Little Surprises - Part One
Colonel Jack O’Neill sighed as his tour guide explained the purpose of the parapet on the outer edge of the defensive trench that surrounded the main city. He was bored. He and the rest of SG-1 were making a return visit to P3X-974 to formalize trade relations with the Betan, the people who populated the area nearest the Stargate. But before anything could begin, their hosts had insisted on discussing the various issues up for negotiation with the ones most likely to be involved. Thus, Janet Fraiser and SG-14 were examining the different medical technologies the SGC was trying to trade for, and SG-1 had split up, Major Samantha Carter and Doctor Daniel Jackson heading a couple of miles outside the city for a cache of alien technology the natives had been unable to decipher or use in the slightest and Jack and Teal’c walking with Gedane, the Betan’s military leader, to check out the defenses in place - something the local inhabitants wanted to trade for.

“Is that sound, Colonel O’Neill?” Gedane asked, pulling the silver-haired man out of his thoughts.

Jack caught sight of Teal’c’s raised eyebrow as he quickly replayed the last segment of the conversation he’d been ignoring. “I’d say so, taking into account the terrain you have to work with,” he said with a knowing nod. “What I guess I don’t understand is why you’re so anxious for the kinds of improvements we can provide. I’ve seen the... Dakal.” He shuddered at the memory of the huge, hulking beasts that had charged pel-mel at the city the night before. They made him think of Bigfoot with rabies. And they’d all seen the aftermath when they found the remains of a traveler that hadn’t made it to the city walls in time. “Your defenses seemed more than adequate for the job.”

Gedane gave the two teammates a self-depreciating smile. “You may think so, but as mindless as the Dakal appear, they are slowly learning. What we fear is that they will someday overcome the obstacles between themselves and their prey. Also, we wish to be better prepared for the few hostile forces that have come through the Halo of Heaven. You are not the only people who wish access to the resources of our planet, only the first who have peacefully offered to trade.”

“Why did you not mention this previously?” Teal’c asked.

“We didn’t want to give you any ideas,” Gedane replied with a twinkle in his eye. “We were very well aware your military technology far outstripped our own.”

“Fair enough,” Jack said. “So what’s next?”

The Betan man cleared his throat. “Some of our scientists have begun work on a system that will be able to detect possible threats before they become so. I know this strays closer to Major Carter’s specialty, but would you be willing to examine their prototype? Perhaps this will resemble something you have already developed.”

Jack and Teal’c shared a look, then Jack shrugged. “Can’t hurt, as long as they don’t get too in-depth with the explanation of
how it works.” The three of them headed back for the city proper.

* * * * * * * *

“You know, I’m suddenly glad the colonel got invited to examine the defenses,” Sam murmured as she and Daniel stepped into the underground cavern their Betan guide had led them to.

“Just looking at this would have him bored to tears,” Daniel agreed, but quickly reconsidered. “Well, unless there’s something you can see that might look like a big honkin’ space gun to him,” he qualified.

She gave him a wide smile. “Not on first impression.”

Again, two pairs of blue eyes reverently wandered around the large open space, lit by an unseen light source. The walls were a smooth, granite-like stone, the only mark marring any of them a distinct crack running across the archway they had walked through and ending at the joint with the ceiling. There were dome-topped pedestals in front of each of the other three identical to the one in the meeting room on Ernest’s planet - commonly referred to as Heliopolis at the SGC. Machines of all shapes and sizes were scattered around the room, various lights blinking, four distinct styles apparent although there was no rhyme or reason to their placement.

Daniel looked back over his shoulder to ask their guide a question, but found he was gone. “Where did Tebar go?” he asked.

“He did say he and the other Betan wouldn’t be able to help us in figuring these devices out since they had only recently found them,” Sam replied after she had looked for herself.

“Right, after the quake last week,” Daniel said, remembering the discussion they’d had with the native leaders. He gave the blonde beside him a slightly wary look. “You don’t think things are still unstable, do you?”

“It’s unlikely,” she answered. “No one’s said anything about any other tremors either before or after other than the usual aftershocks, so we should be fine.” Daniel nodded, and the two of them entered the room proper.

