A Ghost of a Chance
by Cokie

He felt them moving closer in the cover of darkness. Their breath caressed
his face and thin, boneless tendrils touched his skin. He shivered against the chill. His eyes slowly opened and he stared into the empty night.

~*~*~*~

Jack O’Neill popped out of the open wormhole into the gloomy dampness of the
planet designated P4G-189, his eyes searching the immediate area and his P-90
ready for any unforeseen problems. He turned in a full circle, the hair at
the nape of his neck rising to the occasion, proclaiming trouble. He saw
nothing to warrant that reaction, but also knew that looks could be deceiving. Seconds later, three more slurping sounds heralded the arrival of his team members.

The last check of the MALP had been thirty minutes before their departure and
had shown sunshine surrounding the gate. From the looks of things, the
sunshine was over for the day. Dark clouds rolled above and a cool breeze blew drops of rain off the tree leaves in a fine mist.

“Daniel, how’s the DHD?”

“Wet. Soggy, in fact. But it’s good.”

“Carter? You good to go?”

“Yes, Sir. The MALP is fine – just checking it out. The aerial view
showed the village down this path to the right.”

“Teal’c? Anything?”

“Everything appears to be quiet. I see no recent signs of trespassing on
this world.”

“Okay, then,” Jack said, pulling his ball cap more firmly on his head, still
having the feeling of something being ‘off’. “Let’s bug out. Teal’c, you
want to take point? I’ll catch our six. Daniel, maybe you’ll have time to
check out some of your squiggly lines before dark.”

“I do hope they’re more than squiggles, Jack.”

“Oh, so do I, Daniel. It would be such a shame to travel all this way for
chicken scratches.”

SG-1 began their trek to the village while O’Neill kept a watchful eye on his
team and the surrounding countryside, the feeling he was missing something
important growing each step of the way. Thirty minutes later, he couldn't
ignore the feeling anymore. “Hey, T, hold up there,” he called out. The three stopped and waited for him to catch up.”

“What’s wrong, Jack?”

“Don’t know. T, do you feel anything … hinky?”

“Hinky?”

“Yeah, you know – hinky. Like wonky?”

“Wonky, O’Neill?”

“Okay, off. Do you feel like there’s anything wrong here?

“I do not.”

“Really?”

“I would not deliberately falsify my findings.”

“Sir?”

“I don’t know, Carter. Something’s just," he paused, searching briefly for
words to explain, "off. I can’t really describe it."

“How so, O’Neill?”

“Teal’c, you ever have those little hairs on the back of your neck stand at
attention? That’s what’s going on and whenever I get it something's usually
wrong.”

“I do not have small hairs nor any other on the back of my neck.”

Jack made a pained face. “Well, T, if ya did, they would all be standing in
a row just like good little Jaffa.”

“Jack, you sure it isn’t just the weather getting to you? It’s pretty
dismal around here.”

“Could be, Daniel. Could be. If you guys don’t feel anything, maybe it’s
nothing. Just humor me and keep your eyes and ears open. Teal’c, you take
our six.” He set out at a brisk pace, Daniel following behind him, Carter
and Teal’c bringing up the rear.

”Hey, Jack, over there,” the archaeologist called to him, trotting to catch
the colonel and grabbing his shoulder.

“Where?” The colonel halted abruptly and raised his P-90, ready for action.

Daniel stared into the woods to their left. “I, well, I don’t know. I
could have sworn I saw someone moving over there behind that tree. But I don’t see anything now.”

“Stay here,” Jack ordered quietly. “And keep alert. I’ll be right back.”
They all remained on guard, weapons drawn while O’Neill checked the area,
carefully looking for prints in the wet undergrowth. He returned with a
frustrated sigh. “I got nothing. Let’s move out. How much farther, Carter?”

“I estimate no more than half a mile.”

“Then let’s get there, get busy and go home.”

“You really do feel something ‘hinky’, don’t you?”

“Yes, Carter I do.”

“You know,” Daniel admitted, “the farther we go, the more I feel something …
odd. Like we’re being watched. Do you think it could be something like “
Mother” watching us?”

O’Neill thought for a moment remembering the genetically engineered Charlie
and his mother who lost her life by saving theirs. He removed his cap and
raked long fingers through his already-unruly hair before answering. “Maybe. Hell, I don’t know. Could be.”

