We're Not In Kansas Anymore...
A loud rumbling and a thunderous crash awakened him, followed by a fit of loud, dry coughing.
Jack O'Neill blinked and instantly regretted it as the dirt on his face fell into his eyes, stinging them. He wiped his face free of the dirt and blinked rapidly, his eyes tearing and washing the residue from them. As he did, the coughing sound again came from his right and his hazy thoughts snapped into clarity as he remembered...
"Carter! Sam! Are you all right? Sam!"
Shaking his head to get some of the dirt out of his hair, he found and switched on his flashlight, locating his 2IC as she lay on her back, covered in dirt and coughing. She waved a hand at him as she sat up, groaning. "I'm OK Sir. Where are Daniel and Teal'c?"
Shining his light around him, he saw nothing except dirt, darkness, and—a closet? "Welcome back to the land of the conscious, and I don't know. They're not here with us." He activated his radio, calling the missing team mates. "Daniel, Teal'c, come in. Can you read me? Teal'c? Daniel?" His only reply was static and hissing.
He released the radio to flop on the strap that held it to his pack. "No answer. It could be we're too far underground, or they're just not...available." He moved over to his 2IC and held out his hand. Sam looked up owlishly and grabbed his wrist and allowed him to help her up. "Thanks Sir." She turned on her own flashlight and looked about, noticing the same darkness, dirt and closet that Jack had. "Sir...why is there a closet underground."
"I don't really know, Carter." The pair of officers moved closer, shining their beams on the closet. The “closet” itself seemed made of some kind of metal, with the doors made of the same material encasing what looked like stained glass panels; as they approached, the doors slid open revealing a small chamber, large enough to fit two or three individuals and not much else. Along the wall of the nearly circular chamber was what appeared to be a diagram with five blinking lights; four of them winked an angry red, while the fifth pulsed with a slow, gentle green glow.
"Carter, this is a lousy closet. There are no clothes here at all."
The Major smiled at the obvious attempt at humor. Jack began to cast about the rest of the underground chamber they fell into, shining his beam at the ceiling where they fell through, and then down the south wall where what appeared to be an exit existed. However, the opening was completely filled with rocks and debris; from the positioning it looked as fresh as the dirt where they landed after falling. In fact, as he moved closer and shined his light...
"Oh, for crying out loud."
"What is it Sir?" Carter moved over to stand beside Jack and shone her light where he was looking. Squinting, she leaned forward and brushed some dirt aside to see what appeared to be a glyph about the size of a man's head that resembled a...lute? A guitar? With sudden clarity and an icy feeling down her spine, she placed the symbol: Scutum. One of the gate symbols. Which meant that...
Frantically, she brushed more dirt away to reveal more of the metal to find, on either side of the glyph for Scutum, two more glyphs: Cra and Sagittarius. Eyes wide, she stepped back, slowly looking up to the caved-in dirt above their heads.
"Sir. That's...that's the stargate. That means that even if they try to send someone through to find us..."
She turned to look at Jack and the grim expression on his face confirmed her suspicions…
They weren't going anywhere.
Cheyenne Mountain – Stargate Command
Teal'c stood in a parade rest position, legs akimbo, and hands behind his back as he stared into the gate room. Frazier had given him a clean bill of health for anything serious; his list of injuries amounted to little more than bruises, scratches, and a mild concussion. Weightier on his mind than his minor injuries was the situation being heatedly discussed behind him.
"General Hammond, time is wasting! They were alive when I saw them fall into the hole! Every minute we waste is another minute less they have to survive!"
George Hammond looked tired and frustrated. He understood completely Jackson's position, but as much as he hated the necessity, he had to take the long view, and, additionally, there was just a bit more info Jackson was not in possession of.
"Ah, Walter, thank you...is that your report?"
The slender sergeant handed over the file. "Yes sir. We've tried dialing the gate and it just will not lock the last chevron. Apparently whatever happened on the other side seems to have somehow damaged the gate or otherwise rendered it nonoperational."
