Main ~ Authors ~ Production Crew ~ Promotion ~ About Chrysalis
Janet had never really enjoyed working out in the gym, but she knew the importance of keeping her body at peak condition. As she set the pace on the running machine, she set the speed and gradient to slightly higher than what she was used to. She was physically fit enough for active duty, but her recent expedition with the female Jaffa had made her realise that her fitness levels were not really suitable for long off-world expeditions. She didn't know how many more of them she would have to do, but it was always better to be prepared, instead of lagging behind. She slowly increased the pace so that she moved from a slow jog into a run. She hated running; she just wasn't built for it, which was why she would never go running with Sam, no matter how many times her friend asked. The one time she had done, Sam had stopped every five minutes to allow her to catch up, and Janet had sworn never again afterwards. After three minutes solid, she began to slow down again until she was walking. Eying the other equipment available in the gym she decided that she would move on to the shoulder press next and then start to warm down.
Her workout was interrupted however by the all too familiar request of "medical team to the gate room". Pausing only to briefly wipe her face with her towel, Janet headed out of the gym. The corridors were pretty near empty as she jogged to the elevator that would take her down to level 28.
She was the first of the medical staff on scene she noted. What they had been needed for, she didn't know. The returning team was SG-1, and they all looked perfectly healthy – even Daniel. The four of them were just traipsing down the ramp, unfastening their various weapons and handing them over to the eager staff sergeant from the armoury. Obviously it was now becoming standard practise to call a medical team whenever SG-1 returned early.
"Nice outfit, Doc," O'Neill greeted her with a smirk, and Janet arched her eyebrows. She turned as the gate room doors opened to reveal her team, and made a mental note that they needed to be faster. If this had been a medical emergency, then those extra few seconds could have meant the difference between life and death.
"Medical team, stand down," Hammond ordered from his place in the control room. "Welcome back SG-1. If you would accompany Doctor Fraiser to the infirmary then convene in the briefing room in an hour."
"Yes, General," O'Neill replied, heading towards the door. Sam fell in next to her friend and Janet tried not to wince, as the height difference between the two of them was even more noticeable without her normal heels on.
"I'll just get changed and meet you there in a few minutes," she told them. No teams had been due back that evening, which was why, despite being the only doctor on duty for another couple of hours, she had taken the time to work out in the gym. "Oh, and Colonel… try not to touch anything while you're waiting!"
If he was honest with himself, Daniel was glad that he had been handed the responsibility of driver that night. Although they rarely went out together as a team, on the occasions when they did, Teal'c would drive. However, the Jaffa had declined to join them that night, instead stating that he had to 'observe the events which occurred in the lives of six Tau'ri in New York'. Apparently buying him a VCR and stack of blank tapes last Christmas hadn't been a very worthwhile investment. It wasn't as if he didn't know how to use it; Sam had shown them all how to work their respective VCRs on three consecutive evenings back in January.
So it was just the three humans sitting in a bar on the outskirts of Colorado Springs; Jack and Sam were both toying with the dregs of their first drink. Daniel was only halfway through his ice tea and he kept finding himself looking across towards the door. Jack had decided that they were going out for drinks and then something to eat just before Janet had jammed a large needle into his butt. Despite the jab, he'd still invited her along with them. She had replied that she'd try, as she wasn't off for another hour, and she'd give Sam a call later.
"Do you want another one, Daniel?" Sam's voice broke into his thoughts, and he saw that his female team-mate was standing up, ready to head back to the bar.
"I think I'm good, thanks Sam," he replied, holding up his glass and swirling the amber liquid around.
"Okay then," she said, turning and walking away. Daniel's brow creased as he thought he saw Jack's eyes follow a particular part of Sam's anatomy, before dismissing it out of hand. There was no way that Jack would be looking at… that part of her.
He turned back to face his friend. Jack refused to meet Daniel's eyes, as he raised his bottle and drained the last dregs.
"So," Daniel began, after taking another mouthful of his drink. "What prompted this desire for a 'team outing'?"
Jack just shrugged. "I figured that we don't really do this enough. I mean, the only time we ever seem to get together is when one of us disappears for a while and then reappears again."
"Like when Sam was stranded on the Prometheus?" Daniel knew he was skating a thin line. He watched Jack's face, but there was no show of emotion there.
"I guess," Jack said shortly.
Daniel sighed, and began to search for another conversation topic. "Do you think that Janet will make it?"
Another shrug. "I don't know," he said. "It's not as if she's got Cassie at home anymore, is it?"
"No," Daniel said thoughtfully. "It would be nice to see her outside of the infirmary for a change."
"Not that you don't see enough of her in the infirmary," Jack teased.
Daniel felt his cheeks redden. "I'm not in there that often," he argued. "Siler's in there more than me!"
"Yeah, what's with that?" Jack asked, grabbing Daniel's drink and bringing it under his nose to smell it. "Urgh, how can you drink that?"
Daniel snatched it back. "Janet thinks he likes one of the nurses in there," he said. "And before you ask, no, that's not why I end up in there."
Jack smirked. "No, that was Jonas' trick," he said, before falling silent.
Turning, Daniel saw Sam pick up the two drinks from the bar, flashing the server a bright smile. She started to head back towards their table, before a blond man moved to block her path.
"Are you a doctor?" he asked. "I think there's something wrong with my eyes... I can't take them off of you."
Daniel expected that Sam was rolling her eyes and he could feel the amusement radiating off her, as she politely asked the guy to move out of her way. He didn't, and persisted to start up a conversation.
Jack was sitting opposite him, and Daniel, without turning away from the scene playing out in front of him, could tell that the older man was beginning to get irritated.
It took him straight back to all those months ago, when Sam had started to see Pete. They hadn't been together for long, but the awkwardness between the major and the colonel had been apparent to those that knew them best. Daniel had seen Jack seething just before the split, and had no idea what that had been about. When he'd asked Sam about the failed relationship, she had just shrugged, saying that their lives were just too different. Turning slightly to grab his drink again, he glanced at his silent friend and almost recoiled in surprise. Jack was just sitting there, like he did in briefings, or when they hung out at other times. He was casually flicking peanuts into the ashtray in the middle of the table, with no indication that he was even aware of the growing conversation between Sam and the blond guy.
Daniel frowned. He could have sworn that he'd felt irritation from the other man, although thinking about it, he wondered why he had thought so. Jack O'Neill wasn't the easiest man to read, even when you had known him for as long as Daniel had.
Sam returned to the table with the drinks for her and the colonel, her cheeks flushed slightly.
"Well?" Daniel asked, wanting to know why it had taken her so long to get past this one guy.
"He gave me his phone number," Sam replied, shrugging it off as no big deal. Daniel had a feeling that she'd throw the number away as soon as she got home. He also felt the curious sensations of guilt and jealously… neither of which he should be experiencing. He took a sip of his drink, hoping that it would clear his mind. Next to him, Sam pushed back her chair, probably to get better access to her bag, which was under the table. Daniel was hit with such a strong reaction that he choked, spilling most of the drink down him as he realised what was happening.
Daniel looked down at the wet patch on his groin. He was certainly not feeling amused at that moment in time, although by the looks on his friends' faces, they were. He just groaned, hoping that his initial drunk-choking idea had just been a result of sitting with Teal'c throughout all those "Wormhole X-Treme" marathons.
"Hang on, Daniel, I've got some Kleenex in my bag," Sam told him, bending down again. This time, Daniel could see that every time she did that, Jack got a fantastic view of her chest. As expected, the same sensations were radiated again.
Sam's head shot up, and she stared at her commanding officer with wide, startled eyes. Apparently, he wasn't the only one reading the other's emotions anymore.
"We should get Janet to check us out."
"Time to pay a visit to Doc Fraiser."
"Let's go see Janet."
All three spoke simultaneously, before grabbing their belongings and heading towards the door. Daniel held his jacket in front of the wet patch on his pants to try and prevent people from staring there. The emotions that he could read from the people around him were all quieter than what he had felt coming from his friends. He frowned, wondering why that was. He hoped that by concentrating on his own thoughts, he'd be able to drown out, or at least ignore the foreign feelings invading his head. Maybe he was hearing Jack and Sam's emotions because they were physically closer to him, or because he knew them better?