“If that were the case, I believe I would also feel the presence.”

“Teal’c’s, right, sir. Remember Dad and Teal’c’s reaction when Mother was
on base?”

“Yeah, I know." He tried to get a “feel” on his unknown feeling but couldn’
t isolate it, finally admitting, “I don’t know what it is, but there’s
something out there.”

~*~*~*~

Raindrops continued to drip from the crumbling buildings that made up the
neglected village. The clouds had opened on them, drenching them and the ruins in minutes before lightening to steady drizzle. Daniel was oblivious to the falling rain as he made his way to the large structure in the center of town, his eyes only seeing the glyphs covering the outside walls.

After circling the town, checking between the decrepit houses, some with
crumbling walls and others with holes in the roofs, O’Neill joined his team. “
Carter, you and Teal’c go get your soil samples. I’ll stay here with Daniel.
Something tells me we’ll have to hunker down for the night. Weather’s
getting worse. I’ll set up camp under that overhang. Even though the walls are gone, the roof is fairly intact. At least we’ll be reasonably dry and be able to have a fire for the night.”

“Yes, sir. We won’t be long.”

“Good. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open. No wisecracks, Teal’c, I
know you know what I mean.”

The Jaffa bowed his head and offered O’Neill a slight smile. “My eyes are
peeled even as we speak.

~*~*~*~

“Daniel, can you read any of that?”

“Um, yeah, I can. Parts of it anyway.”

“And? Anything interesting?”

“Well, only part of the writing is Goa’uld. It talks about a sickness among
the new Jaffa. No more than three days after implantation the larvae would
die. Apparently there was some sort of epidemic. That’s as far as I’ve
gotten. This writing here,” he pointed to another column, “is something I’ve never seen. It’s similar to Gaelic, but I haven’t been able to decipher any of it.”

Jack slapped him on the back. “You’ll get it. Now don’t go anywhere. I’m
going to finish setting up camp.” He pointed to the structure before
realizing the archaeologist hadn’t once looked up from his notes.

~*~*~*~

“Jack? Jack? Can you hear me?

O’Neill’s radio crackled with the whispered voice. The colonel grabbed his
weapon with one hand and thumbed the radio with the other.

“Go ahead, Daniel.What’s wrong?”

“I’m on the opposite side of the obelisk. We’ve got company. The same guy
is back watching me.”

O’Neill was moving. “On my way,” he said, his eyes darting past the
buildings as he quickly walked to meet his colleague.

“Slow down, Jack. He’s on your right beyond that last house. Don’t spook
him. He looks harmless.”

Uh huh, Jack thought to himself when he joined his teammate. “I have
mentioned that looks can be deceiving, right?”

“Sure, but he’s just standing there watching. I think it’s time we meet
him."

“I’m right behind you. Go ahead.”

They turned in unison to the stranger.

“Hello,” Daniel began. “We’re peace…ful. Huh?”

Both stared at the empty spot where the man had stood mere seconds before.

“Jack? Did he? Did you just see that?”

“What?” O’Neill replied. “See a man vaporize into thin air?”

“Yeah, that.”

"No, of course not. Did you?”

“Nope, me neither.”

They stood in the silence, watching the spot.

“So, Daniel. What the heck just happened?”

“I’m not sure. How did he do that?”

O’Neill depressed the button of his radio. “Carter, Teal’c? Everything
okay?”

“Yes, sir. We’re packing up from our last site. We’ll be back in fifteen.”

“Any new friends showing up?”

“Negative, O’Neill. Do you have friends?”

“If you want to call him that. Not very friendly though. Didn’t even
bother to stick around for Daniel’s ‘Howdy do’ speech. Come on back and get out of the rain. O’Neill out. Daniel, I’m going to check out where he was
hiding. See if I can find some prints to follow.”

~*~*~*~

They were seated around the fire, their clothes finally dry from the day’s
rainfall although drips continued to fall from the roof of their makeshift
shelter. They talked over coffee, Daniel excitedly filling their friends in on their phantom.

“And there was no sign he had even been there?” Carter asked.

“Nothing. No footprints, no tracks.,” the colonel replied.

“Indeed, there is no evidence of habitation on this planet.”

“So now what?”

“Now we sleep. Tomorrow we get the hell out of here.”

