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For disclaimers and author's note see Chrysalis Part I.

 

 

Storms: Chapter 1


Sam placed the bouquet of flowers on the mound of red dirt and stepped back. Her sad blue eyes filled with fresh tears and she let them fall. There was no one else around her. Her team waited with Bra’tac and a few of the other Jaffa a respectable distance away; she had asked for privacy to say her farewell. Her gaze glanced off the simple stone marker which held only the name of the being they had buried beneath it. Orlin. Bra’tac had told her that they would eventually replace the marker with a proper monument; there had been no time to do anything fancier in the four days since her miraculous survival and Orlin’s sacrifice. She brushed at the moisture on her skin and felt a wave of sadness and gratitude for the gentle Ascended being who had given her a second chance.

She pressed a hand to her chest as though to ease the ache there. She knew Orlin had loved her even though he had known she hadn’t felt the same. He had known she loved Jack and that was the reason why he had given his life to save her instead of taking Jack’s. Her breath caught in her throat. She had found out from Daniel how Jack had stepped forward when Orlin had told him the price of saving her was a life for a life. It scared her to realise how close they had come to losing each other when they were so close to finally having a chance to be together.

Count them. Jack’s words resounded in her head. He had told her to count the days until he could tell her he loved her so that’s what she was doing; she was counting. In seven days, Jack would cease to be her CO; if pressed she could give the time to an exact hour and minute breakdown. Neither of them had spoken about it since the moment of her awakening in the infirmary. They were back to doing what they always did; ignoring what was between them, doing their jobs, pretending they were OK with that except this time they were both aware that they were counting the hours until they could stop. She was determined she wasn’t going to waste the gift Orlin had given her.

Sam brushed the last of her tears away and started back toward the group waiting for her. Her mind turned to the mission ahead; the set-up of the joint study of the Ancient systems on Dakara. Sam had been released from the infirmary the day before, Carolyn proclaiming her to be in perfect health and truthfully Sam felt healthier than she had in months, years even. She had immediately petitioned Jack for permission to return to Dakara and he had agreed. She and Daniel had spent the rest of the day making the arrangements.

The archaeologist met her half-way back to the rest of the team. ‘You OK?’ He should have gone with her, he thought seeing how pale she was. He was worried about her, they all were. Coming back from the dead and finding out Orlin had given his life for her…it was a lot for anyone to assimilate.

‘Yeah.’ Sam smiled at him briefly. ‘Just…’ she glanced back, ‘sad.’ She turned back to him. ‘He was a good person.’

‘He must have been.’ Daniel murmured. He pushed his glasses up his nose. ‘You ready for this?’

She nodded. It would be the first time she had been back inside the chamber since the explosion. ‘I’m ready.’

‘We could wait…’

‘I said I’m ready, Daniel.’ Sam said a little more sharply than she intended. She winced. ‘Sorry.’

‘It’s OK.’ Daniel shrugged away her apology.

‘No, it’s not.’ Sam contradicted him. ‘I know you’re being a good friend.’ She patted his arm. ‘But I really am OK.’

‘OK.’ Daniel gestured at their waiting team-mates. ‘Shall we?’

They walked the rest of the way in silence.

‘Colonel Carter.’ Bra’tac inclined his head.

There was deference in his eyes for her that she hadn’t seen before and she repressed the urge to sigh. Apparently getting resurrected by an Ascended being was something of an honour in the eyes of the Jaffa, Bra’tac included.

‘I trust everything met with your approval.’ The elderly Jaffa continued.

‘It’s a lovely spot, Bra’tac.’ Sam said with a smile. The grave was located on a steep hill overlooking the city and the Stargate. It was quiet and peaceful.

‘If you are ready, we should begin our walk to the chamber. It is a long way.’ Bra’tac said.

‘Everybody good to go?’ Sam checked.

Teal’c inclined his head.

‘Yes, ma’am.’ Mitchell nodded.

Sam turned back to Bra’tac. ‘We’re ready.’

Bra’tac and Teal’c took the lead as they started down the path back towards the city.

Sam ordered Mitchell to watch the rear with the two other Jaffa who had escorted them to the grave which allowed her and Daniel to walk together in the middle like they had back in the early days of SG1.

‘It’s a shame Jack couldn’t come.’ Daniel commented.

Sam nodded; the General had been required to stay at the SGC and continue interviewing candidates for the position of the new military commander. They were running out of time to assign someone. Not that Sam would report to them; the IOA had insisted that as the Stargate’s foremost expert, she was permanently assigned to the SGC and, because under the new procedures she could overrule a superior officer in the matters relating to the operation of the Gate, she would report directly to the new head of the Homeworld office, General Landry. The IOA overseer, Woolsey, hadn’t directly mentioned the incident with Bauer a few years before when her command structure had overruled her advice but it seemed like he wanted to ensure she had some protection. Daniel had commented wryly that it had taken Woolsey five minutes what had taken them years; to find a way to take Sam out of Jack’s chain of command.

Sam grimaced a little. She knew whoever the new commander turned out to be they would have to find a way to work together; they would still outrank her and she knew in their place she would find it hard to stomach taking command of a squadron except for one officer of lower rank who got to overrule your commands in certain scenarios and who was always going to be permanently assigned regardless of their performance. Sam resolved that any issues would not stem from her; she would make every effort to welcome the other officer and achieve a successful working relationship.

‘What are you thinking about?’ Daniel asked hearing Sam sigh.

‘The new military commander.’ She admitted.

