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Paper Aeroplanes

~Clara & Jen~

Colonel Jack O'Neill yawned and stuffed his hands in the pockets of his leather jacket as he exited the elevator at level 18. Sometimes this job could suck. The early morning starts were one of them. He nodded at the airmen he passed in the hallway before reaching Carter's lab. He stopped in the open doorway and watched her working on… something. He coughed to get her attention but she didn't move. He coughed again, louder this time.

Sam Carter looked up from her experiment and pushed away from the table she was leaning on. "Sir."

"Carter, little early don't ya think?" He walked further into the room and leaned against the workbench she was sat at.

Carter smiled at him before replying, "Well, you're here too, sir."

"Yeah," he smirked at her and glanced down at experiment. "But I've been home."

"Home? What time is it?"

"You know you've been working all night, don't pull that one," he grinned.

"I've gotten a lot done, sir."

"That's good."

"I got my head down for a few hours."

"Oh, a few," he said, raising an eyebrow. "That's alright then."

"Sir…"

"Listen, Carter, you have got to start getting some proper rest. I'm the one that gets it in the neck from the Doc after each physical."

"Why?"

"Because you're verging on being exhausted."

"I'm fine, sir. We've just a had a few days downtime so it's not as if we've been pushing ourselves."

"I know that, Carter," he sighed. "But if I told you that this morning the sky had turned green you wouldn't know if I was telling the truth or not."

"I'm not that cut off from the world," she said, gesturing to the television.

"Where did that come from?"

"It was Jonas'," she said. "Daniel didn't want it."

"Cool. You get the game on this?"

"I imagine I could," she said.

"Well, they're saying it's going to be a good one… Hang on," he said. "You are not getting me onside with this."

"Sir?"

"OK, my place tomorrow night, we're watching the game."

"We?"

"Yes, we," he said. Then he realised what she was getting at. "And Daniel and Teal'c."

"Naturally," she said, relieved.

"I mean it, Carter. You need to relax. Have fun."

"That's easy for you to say."

"I know. I just open my mouth and the words come out."

"Sir!" she laughed. "You… delegate things."

"You think that because I'm in command…?"

"I don't know," she said.

"Well, we'll start with tomorrow night. There will be beer so call a cab."

"Yes, sir."

"I'll make you relax if it's the last thing I do."

"Sir," she said in a warning tone.

*SG-1 TO THE BRIEFING ROOM.*

"Saved by the tannoy," Jack said.

"Oh, we will continue this conversation."

"Is that a promise or a threat?" Jack asked as they walked out.

"For me to know and you to worry about," she grinned. Quickly they retraced Jack's earlier steps back to the elevator before heading further down into the mountain. "Any idea what this is about, sir?"

Jack shrugged as the elevator lurched to a stop at level 27 and opened its doors, allowing them to exit and walk swiftly down the spiral stairs into the briefing room.

Daniel and Teal'c were already seated at the table as Jack and Sam sat down opposite them to wait for General Hammond to join them.

Jack leaned across the table to get Daniel's attention and glanced between him and Sam. "So. Did you go home last night?" Daniel and Sam exchanged guilty looks as Jack rolled his eyes. "Nope, didn't think so."

SG-1's attention turned to the door as General Hammond entered and took a seat at the head of the table before beginning to speak.

"SG-7 left yesterday for P3X-748 for the next stage of testing the naquada powered UAVs. They haven't made contact with us since Hailey's last report nine hours ago. All attempts to reach them have failed. The MALP is working fine but SG-7 aren't responding."

"So they're four hours overdue for contact?" Jack shifted slightly and glanced at the General. "Sounds like Wallace to me," he muttered.

Beside him, Sam tried to suppress a smile. Major Matthew Wallace was infamous for never reporting in on time. Although, for him, four hours was a lot.

"That's right, Colonel."

"Isn't the planet supposed to be uninhabited?" Daniel asked.

"No signs of life, past or present," Sam said.

"So why haven't they got in touch?" Jack asked.

"That's for you to find out," Hammond said.

"Sir, it's quite possible this is just equipment error," Sam said.

"Major?"

"SG-7 were due to set up camp a fair distance from the gate. It's quite possible that the relay isn't working, or that their own equipment is at fault."

"That does seem the likely explanation," Teal'c said.

