Spoilers/Timeline: AU version of S01E17 Solitudes.
A/N 1: In response to Ralst’s AU challenge for IDF.
A/N 2: Special thanks to bara_brith and celievamp for the beta.
“Unauthorized off-world activation. Unauthorized off-world activation.”
General Hammond exited his office and entered the control room. “Report.”
“No sig– Wait… it’s SG-1, sir,” reported Sgt. Harriman.
“Open the iris.”
Down in the gate room the iris opened and a lone figure stepped through the stargate – Captain Samantha Carter.
As the wormhole disengaged, Hammond left the control room. He frowned as he entered the gate room. “Captain Carter, what’s going on? Where’s your team?”
“There’s been an accident, sir. Daniel and Colonel O’Neill have been hurt. Daniel’s ankle might be broken, but I don’t think so.”
The blonde captain sighed. “He’s bad, sir. He may have a broken back. We decided not to move him until a doctor can check him out.”
Captain Janet Fraiser, M.D., the base Chief Medical Officer, was summoned to the general’s office. She was surprised to find Captain Carter present.
“Reporting as ordered, sir.”
“I need to you get a medical team together and ready to go through the gate in 15 minutes.”
“Yes, sir. I’ll need to know what to prepare for.”
“Captain.” He nodded at Carter.
“Colonel O’Neill and Daniel took a fall down a steep, rocky incline. Daniel’s hurt his ankle. I don’t think it’s broken, but it’s at least sprained.”
“And the colonel?”
“He’s got a badly broken leg. And maybe a broken back.”
Fraiser looked at Carter with undisguised concern.
“That’s why we didn’t want to move him.”
She nodded. “Good idea.”
Just under 15 minutes later, Janet, Sam, and two medics – Sgt. Miller and Airman Linz – walked up the ramp and through the gate.
Janet could tell right away how bad Jack was hurt by the way he didn’t give her a hard time. She and the medics sedated him before they got him strapped to a backboard and set his leg. She then took a look at Daniel.
“If I take your boot off now, your ankle will swell up all the more. I don’t think it’s broken, but I don’t want you walking on it, Daniel, until we get some x-rays of it to make sure.”
“I can carry Daniel Jackson,” said Teal’c.
“I do not need to be carried.”
“You will at least need someone to help you, because you are not putting any weight on that ankle, Daniel. Either way, we need to get the colonel back right away.”
Sam nodded. “Alright, people, you heard the doctor. Let’s get moving,” she ordered.
The two medics picked up Colonel O’Neill while Teal’c shouldered the doctor’s medical pack and then helped Daniel. They made quick time back toward the gate. Teal’c, helping Daniel, took point; he was followed by the medics carrying Jack. Sam and Janet brought up the rear.
“You did the right thing not moving the colonel,” Janet said.
Sam nodded. “I knew it was bad.”
“Yeah. I’m worried about him. He didn’t give me any backtalk or resistance.”
“I noticed.” The blonde looked at the petite doctor. “He’s scared, Janet.”
“I know. I’ll give him an MRI as soon as we get back to find out what’s going on with his back. It could be just bruised. But either way, his leg is going to keep him out of action for a while, it’s a bad break.”
They were a couple hundred yards from the gate when all of a sudden they started getting shot at by energy weapons of some sort.
“Take cover!!” yelled Sam.
The medics carefully, but quickly got Jack behind some rocks. A blast hit so close Sam felt the heat singe the air around them as she threw Janet to the ground and covered her.
“Are you okay?” Sam asked.
“Yeah, but that was close.”
“Tell me about it.”
“Are you hurt?” Janet asked concerned.
“Just a little cooked.”
Another blast hit nearby, but not as close.
“Teal’c, cover fire! Daniel, dial home!” Sam ordered. She and Janet were still in the open, but at least she was covering her, and Janet didn’t have her pack to slow her down. “Get ready to run for those rocks over there, Janet.”
Sam rolled off of Janet onto her back and started firing in the direction of the incoming fire. “Go, go!”
Janet took off at a run. Once she was under cover Sam got up and ran to join her. A last second zigzag kept Sam from taking a direct hit from a bolt of energy, but it was close enough to send her flying into the air. She came down hard, not far from Janet, who was immediately at her side.
She couldn’t say anything right away since she’d had the wind knocked out of her. Janet started running her hands over her limbs and torso, checking for injury. Sam finally caught her breath. “I’m… I’m okay. Just had the wind knocked out of me.”
She saw the relief on Janet’s face. Sam moved to get up and look over the rocks. She checked out where the rest of their team was. They were still taking fire, but Daniel and Teal’c had made it to the DHD and Daniel was dialing. They concentrated their fire at the same time so that the medics could get the colonel through the gate.
“What’s going on?” demanded Hammond once the medics got through to the SGC.
They placed Jack on a waiting gurney. “I’m not sure, General. We were almost to the stargate when all of a sudden we started taking fire from some kind of energy weapons. We never saw anyone. The others covered us as we got the colonel through the gate,” reported Sgt. Miller.
“Sir! The stargate is overloading! It’s showing twice the power as normal, and it’s increasing!” announced Sgt. Harriman in the control room.
“Clear the gate room!” ordered Hammond.
“Teal’c! Take Daniel and go!”
Sam covered them as they ran for the gate and dove through.
She grabbed Janet’s hand. “Let’s go!”
They took off running and also leapt for the gate. She made sure to keep Janet’s body between herself and the gate, so that she could block her from any incoming shots. A shot hit the gate beside them just as they entered it.
At the SGC Teal’c and Daniel were thrown through the gate. Teal’c tumbled down the ramp, and Daniel literally came flying through, not landing until he was past the ramp.
