MacKenzie has given us this journal to record our thoughts and
feelings about the Errinious mission, since no one is willing
to talk about it. The rules are that you can write as much or
as little as you want, about whatever you want, but you can’t
lie. Oh, and everyone is entitled and encouraged
to read what everyone else has written.
a common enough diagnostic tool. Psychologists often use it to
gain an understanding of events that patients are incapable of
discussing with them directly. I’ve even used it myself when I did my psych
training as an intern.
never had it used on me before though.
had to volunteer to go first to show my faith in the medical profession. Wouldn’t look very good would it, if the doctor
in the group refused to participate in the therapy? Not surprisingly, it’s much harder when you’re
the one on the metaphorical couch, though.
is no question in my mind that we have to do this. At the moment, there isn’t an SG1 at all and
won’t be if we don’t fix things.
And everybody from General Hammond to Peggy in the commissary
knows damn well that what affects SG1 affects the whole SGC.
we need to fix things. To
do that, we need to talk about what happened.
Which brings me back to the journal – and me.
can’t talk right now. Teal’c
never talks much. Sam is
trying too hard to be the good air force officer, feeling the
weight of being 2IC with Jack being………………..
Well. Not quite ready to go there yet.
well poor Daniel is like a ticking time bomb now. He’s been keeping everything in, holding so
tight to his control that he is in danger of bursting at the seams. And he’s so afraid of adding to the pain and
misery of this whole nightmare that he won’t, can’t let go.
for the third time, here we are with you Janet ol’ girl. Time to stop dancing around the issue and actually
talk don’t you think.
beautiful planet with friendly, peace loving locals, tropical
temperatures and trees with a little blue, cherry shaped fruit
that just might be the biggest thing in medicine since penicillin.
brought them back and I sent them for the usual routine tests. About a month later, the lab boys rang up in
absolute delirium. Seemed
the little blue fruit had all the makings of being a cure for
cancer – all cancer, no matter how far advanced.
Killed off the cancerous cells in rats like water dissolving
a sugar cube. Twenty four hours – no sign of cancer!
to say this was big. We
needed to perform tests, we needed more samples, we needed to
negotiate access to supply.
wanted to go to the planet myself.
Hammond told me in no
uncertain terms my place was here on base.
I’d agree with that. But
this was just too important. Someone
with a medical background needed to go to Errinious and I was
the most experienced person with the requisite clearances.
took a long time, but finally Hammond conceded and
I found myself getting ready to go off world.
I’ve done it a few times before but always when there was
some kind of medical emergency.
I’ve always been focused on the symptoms reported to me,
what drugs I needed to take, what treatments I’d try first.
Usually I grabbed my medical supplies and left the rest
of the stuff to others.
time there was none of that pressure and I realized I didn’t have
a clue what to take with me.
was standing, glancing around my office waiting for inspiration
to strike when Sam came in. I
told her if it wasn’t a medical emergency she’d need to see Dr
Warner because I was already running late for a mission.
know,” she said, “the Colonel sent me to look for you.”
Colonel?” I was a bit slow
on the uptake but eventually it dawned.
“You mean SG1 is going on this mission?”
and you’re now… three minutes late and the Colonel hates to be
she spoke, Sam was repacking my field pack, fitting an astounding
amount of stuff into an amazingly compact bundle.
couldn’t get over the fact that I was going off world with SG1. I had assumed the General would have given the
job of being my escort to one of the newer teams – it was after
all a milk run.
I groaned. O’Neill hated
milk runs. He hated scientists. And he hated to be kept waiting.
wasn’t I just going to be his favorite person!
led me to the Gate room at a full run.
To my surprise, O’Neill didn’t say a word, just turned
to the General and offered him the trademark flick that constituted
an O’Neill salute before leading his team – and me – up the ramp.
At the top he gestured them ahead while he stopped and
waited for me. “Glad you
could join us, Doc,” he said, before waving me through.
glared at him but bit my tongue.
After all, he was my commanding officer this time out,
not my patient. The grin he flashed me in return showed me he
recognized that and intended to make the most of it. I had a sudden sinking feeling this wasn’t going
to be a fun mission after all.
as if that isn’t an understatement.
Nothing in my worst nightmares could have led me to imagine
a mission like this one.
on Jack, you have to live. More
than just your life depends on this one.
SG1 need you. StarGate
Command needs you. And I really, really need you to be ok. So, take your time if you need to, but don’t
you dare leave us.
uh read Janet’s entry. I
understand that’s ok. That
we can read what others have written before us.
can kind of see Janet’s point.
This is easier than talking about what happened. I can’t
… won’t do that. But it’s still hard.
writing this sitting next to the Colonel’s bedside. He's still unconscious. Critical condition Janet says. What a word…critical.
has so many tubes and wires attached to him.
And he is so very pale.
Whiter almost than the sheets he is lying on.
This is the worst I’ve seen him injured in the four years
I’ve been his second in command.
Worse even than Antarctica. And I was as much help to him this time as I
all I wanted to record here is that the Colonel didn’t draw the
short straw in getting this rescue mission.
He insisted on it as soon as he heard Dr Fraiser was going
Hammond wanted to assign it to the new guys – SG14 – but the Colonel
insisted. Told the General
it had taken him four years to “train ol’ Doc Fraiser” and he
didn’t want to have to break in a new doc if SG14 lost her; which
everyone who reads this will know is O’Neill-ese for caring and
affection. Not many people
get that close to the Colonel, Janet – I just thought you should
journal has sat on the desk for a day and a half now and on one
has written in it except for that brief piece by Sam.
Colonel requested the mission, huh?
That’s ….. nice. And
believe me Sam, I’m only too conscious of what an honor it is
to be admitted into the select circle of people O’Neill calls
first few nights we spent on Errinious were among the most enjoyable
of my adult life.
orchards containing the cancer killing berry (so named by Colonel
O'Neill, of course) – called Chaar by the locals – were about
a day’s walk from the StarGate.
O’Neill set a swift pace and we had set up camp on the
outskirts of the farms before night fell.
decided to let the farmers know we were there in the morning,
so we sat back, lit a fire and relaxed.
and Sam were discussing the MALP readings while O’Neill threw
together what the team gleefully told me was called an “MRE stew”. Teal’c stood silent sentinel on the perimeter
of the camp.
stew was ….. interesting. Not
really much better than a stand alone MRE but not worse either.
was watching the interaction between the members of SG1. They had everything down to a very comfortable
some stage, Sam and Daniel’s conversation had shifted to wormhole
physics and I'd understood less than one word in ten.
I stood and went looking for Colonel O’Neill, intending
to get a feel for how he saw the next few days panning out.
Instead, I'd found myself lurking unseen behind a tree,
watching as O’Neill tried to show Teal’c how to do a slap shot
using a tree branch as a hockey stick and a big flat rock as a
two of them looked like they were having a lot of fun. O’Neill’s face was animated and he flung his
hands around a lot as he instructed Teal’c.
Teal’c was a study in concentration but when he finally
connected with a rock and sent it skimming about 100 feet into
the darkness he turned to O’Neill with the first real smile I
have ever seen on his face and said, “I believe I’ve found the
sweet spot now, O’Neill.”
chuckled out loud and patted the big man on the shoulder. “Oh yeah,” he said.
mission was to be one of epiphanies for me and just then the first
hit me. O’Neill and Teal’c were friends. Not just team mates, not just colleagues thrown
together by fate, not even just warriors with a common cause but
actual hang-out-in-front-of-the-tv, discuss-their-personal-lives
friends. I wonder how many people Teal’c has been able
to call friend in his long, eventful lifetime.
Jack should……………. No! Dammit. I won’t even write that possibility, won’t think
it. He’ll be fine.
I’ll go check on him.
Jack should die? Is that
what you were going to write, Janet?
If after all the goddamned torture and the nightmare trip
back to the Gate, he should just decide it’s too damned hard to
fight and just give up?
what you’re not writing, not thinking about?
Well, half your luck because it’s all I think about every
second of every fucking day.
for this journal, what do you want to hear?
That it’s all my fault?
That I'm responsible for putting Jack in that infirmary?
That I'm responsible for him hovering on the edge of death? That I should never have gotten us into the
situation? That I should
have found a way to stop it? Ok. I admit it.
Am I cured now? Hallelujah
– it’s a goddamned miracle.
2 of 13 – see Part 0 for warnings etc.
none of this was your fault. Whatever
happens you need to believe that.
dear Daniel, Sam’s right you know.
This wasn’t your fault.
were tortured every bit as much as the Colonel was and you’ve
got it worse now because we’re all focused on him instead of you.
friendship with Jack didn’t hit me as an epiphany, like Jack’s
with Teal’c. You were friends
with Jack O’Neill long before I came on base.
Your friendship with him has been one of the few constants
in the ever-shifting world that is the SGC.
That’s not to say it isn’t still a source of constant wonder
to me. That two men so very, very different should
have become so close.
no doubt think that both having lost family tragically; having
lived through the first trip through the StarGate together has
formed the basis of your friendship. But shared loss is no basis for a lasting friendship.
What you two have is something much more remarkable.
Underneath the two very different surfaces, I think you
are two souls that speak to each other.
That sounds kind of corny and I won’t write any more about
it, but hold onto it in the days and weeks ahead, Daniel, as you
and Jack heal together.
I can’t stand sitting and staring at the terrible, still form
in the infirmary bed any more.
I can’t stand listening to every beep of the heart monitor,
watching every spike on the EEG, hoping for some sign of consciousness,
some sign the Colonel is still in there, still fighting.
Besides MacKenzie’s been on my back.
I’ll give this journal thing a try.
second and third days on the planet passed peacefully enough. Even once we’d established that the Errinians
were perfectly friendly and willing to discuss terms with us,
the Colonel insisted on escorting the doctor each day to her meeting
with Farm Owner Menscher, the lead farmer of the Errinian, a courtly
old gentleman with exquisite manners and a ready smile.
God forbid we should ever accuse the Colonel of being protective,
even if the man is like a mother hen.
went along too, to negotiate terms and learn more about the Errinians. Teal’c and I roamed the area round our campsite
colleting as much data as we could on the planet. It was nice.
Long, pleasant, warm days.
Just the kind of routine mission that drives the Colonel
fell apart on our fourth day.
I had last watch but well before dawn Janet had joined
me. She said she was still so thrilled with being
on another planet that she couldn’t sleep. And Errinious had a
magnificent sunrise, the sky filled with all shades of lilac,
blue and green, the light diffraction through the atmosphere slightly
different to that on Earth.
Teal’c was awake and the Colonel, always an early riser, had put
on the coffee. Only Daniel
Colonel had a wicked gleam in his eye and I wondered what poor
Daniel was in for.
I saw the Colonel head to the stream with a bucket I realized
ruefully that he had settled
for an old, tried but true method.
Holding the bucket, he approached poor Daniel.
and shine, Danny,” he said. I’ll
give him that much, he always gives Daniel a chance to get up
on his own. But then again, since he knows how Daniel will
respond it’s probably no concession.
away,” muttered Daniel.
now raised the bucket above the sleepy archeologist.
he wouldn’t!” Janet whispered
next to me.
yes he would,” I replied.
“Frequently,” Teal’c added.
Jackson, as an anthropologist-type person, you would probably
know how the Indiba tribe on P4T-616 teach young warriors not
to sleep on the job, wouldn’t you?”
Jack asked matter-of-factly.
began to tilt the bucket of icy water.
Daniel obviously did know the Indiba method for he started
to scramble up. “What?
No, Jack. You….” The
rest was lost in the deluge that landed on his head and ran into
his mouth, leaving Daniel gasping and spitting and looking a lot
like a recently landed fish.
he could finally speak, Daniel was furious.
“Dammit Jack, why can’t you act your age and wake me up
like a normal person?”
normal people don’t have the reflexes of a three toed sloth, Danny-boy. Besides, I did call you once.”
I hope you got your thrills, Jack.”
like I said, it’s a survival skill.
What if I’d been a Jaffa?”
I sincerely doubt a Jaffa would sneak
up and pour a bucket of water on my head.
That sort of schoolboy humor is reserved strictly for air
force Colonels who have never grown up.”
And with that Daniel crawled into his tent signaling the
conversation was over.
the Colonel shrugged and strolled over to the fire and poured
a cup of coffee for himself and one for Daniel.
was staring at him as if he had grown another head. Teal’c had that tolerant look he gets when
the Colonel’s at his worst – kind of like, your conduct is unbecoming
a warrior but it would be undignified of me even to mention it.
long Daniel was out of his tent and drawn to the coffee in Jack’s
hand like a bee to honey.
he said, taking it and inhaling the rich aroma before swallowing
about half the mug in one go.
problem,” the Colonel replied nonchalantly.
It was as if the dunking incident had never happened.
do you know about the Indiba anyway?”
read SG9’s report,” the Colonel said, poking his tongue out at
Daniel’s incredulous stare. Like
I said, a normal morning for SG1.
Boys will be boys.
was just before Janet, Daniel and the Colonel were due to set
off for another meeting with Farm Owner Menscher that things started
to go wrong.
heard it first and tensed, grabbing his staff weapon. I turned to ask him what was wrong but by then
I’d heard it too.
“Sir?” I began, but the Colonel overrode me.
cover everyone, quick.”
Damn! Severe flashback then. I could hear it all over again – our desperate
scramble into the tree cover, the silent wait, hoping they wouldn’t
notice our campsite, the Colonel’s curse when they did, turning
to fly over it twice.
laid perfectly still until the death glider left, presumably to
return to whatever Goa’uld mothership had chosen this time and
place to set down.
all the damned, bad, rotten, stinking, stupid … typical SG1 luck.
we waited till the death glider disappeared.
we ran and ran and ran and made it safely back to the Gate – tired
but happy and we all lived happily ever after.
do not understand this Tauri custom of recording thoughts and
feelings. But Dr MacKenzie and Dr Fraiser say it will
help SG1, so for that reason I will try.
do understand Major Carter’s wish that things had not occurred
in the way that they did. And
yet, look over the events of the last week as I may, I cannot
find a place where we could have done anything differently.
From the time that the death glider appeared until O'Neill
collapsed in front of the Stargate, we did the best and only tings
that we could.
are right Doctor Fraiser, when you say O’Neill is my friend. But he is also much more than that.
I have joined the Tauri, I find I can enter Kel-no-reem without
fear of the visions awaiting me there.
I no longer have a constant bellyache from the things I
have had to do that day.
four years as my commanding officer, O’Neill has never asked me
to do anything that has bothered my conscience.
He saved my soul. I
am grateful for his friendship but for giving me back my soul,
for helping me begin to redeem myself, for my salvation, he has
my undying loyalty and gratitude. To meditate without waking in a cold sweat,
to feel entitled to smile and enjoy life, I wonder if he knows
what a gift that is.
a smell or a sound or a place trigger recollections for him and
I see the horror and disgust on his face.
Like me, he has little liking for some of the things done
by his younger self.
is restless now. Dr Fraiser
says he as a fever. She
says it is to be expected but there is fear in her eyes.
were right Teal’c that I was more worried than I let on. With the Colonel’s wounds untreated as they
were for far too long, infection was almost guaranteed.
Colonel’s temperature spiked rapidly and he got very restless
and aggressive. Restraints
were out of the question. Jack
was never actually truly conscious but the thought of him waking
up to find himself tied down was unthinkable.
Teal’c and I sat with him, keeping him still, cooling his
face, talking to him. Eventually, Sam and Daniel found their way to
his side, as they always do and took his hands in theirs.
was a long, long, night but the fever finally broke an hour or
two ago. I’ve sent the rest of SG1 off to bed. Disturbingly, they went without speaking or
looking at each other, all eyes down despondent. I’ll go myself just as soon as I’m happy the
Colonel’s temperature won’t soar again.
guess I can write some more about what happened on the planet.
was musing as we breakfasted on that fourth day that Daniel was
a better man than me. No
way, if I’d had a bucket of icy cold water poured on my head,
would I be ready to forgive and forget ten minutes later.
and Teal’c, however, were acting like this was something that
happened fairly frequently. So
I bit my tongue and prepared to label it in my head as a “boy
thing” or actually a “Jack thing” and joined with the rest of
them in pretending it hadn’t happened.
fact, the only person not ignoring the whole thing was Jack, who
was insufferably pleased with himself.
was no sense of impending danger, no weird vibe, nothing to suggest
things were about to go so badly wrong.
didn’t even notice Teal’c or Sam tense up.
One minute I was reaching for my pack, the next Jack was
telling us all to get into cover.
I didn’t move fast enough he put a hand on my back and shoved
me in the right direction.
when I was lying on my belly behind a small ridge where the clearing
ended and the forest began did I understand why we were hiding.
death glider. Which meant
Jaffa. Which meant
the glider spotted our camp, Jack swore savagely. When it finally disappeared from view he said,
“Our one chance is to try and beat them to the Gate.
If they don’t have a heavy force there we might be able
to get through. Stay in the cover of the trees and move quietly.
Teal’c, watch our six.”
then we were off. My heart was pounding so hard I could barely
hear anything around me. I
found myself starting at every sound, breath rasping out in short
me SG1 were calmly professional.
Daniel eased up next to me and put a hand on my shoulder. “Relax,” he whispered, “Jack’s very, very good
at his job.”
smiled - well, it probably looked more like I was baring my teeth
at him - grateful for his thoughtful gesture more than the words.
took us about five hours to get to the Gate.
God, Sam, I wish things had turned out like you said. We ran for the Gate. We made it home safe and
sound. But we didn’t. Instead, the Gate was being guarded by a couple
of units of heavily armed, highly alert Jaffa. Once again, Jack demonstrated his mastery of
creative cursing before we melted back into the bush.
stop there. It’s awfully
close to bed time and I've already got enough nightmares without
reliving the events through this journal as my final thought for
3 of 13 – see Part 0 for warnings etc.
broken fingers, a broken wrist, a dislocated shoulder, two cracked
ribs and a fractured cheekbone.
A stab wound to the upper right shoulder, a cut that needed
15 stitches from scalp line to left eyebrow.
A moderate concussion. Severe lacerations to both wrists. And whatever the hell it is that the pain stick
does to you apart from leaving you in quivering agony.
been Jack O’Neill’s second in command for four years now. In terms of soldiering, he’s taught me everything
came to him as green as could be.
I cringe when I remember how cocky I was, my arrogant words
at our first meeting - “I
clocked over 100 hours in enemy air space.”
What I didn’t know then was that while I was
flying overhead the Colonel was getting up close and personal
with the enemy in the worst possible way and if there’s anything
I’ve learnt over the past 4 years it’s that meeting the enemy
head on, on their territory, takes a very special kind of courage.
Colonel has it in spades. So
does Teal’c. Together they’ve
taught Daniel and me.
we saw that the Gate had been surrounded, the Colonel gave the
signal to retreat and we pulled back into the bush.
safely out of earshot of the Jaffa, we gathered
together for a hasty conference.
“Way I see it, our only option is to hide out in the forest
somewhere and hope they lose interest,” Jack said.
would they?” Daniel asked.
why not? I mean, they’ve
no reason to know who that campsite belonged to, do they?
Presumably they’ll do whatever dark side stuff they’ve
come here to do and then book it back to the mothership.
do not think we can sit and wait O’Neill.
A Goa’uld would not normally bring a Ha’tak to a planet
unless he had an intention of remaining for some time,” Teal’c
we’ll wait until we’re overdue and Hammond sends a MALP
to check on us. Use the
distraction to take out the Goa’uld at the Gate.”
that’s four days away,” I
do not believe we can avoid the Goa’uld for so long,” Teal’c intoned. “They are aware someone is present.”
what about Farm Owner Menscher and his people?
They have no way of defending themselves against a Goa’uld
and they have been very kind to us,”
Janet put her two cents worth in.
know that Doc, but we’re a little outnumbered here.”
if Janet’s berry really does hold the key to curing cancer and
who knows what other medical advances we have a duty to try and
get some samples home. If the Goa’uld are setting up here we mightn’t
get another chance.”
frustrated, the Colonel turned from constantly searching the forest
with his eyes to focus on Daniel.
“Daniel, you were looking at the same Stargate as me, weren't
you? The one surrounded by great honking squads of
spoke. “Sir, Daniel’s right. If some Goa’uld is about to set up camp here,
this might be our only chance to get some of those berries home. They’ve seen our campsite. They’re not just going to sit around and wait
saw the mulish look come over the Colonel’s face. He’s never been one to need or respect subordinates
who kowtow to his every whim, but all the same he hates it when
we all tell him he has to do something he really doesn’t want
to do. And he especially hates situations that put
his team in danger.
remember getting up one morning on one of our first missions and
trying to sneak off to take care of business.
It can really suck being the only female on the team sometimes. Anyway, I was a couple of hundred yards from
our campsite when I was grabbed from behind.
Someone had a tight grip around my waist and one hand over
kicked out and wriggled, struggling in vain to get free and only
realized it was my CO when he hissed in my ear, “Where the hell
do you think you’re going?”
was already convinced he had a chip on his shoulder about me being
female and I was furious that I hadn’t even heard him come up
behind me, so my response wasn’t exactly out of the air force
training manual. “With all due respect, sir,” I said in a tone
indicating clearly that that meant none, “it’s none of your damn
let go of my waist and spun me around and I saw for the first
time that he was furious. “Everything
that happens to this team is my business, Captain.
You want to leave he campsite, you tell the person on watch. Every single time. Is that clear?”
only ever pulled the full military colonel mode on me a few times
over the years and this was the first.
It’s terrifying enough when you watch it from the outside
– it’s thoroughly and completely intimidating when you’re the
sir,” I said, looking him in the eye to let him know I meant it.
held my eye for a long moment, before finally relaxing, obviously
satisfied with what he saw. With
a sharp nod he released me from attention, then, irrepressibly
O’Neill again, said, “Watch out for poison ivy, Carter.
You wouldn’t want Teal’c to have to rub you down with chamomile
know this journal isn’t meant to be about reminiscing, that we’re
supposed to talk about what happened on the planet, but it’s hard.
on shift and the Colonel’s temperature is still down. A good sign at last.
sitting with him, a study in dejection.
I feel like I should do more for him but he’s taken to
disappearing whenever anyone else is around.
There’s only one person who can help shift him out of the
guilt and anger he’s wallowing in anyway.
Hurry up and wake up, Jack.
see Sam’s written some more. I
remember that morning well. There
we were in the forest cut off from the Gate by a squad or more
of Jaffa, the Goa’uld alerted to our presence and Daniel, Sam
and I arguing that we really, really needed to get some Chaar berries back to Earth and
suddenly I was struck by a second epiphany.
took his cap off and scrubbed his gloved hand through his short
grey hair. He chewed on his lower lip as he stared into
the distance, obviously sorting through our limited options.
I suddenly realized, this man had the weight of the world on his
intellectually, I’ve always known Jack has a high stress job. Travelling to other planets, tripping across
all kinds of surprises, often of the not very good for your health
variety, engaged in active duty.
Commander of the elite SG1 and second in command of the
SGC. I treat him (as far
as he will let me) for all the expected symptoms – headache, sleeplessness,
bellyaches, flashbacks, occasional mood swings.
standing in that forest watching as he decided what our next move
would be – how to get the team and a possibly revolutionary cure
back home, how to protect our colleagues back on Earth, I realized
that this man made decisions every day that affected whole planets.
Whatever Sam, Daniel and Teal’c ultimately advised or argued
for, Jack made the final decision.
I knew them all well enough to realize they would abide
by that decision, whatever it was.
I knew Jack well enough to realize he would never forgive himself
if he got it wrong.
crushing responsibility. An
awesome power in the wrong hands.
A terrible burden to place on one man.
Jack gets over his injuries I’m going to start reading between
the lines in mission reports.
“We decided to make a run for the Gate,” sounds so innocuous
when all the members of SG1 are alive and healthy in front of
you. If this mission has
taught me anything, it’s that no decision made by a commander
of an SG unit is ever innocuous.
decided to make a run for the Gate.
with a stack of Chaar berries.
It wasn’t that simple of course.
First we needed to get some Chaar berries.
And there was that pesky squad of Jaffa to consider.
Sam and Teal’c planned for ages.
it was decided that Sam, Daniel and I would wait near the Gate
while Jack and Teal’c headed over to Farm Owner Menscher’s and
retrieved some berries. While Jack and Teal’c were gone, we would set
some traps for the Jaffa. Then we would try to lead them into the forest
and hopefully, into our lethal traps.
While confusion reigned, Daniel would dial. The others would cover him. Then it would be home for all of us.
the second I had heard the death glider approach I had known we
were in a life and death situation.
O’Neill knew it too. We
had had to make the run for the Gate – it would have been foolhardy
not to, but even with his brand of blind optimism O’Neill hadn’t
really expected to find it unguarded.
we found ourselves trapped on an alien planet, cut off from our
only escape route by an enemy more numerous than us, who knew
we were out there. It is almost impossible to imagine a worse tactical
outgunned, cut off and without the element of surprise.
do the Tauri do? Daniel
Jackson, Samantha Carter and Doctor Fraiser argue for us to get
their miracle cure home to the people of Earth.
