Trying Something New
Chapter 1 – Trying Something New
(Or how to screw your life even further by just having a suntan in the other side of the Galaxy)Nowadays – Planet PX-5831
Jack O’Neill stood guard in the early morning hours, the sun attempting to appear in the horizon. One of them, anyway. He looked around to the small camp, checking his team. Teal’c, he resembled more a dead man than a sleeping giant, however the colonel knew that he could be up and fighting in less than two seconds, hence the staff weapon resting against his right arm. Daniel was a lost cause, even after all this time he still slept like a rock. Carter had the ingrained sleep of military training, meaning her P-90 stayed close to hands.
However, he noticed, she wasn’t sleeping peacefully. She was restless, tossing and turning most of the night, with fairly brief periods of calm. Jack and the big Jaffa had noticed it, and they had silently agreed to keep an eye on her. The colonel figured his 2IC was suffering nightmares for a while now, she was tense, nervous and tired during the day. He usually kept away from personal stuff, especially with her, but it was starting to have an effect on her, and the chauvinist in him hated to see her suffering. Besides, he had the team to think about.
Suddenly, she jerked awake, and O’Neill decided to interfere right then and there.
Samantha Carter woke up distressed, her hands quickly moving to the gun resting at her side. Her silent jump from asleep to awake did not startle Colonel O’Neill, currently guarding their small camp. He swept his field of vision quickly and with military precision born of years and years of Special Forces training.
“Bad dream?” he asked very lowly, so he would not awake the rest of his team, an edge of real worry in his usually jovial and humorous voice.
Sam nodded affirmatively. Noticing how shook up she still looked, Jack decided to take his chances.
“I know you’ve been having them for a while now. Wanna talk about it?” he asked evenly, and completed. “There’s some coffee over there, and it’s fresh,” he said, pointing to a small metal can resting close to a few glowing embers.
She thought about lying, or hiding it from him… them, but in the last month, they had appeared almost every single night and she was getting scared. Besides, with a team in the field, their entire relationship was based on trust. Sam thanked him and quickly prepared a cup for her, and after she drank it and waited a bit for it to warm and moist her vocal chords, she looked him in the eyes.
“Can we do this more privately, sir? I don’t want to wake Teal’c and Daniel,” she said, looking to her sleeping teammates. She figured the big Jaffa had awakened as soon as he sensed her jump, but he decided to stay still and respect her privacy.
The colonel smirked. “Sure, let’s go to my private office,” he said, standing up.
She grabbed her own P-90 and followed him. While the planet was downright abandoned from the looks of things, with the Goa’uld they left absolutely nothing to chance. Their camp was set up in a hill about a mile and a half away from the Stargate, which rested on a valley right in their line of sight. And while their field of vision was perfect, to someone coming through the gate spotting them was nearly impossible. The ruins Daniel decided to explore were about another half a mile north, and that was the only reason they were staying on the planet for more than a day.
Jack took her to an outcropping of rocks nearby, still close enough to the camp to provide cover in any eventuality, but far enough to give Carter some privacy. He offered one for her to sit, and he took another right in front of her. Instead of pressing her to speak, he waited.
“I’ve been having some strange dreams…nightmares, to be honest,” she said, hands scratching her short hair worriedly. ”It’s about…I think it’s about Ra, sir.”
That served to darken O’Neill’s humor all at once. “He’s dead, Carter.”
“I know, sir. I think that I’m dreaming…I’m dreaming about the past.”
“How? You never even met the guy,” he pointed. “Thankfully.”
She nodded. “I know that, it’s that…when it started, it was just…fuzzy. Like…colors, and feelings and sensations, all mixed up. The only thing clear was rage and pain. Not from a wound, but pain from the soul. I guess you know what I’m talking about.”
Jack nodded. He knew the feeling quite well.
