The Sky is Falling – General Jack Year Three - Part Eighteen
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s).
The loud cry woke me and had me twisting over in bed and out, feet on the floor,
within seconds. The ship shuddered and jerked, throwing me back against the soft
mattress, and I held on, trying to find my balance on way too shaky legs.
Shit! I slipped and slid towards the bridge, catching myself on whatever solid surface
came to hand. It felt like I was riding a bucking horse, something I was definitely not
up for just yet, but I made it out the door and slammed into the main console in the
middle of the room. Closing my eyes for a second, I breathed deeply, trying to control
the sudden weakness that threatened to bring me to my knees, before opening them
Thor was half out of his command chair, struggling to right himself even as his hands
raced across the concealed controls.
Another blast, this time accompanied by a flash of light so bright it blinded me,
making my eyes water as I blinked to clear them. Then, across the wide viewing
window, an alien craft raced into view, its weapons firing as it came.
"The shields are failing and the engines are damaged. I will attempt to land on the
"I do not know. I do not recognise the design. Our weapons are no defence against
them and they have not responded to my communications."
This wasn't good, Thor's ship only had basic weaponry, but basic in Asgard terms
should be enough to outgun most other races.
Then my brain kicked into gear. Emergency landing. Get moving!
Thanking my years of being prepared for anything, I grabbed my pack from where I
had stored it beside the center console and slung my P-90 around my neck, then I took
off, staggering over the now slopping deck to the nearest food dispenser. A couple of
button stabs and I had a selection of multi-colored Asgard nutrition bars in my hand.
Stuffing them into the pack, I programmed it for water and pulled out three small
bottles, finding a space for them as well. Now for my need ...
I felt the heat from the flash on my back as the tiny ship gave one almighty heave and
dropped out from under me.
"We're going down."
I didn't need to be told that, clinging as I was for dear life to the dispenser panel. For a
moment it seemed we were completely vertical, diving nose down to a rather grisly
fate, and all thoughts of surviving just flew out the window. I could do nothing but
pray the end would be swift. Then, seemingly in slow motion, the nose came up, to
the accompaniment of Asgard swearing, and we levelled out a little, enough for me to
be able to turn.
I just managed to catch a glimpse of a vast forest when it raced up and hit us.
You know that scene in that Star Trek TNG movie where the Enterprise crashes?
Picture that, but smaller - much smaller. Except being in something smaller than the
Enterprise doesn't make for any less of a bump when you're a passenger. Suffice it to
say that when we finally stopped careering through the trees and dropped into a rather
deep valley, I was somewhat the worse for wear.
I extracted myself from the debris that had come to rest in the corner with me and
stood, looking around for Thor. It didn't take long to find him. He was lying against
the bulkhead next to me, obviously thrown there by the same force that had squashed
me into the metal. Except he wasn't moving. In fact, he didn't look like he was going
to be moving any time soon if the awkwardly bent left leg was anything to go by.
Getting to my feet, I was pleased to find I didn't seem to have sustained any injuries
except some rather nasty bruises and a couple of small cuts. My pack was poking out
of the pile of junk nearby, so I pulled it out first, strapping it securely to my back, and
untwisted my P-90 from around my neck, settling it across my chest.
A shadow fell across the window, blocking out the sun and making the interior of
Thor's ship a dark and eerily unfamiliar place. I looked up, seeing the bottom of a
large spaceship, wide beams of light coming from its belly and criss-crossing in what
was unmistakably a search pattern.
Crap - no more scavenging for supplies. We were so out of here.
It only took me a few steps to reach Thor, and a couple more seconds to lift his light-
weight body onto my shoulder. Then I hit a snag. I took a step and almost went down,
adrenaline no longer enough to compensate for my still pitifully weak legs.
I locked my knees and waited until the tremors passed. Finally, after almost a minute
- a minute that felt like years - I was able to go on, climbing out of the external
access and onto the dry forest floor. I was already several feet away and under the
cover of the trees when I heard the hiss of the hatch closing behind me.
I sure hoped Thor had the door key.
The following day saw us much deeper in the forest and hunkered down under a small
outcrop of rocks at the base of the mountain we slid down when we crashed. Thor had
regained consciousness, much to my relief, soon after I left the ship, so I had
deposited him under a bush and gone back to check out the crash site.