None of them gave a thought to their own safety and they
were all experienced enough to recognize the situation for what
self sacrifice is a gift. It
is what will allow the Tauri to prevail over the Goa’uld. The Goa’uld will never have an answer for such
people. They are humanity’s
Jackson, I wish you were not suffering as you are now. But I also know that your compassion, your empathy
make you what you are, is your strength even as it is your weakness.
know you will not forgive yourself until O'Neill himself wakes
up and tells you it was not your fault, but, in the meantime,
O’Neill listened to you and Janet Fraiser and Samantha Carter
and agreed with your plan because, if it worked, it offered the
best possible outcome. And also because, in reality, no plan was going
to make any difference. Our
capture or deaths was only a matter of time.
Our campsite had been seen.
Our run to the Gate would be tracked.
Our supplies were limited.
O’Neill knew all of that.
know, because I saw it in his eyes.
Even if I hadn’t, I would still know it.
O’Neill may like to play the fool but he is a consummate
tactician. He would never delude himself about the situation.
we headed to Farm Owner Menscher’s, O’Neill was already preparing
himself for a worst case scenario.
If you had not alerted the Jaffa, something else
way, perhaps the natives of Errinious will remember your actions
and learn about courage and self sacrifice.
Perhaps one day they will be able to rise and throw off
I joined the SCG, I had only ever fired a gun on a rifle range
as part of my air force training.
Then came Hathor. All
the women of the base carried weapons that day.
And fired them. When
I shot at Hathor and her Jaffa I was trying
to save the SGC and I shot to kill.
Luckily, in the end I did not have to kill anyone.
he headed off, Colonel O'Neill handed me his sidearm.
guess it’s kind of cowardly, I respect Jack O’Neill and all the
SGC teams and I know the Goa’uld would wipe us from the planet
if we didn’t fight them with everything we have, but I don’t want
to kill with my own hands. I have spent my whole life a healer, I don’t
know if I could go on if the same hands I use to heal had also
taken a life.
can I condone what the SGC teams do and yet not be prepared to
do it myself? Hypocritical?
we’ve established that I’m a coward and a hypocrite. What a breakthrough. This journal is doing wonders for my self esteem.
what I was going to say was that when Jack O’Neill unholstered
his sidearm and handed it to me, I was suddenly struck with the
reality of our situation for the first time.
you give me too much credit when you say I argued for getting
home with the Chaar berries without regard for my own life.
The fact is it had not occurred to me that we wouldn’t
make it home. After all,
it’s an unwritten rule that SG1 always make it home.
always with a spring in their step and a song on their lips, but
in the matter of fact way Jack handed me his gun, without quite
meeting my eyes made me realize he didn’t share my blind optimism
been scared before when we were running through the woods, but
now I was suddenly and coldly terrified.
the time I shook myself free of the paralysis that had grabbed
me, Teal’c and Jack had disappeared.
set up some claymores and left a few other nasty surprises in
the area and then we settled down to wait.
I’ve read in books by soldiers how soldiering consists
of 99% boredom and 1% sheer unadulterated terror.
Now I’ve experienced it.
You wouldn’t think hiding in the forest from a squad of
Jaffa, who would be just as happy to kill you as to look at you,
that you would notice your eye getting itchy or your sock scrunched
up in your boot annoying hell out of you so your toes try and
straighten it about 20 times a minute, but you do. Then, suddenly, there was a rustling off to
our left, from exactly the opposite direction Jack and Teal’c
had headed and I instantly forgot all about my itchy eye and scrunched
up sock as my heart tried to pound its way out of my chest.
gestured urgently and we all shrank further back into the bushes. And just in time too. Six more Jaffa headed into
the clearing around the Stargate leading two young women – Farm
Owner Menscher’s daughters. Then
came Farm Owner Menscher himself, held tight between two more
Jaffa. Then maybe 20 or so villagers, trailing along
behind. And bringing up
the rear, a figure with glowing eyes and yet four more Jaffa. This was the first time I had ever seen a Goa’uld
in the flesh except for Hathor, who was dangerous but in an entirely
different way. The creature
me, Daniel virtually spat. “Heru’ur!”
had heard the name of course, read about him in SG1’s reports. This is the Goa’uld who had tried to kill the
Harsesis child on Abydos, who had attacked
the innocents on Cimmeria. He
was an imposing figure. Tall,
regal with a haughty countenance.
Dressed like an Egyptian pharaoh displaying his vanity
in a thin line of facial hair running either side of his mouth.
procession moved about 20 meters down the track to the center
of the clearing where the DHD stood.
There, at the Goa’uld’s order, they halted.
Goa’uld raised his voice and proclaimed, “Tauri, I know you are
out there. Give yourselves up or these slaves will be killed.”
The woods fell silent.
and I cast matching beseeching looks at Sam, who shook her head,
but she looked uncertain and her hands shifted on her weapon.
reliving this is so hard. Daniel
is calling me. Gotta go.
rough night for Jack. His
temperature spiked again and he was restless and obviously in
pain. He made these kind of whimpering noises. God, it was awful to listen to. Janet says he’s too deeply unconscious to be
aware of any pain but it sure didn’t sound that way to me.
finally picked up this journal and read what everyone has been
writing to distract myself from Jack’s suffering.
seems to be sleeping a little easier now and I guess it’s my turn
to record what happened. Everyone
keeps saying that this wasn’t my fault and I appreciate the gesture,
even though it’s not true.
this wasn’t the first time I’ve screwed up a mission and almost
gotten everyone killed. It’s
pretty obvious how the story goes, I’m sure.
Poor, stupid Daniel stands up heroically to save Farm Owner
Menscher and his daughters. And instead, gets caught and brings the whole
team down with him.
hum. Like that’s a new
thing is, I recognized Heru’ur the second he stepped into the
clearing. All Goa’uld are bad, but he’s particularly ruthless.
So when the staff weapons charged, I couldn’t stand it
foolish thing is that I thought I was saving their lives.
to cut the hyperbole – I stood up and surrendered, Sam and Janet
were captured in short order and with Heru’ur’s Jaffa pointing
staff weapons at our heads, Jack and Teal’c were captured not
long after that.
was livid, although he limited himself to one coldly furious glare
in my direction. He is
far too professional a soldier to ever let Heru’ur see any sign
of dissension in the team. He didn’t need to punish me though – the discharge
of the staff weapons and the stench of smoking flesh as the Jaffa killed Farm
Owner Menscher and his daughters drove home the lesson quite nicely,
thank you very much.
a lot like Shyla on ‘636 doesn’t it?
Daniel risks everything to save the princess only to find
it’s his friends who suffer. That
time everything finally worked out ok – I only nearly got my team
killed working in a goddamned naquadah mine.
time I might have managed to finish the job.
damn this to fucking hell anyway.
Daniel Jackson (continued)
OK. Throwing the pen across the infirmary didn’t
help and sitting here staring at Jack is driving me crazy. He is quieter now, but still desperately pale
and shockingly still – as he only ever is when he’s very ill.
‘636 I spent ages thinking Jack was pissed off at me for getting
addicted to the sarcophagus. And
I was ready to accept his anger because I had nightmares of seeing
him exhausted and on his knees in chains before me, or of me pointing
a gun at his head, and I told myself (and I still think it’s true)
that Jack would never have gotten himself into that situation
– that I was a liability to the team.
I figured it was my weakness that had pissed him off.
he’s angry, Jack’s even more controlled than usual, you’d have
more luck trying to pry open the jaws of a giant clam with a toothpick
than getting Jack to talk when he’s like that.
I hadn’t turned up at his house one night when he’d been up close
and personal with his buddy Jack Daniels, I might never have learned
that he didn’t really blame me for getting addicted to the sarcophagus.
What he was really pissed about was my rescue of the princess
in the first place.
got into a huge fight. See,
while I felt guilty as hell for not being able to rescue my friends,
there was no question in my mind but that I had to try to save
Shyla. I couldn’t believe
Jack expected me to sit back and watch her die.
yelled and screamed and generally acted like idiots until he told
me he had no place on his team for bleeding heart liberals and
I told him fine, I didn’t want to be part of a team led by a cold
got really still then and for a second I thought he would hit
think maybe he thought so too, because he told me in a very quiet
voice that it might be best if I left.
of the time Jack is this comforting presence in my life. I like having him around. He’s like a pesky older brother, dragging me
over for hockey games, peering over my shoulder, fiddling with
my stuff, forcing me to rest and always, always looking out for
my welfare. But just occasionally I am uncomfortably reminded
that Jack is Special Forces trained and very, very dangerous.
was one of those occasions.
avoided each other for a couple of days, making SG1 uncomfortable
as hell until he finally called me to his office.
in itself was unusual. Jack
pretty much avoids his office and if he wants me he usually wanders
down to mine.
time he sent an airman for me.
Jack-speak for serious stuff.
I got to his office he said, “Daniel, I want to apologize for
the other night. I was
out of line.” When I opened my mouth to speak he held up his
hand. “Let me finish, please.”
was the please that shook me.
Jack almost never says please.
scrubbed a hand through his hair – a sure sign of Jack in thinking
mode, then spoke very carefully.
“I know that you are not a soldier, Daniel, and I value
that. I really do.
Your perspective is essential to what the Stargate program
is all about and believe it or not it is important to me.”
mouth must have dropped open at that stage because Jack allowed
himself a little grin, before becoming serious again.
may not be a soldier, Daniel, but we are at war. I’ll try to protect you and bring you home,
that’s my job, but I can’t make everything rosy. People die in wars you know, not just soldiers,
civilians too. Kids, innocents.
I don’t like it, Danny, any more than you do, but I accept
it. You need to be able
to accept it too or else you should get out.”
time I did speak. “Jack,
what do you want from me? I’ll
fight the Goa’uld, ok, but I can’t stand back and let innocent
people die, not if I have a chance to save them.”
not asking you to Daniel, but the critical thing here is IF you
can save them. We, you,
can’t save them all. I won’t let you throw your life away. I won’t let you throw away the life of anyone
on my team.
I’ve been doing some thinking over the last few days. Maybe the Shyla thing could have gone down better.
Maybe we could have hauled her off the cliff and still
gotten away. Hell, I don’t
know. All I know is it
was just one SNAFU after another.
we can save people, we will, Daniel, but what I’m saying here
is that there will come a time when innocent lives are going to
be lost because you are NOT in a position to save them.
A day may come where you have to stand back and watch while
people die. I wish I could promise you it wouldn’t. But I can’t do that. And if that day comes, Danny, I need to know
you can handle it.”
was a Jack I had rarely seen. Compassionate.
Insightful. Conciliatory. And very, very serious. He was dealing with harsh but possible realities.
After our extreme words of earlier in the week, it seemed
like he was offering a position we could agree upon; that he'd
found enough common ground to allow SG1 to go on. And I never have been able to refuse Jack when
he gets all reasonable on me – it happens rarely enough.
was so relieved, I quickly replied, “It’s ok, Jack. I know that I can’t save the world. I don’t like it but I can live with it.”
flip those words seem to me now, two years after ‘636 and I’ve
done exactly the same thing again.
this time I didn’t manage to somehow muddle through. This time I got my team captured by a Goa’uld
and Farm Owner Menscher and his daughters still ended up dead.
understand now what you wanted from me that day, Jack – you wanted
me to put the team and the Earth first, even ahead of the lives
of innocents. I told you I would, I could.
everything we’ve been through, even knowing you might…
now, I’m not sure I could have stayed hidden while Heru’ur methodically
just wish I’d told you that two years ago.
You could have kicked me off the team and then this whole
nightmare wouldn’t have happened.
fast asleep in the chair beside Jack’s bed.
Even in sleep he hasn’t let go his grip on Jack’s hand.
am amazed once again at these unlikely of friends. I think Teal’c is right, Daniel, and we would
have been captured regardless of anything you did. There was no way we could have hidden from all
those Jaffa for four days
until General Hammond started looking for us.
also think you are wrong. Jack
O’Neill can be a scary guy, but he’s changed a lot these last
few years. No one ever probably told you this but when
we thought we’d lost you on Nem’s planet, the Colonel described
you in his “eulogy” as the team’s conscience.
You acted the right way Daniel.
the one who screwed up. I
should have made the decision not left it up to you.
If the Colonel had been there he would have held you down
and lived with the consequences of your anger.
froze on Errinious, Daniel. When
Heru’ur made his demand I didn’t know what to do.
Part of me knew I should order you to stay put. The other part of me was horrified at the thought
of giving that order. I
was still trying to decide what the hell to do when you stood
up. Some air force officer, huh?
you did was be true to yourself.
We all wish this last mission hadn’t happened, Daniel,
but none of us would want to be in SG1 without you and none of
us, least of all the Colonel, would want you to be other than
true to yourself. While
I hesitated, you acted. You
want to apologize to the Colonel?
Stand in line. I’m
his second in command and once again I failed to do a goddamned
4 of 13 – see Part 0 for warnings etc.
and I collected the Chaar berries and headed back to the rendezvous
point, arriving just in time to witness Daniel Jackson’s attempt
to save the farmers. Heru’ur
gathered Major Carter, Doctor Fraiser and Daniel Jackson together
and called for our surrender.
Daniel Jackson, neither O’Neill nor I doubted for a second that
he would kill our friends. O’Neill
looked around desperately, trying to come up with some plan of
action. It did not take him long to reach the conclusion
that we had no options. O’Neill
cursed, “I’ll kill him. I
swear to God, Teal’c, no one could blame me.
I’ll kill him.” Then
he jammed his cap down hard on his head and sighed.
“Oh, who the hell am I kidding?
Let’s get this over with.”
stood up, hands in the air and waited while Heru’ur’s Jaffa came to secure
us. We stood in that clearing
as the Jaffa mowed down Farm Owner Menscher
and his daughters. Daniel
Jackson’s horror made even O’Neill flinch.
We watched as Daniel Jackson desperately tried to go to
the farmers’ aid but was easily held.
In the awful silence after the slaughter, O’Neill and I
were dragged past the smoking corpses to face Heru’ur.
wasn’t until we were all lined up in front of him that Heru’ur
seemed to realize who it was that he had captured.
Perhaps all Tauri look the same to him.
a look of cruel delight came over his face.
“Shol’va,” he said, then turned to Daniel Jackson, “and
the one who took the Harsesis.”
he stepped over to where O’Neill was being held by two Jaffa. “We would know your name,” he said.
Jack O’Neill,” O’Neill replied, “and you are?”
this will remind you,” Heru’ur said, drawing an object from the
belt at his waist.
closed my eyes, suddenly aware that this was going to be even
worse than I had imagined. In
Heru’ur’s hand was an air force issue bowie knife, last seen by
us on Abydos, impaling Heru’ur’s
hand. In yet another example
of quick tactical thinking, O’Neill had thrown it at the system
lord when he and Major Carter had stepped through the Gate and
into the middle of the squabble for the Harsesis child.
The knife had penetrated the Goa’uld’s personal shield
and speared Heru’ur’s hand, preventing him from using the hand
device and ultimately forcing his retreat from Abydos.
look on Heru’ur’s face as he drew the knife, the very fact that
he kept it on him, was frightening.
The Goa’uld are not known for their ability to forgive
O’Neill was cognizant of approaching mortality, however, his face
did not show it. “Oh yeah,”
he said, “you’re the guy with the poorly designed personal force
shield. How’s that working
out for you, by the way?”
let out a wordless bellow of rage and raised his arm, the hand
device already beginning to glow.
I relaxed and then surged forward, determined to go down
with my commander, but a third Jaffa leapt in and assisted the
two already holding me and I could not break free.
One either side, I could see Doctor Fraiser, Daniel Jackson
and Samantha Carter making similarly futile efforts.
Goa’uld directed the hand device at O’Neill and the Colonel flung
his head back in agony, before his features assumed the blank
look characteristic of those whose brains are being attacked by
on SG1 has been a victim of these devices at one time or another. The agony is unbelievable. It feels as if someone has gotten inside your
head and is pounding directly at your brain with their fists.
kept up the device until I was sure O’Neill must be dead. He didn't stop until blood ran from O'Neill's
nose over his mouth and down his chin.
When he finally lowered his hand O’Neill collapsed limply
between the two Jaffa supporting him.
he live?” Heru’ur asked
the question on all of our minds.
held my breath while one of the Jaffa roughly jerked
up O’Neill’s head and felt for a pulse at his throat.
does, my lord.”
heard sighs of relief from both sides of me and I shared the relief,
even though I knew it was not over yet.
as O’Neill would say, by a long shot.
agony of the hand device. I
remember it well. Hathor
held it on me when I went back to try to find the Colonel after
she had implanted him with a Goa’uld. Luckily, the memory that
goes with that – that of the Colonel’s defeat of Hathor and the
unbelievable relief of him being Goa’uld free – is more than happy
enough to outweigh memories of my brain being pummeled from the
Colonel is still lying here in front of me, absolutely still. Janet’s machines are doing their mysterious
work and every 15 minutes or so a nurse comes in, fusses around,
makes a notation or two on the Colonel’s chart and then leaves. The Colonel’s hand in mine is limp and unresponsive.
It’d be nice if you could wake up about now, Colonel, and
give me an equally happy memory to balance all the bad ones floating
in my brain at the moment.
haven’t slept through the night since we got back from Errinious,
11 days now. I keep having
nightmares about our capture, about my helplessness, about what
they did to you.
some of my nightmares you are screaming at me, telling me this
is all my fault, telling me in excruciating detail every single
thing I did wrong on this most disastrous of missions.
And it is a long, long list.
I don’t mind, because you see, those are the good nightmares. At least in those you are alive.
Cassie. I can’t remember
the last time we had dinner and a night at home together.
It must have been the night before this disastrous mission
started. She understands of course, Jack’s like a father
to her, but it’s still not fair.
just that, whenever I get up the nerve to leave the mountain,
I get this lump of fear that starts in my gut, grows and swells
and by the time I’m out of the elevator and heading to my car
it’s lodged in my throat and I can’t breathe properly.
Every single time, I’m struck with the absolute certainty
that if I leave the base Jack will die while I’m gone.
It’s crazy superstition, I know, and I tell myself that,
tell myself that Joe Warner is a perfectly competent doctor, perhaps
better than me in this instance where I am so deeply and personally
logic, however, doesn’t make the lump go away and as I unlock
the door to my car my hands start to sweat and dread manifests
itself in the form of a pounding headache.
I give up then and rush back down to the infirmary. Other times I force myself to start the car
and drive off the base and twice now I’ve actually made it all
the way home before the terror wins out and I find myself dashing
back to the Colonel’s bedside, relaxing only when my hand rests
on his arm, when I see the reassuring rise and fall of his chest
as he draws in life-giving oxygen.
Jack. You've gotten this
far. Wake up. Please.
Goa’uld, Heru'ur, had us taken to his Ha'tak vessel. It was a four hour walk through forested woods,
a lot like eastern California, lots of big tall trees but far
enough apart that the slightly greenish light of the planet soaked
through. We traipsed along in fearful silence and the
whole time, Jack, slung over the back of one of the Jaffa, never
the end of four hours we emerged into a clearing to the surreal
sight of Heru’ur’s pyramid shaped Ha'tak vessel towering out of
the trees, the technology out of place and full of menace.
We were led deep into the ship, to what appeared to be
a cargo bay and left alone. I
hurried over to check on Jack who remained unresponsive, still
deeply unconscious. I made him as comfortable as possible in the
circumstances (Heru'ur's guards had taken all our gear, including
my medical kit) and then sat back to watch as Sam and Teal’c prowled
the room, looking for a way out.
took a long time before they conceded the obvious – the room was
a square box roughly 30 feet by 30 feet and although it was golden
and covered in hieroglyphs it was still undeniably a prison –
there was no way out. Finally, they came and slumped next to Daniel
and I on the floor.
one said very much, there didn’t seem much to say.
was starting to feel extremely anxious about Jack and heaved a
great sigh of relief when, some six and a half hours after Heru’ur’s
attack, a low groan signaled his return to consciousness.
put a hand on his shoulder to prevent him from rising, but, typically,
he ignored me and pulled himself into a sitting position.
he groaned, with his hands clasped to his head as if they alone
were holding it together, “what hit me?”
high energy beam of agitated, ionized particles,” said Teal’c
all turned to stare at him and even Jack lifted his hands enough
to glare out from under them.
….. a hand device, sir,” said Carter.
“Do you remember, Heru’ur….”
yeah,” Jack cut her off. “It’s
all coming back now. Where
his Ha'tak, about 15 miles from the Gate.
He brought us roughly due west.”
had drawn his knees up and rested his elbows on them, his head
buried in his hands. His
voice was muffled when he said, “How long was I out?”
time I answered. “About
six and a half hours. How
do you feel?”
lifted his head finally, squinting against the light. “About the same as I did the morning after we
won the All American Junior Hockey tournament and the All American
Cheerleaders took us out to celebrate.
Is everyone okay?”
were affirmatives all around, except Daniel, who I suddenly realized
hadn’t spoken a word since we were captured.
Even suffering, as he obviously was, Jack didn’t fail to
notice his team mate’s reticence.
fine, Jack. I………. this
is all my fault, again.”
gave Daniel a long, considering look.
His eyes had gone flat, as they do when he doesn’t want
people to know what he’s thinking or feeling.
“Let’s get out of here first, then we can talk about who’s
to blame,” was all he finally said.
flinched like he’d been struck.
can assume Heru’ur has reduced the number of guards at the Gate
now that he has captured us,” Teal’c offered, to break the silence.
so if we can get out of this ship, it should just be a straight
run to the Gate,” Jack
replied, ever the optimist. With
a groan, he climbed to his feet and stood, swaying, his eyes tightly
closed and hands clenched into fists.
fine, Doc,” he said, cutting me off.
I opened my mouth to point out that he obviously wasn’t
fine, but he had that look on his face that I’ve come to learn
means that I might as well save my breath because he’s going to
ignore whatever I say.
we all watched while he prowled the room, making the same meticulous,
fruitless search Sam and Teal’c had made earlier.
Finally he turned back to us, “No way out, huh?”
sir,” said Sam, quietly.
a sigh he slid down the wall and pulled his knees up close. His face was pale and it was obvious to me he
was sporting a world class headache.
After a moment his eyes started to slide closed.
what?” My voice must have
been harsher than intended for he jerked awake.
sir. It’s probably not
a good idea for you to go to sleep just yet.
You’ve been unconscious for some time.”
gave me that same pursed up, narrow eyed look he always gives
me when he doesn’t like my medical advice.
As always, despite the situation, I had to resist the urge
to poke out my tongue.
that moment the door slid open to reveal Heru’ur, flanked by a
including Jack, had climbed to their feet at the first sound of
movement but the odds were overwhelming and I saw Teal’c relax
even before Jack waved his hand in classic “stand down” sign language.
stepped forward. I confirmed
my earlier impression. He
was an imposing presence, as tall as Jack, with regal features
and a tanned fit body, shown to full advantage in a revealing,
if somewhat pretentious, Egyptian pharaoh outfit.
Even without the telltale glow though, his eyes would have
betrayed the regal image. They were hard and cruel and, at that moment,
filled with a terrifying anticipation.
however, was quick to establish that Heru'ur wasn’t the only alpha
male in the room.
about time. I gotta tell
you, Heru’ur, the service around here leaves something to be desired.”
“Silence,” Heru’ur ordered, surveying each of us in turn.
I had to repress a shiver when he looked at me.
before your God.” The arrogance
in the voice was stunning. The
words were obviously some kind of signal, for the Horus guards
moved, pushing us all into a line and forcing us to our knees.
Jack resisted and received a blow to the back of his knees
with a staff weapon for his troubles.
Suddenly, the source of the mysterious bruising I’d seen
in the infirmary after several SG1 missions was explained.
I need to talk to him about that.
As if he hasn’t abused his knees enough for any one lifetime
as it is.
know as well as we do you’re not a God.”
Daniel spoke and his voice revealed a loathing of which
I had not realized he was capable.
turned to him, fingers tracing the thin line of hair that ran
down either side of his mouth, and smiled.
“Did not your own wife receive a God into her bed?”
wife was raped by Apophis!”
…” Jack’s voice was low
but carried a clear warning.
tossed him an annoyed glance before turning back to Daniel.
has been heard to say she pleases him better and more often than
any he has known.” It was
breathtakingly cruel and Daniel leapt to his feet with a roar
of rage. Before he had
taken half a step he was clubbed on the head with a staff weapon
and dropped at my feet stunned.
Teal’c and Sam had risen as one and been easily restrained. I ignored them all for a moment to check on
Daniel. A bump had already
started to come up on his head, and even as I checked him he began
are weak, Tauri,” Heru’ur said contemptuously.
“You ally yourself with these weaklings, Shol’va?”
do,” replied Teal’c calmly. His
voice was its usual reassuring baritone.
you shall watch them die. When
they are dead I will once more offer you a chance to join me.”
will not join you.”
you shall also die and I shall enjoy your death.”
then turned his glowing eyes on Sam and I.
“Females,” he said. “Perhaps
one of you shall make a queen for me to rival Amounet.” He reached out and ran a hand through Sam’s
hair. It was a deliberately
provocative gesture. I
felt myself shiver and was shamefully glad that he hadn’t laid
his hands on me. I expected Jack and Teal’c to go ballistic but
they knelt silently, Teal’c as inscrutable as always, Jack wearing
his thousand yard stare.
twisted her head to look up into Heru’ur’s eyes, her glare searing. “What makes you think you could handle me?”
was foolhardy, risky and so very, very brave.
You go girl! I wanted to shout and out of the corner of
my eye I saw a hint of a smirk on Jack’s face.
shouldn’t be so hard on yourself, Sam.