It wasn’t long before the archaeologist was standing before the left-hand wall, his hand on top of the red crystal dome and glowing script coming to life on the previously-blank wall. “Oh, Sam, look at this,” he breathed, eyes wide.

Sam looked up from the random machine just to the right of the doorway she had begun to examine. “That’s just like what happened on Ernest’s planet, isn’t it? Without the three-dimensional display, of course.” Her little addition was said gently, as even after all the time that had passed it was still a slightly sensitive subject for Daniel. He hated the idea that all that knowledge was lost.

“The first time he uncovered the pedestal, yes,” was the murmured response. “This is the language of the Nox,” Daniel declared, utterly fascinated.

“Which means they were here sometime in the distant past.” Sam looked around the room again. “Some of this might be Nox technology then.”

“This could
all be Nox technology, from different stages of its development.”

Sam shook her head, even as she wandered in and around the different devices, looking at each of them closely. “No, I don’t think so. Some of this is definitely Asgard, and I recognize some Ancient technology as well.”

Daniel’s eyes widened as he shared a meaningful look with his friend. “Then we might have just stumbled across another meeting place of the four races of the ancient alliance.” He rushed over to the next wall and its pedestal. The lettering that appeared was the same as the wall before. The same happened on the third wall. “Well, I suppose if all of the information on each of these walls is related, it would make sense that it all be in the same language,” he said thoughtfully, carefully examining the last pedestal. “These buttons are different,” he muttered as he let his fingers lightly brush one of four palm-sized domes equidistantly placed on the outer edge of the stone surrounding the center crystal.

“Daniel, look!” Sam cried, pointing at the wall as it flickered briefly with a different script.

The brown-haired man snapped his head up in time to see the wall waver back to the original Nox. His summer blue eyes narrowed behind his wire-framed glasses. He touched one of the other outer domes, and the lighted words changed to Asgard for a short moment. “These let you read whatever’s written here in whichever of the four languages you want,” he said in awe. “But something must have happened to keep them stuck on the Nox language.”

Sam nodded. “The quake more than likely. Or even something that happened a long time ago. We may never know just how long these machines have been here.”

“Or what happened during that time,” Daniel acknowledged.

“Exactly. But this is a definite find. I think everybody’s going to be extremely happy with this one.”

“Even if there’s no ‘honkin’ big space gun’?” Daniel asked with a grin. Sam just laughed and turned back to the device nearest her.

An hour later, Sam had moved on to a few other machines while Daniel focused his attention on the wall opposite the entryway, as it was able to stay on the language of the Ancients the longest. “Have you gotten past the agreement yet?” Sam asked as she moved yet again to a device in the center of the room that looked somewhat familiar to her.

Daniel shot her a look of frustration over his shoulder. “No. There are pages of pandering to everybody’s egos, telling each other how wonderful they all are for agreeing to share their technology, even in such limited capacity as this. Personally, I get the impression that this is all just a nice way to say ‘we’re offering up just enough to keep the rest of you quiet while we keep our real accomplishments a secret’, but that might be just me.” He saw the apparatus the physicist was standing next to. “Hey, isn’t that like the virtual reality machines the Keeper used on P7J-989?”

“I think you might be right, Daniel.” Sam said, looking down on the horizontal contraption. “But instead of the thick tubes the Keeper used there’s a fine mesh of something that looks like fiber optics. I wonder if that makes it less physically invasive.”

“Well,” Daniel began with a small smile, “I don’t plan on trying it to find out. I didn’t particularly enjoy the last time.”

Before Sam could shoot back a rejoinder, a loud rumbling filled the air, followed quickly by violent vibrations that sent them both off-balance. Sam managed to grab hold of the pod at her side, while Daniel stumbled backward into a tall, metal contraption that the back of his mind registered as being of Ancient design. “We have to get out of here!” he shouted over the growing volume of the quake.

Sam nodded just as a large crack echoed around them. A small piece of the floor heaved upward, throwing Daniel through the air to land in the center of the fiber optic-like mesh of the machine the two of them had been discussing. In the next moment, the panel next to her hands exploded, sending Sam flying back to crash into another device. She was unconscious before she hit the floor.