“But Jack! I haven’t—“

“Daniel. Something weird is going on. We aren’t alone. And while there’s
been no confrontation, I’m not taking chances. We’re moving out.”

“Okay, okay. I agree. I guess.”

“You agree? Will wonders never cease? Just for that, I’ll take first
watch. I’ll wake you in two. Teal’c, you go after Daniel and Carter. you’re so in luck. You get to make breakfast.”

“Yes, sir," she added with a smile. "I’ve been told my boiled water is to
die for.”

O’Neill returned the grin. “So I’ve heard. Get some rest, guys.”

~*~*~*~

“Daniel. Up.” O’Neill whispered so as not to waken their other teammates.

“Um…yeah. I’m awake.” He climbed out of his sleeping bag and moved toward
the fire, reached for the coffee pot and poured a cup. “Did we get any
visitors?”

“Not that I saw. At least he didn’t walk up and introduce himself, but I’ve
still got that feeling."

Daniel pulled his sleeping bag near the fire and set it on a fallen piece of
column before opening his notebook. “I’m going to try and make sense of
these notes.”

“I’m gonna water the plants before I get some shuteye. Stay alert, Daniel.”

“Yeah, I will.”

O’Neill finished his ablutions and turned to head back to camp, using his
flashlight to dispel the cloying darkness. From the corner of his eye, he saw
movement and turning his head, saw the now-familiar figure duck behind a tree. He quickly changed direction as once again, the person vanished from view. The colonel checked the damp ground, searching for footprints. Like before he found nothing. Whoever, whatever was there had managed to again elude him. It was getting old fast.

He quickly cut the light to conceal his location and attempted to follow
where he last saw the stranger. His path led him away from the campsite, ,
looking for clues. The forest floor was covered with a thick layer of leaves and twigs, making any sort of tracking impossible. Coupled with the fact that there weren’t any tracks to actually track, he was having no luck. O’Neill stepped over a fallen log and when his foot touched down on the opposite side, the ground disappeared. He twisted in an attempt to save himself but went head over heels down the unseen cliff, the log following right behind.

~*~*~*~

Teal’c sat up from his sleeping bag to perform Kel-no-reem following his rest
and before his watch. He was unable to gain the peace required to meditate
and opened his eyes, checking the camp to see what was troubling him. Daniel
Jackson was near the fire, writing in his notebook, a large reference book
propped open beside him. Teal’c rose and moved closer to the fire.

“Daniel Jackson, where is O’Neill?”

The younger man looked up, pushing his glasses up on his nose. “Huh? Uh,
Jack went…” He glanced at O’Neill’s empty sleeping bag, then held his watch
near his face. “Wow, it’s been ... since the beginning of my shift. Teal’
c, he went over there to relieve himself before turning in.” Daniel jumped up
to check his friend’s empty sleeping bag.

“I don’t think he ever came back. How did I miss that? I wasn’t paying
attention. Sam!” he called. “Sam, get up. Jack’s gone.”

Carter immediately sat up, pushing her blonde hair out of her eyes. “What?”
she asked, pushing aside her sleeping bag and quickly standing. “Are you
sure?”

“It appears so, Major Carter. O’Neill’s bedding has been undisturbed.”

Daniel reached for his flashlight. “We’ve got to find him. How could I do
that?”

“Daniel, wait,” Carter ordered. “We need to get geared up before taking
off. We’ll find him.”

She toggled the switch on her radio. “Carter to O’Neill. Come in, sir."
A heaviness filled the silence as they waited for a response that never came.
"Colonel, do you copy?”

~*~*~*~

He felt them moving closer in the cover of darkness. Their breath caressed
his face and thin, boneless tendrils touched his skin. He shivered against the damp chill. His eyes slowly opened and he stared into the empty night.

He closed his eyes and drifted, knowing in his subconscious that he should be
doing something. Something important. He would take care of it soon.
Later. When he was more rested.

~*~*~*~

They spread out, ten feet apart, walking in a line, flashlights synchronized
in swaths of light. Droplets of rain formed a mist in the beams. They
alternated calling his name as they searched the ground before them, finding no footprints.

“The rainfall has obliterated all signs of O’Neill’s passage,” Teal’c
complained. "We need to continue after daybreak."

“He’s here,” Daniel vowed. “I know he is.”

