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Timebomb

~Jen~

Sam looked up from the computer screen and couldn't help but grin. Folding her arms she watched him and debated whether or not she really wanted to disturb him again. She gave a small, half laugh then walked round the table and put a hand on his shoulder.

"I'm not asleep," Jonas muttered.

"Sure, you're not," she said. "Just studying the insides of your eyes?"

"Hmmm?"

"Never mind. Am I keeping you up?"

"No, sorry," he said. "It's just…"

"You look exhausted."

"I feel it."

"Too many late nights?"

"Maybe," he sighed, sitting up properly and rubbing a hand down his face.

"You look like hell. Maybe we should call it a night."

"It's eleven in the morning."

"So we'll break for lunch. A long lunch," she added, looking at the colour – or rather the lack of colour – in his face. "And maybe you should…"

"No," he said quickly. "Doctor Fraiser's already given me the all clear."

"Jonas, you've been on base, what? Two days? And you're already exhausted."

"It's been a long few weeks."

"And you've made some great headway," Sam said, gesturing to the pile of notebooks Jonas had brought with him.

"There's enough here to keep me busy for weeks."

"I'm not going home."

"I didn't say you should."

"I'm not going to the Infirmary again."

"Don't tell me you're scared of Janet," Sam laughed.

"Not… scared…"

"Don't let her hear you say that."

"If I tell her that I'm exhausted she'll run a hundred tests and she'll come up with the conclusion that all I really need is more sleep."

"So go get some sleep."

"One more hour."

"Jonas!"

"One more hour, we'll have finished revising these calculations. Then we can go get some lunch and I can get some rest. Deal?"

Sighing, Sam nodded. "One hour. When did you get so stubborn?"

"Well, I spent a year in the company of this woman," he quipped.

"Funny," she replied. "OK, so what did you…?" She trailed off as Jonas put his head back in his hands. "Jonas?"

"I'm OK, I'm OK."

"No, you're not. Fun over, time to go visit the doctor."

"Sam, I'll be fine. Really. I just need…" He stopped talking as he felt his legs giving out from underneath him. Reaching backwards he grabbed the edge of the chair.

"Sit down?"

"I thought I wasn't going to get this bad."

"This bad? You were ill before you came here?"

"I was cleared by our doctors, Doctor Fraiser cleared me, I thought that…"

He didn't finish his sentence as he lost all strength in his arm and collapsed to the floor.

*****

Open eyes.

Close eyes.

Open one eye.

Close one eye.

Open one eye v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.

Janet was still standing there.

"Hi," Jonas said.

"You were feeling ill?" Janet asked.

"She told you?"

"Yeah, she told me," Janet said. "Why didn't you?"

"Our doctors gave me a clean bill of health."

"Want to tell me what's going on?"

"It's nothing," he said, struggling to sit up in the bed. "A couple of people at the institute have been feeling a bit under the weather. Nothing too serious, just… a heavy cold."

"You should have said something all the same," Sam said from the doorway. "Janet does not like surprises."

"Yes, I do," Janet replied. "But only if they involve chocolate, ice cream, cake or a good bottle of wine. Preferably all four," she added with a grin.

"Is that a hint?" Sam asked.

"You did cancel our last girls' night in."

"And you know why I did."

"I know, but still…"

"Look, I promise we'll do something," Sam said. "Soon. But first we should really get this one back on his feet."

"I've sent off for some blood work," Janet said. "His last set came back clear so I'm hoping that we'll see something new."

"I'm just tired."

"Jonas, your temperature has gone up a few degrees. It's not too serious in itself, but I'm not taking any chances."

"I just need some rest."

"Well, you can get that while Janet runs her tests, can't you?" Sam said.

"What about the naquadria?"

"I can cope. For a start I need to go over the calculations you've already done."

"Checking up on me?"

"Yes," she quipped. "Just double check everything."

"And I'll double check your checks when I get out of here."

"I'm sure you will," she smiled. "Get some sleep."

*****

"Do I need to be worried?" Hammond asked.

"No, sir," Sam said. "Jonas is probably right, he's been pushing himself too far."

"Putting in the long hours?"

"Something like that," she smiled. "He's got through a lot of work though. There's enough to keep me going for weeks, let alone the other scientists on the project."

"Are we any closer to a solution?"

"Yes, sir, I think we are. A lot of the instability comes from the energy output. Jonas is working on a way to channel that energy."

"Will it work?"

"I don't see why it wouldn't. There are some flaws in his ideas, but the reasoning is sound. Just needs a little refining."

"Any ideas on a timeline?"

"Not yet, sir. I know it's frustrating, sir, I'd love to be able to tell you that it's going to be two, three months. But until we can actually start working on the problem in great detail then we're not going to know exactly how much we need to do and how long it will take."

"I'm going to need an estimate, Major, I don't think the Pentagon is going to accept a 'some time' answer."

"Yes, sir. As soon as Jonas is up and about we can sit down and work out a timeline. We'll have a… conservative estimate for you by the time Jonas is due to leave."

"Sounds good to me. Congratulations, Major."

"For what? Sir, if this works then the thanks goes to Jonas. He's the one providing all the basic details, I'm just… adding in my expertise."

"It's a team effort, Major."

"And on this one we are definitely lagging behind the Kelownans. They've got the resources to work on this project full time."

"You sound jealous, Major."

"I guess I am a little, sir. If this works then we are going to get a serious advantage."

"I've read the paperwork." He smiled and rested his hand on the papers. "But I'm sure I don't appreciate the half of it."

"Well… Sir…"

"I'm not stupid, Major," he laughed. "I don't pretend to understand everything. What I do understand is that if you're getting excited about it, then it must be big."

"Huge, sir."

"So, where do we go from here?"

"I can make some progress, but I really need Jonas for the fine details."

"Any word on his condition?"

"Doctor Fraiser said she would let us know as soon as there was… something to know."

At that point the phone on Hammond's desk started to ring. "Hammond," he said, picking it up. "Understood." Replacing the handset he got to his feet. "Jonas' results are back."

*****

"I'm telling you, it's just exhaustion," Jonas protested for the fifth time that minute.

"No, it's not," Janet said, coming back with a piece of paper.

"Then what is it?" Hammond asked.

"You're not going to believe this," Janet said, handing the paper to Sam.

"You're kidding?" Sam laughed.

"Nope."

"What is it?" Hammond asked.

"Erm, chicken pox… sir," Janet said, trying to conceal a smile.

"Isn't that dangerous in an adult?"

"More so than when you catch it as a child, yes, sir. But most people don't suffer any serious problems."

"What's chicken pox?" Jonas asked.

"It's… um… just be glad Colonel O'Neill isn't here," Sam said.

"Why?"

"Because I'm sure he'd love the fact that you've contracted a kid's disease."

"A kid's disease?"

"As far as I can tell, you've contracted a mild form of chicken pox," Janet said.

"I don't see any kids on base," Jonas said.

