TITLE: Another Day At The Office
CATEGORY: Angst, drama
SPOILERS: Meridian, Revelations, Redemption
SEASON/SEQUEL: 6th - A rewrite of the episode Descent, a direct sequel to Here We Go Again
CONTENT WARNINGS: None
SUMMARY: It's Daniel's first mission after recovering from the naquadria radiation poisoning. Jack wanted the first mission the team was on to be easy, but since when does anything work right for our motley crew of intrepid explorers? An AU version of “Descent.”
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Stargate SG-1. Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only. No money has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. This story may not be posted elsewhere without the consent of the author.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is the result of wondering how Descent might have been if the original team members had been in it. Big thanks to Jmas, Seanchaidh and all the others in the group for their wonderful feedback on this story. Thanks guys!
ANOTHER DAY AT THE "OFFICE"
He was... aware.
He was… floating?
He wasn’t certain.
There was a familiar yet disconnected feel to it all.
Was he awake?
He wasn’t certain of that fact.
Yet he was aware that he was alive.
In his semi-conscious world, he tried to move but found he was immobile – but moving.
Where was he?
He tried to remember . . .
He had been taken prisoner by Anubis ... yes, he remembered that. The Goa’uld had used a mind probe on him.
O’Neill? He’d been there too.
Heimdell! Yes, Heimdell had been working on the genetic study of the ancient Asgard when Anubis arrived. O’Neill had tried to rescue him, but had failed.
Major Carter and Teal’c? Yes, they had been there too.
Doctor Jackson? No, O’Neill said he had been gravely wounded and was on earth – some type of radiation sickness, some mention of his being alive but non-responsive? He remembered that O’Neill had a worried look on his face, and it wasn’t all for him. No, O’Neill had been worried about Daniel Jackson.
Thor tried one more time to move…
Finally, he fell into a deep sleep; his dreams a jumble of strange lights and sounds as the stars floated by.
TOK’RA CARGO SHIP
Pel’taks weren’t built for comfort. The seats had to be piled with pillows for anyone to find a comfortable position. Anyone stuck in those seats for hours would have a weepy backside by the time they reached their destination. Sitting in the seat near the back of the hold, Jack tried moving left, then moving right, finally he just gave up and sat back on the uncomfortable chair.
You’d think that a culture as advanced as the Tok’ra would have figured out the many advantages of seat padding, right?
In the much more comfortable pilot’s seat sat Jacob Carter who was acting completely oblivious to Jack’s predicament. It was an act. Jack could tell Jacob was silently laughing to himself. At least, if it wasn’t Jacob, then it was Selmak. Those two were far too much alike for his comfort and both took great pleasure in irritating him. Then again, maybe that was a good thing. Each was blended with someone they got along with. Now, if Jack could just do something about their slightly vindictive sense of humor …
Carter and Teal’c were standing behind Jacob, both watching the control panel and the view screen, intensely interested in what lay ahead of them. The mission was simple. Find, search and secure the pyramid ship that was floating all by its lonesome near Earth. After their last pyramid ship was lost to Apophis and the lego-like replicators, the SGC scientists and the high I.Q. boys at the Pentagon were itching to get hold of another one, and guess what floated right into their midst?
Here was their chance. The ha’tak supposedly abandoned out there in space was getting closer as Jacob slowed down the pel’tak on their final approach.
Daniel stood at another view port, gazing out into the darkness. He’d been a little quieter than usual when on missions, but it was his first mission in over three months. Although he was quiet, he didn’t seem tired or in pain. He was walking and talking –- enough, O’Neill. Doc gave him a clean bill of health. He’s over the radiation, he’s not limping, he’s not worrying so you quit doing it yourself. Right. As if. That incident on Kelowna was too damn close, even for Daniel’s legendary luck.
The fact that Daniel’s luck wasn’t just legendary but well known to enemy and ally alike was proven fact when the team stepped through the Stargate to meet Jacob. The looks on the other Tok’ras’ faces were of complete astonishment. Proverbially speaking, several jaws dropped, a few eyes bugged out, but no one could say Daniel didn’t have nine lives. Jacob had been the first to run up to Daniel to greet him, even before he said hello to his own daughter.
“Daniel!” Jacob had grabbed Daniel’s hand and gave him a half-hug, the whole time smiling. “You’re looking good! Are you all right? Are you sure you’re okay to go on a mission? Did George and Fraiser --”
“Jacob!” Jack chimed in quickly. “Relax. Take a breath. He’s fine. You guys did a good job healing him.”
Jacob smiled, nodded his head and patted Daniel on the shoulder, said, “Good to see you again, Daniel,” and then moved to say hello to Sam as other friendly Tok’ra said their hellos to the man who cheated death once again.
Jack knew that Jacob thought of Daniel as a son. Jacob’s silent, horrified reaction to Daniel’s poisoning was evident in his eyes. He never stopped trying to heal him even after his own strength gave out. When Jacob tired, he switched the healing device to low power to continue the process. Carter asked Jacob to rest for few minutes, but Selmak told them that they wouldn’t stop. They couldn’t. Daniel was too important to the resistance movement. Selmak could have said that Daniel was too good a friend to do any less, but he didn’t have to. That was apparent to anyone who cared to look. Both Jacob and Selmak were on the verge of collapse by the time other the other Tok’ra arrived to help.
It had been a close call.
Once again, Daniel had defied the odds and was standing there in the pel’tak with them, gazing out the window into space.
And it almost didn’t happen.
Jack wanted an easy mission for Daniel’s first time back after his recovery. This was believed to be an easy mission, one that would be over with in a couple of days. Jack had plans for the team once they finished and went home. Actually, he and Kasuf had made plans. The Abydonian Elder had made Jack promise that when Daniel went back on active duty, the team would come to Abydos for a celebration. What was it Kasuf had said? His people felt safer knowing that Dan’yer was with O’Neill’s tribe, walking among the gods, fighting the demons. It would be a “welcome back” celebration, and since Anubis attacking Earth and then the pyramid ship floating by had stalled any celebrations they were planning themselves, the Abydonian party sounded like something they’d enjoy, but work came first.
Jack moved to stand beside Daniel. His friend was fine. He was healthy. He was just feeling a little out of sorts, but that wouldn’t last long. Give him a couple of strange looking scribblings to decipher, and he’d be cruising on cloud nine, chattering away and talking to himself. Yeah, it would be just like old times. They’d get to listen to his fast-talking ramblings while he translated.
Still, Jack needed to hear the words for himself. “You okay?” he whispered to Daniel. He didn’t want to attract the others’ attention if he could help it. The last thing Daniel would want would be too much attention.
“Yes, Jack. I’m fine. I was just thinking. We’ve been traveling all over the galaxy for seven years, and we don’t even think anything about it anymore. Do you remember how we felt when we first realized we were dealing with people who had space travel?”
Who could forget the first time they saw an alien ship land and guys with glowing eyes trying to blast people back to the Stone Age? Jack blew out a whiff of air, then answered, “Oh, yeah. It felt like we were ants throwing rocks at a skyscraper.”
“Now look at us.”
Gazing out the window, Jack knew exactly what Daniel meant. They weren’t just working at a dream job, they were living it. It was a wild ride and no one was ready to get out of the front car yet. “Yep.” He paused for a moment, and then asked, “Would you do it all over again?”
Daniel was silent for a moment before he said, “Most of it. I’d change a few things.”
“Me too.” Okay, Daniel was fine. Now it was time to annoy Jacob a little. Time to get even for all the “amusement” the host and symbiote were getting at Jack’s expense.
“So, Jacob, are we there yet?”
“Almost, Jack,” Jacob called from his still annoyingly comfortable pilot’s seat. “You knew it would take a while to get back to Earth’s solar system. But it looks like our analysis was right. The ha’tak’s dead in space, and it’s completely intact.”
Sam was quickly taking note of the control panel indicators. “We’re close enough to perform some preliminary scans, sir,” she told him.
“We’re not getting anything,” she said as she studied more of the readouts.
We’re not? “Nothing? I’m going to take a guess and say that’s a bit unusual?” Jack prodded.
“That’s a bit of an understatement, sir,” she told him. “It’s settled in a stable planetary orbit, there are no life signs, the life support is in good condition, the shields and weapons are down, and there’s no evidence of electromagnetic fields.”
Okay, it was dead in the water, so why did everyone look a little… ambivalent? “And?” he repeated.
“Dad, have you ever known a goa’uld to do anything like this before?”
Jacob shook his head. “No, this is a first.”
“Teal’c?” Sam asked for his opinion.
“I have never seen any goa’uld leave an intact ship abandoned unless it was no longer operational.”
