the scenarios away. "Thank you Doctor. Now if you'll excuse me."
Fraiser gave a stiff nod before turning to excuse herself as well, Stallard catching her gaze for a slow moment.
Once alone with the general Raina felt her jaw shift unconsciously, her gaze refusing to leave the table top.
"Major Stallard " the note of command in his voice instantly pulled the woman's green eyes up to her CO. Once he had her full attention he continued. "I believe I and those here at the S.G.C. owe you an apology. This scenario with Samantha Carter was one that wasn't exactly proposed. In fact it only ranked on a 15% possibility scale."
"That's a lot when compared to the impossibility scale." She stated honestly, the cut of his eyes in response instantly causing her gaze to falter. "General sir. I don't pretend to understand the how's or why's but if I may..."
"No you may not." Hammond rose then after silencing her, coming around to the opposite side of the table. "You are a valued member of this team and though I'm sure some methods are quite unorthodox, any one of us would hate to see you feel or believe differently. Understand?"
Raina couldn't help but swallow, thankful that the sound was minimal at best. She'd been so angry before, now she just felt hurt and perhaps even a little ashamed at acting so brash earlier. She forced herself to look at the General head-on and nodded stiffly, "Yes sir." Her tone was tight, but hardly from disrespect.
Hammond lingered on her for a moment, satisfied a moment or so after with her response. "Dismissed."
A moment of serenity shattered as the event horizon soared out from a formerly inactive Stargate. After it stabilized, SG-13 stepped through, taking a few moments to take initial readings before the shut down of the gate.
Colonel Dixon was the first to speak, MP resting at ease in his grasp. "OK, Balinsky. Which way?"
The referred-to officer was already consumed in his compass, not even bothering to look up as he pointed "That way."
"I'll take point, Wells, Bosworth -- you're rear guard five meter spread." Dixon delegated his team with a simple series of gestures. "Keep your eyes open."
"The M.A.L.P. showed no indication of any recent Goa`uld activity on this planet." Balinsky was still reading his compass while trudging along.
"Yeah, well" Dixon began, surveying the area. "I don't see any indication of anything here "
Samantha stood in her room, Asherah, Bast's former ally, unhooking bits and pieces of the woman's heavier armor. She then laid them to rest on a sheet near the back corner of the room along with the already discarded chest and neck pieces. She was left in the mesh wear of black, talon gloves complimented by one ribbon device, her armor belt and loin cloth, knee high black lace boots and the clawed sabatons.
The other, Shan`dr, stood near the closed room door silent and ever watchful of their rather vacant surroundings.
"We've been here for hours Sahar." Asherah started in her native Jaffa tongue. "Are we captives now?" The woman's tone was almost bland, as if she'd already resigned herself to that sort of fate. Of course when she'd stepped forward to safe guard their leader days before the journey to Earth she knew where her fate lied.
"Perhaps..." Samantha began, her steps now carrying her in an endless pattern around the scarce bits of furniture. "Then again perhaps my lack of patience in the matter is wearing off on you." Samantha's tone was light but well meant; they hadn't been here so long. Only two hours... maybe two and a half by this point.
If there was actual consideration placed towards the taunt, Asherah gave no outward indication of it. "You seem distant." Was her only response, but the lilt of her voice held enough sway that she was testing the waters here.
"Worried. I should've come alone." The taller woman stated as she succumbed to a cot, missing the veins of hurt expressions on both Shan`dr and Asherah, the woman's more prominent than her counterpart.
"This is true... in a way," Asherah started before coming to settle beside Samantha. "But we would have found our way here, and without your aid only Shan`dr would be left standing." The woman's mortality, or near lack thereof and her flippant tone was almost too disturbing to Samantha.
"You should have more regard for the things you say and how you say them Asherah." Samantha's tone was softer, withdrawn and the woman beside her only scooted closer.
"Indeed. Though if you hear the right words and the meaning behind them regardless of my tone then you understand the lengths at which some of us are willing to go for our cause. I am not one to be excluded from that."
Before Samantha could reply Shan`dr had straightened, gaze and body turning towards the door as it opened out into the hallway to allow someone passage. Samantha stood then, as did Asherah, both focused on the door and what the next round of events would be.
The klaxon's sounded around the base for at least the third time now, only barely penetrating the lower decks holding Samantha and her companions.