“Then, little by little, it started getting clearer. I saw…I guess you could call her the ‘Past-me’ holding a man, he was dying from a staff blast. He said something to me, and I left him behind to die, there was nothing I could do for him. Then it becomes fuzzy again, but I remember smelling blood, and oil, and feeling the heat of flames, and screams. Lots and lots of screaming, sir. It felt like a battlefield, but I don’t have any clear recall of it. Then I remember hearing a voice inside my head, and a sensation of…completeness. The next moment I feel incredible pain, but I stand up and attack Ra, and I *know* it was him, sir. I think I buried a sword in his shoulder…my sword. Then I feel pain again, and that’s when I usually wake up.”
The colonel became contemplative for a few moments. “Could this be a memory from Jolinar?”
“I don’t know, sir. It could be, however it doesn’t seem like a memory that came from a Tok’ra inside of a host body, it seemed like a memory from a real person.”
He nodded. “Oil, as in gun oil?” he questioned again.
She shook her head negatively. “For torches, sir. I know the smell from the planets we visited that still uses them, it’s almost the same.”
“The voice…in your head… could have been a snake?”
“No, sir. It seemed…more than human, but not alien,” she replied.
“What did it say?”
“I don’t remember,” she shook her head, frustrated.
“And you said ‘my sword’. It didn’t sound like you were talking about the sword you were holding, but the sword you owned.”
She sighed. “Not owned. Belonged. I-I can’t…I can’t explain it, sir, but it felt like the sword…belonged to me, it was a part of me.”
“You have any idea what it means? Could it be an alert of some sort? Perhaps some trick from the Goa’uld?”
Carter started pacing. “I don’t know, sir, but it sounds like…it was trying to tell me something. And I don’t know any way to make one person remember or have so vivid a dream about someone she never even knew. I *do* know it’s not coming from them, and that is the only thing I’m certain about.”
“How can you tell?”
“Even with all the pain and violence, I’ve always felt…protected, sir. The dreams are trying to show me something, I just don’t know what
, and that frustrates me more than anything.
Jack stood up. “Look, Carter, I’m no shrink, and you know that, and the only dreams I know how to evaluate involves naked women.”
“However, I am both your friend and your CO. As a friend, I’m pointing out we have some leave time accumulated, I suggest you take it, go somewhere, get stoned, or do something fun for a change, I dunno. Just don’t go bury yourself in your lab to play with some thingamajig we picked up. Try something different, this might be just the stress piling up. As your CO, I know this is starting to affect your performance in the field seriously, so I’m ordering you to take this leave time, and if you don’t feel better by the time you’re back, go talk to Janet. If she can’t help you, I can try and talk to Thor about it. Agreed?”
She nodded. “Yes, sir.”
“I’m always going to back you up one hundred percent, Carter, but I need to know what is wrong so I can try and fix it.”
“I know that, sir,” she said. She did know, but a little affirmation didn’t hurt in a moment like that.
“Okay, let’s get back. It’s time to wake up Daniel. What should I do this time? Emptying the canteen on his face or scream like a banshee in his ear? Too bad I forgot the air horn,” he replied.
“The coffee pot worked wonders that time and it’s safer, sir,” she pointed with a genuine smile on her face.
“Yes, but it’s not as much fun,” he said, already removing the canteen from his harness.
The major followed a couple of steps behind, shaking her head in silent laughter, but after a few moments she went back to her own thoughts about the nightmare. She had told him most of the story, but how to explain to him that every time they passed through the gate she felt a…calling, pulling her to be somewhere else?
The iris opened on SGC a few moments after they received the GDO code from SG-1. Since it came a few hours earlier than expected, a small contingent of soldiers was on the embarkation room, their guns pointed at the event horizon of the wormhole. Sam appeared first, her face a mixture of amusement and worry, followed right behind by Daniel, who was trying to hold back a smile. Gen. Hammond saw half of his best team appear, and from the looks on their faces, he knew something odd had happened to Col. O’Neill. He was the next to appear, his right arm splinted expertly, and held in place by his left hand. He was clear of his gear, which was currently in the hands of Teal’c, the former First Prime being the only one who kept his cool against the colonel’s injury.
“What the hell happened, SG-1?” Hammond asked over the speakers.
“Just a small accident, sir. Nothing serious,” Jack said before any of them could say anything.
“I’ll let Dr. Fraser be the judge of that. Report to the infirmary at once.”