"If that's the case, then it's just a matter of getting in there and fixing it."

"Why haven't they done that already?" Daniel asked.

"They could be having difficulties," Sam theorised.

"In that case they could probably do with having you around," Jack said to Sam.

"There is one other thing, sir," Sam said. "If it is SG-7's equipment that's at fault then it could have implications for the UAV test."

"How so?" Hammond asked.

"Well, due to the distance that they were going to travel, everything had to be… compact. Hailey and I rigged her laptop to combine the UAV controls and a relay."

"So if SG-7's relay is at fault," Teal'c said, "then there is a good chance that the controls of the UAV may be affected."

"Exactly. Sir, without sounding bad about SG-7, this is important."

"Agreed," Hammond said. "You leave in an hour."

*****

Sam sat heavily on the bench and silently tugged on her boots. She just couldn't understand what could have gone wrong with the UAV that would have stopped Hailey and the rest of SG-7 from checking in.

Shaking her head she stood and smiled at Jack as he handed her pack to her.

"Ready to go?"

She nodded once. "Yes, sir."

Jack turned to Teal'c and Daniel and gestured for them to walk ahead. Sam looked oddly at him before shrugging into her pack and turning to face her commanding officer. "Sir?"

"This mission is probably going to involve a lot of scientific..." Jack gestured and exhaled loudly, "…stuff. This would be a good opportunity for you to lead SG-1 and get a little command practice. So, you're in charge, Carter."

"Sir?"

"Well, not completely. I still outrank you, but… You're in charge."

"In charge?"

"Yes. In charge. In command. Leading. Giving orders. Making suggestions."

"Telling you what to do?"

"To an extent, yes."

"Why? Is this because of what we were talking about earlier? You think that if I'm in command I can delegate and take some time to relax?"

"No," he said. "This is because you'll know what's going on. And when do I ever know that?"

"Sir… Have you spoken to the General about this?"

"He agreed to go along with whatever I decided."

"And you decided to put me in charge?"

"Sam, you're supposed to be the smart one. What part of 'I want you to be in command' are you not getting?"

"Sorry, sir, it's just…"

"Yeah. I know. Listen, if I have to keep deferring to you we're going to get in some serious trouble. So you take charge."

"For the most part."

"Well, yeah, can't have the chain of command going to pot completely."

"I guess not, sir."

"So, are you OK with this?"

"To be honest, sir, I'm a little confused. And honoured, sir, but still confused."

"I've managed to confuse Sam Carter?" Jack said, a note of pleased surprise in his voice.

"Yes, sir."

"Cool," he grinned. "Look, you go do your bit. If I need to take over, I will."

"Yes, sir."

"Let's ship out then. After you," he said with a sweep of his arm. "Sir," he added with a grin as she passed him.

"Not funny," she said.

They walked in silence to the gate room. Sam tried to tell herself that everything was going to be fine but she couldn't prevent the churning in her stomach at the thought that something might have happened to Hailey. It had been Sam who had brought her to the SGC and she couldn't help but think that if anything happened, it would be her fault.

"Carter?"

She shook her head and looked up the ramp to where the Colonel was waiting for her as Daniel and Teal'c stepped through the gate.

"Ready to go?"

She nodded. "Yes, sir."

He waited until she caught up before moving forward. "You know, these UAVs are about as reliable as paper aeroplanes. I guess it's a knack," he smiled. "Mine always crashed after a few metres. I bet yours didn't."

Sam chuckled and shot him a small smile. "No, sir."

*****

P3X-748 spread about before them as SG-1 exited the gate. As far as Sam could see there were green fields and no sign of disturbances in the immediate area.

Glancing around at 'her' team, Sam watched as the Colonel winced at the bright sky and pulled on his sunglasses, Daniel scrunched up his nose and Teal'c looked around suspiciously for signs of life.

"Okay, let's move out." Her voice was filled with authority, but there was a hint of nervousness to it. This is stupid, she thought. It's not like I haven't been in command before. As she watched Jack and Daniel trading jokes she realised that she'd never had command with her commanding officer still about.

As they walked away she took point, leaving Teal'c to bring up the rear. After a few minutes, Daniel caught up and fell into step beside her as she continued north from the Stargate.

