Octennious, Part 2
When she woke up, she had a blinding headache. She moaned, and stopped moaning when she heard a second feminine moan. This one was younger, roughened with sleep and pain. And somehow, she knew exactly who it was.
She moved over to where the sound had come from. "Are you all right?"
A head pressed itself into her chest and nodded. She wimpered. "It hurts."
"I know honey."
She wimpered again. "Not, not from the Tok'al."
Sam's brows furrowed. "How'd you know what it was called?"
"Some ancient book has it. A lexicon of mythological weapons powered by magic. Found it completely by accident. But, I've been knocked out by a Tok'Kal before and it never hurt this bad." The door opened and light flooded in, making the captain wimper a little louder and press in closer.
The woman in the doorway smiled at the scene before her. "Should I leave you with your mother, young warrior?"
Lorraine snorted into Sam's chest. "She's not my mom, so no. And I just need a second to get over the blinding headache the grenade you people set off created."
Guilt flashed onto her face. Maybe she'd been the one to set off the grenade. The emotion left the woman's face as quickly as it had arrived, and she stood in the doorway, passively watching the two Tauri deal with the afteraffects of the grenade.
When the captain felt like she was able to deal with light, she slowly removed her head and together, they left the room/cell/whatever.
As they walked, inspiration struck Sam in that she would be able to ask about something that had been bugging her for days. "Why did General Hammond mention cancer tests?"
The answer from the teen came out slowly, embarressment filling her voice. "I um, kinda um, have a uh, condition."
Sam sighed. She had a feeling this might be like a reenactment of numerous arguments between their resident CMO and the base's 2IC. "What kind of condition?"
She fidgeted, cleared her throat, hmmed, and fidgeted some more before finally saying, "I'm radioactive."
Sam raised an eyebrow. "You glow in the dark?" She asked.
Lorraine looked up at her with an odd look in her face. "You've been hanging around Jack a little
too much. And I only glow if you can find the right optical filter. I have such a filter in my contact lenses, but it's incredibly hard to do, which is why those particular lenses are back at my house for safekeeping."
Sam thought it over, thinking about it. If you were radioactive, then it would be a good idea to have regular cancer tests to see if the radiation was causing any tumors to form. And bone cancer tests would be much more effective than other tests due to the fact that radiation-caused mutation often happens in bone marrow first.
Plus, due to the pain of piercing the bone, they would be fairly useful in keeping a certain captain in line.
And she silently agreed that she was spending a lit
tle bit too much time with the colonel. "How often do you have to have the tests?"
"I decide how often I need them myself." She replied simply. "But since I don't want to worry Hammond or Janet or my family, and I realize that it's a bit of a concern myself, I have them fairly often. Not once after every mission, but a bit more often than your average cancer survivor checking to see if they've relapsed."
Sam didn't respond as her attention was brought to the room they were entering. It was huge, like a dining hall in a medieval castle. That image was reinforced by the large table piled with food and their three teammates sitting at it, not looking exactly happy.
Relief spread over the Colonel's face as he spotted her. "Carter!"
Sam couldn't keep the smile from spreading across her face either. "Are you doing okay sir?"
The men of the team nodded.
"At least they kept us together, for the most part." Lorraine said.
"Well, it would not be proper to leave the women with the males, no matter how much they trust each other."
They all looked over at the new voice. It was a tall man, about 6'6", and he looked rather typical for a Goa'uld. Well-muscled, rugged face, a few scars to show danger, and overall, good crush material.
Except, Sam couldn't sense him through the Naquadah in her veins, so that meant he wasn't a Goa'uld, right?
"Riiight." Lorraine said slowly, a skeptical look on her face. "Skeptical hippo."
The man just raised an eyebrow as he motioned for the two females to sit at the table. Reluctantly, they did so, ignoring the looks from the men. Then the captain took a bite that would put a human garbage disposal to shame. SG-1 stopped what they were doing and stared at their younger member, their tag-along, so to speak, as she chewed on a bite that would probably choke a man of Teal'C's size, let alone someone who looked to be short enough to be left in the kiddie pool and with a delicate frame to match.
She swallowed and made a few small contemplative noises. After a moment, she turned to the man who'd motioned for them to sit. "You know, I think you should find a new place to grow your seasoning."
"And why is that?" He was humoring her.
She shrugged simply as she casually said, "Well, I don't know. It's just that cadmium is kinda toxic to humans is all."
"Cadmium?" Sam asked.