* * * * * * * *

“What in the hell is that?” Jack asked as he felt a sharp tremor through the soles of his boots. “I thought you said you didn’t expect any more seismic activity after last week’s quake.”

His accusatory look was ignored. “Nothing had been predicted, Colonel O’Neill,” Gedane said calmly. “However, there’s nothing to be concerned about. All of the buildings in the city have been designed to withstand even the worst of the land tremors.”

Jack gritted his teeth. “What about the rest of my people?”

“Doctor Fraiser and the team that accompanies her are the safest of all. We paid particular attention to our medical facilities.”

“What of Major Carter and Daniel Jackson?” Teal’c asked.

“They should have returned by this time. No one knows the purpose of the machines they wished to examine.”

Jack looked at their guide incredulously. “And you don’t think they wouldn’t want to see if
they could figure those machines out? That’s why they were so eager to go!”

Gedane blinked, his calm mask faltering. “Then you think they might still be in the cavern?”

Jack fought the urge to break the other man’s nose. “I’m almost completely sure of it,” he practically growled. He snatched at his radio. “Carter, Daniel, come in,” he snapped. Static was the only response. “Daniel? Carter?” Nothing.

“I don’t believe your radios will function in the cavern,” Gedane said quietly, horror beginning to transform his features. “Our communications devices didn’t when the cavern was first discovered.” He looked the colonel directly in the eye. “And that was the area worst affected by the last tremor.”

“And you let them go there?” Jack exploded. Teal’c placed a restraining hand on his shoulder.

Gedane began to look sick to his stomach. “Our experts declared the cavern safe for exploration. No one expected another land tremor so soon after the last. I promise you, Colonel O’Neill, we wouldn’t have allowed the exploration if we believed anything else.”

The Air Force colonel took a deep breath and released it slowly. “Take me to where there are, Gedane. Take me there now.” His voice was cold and calm.

“That would be unwise, O’Neill,” Teal’c said before Gedane could reply, even as another tremor rippled beneath their feet. “We must await the end of the quake.”

Jack looked at the Jaffa helplessly, realizing his friend was correct. “Damn it,” he cursed softly. “I hate it when you’re right about crap like this.” Teal’c merely raised an eyebrow, and the nerve-racking wait began.

* * * * * * * *

Sam awoke with a loud groan, although it was difficult to hear it above the screams of rending earth around her. There was a moment of complete confusion as to what was going on, but the sparks flying from the control panel brought it all back quickly. Dust was thick in the air, and continued to pour out from the numerous cracks in the walls and ceiling. “Daniel!” Sam cried. The shout triggered a coughing jag, but no discernable response.

The major dragged herself to her feet and staggered over to where she had last seen her teammate. “Daniel!” she cried again. Still no response.

Coughing, her hip came into contact with the last device she’d been examining. Grimacing, she waved her hand to try to clear a little bit of air in front of her so she could see into the center section of mesh and find out if Daniel had been affected by the explosion. Narrowing her eyes on the realization that there was an unmoving lump in the middle of the machine, she peered closer. And gasped. “Daniel?” she asked in utter surprise, her eyes widening.

Just then, the figure moved. “Help,” it choked out, coughing and holding out a small hand.

“Oh my God, of course,” Sam said quickly, snapping out of her shock. She’d figure out the why and the wherefores later. The woman leaned over and disentangled the slight form from the fiber optics - she couldn’t help but think of the alien mesh that way - and lifted a little boy with a mop of unruly dusty blond hair and glasses too big for his face from the mess. She soothed him as he clung to her, sobbing uncontrollably.

Glancing back down, she saw an adult sized pair of Air Force issued boots, BDU pants, and one white sock in a pile where the boy had been. That’s when she noticed her arms were filled with more fabric than child. She held him closer. “We need to get out of here, Daniel,” she said into his hair, no doubt in her mind as to who this was. “It’s too dangerous to stay.” He merely nodded against her shoulder.