“Of course he is,” Carter agreed. “We’ll find him. He couldn’t have gone
far. Daniel, do you sense anyone watching us now like you did earlier?”

He stopped for a moment, staring into the darkness. “No. Not now. I don’t
feel anything.”

~*~*~*~

Jack woke to raindrops splashing against his face. He blinked the water from
his eyes and raised a shaky hand to wipe away the wetness. His face was
stinging and he decided that all that liquid on his face probably wasn’t water.

“Okay, O’Neill, get a grip. What the hell did you do this time?” He tried
to take an inventory of what hurt. First off, he needed to remember just what had happened. “Damn headache,” he muttered. Closing his eyes, he
backtracked. The last thing he remembered was going to take a leak. Something told him that either that was one heck of a leak or he had some missing memories.

“Come on,” he grumbled, rubbing his hand over his face once again. “Ow!”
Gingerly, he touched the goose egg above his left ear. “Ow! Ow! Ow!” His
fingers gently felt the matted hair around the swelling. "Helluva hole in your head. Now get it together and see what else you did.”

Continuing with the pep talk, he took a deep breath and raised his head.

And quickly dropped it back to the ground with a thud.

Bad plan.

Even in the darkness, his head swam; red and white swirls caused his stomach
to roll. Wave after wave of nausea swept him along while he fought not to
throw up the contents of his stomach.

“Okay, Plan B,” he mumbled, not willing to try Plan A again anytime in the
near future. Carefully, he used his right hand and explored his body. His
left hand and arm were tingly and he ran his hand up the arm, not finding any
obvious breaks although fiery daggers of pain shot from his shoulder when he
touched it.

“Dislocated”. He felt the clavicle and added, “Probably broken collarbone,
too.”

His chest and stomach were sore, but he didn't feel pain when he pressed on
either of them. His back was beginning to sting and he could only assume it
was skinned just like his face. “Okay, where’s the flashlight?” he asked,
discovering he couldn’t find it in the darkness. “The radio, Dummy. You’re
brains aren’t that scrambled. Use the damn radio.” His hand went to his vest pocket and groped in vain. The radio was gone. In the same moment he realized he couldn’t feel the P-90 clipped to his uniform either.

“Damn. Damn. Damn.”

Slowly, he turned his head to check the ground beside him. No weapon, no
flashlight. But he saw an outline of what looked like his radio just outside the reach of his right arm.

“You can move that far, Flyboy. Piece of cake.”

He decided to check out his legs. The right one worked just fine. The left
one didn’t. In fact, he couldn’t feel it at all. “Aw, crap.” He knew
he needed to raise his head once again to get a look at his leg, but also knew that he really, really didn’t want to do that.

He turned his head to the left, eyes closed, waiting for the pain and
dizziness to subside a bit. Slowly, he raised up to check out the leg. He saw a huge, honkin’ log instead and lowered his head before it fell back to the ground.

The log.

He remembered searching for the man in the darkness. He stepped over a log
and that was all she wrote.

O’Neill tried to stretch to reach the radio, praying it would work, but
pinned as he was, it was a good eight inches away from his grasp.

“Carter to O’Neill. Come in, sir. Colonel, do you copy?”

“Yes! Hey!” He yelled above the rain, knowing they were out in the
darkness searching for him. His voice sounded hollow and distant even from his own standpoint and he closed his eyes once more when another wave of vertigo attacked.

~*~*~*~

“Why are we sitting here doing nothing?”

“Daniel, we won’t help the colonel if we go off half-cocked in the middle of
the night.”

“Dawn is approaching, Daniel Jackson. We can set out once again in the light.”

“What if these beings have him? He needs our help. Sam, we should contact
the SGC.”

“Daniel, we’ll find him. But ... I have to ask. You’re sure you saw
someone? I mean neither Teal’c nor I have seen or even felt anything since we’ve been here.”

“Sam, yes, I saw him,” he quickly shot back. "So did Jack. This man stood
right in front of us and then just disappeared. I know what we saw.”

“Okay, I believe you. Let’s go over the facts.”

“We know that Jack disappeared on my watch. What else do we need?”

“O’Neill’s hand weapon and pack are here. The radio, P90 and flashlight
are missing. There is no indication at the moment that anything untoward has
happened to him.”

“He didn’t answer his radio. That’s not like Jack. He’s either hurt or
someone is preventing him from answering. And all we’re doing is sitting here.”

