Spoilers/Timeline: AU. Starts immediately after Heroes II, so anything before then is fair game. However, since this is AU canon may or may not be followed.
A/N: Special thanks to oxfordshoes2 for the beta!
Pain. God-awful, indescribable pain.
The staff weapon blasts to her side and chest hurt more than her mind could comprehend. She’d never question a patient about their level of pain from a staff blast again.
Nothingness. Blessed, peaceful nothingness.
The pain was bearable… barely. It hurt to breathe. She wanted to retreat back into the nothingness. She kept her respiration shallow in an effort to minimize the waves of pain that accompanied every breath. After a few minutes she tried to open her eyes. She sensed more than saw a shadow pass over her and then felt something pressed to the side of her neck. She no sooner registered the pain receding before she felt her mind and body succumb to sedation.
The pain wasn’t so bad the next time she woke. Still, she took several slow breaths while she tried to find her mental balance. She slowly took stock. Her chest and side hurt, but the pain was no longer debilitating. She felt the soft resistance of the bed beneath her body and the light caress of the slick sheet covering her. Definitely not Air Force issue. She opened her eyes a crack, the light preventing her from opening them any wider.
A warm hand touched the bare skin of her shoulder.
“Easy does it. Don’t try to move yet. Your injuries were severe and you still need to rest.”
She closed her eyes and tried to swallow. “Thirsty,” she managed to croak.
“I understand. I’ll get you something to drink.” The hand on her shoulder disappeared. The woman quickly returned with a glass of water. She supported Janet’s head as she held the glass to her lips. “Just a few sips.”
The water seemed to absorb directly into the dryness of her mouth before she could actually swallow it. After a couple of sips she laid her head back. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Now get some more sleep.”
Janet couldn’t fight her body to stay awake; she was soon asleep again.
The woman looked at the dog tags in her hand.
She’d only seen such identification tags in a museum or in a computer file. It had been a very long time since they’d been used. She turned away from the bed and walked away. She placed the tags on a sensor and ran a scan. The quantum signature verified the injured woman was not from an alternate universe. So the question was: Had she been thrown back in time, or was this Janet Fraiser thrown forward in time? Or were they in some totally different time altogether?
Kris sensed her wife coming to and rushed to her side. She gently took her hand in her own and gazed into her deep blue eyes as they opened. She couldn’t stop her tears from escaping no matter how hard she tried.
“I don’t know. We were flying along and all of a sudden a planet appeared out of nowhere, and we were already in its atmosphere. If not for your skill, we would have crashed at full impulse speed.”
Her wife took a slow breath. “I can’t feel my legs.”
She let out deep breath. “That’s… probably for the best.”
Her wife looked her in the eyes and nodded in understanding. “I love you,” she whispered quietly, even as she reached out to her with her mind.
When Kris felt her wife’s mind touch hers, she was flooded with the purity of emotion behind those three small words. “And I love you,” she replied verbally as well as in her mind.
They both knew her wife was dying and that they were probably sharing the mind-touch for the last time. The dying woman slipped into unconsciousness. Kris simply sat next to her with silent tears running down her face, holding her hand.
The next time Janet woke up she felt significantly better, though far from pain free. However, she was finally strong enough to attempt to move. Very carefully, with her arm held tight across her chest, she managed to sit up. The movement stole her breath and it took a few moments for her get her bearings. One step at a time she methodically evaluated herself and her surroundings.
She was naked with nothing but the satin sheet that she held to her chest. She looked around her unfamiliar surroundings. It appeared she was on some kind of ship – a space ship – but not of any design she recognized. On a nearby counter she spied some clothes neatly folded. Janet carefully eased off of the bed and onto her feet. She picked up the garments – a t-shirt that was a little large for her and cotton, drawstring pants – and put them on. The movement pulled at her sore chest. It took a few minutes to catch her breath.
Once Janet marshaled her reserves and her resolve she began to look around, trying to discover some hint about where she was and whose ship she was on.
“How are you feeling?”
Janet jumped at the unexpected voice. She hadn’t heard anyone approaching.
Kris took in the injured woman’s scared but defiant expression. It was obvious she was afraid of her so she backed away a little. She took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “It’s alright. I’m not your enemy, and as far as my ship’s sensors can tell, whoever did attack you is nowhere around here.” The petite brunette seemed to let go of a little of her apprehension, so she tried again.
“How are you feeling?”
“Better.” Janet paused. “I didn’t mean to be so nosy.”
She smiled. “It’s alright. I’d be curious, too, if I were you.”
Janet winced a little as she sat down.
“I’m not surprised. You had some very bad plasma burns. It’ll take a few more days for your body to fully recuperate. In fact, now that you’re up, your new skin could benefit from another treatment with the dermal stimulator. I’m sure you’re still more than a little tender.” The clenched jaw and deep breath that Janet let out as she closed her eyes and nodded confirmed her observation. “Come on.”
Janet was led back to the bed where she was told to lie down. Doing as she was told, Janet pulled the t-shirt up to expose the wound on her side. The woman ran some device over it. Janet took the opportunity to take in her mysterious benefactor.
The woman was obviously humanoid. She was about four inches taller than herself, had short, dark hair and the darkest eyes Janet had ever seen. She couldn’t even distinguish the pupils from the surrounding irises. They were completely black, and she found them rather mesmerizing. She had no idea who this woman was, but there was something about her… Janet found herself calming and somehow sensing she had nothing to fear from this woman. She was pulled out of her musings when the woman spoke.
“How does that feel?”
Janet suddenly realized her side felt better. “Better.”
“Good. Now I need to do the same to your chest wound.”
Janet nodded in understanding and raised the t-shirt up to expose her chest. When the woman was done she put the dermal stimulator back in the medkit. Janet lowered her shirt. “That feels much better. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. From the looks of it, you should only require one or two more treatments with the stimulator.” She pointed to an open door that appeared to lead to a bathroom. “What’s left of your uniform is in there. I didn’t find any other belongings except these,” Kris said as she handed her the dog tags. “Make yourself at home. I have to get back to Lena. She was injured too severely to be moved.” She turned to go.
“Wait, maybe I can help. I’m a doctor.” Janet didn’t get a response, but she grabbed the medkit and followed the other woman.
Stepping outside, it was obvious the ship they’d been in had crash-landed. There was considerable damage to the exterior of the ship. The planet looked much like others she’d been on – it had a lot of trees.
Kris sat down next to her wife, taking her hand in her own. Janet moved to the other side of the obviously injured woman and began to examine her to assess the damage.
“There’s no need, Doctor. There’s nothing you can do,” she said quietly.
Janet looked beseechingly at the woman that had helped her. “You healed me and I was hit by a staff weapon. There has to be something in this medkit that can help her.”
Kris sadly shook her head. She pulled out the medical scanner from the medkit and scanned Lena before handing it to the doctor. “See for yourself.”
It didn’t take long for Janet to understand the readings… and the futility of any treatment. She spoke in a whisper, “I’m sorry.”
She caressed Lena’s face. After several moments she let out a deep breath and looked at the doctor. “Are you hungry?”
“I’ll get us something to eat. I’ll be right back.”
She went back inside the ship and came back out with a light meal for both of them, which they ate in silence. When they were done eating Kris took their plates back in and disposed of them. When she came back out the doctor was checking Lena’s pulse.
She sat and took Lena’s hand in hers, then looked up at the doctor. “So, according to your dog tags, you’re in the Air Force, Dr. Fraiser.”
Janet nodded. “You have me at a disadvantage. You know my name, but…”
“I’m Admiral Kris Kay.” She looked down at Lena. “And this is Admiral Lena Sheldon.” She paused as she caressed her cheek. “My wife,” she was barely able to add in a choked whisper. A lone tear trailed down her face. She closed her eyes and took a slow, deep breath in an attempt to gather herself.
Janet laid her hand gently on her arm in sympathy. “I’m so sorry,” she said quietly. Once she could tell the other woman had gotten herself together she spoke again. “And where are you from?” she asked.
“Actually, our home is in Montana where Lena grew up.”
“So you are from Earth.”