Lorraine looked at her and nodded. "Yeah, in the soil that the seasoning was grown in. I remember this one time when my saffron supply was swapped out for a bunch that had grown in soil with a high concentration of cadmium and I'd needed a lot for a personal dish." She made a face in remembrance and stuck out her tongue. "Blegh! Put me off my dinner for two hours." At Sam's look, she explained. "Well, I still ate it. I was hungry, I'd already made it, and I knew I'd be able to metabolize it before it did any permanent damage. It's just one of the least tasty tries at assassinating me, tha's all." She finished it off with a shrug before she continued with her eating.
Shocked silence reigned at the table as every single intelligent being in the room just stared at the girl. A moment later, she realized that no one else was eating with her. "What? It's not like you're gonna die from it." She said defensively. "I mean, it's not that
"If it's toxic to humans, how did you know that you'd be able to metabolize it?"
"Well, when you've been forced to drink enhanced Arsenic and straight up poison in separate cups if you want to survive at all, then you know you're practically indestructible, poison-wise." She picked up her cup and drank from it, making agreeable noises about the taste.
Still, nobody was eating. Once again, she noticed, and spoke up. "Come on, eat. Don't want to insult our host for refusing his hospitality."
"Actually," their 'host' began, "I'm a little more concerned about you. What sort of situation would require that you drink poison if you wanted to leave it alive?"
She paused and considered the situation and her own words. She sighed. "Well, I shoulda seen this coming a few minutes ago. Well, I'll havta ask you something."
"What is your stance on the idea of alternate and parallel universes, realities, and dimensions." She turned to SG-1. "And I'm asking you guys too."
"Well, there was that time when Danny touched the Quantum Mirror and ended up sucked into an alternate universe." Jack said.
"That was a parallel universe, not an alternate one." The diminutive captain corrected.
"And what's the difference?" Jack asked.
She smiled. "In short? The universe for The Simpsons where every human is slightly wierdly shaped and colored yellow is alternate to our universe of normal humans and alien encounters while a nearby universe with only a slight difference in the timeline, like me or my mom not getting born or my dad not being born or him dying in the universe of his birth with all his friends, that would be a parallel universe."
"Well then, what's the difference in alternate and parallel realities?" Jack asked.
She thought about that one. "Umm, other than the same differences between parallel and alternate in universes and maybe a fundamental change like having magic in one and the complete absence of magic in another... I'll have to get back to you on that one." She looked a little frustrated at being stymied like that. "Well, why don't we get back to the topic from earlier. Do you, or do you not, believe in the existence of universes, realities, or dimensions that we don't live on?"
Sam nodded and said most definitely, a bored looking Jack said yeah, an interested looking Daniel said yes, a stoic looking Teal'C inclined his head, and their confused looking host nodded unsurely.
She nodded, swallowed, and cautiously began to tell them a story she has told to no one that didn't already know, except for one person, editing where she thought it was necessary. "Well, five years ago, before I came to General Hammond about my being on the Stargate Program, I was having this rebellious streak. I'd just killed my newest set of kidnappers who were out for my mom's money and gotten back home when, all of a sudden, the fabric of reality just, ripped
right in front of us. It pulled us in, all four of us, right out of our kitchen. Where we ended up was not fun. According to what one of the natives said once, it was a relative to Pylea, a dimension with human-eating monsters all over the place and humans were just worthless slaves when they weren't being eaten or used for sport or entertainment and gambling. Like, how long can this human survive being chased by this man-eating super-lion, or other, more common sources of death. Not fun, especially since, from the records at the SGC, it was a lot like Netu. Kinda like classic depictions of Hell."
Jack blanched at that. Four civilians having to deal with a prison planet that looked and felt like Hell came down on Earth? They wouldn't survive a day.
"Anyway, after dropping ten feet with no way of making the fall easier to survive and landing on rocks, the four of us, me, my dad, my mom, and my uncle, all stood up with a little effort and looked around. I thought it was just a bad hell dimension and, having explored plenty of similar places as a kid thanks to that weak spot in dimensional boundaries underneath my home town, led our little group around until I found a cave that looked like it would be useful as shelter. We bedded down for the night. For the next few weeks, my uncle Steve, who was Captain in the Army once, and myself, being quite literate in the inner workings of hell dimensions and fending for myself in life or death situations, even when I was only seven, spent time checking out the area. Dad wasn't part of it because his straight up fighting skills are nill except when he gets angry, and then it's basically like a Doctor Jekyll - Mr. Hyde sorta thing like the Hulk, and mom, well, even though she's a great gunslinger and an amazing explorer and archaeologist when she's on site, defending herself wasn't exactly one of her strong sides, especially not against stuff this strong. Creatures that only get pissed off when you shoot them because of their amazingly dense skin, even with that fifty cal I found there one day, are slightly faster than your average Olympic runner, and are strong enough to at least bend steal, if not snap it in half when they're mad."
