All publicly recognisable characters and places are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognised characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Rated 15 for the adult content of the storyline - nothing graphic though. This is a return to action and adventure, and you all know what that means don't you. Yes! Danny whumping!
Spoilers for Need, Hathor and Holiday.
My thanks to Jeanne McClure who prevented me from trashing this story half way through. Anyone that thinks I should've trashed it at that point, please send your complaints to her - not me. Thank you!!!
Huge thanks to Ellen Caldera who ensured that Daniel and co did not throw in any stray English phrases, and who is always a huge source of encouragement.
Extract from the diary of Dr Daniel Jackson
Life is just manic at the moment. Three teams have just returned through the Stargate bringing with them all sorts of fascinating artefacts. I just hate the fact that I get to do little more than give most of them a cursory glance before they're shipped off to Maybourne and his cronies. Of course I do get to keep hold of some of the more interesting ones for a while. The problem is SG1 is a field unit and we also spend time off-world, which doesn't leave a whole lot of time for studying what Jack refers to as my 'rocks'! Not that I'm complaining. Stepping through the Stargate still gives me that tingle - half terror, half excitement. Even with the MALP we never know quite what to expect. Take tomorrow's mission - P6T290. In theory we're going there because radio broadcasts suggest there is a fairly advanced civilisation present. But who know? Once we step through that gate, we could meet up with anyone or anything...
"Well this sucks." Jack O'Neill stepped through the Stargate onto P6T290 and rubbed at his eyes. Behind him Teal'c, Samantha Carter and Daniel Jackson came through the gate and looked equally bewildered.
"Did SGC mis-dial?" Sam asked. "This isn't anything like the MALP video."
SG1 had been expecting to arrive in a pleasantly wooded valley, and their brief was to make contact with whoever was emitting radio signals - a good sign of a reasonably advanced civilisation. Instead they had stepped into a large, dark cavern.
"This is really weird," Daniel said, moving cautiously away from the gate as his eyes adjusted to the gloom. "It's like we're in some kind of..."
A blast of energy from an unseen weapon hit Jackson square in the chest. As the anthropologist crumbled unconscious to the floor, the rest of SG1 swung their weapons up. Too slow. Three more flashes of energy darted across the cavern. Three more bodies hit the floor.
Teal'c woke first. Opening his eyes, he presumed he was lying where he had fallen, the Stargate looming above him in the gloom. Instinctively he reached for his staff weapon, but it was gone. Unwilling to make himself an easy target he rolled onto his stomach and crawled to the nearest body.
"Colonel O'Neill," he hissed. There was no response and Teal'c quickly checked his commander for a pulse. Relieved to find one, Teal'c opened a pocket of his fatigues and retrieved a small capsule. Breaking off the top he held it under O'Neill's nose. The stench of ammonia quickly brought the Colonel round.
"For crying out loud, Teal'c, get that stuff away from me."
"You were unconscious."
"What happened?" O'Neill coughed as he glanced around, quickly noting he no longer had any weapons, and that his back pack was missing.
"I do not know." Teal'c was already at Sam's side, administering the same treatment to her. "Are you all right, Captain?" he asked as she opened her eyes and coughed.
Sam considered for a moment, figured she was alive and not in any real pain, although she felt sore all over, and nodded.
By now, O'Neill had roused Daniel. "What the..." The anthropologist climbed shakily to his feet. He felt like he had spent the past twenty-four hours on a particularly violent roller coaster.
"I don't think the locals are friendly," O'Neill muttered. "Dial us out of here, Daniel, before they come back."
"What about our equipment, Sir?" Sam was concerned to find the MALP had vanished along with everything else they had brought through the gate.
"We'll worry about that back at SGC." O'Neill's main concern was to get his team home safely.
Daniel hit the last chevron and watched with relief as the gate leapt into action. Lifting his right arm, his stomach suddenly knotted. "My transmitter's gone."
"Mine too." Sam said, holding up her own arm.
"O.K. Don't panic. I've still got mine." O'Neill moved to the gate, and hit the SG1 code. "Let's go."
The following morning, Sam arrived at the door of Daniel's office uninvited. Daniel looked up from some manuscripts he was translating and beckoned her in, his eyes instantly returning to the line of text he was grappling with. Several moments passed before he remembered Sam was there.
Her arms full of folders and files, looking rather awkward, she gave him a sheepish smile.
"Something up?" Daniel asked, absently tapping his pencil on the desk as he waited for her reply.
"Uhm." Sam looked embarrassed. "Not really. It's just that..." Daniel raised an eyebrow questioningly. "It's just that the heating has gone off in my office. It's freezing down there. I wondered if I could share with you for a while."
"Oh. Right." Daniel looked round his crowded office, not thinking to question the fact that his heating was working just fine. Standing up he shuffled some papers to one side to make room. "Well, I guess you could work here."
Sam smiled, looking exactly like a high-school kid on her first day in a new class. "Thanks."
"No problem." Daniel returned to his papers, wondering why Sam hadn't decamped to one of the conference rooms or other labs but feeling it was too unwelcoming a question to ask. Besides, since their hasty return from P6T290 he'd being feeling rather weird himself, kind of uneasy, like somebody was always in the room with him. Maybe she was feeling the same way and just wanted to know someone else was around. He was just about to mention it when one of the symbols on the manuscript caught his eye. Perfect! That was just what he'd been looking for. Sam was forgotten in an instant, his mind captured by the ancient mystery before him.
Sam, quickly settled herself down about three feet from Daniel. Surreptitiously she watched the anthropologist work, his face wrinkled into a frown, shoulders hunched over, one hand reaching regularly for the mug of coffee by his side. Gradually though the animation seemed to dissipate. She watched as he pinched at the bridge of his nose, obviously finding it hard to concentrate on the ancient texts in front of him. Then without even seeming to be aware of it, his head slowly bent towards the table until his forehead was resting on the smooth wooden surface. Carefully Sam rose from her chair and checked on her team-mate. There was no doubt about it, Dr Daniel Jackson was fast asleep. Sam smiled at his relaxed features before returning to her seat and making herself comfortable.
Daniel poured himself a mug of coffee from the communal pot down in the main lab. Behind him Sam was working at the main desk, quietly humming to herself as she did so. He turned to watch her, an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. Ever since they'd returned from P6T290, Sam had shadowed his every move. At first he had thought he was imagining it, but now he was sure that it was deliberate. Wearily, he took a swallow of coffee wondering how he could broach the subject. As he did so, Sam glanced up and smiled. Pushing her papers aside she walked over to him.
"Coffee," she said gently taking the mug from his hand. "What a good idea."
Daniel watched in amazement as she sipped the hot drink from his mug. Suddenly he was aware that she was standing much to close to him. He tried to take a step backwards, but found the hard edge of the work bench pressed against his back.
Sam handed the mug back with a flirtatious giggle. "Guess I should get my own cup." She reached across him, her hand resting on his shoulder as she stretched towards the cupboard for another mug.
At just that moment, Teal'c walked into the lab. He took one look at Daniel and Sam and his eyebrows raised. "Am I interrupting?" he asked.
Sam moved to one side, her hand still lightly touching Jackson's arm. "Teal'c. No. We were just having coffee." She held out the mug in invitation. "Like a cup?"
"No. Thank you." Teal'c replied wondering if his eyes had been deceiving him. Daniel Jackson and Samantha Carter? He knew his team-mates were close, but Daniel Jackson had a wife. However, he also knew that humans had a ritual called divorce - a way of ending a marriage that did not involve the death of a partner. He made a mental note to consider the situation later. For now he turned to Captain Carter. "You have something to show me?"
"Yes," Sam replied moving back towards her desk. "SG5 brought these artefacts back from...
Daniel let out a long silent breath as Teal'c replaced him as Sam's focus of attention. Returning to his own work he made a mental note of his own. He really needed to talk to Jack.
"Jack!" Daniel caught up with O'Neill in the locker-room. "I've been looking all over for you."
O'Neill glanced at the anthropologist's flushed face and sighed. Why him? He'd been stuck in meetings with bean counters all day arguing over the price of paperclips. And now Daniel wanted to regale him with some no doubt 'fascinating to geeky anthropologists' tale? He shucked off his shirt and pulled a fresh one from his locker. "Daniel, please don't tell me you're engaged again."
"No!" Daniel was hurt by O'Neill's humour.
"Good!" O'Neill began to button his shirt. "Only Teal'c mentioned you and Carter were getting awfully friendly over a cup of coffee this morning."
"He did?" Daniel swallowed nervously
O'Neill laughed. "Don't worry. I told him it was nothing. I mean... You and Sam? Please! That'd be like... incest."
"Right," Daniel said. "Right! It's just that..."
O'Neill tapped his watch. "I'm pressed for time, Daniel."
"Oh, ummm. It's just that Sam seems to be following me around."
O'Neill's eyebrows raised. "Following you around?"
"Yes. Like... Like she has some sort of crush on me."