Colonel O’Neill won’t blame you for anything that happened
on this hell of a mission. He’s
proud of you. He might not ever show you or admit it, but
don’t tell me the way he puffs out his chest and wears that shit
eating grin of his all around the base every time you come up
with a last minute miracle isn’t worth a thousand words.
am unaccustomed to this feeling of helplessness. We have been back from Errinious for many days
now and still O’Neill does not stir.
I am used to seeing him as a proud warrior and his illness
is very quiet. Nurse Dimitris
sits in the far corner and checks O'Neill every fifteen minutes. She always gives me a reassuring smile as she
approaches. Doctor Fraiser
is also around, but the presence of the medical staff cannot displace
the awful stillness of my friend, lying so helpless before me. I cannot help but feel he is far away from us
tonight, and, though I would do anything to spare him further
suffering, I urge him to fight, fight with every piece of his
tenacious, stubborn, warrior soul to come back to us.
more than I care to admit by the silence, I take up Doctor MacKenzie's
journal once again and once more I am struck by how little opportunity
we had to influence the situation on Errinious.
We fought and fought but from the moment we first spotted
the death glider events conspired to make us powerless – choiceless,
as O’Neill would say.
Samantha Carter’s act of admirable defiance, Heru’ur had us moved
from our cargo bay prison to a smaller room, deeper within the
Ha'tak. It was a room that was chillingly familiar to
me. Lined with gray metal
in a grid pattern rather than the usual gold and glyphs, lit only
by a single flaring torch, this was the interrogation centre of
a Ha'tak. Two long chains ending in manacles hung from
the ceiling in the centre of the room.
have stood in this exact room on Apophis’ mothership and watched
as he performed unspeakable tortures.
felt physically sick as Heru’ur’s Jaffa shoved us into the room
and left. I wondered who would be first and prayed it
would be myself. As soon
as the door slid closed behind the Jaffa I headed for O’Neill,
but I could tell by the look in his eyes he knew exactly what
this awful room was for.
was still pale from his earlier encounter with Heru’ur’s hand
device, but, after meeting my eyes, he dry washed his face, let
his hands drop to his sides, straightened his shoulders and sucked
in his chest. By the time he spoke, he was once again every
inch the commanding presence we have come to rely on.
I find myself doing it. I
have served a creature I believed was a God, possessed of amazing
recuperative powers and incredible strength, but Apophis was never
able to inspire the feelings in me that O’Neill, even tired, bloody,
dirty and bedraggled does.
remember one of our more recent missions – running from a tribe
of natives on P4C 231 who chose not to believe O’Neill when he
assured them that I no longer served the Goa’uld.
They were a tall, long limbed race with skin almost as
dark as mine, whom Daniel Jackson said were probably related to
an earth tribe called the Zulu. They were all smiles until someone noticed the
gold tattoo on my forehead. Things
then turned nasty in a hurry.
decided the world would be a better place without me and attacked
with spears, darts and primitive percussion weapons.
Daniel Jackson understood enough of their language to give
us the two second warning that saved our lives.
He had barely said, “Jack, look out, I think …” and O’Neill
had dragged Daniel Jackson and himself into cover.
Samantha Carter and I dived behind a tree.
Teal’c one of these days someone’s gonna love ya,” O’Neill cursed before coming up with one of
what he calls his ‘quick and dirty’ plans.
He and I would head off into the woods to try and lose
our pursuers, while Major Carter and Daniel Jackson would make
their way back to the vicinity of the Gate.
O’Neill hoped that as it was I that appeared to anger them,
the majority would follow us. The plan was that Daniel Jackson and Major Carter
would clear the area around the Gate and stand by to dial out. O’Neill and I would join them once we’d put
sufficient distance between us and the hostiles.
sound tactical plan.
it became clear fairly early on that the natives’ woodcraft was
better than mine or O’Neill’s.
It was impossible to lose them.
hours O’Neill and I used every trick at our collective disposal
and still the natives closed on us.
We ran and hid and ran again for 5 frustrating hours.
panting, exhausted and slightly desperate we came across a fairly
sizeable stream. We dropped
to our knees to drink our fill, our canteens having long been
exhausted. Then, instead of doing what every instinct and
all my training told me to do, O’Neill forded straight across
and kept running.
I called, dropping my hands to my knees and speaking in between
sucking in great gasps of air, “should we not travel along the
stream, lay a false trail and try to exit somewhere the natives
think so wouldn’t ya?” O’Neill
looked terrible. He was
also heaving in great pants of oxygen, trying to catch his breath.
His face glistened with sweat and dirt. He had discarded
his jacket and his shirt clung to his body, drenched in sweat.
and there, blood streaked across his face and arms where we had
run and hidden amongst the sharp branches of the local flora.
He was a superbly fit soldier but we’d been running for
three hours straight now, and before that our last hiding place
had only sheltered us about 10 minutes before we'd heard the sounds
of our seemingly unshakeable pursuers.
Regrettably, they seemed to be enjoying the chase far more
than we were. For 10 blissful
minutes we had hidden amongst a pile of boulders. Barely long enough to let the shaking in our
exhausted legs die down to an occasional tremble. Then we were forced out of hiding and into the
had tried covering our trail, laying a false trail, staying still,
reversing direction, trying to come around behind the natives. Everything I had learned under Master Bra’tac,
we tried. Now we had come
to our first waterway. My
instincts told me to head upstream, look for ground that would
not hold our prints. Try to lose, or at least delay, our hunters.
O’Neill wanted to squander the opportunity.
It was not like him.
wondered if perhaps he was delirious.
“O’Neill, I do not understand.”
you’ve ever learned tells you to take the stream and try to lose
the trackers doesn’t it?”
“Yeah. Me too.” He
raised his eyes to meet mine and they glistened with intelligence
and his usual stubborn determination.
“C’mon Teal’c, these guys are better than either of us. Chances are we’ll find a place that our training
tells us is a good place to leave the stream they’ll spot it too.”
but we must take the chance must we not?
There is a chance they will not find us or at least will
be slowed down or forced to split up.”
good enough, Teal’c. Time
to think outside the box. Look,
if you were tracking us and you saw our tracks going straight
across this river and off into the distance what would you conclude?”
you had laid a false trail.”
nodded. “Because nobody
in their right mind would do that, right?
Because, like you say, we have to take the chance on the
stream don’t we?”
suggest we go straight across, regardless?”
“Yep. Double bluff ‘em.”
are very close behind, O’Neill.
If they do not fall for your “bluff” we will be captured
in short order. If we follow the river we would slow them down.
Force them to examine every possible exit point.”
they catch up again and we can’t run any further? It’s a delaying tactic, Teal’c. No more. This
is a chance to lose them for good.
It will work, I know it.
I did. Against all logic
and training. And not for
the first time. O’Neill
was wearing what Daniel Jackson calls his I’m-a-Colonel-and-the-world-can-damn-well-adjust-to-my-plans
face and suddenly I knew the natives would disregard the obvious
signs, would never believe we had surrendered an obvious tactical
advantage. They would head upriver and we would lose them.
did and we did. We ran
for about half an hour more before it became clear they weren’t
following us, then slowed to a jog.
We arrived back at the Gate exhausted, filthy, sweaty and
mission report recorded the event: “The
natives proved hostile. I
sent Major Carter and Doctor Jackson ahead to secure the Gate. Teal’c and I drew them away then doubled back
to the Gate.”
5 of 13 – see Part 0 for warnings etc.
I woke up from Heru’ur’s little love tap we were in a completely
different room. I had never
seen anything like it on a Ha'tak vessel before – it was nothing
more than a cage, conspicuously missing the usual hieroglyphs
and coloured a uniform dull gray instead of the ubiquitous gold.
Two long chains hung from the roof, ending in steel manacles.
It was dark, lit by flickering torchlight.
The sense of menace was palpable.
turned to tell Jack I had a bad feeling about this and was just
in time to catch a pretty intense look being exchanged between
him and Teal’c.
he sensed me watching and was instantly the impassive, in control
Air Force Colonel I’ve never learned to read.
I spoke anyway. “Jack,
I’ve got a bad feeling about this place.”
“Yeah.” Jack gathered us in with a glance, took a deep
breath and said, “Look, you guys know that no matter what happens
we can’t tell him anything about Earth or the Harsesis child.”
words were spoken to the room in general but as the resident civilian
they felt like they were addressed to me.
And I resented them. “We
know that, Jack. You can’t think….”
listen up okay, Danny.”
stopped me. Jack doesn’t
call me Danny very often and when he does it’s usually because
I’m in a state where I need the comfort more than I resent being
treated like a kid. So I shut up and he rubbed a hand across his
face again and pinched his fingers to the bridge of his nose,
Jack-speak for a moderate to severe headache.
knew how he felt. The top
of my skull was thumping like someone had set up an orchestra
and decided to practice the closing seconds of the 1812 overture
in a never ending loop.
Jack finally spoke he was uncharacteristically hesitant. “Look…. Heru’ur kind of has the upper hand here
and …. well, we’ve all managed to piss him off in our way. This …. that is, things might get nasty soon.”
might get nasty?” I rolled
dammit. Heru’ur’s going
to torture one or more of us.
Plain enough for you Daniel?”
did an impression of a goldfish, opening and closing my mouth
a few times, blinking my eyes.
OK, hadn’t seen that coming actually.
took a breath, sighed. “I
don’t have time to teach you everything I know about techniques
and tricks of the trade. Not
sure I really want you all to know that anyway.
Just try to remember, as long as they don’t do anything
permanent you’ll get past it. Just focus on our friends back home, who Heru’ur
would be only too pleased to turn into hosts.”
if they do do something permanent?” Janet asked, with an uncharacteristic
quaver in her voice.
wants Earth and the Harsesis child.
As long as we deny him that, he can’t afford to get permanent,”
Jack spoke with absolute confidence but his eyes had gone dark
and unfocused. “And by that time death usually looks pretty
good anyway,” he muttered as he turned away.
I was sure no one was meant to hear the rider and as I
didn’t want to think about what Jack might have gone through to
reach such a terrible conclusion, I pretended not to have heard.
watched you lying here for the past 12 days, Jack, waiting, PRAYING
for you to wake up. The
thought that maybe you’ve been through this before, it’s unbearable.
But strangely it also gives me hope, because if you survived
it once, you can do it again.
Don’t let this be something permanent, Jack.
Don’t let the Goa’uld take another of my loved ones.
O’Neill’s words silenced us all.
He’s dropped hints about his past before from time to time,
including that one to Daniel on Hadante that he’d been in prison
before, but nothing to suggest he’d been tortured.
There was a look in his eye though as he spoke that suggested
he was talking from personal experience and not some black ops
is right. What we watched
was … indescribable. To
think that the Colonel has been through this before and survived,
there are no words for that.
didn’t allow us very long to get used to the idea. He returned with his escort of Jaffa almost
as soon as the Colonel finished speaking.
Jaffa carried manacles and soon all of us except Colonel O’Neill
had our wrists chained together.
We were forced to sit and then the chains were fastened
to the walls Teal’c resisted
briefly and suffered a blow to his pouch from a staff weapon.
He is not one to struggle pointlessly and I wonder if he
knew, even then, just how horrible it was going to get.
of the larger Jaffa stepped forward and grabbed the Colonel, one
by each arm. Two took up
positions by the door. The
rest trooped back out of the room, the jangling metal tread of
their steps echoing in the hall.
scene was set.
Colonel, held between the two Jaffa, looked totally at ease. I have no idea how he did it. I felt physically ill. “Man, you’re not still pissed about the shield
thing are you?" he said.
"I mean, you’re not the only one who suffered there. I parted with a perfectly good knife.”
was unmoved by the taunt. His
hand moved to his belt and this time he drew out a GDO device. “Tell me how to open the cover to the Tauri
Stargate,” the grating voice of the Goa’uld demanded.
“Earth? All the planets in the galaxy and you want to
go to Earth. I mean, I
guess I can see why, having met us you’re thinking it’s gotta
be pretty cool, right?” Jack shook his head sorrowfully. “I’ll let you in on a little secret, ‘Ur.
Can I call you ‘Ur? Anyway, not everyone on Earth is like us, if
you know what I mean.”
eyes flashed and he took a step closer to the Colonel. “Tell me what numbers to enter into this device
to open the Earth Stargate.”
buddy, you’re not hearing m…..”
Colonel was cut off mid word when Heru’ur’s fist drove into his
abdomen. The blow winded him and he slumped between the
two guards, coughing and trying desperately to catch his breath.
… no,” Jack gasped out.
struck again, a hard blow with his right fist into Jack’s ribcage. The Colonel was supported rather than restrained
by the two Jaffa now, his head hanging low as he fought to get
the pain and his breathing under control.
me how to open the Earth StarGate,”
Heru’ur was implacable.
he’d never met the stubborn pig headedness that is Colonel O’Neill
on a good day. He didn’t
even raise his head as he replied, “Bite me.”
as a snake, Heru’ur struck again, hard and fast into the Colonel’s
ribcage. The Colonel moaned.
was too much for Daniel. “Stop
it, godammit! He’s not
going to tell you anything. He’ll
never tell you anything.”
paused, eyeing the Colonel, who was still doubled over trying
to suck oxygen back into his lungs and Daniel, wild
eyed, desperate and straining against his chains.
was typical Daniel, compassionate, caring, unable to stand by
and watch anyone suffer and it was completely the wrong thing
to do, militarily speaking.
Daniel’s words, the Colonel pulled himself up a bit, managed to
get his legs under him. “Don’t
worry about it, Danny, ‘Ur and I are just getting to know each
other,” he grated out.
amazing how, when you work with someone in a job like ours, you
learn to understand so much from little nuances of their body
language. SG1 is now at the stage where we can have whole
conversations with just a glance.
so, the look the Colonel shot Daniel then was complicated – gratitude
that Daniel cared, a little of the pride we all feel when Daniel
does one of his selflessly noble things, a little bit of anger
that he was being disobeyed again and some resignation as well.
He must have known Daniel was just as incapable of standing
by quietly and watching him tortured as he was of hiding while
the Goa’uld killed Farm Owner Menscher and his daughters.
watched the interaction between the two with interest before turning
to Daniel. “What of you? Will you tell us what the code is for this device?”
even to save your friend?”
Daniel, he hadn’t seen it coming.
I could see the words strike him as hard as any physical
blow. He looked desperately at me, Janet and Teal’c
as if we could help.
once again, I did what I do best of all – stood there and did
nothing. I am so sick of seeing my CO, my friends, injured,
captured, tortured while I stand by pathetically and do nothing.
I’m sorry Colonel, Daniel, you deserve so much better.
quiet night last night, the thirteenth since our return. No fever, but no sign of Jack waking up either.
you anyway, Jack O’Neill, with your black ops training, your secret
past and your fucking hard ass Colonel attitude.
Sam tells me that the medals on your uniform are largely
for acts of individual heroism.
She says the first one is generally awarded only to Generals
and Admirals. It is awarded only on the recommendation of
the Secretary of State for an act of heroism involving voluntary
risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.
You didn’t even get one of those when we saved Earth, Jack,
so what the hell did you do to get it?
What other hell did you let the US Air Force put you through
while you pretended it didn’t touch you, was all just in a day’s
did you push it down inside afterwards, refuse to talk about it,
pretend it didn’t happen?
I swear I don’t know you at all sometimes, Jack. I’m sorry this happened, sorry for what you’ve
been through and I’m sorry I behaved “unmilitarily” Sam, but you
guys explain to me how it is you stand by and watch someone torture
your best friend in front of you and don’t say a damn word.
better yet, don’t, because I don’t ever want to be able to do
you too, Daniel. You think
I wanted to watch that? It’s
my job to get us out of situations when the Colonel is incapacitated
and I sat there chained to a wall and watched!
explain to me how what you did helped anyone?
You think it made it more bearable for Jack to watch Heru’ur
screw with your head while he messed with Jack’s body?
Two for the price of one?
don’t you save your self righteous attitude for when it helps
instead of makes things worse.
dear. I came in this afternoon,
after finally spending a night and day with poor Cassie – she
misses you by the way, Jack – anyway, I came in only to find sickbay
medical staff was there of course, but no sign of SG1.
I read the journal. These
are all very natural responses – anger, fear, guilt, pain.
We’ve all been wounded and a wounded animal lashes out,
you want my two cent’s worth, it was horrific watching what Heru’ur
did to Jack and not being able to respond, not being able to treat
his injuries, not being able to stop the pain.
Seeing someone in pain and doing nothing goes against absolutely
everything I was trained to do.
shiver every time I think of that Goa’uld.
What kind of creature voluntarily causes that kind of agony
to any living being? What
kind of monster enjoys it?
desperately tired. I no
sooner close my eyes than I’m screaming myself awake from nightmares
which are all the more horrific because they actually happened.
The smallest little setbacks have me shaking with rage.
I found myself yelling at Cass this morning because she
spilled a little bit of cereal. Luckily, she loves Jack and she’s being very
if there is a positive to be found in all this anger it’s that
I have my patient to myself for a while.
We need to talk Jack, about you hurrying up and waking
came in to the infirmary looking for Sam, to apologize, but she
seems to have made herself scarce.
Janet was there though, holding Jack’s hand in one of hers,
running the other lightly through his hair, talking softly to
him all the while.
Jack, do you have any idea how many people care for you? Janet was right you know, I was angry, guilty,
I didn’t mean what I wrote before.
I am proud to call you friend, proud to know someone as
dedicated, loyal and brave
never say that to your face because I know it
would embarrass you, but people like Sam, Teal’c, Janet
and General Hammond don’t give their friendship to just anyone,
so that alone should tell you all you need to know.
I wish so much I could change what happened on Errinious. It plays in my head like an endless loop and
I keep looking for something I could have done differently, maybe
if I’d been flippant I could have focused his anger on me, but
I’ve obviously never given you enough credit for your humor-under-duress
routine because absolutely nothing came to mind.
Maybe I could have grabbed for a staff weapon, turned it
on the guards and freed us all, but you know me, at best I would
probably have shot myself, at worst got one of you killed.
on with the nightmare story right?
Torture as therapy.
right, I never saw it coming until Heru’ur said, “not even to
save your friend?” Bastard. Then, then I saw it all in one horrific freeze
framed second. I got a
huge lump in my throat and couldn’t speak.
Mutely, I shook my head.
gestured and one of the two Horus guards by the door came and
released the chain between my manacles and the wall.
The guard dragged me over, still handcuffed, to stand in
front of Jack, beside Heru’ur.
will give you two chances, Tauri.
If either one of you answers my question, I will set you
stepped forward and … dammit I can’t do this…
once was a Colonel named Jack
casual and pretty laid back
major was Sam
met and …bam!
did they sizzle in the sack.
taught me that. I wonder
who’d be more embarrassed to know that that was the winner of
the SG1 limerick competition, Jack or Sam?
Of course, there is also a Jack and Janet version, a Jack
and Airman Perez version, a Jack and Nurse Diego and, scarily
enough, even Jack and well, me.
hell, I’m gonna have to do this aren’t I?
took Jack’s hand and grabbed his little finger.
unable to speak, I again shook my head.
“Colonel?” The Goa’uld was enjoying himself. The bastard didn’t want Jack to capitulate,
of course was happy to oblige.
“Go to hell,” he said, the last word ending with a gasp
of pain as Heru’ur bent the digit all the way back until it broke.
There was the most awful noise, like a dry twig snapping
… God, I’m going to be sick…
I’ve thrown up more in the last fortnight than my entire life. I wonder if I’ll ever sleep again without hearing
that god-awful noise and the worse ones that followed.
closed my eyes at the last minute, which didn’t help, should have
closed my ears as well. When
I opened them, Jack had slumped to his knees again, his face ghostly
white. His little finger pointed out to the side at
a grotesque angle.
didn’t even pause, just grabbed Jack’s hand again and grasped
the second finger.
don’t do this,” I said.
me the code to open the Earth Stargate.”
“Jack?” I don’t know what I was asking for; a way out,
forgiveness, whatever, it wasn’t going to be forthcoming. Jack looked up at me and mustered a grin. “He’s a snakehead, Danny. Don’t tell him squat.”
smiled. Damn him. Then jerked and that awful sound came again.
time though, Jack reacted with completely unexpected violence. He pushed up, getting his feet under him, surprising
the guards who held him and jerked his head back slamming it violently
up into the nose of the guard nearest him who dropped instantly. He swung and grabbed the fallen guard’s staff
weapon and swung it hard at the other guard holding him smashing
it across the Jaffa’s face.
Teal’c and Janet were on their feet tugging at their chains but
unable to sever them. Like
an idiot, I stood and gaped. In
my defence, I swear the whole thing took less than 5 seconds.
I have never seen anything like it.
noticed the guard by the door start to move and opened my mouth
to warn Jack, but it was Heru’ur who was the real threat.
With a roar of rage and the enhanced strength of the Goa’uld,
he drew Jack’s knife from his belt and thrust.
The knife plunged deep into the flesh below Jack’s right
stopped Jack in his tracks. The
staff weapon clattered to the floor, dropped from a suddenly nerveless
hand. Heru’ur used his momentum to topple Jack over
onto his back, all the while forcing the knife deeper into his
shoulder. He stopped only when he was kneeling on Jack’s
chest, one hand continuing to hold the knife inside Jack’s body. With the other he gestured to the guard by the
door, who was, somewhat belatedly, aiming his staff weapon at
Jack. “Check them,” he gestured at the two Jaffa Jack
had taken down. No longer
complacent, his voice shook with rage.
Jaffa knelt by his colleague whom Jack had slammed with his head. “This one is dead, Lord.”
Unbelievable. Jack once told me you could kill a man by breaking
his nose and driving the fragments up into his brain. I’d never expected to receive a live demonstration.
Horus guard spared a second to glare at Jack before checking his
other comrade. “This one
turned his attention to Jack who had his eyes tightly shut and
had bitten down on his lip so hard it was bleeding.
“You will pay for this,” the Goa’uld promised.
you, snakehead,” Jack said, then groaned as Heru’ur leant on the
a vindictive twist, Heru’ur drew the weapon out and climbed to
his feet. “Bring them,” he ordered gesturing to the fallen
Jaffa and at last the guard who was squeezing my biceps in a vice-like
grip let go, grabbed hold of an edge of the dead Jaffa’s uniform
and followed the others out of the room.
god that hurts,” Jack drew his knees up to his chest, eyes still
of a sudden my legs went from under me and I felt myself hit the
c’mon snap out of it.”
the voices of my team mates began to make sense to me again. I’d heard them all along, I guess, but they
had been random sounds, without meaning.
The whole world had kind of grayed out for a while.
it snapped back into focus and I could hear Sam and Janet calling
me. It was very disorienting. I put a hand to my face and for some reason
my cheeks were wet. Puzzled,
I looked up at the ceiling but it wasn’t raining, which actually
made a perverse sort of sense since we were inside.
I pondered for a moment where else the water might have
honey, please, Jack needs your help.”
That was Janet, sounding kind of desperate. And what was that about Jack?
scrambled to my hands and knees and there was Jack, lying in front
of me in a spreading pool of blood.
hands flapped over him uselessly for a few seconds and then I
turned to Janet, looking for instruction.
need to stop the bleeding, Daniel.”
I must have looked at her dumbly because she switched to
that soft tone she uses in sickbay when I wake up and I’m not
sure how I’ve gotten there.
Jack’s going to be fine, we just need to put some pressure on
the wound and stop the bleeding, ok?
Take off your jacket and pad it up, you can use that.”
tone worked to snap me out of my stupor and at last I moved. I tried to gently pull Jack’s own jacket out
of the way to see where all the blood was coming from and he flinched.
looked down to see pain clouded brown eyes watching me.
“Hey.” Jack sounded as terrible as he looked.
… uh, I need to stop the bleeding.
It’s probably going to hurt.”
pulled his jacket away from the wound, trying to ignore his stifled
exclamations of pain. Then
I shrugged off my jacket and used it to push down on the bleeding
knife wound. Jack clenched his fists and banged his head
up and down on the floor a couple of times before his whole body
went limp and he passed out.
touched his sweaty face, felt the reassuring thud of the pulse
at his neck and held my jacket in place as it turned dark with
his blood until at last, after a seeming eternity, the bleeding
looked up to see Janet, Sam and Teal’c watching us with desperate
intensity. Teal’c was wrestling
with the manacles around his wrists the whole time; like a wolf
caught in a trap I was sure he would gnaw off his arm to get free
if he could.
Janet was back to her gentle voice again.
“I need you to set Jack’s fingers.”
What? I, Janet… no, I can’t
pain will be unbearable unless we realign them, Daniel.”
c’mon,” said Sam trying to be encouraging, although the wobble
in her voice gave her away, “it’s just a couple of fingers.
I did a whole leg.”
don’t want to talk about what happened next.
I took Jack’s swollen, misshapen fingers and as Janet directed
me I moved them around until they popped back into place. Then I wrapped them together with my bandanna.
Thankfully, Jack didn’t stir the whole time.
world had started to gray out again by the time I was finished
and I decided to take a break from things for a while.
next time the world phased back into focus, I was being watched
by three pairs of brown eyes and one pair of blue.
beauty awakes,” came the gravelly voice belonging to the closest
pair of brown eyes, the ones dulled by pain.
how are you?” Janet called.
“Fine.” Actually, I was kind of embarrassed.