‘They all seemed a little formal.’ Daniel commented remembering the candidates they had been introduced to before they had left for Dakara.

‘I guess we’ve all gotten used to General O’Neill’s more informal approach to military protocol.’ Sam said.

‘That’s one way of putting it.’ Daniel grinned. ‘At least Jack will still be leading the SGC.’

‘Yeah.’

Daniel caught the barely perceptible flicker across Sam’s delicate features. ‘What?’

Sam mentally cursed the fact that Daniel knew her so well. ‘I’m a little worried about what the reaction of the new military commander is going to be when…’ her voice trailed away again as she looked anxiously over her shoulder to check whether Mitchell was listening or not. She needn’t have worried; he seemed deep in conversation with the two Jaffa.

‘Oh.’ Daniel’s agile mind leaped ahead of Sam. ‘You mean when…’ he waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

Sam nodded and tried to pretend the heat on her cheeks was from the Dakara sun.

‘Are you really that bothered about it?’ Daniel asked. ‘You won’t report to them and thanks to Woolsey your position in the SGC is solid.’

‘I’d like to have a good working relationship.’ Sam pointed out.

‘You’re not going to let this stop you from being with…’ It was his turn to get cautious and look back at their team-mate.

‘No.’ Sam said quickly. ‘We’ve waited long enough and besides,’ her expression saddened, ‘Orlin gave his life because he knew who I wanted to be with.’

Daniel frowned. ‘You shouldn’t feel guilty about it.’

‘I don’t.’ Sam denied. She caught Daniel’s pointed gaze and sighed. ‘OK, maybe a little but mostly I’m thankful,’ she gestured, ‘and I won’t waste the gift he gave me.’

Daniel smiled, pleased at her answer.

‘Things seem a lot friendlier here.’ Sam commented as she looked back to check on Mitchell again. He and the two Jaffa seemed to be getting along well.

‘We were talking about that while you were up at the grave.’ Daniel said. ‘Bra’tac was saying there has been a real turnaround in how the Tau’ri are viewed since Cral’k’s allegiance to Ba’al and the extent of his dishonour has become widely known.’

‘Good.’ Sam said. ‘I’m glad.’

Daniel glanced over at her. She hadn’t talked about her experience with Cral’k and they all had shied away from asking her. ‘The Council have questioned all of his associates; they’ve found another three Ba’al agents.’

‘Do they think they’ve found all of them?’ Sam asked.

‘Maybe.’ Daniel said. ‘Oh, and Bra’tac says it looks as if the Jaffa are going to adopt a democratic system of government and move on from the old ways. Major Davis and SG7 have gone back to the SGC to discuss the new treaty with the President.’ He smiled. ‘Teal’c’s pleased.’

‘He seems to be being treated a lot better.’ Sam noted. There had been more deference accorded to their Jaffa friend since their return to Dakara.

‘Yep.’ Daniel wiped his brow. ‘I’m glad they came up with the Ambassador position.’

‘Me too.’ Sam grinned at him. ‘It’s good to have him back.’

‘Indeed.’ Daniel quipped.

Their shared laughter had the others in their party looking at them quizzically. Sam hastily changed the subject.

‘I can’t believe we get to study the Ancient systems.’ She said excitedly.

‘I know.’ Daniel said happily. ‘I’m hoping there’s some information in the database on why the Ancients came to Dakara, some explanation for them building the weapon.’

‘I want to find out how that hybrid ZPM works.’ Sam admitted. ‘The readings Bill took are really interesting.’

‘Inter-dimensional, right?’ Daniel checked.

Sam nodded. ‘Somehow, they managed to pull the power from sub-space but in a different dimension rather than our own.’ She lifted her hand away from her P90 briefly. ‘We’ve come across inter-dimensional stuff before but never a power source.’

‘There was that device on P9X391, wasn’t there? The one that allowed you guys to see strange creatures?’ Daniel asked. He had been ascended at the time of that particular mission but he remembered reading about it in the mission reports when he had been catching up on events during his year long absence.

‘That’s right.’ Sam murmured. ‘That used some kind of specific electrical field which allowed us to access the dimension and see the creatures.’

‘So you’re thinking there must be some kind of electrical field that allows the ZPM to access the other dimension.’ Daniel mused.

‘Maybe.’ Sam shook her head. ‘It could be some kind of phasing technology like the giant aliens use on P7X377 with the crystal skulls.’ She gave a happy sigh. ‘I can only speculate until we get it connected again and run some tests on it. I’m hoping the control chair will be able to access more detailed information on its operation.’

‘That’s why you’ve brought Doctor Cooper?’ Daniel asked.

Sam nodded. ‘He’s one of the few scientists we have assigned to the SGC who has the Ancient gene. He should be able to activate the chair.’

‘When are we all going to start Doctor Beckett’s gene treatment?’ Daniel asked.

Sam shrugged. ‘I guess that’s up to Doctor Lam.’

‘You two seem friendly.’ Daniel commented.

‘She’s nice.’ Sam said a little defensively.

Daniel hurried to reassure her. ‘I didn’t mean anything bad by it. I think it’s great.’

‘It is.’ Sam commented. ‘It’s just every so often I get a weird feeling like I’m betraying Janet by liking her.’ She shook her head sadly. ‘Silly, huh?’

‘I would think it’s fairly natural. I mean, you and Janet were best friends,’ Daniel said softly, ‘and I guess it hits a little close with Carolyn being CMO too.’

Sam nodded.

‘I’m sure Janet would be pleased you made another friend.’ Daniel said lightly and was rewarded when Sam smiled if a little sadly.