Jack’s face, already sour from the ordeal, took an even darker tinge.
“It’s a fissure. It’s nothing serious, however we’ll need to cast it,” the petite doctor said, looking over the X-Ray of Jack’s arm.
The colonel groaned, and if it wasn’t for his injured arm, he would probably have punched the bed frame.
“How long, doctor?” the general asked, worried about his 2IC.
“I’d say three weeks, four to be on the safe side.”
Jack groaned even louder.
“Now, what happened, Colonel?”
“It was a freaking accident, sir. Nothing else,” he said, trying to keep his arm as steady as possible.
“What Jack is trying to hide, sir, is that he woke me by throwing the water from his canteen on my face. I jumped, and I think that somehow I ended up hitting him and he unbalanced. When he fell he hit his arm in a rock that was sprouting from the ground,” Daniel said, torn between feeling vindicated and worried about his best friend.
The general was divided between laughing and severely reprimanding his subordinate, but he knew that the stories about a sleeping Dr. Jackson were starting to become the stuff of legend between the SG teams. Jack had played a minor joke, and got burned because of it.
“I don’t think I need to tell you how disappointed I am with your behavior, Colonel. However I think that the four weeks of having your arm in a cast will hammer my disappointment home. Ok, SG-1, I’m putting you all on leave until the colonel is fit for duty, after you report your findings on the planet. Dismissed,” he said.
“Yes, sir,” both Jack and Sam said, the former sounding more than slightly sarcastic about it. Hammond raised an eyebrow, if the man was someone else he would have probably raised hell because of the sarcasm, but O’Neill, or better, the entire SG-1 team were special cases in his heart and mind. They weren’t only great soldiers – and that included Dr. Jackson – but they were all great human beings, so no one who really knew them complained at the treatment dispensed.
And the general knew that they needed a break, he hadn’t arrived at this position by not being observant. He knew that the major wasn’t feeling all that well, perhaps during this enforced break she would seek some help for her problems, whatever they were.
Sam watched the departing general, and she quickly reached a decision. She looked to Col. O’Neill, who caught her eyes and she looked to the base’s CMO. O’Neill caught the hidden meaning and nodded slightly, a smile appearing quickly in his face.
‘Good girl, Carter,’ he thought silently.
After the problem with the Colonel was mostly solved, Sam pulled Janet to a corner of the infirmary.
“I need to talk to you,” the blonde said.
“So, you’re finally going to tell me what’s bothering you?” Janet asked, eyes flashing with annoyance.
“How do you know?” Sam asked, surprised.
“Come on, Sam. I like to think I’m a good doctor, it’s not hard to see you’re not feeling well. I almost cut you from this mission after the pre-mission check, but since you seemed mostly all right, I let the matter drop. So, what is the problem?”
“I’m not sleeping well…I’ve been having a recurring nightmare…” she started, and told Janet the entire ordeal, and what she had discussed with Jack. The doctor nodded.
“I agree with Jack, Sam. Look, let’s do a few exams just to see if there’s nothing wrong with your inner chemistry. If so, I’m going to give you a mild sedative so you can at least have a peaceful night of sleep. If the problem remains after these four weeks, then we’ll have to deal with it more harshly.”
That spooked the major. “What do you mean?” she asked, unbalanced.
“If, and I mean if it doesn’t abate after your R&R, we might have to find a specialist in sleeping disorders, perhaps someone to hypnotize you so we can find what caused it. I’m thinking drugs only in the last case scenario, Sam.”
The blonde nodded, holding herself. “I guess this is what I should have done from the beginning.”
“Yes, you should have, Sam. I’m not only your doctor, I’m your friend. I’d like to know when my friends are not feeling well, no matter the cause. It’s one of the reasons I turned into a doctor in the first place, helping people is what I do,” she said, putting a hand in Sam’s folded arm, in a clear sign of support.
“Forgive me?” the blonde asked, sheepishly.
“Nothing to forgive, honey. Come on, let’s take a blood sample, and I’ll give you the sedative.”
