Stargate SG-1 Sam/Jack fanfiction

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Rating: PG-13

Some violence, or allusions to violence.

Big thanks to Channach for plot-editing this chapter and to Raven Clark for style-editing this chapter with me.

Time…

Such an odd concept. Sometimes racing, sometimes slowing. And then, in moments like these, stopping altogether.

He closes his eyes as the burning in his lungs fades.

Death is another one of those odd concepts. We spend our entire lives fearing it, but when its moment comes, all fear evaporates. It means the end of pain, the end of suffering, the end of torture. Everything loses meaning, even the sense of self.

Strong hands pull his head back out of the icy water, away from the merciful nothingness. His lungs burn as they fill with air. He coughs, and the pain is back. Everywhere. He tries to shift, but his bound hands allow for only minimal movement.

“We will repeat this as often as necessary, human. Who are you working for, and what have you done to our Stargate?” The monotone voice sounds almost bored.

Jack manages to lift his head and glares at the middle-aged Aschen man sitting on a chair in the corner. Boren leans forward. His is the only name he remembers. It sounds so much like boring. So fitting.

“We know you came from Earth. As soon as we have repaired our Stargate, your people will feel our wrath.”

“Good luck with that.” He blinks against the water running down his face and into his eyes.

Boren’s face hardens. He nods at the Aschen holding him.

Jack doesn’t bother to take a deep breath anymore. It just prolongs the inevitable. As his head submerges in the icy water again, he doesn’t struggle. He waits patiently. Through the burning of his lungs, the pounding in his head, the futile struggle of his body to prevent the inevitable. The moment his body finally surrenders, they will pull him up again and start anew.

Death is the only hope left.

Sam looked around on the forest floor. Her tools lay scattered everywhere. She leaned over the dialing device again, and released a long breath.

There had to be a way to access the subspace connection between gates in order to send a signal to the Aschen Stargate. If she could realign the sensor, maybe she could remotely override the gate’s security protocol. That would enable them to at least dial into the Aschen homeworld.

Behind her, somebody cleared his throat. She spun. Her dad strolled towards her, his hands folded behind his back, his face a serious mask of concern.

She already knew what he wanted. The same thing he’d tried for the past five days.

“Don’t even start, dad. I don’t have time.”

“Sam.” He sat down on a tree stump and studied her.

She tried her best to ignore him, but he had that same look he’d had when she’d been a teen. “What?”

“It’s been five days, kiddo. Don’t you think it’s time to stop?”

“All I have to do is establish an open wormhole between Earth and the Aschen homeworld.”

“And then?” He leaned his elbows on his thighs.

“Then we can send a rescue team through.”

“We both know that’s not an option.”

“Why not?” She glared at him. “I don’t know how the Tok’ra handle things, but you should remember we don’t leave people behind.”

“For starters, the rescue team wouldn’t have a way back. We won’t send more people to their deaths.” Sighing, her dad got up and strolled closer. “Sam, the force of the explosion combined with the naquadah in the dialing device probably wiped out most of the area around the Stargate.”

“That’s just an assumption. If it wasn’t—”

“Even if it wasn’t…” He grabbed her shoulders and turned her to face him. “What are the chances of a force field withstanding an explosion of such magnitude?”

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Sam closed her eyes and swallowed against the lump in her throat. “Slim. But there’s still a chance. We don’t even know if the explosion went off.”

“Why wouldn’t it have?”

“Will you stop that?” She jerked out of his grip. The dialing device swam as she focused her attention back on the cords attached to the control crystal. “I know the chances and the numbers, dad.”

“You have to stop doing this to yourself, kiddo.” He pulled her close.

She closed her eyes. Her breath hitched. How could she stop? She’d left Jack behind to die. If she’d done her job right in the first place… She should have considered the possibility of a force field. She’d failed him. They’d been on their most important mission, and he’d relied on her. And she’d failed him.

“I just can’t…” She buried her face against the coarse material of his Tok’ra shirt. “As long as I keep going, there’s a chance. And as long as there’s a chance he’s not…” She couldn’t say it.

