“Sam, breakfast is ready!”
“I’ll be down in a second.” Samantha Carter, Major in the United States Air Force, responded to her young sister’s summons. Tantalizing scents of bacon and eggs and apple syrup, which meant griddle cakes, drifting up the stairs, made Sam dress just a little faster.
“Sam!” Elizabeth shouted. “You’ve got to be leaving for the base in a half an hour. If you plan to eat breakfast this morning, then come on.”
“I’m here, brat.” Sam replied, coming down the steps. “What’s on your plate for today?”
“Haven't decided yet.” Elizabeth told her. “I might go to few classes today, but I’m running out of things to do. Why am I doing this again?”
“Because it will make Dad proud.”
Elizabeth gave her sister a flat look. “C’mon, Sam. You don’t really think I believe that man cares about anything that I do, do you?”
“It’s not that he doesn’t care, Eli.” Sam told her. Shortly after Jordan had met Elizabeth, she had told the blonde that she flat out refused
to call her 'Ellie', and started calling her Eli. Slowly everyone else started calling her by the shorter diminutive as well. “It’s just, well, he loved our mom very much, and you are so much like her. I think it hurts him.”
Elizabeth shrugged. She had always been strangely ambivalent about her estrangement with their father, almost as if it weren’t something new to her. Elizabeth had been an unplanned 'anniversary gift', which was how Sam had often heard her mother refer to the new life growing inside of her, and was younger than Sam by almost 15 years. Sam had practically raised her from birth, with the help of a variety of nannies, since their mother had been killed by a drunk driver. Even though her mother had been technically dead, the doctors had been able to keep her heart beating long enough to deliver Elizabeth by emergency C-section. There had been complications with the birth, and for some time, the doctors hadn't been too sure that Elizabeth would make it.
It had been raining hard the day the drunk driver had slammed full speed into the taxi carrying Rebecca Carter to her appointment with her obstetrician. The only reason that she had not been killed instantly along with the two drivers was because she had been in the back on the passenger side and the cab had been hit in the front on the driver side. By the time the paramedics arrived, the pregnant woman had been soaked to the bone, heavily shocked and nearly dead, and weakly clutching at her stomach in trauma-induced early labor. They'd had to haphazardly dry her off to use the defibrillator when she flat-lined en route to the hospital, and again just as they got her into the delivery ward. Despite the doctors' best efforts and her own strong will, Rebecca Carter died on the delivery table due to blood loss and the unrelenting stress to her overtaxed system, just after her first, and last, cuddle to her new baby girl. Her last words naming the child: Elizabeth Anne Carter.
It had been a very steep, rocky and precarious uphill battle from there. The shocks that had kept Rebecca alive, enhanced by her still damp skin, had ultimately hyper stimulated the pre-born's nervous system, according to the doctors. The system of a premature infant, born over a month early, was already delicate. It was dangerous and unwise to medicate a hyper sensitive nervous system in an adult, much less a child. The combination of the two was a nightmare for the neo-natal ward. Elizabeth had been closely monitored around the clock, and the doctors still considered it a miracle that she'd lived the first two weeks.
Jacob Carter had indeed been devastated by his wife’s death, but in Sam’s opinion, that had been no reason to abandon his innocent newborn daughter. He had begun withdrawing from the baby the first time she'd suddenly flat-lined. The shocks used to restart her heart had sensitized her even more. He continued to monitor her progress, and made sure that she received the best of care, but Sam recognized the growing distance in his eyes. The second time they'd nearly lost her, he'd made arrangements for her care, but refused to watch the last piece of his beloved wife struggle and possibly succumb, especially after the doctors told them exactly how the odds were against her. Even now, although Jacob was mending his relationship with their brother, Mark, his relationship with Elizabeth remained neutral, at best. Having basically ignored her for almost all of her life, they simply had nothing to fall back on.
Sam had immediately picked up the slack, determined to provide the emotional support that they were repeatedly told would be essential to Elizabeth's survival, especially considering her condition. Unlike her father, she understood, even then, what the doctors were telling them about her sister. She'd even tried to explain it to him.
Elizabeth's system processed stimuli at a highly accelerated rate, which resulted in the infant developing extremely heightened senses. Most babies born with the rare condition developed the capacity to regulate the flood of input, but because Elizabeth's was due to the abnormal reactions to the defibrillator shocks, she did not yet have that capacity, and until her brain worked something out, she would need constant visual and tactile support, something to focus on.