Kris nodded. “Yes. I don’t think the question we’re facing is so much where we’re from, as when. Particularly since our quantum signatures verify we are from the same universe and we’re not dealing with some alternate universe situation. What’s the last thing you remember?”
Janet let out a deep breath and nodded in understanding. “I was in the field tending to a wounded soldier on P3X-666.”
“That’s one of the old binary designations, and if I’m not mistaken, not anywhere near where Lena and I were before we crashed. Let’s take a look.” She got up and entered the ship; Janet followed. Kris pulled up the info on the computer. “Our last known position was in the Capson Sector and P3X-666 was in the Elon Sector,” Kris said, pointing to the different points on the display.
“So how the hell did I end up here? Wherever here is,” Janet asked.
“I don’t know. I found you a few meters from the ship, brought you inside and treated your wounds.”
The two women then compared dates – 2004 vs. 2498. There was nearly 500 years between their places in time.
“So now we have to deal with a possible time paradox,” Janet said with a sigh.
“Yeah. I’ll have to watch what and how much I say.”
Janet groaned. “This is giving me a headache.”
“I know what you mean. Temporal mechanics is always worth a migraine or two.”
“Sam would be better at this.”
“Major Samantha Carter. She’s the expert on this kind of stuff. She has a PhD in Theoretical Astrophysics, and knows more about the Stargate Program, alternate realities and grandfather paradoxes than anyone.”
Kris detected a note of sadness in her expression and tone of voice. She gave her a small smile. “Dr. Samantha Carter – her work was required reading at the academy.”
Based on what the woman from the past had already told her, Kris quickly downloaded some information from the computer into a DAT so that she could review it.
“Well, this ship isn’t going anywhere, and according to the computer we’re not anywhere near our last coordinates or P3X-666, so I’m not sure how long we’re going to be here. Let me show you around.”
Kris gave Janet a quick tour. She showed her how to use the waterless ‘shower’ and gave her some additional clothes she could change into. She then left her alone.
While Kris sat with her wife she reviewed the information she had downloaded from the computer. The information verified that Lt. Colonel Janet Fraiser was declared killed in action on the date the doctor said she’d been shot. It also indicated that she was indeed the Chief Medical Officer of the Stargate Program, and that she’d been survived by an 18-year-old daughter, Cassandra Fraiser.
She was surprised that much of the information downloaded was still highly classified and required such a high clearance to access. There was also a large encrypted file named Phoenix that her security clearance wasn’t sufficient to allow her access… which made absolutely no sense.
Finally she set the DAT down and took Lena’s hand in her own and tenderly caressed her cheek with her other hand. She bent down and placed a kiss on her forehead. “As much as you hate temporal mechanics, I could sure use your guidance right about now.” Her tears began falling again.
Janet started to exit the small ship, but when she heard Kris speaking, she stayed discreetly in the doorway.
“I’m so lost, Lena. The last time I was lost you rescued me… you rescued me by stealing my heart and showing me what love is.” Her tears turned to quiet sobs, which then turned to uncontrolled coughs. She started coughing up blood.
That got Janet moving. She was at the woman’s side quickly. “Okay, Admiral, time to take care of you.”
Kris finally stopped coughing. She shook her head. “I’m alright.”
“Since I’m the doctor let me be the judge of that.”
She shook her head again. “I’m not leaving her,” she declared as she tightened her grip on her wife’s hand.
Filled with compassion Janet gave her a small nod. “I’ll be right back.” She went into the ship, retrieved the medkit, and returned. She quickly took out the medical scanner and scanned her. Janet looked at her in surprise. “Either I’m not reading this correctly or…”
“I’m not Human. Well, I’m part Human.”
“Okay then. You have four broken ribs and some internal bleeding.” She gestured to the open medkit. “Is there anything like the dermal stimulator in here that can help with your injuries?”
She pointed to one item and then a second. “This is the osteo stimulator, and that one will repair soft tissue and vascular damage.”
Once Janet was shown how to use the items, she quickly caught on. Afterwards she did another scan of the admiral with the medical scanner. She seemed satisfied with the readings. “You really should consider getting some rest, Admiral.”
“I can go without sleep longer than a Human.”
“And is that stamina affected by physical trauma?”
Kris scowled at the doctor. Even without knowing her, she could see the skepticism in the set of the doctor’s jaw. She definitely had that ‘doctor’ glare. She almost smiled when she realized it was the same as Lena’s ‘command’ glare. All of sudden the doctor’s face transformed from a fierce doctor’s glare to a very kind look of compassion.
Janet reached out and put her hand on hers. “Get some rest. I’ll stay right here with her. If there’s any change, no matter how minor, I’ll get you – I promise.”
Kris closed her eyes and let out a slow breath. She had to swallow past the lump in her throat. “Alright,” she finally replied in a whisper. She got up and went into the ship to lie down for a little while.
After about an hour in a healing meditation Kris came back outside. True to her word, the doctor was still at Lena’s side. As she approached, Janet moved so that Kris could reclaim her spot next to her wife.
Janet scanned her again with the medical scanner. “Since your color is better, Admiral, I’m going to assume these readings are actually closer to normal for you.”
Kris couldn’t keep from giving her a small smile as she looked at the scanner results and nodded. “Yes, they are.”
“And please, call me Kris.”
Janet blushed slightly as she nodded. “Okay… but I might slip and still call you Admiral – after so many years in the military it’s kind of hard to ignore the proper etiquette when addressing a senior officer.”
Kris did give her a smile at that. “Well, considering we’re basically shipwrecked here, and we don’t know where here is, and we don’t even know when we are, I think some informality would be more appropriate than inappropriate to our situation.”
There was a long silence as the reality of Kris’s statement and their situation suddenly sunk in. Up until then Janet had been running in automatic ‘doctor mode.’ She stopped to really think about the situation and it hit her like a ton of bricks, even though they had briefly touched on it earlier in the day. She turned a little pale. Even though Janet was kneeling in front of her, Kris grabbed her shoulders to steady her as she wavered.
“Easy does it, Doctor. I think you’d better sit down.”
She sat down. “I’m sorry. I guess everything just finally hit me.”
Kris gave her hand a squeeze. “It’s okay, Doctor.”
She looked up and held the admiral’s impossibly dark eyes a few moments. “My name’s Janet; call me Janet.”
Kris gave her hand another squeeze which Janet returned. “Okay, Janet.” She let go of her hand.
Janet took a deep breath and winced a little. She closed her eyes a few moments to fight back the pain.
Kris knew the look – it had been on her own face plenty of times. “Easy. Take small, easy breaths.” She slipped her over-shirt off and spread it out behind the doctor. “Here, lie back and relax.” She took her hand as Janet opened her eyes and helped her lie back.
“What in the world for? Your wounds were very severe, and even though I treated them I’m not a doctor. I did the best I could. A doctor probably could have completely healed them, but as it is, you’re going to need some time for your body to completely recuperate. You still need a lot of rest.”
“Believe me, I’m not complaining. I know I wouldn’t have survived without your help.” Janet closed her eyes again.
Kris opened up the medkit, took out the med-dispenser and pressed it to her neck. Janet’s eyes flew open and looked up at her.
“That should help ease the pain.”
“What was that?”
She showed Janet the vial she’d used. “I couldn’t risk using it before, not until you’d been conscious a while and had something to eat.”
Janet nodded in understanding.
Kris picked up the dermal stimulator. “It’s time to treat your new skin again as well.”
The doctor hiked her t-shirt up to expose her side and the admiral ran the dermal stimulator over it. She did it for longer than the previous time. “How does it feel?”
Kris nodded. “It looks good. You shouldn’t need any more treatments with the dermal stimulator.” She finished with her side. “Okay, now your chest wound.”
Even as she started to raise her t-shirt, Janet couldn’t stop herself from stealing a quick glance around. She received a reassuring smile.
“There’s no one around for miles. Trust me.”
“I know,” she replied with a self-depreciating smile as the stimulator was run over her chest wound. “It’s just that it’s usually me who’s asking someone to expose a part of their body,” she said with humor in her voice.
“If it’ll make you feel better I’ll take off my shirt.”