Danny,” Jack read me clear as day, same as he always does. “You did good.” His look told me he meant more than dealing
with his injuries. I wasn’t
sure how I felt about that, so I changed the subject.
are you feeling?”
peachy, thank you. Help
me up.” He offered me his good hand.
don’t you even think of getting up.”
Uh oh, Doctor Fraiser’s Voice of Doom.
hesitated in the act of reaching for Jack, but he gestured towards
Janet with a grin. “Chained
to the wall huh, Doc? What
is it they say? Every cloud, silver lining and all that.”
Without my help he hauled himself into a sitting position
and scuttled back on his buttocks until he was leaning against
the wall between Carter and Teal’c. By a strange coincidence that put him well out
of Janet’s reach.
reached out to Teal’c’s raw wrists and gently restrained him. “Take it easy for a while, big fella.”
he turned to Sam, a question on his face.
managed a grin at that. “Oh
yeah, Carter, bad day,” he murmured, laid his head back against
the wall and fell asleep.
took me as much by surprise with his attack on the Horus guard
as he did Heru’ur. God,
I wish we’d escaped then – a couple of dislocated fingers and
a stab wound. Not pretty, but not in the top ten of O’Neill
injuries, even if you only count since he joined SG1.
been 14 days now, two weeks since we staggered back through the
Gate, staff weapon blasts following us through, Jack slung over
finally confronted Janet. Tell
me what it means, I demanded of her.
It can’t be good that he’s been unconscious so long.
But it was the doctor not my friend who answered, giving
me platitudes about there always being hope and not giving up. Jack’s strong, she said. Give him a chance.
Strong! My god. What
he went through at the hands of Heru’ur is beyond expressing. This journal, we can write the words, but they
can’t describe what it was like.
The helplessness, fear, anger, hatred, the awful pride
and terrible pity I felt for my CO.
slept for a couple of hours before Heru’ur returned, the Goa’uld
having found his composure in that time.
shook the Colonel awake at the first sounds from outside our cell. He appeared slightly confused, but got to his
feet quickly enough when Heru’ur and four Horus guards entered
a gesture from Heru’ur, two Jaffa took up positions by the door
while the other two grabbed the Colonel and dragged him to the
manacles in the center of the room.
The Colonel gave a small involuntary yelp of pain when
they roughly jerked his shoulder but was otherwise silent.
ignored him, heading instead for Daniel.
“I have two questions.
Answer either of them and I will free you.
Where is the Harsesis child?
Tell me the code to open the Tauri Stargate.”
us now and we will let you live,” Daniel replied.
even turning to look at the Colonel, chained behind him in the
center of the room, Heru’ur gestured at one of the guards.
Jaffa drew a two pronged metal stick, a lot like a tyre wrench
from his side and touched it to the Colonel’s chest.
Colonel screamed. A light
spat from his open mouth and out of his eyes.
has told us since that the device is known, appropriately enough,
as a pain stick. He doesn’t
know the physics behind it and neither do I, though my guess is
it is some kind of variation on the zat – sustained stimulation
of the nervous system through electricity, the electricity the
body simply cannot handle being converted to light.
it’s a bit more complicated than that, but for once I’m with the
Colonel. I don’t know how it works and I don’t want to
know. All I know is Jack
didn’t even scream like that when I set his broken leg in Antarctica.
tried to maintain a stoic demeanor, tried, belatedly, to maintain
an uncaring façade, although the sweat leaking down his face,
the way his Adam’s apple jumped up and down and the pounding of
his fists against his thigh spoke the anguish he didn’t allow
to show on his face.
felt my fatigues sticking to me as sweat gushed from every pore
of my body. Beside me,
Janet looked like she was deciding whether to throw up or pass
when Jack’s voice had given out and he was reduced to harsh grunting
pants and still the torture continued, Daniel snapped.
it, dammit. Stop.”
raised a hand and the guard stepped back.
The Colonel slumped, held up only by the manacles around
Daniel was panting himself, “we can’t give you the information,
don’t you understand?”
smiled. I swear I have
never seen anything so evil in my life.
turned from Daniel to the Colonel, who was slumped, held up only
by the manacles around his wrists.
He took the Colonel’s chin in his hand and forced his head
up till he was staring directly into the Colonel’s eyes.
appears your team mate is unmoved by your pain,” he gloated. “Tell me the code to open the Earth Stargate
and the pain will cease.”
hadn’t even been sure Jack was conscious, but ever so slowly he
opened his eyes to meet the glowing orbs of his torturer.
Then, with deliberate defiance, he spat directly into Heru’ur’s
not the first time the Colonel has demonstrated an ability to
do the one thing most guaranteed to piss off whoever he’s dealing
with – whether it’s General Hammond, an alien species or an enemy.
A gift, he calls it.
was enraged. He swung his
right hand, with the added weight of the hand device, directly
into Jack’s face. The Colonel slumped, without a sound. I couldn’t hold back a howl of outrage. Teal’c was beside himself, tearing at his chains
like a wild animal. It
looked like the blow had broken the Colonel’s neck.
Janet tells me it cracked his cheekbone.
Another fracture for the Jack O’Neill broken-bones-r-us
stood for a moment, breathing heavily, then turned with deliberate
calm back to Daniel.
Earth Stargate. The Harsesis.”
shook his head.
him around,” Heru’ur ordered with a gesture at the Colonel, ignoring
Daniel’s cry of protest.
water, slaps and kicks the guards did as they were ordered. Eventually, Jack gave a groan to signal his
return to consciousness. One
of the Jaffa grasped him by the hair and jerked his head up. Beside me, Teal’c growled.
breathing was harsh, his eyes glazed.
There was no indication he had any idea where he was.
me,” Heru’ur ordered Daniel.
was obvious that Daniel was torn.
He wanted to end the torture but Heru’ur was asking for
two things that – for Earth’s sake – we could not afford to give
“No. And if you touch him, I’ll kill you.”
Heru’ur merely smiled.
raised his arm.
the Jaffa touched the Colonel with the pain stick.
the Colonel screamed and screamed.
like he does every night in my dreams.
Oh screw this for a joke – who the hell said this was therapeutic.
6 of 13 – see Part 0 for warnings etc.
I came to the infirmary this afternoon, Sam was crying, not dramatically
or hysterically, she just sat holding Jack’s hand and let the
tears run down her face.
that I am, I left before she saw me.
What comfort can I give her?
It was all my fault that we got into this mess in the first
place and I stood there silently while Jack tried to free us.
can’t even reassure her that he’s going to be alright because
I’m not sure if I believe it myself.
doesn’t cry very often. I’ve
only seen tears from her a couple of times in all the time I’ve
known her. Once when Jolinar died, the day we rescued Jack
from Edora and after we’d said goodbye to Merrin. Pretty momentous occasions all of them. Jack said she also cried at my .. ah…. funeral,
when they thought I’d died in fire on Nem’s planet.
I spent the night after most missions for the first year and a
half close to tears – missing Shau’re, feeling incompetent and
like an outcast, hating the US Air Force – in my view Sam’s done
amazingly well. I’d probably still be howling my eyes out if
Jack hadn’t reached out and offered to help me fit in. I thought he was trying to make me a soldier,
but circumstances did that, Jack just made me his friend.
even Teal’c has shed a few tears over the years, usually tears
of regret over his past. His
Cor'ai is what I remember the most, the first time I saw in Teal’c
what Jack must have seen on that first day on Chulac when he begged
for his help.
Colonel Jonathon O’Neill, USAF, though.
Not a tear from him, of course.
Screaming nightmares, sleeplessness, bad temper, lashing
out at those around him, disappearing off into the mountains for
days at a time, the occasional night on his roof with his telescope
and only Jack Daniels for company, all of those but no tears,
no siree. Jack O’Neill
has a million strategies for avoiding his emotions.
tears when Merrin left were mostly for Jack. Even George Hammond looked a little misty eyed
when the Colonel said goodbye to Reetou Charlie.
don’t know if the tears I shed today when I fled from Sam were
for Jack, her or myself.
I went back to the infirmary an hour later Sam was her normal
self and if my eyes were red and my nose runny, Sam chose not
to mention it.
sat down and took a close look at Jack.
He’d been getting scruffy but the nurses had shaved him
and he was once again smooth cheeked.
Doctor Fraiser’s pain medication was obviously working,
for the pain lines near his mouth and eyes had disappeared.
was far too pale and far too still.
There was a bandage on his shoulder and a line of neat
stitches over his left eye. The
bruising around his fractured cheekbone was a riot of blacks and
blues. His torso was bare except for a pressure bandage
holding his cracked ribs in place.
His fingers were strapped.
All kinds of machines that I’ve never bothered to be able
to identify did their work around him.
looked ill and … old. When
he’s awake there’s always something of the child about Jack. I don’t know what it is. Maybe the way he picks up objects and fiddles
with them, his unique blend of humor and sarcasm, the smile that
he finds in even the worst situations, or maybe his lithe fitness
(the man moves like a panther).
It could be the way he insists on playing dumb, or maybe
the ability he has to absolutely infuriate me with a word.
Whatever it is, it’s missing now.
Unconscious, in that bed, he just looks like a soldier
approaching the wrong side of middle aged who has seen too many
done that to him … mostly me, but the rest of SG1 and the whole
SCG too. People don’t realize just how seriously he takes
his responsibility to keep us and the SGC safe. No man should have to be responsible for a whole
planet, but Jack is. He
has an enormous capacity for guilt.
He’d never forgive himself if he screwed up.
what scares me the most about him, what scared me on Abydos the
very first time. There
have been times I’ve been lying in the infirmary or bleeding on
some alien planet when only the fact that I KNOW how Jack would
react if I died have kept me fighting.
wish he would wake up. Wish
it so hard it hurts. He
must know he is as important to us as we are to him, right?
Wrong. The man has no idea. He has the lowest sense of self worth of anyone
I know, macho male posturing notwithstanding. But tell you what Jack, wake up and we’ll let
you know once and for all. Promise.
Heru’ur signaled his Jaffa to hit Jack with the pain stick again,
I leapt for him. I wanted
to see what smashing a host’s nose and driving it into his brain
did to a Goa’uld.
there’s some trick to the move that I don’t know because all I
did was give Heru’ur a bloody nose, following which he aimed the
hand device at me and flung me the full length of the room.
don’t know how long it was until I regained consciousness. It was pitch black. I spent a moment trying to decide where I was.
The first thing I heard was Janet’s voice.
“Daniel. Daniel, open your eyes if you can hear me.”
Oh. That would explain the blackness.
easy order for Janet to give.
Much harder to achieve in practice.
I fought and finally managed to force them open, staring
blearily at Janet, Sam and Teal’c chained to a wall before it
all came flooding back to me.
tried to get to my feet, was struck by dizziness and instead fell
to my knees.
Daniel. Just take it easy. You took a heavy blow.” That was Janet again. Unlike Jack, I listen to her.
laid still until the dizziness faded away and then climbed cautiously
to my feet. I ached all
over, I was thirsty and my head pounded.
I wondered how long we had been in this cell; a day and
a half at least, was my guess. It felt like a lifetime.
turned and there was Jack, unconscious, held up only by the manacles
around his torn and bloody wrists.
you need to help him.” Right,
Janet, sure and how ‘bout some magic beans to wish us the hell
out of here while you're at it.
ran from his shoulder, from his cheek where the blow from the
hand device had split the skin and from his wrists.
I was thankful he was unconscious, I can only imagine the
pain from hanging suspended like that.
Jack. Right. Okay. Where
the hell did I start?
didn’t get a chance.
(complete with posse) came strolling back into the room, arrogance
he had been watching our cell from somewhere.
codes to the Earth Stargate,” he demanded without preamble.
shook my head, but mostly I was trying to deny the situation rather
than him. There had to
be something I could do to prevent Jack from suffering more.
gestured to his Jaffa, the same one or a different one, I didn’t
even know. The Jaffa slammed
his metal clad fist into Jack’s injured shoulder.
Janet and Teal’c all roared. A
red mist flowed over my eyes.
Bastard, I’ll kill you, kill you!!
I struggled in the grip of the creep who held me.
He continued to hold me with insulting ease.
came awake with a howl of pain, pulling his feet under him and
staring around the room, obviously trying to orient himself.
eyes swung past me, past Sam, Teal’c and Janet and settled on
he spoke his voice was hoarse with pain, but defiant. “Well if it isn’t the king of the snakeheads.”
said Heru’ur, moving close into Jack’s space.
“You look tired. Perhaps
you would like to swap places with Dr Jackson for a while.” As he spoke, he laid his hand on Jack’s injured
shoulder, the one that the Jaffa’s blow had reopened. Curiously, he watched as Jack’s blood flowed
onto his hand.
you like old boy, this is your party after all.
Giving up on me are you?”
unconcerned, Jack watched as Heru’ur's eyes flashed. No slouch at psychology our Jack. Heru'ur produced Jack’s knife once again.
He laid the flat side against the white of Jack’s neck
and almost caressingly drew it back and across.
sense of horror in the room was overwhelming.
I didn’t look at Sam, Teal’c and Janet, couldn’t take my
eyes off what could well be my best friend’s last seconds, but
I could feel their rage, terror and helplessness like a physical
me the codes to access the Tauri Stargate.”
slight widening of the eyes was the only sign Jack gave that he
was aware of approaching mortality.
His voice was as unconcerned as if he were sitting on his
deck at home, talking fishing.
much as I’d like to invite you round to my place for a barbecue,
maybe a little street hockey, my government would have me killed
if I gave you those codes. I
can’t help you, buddy.”
are a warrior, O’Neill. Tell
me, have you ever cut a man’s throat?”
Heru’ur kept up the pressure on Jack’s throat as he spoke.
I could answer that, but then I’d have to kill you,” Jack said,
then brightened. “Hey,
there’s an idea…”
Heru’ur obviously felt he had the upper hand now. Jack’s taunts failed to get a rise out of him.
Instead, he casually lifted the knife away from Jack’s
throat and examined it. “I
see why you like this weapon.
It is primitive but effective.
Tell me,” he sheathed the knife and took the pain stick
from his Jaffa, “what do you think of my invention?”
tapped it against Jack’s chest for emphasis, eyes glowing with
satisfaction when Jack arched his body away from the pain.
didn’t wait for a reply. “It
has proven very popular among the Goa’uld.”
Again, a little tap.
accounting for snake taste I always say,” Jack managed to gasp
held it against him longer this time, seemingly annoyed at Jack’s
the moan was dragged from Jack.
code for the Earth Stargate?”
was too busy trying to keep his feet under him and his weight
off his arms to answer.
turned to Sam, Teal’c and Janet for the first time in the long,
long time we had been his prisoners.
“Any of you?”
he touched the pain stick to Jack again.
And held it there.
screams went on for a long time.
is angry at me because she thinks I’m hiding behind my medical
façade. She doesn’t understand that that façade is all
that’s standing between me and a breakdown right now.
doesn’t need a sympathetic but traumatized friend, he needs a
doctor. When he wakes up, then I’ll go off and quietly
became a doctor because I can’t stand seeing things hurt. People have all kinds of reasons, mine was that
someone, anyone, in pain is unbearable to me, it makes me physically
ill. Watching what Heru’ur did to Jack and to Daniel
literally sickened me.
have never in my life felt so helpless.
Every time I close my eyes I see Jack writhing under the
pain stick, hear him screaming, see Daniel’s look of desperation,
see how much pain Jack was in and this RAGE, this uncontrollable
anger rises up in me. It terrifies me that I can feel that much anger,
that much hate. So you’ll
forgive me, Sam, if Dr Fraiser sticks around for a while because
right now, honey, Janet is holding on to sanity with her fingertips.
sitting at Jack’s bedside. There’s
not much I can do for him at the moment, other than keep a close
watch on his vitals. He
is surrounded by the latest in medical devices for monitoring
and maintaining the human condition. Tubes, drips, sensors, you name it.
I can’t resist taking his pulse the old fashioned way or laying
my hand on his head to feel his temperature.
It's the only way I have of letting him know I am there.
It’s obscene to ask you to fight more, Jack, after all
you’ve been through but it’s all up to you again, I’m afraid. Fight, Colonel. We’re waiting for you.
this journal. We’re all
exposing plenty of feelings now, so I guess it’s serving it’s
purpose. I can’t help thinking we’d all be a lot better
off though, if Jack just woke up.
Heru’ur finally tired of his latest attack, Jack was left hanging
from wrists slick with blood As
soon as Heru’ur strode from the room, Jaffa in tow, Daniel was
over there, trying to take the weight off Jack’s arms, wrapping
his own arms around Jack’s waist and lifting.
he begged me, “what do I do?”
froze. Get us out of here? Make the last endless, eternal hours never have
happened? Tell me it's
all been a dream? I wanted
to scream at him. Wake up Daniel, we have no control over this
situation. We’re just useless spectators! There is nothing we can do!
“Janet!” Daniel’s own voice teetered on the edge of panic.
With an enormous effort I pulled myself together.
again, Daniel. We need
to stop the bleeding first, then try and take some weight off
those wrists. Can you check his shoulder?”
gently let Jack down, wincing when the chains once again took
his weight, although Jack himself never stirred.
was right. The shoulder
wound was bleeding again and Daniel used his shirt to put pressure
on the wound.
took a long for the bleeding to stop and by the time it did, Jack
was conscious again. Somehow,
I don’t what stubborn strength it took, he managed to get his
feet under him.
“Jack?” Daniel’s voice was shaky. He hadn’t been through anything like this before.
None of us except, God help me, possibly the Colonel, were
remotely prepared for this scenario.
Jack shook his head and raised it to take in each of us.
Jack’s eyes focused on Teal’c, recognizing he was the one who
had spoken, but showing no signs of knowing who he was.
you must convince him to free you.”
continued to stare blankly, before finally muttering, “Teal’c?”
“Yes. O’Neill you must convince Heru’ur to release
nodded, but I wasn’t sure he had understood.
His reactions were sluggish and his thinking obviously
reached out and touched his face, carefully avoiding the right
side where Heru’ur’s heavy blow had landed.
so slowly, Jack refocused his attention from Teal’c to Daniel. “Daniel?”
Jack.” Daniel sounded like
he might cry. He has always
hurt for others more than he ever hurts for himself.
And Daniel has never been able to stand seeing Jack injured.
know. I’m sorry, there’s
I know, Jack. I’m sorry.”
distress finally seemed to focus Jack and he really looked at
Daniel for the first time. “You
“Me? I’m fine, Jack. I don’t … I’m sorry, I don’t know how to make
him stop hurting you.”
didn't respond to that, just lifted his eyes and surveyed the
rest of us.
Sam and I said in pretty much the same tone.
Shock, horror, disbelief that this could be happening.
however, had his own agenda. "O'Neill,
stop this. Convince Heru'ur
to release you." Jack
stared at him, concentrating hard, but it wasn't clear whether
he knew what Teal'c was talking about.
then there came the grinding noise that signaled the opening of
the door and Jack pulled himself up a little straighter.
I saw a welter of looks cross his face – pain, fear, dread,
hurt, anger – before he found his soldier face.
was more open. He gave
a cry of pure distress. “Oh,
God, Jack. I don’t, I can’t…”
did the most amazing thing then.
He gave a soft smile. Not
of amusement, just quiet affection.
“Hang in there, Danny,” he warned as Heru’ur came striding
back in to the room.
Goa’uld wasted no time. “The
code to the Tauri StarGate.”
flinched and looked desperately at all of us.
just shook his head, no.
closed my eyes, ashamed but unable to watch any more.
jerked them open when I heard a sound I had never heard before
from Jack. “Please, no,” he said and there was the faintest
hint of surrender in it.
heard it too, for he smiled and ordered the Jaffa approaching
Jack with the pain stick to hold off.
“The Tauri Stargate?”
“No.” Jack’s answer was the same but it sounded hesitant
now. Oh, no, no, no, no. I did not want to watch this proud man break.
nodded to the guard and he placed the pain stick against Jack’s
chest. The Goa’uld’s eyes glowed with satisfaction
as he watched the Colonel writhe.
last it stopped and Jack again hung by his torn wrists. He scrambled to his feet to the sound of Heru’ur’s
Stargate?” Daniel was forgotten
now, held between two Jaffa as Heru’ur focused on the sudden weakness
he sensed in Jack.
I can’t,” Jack panted. “Anything
felt sick to my stomach as I watched Jack weaken. I had thought nothing could be worse than watching
him tortured hour after hour.
But somehow, terribly, this was.
Could this be real? Could
Jack O’Neill be about to break?
even if it meant the end of the torture, could we allow it? Sam and Teal’c were silent beside me as I struggled
with the most terrible decision I had ever contemplated. For the first time ever my air force oath conflicted
with my medical oath and I heard myself give a moan of distress.
straightened, needing to call out to Jack, to tell him to be strong,
but I had seen what he had been through these last long hours
and I knew I did not have the right to demand more suffering from
him. But how could I not?
Wouldn’t I sacrifice Jack O’Neill, myself, everyone in
the damn Ha'tak if meant saving Earth?
It was my responsibility, my duty.
I was a doctor first, yes, but I was also a major and I
had sworn the same oath of duty and sacrifice as every other officer
in the air force. The same
oath as Jack.
opened my mouth – to say what even I didn’t know. Then that thought really hit me. The same oath as Jack.
seen the medals Jack wore. I’d
seen his medical file. Mostly,
I knew the man he was.
man was and is incapable of betraying his oath.
His oath supports him, it defines him.
He would die, even like this, in agony, rather than betray
it. Sam, Teal’c and Daniel knew that. It was why they hadn’t moved.
the man amazes me. I looked
at Jack with new eyes and wondered how it was he had the presence
of mind and the strength to play this dangerous game.
Heru’ur had been hooked and, like a fish on the end of
his line, Jack was reeling him in.
approached Jack now and drew out the bowie knife again. “The Tauri Stargate.”
shuddered and closed his eyes.
touched the point of the knife to the existing stab wound.
Heru’ur applied pressure, slowly sinking the knife into the flesh.
Stop. Stop!” I don’t want
to think how little of the agony in Jack’s voice was feigned.
stopped but left the knife in the wound.
the sudden silence I could hear Daniel chanting, “no more, no
more, no more,” under his breath and I sympathized with him entirely.
him. Whatever you’re going
to do, do it, I wanted to scream.
Jack shook his head.
leant on the knife and it slid into Jack’s shoulder up to the
“ARGGGHHHH.” No doubt the agony this time was real. “All right. Please. Please,” Jack begged. Sweat ran down his face and he heaved in air
like he had run a marathon. His
face was ghastly – grey with pain, fatigue and blood loss.
drew out the knife and replaced it in his belt and pulled forth
the GDO. “Well?”
have to …. God,” Jack’s knees buckled and he was once again hanging
by his wrists. “Arghhhh.”
button … arrggh damn… press the activation button,” Jack panted
the words out through pain filled curses.
was not impressed. His
eyes flashed as he examined the GDO and could not locate the button
his captive spoke of.
me, Teal’c had tensed and I felt Sam gathering her legs beneath
scrambled but his legs were apparently unable to support him. “Oh, man … on the casing… the button,” his voice
was ragged from the screaming he had done earlier. He was every inch the broken victim. He looked on the verge of passing out.
him here,” Heru’ur ordered and one of the Jaffa let go of Daniel
to release Jack.
anticipation in the room was mounting, as around me Sam and Teal’c
tensed, but Heru’ur, seeing his goal in sight, was focused only
Jaffa unclasped the manacles and Jack slumped to his knees on
the ground. His arms hung bloodied and useless at his side.
Jaffa gave him a moment but when Jack made no effort to rise he
tried to haul him up by the arm.
When this just resulted in Jack hanging awkwardly in his
grip, he reached both hands down and took the Colonel under the
was what Jack was waiting for and in a mirror of the move he had
used earlier, he surged up slamming his head into the guard’s
before the Jaffa had hit the floor Jack was moving. He kicked the guard’s zat towards Teal’c and
threw himself at Heru’ur.
was wrestling with the Jaffa who held him, tangling his hands
up with the Horus guard to prevent him getting a shot off.
was stretched as far as he could reach, his own wrists bleeding
and raw from struggling with the chains holding him, grasping
for the zat.
slammed into Heru’ur, his momentum carrying them both to the ground. They rolled over and over, before the Goa’uld
gathered his strength and flung Jack backwards across the cell. Jack slammed into the wall and landed hard.
He didn’t get up.
was a yell from outside and the door opened to admit half a dozen
Jaffa who had obviously overheard the disturbance.
They milled just inside the entrance way, hesitating to
fire into the melee. Their hesitation was fatal. With a roar and a last desperate stretch Teal’c
managed to snare the zat and fired into the doorway, concentrating
on keeping the numbers of Jaffa in the room down.
came to his feet with a roar of his own and eyes only for Jack. I screamed, “Colonel, look out!”
action was more practical. She
threw herself full length on the floor, tangling her legs with
those of the system lord. Heru’ur
managed to get to his knees and with a grunt of agony raised his
arms up and clubbed them down on Heru’ur’s head.