Sam scooped up the rest of Daniel’s clothes in case they’d be needed or held any signs of how the device had done what it did to her friend, then tried to head for the archway they’d come through over an hour ago. It was tough going, more of a drunken swagger than any kind of direct progress, but it did the job. Soon enough she was leaning in the doorway, hoping the old rule she’d learned during her stints in California held true off-world.

“Is the world ending?” a soft voice whispered in Sam’s ear.

“No, no, it’s just an earthquake. We were caught underground. That’s all this is,” Sam automatically reassured her now-diminutive friend.

“Are we going to die?” Daniel asked, his voice even smaller, making it barely audible.

“Not if I can help it,” Sam replied determinedly. Daniel nodded again and placed his head back on her shoulder trustingly.

There was too much dust to see anything clearly, but a glance up suggested that the open arch the two Tau’ri were standing under wasn’t as stable as Sam could have hoped for. “I think we’re going to have to make a break for the surface, Daniel. I don’t know how much longer this section of the cavern is going to hold together.”

Daniel pulled back slightly in her arms to look her in the eye. “Then let’s go,” he said firmly, trying hard to cover up his terror.

The adult Daniel’s glasses were about ready to slip off his nose, so Sam shifted his weight and grabbed them, slipping the eyewear into one of the pockets of the vest the child still wore. “Let’s do it,” she agreed with a confident smile and reassuring squeeze. “Hold on tight.” He tucked himself back against her shoulder, and the two of them were off.

* * * * * * * *

It was hours before the all-clear was sounded and Jack and Teal’c were allowed to head for the cavern where their friends had last been known to be. By that time the colonel was totally irascible, a condition not improved by the sight of Sam and Daniel’s packs resting just inside the entrance. “There’s a section of tunnel that is quite narrow,” Tebar answered the subsequent barked demand for an explanation. The two scientists’ guide had readily volunteered to join the search when he had discovered his charges’ situation. “It would have been extremely difficult to bring the bags along, even dragging them along separately. Any sensitive equipment wouldn’t have survived the attempt intact. I offered to place them where you see them, so they would be available upon their exit.”

“None of our people would have taken the packs in any case,” Gedane assured Jack.

Jack waved off the pledge. “That’s not what I was worried about. Without their packs, they have minimal medical supplies. And since I doubt they got out before the quake, they’re almost sure to need those.”

“Will Doctor Fraiser be here soon?” Teal’c queried.

“Of course,” Gedane answered. “She was summoned as we left the city. I’m sure she will be informed as to the particulars of the situation.”

“I just hope the doc gets here soon.” Jack scowled and snatched at his radio. “Carter, Daniel, come in. Please come in.” There was nothing but static. “Aren’t we close enough for these things to work?”

“Under normal circumstances, yes,” another one of the Betan replied quickly. “I believe there may be a cave-in between us and your teammates, and that’s what is blocking your signal.”

Teal’c laid an assuring hand on his team leader’s shoulder. “You know this is true, O’Neill. We must now ascertain the most beneficial method to free Daniel Jackson and Major Carter. Perhaps our labor will allow our radios to function even before our teammates are located.”

Jack nodded, his shoulders slumping slightly. “Yeah, you’re right, T. Let’s get to work then. Daniel and Carter need us.” Between himself and Gedane, the crowd that had tagged along was quickly put to work. He could only hope that their efforts would not be in vain.

* * * * * * * *

Sam sighed and leaned her head back against the rough stone tunnel wall she sat against. Daniel sat beside her, nestled against her side with her arm draped over his shoulders. He hadn’t said anything for a long time, although he seemed to perk up every time she lit up her watch to check how much time had gone by. She figured the darkness was getting to him.

They’d been stopped about two-thirds of the way to the entrance when they found that the narrow part of the tunnel that had prevented them from bringing their packs along in the first place had its part of the ceiling collapse in to fill it with rubble. Sam had intended to lead them back a ways where she thought the ceiling was a bit more stable, but another tremor brought more rock down from above, leaving the two of them with a space approximately ten by twenty by fifteen. Daniel had cried at the loud noise, and it took Sam quite some time to settle him down. They had yet to talk about what had happened in the meeting/storage place, but as long as he was still allowing her to comfort him, Sam was satisfied.

