"Um � Untitled"
Author: ocean gazer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 30 Dec. 2001
Category: challenge (Heliopolis #1248), action/adventure,
humor (or so I hope <g>).
Rating: Oh, I�d think it�s PG13, for minor violence
and bits o� bad language.
Pairing: none � just friendship.
Season: Hmm � season three, fairly soon after The Devil
Spoilers: Well, it does give away all the episode titles
through season five. In terms of actual episode content �
pretty miniscule spoilers for Singularity, In the Line of Duty,
Tok�ra I and II, Fair Game, Jolinar�s Memories, The Devil
Archive: Pink Rabbit, Singularity, Heliopolis � anyone else,
you can always ask *g*.
Disclaimer: Don�t own any of �em, which is a good
thing since I have no room for any more people in my house (let
alone a flippin� Stargate). They still are the property of
those who have owned them all along � the lovely and tolerant
folks of MGM, Showtime, Double Secret, Gekko, so on and so
forth. I promise to play nicely with them and will put them away
when I�m done. No one has offered me money or honorary
scholarships or a Caribbean cruise or any other sort of payment
for this demented work of fiction � aforementioned owners are
welcome to run off with anything in this story that strikes
their fancy. (Please?)
Notes: The actual challenge reads as follows: "This
is a silly challenge, but I think it would be fun to write a fic
that includes all of the episode titles from the show in the
dialogue. � Extra points if you manage to give it a plot and
make some sense." Don�t know if I�ve succeeded on
either count � this challenge is harder than it sounds
<g>. This is also my first effort at writing in third
person omniscient, rather than a single POV, so I don�t know
how well it works � I�ve rewritten it enough that I can�t
tell if it sucks or not. A multitude of thanks to Barb for her
patiently given encyclopedic assistance, and thanks to my
sorceress for hinting that she wanted a new story to read.
Feedback welcome, hope you enjoy.
| Part 1 | Part
2 | Part 3 |
Scant minutes later, SG1 and Janet found themselves being herded down
a rough trail. Oddly enough, the five of them were walking together--Teal'c
in front, Jack and Daniel next in line, and Sam and Janet bringing up
the rear of the captive procession. There were armed men in front of
them, to the sides of them, and behind them, but no one seemed to be
paying all that careful attention to them. Of course, it also wasn't
like there was any way they could get out of the cluster of armed men
surrounding them, especially since their hands were still tied.
Still, mindful of his role as leader, Jack spoke quietly and
earnestly (and with more than a trace of unconscious irony). "Ok,
we're in a bit of a bind at the moment �"
Janet and Sam, in perfect synch and reveling in being able to imitate
the colonel, chorused, "No kidding."
Jack bit back the smile that threatened to emerge at the momentary
diversion from darker thoughts, replaced it with a scowl, and continued
undaunted. "THE FIRST COMMANDMENT for a situation like this is that
if anyone sees any WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY to get free and escape, you do
it. No questioning, no looking back, just get the hell out of here and
try to get help."
Daniel looked like he was about to argue, but the look on O'Neill's
face silenced him and he nodded, even though everyone knew that he would
never actually follow that particular order. The two women exchanged
glances with each other, knowing as well as anyone that those left
behind might be killed out of vengeance before help could arrive, but
nodded in agreement with the colonel's instruction. They were career
military; they knew the stakes involved in being taken captive, and knew
what their responsibilities were.
Teal'c didn't even bother to dignify the colonel's comment with a
response since he knew perfectly well what his duty should be. He asked
quietly, "So what is the second commandment, O'Neill?"
Jack shrugged the best he could with his hands tied behind his back.
"Beats the hell out of me. Usually it's hard enough to get that
far." In fact, maybe there was only one commandment after all,
since O'Neill couldn't think of any other rules, no matter how hard he
tried. In fact, that was the only thing that really seemed relevant,
other than not revealing any incriminating information, and even that
was a moot point most of the time with the type of foe faced by the SGC.
Their usual enemies either had mind control devices or simply didn't
consider humans important enough to have any useful information. And in
this particular case, their captors already knew the relevant and
crucial pieces of information.
Daniel, concentrating hard on not tripping over assorted tree roots
in the path, and more interested in motives than tactics, asked Janet,
"I know I've seen this Seth guy around, but where does he work? I
mean, what does he do at the SGC?"
Fraiser racked her brain for a moment, surprised that she couldn't
exactly remember. "I don't actually know for sure. He's one of the
rare people who only seems to come to the infirmary on days and shifts
when I'm not there, which is a pretty hard thing to do, given the hours
I keep. I think he works in Purchasing, but don't hold me to that."
"So where's he get the delusions of grandeur?" Not
surprisingly, the sarcastic voice belonged to none other than O'Neill.
Janet figuratively shrugged. "Beats the hell out of me. I'm a
medical doctor, not a psychiatrist." Of course even if she were a
psychiatrist, not having had any interaction at all with the man, she
still wouldn't have any better answer to the question.
Carter, who had been uncommonly quiet since the captivity began,
offered thoughtfully. "Maybe he just snapped one day. We deal with
some things that most people are just not able to handle, and all the
psych tests in the world can't predict how people will respond for
certain when they're faced with something they never would have
imagined." She stepped agilely around a fern that for some reason
had decided to grow in the middle of the trail, only half seeing it,
still focused intently on what she saw in her mind's eye.
As if she was reading Sam's mind, Janet mimicked the agile side
stepping around the plant life, and jumped in to finish the thought.
"It's THE CURSE of having an unconventional job � there will
always be people who can't handle what they see or what they find
themselves doing IN THE LINE OF DUTY. Most of the time, it's the people
on the front lines who break down, and we notice it quickly and are able
to help them. But in a case like this �"
It was Sam's turn to finish the thought. "No one realized he was
becoming delusional." She shivered unconsciously at the thought
that a man had gone so far around the bend without anyone noticing and
being able to help him. Not a pleasant thought at all.
Daniel's voice was quiet and reflective, a murmur scarcely louder
than the whisper of the evening breeze through the trees. "THERE
BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD go I."