O'Neill laughed. "A crush? Don't be ridiculous!"
"Ridiculous," Daniel agreed giving a nervous laugh. "Well that's what I thought. But... Well... Teal'c noticed."
O'Neill glanced at his watch again. No way was he going to miss the start of the hockey game this time. He'd promised himself - beer, hockey and pizza. No one, not even Daniel was going to come between him and the first evening off he'd had in a week. "Daniel, I don't think you need to worry about Sam. I mean, it isn't like she's a princess or something. I think you're perfectly safe."
"Very funny!" Daniel slumped onto the bench as O'Neill hurried away. He pushed away his irritation at Jack's dig about princesses, and the unwelcome memory of Shyla that went with it. Right now Sam was his problem. Jack's voice repeated in his mind. Don't be ridiculous! Of course it was ridiculous. He'd worked with Sam for months now and she'd never given him any reason to think of her in any other way than a brotherly one. But that didn't change the fact that for the past two days Sam had been making him feel very uncomfortable.
Daniel woke feeling exhausted. It had been three days since the aborted trip to P6T290. It wasn't unusual for SG teams to remain on the base for three days after returning from a mission, just in case some mysterious virus had come through the gate with them, and as he lay on his bunk feeling too weak to move, Daniel figured he ought to head for the infirmary. Dr Frasier had said the effects of the energy blast would only last a few hours, and effectively given the team a clean bill of health, but Daniel hadn't felt right since coming back through the gate. It didn't seem to matter how much sleep he got, he felt tired.
Wearily he dragged himself off his bunk and stood in front of the small sink to shave. Seeing his reflection in the mirror he scrutinised the dark shadows beneath his eyes and, even in the dim lighting of the military bunk room, he knew he looked pale. He thought about the infirmary again, and shivered at the idea of Janet Frasier sticking him with needles and inflicting various other unpleasant tests on him. Maybe a cup or two of strong coffee would do the trick. That and a long, hot shower. He reached for his soap and a towel and headed to the locker-room.
Minutes later, Daniel turned the shower on full blast, stripped off his clothes and stepped beneath the jet of water. He washed quickly and then tilted his face upwards, finally feeling a vestige of energy creeping into his body as the heat gave his bare skin a healthy pink glow. Now if he could just get a couple of cups of industrial strength coffee. As he shut off the water and reached out for his towel, a sound snagged part of his attention. Light footsteps. Like someone in sneakers, trying not to be heard. He ignored them and started to dry off. Light footsteps? Suddenly an unwelcome thought crept into his mind. If Sam had been trailing him around the SGC...
He whipped the towel around his waist, suddenly angry. This was too much. He was going to confront her now, and find out what the hell she was playing at. As he stormed into the changing area he came face to face with Jack O'Neill.
"Daniel? Something wrong?"
Daniel peered around the room suspiciously, and then realised Jack was staring at him with that 'the guy's totally flaky' look of his. "No. Nothing's wrong." Daniel said quickly. "I just... errrr... just... nothing. Everything's fine."
Jack continued to look at him for a long hard moment before finally turning away. "You know Daniel, you've got to stop pulling these all-nighters. You look awful."
"R...right." Daniel headed for his locker, deciding now was not the time to tell O'Neill that he'd just slept for 12 straight hours.
Samantha Carter was in the infirmary. "I was sick again this morning," she said as Dr Frasier scribbled on her medical chart. "And I feel..." Carter paused. "I don't know how to explain it. I feel... weird."
"Well, you don't have a fever. I'll take some blood, and I'd like you to give a urine sample. I'll run a few tests..." Frasier's professional conversation was interrupted as Daniel arrived in the infirmary. The anthropologist looked as though he had been doing some serious partying, but the doctor knew that the most exciting thing Daniel had done for the past three days was translate some scrolls SG5 brought back from a recent mission.
Frasier indicated a chair to Daniel. She called to a nurse and quickly instructed her to draw blood from Sam. Pulling Daniel's medical record from its file, she moved over to the young man. "Big night?" she joked.
Daniel managed a weak smile. "Yes, you know SG1 - one long party." The smile died. "I'm completely wiped out, Doc."
"Any nausea? Vomiting?" Frasier asked, mentally comparing Carter's symptoms with Jackson's, as she felt around his jaw for swollen glands.
Daniel shook his head. "No. I just seem to wake up more tired than when I went to bed."
"Been overdoing the caffeine, doctor?" Frasier had warned Daniel on his last medical check to keep his caffeine intake in check.
"No." Daniel immediately justified his answer to himself. He'd only overdone it this morning. In fact it was the failure of the caffeine to rouse him from this sluggishness that had finally driven him to the infirmary.
Frasier scribbled on Daniel's notes. "O.K. I'll give you a complete check. It's strange that both you and Carter are in here, although you don't seem to have the same symptoms."
Four hours later Carter was sitting in Janet Frasier private office.
"I got the test results back." Frasier looked down at the neat print-out on her desk and then up at the young blonde woman in front of her. She wasn't looking forward to this. In fact, she didn't quite know how to handle it.
Sam, detecting the doctor's unease fidgeted in her seat. "So is it some alien thing?" She steeled herself for the worst.
"No." Frasier took a deep breath. "You're pregnant."
Sam opened her mouth to laugh and then closed it again at the serious expression on Frasier's face. "That's ridiculous," she finally managed to blurt out. Now she did laugh. "There must be some mistake."
Frasier pushed the print-out across the table. "It's no mistake. I ran the test myself. Three times. And this test is completely accurate."
"No test is completely accurate." The scientist in Sam bristled. "Janet, I can't be pregnant, I haven't slept with anyone since I joined the SGC. I don't even know why you ran such a test!"
Janet noted the sudden anger, realising Sam was shocked by what she'd just heard. "It's routine, Sam. You know that. With the symptoms you had, it would've been wrong of me not to check."
The two women stared at one another, both trying to come to terms with what the other was saying. Finally Frasier broke the deadlock. "Do you have any idea how far gone you could be?" Sam shook her head still trying to absorb what Janet was saying. The doctor pressed on. "What about periods? When was the last one?"
Sam shook her head again and then tried to think. "I don't know, Janet. Gate travel kinda messes things around."
Frasier nodded in understanding, but she had another suggestion, one that would answer the question equally as well if not more so. One that would also convince her friend of the truth of her condition. "How about we do an ultrasound?"
Samantha Carter stared in disbelief at the image on the monitor. "This can't be." She'd said that phrase at least 20 times during the ultrasound procedure, believing that somehow the image of the foetus would disappear.
Doctor Frasier turned the equipment off, and wiped the gel from Carter's stomach. She drew in a long breath. "Sam, if it's true that you haven't slept..."
"Are you calling me a liar?" Anger flared in Sam's voice again.
"Sorry." Frasier apologised quickly. "I didn't mean to imply that. But you have to admit, virgin births are pretty rare."
"Never said I was virgin," Sam muttered softly, her face turning a light pink. She looked at Janet, appeal clearly stamped on her features. "What the hell's going on, Janet?"
The doctor moved to the sink and rinsed her hands. "I can't explain it. But we can start investigating. Would you be willing for me to do a DNA test on the foetus? If we can identify the father, we may be able to solve the mystery of how you became pregnant."
"If?" Sam's brain wasn't up to the intricacies of medical science right at the moment. In fact she felt completely numb, her mind still seeing the image of the foetus. A baby! It couldn't be! An unpleasant scenario crept into her mind, the only one she could think of to explain what was happening. She must have been drugged and raped. How else could she not remember conceiving a child? But even then - surely there would have been some evidence? She looked up and realised Frasier was still talking.
"...it's unlikely that the father will be on the database. Sam, you do understand there is a risk you'll miscarry if I do this?"
Sam's only response was a slight nod. Then, realising that Janet was watching her she forced her mouth to work. "Yes, I understand."
The atmosphere in the conference room was strained. Jack O'Neill and General Hammond were talking quietly together at one end of the table. Sam was gazing into space, numbed by the most recent news Janet Frasier had delivered. The doctor was examining her test results, checking over and over in her mind the procedures she had used.
The door opened and Daniel Jackson walked in. Jack shot him a hard glance, his sour expression not changing for an instant as he saw that Daniel's youthful looks were buried beneath a mask of fatigue. O'Neill's normal reaction of concern for his friend was buried deep beneath a sense of loathing from what he'd just discovered. As he looked at Jackson his mouth set into a hard line. Considering what Frasier had just said, Jackson had good reason to be losing sleep. The jerk was lucky Hammond was present otherwise O'Neill just might be tempted to take a swing at him.
"So what's going on?" Daniel asked innocently. "Where's Teal'c?"
"Take a seat, Dr Jackson." Hammond's tone was pure military, the words clipped and precise. "This meeting doesn't concern Teal'c."
Daniel sat down, wondering what he had done to deserve the obvious coolness of his colleagues.