The aliens that swarmed over it sure looked - well, alien. They had lanky white hair
and gaunt faces, with long spindly limbs that, combined with thin, elongated fingers,
made them look positively evil. I shuddered, thinking that in this case I was going to
judge a book by its cover.
I only stayed long enough to be sure they hadn't managed to enter our space craft,
before I made my painstakingly slow journey back to where I left Thor.
He was still looking a little dazed, his large eyes half closed. "How are you doing,
He gestured to his frail leg, the break plainly seen beneath his thin skin. "I am in pain,
O'Neill, but there is nothing to be done unless you can get me back to the medi-pod."
"Well, we've kinda struck a problem with that. You see, there's this bunch of mean
looking guys all over the ship right now." I eyed his injury. "So how about I do some
running repairs on your leg and then we find some place to hole up until they give up
I nodded, at the same time reaching for the small, straight branch I had found during
my walk back. "Yep. I've got some experience in these matters, although I'm usually
on the receiving end." I dug the first-aid kit from my pack. "Now lie still and let
Doctor O'Neill handle this."
Now, hours later, Thor was comfortably situated, asleep on a bed of leaves, with a
very professional looking splint attached to his leg.
Nice for him.
I was aching in every joint and shivering from spending a night without anything
except my uniform to keep me warm. I was only thankful I'd gone to bed in my
BDU's that last night on the ship instead of stripping. Plus I was used to roughing it,
unlike Thor. The small alien had rarely been out of a regulated environment, with the
temperatures fixed and steady. The night air could have killed him if I hadn't wrapped
him warmly in the spare clothes from my pack and the sleeping bag.
I was just glad I'd found this shelter before it got dark, and that it gave enough cover
to light a fire without much fear of it being spotted. The meagre flames gave us some
extra warmth - warmth I sorely needed.
I had barely managed to make it this far. Doing nothing for three days except pushing
my sorry legs to work again had paid off, but at a price. What I wouldn't have given to
have a pair of crutches with me, or even my hated wheelchair.
I looked up from the fire, finding gigantic eyes staring back into mine.
"For cryin' out loud, don't do that, you just about gave me a heart attack!" My pulse
raced and, just for a second, I actually felt warm. Thor gave a small flinch and I
immediately felt guilty. "Sorry, you just startled me. How are you feeling?"
"Hungry. I am feeling hungry." He sat up, his broken leg seeming to not cause any
"Good. That's usually a good sign." I pulled a yellow food cube from my pack and
handed it to him, realising just how hungry I was myself when my mouth watered at
the sight of him biting into it. I'd have to be desperate to eat one of those things. When
he had finished, I passed him one of the bottles of water. "Careful, not too much. I've
found a stream nearby, but I think you better stick to this stuff. I don't know how
you'll react to the local water."
He nodded. "You are correct." He took another couple of small sips before carefully
recapping the bottle and putting it beside him. "What is our situation?"
I picked up a stick and stirred the fire, making it flare up for a moment. "The good
news is the bad guys seem to not be looking for us. I can only assume they think we're
still in the ship." I glared at the glowing embers and stirring the fire again. "If I had
known they wouldn't be able to get in, we could have stayed there and waited them
"You were not to know. Your decision was the correct one to make at the time."
"Yeah - well ..."
"I did not have time to send out a distress call."
I just stared at him, my brain trying to work out the implications. "Wasn't there some
sort of automatic signal when we crashed?"
"Perhaps. However, I cannot be sure it activated. Also, if it had, any rescue party
would have to find which planet we were on. My ship is small and its beacon is able
to broadcast for short distances only." He uncapped the bottle and took another small
sip. "However, we were only one of your days away from Orilla when we were
attacked. If the beacon activated rescue should be here within hours."
"If the beacon activated."
He nodded again. "Indeed."
"Is there any way to tell?"
"Not without entering the ship."
I stirred the slowly dying embers. "Then that's what we will have to do."
Best laid plans and all that.
The next day I spent shivering under our single sleeping bag; Thor curled up at my
side. Apparently the aching muscles hadn't just been because of how weak I was - it
seemed like I had caught some alien bug thing with similar symptoms to the common
cold. A really, really bad cold.