“System overload!” warned Harriman.
The wormhole disengaged.
Hammond re-entered the gate room and knelt down next to Daniel who was unconscious. “Get a medical team in here now!”
“Medical team to the gate room. Medical team to the gate room,” was announced over the PA system.
“Teal’c, where are Captain Carter and Dr. Fraiser?”
Teal’c looked around. “They could not have been more than few meters behind. I do not know.”
Teal’c’s arm was in a sling.
“Dr. Jackson’s still unconscious but Dr. Warner thinks he’ll be alright. They’re still checking Colonel O’Neill out. I need to know what went on back there, Teal’c,” General Hammond said.
“We were under fire. Distant. Energy weapons of some kind. Possibly Goa’uld technology.”
“So it’s possible Captain Carter and Dr. Fraiser were struck by enemy fire?
“I do not believe so. They were but a few meters behind me as we passed through the stargate.”
“How many hostiles were there?”
“They were some distance away. But we appeared to be surrounded. Captain Carter ordered us to lay down cover fire while Daniel Jackson dialed home. General Hammond, I believe they should have made it through the gate. I do not understand why they did not.”
Sgt. Siler walked into the room. “Preliminary report on the stargate repairs, sir.” He handed the general a clipboard.
“Repairs?” Teal’c asked.
“There was some kind of overload during transit, we don’t know why,” Hammond answered.
“I must return immediately.”
“Not with an army waiting on the other side, sorry.”
“General Hammond, I suggest a second probe be sent through.”
“As soon as the stargate is working again we’ll do just that.”
As Sam came to, the pain she felt told her she was at least alive. The mistake she made was trying to push herself up into a sitting position. She let out a yell and her head swam.
“Easy, easy. Don’t try to move yet.”
She tried to catch her breath. “Damn, what happened?”
“I’m not sure. But we came out of the gate a lot faster than normal.” Janet paused. “And we’re not where we’re supposed to be.”
Sam started to lift her head to try to look around but it made her dizzy. “Whoa.”
“I told you not to move yet.”
“Okay, point taken.”
“Your shoulder is badly dislocated, that’s why it hurt when you tried to get up. I have to try to pop it back in place.” Janet took off her right boot and planted her foot in Sam’s armpit. “On three. One…” Janet pulled on Sam’s arm, before she ever said ‘two,’ with everything she had until it finally gave with a very loud pop.
“Ahhh!” Sam couldn’t help the tears that came to her eyes. She felt Janet’s hand slip inside not only her jacket, but her shirt as well. Her hand gently probed Sam’s shoulder. “I thought you said on ‘three!'” the blonde complained.
“Which is why I went after ‘one’. Otherwise you would have tensed up and it would have been worse.” Janet withdrew her hand.
Sam was then surprised by a flashlight in her eyes – or rather one eye, and then the other. “Janet?”
“You had a real bad landing. Besides dislocating your shoulder, you have a head injury. The bleeding has stopped, but it looks like you have a concussion.”
“Explains why my head hurts.”
“I was getting really worried about you. You were unconscious for over an hour.”
Sam took a couple of deep breaths while trying to get her bearings and center herself. “So do you have any idea where we are?”
“No. All I know is that we didn’t end up at the SGC and we’re apparently in an ice cavern.”
“That would explain why my butt is freezing.”
Janet gave her a smirk.
“Okay, time to get moving.”
“Take it slow,” the doctor warned.
Sam sat up without too much trouble, but could tell she had dinged her ribs. She looked around. “Where are the others?”
“I think we’re the only ones here, Sam.”
She immediately reached for her radio and called for the others but didn’t get any response.
“I already tried that,” Janet said.
Sam nodded – of course she had. “Have you seen the DHD?”
“No. But I haven’t been able to search.”
She heard something in the doctor’s voice and immediately looked at her with concern. “What’s wrong, Janet?”
She let out a sigh. “I, uh, I think I broke my ankle.”
Sam looked down at Janet’s left boot. It was obvious that she’d had to loosen it to keep the circulation from being compromised – especially in the frigid temperature.
“Alright then. First things first. It looks like we’re inside a crevasse of a glacier. There is some light filtering through. There appear to be some fissures. I’ll scout those out. How are we set for food?”
“Well, I went through your pack when I got your medkit out. I’d say we have enough for three days, but we can probably stretch that. We’ve got a little drinking water, but…”
“Ice melts and we’ve got the field cooking gear to melt it. Flashlight batteries are going to be a problem though. And since we only have the one pack it means only one sleeping bag. But we do have a space blanket and a poncho.”
“Well if you find the DHD we won’t have to worry about any of that.”
Sam gave her a small smile. “I know. In the meantime, let’s get you situated in a bit more comfortable and warmer spot.” She slowly got up on her feet.
“Careful,” Janet said as the blonde captain wavered a moment with dizziness.
Sam spotted the perfect place. It was an outcropping of ice that provided a cubbyhole underneath, just the right size for the two of them to lie down in. She laid the space blanket out first and then the sleeping bag on top of it. Sam then took the poncho and affixed it to the outcropping so that it acted as a flap door to the cubbyhole. With the much smaller space now enclosed, their body heat could actually warm the air in the small space and be kept in. She went back, carefully picked Janet up and carried her to the cubbyhole. She set her down on the sleeping bag.
“We need to splint your ankle.”
Janet grimaced. “I know. I’m not looking forward to it.”
“I’ll be as careful as I can.” Sam took her knife out and cut the laces on her boot. Janet couldn’t help but yelp as her boot was gently removed. She saw the tears in her dark brown eyes. “I’m sorry, Janet.”
“I know. It has to be done.”