“And this one’s operating just fine,” Jacob added. “Or at least that’s what the readouts say.”
“No, no, no, no, no,” Jack waved his arms and walked around the cabin. “Don’t tell me that a ship just sitting out there for us to get our grubby little mitts on isn’t a good thing. I don’t want to hear that.”
“It may not be, sir,” Sam said as she studied the scans in depth. “There could be something very wrong here.”
“I just hope we haven’t come a long way for nothing,” Jacob told them.
A noise from behind him caught Jack’s attention. Doctor Friesen and Major Davis walked into the cockpit area. While Friesen was there to help Carter check on the condition of the pyramid ship, their Pentagon liaison had been “asked” by the big boys in Washington to tag along on the mission to observe and report on salvage operations and do an economic feasibility study on salvaging junked spacecraft for military research. Officially, that is. Unofficially, he’d asked to go through the gate at least once, just to see what it was like. Hammond couldn’t say no all the time, could he? Finally, this particular salvage operation showed up and there was a valid reason for him to go. The major was grinning from ear to ear, and it didn’t look like he had any intention of not grinning for some time to come. “Davis, you look like a cat that snatched a canary. Wanna share?”
“It’s my first time through the gate and in space, Colonel,” Davis told him, still unable to control his grin. “I had no idea it was this... amazing!”
“Indeed it is,” Teal’c told him, apparently amused with the major’s enthusiasm.
“Yeah, barrel of monkeys until something goes horribly wrong. And it will. It has to. Never fails,” Jack reminded everyone.
Davis seemed to try to get control of himself. “So what’s our status?” Yes, time to get down to business or at least appear to be serious in front of an Air Force general even if he couldn’t stop grinning.
Sam glanced up from the control panel. “The ship is only a few hundred kilometers ahead of us.”
Jack nudged Davis with his elbow. “You can say ship ahoy if you want to.”
“Oh my… sir!” Sam almost yelled as her eyes seemed to light up at the results she was seeing. “This is incredible! If these scans are correct, that may be Anubis’ ship, the one he used when he kidnapped Thor. There may be information in the ship’s computers that could inform us of Anubis’ plans.”
“Look at this,” Jacob pointed out. “No life signs verified, all the escape pods have been jettisoned, power and life support are functioning normally… there’s just nobody on board.”
Davis didn’t seem to understand the problem although he saw the concerned faces around him. “This is bad?” he asked.
“Very bad,” Daniel said. “Think about it. Why would any Goa’uld abandon a perfectly good ship?”
It took a brief moment for Davis to realize the truth. “They wouldn’t.”
Ah, space, the final frontier. When Jack looked out the window and saw Earth, the final frontier didn’t look so final anymore. Still, he never tired of that sight in the window. Who would have thought that Mama O’Neill’s little boy would be riding in a cargo ship to a killer mother ship that could blow up every city on the planet?
As Jack gathered his gear, Jacob said, “Jack, rather than fly into a cargo bay, I think we should use the transport rings to get us there until we have a better idea of what’s going on. The sensors say there’s nothing there, but –“
“Yeah, knowing our luck, that’s gonna be one big goose egg.” He motioned toward Davis and Friesen. “Boys, you’re about to experience another new alien bit of fun called transport rings. Loads of laughs.” Then, to Teal’c, “Radio Hammond. Let him know what we’re up to and we hope to have something for him in a couple of hours. Daniel –“ Yikes, what to do about Daniel? Could he take the chance and risk his friend’s life so soon after getting him back to full speed? He didn’t think he could take Daniel getting hurt or worse, not this soon. Maybe he wouldn’t object to letting Jack taking point on this mission?
Daniel had THAT look on his face, the one that always told Jack that Daniel was reading his mind and didn’t like what was printed on the page. “Ride shotgun with Teal’c this time? Let us get the lay of the land before you two bring the pel’tak in.”
Jack knew that was a sorry reason, but he and Daniel looked at each other in the eyes and understood where the other was coming from – even if the younger man didn’t agree. “Okay,” Daniel said. “This time. Only.”
Yeah. Daniel was fine.
“Good. Let’s get packed up and over there.”
As the crew readied their weapons, Jacob saw Daniel sit in the co-pilot’s seat and he sat back down in the pilot’s chair. He smiled when he saw Daniel shake his head. “He’s still worried about you, isn’t he?” Jacob whispered.
“Janet cleared me for duty,” Daniel said glumly. “I’m fine. I think he got into some bad habits over the last few months.”
“You can’t blame him, Danny. It was hard on him. On all of them.”
Daniel looked up at Jacob, eyebrows raised in question.
“I know, it was harder on you physically, but it was difficult for them, too. Me, I had the easy job. All I had to do was cure you of the radiation and then go back to my job out here. The three of them had to watch you struggle to get yourself back together all that time, and they couldn’t do anything to help. For that first month, they honestly didn’t know if you’d make it. That’s why they hardly left your side. Jack O’Neill isn’t the type of person who can sit by and do nothing when a friend is hurting.” He gave Daniel a playful punch in the arm. “Don’t worry. He’ll be all right once he sees you in action a couple of times. I think you’re gonna have to let this mission slide.”
Daniel nodded his head, a small grin turning up his lips. “Can I get that in writing?” he asked.
The eerie echo of transport rings echoed through the corridors as they deposited the newly arrived visitors in the junction of several hallways. They arrived with weapons at the ready, eyes moving to track any approaching enemy – just in case the sensors had been wrong. There were none, only the echoing emptiness of an abandoned ship.
Yet there was something.
Jacob stepped forward and listened. Finally, he said, “Jack, hear that?”
Jack nodded his head as he detected the computerized sound. It was garbled -- mumbled and jumbled and incoherent.
“What is it,” Davis asked.
Jacob cocked his head and listened intently. “I don’t know. I can’t make it out. It’s almost sounds like a voice.”
Movement? What was happening? Thor could hear something… new.
He ‘reached’ out with his senses, tried to determine what this new something was but couldn’t pinpoint it. He kept listening, straining to decipher this new mystery. If nothing else, it was a brief respite from the interminable boredom he felt.
“General Hammond, we’re getting a transmission from the pel’tak,” Sergeant Davis tried to get a lock on the incoming signal. “I think it’s Teal’c, sir.”
“Put it on the speakers,” Hammond ordered as he hurried into the room.
There was silence, and then Teal’c’s voice was heard in the control room. “SGC, this is Teal’c. Do you read?”
“Loud and clear,” Hammond answered. “What’s your status?”
“We have arrived at the ha’tak, General. O’Neill is leading a team to determine if the vessel can be salvaged. It appears as if the crew has abandoned ship.”
“That’s good news, Teal’c,” Hammond answered. “I don’t mind telling you, we’ve been holding our breath down here.”
“That would be most unwise, General Hammond.” Teal’c’s deadpan delivery never failed to humor the general. He always took things a little too literally – or was that just an act?
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Hammond said, trying not to smile but failing. “You’re still in the cargo ship?”
“We are. O’Neill wished to perform a reconnaissance before we docked with the ha’tak.”
“Daniel Jackson is on the pel’tak with me.”
Hammond knew it. He just knew it. Jack was still going to mother-hen Daniel until he was absolutely positive that the younger man was healthy, no matter what any medical reports had already stated. “I see. It’s always a good idea to have a co-pilot.” Hammond added that last bit for Daniel’s benefit. He was undoubtedly listening in even if he wasn’t talking.
“I agree,” was Teal’c’s answer.
“Keep us apprised of the situation. Hammond out.”
As the transmission ended, Hammond saw Sergeant Davis’ “I told you so” look on his face. “Sergeant?”
“Something you’d like to share with the rest of the class?”
“I was just thinking that I wouldn’t like to be Colonel O’Neill if Doctor Jackson decides to pull rank on him and say he’s perfectly fit for duty and for the colonel to back off.”
Hammond found that statement rather amusing. “Son, Doctor Jackson is a civilian. He may be one of the finest leaders at the base and have the influence of a civilian equivalent of a colonel, but he doesn’t have the official command rank or military authority.”
“Uh, no offense, sir, but when it comes to those two, they don’t worry about rank.”
Hammond smiled and nodded his head. “You’re right. They don’t. And I wouldn’t want to be in Colonel O’Neill’s shoes either. He doesn’t stand a chance.”
The control room wasn’t very big, but it was empty and that was very disconcerting. Their trek to the control room had revealed nothing but empty rooms and no evidence of what had happened. Jack led the way inside, his weapon in hand and meticulously aimed at whatever could be considered dangerous. A quick recon showed that it was safe enough for everyone to lower their guns and check out the computer systems.
