Two old generals quietly finished their scotch. Each lost in his own thoughts.
The younger man placed his empty mug on the desk and stood up. He ran his hands through his graying hair.
"I've got to find her Paul."
Davis looked up at him. The pain in the younger man's eyes bringing back memories of another man from a long ago time. Paul had seen what the final loss of Colonel Carter had done to the first General O'Neill. Once that last ill-fated assignment was completed and the NID's plants had been removed from the SGC, O'Neill had submitted his resignation. The sham marriage to Kerry dissolved, Jack retreated to his cabin, shunning all human, and alien, contact. Less than two years later, Colonel Davis has completed the cover up when he watched the general's casket being lowered into the ground next to the empty grave of Colonel Carter.
“Are you sure you want to?”
“Do I want to face the mess the old man left behind. Hell no. But it's Carter...Sam.” His brown eyes were filled with a curious mix of anger and hope.
“She was Sam, Jack. It's been forty years. You don't know who she is now. What she is now,” Paul placed his mug alongside Jack's and stood up as well, albeit far more slowly. “The Samantha Carter you knew would have come home a long time ago. This Carter is a Tok'ra and has been one for decades. She's not the officer, or the woman, you knew.”
“I don't believe that. I can't. Even with the Goa'uld, something of the host survives.”
“Then why didn't she at least contact us before now?”
Jack opened the office door before pausing for a moment. “How do I know she didn't? How do you? For all we know, that was covered up too.”
“Jack, be careful.”
“Aren't I always?”
As Jack left his office, Davis reached for the bottle of scotch.
- - -
In another office, two old friends continued to reconnect, trying to make sense of what had so many years ago.
“So Daniel, what are you doing these days?”
“Enjoying retirement, spending time with the grandkids.”
“You had children.” Sam smiled, happy that her friend hadn't spent the years alone.
“Just one, Claire, but she's given me three grandsons.”
“So far. She's expecting again. My wife's hoping for a girl this time.”
“I'm so glad you finally had a chance to have a family.”
“It wasn't something that I ever expected to have,” Daniel smiled. “I took a teaching position back east after leaving the program. I met Marie at a faculty party, she was a physics professor. Thanks to you, I could actually understand what she said. We married two years later.”
“When you did leave the program?”
“I quit the SGC before I got out of rehab. I was never going through the gate again, not on these legs. If things had been different, I might have stayed but with you and Teal'c gone...” Daniel sighed. “Remember when you said Jack's pulling away after his promotion was a military thing? After the mission he got worse, a lot worse. Let's just say if I had stayed I probably would have shot him. There wasn't anything to hold me here. I'd lost too much. The Pentagon convinced me to transfer to Area 51. I tried it for a couple of years but my heart just wasn't in it any more.”
“I'm so sorry.”
“Why? It wasn't your fault. We were set up. It wasn't the first time.”
“It was just the last time for us.”
“Well for me.”
It took a moment before she figured out that Daniel was referring to the fourth member of SG-1. She was ashamed to realize that she didn't even remember what the young man's first name was or what rank he had held.
“Just lost in thought.” She mentally shook herself. “Let's talk about happier things. How old are your grandkids?”
- - -
Back in the gateroom, Jennifer Haley was involved in a rather heated discussion with several former members of the SGC. Dr. Chloe Felger and Dr. Coombs were arguing over what was the best episode of the mercifully short-lived Wormhole Extreme.
Haley didn't care who won but there was something to be said for the sight of two octogenarians arguing over one of the worst televisions shows of all time. Unfortunately for the viewing public, the official announcement of the Stargate program had quickly led the resurrection of the show. Chloe's late husband would have been thrilled.
She turned to see General O'Neill heading in her direction. From the look on his face, whatever Davis had told him was not good news. She made her apologies to her companions and moved towards O'Neill.
He led her out into the hallway, rudely rebuffing anyone that attempted to impede them.
"Did you see where they went?"
"Daniel and Carter."
"Daniel Jackson, old guy with crutches," and that thought Jack, was just wrong.
"Dr. Jackson's still alive?"
"Apparently. He disappeared with Carter."
"One of the Tok'ra was looking for Garshaw. He said he thought she was with Daniel." Haley paused. "I didn't realize that Daniel was Dr. Jackson."
"Try this one. Carter is Garshaw's host."
Haley's jaw dropped.
This was not good.