At this point, everyone is gaping. They, civilians, had survived man-eating creatures that guns only piss off and could easily snap them in half at any time. They weren't sure that they
could have survived a week, let alone several.
"Now, before long we managed to exhaust all the nearby edible scrub and hadn't quite found any edible meats that weren't already spoiled by the time we got to them. Mom was starting to wobble when walking unaided and the four of us were looking extremely thin and exhausted. What could have been a month, or two or three, had left us nearly dead. The only real reason we weren't was because we'd had metal canteens in our hands before we got nabbed and we'd found a steady supply of untainted water in the first few days. We'd already run out of bullets scaring off predators looking to eat us, and the best close up weapons we had were the bone splinters we'd shaped with rocks, my knife, well, a six inch dagger really, that I named Sparky, a large warhammer (which was much too heavy for us at that point) and Steve's metal shield, which had been on his back when we were nabbed. We couldn't really put up a fight at that point, even if we had the strength to do it with, other than dad and his abilities were a complete wild card even at the best of times, let alone when we were all slowly starving to death.
"Then the natives" Demons actually "came along. Looked kinda like the Unas, or seemed like they do. The air was terrible and the heat and exhaustion combined with malnutrition was messing with our perceptions, along with all the particles and slight hallucinogens in the air. The raiding party rounded us up, bound us and put us on their mounts, which I kept on swearing was some sort of demonic camel out to eat me when I didn't like the silence, and brought us to the castle that was their bastion, their home. They dropped us in front of their leader, not at all caring if any of us broke a single bone, like Steve did." She made a small chuckle. "My uncle, the only one of us to have never broken a bone and the one with the most dense bone structure out of the four of us. I broke bones at four and seven, dropping from too far up, mom broke a few bones practicing against her 'sparring partner'," Giant robot develped to help her learn to fight and keep up her skills "and dad's broken bones multiple times through his life according to his x-rays, and yet, the former Army captain who's probably been shot and nearly killed with bullets more times than any of us had never broken a single bone before that day.
"The leader came up to us, looked at us, and then picked up the one nearest to his feet. Me. I couldn't really do anything but loll around in his grip because I was so weak and so affected by the bad air and a lack of food. He examined me with a critical eye, and then grinned a sadistic grin. He made a comment. I don't remember it, mighta been something about raping us before killing us, but I do remember what it did to me. It cut straight through the fog that everything in life had put onto me and made me focus. I thought of many terrible things to do to him, and I thought of what terrible things he could do to the group of us if I didn't do anything. If I couldn't protect us. So I slipped Sparky from its sheath on my back, brought up my legs to allow my arms to go in front of my body, and slammed the dagger into the softness of his chin right up to the dugeon."
"Dugeon?" Jack asked.
"Uh, the hilt, Jack."
Lorraine nodded. "With his brains scrambled, he fell over, dead, and let go of me so that I could cut the ropes holding us, which I did. First I did mine, then I did mom's, then Steve's, and finally dad's. Then we heard clapping. I turned around and saw the guy who'd been standing next to the throne looking at us approvingly. He spoke when he was sure we were all focused on him.
"'Well, it seems they have a spark of life in them after all.' He said, smiling a dirty smile that most monsters seem to master at some point or other. Menacing and arrogant and amused. He looked down at the corpse cooling at my feet. 'It seems as if there's a problem I need to fix, and as the next in line for leadership, I get to handle this personally.' He turned back to us. "It seems like you have a choice. You can either die and feed our flesh, or we can be magnanimus and allow you to escape, after you tell us what you are doing here.'
"I sighed. 'Well, since I know it's useless to lie to you like this, I'll tell you. We're lost. Something or someone had us snatched from our native dimension and we've been here for the last few weeks, struggling to survive.'
"'My advisors will tell me that you're a spy or an assasin sent to kill me.'
"'Well, then you should fire or kill your advisors because they're just looking for a higher place of favor with you. No assasin or spy, not even one with a death wish, would allow themselves to get so thin, even just to get to a target. We're just trying not to pass out.'