Sam took the splint out of the medkit and started to wrap her ankle. By the time she was done a few tears ran down Janet’s cheeks. “Do you want something for the pain?”
She shook her head. “I’ll be alright.”
“Let’s get you cozy while I’ll go exploring.”
Janet slipped into the sleeping bag and used her coat as a pillow. Sam pulled the poncho down so she was enclosed in the small space.
There was a technician welding in the gate room. Teal’c, Sgt. Siler and General Hammond walked in.
“We’ve almost replaced all the super conductive interface elements, sir. The old ones all melted. It’s going to take some time to load test them though,” Siler explained.
“Just tell me the minute we can send a probe through.”
“That’ll be 24 hours, General, minimum.”
“Captain Carter and Dr. Fraiser do not have that long,” Teal’c pointed out.
Hammond nodded. “I’ll give you half that.”
“No, sir, it doesn’t work that way. 24 hours is the best I can do.”
“Then you’d better get back to it.”
Daniel’s eyelids flickered and then opened. Teal’c came into focus. “Teal’c?”
“The stargate has malfunctioned. We came through the gate at too great a velocity.”
“Jack? Sam and Janet?”
“Colonel O’Neill has had surgery on his leg. His back is not broken.”
“But what about Sam and Janet?”
“They did not follow.”
“Yes they did. I know they did. They were right behind us. That doesn’t make any sense.”
“I concur. In a few hours a probe will be sent back in an attempt to determine their fate.”
Sam rejoined Janet after a couple of hours. “Well I’ve got good news and bad news.”
“What’s the bad news?” asked Janet.
“None of the fissures lead to a way out of here.”
“And the good news?”
“I found the DHD.”
Janet perked up. “You’re kidding?!”
The blonde nodded. “Unfortunately, there’s a little bit of bad news to go with that as well. It’s in a block of ice – though it does look like it might be intact.” She paused. “It’s going to take some time to dig it out.”
“Then help me out of here so we can get started.”
Janet put her coat on and her right boot. Sam made some cuts in the leather of Janet’s her left boot to accommodate her splinted and wrapped ankle. She then picked Janet up and carried her over to the large block of ice that contained the DHD. Janet took her knife out and started chipping away but stopped when she realized something was wrong with Sam – she was tensed up and grimacing a little.
“Sam? What’s wrong?”
She opened her eyes and let out a slow breath. “I think I have a couple cracked ribs.”
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
“Nothing can be done about it.” She pulled her knife out and started chipping away at the ice. “I’ve been thinking about what might have happened.”
“There are only so many possibilities. One, Daniel misdialed and they’re here, somewhere we haven’t found.”
“You said yourself the fissures don’t lead anywhere, so if they were here…”
“Exactly. I don’t think that’s the case either. Two, Daniel didn’t misdial, but for some reason the stargate malfunctioned during transit. Don’t ask me how, I don’t know. Anyway, they got sent back to Earth, but for some reason we got sent here.”
“Three, the stargate malfunctioned, we got sent here, and everyone else was sent to another planet.”
Sam shook her head. “Don’t have a four.” She paused. “I can’t help but think that ‘two’ is the most likely. So assuming they made it back to Earth, they’ll start sending search parties.”
“But to where?”
“Here, I hope.”
“But where would they begin? They have no idea where we are. We have no idea where we are. And with all the possible stargate addresses a random search could take years.”
Sam reached over and grabbed her friend’s hand. “We are going to get home, Janet.”
Janet didn’t say anything, but started chipping at the ice again.
Back at the SGC they were testing the repair work they had done on the gate.
“Charging circuit MX43 at 20%… 100%. Circuit is holding. Reset and stand by. She’s all yours, General,” reported Siler.
“Well done, Sergeant.” He looked down at Harriman sitting at the computer controls. “You heard the man.”
The gate started dialing.
“SG3 and I are ready and awaiting your orders, General,” said Teal’c.
“I won’t authorize this rescue mission unless the probe sends back the right pictures, Teal’c. In the event we find no enemy activity on the other side, you will coordinate with Colonel Makepeace on the rescue mission.”
The gate opened.
“The probe should reach the stargate at P4A-771 in five seconds,” said Harriman. “Four, three, two, now.”
“No sign of Sam and Dr. Fraiser,” murmured Daniel. “But no evidence they got into a firefight either.”
All of a sudden the probe was blasted out of existence.
“What are you waiting for? Close the iris! Disengage the stargate. SG3, stand down. The rescue mission is scrubbed,” ordered Hammond.
“General!” exclaimed Daniel.
Sam was still chipping away at the ice while Janet was below, resting after having had to take something for the pain in her ankle.
“Soup’s on,” Janet called.
“Just a little more. I’m almost through.”
“Come on now, you don’t want it to get cold,” she said using her ‘mother’ voice.
Sam joined her and Janet handed her a cup of soup. “Thank you.”
Janet noticed the blonde grimace. “Maybe I should have another look at you.”
She shook her head. “No, I’m fine. What about you? How’s your ankle?”
“I’ve been thinking about how the stargate might have malfunctioned.”
“Well, we don’t totally understand how it works, but the theory we have so far is that the gate creates an artificial wormhole that somehow transfers an energized matter stream in one direction along an extra-dimensional conduit. I think the matter stream between stargates got redirected, kind of like a lightning bolt jumping from one point to another in mid-strike. Now, I figure it had to have been the attack on P4A-771. The gate itself was probably struck by enough energy during the firefight to influence the direction of the matter stream before we reached the other side. Janet?
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening.”
“What I’m saying is, we must have emerged through a stargate relatively close to Earth in the gate network, somewhere between P4A-771 and Earth. Now, if the SG rescue teams reach the same conclusion, it could significantly reduce their search.”
“That’s good news.”