Jacob performed the proverbial “pressed a few buttons, turned a few knobs, flipped a few switches” to gain access to the ship’s diagnostic system. Whatever he was seeing brought a confused look to his face.
“Jacob?” Jack asked as soon as he saw his friend’s confusion. “What’s up?”
“According to these readouts, the ship is perfectly operational but they initiated the self-destruct sequence before they left. That was some time ago.”
Sam hurried over to look at the readouts as well. “It appears as if the countdown has been delayed or stalled.”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” Jacob muttered. “It takes a command override to stop a self-destruct countdown, but that would stop it altogether and remove it from the computer. This one’s been suspended. They’re not supposed to work like that.”
Doctor Friesen’s head whipped toward their direction when he heard that statement. “Uh, does that mean that the ship is going to explode or not?”
Jacob set his weapon down on the console and started looking through more computer files. “Since we don’t know why or how it was suspended, we don’t know if it’ll start up again. There’s no way to tell yet if it’s going to explode.” He paused for a moment before saying, “This console won’t let me access the maintenance systems. We need to get to the computer core and do a full diagnostic.”
Finally, something Jack could deal with. “We can do that. Carter, you and Davis head down that way. Find out what’s what and see if you can disable that self-destruct.”
“Yes, sir,” they answered in unison and left quickly.
“Whoa, Jack,” Jacob stepped away from the console to face the colonel only to see that Jack was heading toward the throne. “Are you still seriously considering salvaging this ship?”
Jack sat down on the throne and found it just as uncomfortable as the seats on the pel’tak. What was it with Goa’ulds? Didn’t their tushes hate hard surfaces too? “Why, yes, Jacob. I am. You know the rule. Finder’s keepers.”
“You do remember that this ship used to belong to Anubis, right? Bad guy, oily skin, kind of creepy in a bad guy sort of way? Tried to take over Earth? Tried to destroy the SGC? Remember him?”
Jack nodded his head as he wiggled his backside to try to find a more comfortable position. “Yeah, although we were never formally introduced. Look, if he doesn’t want people to play with his toys, he shouldn’t go leaving them all over the galaxy, right?”
“This could be some kind of Trojan horse. Remember how they used Cassie?” Jacob reminded him.
“If it is, it looks like they did it wrong.”
Jacob walked over to the throne, his voice betraying his frustration. “Jack, think about it. None of this makes any sense. Goa’ulds don’t operate this way. And even if we can secure this ship and fix any problems it has, you can’t just slap an Air Force sticker on the side of it --- remember that glider you guys tried to retrofit? This is a hell of a lot bigger with a much deadlier payload.”
“Oh, jeez, Jacob, will you stop? I think it’s obvious that we have to check things out before we can claim salvage rights to this thing. I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck yesterday. But if things look good, that means we’ve got a pyramid ship to replace the one we lent you guys a few years back.”
Jacob sighed. “At least we need to find why it’s in Earth’s orbit and get it away from the planet if we can. We may have to destroy it if it turns out to be rigged.”
“If we have to,” Jack agreed. “But one of our standing orders is to find technological doo-dads that can help us defend Earth against the Goa’uld. This ship falls under that category, right?”
“Yes, it does, but –“
“Thank you,” Jack smiled. “I’m glad we agree.”
Jacob could only smile back. “You know, sometimes I get a little worried that you’re gonna get my favorite planet wiped out.”
“No, wouldn’t do that, but if we find out that there is a self-destruct we can’t stop on this thing, I say we point it toward Kelowna and let it go.”
“Jack,” Jacob tried to admonish him.
“Hey, I’m just saying.”
Why argue with that kind of logic, Jack wanted to know.
Jacob walked back to the console and started pressing a few more buttons. “Okay, let’s think this through. If you wanted to scuttle a ship and the self-destruct didn’t work, then the next option would probably be to sabotage the hyperdrive. That’ll need an eyes-on check as well.”
“Cool. We’ll take care of that,” Jack volunteered. “Friesen, let’s go.”
As they were walking out the door, more of the computerized mumbling echoed around them.
“Hey, Jacob, try to find out what that sound is. That’s annoying.”
Davis and Sam walked through the almost never-ending corridors toward the core, passing by a myriad of rooms and stations – one of which was the glider bay that Davis had to look at before resuming their trek. They’d had some light conversation along the way, but Davis couldn’t ignore what he overheard O’Neill say and had to ask.
“Major, do you think Colonel O’Neill was serious about Kelowna?”
“No. Yes. Maybe. I’m not sure,” she rambled a bit. “He’s angry about what they did to Daniel. They didn’t retract their accusations about Daniel sabotaging their experiment even though they wanted to pursue some sort of trade relations with us. They haven’t apologized or claimed responsibility for their own mistakes. Until they do, even General Hammond isn’t interested in dealing with them.”
“But the naquadria –“
“Would be a great technological advantage, but they’re not willing to clear Daniel’s name, so no one’s willing to deal with them. The general won’t budge on that point.”
“The Joint Chiefs won’t wait forever,” Davis told her. “Neither will the president. Hammond’s made some good arguments against dealing with the Kelownans, but they want the naquadria.”
“We do too, Major,” Sam agreed. “Unfortunately, we’d have to deal with the Kelownans and no one is willing to do that without some effort on their part. They’ve asked repeatedly for formal diplomatic trade talks, but it all hinges on their willingness to not blame an innocent man for what they did.”
“Wishful thinking,” Davis said.
“Maybe, but you know the colonel.”
“Yeah. This should be interesting to watch.”
They approached a door, locked by all appearances, and Sam tried overriding the lock by punching in a code in the pad panel. Nothing happened. She tried again.
“How do you know if that’s the right code?” Davis asked.
“I don’t. We found out that there are some codes used in ha’taks that act like skeleton keys. You can override some of the basic systems if you know the root series, but this one isn’t working. Let me try a few more.”
A few minutes and about a dozen attempts later, nothing was happening.
“Uh, Major, I don’t mean to rush you, but we’re a little short on time here.”
Sam nodded. “Right.” She reached up to her radio and pressed the button. “Dad? Can you read me?”
“Yeah, what’s up?”
“We can’t access one of the corridors leading to the computer core. None of the basic codes are working.”
“Hang on a sec,” Jacob’s voice was only silent a few moments. “That entire section’s been sealed off. The life support’s been shut down as well.”
“I wonder why they’d do that,” Davis asked.
“No idea,” Jacob told him. “I’ll see if I can open it from here and get the ventilation system back online. Hang tight.”
Why did so many scientists jabber away about things he wasn’t interested in, Jack wanted to know. Okay, so Daniel could go on for hours about artifacts and hieroglyphs – and even if Jack wasn’t interested in those bits and pieces of chicken scratch and broken vases, when Daniel was making a point about that stuff and the Goa’uld, he was making a point about it. Jack had learned to listen even if he wasn’t interested. Carter, well, she could technobabble for hours and only a frustrated “Carter!” would get her to get to the point, but she usually had the numbers down right. Jack had learned that she knew about physics stuff, so he’d better listen sometimes. Freisen? He was just going on and on and on and on about how some of these pyramid ships were put together – and he already knew this stuff! He’d already heard Daniel and Carter comparing notes!
So why didn’t he tell Friesen to shut up? Was he mellowing with age?
“Oh, and Colonel, we should also check on the shield generators,” Friesen said excitedly.
Shields? Oh, yeah, those are important on a ship. “Right.” He keyed the mike and said, “Jacob –“
“How’s the hyperdrive?” Jacob interrupted quickly.
“Friesen says the engine checks out okay, but he wants to take a look at the shield generators.”
There was a brief hesitation. “Why? They look fine from here.”
Jack glanced back at Friesen. “Why?”
“Why?” Friesen asked incredulously. “To see them, of course.”
“To see them? Freisen!” Sheesh! Scientists. He keyed his mike again, “Never mind, Jacob. We don’t have time for sightseeing right now.”
“Roger that.” Jack could hear Jacob’s amusement. Why him?
They weren’t going to look at the shield generators? But this was important! “Colonel, if this really is the ship that beat the Asgard ship and if this was the one used to kidnap Thor, then the shields would be superior to –“ Freisen found himself talking to thin air. Jack had already walked off. Disappointed, Friesen followed.
“Colonels!” he muttered lowly. Why him?
A few minutes passed, but the door finally opened. Sam keyed her mike. “It worked, Dad. We’re in.”
“All right. You two be careful.”
“Yes, Dad,” Sam answered him thinking that the little girl will grow up but she’ll always be daddy’s little girl, right? Worrywart.
As the two majors walked to the other side of the room, they saw another door littered with staff weapon blasts from the other side. “I wonder what happened in there,” Davis said as he tried to punch in a few numbers. Then a few more. “That takes care of the ones you showed me. Your turn.”