"You don't have to have the disease to carry it. Anyone who has been in contact with children could have given it to you. You could even have caught it back home."

"What did you mean, doctor, 'as far you can tell'?" Hammond asked.

"While Jonas may look human, and essentially be human, there are some subtle differences in his physiology. It's chicken pox, sir, I'm certain of it."

"Is there a threat to the base?"

"I believe that this is similar to the Earth based version of chicken pox, so the antigens should be the same. Unless someone hasn't had it, I think we'll be OK."

"That would be me then," Sam said. "I've never had it," she said off everyone's looks. "Really. Mark got it and they kept putting me in a room with him but I… never got it."

"How do you feel?" Janet asked.

"I feel fine. And I've had the most contact with him."

"I want to know if you start feeling ill. Usual things, fever, spots, itching…"

"Spots?" Jonas asked. "Itching?"

"Yeah, that's gonna be the fun part," Sam said. "You'll get these spots, and they'll itch like crazy but you can't scratch them because it just makes it worse. Mom had to tape some oven mitts to Mark's hands to stop him picking at them."

"Sam, I'm serious," Janet said.

"I know, I know."

"You have a nasty habit of not mentioning when you feel ill."

"Janet, I promise."

"Are there any other members on base who should be warned?" Hammond asked.

"I've started a review of all personnel's medical files," Janet said. "I shouldn't think there would be too many people."

"Keep me informed."

*****

Sam climbed the steps to the Control Room. As soon as she'd heard the sirens indicating someone dialling in she knew it would have been SG-1.

"Things are apparently going well here, sir," she heard Jack's voice.

"Daniel behaving himself?" she asked, coming into view of the screen.

"Oh, you know Daniel, Carter," he replied. "He always has fun in these kinds of situations."

"I know you're not a fan of first contacts, Colonel," Hammond said, "but they need to be done."

"Yes, sir," Jack replied. "And it's all fascinating stuff. Really," he said in a deadpan voice. "So, how goes the research, Carter. Havin' fun?"

"There's been a bit of a situation, sir."

"Oh?"

"Jonas."

"What's he done?"

"He's ill, sir."

"Oh."

"It's…"

"It's what?"

"Chicken pox, sir."

"Excuse me?" he laughed. "Did you say…?"

"Yes, sir."

"A kid's illness?"

"Yes, sir."

"And I'm missin' this?"

"Colonel," Hammond warned.

"Sorry, sir," he said. "How is the poor boy?"

"He's fine, sir," Sam replied. Jack was grinning, and she was trying not to do the same. "Just… needs some rest."

"Got some oven mitts in?"

"OK, that's enough," Hammond said. "Report back in six hours, Colonel."

"Yes, sir," he said. "Oh, and Carter?"

"Yes, sir?" she asked.

"Give my best to the patient. Tell him if he stays in bed and doesn't scratch then I'll let him…"

"Colonel!" Hammond said.

Jack grinned and reached towards the camera. "O'Neill out."

The transmission went black and the gate shut down. Sam turned to Hammond and smiled. "Well, it could have been worse," she said.

"How?"

"The Colonel could be here and giving Jonas grief," she replied with a shrug.

*****

Sam picked up a couple of the notebooks she and Jonas had been working from and started to flick through the pages. Somewhere in them was the answer, she was certain of it. Pulling up the chair she sat at the desk, grabbing a pencil and notepad as she did. Copying the first calculation out she began to work on it, changing slight variables to see if the results were more favourable.

Blinking hard, she refocused and rubbed her temple.

"Sam?" Looking up she saw Janet in the doorway, clutching a file. "You OK?"

"Hey. Yeah, I'm fine. Kinda."

"Sam…"

"Just a headache, that's all."

"I checked the medical files. You're the only one on base who's never had chicken pox."

"Great."

"I want to check you over."

"I had a feeling you were going to say that."

"And are you going to fight me on this?"

"Not this time."

"You must be feeling bad," Janet smiled.

"No, I just don't think I could cope with you going on at me for the next few hours."

"Whatever," she smiled. "Come on."

*****

Sitting on the bed next to Jonas, Sam kicked her feet, swinging her legs in sheer boredom.

"So… how are you feeling?" she asked Jonas.

"Not good," he said. "I'm hot, restless, and I think I'm getting those spots on my arms."

"Not just your arms," she said.

"What?"

"You've, um…" she gestured to her own forehead and gave a wry smile.

"Great," he said, flopping back onto the bed. "And I'm bored out of my mind. Before you turned up it was just me and Siler."

Sam turned to look behind her. Sure enough, there was Siler, propped up on one of the beds, his ankle raised slightly. "And what happened to you?" she asked.

"Tripped," he said.

"Broken?"

"Torn ligaments."

"Ouch."

"Yeah."

"How are you coping?"

"Jonas is driving me nuts."

"I meant with the ankle," she smiled.

"Oh."

"You're driving Siler nuts?" she asked Jonas.

"How do you guys put up with this?" Jonas asked, resisting the urge to scratch layers of skin off.

"What?"

"This disease."

"Generally? We don't. I remember when my niece had it. She complained all day that she couldn't leave the house and see her friends."

"I thought that parents wanted their children to get it."

"They do."

"See, that bit I don't understand. What parent wants their child to fall ill?"

"It's not like that," Sam said. "If a child gets chicken pox it's usually not that serious. For an adult to get it, that's a different story. Chicken pox is a disease you generally only get once in your lifetime, then you're immune."

"And you never had it?"

"Nope," she said, swinging her feet some more.

"You have now," Janet said, coming in with her test results. "You're infected."

"Great. This isn't good, is it?"

"Normally I'd say it isn't, but… Jonas may have caught a variation on an Earth virus, but our version is not what he's given you."

"So is this serious or not?"

"I'm going to err on the side of caution and say yes. If nothing else, this is a lot quicker than the Earth version. Generally it takes a few days for external symptoms to appear, Jonas developed them within 24 hours. I want to keep you in for observation."

"Janet…"

"No buts, Sam."

"Alright, fine," she said, swinging her legs up onto the bed. "See? Resting."

"Company," Jonas grinned.

"He'll drive you crazy within an hour," Siler muttered.

"I heard that," Jonas said.

*****

Hammond replaced the phone and looked up as someone knocked on his door. "Come," he called.

"Major Carter has been infected," Janet reported.

"I've just told my superiors there's nothing to worry about."

"There isn't, sir, not as far as I can see. She's never had the disease, she was working closely with Jonas, it all points to her catching a contagious disease."

"Are you sure?"

"As sure as I can be, sir, yes. I'm keeping an eye on everyone but for the moment I think we're alright."

"Very well, doctor."

*****

"If you two don't shut up I will smother you both!"

Sam's hissed threat made Janet smile. "If you three can't play nice I might be forced to separate you."

"He started it," Jonas said.

"I did not," Siler replied.

"Yes, you did!"