Janet chuckled. “No, it’s alright.” She closed her eyes and let out a deep breath as she lowered her shirt. “I’m tired,” she said as the admiral put the dermal stimulator away.
“Why don’t you go in the ship and lie down?”
“I don’t think I can move.”
“Then just relax right where you are. I’m not going anywhere. You’re safe.”
Janet couldn’t explain it, but she did feel safe with Kris watching over her. She closed her eyes and was asleep in only a moment.
Kris sat there, watching over both women – her dying wife, Lena, and a woman from the past.
After a while Janet woke up with a start and panicked. Her hands were clutched to her chest.
“Easy. You’re okay, Janet.”
Her eyes finally focused on the admiral and she got her breathing under control. She let her hands drop from her chest and Kris let go of her shoulders.
“Are you alright?”
She closed her eyes and swallowed, but nodded.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
Janet opened her eyes, and let out a deep breath. “It… it was just…” her voice trailed off and she hung her head as she closed her eyes again. After a moment she took another deep breath, lifted her head up and opened her eyes. “I’ll be alright.” She got up and went into the ship.
A few hours later Lena woke up. All three women knew she was in her final moments. Wanting to give the couple some semblance of privacy, Janet withdrew a few feet.
“Kris…” It came out a whisper.
Holding Lena’s hand to her heart, Kris leaned down and gazed into her eyes. They were glazed but soon focused on hers. “I’m right here, Lena.”
“Body and mind. To know…”
“Heart and soul.”
Kris was so choked up she could barely speak, but she continued in a tight whisper. “Now… and forever more.”
Lena gave her a weak but loving smile, “Darling, no.”
With that Kris felt her wife sever their bond. It was like a physical blow and seared her mind. It literally took several seconds for her to be able to draw a breath. When she did, it was a gasp so clearly filled with pain it shocked Janet.
Janet was at her side trying to steady Kris as she struggled to breathe. She caught the expression on Lena’s face as she spoke her last words to her wife.
“Live.” Even though it was said in less than a whisper, it was clearly a demand.
And then Lena was gone.
Kris let out a strangled yell. “No!” The emotional pain was unbelievable, but the psychic loss was even more profound. It was physically painful. She stood up, pulling away from Janet, pulled some kind of weapon, and thumbing it to the highest setting, used it to disintegrate her wife’s body.
Not knowing what to expect, and out of concern for Kris, Janet quickly moved and took the weapon from her hand where it hung limply at her side. She led the admiral back toward the ship. A couple of steps shy of the entryway the pain in her mind became overwhelming and Kris dropped to her knees. It felt like someone had shoved a white-hot, metal rod through her mind. Janet helped her into the ship and onto the bed.
Not realizing what Kris was really dealing with, she assumed her behavior was simply due to grief… at least until the woman went into a seizure. Taken by surprise, and not being familiar with her alien physiology, all Janet could do was ensure Kris didn’t injure herself until the seizure passed. Kris was unconscious once the seizure ended.
Janet scanned her with the medical scanner. She didn’t like the readings, though she didn’t have much of a baseline to go by. She took stock of the medkit and didn’t recognize most of the medications in the kit. She felt out of her depth, but she was a doctor with a patient, so she was going to do her best.
Janet had seen the admiral access the computer earlier when she pulled up the display to show the location of P3X-666, so she knew it was voice activated. “Computer, do you have Admiral Kay’s medical file?”
“Display it, please.” She started looking at a very abbreviated file. “Computer, this can’t be the entire file. Please display the complete file.”
“Unable to comply.”
“Admiral Kay’s medical file is classified.”
“Damn it. Talk about no information – this doesn’t even list her age,” she muttered.
“Please repeat request.”
She still wasn’t going to give up. “Computer, list medications found in onboard medkit, their normal usages and dosages and possible side effects. Also notate any that would be inappropriate for use for Admiral Kay due to her physiology and medical history.”
She then asked if the information could be downloaded into something portable. The computer told her about a DAT – a Data Access Tablet. She had the information downloaded, including visual images of each medication to properly identify them without error. The next time Kris had a seizure she was ready with a med-dispenser. She administered the medication, hoping she was not doing the wrong thing. The medication slowed and then stopped the seizure. She let out the breath she’d been holding.
A while later Kris didn’t exactly come to, but she was no longer unconscious. She rolled onto her side into a fetal position. She was trembling and had her fists balled up and held at her temples. Her face twisted in agony. Janet scanned her again. She saw hyperactivity in the pain receptors in her brain. She selected a pain medication and administered it, but it had no effect. She was afraid to give Kris another dose.
“Damn it! I’m working blind here. I don’t know what’s causing this and I have no medical history.”
She looked back down at the medkit. She knew pain was pain and if the pain medication wasn’t doing the trick she’d do what she would for any other patient. She selected a sedative. Once the sedative took effect she scanned Kris again. Not knowing her physiology she couldn’t be sure, but she saw nothing that seemed to account for her symptoms.
Janet suddenly felt very tired. She didn’t want to leave Kris alone, so she made sure the medkit was within immediate reach and lay down on the bed next to her. She planned on closing her eyes for just a few minutes.
Janet was woken up about four hours later by the thrashing of Kris’s body in the midst of another seizure.
“Damn it!” She quickly gave her a shot. Afterwards Kris was semi-conscious.
“Kris? Can you hear me?”
She started to curl up into a fetal ball again.
Janet was getting frustrated. “Kris?” The admiral’s balled fists went to her temples again; Janet grabbed her chin and physically lifted her face. “Kris,” she tried again. “Admiral!” she finally barked.
Her eyes didn’t really focus but they were at least directed at Janet.
“Can you tell me what’s going on? What can I do to help you?”
Kris closed her eyes and tears squeezed out of the corners. “Hurts.”
“I know. But what’s causing it?” She tried to tuck her chin and curl up tighter, but Janet wouldn’t let her.
“Admiral! Talk to me!”
“Don’t understand… should’ve died… with her…” Her tears started flowing.
Janet misunderstood her meaning. She wiped away some of her tears, and her tone of voice changed a little as she continued. “I know you’re grieving, but I need to know what’s causing your seizures.”
Kris started slipping back into unconsciousness.
She opened her eyes partway. “Areth… death… mate…” she managed before passing out.
Janet went back to the computer. “Computer, what is Areth?”
“Areth is a planet. Areth also refers to the people from that planet and the language spoken there.”
“What are the customs of the Areth concerning death?” When the computer started she decided to be more specific. “Stop. Computer, is there anything in Areth customs concerning death that have to do with suicide?”
“Computer, cross reference Areth, death, and mate.”
“What are the results?” The computer told her and she finally had her answer. “Oh, God,” she breathed quietly. She knew she could only do so much to provide medical support for the symptoms. There was no real treatment for her to give.
After consulting the onboard computer, Janet managed to get a meal from something called a matter converter. She shook her head. “I’m in some damn Star Trek episode,” she muttered as she watched her used plate and utensils disappear from where she’d placed them back into the converter’s receptacle.
When Janet returned to check on Kris she found her beginning to tremble again. She quickly scanned her, took note of the activity in the pain receptors, and again sedated her. From what she’d gathered from her research, keeping Kris heavily sedated was the best thing she could do for her. With her patient sedated and being in need of more sleep herself, Janet again laid down after making sure everything she needed was within easy reach.
Just a couple of short hours later Janet woke up with a gasp from another bad dream. She felt like she couldn’t breathe. She was lying on her right side and practically jumped out of the bed when she realized Kris was lying against her back… not quite spooning her. Once she took several deep breaths to calm down from the nightmare, she gathered herself enough to take a closer look at the woman to see that she was still heavily sedated. She also noticed that Kris was as distressed as she had been when she first woke up. Janet didn’t need the medical scanner to see her breathing and pulse were both elevated. She sat back down on the bed and put her hand on the woman’s shoulder.
“Shhh… it’s alright… everything’s alright…” She was only a little surprised to see the admiral settle down.
Janet went to the bathroom then got a pitcher of water from the matter converter. She sat on the side of the bed and filled a glass. After slaking her thirst she finally laid back down, making sure to leave plenty of room between her and the unwell woman. Just as Kris had told her, though Janet’s wounds had been healed, her body was still in much need of sleep.