“It’s enough.” Despite his gentle tone, determination underlay his voice. “The Tok’ra council is getting impatient. Up to now they were lenient, but we need to use the Stargate again. Caldwell and Sheppard’s team finally succeeding in taking the Aschen ministry. Most Aschen are behind bars. But Sheppard needs your help in Powhatan. They have problems keeping the Aschen systems running, and McKay’s asked for your assistance.”

“They can’t just order me to stop.”

He shook his head. “Let it go, Sam. If there was any chance Jack survived, everyone would give you their full assistance. But there isn’t. We need you. It’s time to move on.”

Move on… How could she do that if Jack was dead while she was still alive? How was she ever supposed to forgive herself?

A door opens somewhere and he jerks into an upright position. Metal slams against a wall. Darkness, all around him. They’ve kept him in darkness for God knows how long. He’s stopped fighting for a sense of time what feels like an eternity ago. Pain, disorientation, fear… they’re easier to bear if he doesn’t fight it. It keeps him from going insane.

Steps approach. He barely has time to prepare himself before something hits his stomach so hard he balls up with a groan. His mouth is dry. He almost wishes they’d water-torture him again. At least that way he’d get to drink something.

“What have you done to our Stargate, human?”

“Even if I wanted to tell you, I couldn’t,” he croaks. Thank God Carter didn’t bother trying to explain the details of the virus to him. If he’d known, trading the info for some water, or light, or a few hours of uninterrupted sleep might have been too tempting.

Another sharp pain, this time in his nose and jaw. Groaning, he tries to roll away.

“You will talk, human. And once you do, we will eradicate your entire planet.”

The door slams. His head pounds and warmth trickles down the side of his head. Why don’t they kill him already? All he has to do is hold out long enough until he dies. Not a word. Not about the Stargate, or the resistance.

He’s shaking from thirst and pain. His eyes sting. If only they’d kill him.

His head throbs, the pain almost unbearable. He forces himself to relax against it. Don’t fight it.

Suddenly there’s a bright light. Dizziness overwhelms him, and he isn’t sure whether he’s dreaming or hallucinating. The silhouette of a woman appears in the center and grows larger as she approaches. Her blonde, short hair lays wild around her head. She reaches out her hand, and when she smiles, he knows he’s in heaven. He touches her hand, and all pain disappears. She pulls him into her warmth, and her soft laughter chases all the darkness away.

He’s home. Finally home.

Everything about Powhatan had changed. Once, it used to be the thriving center of commerce on Earth. Now it had turned into the center of an uprising.

Sam looked out the window of the small office in the former Aschen ministry. Another riot had started down on the street after a group of people apparently spotted two Aschen trying to hide among them.

Nobody was left to break them up. Earth had no justice agents, and the few human justice clerks were severely outmanned. They needed a government.

She placed her hand against the cold glass and closed her eyes. This was all wrong. Nothing had turned out as they’d wanted it to, and the situation grew worse by the day. Reports dropped in about riots from all over the planet, criminals who made use of the absence of the justice system to rob farms, Aschen sympathizers and revolutionaries fighting each other in the streets. If someone didn’t take charge soon, Earth would face a civil war.

If only her dad were here. But he’d left to deliver the message of their coup to Ba’al in hopes that the Goa’uld would take advantage of the momentary weakness of the Aschen homeworld.

She turned her head and glanced at the desk. After working on the Aschen computer for a few days, she’d been relegated to work through the database and gather all important files on science and technology. A job that didn’t require a scientific background, since she had to forward the files to the scientists for evaluation.

McKay had been promoted to head of the science department, and she’d been demoted to the position of secretary.

Sighing, she returned to her desk. She wasn’t even mad at McKay. He’d done his best to get her on his team. The group of former human ministry workers who’d temporarily taken charge of the Aschen ministry hadn’t been open to his arguments, though.

She looked at the flashing screen and continued browsing through the files. At this point she no longer cared. Maybe she wasn’t cut out to be a scientist.

After all, she hadn’t even been able to predict a simple force field. Or disable it.

“Answer my question!”

Jack squirms and tries to close his eyes, but they’ve somehow fixed his eyelids open. He can’t shield himself from the bright light. Can’t sleep. Can’t think. Pain… So much pain.