Thinking about the matter fortunately kept his mind occupied until they reached the SGC in record time. Both Jack and Sam had only one beer, so Jack had driven back, not even stopping for Daniel to change his pants. When the archaeologist had tried to protest that they'd missed the turning to get to his apartment, Jack had just replied that he could change once they'd reached the mountain.
Going through the security check-points had been embarrassing, as it had been impossible to keep the wet patch covered by the jacket at all times. The guards, although they hadn't shown it, were all certainly laughing on the inside.
The elevator rides down to the infirmary were two of the most awkward that Daniel had ever experienced. The tension between the other two occupants was almost unbearable. As he snuck a look around, they were both staring at the grey wall in front of them.
The relief was evident as they stopped on the infirmary floor and were able to leave the small, enclosed box. Janet would be able to fix them; she always managed to somehow save the day, and often the world.
She was standing at another patient's bedside, checking their chart as they entered.
"Hey Janet," Sam called out, and the doctor turned around and smiled at them.
"Hey," she replied, with what they all realised to be false cheeriness. Janet was unhappy, and that unhappiness was radiating out of her stronger than anything they'd experienced so far. "What's up?"
The three of them looked at each other, hesitating. Despite everything they'd seen and done over the years, admitting that they could read people's emotions did sound like it came straight from a plot of a science-fiction show – a bad one at that!
Daniel all but took a step back. There was no way he was going to say it. He had no wish to repeat his experiences in the nice white padded cell. Sam opened her mouth to speak, but hesitated. She'd had some interesting tales of her body being invaded by various beings, and now her head was being assaulted once again.
"We're hearing other people's feelings," Jack exclaimed. "And it's already driving us insane! Look what it's done to Daniel!" He yanked the jacket out of Daniel's hands, exposing the still wet patch. Janet raised a single eyebrow in query, and Daniel couldn't help it; he blushed. The amusement coming from his friends was a welcome relief, but he wished that it wasn't at his expense. There was only a brief flicker of curiosity from Janet, however, and Daniel looked at his doctor and friend, worried. He could feel that the other two felt the same.
She'd seemed fine, things had been getting back to normal. How much had she been hiding?
"Doctor Fraiser, report," General Hammond ordered as he strode into the briefing room. He had been called back to the mountain when the seriousness of SG-1's condition had been realised. He took his seat at the head of the table, and looked around at his people. The silence was heavy, and his gaze rested on each one in turn, noticing that none of them would meet each other's gazes. Even their normal seating arrangements had swapped around; Major Carter was seated opposite to the Colonel, with Daniel next to her and Doctor Fraiser on the other side of him. Teal'c was next to the colonel, and all of SG-1's chairs were located as far away from the others as the constraints of the table would allow them. He frowned inwardly, wondering what could have affected his premier team so badly.
"Cheer up, General, it's not all that bad," Jack said, before Janet had a chance to speak up. Hammond looked at his second-in-command in surprise and confusion. "Ah, I'll let good ol' Doc Fraiser explain it all."
"Doctor?" Hammond asked, feeling the beginnings of a headache coming on. Knowing SG-1's past exploits all too well, he realised that it would get a lot worse before this briefing was over.
"SG-1 returned to base about an hour ago, claiming that they were hearing other people's emotions," Janet began. Hammond's mouth dropped open slightly at the doctor's words. "My examination and preliminary tests have failed to show any possible explanation, but the brain's a complex organ so it's very unlikely I'd find the problem at such an early stage."
Hammond's eyes started to glaze over slightly as Janet started to explain where she intended to go from here, and offered her opinions as to what she believed had happened to the members of SG-1. "Thank you, Doctor," he said. "Is there anything you can do about it?"
Janet shook her head. "I won't know until I've completed my tests and comparisons, but from what I've seen so far, it doesn't look good," she said. "Until I find out what caused this, I'm not sure if I'll be able to find a cure for it."
"Is there any similarity to what happened to Jonas Quinn last year when he began to see visions into the future?" The general asked.
"No, sir. We believe Jonas' condition and resulting tumour was caused by Nirrti's machine. All of SG-1's results were clean," Janet said, moving various coloured pictures of SG-1's brains around on the table in front of her.
Hammond sighed, feeling the throbbing pain in his head starting to intensify. Why did it always have to be SG-1? He directed his gaze to the archaeologist sitting next to his chief medical officer.
"Doctor Jackson, what can you tell me about the Goa'uld that rules the planet?" he asked. When he had met with his team earlier, they had only told him the bare details about the planet and they had all decided that they could leave the full debriefing for the morning, allowing Hammond to go back home and spend some time with his granddaughters.
"Ah, P3X-214 is controlled by Geb," Daniel began, raising his eyebrows and looking down at his notes. "He was an Egyptian god of fertility and was regarded as the divine personification of the earth."
"Fertility? Like Hathor?" Jack asked, leaning forward, and furrowing his brow slightly.
"Well, in a way, yes," Daniel said. "Geb is slightly different. He was one of the so-called Ennead, and in mythology, was the son of Shu and Tefnut."
"Don't know them," Jack remarked casually, still using humour to mask his true feelings. Daniel only glanced briefly up at him, before returning to his notes. Sam looked across the table at her commanding officer, before looking back down at the shiny surface of the briefing room table when he glanced in her direction. Her cheeks coloured slightly, but Hammond either didn't notice or chose to ignore it.
"No," Daniel said patiently, turning to look at Teal'c. He was convinced that the Jaffa was actually laughing inside, although his face was as impassive and stoic as usual. "However, he fathered four children – Nephthys, Isis, Seth and Osiris."
"Know three of them," Jack said.
Daniel sighed. "I don't know much more about him," he told the general. "The people on P3X-214 know that he's not a god. Or at least that's what Tomak told us."
"Tomak?" Hammond asked.
"Ah, yes, sir. One of the settlement's ruling council, and a sunu… a healer or doctor," Daniel explained. "He was really the only person we had any contact with while we were there."
"Don't forget Suschenka," Sam added, speaking up.
"Who was that?"
"That reek-hat woman," Jack said.
"Rekhet," Daniel corrected. He turned back to Hammond. "Basically a wise woman, sir. She seems to know the truth about what Geb is. She spoke about an invasion of evil polluting their world, their thoughts and their people."
"A selection of the population of P3X-214 are sick, sir," Sam said. "Tomak didn't speak much of it, but we saw a number of them who certainly looked ill. Suschenka, although she didn't explicitly say it, believes that Geb is to blame for it. They have no idea how to cure their illness, nor what causes it."
"Doctor, do you believe that SG-1's condition could have been caused by contact with this disease?" Hammond asked, turning to the petite woman at the end of the table.
Janet looked down at her entwined hands, before back up at the expectant faces looking at her. "I honestly don't know, sir," she replied. "I'd have to get some samples from the infected, and it would also help to get some from those uninfected as well. I suggest anyone who goes back to the planet goes in full Hazmat, in case what the villagers have is contagious."
"Agreed," Hammond said, rising to his feet. "Doctor, I want you to select a team to gather samples. SG-3 will accompany them; I want the five of you to remain on base. Dismissed." He left the briefing room, and headed straight to his office. He needed to call his grandchildren and tell them that he wouldn't be able to go back and finish their game of "Go Fish" and he needed to take something for his headache. Although not necessarily in that order.
Janet thrust her hands into the pockets of her white lab coat, waiting at the bottom of the ramp for SG-3 and the Hazmat team to emerge from the Stargate. She hoped that once tested, the samples that were being brought back would be able to shed some light on the current situation, and get SG-1 back to normal as soon as possible. Well, as normal as they ever got, she corrected herself. Why it had to be SG-1, she didn't know. Her closest friends were on that team, and she didn't want to think about what she was emoting when she was around them, knowing that they would find her and make her talk. She didn't want to talk, especially not to either Sam or Daniel, who would be the most likely suspects. If it wasn't for them now being able to read emotions, they wouldn't have realised how bad things really were and she wished that it could have stayed that way.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of five figures through the event horizon, all dressed in red Hazmat suits.
"Welcome back, Colonel Greene," Hammond said from his place in the control room above them. "I trust the mission was a success?"