"So, Sam, do you think there could have been a problem with the UAV or something else?"

"The naquada could have destabilised but we prepared for that. Hailey and I were pretty thorough in the design, as General Hammond said, these things are expensive." She smiled slightly before looking across at her companion. "I just don't know, Daniel, part of me hopes that's all that's happened and it's something we can fix. If it wasn't the UAV then SG-7 could be in trouble."

Daniel nodded. "How far from the gate were they planning to run the tests?"

"Three klicks. The plan was to set up a control base and test the distance over which the UAV would be reliable. A communication relay was to be set up halfway. A lot of the terrain makes direct radio contact difficult."

He nodded again. "She's probably fine."

Sam looked down at her feet and took a deep breath. "Of course she is."

*****

Ten minutes later they started to smell it. The air took on a metallic edge and Sam's stomach began to drop. Cautiously they continued to move forward until the source of the smell became visible.

The UAV lay, dented and smoking, on the ground. Carefully, Sam crouched down next to it and surveyed the damage. "The naquada casing can't have cracked otherwise this wouldn't be here."

"Carter?" Jack raised an eyebrow at her and took another step closer. "What wouldn't be here?"

"If the casing had cracked then there would have been an explosion. The UAV is pretty indestructible though, sir, I can't see any damage other than a couple of dents."

Jack looked around. "So, where are SG-7?"

"We're two klicks away from the gate, so the base camp is only another one away." Sam stood and brushed the dirt from her knees. "Could be they're still there."

"You'd think they'd have come looking for their toy," Jack said.

"Maybe they have yet to realise," Teal'c said.

"No, this has been here for a while," Sam said. "The engine's gone cold."

Jack nodded once and gestured down at the UAV. "Is this going to be safe to move?"

"I think so, sir. If there was any damage to the cell then it would have exploded straight away. We should take it with us to SG-7's camp."

"OK then. Teal'c?" Jack gingerly crouched down and took hold of the front of the UAV while Teal'c did the same at the back. Together, they lifted it slowly off of the ground, making sure they both had a firm grip on it. "Geez, this thing weighs a ton."

"Ready?" Sam asked her two team mates before she turned, leading the way around the crash site as they continued on to camp.

It looked to Sam like nothing at all had happened. Everything was untouched, the tents still standing, the equipment still out, Hailey's laptop still running.

"They knew it had crashed," Sam said, looking at the screen. "This data confirms it."

"So, what? They went looking?" Daniel asked.

"All of them?" Jack asked.

"I do not believe that Major Wallace would lead the whole team on a recovery mission," Teal'c said.

"Teal'c's right," Sam said. "Hailey and Captain Milson would have been able to make any repairs."

"Milson?" Jack asked.

"Nick Milson, you know, the guy with the chess set?" Daniel said.

"Ah. Yes. The other nerd of the SGC," Jack smiled.

"Given I'm supposed to be in charge," Sam interrupted, "isn't this a form of insubordination?"

"I…" Jack started. "So what happened?"

"I don't know, sir," Sam said.

"Major Carter," Teal'c called. Sam left the laptop and walked over to where Teal'c was standing. "The ground here is disturbed," he said, pointing in an arc around them.

"You know, this circular pattern suggests…" Daniel started, but the rest of his obvious statement was lost in the whir of the rings.

*****

"Is it too much to hope for a welcome party at least?" Jack asked as the rings dropped them in an unmistakeable Goa'uld mothership ring room. An empty ring room. "Think we caught them on the hop?"

"I don't know, but I think it's best we don't hang about to find out," Sam said. She opened the door and checked the corridor. Once determining that it was clear she led the team down the hallway.

"Anyone else thinking this is what happened to SG-7?" Daniel asked.

"It is looking extremely likely," Teal'c said.

"Um, sir," Sam said, dropping back so she was level with him.

"What?"

"This isn't exactly a science situation anymore."

"I'd noticed," he said. "What's your point?"

"Maybe you should take command."

"Why?"

"Sir, the only reason you put me in charge was because you thought we'd spend the entire time doing surgery on a UAV."

"Carter, you're doing fine."

"Thank you, sir, but…"

"Carter, forget it. This is your mission and you can't drop out because the goalposts have moved."