Daniel Jackson was studying a glass map of planets. “Okay, so if they are not there, and they are not here…”
“It is possible that they might have perished within the wormhole,” Teal’c pointed out.
“Yeah. In which case they’re gone. I know, I thought of that. But if they are alive, if there’s the least remote possibility that this malfunction sent them to another stargate…”
“Was it not Captain Carter who deduced the possible combinations of stargate symbols numbered in the millions?”
“Well, we have to narrow it down.”
Sam and Janet were both still chipping away at the ice encasing the DHD.
“Whoa.” Janet brushed away chipped ice. “Sam.” She revealed a hand – a serpent guard.
“I guess he didn’t make it.”
“Okay, this is P4A-771, this is Earth. Now, the stargate shut itself down just after Teal’c and I came through.”
Hammond nodded. “There was an energy surge.”
“Right. But what would that have done to the wormhole itself?”
“I have no idea,” Siler answered.
“Could it just disappear?” Daniel asked.
“No, I don’t think so, sir. It would have to discharge somewhere.”
“Like, another stargate?”
“Yeah, maybe.” He looked at the general, “Sir, it’s all theoretical, but we think that stargates are basically giant superconductors. Charged matter streams along lines of force between them.”
“Positive to negative, like electricity. Right?” asked the archeologist.
“Except for the fact the whole trip happens outside our dimension, yeah, more or less.”
“Okay, what if it jumped? Redirected itself here,” Daniel pointed to a planet on the map, “or here, or anywhere along… here?”
Hammond looked dubious. “You’re suggesting we search all these worlds?”
“Well, at least we’ve narrowed an entire galaxy of stargates down to a handful of possibilities.”
“Assuming you’re right, why haven’t they used that stargate to come back on their own?”
“Teal’c and I were flung out of this gate at this end so fast I don’t even remember hitting the ramp. Now, they could be badly hurt, in which case we will not have to search far from the stargates themselves. I think we owe it to them to try.”
The women finally cleared the ice from the controls. The constant chipping at the ice, the pain in her shoulder, and the increasing pain around her ribs was taking a bigger and bigger toll on Sam. She tried to catch her breath after a small coughing bout.
“Have you figured out the seventh symbol yet?” Janet asked.
Sam nodded. “Yeah… this one has to be the point of origin… I’ve never seen it before…” Her flashlight went out. “No batteries… guess it’s now or never.”
“I’ve always preferred now to never.”
“Here goes…” Sam dialed. The chevrons on the gate glowed, but it just didn’t open up a wormhole. “Damn it!”
“You dialed the right address?”
“Yes. It has to be something as simple as the control interface. If we can dig down to the panel on the DHD… I can fix it…” Sam started coughing again. This time she actually coughed up some blood. She saw Janet’s eyes widen when she spied the blood.
“Janet, we have to keep trying.”
“Of course we do. But we’ve been awake for a very long time. It’ll be there in the morning. Right now we both need rest.”
Sam coughed again, and couldn’t hide how much it hurt. “I told you we’re going to get out of here.”
Janet reached across and squeezed her hand. “I know. It’s just going to take longer than we thought.”
Blue eyes met brown. Sam saw Janet’s concern for her… but also saw her trust and confidence in her. She finally nodded. “Alright. Let’s get some sleep.”
Janet wouldn’t let Sam carry her, but she put her arm around the blonde’s shoulders while the blonde put hers around the doctor’s waist. By leaning on Sam she was able to keep the weight off her ankle as they made their way back to the cubbyhole. Sam helped Janet off with her boots and she slipped into the sleeping bag. Then the blonde took her boots off as well and also slipped into the bag. With their jackets as pillows and little room to move, it didn’t take long to figure out there was really only one way for them to get comfortable. Sam slipped her left arm under the doctor’s neck and her right around her waist and held her close. Janet moved her leg that had the splint on it.
“Do you need something for your ankle?” Sam asked quietly.
“No. I just needed to move it a little.”
Without thinking, Sam kissed Janet’s forehead and gave her a gentle squeeze.
Janet returned the squeeze which caused Sam to gasp in pain and struggle to catch her breath. “Alright, that does it. I’m taking a look at your ribs.”
The doctor undid the zipper behind Sam, and then helped her sit up just long enough to slip her BDU shirt off. Once she was lying down again Janet pulled Sam’s t-shirt up and turned on her flashlight. “Oh, my… Sam, this is more than a couple of cracked ribs.”
“I know… it’s been getting worse as the day goes on.”
She gently probed the blonde’s ribcage which made her grimace. “Your ribs are broken, and you’ve got one that’s actually out of place. That’s the one that’s causing internal bleeding and the most pain.” She grabbed the medkit. “I’m going to give you something for the pain.”
“I’ll be better after some sleep.”
She heard something in the doctor’s tone. Sam opened her eyes and looked at her. “What is it, Janet?”
“To keep it from doing more internal damage, I’m going to have to try to manipulate the rib back into place. It’s going to hurt no matter what, but it’ll be more bearable if I give you the shot first.”
Putting her hand over the doctor’s hand resting on her abdomen, Sam said, “I understand. Do what you have to.”
Janet gave Sam the shot which took effect fairly quickly. She was right, despite the pain medication, her manipulation of the broken rib hurt – a lot. She then taped Sam’s ribs. She pulled the t-shirt back down and zipped the sleeping bag back up. Sam started to shift to lie on her side.
“No, just lie still.” Janet carefully laid her injured leg on top of the blonde’s and snuggled into her left side, partly on top of her. She laid her head on Sam’s chest as the blonde wrapped her left arm around her. In an effort to avoid Sam’s ribs, Janet kept her left arm and hand tucked up to her body so that her hand actually rested just above and between Sam’s breasts. Sam put her right hand on Janet’s arm.