"Dr Frasier." Hammond indicated that she should begin the meeting.
Frasier was concise with her presentation. Daniel's jaw dropped as the doctor delivered the news of Sam's pregnancy. His eyes shot to the young captain's face, looking for an expression of emotion to see which way he was supposed to react. He found only a blank gaze fixed at some distant point above his head.
"Captain Carter has no recollection of how she became pregnant," Frasier said. She looked at Daniel. "We thought maybe you could shed some light on the situation, Dr Jackson."
"Me?" Daniel blinked, his mind failing to comprehend the meaning behind the words.
Frasier fixed him with a cold look. "We did a DNA test on the foetus. You're the father."
Daniel stared at Frasier, shock registering across his features. "Wha.. wha.. what?" His eyes turned to Sam, who refused to look at him. His sharp brain, so often his ally, seemed to be betraying him. Nothing sensible came to mind at all, other than an almost irresistible urge to giggle.
General Hammond, his face sterner than Jackson could ever recall having seen it, took over the meeting. "Dr Jackson. I suggest you give us an explanation of how Captain Carter came to be in this predicament."
"Predicament? Isn't that a rather old-fashioned term?" Daniel was babbling but he couldn't help it. The whole thing was crazy. He looked from one face to the next, waiting for someone to shout, "You're on candid camera." Instead O'Neill spoke.
"What the hell would you like us to call it Jackson!"
The urge to laugh vanished. Daniel rose to his feet, pushing his chair away.
"Sit down, Doctor Jackson!" Hammond's order was almost snarled.
Reluctantly Daniel sat, his mouth leaping back into action instead. "You must believe me. I have no idea what you're talking about." His eyes turned to Carter who continued to avoid his gaze. "Sam, you know I've never touched you. Tell them!" The giggle that had been threatening escaped him now, making him sound vaguely hysterical. "Tell them!" Eyes back on Jack he waved a hand in the air. "Jack, she's the one that's been chasing me around the SGC. I tried to tell you." He stopped realising he sounded... ridiculous.
"She's four months gone." O'Neill snapped the words out with cold precision.
Daniel looked at Jack open-mouthed. If Jack had stood up and punched him in the stomach the impact would have been no less. The significance of the date wasn't lost on Daniel. Four months ago he'd returned from an off-world visit addicted to a goa'uld sarcophagus, his body enslaved to the narcotic effects and his mind shattered through the need to feed the addiction. An addiction that had taken him one breath away from shooting Jack.
"You don't think that..."
"I don't know what to think, Jackson," O'Neill responded coldly. His eyes burrowed into the anthropologist, calculating Jackson's responses, noting his emotions, trying to make sense of yet another nightmare.
Daniel flinched at the repeated use of his surname, something Jack rarely did these days.
"Dr Jackson." Hammond drew the group's attention back to himself. "Can you explain Captain Carter's pregnancy or not?"
"No!" Daniel was adamant. "The DNA tests must be wrong." He rounded on Doctor Frasier. "You must have got a contaminant in there or something. I never touched Sam - sarcophagus or not."
"I wish there was a mistake," Frasier said. "But there isn't. The DNA of this foetus is definitely a combination of yours and Captain Carter's."
"Sam..." Daniel pleaded once again. This time he got a response, but it came like a slap to the face.
"I don't remember, damn it." Sam's eyes were icy as she finally looked at him. "Nothing. Absolutely nothing. All I know is that I've seen the baby on an ultrasound screen. And I've seen the test results. And..." Her eyes reflected newly uncovered pain. "I remember how you were back then."
Daniel crumpled beneath Sam's attack. He was living a nightmare. Everyone was glaring at him. His head hurt. God, he felt so tired. He was aware that Hammond was talking to him again, but the words made no sense. Explain. Come clean. What could he explain...?
Hammond rose to his feet and moved to the door of the conference room. "If you have nothing to say then I'm afraid I have no choice in my actions." He opened the door and beckoned to a waiting pair of security guards. "Place Dr Jackson under arrest and secure him in detention cell A."
"No... No. You can't..." Daniel was on his feet again. His chair went flying as he tried to back away, fully intent on circling the conference table. The guards were ready for him though. He'd barely taken two steps before burly arms grabbed him, spun him around and pinned him face down to the table. Large hands grabbed his wrists, yanking his arms roughly behind his back as cuffs were applied. Daniel caught a glimpse of Jack's face, the older man's expression a bizarre mix of anguish and anger. Then still protesting, he was dragged from the room. As the door closed behind him, his cry of "Sam! Please! Tell them!" was cut off.
Three long and painful days passed. Alone in his cell, Daniel barely moved from his bunk. The meals served to him were taken away untouched, and he ignored the clean clothes that were left for him. All he could see was Sam's face - her expression little short of hatred as she looked at him. Could he have done what they'd suggested? Had he really become so inhuman under the influence of the sarcophagus? Self-loathing crept over him and he pulled his knees to his chest, unaware that he was slowly rocking back and forth.
Meanwhile Sam Carter paced around the SGC like a caged cat. Time after time her footsteps would lead her to detention cell A. Once there she would stand outside the door, her hand resting on the cool metal as though drawing some sort of strength from it. Then abruptly she would move on as though suddenly realising where she was.
At last she ended up in the infirmary. "I feel like I'm going crazy," she snapped at Janet. "Not knowing what happened. Not remembering..." She shrugged through the frustration, moving on to what she did know. "Then there's Daniel. Part of me wants to knock his head off his shoulders." She clenched her fists into tight balls at her side, the idea of doing serious bodily harm to Daniel clearly getting her adrenaline flowing. "And then there's this other part of me that..." she paused, trying to find the words. "It's like I need to be near him." She looked at Janet, confusion in her eyes. "I find myself standing outside the cell door, and it's like an itch. I want to go in there and..." Her face suddenly flared scarlet, the words 'touch him' were on her lips. In a moment of clarity she was suddenly aware of exactly what it was she wanted to do with Daniel. It didn't make sense.
"And?" Janet prompted her.
"And..." Sam turned away from her friend trying to hide the flush. "I don't know. I...errr... I guess I'm just used to talking over my problems with him." She knew it was a lame excuse, and as she turned back she knew too that it hadn't convinced Janet. Quickly muttering about needing the bathroom, she hurried away, her thoughts in even more turmoil at her near confession.
In Hammond's office, Jack was ranting. "What the hell is going on? Sam is walking around SGC in some sort of daze and Daniel..." He paused lost of words. The sight of the anthropologist had scared him, finally turning his anger at what he believed Daniel had done into one of concern. He was really afraid that Daniel was going to lose it completely. The fact that Frasier had the young scientist on suicide watch didn't help any either. He turned to her now, desperately looking for some sort of answer. "Could this be some sort of delayed reaction from the sarcophagus?"
Janet shook her head. "I don't think so. As far as we could tell, that addiction was purely physical. Once he got over the withdrawal..."
"Then what?" Jack demanded.
Hammond replied to the question. "Colonel, Dr Jackson is under considerable stress. He is accused of rape." The burly Texan still couldn't believe what he was saying, but he was the commanding officer. He had to go by the rules. If only Sam Carter would remember something...
Jack swore and sat down. The whole world had gone mad. His friend was locked up and so close to the edge the slightest thing was likely to push him into madness. And Carter, he couldn't bear to think what Carter was going through, but at least she was going through the motions of some sort of normality. "So what are we going to do?" he asked.
Janet shook her head, indicating that for once she didn't have any options to call up. Hammond rubbed his hand over his head, a clear sign that he was agitated. He looked O'Neill in the eye. "We can't deny the medical evidence, so we go by the book, Colonel. And that means we act on the charges Captain Carter has laid against Dr Jackson. The lawyers will be here first thing in the morning."
Jack frowned, not liking that news one little bit and yet knowing that it was the only thing Hammond could do. "Well heaven help the one that gets Daniel, because I haven't managed to get a word out of him for two days."
It was three o'clock in the morning. Janet Frasier was exhausted, but something made her stay in the infirmary, checking and re-checking her data. The uneasy feeling that had gnawed at her ever since she'd discovered Sam's pregnancy had refused to go away.
She shook her head. Nothing made sense. Sam pregnant and not knowing how. Daniel as the father and under suspicion of rape. Now that certainly didn't add up. She'd known Daniel for a good while now, and he wouldn't hurt a fly. Even under the influence of the sarcophagus it was his inability to hurt Jack that had finally broken the hold of that evil technology. Janet just couldn't bring herself to believe that Daniel would force himself on Sam. Nor that Sam would block the memory out so entirely. She was a trained soldier - prepared to deal with nightmare situations, even one as awful as this. Besides, in a physical fight between the two, Janet would put money on Sam every time. Which meant that Daniel would have had to have drugged her, and that was much to pre-meditated. Especially given the timing. Four months ago the only thing Daniel Jackson could think about was escaping back to P3R636.