In the end, Sam had practically raised Elizabeth by herself, despite her father’s desire to give her up for adoption. Between her own research, and advice from the many professional fascinated by their case, Sam helped the baby process the overwhelming flood of input, even if it was something as simple as cutting them both off from the outside world by shutting the door and turning off the machines, and holding the child skin to skin to give her something to focus on. When she grew older, they studied various meditation techniques to do the same thing.
Their brother, Mark, had also been a huge help. His estrangement with their father had only grown worse when he’d found out how Jacob was treating the baby, and they’d had more than one argument over it. He instantly adored his youngest sister. He had been furious when Sam had entered the Air Force behind their father, but after seeing that she didn’t intend to allow her career to cut herself off from her family responsibilities, he accepted it and her.
Sam had arranged her military career around her little sister. Jacob contributed by paying for the specially trained nurses and nannies. Elizabeth's body eventually acclimated, although her brain scans revealed unusual activity in her neural pathways, in all sections of her brain, but especially in the reptilian brain, which processed the input from the five senses. In essence, Elizabeth was using more of her brain than the average human being, and she was equally susceptible to her primal instincts as she was to her reasoning and intellect. Sam had to train her to merge the two before she reacted to things. Elizabeth was a medical miracle and a medical mystery all rolled into one adorable little package.
Another anomaly that they had discovered about Elizabeth was that she grew to have an incredible tolerance to electrical charges. It had been an accidental discovery, when there was a power surge during one of her experiments when she was fourteen. The surge had sent an arc of electricity from a Tesla coil that she had been using. Sam saw the flash of bright white light and a heavy thud and ran to the basement where they had built Elizabeth’s home lab, and found her sister collapsed against the far wall, her hair, cut short like Sam’s at the time, sticking out in every direction, and a wide-eyed expression on her face. There was a ragged hole in her shirt where the electricity had struck her.
“Wow,” she muttered, a little dazed. “What a head rush.”
Sam had gotten Elizabeth up the stairs and onto the couch before calling Janet, who had, by that time, become the primary health-care provider for both Carters.
Despite everything, somehow, she had managed to end up in the most Top Secret government program on the planet. Thankfully, Elizabeth was already highly self-sufficient, and had a caretaker who loved her fiercely, or she would have had to turn the assignment down. She had never been more thankful for Diana Maclay then when her team started their extended off-world missions. When Janet later adopted Cassandra, Eli had quickly drawn the shy newcomer into her group of close friends.
Sam watched Eli as she ate her breakfast with one hand, and scribbled into her notebook with the other. She glanced at the equations for a second.
“What are you working on?” she finally asked.
Elizabeth shrugged again. “Just a theory.”
Sam didn’t ask any more. She knew how her sister got when she had one of her theories. People considered Sam to be a genius, but Elizabeth’s intellect easily overshadowed her own. Her younger sister was seventeen years old and would already have at least two PhDs, in Quantum Mechanics and Bioinformatics, if she’d only do her theses. She was also very active. Her fast metabolism guaranteed that she ate astonishingly large meals for someone so slender. She was extraordinarily strong for her age, quick and agile, on top of her extremely heightened senses, and a virtual savant in when it came to martial arts. If she hadn’t raised her sister from birth, Sam would have thought Elizabeth was a hok’tar.
“The dreams are getting more bizarre,” Elizabeth suddenly said, drawing her older sister out of her thoughts.
“Still about vampires and demons?” She asked.
Elizabeth nodded. She’d been having the weird dreams since she was fifteen, but Sam hadn’t found out for several months. Not until Elizabeth had woken up screaming one night. She’d been dreaming that she’d been some kind of superhero, destined to keep the world safe from horror movie monsters and, on that particular night, one of the monsters, an old and powerful one, had killed her. When the dreams didn’t stop there, Sam had asked Elizabeth if she wanted to see a professional, to maybe find the source of the dreams. And discovered that her baby sister had an almost pathological phobia when it came to psychiatrists.
“There was something new this time, though,” Elizabeth was saying.
That captured Sam's undivided attention. "What?"
"A voice. It seemed to be overshadowing the dream somehow."
"What did it say?"
"When you remember me, call my name
. It sounded like an extra from a '60's New York gangster movie," Elizabeth recalled. Then she sighed and glanced at the clock behind her sister. "It's time for you to go."
