* * * *
Oh Jesus. He thought as the thing rippled towards him, the mass of invisible energy gliding several meters above the ground of the room he was over looking. He`d seen it, seconds before, literally tear apart one of the soldiers in the room below, the blood scattering in a whirlwind of red. The young corporal hadn`t even had time to scream. The thing, alien he supposed, shattered the glass as it made it`s way through, yet the man didn`t blink. The glass hit his forehead, scored along his cheek, yet the man didn`t speak. The thing hovered in the control room, hanging close to the door. It slowly made it`s way out, towards the corridor.
`God.` He breathed a sigh of relief. It was the last thing he ever said. Within moments, the papers in his hand fluttered gently to the floor, their surfaces spotted with his blood.
* * * *
Sam groaned as she sat back, putting her hand into the curve of her spine. The child was getting heavier each hour, and she swore that this would be the last child she would ever carry.
`No more, Jack O`Neill.` She muttered under her breath, tapping her finger on the keyboard while she waited for the latest report to finish compiling. She turned her head and smiled softly when she saw her son asleep on the large feather cushion near her chair. It was his favourite place to rest while his mother was working. That is, when his father hadn`t taken him out to the fields to play for the day. The computer beeped at her and she glanced back to see the results of her latest trial.
`Yes.` She said quietly, mindful of her sleeping son.
`You`ve got something?` Jack asked, making her jump. She put a hand to her heart, glaring at him in the doorway. `Sorry, Sam. Thought you`d heard me.` He nodded towards the monitor. `You found something?`
`Possibly. I need Janet to have a look, though.` She said, hitting the print button. `Why is it,` She asked, hauling herself up off the cane chair and walking towards the printer, `that we had enough forethought to bring through some computer equipment when we were setting up this Alpha site, but no furniture?` It was a common complaint around the compound.
`Cause a man was in charge?` Jack guessed, a ironic smile on his face. His wife snorted her agreement, then picked up the paper and waddled through the internal door into the office/room next door. Jack followed, leaving the door open behind so that they could hear if Danny woke up.
`Janet?` Sam called, getting her friend`s attention. The doctor looked up, eyes immediately going to the paper in Sam`s hand.
`You`ve got something?` She asked, unknowingly echoing Jack`s question.
`Yes. Take a look.` She handed over the printout and then waited while the medic scanned the information.
`That could work, Sam.` Janet said after several minutes of silence. She shot a look at Jack. `When is the first team going out?`
`1800 hours tomorrow. Zukov`s team. Just a recon mission to the local Tok`ra base on P2C 893. Nice short trip. They should be back within a few hours.` Jack rattled off the information, his voice not showing the nervousness they were all feeling at going back out into the galaxy after an eight year dearth.
`Right. Well, in that case, I`ll need him to acquisition a few things for us.` Janet leant over and wrote down several things on a piece of paper before handing it over to the tall man before her. `We`re going to need that and more if what we`re going to try has even a chance of succeeding.` Jack nodded, folding the list and placing it in his thigh pocket. A hissing noise beside him got his attention.
`Sam?` He asked, placing a hand on her shoulder. She winced in reply, hand going to her stomach.
`Braxton hicks. I`ll be okay.` Sam smiled through her pain, her lips white against a white face. Jack wasn`t convinced.
`Janet?` Jack asked.
`Let`s have a look, Sam.` Janet said, standing up and holding out her hand to her friend. Sam hesitated, but after a firm look from the doctor, she gave up her hand and was guided into the small surgery area. Janet put up the privacy screen and then helped Sam onto the tall table behind the screen.
`Jack?` Sam called, as she settled back onto the cushions at the head of the table.
`Yeah?` He asked, coming round the screen.
`Check on Danny, will you? He`s been asleep for a while.` Jack nodded and left his wife to Janet`s more than capable hands. He crouched down in front of his son, ignoring the spasm of pain as his knee`s cricked.
`Danny?` He called, softly touching his son`s shoulder. The boy muttered, turning his head and snuggling further into the pillow. `Danny, time to get up.` The boy finally opened his eyes and peered up at his father, the frown turning into a beaming grin.
`Hey, Jack.` He said, his voice almost adult. Then he sat up and giggled. `Daddy.` He put his arms as far around his father as was possible before sitting back and looking around. `Where`s Mommy?` He asked, staring at the empty chair.
`Aunty Janet is looking at your little sister.` Jack replied, by now almost used to the snippets of the adult Daniel that they glimpsed from time to time within the small boy.
`Can I see?`
`Ah.. not right now, Danny. In a few weeks, when she`s out of Mommy`s tummy you can.` Jack replied, hiding a grin. He stood up and held out his hand to his son. `Come on, kid. Let`s go annoy Uncle Teal`c.`
`Cool.` Daniel replied, dragging his father behind him in his excitement to get to his favourite `Uncle`.