O'Neill's voice dripped with annoyance, eyes rolling back in his head
at the way the younger man always seemed to think he was susceptible to
doing the worst things in the world (almost like an ethical
hypochondria). "Not hardly, Daniel. You're made of a lot tougher
stuff than that."
Despite their predicament, the younger man beamed brightly, his
attention focused on Jack to the point where he was in danger of
tripping or walking into a tree or running into Teal'c, which would have
roughly the same effect as the tree. "Wow, I think that's the best
compliment you've ever given me."
The colonel offered a tiny, embarrassed shrug--overt displays of
affection or emotion not really being his thing. From behind, the two
women noted the gesture, turned to each other, and shared a bemused look
� since Daniel looked like an overly eager puppy and O'Neill looked
like he was a cat who had just been discovered befriending mice. Ironic,
really, that the two men actually were friends. Sam, at least, couldn't
think of two people who were a better example of the Odd Couple � well
� except maybe herself and Teal'c. Nah, even they had more in common
than the old-fashioned soldier and the new-age archeologist.
Janet smiled at the note of pure happiness in the archeologist's
voice, since--as his doctor--she knew as well as his teammates that he
had depressive tendencies, and keeping him focused on the positive was
always a good thing. But she effectively turned the conversation back to
the topic at hand. "I just wonder whether there was one particular
thing that caused him to snap, or whether it was more of a cumulative
Sam, easily following her friend's lead and back to playing verbal
'tag-you're-it' with the doctor, supplied smoothly, "And where do
these other people come in? I don't recognize any of the rest of these
people � so why are they caught up in the same delusion as Lazarus? Or
are they also people who have worked at the SGC and we just never knew
they were there?"
Jack, glad for the shift in topic away from the more mushy side of
things, snorted his disagreement with that train of thought, kicking a
pebble as if to emphasize his point. "That's an awful lot of people
to have gone nuts. If it were one or two, maybe I could buy it. But not
Next to him, Daniel stepped deftly around a rock. His attention still
on the ground, he muttered, "THE ENEMY WITHIN the gate is a more
threatening foe than the enemy outside."
The colonel looked sideways at his teammate, easily deciphering
Daniel's disagreement in the words of the textbook quote. "Yeah,
that's true. But I seriously doubt any of these people have ever worked
at the SGC � despite the popular misconception of the brainless,
semi-literate soldier, you do have to have at least a few working brain
cells to get into the military and work on classified projects. And I
don't believe for a second that there's some vast fifth column at the
SGC who is in cahoots with this guy. I think we're dealing with one lone
wacko who's somehow convinced a bunch of dumbasses that they're the
descendants of THE FIRST ONES."
Janet inserted quietly, "Which still leaves us with the question
of what happened to cause Lazarus to become delusional �"
"� and how he convinced these other people to follow along
with his delusion," Sam finished neatly, her tone quiet as well.
Daniel sighed heavily, his attention still on his feet as he deftly
stepped over a rather large root protruding from the ground. "Well,
until we know what's going on BENEATH THE SURFACE in his mind, it'll be
hard to figure out what's going on with the others." A short pause,
and then, "They certainly don't seem to be the brightest bunch
Jack interrupted him, apparently eager to correct the younger man.
"Don't you mean under the surface instead of beneath the
Sam made a hasty choking sound, as did Janet--both of them trying
hard to swallow their amusement. It was an admittedly weird time to be
focused on the pedantic, especially since it was not even close to
O'Neill's usual outlook on the universe. The men seemed oblivious to
their stifled reaction, with Daniel pointing out patiently, "Same
The colonel's response was an eye roll and the softly uttered,
Teal'c broke in abruptly, his voice easily carrying back to their
ears. "I am beginning to feel like something of THE FIFTH MAN
here." There was just the faintest tinge of reproach in his voice.
Janet, always one to be helpful when possible, spoke quickly, before
anyone else could comment. "Don't you mean a fifth wheel,
"Whatever." The big man continued as smoothly as if her
interjection had not taken place. "The point remains that rather
than wasting energy and breath on determining this man's mental state,
we should be concentrating on a means of escape from him." Really,
spending so much time talking was simply wasting energy they could
otherwise be hoarding for their eventual escape attempt.
Daniel, who had a penchant for odd phrasing and an annoying ability
to have an opinion on everything, argued, "But it's far easier to
fight back against THE DEVIL YOU KNOW than the devil you don't
Teal'c actually stopped in his tracks, turned around to face his
companions, and quirked his eyebrow in confusion. "These men are
not DEMONS, Daniel Jackson."
Used to exchanges like this, Sam explained in a patient voice,
"It's a figure of speech, Teal'c. It means that the more we know
about an enemy, the easier it is to defeat him."
His response was softly spoken, but the practical words had the
effect of a shout. "In general, I would agree. But a delusional man
does not act in predictable ways, no matter how much you understand of
Now that qualified as another conversation stopper, and in some ways
it was a good thing, as the sun was beginning to set and it was becoming
harder for the group to walk and talk at the same time, since the
downward slope was steep and the trail was actually getting rougher and
more inclined to have unexpected obstacles than it had been higher up.
After what seemed like forever, they were finally at the bottom of
the trail and in the valley. Then they got to climb another, smaller
hill and take a wildly twisting path � to the point where Sam (who
usually had a good sense of direction) couldn't even tell where they
were in relationship to General Hammond's cabin. She fervently hoped
that the colonel or Teal'c had managed to keep some kind of mental map
on the off chance they could escape � since the archeologist was
hopeless with directions anywhere but in landscapes that looked like
Egypt (which this most definitely did not) and the doctor was hopeless
with them anywhere but the safe confines of a city. Finally, just about
the time both Daniel and Janet were panting with exertion and allergies,
and Sam was feeling on the light-headed side herself, Seth held up a
hand, effectively calling a halt to the hike.
In the falsely jovial tones of a tour guide, he gestured to a rough
looking log cabin half hidden in the trees and informed them in his best
menacing tones (which were anything but, since he sounded like Vincent
Price on helium), "This is the tomb � it will be your home until
we have chosen the method by which we will kill you."