“We’ll set out at first light like Teal’c said. If we don’t find anything,
one of us can go back to the gate and contact the general for reinforcements.
Just be patient, Daniel.”

~*~*~*~

O’Neill came awake with a jerk which caused the pain in his head to escalate.
He opened his eyes and stared once again into the darkness, trying to
remember where he was and why he hurt so much. He shivered from the cold and wet clothing, then groaned when that slight movement jarred his aching head and shoulder.

“You are O’Neill.”

Jack remained still, trying to decide if he was hallucinating or not.
Slowly, he turned his head to the right and focused on a figure seated beside him on the wet ground.

“And you are?”

“I am Hamsun.”

“You’re handsome?”

“No, I am called Hamsun.”

“Ah, okay.” So, not a hallucination. Maybe. “Glad you finally decided to
stop running and introduce yourself.”

“I apologize. It took several times listening to your speech before we could
understand you.”

“We?”

“My people.”

“There’s more of you?”

“We were brought to this planet many years ago by the Goa’uld. I feel I
must apologize. By searching for me, you have injured yourself.”

“Oh, yeah. That I did. Tell ya what. We can call it even if you’ll hand
me that radio next to you.”

“I cannot.”

“Can’t or won’t?”

“Cannot. My substance disappeared long ago. All you see before you is the
essence of my former being.”

“Huh?” Jack stared at the figure next to him. The man was dressed in a
drab brown robe tied with a dark red sash. His thin face framed with long brown hair and was half-hidden behind a scruffy beard.

“You look pretty substantial to me.”

“I am no longer on your plane of existence.”

“So, you’re not real? You telling me you’re a ghost?” Jack reached out
to touch the alien, his hand moving through the “body”. “Okay, that’s a
ghost. Crap. I don’t believe in ghosts.”

“Nor did I,” Hamsun replied ruefully. “But I have discovered many things
to be true that I once did not believe.” The body began to waiver in the dim light.

“Hey, what’cha doing?”

“I cannot maintain this form for long periods of time. But I will return,”
he added as he disappeared from sight.

“Damn. Must have whacked my head worse than I thought. Now I’m talking to
nothing.”

~*~*~*~

“Someone’s here.” Daniel quickly stood and looked around. Teal’c and
Carter each grabbed their weapons and jumped up as well.

“Where?” Carter asked.

“I don’t know, but all of a sudden I felt a presence. I can’t explain it.”

“Daniel Jackson.”

The archaeologist turned toward the voice to find the stranger he had seen
earlier in the day. The man was dressed in a brown robe tied with a red sash. Sandals on his feet. Very distinguished looking. “Hello.”

“Daniel, who are you talking to?” Carter turned in the direction he was
speaking, seeing nothing but the burning embers of their fire and a crumbling
wall behind it..

“Him.” He glanced at Sam and then back to the stranger. “Are you saying
you can’t see him?”

“I see no one,” Teal’c answered for both of them.

“Please forgive me, but we need to talk,” the man told Daniel. “O’Neill
has been injured.”

“What happened? And how do you know Jack’s name? Where is he? Take us
to him.”

“I shall. But only after light has returned. The rain has made the ground
very unstable.”

“How bad is he?”

“Daniel, what i going on?" Carter demanded, expecting answers.

“Why can’t my friends see you?”

“They are Goa’uld – therefore they are enemies of my people.”

“No. No, they aren’t. Teal’c is a Jaffa, but he denounced Apophis years
ago. His allegiance is with us – the Tau’ri in our fight against the Goa’uld. And Sam once had a Tok’ra symbiote. You must be sensing that. . We came to this planet to study these ruins. We did not know it was inhabited.”

“Daniel Jackson?”

“Wait, Teal’c.” He turned back to the alien. “Can you show yourself to
them?”

“I do not know that it would be wise.”

“They are my friends. And Jack’s. They mean you no harm.”

"Very well.” The figure blinked out, then in, then faded before coalescing
into a human form once again.

“Holy Hannah.”

“Indeed.”

“ Now tell us about Jack? What happened?”

“The ground was very marshy and gave way from his weight. O’Neill fell into
a deep hole. I am sorry to say he was seeking me at the time of his
accident. He is injured, but was conscious when I left him.”

“You will take us to him,” Teal’c stated in no uncertain terms.