Sam gave a muted squeal and grabbed handfuls of the covers to prevent herself from reaching out and hitting something.

"All I did was say that I blame him for the way I'm feeling," Siler said.

"And how is it my fault?" Jonas asked.

"How are you feeling?" Janet asked, walking over to him.

"Hot, mainly," Siler said.

"OK, let's do a set of bloods," she said.

"I've had chicken pox."

"Humour me," she said.

*****

"Sam," Jonas hissed. "Sam."

"What?"

"What if Siler's got what I've got?"

"I doubt it. He's had chicken pox."

"There's no chance of him getting it again?"

"Not really, no."

"So it's not my fault."

"Is that what this is about?"

"…No."

"Jonas, has anyone ever told you that you can be a big kid sometimes?"

"Once or twice."

"Just twice?" she asked. "You were never this annoying before."

"You think?"

"No. I could stand to be in the same room as you before."

"Well, eventually."

"Jonas…"

"Sorry."

"It's done, we've dealt with it."

"She says it's not my fault," Jonas said to Siler.

"But it will be your fault if Major Carter decides to smother you," Siler replied.

Sam looked up in hope when she heard someone coming, and sighed in relief when she saw Janet walk in. "Can you sedate one of them, please?" she asked. "Or both. That would work too." She stopped and noticed the look on her friend's face. "What?"

"We have a problem," Janet said.

"What?"

"You've got chicken pox," she told Siler.

"I've had it," he protested.

"I know."

"I didn't think you could get it again."

"Generally speaking, no, you can't. There are the odd cases but on the whole…"

"So what does this mean?" Sam asked.

"It means it's all Jonas' fault," Siler muttered.

*****

"How bad?" Hammond asked.

Janet felt like a little kid being told off. She remembered all the times she'd yelled at Cassie when the girl had led her to believe that something wasn't as bad as it really was. 'I've not done that well this semester, Mom', was the one that sprang to mind. In Cassie's language, 'not that well' turned out to be 'nearly failed a few subjects'.

She'd have to apologise to her in the letter she was still writing. Better yet, the next time she saw her. That would probably be before Cass ever got round to replying.

"To be honest, sir," she said, "I don't know."

"How can you not know?"

"Sir, it is not impossible for someone to have chicken pox as a child, and contract it again as an adult. It's rare, very rare, but not unheard of."

"Is that the case here?"

"I've had a chance to look at it. It's a variation on chicken pox, something Jonas brought with him."

"Why didn't your initial tests pick up on it?"

"I don't know, sir. It could have something to do with how quickly this is progressing. Usually chicken pox can last for up to a week, this shows signs of being much quicker than that. I'll know more when the latest set of bloods come back."

"How is Jonas?"

"Getting worse, as is Major Carter."

"I think given our track record with these things, it's best to err on the side of caution."

"Yes, sir," Janet said. "I'd recommend that you seal the base off."

"Anything else?"

"Sir, this is very contagious. And if it's not a case of Siler being unlucky, then we could be in trouble."

*****

Within two hours there were six more people ill in the Infirmary. Janet set up extra beds in the isolation rooms and was beginning to debate turning some of the guest quarters into makeshift sickbays. After initial diagnosis many people were able to keep active, winding down projects. Sam used the opportunity to escape the Infirmary and help with a shut down of all non-essential operations. So far her only symptoms were a raised temperature and slight dizziness. Janet was becoming more concerned about the rate of new infections and so grudgingly allowed Sam to be up and about on condition that as soon as she started to feel worse she came straight back. As far as Janet could tell, the presence of antibodies in everyone else wasn't preventing the infection, but it was helping to fight it.

*****

"I think I'm starting to see things," Lewis muttered.

"What?" asked his friend, Colin.

"I'm seeing things now. They never said nothing about seeing things."

"What are you seeing?"

"It's insane."

"Tell me."

"You'll think I'm losing it."

"Mate, look at where we work," Colin said. "Round this place, if you're not crazy, I mean, really crazy, then what you're seeing is real. And I don't think you're crazy."

"Thanks," Lewis said. "I think."

"So, what are you seeing?"

"I'm not really sure. The first time I saw it I just thought I'd been overdoing it. Then I started getting sick and now I keep seeing it."

"What?"

"This… creature."

"Creature?"

"Yeah. Not that big either. And it's kinda sneaking around base."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah, it's everywhere. And I don't get it. I really don't."

"Have you gotten a good look at it?"

"Not really, I just keep seeing it round corners and stuff. And you know the worst part? I keep thinking I've seen it before."

"What? Out there?"

"I don't know. I can't place it."

"Lewis, mate, you gotta sort this out."

"Do you think I'm getting worse?"

"I…" Colin trailed off, staring over Lewis' shoulder.

"Col? Colin?"

Lewis turned around, and there it was. His red creature.

*****

"I'm not about to pass out, Janet," Sam said. "I feel fine. Kinda."

"You sure?"

"Janet, I promise you, I am not going to play the hero here. If I feel bad I will tell you."

"OK, just thought I'd check in on you."

"Oh, and Janet?" Sam called as Janet headed for the door.

"What?"

"That look really suits you."

Janet smiled and looked down at her outfit. "Hammond's idea."

"I hate those bio suits."

"Well, I'm not that fond of them either, but do you want me to come down with this?"

"Not really," Sam laughed. "Although I'll tell you something, you're freaking out half the base. I keep hearing whispers about a red creature doing the rounds."

"You think that's scary? Wait until you hear what I'm about to do to General Hammond."

"What are you going to do?" Sam asked. "You know what? I'll wait for the grapevine. It'll probably be more interesting."

"Probably," Janet grinned. As she turned and walked out she saw a couple of SFs down the corridor, staring at her blankly. Ignoring them she turned and walked towards the elevator.

*****

"As a precautionary measure we've sealed the base off. All off-world SG teams are being told to stay where they are… Yes, sir… I understand… Thank you, sir." Hammond hung up the phone and in frustration ran his hands over his face.

"Stop it," Janet said from the doorway.

"Shouldn't that be, 'Stop it, sir'?"

"Technically I can outrank you on this."

"Why do these feel so much worse?"

"Because you're not a little kid anymore, sir," she said.

"Haven't you got anything for the itching?"

"Nothing that's going to take it away completely, no."

"This is ridiculous," he said, rubbing his arm.

"Sir," Janet said. "Stop it."

"I can't help it."

"Sir… don't make me…"

"You wouldn't?"

"Sir, in cases like this I can do whatever I see fit in order to treat my patient. Now you scratching those sores is not going to help. And if you continue to scratch, I will do."

"I'm sure this could count as insubordination somehow," he muttered.

"I'd like to see you try," Janet threatened.

"Half the base is talking about this, you know."

"Sam did tell me, yes."

"I can do without those sorts of rumours, doctor."

"Then stop scratching. Then I won't need to take action."

"Action?"

"Sir, I say this with all respect. Stop scratching or I will tape you to your chair."

