The gate shut down, the blue flickering light dying an abrupt death. Jack stood before the stairs, staring through the ring to the trees beyond, eyes bleak and shoulders slumped. Janet, Siler and the rest of the gathered villagers slowly and quietly walked away, hope and fear shining in their eyes. Their four best people had just left on what could more than likely be their last trip through the Stargate. The chances of all of them coming home was slim. The chances of all of them dying was high. Too high for many of the remaining to be comfortable. Janet cast a look over her shoulder at Jack as she walked back to her office, hesitating. Justin Siler touched her shoulder, shaking his head gently.
`Leave him, Doctor.` He said quietly. `He needs some time. We should see to Sylvie and Daniel.` Janet nodded back and they headed towards the crèche at the left of the main building.
Jack stood before the Stargate, his mind far away. With the rest of his team on P3R 456 - the A`cuit home world. Where his wife was. Where his best friends were. Where he could not follow. He cast a look down at his knees and blinked slowly. The time for tears, for anger, had long gone. Now there was only despair and a longing to be with them. To lead them.
`Sam knows what she`s doing, Jack.` He heard a voice say beside him. He looked down at his son, who stared gravely back up at him.
`I know, Daniel.` Jack said softly, taking the boy`s hand. He glanced back at the Stargate before turning away. `But that doesn`t mean that I don`t want to be there.`
`You are there. With all of them. Teal`c, Jonas, Sam and Sarah all learned from you. Everything they know, they know from you. You couldn`t have guaranteed a more successful mission. Now come on. Sylvie wants to see you.` And all of a sudden Daniel became the seven (and a half) year old boy he was, pulling his father towards the crèche and his daughter.
`Just how did you get away from crèche, young man?` Jack asked, remembering where he had left his son. Daniel`s reply was an evil giggle.
* * * *
Sam gestured for Teal`c and Sarah to go left, as she led Jonas to the right. Even had she wanted to, speech was impossible. The injection Janet had given them just prior to departure had frozen all of their vocal chords, rendering speech impossible. It was just another thing they had to thank the Asgard for advanced medical know-how. All four of them had their weapons at the ready, their specially designed goggles down over their eyes, aiding them in seeing the A`cuits should they come across any.
With hand signals, Sam told Teal`c she wanted him to take point, followed by Jonas and Sarah, with her taking up the rear position. She tested the fastenings on her pack one last time, ensuring that the device was safe, then followed her team away from the Stargate and the relative safety it provided`?
* * * *
The day passed slowly. He sat at his desk, staring blankly at the monitor. At the plan he had made. The plan that had taken away his `family`. Taken them into danger. There were days when he wished he hadn`t been born a natural leader. When he wished he had been a waiter in a diner on an interstate somewhere. Or a window-washer perhaps. Anything but someone who put other people`s lives in jeopardy.
And all he could do was wait. And pray.
* * * *
Sam kneeled on the ground, her back bowed in pain. Emotional and physical. She reached into the bloody mess that was all that remained of Sarah, pulled out her dog tag and put it in her pocket, before standing up and turning away from the blood spattered ground. There was nothing they could do for Sarah. Except succeed. She gestured for her remaining team-members to gather close and brought out the small erasable note-pad. She wrote quickly in shorthand. It was something that Jack had insisted they all learn before leaving on this mission. Something she was now glad she had listened to him about.
We need to continue for another 3 miles East. We should be able to set the device off then. Timer on for thirty minutes. Jonas took the notepad from her and jotted something down.
Enough time to get back? He`d written.
Yes. The bubble will expand exponentially. At a brisk jog, we should stay ahead of it. From that point, it`s only 3.5 miles back to the gate, direct. She looked at Teal`c and Jonas, who both nodded their understanding. Neither showed signs of their `shot` wearing off. Sam made a mental note to investigate why out of all of them, Sarah`s had been the first to wear out. It had made her death pointless. She had fallen, twisting her ankle and had cried out involuntarily. Sam mentally put that aside to deal with later, put the notepad back into her pocket and stood up. The others followed her lead.
* * * *
Jack sat with Janet and his children, eating a meal that she had prepared for them all. Her own husband was out exploring a new system of caverns that had been discovered a few weeks ago, so she was just as alone as he was. The children were enjoying their game of `let`s try and hide our food rather than eat it`. It was something they played with startling regularity.
`Daniel.` Jack warned his son, who looked back at him with guileless blue eyes as he sneakily hid a root-vegetable under the table lip.
`How are you dealing, Jack?` Janet asked, getting back to the subject of their conversation.
`Anxious.` Jack admitted, wiping the mouth of his daughter with a soft cloth. She gurgled up at him.
`Dada.` She beamed. He smiled back, but his heart wasn`t in it. He was too worried about her mother.
`I don`t blame you.` Janet said, taking a sip of the Moonshine she`d developed several years ago. It had progressed to the point where it didn`t really deserve the name Moonshine it was actually quite palatable. But it was now like a label Janet`s Moonshine. Finest alcohol on Maui II.
`I figured I`d go out to Blue Lagoon with Daniel this afternoon. Do a little fishing. He had another nightmare last night.` Janet cast the boy a look, but realized that Jack was dealing with his son`s nightmares well enough on his own and simply nodded in reply.