‘You’re right.’ Her eyes narrowed as they began down a familiar path and she saw the mountainside with the passage into the buried Ancient buildings ahead. She felt her shoulders knot with anxiety.

Daniel saw the tension creep across her pale face and wished there was someway he could make it easier for her. He unconsciously moved closer to her and he was pleased when Teal’c dropped back to walk on the other side of Sam.

‘We are almost at our destination, Colonel Carter.’ Teal’c noted quietly.

Sam nodded sharply. As they got closer, she could see the study team waiting patiently outside the passage for them. They seemed to be getting along well with the Jaffa stood with them. She followed Bra’tac as he made his way to the gathered crowd.

The Jaffa master turned back to Sam as she came to a stop behind him with Teal’c and Daniel, Mitchell and the other two Jaffa bringing up the rear. ‘Would you like to rest before we proceed, Colonel Carter?’

‘Thank you, Bra’tac,’ Sam responded, ‘but I’d like to get started.’ She gestured at the study team. ‘I’d like to introduce our team; you know Doctor Lee; this is Doctor Cooper,’ she pointed at the small blonde man, ‘and Doctor Garston.’ The brunette blushed and Sam swallowed a smile as she caught the other woman’s darting glance at Daniel. It looked as though someone had a crush.

Bra’tac nodded firmly. ‘Good.’ He motioned for the two Jaffa standing with the Tau’ri scientists to move forward. ‘This is Kyrel.’ An elderly Jaffa with white hair which was a startling contrast to his dark skin inclined his head. ‘And his son, Tolam.’ The younger Jaffa nodded at them jerkily. ‘They will be the Jaffa representatives on the study.’

‘I am looking forward to working with you Colonel Carter and Doctor Jackson.’ Kyrel said in a deep voice that reminded Sam of Teal’c.

‘We are looking forward to working with you also.’ Daniel responded.

‘Shall we get started?’ Sam asked trying to ignore the reverential looks she was garnering from both of the Jaffa scientists.

The team started reaching for their equipment. Teal’c and Mitchell stepped forward to help them.

Bra’tac smiled. ‘I will leave you. There is much work to do on the Council.’

‘Thank you, Bra’tac.’ Sam said.

‘Shall we?’ Kyrel made a wide sweeping gesture towards the passage clearly indicating for Sam to go first.

She took a deep breath and switched on the light on her P90. She stepped into the passage, grateful when Daniel walked up beside her. She was surprised to see how little damage had been done to the passage from the explosion Cral’k had set. She moved into the first chamber with a little apprehension. Memories flooded back to her. The dark and the sound of her breath as she waited for Cral’k to attack. The flash of the P90 as she defended her position. The panic at seeing the bomb. Cral’k’s breath hot against her neck; his hands rough against her body as they struggled. Pain and nausea. Frantically inputting the instructions in the transportation system hoping it would save her life…

‘Sam?’

Daniel’s gentle prompt wrenched her from the past. She focused on the opening on the far side of the chamber absently noting that the Jaffa had obviously removed the worst of the debris and rubble from the explosion. There was evidence of its damage in the scorch marks on the walls, on the ragged remains of the console where the bomb had been planted. She walked through the inner door and into the second room. The Jaffa had already set up temporary artificial lights that flooded the space and cast strange shadows on the walls. She moved across the upper level and made her way down the stairs to the metal chair. She breathed in sharply at the sight of it.

‘Let’s get started.’ She said pleased her voice was calm and authorative.

Kyrel nodded. ‘I believe our first course of action is to reconnect the power source and try to understand how much time we have available to us before it is completely depleted.’

‘I agree.’ Sam said with a ready smile. She moved to help Doctor Lee unpack the hybrid ZPM.

For a while, they all concentrated on getting the equipment unpacked and set up.

Daniel smiled at Sam’s quickly hidden exasperation as Tolam practically fell over when she spoke to him directly. He could tell the Jaffa’s reverence for her, all based on her experience with Orlin, irritated Sam. He leaned across a console as she came to stand next to him to murmur in her ear. ‘You can’t tell me you’re not enjoying this a little. Come on, admit it.’ He teased.

Sam shot him a look and leaned in closer to him. ‘If you’re not careful I’ll remind Kyrel and Tolam that you used to be one of those glowy Ascended beings.’ She threatened in a pleasant voice.

‘OK. OK.’ Daniel backed off rapidly. ‘I think I have enough problems of my own.’ He admitted under his breath. He darted a look at Doctor Garston who blushed at being caught staring at him.

Sam smirked. ‘She’s cute.’

‘Hmmm.’ Daniel said desperately searching for a diversion.

‘I think we’re ready to put the power source back.’ Doctor Bill Lee called from his position on the other side of the room.

Sam rolled her eyes and mouthed ‘later’ at the archaeologist. She walked over to her fellow scientist. ‘Why don’t you go ahead and do the honours, Bill?’

Bill nodded. He removed the metal disc and pushed the power source into the empty space. He grunted a little as he pushed it into place. The chamber’s own lights flickered into life.

Sam exchanged a pleased smile with Kyrel.

‘Doctor Cooper.’ Sam gestured at the chair in the centre of the room. ‘You’re on.’

The young blond man swallowed nervously and approached the chair with trepidation. He sat down but the chair didn’t respond at all. Sam frowned. Daniel came to stand beside her and crossed his arms.

‘Why is nothing happening?’ Kyrel asked perplexed. ‘I thought the technology was supposed to automatically respond to the Ancient gene?’

