The Final Test - Part 11 of 'An Education'
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).
It was like a dream and he drifted. There was pain, but it had been his constant
companion for so long, it was a familiar foe easily conquered. Through the back of
his eyelids, he could trace the changes in light as the bed he was lying on was pushed
deeper into the mountain. The sound of quiet talk, the scratch of pen on paper at the
security checkpoints, the rumble of the opening and closing lift doors.
At one point a hand touched him and he heard his name. Daniel? He should open his
eyes, but he lacked the energy. The crisis was over and it was his turn to rest. Danny
could wait until later.
He knew the moment they stepped inside the final elevator down to the SGC, it had a
certain odour to it. SG-3, returning from some godforsaken planet covered in goo
several months ago, had had to use this elevator to reach the infirmary. Consequently,
it had taken several weeks of overtime on the behalf of the janitorial department to
scrub and deodorise half the SGC. Unfortunately the elevator defied their best efforts
and continued to emit remnants of that awful smell, one reminiscent of the back end
of a cow with dysentery. SG-3 had not been the most popular team on staff for quite
awhile after that.
The hum of the doors closing, the shuffle of feet, perhaps a doctor and a nurse moving
about their three patients, Daniel muttering something. A brush against his side as
someone shifting position nudged his injury and he flinched.
It had been nothing to start with, nothing. Some Jaffa with a bad attitude had taken a
swipe at him with a knife - a nice little number complete with barbs, he was thinking
of keeping it as a trophy - and nicked him at waist level. A small shallow cut only
requiring a couple of stitches, but Doc had demanded he go home and rest. He
thought she was being ridiculous and had promptly slunk off to his office to play with
his reports. Janet had been side tracked by the emergency return of SG-8.
But later that morning she had tracked him down and demanded he leave. In fact she
had determined to drive him herself, just to make sure he made it home without any of
those little side trips of his that usually ended up back at the mountain.
She'd glared at him.
Even stamped her foot, and brought out the Fraiser big guns, ordering him off base.
For crying out loud, it was only a little cut, but at that point he considered that it just
might be healthier off base than on.
She had been true to her word and had driven him. Oh, and could she drop by her
place on the way? She needed to grab something.
Unfortunately it must have been him she had grabbed, because from the moment they
left the mountain he remembered nothing. He awoke in a room with four grey
concrete walls and a Goa'uld with some sort of mission involving a hell of a lot of
pain on his part.
It had known about the little knife wound, and had used it as an easy torture device
until it was no longer small.
Bastard thing. The thought of those eyes glowing white - he squeezed his own eyes
shut tighter and forced himself to calm. It was over. Cassie would visit with the
Tok'ra briefly, and they'd have that son of a bitch of a snake in jar he could carelessly
leave on a hot stove somewhere.
His train of thought was interrupted by an urgent beeping noise from a gadget
attached to the unconscious Janet Fraiser lying on the gurney next to him. He opened
his eyes to see the grey of the ceiling of the elevator cab and turned his head at the
sudden scuffle on his right. His gurney was suddenly pushed sideways, away from
Janet's as the doctor and nurse busied themselves around her.
He tried to push himself up onto his elbows, but Daniel's hand appeared from behind
him and pushed him back down. He looked up to see the archaeologist's concerned
"Jack, relax. You've done enough." And to his chagrin, Daniel gently pulled the
sheet that had fallen down a little when he moved, up to his chin, tucking him in like
a little kid. Hmph, if he wasn't half asleep, he would have said something, but as it
was, his simple attempt at movement had exhausted him and his eyelids were already
Something brushed against his arm, and Daniel again touched him, his hand sliding
across his shoulder.
For crying out loud, Daniel...
Something bit into his neck.
"You don't know?!"
The look of worry on Carter's face echoed the roiling in his stomach. He glanced at
Teal'c, the edge in the Jaffa's stance, obvious. He took a deep breath before issuing
the orders he knew he had too.
"Major, I want the area cordoned off, I want every person who even remotely came in
contact with this aircraft and its occupants located, I want that Goa'uld found. No one
is to leave the area without my direct authorisation. Is that clear?"
She stood a little straighter. "Yes, sir." But an awkwardness suddenly appeared in
her stance, and the worry on her face became even more uncomfortable.
"I'm sorry, sir, but I am going to have to check you first." She swallowed.
In any other situation he might have smiled. "Go ahead." She approached him, her
hands reaching up and tracing the skin on the back of his neck looking for the scar he
knew wasn't there. She sighed when her brief search proved negative.