Sam took a turn at punching on the pad panel, but nothing worked. Great. Just their luck.
Again, she keyed the mike. “Dad, we’re just outside the computer core. The door’s been damaged by several staff weapon blasts. We can’t get this one to open either.”
There were a few moments of silence before Jacob spoke again. “Strange. I can’t get that door to open from here. It looks like the circuits are fused. Wait a minute,” again, another pause, “It looks like there was a deliberate overload of the main circuits.”
“Deliberate?” Davis repeated. “You think it’s sabotage?”
“Maybe,” Jacob answered. “Don’t now why yet, but this is looking more and more fishy. It doesn’t matter at this point. I still can’t get you inside.”
Sam had an idea. “Colonel, have you been monitoring?”
“Yeah,” Jack’s voice answered. “I’m on my way. Friesen, I have to go blow something up. You head back toward Jacob and see if he needs any help. Got that?”
A disappointed “Yes, sir” could be heard.
“Be there in a minute, Carter.”
It only took a few minutes for Jack to backtrack to Sam and Davis’ position. Without a word he walked up to the door, planted a few strips of C4 and blasting caps on a few critical spots and motioned everyone back behind a wall.
“Fire in the hole!” he yelled as he primed the detonator and pressed the button.
The explosion rolled down the corridor in a loud cacophony of thunder, the ensuing rumble definitely loud enough to wake the dead.
“Whoa!” Davis yelled. “That was loud!”
“What?” Jack yelled, his ears still ringing.
“Loud!” Davis repeated. “That was loud!”
A quick look back into the room showed that the door was blasted away.
“Ah, all in a day’s work,” Jack commented, feeling rather pleased with his handiwork. “Jacob, we’re in.”
“Heard from the pel’tak lately?”
“Just now. I think the boys are getting bored.”
Explosions? What was happening?
Again, Thor tried to find the areas of disturbance…
There was a great deal of movement. He could sense it.
He extended his hearing again – who was making all the noise?
Friesen didn’t think he’d ever understand the military mind. Okay, so what if he wanted to get a look at shield generators? Those kinds of things were exactly what the SGC was looking for. And what if these that Anubis had really are advanced? That’s a prime order kind of thing, right? Find advanced technology?
Just because he was a scientist, O’Neill wasn’t going to let him even look?
How did Doctor Jackson deal with the temperamental colonel?
“Let’s see, shield generators, shield generators… ah, they’d be in here.” He knew that the colonel would be upset that he didn’t go directly back to General Carter, but he really wanted to see the generators. What harm was there in that? He entered the room in complete astonishment. These weren’t ordinary Goa’uld shield generators. No, sir, these were very un-goa’uld looking generators. There were different technologies all over the place! He’d found the mother lode!
Then he heard something … oops. What if Colonel O’Neill had followed him? That wouldn’t be good, would it? He walked toward the sound, fully expecting to apologize and restate his desire to see the generators – what the hell???
TOK’RA CARGO SHIP
Daniel was definitely bored. Bored silly. Bored stiff. Bored to tears. Bored, bored bored.
Teal’c, well, who could tell about him? He had similar expressions for various emotions.
As if in response to Daniel’s unvoiced boredom, Teal’c said, “I believe Colonel O’Neill is concerned for your health, Daniel Jackson. This is your first mission after your recovery.”
More pep talk? “Concerned? Janet said I was fine.”
“Indeed she did, however you do not remember the first month of your recovery, do you not?”
No, that part was all a blur to him, thankfully. “Only what I’ve been told. Why, what happened?”
“O’Neill would not willingly leave your side. Nor would he leave unless Major Carter or I was present to take his place. You were lost to us in a place we could not reach. He read to you from your mission journals as a means to communicate with you; however I do not know if this was effective. No one was certain you would make a complete recovery, yet O’Neill would not allow us to think otherwise. He said it was a way to send positive vibes; I did not understand his meaning until Doctor Fraiser explained the concept of the power of positive thinking. I believe he does not wish to endanger your health so soon, and if you were injured on a mission, you would once again be in the infirmary. O’Neill may be trying to prevent this from happening.”
“Then why did he let me come on the mission?”
“A salvage operation could be classified as a non-threatening mission, perhaps.”
Teal’c’s logic made sense, but that didn’t mean that it didn’t annoy Daniel. “Maybe.”
“O’Neill believes you have regained your health. If it were not so, he would not have insisted on your reinstatement to SG-1 as he did nor would he have argued against placing a Russian on SG-1 as vehemently as he did.”
Daniel grinned at that. “Jack’s got a problem with Russians. He was in the military during the Cold War. Some things were done that he was a part of, and old wounds don’t heal a lot of times. Besides, countries can align more quickly than people can.”
“I have never understood O’Neill’s dislike of the Russians. I have read historical theses on the times. Were relations between America and Russia very volatile?”
“Yes. A couple of generations grew up never knowing if someone was going to launch the nuclear warheads or if there was going to be a nuclear war to end all wars. Children had nuclear bomb drills at school where they’d hide under their desks.” Daniel saw that Teal’c was unclear about this time in Earth history. “It was the nuclear arms race, Teal’c. There were a lot of espionage and covert operations going on along with a lot of uncertainty. Now, we have an entire generation of people who don’t understand why there’s still some distrust between our two people since they see the governments working together and each isn’t the other’s boogeyman. It wasn’t the same then. Jack was mixed up in some things he can’t and won’t talk about, and he still doesn’t trust the Russians.”
“Which is why he will not allow one on the team?”
“He might let Colonel Chekov at some point, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.”
Someone was there, someone not the enemy. They were the ones making all the noise.
Thor tried to see, tried to hear who it was but he couldn’t. Whoever it was, they were a familiar presence – caring, friendly. Were they with the Jaffa? No, the Jaffa weren’t in that room anymore. Maybe he could communicate?
How many times was Carter going to check those logs, Jack wondered. She’d been looking and rechecking whatever it was she saw for an entire minute. Besides, with nothing else in the room to occupy him, he was getting bored. And if he was this bored, then Daniel was probably climbing the walls in the pel’tak. They needed to hurry this mission up just a bit.
“Carter? Anything you want to share?”
“Sorry, sir. I was double-checking these findings. The logs confirm that this is the ship that Thor was taken aboard when Anubis captured him.”
“And it would explain the anomalies we’ve been experiencing. Anubis interfaced the ship’s computer into Thor’s brain. It is possible that the Asgard have mental abilities we’ve never considered before. If Anubis underestimated Thor –“
Jack wasn’t in the mood for long-winded explanations after hearing Freisen drone on and on. “Carter! This year, okay?”
“Sir, it’s possible that when Thor’s mind was linked directly to the ship, he was able to influence or even rewrite some of the computer’s programs. He may have left something behind.”
Oh, no, Carter was on the verge of a full-blown technobabble fest. Jack could tell.
“Excuse me, Major,” Davis spoke up. “Do you mean like a virus?”
“Exactly!” Sam said excitedly.
Oh, yeah. Technobabble on approach to the runway and ready for takeoff.
“If Thor were able to create a computer subroutine that interferes with the basic programming of this ship, it could interfere with everything form navigation to life support. If it were a complex virus, that could have forced the ship to become so unstable that Anubis had no choice but to abandon ship. He would have set the self-destruct to keep this ship from falling into anyone’s hands.”
Jack considered that for a moment, and then added, “Think that might explain why the self-destruct got stuck, too?”
‘Yes!” Sam exclaimed again. “Perhaps he generated a subroutine that took control of the navigation systems that sent the pyramid ship into our solar system after Anubis abandoned it. Perhaps it’s a gift?”
Oooookay. “Carter, don’t you think you should let Daniel do the wild theorizing? He’s good at it. Had a lot of practice, you know.”
“Sir, I know this sounds a little wacky –“
“Wacky? I’ll go for that. Even the Asgard don’t want to hand us advanced technology. Why just hand us a ship when they need every ship they can get to fight replicators?”
“Maybe Goa’uld motherships are ineffective against replicators now? I don’t know, but think about it, sir. It’s a reasonable explanation.”
Davis cleared his throat. “There’s a lot of wishful thinking in that theory, Major.”
Sam appeared to be getting frustrated. “All right, if this ship wasn’t intended for us to find, why did it travel halfway across the galaxy all by itself? For that matter, why didn’t the self-destruct go off?”
Jack thought that maybe Daniel was a good influence on Carter. He’d never heard this kind of deductive reasoning from her before. Those were good questions, though. “Do you think the virus can tell the difference between us and them? I wouldn’t want to get caught somewhere on the ship and have the air sucked out.”
