Although Hammond had thus far managed to keep Willow and Anise, the Tok'ra operative, separate - he shared to some extent the distrust Jack felt for them, and he was reluctant to share with them that magic exists - when the team began to feel the effect from their armbands, he had to allow Anise to examine them. She did, after all, have the better diagnostic technology, and she did provide the armbands.
Hammond didn't, however, have to explain why he chose Willow to be the fourth test subject.
Dr. Janet Frasier was examining the brain waves (normal), temperature (slightly elevated) and heart rate (vastly faster than it should be, well beyond the point of tachycardia. However, given that they were operating faster than normal people too, and their metabolism seemed in line with that, so it was hardly a worry. At least, according to Anise.) of her patients, and was just finishing taking some blood from Willow - who, despite having faced vampires without flinching, had a mild phobia of needles.
Meanwhile, Anise was busy measuring the strength of the quartet, by asking them to squeeze a steel ball. So far, Jack, the strongest of the four, had the highest increase, Willow the lowest. However, the Tok'ra asserted that it would increase in time (truth be told, she was surprised they'd reacted as quickly as they had.)
However, Janet wasn't paying attention to that. She was far more interested in examining the sample of blood she'd taken from Sam. It showed an elevated white blood cell count, indicative of the presence of a virus. Fortunately, the infirmary had advanced enough machinery for her to examine the blood yet more closely - she was curious to see how it interacted with human tissue.
So she was rather surprised when she found the the virus present in the sample, and it wasn't reacting. At all. It had the same appearance of the dead viruses given in vaccines. Janet couldn't believe that the virus was dormant - something had to be behind the dramatic increases the quartet were feeling - so it had to be dead.
Which meant that the virus wasn't contagious, as it couldn't live outside the wearer of the armband. Janet spent a moment appreciating the incredibly advanced biological engineering that the long-extinct Ataniks must have used in the creation of such a thing.
However, that quickly passed. Just because the virus wasn't contagious didn't mean it wasn't a threat to the four test subjects. If their metabolism continued to increase at the same, continuous rate, soon they wouldn't be able to eat fast enough to keep up with it, and they would, quite literally, eat through their own stomachs. Likewise, if their heart beats continued to increase, their hearts would tear themselves apart like so much wet paper. Perhaps the Ataniks had fallen afoul of their own technology, and they became extinct because of it?
Janet passed along this theory to Anise and the General - away from the group, of course. There was no need to worry them unduly. - and Anise promptly answered "No. From the remnants found at the dig site, we believe that the Ataniks made a great deal of enemies, and one, too strong for them to fight, wiped them out."
However, it would seem that the hearing of the group had been augmented as well, because, upon hearing this, Jack said let out a large sigh and said "Well, thank goodness for that!"
Hammond, though, was far from reassured. In a job where he often had to make choices that may impact upon, without exaggeration, the fate of the galaxy, he found it always payed to be cautious, especially with regards to alien technology. "Nevertheless, team, I'm unwilling to put your safety in jeopardy for the sake of a scientific test, no matter what the outcome might be. So, I'm ordering you to remove those bracelets."
Every member of the test group looked like they would've liked to object, but one look at the stern General's expression soon persuaded them that it might not be the best idea.
Unfortunately, removal of the armbands appeared to be something easier said than done. Jack tried to pull it off with enough force he though it might break - either that or his arm -, Sam tried to pry it off, first with nails, then with a pencil, but couldn't get near enough leverage. Both Willow and Daniel made a couple of attempts, but quickly desisted when it became obvious it was futile. Under other circumstances, Willow might've tried a spell, but she was mindful that Hammond had asked her not to do so in front of the Tok'ra, no matter how much she might be itching to do some magic.
It didn't take long for Hammond to realise that those armbands wouldn't be coming off - unless they amputated, which was an idea he'd be keeping in reserve. Sam, though, thought that, despite the risks the technology might
pose (she clearly emphasized this when she put it to the General) that their newfound strength and speed might be put to better use fighting the Goa'uld. Everyone added their voices to that, even Willow, who had yet to go off world.
Before Hammond had the chance to veto that, Anise jumped in saying "Perhaps now would be an opportune moment to mention that we know of the location of a planet where Apophis is building a prototype ship, the completion of which will guarantee his domination of the galaxy?"
Jack, ever wary of any Snake, Goa'uld or Tok'ra, couldn't help but find fault in that. "You've been planning this all along, haven't you? That's why you brought the armbands to us in the first place!"
Anise denied the accusation calmly. "I assure you, that is not the case. I had not originally planned to tell you at all, but as you are so keen to put your gifts to use in the galaxy at large, I thought you ought to know."
No one bought that. Hammond said "No, I will not allow you to venture into enemy terrain whilst under the effects of an alien technology. No matter how much you might beg me otherwise, Dr. Jackson." this last remark was directed at Daniel, who had opened his mouth to begin his protest. "Now, go to your quarters, and wait their until we find some way to get those things off of you!"
They raced off, leaving in a gust of wind that left several papers streaming in their wake. What unnerved Hammond most of all was that he didn't know if they'd intended to run off, or they thought they were walking at normal speed.
The quartet did all go to their respective quarters. They just didn't stay there for every long, due to the unfortunate fact that none of them contained any food. And they were hungry
. Daniel and Jack decided, independently of each other, to pay a visit to Sam's room, as she was the most likely to protest against their breaking of Hammond's order. Willow, located just down the hall, heard them go past and decided to join in.
"Anyone else hungry?" asked Daniel, once they were all there.
"Yes!" chorused Jack and Sam in harmony.
"I could do with a steak." Willow said wistfully, then was surprised at herself for doing so. She wasn't normally a big meat-eating girl.
"O'Malley's is in town." Sam remarked.
"Let's go!" Jack declared.
An idea hit Willow. "I'll meet you there. There's something I want to try first."
Sam, Daniel and Jack rushed to get dressed in civilian clothes, and poured out through the exit into town. Whilst Willow followed suit with the getting dressed part, she didn't follow them out. At least, physically.
She found it was surprisingly simple to unhook her mind from her body, setting it adrift. It took rather less than a moment to find O'Malley's, which was odd, given that she didn't know where it was.
Then, with an odd twist of her mind, she pulled
... and found herself outside a steak house, the other three skidding to a halt in front of her. Well, it certainly looked like the armband boosted her magic as well - there wouldn't have have been a chance that she'd normally be able to do that.
With one voice, the trio before her said "You've got
to teach me how to do that."Unfortunately, updates are probably going to slow down a little in future. I'll try to keep them to every couple of days at least, but no guarantees.
Thank you for reading!