“You’re cold,” she observed and started rubbing Janet’s arm.
“It’ll warm up soon, now that we’re settled.”
They soon fell victim to their exhaustion.
Daniel stuck another post-it note onto the glass map as Hammond entered the room.
“We just received probe telemetry from P5C-11 and 12, neither of them have a breathable atmosphere any more. If they ever did.”
“I have formally reported Captain Carter and Dr. Fraiser as missing in action.”
“Why?” Daniel asked, clearly upset by the news.
“Missing in action doesn’t mean we stop looking.” Hammond left.
Daniel turned to look at the map once more. “Missing… I’m missing something.”
Sometime later Sam woke up with a cough. Janet was lying directly on top of her, and in her sleep had put pressure on Sam’s broken ribs. Her head was on Sam’s chest, tucked under her chin.
“Shhh, try to sleep. You’re exhausted, you passed out,” Janet said sleepily.
“As much as I might find this quite pleasant under other circumstances, it’s hard to sleep with broken ribs when someone’s lying on them.”
Janet became wide awake. “I’m so sorry!” She quickly shifted to take the weight off Sam’s right side.
The blonde kept her arms around the doctor and held onto her to keep her from moving completely off of her. “That’s better.”
“I’m sorry, Sam.”
“It’s okay. You’re fine where you’re at now. Sleep for a few more hours… then I’ll try to fix the DHD.”
Janet relaxed into her again. “Okay. Goodnight.”
After a few moments Janet broke the silence. “Sam?”
“If we don’t make it–”
“We’re going to make it, Janet,” she said and gave her a gentle squeeze.
“But if we don’t, will you have any regrets?”
“I believe we’re going to make it… but if we don’t, no, I won’t have any regrets.” She paused. “What about you?”
Janet took a slow breath and let it out. “Only one…” she paused for a couple of beats, “that I didn’t tell you I love you.”
Sam tightened her arms around the doctor. “I love you too, Janet.” She placed a kiss on the top of her head.
The women drifted back to sleep for a few hours.
When the women got back up, Janet insisted that they eat before trying to dig down to the access panel on the DHD. It was several hours work. When they finally got to it Sam had Janet go lie down and put her ankle up.
Hours later, Sam still hadn’t gotten the damn thing to work. “Damn it! Why won’t you work?!”
“Sam… Sam,” Janet’s voice came over her radio.
“Janet?” The blonde got down from the block of ice and joined her friend. “What’s wrong?”
“You need to eat some of this soup.”
“You go ahead.”
“It’s an order from your doctor. Once the sterno dies, we won’t be able to make any more,” she pointed out.
They shared the soup.
“I should have gotten you out of here by now, I’m sorry,” apologized Sam.
“I’ve been working on the control panel for the last 12 hours, it just… I don’t know why it won’t work… it should work… I’m missing something.”
Back at the SGC Teal’c returned from a recon mission carrying an injured Major Kaplan.
“Medical team to the gate room,” ordered Hammond. “What happened?” he asked Teal’c.
“We were exploring a cave not far from the stargate. He fell several meters from a rock ledge. There was no sign of Dr. Fraiser or Captain Carter.”
“Are you alright?”
“I am ready to embark again.”
“I’m calling the search off.”
“What?” exclaimed Daniel.
“This was the last of the planets to fit your theory, Doctor.”
“Well, it’s been, what, a few days? What if we stop just short of finding them?”
“I’m sorry!” Hammond left.
The cold was sapping more than just Sam’s strength – it was sapping her thought processes as well. She knew she wasn’t thinking clearly – frigid temperatures did that. Suddenly Sam had an epiphany.
“Reset! Why didn’t I think? Janet, I’m going to interrupt the power. I’m going to shut it all off and turn it on again! Okay, this better work.”
Sam reached in and disconnected the power, waited a few seconds, and the reconnected it. The DHD powered back up.
“Okay, here goes.”
She dialed home again. The chevrons glowed just as before, but the wormhole never formed. Despondently, Sam went down and joined Janet. Janet was lying on her back so Sam lay on her side with her head on Janet’s shoulder. She was emotionally whipped and shivering from the bone deep cold.
“I guess it didn’t work,” Janet observed.
Janet tightened her arms around the blonde as she heard her emotion-laden apology. “Not your fault.”
“I don’t understand… why it won’t work… I promised… get you… out of here.”
“You’ve done everything possible. No one could ask any more of you.” She kissed Sam’s forehead.
“I’m here, Sam.”
“Cold… so cold…”
“I know. It’s okay. You can sleep now.”
Daniel was still in the room with the glass map. A glass started to rattle. He moved on his crutches to the window and looked at the stargate. “Daniel Jackson.”
“Teal’c, did you see that?”
“Why are you here?”
“I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking that I must be missing something, and now I just realized we ruled out a world we shouldn’t have.”
Daniel requested General Hammond meet with him and Teal’c when he came on duty that morning.
“What are you saying, Doctor?”
He pointed to Earth on the map. “How many Earth-based cultures have we encountered from other worlds from periods both before and after we think the stargate was buried?”
“Several, I think,” answered the general.
“Right. And we’ve probably only scratched the surface. Now, so far we’ve tried to account for these discrepancies with various theories of parallel or accelerated–”
The general cut him off, trying to cut to the chase, “What’s your point, Doctor?”
“What if there’s a second stargate here? What if the energy surge caused the wormhole to jump from one stargate to another, here?”
“Yes!” exclaimed the archeologist.
The general turned to Teal’c. “Teal’c, would the Goa’uld have put more than one stargate on a planet?”
