Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s).
Ptolemy. Tag, Reckoning II. POV. Spoilers: mentions through year 8.
2.1 Serpents Lair; 2.5 A Matter of Time ; 2.7 Message in a Bottle;
4.1 Small Victories; 4.3 Upgrades; 4.20 Entity; Redemption 6.1;
7.1 Fallen; 7.20 Lost city;
8. 3 Zero hour; 8.Reckoning;
Summary: Siler remembers.
"Siler, are you in there?" General O'Neill's voice squawked over his radio.
"We're going to get you out. Step away from the blast door."
"Yes, Sir!" He knew it! He'd told the desperate men trapped with him that O'Neill wouldn't leave them. He turned to them exultant. "Turn this table over." Somehow the General was going to get through the blast door. Must be C-4. The metal table was the only armor around in the small room.
Perhaps because he didn't think the next minutes would kill him, or perhaps because of the enormous relief that flooded his body at the general's pronoucement, it wasn't his own life that passed through his mind during this moment of time's suspension. Compressed into a minute, memories of his life's experience s with O'Neill flashed through his mind.
Siler had worked at the SGC for months before he really appreciated O'Neill. He was helping with shut down of the system, working on the malps, when SG-1 had disobeyed General Hammond's direct orders, not to mention their own sworn deference to civilian authority, and gone through the gate. He'd been shocked and outraged. He didn't want the gate to be closed down either, and didn't know where he'd be transferred to, but he knew his duty. Yeah, he'd once actually thought O'Neill didn't know, or care about, his duty. Then Apophis' ships had been spotted approaching Earth. He had been sent through with the second wave to the Alpha site, to set up communications and the computer and gate electronics. He hadn't been allowed to call his wife, to see to the wellbeing of his family, or even to let them know how he was or why he wasn't responding to them. Just had to do his duty, and up and go to the other side of the galaxy. His first trip through the worm hole should have been an occasion for awe, to marvel and relish. Instead all he had felt was fear. He'd feared for himself, for his family, and for his planet. Then the next day he'd received orders to pack it up and come home. SG-1 had blown up the goa'uld ships! He did get to call home, then, but had to pull double shifts getting the SGC operational again. When he'd gone home, exhausted, kind of traumatized, he'd made passionate love to his wife. Then he'd just held her tight. He couldn't tell her what had happened, where he'd gone, that she could have died and the world been destroyed except for SG-1, that he'd been so afraid for her and the children, that he'd been ordered to leave them. She said she'd seen the explosion in the sky on tv. He couldn't tell her anything. She had held him all night, murmuring that she understood. They all were safe, he was safe, everything was alright now. That had been the first time.
Just two months later, he'd been electrocuted. Trying to shut off the stargate that had dialed into a black hole, he and Colonel O'Neill had pulled the main breakers side by side. But while O'Neill had been shocked, he, Siler, had been electrocuted! It still didn't make sense. He'd woken up in the infirmary as he was being evacuated with everyone else to the surface. He had been allowed to call his wife and tell her that he had been shocked at work, but was okay; he was resting; but it'd be a few days before he could leave. Oh yeah, by the way, if there were an evacuation, she should take the kids to her mother's house in Atlanta and he'd find them there. Then, to his surprise, he'd been asked by General Hammond to go back into the SGC and help Major Carter. The plan was to set up a pulley system to send a bomb blast into the hole as a giant energy surge that would make it jump, like before. So he had rigged a pulley system and anchored it strongly into the wall of the control room and cut through the special glass so the loose end could be pulled to the gate. Just after he was ordered to clear out, he'd watched Colonel O'Neill and another guy hook themselves to the lines, and, faces already distorted by extraordinary gravity, start to descend with a nuclear bomb toward the madly swirling worm hole and waiting black hole. He still saw it in his dreams. When he got back to the surface, he'd been amazed to find that two days had passed. By the time he got home, almost two weeks had passed, and he'd missed his anniversary. Leaving the kids with a baby-sitter, he'd taken his wife out to the best restaurant. It'd had a musical show, too. He meant it as an apology, but really just wanted to enjoy the occasion, that it had happened at all. She'd understood. He was sure of it.
He'd seen first hand the commitment O'Neill had to doing his duty. He'd witnessed his courage, seen the agony of the man, and had only the deepest respect for the sacrifices O'Neill made. Way above and beyond any duty. The Colonel had barely recovered from his injuries from being caught in the blast wave and then smashed against the wall as the gravity collapsed when an alien orb had skewered him through the shoulder and pinned him to the wall in the gate room. His face had been contorted in agony until they managed to get a book case under him so he could sit and take his weight off the skewer. He was in extreme pain still, obviously, and sweating from the infection. Not that Siler could look, he was concentrating intensely on his job of burning through the skewer. As he'd told Teal'c, he couldn't have gone any faster, it was the hardest stuff he'd ever seen. Then, just as hope was there, the skewer had moved, shot through O'Neill further, and removed everything Siler'd done. It would not let O'Neill go. Siler'd been useless to help. He'd wanted to so badly. He'd been glad, though, to get out of that hot room, and away from the quiet, agonized voice as the Colonel spoke to Teal'c. All he could do was call home and tell his wife that they were under quarantine and he didn't know when he'd get home. In fact, it was only one shift later. He'd found out afterwards that the alien contagion, or whatever it was, had occupied O'Neill, spoken through him. Because it knew him and his character and his strong will to live, it had agreed to withdraw, to let them all live, and trusted that General Hammond would send it through the wormhole to another, suitable but unoccupied, world.