Sam shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know, sir. If Thor sent the ship here, and I do realize that I am theorizing, then I’d guess that he’d have left us a way to disable the virus.” She pressed the button on her mike, “Doctor Freisen, this is Major Carter, come in.”
“Doctor Freisen, we need your assistance in the computer core.”
Again, no answer.
Scientists! Jack yelled into his radio, “Freisen! Where are you?”
Still no answer.
“Jacob, is Freisen there with you?”
There was a moment before Jacob answered, “No. I haven’t seen him.”
Damn! “I sent him your way before I came down here.” He headed towards the door saying, “You two stay here and work on this problem. I’ll find Freisen.”
“It’s a big ship, Colonel,” Davis reminded him.
“Only if you don’t know where to look.”
Just then, the sound of the computerized mumbling could be heard.
Jack yelled back down the corridor, “And would someone find out what that is? It’s starting to bug me.”
Davis inspected the room carefully, but the sound was definitely coming over the ship’s … intercom? Or whatever the goa’uld called their internal communication system.
There was something else in the sound. He listened carefully, noted the arrangements of the rhythm. “Major,” he got her attention, “that sound – there’s a pattern to it. Listen.”
Sam cocked her head and listened to the computerized mumbling as it stopped and started. “I think you’re right. Maybe we can find where it’s originating from. Let’s see if we can backtrack the audio signal from here.”
Jack sauntered back toward the shield generators. Scientists! Okay, if it weren’t for curiosity, they wouldn’t do research and if they didn’t do research, they wouldn’t know anything and couldn’t hang out their shingle as “Ph.D. of whatever” on their front door, but dammit! Jack told him to go back to where Jacob was!
Why didn’t scientists follow orders?
Okay, that wasn’t fair. Daniel followed orders. Most of the time. So what if he occasionally interpreted them a little differently than a soldier would? He wasn’t a soldier, professionally that is. The fact he could not only hold his own in battle but also outdo professional soldiers on the battlefield at times was testament to the fact that Daniel was good at what he did.
Too bad Freisen wasn’t.
Jack reached the shield generator room and looked in. At first, he didn’t see anything, no movement, no nothing, then he moved further into the room hoping to surprise Freisen but he got the surprise. Freisen was lying on the floor, not moving, a gaping hole in his chest.
Jack hurried over and checked the man’s pulse.
Just once, couldn’t a mission go as planned?
“Carter,” he whispered into the radio, “You and Davis get back to Jacob. We’re heading back to the pel’tak.”
“What is it, sir,” Carter whispered back.
Those two words were enough to get the majors moving. They readied their weapons, ran from the computer core and started back the way they came.
“Jacob, come in.”
Jacob reached for his radio just as a staff weapon blast slammed through his shoulder from the side. The force blew him across the room and into the far wall. He slumped to the ground and didn’t move.
However, he was conscious enough to watch as the Jaffa move to the computer console and change some of the commands. They were completely ignoring him.
“Jacob, do you read?”
Jacob couldn’t move at the moment. “Easy, Jacob,” Selmak’s voice whispered to him. “I’m doing what I can to heal us. The Jaffa aren’t interested in us for some reason.”
Whatever the Jaffa were doing at the console, they finished and then ran out of the room. What were they up to?
Jack was in a crouching run, heading back toward Jacob when Carter and Davis caught up with him.
“Sir, Dad isn’t answering.”
“I know. I think we’re in trouble. Friesen was shot by a staff weapon.”
They quickly but cautiously made their way back to the control room where they’d left Jacob. They saw nothing, heard nothing the entire way.
“Jack, you there?” Daniel’s voice sounded over the radio.
“Hang on a minute, Daniel. We’ve got a situation in here.”
“You’ve got a situation out here too.”
“It’ll have to take a number.”
They reached the control room and saw Jacob trying to rise into a standing position. “Carter,” he motioned Sam to go help her father while he motioned Davis to follow him into the room. A quick scan showed that no one else was there.
“Jacob?” Jack needed to know his condition.
“I’ll be all right. Selmak is taking care of things, but we’ve got Jaffa problems.”
“Didn’t I say I think we’re in trouble?” Jack repeated.
“Colonel,” Davis was looking out the window at something in space. “We’ve got another problem.”
“Just one more? What?”
“The Earth is getting a lot closer.”
Jacob stood and sat down on the steps leading up to the throne. “I’m fine, Sammy. See what’s going on.”
Sam rushed to the console and looked at the proximity readouts. “We’re
decelerating out of orbit, sir. It looks like the Jaffa disabled the drive
control, and there’s no way for us to alter course. We’re going to crash.”
Yeah, they were in trouble.
Jack guessed that they’d done enough recon and the ship wasn’t safe to bring the pel’tak aboard. Enough fun for one day. He quickly keyed his mike. “Daniel, come in.”
“Jack, the ha’tak’s going down.”
“Yeah, we just noticed that, and we’ve got some unfriendly Jaffa action going on. You’re gonna have to ring us out of here. Now.”
“Right. Stand by.”
TOK’RA CARGO SHIP
Why couldn’t anything be easy? Fly to the ship, check it out, salvage it and fly it someplace safe. How difficult could that be? But no. Whatever cosmic forces controlled irony and sarcasm, they had it in for SG-1. Daniel was sure of it. The universe had a warped sense of humor; there was no doubt about that.
Taking zats in hand, both Teal’c and Daniel went to the hold and sent the rings to the ship to pick up their teammates. Jack had said ‘now,’ and he didn’t sound like he wanted to wait. Things just never went smoothly for them, did it?
“Teal’c, any idea how the sensors didn’t pick up the Jaffa on the ship?”
“None. Pel’tak sensors should have indicated that there was life on board. I am as puzzled as you.”
“Do you think –"
The rings returned, only it wasn’t the away team standing there. It was the Jaffa with staff weapons at the ready!
The first shot hit Daniel squarely in the gun arm, forcing him to drop his zat and ricocheting into the control panel for the rings. Teal’c pushed Daniel down and started firing on the Jaffa. Daniel recovered his weapon and fired three times in return, dispatching the first Jaffa. Another rushed Teal’c who grabbed his attacker’s staff weapon and tried to yank it away. Meanwhile, another tried to re-aim at Daniel but wasn’t fast enough. Daniel fired first. Teal’c wrested the staff weapon from the Jaffa, hit him as hard as he could and had the satisfaction of watching the Jaffa fall. Without hesitation, Teal’c fired his zat three times.
Three dead bad guys, killed in all of six seconds? That had to be a team record.
Sam was furiously trying to calculate speed, distance and collateral damage. “I can’t initialize the drive control, sir. I estimate impact between 500 and 1000 miles west/southwest of Alaska.”
“In the ocean?” Davis asked, his brow furrowing in concentration. “The tidal wave resulting from the explosion when we hit will devastate the planet.”
“Raise the shields,” Jacob said. “Set the inertial dampening field to maximum. The ship will survive in once piece and won’t explode on impact. No explosion, no devastating tidal wave.”
Sam hurriedly pressed buttons on the console. “Done. There’s nothing else I can do.”
Jack once again keyed his mike. “Teal’c we’re heading into the ring room.”
“Teal’c? Daniel? Come in.”
Finally, Teal’c’s voice answered back. “O’Neill, the Jaffa arrived on the pel’tak by transport ring.”
Great. They didn’t need this. “What’s the situation? Are you two all right?”
“They are no longer a threat, but Daniel Jackson has been injured.”
Jack DIDN’T want to hear that.
“It is not life threatening, but his arm needs medical attention. The pel’tak has been damaged. The crystals that control the transport rings have been destroyed in the battle. We cannot initiate nor receive a transport. There is insufficient time for us to dock with the mother ship and rescue you.”
“Don’t even try it. We’ll handle a water landing. You tell Hammond what’s happening and fly back to the base. Daniel?”
“Yeah, Jack?” His voice sounded like he was hurting.
“Fine. Been shot before. It just stings a bit.”
“Okay, see you two on the flip side.”
Jack looked at earth and saw it was getting very big in the window. “Well, I guess we’re going in. Everyone into crash positions.”
Several hours later…
Hammond watched the computer monitor as he spoke with the President. This wasn’t the worst news he’d ever given his commander in chief, but it was necessary.
“Yes sir, the official line is that early this morning at approximately 0800 hours, NORAD tracked a meteor as it entered Earth’s atmosphere and landed somewhere in the north Pacific. So far, there’s no word from the Chinese government, but I’m sure we’ll be hearing from them soon enough. I have a call going through to Colonel Chekov … Yes, sir … I’ll be keeping you apprised of the situation.”