“If the first became lost to them, it is possible.”
“Remember, the one that Ra put here might not have been the first. The Goa’uld didn’t build the stargate system,” Daniel pointed out.
“Then where is it?” asked the general.
“It would have to be in a remote location; otherwise it would have been discovered by now. It could have been buried until recently; otherwise the Goa’uld would have continued to use it.”
“Let us hope it is not still buried,” said Teal’c.
The three men went into the control room.
Hammond addressed Sgt. Harriman, “We’re looking for radio transmissions on SG-1’s emergency frequency. Coordinate with air military listening posts around the entire globe.”
“General, when we first opened our stargate, it used to shake a lot. I mean the ground, the whole facility, everything,” said Daniel.
“We installed frequency dampers that limit that to only a slight vibration.”
“Okay, but what if the second gate doesn’t have… those? Would it shake like this one did – enough to indicate its location on a seismometer?”
“Damn right it would.” Hammond laid a hand on Harriman’s shoulder. “Run a search for all recent seismic activity worldwide. See if any coincide with the time of the stargate malfunction.”
“And check about 0400 local time. I was here, I thought someone was trying an off-world activation, but nothing happened. Except for the chevrons glowed and there was a slight vibration,” Daniel added.
“Captain Carter and Dr. Fraiser,” Teal’c concluded.
Daniel addressed Teal’c, “What happens when you dial your own phone number?” He paused for half a beat. “Wrong person to ask,” he said with a grin. He turned to Hammond. “What happens when you dial your own phone number?”
“You get a busy signal.”
“Exactly. What else could cause a vibration like that except if they were trying to dial home? They couldn’t get home. I mean, even if the seventh symbol looked different, the coordinates of the two gates would still be exactly the same.”
“We got it!” exclaimed Harriman. “Antarctica! The timing of the event is to the second, including the event that Dr. Jackson experienced a few hours ago!”
“Latitude and longitude?” the general asked.
“Yes, sir! It’s only about 50 miles out of McMurdo!”
Teal’c practically snapped to attention. “General, permission to–”
“Granted!” The general then turned back to the sergeant. “Order McMurdo to begin a search of those coordinates, now.”
Sometime later rescue teams converged over the position. They broke through the snow and some of them were lowered down into the cavern. They immediately saw the poncho. When they pulled it back they found the two women, unconscious in the sleeping bag.
“McMurdo, this is rescue team Charlie. We found them! Over.”
They got Sam and Janet out of the cubbyhole. Dr. Warner gave them a quick check, then they were loaded into stokes baskets.
“Dr. Fraiser. Dr. Fraiser, we are here.”
Janet slowly opened her eyes to see Teal’c.
“It is going to be alright. You are going to be okay, Dr Fraiser,” he reassured her. “As is Captain Carter,” he added.
“Let’s get them in the chopper,” ordered Hammond.
“Sam… she’s bleeding… internally…”
“We know, Doctor. Don’t worry, she’s going to be alright,” the general assured her gently.
“General, you came through the gate for us…”
He smiled down at her. “Not exactly, Doctor.” He addressed the rescue team. “A team from the SGC will be coming within the hour to secure this area. In the meantime, let’s get these people home.”
Sam and Janet were hoisted up into a chopper and flown to McMurdo. Hammond took a last look at the icy stargate before he left the cavern.
Once they were at McMurdo Dr. Warner x-rayed Janet’s ankle. It wasn’t broken, but it was severely sprained; it would take several weeks to heal. She was going to be on crutches for quite a while. An ultrasound showed that the internal bleeding due to Sam’s broken ribs had stopped, so he just concentrated on treating the hypothermia they were both suffering from. Once they were stabilized, per the general’s request, they were on their way back to the SGC.
Janet wasn’t too pleased to be a patient in her own infirmary. Andrea, her head nurse, put another blanket over her.
“What are Sam’s latest vitals?” Janet asked her.
Andrea raised an eyebrow at her. “You’re not on duty. In case you haven’t noticed, you’re a patient.”
“I’m still the Chief Medical Officer of this facility, and Captain Carter’s physician.”
“Which is why I have her chart for you,” said Dr Warner as he entered her curtained area. “But only if you behave yourself.”
She quickly snatched the chart from his hand and started going through it. “Her temperature is still lower than I’d like at this point.”
“I agree. We have her on standard warm IV 50% dextrose at 20ml, and moist air. I also have her in a Hiebler jacket to help raise her core temperature.”
“It says here she hasn’t regained consciousness yet.”
He let out a deep breath. “No, she hasn’t.”
“You did an MRI?”
Warner handed her another folder. Janet pulled out the scan and held it up to the light.
“I don’t see anything.”
“I didn’t find anything either.”
“I need to see her.” She started to throw her covers aside.
“Wait just a minute. I let you see her chart on the condition that you behave.”
“I still need to see her,” she insisted. “So unless you plan on placing me in restraints, I suggest you tell me where she is, now.”
“You know that can be arranged, Doctor,” warned Andrea.
Warner shook his head. He knew just how stubborn his boss could be. “So help me, if you overdo it and don’t get your ankle back into an elevated position in less than five minutes, I’ll take that splint off and replace it with a full cast,” he warned her. He pulled back the curtain separating their beds. He handed Janet his stethoscope and indicated for Andrea to follow him out.
Janet used her crutches to approach the side of Sam’s bed. Despite the monitors she took her pulse and listened to her heart and lungs. Janet then leaned down and whispered in her ear. “Sam, we made it. We’re back at the SGC. But I need you to fight. I need to you to come back to me now.” She paused as she ran her fingers through her golden hair a couple times. “I love you.” She tenderly kissed Sam’s forehead before heading back to her own bed.