“Of course. Like I explained, the ground is very unstable. We must wait
until daylight. I do not know how you will get him out.”

“We’ll take care of that,” Carter asserted, taking command of the situation
once more. "Once we see the area, we can decide what we need and send for
help.”

“Of course. Now I will return to O’Neill and assure him that help is on
the way.”

“Wait, wait,” Daniel began. “Wait,” he added as the figure faded from
their sight.

~*~*~*~

“O’Neill. Jack O’Neill.”

“Unh?”

“O’Neill, you must awaken.”

“No. Hurts.”

“Please. You must wake up.”

Clouded brown eyes opened and blinked shut once again. “What happened?”

“You do not remember?”

“Who are you?”

“I am Hamsun of the Amin tribe.”

O’Neill turned to blearily look at the other being. “Hammy? You’re back.
You were here then poof you went away.” He waved his right arm in the air
and chuckled, the sound turning into a ragged cough before dying out. “Well,
that hurt.”

“At first light, I will direct your people to you. Daybreak will occur in a
short span.”

“Who are you?”

“I told you. I am Hamsun.”

“Yeah, but why are you like you are?”

“Why am I dead? The Goa’uld killed my people.”

“Yeah, they’re good at that. So, what happened?”

“We possessed the ability to hide from predators such as the Goa’uld.
Foolishly we shared that knowledge with another race and our secret was sold to the Goa’uld. They captured us, herded us through our Great Circle and brought us to this planet to use as new Jaffa.”

“Daniel mentioned something about a Jaffa sickness. Is that how you all died?

“No, the Goa’uld learned too late that our bodies were not compatible with
their young. The symbiotes quickly withered and died within us and our
bodies expelled them. The Goa’uld Ra slaughtered everyone in a rage of fury.”

“Well, I got good news for you there. We killed him for you.”

“Ra is dead?”

“Yep. Blown to bits.”

“Unfortunately for my people, we cannot rest in the hereafter. In order to
do so, we must enter the Great Chasm from a portal on our own planet. Since
we have no means to return, we have been roaming this desolate place for many
of your years.”

“That sucks.”

“If by that, you mean it is wrong, I agree.”

O’Neill’s eyes closed once again. “You wouldn’t happen to have any
aspirin would you?”

“I no longer possess anything,” Hamsun quietly replied.

“Yeah, guess not. Sorry.”

The eyes remained closed and Hamsun grew alarmed until he saw the chest move
with a breath of air.

“O’Neill?”

“What?”

“I do not think it is wise that you sleep.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right. But you’d better talk to me to keep me awake.”

“I am unsure what to say. “May I ask where you came from?” Hamsun
inquired.

“Our planet is Earth. It’s a—well, it’s a long way away. In a far off
galaxy so to speak.”

“You use the circle to travel?”

“We’re explorers – we check out planets to see if there are any allies or
resources we can use to fight the Goa’uld.”

“They are formidable.”

“Well, yeah. But we’ve managed to take care of a few of them. Not that I’
m bragging.”

“Then the universe is a better place for your travels.”

“Well,” he paused in thought. “I think it is, although sometimes I do
wonder.” Changing the subject away from himself, he asked, “Tell me how it feels to be a ghost.”

“It feels—simple. There’s no anger or hatred in our lives, but on the other
hand, there is no joy. Our children do not grow. We cannot celebrate birth
or mourn at death. And no one was left to mourn our passing. We simply exist.

“Have you made contact with anyone else since you’ve been ... dead?”

“You are the first to come through the Great Circle since Ra left in his
ship. We have not been in touch with anyone.”

“How long?”

“It would be many of your years. I do not know how many. Time really has
no meaning.” Hamsun glanced at the injured man to find the pain-filled eyes
closing. “O’Neill? You must wake.”

“Tired.”

“Your friends will rescue you soon.”

He received no response from his call. Hamsun glanced at the sky and saw
the first tinges of purple fading to pink. “I will return with help.”


~*~*~*~

SG-1 and SG-3 gathered around the gurney holding O’Neill as it was pulled
from the crevasse. After consultation with Siler back on base, a winch attached to the MALP finally retrieved him. Before beginning the slow trek up, SG-3’s medic had been lowered by rope down the incline thankfully administering morphine for the trip. They made it back to the base of the Stargate before O’Neill stirred.