The Goa’uld staggered backwards, stunned, and as Jack scrambled
out of the way two shots from Teal’c’s zat dropped him.
threw himself sideways on the floor as far as his chains would
allow, aiming for a third and undeniably final shot at the system
lord but one of his Jaffa leapt into the line of fire, and as
Teal’c took him down, the surviving Jaffa hauled Heru’ur’s body
out of the room and away.
the whirlwind of activity of the last few minutes the sudden silence
himself to his knees once more, Jack looked around. When his eyes fixed on Daniel, standing over
the unconscious form of his Jaffa guard, he managed a ghostly
smile. “Way to go, Danny,” he whispered and then passed
7 of 13 – see Part 0 for warnings etc.
night about 2300, the Colonel started to show some signs of awareness,
fidgeting, tossing his head.
said it was an encouraging sign and sure enough, half an hour
ago he opened his eyes. He
recognized us, before falling back asleep.
not out of the woods yet but this is a great sign!
16 days after we escaped, O’Neill finally stayed awake long enough
to talk to us.
is very weak, but getting better.
For the first time since we were captured, I saw Samantha
Carter smile and some of the simmering fury Daniel Jackson has
been carrying around seemed to dissipate.
Jackson and Samantha Carter crowded in when O’Neill opened his
eyes and I saw him check them over, as he does whenever they have
been out of his sight for any length of time.
his eyes resumed their wandering around the infirmary. They settled on Dr Fraiser, pausing this time
to give her the same scrutiny, before moving on again. Next, they settled on me, behind the others
at the back of the room.
a voice hoarse from disuse, O’Neill asked, “Teal’c, you okay,
am fine, O’Neill.” I stepped
forward to prove it and he subjected me to the same scrutiny as
he had the others.
he let his eyes slide closed.
O’Neill, how are you feeling?” Dr Fraiser asked, fighting her
way past Samantha Carter and Daniel Jackson to see for herself.
But O’Neill was already asleep.
just been reading over the preceding entries.
Even Teal’c sounded jubilant.
was 3 days ago. Jack came
out of his coma and it felt like everything would be alright again. I even relaxed enough to sleep for six hours
straight without waking screaming.
I did wake it was to the wonderful sounds of grumpy Jack. “For crying out loud, Daniel, go find your own
bed” were his exact words, but they sounded as sweet as poetry
Jack, how you feeling?”
drank in the sight of him, needing something to replace the visions
in my mind’s eye of the bloody figure hanging in chains in Heru’ur’s
Ha'tak, or the too still form that has been lying here in the
infirmary the last two weeks.
only realized I was staring when Jack said,
“What? Do I have
food in my teeth or something?”
I couldn’t help myself. I laughed. Normally,
I do my best not to laugh at Jack’s jokes. He finds himself altogether too amusing as it
is. But this was a feeling
of pure, sweet relief.
watched me for a moment with a kind of tolerant amusement, then
pushed the sheet down the bed, away from his body.
quickly turned to alarm. “Jack
what are you doing?”
with the same gentle amusement Jack said, “Relax, Daniel, I’m
not going anywhere. It’s
just hot in here.”
from relaxing, I felt the alarm turn into a tingle of fear. The infirmary was its usual steady 70 degrees.
It’s always been a little too cool for a kid who grew up
in Egypt; it certainly wasn’t hot.
it’s not hot. You must
have a temperature. Let
me call Janet.”
“No. Absolutely not.” Jack made a futile grab for me and ended up
twisting several of the lines running out of his body.
was cursing like a … well, like a trooper when Janet arrived and
I saw her bite her lip to keep from laughing.
just lie still and let me sort this out, sir,” she ordered. (I’ve noticed that in the infirmary rank means
nothing to Janet. She bosses
everyone, from General Hammond down.)
took it in his usual ill tempered way.
“Ah for crying out loud Doc, what the hell is all this
stuff anyway? Have you
been using me as a damned practice dummy for your sadistic, vampiric,
one’s ever suggested you’re a PRACTICE dummy, sir,” she said straight
faced, as she sorted out the lines and reset the various alarms
that Jack’s antics had set off.
turned the full strength of his Colonel-Glare on her, which I
have to say comes pretty close to the Janet-Death-Glare for effectiveness,
but Janet was unmoved.
banter left her as she gently laid her hand on his forehead. “Feels like you’re running a bit of a temperature.
How do you feel?”
feel fine.” Jack growled
his standard answer, fingers playing with the material of the
blanket, his eyes avoiding hers.
knew the signs as well as I did.
“Sir, I need to know how you feel.
You’ve been very sick.
We want to keep you awake and with us now.”
harrumphed, but brought his eyes up to meet hers. He hates not being at his best, hates any admission
of weakness. “I feel like shit, okay.
I’m hot, my back aches, my legs ache, my chest aches and
the New York Symphony Orchestra percussion section have taken
up residence in my head.”
I felt obliged to protest on Janet’s behalf but the doctor is
one of the few people in the world Jack O’Neill has always been
completely unable to intimidate.
stood at his side taking his temperature, his pulse, his BP, calmly
starting over when Jack lost patience and shoved her instruments
you don’t have to sit through this,” Jack began.
I insisted, not prepared to let him out of my sight.
“Don’t. Why don’t you go check on Kawalsky.”
felt ice trickle down my spine, a terrible shiver of dread. Desperately, I glanced across at Janet only
to see that her hands had stilled on the blood pressure pump.
caught my reaction. “What? What is it?”
Jack…. Kawalsky isn’t here.”
I was being regarded as if I were a bizarre and slightly dangerous
escapee from a mental institution.
It’s a look I’ve gotten very used to over the years.
“Well of course he isn’t Danny, since by my reckoning he’s
been dead for going on two years now.”
you just told me to go get him!”
“Uh-uh. No way. Did
you did too.”
please!” Jack jumped like
he’d forgotten Janet was there, then turned and gave her a glare
as if everything was her fault.
don’t you stop sticking things in me and on me and go check the
heating, solve the real problem,” he growled, pushing her away
have a fever , Colonel, and your lungs sound congested. Lean forward for me please.” Politeness in the face of obstreperous rudeness.
The lady is a saint.
Jack leant forward while Janet placed the stethoscope on his back.
deeply for me, Colonel,” she instructed.
Moved the stethoscope.
“Again.” She frowned
in annoyance when there was no response.
time a trace of worry crept into her voice.
“Jack?” She gently
touched his shoulder.
help me lay him back down.” We
laid Jack back in the bed.
OF PART ONE.
The Journal – Part Two
8 of 13. See part 0 for
La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La La
La La La La La La La La La La…………………….
very mature, Doctor Jackson!
been 36 hours now since we were released from detention and we’ve
been allowed in to see the Colonel again at last.
Dr MacKenzie has been selling this whole Journal thing
to the General. He wanted to make it a condition of seeing the
Colonel that we write an entry.
The General, bless him, has not been prepared to go that
far, but has "strongly encouraged" us to make use of
the journal whenever we visit the Colonel.
have to say that I don’t think “la, la, la” was what he had in
you wouldn’t would you Major Yes-Sir-No-Sir-I-Obey-Your-Every-Command-Sir-Goody-Two-Shoes
Carter! God, do you ever loosen up?
know what Daniel…………………….
just had a really bad attack.
He started coughing and the coughing aggravated the broken
ribs and the cheek fracture and then he was wheezing and panting
and he couldn’t get enough oxygen. God, Daniel, he was in so much pain.
pushed me out of ICU and I don’t know what’s going on and I’m
so scared. Daniel, what if………?
please don’t do this. Oh
please, please, don’t let this happen.
sitting here, so scared, I realize how stupid the rant I was about
to go on was. I’m sorry. Really sorry.
is asleep with her head in my lap.
We’ve been waiting outside the infirmary for about 4 hours
now for news on Jack. I think it’s the first time Sam has slept in
finally told her I was sorry for being such an ass and she apologized
to me and we’re talking again.
Maybe that allowed her to relax enough to grab a nap or
maybe she just couldn’t hold off the exhaustion by force of will
is still sitting in the corner saying nothing but radiating quiet
all came to a head shortly after Jack collapsed. He had a fever, Janet said and the beginnings
of an infection. She also
thought he might have developed pneumonia.
snapped at her, demanding to know what the hell kind of doctor
she was not to have noticed any of this.
I asked her why the hell she didn't just go home for all
the good she'd done Jack here and on Errinious.
Sam walked in just in time to witness my display and told
me I was out of order and should back off.
was terrified and guilty and, like Janet says, I lashed out. “Who the hell are you to be giving orders, Sam,
in command until Colonel O’Neill recovers, Daniel, and…”
didn’t even let her finish, “Oh so you have some orders at last
do you?” It was vicious and uncalled for, not to mention
unjustified and I saw Sam’s eyes widen in surprised hurt. I want to make it clear that I was using Sam's
own feelings against her. Using
the journal against her; wonder what MacKenzie would say about
that. Personally, I think Sam always goes above and
beyond in doing what needs to be done, exactly when it needs to
be done. The fact that we all so often did nothing on
Errinious was because there wasn't a damn thing any of us could
do. What was it you said, Teal'c, choiceless?
knew I didn't mean what I said and was quick to leap to Sam's
defence. “Daniel, you don’t mean that.”
there was no stopping me at that stage.
All the guilt and rage I’d been feeling since we ran into
Heru’ur on that damned planet, since I watched him murder four
innocent farmers who didn't even know what a Goa'uld was, since
I stood and allowed my best friend to be tortured, was demanding
expression. I was so sick
of feeling responsible. I
didn’t want to hear Jack’s screams in my ears any more, even when
I was awake.
guess I just wanted Sam and Janet to hurt like I was.
I let fly. “Why don’t you
keep your attention on your patient, DOCTOR, before you miss another
life threatening condition.”
jerked like I’d struck her, but you don’t often walk away unscathed
from an attack on Janet Fraiser, as Jack would be only too able
to attest. She drew herself up to what was somehow an intimidating
5 foot 4 inches and spat in my face. “Get out of my infirmary. Now!”
reached out and grabbed my arm.
“Come on Daniel, let’s go.”
furious I shrugged her off and, not satisfied with that, I turned
and pushed her.
I still can’t believe I did that - if you’d asked me a few weeks
ago if I’d been capable of shoving someone, anyone, in the whole
SGC in anger, let alone Sam, I would have thought you were mad.
obviously thought the same because, although the push wasn’t hard,
it caught her completely off balance and she fell back against
the chair beside Jack’s bed. She
flailed out trying to keep her balance and brought Jack’s IV pole
crashing down. There was a shattering crash and then the floor
was covered in Sam, glass, IV fluids and replacement blood or
whatever the red stuff was they were still pumping into Jack.
stood locked in place, unable to believe what I’d done and as
Janet came tearing around the bed to check on Jack, who lay unconscious
in the middle of all this, she shoved me aside and I slipped in
the mess on the floor.
would have been comic, I’m sure, if it wasn’t so absolutely appalling. I toppled over and landed sprawled on top of
shoved me hard and drew back her fist and, what is it they say
about twenty impossible thing before breakfast, I think she really
would have hit me if a massive roar hadn’t sounded around the
infirmary. Even as I watched her hand balling up into a
fist, saw her eyes go flat and cold, I realized that in my total
self absorption over the past few weeks I had completely underestimated
the rage Sam was carrying around as a result of this disastrous
somebody please tell me what the HELL is going on here?” You’ve got to give it to Hammond. He really knows how to get the attention of
unclenched her fist and we scrambled to our feet.
The General turned to Sam and I felt the blood begin to boil again
watching the old military dance.
are you asking her?” I demanded, wincing at how petulant I sounded.
Sam, I’m serious, I…”
it!” I’d never seen Janet
really lose her temper before and I sure as hell don’t want to
see it again. “Get them both out of here! Lock them up, send them home, court martial
them, I don’t care, just get them out!”
General took one bewildered look at the disaster that was the
infirmary, met the blazing eyes of his CMO and gestured to a couple
of SF’s. “Escort Dr Jackson and Major Carter to the holding
that’s where we sat for six long hours.
Sam ignored me and although remorse was eating away at
my insides, it didn’t quite manage to overpower the petulant child
who was sick to hell of feeling guilty and sure as hell wasn’t
about to accept something else to feel guilty for.
the end of that time, Hammond came in to see us and his glare
was enough to make even me come to attention.
going to speak and you will listen, without interruption.” His blue eyes stared first into mine and then
have never in my life witnessed behaviour like I saw today. I know you are under enormous stress and I know
you are worried about Colonel O’Neill.
That is the only reason you are not both out of the SGC
will not ever strike a fellow member of this command.”
must have opened her mouth or blinked or something because Hammond
shot a furious glare at her. “You
may not have actually struck Dr Jackson, Major, but I think we
both know that is more due to timing than restraint.
either of you even think about what could have happened if a piece
of glass had hit Colonel O’Neill, if you had knocked him out of
his bed in his condition?”
silent, Dr Jackson, it was a rhetorical question. I think it’s quite clear that neither of you
were thinking at all. I
don’t even want to think what Colonel O’Neill will have to say
to the two of you when he awakens.”
I almost smiled then, even through my utter mortification.
When, not if. God
bless you General for your absolute faith that the Colonel will
spoken to Dr MacKenzie and to Dr Fraiser and here is what is going
to happen. You will both
return to your quarters. You
are confined there for 24 hours.
After that you may return to your duties.
I have convinced Dr Fraiser not to ban you from the infirmary,
although it was a close run thing for a while there.
Dr MacKenzie is convinced the journal continues to be a
valid therapeutic tool so I would ask you to continue writing
in it, however, I will not make that an order. I do strongly encourage you to make use of the
journal while visiting the infirmary – and believe me, you would
do well to stay on my good side at the moment.
there will never be another display like this morning’s again. You will behave like grown adults. Major Carter I expect you to act with decorum
and restraint appropriate to your rank as an officer in the United
States Air Force. Dr Jackson,
you have certain liberties as a civilian.
They do NOT extend to physical or verbal abuse.”
General turned to leave and I realized I was sweating and had
been holding my breath. God,
if these were the lectures Jack was getting every time he defied
the General he was a braver man than me.
sir…” Sam’s voice was very
unconscious and in a critical condition.
I’m not keeping you out of the infirmary for the next 24
hours as punishment, Major. The
Colonel has pneumonia and a bad infection.
The doctor is keeping him isolated while she tries to treat
that was it. It all sounds
so childish and petty now. I’ll
apologize in person, Janet, but if you read this first please
know how sorry I am. You’ve saved all of our lives more times than
I can count and I know you are doing everything you can for Jack. There’s no one I, or he, would rather have looking
not an excuse, it’s just I’m scared, you know?
too, Daniel. Me too.
apology accepted by the way. This
journal is meant to help us express our feelings rather than keeping
them all locked up. I guess
we’ve done that now, huh? I’m
doing everything I can for Jack, Daniel.
If I thought there was anyone who could do more I would
call them in in a heartbeat.
those years in med school, as an intern, a resident and still
we’re dancing in the dark so much of the time.
pneumonia is common in emergency medicine, brought on by the shallow
breathing and horizontal position of an unconscious patient -
exacerbated in this case by the cold and damp from lying all those
hours on the floor in the cave on the planet.
the pneumonia weakens the body that little bit more and the antibiotics
that were managing to keep the infection at bay suddenly aren’t
enough any more and infection bites.
it’s fever, sweats, spreading infection and pneumonia and not
a damn thing you can do about any of it except dose the patient
with a cocktail of drugs and hope like hell he’s got the strength
to fight the fight one more time.
lashed out at you Daniel, when I should have seen that you were
just hurting and scared. I’m
too close this time. It’s
bad whenever Jack is hurt, whenever any of you are, but this time,
having seen what Jack went through just to make it to the infirmary
- it’s so desperately personal. I can’t let him down.
quiet now, finally getting some rest from the coughing fits that
aggravate his injuries and leave him so exhausted.
His skin has a fever flush on it and I’ll just stay close
by with this cool cloth, doing what I can to ease his suffering.
writing in this journal is therapeutic after all. It blocks out the flashbacks for a little while
at least. You’re not alone
in hearing the echoes of those terrible screams, Daniel.
the Jaffa retreated in a protective circle around their fallen
God - and how do they reconcile that by the way?
Fallen = fallible. God
= infallible. Fallen God - hmm? Although, I guess the whole rising out of the
sarcophagus thing is pretty impressive.
Anyway, as they retreated, I rushed to help Jack who had
started to come around almost immediately.
let me get close to him which made me think his injuries were
even worse than I had feared, but then I looked into his bleary,
unfocused gaze and realized that he probably didn’t have a clue
where he was or who I was. Given the blow to the head, his earlier encounter
with the hand device, the fact that I had lost count of the number
of times he had lost consciousness in the horrific hours since
we had been captured and the pain he had to be feeling it wasn’t
hesitated for a moment, not sure where to start. Cheekbone to make sure there wasn’t a fracture
pressing on the brain or that could cause permanent damage to
his vision? Shoulder to
make sure there was no bleeding?
Abdomen to check for busted ribs or internal bleeding?
Head? Knees? Check
Daniel’s job on his fractured fingers?
decided to start with the standard checks for concussion and work
from there. The dazed and
out of focus look in Jack’s eyes wasn’t a good sign.
I found myself wishing for my penlight.
grabbed Jack’s wandering head and forced him to look at me. “Look here please, sir.”
we must move. Once Heru’ur
revives we will be pursued.”
looked around me, obviously trying to make his eyes focus on Teal’c. There was a half second pause as I worried about
his mental function and then he shook his head and shoved my hand
out of the way. “Let’s
go. Carter, check the door. Teal’c, give me a hand?”
was a discernible rise in the energy levels in the room as Jack
found his command voice, albeit a somewhat husky version.
you can’t go anywhere in this condition,” I said, still on my
knees in front of him.
ignored me, reaching past my face for Teal’c’s hand. Effortlessly, Teal’c pulled him to his feet.
felt a brief surge of serves-you-right satisfaction as he swayed
and would have fallen if not for Teal’c’s support.
Then I looked at the determination that shone through,
obvious even past the pain lined, ashen face and I thought of
all this man had endured in the endless hours we had been here
and shame washed through me.
climbed to my feet, ignoring the groan of not-so-young knees that
hadn’t liked their long sojourn on the hard cell floor.
God, if my knees were aching I could only imagine what
the Colonel must be going through.
“Jack, please…” I tried my we’re-friends-as-well-as-doctor-and-patient
voice, but he wasn’t having any of it.
a not so subtle reminder that I was soldier as well as doctor
this time out, “we don’t have a whole lotta choice here.
If we don’t make it to the Gate before Heru’ur revives
and sends his Jaffa, this little discussion is going to be academic. Now, let’s move. Carter, take point. Teal’c watch our six. Doc, Daniel, you’re with me.”
was a brief scramble as Carter and Teal’c gathered weapons from
the fallen Jaffa. Shortly
everyone held zats and Teal’c carried a staff weapon as well.
Then we were off. We
darted and skulked our way through myriads of golden passageways,
tightly hugging the walls and slipping into empty rooms to avoid
being seen. I have no idea how Sam knew the way, but she
heart was once again trying to escape through my breastbone. This kind of fear and stress was unacceptable,
unsustainable. I found
myself thinking that if I survived this mission I was going to
be taking a hell of a different view of post-mission physicals.
That is, after I made an appointment to see my hairdresser
- I was pretty sure I must have turned entirely gray in the last
was drawn out of my reverie by a stifled moan from beside me. The Colonel was leaning heavily on Daniel.
He was obviously finding keeping up to be hard work.
As I looked across at him he turned his head and levelled
me with a hard ass macho Colonel glare that just dared me to open
my mouth. I was chagrined
to realize it was as effective on me as on the rawest new recruit.
I had my mouth shut and eyes forward before realizing I
had made any kind of conscious decision.
we made it through the Ha'tak without bumping into any Jaffa. Daniel told me they weren’t great at acting
without orders and when Heru’ur revived they’d be after us in
very last obstacle was the two Jaffa guarding the exit, or actually
the entrance, to the vessel. Sam
took them out matter-of-factly, barely even pausing, like it was
something she did every day, which I realized with a shock, she
more or less did. We’re friends Sam and I. Women in a man’s world. Yes, yes, I know feminist claptrap. Sam’s
been lucky serving with the General and SG1, not a sexist bone
in their combined bodies. But
let’s face it, the armed forces generally still have a long way
to go before equality is the status quo.
Anyway, I know Sam’s brilliant, I know she knows more about
the Stargate than anyone alive. She’s pretty much single handedly saved the
planet with her ideas a couple of times now.
I know Jack, Daniel and Teal’c respect the hell out of
her, but I guess I kind of forgot that she’s also a damn fine
front line soldier too. After four years with Jack O’Neill that shouldn’t
surprise me, I just never think of her like that. Yet another adjustment required to my thinking.
See what I mean about this journal not being good for my
with the guards out of the way we were out of the Ha'tak, into
the woods and on our way to the Gate.
nightmare, however, was not over.
Jack was all but out on his feet.
His breathing had degenerated into harsh sobs that tore
at my heart. I saw Daniel flinching at the awful sound too.
The Colonel’s eyes were closed more often than not and
when they were open they were fixed on some spot far in the distance.
had one arm over Daniel’s shoulder and one over Teal’c’s and the
only reason he wasn’t hollering his agony out into the forest
was because he was biting down on his bottom lip hard enough to
was staggering along slightly ahead of them, casting glances backwards
in between trying to avoid tripping over the vines and deadwood
lining the forest floor. On
one glance my eye caught a flash of bright red on the Colonel’s
hand and as I watched it dripped to the forest floor.
It was the proverbial final straw.
voice was strident, stress and fear making it come out louder
and angrier than I had intended.
Sam, Teal’c and Daniel jarred to a halt and stared at me
the sudden silence the only sound was Jack’s strained breathing.
were about two miles from Heru’ur’s Ha'tak, in a fairly thickly
wooded area. The trees
towered over us, creating a dim twilight world.
an effort to lower my voice, I addressed Sam.
“I need to check on the Colonel.”
we need to keep going…”
“No. Sam, I need two minutes. The Colonel is bleeding again, look at him he
needs to catch his breath…”
Fraiser, there is no time,” said Teal’c.
at him.” I pointed at Jack
who had slumped against a tree, his arms clutched tight to his
waist, his eyes clenched shut, sweat beaded on his face and his
teeth gnawing at his bottom lip in an obvious attempt to silence
his pain. “If you don’t
let me do what I can for him now he’s not going to make it to
was a moment as the three members of SG1 took in the condition
of their CO. Then Sam gave
a brief nod. “Two minutes.
Teal’c keep an eye out for pursuit.”
“No.” The voice was low and weak, a shadow of its
usual self. “I’m fine. Let’s keep going.”
knelt down next to Jack and gently touched his cheek. “Let Janet have a look at you, Sir.”
need to keep moving.”
minutes, sir, then we’ll move again.”
Major?” he growled and she smiled softly.
“Yessir.” The affection was genuine. She climbed to her feet and saw me watching.
“Two minutes, Janet. Daniel, stay with them. I’m going to scout ahead.”
knelt down to get my first good look at my patient.
eyes met mine and while the pain in them made me flinch, at least
they were focused and had lost the bleary, dazed look of earlier. He was still sufficiently out of things to have
me concerned though. Daniel
and I helped him slide down to the ground with his back against
a tree. His eyes slid closed, but he jerked them open
when I gently grasped him under the chin.
my finger, sir.” With a
somewhat wobbly start, he did.
I held up three fingers he said,
“Three. Jack O’Neill. Chicago. 2000.”
Smartass. Like it was my fault he’d been concussed so
often he knew the tests off by heart.
Still, the responses were a very good sign.
would think you’d been through this before, Colonel.”
his eyes still on mine, I reached out and gently touched his cheekbone. The bruising hadn’t really come out yet but
it was red and hot to the touch.
He flinched away as if my gentle touch had been a right
hook from Teal’c.
dammit! 20 billion bloody
light years from the infirmary and you still find ways to torture
Torture. Great word, Colonel. Thanks for bringing that up after what we’ve
all been forced to live through today.
Thanks for the comparison.
noticed my reaction, of course, even as injured as he was, and
wearily lifted his right hand in what I chose to take as an apologetic
your vision, sir?”
fine. Peachy.” His eyes wandered away from mine as he answered.
Jack O’Neill can lie with the best of them if he has to,
but his heart wasn’t in it this time and the evasion was obvious.
this is important. I have
no instruments here and I don’t have time for our usual game of
outguess the macho colonel. I
need you to tell me the truth.”
a little blurry,” he finally muttered, “kind of foggy at the edges.”
OK. That explained the wobbly response to the concussion
"follow my finger" test.
With relief, I finally ruled out any serious brain damage. “I think you have a moderate concussion and
a fractured cheekbone, sir. There’s
a bit of swelling. It should
get better once we get back to the SGC and your eyesight should
come back at the same time.”
wanted to look at his shoulder next.
I needed to stop the bleeding or he’d be dead long before
we got to the Gate.
take off your shirt and tear it into strips for me. I want to use it for bandages.” As expected, O’Neill glanced over at his team
mate. Taking advantage
of his distraction I pulled his shirt away from the bloody wound.
“OWWW!” His howl echoed around the forest, bouncing
back off the trees. He
cursed me through gritted teeth.
“What the HELL was that?”
sir. There was no easy
way to do that.”
set about doing what I could for his shoulder, ignoring muttered
threats of reports, demotions and reassignments to Greenland. Using Daniel’s rough and ready bandages I wrapped
the shoulder and then strapped it to his body, using it to immobilize
his arm and provide some support to badly bruised, but thankfully
not broken, ribs.
was shaking by this time, as pale as I had ever seen him and sweating
from the pain. His bravado
had temporarily deserted him and he looked fragile and ill.
rested my palm against his cheek, waiting it out, hating the pain
I was unavoidably causing him.
