Beneath The Surface

Spoilers/Timeline: This is a different version of the events of S04E10 Beneath the Surface.
A/N1: Most of the dialogue taken directly from the show. Written for the Spring 2010 Sam and Janet Ficathon.
A/N2: Special thanks to my beta oxfordshoes2!

BENEATH THE SURFACE

“Unauthorized off-world activation. Unauthorized off-world activation.”

General Hammond entered the control room. “Who is it?”

“Receiving IDC now, sir. It’s SG-1,” Walter replied.

“Open the iris. They’ve only been gone half an hour.” Hammond headed down to the gate room. When Major Carter came through, followed by Teal’c and Daniel Jackson helping Colonel O’Neill, he turned and looked up at the control room. “Get a medical team down here.”

“Medical team to the gate room. Medical team to the gate room,” sounded over the PA system.

“What happened?” the general asked.

“Colonel O’Neill had a little accident,” Sam answered, suppressing an amused smirk.

“Colonel?” The general wanted clarification.

“It was nothing, sir. I just…” Jack was clearly embarrassed.

“He tripped,” Daniel provided.

“Over his own feet,” Teal’c added.

Dr. Fraiser and her team arrived. She started to check his knee out.

“Ow! Easy does it, Doc.”

“Okay, let’s get him up to the infirmary and get an MRI of his knee. I want to make sure he hasn’t torn his ACL,” Janet ordered as she and her medics took Jack away.

“General?”

“Yes, Dr. Jackson?”

“Administrator Caulder wanted to make sure this didn’t interfere with our visit and the start of diplomatic talks. He has invited us back for a banquet and complete tour of their bio-dome, including their medical facilities.

The general thought about it for a moment. “Very well. Once Dr. Fraiser checks out Colonel O’Neill, she can join SG-1 when you return.”

~~~

Brenna stepped out onto the platform and looked down at the workers. “Colleagues! Your attention, please! I’m pleased to report that thanks to your hard work, we now have enough reserve energy to heat the greenhouses for the next two months! Special merit to the workers of section 23. Let us use this not as an excuse to work less, but as motivation to work harder. Our world may be covered in ice, but one day we will reclaim our place on the surface!”

“It is an honor to serve,” the workers replied in unison.

Brenna withdrew and the workers continued with their meal.

Neva, a petite brunette, went through the line to get her food. An attractive black woman carelessly dumped some slop onto Neva’s plate, accompanied by a hateful glare.

“Kegan, how about some bread?”

The woman sneered. “Sorry, just gave away the last piece.”

“Oh, here we go. Every time–” Therra, a tall blonde, began from where she stood beside Neva in line.

“What is your problem?” Neva snapped.

“I don’t have a problem!” Kegan retorted.

“And we don’t have any bread.”

Karlan, also serving food, addressed the blonde. “Is there a problem here?”

“Stay out of this,” she ordered him.

“Therra, there are other people waiting.”

“Give her the damn bread!” Therra growled at Kegan. She lunged and grabbed Kegan when the woman didn’t comply, shoving her back. She then took Karlan down, flipping him and slamming him into the ground.

“Somebody stop them!” someone cried out.

Teal’c grabbed Therra from behind, pulling her off of Karlan and locking her arms with his own. “This is not right! The two of you are friends, Major Carter!”

“Stay out of this!”

“We are part of something called SG-1. He is Daniel Jackson, I am Teal’c, and she is Dr. Fraiser,” he said turning her to face the petite brunette. “Do you not remember?!”

“Somebody get this guy off me!” Therra growled, still struggling against his hold.

Brenna, again looking down from the platform, took control. “Get him upstairs,” she ordered.

It took three large men, but Teal’c was restrained. As he was being taken away, he continued to try to reach his friends. “We don’t belong here! You must remember! We must escape!”

Therra looked up at the platform. “Brenna… it is my honor to serve. I don’t know that man.”

“I know, Therra, don’t worry. He’s night-sick.” Brenna looked at Kegan. “Give Neva her bread.”

Kegan, reluctantly and belligerently, took out a full tray of bread and slammed it down on the table.”

“Everyone finish, then get back to work,” Brenna ordered.

~~~

“These pumps regulate the overflow,” Kegan explained to Karlan. “Sometimes they get clogged and you have to…” She trailed off when she noticed he was staring at Teal’c and not listening. “Karlan!”

“Where has he been for the last five days?”

“Recovering from night-sickness. It’s a strange thing. There was this guy once, a couple years ago, tried to smash his way through one of those skylights.”

“Did he do it?”

“You would have known if he had! This place would have been buried under snow and ice along with everyone else.”