“Jack?” Daniel’s voice was shaky. “Jack, can you hear me?”

“Yeah,” came the weak reply. “And you don’t have to yell.”

“Sir, we’ll have you home before you know it. “

“That’s a good plan. No, wait!”

“Sir?”

“Where’s Hamstring?”

“Hamsun?”

“Yeah, him.”

“The apparition disappeared once we retrieved you,” Teal’c replied.

“He’s still here,” Daniel told them. “I can still feel his presence.”

“Hamsun? Come ’ere,” the colonel ordered.

“O’Neill. I am here.” He materialized next to the gurney. “I am
relieved that you survived. Again, I apologize.”

“Hey, it happened. Let’s move on. Now, listen up. . If we dialed the
Stargate to your planet, could you and your people walk through the wormhole?”

Hamsun thought for a moment. “I believe we could.”

“Then gather the troops. Daniel, once they arrive, Hamsun can show you what
to dial. Hammy, you’re going home.”

“My people are already present." He waved his arm in the surrounding area.
“They are fearful to show themselves.”

“Well, you just make sure you get them all home.”

“Sir, we need to get you home first,” Carter argued. “Then we’ll send them
through. I promise.”

“Nope. These folks have waited a long time. I’m fine.”

“Yes, sir.” She resigned herself that he would not budge.

“I thank you, O’Neill,” Hamsun told him, bowing in thanks. "You are a
brave warrior. It is good to know that there are still good people out there.”

“And you taught me to think outside my own little box. I hope you can do ...
whatever it is you need to find peace.”

“You have given us hope. That is something we have not had for a lifetime.
I am proud to call you friend.”

O’Neill gave him a tired, drug-filled grin. “Back at’cha.”

~*~*~*~

Jack O’Neill lounged on his deck, his casted left leg propped on a pillow on
the chase lounge. The leg, a very sore shoulder and an assortment of scrapes and bruises were what was left from his fall on P4G-189. Three days in the infirmary had somewhat eased the headache from his concussion. His body was healing. The memories remained.

Daniel carried a bag of pretzels under one arm, Doritos and cheese dip in the
other and set them down on the side table. “I’m not sure this is what
Janet prescribed as a balanced diet,” he commented.

“Hey, it’s dinner. That and a beer and I’m set.”

“I know she doesn’t want you drinking while taking the pills. And by the
way, where’s your sling?”

Jack reached for one of the bottles he had confiscated from the refrigerator
and took a long drink. “Can’t do this with a sling on. And neither one of
us is going to tell her, are we?”

“I suppose not," Daniel replied with a grin. "But you have to answer a
question for me.”

“Shoot.”

“Back a couple years ago, I remember asking if you believed in ghosts. You
told me ‘no’. Want to change that thought?”

O’Neill pondered the idea. “I think what has changed is my definition of ‘
ghost’. What we saw were people who were living on another plane of existence than ours. They were normal except for the fact that they were dead. And yes, I have to believe in them. Hamsun probably saved my life.”

“Absolutely,” Daniel agreed. “I don’t think we would have ever found you
where you had fallen.”

“But, on the other hand, I don’t believe in ghosts that go boo in the night.
And it would take a lot more evidence for me to change that opinion.”

“We’ve seen so much in the past few years, haven’t we?” Daniel paused,
collecting his thoughts. "What we’ve seen has altered everything we were taught to believe all our lives. Who knows what’s out there that we haven’t even begun to find?”

Jack tipped the beer toward his friend. “Who knows, Daniel. Guess we’ll
just have to wait and see where our next trip leads us.”

~*~*~*~


Story assigned to: Cokie (_LWatson259@aol.com_ (mailto:LWatson259@aol.com) )
Time frame: Any after season three "Legacy"
Pairings: None
Plot: In season 3, episode "Legacy" we have Daniel in the infirmary. Jack
comes to visit him, and Daniel asks Jack "Do you believe in ghosts?" At the time, the answer that both of them gave was no. However, the idea here is to come up with a story where the quick and easy answer of "no" is tested. Whether it is on earth, or on another planet, they are forced to deal with the issue of ghosts. Oh, and ghosts in the form that we are reading about, no Reetou. With Jack, to make it a good story, he must have some sort of injury (pain and suffering) to go along with the plot. The story will include Jack and Daniel, and anyone else necessary to help create the story.