Two days later, Sam was at a complete loss. Instead of going home, she tried to pick up one of her experiments, however her mind wasn’t on it. Every time she heard the blaring of the Stargate opening, the…calling she felt seemed stronger than before. Thankfully, Janet’s sedative helped her sleep those past couple of days, but she hated drugs with a vengeance. What could she do to stop it once and for all? Her musings were stopped by a soft knock on her lab’s door.
“Aren’t you going home?” Daniel asked, hand holding a bag, and he was dressed in what she knew were typical Abydonian outfits.
“Nothing much to do there,” she shrugged. “You?”
“I’ve asked the General to go to Abydos. It’s nearly a year since Sha’re died, I want to go back and pay my respects,” he said.
“I’m sorry, Danny,” she replied, sadness echoing in her voice and face.
The linguist smiled sadly. “Thank you.”
After a few moments of slightly awkward silence, he spoke again. “I must be going.”
“I know,” she replied, and almost turned back to her experiment, until an idea sparked at her mind. “Daniel…” she said, stopping him.
“Yes?” he asked, adjusting his glasses.
“Would I be intruding if I…” she started.
“Come with me?” he completed in a way only people that knew each other deeply could, and she nodded, still awkward. “Of course not. But if you don’t mind me asking, why?”
She took a breath. “Something that the Colonel said a few days ago, about me trying something different. I’ve never been to one of the planets we visited as a …tourist, you might say. And I believe that having you as the closest thing to a native guide that I’ll have in any of them would be an interesting experience,” she said with a hint of a smile creasing her face.
“S-sure. Why not? Would you take long to set up a bag?” he asked.
“I don’t have anything much in the way of comfortable clothes here, just some stuff I leave from when I change from my uniform to go back home. I could go home and pick some stuff,” she said.
Daniel thought it over for a few seconds. “If you don’t mind, you could go in uniform and we could find something suitable for you on the planet. Their marketplace is very interesting.”
She smiled. “That could work. Mind giving me half an hour to pack?”
“Of course not. Matter of fact, I just remembered I forgot a book I promised to Skarra, and I think I’ll have to call a team to help me dig through my office to find it. I’ll meet you in the embarkation room in forty five minutes.”
“It’s a deal. I’m going to talk with the General in the meantime.”
An hour later found Sam waiting patiently for Daniel in the room above the embarkation room, speaking calmly with an airman, a backpack resting at her side. A tap in her shoulder made her turn to see the colonel in his civvies, arm securely held in a plastic cast and sling.
“Colonel, what are you still doing here?” she asked, standing up.
“I was just leaving, but I thought I would say goodbye to the space monkey. You?” he asked, finally noticing the backpack.
“I decided to follow your advice, sir. I’m going to Abydos with Daniel.”
“I said ‘different’, Carter. Since when going to Abydos is different?”
“Since I’m going as a tourist this time, instead of on a mission?”
“Ah,” he said, smartly. “Are you taking the sunscreen?”
She giggled. “Yes, sir.”
“Good girl. What about a weapon?”
“Zat at the bottom of the backpack. Last case scenario only, sir.”
“With the snakes it’s always a case of last case scenario. Have fun, then.”
“I intend to, sir. What about you?”
“Well, you know me, I’m going to stay on my lake’s shore grumbling about my arm while I try to fish with the other,” he said jovially.
“I don’t think the arm is what causes the trouble, sir, it’s the lack of fish in the lake,” she deadpanned.
“You never know, Carter, you never know.”
Daniel appeared a moment later, almost stumbling, hand still holding his bag and the other clutched around a dusty book of some sort. “Sorry, I’m late.”
“I would be surprised if you were on time, Danny. Now, be a good space monkey and go make nice with our neighbors. Carter, take care of him,” Jack said.
“Will do, sir.”
Their arrival on the planet served to drive the point home that coming had been the right choice for Samantha Carter. They were received by Sha’re’s father, Skarra and a few other people, most of them treating Daniel better than if he was the President of the United States. She was also treated as a VIP, but thankfully her reception wasn’t so…heartfelt. She figured Daniel was still feeling some soreness in his ribs from a few hugs he got.