Forty-eight hours later, Thor was washing me down with tiny dabs of water as my
temperature climbed through the roof and out into the stratosphere.
And there was no sign of any rescue.
"Hey!" I pushed at the hot blanket against my back. "Enough already."
It stayed there, heavy and rough, making my already sweaty skin feel overheated. I
gave it another shove, wondering where Thor had found it. Had he gone back to the
ship? How? I prised my eyes open, blinking to clear the fog.
"Christ!" My heels scrabbled on the leafy soil as I pushed back from the creature that
lay beside me, its inch long teeth close enough to my face to easily touch. "Thor!
Where are you?"
Risking a quick glance away from the huge animal that now loomed over me, I
searched for the Asgard, but couldn't see him anywhere. My horrified gaze was
caught by the red gleaming from the dagger sharp incisors in the widely open mouth.
Had Thor been the entree? Was I the main course?
My hand was already reaching for the knife strapped to my leg and I began to pull it
slowly out, my eyes fixed on the yellow ones so close to my throat.
"O'Neill. It is good to see you awake."
I didn't take my eyes from the creature, but my heartbeat slowed a little. Thor
certainly didn't sound like he'd been torn to shreds and eaten. But I still unsheathed
my knife and held it ready.
"There is no need to be concerned, Jack. The werga is friendly." Thor's hand came
into view, pressing down on the thick grey and black brindled hair that covered the
creature. "I left him here to guard you while I went for water."
The animal sat back, its eyes still fixed on mine, and I moved cautiously into a sitting
position, my back against the rock wall. It looked to be something like a dog - some
sort of wolfhound - but the head was larger and its eyes were more feline than canine.
It wasn't until I watched the Asgard come up alongside it that I realised just how big
the damned thing was. Sitting, it dwarfed Thor.
"What the hell is it? And more to the point, how do you know it's friendly?"
The Asgard limped around to pass between up, breaking the stand-off the creature and
I had going. Its attention moved to Thor and its large head shifted as it watched him
put down the bottles of water he carried. I saw he was using a tree branch to keep his
leg from touching the ground and that the splint I had put on it was still secure.
"He is a werga. The species were once common on our homeworld, however they
were thought to be extinct many years ago. To have found one here, on a planet
within our own galaxy, is quite astonishing." And he did look happy, which wasn't
easy for an Asgard.
"Is it some sort of dog?"
He cocked his head and considered for a moment, before answering. "No. It is not
related to the canines of your world, however it shares some of the same
characteristics. Early in our history the werga were used to guard and defend us. I fear
the lack of need for such a creature, as our technology grew, contributed to its dying
The thing stood, and gave a mighty shake, before sitting again, as if listening to our
"How can you be sure it's tame?"
"It isn't, O'Neill. It is a wild creature, however," he raised a hand, forestalling my
protest, "it has watched over us both for two days, while you were sick. If it had
wanted to attack us it could have done so easily."
"Maybe it's just waiting for the right moment."
The dog-thing gave a wide yawn, as if deliberately displaying its teeth, then lifted a
hind leg and scratched its ear.
Thor did that head-cocking motion of his. "Fleas?"
"Small biting parasitic insects that live on dogs then jump to humans and bite them."
"This is a werga. It is not a dog, therefore the chances of it harboring these insects is
The werga lifted its foot again and scratched vigorously.
"Yeah - right." I relaxed just a little, but not much, keeping the knife handy beside
me. "Look, buddy, you may trust this wagga ..."
He interrupted. "Garmr."
"Your leg hurting?"
"No, O'Neill. Why do you ask?"
"You just groaned."
It wasn't anywhere near the same fun arguing with Thor as it was with Daniel. He just
stopped and explained.
"Garmr is the werga's name."
I couldn't help my next incredulous words. "You've named it!"
"Indeed I have, O'Neill. I once had a werga, many many of your years ago. My
memory of the time has faded, it is so long past, but I do recall his name was Garmr.
It means 'guardian'."
Thor used to have a puppy. The concept was odd, to say the least.