The next time Janet woke up, she did so slowly. She took a slow, deep breath as she enjoyed the feel of the head on her chest and the warmth of the body that still slept snugged up against her. She didn’t open her eyes as she tightened her left arm around the shoulders it rested on. Her right hand rested on the arm that was across her waist. She drew in one more deep breath.
“Hey, Sammie, wake up,” she murmured.
Instead of a grunt of reproach she felt the body next to her start to seize. Memory suddenly flooded her mind and her eyes flew open as she quickly grabbed the med-dispenser and administered the anti-seizure medication. She hastily got out of the bed.
She went into the bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror. “What the hell are you doing?” she asked herself. She took a waterless shower and put on some fresh clothes.
She sat vigil with the admiral that day but kept herself busy by reading information she kept downloading onto DATs. She was determined not to sleep in the bed that night, so she settled down on the floor. However, she was awakened by Kris having seizures several times early on – she was having a bad night.
Janet found that the woman’s breathing and pulse seemed to slow and recover faster when she was in close physical proximity. She didn’t understand it, but finally gave in to the inevitable. She lay down to sleep in the bed about halfway through the night. She made it through the rest of the night without being woken up.
When Janet woke up in the morning, she found Kris’s head on her chest again. Instead of waking her, she just reached over and grabbed the medical scanner. She awkwardly did the best she could to scan her but ended up with a double scan – one that showed their hearts beating in time with each other. Janet frowned thinking she’d did something wrong. She put the scanner down and carefully slipped out of bed trying not to disturb Kris. She then did another scan. It confirmed she was still unconscious and that the pain receptors in her brain were still hyperactive. Janet noted her heart rate. She then scanned herself. Her own heart rate was slightly different. She shook her head.
“It must’ve been a bad scan,” she mumbled, and went into the bathroom.
Due to the restless first half of the night and because she was still recovering from her own injuries, Janet was tired if not sleepy, and didn’t have much energy. It had been almost 36 hours since Kris’s first seizure, and from what she’d read, it could still be a while before the symptoms abated. Even as that thought went through her mind she saw the admiral’s body start to curl in on itself again as the pain made its way to a certain level of consciousness in her my mind. It was time for more sedative.
Janet lay back down. She was on her side facing Kris and spoke to her gently in an attempt to calm her. “Shhh… relax, it’s okay… settle down now… get some rest… you’re going be okay…” she said softly. She watched as the sedative took effect and her body relaxed.
She rolled over and grabbed the scanner again, but when she rolled back again the admiral was closer than she expected – a lot closer. Janet ran another scan, then gently nudged the woman over onto her back with a small smile. “You are a bed hog, Admiral,” she said as she put the scanner back on the nightstand and settled onto her back as well.
Kris’s breathing and heart rate increased almost immediately, signs that the pain had also increased even though she was sedated.
Janet grabbed the scanner again, not understanding what was going on. She was surprised the admiral’s vitals had changed so quickly. She reached out and put a hand Kris’s shoulder and gave it a small squeeze. “I’m sorry, Admiral, I just can’t give you any more sedative.”
She was surprised to notice her breathing was slowing a little bit. The admiral rolled onto her side, ducking her head towards Janet. She had to sit up and remove her hand from Kris’s shoulder to run another scan. As she did so she noted Kris’s breathing was increasing again. Janet watched the readings as they indicated the woman’s level of pain were increasing. She reached out and laid her hand on her shoulder again. “Relax,” she soothed.
A glance at the scanner showed her Kris’s vitals were settling down. It surprised her.
Suddenly the doctor had an epiphany. She closed her eyes and shook her head at herself for not making the connection before. She opened her eyes and looked at the woman again. “You’re not a bed hog; you’re simply seeking a connection.”
Janet lay back down, slipping her arm under her neck and pulled her close. Even unconscious Kris instinctively sought out the sound of her heartbeat. This time when she did the scan, Janet smiled when the reading showed their hearts beating in time. “Whoever thought I’d one day be treating a patient by getting into bed with her and holding her?” she said quietly. She gently held the woman’s head to her chest and fell back asleep.
At some point during the night Kris had actually slipped into regular sleep. No longer feeling the instinctive need for contact with Janet or to hear her heartbeat, she shifted and rolled away from the doctor.
Kris woke up very early in the morning. It took a few minutes to remember everything that had happened and to get her bearings. She looked over and saw Janet sleeping. She didn’t want to wake her, so she very carefully got out of bed. A quick check of the computer let her know how much time had passed. It also told her what files the doctor had accessed in an effort to treat her. Kris looked at the DATs and the quantity of drugs that had been used out of the medkit. It was immediately obvious that she owed her life to the doctor – this doctor from the past. She was impressed.
For Janet to know nothing of her alien physiology or the medical equipment she had available to her, and yet be able to piece together the right actions to take and the right medications to use was quite amazing. The doctor was obviously quite brilliant and gifted. There were some doctors with 500 years more advanced training who Kris doubted as capable as Janet under perfect conditions, much less under such conditions as the ones which she’d performed.
After a quick shower and a change of clothes Kris quietly stepped outside. She just sat on a log. Silent tears trailed down her face. Her heart was breaking. It had been almost three days, but she hadn’t had the chance to do her crying since she’d been unconscious. The Areth had a meditation for such loss, but she was not Areth by birth. What she really needed was to grieve… if only she could allow herself to.
Janet exited the ship. She spotted Kris and quietly approached with scanner in hand. She sat down on the log next Kris and began to scan her.
Without looking, Kris reached over and stopped her by gently placing her hand over the scanner. “I’m fine… physically,” she said quietly.
Janet turned off the scanner.
“I’m quite aware that I owe you my life. Thank you.” She swallowed as more tears rolled down her face.
“Do you want to be alone?” Janet asked gently.
Kris inhaled and clenched her jaw as she tried to find her voice and looked at the doctor. “I never really knew what alone was until now,” she said as she broke down sobbing.
Janet didn’t hesitate to wrap her arms around the woman and gently rock her.
The next three or four days passed with little conversation. Janet, still recovering, spent much of the time sleeping. And Kris, not feeling particularly talkative, was withdrawn as she kept busy by salvaging and repairing whatever equipment she could.
Kris sat down heavily in one of the two seats in the cockpit with a sigh. After about three seconds she flung a broken piece of circuit board with an yell, “Dammit!”
She whipped her head around and spotted the petite doctor in the doorway. She took a deep breath and let it out. “It doesn’t matter how many repairs I do – this ship is never going to fly again!”
Janet noticed blood dripping from the upset woman’s hand. “Hey, you’re bleeding.” She moved into the cockpit and took hold of Kris’s injured hand, starting to examine it.
“It’s not nothing, Kris. This needs to be taken care of now.”
Even though they’d only known each other a week, she already knew there was no arguing with the doctor when she took that particular tone. Kris simply sighed as the smaller woman led her by her injured hand back the main area of the ship.
Janet opened the medkit and began treating the gash on the palm of Kris’s hand. Within a couple of minutes the wound was closed and healed. She still couldn’t get over how advanced the futuristic medical tools were. She sure could have used a medkit like that at the SGC. She put the device back into the kit and then gave the woman a hard look. “When was the last time you ate something?”
“I’m not hungry.”
“And I’ll bet you didn’t get any sleep again last night either,” Janet said with a tinge of irritation in her voice.
“I told you, I can go without sleep longer than a Human can.”
“But you–” Suddenly an alarm sounded. “What is that?” Janet asked.
Kris stood and headed to the exit, with weapon in hand. “Someone’s approaching.”
Janet followed her outside where a man in loose robes approached.
“Greetings. Welcome to Jidiri, Admiral Kris Kay, Dr. Janet Fraiser. I am Cayden.”
“How do you know our names?”
“I was informed of your impending arrival. I apologize for the delay in coming to greet you, but this is not where you were expected.”