‘Doctor Cooper?’ Sam asked.

Cooper shook his head and tried the hand controls on the chair; still nothing happened. ‘I don’t know, Colonel. I can’t explain it.’

‘Maybe there’s not enough power.’ Bill suggested.

‘Maybe.’ Sam frowned. ‘Or maybe the chair is broken.’ She waved Cooper down as she stepped onto the platform. ‘I’ll take a look.’ She tried not to think about the last time she had been near the chair as Doctor Cooper relinquished his place. She approached it apprehensively and did a three-sixty around the chair first to check its construction. There didn’t seem to be anything physically broken. She sighed and realised she was going to have to sit down to look at the hand control panels. She tried not to feel self-conscious as she lowered herself gingerly into the chair.

The chair reacted.

It swivelled and inclined with enough speed that Sam grabbed the arms to avoid falling off it. There was a strange humming as all the consoles in the room fired into life.

What the hell was happening? Sam thought panicked. Suddenly a diagnostic appeared in a projection above her head. She swallowed and stared at it, unable to comprehend that she had conjured up the information through thought alone.

‘Woah.’ Mitchell took a step towards the data spinning in mid-air and gaped open-mouthed. The Jaffa and the other scientists had similar expressions.

‘Um…Sam?’ Daniel’s voice wasn’t quite steady as he looked across at her. ‘What’s going on?’

‘I did not know you possessed the Ancient gene, Colonel Carter.’ Teal’c said clasping his hands behind his back as he stepped up onto the platform to stand next to her.

Sam raised a hand weakly to gesture at the projection. ‘I don’t.’

Daniel crossed his arms and met her bewildered gaze across the room. ‘Well, you do now.’

Sam held his gaze for a brief moment before her blue eyes moved back to the projection. How could she have gotten the Ancient gene? She hadn’t had the gene therapy and she certainly hadn’t set the chair off the last time she had sat in it before she had…before she had died and been brought back to life by Orlin. She sighed deeply. ‘Oh boy.’

Storms: Chapter 2


Ba’al adjusted his heavy black Oriental robes and stared out of the window at the vista below. The pyramid on which his vessel rested was on a planet located in the furthest reaches of his domain and it was one of the few he had managed to retain control over; one that still believed in the validity of his Godship as the human slaves on the planet had not developed beyond their initial tribal existence. He scowled. There had been a time when every planet under his dominion would not have questioned his right to rule. There had been a time when it would have been unthinkable that he was reduced to hiding in the most backward part of his territory. His jaw clenched.

He knew compared with the other Goa’uld some would consider that he had done well to have survived the war with the Replicators, the Jaffa rebellion and Anubis’s insane plan to obliterate all life in the galaxy and on one level he was proud of his achievement at surviving where many others had fallen. However, mere survival had never satisfied him. No, he determined, his dark eyes lit up with the white flash of an angry Goa’uld, he was Ba’al. He would not scuttle away into some dark corner and hide. It was his destiny to rule, his right, and he would not be robbed of it. He would find a way to recover the power he had lost and more.

Ba’al stroked his trim dark beard unconsciously. Breaking the union between the Tau’ri and the Free Jaffa was essential if he, if any Goa’uld, was to re-establish a foothold in the galaxy, he mused. He had planted his own loyal agents in amongst the Free Jaffa stirring up dissension against the Tau’ri, and it had been working well but a few days previously one agent, Cral’k, had revealed himself foolishly. Luckily, another agent had been able to send word and he had prudently moved to a new location as it was likely the Jaffa would try to find him to exact revenge. The Jaffa were nothing if not predictable. The move to the little backwater planet in the middle of nowhere was irritating but the extent of the damage caused by Cral’k’s stupidity was infuriating. It had almost undone the previous months of work and served only to strengthen the alliance between the Tau’ri and the Jaffa.

Unfortunately most of his remaining loyal Jaffa were the same as Cral’k; young and eager, seeing only the potential for easy advancement to First Prime if successful. They had none of the intelligence or strategic ability of the Jaffa who usually held such positions but then those Jaffa had renounced their former Goa’uld masters to join the rebellion and the shol’var Teal’c. The image of the imposing Serpent Guard filled Ba’al’s mind for a moment. The Jaffa had always been an exceptional tactician and a master of military strategy. The move Teal’c had used to hold Dakara after the fight with the Replicators had been nothing short of brilliant. Ba’al quietly admitted to himself that Teal’c’s time with the Tau’ri had only made him better; he had become as unpredictable as the human known as O’Neill.

He stirred a little disturbed at the thought. Just as he had once thought the overthrow of the Goa’uld System Lords and the rebellion of the Jaffa to be impossible, so he had also thought no human would have the audacity to challenge him in the way O’Neill did. It galled him to realise that he had once had the human defenceless and had squandered the opportunity to kill him. He had actually killed him time and again but unfortunately, he had also brought him back from death each time with the sarcophagus as part of the torture he had inflicted on the human. It astounded Ba’al that not only had O’Neill been able to endure the torture he had without confessing all he knew but that O’Neill had escaped during the chaos and confusion of an attack from another System Lord. The human’s tenacity elicited admiration no matter how reluctantly given.

Until then Ba’al had never knowingly had any interaction with the infamous Tau’ri SG1 team. He could have wished it had stayed that way. Ba’al frowned. He had never met, the other human male, Daniel Jackson but the Goa’uld Osiris had been surprisingly admiring of the man. Her host had apparently known him intimately. Given Osiris had disappeared when attempting a plan to trick Jackson into giving away Ancient secrets, it was enough to make Ba’al consider that the man was just as dangerous as O’Neill.