No sooner had the alarms sounded they ceased moments later, and Hammond was nestled behind his desk reading from a file while a one Emmett Bregman continued to pace annoyingly in front of him.
"Exempts from said clearance from all current activities which have not yet been reviewed by this office, that being the Pentagon ..." the General's voice droned on, he really didn't need to reiterate all this.
"Current activity ... Breathing is a current activity." Bregman assured himself before turning to focus more attention on the General than into his pacing.
"My interpretation is that you have not been authorized to know anything about the most recent unscheduled activations."
Bregman took the opportunity to seat himself, scooting forward to the edge. "General, a little leeway." He sounded like a kid asking his parents if he could stay up an hour past his bedtime.
"I said that I was going to hold you to the letter of these orders, Mr. Bregman. Give it up." His tone was irritant enough, it sent the documentary monger up and heading for the door only to Hammond's chagrin, a pause as well.
"You know ... Colonel O'Neill ..." he started, quickly cut off as the General finished his sentence. "is currently unavailable."
With a twist the man was back into the depths of his office again. "General the President, the President of the United States, is giving me his full support. Why are you resisting?" Now he was asking for money towards his allowance it seemed.
"I'm not resisting, I'm following orders. My opinion is that I don't think my people need to be put under a microscope. Cameras don't just record things; they change what they record simply by being there. The work these people do is hard enough without them feeling that every breath they take is being preserved for judgment."
"Maybe it should be ..." he let the words slip and with the look on Hammond's face nearly bolted into the hall.
"Excuse me ...?" The general was up from his seat, hands on the top of his desk now.
"I said: Maybe it should be ..." Bregman shut the door then, continuing on his rant. "The pentagon has allowed journalists to be embedded in the armed forces before this. You know that. Under fire, under pressure, so what's seen, what's heard and what's read is the truth."
"I think we're through ..." His command timbre was back, he'd had enough of this Bregman and his little film documentary. President or no President.
"I don't ... I don't disagree with you General ..." The man's words were stifled by the shrill outcry of the red phone that was quickly silenced when Hammond picked up the receiver.
"Excuse me." His tone not leaving room for question, hand over the handset until Bregman slid out of his office.
Samantha and both of her charges, plus three MP's ambled down the corridor towards the nearest lift. Each piled inside, one guard then the trio followed by Major Stallard and the remaining couple of military police. "You'll be escorted to a quarantined medical observation lab." Raina started gently, "We've got a wayward film crew running around down here with 'authorization from the President'. " She mocked the last bit of her phrase in an impression of the overzealous Bregman before reverting to her usual self with a frown. "Last thing any of us want is a breach of your personal securities and all."
Samantha barely registered the words as they were offered consciously. In fact her brow had disappeared somewhere under the overgrowth of her bangs as a result. 'Breach personal securities where the hell were you last time woman?'
Once the floor was reached, Raina drew back, allowing two MP's and Samantha's entourage to slip beyond her and into the hall. The latter pair obviously doing so with a reluctant flavor. A disposition that was quickly quelled with whatever Jaffa babble Samantha muttered to them. The pair shared a look before leveling their gaze back to their leader with a nod only to disappear behind the sliding elevator doors.
"Janet'll take care of 'em." The brunette offered half a beat later to the seemingly preoccupied blonde to her immediate right. She received a quick glance and an inquisitive brow arc for her comment. 'Why the fuck do I feel like I'm in the academy again.'
"And we're going?" Samantha offered after a very pregnant pause, the lower lilt of her voice nearly forcing Raina to jump.
"To my lab" She answered all too quickly, feeling another scrutinizing gaze pass over her though it was hardly as open as the one she'd received before.
With that the doors parted, spilling the contents of the elevator into the hall of the much more populated however less guarded research levels of the S.G.C. Words had no place where the two walked, though the journey wasn't far, it was far enough to attract attention. Samantha kept her gaze straightforward and unyielding, feeling the eyes roving over her form in waves. Their belonging emotions ranging all over the spectrum, and somewhere inside herself she felt sorry for the officer to her left. She was still young, trying to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders literally.