"Yes, sir," Andrew Greene replied, pulling off his protective headgear. "Doctor Patrick has the necessary samples."
"Report to the infirmary immediately, and we'll debrief in an hour," Hammond ordered, and Greene snapped off a smart salute in response.
"Lieutenant Rush will start you off and I'll be along in a minute," Janet told the marines who just nodded in response and left the Gate room. "Lisa.."
Lisa Patrick moved next to her boss, with the case of samples in one hand and her Hazmat hood in the other.
"What was your impression of the people on the planet?" Janet asked as they headed out towards the elevator at the end of the corridor. She would have much preferred to have gone through herself so that she could have made her own decisions and drawn her own conclusions instead of relying on someone else. Being on a totally different planet from SG-1 would have just been another advantage.
Lisa grimaced. "It's not good. A good proportion of the population… I'd say forty-five to maybe sixty per cent… are ill," she said. "It's not limited to a single demographic either – I saw men, women and children alike suffering from it."
"And their symptoms?"
"Similar to TB," she reported. "All the usual features of prolonged chest infection are there, I could tell some had been coughing up blood. Some also had secondary infections."
"Could anyone on the planet read emotions?" Janet asked, almost hopefully as they entered the elevator. It didn't sound like their illness was likely to be related to SG-1's problem, but she was already desperate enough to hang her hopes on anything.
"No," Lisa said, shaking her head. "I'm sorry, Doctor. It's my opinion that whatever is causing SG-1's current mental abilities has nothing to do with the illness on P3X-214."
"The test results confirm Doctor Patrick's initial belief that the disease on P3X-214 and SG-1's condition are unrelated," Janet announced, entering the infirmary with a manila folder of test results in her hand.
"So now what?" Jack asked from his position on the other side of the infirmary. He was sitting on the far bed, as far away from Sam and the others as he could get with his yo-yo abandoned beside him.
Janet turned to look at him. "Well, there's no point in me keeping you in here," she said, rubbing her eyes tiredly. It had been a long day and she figured that once she'd got rid of SG-1 she'd grab a quick nap while waiting for further analysis on SG-1's test results. "But I am confining you to the base. I suggest that you get something to eat and you should all get some rest."
She moved further into the infirmary, out of the way of the door as Jack and Teal'c all but ran past her. She watched as Daniel slid off his bed, but stood next to it, hesitating.
Please don't stay, please don't stay, Janet thought to herself, pretending to be studying the papers in her hand intently, while in reality she could barely read what they said.
She turned to see Sam sitting on her bed still, swinging her legs backwards and forwards. Daniel looked at Sam, then at Janet, before turning back to Sam again.
Janet noticed the other woman give a barely noticeable nod of her head, and this was enough to make Daniel shuffle out of the infirmary, glancing back at the two women.
Once Daniel had disappeared out of the door, and hopefully away from the infirmary, Janet tried to look around for a reason to escape Sam's scrutiny. Why were no SG teams rushing back injured when she needed the diversion… only when she was already swamped with something else or two minutes before she was due off-duty? Her friend was perceptive enough without her current ability to read Janet's emotions.
"Uh, did I leave my yo-yo in here?" Jack O'Neill's sheepish face appeared at the door, brightening when he spotted the bright blue plastic on the white bedcovers. He glanced at Sam briefly as he retrieved the small toy and shoved it in his pocket. Janet saw that Sam was distracted by the current presence of the colonel and used the time to slip out of the door and head towards her office. If she was lucky she would be able to avoid SG-1 for as long as possible.
Down and up. Down and up. It was automatic as Jack sat there, casually playing with his yo-yo.
Down and up. Down and up. Of all the things that had happened to him over the years, in some ways this was one of the worst. He couldn't help thinking about what he had heard; what he was not supposed to hear, from the general, Teal'c, Daniel, the Doc… Carter.
Down and up. Down and up. He tried to concentrate on the swirling blue toy in front of him, wanting to block out all other thoughts. He didn't want to think about what the others would have heard from him; a glimpse of the emotions that he kept hidden behind his military façade.
Down and up. Down and up. The constant motion of the yo-yo was almost hypnotic as he followed its path. He just couldn't stop thinking… couldn't help but remember the feelings that Carter had been emoting when he was near her.
"I remember feeling… feelings." He'd been a different person then – actually a different person with altered memories. But the feelings had remained the same and they were the same as he was feeling now. And Carter's feelings were similar, similar enough to give him some form of hope.
No, he had to stop thinking. Watch the yo-yo instead. Down and up. Down and… down. He sighed as he lost the rhythm and the round plastic didn't return to his hand. Groaning slightly he bent down to pick it up and started to rewind the string. 'Don't think of Carter, don't think of Carter, don't think of Carter.' It became a mantra in his head as he finished the winding and released the yo-yo again. Down and up. Down and up.
"We'll raise up our glasses against evil forces…" He started to sing quietly to himself, hoping that if he concentrated on the song and on the yo-yo then he could just stop thinking.
He wanted to go home, to get away from this place. He was starting to feel claustrophobic, locked up in the mountain, being assaulted by other people's feelings.
"Singing whiskey for my men, beer for my horses."
Teal'c sat cross-legged on the bed, surrounded by dozens of candles. Although he had been unable to obtain a state of Kel'nor'reem since he had lost his symbiote, the glow of the candles and the familiar position were somehow reassuring.
As a Jaffa, Teal'c had learnt how to remain in control of emotions, and how to use them to his advantage. Hearing what was supposed to be hidden, without other people's permission, troubled him. It was a huge invasion of privacy and he had decided to remain alone in his quarters except when it was absolutely necessary for him to leave. He only hoped that when he did have to, he would be able to avoid his team-mates completely. The idea that they knew how he was feeling at any given time was disturbing. There were always things that were never meant to be revealed, and some emotions definitely belonged in that category.
Teal'c wished that he was still able to kel'nor'reem. He wanted to get his mind in a state so he wouldn't have to think about everything that he had heard since the airman had come to fetch him while he had been watching "Friends". Being alone he hadn't realised just what had happened to him and the other members of SG-1 until they had brought it to Doctor Fraiser's attention. He couldn't help but wonder if this would have happened to him if he still had his symbiote. He had become accustomed to having its protection over the years, and even a year after its loss he still missed the healing capabilities it had offered him.
Teal'c didn't like the thoughts he was coming up with, so instead reached for the television remote which was on his bedside table. He quickly flicked through the channels, stopping when he spotted an old rerun of "M*A*S*H". He studied it carefully, not recognising the episode and decided that this would do him. Hopefully watching television would relax his mind and stop him thinking about the current situation. Replacing the remote, he emerged himself in the representation of 1950s Korea and settled back to watch the exploits of the 4077th.
From the door it was difficult to see the man at the desk, who was hidden by piles and piles of books. It looked to any casual observer that Daniel was hard at work, researching away at the latest Goa'uld.
He sat with a large dusty volume and an empty note book open in front of him. Tapping his pen against the blank page, he reached for his coffee and drained the rest of his cup, grimacing at the taste. He had run out of decent coffee just before the mission to P3X-214, and now they were stuck on base he couldn't just run out to re-supply.
Sighing, he leant back in his chair, dropping the pen. He yawned and ran his hand through his hair. He hadn't slept well last night, once he had finally collapsed down onto an uncomfortable military-issue cot. It had taken him a while to actually get to sleep, and once he had done, his sleep had been plagued by nightmares. He didn't really remember much of them, except for the last one, from which he had woke in a cold sweat. That one he had remembered in detail that was all too clear. Janet had been dead. He had watched the staff blast hit her in slow motion, watched her fall and had been knelt by her side, helpless as her life slipped away.
Daniel shook his head, trying to get the images of her still body out of his head. It was stupid. Janet wasn't dead; she was alive and sitting in her office, probably still trying to figure out how to cure them of their new abilities. He wondered how she was feeling that morning, then winced slightly, knowing that he'd know exactly how she was feeling if he went down to see her. Maybe if he stopped off and grabbed some coffee for them both on the way…
He pushed his chair back and stood up. Going to see Janet was a good plan, he decided. It would reassure him after his horrific nightmare, and hopefully she wouldn't try and throw him out or run away.