A scream drifts over from somewhere, and after a while he realizes it’s him.

“Tell me who’s responsible for the virus, and we’ll let you sleep. We’ll let you eat and drink. We’ll even give you a nice bed to rest in.” Boring’s face seems oddly distorted in the bright light. Or maybe it’s his brain playing tricks. Who knows?

At some point he must have mentioned a computer virus, though he doesn’t remember when. Maybe the Aschen just figured it out for themselves.

“Who. Programmed. The. Virus?” Boren slams his hands down on the table. “Tell me, or I will leave you chained like this another day.”

Sam… They’ll kill her if they ever find out she’s responsible. He presses his lips together. He won’t sacrifice her. Not even if he loses his mind over it. As long as he knows she’s safe, he’ll take whatever they do to him.

“As you wish.” Boren hits the table with his fist. Who knew the Aschen were capable of emotion?

The metal door slams shut, and then he’s alone again. Chained. The bright light burning its way through his irises. His head’s pounding. Every bone in his body aches. Endless pain.

If only they’d end this.

Sam screamed and jerked into an upright position. Chest heaving, it took her a few moments to realize where she was. Her bedroom.

Her eyes stung. She reached over to the nightstand for the glass of water and took huge gulps. None of it had been real. If only the dreams would stop.

Every night they came, haunting her, tormenting her with horrible images. The Aschen beating Jack, torturing him, killing him. And she was among them, frozen and watching. She couldn’t safe him. Even if she tried, her body wouldn’t move.

The worst part was, it didn’t end when she woke. Because then she had to face the reality of what she’d done. That she hadn’t been capable of rescuing him. That she hadn’t even tried hard enough. Why hadn’t she stayed?

The one moment it mattered she hadn’t had his back. And now he was dead.

Her breath hitched, and she buried her face in her pillow. Why hadn’t she died with him?

When he opens his eyes, there’s a bowl with food and a carafe of water on the ground near the door. The light is dim, and surprisingly, they’ve let him sleep. Maybe they just want him to be strong enough for a new round of interrogations.

Groaning, he sits up and rubs his palm over his face. His beard scratches his hand. He really wants a shower.

On shaking arms and legs, he crawls over to the bowl of food. It looks stale, as though it’s been sitting for a while. How long has he slept? Why hasn’t anybody come to see him yet?

Greedy, he downs the contents of the carafe. At this point, poison or truth serums aren’t much of a threat anymore. They’ve done the worst to him. He’s not afraid of them.

Exhausted, he lets the glass carafe sink and stares at the wall opposite him. Grey. No windows. He hasn’t seen daylight in…forever. Maybe he’ll never see it again. It doesn’t matter.

There’s only one way this can end. And when the moment’s finally there, he’ll embrace it.

Aschen letters flashed across the screen as the system processed the search command. Sam stretched her arms to relieve some of the tension from her back. After over a year of daily physical exercise at camp, her body protested being stuck at a desk every day for so long.

Sighing, she rested her head on her hand. Camp. She missed Antarctica. It was probably growing cold down there now. Getting close to polar night. One year ago, she’d sat in her tent and studied reports, despite the growing storms.

She’d been happy and so blissfully ignorant of the future. If she’d known what would happen…what she’d lose…

It’d been three months. Time to move on. Earth was free. The provisional government had, at least for the time being, stabilized the situation around Powhatan. The Aschen laws had been overturned. The gifted system had been abolished. All marriage contracts of gifted people had been declared void, though some couples had remarried.

As opposed as she’d always been to the wedding contract and her marriage with Jack, the official annulment of the contract had stung. Nothing connected them anymore. Not even his signature on the contract.

Sighing, Sam pushed a button on her screen. The next file popped up, not in the Aschen language. A report about the status of the remaining Aschen on Earth. Somebody must’ve misfiled it.

Most Aschen still on Earth had been detained and were being transported back to their homeworld with the help of the Tok’ra. Six weeks ago, the provisional government declared Earth an independent planet, free from Aschen reign. A huge victory. She’d dreamed of it, but if she’d known about the consequences…

If only the provisional government could agree on a method of governing—as well as a leader. Despite ongoing protests, a few men, who seemed more interested in power and prestige than in the good of humankind, had seized power.