"Buddy, let's get practical here." I waved a hand at the werga. "It's a wild animal, and
it hasn't been living here alone. There are probably others around. Even if this one
seems, and I emphasise 'seems', friendly, there is no guarantee his pack will be." I had
visions of wolves circling their prey. "Plus, we've got other things to worry about, like
getting that rescue beacon of yours activated, because it sure as hell looks like it hasn't
Thor nodded, slowly seating himself beside me, his broken leg extended. "You are
correct. If the beacon had activated rescue would have arrived by now. What do you
suggest we do?"
"If I find a way into the ship, can I set off the beacon, or do you need to do it?"
"It just requires a touch of a control. I can easily describe its location." He paused and
looked me up and down. "But you are still weak from both your injury and your
recent illness. I do not think you will be able to reach my craft and overcome any
He could be right, but I didn't know until I tried. Pushing myself up, using the rock
wall at my back to help support me, I stood. My legs felt like jello and my head went
from being filled with cottonwool to having a marching band take up residence.
"I feel it would be best if you rest for a few more days before attempting this, Jack."
I didn't need to look down at Thor to know he was concerned for me, but I also knew
he wasn't seeing the full picture. I needed to fill him in, make him see the harsh reality
of our situation.
"I haven't eaten for days. Resting isn't going to make anything better - not unless you
can conjure up a steak for me. I'm only going to get weaker, so if we have any chance
of doing this, it has to be now."
His huge eyes tracked to my pack, sticking out of which I could see the top of several
of the brightly colored food cubes. They were untouched, despite being so temptingly
placed. It looked like even this planet's version of ants wouldn't eat them, and I
certainly wasn't going to try, knowing how the few I'd tasted reacted with my
stomach. I saw a look of understanding cross Thor's face. I truly don't think it had
occurred to him that I hadn't eaten even before I became sick. How I wished I had
stashed some MRE's into the pack before I brought it on board.
"What can you tell me about the aliens who attacked the ship?"
My question brought his attention back to the task at hand, and as he answered I
began to flex my muscles, trying to work some sort of fluidity back into them.
"Nothing, O'Neill. I have never seen a race such as these before. Nor have I seen a
craft of the type they used."
Something was nagging at the back of my mind, something about our attackers. I
ignored my protesting limbs and thought hard.
Then it came to me. The Atlantis mission had sent several photographs and videos of
the Wraith back to the SGC for analysis.
Oh crap! Those guys that had been all over our crashed ship looked remarkably
similar - not identical, if the glimpse I'd caught of them was correct, but very, very
I slumped back down to the ground, trying to wrap my head around what I was
We were in Thor's home galaxy, Ida. Not Pegasus. I could be wrong about this - I
mean, how could wraith have travelled such vast distances without hyperdrive
Trouble was, I didn't think I was wrong.
"Are you sure you've never seen them before?"
"How far are we from Orilla?"
"We were approximately twenty Earth hours away. That's ..."
I stopped him before he could give me the distance. It really didn't matter, except that
we were too damned close. It looked like the Wraith were knocking on the Asgards'
door - or at least their close relatives. And if they were anything like their cousins
back in the Pegasus Galaxy, they could be cause for serious concern.
But . . . I took a second to watch Garmr settle onto his stomach, plainly getting
comfortable, as I thought through the implications.
The Asgard were familiar with the Pegasus Galaxy. Something didn't add up.
"Thor, the Wraith - you know them? You'd recognise one of their ships?"
He nodded. "I have read the reports of your colony on Atlantis."
"The Asgard haven't had any dealings with them - met up with them at all?"
"We are aware of their activity, however they are of no interest to us, or we to them."
He held out one of the bottles. "Would you like a drink, O'Neill? I refilled them from
the stream and used some of your water purification tablets after the supply from my
ship ran out. So far there appears to be no ill effect."
Taking the bottle gratefully I sipped at it, not realising just how thirsty I was until the
first delicious drop touched the back of my throat.
"What about the humans in Pegasus? Did you know the Wraith were harvesting them
I almost didn't want to hear his answer, already knowing what it had to be. There was
no way the Asgard could have been ignorant of what was happening in Pegasus.
"I am sorry to say we did know this, O'Neill. However, it has been going on for many
hundreds of years."
"That doesn't make it right."