For a long moment, no one said anything, and this time Sam offered
the quip, figuring that if she was going to get hit anyway, she may as
well get to have the fun of mouthing off. "Isn't a tomb usually
where you put people after they're dead?"
The response was predictable and no one bothered to answer the very
valid question. Janet felt a stab of concern go through her as she
looked at Sam, who had fallen to the ground and was struggling back to
her feet as best she could without the use of her hands. That she
managed it at all was mighty impressive in the doctor's book, let alone
managing it with all she'd been through. The men were being shoved into
the cabin, hands still bound, Daniel complaining that he was hungry and
Jack complaining that he was thirsty. Janet made her way quietly to her
best friend's side, only half-hearing Seth say that he might allow them
to be fed if they behaved but that they were not going to be untied and
that they would each be tied to a separate iron ring on the wall so that
they could not untie each other.
"You okay, Sam?" There was real concern in her voice, not
only for medical reasons, but because she hated being helpless and
watching her friends suffer.
The blonde woman's face was crinkled in pain, but she met Janet's
gaze squarely. "I'll be fine," she answered reassuringly,
before a tiny, teasing note entered her voice. "Just got a bit of a
headache for some odd reason."
Janet smiled, seeing a tiny grin flit across Carter's face. And then
out of the blue, she was struck by a thought. "I wonder � if they
think �" Sam turned confused eyes on her friend, but before she
could ask the obvious question, Janet whispered, "When they take us
into the cabin, pretend to pass out and don't 'wake up' until I tell you
Sam raised an eyebrow, having absolutely no idea what purpose that
would achieve, but nodded, trusting that her friend had a plan. Before
Janet could explain further, the guards seemed to finally notice that
the inside of the cabin was two prisoners short, and they came over,
grabbed the women, and pushed them through the door.
With a performance that Janet thought was truly Oscar worthy, Sam
staggered for a moment, and then fell--managing to land on a flimsy,
elf-sized dining room table and break it into kindling before crashing
dramatically to the floor of the cabin.
Assorted shouts of concern filled the air and Janet immediately
dropped to her knees beside her best friend. She could hear O'Neill
swearing inventively and Daniel repeating Sam's name over and over like
a mantra. Seth appeared beside the doctor and stared down at the
"What's wrong with her?" he demanded, his tone haughty, but
with an underlying emotion that couldn't quite be named.
Janet felt a surge of anger at the whole, stupid mess they were in
because of the man-who-would-be-god standing beside her. She didn't even
bother to suppress the emotion when she spoke. "Why do you care?
You're just going to kill us anyhow."
His eyes flashed with a dangerous light, reminding her that whatever
else he might be, he clearly was not entirely sane and pissing him off
was not probably the brightest thing in the universe to do. Arrogance
flooded his voice. "Yes, we will. But I want you all conscious and
aware when that happens � to know how powerful your new gods really
are � it will be a PROVING GROUND for the loyalty of my followers
before we conquer the rest of the world. Now, what's wrong with
She offered a bitter laugh and shrugged helplessly, the words coming
out of her mouth before she could think better of them. "How the
hell am I supposed to know? I can't exactly examine her with my hands
tied behind my back."
She winced, much as O'Neill had done earlier, afraid she'd pushed
just a little too far. But much to her surprise, rather than smacking
her (or, as was more likely, Carter) for being insolent, he jerked his
head at one of the guards and the man came over and untied the thick
ropes. She rubbed her abused wrists thankfully, and Seth grabbed her by
the hair and whispered in her ear. "You can examine her, but don't
try to escape or attack. I'm not a stupid man and I know all the tricks
you might try."
She simply nodded (since she figured it wouldn't help matters to tell
him exactly how stupid she thought he was) and he released his grip and
stood beside her as she cautiously began to examine her friend. She
rooted around in her pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. Looking up at
Seth and doing her best to look completely distraught, Janet asked
plaintively, "Could I get some water to wet this with? I need to
get this blood cleaned off so that I can see what the extent of her
There was a definite greenish cast to the man's face and he swallowed
convulsively. Without a word, he turned and made his way over to what
passed as a kitchen, filling a clay bowl with water. She thanked him as
he handed it to her, and then dipped the cloth in the water, dabbing
gently at her friend's temple and cheek.
She wanted to laugh as Seth desperately tried to cover his revulsion
at the sight of blood. Seeing it up close and personal like this was a
far different matter from seeing it at a distance while he and his men
were busy herding their prisoners. He couldn't quite look at Janet as he
said, "I need to check something outside. But don't try any tricks,
my men are watching you."
He didn't seem to expect a reply and she didn't think it was
necessary to offer one, since the only ones she could come up with
rivaled the colonel's for sarcasm, and somehow she just didn't think
that would help matters in the slightest. O'Neill and Daniel were more
than making up for her silence, alternating between calling to Sam to
wake up and furiously telling their captors that they would not get away
with this. Janet glanced around, seeing that the guards were either busy
in a battle of half-wits with Daniel and Jack or were studiously looking
anywhere but at Sam and her bloody temple.
As unobtrusively as she could, Janet quickly rolled Carter onto her
side. She took another quick glance around, saw that only Teal'c was
paying any attention to her, and slid her hand into her pocket, palming
her pocketknife. She then slipped it into Sam's right hand, and she
could feel the other woman's start of surprise. For an unconscious
woman, she was quick on the uptake, and closed her fist around the
Janet glanced up at Teal'c, and the nearly imperceptible nod of his
head was enough to tell her that no one else had witnessed the
transaction. With a huge sigh of relief that her ill-formed idea had
actually worked, she rolled Sam onto her back again, and set back to
work at her original task of cleaning away the blood.
And just then, Seth re-entered the cabin and the lame arguing between
captives and captors stopped. Lazarus stepped to Janet's side and asked,
Obviously patience wasn't one of the man's virtues. Janet sighed
melodramatically and made one final swab against Sam's temple. "I
think she'll be okay, but I just don't know. She clearly has a major
concussion and I'm worried about a possible skull fracture." She
almost couldn't keep a straight face then, knowing that anyone with an
ounce or two of common sense would know better about the likelihood of a
fracture. Given the look on his face, he was taking her statement as
unquestionable gospel. Apparently she'd found another of his
She reached out and gently caressed Sam's cheek, speaking in her best
coaxing doctor's voice. "C'mon, Sam; wake up, hon. We're all really
worried about you."