Finally, he somehow wrestled the pain back under some semblance
of control and nodded at me to continue.
worst, thank God, was over. I
took a quick look at his broken fingers.
They were swollen and ugly – thick sausages, bearing no
resemblance to his normal long, thin, expressive digits.
Daniel’s bandanna was still in place and I decided it would
do more harm than good messing with it at this stage.
heard a rustle from the trees and deduced Sam was coming back. I used my fingers to brush the sweaty hair away
from Jack’s face. “You’re
doing fine, sir. Just hang
nodded, forced his eyes open, stared at me for a long moment before
lifting his glance to stare over my head.
I turned and Sam and Teal’c were back.
“Sir?” Carter looked between O’Neill and I.
go,” he ordered, letting Teal’c haul him to his feet and we were
9 of 13 – see Part 0 for warnings etc.
holding Jack’s hand and it’s like holding on to a radiator. He’s absolutely burning up.
kind of angry at you now, Jack.
You want to blame me for getting us into this whole mess
with Heru’ur and everything that followed - that’s fine.
I’ve already said I’ll accept that.
But the whole single-handed hero thing on the way back
to the Gate - that’s all yours.
I’ve looked at the regs you know and nowhere does it say
you have to throw your life away like that, dammit.
Janet finished her quick patch up job on Jack, we were back to
our flight towards the Gate. I
had Jack’s good arm around my shoulder, my arm around his waist,
trying, futilely, not to hurt his ribs.
his voice was hoarse, speaking was obviously painful for him,
and I shivered as I remembered the terrible, terrible sound of
him screaming. “Danny, when we get back, run a check of Fraiser
against escaped Nazi war criminals, okay. You’ll find a match, I guarantee it.”
let out a snort of laughter, not least because although Janet
was pretending not to listen, the outraged glare she shot at Jack’s
back caused her to trip over a fallen branch.
humor fled a second later when I heard Jack’s involuntary groan
as the path dropped off and his full weight came down on his weak
knee and jarred up through his body.
I could feel him shuddering with the pain.
God, I’m sorry, I…”
Stop. Nothing to be sorry
for, Daniel. Let’s just
get the hell off this planet.”
resumed the trek in silence. It
became a nightmare of feeling Jack’s body tremble beneath my hands,
hearing his harsh breathing and the occasional moan he couldn’t
walked along in a haze of rage and grief, watching as the forest
blurred behind a sheen of tears.
Angrily, I blinked them away.
How the hell had it come to this?
We’d come to this planet to find a cure for cancer and
instead I’d gotten to watch the Goa’uld murder innocent farmers
and torture my best friend, while I could have stopped it but
covered about another five miles, with only a mile or so left
to the Gate when the pursuit began in earnest.
The sound of the horn Heru’ur’s Jaffa used to call to each
other when they were on the hunt echoed through the forest.
We’d come to know the sound well on Cimmeria.
Grimly, Sam upped the pace as much as Jack's condition
would allow. Somehow, God only knows what reserves he drew
on, Jack kept up.
were so close to the Gate I could almost taste the coffee in the
commissary when two death gliders screamed overhead, then two
more and two more again. No
one spoke. It was clear we now had to reckon on the Gate
being heavily protected.
we forged on another dozen
death gliders screamed over our heads, heading for the Gate.
Sam was the first to accept the terrible reality. “Wait! This
isn’t working. We have
to find somewhere to hide.”
Jack needs an infirmary.” Janet’s
protest was immediate.
know! But if we blunder
towards the Gate like this we’re going to end up as the meat in
a Jaffa sandwich. There must be 50 Jaffa at the Gate by now and
God knows how many in the woods behind us.”
caves we explored on the second day,” Teal’c said from behind
it. We’ll hole up there
and reassess at nightfall.” She
cast a glance at Jack who had been unusually quiet throughout
the impromptu strategy session. His head hung low and I was supporting almost
his entire body weight.
we need to go a little further, can you make it?”
dragged his head up then, eyes sunken deep in an ashen face and
rasped out, “Right with
looked doubtful and Janet snorted but there was no option. “Cover our tracks, Teal’c,” Sam ordered, and
once again we were off.
I never want to have to live through anything like that again. If it wasn’t bad enough to have to watch what
Heru’ur did to the Colonel - and it was, oh, it was - I then had
to drag him half a dozen miles through the forest, away
from the Gate.
finally made it to the small cave system Teal’c and I had explored
on our second day on the planet while Jack, Janet and Daniel were
off talking to the Farm Owners.
We’d dismissed the caves as worthless, containing as they
did no useful minerals, no naquadah, nothing of archaeological
significance. If they ended
up saving our lives, I’d write them up in my report as more valuable
than King Solomon’s mine.
inside the entrance, Daniel helped the Colonel to the ground,
while I went to look for a secure hiding place.
By the time I got back he had passed out.
Ugh. Janet keeps coming in with food, trying to make
me eat. At least I guess
it means she’s forgiven me for my little scene with Daniel. I am sorry for that Janet.
just …. you know, this isn’t the first time I’ve sat at the Colonel’s
bedside praying he’ll wake up.
You think that would make it better or easier or something,
wouldn’t you? Knowing what to expect, knowing you’ve gotten
through it before. It doesn’t
though. In fact, each time
it’s worse. You don’t dare to ask the question - what if
this is the time? What
if this time all our luck has run out?
What if this time we left it that little bit too late,
pushed the envelope that little bit too far?
And of course, even while you’re refusing to ask those
questions they’re hammering away at your brain, pecking away at
your resolve, leaving you frayed and fragile and absolutely, soul-numbingly
terrified. Because, Janet, what if this is THAT time?
time we survive one of these close calls - and there have been
far, far too many lately - we become even closer as a team.
And the closer we get, the more unbelievable, unsurvivable,
it becomes to contemplate losing one of us.
If there was ever a time SG1 could have survived the loss
of the Colonel that time is long gone.
object lesson I guess in why the military never lets a team stay
together too long. In a
job as dangerous as ours, it's unfortunately only to be expected
that you will lose people. SG1 though, has never fit into any mold, no
reason to think it would here.
Daniel and Teal’c are not air force, not really the type
of guys that, each for their own reasons, you rotate around.
As a soldier, I could be moved anywhere, but I serve as
much time as a scientist as I do a soldier in the SGC.
And as for Jack, he kind of inherited us by default.
I’ve lost count of the number of times we’d all be dead
if not for his instincts and training.
not a logical fit but somehow we work.
Despite a few… interesting … moments early on.
first encounter with the Colonel is apparently legendary; I still
get invitations to arm wrestle!
Daniel and Teal’c, of course, had plenty of reasons not
to like each other. The weird thing not many people realize is that
even Daniel and I had our own adjustments to make.
day, early in the life of the whole Stargate Program, we had a
day of combat exercises. The
Colonel paired us off, Daniel and I against he and Teal’c.
I was so pissed off. The
Stargate program was a dream come true for me and I desperately
wanted to show my worth. So what happens? Pair the little woman with the geek. I figured this was just an example of my new
chauvinistic anti-intellectual CO taking an opportunity to humiliate
me and show me exactly how unwelcome I was.
and I lost every single exercise - no surprise.
He was hopeless back then.
In one notable exercise he put his gun on top of the wall
while he clambered over and then left it there.
another, we were playing a special ops version of hide and seek. Daniel and I were meant to be covert. We were waiting to ambush the Colonel and Teal’c.
I had hidden us deep in some bushes and we peered through
the foliage as the Colonel entered the kill zone.
the idiot answered!
the end of the day I was covered in red paint, having been a “kill”
a record breaking 25 times. I
was sweaty, tired and filled with a seething rage.
was fiddling with his gear as Daniel and I prepared to leave.
Sam, sorry about…” Daniel
gestured in a way that I took was meant to relate to the whole
pretended to be busy stowing my gear and didn’t answer. I couldn’t see him, but could picture the bewildered
confusion in his eyes. After
a moment he left.
“Captain.” For a moment I thought of ignoring the Colonel
too, but he didn’t allow me the luxury.
He came and sat on the bench beside my locker, making it
impossible to ignore him.
never thought I’d say this, Captain, but I’m disappointed.”
stung. I’d been the best
at everything I did since school and now this misogynist, old
school, outdated hardass was going to stack the odds against me,
match me up with a civilian bloody archaeologist and then tell
me he was disappointed in me. Screw that.
exactly an even contest, sir.”
raised an eyebrow. “Contest? Is that what you think this was?”
Huh? I looked at him but his face was carefully expressionless.
did I say when we did our briefing, Captain?”
it was a…” oh. “A, uh, team building day, sir.”
did you teach Daniel today, Captain?
What did you learn of his strengths and weaknesses? How do you think you can help him fit into a
was red with shame. Apart
from being furious that he’d lost each exercise, I realized I
hadn’t paid much attention to Daniel at all, had barely spoken
to him. He was so much
my equal in the science department that I hadn’t thought how bewildering
what we had done today would be to a civilian. I hadn’t even explained the exercises to him,
had just dragged him along and given him orders which I expected
him to understand and obey as any subordinate would.
Colonel was watching me closely.
He must have seen my mortification for he softened his
tone considerably. “You’re my second in command, Captain. It’s your job to look out for Daniel whenever
I can’t. We’ve neither
of us worked with a civilian in a field unit before.
You need to think how he’s going to react to situations
we encounter and compensate for that.
I won’t have a civilian on the team unless it becomes second
nature to protect him - whatever the damage to your pride.”
looked at O’Neill and, for the first time in our short acquaintance,
saw a man I could be proud to serve under, to learn from, someone
with a lot to teach me about being an air force officer.
understand, sir. Thank
you for the lesson.”
gave me a truly wicked grin. “Hey,
Teal’c and I had a blast.”
you see, maybe even as far back as then, losing the Colonel was
impossible. Now, God help
me, now I can’t even think it.
looks so ill. Feverish
and in pain and…I can’t do this.
remember that day well. O’Neill
and I were measuring each other up.
Judging each other’s skills, seeing how much of what we
did was similar and how much was completely alien.
I was very pleased to see his skills were at least equal
to my own.
was careful, testing how far he could order me as a subordinate,
feeling out whether I was prepared to accept his command.
is easy - I have trained my whole life to obey.
What came as a surprise, maybe to both of us, was friendship.
is my turn to sit with O’Neill now.
He is feverish and keeps pushing away the blankets. He is muttering but the words do not make any
sense. For almost three
weeks now, we and the whole of the SGC have held our breath waiting
for him to recover.
talk to O’Neill, but my voice does not soothe him, he is lost
in pain and delirium.
smooth the blankets, but he kicks them off again.
I gently move aside tubes and wires, lay my hand upon his arm
and try to project calm and peace, a place without pain.
Eventually, my presence communicates itself, or perhaps
it is just exhaustion, but his struggles slow, cease and he falls
back into a peaceful sleep.
small miracle occurred today.
I arrived at the mountain and, as usual, I hurried in to
check on Jack, only this time, to my surprise, I found all three
SG1 team mates gathered around his bed.
is the first time since we got back from the planet, barring brief
moments of crisis, that they’ve
all faced each other. Every
other day when one of them has arrived to visit Jack the person
who was already there has gotten up and left, without making eye
contact, without speaking. This return to the natural order makes me glad.
Maybe we can get past this, maybe this is survivable.
look terrible, gritty eyed and sleep deprived but I don’t have
the heart to send them away, not on this day of breakthroughs. Instead, I retreat to my office. I don’t know if it's this journal or just a
little time and perspective that’s wrought the change but we’ve
come so far, it only seems right to finish the story.
And who knows, like a fairy tale, Jack may awaken just
as we finish the last page.
moved into the cave system. Sam
found a cave way back with a concealed entrance that would hopefully
not be spotted in a Jaffa search.
The opening was narrow and hidden behind an enormous stalagmite.
almost wept with relief when I heard the steady drip of water
in the cave. During our run through the forest I'd managed
to forget my raging thirst, but at that regular plink, plink it came rushing back with a vengeance.
all crowded around and drank our fill, bugs and bacteria be damned. It's not like we could do anything about them
was desperate to get some water into Jack, but he didn’t stir. Our futile run for the Gate had used up all
his reserves. I soaked
my coat sleeve in the pool at the back of the cave and sat by
Jack. Gently, I wrung the sleeve out, letting the
drops fall into his mouth. As
I'd hoped, he swallowed automatically.
I got as much into him as I could.
It was nowhere near enough, but it was a start.
others watched me in gloomy silence.
We'd escaped yet even I, the nominal non-combatant, knew
the situation was desperate. We
had no supplies, no food, no medicine, no sleeping bags, tents
or blankets. All we had was the knife and GDO Heru’ur had
been brandishing, one staff weapon and a zat each.
bundled Jack up as much as we could in our jackets, futilely trying
to keep him warm. Finally,
I had Daniel take him in his arms to try to keep away the chill
from the damp floor.
afternoon and evening passed in an agony of fear and discomfort. Without our jackets we were all cold and we
didn’t dare start a fire. For
a while we had dim light, fed down into the cave through the same
tiny crack the water was following.
However, as the day faded into evening even that small
amount of light disappeared and we found ourselves sitting in
the pitch dark. So impenetrable
was the darkness that even after an hour I still could not make
out my hand in front of my face.
we could hear the horns of Heru’ur’s Jaffa and several times they
came into the cave system. Then
we would all sit and hold our breath.
I don’t know about the others, but I found myself hugging
my knees and rocking back and forth, terrified of being discovered
and dragged back to the Ha'tak, to that awful room.
and Teal’c split the watches between them.
I checked on Jack once an hour, relying on touch to check
his pulse, respirations and to make sure none of his wounds were
bleeding. He woke up long enough to drink some water but
was in and out and I fretted about concussion and the debilitating
effects of shock, blood loss, pain and cold.
or twice I nodded off but the visions of the innocent farmers
being blasted down, of Daniel’s desperate face and of Jack’s screams
sent me lurching awake with a gasp.
third or fourth time this happened, I decided to hell with sleep
and pulled myself up against the cave wall.
The dark was disorienting and I found my eyes straining
desperately seeking some glimmer of light.
In this surreal world Jack’s voice was startling.
Jack,” I heard Daniel respond in that gentle voice he seems to
save just for injured Jack.
holed up in some caves to wait for night.”
I’d gone blind.”
soft huff of laughter. “No. How do you feel?”
thought about getting up to check on Jack, but somehow the darkness
gave their conversation an air of intimacy and I did not want
to intrude. Silly, I know, since Sam and Teal’c were surely
listening as well.
said Jack, and I didn’t need a light to see the dismissive shake
of his head.
and Teal’c waiting for nightfall to check on the Gate?”
was silence then for a long time.
Somewhere far back in the cave I could hear dripping water
but of the four other people I knew shared the cave with me there
wasn’t the slightest hint.
seemed like a very long time before Jack’s voice broke the silence. “Danny, I never wanted you to have to go through
any of that stuff.”
Jack, I… I don’t know what to say.
I’m sorry. I didn’t
know what to do. I didn’t know how to make him stop!”
wasn’t going to stop, Danny, no matter what you did. He enjoyed it too much.”
made a soft sound that could have been disgust or agreement or
both. “Are you going to be okay, he hurt you pretty
fine.” Jack’s answer was
the dismissive response Daniel must have surely expected, but
there was something off in his tone.
I found myself tilting my head and cursing the darkness.
I would have given anything to be able to see the Colonel
just then. So much of what Jack O’Neill says is non-verbal.
have to give Daniel an "A" for effort. The boy never gives up. “You hinted earlier maybe you’ve been through
something like this before. I,
just … if there’s anything I can do … if you want to talk…”
voice trailed away, swallowed up in the blackness. I think he knew how futile his offer was, how
unlikely it was Jack would respond.
enough, the Colonel’s voice came a moment later, a husky whisper. “Let’s just try to get some sleep, huh?”
Colonel has started to have periods of consciousness. He’s pretty out of it most of the time and is
still dangerously ill. Janet
has cautioned us not to get our hopes up but after watching him
pretty much unmoving for best part of three weeks it’s hard not
to be excited by this tiny development.
opened exhausted brown eyes and looked at me this afternoon. Just that, just seeing that proof of life, sent
my heart soaring.
conscious, as Sam says, but fading in and out.
I've warned SG1 not to get excited.
I don’t want to kill good news or be the one to point out
that yes the glass might be half full but it is definitely half
empty as well, it's just … I'm not sure what's going on here.
medical signs are all wrong. If
this really is a recovery Jack's temperature should be coming
down, his lungs should be clearing up, the infection should be
diminishing, he should be more alert.
Only it's not and he's not. His results are all over the place.
his temperature comes down but his white cell count is off. Then his pulse and respirations start to look
better but the fever soars. Then
the fever will drop again for no discernible reason but Jack will
lapse into a state of deep unconsciousness, responding only to
stumped. I've consulted
with Bill Warner, of course, but he has no more idea what's going
on than I do. We've run all kinds of tests. Logic tells us it must be an alien organism
but so far nothing has shown up.
just run another series of exhaustive tests.
In the meantime all we can do is watch and wait.
write in this damn journal of course.
Now I can add impotency to my other shortcomings!
stuck in the cave in the dark.
didn't say anything else and for a long time there was silence. I began to wonder if it was possible to freeze
to death without anyone noticing, wondered if perhaps Sam, Daniel
and Teal'c had already died and I alone was alive and shivering,
waiting for my turn. From
there, I started to imagine the Jaffa eventually finding five
frozen bodies, huddled in the dark – the ignoble end of the most
infamous of the Tauri.
knows where my morbid musings would have gone from there if they
hadn't been interrupted by a hoarse whisper from Sam.
think he's sleeping, Sam," Daniel's response was also a whisper.
"Okay. Teal'c it's the middle of the night outside
now. Let's you and I head
to the Gate and see what the situation is."
Heru'ur has hundreds of men. We
KILLED him, he's never going to give up looking for us." Daniel kept his voice low in deference to the
man sleeping in his arms but it was no less adamant for all that.
I know, dammit! What choice
do we have? We can't afford
to wait here, Jack's too ill and General Hammond won't check on
us for at least 30 more hours.
heard Teal'c stand somewhere off to my left.
spoke again. "Stay
here and keep the noise down.
if we're not back in five hours…" her voice trailed
off. In silence, Daniel
and I listened to the sounds of Sam and Teal'c fumbling their
way to the cave entrance.
I mentioned that all I seem to do these days is wait around? Waiting in that damn cave for Sam and Teal'c.
This interminable wait at Jack's bedside.
tossing and turning with fever now.
I think I prefer it to the terrible stillness of a few
days ago but I'm not sure Jack would.
He has terrible nightmares when he's feverish.
I know he wouldn't want us to invade his privacy by writing
them down here but they are terrible to watch.
have him to myself again for a while.
Sam's been called to the control room, Teal'c's getting
in some much needed Kel-no-reem, seeing Jack like this affects
him more than he's prepared to let on, and Janet's got pre-mission
checks for SG7.
left a bowl of cool water beside Jack's bed.
Every few minutes I place it on his forehead and he moves
blindly towards me, seeking the coolness.
so quiet in the infirmary at the moment.
Distantly, I can hear the sound of Janet and SG7, closer
is the soft beep of the heart monitor, the hiss of oxygen into
the mask covering Jack's face and that's it.
No smart remarks, no clunks, clatters and taps as objects
are lifted, fiddled with, discarded, no sardonic laugh, no reassuring
enormity of what's at stake hits me again.
I can't do this without you Jack.
I really, really can't.
dip the cloth again, wipe the damp, grey hair away from his forehead,
swallow the enormous lump in my throat.
survived over 20 years as a soldier before he met me, not unscathed
it is true, but he hadn't been zatted, frozen, poisoned or snaked. He keeps his past so secret it's difficult to
know what he has been through, but cryptic hints notwithstanding,
I doubt he has ever been tortured while his supposed best friend
stood around and did nothing.
sorry." I finally
say the words out loud. "God
Jack, I'm so, so sorry."
That's all. I can't seem to get any more words out, so I
clutch his hand in mine instead and beg every God I've ever heard
of to spare this brave, heroic man who would never, ever presume
to think he deserved such mercy for himself.
10 of 13 – see Part 0 for warnings etc.
is with Jack now. I want
to go over there so badly. Every
thought, every move I make lately leads me to Jack's bedside.
I don't need Dr MacKenzie's diagnosis to tell me that that
is not normal or healthy behaviour.
Not that I care, actually.
The cure is pretty obvious – Jack wakes up and tells me
to back off and leave him alone. This one time I resist the urge to go over.
Daniel deserves this time alone with the Colonel.
let me turn again to the Journal.
and Teal'c came back about five and a half hours after they'd
left, just as light had begun to filter back into the cave.
Daniel and I were almost out of our minds with worry. The wait had been interminable, getting worse
with each passing minute and Jack had not stirred the entire time,
not even when Daniel gently laid him on the floor and got up to
stretch his muscles and relieve himself, not when I examined him
and not when Daniel slid back to the ground and pulled Jack back
into his arms.
the slightest noise alerted us to our returning team mates. I barely had time to stiffen before the silhouette
of Teal'c loomed out of the weak morning gloom. Sam was right behind him and they both looked
Teal'c are you alright?"
are fine, Daniel Jackson,"
Teal'c replied and Sam just nodded.
each drank thirstily from the pool at the back of the cave before
joining us again.
I asked, as soon as they were seated.
Jack's non-responsiveness was bothering me and my complete
lack of supplies was driving me nuts.
I need to get back to the SGC and soon.
Jaffa have surrounded the Stargate in great numbers," Teal'c reported matter-of-factly.
tilted his head, quizzically.
"And they continue to patrol the forest."
I turned to her, trying not to sound as absolutely desperate as
I undoubtedly was. "We
have to get the Colonel back to the SGC."
know, Janet. We'll head
out again shortly. Teal'c
and I think we can distract enough Jaffa from the Gate to allow
you and Daniel to take out the rest and dial home."
stared at her, aghast. That
was the plan? But what
about… the list of what abouts was so long that I paused
for a moment to decide which to start with. What about the "great numbers" of
Jaffa surrounding the Stargate?
What about the Jaffa patrolling the forest?
What about being outnumbered and outgunned and doing exactly
what our enemy expects? What
about the fact that one of our team mates is unconscious, severely
curtailing our "stealth" capabilities?
What about how Sam and Teal'c get back to the Gate after
list was endless. Hysteria
bubbled just below the surface.
"Sam," I said, paused, swallowed, tried again.
I managed any more than that there was another sound.
a moment we all froze, unsure where the low voice had come from.
Sam looked down, and, following suit, I saw that Jack was awake. He looked ghastly, but he was awake.
can't do that, Colonel."
what you are planning is suicide."
have no choice, sir."
we do. Wait. Hammond will call in what? Two days? Less?
We'll use the time to get ready, use the distraction."
sir. Even if we could hide
out for another two days you don't have that long, Colonel and
you know it."
respect, sir, bullshit."
blinked. Grinned a little. He pushed against the ground trying to get into
a sitting position.
"Dammit. Shit. Oww."
"Jack. Stop. Stop.
Let me help you." Daniel sitting behind Jack, grasped him under
the arms and pulled him upright so he was sitting between Daniel's
legs, back leaning against Daniel's chest.
Jack looked disgusted with the position but was too weak
to do anything about it.
took a moment to catch his breath then, looking up at Carter,
patted the ground beside him.
sank down next to him, legs crossed.
was unusually silent, sensing perhaps as I did, that this was
properly a private conversation between Jack and Sam.
you need to think of the whole team here."
"No. You're not.
The plan you proposed is suicide for you and Teal'c and
probably for Daniel and the Doc as well."
our only choice."
odds are impossible. How
many Jaffa do you think he has stationed around the Gate?
50? 100? With cannon? Death gliders?"
70 Jaffa and two death gliders, O'Neill," Teal'c replied.
looked at Teal'c assessingly, to see if he was joking. Obviously deciding he wasn't, Jack groused,
"dammit how long have I been out?"
eight hours, sir," I replied and Jack swung his head my way,
eyes wide with surprise, before shaking his head.
Carter, SG1's good but even we can't take 70 Jaffa."
have no choice but to try, Colonel."
sir. I will NOT sit here
and watch you die."
try to tell me you'll be fi… what?"
Flabbergasted, Sam floundered to a stop.
you have to think about the good of the whole team. You want to get me back to the infirmary and
for once I appreciate that, I really do.
But you can't sacrifice everyone for that end. You're also responsible for Daniel, the Doc,
Teal'c and yourself. Stand
down, Major, that's an order."
glared at Jack. Tried one
last tactic. "You're
not fit to command right now, Colonel."
Oooh. That earned a searing glare from Jack. The kind that cause junior officers to spontaneously
combust. "And if you're
prepared to sacrifice the whole team to get me back through the
Gate, then neither are you, Major!"
looked like she'd been slapped.
I'm not sure where things would have gone if we hadn't
heard a sudden clink of metal on metal.
froze, not moving, barely breathing.
After a moment, Teal'c moved silently to his feet, hauled
Jack up with him and leant the Colonel against the wall nearest
the cave opening so the light would not illuminate them unless
the Jaffa came all the way into the cavern.