"Sir…"

"Look," he said in a low voice. "At some point you're going to be in command for real. And when that happens, and when something like this happens, you won't have someone to defer to. So stick with it, Major."

"Sir?"

"This is your gig, Major, I'm not taking it back. I have every confidence in you, I wouldn't do this otherwise."

"Yes, sir."

"Besides," he added with a grin, "I'm enjoying having the backseat for once."

Sam fixed a thin smile on her face. She knew if he didn't believe in her he would have taken command back. She knew that if she couldn't deal with it then he wouldn't have given her command in the first place.

It didn't mean that she liked it. Pulling herself up, she nodded and moved ahead. But then again, liking a situation wasn't required for command.

"What now?" Daniel asked as they reached the end of the corridor.

"I think it's safe to assume that SG-7 have been captured," Sam said. "So I guess we head for the holding cells."

"After you, Major," Jack said.

*****

As they walked towards the holding cells, something struck Sam as being odd. "Guys?"

"Yeah, I just noticed," Jack said.

"This is weird," Daniel said.

"We should have seen someone by now," Sam said. "So, where is everyone?"

"Right here," came a distorted voice. As they turned the final corner they saw Bastet standing there with a number of Jaffa. "I think it would be best if you just surrendered your weapons now."

Sighing, Sam nodded. Four of them against eight Jaffa. She unclipped her weapon and laid it down on the floor, Jack and Daniel following suit. Teal'c dropped his staff weapon and allowed a Jaffa to remove the Zat from his leg. Once SG-1 had been disarmed Bastet allowed a smile to creep across her lips.

"I knew they would send someone, I did not dare hope it would be you," she said.

"So you do have SG-7?" Sam asked.

"Such concern," Bastet laughed.

****

"Sorry," Sam muttered to Jack.

"For what?" he asked.

"Well, us getting captured wasn't part of the original plan."

"Hey, when is it?"

"Not very good for my first command."

"OK, for starters, this isn't your first command."

"No, sir, but…"

"Secondly, remember our first outing? Ended up being detained at Apophis' pleasure?"

"Thank you, sir."

"For what?"

"Doesn't matter," she laughed.

"So, how is Hailey?" Jack asked, nodding in the direction of the young lieutenant.

"Not good," Sam sighed. "The staff blast to her side is pretty bad, I think she's got some internal bleeding."

"How long?"

"Not long."

"How long?"

"If we don't have her home in forty-eight hours, she's not going home," Sam said quietly.

"What about the others?"

"Wallace and Milson are OK. Lieutenant Ritter's got a broken wrist but she's OK for the most part. Usual bumps and scrapes. They put up a fight."

"Wouldn't expect anything else," Jack said. "So, what's the plan?"

"Why are you asking me?"

"Because you're in charge."

"I distinctly remember you asking me for a lot of advice when you were in charge," Sam grinned.

"Yes, because that's who you are and you're good at that stuff."

"How on earth did you manage without me?"

"What makes you think I did?" he grinned.

Sam smiled and caught his gaze. Suddenly the whole conversation was very awkward. Coughing slightly, Sam pulled herself to her feet and walked over to the corner of the cell where Jennifer Hailey lay amid a makeshift bed of everyone's jackets. "Hey," she said, sitting beside her.

"Major," Jennifer whispered.

"How ya feeling?"

"Oh, you know, can't complain."

"You're going to be fine."

"Yes, Major."

"I mean it, Jen, you're going to be fine. You've just got to hang in there a little longer."

"I don't know…"

"Hey, you listen to me. We're going to get you home for Janet to work her magic, so just… stay with us, OK? Besides, I'm going to need you to tell me all about the tests on the UAV."

"All the information is on… the laptop," she whispered.

"Yeah, but I don't think we'll be making a pit stop on our run for the gate."

"We're leaving the UAV?"

"Gonna have to."

"General will be…"

"Hey!" Sam laughed, cutting her off. "Don't you dare finish that sentence otherwise the General will want to bring you up on charges."

"Yes, ma'am."

"Good. I'll be back to check on you later." She placed a hand reassuringly on Jennifer's shoulder, then got up. Walking over to where the rest of SG-7 were sitting she checked they were OK before moving over to the door where Teal'c was standing.

"Major."

"Teal'c, we need to get out of here."

"I am aware of that, Major Carter."