“Do you think we’re going to make it out?” Daniel asked another ten minutes later, never looking up from where his head rested against Sam’s upper chest.

“Sure I do,” Sam said with as much confidence she could muster, grabbing her flashlight and turning it on. If Daniel had finally decided to talk, they might as well be able to see, however limited it would be. She was worried about what might have happened to the people in the city, especially the colonel and Teal’c, not to mention Janet and SG-14. “When people notice we’re missing they’ll come out here and dig us out.”

The boy looked up at that. “You don’t know that for sure, do you?”

There was a look in the clear blue eyes that demanded an honest answer. “No,” Sam whispered, “but I hope with everything I have that I’m right. For both our sakes.”

Daniel nodded. “Thank you.” He put his head back down.

“Daniel,” Sam said thoughtfully, deciding this was as good a time as any to have an all-important talk. “Can I ask you a few questions?”

“Can I ask some too?” Daniel asked in return, bringing his head back up.

Sam smiled down on him. “You bet.”

The child nodded. “Then you can ask. I’ll answer the best I can.”

“Do you know what happened before the quake in the meeting place?”

“Do you mean that room with all the machines?” Daniel asked with a slight frown. Sam nodded. “No, I don’t.”

The blonde woman hesitated for a moment. “What’s the last thing you do remember?”

Sam became alarmed when Daniel completely tensed up from head to toe, looking away from her sharply. “It was swinging, swinging too much. She said it was, but he said it was fine. Then the chain broke, and it fell, and she screamed...” The panicked tone trailed off as Daniel struggled to breathe suddenly.

Sam knew exactly what he was talking about, and began to rub gentle circles on his back. “It’s over now, I promise. It’s all over. I’m here; you’re not alone. I won’t let you be alone, Daniel.”

Daniel abruptly turned back to Sam and buried his head in her shoulder as he threw his arms around her waist. “I know, I know you won’t. You didn’t last time, and you won’t now. I just know it.” He started to relax as he allowed her comfort to soothe him.

“Um, Daniel,” Sam said slowly, thoroughly confused, “what do you mean I didn’t last time?”

Daniel stilled entirely, and Sam could feel the invisible cloak of calm he wrapped around himself. “It’s weird, actually,” he said as he sat up completely. “It’s like I remember the whole thing twice. The first time I remember, I’m all alone and I see the coverstone fall and there’s no one and everyone forgets I’m even there. The second time I remember I see everything happen and I walk over to you and you try to make it better for me. You make sure I’m not alone.” He cocked his head to the side and considered the woman next to him. “What’s your name?”

“Samantha Carter. But you can call me Sam.”

“Thank you, Sam,” he said with a small, shy smile.

Sam returned the expression. “I’ve been calling you Daniel, but is there anything else you’d preferred to be called?”

Daniel’s smile faltered a bit. “They... they’re gone.” He swallowed. “Just call me Daniel.”

The major reached out and gently brushed some of the hair out of his face. “Daniel it is then. Whatever you want.”

“Can I stay with you now that they’re gone?”

“I’ll do my best to make that happen for as long as you need me, Daniel.” She held out her arm, offering his previous resting place. “Why don’t you relax for a while? Our rescue might take a while yet.” Daniel merely nodded and snuggled against her once again. Sam smiled at the warmth she felt from his unquestioning trust and laid her head against the longer blond hair.

* * * * * * * *

Jack stood and silently stared out of the window of the room he and Teal’c had been offered for the night. He understood how dangerous it was to be outside the city walls after sundown, but all that did was increase his fear for his friends and teammates. The only positive thing was that there hadn’t been an aftershock since a short time before the evening meal.

A light knock heralded the appearance of Janet at the door. “They’ll be all right. The ultrasonic equipment General Hammond sent through may not have worked perfectly, but it did detect some open pockets. I’m sure Sam and Daniel found one of them and are just waiting for us to dig them out in the morning.” Her voice was soft as she joined him.

“You bet, Doc,” Jack said quietly in return. “But they’re going to need air long before that.”