Grief, frustration, and a lack of sleep combined to make Kris very irritable and short-tempered. She advanced on the man menacingly. “What the hell do you mean you were informed of our impending arrival? You mean someone arranged for Lena and I to crash?! That they deliberately killed my wife?!”
“No,” he replied calmly. “I am very sorry for your loss, Admiral. No one foresaw or wanted your arrival here to occur in such a manner.” He spoke with seemingly genuine sympathy. “We consider all life precious.”
“How did we end up here?” Janet jumped in.
Cayden looked at her. “I don’t know. I only know that you were expected; however, as I said, not in this place or manner.”
“Just in what place and manner were we expected?” demanded Kris.
“Actually you were expected yesterday, just outside the village. I made an inquiry when you did not show up. That’s when I was informed of your location. Apparently something occurred that necessitated a change in the time of your arrival.” He paused and looked at Janet. “That event was your death, Dr. Fraiser.”
“I don’t understand,” Janet replied.
“Neither do I,” added Kris.
“Quite simply, you died before you were supposed to, Dr. Fraiser.”
“So I was dead…”
Kris didn’t miss the waver in Janet’s whisper. She turned in time to steady the suddenly ashen doctor. “Hey, you’re okay, Janet.”
“Indeed. Now, if you’re ready, a place has been prepared for you.”
“What do you mean?”
“As new arrivals of Jidiri we have prepared a dwelling in the village for your use. There’s no need for the two of you to remain here, isolated from everyone else.”
“I still have repairs to make to my ship,” Kris replied.
“I understand your desire; however, your ship will not fly again.”
It rankled the admiral that Cayden knew the true state of her ship. She exchanged a quick look with Janet before addressing the robed man. “We need a few minutes to discuss this.”
“By all means, take all the time you need.”
Kris turned on her heel and headed back into the ship. Janet was right behind her. Once inside Kris dropped down into a seat heavily. She rubbed her temples as if she had a headache.
“So what do you think we should do, Admiral?”
She looked up at the doctor and quirked an eyebrow. “I thought we agreed to drop the titles.”
“Sorry, but right now you’re the ranking officer here.”
“And you didn’t get to be a lieutenant colonel without some experience at making decisions. So, what do you think we should do?”
Janet closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “I’m completely out of my element here, Kris. I know nothing about this planet or its people. And all the evidence that’s available to me indicates I’m nowhere near my own century in time. I don’t think I could feel more lost.”
Kris nodded in understanding. “Well, I don’t know anything about this world either. I’ve never heard of Jidiri, but Cayden is right – this ship is never going to fly again no matter how many repairs I try to make. Not even a fully qualified engineer, which I’m not, could get it to fly again. As long as we have power for the matter converter we have all we need for food, water and anything else. However, once we lose power, which we eventually will, we’ll be on our own. Perhaps going to the village is a good idea, if only to check it out.” She turned and retrieved a couple of weapons, handing one to Janet. “But we don’t go unarmed.”
The women had gathered together a few items before following Cayden through the woods and down the hills into the valley and then into the village. It took about four hours to reach the village. Both of them were surprised to see people of over two dozen humanoid alien races as they walked through the streets.
Cayden showed them to a small house, explaining they could share it; or, if they preferred, a second home, a block away, was available if they each wanted a place to themselves. He went on to explain that anything they could want or need was theirs for the asking from any of the vendors since there was no monetary system on Jidiri. People simply contributed whatever they could to the community, be it goods or services.
After some private discussion, Kris and Janet decided to stay in the village. They also decided to share the same house so that they at least had the comfort of someone somewhat familiar around.
Over the next few days Kris made trips back to the ship to retrieve useful items. On her final trek, she set charges in the small ship to destroy whatever she hadn’t taken from it. It may not have been an Alliance Fleet ship, but she didn’t want to risk any of the advanced technology falling into the wrong hands – there were numerous races present on Jidiri that she’d never seen or heard of. As evidenced by Dr. Fraiser’s presence, there was also the issue of a possible contamination of the timeline.
While Kris was gone making trips back and forth to the ship, Janet began to explore the village. She found shops that supplied anything they could possibly need or want. Restaurants and cafés with delicious food were plentiful, some specializing in specific alien cuisines and others serving just about any and everything. Clothes were not considered a fashion statement on Jidiri. Clothes were chosen simply for functionality or comfort. The most common clothes worn were comfortable loose fitting pants and pullover shirts, though there was a variety that necessity provided.
It was during her explorations she also realized that the level of technology on Jidiri seemed to be a mix of current (to her), old, and futuristic. One of the areas that seemed to be more advanced than her level of experience was the medical technology. At the clinic, she was given a tour by a Dr. Lettie Boson, who reassured Janet that her knowledge and skill would be a welcome addition to the clinic. And based on Janet’s questions, Dr. Boson also assured her she’d be able to ‘catch up’ to the level of medicine on Jidiri.
Being a doctor was such a part of who Janet was that she couldn’t imagine doing anything else. So she reached the decision to take on the challenge and get up to speed with medicine on Jidiri. Dr. Boson sent Janet home with study materials.
Each day, after both women returned to the house, they would discuss their day. So, through Janet, Kris learned about the village as well. Each day, Kris would show Janet what she’d salvaged from the ship, separating out items that seemed to exceed the local level of technology to be kept just between them.
The day after her final trip to the ship, Kris went for a walk through the village while Janet stayed at the house and studied. Despite everything Janet had told her about the village she was surprised by a number of things, not the least of which was a total lack of law enforcement. During her walk, she saw Cayden and stopped him.
The man turned and smiled. “Ah, Admiral Kay. How are you?”
“Fine, and you can call me Kris.”
“Thank you. Are you finding everything you need, Kris?”
“Yes. I do have some questions though.”
Cayden gestured to a nearby bench. “What can I answer for you?” he asked as they sat down.
“How do you keep order on Jidiri with no law enforcement agency or personnel?”
He shrugged. “We have no need for law enforcement.”
“But what if someone steals from another person?”
“Why would anyone steal? Anything they could want or need is freely available.”
“But it appears that everyone comes from a different level of technology.”
“This is true. But here on Jidiri everything is available to whomever wants it, no matter how advanced the technology.”
“Okay, but what about other crime? What if someone were to get into a disagreement that escalated to a physical altercation? Or, heaven forbid, someone is murdered?”
He smiled gently. “I understand why you ask these questions, but no such crime has ever occurred on Jidiri.”
“Kris, would you ever steal, or attack or murder someone?”
“No, of course not.”
“And that is why we have no need for law enforcement. Everyone who comes here is of strong moral character, such as yourself. And those who have lived here all their lives have never been exposed to these things and would never consider committing such an act.”
“What about planetary defense?”
“We have no need. Jidiri is perfectly safe.”
Kris looked around, taking in their surroundings and the many different races and cultures represented by the people just within the immediate area. “Utopia,” she breathed quietly.
She turned back to Cayden. “It sounds like Utopia… I’m just afraid it’s too good to be true.”
Cayden again smiled. “You will come to believe it, Kris.”
“I have not seen or heard anything about space travel here. Does anyone ever leave Jidiri?”
“Yes, but only those who are called to serve.”
“Called to serve? As in the military?”
“Oh, no. We have no military. A small number of our citizens are called to serve elsewhere in varying capacities.”
She tried to press him for answers on how people left the planet without space travel, but that was the one thing he was not able, or not willing, to answer. She wasn’t sure which it was.
Janet looked up from her spot on the couch when Kris came in several hours after she’d left on her walk. She smiled. “So what did you think of the village?”
“It’s certainly different from any place I’ve seen before.” She sat down in a chair facing the couch. “If it lives up to everything Cayden says it is it may very well turn out to be a utopia.”
Janet cocked her head in thought, measuring the woman’s words, tone of voice, and expression. “So what’s wrong?”
Kris took a breath and slowly let it out. “It’s been my experience that anything that seems too good to be true usually is.”
The doctor nodded. “Yeah. Have you seen or heard anything that would indicate if it is?”
“According to Cayden they have absolutely no planetary defenses or military. Even if the citizens are non-violent and of high moral character, we both know that’s not the case with other worlds. And even though they have no space travel at all, he did admit that a small number of people do leave Jidiri.”