Daniel sank slowly back into his chair. His resolve wavered. Maybe going to see her wasn't such a good plan after all. After all, she hadn't been too happy to keep them in her infirmary last night, although it was possible she just didn't want the hassle of having Jack there to contend with. He sighed, worrying about the petite doctor. Picking up his pen, he began to tap it on his page again, barely realising that he was doing it. He hadn't realised that Janet had been hiding so much from them all, and what he had felt coming from her last night when they reached the infirmary had come as a shock to him. He had felt like that before, and it was only his respect for the woman that had prevented him from camping out in her office and demanding that she talked to him about it. He knew that she needed to talk about it to someone, and the only reason he had left the previous night had been because Sam had remained behind. Surely if Janet talked to anyone then she would talk to her best friend.
He pulled the open book closer towards him, and tried to concentrate on the writing there. Janet would be okay… Sam would have talked to her. And even if that wasn't enough, he rationalised, she knew where his office was. If she wanted to talk to him, she would come and find him.
At least that was what he hoped.
Janet pulled a disgusted face when she took a mouthful of her coffee and realised that it was cold. Frowning, she checked her watch, groaning at the amount of time she'd been spending doing paperwork. Somehow she knew that the day wasn't going to get much better either.
She reached across for the file containing all of SG-1's results, and spread them out across her desk. There had to be something she'd missed that would explain their new abilities, and hopefully give her a clue in how to solve this puzzle. She worked her way through them all for what seemed like the hundredth time, and still saw nothing that could help her. She replaced all the sheets back in the folder, and dropped it on the pile on the floor next to her.
Janet stretched back in her chair, freezing as she caught sight of the framed picture on her desk. It was of her, Cassie and SG-1. She reached out a cautious hand and picked up the silver frame. It had been taken over a year ago now, after they had removed the consciousnesses from Daniel's body. Her eyes came to rest on the smiling archaeologist. They had almost lost him again, so soon after he had come back. Her eyes moved to Cassie, who had put up amazingly little protest at her inclusion in their trip to the Six Flags theme park in Denver. She was standing between Sam and Daniel, who both had an arm around her and was grinning happily. Although she hadn't said much to Janet about it, Cassie had missed Daniel after he had ascended and had been very happy to see him return.
She replaced the picture back on the desk, and opened up the top draw. A sheaf of papers was on the top, and she pulled them out. The back sheets crackled slightly due to the tear staining and all the pages were well thumbed. Her eyes skimmed over the scrawl, picking out various phrases and words. It had been the only contact with her daughter since she had joined the Tok'ra, and she clung to it like a lifeline.
"I love you, Mom." Her eyes were drawn to the last line of the letter; they always were, and she felt the tears threatening to spill again. Cassie's nineteenth birthday was coming up soon, but Janet knew that there was no way she would be able to celebrate it with her daughter. She had no idea when she'd even get the chance to see her again, or even just to send a message, what with the fragile state of their current relationship with the Tok'ra.
Janet placed the letter to one side, and grabbed a clean sheet of paper. Picking up her pen she wrote at the top 'Dear Cassie' then hesitated. There were so many things she wanted to say to her, but all the words just seemed inadequate. She didn't even know where to start.
"Doctor Fraiser?" Her train of concentration was interrupted by a voice at the door. She jumped slightly and looked up at one of her nurses.
"Yes, Lieutenant?" she asked wearily.
"You're needed in the infirmary, ma'am," the nurse said. "One of the cooks has cut his hand open."
Janet sighed, and pushed the letter to Cassie to one side. "I'm coming."
Sam didn't really know why she was even bothering to try and work. The device that SG-19 had recently brought back was in several pieces on the bench-top, but she had just been sitting there and staring at it ever since she had come into the lab that morning.
"Why does it all have to be so hard?" she asked herself out loud, wiping her hands across her eyes. The feelings and emotions that her mind was being bombarded with were just so intense. She hoped that Janet would find some way to cure them, because she honestly didn't know how much longer she would be able to cope.
Janet had her concerned. The emotions coming from the woman had been so passionate that Sam was amazed that her friend had managed to keep them all hidden from view. She wished that the doctor had stuck around last night so that she could have talked to her. When the colonel had left the infirmary, and Sam had realised that Janet had disappeared, she had debated briefly to herself whether or not to go and find her stubborn friend. She'd decided that she knew that Janet would never talk unless she actually wanted to, and Sam sitting in her office for the entire day wouldn't make a bit of difference. She'd thought that she would be far more productive in her lab, although that hadn't turned out to be true.
Being able to read Daniel's feelings hadn't been as weird as reading the others. The archaeologist normally wore his heart on his sleeve, and having known him for as long as Sam had, she knew him pretty well. His compassion and concern for Janet when they had first entered the infirmary the previous night had been overwhelming, and Sam hadn't been surprised that he had tried to remain behind to try and talk to Janet, despite the nervousness she could feel from him. She wondered if Daniel had attempted to talk to the doctor this morning, or if he realised that when Janet wasn't in the mood to talk you'd have better luck getting blood out of a stone!
The complexity of the emotions behind Teal'c's normal stoic façade had surprised Sam slightly. She obviously knew that he wasn't completely emotionless, and was in fact very passionate at times. What she had read from him hadn't been anything like she would have expected, although thinking back she wasn't sure what she would have expected from him. His dislike of the whole situation had been broadcasted very loudly, and Sam had vowed to stay clear of her Jaffa team-mate as much as she was able until their situation was resolved.
And then there was Colonel O'Neill. Sam sighed. The situation was already difficult enough and this wasn't helping. She knew how he felt, and he now knew how she felt. Was it going to make anything easier? Probably not.
"Are you happy, Sam?" Her father's voice echoed in her head. Even though it hadn't actually been her dad talking, the question still haunted her. Up until that incident on Prometheus, she would have probably answered 'yes'. In fact she had tried to answer yes, only to be told that she was content.
Was she content? Yes, she was and that was all she was going to be for the time being. Happiness was still beyond her grasp, and for that she was going to have to wait.
Teal'c turned off the television when a soft knock sounded at the door. He pushed himself off the bed, and opened it to find Daniel standing outside with a pile of papers.
"Daniel Jackson," he greeted, bowing his head slightly. Daniel looked up from his papers.
"Uh hi, Teal'c," he said. "I was just wondering if you knew anything about Geb. Obviously we can't contact the Tok'ra to ask them anymore, and I think I've got all I can about him from my books…"
Teal'c titled his head slightly. "I do not," he replied. "When I was First Prime of Apophis, an army of Geb tried to take one of Apophis' planets, but we were able to defeat them easily. However, this was over nine years ago and I do not know if his power has increased since then."
"Okay, thanks then, Teal'c," Daniel said, slightly distractedly. Teal'c just looked down at him, silently wishing for him to leave. Daniel looked up. "I'm making you uncomfortable, aren't I?"
Teal'c nodded. "I am afraid you are, Daniel Jackson," he said. "It is not personal; I would feel just as uncomfortable if it were O'Neill or Major Carter standing here."
Daniel gave him a tight smile. "Don't worry, I understand," he said. "I take it you haven't seen Jack or Sam around either then."
"Indeed I have not," Teal'c replied. "However, I do believe it would be prudent to leave them to their own devices. They have…" he hesitated, "a great number of issues they have to deal with on their own."
The younger man nodded slowly, and Teal'c could feel fear entering his mind. "What if we can't be cured?" he asked. "What if we have to spend the rest of our lives hearing what others are feeling?"
That was not a pleasant thought and Teal'c didn't want to dwell on it. "I do not believe that will be the case," he declared firmly, not entertaining the idea at all. "I have great faith in Doctor Fraiser and her medical abilities."
"Uh, yeah, me too," Daniel replied. "I'm gonna go now… I'll see you later."
Daniel couldn't help but shy away from people as he passed them in the corridor on his way back to the elevator. Thankfully, the corridor on Level 25 was fairly quiet and he didn't meet many people.
"Hi, Doctor Jackson," one of Janet's nurses smiled coyly at him, and he almost backed into the wall due to the intensity of her emotions aimed at him and his desire to stay clear of this particular woman.