Daniel Jackson fell back into his chair. "So that's it then."
General Hammond looked at him in sympathy. "The Prometheus
is being dispatched to P4X-169, but travel time there, even in hyperspace, will take nearly two months. I'm afraid that by the time they arrive, their mission will be recovery, not search and rescue." He stood from the table. "For what it's worth, I'm sorry Dr. Jackson. You and Teal'c are welcome to go and may beam aboard any time; in fact, the sooner the better...the Prometheus
is ready to break orbit, and if you’ll excuse me, I have to brief the President."
Daniel and Teal'c left the room, refusing to give up hope, but fearful of the outcome; 10 minutes later, they had their bags packed and were beamed aboard the Prometheus
, bound for the planet they knew as P4X-169.
Jack was hot. In fact, he was positively sweating. And was it getting stuffy in here?
"Carter, is it just me, or is it getting harder to breathe in here?"
The major shook her head and answered, "No Sir, it's not you. Even though there are only two of us, there probably wasn't much air in here when that cave-in occurred, and we've been using it up steadily." She snapped off her light; by mutual agreement, they left them off unless needed to preserve their battery power.
"I think I have some good news though, Sir. I've been examining the diagrams in the closet and I think I know what it is; it's a transporter."
The blond shook her head then realized that in the dark he couldn't see the motion. "I don't know Sir. But to be frank, if we're going to die of suffocation here, then just maybe..."
Jack finished her thought as she trailed off. "Then just maybe anywhere might be better than here." He stood. "OK. Let's go."
He stepped into the suspected transporter and made room for Carter. "What now, Carter."
"Well Sir, if I understand this correctly, the red blinking icons indicates destinations that are not available; the green is one that is working, or possibly safe. It's really fascinating that below ground in a cavern an Ancient bit of technology would remain and be functional so that after so many thousands of years it would still be workable. I mean, really, it's amazing that ANY of the destinations still wo—"
"Carter!" The major stopped talking and just blinked. "Focus Carter; how do we get somewhere from here."
"Oh, sorry Sir. You just press the icon for the destination you—"
"—want and it..."
The doors opened and Carter froze mid-sentence. She and Jack looked out into what could only be described as a palace; marble and granite columns lined the hall they faced, with drapes of cloth suspended between them, and a large, burbling fountain in the middle of the hallway.
Jack lifted his finger from the console and raised his eyebrows in a mute apology. He mouthed "Sorry"
to her and he slipped out, P90 at the ready.
Sam rolled her eyes and shook her head, bemused at the impetuous actions of her CO. Inhaling deeply, the fresh air tasted cool and sweet, especially compared to the stale cavern they just left.
Raising her own P90, she followed Jack out. Behind them, and startling them both, the console erupted into sparks. Carter stepped back and briefly examined it before looking up with a grim expression and shook her head; the console was fried.
Moving silently, they moved from room to room until finally, after nearly an hour, they deduced that the entire complex was empty. Further on the plus side, the building they found themselves in seemed made of marble, metals, and designed much like a lavish home for a wealthy Ancient. What's more, the water purification systems seemed functional; they only would need to locate food, and if their arrival was any indication, they still remained on the planet, only in a different location...there should be game aplenty.
However, on the minus side, they had no idea where they were, and they knew that a Goa'uld presence existed somewhere, one that could appear to attack at any time. Much to their relief, during their search they discovered a console that controlled lighting, life support, various other functions and features of the estate, including what appeared to be a shield.
Now they just needed to find a way to pass the time.
“Yes Sir?” The blonde major replied as she examined the control console for further functions and resources.
“It’s a safe assumption that if Daniel and Teal’c made it home that they’d try and come back for us, correct?”