Hammond hung up the phone and looked at the two men sitting across from him. Teal’c looked concerned. Daniel, his arm now bandaged and in a sling, looked far more worried.
“We located the mother ship. The sonar readings show that it’s still intact.”
“Then they’re still alive,” Daniel said with conviction.
“We’re going with that assumption,” he said as he handed them the sonar readouts. “There’s a deep submergence rescue vehicle on route from Pearl Harbor, but we still have to figure out how the crew will gain access to the mothership.”
“That can be easily done, General Hammond,” Teal’c explained. A mothership’s escape pods are jettisoned through pressurized tubes. It may be possible that one of them can be used as a point of access.”
“That sounds like our best shot,” Hammond agreed.
“There’s one other thing, sir,” Daniel said quickly. “We don’t know if those three Jaffa are the only three there were. There could be more on the ship. We’ll need backup and weapons.”
Military talk coming from Daniel Jackson? That was interesting. “We?”
“Teal’c and I want to go, sir,” Daniel said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
Which it was. Hammond expected no less from his premiere team. “There’s a plane waiting for you and a jeep to take you to the airport. You’ll find extra weapons are already in the jeep. Unfortunately, the submergence vehicle has a limited capacity, and in order to bring back the rest of the team, you won’t be able to take any more personnel. It’ll have to be the two of you and a sub’s pilot. Good luck, gentlemen. Oh, and Doctor Jackson, good luck on explaining that wound to Colonel O’Neill.”
“He already knows about it, sir,” Daniel replied with a smile as they walked out of the room.
O’Neill already knew? What Hammond wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall when O’Neill got a good look at Daniel’s arm.
Teal’c glanced at Daniel and saw that he was watching the scenery pass by, ostensibly lost in thought. He was absently rubbing his wounded arm. Not surprising. The wound was worse than his friend was letting on, and Doctor Fraiser was adamant about not letting Daniel leave the infirmary. His friend’s arguments against staying in the infirmary were well met with both medical and logical arguments, but the doctor could not stop him. He was determined to help rescue the rest of SG-1. “I did not thank you before, Daniel Jackson.”
That drew Daniel’s attention away from the passing scenery. “Thank me? For what?”
“For saving my life on the pel’tak when we were under fire,” Teal’c said matter-of-factly.
Daniel smiled a half-smile as if helping the Jaffa was the most natural thing in the world. “You did the same for me.”
“Yes, but you killed two Jaffa. I only killed one.”
“But you got into hand-to-hand combat. I just fired a zat at the other two. I think your score is higher.”
“Perhaps, although I did not know we were keeping a score on our successes and losses in battle. Yet this was your first incursion since you have been back on active duty. O’Neill should no longer be worried about you.”
“Wanna bet?” Daniel asked him bluntly.
“No,” Teal’c answered.
No, when O’Neill saw Daniel Jackson’s arm, he wouldn’t be happy.
He wasn’t moving anymore, that much he was sure of. It was dark wherever he was, and he didn’t like it.
He could still sense something, sense that there was someone near, but he didn’t know who or where. Were the Jaffa moving around? Thor didn’t know, but he didn’t sense danger from whoever it was.
Waiting was not an O’Neill virtue, not by a long shot. He was used to it, he could do it, but he didn’t like it. The whole not-knowing routine wasn’t fun, and he was tired of it.
So, here they were, sitting in a pyramid on the bottom of the ocean with nothing to do. He needed to remember to pack Gameboys on missions.
At least Daniel and Teal’c were safely above the surface.
“He’s all right, Jack,” Jacob said.
Sitting on the steps of the throne, the two men were waiting and watching Sam and Davis do whatever they were doing at the computer console.
“Who’s that?” Jack asked.
“Daniel. You heard them. It was only a scratch.”
“They were lying,” Jack told him. “I know Daniel. I know how he sounds when he’s really hurt.”
“It’s his first mission in three months. Hell, I asked Hammond for an easy one for our first mission back as a full team, and this was supposed to be easy. I even left him on the pel’tak just in case, but he got shot anyway.” Jack then saw how Jacob was holding his arm. “How are you doing?”
“I’ve got a few burns and a broken collarbone. Selmak’s working on it.” Jacob shifted position, trying to get comfortable.
“Forget it,” Jack told him. “We don’t have any cushions to sit on.” The activity at the computer console still didn’t interest him. It was too much technobabbling. “You know, for guys with no life signs, those Jaffa looked pretty lively to me. Did a lot of damage.”
Jacob nodded his head in agreement. “I’ve been thinking about that. They must have been trapped in the section of the ship that was sealed off. Life support around it had been cut off. To stay alive as long as possible, they would have gone into a deep state of kel’no’reem. That would slow down their heartbeats to one or two beats per minutes. The pel’tak’s sensors aren’t sensitive enough to have picked them up in that condition.”
“There’s only one door in the computer core. It had blast marks on it from where they tried to shoot their way out, but if all of the atmosphere was siphoned out of the surrounding rooms, they didn’t have anywhere to go. How’d they get out? When did they?”
“I have no idea.”
Well, that was comforting. Not. “Think there are any more running around?”
Jacob tried one more time to settle into a more comfortable position. “Doubt it. I’m hoping there were only the three of them.” After a few more moments, Jacob whispered, “Exactly when did Davis become an expert on alien technology?”
“He’s not,” Jack answered, “but he’s been learning. Anyway, he knows more than I do and you’re recuperating so he’s the only one who can help Carter.”
Whatever Carter and Davis were doing at the computer console, they finally finished. Neither looked happy as they approached the two sitting men.
“Well?” Jack asked.
“Well, we got life support operating at fifty percent. It won’t be too comfortable in here, but we won’t freeze to death. At least, not right away.”
“Can we fix the engines?” Jacob asked.
Davis shook his head. “Not a chance. They’re fried, but that’s not our only problem. It looks like there’s some structural damage on the lower levels. We probably got that when we hit bottom.”
“How bad?” Jacob wanted to know.
“We can’t be sure with the computer not functioning properly,” Sam explained, “but with the exterior pressure being pretty severe, it wouldn’t take much to compromise the hull.”
Okay, enough pessimism. “Yoo hoo, folks,” Jack raised his finger in the air to get their attention. “Help’s on the way. Remember? Daniel? Teal’c? SGC? Submarines?”
“We don’t know how long it will take for them to get here, sir,” Sam told him. “But regardless of that fact, there’s still the matter of the self-destruct sequence that’s frozen halfway through its countdown.”
“You haven’t turned that off yet?”
“To be honest, sir, it might be a mistake to try.”
She hadn’t even tried? “Carter?”
“I’ve rechecked some of the logs. The first door to the computer core was locked, and then when the Jaffa tried to blast their way out from the other door, the entire section was sealed off and life support was shut down. Effectively, that should have killed the Jaffa, but it didn’t. There was some life support still functioning in the section they were trapped in but no way for them to get out. I’m assuming that they rerouted some oxygen there since all sections surrounding the one they were trapped in was deprived of oxygen.”
Jacob seemed to catch her drift before Jack did. “So the question would be who or how did the air get sucked out of those areas, huh.”
“Actually, it’s more of a what.”
“A what?” Jack interjected.
“Sir, I think this is further proof that we’re working with an intelligent virus, and I believe that Thor is the one who did it.”
“But we have no proof,” Davis added.
“Even so, what if the virus was only trying to defend itself?”
“Didn’t that happen in The Matrix movies?” Jack asked but was ignored.
Jacob coughed, clearing his throat. “So, Thor leaves a virus behind to force Anubis to abandon his ship but then it starts defending itself against the Jaffa that Anubis left behind to blow the ship?”
“Or maybe it was left here to help us,” Sam mentioned. “To tell you truth, Dad, I just don’t know.” Then she turned her attention to Jack. “Sir, I’d like to return to the computer core. We might find some information there.”
“Beats the hell of waiting around here. I’ll go too. Besides, these steps are making my backside ache.”
CONTROL ROOM – SGC
Hammond stood at the table with the Navy liaison, both looking over the underwater schematics of the area the ha’tak went down. The area was clear of rocks and debris. Certainly, there were no underwater obstructions that would get in the way of a rescue. The problem was the ship itself possibly creating a hazard.
“As you can see, General,” the captain pointed out the obvious, “the problem is getting down there in a brief period of time. One can’t just dive down that far due to the pressurization. This won’t be a fast rescue.”
“I understand. We just need to get that sub down there. I’m grateful for the Navy’s help.”
Sergeant Davis approached the two officers. “Excuse me, sirs. The task force just contacted us. The DSRV is about a half mile down now. They’re expecting them to be at the ha’tak in about an hour.”