“That’s not necessarily true, Colonel.”

“But there’s a good chance I’m right.”

Janet laid a gentle hand on the arm nearest her. “You can’t think like that, sir. Besides, what happened to that natural determined optimism of yours?” She smiled.

Jack gave a brief laugh. “Apparently out to lunch. Or sleeping, like I should be.” He turned to face the diminutive doctor. “I just hate the idea of them being trapped out there all night. I want to get them out of there and home where they belong. I want to do

Her smile grew larger. “You always want to be doing something. That’s just the way you are. And you’ll get to do something in the morning. But if you don’t get some rest, you’re just going to get in the way of a rescue instead of leading it.”

“I hear you, Doc. Thanks for being my voice of reason.”

“I’d like to think of it more as giving your optimistic side a wake up call. I trust you to do the rest. Now get some.” Janet hesitated as she was about to head for the door. “Unless you think you might need some help?”

Jack shook his head. “No drugs for me, Doc. I’ll grab what shut-eye I can, then head out to the dig site in the morning.” He stepped over to the bed as Janet nodded and began to take her leave. “Oh, and if you run into Teal’c tell him I found some extra blankets in here.”

Janet smiled as she opened the door. “I will, sir. Good night.”

“Good night. And thanks.” He watched the door close behind her and climbed into bed, holding on to what hope he could for the day to come.

* * * * * * * * 

The realization struck Sam as her watch informed her it was morning that she and Daniel were extremely lucky to still be alive, and not because of falling rocks. Shifting the sleeping child out of her lap without waking him, the physicist turned on her flashlight and closely examined the pile of rubble that blocked their escape to the outside. That was when her hand caught what her eyes couldn’t: a light stirring of fresh air that was seeping through the tumbled stones. She leaned her head against the rough surface and released a deep sigh of relief.

The sound of her stomach rumbling told her of the other danger the two of them faced if they were going to be trapped in the tunnel for too much longer. The lack of fresh food and water was only uncomfortable for now, but would quickly become a problem if anything held up the rescue she knew was being mounted. She knew Colonel O’Neill would be spitting nails about things having taken this long. There was a definite feeling of sympathy for everyone who had to deal with him until they were out.

That feeling grew to include herself when she took a look over her shoulder to check on her chronologically-reversed friend. She didn’t have any answers for what had happened or why, and her CO was going to be demanding some from her. At least Janet was bound to be right there when they got out. She could at least give reassurances that Daniel was physically all right while Sam tried to figure out what was going on.

Sam turned off the flashlight while she sat on the ground near where she had found the evidence of fresh air, her head resting on her drawn-up knees as she mentally organized all the research she would have to do to find a solution to this latest dilemma. It wasn’t much longer before she heard a distant scraping and dragging of stone on stone suggestive of what she would guess was a rescue attempt. A smile lit her face, knowing freedom was just around the corner. She glanced again at Daniel and decided to let him sleep until their rescuers were closer.

The major had just noticed the breeze coming through the rocks increase in strength when thrashing from behind her caught her attention. She twisted around and saw that Daniel was rolling from side to side in his sleep, his features distorted into a grimace of terror and pain. A nightmare. Sam reached for the flashlight, knocking it away from her hand in her haste.

“Mom! Dad! No!” Daniel exclaimed as Sam scrabbled for the Mag-lite. A couple beats passed before the boy cried out again as the blonde woman snared her quarry. “Sam!”

Blue-grey eyes widened in surprise even as she hurried over on her hands and knees. He was calling out for her? “I’m here, Daniel,” she said breathlessly, turning on the flashlight with her left hand as she tried to still his thrashing gently with her right. “I’m right here.”

It took a few moments before the touch seemed to register. As soon as it did, Daniel’s bright blue eyes flew open and his head snapped around to look at the woman holding his shoulder. “Sam,” he breathed, relief dripping from the name. He sat up in a flash and threw his arms around her neck, knocking the flashlight away once again as he maneuvered himself into her lap.

Sam didn’t bother with it. “It was just a dream, Daniel,” she assured him, returning the embrace. “It was just a dream, and now it’s over.”