Carter finished her examination and turned her full attention to the colonel, trying to follow his line of thought. “Yes Sir, I would imagine so. Of course, with the gate separated from its control system they wouldn’t be able to dial through…”
O’Neill nodded as she spoke out her thoughts. “…and then when they couldn’t dial through…” He prompted.
“Well Sir, they would likely…” Here she paused briefly before she continued her thought. “They’d send the Prometheus
Jack nodded again, waving his hand in a continue motion as he said, “Assuming that’s what they would do, and with the distance from Earth that P4X-169 is—how many light years away is that, exactly?”
Sam thought briefly then replied, “If I recall correctly Sir, two thousand four hundred and sixty-seven.” Her expression took on a far away stare as she thought hard. “That would take the Prometheus
roughly, um…a little over two months to reach here at their best speed.”
“Right. So we’re basically looking at a minimum of two months for help from Earth, unless they somehow can contact the Asgard and they might, MIGHT have a ship in this section of the galaxy that could extract us.” He ran his fingers through his hair and raised his eyebrows as he pursed his lips, exhaling in a long sigh. Stepping past her, he clapped her on the shoulder as he began removing his utility vest. “Know any good card games?”DAY THREE: Prometheus
“I’m sorry Dr. Jackson, but we are currently traveling at maximum safe speed; even with the new hyperdrive engines from the Asgard, we cannot go any faster, as much as we’d like to.”
Captain Marks, upon delivering his message from Colonel Pendergast to the remaining members of SG-1, nodded in farewell and left the small cabin. Daniel and Teal’c took the information in and processed it in their usual fashion, Jackson running his hands through his hair in frustration as he paced, and Teal’c simply standing in a relaxed version of parade rest, his hands clasped behind him; his stoic, stern expression hardly flickered upon receiving the news, though a single eyebrow arched a tiny amount, signifying his intake and assessment of the information.
“DAMN IT!” Jackson hammered his fist into the wall as he cursed, his face screwed up in annoyance, his lips pressed firmly in a grimace. “I feel so helpless. Jack and Sam were alive
when I last saw them, and now...” He trailed off, unable to finish the sentence. He took several deep breaths, calming himself before he spoke again. “They could be dead, or they could be captured. They could be undergoing unspeakable torture at the hands of a System Lord, right now!”
“Daniel Jackson. Your concern is commendable, and I am certain that O’Neill would tell you not to worry as there is nothing it will accomplish. I am sure that whatever their current ordeal, they are conducting themselves as true warriors.”
Jackson looked up at Teal’c and nodded, realizing that the words he offered, while somewhat formal and skewed from a Jaffa’s view, were meant as reassurance. “Of course you’re right. I’ll try and remember that.”
“You are a good man, Daniel Jackson. Your loyalty for our friends is also commendable; Colonel O’Neill and Major Carter would be honored by your concern.”
The Jaffa reached out and clasped the smaller man on the shoulder, nodding once, and then walking past. “I will enter kel'no'reem
; I find that I, too, require some small measure of calming.” With that said, he exited the cabin, headed for his own.
Jackson sat down heavily on his bunk. “God, I hope they’re all right.”
“Ooooh, God...” Jack moaned, his knees and back aching. “Carter, hand me that will you?”
O’Neill lowered himself into the swirling waters of the hot tub, the pulsing jets massaging his sore joints, still not completely recovered from their ordeal only two days before. As he settled himself, Carter handed him the requested container of cold water, chilled in the cooler they found in the food prep area of the Ancient home.
“Aah. That’s nice.”
Major Samantha Carter did her best to appear nonchalant, in spite of sitting with her superior officer in, for lack of a better term, an Ancient hot tub. Staying within accepted military decorum, they were stripped down to their skivvies, but still...hot tub. With Jack O’Neill
to be precise.
Two days before, the pair found themselves transported by an Ancient device into what they discovered to be an Ancient’s home; typical of most Ancient technology, most of the devices still functioned and they found their apparent safe haven to have every amenity they needed for survival and more, as evidenced by the hot tub they now relaxed in.