“I hope that’s soon enough,” Hammond commented. He didn’t want to admit it, but he had a bad feeling about this rescue.
The blasted computerized mumbling was incessant! It wasn’t stopping their entire trip back to the computer core. “This has gone past annoying and has gone straight to nerve-wracking!” Jack complained.
“That!” he indicated the noise that was going on and on and on. “What the hell is it?”
“We’re not sure, sir. Major Davis is correct. It’s coming over the ship’s intercom. It could be the virus trying to communicate with us.”
“A talking virus, Carter? Isn’t that a little far-fetched?”
“Maybe not, sir. Not if Thor left one behind.”
“If,” Jack repeated. “Big if.”
On they walked until they stopped in front of a closed door that refused to open. What got Jack’s attention is the small puddle of water on the floor he stepped in. “Uh oh. Somebody had an accident.”
“Dad,” Sam spoke into the radio, “we’ve got evidence of flooding. There’s water in the corridor.”
“Hang on, Sammy,” they heard Jacob say, and then overheard Davis help him to a standing position. A few moments passed, then “The computer says that there’s a hull breach on the engineering level.”
“Jacob, we’re not near engineering, right?”
“No. It looks like seawater penetrated the central access shaft. Now the pressure is pushing it up through the core of the ship. Basically, we’re flooding from the inside.”
“Help’s coming,” Jack reminded them. “What do we do now?”
Suddenly, the door behind them slammed shut.
“Dad, the door’s closing behind us,” Sam said loudly as she tried to open it. The pad panel refused to access. “I can’t get it to open.”
“It’s a security measure,” Jacob answered. “All the doors are now sealed behind the breach. Hang on, I’ll try to open it from here.”
The water started to seep in faster and was soon up around their ankles. “It’s getting a bit chilly here, Jacob, not to mention a little wet. How’s it going with that door?”
“This could take some time.”
DEEP SUBMERGENCE RECONNAISSANCE VESSEL
General Hammond had been right. The DSRV was small and uncomfortable and packing three people inside made it more cramped than usual. Getting four more in there was going to be a very tight fit.
Inside the DSRV, Daniel and Teal’c saw the ha’tak appear in their view port. It was as impressive a sight underwater as it was in space.
Teal’c spoke into the microphone, “O’Neill, this is Teal’c. Do you read?”
“Maybe there’s interference?” Daniel suggested.
“That is possible,” Teal’c agreed.
The pilot slowed down the DSRV slightly, and then announced in the radio, “Command, we have visual contact. We have not been able to raise any of the team inside the ship.”
“Roger that,” a voice answered back. “Keep in contact.”
The pilot craned his neck and saw his passengers getting ready to disembark. “Sirs, we’ve had some simulations run. We think they’d have to place life support on half to conserve oxygen, so it might be a little hard to breathe when you first get there. And it’s probably getting cold over there.”
“We will be fine,” Teal’c told him. “You must align your vessel’s hatch directly with the shaft entrance in order for us to disembark safely.”
“Yes, sir,” then, to Daniel, “Doctor Jackson, are you sure you want to do this? You’re wounded, and you don’t know what you may run into.”
Daniel had already removed the sling but was still favoring the arm. “I’m going. I’ll be fine.”
“Yes, sir. We’ll be docking in a few minutes.”
Jacob listened over the radio as he tried to open the doors from the control panel. At the same time, Sam was trying to open the door from her end, both to no avail.
“I’m sorry, sir. I can’t bypass the system locally,” he heard her say.
“Uh, Jacob,” Jack’s voice was sounding very unhappy over the radio. “It’s getting very cold and very wet down here.”
“I’m trying, Jack, but I can’t get access to the security program without the proper codes.”
Davis, who had been pacing back and forth for the last few moments, finally stood still and said, “I’m going down there.”
“And do what? The local controls are locked out too.” Jacob thought for a moment, then said into the radio, “Jack, I’m going to try to hack into the system through a back door.”
“How long’s that gonna take, Jacob? I’m looking at major shrinkage here.”
“No idea. Give me a few minutes. This is all new territory to me too.”
Then, quietly over the microphone, Jacob heard Jack ask, “How long until this thing fills up?”
He heard Sam answer, “A few more minutes.”
“I don’t think we’ve got that long.”
This was not fun, not one little bit. Jack was on his tiptoes! The water was getting higher and higher, and the air bubble was getting smaller. And the water was cold! “Carter, next time we crash our brand new mothership, let’s aim for the Tropics, okay?”
Sam was now swimming. “Actually, sir, it wouldn’t make any difference. At this depth, all water’s ice cold.”
“Fine. Shallow water then.”
“Tropics. Yes, sir,”
Of course, it’d be a much better idea to not crash their mother ship at all. They could keep it and play with it a few hours.
Davis couldn’t believe this. They were just going to stand there and do nothing?
“General, we could blow the door,” he said in exasperation.
“That wouldn’t work. In such a confined space, the concussion would kill them.”
“They’ll be dead if we don’t! We can’t just leave them in there to drown! We have to do something!”
“What the hell do you think I’m trying to do, Major? That’s my daughter down there!”
Davis backed off when he remembered that little fact.
They could hear the water filling the small space, could hear Jack and Sam valiantly trying to stay above the water line. They heard Jack utter, “Your dad’s cutting it a little clo –“ before they only heard bubbles.
“They’re underwater,” Jacob said needlessly as he tried again to bypass the system.
“Nothing’s working!” he said to himself, the fear apparent in his voice.
“General Carter!” Teal’c’s voice came over the speaker. “Daniel Jackson and I are on board the ship. What is happening?”
“Teal’c! Main computer room! It’s filled with water and they’re trapped inside! We can’t open the door and blasting it’s not an option.”
Jacob didn’t have to hear him acknowledge anything to know those two were running hell-bent-for-leather for their trapped friends.
Running like lives depended on it, Daniel and Teal’c sped to the main computer room. Teal’c started firing his staff weapon at the door when the computerized mumbling sounded over the intercom.
“Thor?” Daniel said allowed.
Was that Daniel’s voice?
He thought so.
What was happening?
Thor sensed something was wrong… water…If Daniel Jackson was on board then that meant that O’Neil was there too … The water… he had to save them…
Davis saw a blinking red light on the control panel. “Jacob, what’s that?”
Jacob pressed a few buttons, looked at the results, and said, “The security protocol’s been erased. The doors are opening on their own.”
No one cared at that particular moment that for whatever reason, whatever strange force was on that ship, something made the door slide open, and the water came pouring out into the hallway effectively soaking everyone. Sam and Jack swam out of the room on the current, Jack slamming into Daniel as the waters went down quickly and flowed into any open doorway it passed.
“Sam! Jack!” Jacob screamed over the radio.
“We’re okay, Dad,” Sam finally sputtered, her hair plastered to her head.
“Thank God!” the relief was obvious in his voice. “You really had me worried.”
“Carter,” Jack ordered as he squeezed some of the water out of his shirt, “tell him I take back everything I was thinking when I was underwater.”
“Dad, whatever you did worked.”
“I didn’t do anything. The security protocol erased itself as soon as Daniel and Teal’c got to the room.”
“Wait a minute! How is that possible?” Sam wanted to know.
“I don’t know,” Jacob answered.
“You don’t think Thor did it?” Daniel asked through clenched teeth, one arm holding his injured one tightly.
“Thor?” three voices asked in unison.
“That sounded like Thor’s voice coming over the intercom,” Daniel answered as Jack knelt beside him to look at the bandaged arm that had started bleeding.
“Are you sure?” Jack asked.
“It sounded like him,” Daniel replied.
The computerized mumbling started up again.
Jack helped Daniel to his feet, then tied a now soggy handkerchief around the wound. “Any idea what he’s saying?”
Daniel listened. “It sounds like Thor’s voice only it’s all garbled. One word sounds like system, but I can’t make out the rest.”
“That could explain things, sir,” Sam pointed out. “It’s not just a virus. It’s Thor!”
“How can it be Thor? You can’t just download someone’s brain into a computer, can you?”
The looks he received from his team stopped that train of thought. “Hey, I’m just saying.”
Teal’c shook off some of the water, saying, “O’Neill, there is a rescue submarine docked with the ship. We must hurry or there will be insufficient fuel and oxygen for the eight of us to return to the surface.”
What did Jack say? Bad things happen on SG-1 missions. “Seven of us. Friesen’s dead. All righty, then. Time’s definitely not on our side, so let’s blow this popsicle stand --”
“We can’t,” both Daniel and Sam called out in unison.