`I`ll look after Sylvie for you.` Janet offered, casting an adoring look at the toddler.
* * * *
They`d found it. The way out. The particular manipulation that would activate their escape route. They snarled and writhed around the Stargate, winds whistling through the compound.
*scrreeech-thunk* The ring moved inside it`s guiding rail. A symbol glowed. The first of seven.
* * * *
Had Sam been able to speak, she would have yelled for Teal`c and Jonas to run. As it was, she pushed them both before her as she sprinted away from the rapidly building bubble. It was building faster and far more solid than even she had anticipated. She estimated they had roughly one mile to go to the gate. She glanced back as she ran and saw the bubble was far too close for comfort. She stumbled, but was pulled up by a strong hand on her arm. Teal`c. As always looking out for his family. She continued running.
* * * *
Jack was just heading out of the village with his son and two fishing rods when the alarm sounded, announcing an incoming wormhole. He shot his son a look and they both ran back to the Stargate, gathering there with about 50 other villagers. All of stood silently, their eyes trained on the moving ring. The glowing symbols.
`She`s back early.` Jack murmured to himself. He felt a thread of fear. Being back early was never a good sign. At least not in his experience. He held Daniel`s hand tightly and watched as the wormhole blew out in a gush of bubbles. It settled back into it`s rippling surface. And then nothing.
* * * *
Oh God She thought as Jonas dialed. She had her back to the gate, watching the bubble come towards them, faster and faster. She heard it`s whoosh and turned. They had seconds at the most before the bubble took them. She ran towards the gate, Teal`c and Jonas waiting for her.
* * * *
Time for them to go. Time for them to feed.
* * * *
`What-.` Gerard asked, turning to face Jack. The others watched horrified, as Gerard was torn apart in front of them, his blood spraying across their bodies. It was something they were all chillingly familiar with. Something they all thought they`d rid themselves of.
Oh God. Jack thought as he instinctively clasped his hand over Daniel`s mouth. The Claxon was going off. The A`cuit were here. He felt a wind whistle past his cheek and prayed to himself that Daniel would not make a sound. He knelt down and stared hard into Daniel`s eyes, trying to reach beyond the boy to the adult behind. He put his finger to his lips, pressing hard to emphasize the importance. Daniel nodded and Jack knew that both of the Daniels understood.
Sylvie. Jack thought and grabbing Daniel up in his arms, sprinted for the Doctor`s office. He flung open the door to see a wide-eyed Janet with a syringe in her hand. An empty one. Sylvie, sitting on her knee was crying, brown eyes awash with tears, mouth open in a scream. But there was no sound. Janet had given her the voice-box neutralizing injection. He almost collapsed in relief. His mind processed sounds aborted screams. Whistling cold wind. The Claxon still blaring. He closed his eyes for a second, then opened them again. He handed Daniel over to Janet, telling her with his eyes to watch them both, then went back outside. He ran over to the emergency beacon and pressed his code into the panel, along with his palm print. Immediately, his voice synthesized and digitally recorded echoed out around the compound. Through the telecommunication devices. It instantly reached all the survivors. The thousand that had escaped from Earth.
`The A`cuit are here. Assemble at Ground Zero.` There was nothing else that needed to be said. Everyone knew what the simple message meant. They had to start again. Somewhere else. And this time, there was no Alpha site already set up. They would have to start from scratch. As the silent villagers approached the gate, it started activating again. Several of the villagers cast the gate a fearful glance, but all remained silent. The few that had already been killed served as a grisly reminder of how they had survived before hand. He saw Janet, Daniel and Sylvie in tow, handing out syringes to the adults with children. They didn`t understand. There was no other way to guarantee their silence.
The gate exploded open for a second time in ten minutes. They all tensed. The Claxon still blared it`s warning. Jack`s voice still repeated it`s message. And would do so for another twenty four hours. The gate remained silent for several seconds, then released three people. Jack stared at his wife, his heart collapsing in his chest in relief and fear. Relief that she was safe. Fear that she wasn`t. The A`cuit were here as well.
Sam stepped through, her thoughts only on the bubble behind them. She had felt it brush her clothes as she stepped through the gate. Because of her preoccupation, it took her several moments to recognize the Claxon and it`s warning. She paled, eyes darting around the gathered people until she saw Jack, standing by the emergency console. It was his voice she could hear. Warning everyone of the presence of their enemy. A`cuit. She put her hand up to her mouth, eyes wide with fear. Jack told her silently, that their children were okay his eyes leaving hers to look at Janet. Sam followed with her own, and she breathed out in relief when she saw them. Sylvie, red eyed with crying, hiccupping into Janet`s chest. Daniel, standing beside her, mouth clamped firmly closed.
`We have to leave.` Jack said or rather, his synthesized voice did. He had a key pad at the console and it spoke what he typed. Sam started to nod along with the villagers, then shook her head. When no one paid her any attention, she took her weapon and fired a brief volley over the top of the Stargate, getting everyone`s attention. She shook her head again, fiercely. She had an idea.
Stargate SG-1 Fanfiction