He looked away. "No, but remember that we have only been in contact with the
people of your planet for a very short time, and your presence on Atlantis is even
shorter. We thought it best to not interfere with the natural order of things in the
"The natural order of things!" My shout had Garmr on his feet in seconds, his hackles
raised. "The Wraith have been systematically killing people for generations, and you
call it natural."
He turned back to face me, and I could read him well enough by now to see the
genuine sorrow in his face. "We cannot protect all. We had to choose. Would you
have rather we abandoned your galaxy to the Goa'uld?"
I bent my knees up and rested my head on them, suddenly weary.
I knew how thin the Asgard had been stretched, fighting the Replicators - how few of
them there were even now.
But that didn't make it right.
They were my people on Atlantis. This was personal.
Christ, I was so tired I could hardly stand, let-alone crawl through thick undergrowth,
but the closer I got to our downed ship, the more careful I had to be not to be spotted,
especially with that damned dog thing shadowing my every move. For some reason he
had decided to follow me rather than watching Thor back at our camp, and he was
being extremely distracting. It wasn't like he was small. His shoulder was level with
my waist, and I'm not a short man.
Twice now, he had come so close that I almost fell over him when I stumbled.
Admittedly, he hadn't complained when I grabbed a handful of his coat to stop myself
from falling completely.
But if he hadn't been there I probably wouldn't have fallen in the first place.
At least it wasn't scratching anymore. I dragged my fingernail across my shirt sleeve,
trying to relieve the itch I felt. He probably wasn't scratching because the fleas had
deserted him for me.
And he was distracting me. It was hard enough to concentrate already with my
thoughts skipping all over the place like insects on a hot day.
I turned over, resting on my back for a minute.
I was almost at the crash site, or at least I thought I was. Time for a rest. I shut my
And was back, locked in that dark place I never seemed to be able to leave completely
- feeling his breath on my face and his hands on me. Night seemed to have fallen,
because it was so black I couldn't see, and that cloying, sickly smell filled the air, and
was dragged down into my lungs as I fought to breathe.
Bile rose in my throat and I struggled to push him off, but he was too strong for me.
Even my pitiful cries were muffled by his heavy body and I finally gave in, sinking
within myself and hiding away.
I had no idea where I was.
My hands were filled with the soil I had dug up during my - nightmare, flashback, I
didn't know what it was, just that I wanted more than anything to sleep and forget. But
I couldn't do that. There was something I needed to do before I could truly rest.
Voices, cries, somewhere nearby. Terrible moaning cries of anguish and pain.
I lifted my head, feeling something still weighing me down as if a part of my
nightmare had followed me.
Yellow eyes shone back at me as Garmr's massive head swung in my direction. His
body was across my back, pinning me to the forest floor.
And the cries became real.
I held my breath, remembering where I was and what I was doing then reached
around and gave the werga a quick pat, combining it with a shove, wanting to tell him
to get off me, but needing to stay quiet.
He slid down to lie alongside me, his attention focused on the sounds coming from
within the trees.
I edged forward, staying low, and peered around the trunk of a large fir, Garmr
moving as if fixed at my elbow. Squinting slightly, I tried to make sense of the
shadowy figures in front of me.
Three were pretty obviously the guys that shot us down, their dead white faces
looking like corpses in the forest gloom. And judging by the appearance of the fourth
man, I had been wrong in my assumption that we were alone on this planet. He was
clearly a native - typical primitive human, dressed in skins and looking exactly like so
many other races I had encountered over the years.
It was what was happening to him that was different.
One of the bad guys leaned forward, his lank white hair hanging around his face as if
it was a veil. The native gave another one of those piercing screams that had become
part of and then had brought me out of my flashback, and I realised he was struggling
against the long bony hand that was pressed into his chest.
I held myself back, wanting nothing more than to leap up and run forward, gun
blazing, to stop it happening, but I didn't, instead I lay there, Garmr growling softly at
my side, and watched as the alien ate the man from the inside out.
And as his skin sunk about his no longer healthy body, revealing the shape of ribs and
arm bones, I slunk away, knowing I should take advantage of the opportunity, but
hating myself as I did so. There was no way I could take even one of those things on,
let alone three, in my present condition.
The screams followed me through the trees.