"I looked over at Steve, who was visibly swaying on his feet. It hadn't sounded so bad in his voice, but a gentle breeze could've knocked him over like that. 'Steve, not helping. Not bad a job of lying to the man, but seriously, not helping.' I looked back at the new leader, trying to ignore the black spots that were starting to show in my vision. 'Look, we're starving, practically scarecrows from hunger at this point, and we've been completely focused on just surviving. And when we don't have to focus on that anymore, we'll be focused on trying to get back to Earth, without ending it in the process.'
"He laughed at that. Then he said, 'Well, if I can't kill you outright, then perhaps I'll give you a test of your intelligence.' He made a motion and a server came over with a couple of cups on a tray. 'Some are poison, some are not, and you must drink one to pass. If you can keep from drinking poison, then you are free to leave.'
"'And what if we refuse?'
"'Then we will kill you anyway.'
"The cups came over, and dad reached for one, thirst overcoming sense for a moment. I slapped his hand and glared at him, telling him to wait. I sniffed them, each one individually to make sure I knew for certain. Then I glared at the new leader. 'All of them are poison.'
"'Then it will be a test of your ability to drink poison.'
"These are completely lethal to humans.'
"'Then you will die and we will feast.' There was a bit of a hearty roar at that. I kinda gathered that they hadn't had human in a while."
"Had human?" Sam asked, the very idea of cannibalism sickening to her.
Lorraine just nodded and continued. "We looked at each other. The general consensus said that we would be okay for the most part, but everyone was worried about mom. We were starting to get really thirsty, and not only was mom the one with the worst, most baseline human metabolism and physiology, she was also the worst off of us all. If she'd gotten a cold at that point, then she'd've been sneezing blood and dieing withing an hour of getting it. Me and the men would die too, just a lot later. She kinda smiled at me then. Then she did the one thing we did not expect or want.
"She asked to be the first to be given the poison.
"Of course we all complained, yelled at her, tried to get her to change her mind, but when My mother makes her mind up, it's never gonna change. And with that, one of the natives gave it to her, and she drank.
"Not wanting to watch her die, I grabbed a cup and chugged it, hoping I'd at least pass out before her last breaths came, not really caring about my own last breaths. Steve and dad took theirs after me, and the four of us all passed out."
"But you didn't die." Jack noted, a little obviously.
Well, sorta. She shrugged. "I got no clue. All I know is that I woke up a little later and there's this ugly face right in front of me, slobbering on my face, ready to eat me. I rose up and chomped off his nose." She demonstrated by slamming her teeth on open air. "One of the worst tasting things I've ever bitten." She shook her head and went "Bleh." "I debated swallowing it because, on the one hand: Actual meat. On the second hand, two words: Cannibalism and GROSS! The decision was taken from me when I was picked up and shaken roughly by the leader guy.
"'How in all the hells did you survive that?' He asked.
"I looked around, noting with a sizable smirk that all of us seemed to be alive, even mom! 'Well, I don't know how mom's still alive, but I know that dad and Steve both have enhanced metabolisms. Beer can't get through them at all and poisons don't tend to work on them. But for me, well, I guess I'll just have to go with the fact that I'm an old Slayer.' And right after I said that, my smug little grin on my face, he went from dark red skin to whiter than an albino who never saw sun, every single being there jumping back and shouting the word 'Slayer' in fear." She sighed happily, a grin on her face. "One of my favorite memories ever."
"What's a Slayer?" Jack asked.
"Well, any information about Slayers or anything even remotely related is classified as need-to-know (other than that they have enhanced strength, speed, and durability to go with their enhanced metabolism), and unless you encounter one off base or find something that one would fight, or a related attempt at armageddon, you'll never need to know, just like how the public never needs to know about them, or about the times we've almost died or stopped the total destruction of our planet when the attempt came from space. Except the Slayer and the HST's are more like the Men In Black than what would be their jurisdiction here in our universe."
"Because the Men In Black have the job of saving the world and keeping the aliens on Earth in check. If they try to end the world like they always do, then it's their job to stop the end, making sure that no one else can possibly know so that no one starts a fuss and there is no mass rioting or, in the words of Billy Bob Thornton in Armageddon, 'Basically the worst parts of the bible.' Can't have that happening."
"Uh-huh." Jack said, obviously unbelieving. "And do they have some sort of mind-eraser thingamajig or something like that?"
She shook her head. "Nope. Messing with someone's mind or memories is considered one of the worst things you can possibly do. Instead, we just let the people we save use their own imaginations, their own denile, and their own need to keep from going insane to convince themselves that it was just a nightmare, a trick of the light, people wearing terrible masks and bad dentures, stuff like that. Well, that or rely on the fact that they were already dead before we could save them to keep them silent about all this."
"So what happened next?" Daniel asked.