Janet picked up the DNA test results again. She was missing something, she just knew it. Think, she said to herself. This is SGC, look for the unexpected. Extrapolate beyond reason. What would you least expect to find? She stared at the paper data. Sam's DNA. Daniel's DNA. What else could there be? A wild idea crept into the periphery of her imagination. No, it couldn't. Yet...
Janet was out of her chair in a moment. Grabbing her samples, a bunch of chemicals and a range of equipment, she set to work.
8.00. Janet Frasier sat opposite General Hammond. Beside her sat Colonel O'Neill and Samantha Carter.
"It was a wild hunch," she said, aware that she hadn't slept for more than a day and probably looked fairly wild herself. "But it paid off. I looked for the unexpected, and there it was."
O'Neill sighed audibly. Scientists. Why couldn't they ever say what they meant in plain English. "What was there, doctor?"
Janet found herself feeling elated and quickly suppressed that emotion. Professionally she knew she had done a damn fine job, but she also realised that what she was about to say actually impacted far deeper on Sam Carter than her original announcement.
However, this time Sam already knew all there was to know. In fact the two women had been locked in the infirmary most of the night running tests. Janet took a breath. "There is a third DNA present in the foetus. A totally alien one."
"Alien?" It was General Hammond's turn to feel as though his head was spinning. Events were moving far too fast for his liking.
"That's not all, Sir." This time Sam spoke. In the past few hours she had re-gained her equilibrium, although she would be the first to admit she was burying the problem under the scientific investigation. Being able to work beside Janet Frasier in the infirmary had given her a focus that had somehow helped her move through the soul-destroying shock of what was happening to her. "Janet did another scan of the foetus this morning, and it had grown as much as a human foetus would've done in two weeks."
"Which means if we extrapolate backwards, this baby was conceived around the time SG1 was attacked on P6T290." Janet set her clipboard down with a flourish.
Colonel O'Neill scratched his head, more than a little bemused by the two women in front of him. "And all this means?"
Carter looked at him. "This baby that I'm carrying isn't just mine and Daniel's, it's part alien. I think that while we were unconscious on P6T290 somebody... or something, was using us as some sort of bizarre experiment. At the rate this foetus is growing, it could well be full-term within the next three weeks." Carter knew she should be feeling more than she was about what she was saying, but right now she simply felt relief at being able to give a logical, if outlandish, explanation to what was happening to her. "We're dealing with something way beyond our experience here."
O'Neill shook his head, trying to take in the information. "You, Daniel and a little green man?" Carter glared at him. He shook his head in quick apology. "Sorry. It's just a little difficult to get my brain around."
"What we don't understand is where the foetus is drawing the energy to grow at such a rate," Frasier continued. "In theory, Sam should be exhausted. Instead, as you can see, she is glowing with health."
An image of Daniel's haggard face loomed in O'Neill's mind. "Daniel." He spoke the name quietly, remembering how the anthropologist had complained of exhaustion soon after returning from P6T290.
Sam and Janet exchanged looks, their sharp minds jumping to the same conclusion. "Is that possible?" Sam asked. "Could the energy be coming from Daniel?"
"Who knows what we're dealing with here," Janet replied. "Anything could be possible. Including drawing nourishment from the father through, who knows what, telepathy or something similar." Sudden horror gripped Janet. The last time she had checked on Daniel, she had assumed his lack of appetite and dishevelled appearance had been because of the stress. Now she had a horrible feeling that she had completely mis-read the situation. Daniel wasn't just reacting to the trouble with Sam, he was being physically abused by some alien life form.
Frasier turned to General Hammond. "With your permission, Sir. I'd like Dr Jackson released from detention. And I'd like to see him in the infirmary a.s.a.p."
Hammond, still unsure that he had kept pace with the fast thinking of his team, looked to Sam. "Captain Carter?"
"I agree with Dr Frasier, Sir. I don't think Daniel is the guilty party here. I suspect that he is as much a victim as I am."
"General, if you don't mind. I'd like to go and release Daniel." O'Neill looked more than a bit uncomfortable. The dark thoughts he had been harbouring against Daniel for the past few days stuck in his throat.
"Very well," Hammond said. "Dismissed."
"Daniel?" As the security team unlocked the cell, Jack O'Neill stepped into the darkened room. The air smelled stale, the distinct aroma of an unwashed body mixing with the smell of oatmeal. A tray containing an untouched breakfast was the source of the latter. Jack flipped on the light and spotted the source of the first.
Daniel was lying on the narrow bed, his face turned to the wall, apparently asleep. "Daniel! Wake up." O'Neill moved to the bed and shook the anthropologist's shoulder. As Daniel failed to respond, O'Neill shook him harder. Still no response.
"Dammit, Daniel," Jack muttered, as he turned the anthropologist over, and realised the young man was unconscious. "Do you have to keep doing this to me?" For one long, sickening moment O'Neill feared his friend was dead as he felt for a pulse, but at last he found a pulse, weak and erratic, but at least he was alive. "Get a medical team down here, now!" he yelled. Jackson felt like ice, his skin had an unhealthy clammy feel to it, and his unshaven face bore a deathly pallor. Quickly the colonel stripped off his jacket, wrapped it around the young man's upper body and then began to desperately rub his wrists in the hope that it would encourage circulation. "Come on, Daniel," he whispered. "I've got one hell of an apology to make. I'd really like you to be around long enough to hear it."
"Well?" O'Neill asked as Janet Frasier opened the curtains that encircled the still unconscious body of Daniel Jackson in the infirmary.
"I think he's stabilised. I'm pumping glucose into him as fast as I dare. That and a mixture of electrolytes. We've also transfused some blood."
O'Neill moved to stand before his stricken team-mate. "So just what is going on?"
"Well, I'm speculating wildly here, but I suspect the foetus that Captain Carter is carrying is somehow draining energy from Daniel. I've never seen anything like it. I don't dare risk too many tests because of the risk of miscarriage. Who knows what impact that would have on either of them. But it seems that the alien DNA is gradually taking over. What started out as a normal human foetus is rapidly changing into..."
"Into?" O'Neill prompted as Frasier paused.
She shrugged. "I have no idea. All I can do is extrapolate from what we're seeing."
"So extrapolate, doctor." O'Neill's tone was impatient.
"My best guess is that in less than a week's time, Captain Carter will give birth to an alien infant."
"And Daniel?" O'Neill looked down at the deathly pale face of his friend.
Frasier pursed her lips and repeated her earlier words. "I have no idea!"
"I don't see that there is a choice." O'Neill was adamant as SG1 sat around the conference table. Daniel had regained consciousness a few hours earlier, and Frasier had reluctantly allowed him to leave the infirmary as long as he promised to check back every two hours so that she could monitor his sugar levels and red blood cell count. The dark circles beneath his eyes were barely disguised by his glasses, and his whole demeanour was one of total exhaustion. At least the news had restored some semblance of mental normality to him. Jack could have sworn he saw the weight lift off Jackson's shoulders as he explained what Sam and Janet had figured out. Whether the anthropologist had accepted his apology was another matter. The young man had said the right words in response to O'Neill's embarrassed speech, but Jack knew that his mistrust had inflicted a deep wound.
Now however, Jackson was back to his normal irritating self - taking the opposite side of the argument to O'Neill.
"Jack, we're talking about another life form here." Even Daniel's voice sounded weak, the effort to speak clearly draining him.
Jack however had made up his mind. "Yes Daniel, I'm aware its another life form, but the plain fact is it doesn't belong inside Carter."
Daniel glanced over at Sam and the obvious bulge that was now her belly. "We can't just decide to abort it. We don't know..."
"Excuse me!" Sam interrupted angrily. "This is not about what you two are going to decide to do. This is my body!"
"We know that Captain," Jack said more gently. "But with all due respect this isn't the usual discussion about a woman's right to choose."
"Oh isn't it?" Sam tried to keep her voice calm. "Well let me tell you Colonel O'Neill that ultimately the only person that gets to decide what happens to this foetus is me."
"Sam," Daniel protested. "This involves me too. It is my DNA..."
Sam snorted angrily and glared at Daniel. "Yes, and we all know how careless you can be with that."
A pained expression leapt onto Daniel's face.
"Daniel, I'm sorry." Carter's apology was quick, but the anthropologist was already on his feet. His face red he looked briefly at Jack and then at the floor.
"I think I need to get out of here for a while," he muttered, heading for the door as fast as he could.
"Daniel, please.." Sam called to his back. Daniel merely waved his arm in her general direction, the action fending off both her concern and her apology.
As the door closed behind him Sam sat down and folded her arms over her head. "Damn!" she muttered quietly. "Damn. Damn. Damn!"
She found him in the store room, sitting on an upturned crate in front of a box of videotape, his arms wrapped around his body, legs gently swinging like a schoolboy who was waiting to be chewed out.