And right on cue, Carter was off on another Oscar worthy performance
as she pretended to regain consciousness, her moans and pained whispers
almost believable. Janet spared a quick glance at their companions,
afraid that Jack and Daniel would be beside themselves with worry. But
Sam's extremely obedient response to the doctor's words seemed to have
tipped them off that the women were up to something: Daniel's eyes were
full of avid curiosity and O'Neill looked suspicious � intently
interested, but suspicious.
The doctor turned her attention back to soothing her patient.
"He-ey there, Sam � welcome back. How do you feel?"
A tiny moan and then a theatrical whisper. "It's like I've got a
CRYSTAL SKULL that's about to shatter into a million pieces." She
opened her eyes and blinked hard against the light.
Janet was about to say something else to further the act, when she
was shoved aside by Seth, who had his hand tangled in Carter's shirt and
was pulling her to a sitting position. Genuine outrage flooded the
doctor, since the part about the concussion was unfortunately true.
"What the hell are you doing? She's in no condition to sit up like
His eyes hard, the man glared at Janet. "Even though she is
hurt, she could pose a threat to us. She must be tied up." After a
beat, he seemed to remember that the doctor was untied as well. "Oh
yes, you must be tied up too." Without further ado, the two women
were dragged over and tied to iron rings in the wall, imitating their
comrades. Seth did seem to take a bit more care with Sam than his
lackeys took with Janet � though he was not precisely what you would
call gentle. Carter, for her part, pretended to pass out again.
At least the doctor hoped she was pretending.
Fifteen minutes later, when they were finally alone in the cabin
(Seth and his men had taken an extremely long time to tell the group
that they would not escape � as if SG1 and Fraiser had failed to
notice that point before), Sam opened her eyes and smiled at the rest of
the group. She could see the relief on Janet's face, and she felt a bit
guilty about playing her role with such enthusiasm. Teal'c offered a nod
of the head--his version of an enthusiastic greeting, and the colonel
and Daniel both looked as pleased to see her as if she'd been gone for a
O'Neill was the first to speak, getting right to the point. "So
ladies, mind letting the rest of us in on your SECRETS?"
Daniel was only half a pace behind in opening his mouth, though
several steps ahead in the loquacious department. "Yeah, um �
what's going on � I mean, are there any REVELATIONS you have to make
� about what you're up to � that is, assuming you're up to something
� I mean, it seems like you're up to something � I mean, I thought
Sam really was hurt at first � but then � well, I mean, I know
you're hurt � but not hurt hurt like I thought � and it's not that
� I mean, I don't mean to make light of your head � I know it must
hurt like hell � but �"
"Put a sock in it, Daniel," was Jack's less-than-patient
response to the stream of words. The younger man blushed crimson, but
didn't bother to either argue or apologize. O'Neill smiled at the
archeologist to show that he wasn't really all that annoyed before
turning his attention to the two women. "So," he drawled
casually, "mind telling us what's going on?"
Sam smiled widely. "Well, sir, I have a pocketknife."
Jack smirked. "Good one, Carter. I've got a pocketknife too �
and it's in my pocket, which makes it something of a moot point."
Just what he needed � his second in command starting to imitate him in
the sarcasm department.
Janet's smile matched Sam's, and for a disconcerting moment, they
looked like a pair of Cheshire cats. "Actually, colonel, she has a
knife in her hand." Pausing for effect, and enjoying the surprised
looks on Jack and Daniel's faces (and the smug look on Teal'c's), the
doctor finished, "I gave mine to her when I was examining her after
she pretended to pass out." She felt a surge of pride as she spoke,
quite pleased with both her hastily formed plan and the successful
execution of it.
Jack actually looked impressed at her actions, but--true to
form--quickly squelched the expression and complained, "You could
at least give a guy some warning. I thought for sure Carter was in
Janet didn't even bother to try and hide her sarcasm, figuring that
the colonel should get a taste of his own medicine from time to time.
"Of course, sir. Would you like me to yell through a bullhorn next
time so that everyone knows what's going on?" Really, the man was
too much sometimes.
Suitably chagrined, he simply rolled his eyes, leaving Teal'c to ask
Daniel, "What purpose would it achieve to yell through the horn of
a bull? And in our current predicament, where would we acquire such a
creature?" Daniel opened his mouth, but the question actually left
him momentarily speechless.
Sam, meanwhile, was squirming around the best she could in her
restraints. She'd managed to get the blade of the knife open and was
trying to find an angle that would cut the rope in strategic places
without causing her to bleed to death in the process. Carefully, aware
of Janet's anxious eyes on her, she started to saw through the thick
An hour later, she was still sawing.
"For cryin' out loud, Carter, aren't you done yet?"
Sam frowned at her CO, but said nothing, not really in the mood to be
called on the carpet for insubordination � even if they weren't
exactly on a mission. Daniel, being a civilian, had no such qualms.
"Jack, try and have a little patience for once. If she cuts her
wrist doing this, it won't help us escape."
Feeling the need to speak on behalf of his teammate, especially given
how well she had performed the subterfuge necessary to enable her to
have the knife, Teal'c chided, "Indeed. If she injures herself in
this endeavor, our enemies will be able to track us following her
Janet tried to stifle a laugh. The colonel didn't even bother to hide
his amusement. Sam's frown simply deepened. Teal'c looked at them
blankly, confused by their reactions.
Daniel spoke gently. "Uh, Teal'c, I think you mean they could
follow her trail of blood. Um � bloodlines are what are passed down
genetically � like ancestry."
The big man remained unperturbed, adamant about his stance.
"Whatever. The point remains that if Major Carter injures herself,
we are all at risk."