“Hey.”

Sam jerked upright in her chair and turned. Daniel strolled into the room, hands buried in his pockets. She smiled through the odd void inside her. Just as she’d done the past weeks. “Daniel.”

Ever since Daniel had moved to Powhatan, he’d made it a habit to come by after the newly formed POA—the planetary oversight advisory—had finished their daily briefings. Today, he was exceptionally early.

“Are they done already?”

“Pretty much.” Daniel pushed his glasses up on his nose and rolled his eyes.

“Wow. That was what, fifty-eight minutes? New record.”

“I think even our diplomats are ready to jump down some throats at this point. I’ve never seen a bunch of adult people behave so unreasonably.” He sighed and pushed himself away from the wall to sit on one of the chairs.

“I’m sure they’ll get there.” Sam turned her attention back to the computer when the screen opened a new file. Another medical report. She suppressed a sigh. Tiring. She chose the qualified research facility and forwarded the file with a click.

“To be honest, some of their demands concern me,” Daniel said. “There’s a growing fraction that wants to re-establish the laws that were in place before the revolution. They wanna put Earth into complete isolation. Their leader is Robert Kinsey. As former high-level ministry worker, he thinks he’s entitled to a leading position in the government. How did he put it today? Earth for the humans.”

Sam turned. “What about the Tok’ra? Or the Stargate?”

“They wanna lock us down completely. Bury the gate, and drive all aliens off this planet.” Daniel rubbed his eyes and yawned.

“The Aschen will return at some point. The gate is the only way for us to strengthen the resistance and Earth.” She frowned at him. “What did we even fight for if they wanna throw it all away and reestablish the status quo?”

“People like Kinsey think we shouldn’t have fought in the first place. He claims the system was working, and we messed it up.”

“Damn collaborators.” Sam slammed commands into the computer. Why did so many people suddenly insist that things were great the way they used to be? Nothing had been great. They’d been slaves, prisoners on their own planet. Now the entire galaxy—and potentially more than that—had opened up for them.

“Unfortunately, it doesn’t help to call them out on it. In this particular case there doesn’t seem to be a compromise.”

Sam scrunched her brows and folded her arms, a growing lump in her throat. “So things are gonna go back to the way they used to be?”

“At this point, I’m not sure. Too many people worry for their existence. So they’re willing to bet on a system they know will work.”

Sam scoffed.

“There’s also a growing concern about the gifted system. Ever since the revolutionaries annulled all of the old gifted marriage contracts, more and more gifted people have entered relationships with non-gifted partners. Kinsey and his fraction consider this a threat to our existence. For obvious reasons.”

Sam’s blood ran cold. A gifted person wouldn’t be able to procreate with a non-gifted partner. She swallowed hard. “So, what, they wanna re-establish the gifted system?”

“They’re advertising for it.”

“That’s ridiculous.” She jumped up. “Janet and Carson are working day and night to find a solution for our infertility problem. There are dozens of ways to solve the issue without forcing people into arranged marriages. What about in-vitro fertilization and surrogate mothers? If we worked closer with the Tok’ra and other alien races—”

“I know. We have a few influential people on our side, so I wouldn’t give up hope just yet. Just wanted to give you a heads-up, since reinstating the laws would affect you as well.”

Jaw clenching, Sam focused her attention back on the screen. Returning things to the way they used to be… Why did those propositions always come from the oldest members of the provisional government? Robert Kinsey, an older man in his seventies, had particularly conventional ideas about government—and women.

Everything they’d accomplished, all the potential Earth had, now that the Aschen were gone… None of it seemed to matter. Nothing would change.

“How are you doing?” Daniel’s question pulled Sam out of her thoughts.

“I’m fine.” A lie that had grown so routine she didn’t even think about the answer anymore. If she said it often enough, maybe someday she’d start believing it herself. For a little while. Maybe someday, she would be able to say “I’m fine” again, and actually mean it.