Well, perhaps “relaxed” might be too strong a word; while the swirling water heated and loosened the aches and pains they sustained in the running firefight that brought them here, it did nothing to ease the discomfort Carter felt at being around Jack as he soaked in wet, white boxer shorts. She wore her undershirt and regulation underwear as well as a bra, so she was very well covered and concealed, even when soaking wet, much like in a swimsuit; Jack, in t-shirt and boxers was equally covered, but...
Her cheeks colored as she recalled the first time he stepped out of the tub after a soak; she was just approaching to enter with a towel wrapped discretely around her waist, covering her regulation boy-shorts, as he stepped out to adjust the temperature; the water-soaked boxers clung to his athletic form, leaving nothing to the imagination. And very well proportioned...
She thought, with a blush dusting her cheeks. “Yes Sir,” She answered taking a sip of her own iced water. As they soaked, Carter ruminated on the work relationship they held, and had wondered in the past if some sort of personal relationship would grow if regulations allowed it; she knew she felt an attraction to Jack, and had for some time, but being his 2IC in the same unit…
Well, Air Force regs certainly didn’t allow that, so she pushed it down and tried not to think about it. Now though, seeing Jack in those boxers, and with the two officers in the situation they found themselves in, pushing those feelings down already began to be problematic. Their first night in their new home, they slept in the same quarters—albeit in separate beds—for OPSEC purposes; they felt separation might be a bad idea. However, once they fully explored and discovered they were completely underground with the only outside access being a single door at the base of a mountain, shielded by an energy shield as well as an inch thick metal hatch, they relaxed enough to select a room to themselves.But is that enough
, She wondered. Two months with no battery-assisted “stress relief” while being around the man that’s starred prominently in several very nice dreams…
“Penny for your thoughts, Carter?”
Jack smiled wryly in amusement as his 2IC started, caught while apparently lost in thought. Carter could be incredibly focused when needed, but, like Daniel, could also get completely lost in that focus, losing track of the outside world until that world intruded—usually in the form of Jack poking and prodding, such as now. Jack raised an eyebrow at the furious blush that brightened her cheeks at his question. Well now, what could have caused that reaction…?
“Maybe…a dollar then? You seem rather distracted, Major.”
He frowned at her blurted response, confusion evident on his face. “Clothes
, Carter? You’re thinking hard enough about clothes to be as completely lost in thought as Daniel gets, and blushing?” O’Neill looked down at the bubbling water. “I can come back later if…”
At his comment she blushed even harder. “No Sir! You’re fine! I mean, your clothes are fine!” Her face screwed up in annoyance at her inability to form a phrase in the way she wished, feeling like a schoolgirl fumbling in a conversation with a boy she liked. The irony was not lost on her as she took a breath and tried again.
“What I mean is that we each have the clothes we arrived in: ABUs, undergarments, and footwear. Unless you’ve had better luck than I have, I’ve found no clothes that survived the centuries, which means that we’ll have to figure something out with the clothes we have; the ABUs should last the longest, but daily washing of the other items will wear them out much more quickly.”
He leaned his head back, thinking about her train of thought. Ever practical, he hadn’t given it much thought, but now he realized that some social awkwardness was inbound and couldn’t be avoided. In a typical combat unit, the unit was almost always exclusively male, rendering the situation slightly
awkward, but not untenable.
However, when the unit in question consisted of only two people and one of those was female…well.
“Alright, Carter. You’ve spent some time thinking on it, what do you suggest?”
Carter blinked rapidly, suddenly caught out in her little white lie. Thinking quickly, she voiced several immediately obvious options to buy some time. “We’re obviously not spending much time worrying about regulations,” she pointed out, motioning towards the hot tub. “So that gives us some latitude we normally wouldn’t have, in addition to the circumstances we’re in. That being said, we can each wash our clothes separately since we don’t have anything to wear while they’re being washed. They’ll last a month or two, if not more, if nothing happens to them.”