Janet shot a questioning look at the woman who was the centerpiece of
the discussion. Jerking her head towards Teal'c, the doctor muttered,
"When did he start saying 'whatever'?" Granted, she wasn't
around SG1 all that often, but it did not sound like the usual overly
formal way the man talked.
Sam shook her head minutely, to avoid setting the world spinning, and
whispered back, "I have no idea. I think maybe he's been spending
too much time with the colonel." Now that she thought about it, his
use of the word was a completely new development.
Jack, apparently overhearing the conversation, called out grumpily,
"It's all in your POINT OF VIEW. Personally, I think I'm having a
good effect on him." After all, he was the one who invited the
Jaffa over to watch sports and was teaching him about beer and trying to
find out what � er � assets Teal'c found attractive in women.
Nothing but good things, in his less-than-humble opinion; he was helping
the alien get acclimated.
Both women were, unfortunately, aware of the things O'Neill was
teaching the Jaffa, since Daniel had told them one night when he was
confined to the infirmary and doped up on morphine, which had an
effusive effect on the man. But fortunately, the duo was saved the
trouble of coming up with a suitable response that didn't overtly accuse
him of being a very bad influence when Sam triumphantly pulled her arm
free from the rope. Scant seconds later, her other arm was free.
"Alright, Carter," the colonel exclaimed, forgetting that
moments before he'd been annoyed. "Now we're getting
The major made her way over to Janet, since she was closest in line,
and proceeded to free her friend from her bonds. Once the doctor was
rubbing her wrists gratefully, Sam turned her attention to Daniel, since
he was the next closest. Once he was free, the blonde turned the
pocketknife over to Janet. Seeing the concerned look the brunette gave
her, she hastened to explain, "I'm ok, really. Just a little
Janet frowned, not exactly buying the stoic act, but turned her
attention to cutting O'Neill loose, figuring that the sooner they were
all freed, the sooner she could have a couple minutes to check on her
friend. Daniel got up and wandered over to a tiny refrigerator.
Apparently he was still hungry.
But before he could open the door and see what culinary delights lay
in store for them, the cabin door opened, and Seth and a guard entered.
"How did you free yourselves?" bellowed the leader, as if he
truly expected an answer, and as if he was blind to the sight of Janet
working on freeing O'Neill.
Without waiting for an answer, he rushed at Daniel, gun raised as if
to strike the prisoner, and the guard rushed at Carter, his gun in
similar position. Daniel tried to back away and tripped, which saved him
from getting his face bashed in. It also caused Seth to trip over him,
carried by his own momentum, and they rolled together on the floor, each
trying to subdue the other. Sam, for her part, ducked under the clumsy
swing the guard sent her way. She landed several blows on him, to the
point where it was about all he could do to block her fists � he
couldn't even manage to get the gun into a position where firing it
might be a threat to anything other than his own feet. He was clearly no
match for her, but then the rolling fighters crashed into the back of
her legs, causing her to lose her balance and have to struggle to remain
standing, and the momentary distraction was enough for the guard to
finally get his bearings back. He swung his gun around and pure luck
caused him to hit the most-tender spot on her temple, and this time it
was no act when she collapsed.
He raised his gun to strike her again, but before he could do any
more damage, Janet was there, and her knee connected with the
most-tender spot of his anatomy and he collapsed on top of Sam, who had
herself landed on top of Seth and Daniel. Somehow, the guard's gun
missed the archeologist's head and connected with his own leader's head
with a hard smack, which no one in the room saw as anything other than
Janet, stronger than she looked from handling dead weight patients,
hauled the moaning guard off of her friend, and shoved him aside,
letting him curl up in agony on the floor. She then started checking
pulses and eyeing the damage done, her attention centered on Carter.
Jack, straining against his loosened bonds, his voice thick with
aggravation at still being tied up and missing a good fight, asked,
"So how are they?"
Janet allowed her own frustration with the entire experience to come
out in her tone, her voice catching unprofessionally as she took in the
fresh injury to Carter's head. "Sam is unconscious � I need to
get a better look at her � see how bad it is."
O'Neill heard the emotion and understood its cause, and his voice
gentled as he prompted, "And the fruitloop and Daniel?"
Distractedly she answered, "He's out COLD � LAZARUS, I mean.
The guard is still conscious, and so is Daniel."
As if to punctuate her words, the archeologist waved his one free
hand in the air and spoke from his position on the bottom of the pile.
"I'm fine, Jack. I just want to get these people off of me."
The plaintive note in his voice pushed Janet back into her best
doctor mode. Gently she slid Sam off of the pile of bodies, then grabbed
Seth by the collar and dragged him over to where the guard was regaining
his senses. A sudden surge of anger flowed through her and she elbowed
the guard, knowing from her medical training exactly where to hit to
knock him out.
Daniel picked himself gingerly off the floor, while Janet turned to
examine Sam. He paused beside the doctor, looking down at his teammate,
and then was quickly recalled to duty when Jack said calmly but
urgently, "Daniel, finish getting these ropes off me and then we
need to free Teal'c. It's only A MATTER OF TIME before someone notices
these two are missing and thinks to check in here."
"Right." Daniel moved over to the door and shut it, then
quickly cut through the remainder of Jack's bonds before turning his
attention to Teal'c's, moving with considerable haste and a lack of
caution that made even the unflappable Jaffa grimace slightly.
Meanwhile, Sam was stirring under Janet's lightly probing touch. She
looked up to see concern sketched on the face of her friend. "Hey,
Janet," she said softly. Wasn't much of a greeting, but it had the
effect of lighting the doctor's face like sunshine. She lay perfectly
still as her friend continued to look her over � more than content to
just rest for a moment or twenty. This definitely didn't qualify as the
best vacation she'd ever had. Considerably less than the best, actually.
Several minutes later, Sam was upright and as good as could be
expected under the circumstances, and Janet was looking relieved at that
fact; Teal'c was free (and miraculously unharmed given the
archeologist's enthusiasm for his task), and Jack was looking relieved
at that. Seth and the guard were gagged and tied securely to the iron
rings in the wall, and Daniel had finally gotten to open the
refrigerator in search of food. He was disappointed in his search, since
it revealed only some energy bars--which were rock hard from being kept
cold. O'Neill grabbed a handful of them anyhow, saying that they would
need to eat sometime.