He placed his body between Jack and the entrance.
gestured Daniel and I with her to the opposite side of the opening
where we copied Teal'c's position.
couldn't see anything with Sam and Daniel between me and the cave
opening but once again my heart was thumping in terror and the
sour taste of adrenalin flooded my mouth.
a moment the light in the cave got even brighter and I heard the
clatter of metal clad feet and a mutter of conversation.
I could see Daniel clutching his zat, fingers clenching
and unclenching around the trigger.
I could only see Sam's back but she was rigid and poised,
her muscles tense beneath her black t-shirt.
stood frozen for long enough for my thighs to cramp – ten minutes,
thirty minutes, an eternity? The tramping of feet got louder and
we heard more words spoken in Goa'uld before both the light and
the voices receded into the distance.
was another minute or two before Teal'c's voice, hushed, called
to me. "Doctor Fraiser, I require your assistance."
unlocked my cramped thighs and I was across the cave and at Jack's
side before I'd made any conscious decision to move.
was leaning heavily against the wall, supported by Teal'c's arm
across his chest. As I
got there Teal'c lifted his hand to show me a bloody palm.
regret that in lifting the Colonel I have reopened his wound,"
Teal'c said. He looked
than the alternative, big guy,"
Jack murmured. I
was glad to see he was still conscious, if barely.
down, Colonel," I ordered.
I could have saved my breath.
He'd have been on his ass already if not for Teal'c's grip.
Teal'c and I helped Jack in what was really a controlled slide
to the floor. I bent down
to examine him, disturbed when he didn't resist me.
was right, the shoulder wound had begun to bleed again – blood
the Colonel could not afford to lose.
His vitals were equally disturbing.
A quick examination revealed sluggish reflexes, rapid pulse,
clammy skin. He eyes when they met mine were tight with pain.
wanted to be able to do something, cursed the damn Goa'uld who,
in taking our gear, had removed everything that would have let
me help Jack, right down to the last Tylenol.
did what I could to stop the bleeding, feeling as cruel as Heru'ur
when I felt him involuntarily shuddering away from my touch.
finished the little I could do then stayed crouched in front of
him, my hand on his arm, as he struggled to regain his composure. "That's it, sir. Try to relax."
snorted, gave me a patented O'Neill are-you-out-of-your-cotton-picking-mind
look, but didn't respond. Instead,
he looked past me to where Sam and Teal'c were conferring towards
the back of the cave.
voice was whisper thin. If
there had been any other sound in the cave it would have been
lost. "Major, Teal'c, over here. You too, Daniel. Stay there, Doc," he added, when I started
to pull away. Obediently,
we gathered around him in a circle on the damp floor.
let's brainstorm this. We
need to overcome 70 Jaffa. How
do we do that?"
do not have enough numbers or sufficient ammunition to successfully
launch an attack," Teal'c said, glancing apologetically at
Sam as he did so.
need a distraction," Sam said.
"Right. The obvious distraction is General Hammond dialling
up but he isn't due to call in and we can't contact him without
getting to the Gate … which, if we could do, we wouldn't need
to … contact him that is," Daniel trailed off.
said, Daniel," Jack muttered.
"So, another distraction then."
Jaffa are likely to have been warned to expect subterfuge, O'Neill. They will know our only way off the planet is
through the Stargate. They
will be alert for anything aimed at drawing them away."
our only way off the planet," Daniel said suddenly.
do you mean?" Sam and I spoke together.
Heru'ur has a ship, right?"
collapsed visibly. "Heru'ur's
Ha'tak is the only place on the planet more heavily guarded than
the Stargate. We have a
grand total of 5 zats, a staff weapon and a knife."
She shuddered on the last word and I sympathised. Even then, I knew the visions of what Heru'ur
had done to Jack would not be easily banished.
said Daniel defensively, "I'm just trying to cover all the
well, taking the Ha'tak is not one of them." The pressure was obviously getting to Sam.
was silence for a moment and I shifted on the cold cave floor,
trying to relieve the numbness in my butt, trying to be the one
who came up with the brilliant solution that got us all home safely.
The thing was, I couldn't seem to think beyond a gnawing
sense of urgency, desperation to get out of here, desperation
to get Jack home before the inevitable infection really set in.
I would be fighting a losing battle from then on and it
was unlikely to be a long one.
if hearing me, Jack let out a hacking cough, clutching at his
about death gliders?" Daniel didn't sound like he thought
this was really a solution.
agreed. "We can't
escape in death gliders. They
don't have the range to get us to the nearest planet with a Stargate
and, even if they did, it would take too long.
Besides, Heru'ur would send others after us and shoot us
all sat in gloomy silence after that.
regret that I cannot think of any distraction that is likely to
draw sufficient guards away from the Stargate," Teal'c finally
again. This time it was
Jack who broke it, with a fit of heavy coughing.
He bent at the waist, one hand clutching his head, one
wrapped around his ribs, as if he couldn't decide which hurt more.
I put my hand on his back, trying to give him some support. The coughing fit ended and Jack sucked in a
harsh, sobbing breath. "Shit. God dammit."
were all silent, reduced once again to helpless spectators of
Jack's suffering. Surreptitiously,
I wiped at my eyes.
think my earlier plan is the best option, sir.
I know it's not perfect…"
Sam trailed off, waiting for Jack to renew his earlier
didn't even seem to hear her.
He was staring at the far wall of the cave.
"Death gliders," he said, giving the words great
"Jack?" When there was no response Daniel waved his
hand in front of O'Neill's face.
Oh, sorry, Daniel." Jack
snapped his gaze back to the present, carefully shifted his body
so he was facing Teal'c. "You
said there were gliders at the Stargate?"
can't escape in death gliders, Colonel,"
Sam repeated, speaking kindly as though to a simple child.
you already pointed out, Carter.
No escape except through the Stargate.
No viable distraction.
What does that leave?"
said Teal'c, "except we are heavily outnumbered and outgunned.
if we add two death gliders to our arsenal we're not!" Sam had suddenly seen where the Colonel was
leading us, and, typically, had jumped ahead.
beamed at her like a proud father … or well, actually, like a
about the 70 Jaffa? Aren't
they still a problem? The
death gliders are at the Gate you said."
Daniel. But their attention
will be on us trying for the Gate.
We can even mount a fake attempt to charge the Gate.
If we do it right, they'll be so busy countering that,
they won't notice the gliders are gone until it's too late."
was still confused. "I
thought we decided the gliders wouldn’t help us."
is true they will not help us escape, Doctor Fraiser. However, they will assist us in removing 70
Horus guards standing between us and the Stargate."
it went on. An awesome
session. I watched as SG1 took the Colonel's idea and
ran with it, turning it into a fully thought out battle plan.
then I was really only listening with half my attention. I was uncomfortable, worried about the thought
of battle, horrified by the reality of that many casualties even
if they weren't ours, worried about how the Colonel would hold
back now, though, I realize how amazing that little tactics session
was. We were hiding out in a cave, exhausted, traumatised
and afraid. None of us
had eaten for over two days, we'd had barely any sleep. The Colonel had been systematically tortured.
Yet SG1 set all of that to one side as they hammered out
their plan, examining every weakness, coming at it from every
angle. How amazing that
seems to me now. No wonder
SG1 are the flagship team, no wonder they have survived so long,
against such ridiculous odds.
The synchronicity and chemistry were beyond anything I
have ever seen.
11 of 13 – see Part 0 for warnings etc.
had a long overdue conversation with Daniel today.
I finished my briefing with the General, I dropped in to see how
things were with the Colonel.
was still feverish, tossing and turning and calling out to people,
some of whom I knew were dead, others I'd never heard of.
was soothing him, wiping his forehead with a cool cloth, talking
in a calm, soothing voice, his "Jack" voice.
he saw me he looked up, distraught.
"He won't wake up, Sam.
He's having the most awful nightmares, he keeps asking
I say and Daniel nods.
Daniel, you know the Colonel.
He's held on this long, he'll be fine."
I say the words to be comforting, not because I really
mean them and I think Daniel knows that.
looks terrible. His BDU's
are rumpled, his eyes bloodshot and he needs a shave.
"Here let me take over for a while – why don't you
go and have a shower, grab a few hours sleep."
was shaking his head even before I'd finished and I knew from
long experience I wouldn't be able to talk Daniel into anything
when he was in that mood. Anyone who thinks Daniel is weak or a pushover
hasn't known him very long. He
can be as stubborn and intransigent as… well, actually, I can't
think of anything that stubborn and intransigent, except maybe
the Colonel on a bad day.
Shocked, we'd looked down at the tired brown eyes, blearily
looking back at us.
voices ran over each other, we were so excited.
"'k?" It was barely a whisper. As ever, though, Daniel understood.
fine," he said, adding quickly, "Teal'c and Janet too."
Colonel's eyes were bright with fever and he moved his head stiffly,
scanning the infirmary. I
assumed he was looking for Janet and Teal'c.
The lights were low, in simulation of night and beyond
the next few beds the bay faded into darkness.
turned back to Daniel, brow creased with discomfort and confusion. "Daniel where's Sara? And Charlie?"
expected Daniel to freeze, like I did, but he just leant forward
and rubbed the cloth gently over Jack's forehead again.
"Sssh, Jack. It's
okay. They're not here, remember? Just get try to get some sleep, hmm?"
kept up the soothing action and meaningless words until Jack drifted
off again, then looked up at me.
The desperate weariness I saw on his face had me reaching
across to hug him.
been like this all day. Janet
still doesn't know any more. God,"
he muttered into my shoulder.
The pulled back and his voice hardened.
"If I could get my hands on that bastard, Heru'ur."
about the last few weeks. I've
been," a huff of laughter, entirely without amusement, "a
bastard of the highest order."
it's been a hellish time. Forget
gave a hollow little laugh. "Not
much chance of that. Look,
I've been trying to deny the fact, even to myself, that this is
all my fault. I did nothing Sam, nothing. And now look at Jack…"
did just that, while I took a moment to stare at his devastated
face. In a moment he had himself back under control.
"Sorry. The fact is that's my problem and I've been
taking it out on you and, well, I know it doesn't help but I'm
"Daniel. Daniel? Look
at me. Please don't keep
blaming yourself for what happened with Heru'ur. It wasn't your fault. I'm sure Jack would tell you the same, will
tell you the same just as soon as he's finished complaining about
the infirmary food." My
attempt at levity fell flat. Not
surprising, my heart wasn't really in it.
didn't even bother to answer.
He looked down at the Colonel, who for that moment at least,
was sleeping peacefully. When
he looked up a minute later he had a grin on his face.
"How much do you want to bet his first coherent words
will be 'Doc, when can I get out of here?'"
smiled back at him. "No
bet, Daniel. I'm not wasting
my money on a sure thing."
was a great deal of excitement in the cave once the details of
our plan had been hammered out – more excitement than was warranted
in the circumstances. True
we had a plan where before we had had none, the obstacles, however,
remained formidable. We were outnumbered, tired and weak. We had had nothing but water for two days.
We had all been brutalised, even if O'Neill had had by
far the worst of it. If
Colonel O'Neill even made it to the Gate on his own two feet,
I would be shocked. I certainly
did not expect him to take any part in the actual battle.
did not voice these thoughts, however.
After four years in the service of the SGC, I have come
to believe that O'Neill might in fact be able to make things happen
just by insisting loudly enough and often enough.
In any case, it was the most hope we had had since the
death glider had first flown over our campsite several long days
ago and I had been with the Tauri long enough to know no one would
thank me for killing that hope, even with realism.
settled on a plan, there was no point delaying.
Further delay would only make us weaker.
We had no medicine, no food, no equipment beyond the few
weapons we had seized when fleeing Heru'ur's attack.
For O'Neill every minute counted.
We would have to move through the forest during the day
and make our attack as night fell.
we stood to make our way out of the caves, all eyes turned to
O'Neill. Stubborn to the end, he insisted on getting
to his feet himself. It
was painful to watch and yet I am proud to have done so.
I have seen Apophis, injured, scream for his Jaffa, insistent
on being carried from the field.
O'Neill stood in silence.
He could not have hidden the pain, even if he wished.
It showed in every tiny movement.
With the painful slowness of the very old, who hurt even
to their bones, he hauled himself up.
His legs shook with the effort of holding him.
He braced his left arm to the wall for support, clutched
his right arm tightly to his ribs, bit his bottom lip between
his teeth and bowed his head.
Fraiser made a move to go to him, but I stopped her with a touch
to her arm.
a long minute O'Neill stood that way, the only sound his ragged
breathing. Then, with what effort I can only imagine, he
shoved the pain down, locked his knees and raised his head. "Let's go," he rasped.
I am at Jack's bedside again.
Janet is expecting the results from the latest round of
tests any minute now. I hope she's found something because Jack's
not doing so good. I feel
like a traitor saying that, but I can no longer deny that he's
wasting away before my eyes. He's
restless, tossing and turning, coughing, occasionally muttering
yet never truly conscious. I think the fever burning through his body is
so high that he can't lay still.
I think…Janet tells me it's not so… but I think, even unconscious,
he is in pain.
like on the planet, only there he was conscious (barely) and in
got my first good look at him in nearly 20 hours when we moved
out of the caves and into the forest.
The sky was overcast, lowering black clouds scudding across
the sky, as wind whipped the tops of the trees all around us.
It looked like it was going to rain a lot and soon, and
for the middle of the day the light was dim.
After the gloomy blackness of the caves though, it stabbed
into my retinas like a searchlight.
When my eyes stopped watering, I looked up and gave an
audible gasp. Jack's skin
was grey, leached of all colour, except the skin around his right
cheekbone which sported a deep crimson bruise. He didn't look up at my gasp, just stood, head
bowed, breathing deeply. It
was obvious that just standing was a monumental effort. He looked as if a single step would be an impossibility.
first part of our plan was risky in itself.
We needed to find enough weapons to allow us to make the
distraction. That meant
finding an isolated couple of Jaffa and taking them out without
being discovered. Jack was aware enough of his limitations to
leave this to Sam and Teal'c, while we started the long and painful
march to the Gate.
couldn't pretend to be happy about it, though.
He must have looked at his watch fifty times in the twenty
minutes they were gone. Finally,
they rematerialised out of the forest, loaded down with staff
weapons and zats. One of each for myself, Daniel and the Colonel.
Teal'c took a few minutes to remind Daniel, and teach me,
how to fire the staff weapon.
took the opportunity to catch his breath.
In all too short a time we were ready to set off again.
take point. I’ll watch
our six. Daniel, you and Janet stick with Jack."
Sam made an effort to make her voice sound matter-of-fact.
It might have worked with strangers but SG1 knew her too
set off and Jack, took a deep breath, squared his shoulders and
took a step.
made six miles.
half way, the heavens opened and the rain poured down on us, the
wind whipping along so that it struck us at about a 45 degree
angle. It was both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand it was cold and miserable and
the last thing Jack needed, on the other it concealed us from
the Jaffa and at least the wind was blowing from behind, pushing
us forward rather than slowing us down.
soldiered on in mute, miserable silence.
Soldiered on? Huh,
never thought about those words before.
Carrying on in the face of adversity, pushing forward when
you would much rather be anywhere else, even collapsed on the
sodden forest floor, putting one foot in front of the other long
past the point where common sense would have you laid out in a
bed being pumped full of some very heavy drugs.
Soldiering on. Webster's
Dictionary should just insert a picture of Jack and have done. A thousand words and more in that picture. Come to think of it the same shot could go under
"Relentless", "Implacable." Well, you get the picture…
miles. Then Janet couldn't
stand the ragged breathing, the steps that had become more of
a stagger than a walk, the agony written in hunched shoulders
and clenched fists and demanded we just stop, just bloody well
stop, for five minutes.
sagged to the ground like all the bones had suddenly been sucked
out of his body. The rest
of us weren't that much better.
My stomach was growling, demanding food.
a while there was only the sound of ragged breathing, rain dripping
off leaves and into the undergrowth and the wind whistling through
the tops of the trees.
voice when it came was flat, expressionless, as if every emotion
had been stripped from him, as if he had been pared down to his
essence. It was as physically and emotionally miserable
as I have ever seen him. "How
close are we?"
are approximately one mile from the Gate, O'Neill. We are at the very edge of the Chaar fields."
long until sunset?"
more than one hour."
"Right. T, you and Carter head off. In precisely..." Jack groaned as he lifted
his arm to look at his watch, "90 minutes we'll kick off
the distraction. We'll
give you ten minutes to get the gliders then we'll pull back.
You can assume there will be no friendlies in the fire
zone as of that time."
and Sam both nodded, acknowledging the order.
Sam even climbed to her feet, purely on instinct at having
been given an order. They
both looked dubious though. For
some reason they seemed doubtful that Jack was up to providing
a distraction, presumably it had something to do with the fact
that he could barely walk and when you added breathing to walking
you had pretty much hit Jack O'Neill's current physical limits.
Of course, that was overlooking his crack back up team
of a civilian archaeologist and a medical doctor!
was Teal'c who first mustered the courage to speak his doubts. "Perhaps we should reconsider our plan,
O'Neill. We could take
just one death glider. Major
Carter could provide the distraction."
Even Teal'c didn't dare add the rest… and you can sit this
"No. We need them both and you know it. If we can't provide continuous bombardment the
Jaffa are going to scatter and come back when you land the damn
thing. Not to mention the fact that the last thing
we need is the Jaffa to get that other glider into the air and
turn this into a dogfight. We've
had this out already. Let's
not go screwing it up at this stage.
We'll handle the damn distraction.
nods and this time they did go, melting soundlessly into the trees
in that way that I can't emulate no matter how I try.
They didn't look any happier but they went.
and speaking of comings and goings here comes Janet with Jack's
I just looked down and realized I still have the journal in my
hands, clenched to my chest even after everything that's happened
in the last hour…
MacKenzie… fuck you and your journal!!
you hear me you … ah screw this, dammit, dammit.
tossed this journal across the infirmary as he charged out. I've just spent half an hour putting it all
back together. Not because
I give a damn about the stupid thing, it's just, I really needed
to do something with my hands.
hasn't this been a tortuous little ride to nowhere. My conclusions, purely scientific mind you,
are that this whole journal thing is a crock.
Feel better? Come
to terms with my feelings? Express
what I can't say out loud? Allow
the team to rebuild relationships in a non-confrontational, emotionally
Sure. Hey guys, listen up. SG1 went on this mission because I, Janet Fraiser,
insisted. O'Neill got tortured.
I couldn't do a damn thing to help him because I didn't
have my medical kit with me. I did assist in the Colonel torturing himself
further to get us back to the Gate, though.
Now I'm back and I'm safe.
Not a scratch. Can’t
say the same for Jack. I've
got medicine now though, so I can do the doctor thing, right?
Well, no. Got the
medicine, but not the knowledge to treat this one.
So today I got to tell SG1 that Jack's going to die, probably
in the next day or so. Still, I've written it all down in the Journal
so it'll be okay, right? Emotionally relaxed enough for ya?
with Daniel. Fuck you MacKenzie.
got the latest test results back on the Colonel. They finally showed something this time, but
not what we expected and hoped for.
The Colonel has an infection.
It's not native to Earth, it's not responding to any known
Earth treatment protocols. It
is spreading and it is aggressive.
All tests indicate a "negative outcome."
what Janet told us. Then
she finally lost control of that professional facade she's been
clinging on to so tightly and burst into tears.
I think that was the most horrifying moment of all.
That made it … I don't know, real, I guess.
now, I'm at the Colonel's bedside, only this time it's meant to
be to say goodbye. I don't
know how to do that. It
wasn't supposed to happen like this.
When you fight as hard as Jack has you deserve a happy
ending. We shouldn't lose
him like this. Janet says
he probably won't ever regain consciousness.
He won't ever get to hear how much I respect him, how honoured
No. This can't be. The Colonel just looks asleep, that's all.
Pale, sure, and banged up but not…not dying.
can it be that the last time he ever saw me I was doubting his
ability to do his job, when he has never, ever failed in the whole
time I have known him. How
can it be that the last words he ever said to me were, "We'll
handle the damn distraction. Go."
do you say goodbye to someone when they've become so close to
you that it would be easier to tear off your own arm than to let
can't do this. I just can't.
12 of 13 – see Part 0 for warnings etc.
Colonel is on full life support now.
Only two days since those awful test results. Exactly three weeks since we got back from Errinious.
His downturn has been as rapid and absolute as the test
results predicted. I sat with Jack all night last night, said my
goodbyes, apologised for my failure.
I held his hand, allowed myself to run my fingers through
his hair and wondered how any God could allow a life as brave
and noble and vital as Jack O'Neill's to end like this.
morning I had worked up the courage to speak to General Hammond
and SG1 about discontinuing life support.
went about as well as I had expected.
turned and left the room, without a word.
His gaze, normally so reassuring and warm, was as disdainful
and contemptuous as I am sure it would have been had Apophis or
Cronus or any of the other murdering tyrants he has come across
in his life stood before him.
swore he would never, never consent to "killing Jack",
just looked at me from huge blue eyes overflowing with tears.
room had become a little blurry for me by then too. How could any of them think this was something
Hammond, bless him was the voice of reason and compassion. He said we weren't quite ready to let the Colonel
go just yet and to give it a few more days. He said he would speak to Daniel and Teal'c.
he left, Sam came and asked me to finish the Journal. "I just want to know what happened after
Teal'c and I left. Finish
the story, Janet, please."
I will. For Sam.
for me. Because, you see,
while I'm writing this story I don't have to think about going
out into that ward and disconnecting those machines.
I don't have to think about walking up to General Hammond's
office and resigning. I don't have to think about warning my successor
to make sure Teal'c isn't sent on a mission until we can be sure
he won't find a convenient staff blast to jump in front of, to
watch Daniel because I don't think he's the suicidal type but
who knows what a man who's just lost everything will do, to make
sure Sam doesn't throw her career away out of feelings of grief
and misplaced guilt. And,
most importantly, while I write this journal, Jack lives, and
I don’t have to go home and tell the little girl I love more than
life itself that I let her hero die.
on with the story.
Sam and Teal'c disappeared into the forest, Daniel and I looked
expectantly at the Colonel.
101 kids. We make a lot
of noise as far as possible from Carter and Teal'c's position
and then, when a suitable level of chaos has been created, we
make like those tree guys on the Xfiles and disappear."
Jack? You're not exactly
mobile you know?"
need to be, Danny. The
US military has learnt the hard way how hard it is to take out
snipers in a jungle. We'll spread out, co-ordinate our fire. You and Doc can do all the moving, I'll be the
anchor." We both looked
at him doubtfully, damned sure it wasn't going to be that easy.
pulled himself to his feet using a low hanging branch and then
shook his head, spraying water in all directions like a dog.
"Damned rain. OK,
I figure we've got 20 minutes before we need to move.
Don't want to be in position too early.
What do you say we go grab us some berries?"
looked at Daniel and he looked at me.
I was pretty sure he saw the same stupefied look on my
face that I could see on his.
are you alright?" I
stretched out a hand to check if he was feverish.
batted me away. "Ah! You'll get your chance when we get back to the
infirmary, Doc. Look, we
came to this tree infested, rain drenched God forsaken ball of
mud to get some miracle berries, right?
Well, here we are in the orchards.
Let's grab some."
you need to take it easy."
I will, Daniel, when we get back to the SGC.
Now, the way I see it, someone thinks these berries might
be a cure for cancer. I'm
pretty damned sure Hammond's not going to let us come back here,
so this is our chance. Let's take something out of this screwed up
mission from hell."
we went berry picking. Jack
insisted on coming. And
picking berries – when he wasn't doubled over coughing and clutching
his ribs, that is. We filled our jackets and BDU pockets. Daniel took off his undershirt and made it into
a kind of holdall and we filled that too.
Jack would have done the same but this time my glare had
the intended effect and he let his hands drop to his sides.
kept an eye on his watch the whole time.
"Right, let's go," he said after exactly 20 minutes. He still looked ghastly and a couple of times
when he thought I wasn't looking I had seen him swaying, but adrenalin
had kicked in and I hoped it would carry him home to my infirmary.
slogged the final mile to the Gate.
Jack was sweating and heaving air into his lungs by that
stage. He had also developed a very marked limp.
had fallen and with the continued pounding of the rain, visibility
was reduced to a few feet. Great
conditions for our distraction, or so Jack said.
The Jaffa had torches burning in a ring around the Gate,
which Jack said would only serve to make the darkness of the forest
that much more impenetrable.
found a small rise about 30 yards from the clearing around the
Gate that he wanted to make his position.
He pointed out a tree 150 yards north that was to be my
position and another about 200 yards south that was to be Daniel's.
voice was hoarse, so drained of volume as to be barely be there. "Okay.
Watch me for the signal.
Don't fire until I say so.
Stay within my line of sight at all times.
If you are spotted or if the Jaffa close in on your position
pull back diagonally the way I showed you."
As he lifted his arm to demonstrate, I could see his shoulder
wound had started to bleed again, running all the way down his
arm and dripping onto his hand, the zat and then the jungle floor.
"Jack," Daniel reached for him before I could, but the
Colonel shoved his hand away.
now, Daniel." A bit
more volume there. There
was no arguing with that tone.
"Let's just do this."
we started to walk away, he called us back with a short whistle. "Hey, be careful."
hurried off towards my tree, my nervousness increasing with every
step I took away from the Colonel.