“Any progress with the files?” Daniel leaned over her shoulder and looked at the computer.

“Oh, yeah. I was able to send another Terrabyte of medical info about the vaccine down to Janet’s lab this morning. They’re working through it as we speak. I also found some interesting statistics about the harvest. Maybe you can present it to the POA.” She handed a file to him.

Daniel flipped through the pages. “This is just what we need to prove our point.”

She leaned back. “It might be a good idea to keep the harvesting machines running, even if we over-produce for now. We would have a lot to offer to other worlds in terms of food for possible trade agreements. If we ever reopen the gate.”

“At this point, a lot of POA members think the Stargate is more of a risk than it’s beneficial to Earth. We don’t even have an army. And although Earth is equipped with Aschen defense systems, without the Aschen we’d stand no chance in an open war with alien races.”

“We have the resistance. I’d call that a pretty nice army.”

“You know, Elizabeth is actually with you on this. She tried to argue the same point today. But Kinsey interrupted her before she was finished.” Daniel chuckled.

“Elizabeth?”

“Yeah, Elizabeth Weir. The diplomat from the North I told you about last week. Very headstrong, very intelligent. You’d like her.” Daniel closed the file and grinned at her. “Why don’t you come out to dinner with us tonight? Vala’ll be there too. She’d be thrilled.”

She swallowed. “I don’t know, Daniel. I have a lot of work and—”

“All you do these days is work.” Daniel fixed his gaze on her. “Come on, it’ll be fun. There’s this cute little bar in town that looks a bit like O’Malleys.”

O’Malley’s. Sam tried hard to keep her face blank. Her heart stung. Going anywhere and facing the prospect of Jack not being there… Would she be able to handle that? Especially if the place reminded her of O’Malley’s? “I think I’ll pass.”

“Come on. McKay will join us, too. You’ll meet a bunch of POA folks.”

“Daniel.” Sam shook her head. “I’d rather finish up with this batch of files.”

“Sam.” His voice softened. “Just for an hour or two. Come on.”

“I know what you’re trying to do. Please don’t.”

“You haven’t done anything but work since you came to Powhatan. You don’t even join poker nights anymore. Vala’s worried about you. I’m worried.”

“I just…” She looked up at him, forcing herself to smile. “I’m fine, really. Something always gets in the way.”

“Not tonight.” He straightened and folded his arms. “I’ll pick you up at six. No discussion.”

She sighed and looked at him. Should she waste her energy in a fight with him? Once Daniel set his mind on something it was easier to give in than to go into an endless debate about it. “Alright. I’ll come with. But only for an hour.”

“Great.” He pushed himself up. “I’ll see you at six then.”

Sam looked after him as he left the room. Ah, well. It was only one night. She’d stay an hour and then excuse herself. No big deal. As long as Daniel would leave her alone afterwards, it’d be worth the effort.

The door snaps open with a soft squeak. Just a crack. Nothing else.

He lifts his head and stares at it as though it’s become his sworn enemy, trying to trick him into a trap. Moments pass. Still nothing.

At last, he crouches towards it. Hesitant. Careful. Nobody’s come to see him lately. They haven’t given him food or water. Maybe they want to starve him. He’d be fine with that. But now the door?

He gives it a careful kick. It opens further. No sound from the other end. Odd.

There must be a last shred of life in him, because he lifts himself up on shaky legs. His knee nearly gives out. No wonder, after they broke it twice.

He opens the door. His steps sound hollow in the deserted hallway. He looks around. Left. Right. Left again. Then behind him at the cell that’s been his home for as long as he can remember. He could use her help. Where is she when he needs her?

Then she appears. Smiling as usual, she steps to the center of the cell, her hips swaying softly. Her white garment flows around her curves. “It’s an electric lock mechanism. Something must have caused it to malfunction.”

It’s the first time she speaks to him. He stares at her. He’s pretty sure she has to be a figment of his imagination—which either means he’s going nuts, or has a serious head injury. Maybe both.

“You’re dehydrated.” She seems to float towards him like a ghost. “They’re not coming back for you. You have to find a way out.”

Hallucination or not, she’s right. He turns and looks at the dark hallway again. It spins. Maybe he should stay and rest a while longer.