After setting up, Carter spoke briefly with the Major currently responsible for the SG team on planet to say she was on a short vacation, that she had no intention of handling any problems or oversee any of their activities. She still didn’t know if the man had stopped sweating from nervousness yet. After that, Daniel took her for a small tour over the marketplace, and it was a truly novel experience for her. First of all, she had to rely on Daniel’s language skills and local knowledge to understand most of what the shopkeepers were trying to sell her. Second, like everything else in her life, shopping for her was a matter of practicality. It fit, it looked reasonable on her, it was in her price range, she needed it? She bought it. However, on Abydos, every single item she denoted some interest, the shopkeepers wanted to haggle prices with her. Daniel told her it was traditional, however Samantha Carter, PhD, able to calculate planetary drifts on a whim, had absolutely no clue on the art of bargaining.
In the end, however, it worked. Now clad in some more traditional and lighter clothes, she was sightseeing around, holding a small bag in hand with some coins for any eventual purchases and the Zat. Sam passed through some kids playing with a ball, and chuckled lightly. Who knows, maybe in the future they could have some sort of Interplanetary Olympics.
“Ribb do tee talthahak!
” one of the kids screamed, and the game stopped for a few moments. Sam looked intently to the child who had screamed, and came closer to them, curious.
“Hi. You speak my language?” she asked the child, who nodded, showing a row of perfect teeth, sans one. “What was that last word you spoke? Tal..taltahak?
..hard head,” the kid spoke, knocking playfully against one of his friend’s skull. That caused an impromptu scuffle between the children, leaving behind a smiling Samantha Carter.
Where had she heard that word before?
Sunset found Sam at the edge of the town, looking to the huge desert that stretched to most of the planet. Alone with only her thoughts, she realized that the…calling she had felt for nearly all the previous month was pretty much gone. She smiled slightly when she thought about Jack’s reaction when she eventually told him that his idea had worked. She was still lost with her musings when something at the edge of her vision caught her attention. A small fireball was coming down the sky, and from the looks of it, it was going to fall not too far from the town. She followed its trajectory and saw that it landed with a reasonable dust cloud about eight miles away. A few minutes later, Major Tennembaum approached in a dune buggy with another soldier driving.
“I believe you saw that too, Major?” Carter asked while the man disembarked.
“Yes, ma’am. We have the occasional meteor falling, it’s not that uncommon.”
“Could it be a Goa’uld trap?” she asked.
“I believe you have more experience with them than me, ma’am. However, I think the snakes are too full of themselves to do an insertion like that. They would either bomb the entire town from space or land and attack en masse. And I don’t think we have anything worthy of their attention here. Aside from you and Dr. Jackson.”
Carter nodded. “Agreed, Major. May I borrow them?” she asked, pointing to the still unused binocs in Tennembaum’s neck.
“Sure,” he said, and passed it to her. She focused to where the dust cloud was setting, but the distance, the dust and the setting sun’s glare didn’t help any. “I can’t see a thing.”
“I thought so. Look, ma’am, it’s getting too late to send a team out, and we don’t have too many people here to protect the town as it stands, if we do send a team out. What do you suggest?”
She thought it over for a moment. “I’m going to trust you on that, major, but I’ll keep watch for a few hours, if you don’t mind.”
“Not at all, ma’am,” he said, with a hint of a smile on his face.
“Just leave me a radio and your binoculars.”
“No weapons?” he asked.
“I have a Zat with me,” she patted the purse, “and if I end up needing anything else, I’ll probably have yelled for help a long time before.”
He nodded and passed her his own radio, since she already had his binoculars. “I can be found on tac 4,” he said and saluted, going back to the jeep.
Sam waited to see the buggy depart and she sat down on a rock, looking to where the meteor had fallen. She checked for movement after the dust had settled, but nothing had shown up. She sat on the cooling sand, back rested against a low wall.
The tranquility of the place and the cooling winds soon lulled her to sleep.
And with it, came the dreams.
She was on another planet, and while it looked the same as another hundred ones they had visited in the past, this one felt mostly like…home. Not like Earth, no, it felt…different, like she had lived here before. There was also something in the air, a sensation of hidden power, like what she had felt in the Nox homeworld. It was strange, she just noticed that she felt these things now, she had never paid much attention to her instincts when it wasn’t something she could either fight or understand rationally. Ethereal feelings were discarded by her rational mind as soon as they could grab hold of her instincts.