“Right.”

~~~

Therra was working on a generator when Teal’c walked over… and past her. She looked at him, curious. But her diverted attention resulted in a mistake. Something blew on the generator.

“Stay back!” someone yelled.

“Cover those valves!” Therra ordered.

Brenna rushed over. “What happened?”

“One of the stabilizers ruptured. They can’t stand the pressure.” She was clearly frustrated with the situation.

“There’s not much we could do.”

“Actually, I think there is. If we set up an automatic release valve on each of the stabilizers, we could vent the excess pressure. I’ve done some calculations. If you want, I could show you.”

Brenna nodded. “You can come by my office later,” she said before leaving.

Therra looked over at where Neva was helping another worker. The brunette smiled coyly and gave Therra a nod. The blonde returned the nod and then focused on her work. She looked over her shoulder in time to watch Neva walk away.

~~~

When Neva walked passed Therra’s work station later, the blonde fell in step with the brunette.

“Are you alright?” Neva asked.

“Fine.”

“That explosion–”

“Oh! No, no. I’m fine, really.” Therra was warmed by Neva’s concern.

“Good.”

“Brenna wants to see me. She wants to hear my ideas for improving the plant.”

“You know, you could take a few minutes off.”

Therra gave the brunette a dimpled smile. “Please. You work just as hard as I do.”

“That’s different.”

It was time for Therra to go see Brenna. “Have a good shift.”

“Right.”

~~~

Kegan watched as Therra climbed the stairs to the platform and then entered Brenna’s office. “There she goes. Why does Brenna listen to her?”

“I don’t know,” Karlan replied. He looked over to where Neva was working. “I don’t know why Neva seems so… enchanted by her either.”

Kegan followed Karlan’s gaze. “She thinks she’s better than the rest of us.” She looked back up at Brenna’s office. “They both do.”

Karlan frowned. “Teal’c said we were friends.”

“His name’s not Teal’c. It’s Tor. Night-sickness,” she added in explanation.

~~~

After the gate activated, Walter completed the video link. “Sir, we’re ready with the video link to P3R-118.”

“Very well.” The general waited until someone appeared on the monitor. “Administrator Caulder.”

“General Hammond, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but our search has turned up nothing. Given the hostile conditions outside the dome, I don’t see how SG-1 could have survived very long.”

“With all due respect, Administrator, I’m not ready to give up on my people just yet. We have specialized equipment, and people specifically trained for this type of operation.”

“When Dr. Jackson first expressed an interest in exploring the glacier, I tried to explain the danger, but Major Carter was quite overly confident that they could handle the conditions.”

“I appreciate your concern. I assure you, I will take full responsibility.”

“Very well.” Caulder cut the transmission and then keyed his intercom.

“General, let me go and find them. They’re my team!” O’Neill exclaimed.

Hammond pointedly looked at the crutches currently holding Jack up. “And you can’t do them any good in your current condition. Major Griff and his team can handle it.”

After the general left the control room, Jack kicked a chair with his bad leg… and managed to stub his toe.

~~~

Karlan watched Tor as he shoveled coal from a wheel barrel into a furnace unit. He noted the bandaging wrapped around the large man’s abdomen.

“What happened?”

“I was injured.” Tor gave him a hard look as he continued to work. “Why are you speaking to me?”

“I just thought… since, apparently, we’re friends from way back I just thought… What is that thing on your forehead?”

“A birthmark,” Tor replied flatly.

“A birthmark! You’d think I’d remember something like that,” Karlan said sarcastically.

“I do not know you.”

“You said you did.” He approached Tor, “Last week during morning lineup.”

“I was not here last week,” Tor said with certainty.

“You said we were friends, and you said we had to escape. And I’d like an explanation.”

“I said no such thing!”

“Alright. I’m obviously completely wrong about that.”

“Yes. Do not talk to me again.”

“Yeah, right.” Disgusted, Karlan walked over to his friend Kegan.

“I told you to leave him alone!” the woman admonished him.

“He was there, Kegan. You heard him. Why would he deny that?!”

“The night-sickness affects the mind.”

“That doesn’t explain the dreams I’ve had. Something is wrong here, Kegan. Something’s not ri–”

“Karlan! It’s bad enough he named you as part of his delusion. Now, if people hear you talking like this they’re going to think you’re night-sick.”

“People?”

“Not that I would ever… Karlan.”

“No, no, no! Of course not.” He forced a laugh to put her off. “It’s just a dream.”

~~~

Brenna stood before the Administrator’s desk.

“Why didn’t the memory stamp work on Teal’c?”

“I’m sure it was the creature his species has within him. We’ve stamped him again. This time it seems to be holding.”

“What about the others?”

“They’re all proving to be excellent workers. In fact, Therra has some ideas for improving the plant.”

“Therra?”

“The personality we’ve stamped Major Carter with.” Brenna placed a file on his desk. “We’ve been having problems with pressure. She suggested an automated release valve. If we didn’t have to regulate the pressure manually, we’d free up workers for other tasks.”

Caulder let out a sarcastic huff. “Maybe one day she could increase productivity to the point where we don’t even need workers.”