O'Neill started to lead his team out of the cabin when Daniel cleared
his throat nervously. "Uh, shouldn't we take their guns with us or
something? You know, in case someone comes after us � so we can defend
Janet stared in shock for a moment at the normally pacifistic
civilian and then whispered to Sam, "When did he start getting all
macho and weapons happy?" The idea of the man actually wanting to
have a gun close by was such a foreign one that it almost did not
Sam shrugged somewhat helplessly, her blue gaze focused on her
teammate as if he'd suddenly morphed into someone else. It was about the
last thing she'd expected to hear him say. Unable to formulate any other
response, she settled for the quiet, "Beats the hell out of
Once again, Teal'c spoke while O'Neill was still trying to figure out
what--exactly--he should say. "We are significantly outnumbered,
Daniel Jackson. Having two weapons with us would do nothing to protect
us from twenty men armed with weapons. We could barely be assured of
killing half of our enemies before we were out of ammunition and then we
would most assuredly all perish as well."
Daniel's face fell and he looked like the big man had run over his
puppy. Jack patted his arm clumsily and shot a glare at the Jaffa.
"You're a big help," he said acidly. "Why'd you have to
bring up the whole death theme?"
Teal'c's eyebrow rose slightly--a dramatic display of annoyance.
"I was unaware that you wished for me to tell lays, O'Neill."
"Lies, Teal'c � you tell lies � fibs � untruths."
The big man seemed unperturbed at the lesson in grammar tenses and
semantics. "Whatever. The point remains that I am simply speaking
the truth. It will do no one any good if I act as though two weapons
will effectively protect us when they will serve only to assist in our
Sam and Janet both stepped forward, the sudden motion effectively
breaking the uneasy tableau. Carter's voice was quiet, but full of much
needed practicality. "We can argue about this all we want once
we're safely out of here. Right now, the best thing we can do to help
ourselves is to get as far away from these guys as possible."
O'Neill wholeheartedly agreed with that sentiment. He turned to
Daniel, who still looked a little stricken by Teal'c's cheerful
assessment of their situation. "We're better off not taking their
guns � if they catch up to us, we'll have a much better chance if we
surrender than if we start shooting." The archeologist looked a
little happier as he heard his usual philosophical stance being quoted
by a military colonel, and complacently allowed the older man to lead
him out of the cabin, Teal'c--shaking his head slightly in either
amusement or disbelief, it was impossible to tell--following right
As the women followed in their wake, Janet tugged lightly on Sam's
sleeve and stretched up to whisper, "Is it just me, or does this
whole experience just keep getting more and more surreal?" A low,
affirmative chuckle came as a response.
Stealthily they all made their way away from the cabin and the
guards, moving slowly and as quietly as a group of five people can move
on unfamiliar terrain in the dark. Once they reached a place where Jack
thought they were out of earshot, he skidded to a halt.
Before he could open his mouth, Daniel's was open and moving.
"So, what's the plan?"
Jack jerked his thumb over his shoulder and gestured to the steep
hill behind them. "We're gonna have to go back over this hill to
the valley and then backtrack from there and climb up the hill to get to
Hammond's cabin. We've still got the van there, so once we get to the
cabin we'll be able to get the hell away from these psychos and get word
to the SGC about this Lazarus guy."
Daniel chewed his lip nervously. "It's a nice plan � really.
But there's one thing you've forgotten." Jack shot him a quizzical
look, so he elaborated. "The trail we took from Hammond's place to
this place is on the other side of the cabin, not on this side."
O'Neill couldn't resist a smirk. "I know that. Obviously we
aren't going up the trail." Dead silence greeted that statement.
"Think about it. We can't go back that way or they'll see us. They
won't think that we've climbed up this way � through the trees � in
the dark � without a trail � or flashlights. It'll give us enough
time to get away and get to safety. Besides, it's shorter to go back up
to the cabin from this side, rather than taking the trail." Before
his companions could shake off their shock and think of anything to say,
he added in his best persuasive tone (the one he used when the situation
was really desperate and he was trying to keep everyone calm),
"Relax � it'll be fun. Trust me."
Janet--as quick with a quip as the colonel--was the first to recover
her wits. "Fun? Are you absolutely insane?" she whispered in
annoyance, O'Neill's attempt at being reassuring obviously not having
that effect on her at all. "All it would take is ONE FALSE STEP for
someone to break an ankle and then we wouldn't be able to escape."
Daniel jumped in again, his whisper equal parts incredulity and
worry. "And what if someone trips and falls? They could bump
someone else and cause them to fall as well � it would be a CHAIN
REACTION and we could all wind up injured and in a heap against a tree
or at the bottom of the slope."
Sam's voice was hesitant � she didn't like the idea any more than
her companions, but she didn't have a much better plan to offer, and the
lack of one made her reluctant to second guess her CO. "Colonel,
why can't we just go subdue the guards and tie them up and then make our
way back up to the cabin?"
Teal'c--taking his turn to speak, but also speaking out of turn since
the question was to O'Neill--replied calmly, "We do not have any
more rope with which to bind the guards, we are vastly outnumbered and
may not be able to avoid recapture, and we may well be injured in the
course of a fight."
O'Neill shot an annoyed look at his friend for interrupting (since it
seemed to him he was getting interrupted an awful lot), but merely
echoed, "What Teal'c said." He used his best persuasive voice.
"Look, I know it seems like I'm taking DESPERATE MEASURES here, but
this guy is out to kill us, so the faster we get out of here undetected,
the better off we'll be. URGO, we go up the back way."
Despite the gravity of the situation, three human voices whispered in
perfect synch, "It's ergo."
The colonel didn't even bother to dignify that with a
"whatever." Instead, he continued on his original train of
thought. "It's the best shot we've got at getting out of here.
Besides, I'll take the lead and blaze the trail and Teal'c will be last
in case anyone needs help."
Janet knew she was playing with fire, given the underlying note of
steel in O'Neill's voice, but she couldn't just leave it at that.