“You’ll feel better once you have water.”

He thinks he feels her warmth. She’s comforted him so many times, and he doesn’t wanna leave her. But when he turns, she’s gone.

Water. Her words resound in his thoughts. He needs water.

He stumbles along the dim corridor towards a door at the end. It opens without much effort. He nearly falls down a set of stairs. Then another. Then he moves on as though he’s in trance.

In a corridor on a lower level, he finally finds a washroom with a sink. It’s almost too good to be true. The cold fluid runs down his throat and he drinks. Drinks. Drinks until he’s nauseated. Then he drops down to the tiled floor and starts laughing maniacally.

He doesn’t know why, he just does. Until darkness creeps in and he collapses on the floor.

When Jack woke up, he had no idea where he was. Water splashed somewhere. He turned on the cold, hard floor and glanced around. A washroom?

Blinking, he sat up. His head pounded and the room spun before it stabilized. Water ran from a faucet into one of the sinks. He reached up and greedily took a few sips, then turned it off. When he straightened, he froze. A mirror reflected his image. Bruised, unkempt, bearded. A broken man.

He leaned forward. Was that really him?

Images flooded his mind and disorientation hit him hard. What day was it? What month? How much time had passed since they’d blown up the dialing device?

It was the last clear memory in his mind. Carter had left through the Stargate. He’d seen the event horizon close. Then the area inside the force field had turned into a massive fireball. But the field withstood most the explosion.

Aschen agents had arrested him. He’d resisted and they’d stunned him with a gun. After that everything became into a blur. When he tried to remember, the only images he could grasp were pain. Pain and terror.

The Aschen. He still had to be in one of their facilities.

Jack stumbled to the door. The hallway was clear. He ran, turned left, turned right, and ran again. Endlessly. Until at last he stumbled through a door outside onto the street. The air smelled almost as rotten as it had inside the prison. Or was that him?

He looked down at himself and grimaced. How long had he been in that cell without access to running water? Or even a toilet?

He looked around again. In the distance, a hovercraft lay on its side, burning. Two men ran across the street, screaming, followed by three others. Most windows on ground level were broken. What the hell had happened here? Surely their disabling the Stargate couldn’t have led to such destruction.

Daniel’d informed him that the Aschen would most likely be able to compensate for their missing Stargate.

He walked along the pavement. His smell mixing with the faint scent of burning wood from outside almost made him vomit. A buzz whizzed by above his head. Somehow familiar. He glanced up. Had that been a Goa’uld glider?

A fireball shot up from the ground in the distance, but missed the ship. The craft took a sharp turn upwards and vanished into the clouds. Definitely a Goa’uld glider.

Jack sped up. A Goa’uld attack explained the destruction. And why he’d seemingly been forgotten in his cell. Two blocks down the street, he stumbled over a person lying on the ground. Empty eyes stared up at him. A darkened hole gaped in the man’s stomach. A staff blast wound.

He wanted to move on, but then faltered. An Aschen. Wearing Aschen clothing. At least the jacket would still be valuable. And the pants. He leaned down and searched the man. In his pocket, he found the remnants of an ID card. Desperate times called for desperate measures. He pulled the man into a narrow walkway between two houses and undressed him.

After he’d changed into the dead man’s clothes, the ID in his pocket, he limped back onto the street. A siren wailed and slowly grew louder. The buzz of a hovercraft drifted from somewhere.

It stopped next to him. Jack tried to quicken his step, but his knee gave out. Groaning, he tumbled down on the hard pavement. Pain shot through his head and flashes danced in front of his eyes.  Somebody turned him onto his back.

“We’ve got another one here. Get me the medical service on the line.” Two male faces appeared in his line of vision. Aschen. “Easy, sir. You will be okay. You are safe now.”

They weren’t trying to hurt him. They were trying to help. Didn’t they know who he was?

One man reached into Jack’s pocket. He had an Aschen ID. And he wore Aschen clothing. They had to think he was one of them. Maybe there was hope after all.

Provided the Goa’uld weren’t going to wipe the Aschen homeworld out.

 

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