“What would be so wrong with that?”

“Nothing. I’m sure they’d fit right in.” His derision was obvious. “Of course, they don’t even know the city exists.”

“We could tell them.”

“That they’ve been lied to all their lives? And how would the people of the city react, when there’s less to go around and they need to make room for workers? Right now, Brenna, we have no crime, no unemployment–”

“But–”

“They’re happy where they are. That’s what the stamp assures. Do only what is necessary to guarantee uninterrupted power.

“Yes, Administrator.” Brenna didn’t let her discomfort show too much. She knew as bad as things were, if she were to upset the Administrator her lot in life would be much worse.

~~~

Therra knocked on the door to Brenna’s office.

“Enter.”

“Brenna, have you had a chance to look over my plans yet? I’d like to get started–”

“We can’t do the improvements,” she said, cutting off the blonde.

“But, you said–”

“No. They would require the generators to be offline too long. If they begin to freeze we might not be able to get them started again.”

“I agree there’s some risk, b–”

“Too much risk.”

“Well, okay… What about my other ideas?”

“I’m sorry. This plant is all that stands between us and the ice. Uninterrupted production is more important than efficiency. You may return to work.”

“Brenna, I know you were excited about this. What happened?”

“Well, I’ve thought it over.”

“At least let me come up with a safer way–”

“Therra… please leave.”

The blonde realized she couldn’t push any more. It was time to back off. “It’s my honor to serve.”

~~~

“It’s not like I’m making this up off the top of my head! I’ve got a detailed plan including the safeguards,” the blonde complained to Neva.

“I’m sure she knows that.”

“I could make a difference here! She won’t even let me.”

The petite brunette walked over to Therra. “Just go back to her in a couple of days, offer something small. Maybe you have to work into the big stuff,” she said encouragingly.

“How do you stay so calm?”

Neva smiled. “I think in another life I made life and death decisions. I don’t know.”

“What do you mean ‘in another life’?”

“I don’t mean anything by it.” Neva shrugged. “It’s just an expression… isn’t it?”

~~~

When Major Griff and his team returned to the SGC, General Hammond and Colonel O’Neill were both waiting for them.

“Major?”

Griff saluted. “I’m sorry, general, there’s no sign of them.”

“I understand. You and your team have been out there a long time.”

“No, sir. When I say there’s no sign, I mean, literally, not a trace!”

“What are you saying, Major?” Jack asked, no longer able to keep quiet.

“I can’t imagine what reason Dr. Jackson would have to want to check out those ice fields. Even if they wanted to go up there, there’s no way in hell, Major Carter would have let them.”

“That’s what I said!” Jack growled.

“According to Administrator Caulder, Major Carter believed the risk was acceptable,” said Hammond.

“I can’t speak for that, sir. I’m not a diplomat.”

“Off the record,” the general said, giving the major permission to speak his mind.

“They’re not out there, sir. No way!”

“Administrator Caulder says they are.”

“Then I’d say he’s a damn liar.”

~~~

Karlan and Kegan sat together as they took their work break. Kegan used a rag to sponge water along her neck to help her cool down.

“Kegan, I need to ask you something. How did I get here?”

“What do you mean how did you get here? You were transferred from the mines.”

“No, before that.”

“Before?” She looked at him like he was crazy.

“Yes.”

“You don’t remember?

“I keep… thinking about it, and all I come up with is a handful of memories.”

“What is this about?”

“I’m just wondering if Neva and Therra were ever my friends.”

“Friends…” sighed Kegan.

“Maybe I don’t recognize them because it was years ago.”

“They are just trying to get close to Brenna so that they can get special treatment.”

“Look, all I’m saying–”

“All I’m saying is that if you’re friends with those two… you’re not mine,” Kegan snapped angrily.

Karlan watched as she walked away.

~~~

Tor was sick and on the verge of passing out. However, he needed to vent the over-pressure before something blew. He tried to turn the valve, but collapsed. Fortunately, a couple of workers came along and realized the situation.

“The pressure’s too high! The pipes are hot!” exclaimed the first man.

“We’re too late! This whole section’s going to blow! Help me get him out of here!” said the second man.

They grabbed hold of Tor and dragged him away, crossing paths with Therra.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

“Pressure overload.”

“We’ve got to fix it!” the blonde exclaimed.

“It’s too late. We have to evacuate.”

Karlan ran up. “What’s happening?”

“If that boiler blows it’ll take this whole section with it!” Therra explained. “I can shut it off from here, but somebody has got to get back there and open the primary release valve.”

“Karlan!” Kegan yelled and waved for him to leave with her.

When both Karlan and Therra turned toward Kegan, Neva ran past them to the release valve the blonde had indicated.

“Get these people out of here!” Karlan told Kegan.

“Get out of here! CLOSE THIS SECTION!” Kegan yelled.

Neva tried to move the lever, but it was too hot and she jerked her hands away. Karlan ran up and handed her one of the two metal rods he was holding.

“Here!”

They used rods to hit the lever until it gave way and released the pressure in the boiler.

Karlan grinned at Neva and abruptly hugged her. “We did it!”

She pulled away, feeling very uncomfortable. “Uh… yeah.”