Sam analysed his body language as she approached him slowly, not quite knowing how he would respond to her. Self-protection she decided her eyes moving back to the tightly encircled arms. Well that was no surprise considering how low she had stooped to get at him. She knew only too well how upset he had been after that Hathor incident. To throw it in his face - that had been uncalled for no matter how upset she had been.
He turned and saw her. Shot that quick half smile at her and then began to babble about the first thing that came into his mind, a dead give-away that he was as nervous as hell. "Seems I over did the order for our next mission. Jack'll have a fit if he sees all this videotape down here. I must've ordered twelve dozen boxes instead of..."
"Daniel!" Sam interrupted him gently. She moved in front of him, and crouched so that she was eye level with him. "I'm sorry."
Daniel glanced at her and then looked away. "No, I'm the one that's sorry." He got to his feet and moved away, one hand idly picking up a reel of tape as though that was why he'd come down here. "I mean..." He waved a hand at her figure. "Look at you. It's all my fault." He glanced at her again, then put the tape back on the shelf. Arms around the chest once more.
The pain in his eyes was almost more than Sam could bear, but almost as quickly as she registered it, he turned stood up and walked away. Sam shook her head and moved behind him. Reaching out gently she turned him round so that they were once more eye to eye. "Listen to me, Daniel Jackson. You are not to blame for any of this. Whatever happened on that planet, it happened to both of us. And somehow, both of us will get through this."
Daniel gazed at her with uncertainly. "Do you really mean that?"
Daniel studied her for a long moment. He'd always known she was a tough lady - he just hadn't realised how deep her strength went. He managed to smile. "Yes," he said. "We will."
Sam grinned in return, glad to have cleared the air between them. "There is just one thing, Daniel."
That was her Daniel, the grown man masking the small eager-to-please boy. Still deeply insecure even if he had learnt to hide it well. Sam, her hands still resting lightly on his shoulders, moved closer to him, breathing in the smell of infirmary shampoo and soap.
"Right now, I could really do with a friendly hug," she said quietly. "Because, to be honest, I'm scared out of my wits."
"Well that makes two of us," Daniel confessed as he wrapped his arms around the blonde haired captain in brotherly support. For a long moment they stood together enjoying the moment of solitude.
As they broke apart, Sam suddenly saw the colour drain from Daniel's face.
"I..." Panic flickered into his eyes. "Sam..."
He crumpled to the floor before she could stop him.
"Daniel!" Sam was on her knees instantly checking for a pulse. It was there, but faint. Struggling to get her swollen body upright, Sam ran as quickly to summon medical help.
This time Frasier hooked Daniel up to a mobile IV. He peered at the wheeled frame that held the bags of blood and glucose miserably.
"Have I really got to trail around the SGC with that thing?"
"No Doctor Jackson. You can stay in that bed instead." Frasier's tone denied him any hope of argument.
Daniel sighed and swung his legs over the side of the bed, wondering where his clothes were.
"Not so fast, Daniel," Frasier said, as she watched him go pale. "Like I told you. Do everything in slow motion." She picked up his wrist and quickly noted his pulse, concerned about the strain his weakened state was putting on his heart. Satisfied for now, she released him. "I want you to check back every two hours."
He nodded absently, finally spotting his uniform neatly piled on a chair.
"Daniel! I mean it!" Frasier warned. "If you are so much as a minute late I'll personally tie you down to that bed and allow my nurses to practice their sponge bath technique on you."
"OK! OK!" Despite himself the threat brought a blush to his cheeks. "I won't be late."
Frasier smiled. Well that was one way to get some colour into his face she thought wickedly, before heading off to her office and the latest test results from Captain Carter.
Sam was lying on the infirmary bed, her extended belly covered in gel once again. Frasier was studying the ultrasound monitor carefully. "It's incredible," she said. "The rate of growth..." She frowned as she looked at the foetus.
"What?" Sam demanded.
Janet glanced down as her friend before speaking. "It looks like the foetus is developing some sort of spinal ridge. I'm going to take another DNA sample, if that's OK with you?"
Sam nodded her agreement and glanced over at Daniel and Jack who were watching the procedure, their expressions dark.
Janet injected Sam with a local anaesthetic and then extracted a long thin probe from the nearby equipment tray. "This..."
"Won't hurt a bit," Sam finished for her. The two women smiled at one another, and then Janet carefully began to insert the probe into Sam's swollen belly.
Beside him, Jack was aware that Daniel was beginning to fidget. "If you don't want to watch..."
"It's not that," Daniel replied quietly. "Hell, I've delivered enough babies, it's just..."
His words were cut off as he took in a sharp gasp of air.
"Daniel!" O'Neill reached out for his arm.
"Oh God!" Daniel cried as he collapsed to his knees his right arm clutching at his stomach. The sudden tug on the IV tubes made the mobile tilt precariously. O'Neill reached out a hand but was too slow to stop it toppling over, catching Daniel across the back.
Pulling the frame out of the way, Jack laid a reassuring hand on the anthropologist's shoulder. "Daniel, what is it?"
"Hurts!" Daniel hissed curling into a ball, his hand still clutched to his stomach. Reluctantly O'Neill reached out, and grabbed Daniel's hand, turning pale as he saw blood seeping through the anthropologist's fingers. Holding on to his own panic, he glanced at Janet and Sam. Frasier's anxious look met his own, her hand poised above Sam in indecision. "Stop that, now!" O'Neill yelled.
Instantly Janet removed the probe. Handing Sam a piece of gauze to place over the tiny entry wound, she ran to Daniel's side. "Let me see," she ordered, carefully removing the anthropologist's hand and lifting his shirt. Daniel gritted his teeth, hissing in pain.
"Oh boy!" Janet could hardly believe she was looking at what appeared to be a small, but all too real, stab wound.
"Well it looks like we have the answer to one question," Janet said. "We can't abort this foetus without killing Daniel in the process. Whatever the link between them is, it is clearly more dangerous than we first imagined."
She had just spent the past hour in surgery, patching Daniel back together. Now she was convinced that the injury he had sustained had been a direct consequence of her attempt to run the test on Sam.
"Do you think this alien foetus deliberately attacked Doctor Jackson?" General Hammond asked still trying to fold his reluctant brain around the facts he was being presented with.
"I'm not sure attack is the right word," Janet replied. "The foetus seems to be feeding off him in some way, it wouldn't make sense for it to attack its source of nourishment. I think it was more a defensive reaction - a transference of injury from itself to Daniel."
"But he is going to be alright?"
"He'll be a little bit sore for a day or two, but yes. The wound was mostly superficial."
"Superficial?" O'Neill interjected, the image of Daniel curled up in agony on the infirmary floor still strong. He raised his eyebrow at Fraiser. "What I want to know is what we're going to do about this thing?"
All eyes looked to Janet, including those of Sam Carter who had remained uncharacteristically quiet throughout the whole discussion.
"Right now," Janet said, her face sombre, "I think we only have one course of action available. We let nature - whatever form that may be in - take its course."
Jack sat by Daniel's bed desperately trying to think of something to say. Over the past 48 hours the scientist's condition had deteriorated rapidly. Janet now had him hooked to so many bags of multi-coloured fluids he bore more than a passing resemblance to a balloon street vendor, and yet he was still barely holding his own. O'Neill looked at his friend's pale face wishing he could come up with some word of comfort.
"You know Janet will come up with something," he said for what must have been the tenth time.
"I know." Daniel's voice was little more than a whisper. He had never felt so weak in his life. He could feel the energy being drained from him as fast as the glucose was being pumped into his veins. It was like somebody was sucking at his skin, a warm tension all over. The memory of seeing an aphid being sucked dry by another insect on one of those technicolour nature programmes sneaked into his mind, making a shudder run through him.. Dear God, he was being violated by an alien once again - first Hathor, then Marchello, and now... who knew what. Only this time the rape was even more deadly, and despite his vocal agreement with Jack, Daniel sensed that there was no reprieve awaiting for him around the corner.
He closed his eyes, unable to fight off the desire to sleep any longer. The last thing he heard was Jack's voice whispering, "Hang on Danny. Hang on."
Sam Carter was pacing up and down in her SGC quarters, one hand scratching at the itchy stretched skin across her swollen belly, the other twisting a strand of her hair. The sense of unease that she had retired with that evening had refused to relinquish its hold on her, instead it had wheedled its way into a full blown case of paranoia. She had to get out of here.
The decision made, she hastily pulled on a pair of baggy sweat pants, the only thing she now found comfortable, and an oversized sweat shirt. Fresh air, she told herself. That was what she needed, fresh air. At the last moment an object on her desk caught her eye. Yes, take that too. Can never be too careful.
Ten minutes later she was at the infirmary. Pushing the door open quietly she stepped into the warm antiseptic air. What the heck? Why had she wandered here? She peered round, seeing the light seeping from out from under Janet's door. The petite doctor was probably pulling the night shift - either that or the duty nurse had sneaked in there to use the private telephone.
Sam shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts. Then her eyes fell on Daniel.