"Uh, hi," he stammered back, making a mental note to ask Janet if that particular nurse could be kept well away from all his future physicals. The nurse fluttered her eyelashes at him, and he scurried off towards the elevator as quickly as he thought he could get away with.
Thankfully the elevator was empty when he got in. Passing people in the corridor wasn't as bad as they were in and out of range quickly enough, but being trapped in the confined space of the elevator wasn't something he wanted to do. Going down to the infirmary the previous night with both Jack and Sam had been more than enough.
His finger hesitated over the control panel for a second before pressing the button for Level 21, the medical level. The elevator headed upwards and within a minute, the doors opened and Daniel stared down the long corridor, so similar to the one he had just walked down from Teal'c's quarters. Changing his mind, he quickly made the decision to just head back to his office and jabbed at the number 19. The doors closed and he headed up again.
As he exited the elevator, Daniel starting fanning through his notes, checking once again that he hadn't missed anything. He wasn't sure what else he could find out about Geb, although he supposed that he could try an online search.
"Oomph." He suddenly made contact with something solid and looked down to see Siler on the floor. "Oh sorry, Sergeant." He offered a hand to help pull Siler up, who, once he was standing again, screwed up his face in pain and clutched at the bottom of his back. Daniel looked at him guiltily, although slightly relieved that it wasn't him who had actually ended up injured for once. "I'll take you to the infirmary," he offered, turning back to go the way he had just come.
Janet saw the two of them enter, with Siler obviously in pain, and hurried to greet them. Daniel could feel resignation coming from her as she realised that Siler had managed to injure himself yet again. "What happened this time?" she asked, escorting him to a bed and trying to get him to sit on it.
"Uh, that would be my fault," Daniel said, embarrassed. "I knocked into him in the corridor, and sent him flying."
Janet gave him an exasperated look and motioned for someone Daniel didn't recognise to come over and have a look at Siler. "I think it's a bruised coccyx," she said to the other woman, who nodded and pulled the curtains around Siler's bed. Janet then headed towards Daniel, and even if he couldn't see it for himself, he could sense the weariness.
"Are you okay, Janet?" he asked in concern, laying a friendly hand on her arm.
She smiled up at him, although it was clearly forced. "Fine," she said. "But there's nothing I can do for SG-1 here. You're going to have to return to '214."
The walk from the Stargate to the village on P3X-214 was one of the most uncomfortable that Daniel had ever experienced. Unlike the last time that SG-1 had been on that planet, they were all silent. Jack and Sam were staying as far away as they could from each other, with Jack leading the small group and Sam bringing up the rear.
Daniel wasn't sure where to go. The ability to read people's emotions had caused a divide in the team, and he didn't like it. With their footsteps, and the occasional cough or sneeze being the only sounds, the uncustomary silence was unnerving.
Janet had come with them and was walking along next to Teal'c, dwarfed by the towering Jaffa, stumbling slightly over the alien terrain. She was just as silent as the accompanying team.
The village was fortunately not too far away from the gate, and it took them just under fifteen minutes before they reached the outskirts of the settlement. A familiar figure was sitting outside the building nearest to them, talking to a young girl.
"That's Tomak," Daniel said to Janet, moving up so he was by her shoulder. She jumped slightly, and glanced quickly up at him. "He's the equivalent of the doctor of the village, and the man we talked to last time we were here."
Janet nodded. "Hopefully he'll know something about what's happened to you," she said quietly, before moving away from him. Daniel watched her go, feeling her uneasiness and insecurity. He sighed, and moved next to Jack, ready to talk with the planet native in front of them. Daniel wasn't surprised at just how nervous Jack was feeling. If they couldn't stop reading other people's emotions, then they would no longer be able to continue as SG-1, and Daniel couldn't see his friend wanting to give up the fight against the Goa'uld any time soon. Also, he didn't know how they would be able to cope with people avoiding them whenever they wanted to hide something, like Janet was doing to them at the moment. He didn't want to have Janet run in the opposite direction every time she saw him coming.
"Ahh, welcome back, friends from Earth," Tomak greeted, smiling as he got up to welcome them. "I did not expect you to return so soon. And who is this with you?"
"Tomak, this is Doctor Janet Fraiser," Daniel introduced. "She is our sunu."
"I am pleased to meet you, Doctor Fraiser," Tomak said, bowing slightly. Janet gave him a small smile, before glancing at the little girl outside the small cabin, looking up at the strangers. The girl was obviously short of breath, and it appeared likely she was in the early stages of the illness the people of this planet suffered from.
"Come with me to my home," Tomak said, indicating that they should follow him across the village. Janet glanced back at the child one last time, knowing how she was suffering due to the samples that her HAZMAT team had brought back.
She studied at her surroundings, and the people there during their short walk through the village. There were obvious signs of suffering amongst the population. Many of those who were ill were sitting outside their homes, enjoying the warm sunshine. She easily spotted those who were close to death, and she wished that there were something she could do for them.
Janet felt Daniel before she saw him, coming in close behind her. He was talking to her quietly about the village and what he had learnt about the culture during the last visit, but she wasn't really listening. She had a feeling Daniel knew that, but kept talking anyway in a bid to distract them both from their current circumstances.
"Janet, we're here," Daniel said, nudging her slightly to bring her out of her thoughts and indicating that she should enter the humble cabin before him. She smiled weakly up at him, and he held the curtain draped across the door back for her, smiling back at her.
It took a moment for her to adjust to the dark room following the bright sunshine outside. Tomak moved around the room, lighting a few candles and the flickering light illuminated a small room, with three rough, wooden benches surrounding a fireplace, a small table with two chairs, a number of shelves on the wall and two doors.
"Can I get you anything to drink?" Tomak asked, moving towards one of the shelves at the far end.
"No, thank you," Daniel answered for the group, and the planet native nodded and moved back to them, gesturing that they should sit down. He stood in front of the unlit fireplace, and five expectant sets of eyes looked up at him.
"I know why you have returned," he began, his eyes darting around, not wanting to rest for too long on any of their faces.
"Ah ha!" Jack announced. "What have you done to us?"
"Jack…" Daniel warned, feeling the annoyance coming from his friend. He understood it, but realised that there was no point in pissing off the only man who could potentially help them of their current situation.
"Daniel," Jack replied back, turning from glaring at Tomak to glare at Daniel instead. Daniel sat there unfazed.
Tomak was nervous, and Daniel noticed him subtlety shift slightly away from where the angry colonel was sitting. "I did it for the good of my people," he said. "I did it to try and make you help us."
Daniel's face furrowed in confusion. "How could making us hear each others emotions help you?" he asked.
"You know how we feel now, yes?" Tomak asked. Daniel nodded. "Then you must now know how we suffer at the hands of Geb. It is his fault that so many of our people are ill, for he brought the sickness here and gave it to us. He is not a god; no god could be this cruel to his people. You can feel how frightened we are of him, and how even those who claim that they can not act against him because he is a god know that he is a bane to our way of life here. We are not good at fighting. We do not have the weapons or the skills that you have, and should we even try to raise an army against Geb, he would crush us immediately. All we have is our knowledge of the earth, and even that is not enough.
"I wanted you to understand what it is like to live like this. To live in fear everyday that Geb or his forces will come through the gate to take even more of our innocents," Tomak paused, and SG-1 immediately felt the strong wave of remorse and sorrow coming from him. When he continued, his voice was strained. "I was wedded, oh… many cycles ago. And my wife and I had a daughter, Seren. Ailie, my wife, died from the sickness. There was nothing I could do to help her, except perhaps lessen her pain. All my knowledge as a sunu, and there is nothing I can do to help any of them. Sometimes…" his voice grew softer. "Sometimes I wonder if it would be better for me to help them end it before their time and prevent their suffering. Sometimes as I laid next to my wife in those nights she was truly suffering, I just wanted to end it all for her."
Daniel felt Janet stiffen next to him, and the emotions he was reading from her intrigued him. There was a resigned feeling, as though she had gone through a similar situation herself. This wasn't the Janet he knew. The woman… the doctor he knew was a fighter. She would fight to the very end to save the life of her patient, be they Apophis or her own daughter. He glanced briefly at her, while Tomak paused in his emotional tale. Her eyes were fixed on an invisible spot straight in front of her, her back straight and her hands clasped tightly together in her lap.