~~~

Brenna had all four of the newest workers in her office. Tor was lying on the couch.

“I must return to my duties,” Tor said weakly as he tried to sit up.

Brenna held him down without much effort. “I want you to rest! Stay here until I say you’re well enough to work.” She looked at the others. “As for you three, we all owe you a debt of gratitude. You risked your lives to save the plant.”

“It is my honor to serve,” they replied in unison.

“If it hadn’t been for your quick action, many lives would have been lost.”

“Next time will be different,” Therra muttered unhappily.

“Hopefully there won’t be a next time.”

“If you had listened to me in the first place–”

“Therra!” Brenna barked to silence the blonde. “You’re dismissed.”

Sullen, Therra left. Neva glared at their supervisor and then followed the blonde.

“Next time, don’t hold back. You know, just speak your mind,” Neva said when she caught up to the leggy blonde.

“She knows I’m right!” Therra growled.

“There’s something else going on,” said Karlan.

Both women were startled by the man’s voice coming from so close behind them. They whirled around.

He lowered his voice so no one else could hear them. “The big night-sick guy – with the uh…” He pointed to his forehead.

“Tor,” Neva supplied.

“He said we were part of something called SG-1.”

“Yeah, what is that?” Therra asked.

“A team?” guessed the brunette.

“What kind of a name is that for a team?”

“I don’t know,” answered Karlan. “Look, I just think I’m supposed to be doing something more important.”

Neva frowned. “We’re helping our people survive an ice age.”

“What could be more important than that?” the blonde added.

“I don’t know. I just have this feeling that all of us are part of some bigger, grander thing.”

Neva fought the urge to roll her eyes. “Well, I certainly understand what you’re talking about.”

“You do?” Karlan asked excitedly.

“No,” she replied flatly.

“Look, I don’t know how to explain this, but I had this… dream. You were in it,” he said to Therra.

“Me?!”

“There was this big… glowing… puddle.”

“Okay! Just stop talking right now!” she exclaimed.

“Wait a second, Therra,” Neva said gently. “I had the same dream,” she said, remembering the image of the blonde standing, smiling, in front of the circle of water. Actually, she’d been dreaming about the blonde quite a bit lately.

“Holy Hannah! Would you two stop talking like that?!”

Both the brunette and Karlan gave her a strange look.

“What? It’s an expression… right?”

“Look, we can’t talk right now. Let’s meet after lights-out,” said Karlan before walking away.

~~~

Therra was sitting on the ground in an out of the way area. Karlan and Neva arrived within moments of each other.

“So…” Karlan started.

“So?” the blonde asked.

“Did you have the same dream?”

“About you?” Therra asked.

No. About the shimmering circle of water,” Karlan clarified.

“No. My dreams are about…” she couldn’t keep from looking at Neva, “other things.”

“Tor said we had to escape. He also said we had to remember. Remember what?”

“Well, I remember when I was a foreman – anyone caught doing what we’re doing right now had their rations cut in half for a month.”

“We’ll have to risk it,” Neva said, finally speaking.

“What if our memories have been somehow altered?” asked Karlan.

“Well, if that’s true, then we can’t be sure of anything.”

“My memory’s fine,” Therra declared.

“Really?” he asked, unconvinced. “What did you do in the mines?”

“I mined,” she said deliberately.

“No. What did you do?”

“I remember shoveling ore into the cart.”

“And?” he prompted.

“I did that a lot.”

They stared at each other in a heavy silence.

“I remember a feeling of cold and darkness,” Neva offered.

“And that’s where the two of you met?” he asked.

“Yeah.”

Neva looked at the blonde. “Really?”

Therra looked at Neva. “Sure.” She looked back at Karlan. “So, what’s this important thing we’re supposed to be doing?”

“I told you, I don’t know. I keep trying to remember, but all I come up with are images of this place.”

“But if you’re right, then everything we remember about this place is a lie,” Neva pointed out.

“Yeah. Like a façade. It only works if we don’t dig too deep beneath the surface, if we don’t question it. So, that’s what we have to do. We have to question everything, every assumption.”

“We have to keep this to ourselves,” she said. “If the others heard us talking this way they’d think we were night-sick.”

“What if we are night-sick?!” Therra asked.

“I don’t think so, flygirl,” the brunette stated.

“What?” Karlan asked.

“What?” she replied, not knowing what he was asking.

“You just called Therra ‘flygirl.'”

She looked at the blonde, trying to figure out why she called Therra that. “Well, it’s an expression… isn’t it?”