"Sir, I know our options are limited, but I'm worried about
Sam." She realized that there wasn't squat either one of them could
do about it and that escape took precedence over non-fatal injuries, but
she was a doctor through and through and had to at least voice her
Predictably, the woman in question argued, "I'll be fine, Janet,
really." Actually, she wasn't feeling all that great and the world
was having an unfortunate tendency to spin at the most inopportune
times. But she knew they needed to escape and she was bound and
determined not to slow them down � and if there was one trait that Sam
Carter had in spades, it was determination.
O'Neill rolled his eyes impatiently, but his tone was kind.
"Look, doc, I am too. But we really don't have much choice. We need
to get up over this hill and get to the next one so we can reach the
SUMMIT, since that's where Hammond's cabin is, before these idiots
figure out where we are. We'll all help Sam and we'll work together so
that no one else gets hurt. But we need to get a move on it."
Janet opened her mouth as if to argue some more, then shut it
abruptly and conceded with a one shouldered shrug, knowing they really
had no choice. Knowing it didn't make her like it any better, however.
O'Neill nodded and mouthed "thank you" and then without
another word, led the group into the dense underbrush, moving with as
much care as his haste would allow.
"Why do I feel like we're the Israelites on the EXODUS out of
Egypt?" Janet quipped to Sam in an attempt to bolster her own
The blonde woman smiled as she turned to follow her companions,
deliberately keeping her tone light. "It's a good analogy, only I
don't think the colonel makes a very good Moses."
The man in question turned around, a suspicious look on his face as
he tried to decide if they were complaining, and if they were, whether
they were going to continue it for the entire journey. With his eyes
focused on the duo, the whispered exchange was effectively silenced, and
O'Neill turned his attention to the task at hand as he led his people
into the wilderness.
Daniel was right on Jack's heels; another inch closer and he'd be
actually stepping on the older man's feet. Sam followed him, with Janet
trailing close behind to keep an eye on her friend, figuring the middle
of the group was probably the safest place for the wounded woman. Teal'c
kept a respectable distance behind them, his ears perked for the
slightest sound of pursuit, and his eyes focused on his companions to be
watchful of any difficulty with which they might require his assistance.
After what seemed like years but was probably only an hour, O'Neill
called a halt. He turned to Teal'c. "Any sign that they're behind
The Jaffa spoke with certainty, even though his eyes were busy
scanning the dark landscape. "To the best of my knowledge, they are
not following us."
Daniel's voice was laced with uncertain hope. "Out of sight, OUT
Jack laughed, running a tired hand through his hair, ruffling it.
"Sorry, Daniel. I don't think they've forgotten about us this
quickly. They're stupid, but not that stupid."
The archeologist snorted at that. "Oh, I don't know � they're
definitely on the bottom of the LEARNING CURVE." He paused for a
moment, rubbing his arms in an effort to ward off the chill.
"They're probably stupid enough to build a bomb and set it so that
it can only be detonated with a DEADMAN SWITCH, rather than by some kind
Jack choked with laughter at this point, no small bit of smugness in
his tone as he got to correct the younger man. "Uh, Daniel �
deadman switch is an old railroad term � it was a way to stop a train
if something happened to �"
Before O'Neill could explain any further, the archeologist made a
dismissive gesture with his hand and pouted, "Whatever. They'd
still be stupid enough to do something like that � to build something
they had to detonate themselves." He didn't care if it was exactly
the right term or not � it sounded perfectly good to him.
The colonel's eyebrows twitched in a sign of his amusement and he
coughed to hide his continued chuckles; Janet bit her lip to keep from
laughing aloud, not wanting to hurt Daniel's feelings; and Teal'c simply
shook his head ever so slightly at yet another mystifying conversational
twist. Sam, taking pity on her teammate though her eyes were twinkling
suspiciously, added with forced brightness, "Or they'd build a bomb
to not detonate if something mechanical fails and call that a FAIL
Teal'c cocked his head to the side, not following that logic in the
slightest, and feeling safe enough from pursuit to indulge his
curiosity. "Why would that be incorrect? Is not a fail safe a
prevention of action if certain conditions are met?"
Janet, beating Sam to the response, said, "That's one meaning.
But it also means a way of ensuring that a device continues to work in
spite of mechanical failure."
Daniel, apparently recovered from his momentary sulk, threw in his
two and a half cents. "It's a word that has more than one meaning
and where the meanings may appear to be contradictory."
Teal'c shook his head slightly again, a gesture which spoke volumes
on him. "Your language is indeed most strange. It is most amazing
that you are able to effectively communicate with one another at
Before he could pursue that subject any more, O'Neill passed out the
stolen energy bars. "May as well rest for a few minutes and get our
strength back." He looked back over the path they'd just blazed,
though he could see only darkness. Everyone but Tealc' sank gratefully
to the ground, needing a moment to catch their breath and regain their
strength. The sound of tearing foil wrap filled the night � followed
in quick succession by the sounds of chewing � and chewing � and
"FIRE AND WATER," Daniel mumbled indistinctly, his mouth
full of the never-ending-energy-bar-bite.
Sam, her own mouth still full, contented herself with the hastily
An audible sound of swallowing, and then the archeologist was able to
reply clearly, leaning back against a tree trunk. "I'm cold and
thirsty and was just thinking how nice a drink of water and a blazing
fire would be right about now." Not to mention a change of clothes
and a nice hot bath and an evening spent with nothing more menacing than
a history book.
Jack, who somehow had eaten his entire bar in the amount of time it
took the others to get through the first bite, automatically
contradicted his friend. "It's not cold, Daniel."
"Yes, it is."
"No, it isn't."
"Jack, it's so cold I'll need to sit BETWEEN TWO FIRES in order
to warm up."
"It's not cold, Danny-boy. If it was cold, I'd be able to see my
"It's too dark to be able to see your breath � and it's still
Janet opened her mouth to interject her three cents worth, only to be
quieted by Sam's hand pressing over her mouth. She took the hint and
remained quiet, while the debate raged on with an intensity suggesting
it was as important an issue as whether the toilet seat should be left
up or down.