Relaxed in sleep, the anthropologist looked even younger than he did during the day. Sam could still see the effect the foetus was having on him. Dark shadows rimmed his eyes and his hair had lost its healthy sheen. Without even thinking Sam reached out and caressed his cheek, relishing the feel of warm skin. Her fingers traced along the cheekbone, down to the corner of his mouth and then across his lips. He was so...
His eyelids flickered open. "S...Sam?" Without his glasses she was in soft-focus.
As she looked into those blue eyes, she suddenly knew what she had to do. "We have to go through the gate."
Her hand reached for the blanket, snatching it from him. Her tone was urgent now. "We have to go."
Daniel tried to pull the blanket back but he was far too weak to do anything more than simply fold his fingers around one corner. "Sam. I can't go anywhere." His eyes moved to the tangle of IV tubing.
Sam didn't even hesitate. She grabbed the tubing and yanked everything free of his veins. As Daniel let out a howl of pain, she pressed one hand over his mouth, pinning his exhausted body to the bed. "Shut up!" she hissed. "We're going. Now!
Fear crept through the exhaustion as Daniel looked up at Sam, no longer seeing his friend but recognising something alien in her expression - a cold, calculating intelligence that wasn't Sam Carter.
Slowly she released the pressure on his face until, convinced he wasn't going to cry out, she lifted her hand free. Daniel shot a quick look at his arm, a small stream of blood was flowing down the crease of his elbow, staining the crisp white sheet with crimson. He clamped his free hand over the puncture wound to stem the flow.
Sam didn't even notice. Grabbing at him, she tried to pull him from the bed.
"Sam I can't," Daniel responded weakly. "Even if I wanted to... I can't."
"You must!" Her eyes hardened and she shot a glance at Janet's door. "There isn't much time..."
Slowly Daniel's mind was beginning to wake up. "Why the gate Sam? Where do we have to go?"
But Sam's eyes were on Janet's door. As a shadow approached from the inside, anxiety took hold. She tightened her grip on Daniel's arm and with almost superhuman strength pulled him from the bed.
Stunned the linguist struggled to find his feet, while part of his mind snickered that this was not a good moment to be wearing one of Janet's special infirmary gowns. He clutched at the thought like a life line, wildly hoping it would give him a reprieve from whatever mad plan Sam - or whatever the hell it was controlling her - was concocting. "Sam I'm not dressed!"
She blinked at him uncertainly then glanced around the infirmary. Two short steps took her to a closet. Flinging it open she snatched out the pants from a set of scrubs. "Hurry up," she hissed as Daniel pulled them on, discarding the gown.
The effort of dressing left him gasping for breath. There was no way he was going to be able to walk all the way to the gate room. He leaned on the bed, aware that blood still trickled down his arm, his muscles quivering with the effort of keeping him upright.
"For goodness sake!" Sam slipped an arm under Daniel's taking as much of his weight as she could bear.
"Sam I can't..."
Janet's door opened. The petite doctor stepped out of her office, her eyes widening in surprise at the sight of a bare-chested Daniel out of bed and apparently in Sam's arms. "Doctor Jackson!"
The announcement was a mistake. Sam let go of Daniel who immediately slumped against the bed. Swinging round, Sam's right hand went to the pocket of her sweat pants. Suddenly Janet Frasier found herself the wrong end of gun.
"He's going with me." Carter's voice brooked no argument as she aimed the gun directly at the doctor.
Janet's eyes flicked from Sam to Daniel and back again. "Sam?" She could see Daniel struggling to push himself upright. "What's going on?"
With supreme effort Daniel launched himself at the gun. Effortlessly Sam side-stepped him, bringing the weapon round and catching him with a sickening smack across the cheek. He let out a shocked cry and hit the floor hard.
"Don't!" Carter ordered turning the gun back on Janet as the doctor instinctively moved forward.
Sure that Frasier was keeping her distance, Sam prodded at Daniel with the toe of her sneaker. He let out a quiet groan in response. "Get up!" Her voice emotionless.
Daniel rolled on to his back, peering up at her through a haze of pain and weakness. Blood from a deep gash across his right cheek ran down his face. Somehow he had to reach her, he thought desperately. "Look at me, Sam." His voice sounded weak and pathetic even to his own ears. "You have to fight it!"
She glanced down at him, no compassion in her face. "We must go now! It is time."
A tiny thought edged into Daniel's mind. It's time? His eyes were drawn to Sam's bulging stomach. What if this alien child was simply responding to some deeply ingrained urge to return home? That made sense. Lots of creatures on earth returned to their mating grounds. What if this was what the child in Sam was trying to do?
He struggled to sit up, the effort blanching the colour from his face, making the raw gash on his cheek stand out even more vividly. If he was right, getting Sam through the gate might be the only way to help her. And maybe, just maybe himself. His mind made up he tried to get to his feet. It was impossible - his muscles betrayed him, leaving him breathless on the floor again. "I... need... help." He would never make it to the gateroom. Another idea skittered into his brain. He addressed himself to Sam. "Let Janet get a wheelchair."
Carter glanced down at him, her face clearly questioning whether this was a trick.
Daniel turned his head to the doctor. "Janet I think I know what's going on. Do as I ask. Get a wheelchair. I have to go to the gateroom with Sam."
"No!" Janet was adamant.
Too tired to argue, Daniel simply pierced her with his eyes. "I *know* what I'm doing, Janet. Get the wheelchair."
"Do it!" The order from Sam, backed up by a loaded gun, settled the issue.
Moments later Janet had lifted Daniel from the floor. "It'll be fine," he whispered in her ear as she reluctantly eased him into the chair. "Trust me."
She shot him a look that said she clearly doubted his sanity, and then took up position behind the chair. With a wave of the gun, Sam indicated the way.
"No way!" Jack O'Neill stood on the ramp to the Stargate, his arms folded across his chest.
"Jack please!" Daniel didn't know how much longer he'd have the strength to stay conscious. Beside him Sam Carter stood with her gun trained at Janet Frasier's head. "Let us go through the gate."
"I will kill her!" Carter's finger tightened on the trigger causing Janet to flinch.
"No wait!" Daniel appealed to Carter, then turned his attention back to O'Neill. "Jack, I think I know what's going on. The alien child is ready to be born. It needs to go home."
"It can go to hell!"
Daniel shook his head wearily. Sometimes Jack O'Neill could be such a pigheaded, arrogant son-of-a..." Jack! If we stay here we all die. Sam, Janet and me! If we go, Janet lives, and maybe, just maybe Sam and I will survive too."
The logic penetrated O'Neill's brain. To his right he could see Teal'c, the solid mass of the Jaffa standing poised to move if there was any chance of him doing something to alleviate the situation. Now he opened his mouth, speaking in that deep velvet tone of his. "O'Neill, Daniel Jackson speaks sense. There is little to be gained in this stale-partner."
"That's stalemate, Teal'c!" O'Neill replied without even thinking about it. He glanced at the Jaffa and then back at Daniel.
One last plea was all Daniel could manage. "Please, Jack. I'm dying here. Trust me!"
O'Neill looked at the pale and battered face of his friend, Daniel's words slicing into the guilt he already carried. He knew he had been much to quick to side with the medical evidence against Daniel. How could he have believed this gentle, scholarly man would have turned on Sam for his own gratification? O'Neill felt he owed him big time and if Daniel wanted - needed - his trust, then he would give it.
Slowly O'Neill retreated from the ramp. Glancing up at the control room he gave the signal to dial. The giant wheel began to spin and then, with a loud rush, the event horizon exploded into existence.
At the motion of Carter's gun Janet pushed the stricken anthropologist up the ramp to the edge of the gate. "Back off!" Carter ordered. As Janet retreated, Carter indicated Daniel should get out of the wheelchair. His legs quivering with the effort of keeping himself upright, he managed to do so. As he half turned to take one last look at Jack, Carter shoved him in the back sending him head first into the shimmering silver of the event horizon. Without a pause she followed.
The gate spewed Daniel out in a tumble of limbs. Lying face down on the cold, damp floor of the cavern he could feel his muscles groaning in complaint. The overwhelming weakness he felt was spinning rapidly towards unconsciousness, the promise of relief almost too tantalising to resist. As his eyes began to close, he heard the sound of someone stepping through the worm hole. Sam!
No, he had to stay alert. He had to do something. What was it? His brain seemed to be tangled in cotton candy, the thoughts refusing cohesion. They'd come through the gate for a reason. He had to remember...
Something grabbed hold of him. Cold hands on his bare skin. No, not hands. In the gloom, Daniel saw the silvery sheen of scales. Long hard talons ending a three-fingered claw. Nausea gripped him as he was pulled upright.
Alien babble filled his ears, an incomprehensible chatter that he couldn't even begin to understand in his weakened condition. "Please..." he began as his knees buckled. Something - he didn't want to think what - gripped his upper arms, preventing him from falling. Then he saw Sam.