~~~

Dr. Warner entered the control room. “Sir, I have those medical reports you were waiting for. Major Griff did suffer some minor frostbite, but the rest of his team is fine.”

“Thank you, Doctor.”

“Any word from the planet?” he asked.

“I spoke to Administrator Caulder. He regretfully informed me that his search of the city turned up nothing.”

“So, that’s it?”

“Short of going to war, all we can do is break off diplomatic relations. I’m not authorized to do that just yet.”

“I take it they have something we want?”

“They’re quite advanced in metallurgical, chemical, and medical technologies.”

“We must have something they want, or they wouldn’t have proposed trade.”

“Stargate technology – gate addresses.”

“I can understand that. They’re surrounded by ice.”

“As far as I’m concerned, they need us a hell of a lot more than we need them. Apparently Administrator Caulder doesn’t seem to think so. I think he likes things just the way they are.”

“Doesn’t leave you with many options, does it, sir?”

“No, it doesn’t. Which is why I’ve asked Colonel O’Neill and Major Griff to draw up covert search and rescue plans.”

“I’m sure you won’t have any shortage of volunteers.”

The general nodded.

~~~

Therra and Neva were sitting together eating their meal. After Karlan got his food, he joined them.

“Any more dreams?” Therra asked.

“I saw that pool of light again, except this time we were all there – including Tor.”

“A lot of numbers and letters keep popping into my mind. SG-1, DHD, GDO…”

“Sounds like gibberish to me.” He looked at the brunette. “Neva?”

“Um… I dreamed about… naked people.” She quickly took a bite of her bread as she blushed, and stole a glance at Therra.

A heavy silence hung in the air for a few seconds.

Therra noticed another worker eating from a white plastic bowl – it triggered something in her mind. “Excuse me?” She offered her practically full portion of gruel for his empty bowl. He accepted and the blonde turned the bowl upside-down.

“Therra?” Neva prodded.

She placed the bowl on the table. “That means something.”

“What is it?”

“I don’t know yet.”

Therra and Neva got up and left, wanting a few minutes alone before their break was over.

Kegan, seeing that Karlan was finally alone, walked over. “I see you’ve made some new friends.”

“Yeah.”

“Karlan–”

“I’m sorry, Kegan.” He walked away, leaving the upset woman behind.

~~~

Brenna was brought in to check on Tor.

“I don’t understand. His condition is getting worse. Let me check his wound,” a male worker said and reached for the bandaging around Tor’s waist.

She stopped him. “Under no circumstance are you to remove those bandages. Just make sure he continues to eat and drink.”

After they walked away, Tor opened his eyes and started to undo his bandages.

~~~

Therra and Neva were sitting on the ground in their ‘out of the way area’ next to each other, their shoulders touching.

“I remember something,” said the blonde. “There’s a man… tall, graying hair… and somehow he’s important to me. I think his name is Mac… Mac Gyver.”

“Doesn’t ring a bell.”

“You?”

Neva bit her lower lip, not sure if she should say anything. “Just a lot of vague images,” she said, looking away. However, she leaned against the blonde’s shoulder. “You know, there are things about this place that I like.”

“Really?” Therra asked, looking down into dark brown eyes.

Neva met the blonde’s gaze, letting her feelings show in her eyes. Therra seemed to suddenly understand… and looked away. She spoke after a few moments of heavy silence.

“Would it mean anything if I told you I remember something else?”

“What?”

“Feelings.”

“Feelings?”

“I remember feeling… feelings.”

Neva’s smile was beautiful. “For me?”

“No, for Tor,” she said with a sardonic smirk. “Yes, for you,” she said softly.

The brunette gazed into bright blue eyes, her heart skipping a beat and then racing.

“I don’t remember much, but I do remember that,” Therra said.

They both leaned in until their lips met in a sweet kiss. A contented sigh escaped from both as they kissed again and again. Then one parted her lips and lightly traced the other’s lip with the tip of her tongue.

Neva shifted to sit on Therra’s lap, straddling her thighs, as the blonde’s hands slid under Neva’s top. Therra trailed kisses down the brunette’s throat, nuzzling her pulse point as she captured a full breast in her hand. Neva sucked in a quiet gasp when a thumb flicked across her hard nipple, sending shockwaves through her body that all seemed to terminate between her legs. The brunette lifted Therra’s head so she could capture her lips in a passionate kiss. She took the blonde’s hand in her own and guided it down between her legs.

“Touch me,” she quietly implored.

Therra could feel the heat radiating from the brunette. She gently cupped Neva and felt the material of her pants dampen as the brunette squirmed on her lap, pressing herself against Therra’s hand. It wasn’t enough. She needed to feel Neva without the barrier. Therra moved her hand away, eliciting a whimper, but only long enough to untie the drawstring of the brunette’s pants and slip her hand inside.

Neva’s breath hitched as nimble fingers explored her, touched her, teased her. Her hips began moving of their own volition, seeking more pressure on all the right places. She gasped as a couple of fingers suddenly slid inside her. She clung to the blonde as every nerve ending in her body sang.

The blonde moaned at the sensation of her fingers buried inside Neva’s wet heat. She pumped her fingers in and out of the brunette, using the heel of her hand to keep pressure where Neva needed it most. Neva’s hips jerked in time with the thrusting of Therra’s fingers until she threw back her head and moaned as her entire body spasmed. Therra gently cradled Neva’s head to her shoulder after the brunette’s entire body collapsed following her orgasm.

“God, that was incredible,” Therra whispered and kissed Neva’s shoulder. She could feel the brunette’s lips smile against her neck.

“It feels like I’ve waited for that… for you… for years,” Neva murmured.

Therra gave her a squeeze. “I’m sorry we didn’t do that sooner,” she said softly.

Neva lifted her head up and looked into beautiful blue eyes. “It’s okay. What matters is what happens from now on.”

She lowered her mouth to Therra’s and kissed her gently and thoroughly. She deftly untied the drawstring on the blonde’s pants and slipped her hand down through damp curls to find wet, swollen flesh. Already on the edge from their activities, Neva’s skillful touch made Therra come after only a few seconds.

Neva withdrew her hand and brought her fingers to her lips, sucking them into her mouth and moaning at the exquisite taste. There was a fire in her eyes when she locked eyes with Therra. “Mmmm, I want more.”

They spent most of the night discovering what made them moan and whimper with want and need. They managed to make it back to the barracks and Therra’s bed mat an hour or so before morning.