"You wouldn't," he said.

From the recess of her bio suit, a gloved hand produced a roll of electrical tape. "Try me."

"Alright," he said, throwing his hands up in the air.

"Good," she said. "I'll check back later."

*****

Somehow, threatening to tape the General to his leather chair was giving Janet a power trip. When she walked into the Infirmary she couldn't stop grinning, and was grateful that hidden away in the bio suit no one could really see her.

"So, how are you doing, Jonas?" she asked as she checked his drip. "Jonas?" When he murmured in reply she quickly turned her full attention to him. "Jonas?" Carefully shaking him she was relieved when she got some kind of response. His temperature was soaring. She snapped into doctor mode and started barking orders to the nurses.

Sam watched them from the doorway, her arms folded across her stomach. He was the first. No one knew how he'd react to the virus, how bad he was going to get, when – or God forbid, if – he would get better. But once he'd gone through it then Janet would have an idea for the rest of them, how to treat them, pre-empt certain developments, give treatment early.

That would be her next. Sam Carter, renowned tough nut, fighting to the last, reluctant to admit when she's ill, working long and hard.

Sam Carter, terrified out of her mind.

As soon as she saw Jonas was responding to treatment she bolted for her lab. This wasn't her. Yes, she got scared. Yes, she was terrified from time to time but she never let it show. Taking a deep breath she composed herself. There was too much work to do.

Sam Carter, always working way too hard.

*****

Jonas slowly opened his eyes and blinked hard. His head felt like it was about to implode, but that was OK because his entire body felt like it was on fire. Pulling at the oxygen mask over his face he gasped for something a little less concentrated.

"Jonas?" he heard Janet's voice.

"Yeah?"

"Hey, you gave us a bit of a scare."

"Sorry," he muttered, allowing her to put the mask back in place. "This isn't good, is it?"

"You've got a fever, and it's affecting the way your body is fighting the virus."

"How bad?"

"Jonas, you're going to be fine."

"Not what I asked."

"It's bad," she sighed. "I don't know what to treat first, the fever or the virus."

"Isn't the fever worse?"

"Normally I'd say so, but…"

"What?"

"Jonas, chicken pox isn't serious… normally. But this isn't normal and I can't say for certain that the fever isn't part of this."

"You have no idea, have you?" he asked.

"Not a clue," she whispered.

*****

Looking at the clock, Sam realised she'd been working for over an hour. Shutting her laptop down she decided that the Control Room would be the next logical place for her to go. Always things to do up there. She swiped her card in the reader and was pleased when the doors opened immediately. As she reached for the control panel she felt dizzy and pressed a hand against the wall.

"I'm OK, I'm OK," she muttered to herself. "I am not doing this, not now."

Taking a deep breath she righted herself and put her security card into the slot and pressed the button. As the elevator descended she leaned up against the wall, closing her eyes and willing her system to keep going.

"One more hour," she whispered. "I just need one more hour."

*****

Janet was beyond exhausted. With new patients left, right and centre, half her nurses taking up beds and the physical side of having to do everything from within a bio suit, all she was craving was a seat and a cold drink. The mess hall was the one place that hadn't been converted into a hospital ward, and the few people that hadn't fallen ill just yet were avoiding those who had.

Sam was sat a table by herself, keeping a respectable distance from everyone else.

"Mind if I join you?" Janet asked.

"Sure," Sam gestured weakly to the chair opposite her.

"You look like hell."

"You look exhausted."

"Sam… you promised."

"I just need something to eat. It'll keep me going for a little while longer."

"I can't believe how stubborn you can be sometimes."

"Yes, you can," Sam replied with a smile.

"OK, granted, it's what I've come to expect. But even you're not this stupid, Sam. You're ill."

"So is half the base. Someone needs to keep going."

"It doesn't have to be you. Look around you, Sam. There are people who can do the stuff you do. OK, it'll take two people twice as long, but it'll get done."

"Janet, really, I can cope."

"Really?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

"OK, that looks ridiculous in that suit," Sam said.

"Fine," Janet said, pulling at the catch around the headpiece. "I'm dying in this thing anyway."

"Is that wise?"

"Probably not," she said, grabbing Sam's drink. "But it's impossible to drink in that thing."

"Janet, what happens if you get sick?"

"Then someone else will take over."

"Very subtle, Janet."

"No one is irreplaceable, Sam. Not in a professional capacity. But you are, and you're running the risk of lasting damage."

"Do you ever give up?" Sam asked, pushing herself to her feet. Almost immediately her legs gave out from underneath her and she collapsed.

Reacting quickly, Janet prevented Sam's head from crashing onto the floor. "Not where my patients are concerned, no," she whispered. "Give me a hand, would you?" she asked a couple of the others.

*****

There was no way Sam was going anywhere. If she'd been able to actually get out of bed she would have found it hard to go anywhere as she was hooked up to drips and machines. Janet contemplated attaching everything to Sam in an effort to make it harder for her to move.

"You're evil," Sam muttered under the oxygen mask as Janet did her obs.

"So I've been told," she replied.

"I'm sorry. I thought…"

"I know," Janet soothed. "But if you weren't so stubborn you wouldn't be the Sam Carter we all know and love. Leave the problems to someone else, OK? We can manage without you, you know. We may not like it, but we do."

"You're just saying that to make me feel better," she said, pulling the mask from her face.

"Did it work?"

"A little," Sam laughed. "So, how is everyone?"

"Well, most people are too sick to work but not serious. The General did not go quietly, but he's finally accepted that he can't carry on."

"Did you have to tape him to his chair?"

"No, but I did threaten to tape him to the bed."

"You didn't?"

Janet grinned.

"Oh, that'll keep 'em gossiping for weeks!"

"Maybe. Siler's not good, Jonas… Jonas is worse."

"Bad?"

"Bad," she nodded. "But don't worry, I'm not letting him get away that easily."

"Hey, I've just thought of something."

"What?"

"If the General and I are incapacitated, and with the Colonel off-world, I guess that means you're in charge of the base."

"I guess it does," Janet said, putting the mask back on Sam's face. "And in that case I really am ordering you to rest."

Sam nodded slightly, and closed her eyes.

As soon as peace was restored, the tannoy burst into life. *Doctor Fraiser to the Control Room.*

"Does it ever end?" Janet muttered.

"Nope," Sam said.

*****

"What is it?" Janet asked as she got there.

"It's SG-1, sir," the young lieutenant said.

"Hey, doc, where is everyone?" Jack asked.

"Ill," she replied. "We've got an epidemic situation here."

"Epidemic?"

"Jonas' virus."

"Jonas has given chicken pox to the base?"

"An alien variety of it, yes. And this is bad."

"Bad enough that you want us to stay put, right?"

"Got it in one, Colonel."

"Great," Jack droned. "More time with the natives."

"I'm sure you can cope, sir," Janet said.

"I can cope with the locals, it's Daniel who's worse."