She also wore a mask of cocky, know it all, military conjured testosterone to try and stave off the world around her, the people in it, the emotions behind their thoughts, their looks, and their opinions. Samantha didn't even have to guess that the girl's lab was probably her only solace in the world to her, a place she could lose herself amidst comfortably organized chaos and allow herself to be the girl and the nerd she was on the inside.
Samantha gave herself a mental head shake, the girl was more like the 'Carter' essence in her that she never got to experience.
Soon enough they rounded a corner, the halls quieter, the space obviously reserved for the ones who spent countless hours analyzing things to pieces without the concept of time passage. The MP had the decency to remain posted outside the door once it was shut, leaving Samantha and Major Stallard in the mess of a lab the latter had been trying to piece back together.
"This is it..." Raina stated mildly, rubbing her hands together with an almost mad scientist glee before zeroing in on the last section she'd been trying to work on.
Asherah and Shan`dr made their way down the corridors easily, one MP ahead of them to lead the way and the other behind whilst the pair themselves remained side by side.
On the one side it was like watching liquid fire and on the other sentient marble trail down the hallway. Both kept their visages straight forward, but Asherah's eyes wandered, memorizing pathways and adjoining halls in case they were headed anywhere but for a 'check-up', as Sahar had explained to them.
With another concrete corner rounded the MP ahead of them halted near a red door, it was an isolated room, a bi-level by the outward appearance. Asherah arced a slow brow as they were brought to a halt, Shan`dr sparing a glance to his smaller companion as they waited.
A few seconds passed before the door opened, revealing a youthful med-technician. He stammered slightly, looking up at the Jaffa in front of him, "D... Doctor Fraiser isn't in yet." He swallowed and straightened. "Said she'd be around in a minute."
He stepped aside then, allowing the MP and the two aliens inside the medical observatory. Two medical beds lay open and inviting, the curtains surrounding them pulled back and away. The room outside of that was rather sparse. Walls were lined with locked steal grade cabinets and black panels lined one side of the wall at an inward angle until they reached the ceiling. Shan`dr noted mentally that they were the 'observatory' portion of the medical lab.
"Have a seat." One of the MP's offered, not bothering to see if they complied as he made his way out of the room to stand in the hall. If they tried anything inside the room, the individuals above in the observatory would let them know.
The medical technician remained silent, watching as the tall one remained standing and rather impassive, intimidating but impassive all the same. His counterpart settled on the bed right beside him, hands settled just behind her; both of them watching him.
The tech cleared his throat lightly, reaching over to a small medical tackle and drawing closer. "My name's James..." He started casually enough, opening the tackle to withdraw a stethoscope. He waited a few beats, then gave a small nod. "Talkative bunch." He drew near Asherah first, glancing side long at Shan`dr who was rather involved in staring the smaller man down.
James swallowed again, before securing the ear tips in place and turning his attention back to Asherah who was staring right at him. He lifted the rounded chest piece and made to set it against the point just above the woman's heart. When neither of them recoiled, or broke anything on his body he managed to relax, listening to the near melodic harmony of twin heartbeats in her system.
It was an odd sensation, but a beautiful sound. He lingered just over the stronger, slower palpitation at her chest before pulling the scope away and making a line for her abdomen. He never got the chance to place it however, as his wrist was pressed back in a forceful grip.
The sound of surprise that wrenched from the younger man's lips, not to mention his expression was enough to have the door thrown open, a triad of gun barrels aimed at Shan`dr.
His hold remained on the other man's wrist, and Asherah slipped off the medical bed in a smooth ripple of motion. A motion that circled a hand around Shan`dr's occupied wrist while her other arm encircled James, as if afraid the MP's at the door were going to shoot him.
Despite the severity of the situation, James honestly couldn't complain about the new position he'd been inadvertently thrown well more pulled into. She wasn't all muscle like a lot of the guys had speculated, there were some definite curves there.
The bark of his boss suddenly cut through the muddle of his brain as Janet Fraiser came charging between the three guards at the door.
"What the hell is going on here?!"
"The tall one made a grab for Private James." Came the low response of the lead MP.
"And?" She pressed when he failed to reiterate anything more.
"I'm okay..." came the quiet response from James, neither of his charges had moved nope he still wasn't moving.
"Great. So what did you think you were doing with two alien Jaffa without proper supervision and restraint?" She offered, ignoring the gradual relax of men at the door as she stared down her technician wedged against Asherah and still held at the wrist by Shan`dr.