Amazing how reassuring he was even in his current condition. The whole time we'd walked through the forest,
picked the berries, moved into position, I'd not felt a twinge
of fear, comfortable in Jack's presence, concentrating on following
him, sucked in by the aura of overwhelming competence he emitted
seemingly without trying.
suddenly occurred to me that the whole berry thing had probably
been a distraction as well, to stop Daniel and I worrying about
the forthcoming battle, keeping the troops occupied and feeling
useful. It had worked too. I had spent the time surreptitiously watching
Jack, while distractedly picking berries, certain he would keel
over face first any second. No
part of my mind had been dwelling on just how unprepared I was
to participate in a real live fire action.
What a performance. Bravo, Jack.
suddenly realized I'd done something I swore I never would. I'd been suckered by the Jack O'Neill "dumb
and dumber" routine. I've
watched before as he coaxed, cajoled or infuriated results out
of Sam and Daniel with carefully blank looks, deliberately mispronounced
words or plain wilful misunderstanding.
Teal'c, I knew was never fooled, and I flattered myself
that I hadn't been either. Yet for the last 90 minutes I'd been led around
by the nose, worrying about Jack's condition, gritting my teeth
at what seemed a stupidly naïve "what could possibly go wrong"
attitude, picking berries for crying out loud, in short doing
anything but panicking over whether I was going to die in the
next half hour. God only knows what the charade cost him – the
pain involved in just keeping moving, the effort he must have
expended in appearing effortless.
So, once again, bravo, Jack, you brave, foolish man.
the time I had travelled the whole 150 yards to my tree I was
a bundle of nerves. I didn't
have to kill anyone. I
was grateful that Jack hadn't asked that of me.
Just make a lot of noise, confuse the Jaffa as to where
we coming from, make this seem like a desperate attempt to get
to the Gate, distract attention from the Death Gliders.
fiddled with the unfamiliar grip of the staff weapon, twisted
as Teal'c had shown me until it gave that crackle hiss to indicate
it was ready to fire and pointed it towards the Gate.
looked over to Jack waiting for the ready signal. He glanced back, indicated in sign language
that I needed to get further behind the tree, watched until he
was happy with my position, then met my eyes and nodded.
On his other side he did the same with Daniel. He picked up a handful of dirt and rubbed it
over his face and hair. Instantly
the pale blur that I had been focussing on, all but disappeared. Instant camouflage. Quickly I bent down and did the same.
I looked back up at Jack, he was lying behind the log he had chosen
for cover, head resting on his fists which were clenched around
the staff weapon. Had he been a statue he would have been the
most expressive portrayal of mute misery ever carved. He lay like that long enough that I began to
as I was thinking of going to check on him, he lifted his head
and swung the staff weapon around so it was pointing at the group
of Jaffa closest to us. I
saw a green glow as he checked his watch.
He raised his fist, clenched, above his head, still focussed
on his watch. He held it
there for ten seconds, twenty, then let it drop and just like
that I was in hell.
a staff weapon is a terrifying experience.
You can feel the power building up in the rod under your
hands and then with a sizzle-spit it discharges, the kick-back
deceptively mild, not that much more powerful than a Beretta,
but a second later that tree or rock or, god forbid, person, that
you are firing at is blasted apart in a fiery explosion.
Terrifying. Even worse is what happens when someone fires
a staff weapon at you. I
had never been in battle before.
I'd been in danger at the SGC and even before that, but
never had anyone fired at me in anger before, fired a weapon with
the express intention of killing Janet Edith Fraiser, son of Dot
and Paul, sister of Liza and James.
I never want to go there again.
love to tell you what Jack and Daniel were doing, Sam, I'm sure
it was pretty damned impressive.
The thing is, as soon as that first staff weapon blast
tore into the forest, not even close to me, about sixty yards
away, and I realized, my God, the Jaffa were firing BACK, my world
narrowed into a tiny sphere about a metre wide that consisted
of me firing the staff weapon blindly then flinching back behind
my tree, ducking flying bark and rocks.
The only time I noticed Jack was when three Jaffa seemed
to have figured out where my firing was coming from and made a
charge on my position.
far aiming hadn't been part of my strategy, just firing blindly
towards the Gate. I probably
would have shot those Jaffa though without too much time spent
considering the Hippocratic Oath, except that I didn't have a
clue how to make the staff weapon hit a running, weaving man who,
once he stepped beyond the fire light illuminating the Gate, was
little more than a dark shadow.
life didn't flash before my eyes.
I didn't think of anything profound to say as my last words,
no "the rest is silence" from Jan Fraiser.
I would have gone out in a kind of cosmic "wha?"
if Jack hadn't risen up onto his knees and taken out the three
Jaffa with three coldly clinical blasts of his staff weapon.
I was still staring at the smoking hole in the back of
the Jaffa nearest me, unsure how I was supposed to feel about
the sight, when Jack yelled, "Back in position, now, Major!!"
a start, I jerked my head up and realised the battle raged on. The Colonel had dangerously exposed himself
by coming to my aid. I
pulled back behind my tree. Surely
it must have been ten minutes by now?
The Jaffa kept coming at us, spreading out now so they
came from our flanks. Away from the firelight they were no longer
easy targets. I was going
to die. They would surely overwhelm us at any moment.
back. Daniel, Doc, fall
back!" Jack's shout reached me over the explosions
of staff weapons. We had
planned for this, a tactical retreat; the Colonel had even selected
my next position behind another big tree.
Suddenly, though, leaving my tree and being exposed to
all that fire didn't seem like a great idea.
It was only 60 yards away but lit by flashes from the staff
weapons and with all those Jaffa aiming at my back it looked as
vast an open space as Central Park.
Impossible. I couldn't
Fraiser move your ass, now!"
Jack's roar was all Air Force Colonel.
Hoarse, loud and compelling.
It must be the voice he uses on recruits.
Despite the fact he'd never heard used it on me before,
I was up and running without conscious thought, more afraid of
disobeying that command than of being gunned down by Jaffa.
in expectation of a fiery blast to my back with every step, I
charged to my new tree. To
my right I saw Daniel also pulling back to his assigned position.
We now faced the Jaffa in a "V" shape with Jack
the point and Daniel and I the two tails.
I turned my back on Daniel staring out into the bush.
My job, as Jack had explained it, was to protect the flanks,
to stop precisely what the Jaffa had just now regrouped enough
to do – come at us from the sides as well as the front.
We expected to withdraw and be the hell away from the fire
zone before they had time to circle all the way around and come
at us from the back.
wriggled into as secure a position as I could behind my tree,
wiped the wet mass that was my hair out of my eyes, hefted the
staff weapon and stared out into the rain swept darkness.
me and to my left I could hear the steady sound of Jack's staff
weapon. I didn't want to think what the trek and now
this fight had done to his non-existent reserves. Towards the end of our walk he had been coughing
almost constantly, covering his mouth with his sleeve to try to
keep the noise down. When
he thought no one was looking his eyes had been dark with abject
this plan work. Ten more
minutes and we just might be out of this.
There! Was that movement?? I peered into the night. Yes. Two
shapes. I fired my staff
weapon and a tree exploded into roaring flames.
In the light, I could see the two Jaffa retreating.
started to lower my staff weapon only to realise, too late, that
there were more Horus Guards coming at me.
Four of them. I
swung the staff weapon back up and fired at the pair to my right.
I knew I didn't have time to fire at the remaining pair
and scrunched up my shoulders and lifted my forearm as if that
would somehow repel the shot I knew was coming.
was a flash and the tree next to me exploded sending shards of
bark into my arms and face. I
was still alive! I didn’t expect it to last long. Wide eyed I waited for the next shot and once
again saw my attackers gunned down in two precision shots from
my left – the Colonel.
turned to him and STARED. How
could he possibly have known what was going on behind his right
shoulder. The man must have eyes in the back of his head.
That was the second time he had saved my life in less than
ten minutes. What do you
say to that?
may never know. Just as
I was about to mouth a totally inadequate "thank you", a harsh metallic oh too familiar voice roared,
both turned and there stood Nightmare.
revived, pissed and holding Daniel in a stranglehold.
looked to the Colonel for instruction.
I wanted him to tell me it was going to be okay.
I wanted to know we couldn't have come that far, struggled
that long, walked that hellish walk to the Gate, fought that hard,
for it to end that way.
must have been thinking the same because he wriggled in Heru'ur's
grip enough to get out a strangled, "Don't do it, Jack."
tightened his grip and Daniel went back to trying to suck in a
wheezing breath. The Goa'uld
looked unmarked and healthy. His
eyes flashed as he repeated his command to drop our weapons.
really didn't want to do it, but even I could see our situation
sucked. He took another look at Daniel, whose face had
gone alarmingly red, then nodded at me.
We lowered our staff weapons and stood defenceless before
Heru'ur. I'd like to say defenceless but proud, but the
fact is my knees were shaking and the Colonel looked like death.
tossed Daniel offhandedly to one of his Jaffa.
"Find the Shol'va and the other woman." Half a dozen Jaffa disappeared back towards
the Stargate. One stepped
forward and grabbed me by the upper arms.
I didn't struggle. I
couldn't see the point.
Heru'ur turned to Jack. The Colonel was held tightly between two Jaffa.
For a moment, looking at him, it was as if I had never
seen him before. You know
how that happens sometimes, a face, almost as familiar to you
as your own, suddenly through some shift in your perception becomes
strange and unfamiliar and you look beyond the whole, beyond the
"Jack" and see again the angles and planes that make
what happened to me then. Instead
of "the Colonel" instant recognition, no analysis, I
suddenly saw a middle aged man with grey hair, short back and
sides, a little longer on the top, the grey seeming almost black
in the rain. Underneath
the hair, a well defined and well proportioned face, high cheekbones,
straight nose, firm chin covered with a bristly shadow now as
the Colonel had not shaved for a couple of days.
It was unquestionably a handsome face, even the thin white
scar bisecting the left eyebrow didn't change that, if anything
it improved the face. It
was after all a lived in face. The bruising on his cheekbone had come out,
leaving a dark circle under his right eye and a smudge across
the jaw line on the right side of his face.
There were other signs too for a doctor – a scattering
of pain lines around the eyes, a jaw so tightly clenched the muscles
must be screaming, a pallor beyond pale and leaning towards translucent,
faint beads of sweat clinging to his forehead.
Dominating the face though, and almost overwhelming the
rest, were dark eyes, virtually black in the flickering firelight.
They stared at Heru'ur with a steely determination.
A handsome face, yes, and a strong face and definitely
not the face of a man on the edge of collapse.
Tauri, you were trying to leave this planet?"
can I say, 'Ur, the accommodations sucked."
you see now how futile it is to attempt to flee your God? You strike us down and we rise again even stronger."
Colonel's voice wasn't harsh or angry or indignant, just unutterably
weary with the whole situation.
He wasn't trying to impress or convince anyone, simply
telling it like it was and it was all the more powerful for that.
"We both know you're no God.
You're just an evil parasite who jumped into some poor
innocent schlob's body and took over. Without him, you'd just be a slimy little worm
that I'd crush under my boot without even thinking about it."
certainly affected Heru'ur. He
surged forward with a wordless bellow, slamming a fist into the
side of the Colonel's head. Clearly
stunned, the Colonel dropped, dangling in the grasp of the two
him up," the would-be God ordered, and not content with the
one blow, he lashed out with his foot landing viscious kicks to
the Colonel's gut, once, twice, three times.
Jack was hunched over between his captors now, desperately
trying to breathe. The violence broke my paralysis and I strained
against the metal clad behemoth who had hold of me. Unimpressed, he didn't even move.
was a little more successful, tugging free of one of the guards
holding him before an open-handed slap across the head, momentarily
stunned him back into passivity.
even giving the Colonel a chance to catch his breath, Heru'ur
gestured to the Jaffa holding Jack to let him go.
The Colonel dropped to his knees and Heru'ur leaned in
and grabbed a handful of hair and yanked the Colonel up to face
him. "Tell me the
code for the Tauri Stargate."
voice still hoarse from his earlier mistreatment, Jack ground
out, "I killed you once, snake.
I'll keep killing you until you learn to stay dead."
grabbed a staff weapon from a guard behind him and swung it at
Jack like a baseball bat. It
had the full force of the Goa'uld's rage behind it and if it had
hit Jack in the head, as intended, it would have killed him instantly.
all things being relative, the Colonel managed to get his right
arm up to block the blow. There
was that awful sound that Daniel has described all too vividly
already in this journal, as Jack's wrist snapped.
gave a howl, toppling back to the ground from the force of the
blow. With an imperious wave of his hand, Heru'ur
gestured to the Horus guards to get Jack back onto his feet.
did so in a business like manner, ignoring his harsh grunts of
agony and occasional pain filled curses.
I know Teal'c used to be a Jaffa and he has said he did
some pretty distasteful things in the service of Apophis, but
I can't believe, whatever he may have done, that it was ever as
meaningless to him, as the treatment of Jack was to those Horus
Guards. To them he was
no more than an object, deserving of not even the slightest consideration. There was no guilt in their treatment of him
because he wasn't a real person the harming of whom could touch
looked at Jack's wrist, dangling at an obscene angle from his
body. His glance moved up, past the shoulder wound,
bleeding again, to where the Colonel was biting his bottom lip
to keep silent.
eyes did that flashy thing as he spoke again,
"Tell me the code for the Tauri Stargate."
didn't speak, didn't even look up, just shook his head in silent
wanted to scream. This
couldn't be happening. I
couldn't watch this again. I
couldn't listen to the noises as they tortured a man I admired
and respected, couldn't hear the sickening grunts as he fought
not to cry out against the pain being inflicted on his helpless
body. I couldn't stand by and let them torture the Colonel again
– ignoring the fact that it would kill him, watching and listening
to it would also drive me insane.
I began to struggle like a madwoman, shaking and screaming
and pushing and clawing, desperate to be away from this.
twisted and turned, wishing desperately that I weighed an extra
50 kilos, had an extra two feet of height, anything to dislodge
the vice like grip around my upper arms.
Normally, I'm content with my so-called petite dimensions
but right then I would have given anything to be the female version
of Hulk Hogan. My guard
grunted, widened his stance to keep his balance and when that
didn't stop my berserk struggles, shook me so hard my teeth rattled.
"Hey!" Daniel lunged against his captors and Jack managed
to get his feet under him in response to my distress. My heroes.
moment we were all thrown to the ground, captives, guards and
Goa'uld, as a huge explosion rocked the clearing around the Gate. Yes!! Sam
and Teal'c. More massive
blasts rocked the ground. "Go.
Go. Go." Jack yelled,
taking advantage of the consternation of Heru'ur and his Goa'uld. He scrambled frantically, trying to get to his
feet without using his shoulder, wrist, broken fingers or ribs. Daniel was up already and grabbed Jack by his
uninjured wrist and hauled him to his feet.
By that time I was up as well and we dashed into the forest.
had point but Jack stopped him with a touch to the shoulder. "Don't let them get between us and the
Gate or this will have all been for nothing."
nodded, adjusted his course slightly and we were off again. We didn’t really want to go too far, we just
needed for Sam and Teal'c's attack to finish so we could dash
to the DHD. Even so, our progress was too slow. Jack was done in. Even his extraordinary stubbornness and force
of will couldn't overcome a body that had suffered so much abuse. Daniel dropped back and got an arm around his
waist, trying to control the wild stagger that was the best Jack
could manage. He hung in
Daniel's grip, coughing and apologising, ordering us to leave
by, we could still hear the sounds as Sam and Teal'c bombarded
the clearing around the Gate and flashes of explosions gave the
forest around us a nightmare strobe effect.
was in one such light that I saw three or four dark shapes closing
in on us from behind. They
saw they had been spotted and accelerated towards us.
only had time to get out a "Colonel, look…." before
they were upon us.
slowed down to come between me and our attackers and Daniel stopped
dead, determined they wouldn't get to Jack.
It was all very noble and brave and a lot like Custer's
last stand. Three saturated, half starved, exhausted humans
with no weapons; Jack barely standing and Daniel beginning to
show the effects of having been belted around the head one too
many times in the last couple of days and, of course, a four foot
nothing non-combatant. On the other side, three Horus guards (the smallest
of whom was built like a Texas farm boy) and one majorly annoyed
13 of 13 – see Part 0 for warnings etc.
attacked of course. We're
talking Jack O'Neill here. Jack
is usually as prepared to make a tactical retreat as the next
guy, but a tactical retreat was out of the question in this case.
Here, the alternative was surrender and Daniel and I had
known Jack long enough to know that the thought wouldn't even
cross his mind. With barely a glance at each other we attacked.
for a little while we matched them.
I think our desperation stunned them.
took down a Jaffa with a store of pent up rage that even then
wrestled another to the ground and held him there long enough
for me to belt him over the head with a rock. (I know, I know,
hippocratic oath. All I can say is I had a nice store of pent
up rage of my own by then.)
third Horus Guard threw himself at Daniel who met the attack with
a silent savagery, completely at odds with his usual mild mannered
left the Colonel and I facing Heru'ur.
Jack ignored little things like being on the edge of collapse,
abused knees, perforated shoulder and broken bones to make a desperate
full stretch dive for the fallen guard's zat.
I leapt for Heru'ur trying to slow him down enough that
Jack would have time to shoot. It was like grabbing a mountain. He gave a little wriggle-shrug that sent me
flying a good four feet into a tree trunk.
slowed him a fraction of a second, long enough for the Colonel
to reach the zat, but before he could turn and aim, Heru'ur had
grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and tossed Jack and zat
across the clearing.
Colonel landed on his back, winded, and didn't move.
happened next all got very confused, Sam.
It happened in a fraction of the time it will take to tell
it. Heru'ur smiled and with a grin moved in to finish
his attack. I stood to
try and help. Across the
clearing Daniel slammed his attacker to the ground with one final
punch and turned to see what the situation was.
thing was obvious and it hit me as hard as the Jaffa had. We were too far away to get to Jack before Heru'ur
the sound of cracking branches and a smattering of words in Goa'uld
half a dozen Horus guards came charging into the clearing.
skidded to a halt with almost comical surprise, shocked at the
tableau in front of them.
and I exchanged a quick, helpless glance, an acknowledgement that
we couldn't defeat six more healthy warriors, before our gazes
were drawn back to the showdown between the Colonel and Heru'ur.
Goa'uld had completely lost all composure.
He was wild eyed and incoherent with rage as he advanced
on the Colonel. It was
a fight Jack could not possibly win, but he had known that going
in. At first he seemed
too stunned to even be aware of the danger approaching.
Then he seemed to focus on the threat, dragging himself
into a sitting position while reaching out with his hands, desperately
patting the ground around him, trying to locate the zat that had
jerked free of his grasp when he crashed to the forest floor.
of the Jaffa began to advance at this threat to their Lord. They were closer than Daniel and I and were
closing in with menace, until Heru'ur stopped them. His eyes flashed and he raised a hand. "Wait," he commanded, without shifting
his glance from Jack, sprawled in front of him.
the Jaffa froze.
attack when it came was as rapid as that of a cobra striking. Even so, Jack was quicker. As the Goa'uld reached for him, Jack lifted
his legs and kicked hard into the Goa'uld's chest.
kick came with a cost and Jack hollered with the pain. Heru'ur staggered, but came back before Jack
could get his feet under him.
Tauri." Heru'ur lifted
a booted foot and placed it square in the centre of Jack's chest
and with all his Goa'uld strength pushed down.
moaned. I wanted to do
the same. I could only imagine the pain of that foot on
cracked ribs, on a body pushed and abused well past breaking point.
Goa'uld grinned down at Jack, eyes permanently glowing now, his
enjoyment at the life slowly being crushed beneath his foot apparent
have made your choice Tauri. I
am sure your companions will be more forthcoming with information
after your death."
bet on it," Jack coughed out, his face red and contorted
from the agony Heru'ur was inflicting.
defiance enraged Heru'ur and he pushed down even harder, smiling
when Jack cried out.
last words, human?" he asked.
… I'll save them … for another day," said Jack and shot Heru'ur
in the chest with the zat.
don’t know when or how he found it, Sam.
Obviously, while my attention was focussed on watching
the life being crushed out of his body, he was still strategizing,
planning and fighting. God knows how, the amount of pain he was clearly
in. Then again this is
Jack, I should have known he wouldn't know how to just give in.
fell back, writhing under the electric blue bolts. Jack clawed his way to his knees, stared at
the fallen Goa'uld and then raised the zat again.
reanimated the Jaffa and they started forward as a body to defend
Daniel yelled. His
voice contained all the aching horror at the injustice of our
situation that I was feeling.
We'd won dammit. Jack had won.
It should be over now.
jerked around at the warning, saw the advancing Jaffa and turned
back to Heru'ur. He knew
he was going to die, I realised, he just wanted to take his torturer
steadied the zat and shot the Goa'uld a second time. He was lining up for a third shot when the first
of the Jaffa reached him and slammed his staff weapon into the
side of the Colonel's head.
know the rest. Jack was
unconscious before he hit the ground.
He hasn't really been conscious since.
and Teal'c came into the clearing just in time to see the blow
and Teal'c drove off the Jaffa who were still standing like the
fiery hand of vengeance itself.
Every line of his body promised retribution to anyone who
came within range of his weapon.
he lifted Jack into his arms with aching tenderness and carried
him back to the Gate and home.
should be a great story. If
this was Hollywood, Jack would have shot Heru'ur a third time,
disintegrating him, the villagers would have been freed from Goa'uld
tyranny, Jack would have recovered, with nothing more than a sexy
bruise or two to show for the adventure.
We would go back to the planet, make nice with the natives
and a line across the screen would tell audiences how two years
later we discovered that the Chaar berries were actually a universal
panacea, a cure for all ills.
only. As we all know, it
didn't work out that way.
didn't get a third shot in. The
Jaffa will have taken Heru'ur to a sarcophagus again and he will
rise to terrorise Errinious and who knows how many other planets,
to murder and torture more innocents.
The Errinians will continue to be enslaved, the unluckiest
of them will be implanted with Goa'uld symbiotes.
hasn't gotten better and though he defeated Heru'ur, twice, with
the odds vastly against him each time, I can't help feeling Heru'ur
has been the real winner. He
has managed to take out the second-in-command of the Tauri and
in doing so has destroyed SG1 and dealt the SGC a crippling blow
from which it may never truly recover.
as for the Chaar berries, the raison d'etre for this sorry tale,
they may well be a cure for everything including cancer, but the
likelihood of being able to develop any kind of synthetic equivalent
from the couple of squished pocketfuls that were all we eventually
brought home with us … ohmigod!!!
is the final entry in this journal.
It comes exactly four days after Janet's final and most
important epiphany. The one that was pure genius and all hers.
Chaar berries we brought home, that yes, Janet, I think you were
right, we picked purely as a distraction, have saved Jack's life.
Irony. Beautiful irony.
by her epiphany, Janet threw the journal on her desk and bolted
to Sam's lab. They say
if they'd had a stop watch it might have beaten a few olympic
and Sam ran test after test before coming to the conclusion that
it might work and what the hell, there really wasn't anything
to lose if it didn’t'.
combined something from the berries with an antibiotic, hoping
it would lower the fever, stop the terrible damage it was doing
to Jack's body.
did; his temperature came down two degrees in the first couple
of hours and kept falling steadily after that.
did even more. It cleared
up the infection, it killed off the pneumonia (or whatever you
do to pneumonia to get rid of it – I keep telling people I'm not
that kind of doctor). Within a day his breathing eased as his lungs
have just kept better from there.
still desperately weak, he's going to need a lot of TLC and he'll
have (like we all do) quite a few issues to work through after
feel europhic. The change
has been so sudden and so spectacular.
We all want to talk to Jack, to try to absolve some of
the guilt for being the ones who watched while he suffered.
That will bother him too, that we saw him tortured, he
hates to be emotionally exposed like that.
going to have to talk about the whole surrendering to the Jaffa
thing and, of course, one of these days he's going to see a report
about me hitting Sam! – or, hmmm, maybe not.
If I put it in his in-tray there's a pretty good chance
he'll never find it.
never see this journal though.
This final glorious entry needs to be finished and then
it goes into secure storage with my other journals.
We don't need it now and I don't see why our feelings should
be out there as a public record for shrinks like MacKenzie to
pore over with their academic logic and their book-based analysis.
They don't have a clue what it is like to watch your best
friend dying in front of you and be able to do nothing, to hear
his screams while watching helplessly, to watch as he draws on
reserve after reserve of strength, saving your life after he should
have been collapsed in a heap at your feet.
MacKenzie and his type may theorise about it, but they
will never understand the grief and anger and hatred and fear
that permeate these pages.
this journal gets locked away for good.
Or, maybe on cold night, I will overcome my revulsion at
destroying the written word and use it to light a nice warm fire
and invite Jack around for a glass of wine as we watch the flames
and revel in how wonderful it is just to be alive.
all of that is for another day.
Right now, the good news, the brilliant, the absolutely
perfect news is that SG1 is going to be okay, because Jack is
going to be okay.
do I know?
been waking up on and off for over 24 hours now. He's been dazed and still in quite a bit of
pain. He hasn't been lasting
more than a couple of minutes at a time and each time he wakes
we've had to go over the same old same old.
Hi Jack…you're in the infirmary…we're okay…yes we're all okay…Heru'ur
remember?…Yep I'm sure. We're
he usually nods in a kind of vague way and drifts off. And we do it all again the next time he wakes.
five minutes ago, though, that all changed.
Janet was doing her hourly medical check when Jack shifted
in the bed , opened his eyes and rasped up at us, "Hey, Daniel,
Doc, when can I get out of here?"