She was standing in front of a shadowy being, her expression featureless. Daniel saw the creature's large unblinking eyes as it reached out to touch Sam, and a shudder ran up his spine as he watched the alien claws resting on her belly. It moved from the shadows giving him a brief glimpse of silver-blue skin, a large hairless head, more amphibian than human. Then it turned slowly to face him, the eyes devouring him. Cold horror gripped him as it shuffled closer, the smell of stagnant water filling his nostrils. Behind the creature he saw two more lead Sam away. Despite his weakness he tried to struggle free but it was useless, he was held fast. Now the creature was close enough to touch him. The talons reached out and rested against his cut cheek, sending fresh messages of pain through him. As Daniel tried to turn away, the second claw came up, capturing his face.
Desperately he attempted communication. "Daniel. I'm Daniel. Where have you taken Sam?" He indicated the shadows with his eyes.
No response. Licking his lips uncertainly he tried again. This time the creature released him. The claw moved down his body to his chest, resting momentarily over his heart, and then dropped to his stomach. Daniel just had time to glance down as he felt something press against his skin. Then his eyes shot wide open and a long tortured cry ripped from his throat as the sensation of burning fluid coursed through his abdomen and then out into every nerve. Darkness engulfed him.
Consciousness prodded at him mercilessly. No, please, let me sleep. Daniel tried to curl back into the sanctuary of dreamless darkness, but it had already released its hold on him. Pain. No, he didn't want to face the pain. Muscles ached. His skin felt like somebody had removed the top layer, leaving him raw. Needles of agony speared through his temples. Why wouldn't they just let him die - he could drift away and not feel...
He tried to deny hearing his name, but it simply repeated, more insistent.
"Daniel?" A hand touched his shoulder making him yelp as fire raced up his sensitised nerves.
"God, Daniel. I'm sorry!"
He sensed the hand flinch away, but whoever it was wouldn't let him be. His name repeated again, the tone gentle, concerned. Reluctantly he opened his eyes and found himself looking up at Sam Carter.
"S.. Sam?" His voice sounded hoarse, his throat dry and painful. He was lying on his back on what he assumed to be a bed of sorts. The surface beneath him was cold and hard against his skin.
She pressed a finger to his lips. "Don't try to speak." She leaned closer, whispering. "They took the baby."
"W.. what?" He managed to croak out the word. Tried to raise his head to look at Sam's body. He was rewarded by an intense stabbing sensation up the back of his neck. Defeated he relaxed back, relying on his eyes to appeal for more information.
"I don't remember much of what happened." Sam frowned. "It was like when Jolinar... Well not exactly like that. I didn't feel trapped. It was more like an overwhelming urge to act out certain actions." Sam realised she was babbling and switched to the comfortable arena of scientific observer. "When we came through the gate, all I knew was that it was time for the baby to be born and that I had to go with them." Her hand slid subconsciously to her stomach, her face darkening with memory. "They must have done a Ceasarian."
Daniel reached out and grabbed her hand ignoring the agony the action cost him. "Sam, they didn't..."
She glanced at him, touched by his concern. "Don't worry. I didn't feel it. In fact I don't remember it happening. Guess there must have been an anaesthetic. There's no stitches either - the skin looks like its been fused together. What Janet wouldn't give to get her hands on that sort of technology."
"Even so..." Daniel closed his eyes, trying to shut out his own pain at the same time as he absorbed the information Sam was giving him. Relief washed over him that she was apparently OK. Physically anyway. He couldn't even begin to imagine what it was like to go through an experience like she'd just hinted at. She's OK because you experienced the pain, whispered his mind. He shut down on the thought immediately as the memory of the alien's touch scorched across his mind. She was OK, that was all that matter. Sam was OK and he was alive. Somehow they'd get out of this and find a way home...
The sound of an alien voice made his eyes fly open again. Sam turned away, her attention obviously on someone - or something - that had just entered the room. From Sam's reactions he could tell that the alien was approaching the bed that he was lying on. A chill inched itself across his chest, making it suddenly difficult to breathe. Abruptly he found himself looking straight into a pair of large, round orbs, their colour such a dark tint of brown they were almost black. A jumble of high-pitched sounds assailed his ears. Desperately he tried to make sense of it, tried to recognise a pattern amongst the chaos.
Panic began to rise in his throat at his failure. "It's alright, Daniel," Sam reassured. "I think he's..."
"Go!" The alien suddenly spoke in English. "Go! Now!"
He slid an arm under Daniel's shoulder, causing the young man to cry out as an intense pain arced across his abdomen, leaving him gasping as he tried to let it wash over him.
Her face suddenly frightened, Sam tried to stop the alien from lifting Daniel off the bed. "What do you mean go? Go where?"
The scaly figure paused. "Go home." He looked back at Daniel. "Too weak. Use none."
Oh yes, thought Daniel bitterly as tears of pain ran unbidden down his face. You can say that again. Sam however was trying to make sense of the words. "Too weak for what?"
Don't ask, Daniel thought desperately. If they want to send us home, let them.
"Too weak for grow child," the alien said, the words stilted and awkward. Sam blinked, trying to comprehend, as the creature renewed his attempt to move Daniel.
"Wait!" Sam reached out and placed a restraining hand on the alien's arm. "We need to know what you were doing. Why you did what you did?"
The alien stared at her, its unblinking eyes making her uncomfortable. He pointed at her belly. "Grow child here." The he pointed at Daniel. "And here."
"We figured that bit," Sam replied impatiently. Sam's sharp mind was taking in the words, trying to work out what was going on. She reached out again, laying her hand on the alien's abdomen. At least what she hoped was its abdomen. "Why don't you grow a child here?"
The alien shook its head. "Can not."
Sam wasn't positive, but it sounded to her that there was a hint of sadness in the alien's tone. "Why not?" she asked.
The alien paused. Sam guessed it was looking for the words. When it spoke though it was simply to repeat the statement. "Can not." His finger pointed to Sam. "You. Hope." Then on to Daniel. "Too weak. Not use."
A half memory surfaced in Sam's mind. Shadowy forms gathered around a child. Anxiety. That was it. She had sensed their anxiety.
Sam opened her mouth to ask another question, but this time the alien was determined. It scooped Daniel up, ignoring the pained moans that escaped the young man's lips, and headed out of the room, giving Sam no option but to follow.
Jack O'Neill heard the call from the control room and ran to the bottom of the ramp. Dear God, let it be Sam and Daniel he prayed, his fists clenching and unclenching from the tension of the past few hours.
As the silver blue explosion burst down the ramp and then receded, O'Neill moved towards the gate.
This time Daniel was already unconscious when the wormhole spat him out, his body barely missing O'Neill as he flew through the air and landed like a rag doll half way down the ramp. O'Neill did an about turn only to have Sam Carter careen into his back.
"Carter!" He grabbed her shoulders to keep her upright. His eyes moved instantly to her belly.
"I'm alright Sir," she managed to say as she gasped for breath. "Just a bit sore. What about Daniel?"
Two medics were already at Jackson's side. They exchanged quick worried glances at the sight of blood seeping through the material of the scrubs, and then lifted the unconscious linguist onto a stretcher. As O'Neill ran over, the elder of the two answered his unspoken question before he could see just how badly hurt Daniel was. "Alive but unconscious, Sir. We have to get him to the infirmary."
Allowing himself just one second to feel relieved, O'Neill set off in pursuit of the fast moving medical team.
The IVs were back in place, dripping their life-giving fluids into Daniel's veins. Janet Frasier yo-yo'd between her unconscious patient and her office, offering words of comfort to the gathered members of SG1, but not really knowing whether her treatment was working or not. Only time would tell. Apart from the fact that his blood chemistry was shot to pieces, and he was badly dehydrated, there was one other thing about Daniel that concerned Janet. She picked up her pen to write on his chart and then thought better of it. This had consequences far beyond his health, and Janet wanted to be sure she played things correctly.
At least Sam Carter was recovering rapidly. The pregnancy and the caesarean seemed to have had little impact on her physically. Janet had pretended to be fascinated by the way Sam's skin had been fused. "If only you could have got your hands on whatever they used," she muttered peering at the neat line of slightly darkened skin across Sam's stomach.
If there was a hint to Janet's tone that she knew more about the wound than she was letting on Sam didn't notice, replying with a wry smile. "I was a little bit occupied."
"Want to talk about it?" Janet asked, careful not to be too pushy, but glad too to distract Sam from medical talk.
Sam considered for a long moment. "Yeh. But not now. Once we know Daniel's going to be OK."
Janet simply nodded, trusting the captain to do what was best. She had no doubt that the young woman would talk things over with her, probably over pizza and beer one evening. That was fine with Janet - playing counsellor without others realising what she was doing was becoming quite a talent of hers.
It was almost 36 hours later that Daniel Jackson decided to grace the world with his presence. Turning his head to one side, he saw a blurred vision of the members of SG1 beside him, Jack and Sam both sound asleep in the uncomfortable infirmary chairs, Teal'c sitting bolt upright studying him.