At some point I got to my feet, one hand firmly clutching Garmr's strong back, and let
him lead, at least while we were heading in the direction I knew we wanted. After
several minutes we stopped and I saw the gleam of metal through the foliage.
We were there.
Now I just had to get inside.
There didn't seem to be much activity around the ship, just a flash of movement from
the opposite side from me. Although I couldn't tell how many of the enemy were out
of sight, one positive was that there wasn't a guard near my position, perhaps I
thought with a shudder, it was the guard back in the forest partaking of a little light
There wouldn't be a better time. The access door was temptingly close, seamlessly
part of the ship's hull and obviously overlooked.
Now, if only I could rely on myself to get the job done and not collapse from
weakness or into a quivering heap of emotional wreckage.
Doubt didn't so much a creep up on me as run straight up my leg, tackle me and bring
I wasn't strong enough to do this.
I no longer trusted my own abilities - something that had never failed me before.
Even at the worst of times I hadn't given up.
And now I was.
I lowered my head.
The low growl from beside me was the only warning I had that Garmr was about to
move. He stood, shook himself, spraying me with dirt and leaves, and stalked
forward, moving slowly but steadily through the undergrowth, his brindled coat
merging with the shadows, tricking my eyes and making me blink to keep him in
Opening my mouth to call him back, I shut it again, knowing I couldn't risk being
Damn - he was already in the open and just standing there staring back at me with
yellow eyes that seemed to reflect my own contempt for myself back at me.
They would see him.
Getting to my feet was hard, but once I was up I moved fast enough, reaching him
quickly and grabbing a handful of his rough fur.
Damned stupid thing.
The ship's hull was only a few feet away. It would be closer to reach it than to go
back. I knew the exact spots I had to press. It would only take a second.
I walked, I pressed, and we were inside, all silently.
Once the door slid shut, I took a breath and glared at the idiot animal.
"You trying to get me killed?"
He just stared back at me for a moment then looked away, sitting down and giving
himself another vigorous scratch.
"Don't you get fleas anywhere near my stuff."
The interior was unchanged from when we crashed four days ago, with anything loose
piled up at one end. I spied a box of something that looked suspiciously like chocolate
bars and dived for them, pulling one out.
Heaven! Thor had supplied his ship with Snickers Bars. If he had been there I would
have kissed him.
Munching on the chocolate, I turned to the main console, clearing it of rubbish. With
a sweep of my hand I activated the distress beacon and slid down to lie full length on
the floor, the Snickers clutched in my hand like a talisman.
I turned to switch off my alarm clock and my hand hit metal instead.
I had fallen asleep again and something was seriously trying to attract my attention. I
sat up, my body aching from lying on the hard floor and melted chocolate bar smeared
across my chest.
A violet light was flashing on the console, so I stood and looked down at it,
wondering what I was meant to do.
Garmr wasn't any help. He was curled into a surprisingly small ball, his nose tucked
under a front leg and one eye staring up at me as if annoyed at having his nap
I poked a finger at the light and was rewarded by a burst of Asgard language, before a
screen popped up showing the Asgard I assumed was talking. He stopped, gave what
appeared to be a startled look at the screen and then spoke again.
"General O'Neill? We are in orbit above the planet. Where is Commander Thor?"
I was surprised he recognised me through the grime.
I explained what had happened, with him staying silent until I had finished, then he
turned to someone nearby and issued rapid orders that had my knowledge of Asgard
struggling to keep up.
"We have located Commander Thor's life signs and will transport him directly to this
The relief I felt was immense - knowing Thor was safe, but I barely had time to enjoy
it before he was speaking again.
"We cannot risk the ship falling into hostile hands. We will transport it to a cargo
hold. Please remain where you are."
"But. . . " I turned to point at the werga.
I felt the brief moment of disorientation I was now so familiar with and knew it was
too late to protest. With a light bump, the Asgard craft, one human, and a flea-ridden
monster dog were beamed to safety.
Bet the alien dudes got a shock when the spaceship disappeared.
As the exit door hissed open, showing me several Asgard crowded around the
entrance, I gave Garmr a stern look.
"Be good and try not to embarrass me. And don't give your fleas to the gray guys."
He just stared at me.
I sure hoped they had a big litter tray somewhere on this ship.
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