Sam looked around, and behind her a Stargate disengaged. Looking for a DHD and finding none, she decided to do as they always did, and started exploring. The lack of any equipment didn’t surprise her one bit. Since walking forward seemed her best approach, she did exactly that, going in the direction of a forest that loomed ahead. With all the weird logics of the dreamworld, she was entering and leaving the forest in less than three steps. There was a steep incline in front of her, and once again she made the trek in a couple steps. As soon as she cleared it, she saw something that surprised even her.
Off in the distance, stood a dark and foreboding castle. It wasn’t any normal castle, as well. Well, it did have some similarities with a few such places she had seen in Europe when she traveled abroad, however, a few major differences made it stood apart from any others. One was a skull, carved from a single piece of rock, which made the entire front gate of the place, the lower jaw making the drawbridge. And Samantha Carter, Earth human female who was raised watching Earth TV, knew the name of the castle.
Grayskull. She was looking at Castle Grayskull.
Or at least it looked a lot like it. Differently from the cartoon, though, the castle was carved on a cliff face, and behind it, the mountain it was a part of climbed all the way to the heavens, disappearing among the clouds. A huge, apparently bottomless chasm circled around the mountain, making it almost impossible for someone to access it if not by the drawbridge.
Well, it was a nice place her brain concocted for her to be, she actually liked the cartoon when she was younger. The imposing building, however, appeared dormant, and not the magical powerhouse it was depicted on the cartoon. In fact, it looked downright abandoned, since its stone walls were covered by overgrown vines, and some places seemed battle damaged, but it was impossible to say from that distance and over the foliage. Whatever had happened here, however, had happened a long time ago.
Looking around, she noticed that there was someone else in the dream, a girl was standing right in front of the castle’s entrance. Even at that distance, she knew who the small girl was, ‘Past-Her’. Curious, Sam dream-walked again and stood right in front of the girl. She was young, around 15 or so, olive skinned and pitch black hair. Her demeanor was completely at odds with her general looks, she screamed ‘warrior’ at every single twitch of muscles.
Sam tried to speak and noticed that she couldn’t. However, the girl looked deep in her eyes and spoke.
“Ni’sha adur Grip’Thahak!”
The blonde woman shook her head, a clear sign she didn’t understand.
“Ni’sha adur Grip’Thahak!”
the girl repeated, and pointed to the castle.
Sam once again shook her head. The girl pointed to the castle, and the drawbridge started descending. Once it had settled down, the girl pointed to the opening and smiled like a girl that she was, not the warrior she appeared to be. She queried using hand motions if she was supposed to go in, and the girl nodded affirmatively.
The USAF Major started walking down the bridge, and the darkened interior started changing into another image, a desert landscape quite similar to the one she was seeing before dozing off. Curiosity made her walk forward without looking back, because if she did, she would have found that the girl was not alone. Standing at her side were several ethereal-looking females, all looking to the blonde woman entering the opened maw. Once she disappeared from view, the landscape started disappearing as well, and another blonde woman looked to the young girl and nodded, smiling.
The girl smiled back and joined her sisters into oblivion.
She was awakened by a hand shaking her shoulder slightly. Reflexively, she pointed the Zat in the general direction she thought the person was, only to discover a moment later that her Zat was not in her hand. Luckily, it was only Daniel, and he had her weapon in his hands.
“I’ve learned a few lessons myself, Sam,” he said with a smirk. He was holding a torch, and above them a million starts were blinking in the cloudless sky.
“I fell asleep. Damn, what time is it?” she asked, shaking her head to clean the cobwebs.
“Late. Come on, let’s get back inside, it’s getting very cold here.”
“How did you find me?” she asked, looking to the faraway point where the meteor had fallen, while the archeologist helped her stand.
“Major Tennembaum told me. I think the meteor is only that, right?”
“God, I hope so, otherwise I flunked my guard duties real bad,” she said humorlessly.