"Any suggestions?"

"There are two guards outside this door, three more down the hall."

"OK."

"Our passage to the ring room will not be an easy one."

"Ah, it'll be a breeze," Jack said, pulling himself to his feet.

"Um, Jack?" Daniel asked. "Small matter of armed guards out there, very unarmed us in here."

"Minor technicality," he shrugged.

*****

Hammond walked into the control room. "Report," he demanded.

"NORAD are picking up a radio transmission from the Tok'ra," the lieutenant said.

"Put it through," he ordered. "This is General Hammond of the SGC."

"Hi, George." The familiar voice of Jacob Carter came out of the speakers, faint but clear. "Sorry it's been a while. Not easy getting good lines these days. Been meaning to call my telephone company about it."

Hammond laughed. "What can we do for you, Jacob?"

"For once, this is a social call. I was hoping to catch up with Sam."

"I'm afraid she's on a mission at the moment."

"Oh?"

"SG-7 went incommunicado on P3X-748 several hours ago, SG-1 have gone to determine why. In fact, Major Carter has taken command of this one. Colonel O'Neill and I thought it time she…"

"Did you say 748?" Jacob interrupted.

"Yes, why?"

"George, you gotta send backup now."

"Why's that?"

"Because P3X-748 is being scouted as a possible launch platform for Bastet's army. At last report she was ready to move in."

"Are you sure about this?"

"Of course I'm sure!" came the sharp reply.

"Why haven't the Tok'ra mentioned this before?"

"In case you hadn't noticed, the Tok'ra aren't talking a lot at the moment, and I don't just mean to Earth. The information I get is patchy at times."

"But you're sure on this?"

"George, I'm certain. If SG-7 only went missing a few hours ago then there's a chance she's only just arrived. And if she's not there yet she's definitely on her way."

"Understood, Jacob. Thanks for the heads up."

"No problem," Jacob said. "Tell Sam I called when you bring her back, OK?"

"Will do."

*****

Sam listened as Hailey's breathing became more laboured. She only had limited medical training, but even she knew that wasn't good. They had to get out of here, but she couldn't figure out how. There was no way for her to get into the door controls from this side, and unless there was a friendly Asgard mind in the computer she was beginning to wonder if they would ever get out.

Great command, Sam, she chided herself. Getting SG-1 and SG-7 killed.

And Hailey. She was responsible for the girl being here. Three years ago she was on the verge of being thrown out of the Academy. If she'd just left her there then she'd be fine. Sam didn't know where she would have ended up, but it wouldn't have ended with her dying on the floor of some Goa'uld holding cell.

"Hey," Daniel said, sitting next to her. "You OK?"

"Been better," she said.

"Listen, don't blame yourself."

"Easier said than done."

"Sam, we all know what we're getting into every time…"

"Oh, spare me the speech, Daniel," she hissed.

"It's not over yet," he said. "And I know you want to get her home. We all do. But don't think that if you don't get us out of here in the next hour then it's not worth trying. You know it doesn't work like that."

"I promised her…"

"What?" he asked as she trailed off.

"Nothing."

"You feel responsible?"

"Yeah."

"Well, you know what? I feel responsible for this whole mess."

"What? How?"

"It was Ra's death that created the power vacuum in the first place. That led to Goa'ulds like Apophis rising to the fore. Everything that's happened, including Anubis, can be traced back to Ra's death."

Sam gave a small laugh and looked at him. "You honestly believe that?"

"…No," he said. "Ra had it coming. But you see my point? We do what we do because it's best at the time. We can't wish things different because of the consequences."

"Why not?"

"Sam, I… died, saving Kelowna from being destroyed. You're telling me you'd rather we'd all died, than what happened?"

"We got you back."

"Even if you hadn't?"

Sam sighed, and looked down at her boots. "I just… She's a kid, Daniel."

"And she knew what she was signing up for." He swayed to one side, knocking his shoulder against hers in a playful way. "Besides, you're not done yet."

"I have zero ideas, Daniel," she said. "So unless you believe in miracles…"

She stopped as the whole room shook.

"What was that?" Jack asked.

Everyone fell quiet and in the distance they could make out the sounds of explosions.

"I believe this ship is under attack," Teal'c said.