"I heard that!" Daniel exclaimed off-camera. "Can I help it if I find these people fascinating?"

"At least one of you is having fun," Janet said.

"Aren't you?" Daniel asked.

"Oh, yes, great fun," she said. "Half the base are running fevers, the other half are heading that way. I can't cure it, I'm trying to treat a bunch of symptoms and I've spent most of the past four hours in a bio suit."

"Sounds like a riot," Jack said.

"We'll call when it's safe to come home," Janet said.

"OK, then I guess we'll…" Jack started.

"O'Neill," Teal'c called. "Look at this."

"What is it?"

"Everything OK?" Janet asked.

"I don't know," Jack replied. "Hold on."

Jack disappeared and Daniel came into view. "There's something on the gate," he said.

"Something on the gate?" Janet asked. Off-camera she heard Jack mutter something that could only have been a profanity. "What?"

"Houston, we have a serious problem," Jack said, coming into view of the camera with Teal'c.

"What?" Janet asked.

"There is a device attached to the Stargate," Teal'c said. "It is a bomb."

"A bomb?"

"Many of the rebel Jaffa have mentioned these devices. Once attached to a Stargate they become active when the Stargate is engaged."

"So what sets them off?" Daniel asked.

"The gate shutting down," Jack replied.

"So as soon as we sign off and the gate shuts…" Janet started.

"Boom," Jack said.

"How bad will it be?" Janet asked.

"A highly volatile explosive on a naquada Stargate?" Daniel asked. "Bad."

"Very bad," Jack added.

"Extremely," Teal'c concluded.

"So… what now?" Janet asked.

"Now we figure out how to disarm a bomb," Jack said.

"In under 38 minutes," Daniel said.

"Great," Janet muttered under her breath. Command was not what she thought it would be.

*****

Janet could picture the letter now.

Dear Cass,

How are you doing? I'm fine. Hey, guess what? I got to be in command of the base for a while. Of course I only got the command because everyone else was ill. And just when I thought it was bad, SG-1 were trapped on a highly populated planet with a bomb on the gate which would go off when it shut down.

So, what's new with you?

It would not look good on her record if she got SG-1 and a planet full of peaceful people blown to bits while under her command.

"Janet?"

Sam's voice broke into her thoughts and made her realise that she'd walked to the Infirmary. Autopilot, probably. "Yeah?"

"You OK?"

"Not really."

"What's going on?"

"SG-1 just dialled in."

"And? Everything OK?"

"Not really," she said. "Sam, they're in trouble."

"What? How?"

Janet explained about the bomb, giving her all the details. "38 minutes to disarm a bomb. Is command always like this?"

"I've had my moments," Sam laughed. "They're going to need some help."

"Well, Daniel's been able to determine… Yeah, they're going to need a hand," Janet laughed.

"OK," Sam said, swinging her legs off the edge of the bed. Almost immediately a wave of nausea swept over her. "Right. Guess I won't be moving any time soon."

"Sam, you need to rest."

"I can rest when I get them home."

"You can't do a thing in your condition."

"Yes, I can," Sam said.

"Sam…"

"Can you set up a link to me here?"

"I couldn't, but I'm sure someone could. But I don't want you working too hard."

"Janet, look at me. I'm hooked up, wired up, and I'm in your territory. Tell me how I'm going to overdo it?" she smiled.

"You sound bored."

"I am. Siler's asleep, Jonas has been very quiet."

Janet walked over to Jonas' bed and checked his obs. "Jonas?" she asked. Putting a hand on his forehead her face fell.

"What?" Sam asked.

"He's burning up."

*****

"Colonel?"

Sam's voice coming out of the MALP gave Jack a start. "Carter?"

"Yes, sir."

"I thought you were sick," he said, walking round so he could be in view of the camera.

"I am, sir," she said. "I'm still in the Infirmary."

"They've got you a link? Things must be bad."

"We're doing OK here, sir."

"I meant with us, Carter."

"You're going to be fine too, sir. You know me and a challenge."

"So how are things on base?" Jack asked.

"They're… not good, sir. Jonas is feverish, there are only a handful of people who aren't ill, and Janet's running herself into the ground."

"I am not!" Janet's voice protested in the background.

Jack grinned. "So, the doc filled you in on our situation?"

"Yes, sir."

"And?"

"And I should have gone with you, stopped you getting into this mess in the first place."

"It's always nice to know that you're watching our six, Carter."

Sam laughed, at least he assumed it was a laugh. It sounded funny over the link.

"What do you need us to do?" he asked.

"Detailed pictures of the bomb would be good," Sam said. "Are you able to take the cover off?"

"Already done," Jack said. "Daniel's having a bit of a poke about, seeing if there's anything he can do."

"He can get his camera out and start taking pictures," Sam replied. "If he starts poking about then he's in danger of…"

"Daniel!" Jack yelled. "Carter says you're not to touch anything."

"I'm being careful," Daniel called back.

Over the video link, Sam watched Jack roll his eyes and put a hand to his forehead. "Having fun, sir?" she asked.

"What?" he asked, then realised she could see him. "You know we gotta get screens on this side."

"I'm not exactly a pretty sight at the moment, sir."

"You're doing OK though?"

"I'm fine, sir."

"Really?"

"Really."

"Would Fraiser say that?"

"You know Janet, sir," she said. "Unless you're a hundred percent then she'd say you…"

"Don't you even think about finishing that sentence," Janet interrupted. "Colonel, I have agreed to allow my patient this link up on the condition that she does not overdo it. While I understand that she can help I do not want her to kill herself in the process."

"Understood," Jack said, grinning like the child who's just been told off but thinks the whole thing funny. "Look, Daniel's going snap happy at the moment, Teal'c and I are going to head back to the village. Daniel'll send them when he's done."

"He's not to come in person, Colonel," Janet said. "I don't want to risk exposing anyone else to the virus unless it's absolutely necessary."

"He'll chuck it through," Jack said.

"I will not!" Daniel replied. "Do you know how much this cost?"

"Any other suggestions?" Jack asked.

"If this gets broken…" Daniel muttered.

"We'll take good care of it, Daniel," Sam said.

"You take care now, Major," Jack said. "That's an order."

"Yes, sir," she smiled.

Jack turned off the link and looked over to where Daniel was busy taking as many digital photos as he could from all angles. He walked over to where Teal'c was standing. "Listen, as soon as Daniel's done I want you to start corralling the villagers, as many as can get here in half an hour."

"To what end, O'Neill?" Teal'c asked.

"Well, I figure exposing them to a virus has got to be better than them being blown up or dying in an ice age."

"You intend to send them to Earth? We cannot save everyone."

"Yeah, I know that," he sighed. "But some has got to be better than none, hasn't it?"

"The infection in the SGC has not yet proved fatal."

"Yet?" Jack asked.

"We do not know either way, O'Neill. We might be exposing them to a fatal illness."

"Maybe."

"Would not a quick death be more preferable?"