"I uh.. I was just getting some prelim vit-" The hand of CMO Janet Fraiser came up and if James wanted to get out of this without a serious ass chewing he'd just shut up.
She turned the hand down and made a steadying gesture to the trio of guards behind her as she started forward, Shan`dr and Asherah's attention leveled on her with her approach.
"This?" Samantha surveyed the bundle of plastic, metal, wire, screen and god only knew what else. "What exactly do you need me for?" The blonde wasn't exactly put off, just extremely curious as to why she'd for one: been allowed 'out of her containment', two: been allowed to go solo in all respective purposes, and three: was currently being enlisted to help out with an S.G.C. project with no ifs, ands, buts or cute red tape.
"... one sec ..." Came the now distant reply as Raina was somewhere either crouched or lying on her back to get a better vantage. "You can.. OW!.." there was a small spark and a quickly shaking hand on the Major's behalf. "Uh.. damn.. translate right?" There was a small 'thump' followed by another stifled curse.
Samantha couldn't help but smirk, a little haphazardly, but still it was there. "You err watch your " She saw Raina shift at her warning, moving her head out of harm's way. " Want me to translate something?" Well that was certainly a new one, in truth she'd been expecting to be tied up and locked down by now, injected with more hallucinogens than you could shake an epidural at, and then poked and prodded and splayed out naked for all to see. All in the name of science and extra-planetary diplomacy and all.
"Yeah ... I'm just trying to get the interface connection more stable, SG-13 really kicked the crap out of this thing. " With a grunt she pulled herself up and around, twisting at an odd angle to pin wires together before twisting a rainbow of colors into contact. "Its system log seems to be isolated on a separate crystal from memory control."
"And that's what you need me to translate?" Samantha started, finally moving to settle herself in a wheeled chair and scoot closer to the Major and her little pet project.
"Well yeah" as if it was the most obvious thing in the universe. "You were the first to write up half of this stuff... that and considering the source I just figured you'd stick around y'know?" Raina tried not to let the darker concern in her voice shine through, but damned if she still wasn't feeling a part of the team.
The source. Jaffa and not renegade Jaffa, these were loyal to some god Jaffa. "Tell me something first." Samantha stated, as if it was the only means to which she'd help the other woman out. Although the brunette continued twisting and connecting various wires and leads she gave a nod, giving the blonde the majority of her attention.
"If you're all so eager to have us... me help you, then why the heavy guard? Why twenty floors down into the basement of this place if I can just walk around with you and an MP while toting a ribbon device." Her tone was sharp, not biting, but sharp. There was defiantly something, some very big something, that these people weren't telling her. If they wanted her help it would be nice to be asked directly instead of inadvertently. If they didn't, she'd just as soon leave this place and mark it off her map for good.
"There's a camera crew running about 'member?" Came the slightly jilted response. Samantha tipped her head to the side and gave the other woman a more direct 'quit fucking around' look.
"Look, this guy " Raina gave a small shake of her head. "I dunno. He actually had the nerve to suggest that all that archive video footage I gave him was boring." Samantha merely continued to stare, if she was unsure of how to react it didn't show. "Half of that footage was compiled from your own archives..." She stated in a low tone, plowing straight ahead to keep Samantha from interrupting her.
"Okay here's what really bugs me, the only reason he's here is because the president's on his way out and he knows it, right ... He just doesn't want to look bad if and when the Stargate program ever goes public. None of this is about truth it's all about political posturing." She was rambling now, she knew it, she knew Samantha knew it and yet she continued to prattle on. "And no offense to you, but at first you were like this huge liability, I mean a member of our military thought to be KIA, who in turn I guess was only MIA and now you're the best thing to come along. There are some serious people who really think you can turn the tide."
Samantha blinked at the honesty, not to mention to gregarious amount of information being flung her way. Which of course just continued on
"Then I figure they'll keep you around or something and I'm obsolete." Reign it in woman, the look on her face should be a clue. "Uh but y'know" Raina veered back to her prior tangent before Samantha could latch onto the former. "The whole public Stargate thing, this guy Bregman just really grilled me on that. I'm sure I just babbled incoherently but I mean could you imagine if it ever did?" Raina allowed herself to stop, or more just ran out of words, the sheer weight of the Stargate being public knowledge just catching her off guard. In all honesty, up until that point when Bregman had mentioned it, she'd really tried not to think about it. At. All.