~~~

Brenna once again stood across from the Administrator’s desk. She handed him a report, after which he immediate used a steri-cloth to wipe his hands.

“For some reason, Tor seems to be having an adverse reaction to the memory stamp. I-I think he may be dying.”

Caulder shrugged. “Workers die. What about his friends?”

“I’ve received a report. They are gathering together in secret. Administrator, I think they are starting to remember. Their brain chemistry is slightly different than ours – that could be the reason. But we can re-stamp them.”

“No. No, I think it’s time they found out what it’s like outside.”

“All they really did was disapprove of our treatment of the workers,” she tried to reason.

“No, NO! No, they did much more than disapprove,” he exclaimed angrily. “They passed judgment on us, Brenna. I’m simply doing the same.”

“Yes, sir.” She wasn’t happy with his decision.

“Brenna, if for some reason you can’t comply with my orders–”

“It’s my honor to serve, Administrator,” she quickly cut in.

He smiled arrogantly. “Yes, it is.”

~~~

Therra woke up on her bed mat spooning Neva. It felt so right. Why hadn’t they made love before? She spotted the white plastic bowl from dinner the previous night. She couldn’t take her eyes off of it. She reached over Neva and turned the bowl upside-down. She thought she could imagine an image inside of it… the image of a city.

“Very impressive. Too bad, it’s a lie!” Sam said.

Administrator Caulder frowned. “I don’t understand.”

“While we were on the grand tour, Daniel spotted some ventilation shafts coming out of apparently nowhere. We checked it out.”

“You were supposed to stay with your escort.”

“Yeah. I see how you wouldn’t want outsiders to know about your little slave labor force underground.”

“They are merely workers,” he said with a dismissive wave of his hand.

“And what made them so worthy of that?”

“Major–”

“Administrator, I will not recommend trade with a culture that enslaves its own people. I don’t care what technology you have to offer.”

“This system of government has allowed our culture to survive an ice age,” he pointed out.

“Tell me, what’s the secret? Starvation? Fortune? What?”

“Our methods are quite… civilized.”

“Really?!” she asked, clearly unconvinced.

“Yes. In fact, I’ll show you.”

A buzzer sounded, waking up Neva. Therra gave the brunette a squeeze before they both got up. She spoke quietly to her as they dressed. “Neva, I think I know what’s going on.”

Before the brunette could respond, a foreman walked up. “Therra, Neva, report to Brenna’s office.”

~~~

Just as the two women, and Karlan, arrived in Brenna’s office, two men carried in an unconscious Tor.

“Put him down over there,” she said indicating the couch. “You’re dismissed.”

“What’s the matter with him?” Neva asked.

“He’s dying.”

“Kelnorim!” Karlan excitedly exclaimed.

“What?” asked Therra.

“I’m not sure what it means, but I think–”

“It’s a kind of meditation. He has to do it every day, or he gets sick. Right?” Therra finished.

“So, why doesn’t he do it?” Neva asked.

“Because he can’t remember,” the blonde said quietly… a few sporadic memories were beginning to return.

“Major Carter is correct. As you’ve begun to suspect, all of you have had your memories altered. You are Dr. Janet Fraiser, Dr. Daniel Jackson, and your friend here is named Teal’c.”