He had met the only female in the team; Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter. The Tau’ri female was a beguiling mix of beauty, intelligence and spirit. In their one and only meeting she had also challenged him; in a different way from O’Neill but it had still been a challenge – those blue eyes of hers flashing at him and her silky voice telling him that he would tell her how to simultaneously dial all gates in the system. He had never felt the urge to take a mate – if he had a physical need, there were always plenty of female slaves to satisfy his lust – but Samantha Carter might tempt him. She would make a worthy Queen. He conjured up an image of her as he remembered her; standing across the Ancient weapon on Dakara from him.

Ba’al’s hands clenched into fists. He would never have lost Dakara if not for Anubis. He breathed in deeply, forced his hands to unclench. Dakara would be his again in time. The Free Jaffa held Dakara precariously. They had lost it once to Anubis; they would lose it again. Cral’k had been only one of many agents and though he had lost more in the aftermath he had plenty still in place. Importantly, he had not lost his most important player, a Jaffa on the High Council whose place had actually been solidified by Cral’k’s actions. He was well positioned to continue to keep Ba’al informed of all important developments.

It was how Ba’al knew that the Ancient weapon on Dakara was not destroyed although the Jaffa had told the Tau’ri and the Tau’ri sympathisers at the time that it was. He also knew about the discovery of the remains of an Ancient outpost; of the presence of the being called Orlin and of Colonel Carter’s miraculous return from the dead. He knew the Tau’ri and the Jaffa were beginning a joint study of the information in the Ancient systems. It was not the time to strike, Ba’al thought carefully, no matter how much his blood heated with the desire for power. His pragmatic realism was what had kept him alive where others of his kind had ended up dead. No, it was the time to regroup in the shadows.

Ba’al turned away from the sight of the luscious green planet and paced back to his throne. He sat down with a flourish of his robes and motioned for the nubile human slave to approach with the platter of fruits. He plucked a grape from the selection and popped it in his mouth as he sent her away again. Breaking the bond between the Tau’ri and the Jaffa was still the key, he considered, and he had already initiated another plan to help sow seeds of discord between them again. He could afford to take on the Free Jaffa. The new Jaffa nation was weakened by long memories of conflict between the various tribes and struggling to form agreement on their long term future. He knew he could fight them and win; he knew their weaknesses and strengths, and importantly, he would not underestimate the likes of Teal’c again. But the Tau’ri and the Free Jaffa united were much more difficult opponents. The Tau’ri were unpredictable. They added an unknown into the battle. They had the ability to take out their enemy and save themselves with surprisingly original thinking. It was rumoured that the SG1 team had destroyed a sun to take out Apophis’s fleet. Ba’al settled back in his throne. He needed to weaken the Tau’ri. All he had to do was find someway of doing that.

He sighed and his fingers drummed restlessly against the arm of the ornate chair and wondered whether he couldn’t use the joint study on Dakara to his advantage. He knew from his contact that the members of SG1 would be participating in the study although O’Neill’s place seemed to have been taken by a younger human male. Ba’al tapped his moustache thoughtfully. There must be a way of getting O’Neill to the planet and if there was…all of the infamous SG1 would be in one place and therefore easily targeted. Perhaps an unfortunate accident that would be blamed on the Jaffa…he smiled wickedly. He would have to speak with his agent and see what was possible.

A movement at his side had him glancing irritably at the Jaffa standing waiting patiently for his attention. ‘What?’

‘Apologies, my Lord, but the natives made an unusual discovery. They have brought it here.’

‘What is it?’ Ba’al said disinterested.

‘A naked human female, my Lord.’ The Jaffa bowed deeper as though the depth of his obsequiousness could prevent Ba’al’s displeasure.

‘Why would a naked human woman interest me?’ Ba’al said impatiently and once again regretted that any Jaffa with an ounce of intelligence had been the first to desert his service and join the rebellion. ‘Well?’ He finally barked at the unfortunate Jaffa.

‘She says she is Samantha Carter, my Lord.’ The Jaffa remained in his uncomfortable bow and did not see the way Ba’al’s eyes snapped to him. ‘She is the Tau’ri female who is reported to be part of…’

‘Yes, yes, I know who she is.’ Ba’al said. He frowned. The latest report that he had indicated the Tau’ri female was back on Dakara. There was no way the female could be Samantha Carter. Unless, he mused, his agent had lied to him; had betrayed him and given away his position. This could be a trick by the Tau’ri and the Free Jaffa to kill him. He realised there was only one way to find out. ‘Tell them to bring her before me.’

‘Yes, my Lord.’ The Jaffa backed out of the room and Ba’al surged to his feet and paced back to the window. Had he been discovered? Was this where all his planning, all his plotting ended? He touched the transportation device he wore at his wrist. No, if this was some kind of trick he had a means to escape. He turned around at the sound of the group entering the room.

Ba’al’s eyes skipped past the two men escorting the human female; they were wearing the plain brown clothes of the simple natives. His attention was immediately drawn to the woman who was stood in the centre of his room in all her naked glory. His eyes travelled over the shapely legs, firm stomach and pert breasts before it arrived at her coldly amused blue gaze. It was a struggle to get past the shock but he kept his own face expressionless except for a small contemptuous smile. As far as he could tell, it was the same woman who had faced him over the Ancient weapon in Dakara; it was Colonel Carter.