There were a series of explosions, each one getting louder as it moved closer. A section of the roof disappeared in a shower of sparks and the door slid open a couple of feet. Teal'c immediately moved over to it, and checked the corridor. "There are only two guards remaining," he whispered.

"I like them odds," Jack said, getting to his feet. "Carter, Wallace."

The four of them helped Teal'c push the door back far enough to allow people to pass through. Jack and Teal'c moved into the corridor, followed by Wallace.

"Daniel, get Hailey," Sam ordered. "You OK to move?" she asked Ritter who was slowly getting to her feet, cradling her bad arm.

"I'll be fine, ma'am," she said.

"Milson, we'll take point, you make sure that whatever happens, you get them to the ring room and back to the SGC. Don't wait for us."

"Yes, ma'am," he said.

"Great," Ritter muttered. "I swear if you start to baby me I will hit you, broken wrist or not."

"You wish," Milson laughed. "You OK?" he asked Daniel who had just picked up Hailey.

"I'm fine," Daniel said.

"You coming or what?" Jack asked from the corridor.

When Sam got out she saw the two Jaffa out cold in the corridor. Teal'c and Jack carried the staff weapons, and he handed her and Wallace the Zats.

"Now what?" Jack asked.

"Well, I'd kinda like to go home now," Sam said with a grin.

"Sounds like a plan," Jack said, starting off down the corridor. "At this rate we'll be back in time for the game."

*****

Their progress through the corridors was slow but constant. Most Jaffa were being deployed to fighters and so there were only a handful left to stand between them and the ring room.

"Wonder what's going on up there?" Wallace asked as they started down the corridor that led to the ring room.

"You know what?" Jack said. "Right now, I don't care."

"No, sir," Wallace agreed.

Teal'c stopped just in front of them, peering round the final corner. "There are six Jaffa outside the ring room," he whispered.

"That's a lot of security," Wallace said. "Think they know we're out?"

Sam moved up level with Teal'c and glanced back. "I think it's more to do with Bastet making her retreat," she said.

"Your move, Major," Jack said.

"Six Jaffa? Easy," she grinned.

In a highly practiced move, the four of them moved out into the corridor, sending blanket but targeted shots towards the enemy. Five fell quickly, the sixth putting up enough of a fight to allow Bastet to hurry inside the ring room before a well placed shot from Teal'c sent him crashing to the floor. Sam ran to the door, and opened it. Bastet was standing in the middle, a small smile on her lips.

"You think you can beat me?" she called.

"I was thinking more along the lines of killing you," Sam replied.

"And how do you plan to do that?" she asked. "By the time you try I will already be on the planet."

Sam looked back and acknowledged the others catching up with them. Daniel, still carrying Hailey, leant against the wall to catch his breath.

"You can put me down now," she whispered.

"I'm fine," he said.

"Put me down," she said again. "I'm OK, really."

He nodded, and gently set her down. As he did so the co-ordinated offence between Sam and Teal'c was launched on Bastet. By the sound of her laughter still coming from the room when they'd finished he knew she'd activated her personal shield.

"We have to stop her," Sam hissed.

"No kidding," came Jack's reply.

Hailey shifted along the wall, heading towards the door. Using one hand to move herself, she fumbled on her belt with the other. When she reached Sam she didn't say anything, just looked at the Major and nodded.

Moving into view she looked up at Bastet. Bastet's head cocked to one side in surprise, a smile creeping onto her face as she considered why they would send their weakest to fight. Dropping her arms she decided against activating the rings; she wanted to see what this one would do. Too late she saw the knife in the girl's hand. With a practiced aim it flew into the room, through the shield, and embedded itself in her chest.

Hailey watched Bastet die in front of her before she passed out herself.

Sam reached over and checked for a pulse. She nodded to the Colonel who grinned.

"Cool," he said. "Smart kid."

"Yes, sir," Sam smiled, getting to her feet.

"I got her," Jack told Daniel as he moved towards Hailey. "This four-foot-nine, fighting machine is mine."

The small group huddled onto the ring platform, Sam joining them at the last minute as she activated the rings. The Goa'uld ship was soon replaced with the landscape of 748.

"OK, keep an eye out," Sam said. "Bastet probably sent some Jaffa ahead to clear the way to the 'gate."

"Yes, ma'am," Wallace said.