“Where does Mac fit in?” Sam asked.

“You were all they sent down. At first, I thought it was necessary to protect the city. Now things have gone too far. You don’t belong here. You need to return to your own world. Your memories will come back more quickly once you are home.”

“Home?”

“Yes, through there.” She opened a door to show them the way… only to find Caulder and a couple of guards, all with guns. “Administrator Caulder!” She backed away.

“Brenna, I must say I’m disappointed, but not surprised. See, I’ve been watching you grow weaker for some time now,” he sneered.

“I’ve been coming to my senses.”

“Either way, you’re no longer of any use to me.” Without any compunction he shot her.

She dropped into her chair with a bullet wound in her shoulder.

“As for the rest of you, it’s time you found out what the surface of this planet is really like.”

During Caulder’s rant, Teal’c had gotten up from the couch. When a guard saw him from the corner of his eye and turned, Teal’c punched him in the face, sending him into the opposite wall, falling to the floor unconscious. As Caulder turned to see the commotion, Daniel grabbed his gun and hit him in the stomach, doubling him over and dropping him to his knees. Sam punched the other guard and took his gun. She aimed it at Caulder’s head.

Janet went to Brenna and helped her up from the chair, steadying her with an arm around her waist.

Sam looked at the big man that walked up to her. “Teal’c? Are you alright?”

“I am.”

“What happened?” Daniel asked.

“When I removed my bandages, and realized I was unlike the rest of you, I began to remember. I placed myself in a deep state of kelnorim for the night, and my symbiote restored me back to health.”

“Brenna should be alright if we can get her to the uh…” Janet trailed off, searching for the right word.

“Infirmary,” Sam supplied.

“Right.”

“You’ll never make it back to the stargate,” Caulder growled.

“You know something? We’ve got you as a hostage. I don’t see a problem.”

“Therra–” Daniel started.

“Sam,” she corrected.

“Right! We can’t. We have to tell these people what’s happening,” he said.

“You’re right.” Sam, with gun held to his head, forced Caulder to stand up. She then prodded him out onto the platform.

“Everybody! Can I have your attention please?” she called out to the workers below. She continued when she had their attention. “I’d like to introduce you to someone. This man has been keeping you locked up down here, while he and his friends live it up on the surface!”

“What are you talking about?” Kegan asked, clearly skeptical.

“Don’t listen to them! They shot Brenna! It’s true!” Caulder yelled.

“Listen to me! There is a big, domed city up there full of people you serve! They’ve been hiding it from you your entire lives!”

“It’s a lie!” yelled Kegan.

“She’s telling the truth, Kegan!” Daniel countered.

“You can’t let them get away!” Caulder insisted.

“Who are you?” Kegan asked.

“That’s a good question,” Sam replied.

“My name is Caulder. I was a supervisor in the mines before my transfer.”

“Yeah, whatever,” Sam muttered. “You want proof?!” she yelled. She aimed her gun up at the skylight.

Kegan cried out, “NOOO!!” as Sam pulled the trigger.

Glass showered down, but no snow or ice. Sunlight shone down on all the workers. Janet looked at Sam and smiled approvingly.

“No ice, no snow!” the blonde yelled.

“You’ve accomplished nothing! These people will never be accepted in the city.”

“I think you’re right about that.”

“That’s why we’re going to offer them a better place,” Daniel said.

“There’s this nice little tropical planet out there, where the beaches go on forever. This I remember clearly,” said Sam. “You and your people can do your own shoveling for a while.”

“You’re destroying a way of life!”

“That’s a shame. Teal’c? Want to show these people how to get out of here?”

“Ah! It hurts!” Brenna exclaimed as they walked back into her office.

“I know,” Janet soothed. “Try not to move it. We’re going to take you home with us.”

“Thank you.”

Daniel walked Brenna out.

Janet looked at Sam, not knowing what to expect. “So… Major…”

Sam looked at her friend and coworker for a few seconds. “Doctor.”

“That man, tall with graying hair, you were trying to remember?”

“Colonel O’Neill.”

“Right.”

“He’s from Minnesota, you know. It’s all coming back.”

“Yes.”

Sam’s gaze dropped as other, more recent, memories ran through her mind.

“Sam?”

She looked back up at Janet. Finally, she spoke. “Let’s go home.”