Janet was in the process of getting herself situated when Andrea and Dr Warner came back to make sure she was living up to her end of the agreement. She then got them to move Sam’s monitors so that she could keep an eye on them. This also meant moving Sam’s bed closer to hers. By the time they got all that done to her satisfaction it was clear that SG-1 could no longer be held off from visiting, to satisfy their own desire to see the women with their own eyes and make sure they were alright.
Daniel was on crutches and Jack was confined to a wheelchair for his brief release from his own bed. His back wasn’t broken, but it had been badly bruised. As soon as they made sure Janet was going to be okay, and Sam was being well looked after, they were finally shooed away.
Sam finally woke up – from a nightmare. “Janet!” she called out hoarsely.
Janet didn’t hesitate to get up from her bed and go over to the blonde’s. “I’m right here.” She took Sam’s hand in one of hers and ran her fingers through her hair with the other one. It took Sam a moment to focus on her. Janet smiled at her when she did. “Hey. Welcome back.”
The doctor squeezed her hand and nodded. “Yes. I’m fine. Been worried about you though. You’ve been unconscious for a long time.”
“Sorry,” she said quietly.
“It’s okay. How do you feel?”
The captain took a moment to take inventory. “Ribs seem better. Shoulder aches. Headache, and I’m cold.”
Janet nodded. “We’re still trying to get your core body temperature back to normal.”
“I’m glad you’re okay.”
“I’m a lot better now that I know you’re going to be alright.”
“I probably shouldn’t be, but I’m tired.”
“It’s okay, get some sleep. I’ll be right here if you need me.” Janet kissed her forehead and Sam closed her eyes.
Sam slept fitfully and kept waking up – each time calling out for Janet. Each time she would be there to assure Sam she was safe and sound.
Dr. Warner came to check on them while Janet happened to be up and next to Sam’s bed as she started to toss and turn in her sleep.
“Doctor, you really should have your ankle up and elevated. If I can’t get you to stay put, I’ll strap you down to that bed of yours.”
“Fine,” she snapped. “I’ll keep it elevated.” She sat on the side of Sam’s bed and then swung her legs up. She settled herself sitting up next to the blonde. “But you’re not keeping me from my patient.”
He just shook his head in the face of her stubbornness and walked away.
When Sam woke up the next time, she was surprised to find that her head was in the doctor’s lap and Janet was running the fingers of one hand through her hair while gently rubbing her back with the other. She was softly repeating quiet reassurances.
“I’m right here, Sam.”
She took a slow deep breath. The head of her bed was elevated and Janet was leaning against it. “I’m sorry, I keep waking you.”
“It’s alright. It’s not unusual to have nightmares after a trauma.” Janet paused. “Will you tell me about them?” she asked quietly.
Sam hesitated. “As my doctor?”
The doctor’s hands paused momentarily in their comforting movements. “No. I ask as your friend.”
Sam sensed her disappointment that she felt the need to ask. She took another deep breath.
“You don’t have to tell me, Sam.”
“It’s always the same. Because I failed… you didn’t make it…” She closed her blue eyes in an effort to hold back the tears that threatened to spill.
“Come here,” Janet said softly, urging the blonde sit up next to her.
Sam sat up next to her but stared at her lap.
“Hey, look at me.” Janet took the blonde’s face in her hands and gently turned it to face her. “You did not fail. If not for you, and your actions, they would never have found us.”
“I never got it to work.”
“No one could have.” She could tell from Sam’s expression that she didn’t understand. She gave her a gentle smile. “You figured out the seventh symbol. You kept trying as long as you were physically able. That made it possible for them to track our location. The gate we came out of was here on Earth – in the Antarctic. So no matter how many times you dialed home, it would have never worked. But because you didn’t give up, they were able to track down our location through the seismic signature of the gate.” Janet paused to let what she said sink in. She let go of Sam’s face and embraced her. The blonde returned the embrace. “You see? You didn’t fail. You saved my life.” Janet kissed her cheek as she pulled back.
Sam’s emotions were in chaos. She felt very off kilter.
The doctor reached over to the table and picked up her penlight. “Now, as long as you’re awake…”
The blonde rolled her eyes and gave her a small smirk.
Janet got to use her penlight, stethoscope and thermometer, even though the captain was still hooked up to the monitors.
“Do you usually examine a patient while sharing their bed?” Sam asked with humorous smirk.
“I normally don’t share a bed with anyone, much less a patient. But–”
“But it was either plant her little butt on your bed and elevate her ankle, or get strapped down to her own bed to keep her from getting up all the time to check on you,” said Andrea as she came in with some medication for Janet.
Janet swallowed her medication and gave Andrea a dirty look. “That’s enough from the peanut gallery. Just remember I’m still your boss. You could end up working graveyards for a month, Andy.”
“Yeah, yeah. Down here underground, what difference would that make?” Andrea quipped with a good-natured grin – knowing Janet would never carry out her threat.
After Andrea left Sam looked at Janet. “How soon can I get out of here?”
“Well, technically, Dr. Warner is the one who will have to release you since I’m actually a patient.”
Andrea came back. “Let’s get you situated back in your own bed, Doctor.”
Janet just kind of looked at Andrea as she very gently removed the pillows from under her ankle. When Andrea slipped her arm around Janet’s waist to help her out of Sam’s bed and put Janet’s arm over her shoulders, she quietly explained, “The general’s on his way down with Cassandra to see you. Not to mention the fact that Dr. Warner is having trouble keeping SG-1 from storming their way in here.”
“I see. Thank you, Andy.”
Once Janet was settled, Andrea pulled back their curtains to allow visitors. First to arrive were Cassie and the general. Cassie hugged Janet and then surprised Sam with a big hug.