"Colonel, I think it's best if you and Daniel get Hailey and Ritter out of the way," she said. "Not that we couldn't use the help, but right now the wounded are more of a hindrance."

"OK," Jack nodded. "We'll catch up."

"Major, you and Milson gather what you can from the camp," Sam said. "Nothing too big."

Wallace nodded, and he and Milson jogged the short distance back to the tents. They returned a moment later with Hailey's laptop and another small bag.

"Ready when you are," Wallace said.

"Lay on, McCarter," Milson quipped.

*****

Carter led them back into the forest, taking care to stay off the path, but keep it in sight. Making good time through the trees she stopped only when she spotted movement up ahead. She almost cursed when she saw no fewer than twenty Jaffa lining the final approach to the Stargate.

"What are they waiting for?" Milson asked.

"Bastet," Wallace answered. "They think she's about to join them."

"How long are they gonna wait?"

"No idea."

"Better question," Milson said.

"What?" Wallace asked. "How are we gonna get past them?"

"No," Milson said, pointing to their left down the path. "What are we gonna do about that?"

Sam looked where he was indicating, and this time really cursed when she saw Hailey and Jack being flanked by three Jaffa. Jack was still carrying Hailey who looked as if she was already dead.

"Where's Doctor Jackson and Ritter?" Milson asked.

"Right here," hissed a voice behind them.

On instinct Sam whipped round, weapon at the ready, and suddenly Daniel found himself staring down the barrel.

"OK, not going to sneak up on you again," he said, gently pushing it to one side.

"What happened?" she asked.

"We headed back to the tents," Daniel said. "Jack was slightly ahead. They practically walked right into them. Ritter and I doubled back quickly before they saw us." He looked up and saw Jack and Hailey standing in front of a small contingent of Jaffa. "So, what now?"

"Now…" Sam started. Mentally she added, we pray for a miracle.

The Universe heard her.

The gate splashed into life, and suddenly the Jaffa weren't looking anywhere near them.

"Here come the cavalry," Sam said.

"How can you be so sure?" Wallace asked.

"Duck," was Sam's reply.

Everyone did as she instructed, and suddenly there was a small explosion. Looking up, they saw that a cloud of smoke was slowly dissipating, and out of that poured several SG teams. The Jaffa, momentarily stunned, were taken unaware for the most part as members of the SGC ran down the steps, taking shots where they could get them, and taking cover.

"Time to lend a hand," Sam said. "Wallace. You and Milson head left, cut off the Jaffa on the path. Teal'c, head over to the gate, keep it secure. Daniel, you and I are going to give SG-3 cover. Ritter, get the Colonel and Hailey." As she finished giving orders the gate shut down. "And start getting people home," she added.

Wallace and Milson took off, and almost immediately opened fire as they picked off the few Jaffa that were taking the cowards' way out. Sam and Daniel took up position on the edge of the tree line, directly in front of the Stargate.

"Make sure Ritter gets cover," she yelled.

"Understood," someone yelled back.

The air exploded with bullets as a cover blanket was laid down. Looking up, Sam saw Ritter helping Jack to his feet as best she could, then racing over to the DHD. With her good hand she punched in the glyphs. Someone to the right of Sam raised his arm and tapped on his GDO. His actions put him in the line of fire and for his heroics he was struck by a lucky shot. Daniel quickly went to his aid, rolling him out of the line of fire and checking his wound. Sam laid down cover fire as Jack picked up Hailey and tore through the gate, Ritter two steps behind him.

"Fall back!" she ordered. As she scanned those who'd come to their rescue, she realised she was issuing orders to Majors and Colonels, and couldn't help but grin slightly. As people started running and limping through the gate, she left her position and made a run for it. A shot across her front made her skid to a stop as she saw a single Jaffa standing in the clearing, his staff raised to take another shot. Sam swung round but she knew she'd never be able to take aim and fire before he got his shot out.

At that moment, a Zat blast shot across the clearing, stunning the Jaffa. Sam took her chance and squeezed the trigger, sending a line of bullets across and into her would-be assassin. Picking herself up off the floor she nodded her thanks to Teal'c and tore across the final distance, making sure she was the last one though the gate before it disengaged.

*****

"Do you know who was attacking Bastet?" Hammond asked.