"Would you stop being Mr Negative?"

"I am merely pointing out that there is more to consider."

"And I'm aware of that," Jack said. "You done yet?" he asked Daniel.

"I'm taking as many shots as I can," Daniel replied. "I don't want to leave Sam short of information."

"I'm sure it'll be fine," Jack said.

*****

Janet's head jumped up from her arms as if it had been jerked up. "I wasn't asleep," she protested to no one in particular. When she saw that she was alone in her little corner of the Infirmary she wiped her eyes and glanced at her watch. She'd only just gotten off to sleep. All two minutes of it. That left just under 33 minutes ticking on the bomb.

Getting up she sorted out her clothes to try and give the appearance she hadn't slept in them. Exhaling loudly she walked across to Siler's bed first. He was asleep so she carefully put her hand on his forehead. Warm to the touch, his fever was beginning to develop. Sam was awake, looking through something on the laptop.

"Photos from Daniel," she said as Janet walked past.

"How are you?"

"Fine. Little hot."

"That'll be your fever."

"Great."

"Don't push yourself too hard, Sam."

"I've got to help bring them home, Janet."

"I know," she smiled. Walking over to Jonas' bed she pressed a hand to his forehead. Her face creased slightly in confusion and she reached for the thermometer. It confirmed her suspicions; his fever had broken.

"Everything OK?" Sam asked.

"His temperature's coming down."

"That's a good thing, right?"

"Very," she smiled.

"He's going to be OK?"

"I'll know more once I get his bloods back, but yeah, it's looking that way."

"If this is how it's going to be, we're looking at what? A fever and then we're done?"

"Maybe," Janet said, reaching for a needle. "Fingers crossed."

*****

Hammond was not happy. Rank gave him a private room and so some dignity, but he was getting frustrated. This was his base and he couldn't do a thing about it. Janet had briefed him about the situation with SG-1, and informed him that Sam was working on it, along with a couple of the less sicker members of the SGC. There was a sharp knock on the door, and Janet walked in.

"How are we doing, sir?" she asked.

"I've been better," he said.

"Well, I've some good news."

"About time."

"Jonas' fever has broken so it looks like we're not dealing with a potentially fatal disease."

"How sure are you?"

"As sure as I can be, sir. There are a number of antibodies in Jonas' blood now which are combating the virus."

"Can you use them to treat the others?"

"I'm working on it, sir, but fact of the matter is that Siler and Carter are showing signs of the fever, a number of people aren't that far behind. It's just a matter of time, sir."

"So we just wait?"

"Yes, sir."

"What about SG-1?" Hammond asked.

"Sam's working on the information Daniel's provided, and she's been able to draw up some schematics. To be honest, sir, I barely understand what it is she's doing, but she's telling me that she has it all in hand."

"Very well, doctor."

Janet nodded and headed for the door. "And stop scratching," she said before she walked out.

"How…?" he started, but stopped when Janet looked up to the corner. Following her gaze he saw the security camera. "Oh."

"I still have the electrical tape, sir."

*****

Jonas opened his eyes really slowly. He felt exhausted for some reason and was still trying to figure out what exactly had happened when he became aware of someone talking to him.

"What?" he muttered.

"I said," Sam repeated, "how are you?"

"Been better," he said. "Water?"

"Beside you."

"What? No service?"

"Can't exactly get up," she said. "Janet's got me wired into just about everything to stop me moving."

"Well, you always insist on doing too much."

"Why do people keep bringing that up?"

"Because it's true," he said, fumbling about on the cabinet beside him. His fingers closed around a cup and carefully lifting it he found it full of liquid. Propping himself up he sipped at the water and carefully put it back down.

"Better?" Sam asked.

"Much."

"Good. You feel up to a challenge?"

"Sam, I have no idea what just happened but I don't think it was good."

"No, it wasn't."

"Then why…?"

"The Colonel, Teal'c and Daniel are in trouble."

Jonas turned his head to look at her. "What kind of trouble?"

"The kind of trouble that will explode in about 26 minutes, taking with them an entire planet of people."

"I'm OK, I'm up," Jonas said, pushing himself to sit up. "Or maybe not," he said, his head beginning to swim.

"Hey!" Janet said as she walked in. "Are you trying to kill yourself?"

"It's not a plan I have at the moment," he said.

"Take it easy, Jonas," Sam said.

"You want my help?"

"Of course I do. But I need to you to be as focussed as you can be."

"Why?"

"Because I'm having trouble seeing the screen at the moment."

Janet walked over to Sam and placed a hand on her forehead. "Right, that's it," she said, taking the laptop out of Sam's hands. "Rest."

"Janet…"

"Rest," she said a little more forcefully. "And you," she said to Jonas. "Just… take it easy."

*****

Within five minutes, laptop under arm, Jonas was being helped up to the Control Room. Janet wasn't happy about it but she conceded that he was definitely over the worst of it, and with Sam's temperature rising he was needed to help SG-1.

Settling into the seat, Jonas activated the monitor. "Colonel O'Neill? Can you hear me?"

"Yeah, I hear you," came the reply. "That you, Jonas?"

"Yes, sir."

"How are ya?"

"Better, sir, thanks."

"A kid's disease?"

"So I'm told, sir, yes."

"Chicken pox?"

"Yes, sir," he said, sighing.

"With spots and everything?"

"Are we going to talk about this bomb, or my spots?" Jonas asked.

"I got time for both," Jack grinned.

"With respect, sir, no you don't."

"Yeah, I know. Teal'c and Daniel are rounding up as many villagers as they can and sending them this way. If we can't stop this then they're coming through."

"Does Doctor Fraiser know about this?"

"I haven't mentioned it, no."

"She won't be happy."

"Well, I won't be happy about losing everyone," Jack replied. "Now, have you got anything useful for me?"

Jonas put the laptop on the desk and lifted the screen. Pulling it out of hibernation mode he studied the documents Sam had been working. "First thing you've got to do is nothing."

"Excuse me?"

"There are a number of safety devices on the bomb."

"That was pretty much a given," Jack said.

"Each safety device is tied into the next so once you start deactivating it you have to keep going otherwise…"

"Otherwise, boom."

"Yes, sir."

"OK, so how long until we have a list of instructions?"

Jonas glanced at what Sam had already done. "Major Carter's identified ten separate fail safes. She's made a start on how to bypass them, and I can work on the rest."

"How long, Jonas?"

"Twenty minutes."

"You sure?"

"Well, if I don't do it in twenty minutes it's not going to matter much, is it?" he asked.

"I guess not."

"Trust me, sir. I'll figure this out."

"You'd better," Jack said. "Call me when you're done."

"Yes, sir," he said, switching off the monitor.

"Can you?" asked the lieutenant who'd brought him up.

"Can I what?"

"Can you work it out?"

"Most of it, yeah. It's just simple engineering."

"What about the rest?"