“I’m so glad to see you’re going to be okay, Sam!”
“Thank you, Cassie.”
“As am I,” said General Hammond. “It’s good to see you up and doing much better.”
“Thank you, sir.”
He looked at Janet. “And I understand you’ve been giving your staff a hard time, Doctor,” he said with amusement in his voice.
“They always say doctors make the worst patients. But I think Colonel O’Neill still has me beat, sir.”
“By the way, General, I really can’t thank you enough for taking care of Cassie during all of this.”
His smile turned to a grin. “She’s been an absolute joy to have around. She and my granddaughters, Kayla and Tessa, have had a lot of fun playing together. They’ve become fast friends.”
“Oh, Mom, Grandpa George says I can go with them to the lake if it’s alright with you. Can I go?”
Janet just kind of stared at Cassie for a moment. Sam could sense her overwhelming amazement and joy. She couldn’t keep from smiling at Janet.
Not getting an answer from Janet, Cassie tried again. “Can I go, Mom?”
Janet smiled. “We’ll talk about it, sweetie. Why don’t you go visit with Colonel O’Neill for a little while?”
“Okay!” She quickly went off to go see Jack.
Sam smiled at her. “Well, that was a first.”
Janet had tears in her eyes. “Yeah,” she said with an emotion-thick voice.
The general looked at both of them. “Did I miss something?”
“Cassie – that was the first time she called Janet ‘Mom.'”
He sat on the edge of Janet’s bed and put his hand on her shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze. “I didn’t realize.”
A happy tear escaped from one of her eyes.
“When I had to tell Cassie that you were missing, she told me that she wasn’t worried. I asked her why not. She said, ‘Because SG-1 will find them, and because Mom and Sam will take care of each other until then.'” He paused. “I’m glad she was right.”
Both women nodded in agreement.
“Anyway, about this trip to the lake…”
“Yes. I’m taking my daughter and the girls to the lake and staying in a cabin there for several days. I had no idea how long the two of you were going to be here in the infirmary, or even when you got out if you’d want some time to recover before having to take care of her. So I told Cassie that if it was alright with you, she could come along.”
Janet smiled. “I’m sure she’d have a great time. When is the trip?”
“I was actually going to take the girls this afternoon.” He paused. “Do you know when you’re going to be able to go home?”
“I should be going home today.”
He looked at Sam. “And what about you, Captain?”
“I don’t know.”
“I’m inclined to let her go home today if Dr. Fraiser agrees, and they both promise to take it easy for the next two weeks,” said Dr. Warner as he quietly approached.
“There’s no reason not to release Sam today. But I think the two weeks is a little excessive, David,” said Janet.
General Hammond smiled and almost chuckled. He looked at Dr. Warner. “I think I can guarantee at least two weeks medical leave for these two.”
Dr. Warner grinned. “Then it’s settled.” He walked away knowing Janet couldn’t fight the general like she could him.
The general stood up. “In fact, I have an idea. You’re welcome to tell me if you don’t think it’s a good one. Why don’t both of you come to the lake as well. It’s absolutely beautiful there.”
Janet looked at Sam and smiled. “Actually, sir, I think that would be a good idea. But I wouldn’t want to be an imposition.”
He smiled. “I’ll call and reserve another cabin for you.”
“Thank you.” She looked over at Sam and could see the fatigue in her blue eyes that others couldn’t. “But I think it would be best if you made our reservation for tomorrow.”
Right about then a Cassie-whirlwind came flying back into the area and settled next to Janet on her bed. “So do I get to go to the lake with Grandpa George, Mom?”
Janet put her arm around Cassie’s shoulders. “I’m afraid not, honey.” Cassie was clearly disappointed. “But you and Sam and I can go to the lake tomorrow.”
Cassie’s face lit up as she smiled. “Are you serious?”
“I sure am.”
“That would be great!” They hugged.
“On that note, I’ll get back to work,” said the general. “I’ll see you all at the lake tomorrow.”
A few minutes after Hammond left, all of SG-1 showed up. Jack was definitely feeling better and it showed as he kept complaining about his treatment at the hands of the other doctors and of course the physical therapists. Janet gave him his required lecture to let him know he was going to be okay. Since Jack was going to be out of commission for several weeks, and Daniel was still on crutches, SG-1 was out of the mission rotation for the foreseeable future. Though Teal’c would be joining other teams as needed.
Daniel happily agreed to take Cassandra by the general’s to get her stuff and then meet the women at Janet’s house.
Cassie was in bed, after having been tucked in by both her mom and her hero.
Sam and Janet sat on the couch sipping hot chocolate.
Sam was nervous. But felt she needed to clarify things before she went on a vacation with Janet and Cassie. “You know…” she started hesitantly. “I misspoke when I said I wouldn’t have any regrets if we died.”
“What do you mean, Sam?”
The blonde couldn’t look at the doctor, so she stared into her mug of cocoa. “I would have regretted not telling you how I feel.”
“But you did tell me.”
Sam sighed. “Not really. I told you that I love you… I didn’t tell you… that I’ve fallen in love with you,” she all but whispered.
Janet set her mug down on the coffee table and scooted over next Sam. “Sam.” She waited until the blonde nervously looked at her. “I’m in love with you, too.” The doctor brought her hand up and tenderly cupped Sam’s cheek before slowly leaning in and pressing her lips to Sam’s.
A soft sigh escaped the captain as she responded to Janet’s soft kiss. She moved to bring her arms up and around Janet, but winced, pulling out of the kiss, when her ribs protested the movement.
Janet smiled gently. “Let’s get you to bed where you can lie down and stretch out.”
“But I want to hold you.”
“I’m not going anywhere, Sam.”