“You’re tired and off duty. No one would have blamed you. And don’t worry, I know for a fact that meteors are a dime a dozen around. A few are even pieces of Ra’s ship,” he pointed out, while they walked back to the town proper and Daniel’s ‘home’.
“After all this time?”
“Yes, the kids even collect them sometimes, to show off,” he said.
“I think I’m going to ask the major for a buggy to take a look in the morning. Want to come?”
Daniel shook his head. “No, I’m going to a meeting with the elders of the tribe, but if it’s something interesting, we could go back later.”
She nodded, and after a few moments of silence, she spoke again. “Daniel, mind helping me out?”
He just looked at her inquisitively.
“What ‘Ni’sha adur Grip’Thahak’
“What? Repeat it, please.”
She did, three more times.
“Where did you hear it?” he asked, curious.
“Strange at it may seem, in a dream,” she said.
“Hummm,” he finally said, and his amazing brain started working furiously. “It comes very close to the dialect they speak here, it’s a deviation of old Egyptian…I’d say it sounds like an evocation of some sort, but the wording is funny. Adur
means ‘honor’, ‘honorable’, ‘brave’. Ni’sha
would change it to ‘Honor be gained from’. Grip
is ‘darker’, maybe ‘dirty’. And Thahak
“Hard head,” she finished for him.
“Skull, actually. So, it would sound something like ‘Honor be gained from the Dark Skull’. As I said, makes no sense. Probably something you heard somewhere and your brain decided to remember now.”
Sam smiled, and muttered to herself. “Actually, it makes a whole lot of sense.”
Sam was awake early, not exactly at the crack of dawn since she was on vacation and still under Earth-based time. Thankfully last night had been a dreamless night, and without the help of drugs. She did her morning chores and dressed in a clean uniform, foregoing the typical clothing for the moment. She walked to Major Tennembaum’s door and asked for a dune buggy and what SGC called a basic exploration kit. He handed the keys to one of the five vehicles he had available and ordered an airman to put such a kit on the vehicle, and she departed to check the meteor that had fallen to the east of town.
Some time later, Sam was standing at the edge of a small hole in the sand, having eerily found the ‘meteor’ without the help of any navigational instruments. What she found was one big surprise. It was a piece of goa’uld tech, indeed, but the burn marks and the ravaged look made it a fact that it was a useless
piece of goa’uld tech. It seemed like some sort of chest, of the kind that in Earth culture would be expected at the foot of the bed of any soldier in the military service. The ornate – albeit damaged - look put it above the common foot soldier, perhaps it was from a Jaffa in the upper scales of command. The lock, if undamaged, would probably be a problem to open, however it seemed to have suffered the worst damage of the entire piece. It was still sturdy enough to hold the thing closed, but Sam figured it could be opened with a bit of luck and some strength.
Going by the numbers, she picked a Geiger detector from the kit and pointed in the chest’s direction. Radiation was a bit above the normal, but far below of what she expected, after all Ra’s ship had been destroyed by a nuclear warhead. Noticing it didn’t pose any danger to be moved, she aligned the buggy, and with a little help from the winch in the front she removed the semi-buried trunk from the sand. After she checked for booby traps – if there were any, they would have probably been gone by now, thanks to the very rough travel the chest went through – she decided to open it. Calling Daniel would come later, after all, why bother him with a chest probably full of frilly clothes or military regalia burned to a crisp? She then picked the folding shovel in the buggy’s side and put the blade on a dent to the side of the single lock. Using all her strength, she pushed, and the lock finally broke in full.
She opened the lid, and when she did it she finally realized that something strange had been in effect here. First of all, yes, she did find the chest, but how? It was so buried she would have a hard time seeing it from twenty feet away. Second, she knew all the protocols when finding out Goa’uld items: she should have called a team, she should have taken the item to a lab to be opened in a controlled environment, she should have reported her findings as soon as she did find them. The situation did not require a genius to figure out that everything that had been happening the past month was connected and led her to this moment. Sam was
a genius, and a scientist, so she wanted to take this to the end, and not leave it in someone else’s hand.