"Thank you, sir."
"It was necessary. I will contact the gateroom and advise them of the situation." He
glanced back and forth between the two members of SG-1. "You two keep together
on this. We can't afford to lose either of you."
They both nodded and hastily left.
With everyone out earshot he was finally able to swear under his breath.
Thankfully Daniel's world had begun to steady. He still felt the weight of concussion
imposed weariness pushing him down, but at least now he could vaguely think
straight and his eyesight wasn't bouncing off the walls anymore.
The lift was cramped with the two gurneys and three people. Daniel was standing at
the head of Jack's bed, just inside the doors, when the alarm on Janet's monitor
freaked out. Both he and Jack were pushed to the side as the doctor started checking
her vitals, while the nurse fiddled with her IV.
Daniel took the opportunity to look down at the Colonel. The man had been semi-
conscious since they had pulled him off the side of the mountain and at the moment
he looked like a cast member wannabe for the next `Mummy' movie. His splinted
feet and ankles stuck out the end of the simple sheet covering him. Daniel's mind
suddenly flashed back to the moment he saw those feet shoved down onto a pair of
pedals. He hadn't been able to hear the cracking of bone, but the blood welling
amongst the broken splints....he closed his eyes.
He was forced to open them abruptly as Jack shifted on his bed, desperately
attempting to sit up to peer over at Janet. Daniel hastily reached out and stopped him.
For the love of god, the man didn't give up!
"Jack, relax, you've done enough." He reached down and tugged at the covers,
tucking them securely around the skeleton of his neck brace.
Jack's expression flickered annoyance, and his dark eyes caught his own. It seemed
as if he was about to say something, but exhaustion overcame him and his eyelids
drooped, eventually closing under their own weight.
Daniel let his hand rest on the Colonel's shoulder and leaned back against the side of
the lift closing his own eyes once again, his weariness, and the pounding pain in his
brain, urging the elevator to move faster so he would soon find himself a bed just like
Daniel flung his eyes open as the shoulder beneath his hand shuddered violently.
Jack was writhing on the bed, his hands clutching at his neck.
"Oh, god. Get it off! Get it off!"
The doctor and nurse, still involved with Janet, spun around as the Colonel tumbled
off his gurney, crashing to the floor between the two beds.
Without thinking twice, Daniel dove after him. He hit the ground with a resounding
thud and his world destabilised, spinning.
Beneath the beds, beside the wheels of the two gurneys he found out exactly what
could terrify Jack O'Neill.
The man had a hand full of Goa'uld.
A Goa'uld that was apparently attempting to chew into his neck.
And his hand was slipping.
Daniel threw himself at it, reaching between the legs of the bed. He didn't know how
it got there, but there was no way, no way he was going to lose another friend, another
member of his family, to one of those scum sucking parasites.
Jack was struggling, his body weak, his yells reduced to a desperate whimper. He
clung to the creature, its position preventing him from gaining any leverage as his
own blood ran down its length onto his hands.
Daniel's fists wrapped around it, his fingernails digging into its black hide.
Jack cried out in pain as the creature struggled harder. To his horror, Daniel could
hear its jaws mincing the skin of Jack's neck.
He pulled with everything he had.
With a horrid screech, it came free, slipping through Jack's nerveless fingers. Daniel
fell backwards and slammed into the elevator wall, his world lurching sickeningly.
The Goa'uld slipped from his hands.
The snake, taking full advantage of the opportunity, whipped under Janet's gurney
faster than he or Jack could react.
At that moment the lift doors opened on the SGC.
"Don't you even think about it, you bastard!" As the Goa'uld made a break for it,
Jack flung his arm out in its direction, his hand coming down on its tail, snagging it
inside the lift.
Daniel yelled as the Goa'uld flipped back on itself in a desperate attempt to free itself,
attacking its captor. But Jack's face had become cold, distant.
He said nothing as he snagged its head, gripping it in one hand and its tail in the other,
bending its long body until there was the sickening snap of vertebrae.
The body fell limp, and Jack tossed it across the hallway just as the lift doors decided
no-one was going to disembark and closed quietly.
There was silence in the elevator for a moment, broken only by the soft whimpering
of the nurse cowering in the far corner.
Daniel struggled to breathe, his heart in his throat as Jack looked up at him, his dark
eyes shining with tears of complete exhaustion.
His voice was barely a whisper. "I've never done enough, Daniel."
Daniel didn't have the voice to answer.
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