* * * *
The terror was palpable, a living thing in the air. The smell of it mingled with the tang of iron, the smell of fresh blood. The survivors of the first attack all stood, shivering in shock, their throats thick with dread. About them they could see the disturbances as the aliens hunted, the air itself seemed to shimmer as they passed. One man, who had involuntarily cried out as he slipped in a puddle, had been ripped apart before the cry had ended. It was at that point that silence came upon the hallway. Terrified, shivering silence. For hours, the six survivors stood there, staring at each other, petrified. Afraid to move, in case it would attract the hunters attention. Finally one of them struck up the courage to move his arm. He moved it out, away from his body. The woman on the other wall facing him almost cried out in denial before she remembered the fate of their friend. They all waited for the hunter to strike. But he didn`t. The man waved his hand, then hesitantly stepped away from the wall, swallowing past the lump of fear in his throat. Still no attack. He looked at the woman. This meant something
* * * *
The baby gurgled in it`s cradle, hands waving softly in the air in front of her face as she watched the patterns on the ceiling. Her parents sat close by, watching in fascination as the girl discovered that she had the amazing ability to stick both hands inside her mouth and suck on them. One of her parents leant over the edge of the cradle and coo-ed at her. She giggled back, laughing at the face her mother was making. Reaching out, she caught the long blonde hair in her hands and giggled again as her mother tried to untangle herself.
`Silvie.` Her father scolded gently, lifting her up and placing her over his shoulder, neatly untangling her fist at the same time. Silvie gurgled and grabbed at his ear, drooling down the back of his shirt. She listened as her parents spoke to each other, loving the sound of their voices, and giggling at the feeling of her fathers voice vibrating in his chest, making her body tickle.
`How`s it going, Sam?` Jack asked, bouncing Silvie in his arms to distract her.
`We`re getting there. The Asgard gave us the doohickey,` Sam grinned at her husband, `and I`ve almost managed to merge it`s technology in with ours. In a few days, we should be able to do some preliminary testing.`
`Good. Teal`c`s due back in the next three hours.` He said, changing the topic.
`I know. Danny`s been giving me regular updates on each team. He considers it his job now, you do realize that?` She patted Silvie on the back, then walked over to brush her hair and put it back into a more manageable pony tail.
`Well. It was either that or have him start cataloging the rocks Jim found over on Buxton Field.` Jack grinned. `I think he may just be a little too young to be working archaeological digs, don`t you?` Sam turned and poked her tongue out at him. Jack briefly entertained the idea of grasping hold of the offending appendage but thought better of it. He much preferred his bed to the cane lounge in the second room. Silvie gurgled by his ear, and he pulled her back to jiggle her in the air before him.
`What do you reckon, sweetie? Danny play with rocks?` Silvie`s answer was to blow raspberries at her father, blue eyes twinkling with mirth. `No? Okay.` Sam came over and took her daughter back. She kissed Jack briefly on the mouth, before heading outside, her daughter resting neatly on her hip.
`What are you up to today, Jack?` She asked as she headed towards their office.
`Well, after rounding Daniel up from his most important duties, I`ve got to go out and check on Fiji Village. After that, back to Buxton Field to pick up those rocks I mentioned for the Arc. Group. After that, Daniel and I have a little regression session.`
`Have you learnt anything?` Sam asked, giving him a look.
`No. It`s so frustrating. I just get past our Danny, to the adult behind, and then Bam, it`s like a door shuts down.`
`Maybe he`s not ready.` Sam suggested, opening the door to their office.
`Sam, he`s the one who asked. You know he`s been having nightmares the last few months.` He said, sitting down in his chair. `We`ve both had almost no sleep, between Danny`s nightmares and Silvie`s feedings.` He sensed, even without looking, that Sam resented the last comment. `No, Sammy.` He said, rising and heading over to her, hugging both his wife and daughter in his arms. `I wouldn`t change anything for all the dead goa`uld`s in the world. But if I can do something to make our lives easier, to make Danny`s life easier, then you know I`m going to.`
`I know, Jack.` Sam replied, touching his jaw gently. She jerked her chin towards the door. `Go and get your son and spend the day with him.` He looked closely into her eyes, then smiled softly and kissed her and Silvie, then walked outside.
* * * *
It hunted by sound. The sound of vocal chords. The sound of a voice. It hunted their very speech. A whisper, a moan, a sob. They were all deadly. This new invasion was unstoppable. The world knew. The world understood. The world could not stop it. They could not stop the hunting. Within days, the world was silent. And the survivors, those who could and had managed to remain `dumb` made their way slowly and surely to Colorado, USA. It took weeks for some. They slowly evacuated those who survived, the trickle of people coming in daily.
Finally, weeks after the first soldier had been torn apart, his splattered blood long dry, the last of the evacuee`s stood on the ramp. They stared around at the blood on the floor so thick that in places it was still moist. Their guilt beating in their chest. There were those who would not survive. Those who could not make it to this sanctuary. Those who didn`t know of it`s existence. And they`d had to make a choice. The risk assessment had been made and they were leaving. They had to protect those they`d saved. With one final tear for those who remained, the two remaining Stargate Personnel turned and walked into the wormhole, their departure marked only by a ripple on the surface. The Stargate Shut down.