The only response was a tighter squeeze and sobs shaking his frame. Daniel had just begun to quiet down when static crackled from the radios in both vests that they had used for pillows the night before. “It’s okay,” Sam said quickly, pulling hers out as Daniel straightened and looked around for the source of the noise in the twisted shadows the forgotten flashlight threw around. “That’s just the people who’re going to get us out of here.” She waited for his small nod of acknowledgment before squeezing her receiver. “Colonel? Teal’c? This is Major Samantha Carter. Come in.”

“Carter? You okay?” Jack’s voice asked after another bout of static. Soul deep relief was apparent even in the tinny echo.

“We’re both fine, sir,” Sam replied, giving the wide-eyed child in her arms a smile.

“Major?” Daniel repeated quietly. “Are you in the Army?”

Sam couldn’t help but chuckle. “The Air Force, actually. I also have a doctorate in theoretical astrophysics.”

Daniel blinked. “So you’re smart
and tough?” he asked with a touch of awe.

“You bet I am,” Sam said with a laugh. “And so are you. We both made it.”

The boy sniffed the last remnants of his bad dream away and laid his head against her shoulder. “Yeah.”

Before Sam could ask what was wrong, her radio crackled to life again. “Carter? You still there?”

“Um, yes, sir. Is Janet there with you?”

“Are you both all right?” the worried physician asked suddenly, suggesting she’d just snatched the radio out of Jack’s hand. A startled “Hey!” in the background confirmed the theory.

“Yeah, Janet, we’re okay. I just wanted to make sure you were close by.” Sam bit her lower lip as she tried to figure out how to break the news.

There was a bit of a pause. “Major Carter, are you not able to speak freely?” Teal’c asked.

Sam sighed. “It’s not that, Teal’c. Let’s just say we’ve got a little surprise for you guys that you’re going to have to see to believe.”

“You know how I feel about surprises, Major,” Jack said after a pause presumably used to get his radio back. “What are you talking about?”

“Something you’ll have to see to believe, sir, like I said. How long do you think it’ll take to get us out of here?”

A brief mumbled discussion could be heard. “We’re thinking an hour, hour and a half. Will you two be all right until then?” the colonel finally asked.

Sam turned her head slightly and took in young Daniel’s quiet form lying against her shoulder with a worried frown. “We’ll be fine, sir. There’s a steady stream of fresh air and the temperature’s relatively moderate if not a bit cool. We could use some water as soon as it’s clear, and maybe a little something to snack on to tide us over though.”

“Consider it done, Carter.” There were a couple beats of silence. “It just occurred to me that Daniel hasn’t said anything. Are you sure he’s all right?”

“He’s...” Sam gazed down again with stricken eyes as she felt Daniel grip her more tightly and burrow his head even more deeply into the shoulder of her jacket now that attention was focused on him. “He’s fine, sir.”

“Let me guess, this surprise has to do with Daniel, doesn’t it?” A loud, exasperated breath came over the connection. “I’m not going to like it, am I?” Jack asked in a resigned tone of voice just barely tinged with fear and irritation.
Sam paused for a moment when Daniel began to shake slightly, scared of the tone her CO had taken. She struggled to keep her composure as she rubbed his back comfortingly. “Do you ever, sir?”

Another exhalation was heard, not quite as loud as the one before. “I guess that answers both my questions,” Jack said. Sam could just picture him squinting his eyes shut and pinching the bridge of his nose. The man’s sigh came over the radio. “We’ll take care of the food and water as soon as possible, Carter. It shouldn’t be long. O’Neill out.”

Sam set her radio down on top of her vest once it went quiet, then rested her cheek against the soft blond hair of the child in her lap. Daniel’s shaking slowly faded away, but his grip never lessened. The physicist knew she’d have to ask him what was going on with him, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it so soon after his scare. A feeling of dread regarding his response to their rescue began to build up inside Sam. Figuring out what had happened in the meeting place wouldn’t be the only problem, of that she was absolutely certain.
Back to Gen Fiction          Go to Part Two

Make a Free Website with Yola.