Ba’al remained frozen his eyes riveted to her. But slowly details began to filter through to his stunned mind. He frowned. Something was wrong. He mentally compared the woman in his memory with the one standing before him. There was a striking similarity; same face, same form, same colouring, and that, he realised, was where the similarities ended. The woman in front of him was different. The hairstyle was just a little off and the skin was flawless with no blemishes of any kind but it was the eyes that confirmed it for him; they were empty, soulless, completely devoid of the spirit of the Samantha Carter he had met. Whoever this woman was she was not the Tau’ri female.

Despite his conclusion, Ba’al did not lower his guard. He might not have been betrayed but he had a frisson of understanding that he was not out of danger. He dismissed the two natives instructing his Jaffa to see to their reward. With a final gesture he dismissed the servants, leaving only a couple of Jaffa standing guard by the door to the throne room in place. He stayed by the window and regarded the facsimile of Colonel Carter with the same wariness he would use with a rabid animal. There was a lack of humanity about her that raised the hair on the back of his neck in atavistic warning.

‘You are not Colonel Carter.’ He said finally.

Her head tilted. ‘I am Samantha Carter.’

‘No.’ Ba’al informed her. ‘You are a copy.’ He blatantly let his eyes travel back over her nakedness before returning to the disconcerting expressionless blue gaze. ‘A lovely copy but only a copy.’

‘Not a copy.’ Her body blurred for a moment before it resettled and it was no longer naked but covered in a dark grey outfit that moulded itself to her contours. Ba’al took an unwilling step backwards as he realised what she was and she smiled cruelly. ‘An upgrade.’

‘You…you are the human form Replicator that led the Replicators against the Goa’uld.’ Ba’al paled and held his position with difficulty. ‘We destroyed you.’

She destroyed me.’ She corrected him bitterly and for the first time he saw emotion in her eyes; pure, undiluted hate. Her expression smoothed out. ‘I was able to use the information I gathered from Daniel Jackson’s mind to ascend when the energy weapon from Dakara hit my vessel. Unfortunately, the Others interfered.’

‘Others?’ Ba’al said. There was something strangely hypnotic about her like watching a cobra swaying before it struck.

‘Those who Ascended before.’ She clarified. ‘They intervened when I tried to take my revenge on Colonel Carter.’

‘You tried to kill her?’ His brow creased in confusion.

‘Using your pawn Cral’k.’ She confirmed. ‘He was pathetically easy to manipulate.’

‘You failed.’ There was thinly veiled satisfaction coating his words.

‘He failed,’ she shot back, ‘and the Others came. They allowed one of their own to assist her in recompense for my interference and she lived.’ She clasped her hands behind her back and looked at him her emotions back under control. ‘They returned me to my previous form and wiped the Ancient knowledge from my mind.’

‘And left you on my planet?’ Ba’al asked sceptically.

‘I chose this planet.’ She admitted. ‘I knew it was in the outer reaches of your domain and I counted on you fleeing here eventually.’ Her smile widened. ‘I had no idea you would be here so soon.’

‘Why?’ Ba’al asked suspiciously. ‘Why would you come here?’

‘You are in need an ally.’ She tilted her head again. ‘So am I.’

Ba’al stared at her nonplussed. ‘You came to offer an alliance?’

She smiled coldly. ‘Thanks to the weapon at Dakara the numbers of my brethren have been greatly depleted. We lost all in this galaxy and will need time to rebuild.’

‘Then why would I ally with you?’ Ba’al asked. He gestured at her. ‘You have nothing to offer me.’

‘I have all of the knowledge of Samantha Carter,’ the Replicator pointed out with ruthless logic, ‘and you will need my knowledge of the Tau’ri if you are to be successful in defeating them and the Free Jaffa.’

‘And you would help me defeat them out of the kindness of your own heart.’ Ba’al said scathingly.

‘For you to reclaim what was once yours.’ She said. ‘The whole of your territory.’

‘And you will take the rest of the galaxy.’ Ba’al stroked his beard thoughtfully.

‘A fair trade considering I could kill you where you stand like I have so many Goa’uld before you and rebuild my brethren from the rubble of your ship.’ She threatened.

Ba’al stiffened but his mind was whirring. He didn’t trust her. They were too similar in their underlying desire for power and he knew she would ultimately betray him. But, he mused, the prospect of her assistance in defeating the Tau’ri was tempting. He skirted her carefully and sat down regally in his throne. He did not believe she was aware that the machine at Dakara was still active. He had the means to destroy her once he had retaken the planet and he was aware that he was unlikely to reclaim it without her help. Without the presence of the other Replicators she was less of a threat than she had been when she waged war on the Goa’uld before.

‘I accept.’ He said.

‘A wise decision,’ she murmured with a pleased smile and saw him puff up at the blatant flattery like a peacock. She glanced out of the window at the planet and looked at the scurrying humans.

Vermin, she thought coldly. They would soon be dealt with just like the arrogant Goa’uld behind her and her human duplicate. The anger at being bested by her before still rankled. She calmed herself. Her creator Fifth had let himself be overrun with emotion and she would not make the same mistake. Her plan was working perfectly and when she had control of the weapon on Dakara she would be able to obliterate all life in the galaxy including Samantha Carter.

Storms: Chapter 3


Jack was grumpy. He loosened the tie and yanked it from his neck. It had been a long morning of interviewing. He stripped out of the shirt and reached for his usual black t-shirt. He had got the result he wanted though; Colonel Paul Emerson had been selected. Jack knew the other officer and had served with him in Desert Storm; Hammond and Landry had both been impressed by him and Jack knew they could work well together. Paul would transfer officially in five days time, two days before the official restructure went into effect. Everything was in place; the procedures had been revised, the new military command had been chosen and in seven days he would officially be retired.