"Seren was barely twelve cycles old when her mother died, and she was the only light in my life," Tomak said. "She was all I had, away from my duties. Once the sickness takes hold of a person, then no children will be born. We were blessed with our daughter… I know many others who were not so fortunate." He bowed his head slightly, and his visitors remained respectfully silent, allowing him time to confront his radiating emotions. Daniel could empathise with the man all too well with the loss of his wife because of the Goa'uld.
"It was six cycles ago when Geb himself came to our world to choose who would be 'fortunate' enough to serve their gods," Tomak continued. "He saw Seren… I tried to change his mind… begged him to take me instead and let her be. But Geb had his mind set on her, and so she was taken back through the Cha'apai. I have had no word of her since. I do not know whether she is alive or dead, and I do not know which I would prefer her to be."
Silence greeted him as he finished his story, and in the corner of his eye, Daniel could see Jack bowing his head down and looking at the floor in front of him. "Tomak, we have all lost people we love," Daniel began. "We understand the fact that it hurts, and that you are suffering. We have seen the suffering that the Goa'uld can cause… the fear, the sickness and all you needed to do was ask for our help and we would have done whatever was in our power to help you."
"But not now," Tomak sighed. "Because of what I – one man – have done to you, you will forsake your help for the rest of my people."
"He didn't say that," Jack said, looking back up. "Just fix what you've done to us, ask us nicely to help you and we'll help you out best we can."
Tomak looked fearful. "I can not fix it," he said. Panic radiated off all of his visitors and he quickly added. "There is no cure, but it is not a permanent change. It was in the drink I gave you on your first visit."
"What is it?" Janet asked, speaking up for the first time. Tomak's words had come close to home, with the loss and the suffering caused by a Goa'uld, and she was trying to keep her emotions in control, despite the fact she knew that SG-1 were most likely picking up on them.
"It is a plant discovered many cycles ago by my forefathers," Tomak explained. "When wars ended, and it was time to discuss peace, those representing the village would use it to determine if those they were talking with were being true to what they were saying. It is rarely used now, except when an offence is committed and we must judge as we see fit."
"Are you using it now?" Sam asked curiously. "Surely it would have been useful for you to know how we were feeling so you could know whether to trust us or not."
Tomak shook his head. "It can only be taken with prior agreement by the ruling council," he said. "The plant is not abundant and there are only a few of us who know where it grows and how to reap it safely. My contemporaries would know immediately if I had taken it, so I did the only thing I could do with it… I gave it to you."
"You said it wasn't permanent," Jack said. Tomak nodded. "How long will it last?"
"It is dependent on each person," the man said. "The most I have seen it last in a person is thirty-four lunar cycles, but normally it is much less than that… perhaps seventeen or so."
"That would be about two and a half weeks," Sam worked out. Nobody looked pleased at the length of time, although Daniel could still feel the relief at the fact that they weren't going to be stuck with the ability to read people's emotions for the rest of their lives.
Tomak looked at them each in turn. "I am truly sorry for what I have done to you," he said. "It is just that I wanted your help so much; it blinded me to my actions. But that is no excuse. I will understand if you just wish to leave."
"I think we'll have a look and see what we can do for you and your people before we head off anyway," Jack remarked casually. Tomak stared at him in disbelief. "If that's okay with you of course."
"There's no chance of the rebel Jaffa helping us out here is there," Jack remarked to Teal'c as the two stood together in the shade of a tree, having walked the entire perimeter of the small settlement and started to discuss the possible options open to them.
"I do not believe so," Teal'c replied.
Jack sighed. "Yeah, thought as much. But I'm not sure how many personnel the general would be willing to let us use." His eyes strayed to look at Janet, who was taking samples from a few of the villagers in the shade of a nearby tree. He watched as she carefully drew a vial of blood from a little girl sitting on Daniel's lap and tried not to remember what had happened in the last noteworthy battle against the Goa'uld. "Not after last time."
Teal'c could feel his friend's guilt and remorse, and followed his gaze to where Janet was smiling at the little girl as she displayed her 'war wound' to her mother. O'Neill was good at playing the 'blame-game' as Daniel Jackson had once described it, and Teal'c knew that the colonel somehow blamed himself for the doctor's almost fatal injury. It was unfounded; it was irrational; it was human.
"You are not to blame for Doctor Fraiser's injury, O'Neill," Teal'c said, although he knew his words would have little effect on him.
Jack shrugged. "That's not the problem at hand now though, is it?" he said. "Let's walk it again, and see what we can come up with."
Teal'c inclined his head in agreement and the two men set off. As they passed the two doctors and their latest victim, a small boy with large solemn brown eyes, Jack told them that they were going to make another pass around. After that they would then be heading back, once Janet had collected enough samples to add to the ones she already had sitting in the labs back at the SGC. Daniel nodded.
"We haven't got the equipment for many more samples, so we'll probably be done by the time you get back," he said, looking towards Janet for confirmation. She just nodded and concentrated on plunging the needle into the small boy's arm.
Daniel watched the other two members of his team disappear around a corner, before directing his attention back to Janet and the little boy.
"You didn't have to stay with me, you know," she remarked, not looking up from her work. "It's not as if there's a problem with communication… they all speak English."
He just shrugged. "Well, if I was with Jack and Teal'c then I'd be suffering from a communication barrier… in the fact that I wouldn't understand a word of what they were saying!"
"You could have gone with Sam to patrol out by the gate," Janet pointed out, affixing a Band-Aid to the boy's arm. "There you go."
"I think she wanted to be left alone," Daniel said, regretting the words as soon as they came out. Everything about Janet's behaviour and stance were indicating that she wanted to be left alone too. She glanced up at him briefly, but said nothing, before returning to the label she was writing to stick on the vial of blood that she had just drawn.
"Is that it for the children?" Daniel asked after a minute and she nodded.
"I'd like some of their elderly now… well, what constitutes as elderly for them," she said. "Both with and without the sickness if possible." Daniel stood up and moved over to where Tomak was standing a respectable distance away from their work, watching in wonder at Janet's medical paraphernalia. Janet watched them talk until Tomak turned and headed into the village and Daniel returned back to sit by her.
"Tomak wanted to know why you wanted the healthy and the sick," he remarked conversationally, as he made himself comfortable on the hard ground. Janet gave him a fleeting look before returning back to her kit.
"Remember when the Land of Light and Dark were split into 'Touched' and 'Untouched?" she asked, fiddling with something he didn't recognise.
"How could I forget?" Daniel asked, grimacing slightly at the memory.
"Well, that virus was histaminolytic - it fed on the histamines in the Touched blood. But the Untouched were able to stay immune because they had no histamine in their blood," she explained, finally looking up at him. "I needed sample of both healthy and affected individuals to compare and work out what was different. I'm hoping I might find something similar here."
Daniel nodded. "Got it," he said. Satisfied, Janet turned back to preparing for the next sample as Tomak returned with a number of people, who on Earth would be classified as middle age. Daniel indicated that the first one should come on over, and the sample taking began again.
Sam was perfectly happy patrolling the area by the Stargate alone. Being free from anyone else's emotions allowed her time to think about the situation that they had found themselves in, but she soon discovered that it wasn't an experience she wanted to dwell on.
She was worried. Worried about how what they had all heard, and would continue to hear, would affect the team. Worried about Janet, who, despite what all outward appearances suggested, was suffering and was clearly too stubborn to let anyone help her. The last seven years had been so turbulent, and events had taken their toll on all of them. Would they even survive another seven? They'd already had too many too close calls, and Sam knew that even in the next fight they ended in, the luck might run out for one of them. They were all only mortal after all.
She shook her head firmly, trying to get such melancholy thoughts out of her mind, and instead tried to concentrate on her surroundings. The sun still shone brightly in the sky, illuminating the trees and rocks that Colonel O'Neill had been so happy to see when they had first arrived on the planet. Had it really only been yesterday they'd first arrived? It seemed much longer than that.
She looked down the slight hill to the clearing where the Stargate stood. Every so often, she would metaphorically take a step back and look at it through the eyes of 'Sam Carter' instead of 'Doctor' or even 'Major' Carter. It had been the focus of her life for so many years now that sometimes she forgot what exactly it was, and what she and the rest of the team did weekly.
