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).
"MajorCarter, you must awaken."
"Why?" I slurred. I didn't want to wake up. Wait a minute - not thinking clearly... uh oh.
"MajorCarter, Wake up!"
Teal'c is doing his impersonation of the Colonel. The command tone is impossible to resist. My eyes pop open of their own accord: Ceiling. Gold-toned, engraved ceiling. Mother-ship... "Teal'c?"
"Colonel O'Neill is in need of your assistance."
Why does he do that? Why is MajorCarter one word, and Colonel O'Neill two? I never... wait... "What?"
"Colonel O'Neill is wounded and in need of your assistance."
Oh. Crap. If Teal'c is talking like that, it must be bad. Move. Oops - not so easy. I try different parts of my body, eliminating the parts that don't work. `What do we have? What do we need?' the Colonel's voice echoes through my head. Okay, staff weapon blast to the shoulder, followed by zat. Nasty, but doable.
I roll over and drag myself with my good arm over to the Colonel. In the process I learn why Teal'c is yelling at me instead of tending to the Colonel himself and why Jonas hasn't said anything at all. They are both chained firmly to the wall hand and foot, and Jonas is completely out, hanging like a rag doll. Apparently, I didn't pose much of a threat in my current state. I'll show them who's a threat.
I can just make out the Colonel lying behind a pile of debris. He's next to the closed door. My memory flashes a picture of that door open and a fire fight. We were trying to rescue Teal'c and Jonas. We had been assured by the Tok'ra that their cell would be relatively unguarded. The Colonel never believed it, and he was right. As soon as we had managed to open the door they had sprung their trap. We were surrounded by over twice the number of Jaffa that even his cynical suspicions had predicted. Teal'c and Jonas had been bait, and it had worked.
The door - that was our battle line. The Colonel had held that door as I tried to reach Teal'c and Jonas. But then I was hit by the staff blast. Still, I had almost reached their position when I heard the Colonel shout a warning. Then there was nothing.
"Colonel?" I'm close enough now to see him better. He looks very peaceful lying there on his back. The words `dang, he's handsome' once again flash through my head before I can squelch them. Just one more piece of junk to navigate...
My heart fills with dread. His face is peaceful, still. One arm is lying, seemingly comfortably, across his chest. The other is flung out toward his P-90. Everywhere else is covered in blood. His chest, abdomen, and leg are a mass of red and black; the results of multiple staff wounds.
He's not moving.
I look closer, afraid of what I'll find.
He's not breathing.
My eyes are drawn against my will to his wounds.
He's not bleeding anymore.
No, it can't be. It can't! I reach out my hand to his throat. His skin is cool. I search, for even the slightest flutter...
I can't respond.
I can't speak.
This can't be. We're charmed, invincible. I realize for the first time how deeply I believed that. I believed the Colonel's unspoken pledge to us: I will always get you home.
Never again will those wonderful brown eyes look into mine. He could communicate more to me in a glance than anyone else could in a paragraph.
Never again would I feel that gaze and know the message was just for me. Never again would I feel that unique relaxed excitement he exuded on every mission. Never again would he order me to complete some impossible task and then make me believe I could do it. Never again would he douse my inner terror with some sarcastic joke in the face of certain death.
Never again would he save my sorry butt simply by drawing attention to himself. That was my job now. These were all my jobs now. Never again would he give me that incredible feeling that nothing was impossible. THIS was supposed to be impossible...
Teal'c. He just lost a brother. How do I tell him? I'm glad Jonas is out.
He knows. My tone and lack of frantic activity have confirmed what he already knew. I sense his spirit sag.
Crawling even closer, I reach out to Jack. "Jack." I smile quietly to myself at my comfort with his name now that he's not there to hear it. I cup his face in my hands and lay my forehead gently against his. My eyes squeeze shut. I will not mourn him now. Not here.
I shake my head slightly as I feel strength and determination flow into me. Even now, even in death, he gives me strength. I feel the mantle of command pass from him to me one last time. And I make him this pledge: "I will get us home. I will honor your promise to us."
"Unh..." Jonas awakes and manages to regain his feet. "Oh man... Wow! That was nasty - I tell ya. I got a headache that would... Teal'c?" His voice is suddenly uncertain as he observes emotions in Teal'c he has never seen before.
Teal'c ignores him.
"MajorCarter. I do not know the full extent of the power of a sarcophagus."
"Teal'c?" Jonas is confused. Probably his eyesight has not recovered enough for him to see further than his teammate.
"How long?" I ask, doubtful.
"Over twenty minutes have passed since O'Neill fell."
Slowly I stand, reluctant to break contact with his... body. I pull myself to my full height, managing to reach a state of attention despite the pain in my shoulder. I turn and move to my friends, each step easier than the last because it has to be.
I release them from their bonds; giving Jonas a sympathetic glance as he tries to take in a situation we have no intention of explaining. It will become clear to him soon enough. Teal'c is already at Jack's side, gathering his battered and torn form together. He wraps the body gently in a tarp.
I can feel Jonas's reaction without even looking at him. His CO's `condition' has just sunk in. "Sarcophagus?"