Sam hesitated, but finally nodded. She wanted to continue the discussion about her dreams, but she knew her sister well enough to know that Elizabeth was finished talking about it for now. "I'll call if we get caught up and have to stay."
Elizabeth nodded. "We're all going to the mall this afternoon. Do you need anything?"
Sam ran through a mental inventory, then rattled off a list of items for her to pick up. "Who's driving?"
“Tara.” Elizabeth grinned at her. Elizabeth hadn’t been allowed behind the wheel of a car since she’d nearly caused her last driver’s education teacher to have a heart attack on the training course. Something about driving too fast and hairpin turns. She pointed to a Styrofoam food container tied in a plastic grocery store bag. “Don’t forget Jack’s breakfast.”
~~~ BtVS ~~ SG-1 ~~~
Later that morning, Elizabeth read over the equations that she had been scribbling down. She was glad that Sam never pressed her about her random theories, especially this particular one. At the moment, Elizabeth had no idea how to explain that she'd nearly figured out a way to rig an intergalactic distress signal without actually having to use the Stargate to create the needed wormhole.
She knew that her sister would be furious that she'd hacked into the government computers again, but come on, who in their right minds would believe that a theoretical astrophysicist was needed in 'Deep Space Radar Telemetry?' What was Sam supposed to do, tell them how a specific star was formed and what effect it had in the universe?
Elizabeth had no problems with Sam being in top secret, classified programs, as long as she always came home at least relatively okay. She didn't even bat an eyelash when 'Murray' visited for the first time, despite somehow knowing instinctively that the big black man wasn't completely human. More specifically, he
was human, but there was something inside
of him that wasn't.
Just like she knew that there was something different about Cassie. She was completely human, but there was something funny about her scent, almost as if she had been altered on a genetic level. Even then, she hadn't given much thought or consideration to whatever program Sam was involved in. If Sam trusted them, then so did she. It wasn't until Sam came home different herself, and depressed to an almost dangerous degree, that Elizabeth had carefully made her way through Sam's security protocols and encryptions to find out exactly what her sister had gotten herself into.
The fact that there were aliens out there surprised her a little, but for some odd reason, the fact that they were evil and trying to enslave the human race didn't. The Goa'uld styled themselves after the ancient cultural gods and goddesses of Earth, and the most powerful called themselves the System Lords. Murray, whose real name was Teal'c, was a Jaffa, an altered human with one of the evil aliens gestating in a pouch in his stomach. She found the file on Cassie which described, in detail, the genetic manipulation and the bomb that could form in her blood and cells.
After a little more searching, she finally found what she was looking for. Sam had been taken over by one of the aliens, one that had terrorized Cassie. Elizabeth had to wrestle back a flare of protective rage before she could keep reading. The alien had turned out to be a part of a resistance group that was trying to destroy the System Lords. Her previous host had been wounded beyond repair, and it had been essential that she get certain information to her people, and had taken Sam in a desperate act. Not knowing who the strange people were, her only objective had been to get back through the Stargate. Frightening Cassie had been an unfortunate misunderstanding, something that she hadn't wanted to do, but she couldn't risk the child telling after realizing that the girl could sense her presence.
In the end, Jolinar had sacrificed herself to save Sam’s life, which was the cause of Sam’s depression. The guys had never heard of the Tok'ra in their travels, and didn't believe Jolinar when she admitted who and what she was. Even after Jolinar had given Sam her voice back and Sam had verified the story, they hadn't believed. It was only when a Goa'uld assassin infiltrated Stargate Command and tortured Jolinar, in Sam's body, that Jolinar had made the ultimate sacrifice so that Sam could live.
After a little more reading, she flagged a few things and eased back out of the systems, being careful to leave no traces. That was how she found out that Jacob had become a liaison to the Tok'ra, taking the symbiote Selmak in exchange for curing his cancer. She had been shocked at the news. She hadn't known that he had cancer, and that meant that Sam hadn't known either. Her heart hurt for her sister, and for the first time, she actually felt anger towards the man that was her father. To have found out something like that when the man was practically on his death bed had to have devastated Sam. She was honest enough to know that she didn't know the man well enough to miss him if he suddenly died, but Sam practically worshipped their dad, and what he’d done was just wrong on so many levels. Stupid male, military mentality.
After reading countless briefings of Sam's team being captured and barely managing to escape against nearly impossible odds, Elizabeth decided that they needed a way to signal for help that didn't
rely on the Stargate, and, therefore, set herself to working on it.