As she stood there, just watching the stone circle, chevrons lit up and she frowned. They had told General Hammond that they would initiate contact, and they certainly hadn't been there long enough for him to get worried just yet. She crouched down, cradling her weapon and watched as a number of Jaffa came through.
"Oh hell," she muttered to herself as more and more came through. She reached for her radio. "Colonel, this is Carter. Come in."
The radio crackled to life. "O'Neill here. What is it, Carter?"
"Sir, we have a problem," Sam said, quickly estimating the number of Jaffa that had come through the gate. "Approximately thirty Jaffa have just come through the Stargate."
"Oh, for crying out loud," O'Neill muttered. "Okay, Carter, fall back to the settlement perimeter and we'll meet you there. We'll set up an ambush along the path for them."
"Yes, sir. Carter out," she replied, taking one last glance at the amassed Jaffa and slipping back through towards the village.
"Daniel, Doc," Jack called as he neared the pair. Daniel looked up.
"We're almost finished," he said, "this is the last one."
The lady whose blood Janet had just taken waved at the colonel who gave her a quick, tight smile in return. "It's not that," he replied. "We have a situation."
"What sort of situation?" Daniel asked. Jack indicated that he would say once the woman had moved out of earshot. Daniel stood up, and offered Janet a hand and they made their way towards Jack and Teal'c.
"Carter just reported that a bunch of Jaffa has come through the 'Gate," Jack said. "We're gonna set up an ambush just outside the village." He hesitated, looking at Janet. Thirty Jaffa against the four members of his team wasn't a ratio he particularly liked the odds of. "Doc, how comfortable are you with a gun?"
Janet looked at Jack witheringly. "I take a refresher course every year and have done for the past seven," she said. "Obviously I'm capable of handling a P-90 else I wouldn't have been given one!" Her automatic weapon was currently lying across her back, the strap securing it to her and allowing her hands to be free while she worked. Hammond had seen it fit to declare that weapons were to be carried by all non-combat personnel who had the training to use them, especially when heading to a world that had been annexed by the Goa'uld.
Jack had the grace to look slightly embarrassed. "Fair point, Doc," he replied. Daniel could feel that he was uncomfortable at this situation; Jack wasn't happy having Janet out in the middle of the battle. Daniel couldn't help but think of the nightmare he'd woken up to that morning, with Janet lying dead in front of him.
"Okay then," he said, indicating in the direction they were to head in. "Time to lock and load."
It was not long before the sound of weapons fire and staff blasts filled the air. The first dozen or so Jaffa had been taken out easily as SG-1 had the element of surprise on their side. Now the remaining Jaffa had been alerted to their presence, it was more difficult.
The next few minutes were a frantic blur for Janet as she ducked and weaved in around the trees, firing randomly at advancing Jaffa. A few staff blasts had come dangerously close, and she couldn't help but think of the last time that she had been involved in a fire-fight. She gave an involuntary shudder and nearby, Sam took a second to glance at her in concern. At the start of the ambush, Jack had positioned Janet in between him and Teal'c but, because of the fluidic nature of the fight, they were long gone.
More Jaffa fell and Janet moved around to her right, further away from Sam and the village. It felt strange being so heavily involved in the fighting instead of treating the casualties. Her weapons training hadn't been able to prepare her for this, and she realised that the best advice had been from Sam many years ago when she had told her "All you have to do is point and shoot."
Another volley of shots and another Jaffa lay on the ground. SG-1 was slowly winning this battle and Janet just hoped that it would all be over soon. She hadn't lied to the colonel when she said that she was comfortable with a gun and was capable of handling a P-90, for she was. It was just that she was not sure how comfortable she was at being on a battlefield following her near death on one six months ago. She tried to ignore the feelings of trepidation that rose up in her again, telling herself not to be so foolish. This wasn't like the last time and nothing like what had happened would happen again. She wouldn't let it.
"Carter, what's your status?" Jack yelled, firing his P-90 at the two Jaffa charging recklessly towards him.
"Holding ground, sir. I don't think there are many more of them," Sam shouted over the sounds of the battle. Daniel certainly hoped so… he wasn't sure how much longer he could hold out.
Janet was to his left, firing away at the Jaffa coming towards them. In the far corner of his eye, he saw movement. It was another Jaffa, with his staff weapon aimed straight at Janet. His heart in his mouth and barely thinking about what he was doing, he covered the distance between them in two steps and flung himself at the doctor.
The Jaffa fired.
Janet cried out, as she hit the dirty ground, Daniel on top of her. His face was screwed up in pain, inches from hers. The Jaffa who had taken a shot at her fell to his knees and collapsed. Teal'c was standing behind him, his face grave as he turned to shoot another Jaffa taking aim at him.
"Daniel!" Janet cried, as he rolled off her, clutching his arm tightly to his chest. "Oh god." Her face paled when she saw the extent of the damage to his shoulder. She glanced round to see the other three members of SG-1 pick off the remaining Jaffa. "Daniel, hold on," she ordered, looking around for her med kit. She swore under her breath when she realised that she'd left it in the village, along with all her other medical supplies. "Daniel, what the hell did you think you were doing?"
He hissed in pain as she carefully moved away the damaged clothing and gingerly prodded the injured area. "Saving you."
Janet bit her lip, and reached for her radio. "Sam, Daniel's been injured. I need my medical kit from the village." She turned her attention back to her patient and tried to remain calm and professional. This was all her fault.
"I'm on my way," Sam said over the radio, and looking up briefly, Janet saw the tall figure of her friend running towards the nearby settlement.
"It's okay, Janet," Daniel tried to reassure the doctor, feeling the anxiety and trepidation coming from her. "I've been shot at enough times. I'm just a walking target!"
Her compassion was easy enough to read in her warm brown eyes, without the need for his current empathic abilities. "If it's because you keep throwing yourself in front of the blasts, then I'm going to have a lot less sympathy for you in future!"
"Ah, you know me, Janet," he said, managing to smile slightly up at her. "I always have to save the damsel in distress."
Over the following two weeks, SG-1's abilities had slowly faded until they were no longer able to hear people's emotions. Daniel's injured arm was out of its sling, but they all knew that any damage done by the unwanted invasion of people's privacy would take even longer to heal than his flesh wound.
All four members of the team were sitting together in the commissary, having lunch together. Only Teal'c seemed to have any appetite as he tucked into his mountainous pile of food. It was awkward. They'd all had nothing to hide behind while they were reading each other's emotions, and they knew, as did Hammond, that they would not be put back on active duty until they found some way to come to terms with what they'd experienced.
Daniel poked half-heartedly at what the food server had claimed was macaroni and cheese, although he was pretty sure he could taste chicken. Even when his abilities had been declining, he had still felt the unhappiness coming from Janet. She had tried to avoid all the members of SG-1 during their daily tests and check-ups, but he had often found himself in the infirmary at the same time as her. It had become worse since their return from P3X-214, and her study of the data that they had collected on the sick population there. He knew that she had worked initially on the problem herself, before her duties as the base chief medical officer forced her to relinquish it to the biological researchers over at Area 51.
He dropped his fork, and pushed his half eaten plate away. The other three looked up at him, and he stood up. "Uh, I'm off to… uh… go… uh… check with… uh… because, I… uh…"
Teal'c merely raised an eyebrow and titled his head, looking up at the archaeologist. Daniel looked down, and tried not to blush under the scrutiny of his friends. "Okay, fine, I'm going to see Janet. I need some more antihistamines, and…" There were disbelieving looks. "I'll see you later."
There was a small smile on Teal'c's face as he watched Daniel all but run out of the commissary. Daniel's concern and empathy towards Doctor Fraiser was blindingly obvious.
"I too must depart," he announced, pushing back his chair. His two remaining companions looked at him, then risked glances at each other.
"Appetite satisfied?" Jack asked, a trace of customary sarcasm in his voice.
Teal'c nodded. "Indeed," he said. "I must return to my quarters. The tale of the residents of Hollingside Lane begins soon. Following India's confession to Lara that Jeremiah was the father of her baby, I can not risk not finding out what happens when Devon discovers this."