Finally, a subtle note of exasperation in his tone, Teal'c said
decisively, "This conversation is significantly hampering our
escape." There were times when he thought he would never understand
the point of pointless arguing.
Sam chirped ironically, "And it's giving me a headache."
Janet said � nothing. There were several things she wanted to say,
but all of them were guaranteed to set the men off again, albeit on an
entirely different sort of argument � one that involved her. And at
this point, that idea was about as enticing as a root canal without
Jack sighed loudly, not liking the thought of a forfeit, but knowing
that escape would--at the very least--allow for a rematch. "He's
got a point. We need to get moving again. I really don't have the
slightest bit of interest in seeing those guys again."
At that, Sam shrugged herself off the ground, helped by Janet, who
had managed to stand up more quickly. Daniel unfolded himself like a
long legged pretzel, and O'Neill jumped energetically to his feet.
Teal'c waited patiently. Without a word, they all fell into the same
formation they'd been in before, following O'Neill into the underbrush.
The group moved slowly, single file, the harsh sounds of their breath
and the slight rustle of fir needles and rocks under their feet the only
sounds in the crisp night air. O'Neill somehow seemed to know where they
were going, but to Janet's eyes, the night covered trees and steep
inclines all seemed to look the same. She suspected Daniel was as lost
as she was, and given the way she could see Sam was having to
concentrate on just putting one foot in front of the other, she rather
thought the other woman didn't know where they were in the hills either
� or more likely didn't have the energy necessary to care. After a
while, they came to an abrupt break in the trees. Janet looked up
reflexively and sighed in relief. She could just barely see the
semi-familiar outline of the cabin's balcony at the top of the steep
slope of dirt and rock.
Before Jack could say a word, Daniel said, gesturing to the slope in
front of them, "You can't be serious."
O'Neill didn't have to ask to what the younger man was referring.
"It looks worse than it is. It's really an easy climb. The dirt is
packed hard and the big rocks are stable � like they're cemented into
the side of the hill. We won't have any problem getting up it."
Janet shot a sharp look at the colonel, not quite believing that he
was serious about going up that way, and not at all liking the idea of
participating in the sport of mountain climbing (well, hill climbing,
anyway) without any actual climbing gear. "And you know this
Even in the pale glow of the moon, she could see a flush settle over
his face. "Well � uh � the last time I was here � lost a bet
� had to go up this way �" He cleared his throat, then spoke
defiantly as if daring anyone to contradict him. "It's really not a
bad climb and once we get to the top, we can grab hold of the balcony
edge and lever ourselves up. Use each rock as a FOOTHOLD and it's as
easy as climbing a tree."
Sam walked over to the slope, reached out a tentative hand, and felt
the dirt of the area in question. "Are you sure it's stable, sir?
It feels almost like this is NEW GROUND � it's moist and crumbly �
and it hasn't rained here in several days."
O'Neill turned his patented glare on her. "I know you're a
PRODIGY, Carter, but since when have you been an expert in soils and
climate � or meteorology, for that matter?" It was bad enough
that she was always contradicting him about scientific stuff, but this
wasn't even close to her area of expertise and this time he knew
perfectly well what he was talking about.
She bit her lip, self-conscious under the abrasive words, and became
intent on studying her feet. Janet moved next to her friend and placed a
light hand on Sam's back in a gesture of support. Turning her own
patented glare on O'Neill, the doctor spit acidly, "And I suppose
you've got a PhD in all three subjects?" Fraiser liked the man,
even got along with him when he wasn't in the infirmary, and she knew he
was a good leader. But it bothered her to see him upbraid Carter when he
didn't like what she had to say, especially since she knew the other
woman tended to be sensitive to that sort of thing.
Jack didn't even bother to hide his exasperation, both with her
challenge and with Carter's question. "No, but I have the practical
experience because I've actually climbed the damn thing. Look, I'm
telling you it's no big deal � it's like climbing a tree."
Daniel, indulging his need to share his opinions on everything,
jumped in. "I think he's right. The rocks are really close together
and I don't think it will be hard. I mean, I'm sure I can do it, and if
I can do it, anyone can, right?"
The women looked at each other, sharing a look of profound
discomfort. Sam screwed up her courage and tried again. "Sir, with
all due respect, I understand that we're in a hurry. But it would be too
easy for someone to fall and then we'll be in a very vulnerable position
if Lazarus and his men are following us. Why is this faster than simply
going up through the trees to the left? Is it really worth the
Surprisingly, Teal'c had the answer to the first question.
"Because this is where two hills separate. This is the bottom of
the hill that leads to the general's cabin, whereas if we go left and
climb up through that tree line, while it appears we are on the same
slope, we will find ourselves on the top of a different hill and we will
have to then climb down it and then go up the correct one."
Jack said triumphantly, "Thank you, Teal'c. And before you ask,
yes, we could go across this patch of dirt to the trees on the right
side and be on the right hill, but there are so many rises and hollows
in that whole area that it would take three times longer to get to the
top." He paused briefly, just the very faintest touch of hurt in
his voice when he continued, "And Carter, I wouldn't suggest it if
I didn't think it was worth the risk."
She offered her CO a tiny shrug--the gesture equal parts embarrassed
and apologetic. Still uncomfortable with the situation, she shared a
long look with Janet, apparently hoping the other woman had a better
argument than she'd presented. The doctor simply shrugged, not able to
think of a single thing to say. Jack took their silence as agreement and
instructed, "Ok, Daniel, you go up first and I'll be right behind
you in case you need help. Carter and Doc, you come next, and Teal'c,
you keep an eye on all of us." Pleased to have won the argument and
convinced he was right in the first place, he couldn't resist a smirk as
he added, "Don't worry so much, Carter, Fraiser. Relax � it'll be
fun. Trust me."
As the boys started up the slope, Janet said in a low whisper for
Sam's ear alone, "Fun? He's nuts." Then, more bitingly, she
continued, "That man is the BANE of my existence."
Much to her surprise, there was an exasperated snort of agreement
from the blonde. "Mine too," she commiserated glumly.
Continue to Part 3
Return to Summary Page