He was looking forward to it; his job wouldn’t substantially change and more importantly, he could finally be with Sam. The thought of the blonde Air Force Colonel lightened his mood although he felt a twinge of regret that she and the rest of SG1 was off-world on Dakara. Maybe, he mused, with a second permanent leader assigned to the base in the shape of the military lead he would have the opportunity to accompany them on the odd off-world assignment in the future. He swapped his pants, pulled on his combat boots and headed out of the locker room and into the base. There was a stack of paperwork waiting for him on his desk. He had just exited the elevator when the sirens started. He took off at a run for the control room.

‘Walter?’ Jack asked as he came to a breathless halt.

‘Receiving IDC, sir.’ Walter confirmed. ‘It’s SG1, sir.’

The Sergeant’s eyes met the concerned brown eyes of the General’s in perfect understanding. The last time SG1 had come back unscheduled, it had been to report Colonel Carter’s disappearance.

‘Open the iris.’ Jack ordered already on his way down to the gate room. He was at the bottom of the ramp when Sam walked through the wormhole. He breathed an inward small sigh of relief even as he registered her set face. ‘Carter.’ He acknowledged her as the wormhole blinked out behind her. She had returned alone.

She came to a halt in front of him. ‘General.’ She focused on Jack and gestured at him with her crumpled baseball cap. ‘Sorry for the early return, sir.’

‘What’s going on, Carter?’ Jack asked.

‘We have a small problem, sir.’ Sam said sighing.

‘A problem?’ Jack’s eyebrows rose.

She nodded unhappily. ‘I have the Ancient gene.’

Jack stared at her. ‘But you don’t have the Ancient gene.’

‘That would be the problem, sir.’ She sighed. ‘Request permission to report to the infirmary, sir.’

Jack nodded slowly. ‘Permission granted.’

‘I think you should come with me, sir.’ Sam said lowering her voice.

‘Why?’ Jack asked bemused. ‘I already have the Ancient gene.’

‘Yes.’ Sam agreed. ‘But according to Daniel you were also covered by Orlin’s energy when he healed me. Whatever he did might have affected us both.’

‘Oh.’ Jack rocked back slightly on his heels. ‘You go ahead, Carter. I’ll join you in a minute.’

‘Yes, sir.’

Jack watched her go and rubbed his hand through his grey hair as he turned made his way back through the opposite entrance and up the stairs to Walter. ‘Sergeant, rearrange my meetings for the afternoon. I’ll be in the infirmary if anyone needs me urgently.’

Walter nodded his mind already leaping to the complexity of altering the General’s schedule. ‘Yes, sir.’ He murmured although the General was already walking away.

Jack left the control room and headed to the nearest elevator. In the privacy of the small square compartment he allowed himself to worry a little. He couldn’t believe that Orlin would have done anything to hurt Sam but that he had done something more than simply healing her concerned him. The elevator stopped and the doors slid open. He walked through the corridors to the main examination room. He tapped on the open door and poked his head into the room to check it was OK to enter. Sam sat on a bed alone in the room. He wandered in and she looked over, her blue eyes warming at the sight of him.

‘How are you doing, Carter?’ He asked sympathetically as he came to stand in front of her.

‘I’m fine, sir.’ Sam responded automatically.

He sighed. In Carter language that meant she wasn’t fine but she would sooner chew her own arm off than admit it. ‘Really.’

She smiled at the blatant disbelief. She gestured weakly. ‘OK. I’m a little worried.’

‘I’m sure Orlin wouldn’t have done anything to hurt you.’ Jack assured her.

‘I know.’ She sighed. ‘He told me when he was saying goodbye that he was going to do all he could to help me through the coming days. I thought he was talking about his healing me but now I’m wondering…’

‘What he knew that we didn’t?’ Jack asked dryly.

She gave a small smile. ‘Something like that.’

Jack couldn’t stop himself reaching out to put a hand on her shoulder. ‘We’ll figure it out, Carter.’

She reached up and placed her own hand over his. For a moment, they both enjoyed the comfort of the simple touch.

The sound of approaching footsteps had them turning toward the door and Sam’s hand slipped away from Jack’s. He gave her a small squeeze before he removed his own from her shoulder. When Carolyn entered, they were back to their previous positions; Sam on the bed with Jack stood in front of her with both his hands stuffed in the pockets of his pants.

‘So what’s up, Sam?’ Carolyn asked as she pushed past the General to get to her patient.

‘Nothing, I hope.’ Sam said. ‘But I seemed to have developed the Ancient gene.’

‘How do you know?’ Carolyn asked.

Sam explained what had happened on Dakara. Jack’s own eyes widened at her description of the chair’s reaction to her.

‘By the sound of it, it might not be just a question of you developing the Ancient gene if Doctor Cooper had problems accessing the chair because he has the gene.’ Carolyn pointed out. She sighed and shoved her hands into the wide pockets of her lab coat. ‘I guess it’s possible Orlin did more than heal your injuries,’ she murmured, ‘we’ve never really understood what he did or how you woke up.’

Jack shifted uncomfortably. He had no idea what Orlin had done to heal her but he knew why Sam had woken up but he couldn’t admit that his declaration of love for her had been the key to her recovery without risking court-martial.

‘I was thinking we should run some tests on me,’ Sam suggested, ‘and possibly the General too.’