He bowed slightly before leaving Jack and Sam sitting at the table alone, with their untouched lunches in front of them. "I should go too," Sam said in a low voice, moving to go.
"Carter," Jack said quietly, reaching out to catch her arm. "We need to talk."
She sat back down in her chair, refusing to meet his eyes. "What can we say?" she asked in the same low voice, acutely aware of their surroundings. Jack exhaled loudly. "What is there left to say?"
"I don't know," Jack replied honestly. "But we can't ignore this."
She nodded. "But I don't know what else to do," she said. "I don't know how we can make the situation any better. It's just all so…"
"I know," he smiled sadly. "There's nothing we can do. I know that and you know that. There's still too much at stake here."
She nodded again. "It's just so hard… so frustrating."
"Carter, I know," he reminded her. "I have those feelings too. When I went missing because of Maybourne's stupid little stunt… Teal'c told me how you reacted to that." Pain… guilt overwhelming her. It had been her fault… all her fault and now they had no idea where he was… no idea if she'd ever see him again.
Sam opened her mouth to protest at the fact that Teal'c had revealed that to him, but he continued on. "He told me that because I reacted in the same way when you went missing on the Prometheus." She looked at him, trying to ignore the image that had appeared in her mind. Frantic, demanding, passionate. Her dominating him as he let her advance, knowing that he wanted it as much as she did.
"Ah." What more could she say to that? They sat there in silence for a minute, each lost in their own thoughts. "Sir," she began. "I just don't think that there's anything we can do. We just have to continue on, like always, like we have been doing. There's just too much at stake."
Jack nodded slowly, tracing his finger around the rim of his empty coffee cup. "I guess." He didn't even try and muster up any enthusiasm for the statement. "I just wish…"
"I know." He looked up and their gazes locked for a moment. This time there was no visible barrier between them; just the unspoken words and the knowledge that nothing could be done.
Sam broke away first. "I, um, I need to get back to my lab," she said. He nodded. "I'll see you later, Colonel."
"Yes, Major. Later."
She was thumping the punch bag when he wandered into the gym. It wasn't a typical place to look for her, which explained why he had taken so long to find her.
Thump, thump. She was breathing hard as her fists pounded relentlessly against it. Daniel stood quietly to one side, trying not to attract her attention. He need not have worried; she was so immersed in what she was doing that nothing short of a Goa'uld attack would have disturbed her.
With one final punch, Janet grabbed onto the bag, and leant her head forward onto the smooth surface. Daniel frowned, and bit his lip, before moving forward. He coughed slightly to alert the doctor to his presence. Her head shot up and she turned to look at him. Her newly highlighted brown hair was tousled around her head. Large brown eyes were glistening with unshed tears.
"Janet?" he asked hesitantly, as he stepped forward into the room. He ensured that the door was closed behind him, as he placed a gentle hand on her shoulder and guided her to a nearby bench. She leaned against the wall and closed her eyes, looking as exhausted and as frail as Daniel had ever seen her.
"What do you want, Daniel?" she asked wearily, opening her eyes and turning to look at him. He sat down beside her.
"I don't need to be empathic to see that you're hurting," he said solemnly, trying to push back the memories of what he had felt when he had been around her. The overwhelming sadness had reminded him of when he had lost Sha're, and he knew she needed help even if she was unwilling to ask for it. "And I think, no, I know that you need to talk about it because it's not going to just go away. I just wanted to let you know that I'm here for you, whenever you need a shoulder to cry on, or just someone to listen to you."
He patted her hand and smiled, suddenly feeling awkward as he rose and headed towards the closed door.
"I just feel so useless." Janet's exclamation burst forth from behind him. He turned, with his hand still on the door handle.
"What?" he replied, hardly believing what he was hearing.
"I feel useless," she whispered as he moved back to sit by her. She hastily wiped tears away from her eyes. Daniel remembered Sam telling him many years ago that she wasn't supposed to cry; neither was Janet. Daniel felt a bitter stab of resentment at the military training that prevented a mother mourning the almost complete loss of her daughter without feeling guilty for having and showing emotions. He felt around in his BDU pockets for a packet of Kleenex and offered them to Janet. She accepted one with a watery smile, as she wiped her eyes with it.
"Thanks," she whispered, clenching the damp tissue tightly in her hand.
"No problem," he replied. "Now, do you want to tell me why you're feeling so useless?"
Janet sighed. "It's a lot of things really," she said, looking down at her hands. "I guess the situation on P3X-214 just put them all into perspective. In the last six months, I've nearly died and then I got shot at again. I only didn't get hit because you pushed me out of the way, and took the shot yourself. I lost my daughter the first time; we could have lost you the second. There's nothing I can do for Tomak and his people… there was nothing I could have done to help you. God help me, I was even considering euthanasia! I'm meant to be a doctor – I'm meant to help people. I thought I was okay, I thought I was coping, but it's more difficult than I thought. How am I supposed to help others if I can't even help myself?!" Her voice, which had been steadily rising, dropped back to a whisper as she repeated "I can't even help myself."
Janet had sunk her face into her hands, and he gently tugged them away, forcing her to look him straight in the eyes.
"You are not useless," he told her honestly, reading the sadness in her eyes. Her face was pale in a stark contrast to the dark circles under her eyes, which told of many sleepless nights. Even the vigorous exercise had done little to keep any colour in her cheeks. Daniel mentally kicked himself for not noticing the doctor's mental anguish and suffering earlier. "But you are only human. I think sometimes you forget that… sometimes we all do. We're not infallible; we all make mistakes and we all struggle with things. So what if the last six months have been a little tough? Over the last seven years you've helped countless numbers while here, and more before that. You saved Cassie's life when the mind fire affected her. It was because of you that Tryan and all the other passengers from their ship are still alive."
"I held a gun on another living being, after lying to and sedating the guard outside," she pointed out, not totally convinced. "Hardly my greatest moment. I should have been court-martialled and had my medical license revoked for that. As for Tryan…they're alive in a virtual reality. There should have been something more I could have done for them."
"Well, how about how you've helped me then?"
"What do you mean?" she asked wearily, resting her head back against the wall.
"I've lost count of the number of times I've had to come to the infirmary needing your help, whether it be with allergies or a staff blast. I would have been dead many times before Kelowna if it hadn't been for you."
"There are other doctors here you know," Janet pointed out, not turning to look at him. Her eyes were fixated on the bare, grey wall opposite her, while Daniel kept his gaze on the petite woman next to him.
"Okay. What about how you helped me after I descended?" he said. That got a reaction, as she turned to look at him, with curiosity showing in her eyes. Daniel rarely talked about his de-ascension and all that followed to get his memories back. "It was hard for me. Everyone was telling me that I knew them, while I had no idea of even their names! I kept calling Jack 'Jim' and even asked Sam if we were involved." He blushed slightly when he confessed to that, but knew it was worth it when he saw the slight smile creep across her face. "Sometimes…" he hesitated, before taking the plunge and continuing. "Sometimes it felt like the others were… almost resentful because I still didn't remember them. But you were always so patient and caring with me. You didn't try to rush me to remember, but you were willing to sit with me while I tried to remember the littlest and most insignificant detail. You and the infirmary were two of the first things I remembered, or at least, they seemed familiar very quickly."
He reached out with his right hand and took hers, remembering a similar gesture of comfort what seemed like a lifetime ago when Cassie had been sick, and then again, not that long ago, where, for a few heart-stopping moments, he thought they'd lose her. Slowly, he reached his left arm across her. She buried her head in his shoulder, and he held her trembling body next to him. His left hand move up and wrapped itself in her hair, as he offered the physical comfort that she needed.
After a couple of moments, she pulled away from him, and smiled shakily. "Thank you," she murmured, pushing herself up off the bench and heading towards the door.
"Anytime," he replied, watching her head across the room. "Janet?"
She had almost reached the door when he called out her name. "Yeah?"
"I feel like I should... We've not been..." Daniel shook his head to clear his thoughts a little, then stood up and shoved his hands in his pockets. "I don't think you need to be alone right now. How would you feel about grabbing something to eat on the way home?"
Janet smiled up at him; the first real smile Daniel had seen in a while. "Sure," she replied. "I'd love to."
Written by: Vicki
Producers: LauraJo & Vicki