"That's going to be tricky. I know a fair bit about Goa'uld engineering, but Major Carter's the expert. I'm going to need her help with some of this."

"Sir, she's not…"

"I know," Jonas sighed.

*****

The only way Sam knew she was slipping in and out of consciousness was that people kept appearing and disappearing from around her. She wanted to get up and help but to even open her eyes felt like a huge task. In the end she decided to conserve her energy to use up in concentrated bursts, but then ended up falling asleep. Two or three minutes later there would be a sound just loud enough to wake her up.

"Sam?"

She could hear Jonas' voice, and she was aware that he was standing next to her, but that was about it.

"Sam? Can you hear me?"

Using up a portion of her energy she moved her head slightly to indicate yes.

"Sam, I'm going to need your help with some of this. I can do most of it, but you know more about this technology than I do, and I can't swat up in fifteen minutes. I'm good, but not that good," he laughed. "You still with me?"

She nodded again.

"Look, get some rest. You've got a good ten minutes before I'm really going to need your help."

"No, I'm good," she muttered. "If I go now then that'll be me for the foreseeable future."

"If you push yourself then you realise Fraiser will blame me," he said as she started to sit up.

"I'll defend you, don't worry."

"You won't be in any state to do that if you pass out."

"I'm OK. I've got a bit in me before that happens."

"You're sure?"

"I'm sure. You got the computer?"

"Yeah," he said, putting it on her lap.

"OK. Do me a favour?"

"Sure."

"A cold drink would be great."

"OK," he smiled.

*****

Walking back into the Infirmary, glass of iced water in hand, Jonas did a quick scan for Janet. If she caught Sam working, no matter how urgent it was, she'd go for them both. Walking over to her bed Jonas saw she'd propped herself up against the wall, presumably so she could work better. It wasn't until he got closer that he realised her head had dropped, her chin resting on her chest.

"Sam?" he said, putting the glass on the side. "Sam?"

Carefully he cradled her head to push it back against the pillows. Her skin was hot and clammy to the touch. Looking up he saw a nurse standing by Siler's bed.

"Get Doctor Fraiser now," he said to her. As she raced out of the room, Jonas carefully moved the computer out of the way. "Sam? Sam, can you hear me?"

She didn't respond.

*****

"And?" Jonas asked.

"She's like you were, high fever, unresponsive," Janet said.

"Great," Jonas muttered. "I really need her help."

"I'm sorry," she said.

"Yeah. I'd better go tell the Colonel."

Jonas walked out of the Infirmary, Janet walked past Sam's bed towards Siler's. She looked over at him and stopped. "Hi," she said.

"Hey," he croaked. "What have I missed?"

"Lots. How much do you know about Goa'uld technology?"

"Fair bit," he said.

"Compared to Major Carter?"

"Maybe a bit less. Why?"

"I think you're about to help save the day."

*****

While Jonas was briefing Siler, Janet stood in the Control Room trying to raise SG-1.

"Sorry," Jack said. "Was distracted. You'd think this lot would get on."

"There's been a development."

"What kind of development?"

Janet didn't have to look at the video screen to know he'd frozen on the spot and had a look of well-hidden panic on his face. "Sam's unconscious, sir."

"She going to be OK?"

"If it goes the same way as Jonas', she should be, sir, yes."

"Any good news?"

"Siler's on the mend. So is General Hammond."

"Siler?"

"Yes, sir. Jonas is enlisting his help as we speak."

"Doc, there's twelve minutes on this clock. We're going to need about seven of those to start herding these people through the gate."

"Seven?"

"And that's in a steady stream, several at a time."

"Understood, sir. We'll be ready for them."

"Tell Jonas he's got until minute eight to start giving us instructions or I start making like a shepherd."

"Yes, sir," Janet smiled.

"And Fraiser?"

"Sir?"

"Sam is not to help, OK? Let her rest."

"Yes, sir."

*****

Siler glanced over the pictures that Daniel had taken and the notes Sam had already made. "Looks pretty straightforward to me," he said.

"It's these fail safes here, here and here," Jonas said, pointing at the diagram, "that are giving me the most trouble."

"Those two seem OK," Siler said. "It's just a matter of rewiring so the current bypasses them."

"Can you give detailed instructions?"

"Sure, give me two minutes?"

"What about the third?"

"That's the tricky one."

"I'm sure Major Carter would know," Jonas sighed.

"Instructions from Colonel O'Neill, she's not to be disturbed." The two men looked up to see Janet standing in the doorway. "What is it with my patients not resting?"

"We'll rest plenty after we bring SG-1 home," Jonas said.

"This is going to be the start of something, I can tell," Janet muttered. "From now on all my patients will be taking advantage."

"Well, there is always something going on," Siler said.

*****

"Time's up, Jonas," Jack said. "Have you got instructions for me?"

"Yes, sir," Jonas said, sliding into the seat. "This is going to be very quick, we're still putting the final touches to the list now."

"Right, I'm sending people through."

"Sir, if you start sending people through the gate then there's a chance that you won't hear my instructions."

"I'm not taking the risk, Jonas. Not that I don't trust you it's just…"

"You don't trust us?"

"No," he said. "It's just that you've not been at your best recently."

"So what do we do?"

"Erm, I've got my laptop," Daniel's voice came over the link.

"Can you integrate it into the MALP?" Jonas asked.

"Should be able to."

"Right, we'll transmit the instructions to that then," Jonas said. "Erm, Doctor Fraiser wants a word."

"Colonel, if you want to start sending people through then we can get them settled. I've managed to free up some space. It won't be comfortable but it'll be better than…"

"Than them being blown up, yeah. OK, Teal'c, start moving people through," Jack said.

At the back of the Control Room a phone started to ring.

"Colonel, one of you is going to need to remain to disarm the bomb," Jonas said.

"That would be me," Jack said.

"What? Why?" Daniel protested.

"Because you're the smart one, that's why. Because I'm in command and I say so," Jack replied.

"Doctor Fraiser?" someone said from behind Jonas. "You're needed in the Infirmary. It's Major Carter."

Janet looked at Jonas before rushing off.

"What about Major Carter?" Jack asked.

"I don't know," Jonas said. "OK, we're ready on this end."

"Lead on, Teal'c," Jack said.

After a pause, Teal'c appeared through the gate, closely followed by a large number of men, women and children carrying treasured possessions. Those members of the SGC well enough to stand guided them quickly out of the way before the next lot started to come through.

*****

Siler sent the details of the two fail safes he knew up to the Control Room then pulled up the schematics of the third. He tried to visualise the parts of it hidden by other components. Major Carter would get this in a heartbeat, he thought.

He looked up as Janet came running in. "What?" she asked.

"Her temperature's down two degrees," the nurse said.

Janet sighed in relief. "OK, that's good. Not as much as I would have hoped but it's a start."

"Doctor Fraiser?" Siler asked.

"Her fever's peaked," Janet explained.

"When will she be up and about?" Siler asked.

"Why?"