Carolyn’s brown eyes skipped to Jack’s.

‘The Colonel thinks that as I was included in Orlin’s energy thing that whatever he did might have affected me too.’ Jack explained.

Carolyn nodded. ‘That would make sense. You were both under his control for a long time.’

Jack gestured impatiently. ‘So shall we get started?’

Carolyn sighed and headed for the door. She called to her nursing staff and rattled off instructions for a battery of tests. She turned back to Jack and Sam. ‘I’d get comfortable. The tests are going to take a couple of hours. You’ll be free to leave once they’re done.’

‘Great.’ Sam muttered. ‘When will we get the results back?’

Carolyn sighed. ‘I may not get some of the results until tomorrow morning.’

‘Maybe I could head back to Dakara once we’re done.’ Sam’s eyes flickered hopefully to Jack.

He looked at Carolyn. ‘What do you think, Doc?’

‘I don’t think that would be a good idea.’ Carolyn said her brown eyes regarding Sam’s unhappy expression. ‘I think it would be wise to wait until we fully understand what’s going on.’

‘But…’ Sam began.

‘You heard the doctor, Carter.’ Jack said firmly jumping up onto the bed behind her. ‘You can head back tomorrow if everything checks out.’

‘Yes, sir.’ Sam said.

Jack’s lips quirked at the slightly sulky tone and he settled back as Carolyn waved the nurse over. Her day of study might have been ruined but, apart from being poked by needles, his day was definitely looking up. It took almost all afternoon for the tests to be completed and both of them were hungry by the time they left the infirmary.

‘Food, Carter?’ Jack asked as they waited for the elevator.

‘Sounds good to me, sir.’ Sam said. ‘Oh, I didn’t get a chance to ask you earlier, how did it go with the interviews today?’

‘Good. Colonel Emerson got the job.’ Jack said. ‘Paul’s a good guy. He should fit in well.’

‘When does he transfer?’ Sam asked.

‘In five days.’ Jack said.

Sam was about to reply when the siren sounded again. They looked at each other for a split second before they both ran for the stairs.

‘What now?’ Jack asked as he entered the control room. A technician made way for Sam and she slipped into the chair next to Walter.

‘There’s an unscheduled incoming wormhole.’ Walter informed him.

‘Carter?’

‘Receiving IDC, sir.’ She hit a key on the computer and stared at the results. ‘It’s the Tok’ra, sir.’

Jack sighed heavily. Jacob and Selmak had been the only Tok’ra host and symbiote he had ever really gotten along with and he could quite happily live the rest of his life without seeing another Tok’ra.

‘Sir, if we don’t open the iris…’ Sam let the rest of the sentence fall away; the General was well aware of the consequences of not opening up the protective metal barrier.

There was a moment’s silence.

‘Sir?’ asked Walter nervously.

‘OK, OK.’ Jack gave in waving at the Stargate on the opposite side of the window. ‘Open the iris.’

He made his way down to the gate room knowing without checking that Sam was following him. They were lined up at the bottom of the ramp when the Tok’ra stepped through the wormhole.

Jack’s heart sank at the sight of Delek. Delek served on the Tok’ra High Council; his one interaction with the other Tok’ra just after the old Alpha site had been hit by Anubis hadn’t left him with a good impression.

Jack stuffed his hands in his pockets and rocked back on his heels as he regarded the slim built man with blond hair and brown eyes. ‘Hi Delek, long time no see. What brings you to our patch of the galaxy?’

‘General O’Neill.’ Delek inclined his head. ‘We need to speak to you urgently.’

‘Really,’ said Jack with biting sarcasm, ‘you didn’t just stop by to say hi?’ He glanced over at Sam and felt his annoyance at the Tok’ra ramp up another notch at the tight look in her face. It was the first time she had seen a Tok’ra since they had waved goodbye to the last of the visitors after her father and Selmak’s death and he figured it had to be stirring up her grief all over again. He fought against the urge to throw the Tok’ra back through the Stargate.

Delek seemed to follow his gaze because he stiffened. ‘Colonel Carter.’ He shuffled as though nervous. ‘I was saddened to hear about your father and Selmak.’

Sam swallowed the angry retort on her lips. According to her father, Delek had been amongst the most virulent of his detractors and it was unlikely the Tok’ra felt any sadness at all at his passing. She nodded coldly in acknowledgement of the meaningless platitude he had spouted.

Jack looked from the Tok’ra to Sam and back again in the tense silence. He gestured at him. ‘So what exactly brings you here?’

Delek tugged on his dark brown tunic. ‘I would prefer to discuss this matter in private.’

Jack rocked back and motioned at the SF. ‘Why don’t you show our,’ he searched for a term, ‘guest to the briefing room?’

He waited until the Tok’ra had left the room with the guard and stopped Sam with a light touch of her arm as she made to follow them. He lowered his voice to prevent the rest of the gate room picking up his comments. ‘You OK?’

‘I’m fine, sir.’

He sighed. There was that phrase again. He waved her out and followed her up the stairs.

He slipped into his seat at the head of the table and Sam sat at his right hand side opposite Delek who sat on the left. ‘OK,’ Jack said, as he turned to the Tok’ra after dismissing the SF, ‘what’s going on?’

Delek shifted under Jack’s impatient gaze. ‘We’ve recently learned something concerning the Jaffa at Dakara.’

Jack and Sam exchanged a concerned look.

‘What?’ Jack asked.

Delek met his eyes squarely. ‘The weapon on Dakara was never destroyed.’

Continued in Storms Part II.
 

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