Samantha however was at a different loss; they wanted her help but now she was wondering what the price would be. It sounded, by the Major's recount, that she was going to be a tool, unwilling, and for the benefit of Earth as it saw fit. A prisoner with a different set of privileges. Before she would've never seen the light of day, now it was anyone's guess. Then on top of that she had this girl's own displacement dilemma due in whole to Samantha's existence, or more lack there of within the SGC.
Fraiser stepped closer, the posture of the taller one was threatening, the other protective, a stance that was slowly starting to creep into the male like honey out of a jar. "James what exactly did you do?" Fraiser kept her tone docile at best, her concern no longer on her med-tech but the two Jaffa that were protecting him.
"I heard two heartbeats I just wanted to check the other one out." He looked to Shan`dr "That's all I promise."
Fraiser made a face, her movements ceasing no more than a few feet away from the pretzel-ed trio. "Did you ask permission?" Her tone had that scolding lilt to it once more, her gaze leveled on James.
"Uh " James started, very thankful he couldn't actually see his boss considering his back was still to her and the men at the door. "No."
Fraiser shifted her jaw with an agitated flare, her gaze soon lifting to Shan`dr, brow arcing a moment after when his attention fell to her. Three feet shy of his height or not... "May I have my technician back please?"
Janet could've sworn the taller man smirked, course it could've just been a fleeting muscle twitch but something had sparked a reaction nonetheless. "Of course " Shan`dr tipped his head lightly, regarding the much smaller doctor and her commanding presence given the situation, and then simply released James' arm and took a step back.
Asherah followed suit, her arm drifting away from the man's torso as she leant back into the medical bed once more. Silent, Janet noticed, but defiantly a little less impassive than the jolly gold giant to the blonde's left.
"Thank you." She offered with a pointed grit towards James when he turned to face her. He offered the faintest of smiles coupled with a nervous laugh to which the woman pursed her lips ever so slightly. He was in so much trouble later.
"We were informed that JanetFraiser would be 'taking care of us.'" The thunder of Shan`dr's voice echoed around the vacant room. "He is James. Not Janet." Whilst the man's tone was hardly monotone it was rather devoid of gentle conversational flow.
"No. No he's not Janet." Came her response, glaring at the technician as he retreated from the observatory. The MP's however remained for a moment longer until Fraiser waved a dismissive hand their way.
She turned back to her charges, the click of the door allowing the hardened possessiveness the doctor had for her territory to ebb. "I'm sorry." The petite woman strayed closer, "I'm Doctor Fraiser " she affirmed, suddenly curious towards the shared glance the pair in front of her stole. "I'm going to need to run a few tests and examine the two of you physically. Unlike some people I actually intend on telling you what I'll be doing before surprising you with it. If that's alright with the both of you of course."
Shan`dr drew a breath to speak but Asherah straightened and moved closer to the doctor. Both he and Fraiser turned their attention to the woman as she seemed to struggle a moment with words, her lips moving over vowels and syllables that were still foreign to her. "W..we are tru " she frowned a bit, backing up in phrase. "are..-to- trust only ..f.." Asherah struggled with the doctor's surname, and after a moment conceded. "Jan-et."
"Snap!" The fuzz of a connection blipped onto the computer before skittering into writing. With a few adjustments both women were greeted with a crystal clear picture. "There."
After a few beats Samantha glanced up, brow arcing in that oh so 'this is it this is what you dragged me up here for? "This is mostly just technical stuff." Her tone flat.
"Yeah well anything just kinda jump out at you?" she punched the word, rocking on the balls of her feet towards the screen.
Samantha looked back, gesturing with a talon-like finger, "Here's where it encountered your SG team " her voice began to drift, eyes following the lines of techno babble.
Raina knew that look; she'd mustered that look up herself a few times. "That's an 'uh-oh' face if I ever saw one What's up?" Her tone was very serious now, as far as she knew SG-13 was still planet side.
"It looks like after it engaged shields and weapons " Samantha tipped her head, her voice still having a far off cadence to it. "Oh my god." She breathed, her attention rising with her frame. "It activated a long range communicator."
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