I nod. And go into action. Impossible goals often require just as much effort as the possible ones. And right now, the remainder of SG-1 needs a goal. The Colonel taught me that. Actually he taught me all about what to do in the face of impossible odds: Number one: Make your team believe it is possible.
"We are currently on level 8. The sarcophagus chamber is three levels above us, just below the Peltak. We already know there are extra Jaffa onboard, so our first objective is to avoid as many as possible."
"A task that will become increasingly difficult as we proceed."
"Correct. The closest armory is one level below us. Teal'c and I will proceed there and gather as many armaments and flash grenades as we can carry. Jonas, we will move as much of the debris as possible to provide you with some cover, but you will have to hold this room and protect the Colonel's..." I swallow, "body until we return. The Jaffa will not stay away long."
Jonas nods and moves to assist Teal'c in rearranging the piles of debris while I guard the door.
When I feel Teal'c behind me I move out.
We manage to reach the armory undetected. A moment with the lock and we are inside. Our return to Jonas's position is not as easy, but we are able to fight our way through the surprised Jaffa.
"The element of surprise will no longer aid us."
"Tell me about it. Jonas?"
"Yeah - ready." Jonas has Jack's body over his shoulder, holding his legs firmly with one arm, his P-90 braced in the other. He looks a formidable warrior. Jack would've been as proud as he was of Daniel.
"Okay," I will not call them kids, that belongs to the Colonel. And I feel a small flicker of hope. "Speed is of the essence. Toss a grenade and run. Teal'c and I will cover you."
Teal'c moves out, clearing the way for Jonas and his precious burden. We pass each other continuously in a classic fire and cover maneuver. The Jaffa are surprised despite Teal'c's prediction, simply because we refuse to engage them in any real manner. We continue to cut through their number, always moving forward. Soon I am forced to stay our six because we are allowing more and more Jaffa behind us. Not the ideal situation, but it works in this case.
Finally we reach the sarcophagus chamber. We lock ourselves inside. Teal'c receives the body from Jonas with honor and Jonas and I use every means we can think of to barricade the door. No matter what we do, it will not be long before the Jaffa break in. It just has to be long enough.
When I turn, Teal'c is watching the sarcophagus close. The discarded tarp is at his feet and he is covered in blood, his brother's blood. His eyes find mine for a moment. Then I turn and address the room. "Injuries?"
Jonas is sitting on the floor leaning against our barricade, holding his leg. I move to him, pulling out my med kit as I go. "Teal'c? I know you're hurt. Do your kel'no'reem while you can. I'll make sure you're aware when we need you."
"I will awaken before I am needed."
I nod over my shoulder and continue to treat Jonas.
"You don't look so good yourself, Major."
I smile at him, "I'll do you. You do me."
"Then we wait."
"How long until the Jaffa start messing up all our hard work - OW!"
"Then we wait." I said, emphasizing the last word.
When I was finished, I leaned against the sarcophagus, and presented my shoulder and side for treatment. The sarcophagus was warm to the touch and vibrating slightly, an overall comfortable feeling. Jonas tried to be gentle, but I almost passed out before he was finished. I was very alert in the next instant, though, as I heard the noises from outside. The race was on.
The race was on between Sarcophagus and Jaffa, and there was nothing we could do to affect the results. The sarcophagus - Jack - just had to win this race.
"It really is an amazing device." Jonas couldn't keep the wonder from his voice, even in this situation. Then he paused, but couldn't help asking me, "Will it work?"
"I don't know. It may have been too long. We have no way of knowing just how much time passed between the time the Colonel fell and when he actually..."
"So there's a good chance..."
I smile grimly and nod, "There's a chance."
I check my watch. It has been fifteen minutes since the sarcophagus closed, eight since the Jaffa began their attack.
"Isn't there anything else we can do?"
I nod. "I believe with a few well placed staff blasts we can bring down some of the ceiling to help block the door. But I don't know what that might do to the sarcophagus, and if we try it, Teal'c has the best chance of success." I glance over at his still form. "I don't want to wake him till the last second. I'd also like to get out a message to the Tok'ra, or even better, the Asguard, but I haven't figured out a way to do that from here, yet."
Jonas frowned in thought. "Dr. Jackson's writings and diagrams of the mother ships were extensive. I believe some of the crystals could be accessed through these walls, given the proximity to the peltak."
"Get on it."
He nods and turns away. I hope I showed the same confidence in him that Jack always showed for me. Just then the vibration of the sarcophagus changed, as if it revved up a notch. I turn and place the palm of my hand against its warmth as if I could somehow be in contact with the man inside.
"MajorCarter - "
I jump, unaware that Teal'c had awakened.
He moves to sit next to me as we observe Jonas's inspection of the walls and listen to the ever louder noises from the hall.
"I have never agreed with the Tau'ri policies regarding relationships between male and female."
I look at him in surprise but he continues to calmly watch Jonas.
"Many Jaffa have fought side by side with their mates and been made stronger by the act."
This dark silent man was present when Jack and I were tested by the za'tarc detector, but I never thought he would speak of it.