"Because if I'm going to figure out this last fail safe it's going to be with her help."

"I'm sorry," Janet said. "I don't think she's going to be in any state to help."

"Is there nothing you can do?"

"Nothing that I want to."

"But you can?"

Janet sighed.

*****

Jonas integrated Siler's instructions into the file. All he was missing was the problem fail safe. Without that it was pointless sending the list. "Colonel, I think you're going to need about two minutes to cut and rewire everything."

"Understood," Jack's voice came over the clamour of footsteps running down the ramp.

*****

"I don't know how long she'll be lucid for," Janet said. "I don't even know if she'll wake up."

"Anything you can give me," Siler said. With help he'd got out of bed and was propped up beside her with the schematics.

Janet finished pushing the drug into Sam's IV. After a minute or so Sam started to stir on the bed.

"Major Carter?" Siler said. "Major, we need your help."

"Hmmm?" Sam muttered.

"Major, there's five minutes on the clock and we've one problem left."

"I'm up, I'm up," she whispered, forcing her eyes open. "Yeah, that's one's nasty," she said when she saw which one he meant.

"Do you know what to do?"

"Strip wire," she said. "Cut one internal."

"Which one, Major?" Siler asked.

"Hmm?"

"Which one?"

Sam's eyelids started dropping as she began to doze off again.

"Major?" Siler said a little too loudly.

"What? Oh, the… earth one."

"Earth?"

"Yeah."

"You mean their equivalent? That'd be what? Which colour?"

"It'd be green."

"Green?"

"Yeah."

"Thanks, Major."

*****

Jonas received the instructions from Siler and hurriedly started transferring them into the file.

*****

"Earth is brown," Sam muttered. "Not green."

Siler, being helped back into his bed, didn't hear a word.

*****

Jonas copied the last of the instructions into the file and started the transfer. As the data was sent, file by file, he skimmed quickly, checking everything was there.

About half way through the transfer his mind screamed at him to go back and look a little closer.

Green?

*****

Jack opened the files as they came, learning what he had to do step by step. "Go on, get out of here," he told Daniel as the last of the natives ran through the open 'gate. "Daniel," he said as his friend didn't move. "This is not a time to be stubborn."

"Good luck," Daniel said before stepping through.

*****

Jonas typed as quickly as he could, if he cancelled the transfer now there wouldn't be enough time to restart it.

*****

Jack started to receive the last instructions and glanced at his watch. Two and a half minutes. Time to start. He'd do the last ones on the fly. Placing the laptop beside him he started to work.

"Cut one, peel two," he muttered under his breath.

*****

Jonas finished the correction and looked up. The last file had gone. What if he'd been too late?

*****

Daniel stepped out from the threshold and slowly walked down the ramp. The last of the natives filed out of the Gate Room and when he was left with a couple of SFs, he looked up to the Control Room. Jonas looked back and gave him a half wave.

"Hi," Daniel said. "How are you?"

"Oh, been better. You?"

"Doing OK, actually."

"Had fun?"

"Yeah, it was great. Right up until the bomb part."

"I can imagine."

"How much longer?" Daniel asked.

"About thirty seconds."

"So when do we know…?"

"I guess when the gate shuts down," Jonas said, right before it did just that.

The Control Room and Gate Room fell silent. Jonas looked down and found his palms were sweaty. Side effect from the virus? What if he had been too late?

Thirty seconds passed.

A minute.

A minute and a half.

"Incoming traveller!"

Everyone's eyes flicked between the spinning gate and the Control Room. Jonas' eyes were fixed on the screen, waiting for the IDC code to be recognised. The gate splashed into life and the iris slid shut.

Ten seconds.

Fifteen.

"We're getting something!" Jonas yelled.

"There are four other teams off world," someone said behind him. "What if they've been trying to dial home?"

"Shut up," Jonas muttered.

The code entered the system, and the bar slid onto the screen.

Recognised. SG-1.

*****

Jonas walked into the Infirmary and couldn't help but notice how empty it was. Everyone was pretty much over the worse of it, and were at home recovering from what could have been a nasty bout of the 'flu. The only two people in there were Siler, still resting his injured leg, and Sam.

"How are you feeling?" he asked, standing at the foot of her bed.

"Fine. I just want to get out of here," she said.

"No chance," Janet said. "You were worse off than everyone else, Jonas included."

"Janet!"

"Listen, you're lucky I'm only keeping you in for 24 hours," she said in a threatening way.

"Take it," Jonas said.

"You're off then?" Sam asked.

"Yeah."

"Feeling OK?"

"Not a hundred percent, but I'm getting there."

"Nice to see that some people are having a quick recovery."

"You'll be fine," he said.

"How's the Colonel?"

"Fine. They all are. Looks like none of them caught the virus."

"That's good. I think Janet would have collapsed if she'd been faced with another epidemic."

"Thirty six hours from onset of symptoms to recovery," Jonas said. "Quickest epidemic ever."

"Sorry we didn't get to work on the naquadria."

"That's OK. I had fun."

"Fun?"

"Yeah. Been a while since I saved the world. Forgotten how good it felt."

"How many times are you going to bring up my mistake?"

"Hey, it could have happened to anyone. It's not like you were at your best."

"But that's not going to stop you from making comments about it, is it?"

"Nope," he grinned.

"How long for?"

"Oh, a good while."

"Great," Sam muttered.

"You complaining?" Jack asked as he walked in. "Hey, Carter, how ya doing?"

"Fine, sir. Good to see you're in one piece."

"I hear I have you to thank for that," he said.

"Actually, sir, Jonas corrected a mistake I made."

"You made a mistake?" he asked, feigning shock. "Don't worry about it. Happens to the best of us."

"I don't intend to make a habit of it."

"And so you shouldn't," he smiled. "Hammond says when you're ready," he then said to Jonas.

"OK," Jonas said.

"Get much work done?"

"Not a lot, no."

"He's got some great ideas though," Sam said. "And he's on the right track."

"So, we're heading for a breakthrough?" Jack asked.

"Here's hoping," Jonas said. "Maybe next time I see you I'll have something to tell you."

"Maybe," Sam smiled.

"I'd better get going," Jonas said.

"Oh, before you go," Jack said, pulling something out of his pocket. "Present. To remember your time here."

"Calamine lotion?" Jonas asked. "What's this for?"

Sam tried to stifle a giggle as Jack rolled his eyes. "Don't ask," she said.

"Right, well, thanks. I think," he said.

"Good luck," Sam called out to Jonas as he walked out.

"You too," he replied. "See you soon?"

"Count on it." As soon as he'd gone she turned to look at Jack. "That was mean."

"Yeah, but fun," he grinned. "Glad to have me back?"

"Yes," she said flatly. "Thrilled."

"Sarcasm doesn't suit you, Major. And if I didn't know better I'd be thinking you made that mistake on purpose."

Sam grinned at him in reply.

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Written by: Jen
Producers: LauraJo & Vicki

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