The hunters remained, waiting for the sound. It would come. Of that they were sure. The thousand who had escaped were nothing to the billions they had consumed. They were content.
* * * *
`So what did you dream about last night, Danny?` Jack asked, sitting by the lake with his son. They had cast their home-made fishing lines into the water beneath the huge shady tree, and sat back.
`Nothing much.` Daniel replied, leaning back on his little six-year old arms. In the six months since Jack had returned from their mission to earth, his boy had grown. At least half a foot in height, and his shorts were almost too short now. Time to pay a visit to the supply store again.
`Did you see Oma again?` Jack pressed, jiggling his fishing rod. His son shook his head in reply. Jack knew that would be the response. Daniel never screamed out in terror when he dreamed about Oma. And scream out in terror the boy had. For the past three nights running.
`Daniel? You can tell me, you know.`
`I know, Daddy.` Daniel replied softly, staring at the sun shining off the water. He picked up a small pebble and threw it into the water, breaking the reflection and sending ripples of sunlight across his face. `I. You and Mommy and Uncle Teal`c were there.` He started. It was quite often how he started to describe his nightmares. Jack deeply regretted that what he and his son called nightmares could not be dismissed by saying just that. `They`re just nightmares.` Unfortunately for his son, his nightmares weren`t `just` nightmares. They were memories. And they were always true.
`What happened?` He asked, setting his fishing rod down beside him.
`We were in a cave.` He replied, frowning. `You were grumbling about something. Uncle Jonas was there. He was smiling. So was Mommy.` Jack stiffened. Jonas had never served with Daniel on SG-1. Daniel had died before Jonas had joined the Stargate Command. Jonas had joined almost directly because of Daniel`s death.
`You wouldn`t talk to me.` Daniel looked up at him, and his son had tears in his eyes. `You kept ignoring me. I yelled and yelled` His breath hitched. Jack grasped him tight and held him close to his chest. He remembered the mission. It had gone badly when had one not? but everything turned out alright in the end. He held his son and let him continue. `Uncle Teal`c yelled something suddenly and then there was smoke and flames and heat. I kept yelling, but you wouldn`t listen. You starting yelling at Mommy and then you just ran away from me!` Jack rocked his son, waiting for him to calm down before explaining the mission. After a few minutes, Daniel`s breathing calmed and he sat in the circle of his father`s arms, safe.
`It was a bad mission, Daniel.` Jack started, continuing the ritual they had started several months ago. Yes, he did try to contact the adult Daniel behind the child quite frequently, but more often than not, Jack found himself comforting and reassuring his son. `What you thought was me ignoring you wasn`t. You were with Oma then, an Ancient. Remember, we talked about that? If you see Jonas with us in your nightmares, then you`re safe with Oma?` Daniel nodded, sniffing as he wiped his nose on his sleeve. `The flames you saw were from a bomb.` Daniel gasped. `It`s okay, it wasn`t directed at us. We just happened to be in the firing line, so to speak. I was yelling at your Mom and Jonas to get them to move because I could hear the roar of the flames. It`s what I used to do. Order your Mom and Uncle Jonas around.`
`You still order Uncle Jonas around. But now Mommy orders you around.` Daniel told him, a spark of mischief in his eyes. Jack grinned down at him.
`That`s right. And I have a feeling that`s never going to change. We got out, but Uncle Jonas was hurt really badly. And your Mom had a bad burn on her back and shoulder. We got them back to Auntie Janet, who fixed them up for us.`
`So why was I there?` Daniel asked, shuffling round to look at his father.
`I don`t know, Danny. You had taken to looking out for us, watching over us. Maybe it was you who allowed me to hear the roar of the flames? Maybe it was your yelling even though I couldn`t hear you properly that made me realize something was wrong.` Daniel looked up at him, hope shining in his eyes.
`You think so?` He asked breathlessly.
`Something jogged my attention. So yeah, I think so.` He did now, now that he realized that Daniel had been in that cave with him. He`d heard a whisper beside him, and turned to look, and felt the wave of warmth and a distant roar. He`d reacted immediately. Daniel nodded, happy with the world again. That was one blessing, he was at the age where Dad did know best, and one word from him and the world was back at rights.
`Can we go see Silvie now?` Danny asked, looking towards Mauii Village, rising beyond the hill behind them.
`Sure. It`s time for your afternoon nap, anyway.`
`Awww.` Daniel moaned, causing Jack to grin.
* * * *
They`d rested. They`d enjoyed. They`d gorged themselves on all they could. The world was finally silent. It had been for so long. They scoured the land, the see. The hovered high and low. There was no sound left. Their hunt had finally ended.
It was time to hunt again.
They were hungry.
* * * *
Stargate SG-1 Fanfiction