Janet nodded.

~~~

Despite the hard labor they had all been subjected to, all four members of the team were checked through the infirmary with nothing more than a few aches and pains from strained muscles. After that, it was time for their debriefing.

Sam was standing outside the briefing room as the others arrived. She reached out and caught Janet’s arm, pulled her aside. “Janet, I need to talk to you.”

“What about?”

The blonde hesitated, but finally spoke. “About what happened on the planet…” she looked away, unable to maintain eye contact, “between us… or rather, Therra and Neva.” She took a deep breath. “We can’t… tell anyo–”

“Of course not. What happened was private, just between us.”

“You mean between Therra and Neva.”

Janet stiffened, hurt that Sam was so quick to distance herself from what had happened between them. “You needn’t worry.” She turned and quickly walked into the briefing room.

Sam saw the general coming so she headed into the briefing room as well. She noticed that Janet was already seated between Teal’c and Daniel. It surprised her a little because Janet invariably sat next to her when they were in briefings together.

The debriefing went well, but Sam did notice that Janet refused to look at her. When the general dismissed everyone, giving them a few days of downtime, Janet was the first one out the door. She didn’t even hold the elevator when Sam tried to catch up to her.

~~~

“Mom? Can I go with Ellie to the movies tonight and spend the night at her place?” Cassie frowned when her mother didn’t answer her. She walked from the kitchen into the living room, moving around the couch where her mother was seated. The expression on her mother’s face was pensive. “Mom?”

Janet blinked and looked up at her daughter. “I’m sorry, sweetie, did you say something?”

Cassie sat down next to her mother. “Are you okay, Mom? You’ve been… quiet since you got home yesterday.”

She smiled and patted her daughter’s leg. “I’m fine, sweetheart. I just have a lot on my mind.”

“Because of what happened off-world?”

“What?” Janet felt a moment of panic, wondering how her daughter knew!

“Having your memory taken and being forced to work like a slave.”

She relaxed and nodded. “Yeah, that’s all it is. So, did you want something?”

“I was going to ask if I could go to the movies with Ellie and then spend the night, but I can stay here with you if you want.”

Janet smiled. “No. You go with Ellie. Have a good time.”

“If you’re sure…”

“Go on, sweetie.”

~~~

Sam lay in bed tossing and turning. She hadn’t slept well the night before either – she’d had some very vivid dreams. Finally, she gave up and got out of bed, going into the kitchen and pouring herself a glass of juice.

When she got her memory back she had panicked. If the Air Force ever found out what had happened between Therra and Neva– No. What had happened between her and Janet. She took a deep breath and slowly let it out. If the Air Force found out it could jeopardize her career. That was why she had pulled Janet aside before the debriefing.

She closed her eyes and replayed certain events in her mind. She’d never felt anything like what she felt when making love with Ne– Janet.

That was it – they didn’t just have sex, they had made love.

“I’m in love with Janet.” As soon as she said it, she knew beyond any doubt that it was the truth… and had been for some time.

She stood and marched back into her bedroom. She needed to make things right. She got dressed and headed out, hopping on her bike and rushing over to Janet’s.

~~~

Janet was woken up by the insistent pounding on her front door. She grabbed her robe and slipped it on as she headed down the stairs. She managed to get it tied by the time she got to the front door. She looked out the peephole and frowned. She unlocked and opened the door just as Sam was about to start knocking again.

“What the hell are you doing, Sam?”

“I need to talk to you.”

Janet glanced at the clock in the hall. “At 2:30 in the morning?”

“Yeah. It’s important.”

With a sigh Janet gestured towards the living room as she relocked the door. When she entered the living room she found Sam pacing.

“What’s so important that you rode over here in the middle of the night?”

Sam stopped, turned to face Janet… and froze. She was on the verge of the best thing that had ever happened to her, and she was afraid of screwing it up.

Janet, still not completely over being hurt by the blonde’s recent actions, was beginning to lose patience. “Sam, either say whatever it was you came over here to say, or else I’m going to go back to bed and get some more sleep.”

The blonde took a deep breath and walked up to her best friend, gazing into her beautiful brown eyes. “Janet…” Sam reached out and took both of the brunette’s hands in her own. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“For acting like an asshole when I didn’t want to acknowledge what happened between us. I was out of line.”

Janet dropped her gaze as tears welled and stung her eyes. She couldn’t say anything around the lump in her throat.

Sam let go of her hands, reached up and took Janet’s face in her hands. She gently urged Janet to raise her head and look at her. It broke her heart to see tears in Janet’s eyes. “The only excuse I have is that I was afraid. I was afraid of what would happen if the Air Force found out.” She lightly placed a finger over Janet’s lips when the brunette started to say something.

“I was afraid to admit my feelings,” she said softly. “I’m in love with you, Janet.” She gently tucked a strand of hair behind Janet’s ear. “And the only thing I’m afraid of now is losing you.”

Sam ducked her head and captured Janet’s lips in a tender kiss. Janet sighed softly as she felt the blonde’s arms wrap around her and she slipped her own arms around Sam. Their kiss deepened but remained gentle. Finally, they parted,  but continued to gaze into one another’s eyes.

“It’s late, Sam.”

The blonde nodded. “I know. I’ll go so you can get some sleep.”

Janet smiled. “I’d rather you stayed.” She received a dimpled smile. “That way I can show you how much I love you.”

Arm in arm, they turned out the lights and walked upstairs.

FIN

back