“How?” Janet asked, unable to contain her excitement.
“He couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say. All he said was that a small number of people are ‘called to serve elsewhere in varying capacities.’ I couldn’t get any more information beyond that.” Kris quietly sighed and then changed the subject. “So, how was your day?”
“I feel a little like I’m back in medical school studying for finals. Their medical facilities are more advanced than what I’m used to. And of course I’m trying to learn how to treat a number of alien races.”
Kris gave her a small smile. “Well, considering how well you did treating me, I’m sure you’ll do just fine.”
Janet let out a rueful huff. “At least I’ll have access to medical records.”
“Yeah… about that.” Kris got up and retrieved a DAT from her bedroom. She handed it to Janet before sitting back in the chair. “If you’re willing, I’d prefer to have you as my doctor rather than someone else. You’ve already proven yourself to me,” she finished with a smile.
“Sure, okay.” She turned on the DAT and skimmed the medical file contain in it. After a couple of minutes she looked up. “There’s still seems to be some missing sections.”
Kris nodded. “You have everything that’s available.”
“If you have any questions just let me know.”
Janet nodded. “I will.”
Janet immersed herself in her studies from morning to night. So much so that the days ran together and she didn’t know it was night time until Kris came home.
One evening, after quitting her studies early, it dawned on Janet that she had no idea where Kris went all day. She would leave in the mornings and not come home until late in the evening or even bedtime. As a consequence Janet hadn’t really even seen her housemate in days, much less talk to her.
Tired and frustrated, Kris entered the house. She got something from the refrigerator to drink and dropped into a living room chair heavily.
“You look tired,” Janet observed.
“I am. In more ways than one.”
It was her tone of voice more than her words that captured Janet’s attention. “What’s wrong, Kris?”
She let out a sigh. “I just… I guess I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.” She took a deep breath and sipped from her drink. “I’ve been checking out the area surrounding the village, scouting out in a different direction every day.”
“And… nothing. There’s nothing to indicate there’s anything here other than this village.” She paused for a couple of beats. “Also, the remnants of my ship are gone.”
“It’s completely gone. There’s not a scrap of metal anywhere in the area. I set the charges and pretty much destroyed it, but there was still the bulk of the hull and debris.” She shook her head. “Now there’s no evidence it was ever there – I went over the area with a fine tooth comb.”
“Maybe Cayden can explain what happened.”
“I’m sure he can… if he’s willing to.”
Janet studied her housemate. “That’s not all that’s bothering you.”
Kris looked up at the doctor, holding her gaze for a couple of seconds. “For one, I was hoping to find a way off of Jidiri, but I haven’t seen anything to contradict what Cayden said about a lack of space travel, and no one I’ve talked to has clue about how someone could leave.”
Janet frowned when Kris abruptly stood and went into her bedroom. Something else was definitely bothering the woman.
Kris stripped and put on her robe. She then went into the bathroom and took a shower. After her shower she returned to her bedroom and put on her pajama pants and a tank top. She looked up when Janet knocked on the half-closed door.
“Can we talk?” Janet asked, standing in the doorway.
“Sure. I’ll be right out.”
When Kris came out of her bedroom, she found the living room empty. But Janet entered from the kitchen with a couple of mugs of hot chocolate.
The doctor smiled. “I made some hot chocolate, so I poured you a mug.”
“Thank you,” Kris replied as she took the mug and they both sat on the couch.
They sipped the hot chocolate for a couple of minutes in silence. Kris finally spoke.
“So what did you want to talk about?”
Now that she had Kris in front of her, Janet wasn’t sure where to begin. “I guess I’m wondering what you’ve been up to during the day.” She paused for a beat. “And I was wondering how you’re doing?”
It was all Kris could do to not hurl the mug of hot chocolate at the wall across the room. She clenched her jaw so hard Janet was afraid she was going to break a tooth. Kris set the mug down before she lost all control, stood, and moved to a window. She looked out but didn’t see anything. After what felt like a small eternity, she finally spoke.
“How the hell do you think I’m doing?” she snapped with venom. “My wife was killed 23 days ago!” She dropped her head and covered her eyes with a trembling hand.
Janet had dealt with more mourning family members than she cared to remember, and her instinct was to go to the woman and comfort her, but something told her to hold back. Her heart ached at the depth of the grief she heard in Kris’s voice. She waited patiently.
Finally, the rigidity in her body eased and Kris literally sagged. She turned. “I’m sorry… I don’t mean to take it out on you.”
“What you’re feeling is perfectly normal, Kris. I’d be more worried if your emotions didn’t get the better of you sometimes.”
She listlessly walked over and took her seat on the couch again. She sighed. “It might be easier if I didn’t feel so damn useless.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m stuck on a planet I’ve never heard of with no means of leaving. And there’s nothing here for me to do. Jidiri has no need for someone like me. I’ve spent most of my life in the fleet and most of that time in covert intelligence.” She looked Janet in the eyes. “Jidiri doesn’t even have law enforcement, much less a military. There’s nothing to do here for a person like me.”
“I’m sure there’s something you can do, Kris. Why don’t you speak with Cayden? He did say to let him know if there was anything we needed.”
“I don’t know how much I trust him… or anyone else here for that matter.”
Time passed. Kris, after talking with Cayden, opened up a martial arts school. The goal of her school was not to teach how to fight, but to teach the discipline required, and realize the benefits of becoming proficient at Vor’kesh, the martial art of the Areth.
Once Kris opened her school, she was approached by a man named Chuzu who wanted to learn her style of martial art and to help her teach. Chuzu looked Human, though his blue hair and vertical slit pupils belied that classification. He identified himself as Luccan – another planet/race Kris had never seen or heard of. Chuzu proved to be a very quick study and was soon quite proficient at Vor’kesh, becoming Kris’s assistant teacher. He was also the first real friend she’d made on Jidiri, besides Janet.
Meanwhile, Janet started working at the clinic. Initially she worked under the supervision of Dr. Lettie Boson, like a resident. But Janet had an innate talent for medicine and soon was working on her own. Most of the residents of Jidiri tended to see a doctor of their own race, but Janet did have some patients who were non-Human.
As both women settled into their new roles on Jidiri, they each found a small measure of peace despite their personal losses, and comfort in their strengthening friendship.
A few months had passed since Dr. Janet Fraiser was killed on P3X-666. Though her loss was felt throughout the SGC, none missed her more than her daughter, Cassandra. It just wasn’t fair. She had lost her family, lost everyone she had ever known, when the Goa’uld Nirrti wiped out everyone on her home world of Hanka. She’d been the only survivor and SG-1 had brought her back to Earth with them.
Even though Cassie had bonded with Captain Samantha Carter first, it was Dr. Janet Fraiser that had given her a place to live, a home… a new family. Of all the people at the SGC, it seemed that her mother should have been the last one to be killed off-world. She was a doctor – the Chief Medical Officer – and shouldn’t have been anywhere near an ongoing firefight.
Her mother’s death hit Cassie hard, but her teachers were understanding and supportive, giving her a little leeway when her schoolwork slipped. She still managed to graduate with good grades and was accepted into the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. But even so, it was apparent that she wasn’t herself.
Sam, in an effort to be supportive of Cassie, approached General Hammond about not going on quite so many off-world missions, especially scheduled extended missions. Colonel O’Neill wasn’t the happiest about her reduced responsibilities on SG-1, but was glad that she was still on the team. Besides, it was only until the girl went away to school.
Not wanting to uproot Cassie, Sam had moved into Janet’s house with her. It was only temporary, only until Cassie went away to college.
The klaxons sounded as the gate began to spin.
“Unauthorized off-world activation. Unauthorized off-world activation.”
General Hammond and Colonel O’Neill came out of the general’s office and entered the control room.
Before the general could form his question, many of the lights in the base suddenly cut off. “Close the iris!”
“I can’t,” Sam replied as she tried to get the computer to respond.
All the armed guards in the gate room tensed as a figure emerged from the event horizon of the gate.
“It’s Thor!” Sam exclaimed.
“Security team, stand down,” Hammond ordered over the PA.