He nodded. “Go on.”
She took a deep breath. “I’d also suggest not wearing the “utes” unless necessary, so as to save wear; since we’re inside and not really doing much, and with the climate controls set as they are, we really don’t need to wear more, thus saving additional wear on our most utilitarian items.”
O’Neill mulled that over, slowly nodding his head. “Alrighty then. Skivvies for daily wear, ABUs as needed; I’ll wash mine in the afternoon, you can take mornings, unless that’s a problem for some reason.”
“No Sir, that’s fine.”
“Alright, that’s settled. Now, since we don’t have the Simpsons to watch, what are we going to do to keep from going cuckoo while waiting for the Prometheus
“I will take one card.”
Colonel Pendergast looked up and over the rim of his glasses across the green felt-covered table to the man seated there. He searched Teal’c’s expression, looking for any tells or signs of what he might have in his hand. Glancing back down at his own cards, he pondered the king, queen, jack, and ten of spades a moment before replying, “Dealer takes one also.”
“I fold.” Daniel said, tossing his cards down in disgust.
Captain Marks grimaced and announced, “I’ll take two.”
Pendergast dealt the requested cards to Teal’c and his 2IC, and then gave himself his single card. Carefully schooling his features into an impassive mask, he glanced at his new card and saw…the nine of spades—a straight flush. “Place your bets.”
Teal'c looked at his card, then set all five cards face down on the table and said, “I will bet five hundred.” Suiting actions to words, he picked up five chips and carefully placed the short stack into the center
Marks snorted in disgust, miserably eyeing the pitifully small stack of chips in front of him and tossed in his bet before looking over to his commanding officer expectantly.
The colonel paused as if in thought, then sighed deeply, placing his five in—then placing another ten into the pot from his rather large pile. “I’ll see your five hundred and raise you a thousand.” He knew he had discarded the king of hearts, reducing the possible number of hands that could beat him by one, leaving only a royal flush of diamonds or clubs that could beat him. Considering that Marks stayed in drawing only two cards, he was reasonably sure that the Captain must have a damned good hand himself, especially in light of the fact Teal’c and the colonel only each took one. After all, the colonel and Teal’c had been winning most of the night, and the stack of chips in front of Teal’c was quite large; the fact remained, a thousand was still a significant bet.
Teal’c met Pendergast’s eyes with his own, briefly holding them before taking ten more chips from his own prodigious stack and reached forward…and stopped. He placed the ten chips in the center, and then pushed his entire stack of chips into the middle, calmly stating, “I believe the term is ‘All In’”.
Captain Marks groaned, tossing his cards down and pushing in his much smaller stack as he groused, “Unbelievable.” He sat back and crossed his arms over his chest, shoulders slumped and frowning as he looked to see what his CO would do.
“Ah, Teal’c…are you sure that you—?”
The stoic Jaffa looked to Daniel and said nothing, only staring; his face remained as expressionless and impassive as ever.
“Ok then, if you know what you’re doing…”
He simply nodded before answering, “This option is utilized when one feels they possess a collection of cards that cannot lose, or the utter and complete crushing of one’s opponent is desirable.”
Pendergast took in their exchange and set his cards face down as well, pushing his stack of chips in before replying, “All right, all in.” He turned his cards over, showing his straight flush. “It was a great attempt at a bluff Teal’c, that poker face of yours is epic, but…read ‘em and weep boys!” Gleefully, he reached over to begin raking in the chips when Teal’c stopped him by quietly saying, “Colonel Pendergast, unless I am mistaken, a ‘bluff’ is when you attempt to fool your opponent into thinking you have a winning hand, in hopes they will give up.”
The colonel gaped in open mouthed amazement as Teal’c calmly placed, one at a time, the ace, king, queen, jack, and ten of diamonds on the table.
“A Jaffa does not bluff.”