"Well, then life actually became a lot easier. Apparently, the poison was some sort of weird concoction" AKA, a magical brew "that if you managed to survive it, you got stronger. We don't know how it does it" Magic, but that's the simple version "but we can appreciate the fact that we survived it. After that, and once everyone calmed down from the excitement of either surviving the brew and suddenly becoming stronger or finding out that I'm an old Slayer, the two groups of my family and the natives kinda got along. They agreed to give us food we could stomach without dying until we could hunt down our prey ourselves with knives and swords they would provide. As it turns out, our favorite common meals there were actually a bit of a delicacy and a rarity. Our favorite was the gigantic cat-things that were stupidly fast, strong enough to bite us in half, and durable enough to not entirely care about a bullet, even if it'll draw a little blood, and tastier than fresh roasted alligator when you add a little bonemeal seasoning. They were just a joy for me and Steve to hunt, and mom and dad both got at least three of them dead by their own hands. There were other things there that tasted good enough, or were kinda nice sport once we got that good at it, like those gigantic bug things, those weird bird things that I called harpies, and those rhino things that I called Damnthings, after the Damnthings of Zarathustra in that book by H. Beam Piper, uh, Little Fuzzy. See, what Damnthings do is they sneak around their pray until they have a nice shot, then they ram them, slicing into their backs with their huge, sharp horns. Really tricky to hunt without dying, and kinda tasty too, once you get past all the crunch. You know, you guys really should eat."
Sam looked a little green around the gills as she said, "Um, I don't think I can at the moment."
The captain took a little time to look at them. Once she took a look, she noticed that only Teal'C didn't look really nauseous, and that's probably because he was trained from birth to keep from showing signs of weakness. "Did I make you sick with my descriptions?"
"A little." Daniel said, and he looked the most likely to barf. "How can you not be affected?"
She shrugged. "Well, other than the fact that I lived through it with more than a little relish in the hunt and enjoying the food I could catch and cook myself, blood and gore have never bothered me. It's a bit of a side-effect of growing up where I did."
"And where was that, a butcher shop?!" Jack asked.
She looked down at the table. "I don't want to talk about it." It's possible that they bought the act of having bad memories there. It's also possible that they believed her lack of want to talk about it in the first place, which isn't an act. It just wasn't for bad memories. She didn't want to show them the world fillied with HST's. Hostile Sub-Terrestrials, otherwise known as Demons.
They didn't need that shit.
After a time without anyone speaking, Sam spoke up. "How'd you get back?"
She chuckled. "Truth is, I don't know. I mean, according to their analogue to scientists," High-level demonic sorcerers "their dimension was blocked off pretty efficiently from Earth, which is why none of them have really had the urge to go conquer large parts of Europe." She allowed herself a small smile as she thought about the source of that little note. "Well, according to them, it would take something like an act of God to get us home to Earth, especially if we didn't want anything coming along after us. In the end, it ended like it began. The fabric of reality ripped open in front of us while we were at home and we were powerless to stop ourselves from being pulled in. When we hit the ground, it was the same place that we'd left. Home. Wanna know what the real kicker is?" She didn't bother to wait for them. "According to the kitchen clocks, it'd been about 4 hours, and if our biological clocks are anything to go by, it'd been more like four years. Nobody had noticed our absence, so we were forced to conclude that we'd been stuck in there for four hours, Earth time. Same day, same year, nothing else to it.
"Though, the real crazy part? None of us really aged through it all." She paused, considering. "Actually, that's a lie. We did age, but kind of... backwards. When we went in, dad had grey and silver hairs decorating his head like a sprinkling of snow, and today, 4 years later, Earth time, his hair is still a nice and solid brown. Not a single grey or silver hair in sight."
A/N: Yeah, I know, it's so terribly mean of me to cut it off right there. But, to my credit, I actually managed to finish and upload the chapter after not giving you one in so long!
As I'm writing this at 9:57 on Sunday night, June 30th, I would like to say that my birthday was 11 days ago, so Happy Belated Birthday to me! I just turned 18 this year, and, you know what my two favorite presents are this year? Other than a small bag of expensive chocolates, they are my own copy of the movie RED (which, I am ordering you guys to watch. It's that good) and a chair.
A chair you ask? It must be inconceivable for an 18-year-old to love a chair. But this one is a lawn chair that made my mom freak out when it went horizontal because it felt like she was falling over! Haha! I love my chair.
So please, tell me what you think and wish me happy birthday!
(p.s. I was born June 19th, if you can't figure it out. Just sayin'. ;] )