He'd been there, too, setting up the computers and camera and communication connections when the command post had been established in the harbor near the submarine infested with replicators. He'd been there when O'Neill had survived and come back from going inside the sub. The colonel had announced that the replicators were out of any control and it was time to blow them up. No one was going down there again. Then, after Daniel had interpreted the video and the replicator block extracted from Teal'c, he'd watched as O'Neill realized it would be he who had to go back down into the sub and destroy the original bug. He'd heard the colonel gasp, seen his revulsion, seen him shudder, drop his head, and bury his face in his hands. Then he'd seen the head come up, the face fixed in determination, and had observed as the professional went about planning. He'd watched as O'Neill went off into one of his greatest nightmares, and heard him order Davis to fire on the sub as the replicators swarmed him. God! He'd been given a four day weekend when he got back to the SGC after that trip. He'd taken his family camping deep into the Grand Tetons. He'd immersed himself in his children, his then fourteen year old twins. He'd spent just a beautiful afternoon knee deep in cold mountain water teaching them to fly fish. Then, while the kids were gathering and chopping firewood, he'd sat with his wife at sunset and watched the dippers, birds diving among rocks in the stream for fly larvae. He'd just sat there even after she'd gone back to camp to organize dinner, staring at the darkening snow-capped mountains and glorying in the beauty of the Earth that he had helped save, which O'Neill had saved, and which he could still share with his family.
He still hadn't appreciated the cost to Colonel O'Neill of doing his duty, though, not really until the energy entity came back through the wormhole and moved into its malp nest and later Major Carter. As they hurried to find where the computer energy form had gone and saw the emergency light in the malp room, O'Neill had quipped about someone not changing the light bulb. He'd been so nervous, so scared, all sense of humor had fled. "Not my job" he'd replied. Only then had he realized that the Colonel was making a joke, trying to break the tension for himself and others. It was part of how he coped, but it sure wasn't Siler's way. He hadn't realized the enormity of the tension the Colonel was working under until he'd watched him kill his second in command and good friend, Major Carter. He'd had to stand there, take aim with the zat, think about it, and then fire a second time, knowing it would kill her. To protect the SGC; to protect Earth. God! He couldn't kill his wife even if the fate of the Earth did depend on it! Yeah, O'Neill knew duty, and beyond.
And so it'd gone. When Anubis' particle weapon had charged the stargate to near explosion, which with the detonation of the naquadah would have destroyed much of Earth, it was O'Neill, bum knee and all, who had flown the heavy gate on an X302 into space. When escape velocity was not achieved, he had offered to fly it into hyperspace on a one-way trip. As it was, he'd had to eject from his plane in space - another first- and fall back through the atmosphere to the Atlantic. Absolutely amazing that he had lived. Amazing that the SGC had defeated another goa'uld attack on Earth, though barely, averting destruction by minutes. The next weekend his children had left for their respective colleges. After O'Neill had downloaded the Ancient archive into his head again, knowing it would kill him, and then found and used the Ancient weapons to defeat Anubis' fleet and save Earth again, he'd ended up, SG-1 said, utterly drained and almost dead. They'd put him into some kind of ancient frozen stasis and he'd seemed lost to them. The great deed, the great battle, was unknown to the public. After the attack fleet'd been destroyed, Siler had called his kids at college, thinking to bring them home for the weekend so he could see them and hear them alive. His daughter was on the road with her soccer team, and his son gone to a basketball game; both oblivious. He had stopped, then, and left them to their lives. That was O'Neil's gift to his family. Not only had they survived, but because he risked his life again and again in secrecy, they'd been spared fear, spared the terror of Armageddon. His children had not only lived to grow up. They had grown up in normalcy, feeling as secure as people could these days, building normal lives and dreaming their own free futures.
O'Neill had changed over the years. Of course he had. He was much less brash, the bravado had long ago become defensive disguise, and then gone entirely. As General he was The Man, not the wise guy. Although he still had a quick quip and a smart mouth, he listened and waited with a patience he hadn't been known to possess. He was still cantankerous and often annoying, but his temper was tempered. He seemed to have grown wise and not just experienced. Maybe it was all that dying. But O'Neill still cared about his people, protected them and respected them individually. When those Tokra devices had caused SG-1 to gain incredible strength and speed, O'Neill's intended tap on his should had sent him over the staircase rail and to the infirmary with a concussion and broken arm. What few people knew was that O'Neill had not only visited with him and apologized during the time when the colonel was in the infirmary himself after the devices had fallen off and left metabolic chaos. But when he'd been discharged after a few days, O'Neill had brought his tape of the Simpson's show that they'd missed to give him; and then he'd given his son a lesson in ice hockey, since Siler wasn't able to, broken arm and all. So he hadn't been surprised when General O'Neill, anxious as he was about the capture of SG-1 and himself standing before the hologram of the goa'uld who had tortured him so terribly, had called up to say he meant no offense to Siler by saying Colonel Carter could fix the gate problem much quicker. Of course she could. What other general would be concerned for a sergeant's feelings? Whoever heard of a general risking his life to save a sergeant?
"Hang on Siler." Eight years.
"Fire in the well" came quietly over the radio, causing Siler to snap to with the urgent command "Down!" The blast wave in the confined space slammed against his ear drums. The table in front of his head sounded like a car he'd heard once in a bad accident. After it passed, he stood and looked over the edge in amazement at the jagged impact hole just a thin layer from where his head had sheltered. "Whoa."
As Siler came through the blown hole in the door and started down the hall with a chance, now, to escape, O'Neill handed over his own sidearm.
"I expect to be put in your will."
"Already in it sir."
"OK , that's weird."
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