The gate disengaged and the lights came back on. Jack and the general headed down to the gate room.
“Thor! Buddy! What’s shaking?” the colonel quipped.
“Welcome, Thor. It’s always good to see you,” said the general. “To what do we owe this honor?”
“I must speak to SG-1 about an important matter.”
Teal’c and Daniel Jackson joined Jack, Sam and Hammond in the briefing room.
“Alright, Thor, you have our attention.”
“SG-1 must take a trip through the stargate.”
“Where to?” asked Hammond.
“I do not know.”
“Excuse me? How are we supposed to get to wherever it is we’re supposed to go, if you don’t even know where it is we’re supposed to go… to?” asked Jack.
“I do not know the stargate address. You do, O’Neill.”
“The stargate address was downloaded into your brain by the Ancients’ repository of knowledge.”
“But the Asgard removed all that information from the colonel’s mind,” Sam pointed out.
“The stargate address to which I am referring was not removed.”
“I think I’d know if I had any strange gate addresses floating around in my head – I don’t.”
“The information is there. It will come to you when it is time.”
“Time for what?” Daniel asked.
“Time for you to go.”
They all exchanged looks that indicated they didn’t feel like they were getting very far.
“Okay, so we’re not sure where we are going yet. Can you at least tell us why we’re going?” Daniel pressed.
“To retrieve something that you’ve lost, and something that you seek.”
“Could you be a little more specific?”
Confused looks were again exchanged around the table.
Jack leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table. “Look, Thor, you’re not giving us a lot to go on here. You want us to take a trip through the stargate to someplace, you don’t know where, to retrieve something we lost and something we seek, but you can’t tell us what. Come on, buddy, why would we do this with so little information?”
“Because of the prophecy.”
“There is an age old legend that tells of a world where a certain special people are taken to either live in peace or be prepared for their roles as Guardians.”
“Guardians?” Sam asked.
“Yes – children of the four races. The prophecy states that Earth’s Guardian and mate will be born again, of the heart and in life. They are a phoenix. They become as one.” He paused for a moment. “The time of Earth’s Guardian has come.”
“So… this Guardian is some super-Human, indestructible, Goa’uld butt-kicking, soldier?”
“I would not say that, O’Neill. Guardians are not indestructible. And, there are other things out there besides the Goa’uld – worse things.”
“Yeah, so I’ve heard.”
“Only you, O’Neill, have the information necessary to find Earth’s Guardian.”
Once again looks were exchanged around the table. Finally Jack turned to Hammond.
Hammond sat in silence for several moments. Finally he let out a heavy sigh. “Well, if you can come up with the address, Colonel, then I guess we can take a look and see what’s on the other side.”
Jack looked at Thor. “When do we go?”
“When you say so.”
SG-1 remained on standby until whenever the colonel could remember the gate address that the Ancient repository placed in his mind. According to Thor, Jack would not only remember the address, he would also know when it was exactly the right time to go.
A few days after Thor’s visit, SG-1 was together in the mess eating lunch. Jack’s face suddenly went blank and he mutely stared off into the distance.
“Jack? Are you alright?” Daniel asked.
He didn’t respond.
“O’Neill.” Teal’c clamped a large hand on Jack’s shoulder. “O’Neill.”
“Ist este vicisti.”
“What did he say?” Sam asked.
“It’s Ancient. He said, ‘It is time,'” Daniel translated.
The colonel abruptly stood up and the other followed him to the control room. He sat at the computer terminal and input a gate address.
The general rushed in when the klaxons went off. “What’s going on?” he demanded.
“The colonel just said ‘it was time’ in Ancient and then came in here and entered a new stargate address – with nine symbols,” Sam explained.
“Nine? Even the address of the Asgard homeworld only had eight. Why nine?”
“I don’t know, sir. I surmised the eighth symbol was an additional distance calculation, but I have no idea what the ninth symbol is for.”
“Well, send a MALP through and see what you get back on telemetry.”
A MALP was sent through the open wormhole.
“Unable to track the MALP, sir. However I am getting sensors and audio/video feedback. Sensors indicate an Earth-like atmosphere.”
“Any sign of life?”
“Not in the immediate vicinity. No DHD evident either. It’s just an empty white room.”
“Then you better take one of your naquadah reactors with you so you can dial out manually.”
The colonel spoke up again in the language of the Ancients, “Uto iste esta viciti uto revertum portacus mos addonom nos tergume hictum.”
Daniel again translated. “‘When it is time to return the gate will bring us back.’ So you’re saying we don’t need to take a reactor with us?” he asked.
The colonel silently nodded.
“I don’t care. Take it anyway,” General Hammond ordered.
“‘Time to go,'” Daniel again translated.
Within a few minutes SG-1 was on the ramp and ready to go. As soon as they stepped through, their weapons and the reactor had completely disappeared. The wormhole closed behind them.
“Hey! Where the hell did my P90 go?” exclaimed Jack.
Surprised, it took them a few moments to verify that every single weapon, including their knives, were missing. And without the generator, they couldn’t power up the gate to dial back home. None of them were very happy.
“You did say that when it was time the gate would bring us back home, O’Neill,” Teal’c said.
“Yes, you did.”
“Well, I hope I was right.” Jack sighed. “Alright, spread out. Look for a way out of here.”
The room they were in was a completely nondescript white room with no windows or discernable doors. Suddenly a section of the wall slid aside revealing a doorway. A man stepped into the room.
“Hello. My name is Cayden. I am here to welcome you to Jidiri.”
“Hello, I’m Daniel Jackson. This is Colonel O’Neill, Major Carter, and Teal’c. Were you expecting us?”
“Not you specifically, but I knew that we would be receiving some guests when the stargate appeared. I wanted to make sure you were made welcome and as comfortable as possible. If you’ll come with me, we have a guest house prepared for you. You’ll find food and changes of clothing.” He smiled at them. “And this evening there’s a concert in the park.”
“Do you know why we’re here?” asked Jack.
“Visitors always come when it’s time for one or two of our residents to leave,” Cayden replied, sounding a little sad.
“Do you know who we’re here to find?”
“No. Visitors know who they’re looking for when they find them. Sometimes it takes only a few hours, sometimes it takes a few weeks. But rest assured, you will find who you are looking for.” Cayden said little else, despite constant questioning by Daniel, as he led them to a house. He explained it was theirs for however long they were on Jidiri. Then he left them to their own devices.
Each member of the team found ‘native’ clothing for them in one of the four bedrooms. Daniel and Sam decided to change into the clothing, while Jack and Teal’c remained dressed as they were.
Jack was impatiently pacing in the living room when Sam and Daniel returned from their respective bedrooms. “What the hell are we doing here?!”
“Well, it was your–”
“I know that, Daniel! But what the hell are we supposed to do now that we’re here? That Colin guy–”
“Cayden,” Daniel automatically corrected.
“Colin was no help. How are we supposed to find this damn Guardian if we don’t know who he is or what he looks like? And how the hell are we supposed to find something ‘we lost’ when we don’t even know what it is? And how did these people remove all of our weapons?”
“Well, Cayden did say there was a concert in the park tonight. Perhaps that’s where we should begin,” Sam offered.
“Why are you so blasé about all this, Carter? These people took away our weapons and we have no way to dial the gate to get back home!”
The blonde shrugged. “I don’t know, sir. But I just have a feeling about this place. I don’t think there’s anything to fear here, I believe we’re perfectly safe.”
“Yeah! I feel it, too,” Daniel predictably agreed.
Jack looked at Teal’c. “And you?”
“I do find myself surprisingly unconcerned about being unarmed.”
Jack was not a happy camper. “We split up, but no one goes anywhere alone. Carter, Teal’c, see what you can find out – especially about how the hell we can get home. Daniel, you’re with me. The sooner we find whoever we’re supposed to the sooner we can leave this… place.”
None of the four members of SG-1 found anything or spoke to anyone who could be of assistance to them. They did, however, find that every single person they encountered was welcoming and nice to them. They were also surprised to discover that there was no monetary system and that anything they saw in the shops was theirs simply for the asking. It was late in the day when they all returned to the house.