"No idea, sir," Sam said

"What about the UAV?" Hammond asked.

"SG-5 are recovering the wreck and remaining data now," Daniel said. "The UAV is salvageable."

"Everything was going great," Wallace said, "right up to the point where it just disappeared off our screens. Hailey and Ritter went to check it out."

"We found it lying on the forest floor," Ritter said. "It had obviously been shot down so we were on alert. Several Jaffa attacked immediately, catching Hailey off-guard. She was taken down with the first shot. I took cover and returned fire, radioing Major Wallace. One shot went wide, hitting a tree branch. As I moved out of the way I fell badly." She seemed a little embarrassed at the fact her injury had been caused by clumsiness rather than the fight.

"We started towards their last known location when we were ringed up," Wallace said. "Found ourselves on the wrong end of half a dozen staff weapons."

"What did she want?" Hammond asked.

"I don't know, sir," Wallace said. "Probably just the glory of capturing members of the SGC."

"I'm not so sure, sir," Milson said. "I got the impression there was more to it."

"How so, Captain?" Hammond asked.

"It was like we were a prize for someone else."

"Most Goa'ulds are in it for the kill," Jack said. "Who'd want you alive?"

"Anubis," Sam said quietly.

"Bastet was working for Anubis?" Hammond asked.

"I don't know, sir," Milson said. "But it's a safe guess."

"Sir, if we're done here, I'd like to check up on Lieutenant Hailey," Sam said.

"Dismissed," he nodded. "And Major?"

"Yes, sir?"

"Well done," he smiled. "It was a good command."

"Thank you, sir."

*****

Hailey was dozing in and out, but she was still aware of Sam walking into the Infirmary. Forcing her eyes open she gave a weak smile.

"Hey," Sam said, "how are you feeling?"

"Good," she said. "Doesn't hurt so much anymore."

"That'll be the drugs."

"And good ones they are too," she laughed.

"We're going to get the data on the UAV trials within the hour. Wallace tells me you got some good stuff."

"Yes, Major. Everything was going better than we thought."

"Better?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"You've put in a fair bit of work, you should be proud."

"It was a team effort."

"I'm paying you a compliment, Jen, take it!" Sam laughed.

"Yes, ma'am."

"You take it easy now. We want you back fighting fit as soon as possible, OK?"

Hailey nodded.

"And nice work out there."

"Thank you, ma'am."

"You've got some leave coming up, haven't you?"

"A bit."

"Take it."

"But the UAV…"

"Will take some repairing," Sam interrupted. "Take a break. I mean it. You'll burn out otherwise."

Hailey laughed. "Aren't you the one who works through the night at least once a week?"

"Exactly. I know what I'm talking about."

Hailey nodded.

"And besides, even I take a break. There's a group of us going to watch the game at Colonel O'Neill's tonight."

"Sounds like fun. Wish I could be there."

"Next one, OK?"

"Deal," she smiled.

"You get some rest," Sam said, reaching out a hand and placing it over Hailey's. "I'll let you know the score."

"That would be nice, thanks."

"Might even sneak you in some contraband."

"I don't think Doctor Fraiser will like that."

"Who says I'll tell her?" Sam grinned. "See in you in the morning."

"Yes, ma'am," Hailey said before closing her eyes and drifting off again.

Sam let go of her hand, and watched her sleep for a little bit. Sometimes command had its upsides too.

"You ready to go, Carter?" Jack called from the doorway. "We're clear to get off."

"Sure," she said, not looking back.

"How is she?" he asked, walking up to her.

"She'll be just fine. Eager to get back to work."

"She needs to learn to take a break."

"Exactly what I was saying."

"She won't listen."

"Says who?"

"Carter, she's… Mini You."

"That a bad thing?"

"Did I say it was?" he smiled. "Come on, you deserve a night off. You did good."

"Thank you, sir." They turned and headed out of the Infirmary and towards the elevator. "It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Giving you guys orders."

"Yeah," Jack said, swiping his card in the reader. "Just don't get into the habit of it," he said as the doors slid open. "It's still my team."

"For now," Sam grinned.

"Are you threatening mutiny?" Jack asked in mock horror.

Sam laughed as the doors slid shut on them.

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Written by: Clara & Jen
Producers: LauraJo & Vicki

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