Inside, almost everything had turned to ash, or had melted to the point of being unrecognizable. She gave another pass with the Geiger counter, and the radiation count inside was even less than outside, by a noticeable factor. Whatever the chest was made of, it was some good insulation material. A strong wind blew right then, and the ash lifted like a cloud, blinding the blonde woman for a few moments. Once she had cleared her eyes of the soot, she looked back inside. Under a few pieces of molten metal, something shone brightly to the sun. She removed the molten slobs, throwing them to the sand, her scientific mind denoting that whatever had resisted the heat and the impact had to be made of an extremely strong material. She finally managed to pick it and with a strong push, she freed it from the chest.
It was a sword. A magnificently crafted sword. Sam checked it thoroughly, it had absolutely no nicks from battle, and yet it felt like it had been in one battle too many. It also had no signs it had been heated to the melting point. It was sized for someone her size or bigger, and perfectly balanced. And how in the heck did she know that? It was probably the third sword she had touched her entire life, and she had never ever used one in battle. While the craftsmanship was magnificent, it was also simplistic in design, with no frills except for a big jewel incrusted in the middle of the guard area.
The jewel sparked another memory, and while her sharp mind was aware of something weird going on with her, nothing had prepared her for this surprising conclusion. She was so stunned that she sat on the sand, mind reeling, the sword resting against her legs. She took some deep breaths, mind analyzing every step of the way until then. So, she had dreamed about the distant past, the ‘Past-Her’ girl was the last…Heir – and she somehow knew Heir was the correct term for what she was – of the sword and its power. She had used those powers, albeit briefly, to fight Ra and finally expel him from Earth. However, this sword had been lost, buried deep in his body. He had escaped to some planet through the Gate, and he was probably healed by a sarcophagus. He had kept the sword, and had probably tried to access its powers, without success.
That much was easy to conclude and accept. What was hard to believe was that this sword had, somehow, given origin to a cartoon on Earth thousands of years in the future. And if…if the cartoon was right, there was probably another one of those swords lying around somewhere in the Universe, perhaps even back on Earth.
Sam finally looked into
the jewel, and she thought she saw someone smiling for a brief moment…or was it a reflection of the light? Either way, it was hard for her to accept, even with all the evidence that somehow had been put in her mind, and even harder to believe.
“Why me?” she asked to the jewel, but the question remained unanswered. But holding the sword she felt…complete, as she had never felt before. Even with all that had happened in her life, there was always some small part amiss, something that she had no grasp on, but it was always there. It all had ended, and she knew, without a doubt, that this was the turning point in her life, and even without someone to tell her straight, that this sword had come to her so she could fulfill her destiny, and somehow help Earth and the rest of the universe against its enemies.
She chuckled, amazed with the impossibility of it all, but she had no other facts to refute the truth in her hands. Still seated, she held the sword in front of her eyes, pointing up. “Danny, I think you’ve never seen a cartoon while you were a kid. It’s not ‘honor be gained from the dark skull’,
it’s ‘for the honor of Grayskull’.
She shook her head. She stood up and lifted the sword above her head. “FOR THE HONOR OF GRAYSKULL!”
Again, nothing happened. Feeling like an idiot, she decided to try one last time. “Ni’sha adur Grip’Thahak!”
Nothing. Frustrated, she almost threw the sword away, but decided against it in the last moment. Someone had tampered with her dreams, made her come until this point and place to pick this sword, only for it to do nothing? Sam shook her head, and tested the edge of the blade, applying the tiniest amount of pressure with her thumb. It was enough to cause a deep cut, which made her bleed over the blade for a few moments. She dropped the sword and walked back to the jeep and for the first aid kit inside.
Sam finished dressing the cut and then proceeded to pack everything up. She decided to just take the sword back, since nothing else of useful was found. She mounted the buggy and departed, the sword known as the Sword of Honor resting in the seat at her side. Paying full attention to the traitorous sand, she never noticed that the blood drops in the blade were slowly absorbed by the sword, causing tiny sparks of something resembling electricity to appear where they had dropped.
The Price had been paid, even unknowingly.
The Bond had started to form.
Now, the only thing lacking was Belief, and that was the real challenge.