"Do not allow yourself to be weakened by your emotions. Rather, draw strength from them as I have seen O'Neill do on several occasions."
"The Colonel draws - drew - strength from what emotions, exactly?" I manage to stutter.
"His feelings for you."
Teal'c looks sideways at me and smiles, "It is a good match."
"Is..." I latch onto his use of the present tense.
We both turn as the door begins to weaken. Teal'c stands, his staff in hand, "I will attempt to bring down a portion of the ceiling as you suggested."
"Got it!" Jonas's excited yell draws me to the portion of wall he has removed exposing the crystals underneath. "Can't do the Asguard, but it looks like there's a Tok'ra ship within range."
I lean in and activate the makeshift communicator, sending our basic info and a request for assistance to whoever might hear. Miraculously, our message is heard and answered. There's a Teltak near enough to execute a rescue assuming we can get ourselves off the ship. But will they be rescuing three of us, or four? And how do we get off this ship?
Suddenly the blast caused by the ceiling caving in throws us to the ground. Teal'c has been successful in doubling the thickness of our barricade, effectively sealing us in as well. I look up at the spot from which the debris fell and I'm hit by an idea. If the ceiling is vulnerable, what about the floor? "Jonas, where is the nearest ring room?!"
He excitedly confirms my suspicion, "Well, it's directly below us!"
He and Teal'c are already reacting to my suggestion, preparing to blow a hole in the floor. I radio the Teltak to inform them of our plan, just as a second huge explosion rocks the room. The Jaffa have finally applied a stronger explosive than their staff weapons and fists. Our barricade has been breached.
Thankfully, due to Teal'c's addition of the ceiling, they only have a small hole to fire through rather than blowing the door wide open.
Teal'c aims several well placed blasts at the floor behind us before joining Jonas and me in defending our position. Not one of us even thinks of leaving the sarcophagus before it has completed its work.
The room is filled with light and noise as bullets and staff blasts fly. We seem to be evenly matched with neither side able to make progress against the other. But suddenly the Jaffa are being defeated. They continue to fire into the room, but the tide of battle has definitely turned.
"Into the hole, kids! Move!"
Teal'c obeys immediately, followed by a surprised Jonas. I pause for a split second to grin stupidly up at my CO who is standing in his shredded clothes, straddling the open sarcophagus and firing his P-90 towards the Jaffa in the most beautiful impersonation of Rambo I have ever laid eyes on.
"Carter!" he shouts, grinning back at me, "Go!"
As I jump I hear something that sounds suspiciously like `yee-ha" and then the FOUR of us are taken by the rings.
When the rings release us his legs give out, but Teal'c and I are there to support him. For several beats no one is able to speak. The Tok'ra are staring, not sure what to think.
Jonas is grinning likely to split his face as he backs to the wall and sits down in relief. I suppose my grin matches his as I look up at the Colonel. Teal'c is doing his own version of the stupid grin as he sets his brother straight on his feet and takes a step back. I'm about to do the same when Jack pulls me into his arms and hugs me tight. I hug him back, aware as I do so that I am also holding him up. He pulls my face into the crook of his neck in that way I love, before he mumbles into my hair; "Help me sit down, will ya, Carter?"
Giggling softly, I lower him carefully to the ground, Teal'c assisting from behind.
"Do you require any further assistance?" The Tok'ra finally decide they can speak.
Still smiling I move to thank them for their timely rescue. Then look over my shoulder to where my CO is sitting on the floor, "Sir?"
"Nope, just give us a ride to the nearest gate, eh?"
The Tok'ra smiles back, "A pleasure."
Jack looks over at Teal'c, "Since my 2IC is a little too happy right now, would you mind reporting on the events of the last... say..." he checks his watch, "three hours?"
Teal'c inclines his head. "O'Neill, I too am glad to see you well. At approximately 03:30 earth time, MajorCarter was wounded in battle, as you attempted a rescue of myself and JonasQuinn."
Jack's smile dims. He speaks quietly, eyeing my bandages, "I remember that."
"At 03:42 you were killed by multiple staff blasts to your leg, chest and abdomen as you attempted to defeat, single-handedly, a force of Jaffa ten times the size of your own team."
"That's not something you hear every day."
"Indeed. At that point the Jaffa sealed the room. I was able to awaken MajorCarter who proceeded to confirm your status, and take command."
"Way to go, Carter!"
"She acted on my suggestion that we attempt to use the sarcophagus to revive you. She used excellent military strategy to successfully reach the sarcophagus chamber with minimum injuries. She proceeded to hold the room and affect a rescue with assistance from JonasQuinn and myself. To which rescue you were a witness."
"Aw, shucks." I say sarcastically, trying to distract everyone from my beet red cheeks. "It was only due to my well-trained team that we were successful."
I move to touch him lightly on the shoulder, "How do you feel, sir?"
"Oh, like crap, but that's a sight better than the alternative." He grins at each of us in turn, and then looks down at himself. "I think I'm gonna need a new uniform." He lays back and closes his eyes. "Let's not do this again, kay, kids?"
"Never again, sir," I respond, my throat suddenly tight, "Never again."
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