Kris got up before the sun and silently left the house without disturbing her housemate. She began her four hour trek.
When Janet awoke she didn’t want to get up or go to work. But then realized going to work was better than just sitting about the house and brooding. She didn’t want to think about what the day represented. She dressed and knocked quietly on her housemate’s bedroom door. When there was no answer she opened it and was surprised to see that Kris was apparently already up and had left for the day.
By lunchtime Janet was convinced she was having one of the worst days of her life. She already had to deliver some bad news to a patient and had to rush another patient into surgery. Of course, it didn’t help that she was in a foul mood to begin with. She pinched the bridge of her nose and considered calling it a day. She looked at the pile of folders on her desk and gave up the notion of leaving for the day; however, needing to get out for a while, she did decide to go for a walk during her lunch break.
Janet walked through the village and absentmindedly acknowledged the people who waved at or greeted her. She actually let out a breath of relief when she reached Kris’s school. Even though both she and Kris had made other friends on Jidiri, there were things they only discussed with each other. She knew some time talking with Kris would help her feel better.
She opened the door and entered the school. There wasn’t a class in session, but there were a few students in the main room practicing on the mats. Janet walked on back to the office since she didn’t see Kris anywhere. She jumped as the office door opened just as she about to reach for the knob.
“Dr. Fraiser, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“It’s alright, Chuzu. And I told you to call me Janet.”
“But you are my doctor; it would be impolite to address you so informally.”
Janet smiled. She’d tried for some time to get Chuzu to address her by her name, particularly since she almost always saw him in a social setting, either as a guest of Kris in their home, or when she came to the school to see Kris. But Chuzu’s race placed a very high value on showing proper respect. Despite the closeness with which he worked with Kris, and their personal friendship, he refused to call her anything but Uzhinn – the Areth equivalent of Sensei, Sifu, or Teacher.
“Is there something I can do for you?” Chuzu asked.
“I’m just here to see Kris.”
“Uzhinn is not here. She canceled all her classes for today. I haven’t seen her since yesterday.”
“Oh. I see.” Janet was completely taken by surprise. Not only did Kris not say anything to her, but canceling all of her classes was completely out of character for the woman. Kris was nothing if not dependable. Even when she was not feeling her best Kris never missed a class.
“Is there a message… in case she comes in later?”
“No, no. Thank you, Chuzu.” Janet turned and exited the school. Even though she had been looking forward to talking things through with Kris, she was surprised at just how disappointed she was. In fact, as she walked back to the clinic, she actually found herself getting a bit angry.
Back at the clinic, Janet’s day got worse.
It was after dark when Kris returned home. She felt completely wiped out. With a heavy sigh she opened the front door and entered the house. As soon as she walked in the door she could tell something was wrong. Janet was in the kitchen washing up her dinner dishes. Her movements were stiff and even without seeing her face Kris could sense she’d been crying. She moved to stand behind Janet and gently laid her hand on her shoulder.
“Janet, what’s wrong?” she asked quietly.
Janet jerked away from her touch. “Like you give a damn!” She turned and stiffly marched into the living room.
The venom in Janet’s voice was like a slap across the face and it stung enough to bring tears to Kris’s eyes. The day had made her own emotions raw. She entered the living room feeling like a whipped puppy. She desperately wanted to make things right, though she had no idea what she had done to upset Janet. The doctor was staring out the window. Somehow Kris knew she wouldn’t turn around and look her.
Her whole body stiffened. “The K’wen baby died today,” she said in a shaky whisper. It was always hard when she lost a patient, but losing a baby was the worst. However, that was not all that was bothering her. After a long pause she continued. “And it was a year ago today that…” She started crying.
Kris took a couple of steps toward her but stopped when Janet turned around. There was still a look of accusation in her brown eyes as tears trailed down her face.
“And where the hell were you? It was like you disappeared. You were gone when I got up; Chuzu said you canceled all your classes today; you weren’t here when I came home.” The accusatory look in her eyes changed to one of pain and need. “I didn’t know where you were… and I needed…”
Kris walked up to her and wrapped her arms around her friend and roommate, tears also trailing down her own cheeks. “I’m so sorry. I never… I didn’t mean to abandon you.” They clung to each other tighter. “I don’t know what I was thinking. Please forgive me. I didn’t think… I was so selfish… I wouldn’t have made it through this last year without you, Janet. I should have been here for you today. I’m sorry.”
She felt Janet’s knees start to go, so she slipped her left arm under her legs, picked her up, and carried her to the couch. Kris sat down and cradled Janet as she gave full vent to her anger, pain, and grief.
Janet tucked her face into the crook of Kris’s neck and curled into her. She cried like she hadn’t really allowed herself to cry in all the time she’d been on Jidiri. After several minutes she calmed a bit, but tears still rolled down her cheeks. “Where did you go?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Kris whispered. “I should’ve been here with you. I’m so sorry I wasn’t here. But I’m here now; you’re not alone.”
The two friends talk and cried together for quite a while. Eventually, Janet drifted to sleep. Kris picked her up and carried her into her bedroom. She gently laid her down on her bed and turned to go, but Janet caught her hand.
“Please… I don’t want to be alone.”
Kris sat on the side of the bed. “Alright. Just let me go to the bathroom and get ready for bed, okay?”
She gave Janet’s hand a squeeze and then left to prepare for bed. When she returned to her bedroom Janet was in the bathroom. She slipped under the sheet and waited for her friend to return. When Janet returned she was in her pajamas as well. She lay down facing Kris.
“Where did you go today?”
She turned onto her side facing Janet. “It doesn’t matter.”
Janet let out a deep breath before she continued. “You went back there today, didn’t you?” she asked softly.
Kris took a slow, deep breath as a couple of tears squeezed past her closed eyelids. “I sat… and cried… and talked to Lena…” She fought to keep back the flood of tears she knew was coming – it was a battle she didn’t think she’d win. “I made her a promise… and then I told her goodbye.”
“You made a promise to her?”
She nodded. “To fulfill her final request of me…” She opened her eyes and looked at Janet. “I’m sorry I didn’t consider how you would be feeling today. Please forgive me.”
Janet reached out and wiped away some of her tears. “Oh, Kris, there’s nothing to forgive.” She shifted and took Kris into her arms and holding her as she cried. “You did exactly what you needed to today, exactly what you should have done.”
“But I wasn’t here for you.”
“You’ve been here for me every day this past year, including this evening. I was the one being selfish; I didn’t even think about what you must be feeling today. I miss my daughter, but you lost your wife.”
Both women soon fell asleep.
Over the next few months Janet and Kris continued to lean on each other and support each other. As they both continued to heal they started attracting the attention of some of the other residents of Jidiri. Both women were approached and asked out on dates.
Kris was asked out by the mother of one of her students, but declined because she simply wasn’t interested. Janet, on the hand, accepted a date with the woman who ran one of the cafés she’d go to lunch at on her work days, Darcy Brogan.
Kris smiled when Janet came out of her bedroom. “You know, clothing isn’t a fashion statement here on Jidiri.”
“Yet that’s the third time you’ve changed clothes this evening.”
“Shut up.” There was no sting in her words or tone.
Kris chuckled. “Janet, you look fine. And you looked fine before you changed clothes. Relax, have a good time at the concert.”
Janet looked at her roommate, “Thank you.” She paused and cocked her head a little. “I know Jenna asked you to the concert, why didn’t you accept?”
“Jenna’s nice, but I’m not interested in her that way.” Kris sighed. “I’m not interested in anyone right now,” she said softly.
“Why don’t you come with us, Kris?”
“Oh, no. Three’s a crowd. Go; have a good time.”
About a month later, Kris finally accepted a date with someone. She wasn’t particularly interested in a romantic entanglement, but she accepted the notion that it would do her good to get out and socialize.
One night, Kris was sitting on the couch reading when she heard Janet and her date outside the front of the house. She couldn’t hear what was being said, but she could sense a growing discomfort in Janet which soon turned to desperation. Kris stood and went to the window to look out. Janet was dealing with a date that was way too handsy and wasn’t picking up on the signals Janet was giving to back off.