"DanielJackson. You are awake." Teal'c announced, a rare smile brightening up his features.
"Ummmm, yes." Daniel didn't know what else to say. He risked moving an arm, discovered it didn't hurt too much and silently thanked Janet for painkillers.
"I will inform Doctor Frasier," Teal'c announced.
At the sound of voices both Jack and Sam jerked awake.
"What the..." A broad smile lit up Jack's features as he registered Daniel was conscious. "Well about time! Do you realise how long I've been sitting here with my butt glued to this chair while you've been catching up on your beauty sleep?"
Daniel smiled at the verbal abuse, knowing that it was Jack's way of dealing with the relief.
"Long time, uh?" he managed to say.
Sam leaned over him and lightly kissed his forehead. "36 hours."
"What happened?" Daniel frowned trying to wake up his sluggish brain cells.
"What do you remember?"
A dark memory burned its way to the forefront of Daniel's mind. Pain, he thought. Excruciating pain. That and... oh yes, returning to P6T290. "We went back through the gate," he said, deliberately not mentioning the rest of his memory. Something else flashed into his mind. He peered at Sam, noticing she was wearing her uniform, although her shirt was loose over the waistband of her pants. "You said they took the baby."
"Yes. The aliens on P6T290 weren't exactly the greatest communicators in the world, but from the little they said, and trying to make sense of what happened, we think something must have happened to their race that prevented them from procreating in the... errr, usual way."
"So they used us?" Daniel felt a blush rising up his neck.
Sam nodded, suddenly aware of the Colonel's eyes on her. "They seemed to be highly advanced technically. I suspect..." She wished O'Neill would stop looking at her with that quizzical expression. "...that they took DNA from both of us, mixed it with their own and created an embryo."
"Well we knew that before we went back there," Daniel commented. "How did we get back to the SGC?"
A wicked gleam crept into O'Neill's eyes, the words escaping his mouth before he could stop them. "Seemed you weren't up to standard, Daniel."
"What the colonel means.." Sam interrupted, shooting O'Neill a sour look. "Is that we think that humans weren't exactly compatible with what they needed. From the few hazy memories I have I believe the baby was very immature when it was born. They seemed concerned about its chances of survival. That, combined with the fact that you nearly died... I think they figured we weren't the ideal incubators."
"Oh great," Daniel muttered. "Another parasitic race wandering the galaxy."
"Perhaps not in the way you think, Daniel Jackson." Teal'c's voice sounded to Daniel's right as the Jaffa returned. "It may be that this race has suffered at the hands of the goa'uld."
Daniel frowned, his brain still not fully with it. "How do you conclude that?"
"The goa'uld destroy what they cannot use. It is probable that the high level of technology that this race possessed made it impossible for the goa'uld to harvest them. Or perhaps the fact that both sexes are involved in the development of the foetus makes it impossible for them to be used as Jaffa. On worlds such as this, where the inhabitants are considered of no value, I have known the goa'uld to release a chemical into the air that makes the race sterile, thereby eliminating them. The world is then free for the goa'uld to populate with slaves from another."
Sam added her agreement to Teal'c suggestion. "It could be that we seemed the perfect solution to an otherwise desperate situation. We can't blame them for grabbing whatever chance they had to survive."
"I still say we send SG3 through to close down their gate," O'Neill muttered.
Sam was ready for that argument. "Sir, if we do that and Teal'c is right, we condemn this race to extinction. Exactly what the goa'uld want."
"And if we don't, they sit there making incubators out of innocent travellers," O'Neill countered.
"Can't we help them?" Everyone turned to look at Daniel. He shifted uncomfortably under their gaze. "I just thought maybe our technology combined with theirs?"
Carter and O'Neill exchanged looks. O'Neill shrugged unwilling to be magnanimous to a race of creatures that had nearly stolen the life of his friend. "I'll suggest it to Hammond." A smile crept around the corners of his mouth at the thought. "A diplomatic suggestion. He'll enjoy that coming from me."
Sam and Daniel smiled knowingly at one another.
"Dr Jackson!" Janet Frasier arrived on the scene, pulling a pair of surgical gloves over her hands with a smart snap. "So you finally decided to rejoin us." She eyed the rest of SG1. "I need to run a few tests. Now that Daniel is awake, you know when the visiting hours are."
Reluctantly O'Neill and Teal'c moved towards the door. Sam however hung back for a moment. Taking one of Daniel's hands, she squeezed his fingers affectionately, but her expression was sombre. Almost embarrassed she reached out and gently laid her other hand against his battered cheek. "Daniel, I'm so sorry. I..."
He squeezed her fingers in response and cut off the apology. "It's OK. I understand. All that matters is that we got back. We made it."
Relief chased away the anguish in her eyes. "Yeah, we made it." Her hand moved to his forehead, brushing away the unruly hair. Then with a smile she headed after O'Neill and Teal'c.
Watching his team disappear through the infirmary door, Daniel reluctantly submitted himself to Janet's examination. Temperature, blood pressure, a fresh dressing on his cheek. Reaching out for the curtain she pulled it around the bed. Daniel frowned as her hand went to the sheet covering him. "Janet?"
"I need to check the other dressing."
A dark memory was retrieved into Daniel's mind. "Oh."
He took in an audible breath as Janet pulled the sheet down to his hips. A thick pad of gauze lay in a line across his lower abdomen, neatly taped at either end. As carefully as she could, Janet lifted one end and inspected the wound underneath - a vivid red gash that stretched right across Jackson's stomach. "You'll be pleased to know they did a neat stitching job. It was a shame that you hit the ramp so hard you pulled most of them out. Fortunately I was able to repair the damage with my own tidy handiwork." Janet glanced at him, mentally noting that Sam wasn't the only one that would be in need of beer, pizza and that secretive counselling ear of hers. For now though she couldn't resist the opportunity to tease her patient. "You might want to stick to boxers for a while."
Daniel flushed bright red and concentrated on a point on the ceiling. A thought occurred to him. "Did you tell Sam?"
"Should I have?" Janet asked.
Daniel considered for a moment. "No. She's been through enough. If she knew about this she'd feel as guilty as hell."
"That's what I figured. This can be our secret Dr Jackson. Patient confidentiality and all that."
"What about your report? Jack'll see that."
"Oh don't you worry about Jack O'Neill. I'll simply put in enough medical lingo that he'll go dizzy just thinking about reading it."
Daniel smiled wearily. "Thanks Janet."
Her examination finished, Janet switched from doctor to friend. She picked up Daniel's right hand and squeezed the fingers affectionately. "You had us worried for a while, Daniel. Thought we were going to lose you to that... thing."
"You know what Jack says," Daniel said returning the squeeze. "I'm very hard to kill."
"Well I for one am extremely glad that you are." Janet smiled. "Now you need to get some rest. And I need to write that report." She turned towards her office.
"Janet? Just one thing?"
She turned back. If he asked for books, she'd tell him exactly where she would put them. "Yes, Daniel?"
For once though, books weren't on Daniel's mind. "If I ever get broody... buy me a puppy!"
Janet laughed. "That's a promise, Dr Jackson."
With a grateful sigh, Daniel Jackson drifted into a healing sleep.
Extract from the Diary of Dr Daniel Jackson
I've been dreaming of Sha're again. Remembering how we used to lie in each others arms planning a glorious future together. She used to place my hands on her hips and proudly announce that she was going to give me many sons. Many strong sons, my Dan'yell, she would say. And I would laugh and say, 'And many daughters, each as beautiful as their mother'. So why didn't we conceive a child? What hand of fate prevented us from creating something beautiful out of our love? Was it that fate knew Sha're would soon be snatched away from me? She would laugh at the idea of fate, she was always so down to earth. It will happen when the time is right, she would say. Yet sometimes I saw the longing on her face when she saw the other young married women nursing their infants.
But now. Fate seems determined to trap me into this bizarre role - creating children for alien beings against my will. First Hathor. Now these strange amphibian-like creatures. It's just DNA I tell myself, yet I know there it is more than that. Of course Janet said that the child that was created from Sam and I wouldn't have any of our DNA by the time it was born. That somehow our code was being over-written. But sometimes, when I catch Sam's eye I know she is thinking about it. Wondering what it would be like to be a mother. I know she's been talking to Janet, working out her feelings, working through the confusion, when not burying herself in her work. Oh yes, I know all about that little escape route.
Not that I've been allowed to run that way, this time. Janet turned up at my apartment a few days after I escaped the infirmary, bearing a tropical fish in a bag full of water. Not quite a puppy, she said, but easier to house train. And I fell hook, line and sinker - excuse the pun - and found myself telling her everything. How I felt used. How deep it hurt to be so mis-trusted. And how I dreamed of being with Sha're surrounded by hoards of brown-eyed children - our children. And Janet helped - well at least with the first two problems. As for Sha're?
Please God - one day?
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