“Why not? We can come back with --”
“Sir, there is something definitely going on here,” Sam argued. “If Daniel’s right about that sound being Thor’s voice, then it may be Thor’s mind that’s in the ship. It’s not a virus. The ship is being structurally compromised. There’s no guarantee that Thor could survive if this ship is flooded. We can’t take the chance on coming back because there may be nothing for us to come back for.”
Jack looked at the two scientists, both standing resolute and ready to discuss the issue. Daniel, he understood because sometimes there was doubt he even had a survival instinct but Carter was supposed to follow orders. And Thor a downloaded consciousness? What the hell. Carter and that entity had switched those a year earlier. They’d switched bodies thanks to Machello. They’d had their consciousnesses copied into robot bodies. Why not this?
“Okay, okay. Let’s go Thor hunting. Teal’c, lead the way.”
As they walked out, Jack turned to Daniel and whispered, “You really think it sounds like Thor?”
“When I yelled out his name, the door opened. It could be coincidence.”
“Maybe not. Stranger things have happened.”
“Usually to us.”
Signals from the ha’tak couldn’t reach the surface, so a bit of a patchwork link between the mother ship, the rescue sub and the SGC, and all three were connected in a three-way communication.
“Is everyone all right down there, Jacob,” Hammond asked. He sounded relieved to be hearing their voices as well.
Jacob looked around at the very wet crew sitting or standing around the control room. Of course, just as he suspected, Jack had just entered mother-hen mode when he saw Daniel’s arm. He also guessed that Jack slamming into him when the water poured out didn’t do the arm any good. Sam and Davis were trying to isolate the voice and Teal’c was standing guard at the entrance to the room. “We’ll live. No one’s seriously injured. Just cold and soggy. We’ve got a bigger problem on our hands. Can you hear that noise in the background?”
Jacob had no doubt that the computerized mumbling could be heard over the radio.
“Any idea what it is,” Hammond asked.
“We’ve got a theory. Daniel and Sam think it’s Thor.”
“When Anubis interfaced the ship’s computer with Thor’s mind, it could be that Thor himself took up residence. What we thought was a virus may not have been one at all. It may have been Thor trying to stop the Jaffa on board the ship.”
“I see,” Hammond said. “Will you be able to salvage the ship?”
“It’s got some holes in it, George, but with the engines fried, it’s doubtful. We’ll have to run full diagnostics on the hull to check its integrity. It may be able to be repaired, but I wouldn’t bet my spare change on it.”
“All right. Keep us informed about what’s going on down there.”
“Will do,” Jacob said as they signed off.
“We’ve got something,” Davis yelled out. “I’m cleaning up the signal now. I think we’ve finally taken out all the distortion.”
After a few moments, Thor’s voice, clear and crisp, sounded over the speakers. “I am using the internal communication system to synthesize my voice…”
“Those are the words Thor spoke to us when O’Neill and I were imprisoned on this vessel before.” Teal’c told them.
“So his mind really is in the ship’s computer.” Jack asked. “Wasn’t this on an episode of Star Trek?”
“It could be more than his mind, Jack,” Daniel told him. “It could be his entire consciousness.”
“After you rescued Thor, the Asgard said there was little chance of his coming out of the coma he’s in right?”
“So, if his mind and consciousness are intact and in the computer, we should be able to download it and the Asgard can put it in a newly cloned body.”
“It’s a one in a million chance, Danny,” Jacob told him. “That was over three months ago. It would be a miracle if Thor’s consciousness survived without being harmed.”
“We’ve seen miracles before,” Daniel reminded them.
“Wait a minute," Davis interrupted. “If Thor really is in control of the ship, then he may be the only thing keeping the self-destruct on hold. If we remove his consciousness, then the countdown will start up again.”
“Okay, that’s one little wrinkle in the plan,” Jack agreed. “As I’ve been told, Davis, the ship’s flooding. We can’t leave Thor behind.”
A little wrinkle, huh? Selmak laughed silently in Jacob’s mind. Is nothing impossible for you Tau’ri?
Not yet, Jacob answered back.
I need to talk to them, Jacob.
Jacob’s head dipped and Selmak came forward. “You will have 17 minutes from the time the countdown starts until the ship self-destructs.”
“That would be plenty of time,” Sam said.
Davis raised his hands in a motion for everyone to slow down. “Wait, wait, wait. I know Thor is a friend of yours and a great ally of earth’s but this is a Goa’uld mothership. If we allow it to blow up, there’ll be nothing left to salvage.”
“As you said yourself, the engines are fried. Trust me, this ship is never going to fly again,” Jacob told him.
Davis looked like he was about to argue, but then just seemed to give up. So much for his economic feasibility report on the salvaging operation.
“Davis, I know you want to keep this ship every bit as much as Jack does, but having the Supreme Commander of the Asgard fleet owing you a favor is a hell of a lot more valuable.”
Jack looked at Jacob, then looked at Daniel. “Daniel, write this down on something. I want it in a memo and handed out to everybody. Next mothership, we keep!”
“Jack?” Daniel said.
“You don’t do memos,” Daniel reminded him.
Jacob wondered at those two. Only Daniel had the grit and gumption to say whatever he wanted to Jack O’Neill. Was it any wonder those two were friends?
“Right. Okay, Carter, Teal’c, we’ll go get Thor’s brain. Daniel, you take Jacob and Davis back to the sub and wait for us there.”
Daniel raised his eyebrows at that.
“Please, this one mission. Sit the dangerous stuff out? You’ve already been shot.”
Jacob watched as those two did the silent communication again. It was amazing how well they could do that.
“This one mission and this one mission only, Jack.”
Yeah, Daniel would see that it was only on this mission that Jack would behave like that.
The walk back to the computer room was mostly silent. Mostly.
“Why did you send Daniel Jackson with Major Davis and General Carter?” Teal’c asked.
“One mission, Teal’c. I’d like at least part of a mission where he’s not putting his life on the line. That’s all. This one has been one screwed-up mess from the beginning, and I’d want to make sure he makes it out of here alive.”
“He has completely recovered from the naquadria radiation.”
“Yeah, from the radiation and he no sooner gets over that and he gets shot. He doesn’t have a symbiote inside him to help heal him.”
“Doctor Fraiser said he is not severely harmed,” Teal’c reminded him. “The staff weapon blast was not serious enough to hinder him for long.”
“Hasn’t slowed him down either. He’s the one who figured out it was Thor talking to us.” Jack couldn’t believe he had to have this conversation with Teal’c. The Jaffa had been more worried about Daniel when he was ill than he’d ever let show. “Look, T, we almost lost him last time. I just need one mission where his life isn’t on the line. He needs a mission like that. Believe it or not, it helps to get back up on the horse when the horse isn’t trying to knock you off.”
“We are not riding horses, O’Neill.”
Jack signed in desperation. No one ever knew when Teal’c was serious or making a joke.
Once they reached the computer room, Sam headed directly for the interface console. Everyone noticed that water was seeping in very quickly from all sides.
“Carter, want to hurry it up a bit? I don’t want to go swimming again any time soon.”
“Working on it, sir.”
What was that? Who?
They were there, in the room with him…
Something was happening, Thor could sense it.
He was being moved…
A panel from the console slowly lifted and Sam placed it in her pack. “Got it, sir. Here he is.”
“That’s awfully small. You sure you got all of him in there? He’s a smart guy, you know.”
“Yes, sir. I’m sure I got all of him.”
Another voice echoes over the intercom, a new one, one speaking Goa’uld.
“Teal’c?” Jack asked.
“That is the ship’s warning system. The self-destruct has been activated. We must leave immediately.”
They rushed back to the corridor to find a previously open door sealed shut.
“This door should not be closed,” Teal’c informed them.
“The corridor must have flooded,” Sam reminds them.
“Not good,” Jack muttered, then, keying his radio, “Jacob, our exit is blocked. We need another way around.”
“Shit! Jack, all the other passageways into the section were already flooded. There is no other way around.” There was a brief pause, “I’m going back to the control room and see if I can figure something out.”
“Negative!” Jack yelled. “Get in that sub and get the hell out of here. We’ll think of something.”
He switched off the transmitter and looked at his companions. “Okay, I’ve got nothing. Any ideas?”
“There’s one way off this level, sir,” Sam told him.
“The glider bays,” Teal’c acknowledged.
“Can they fly underwater?”
Neither had an answer for him.
Jack shrugged his shoulder. “Okay. I love this plan. Let’s go.”
The DSRV pilot was waiting at the shaft entrance, not quite sure what was going on but pacing and checking the corridor every few seconds.
To the casual observer, nothing was happening on the ship. To the three men that came running down the corridor toward the shaft, it was an entirely different story.
“Doctor Jackson?” the pilot asked as he saw only one of his previous passengers and two new ones. “What’s happening?
“The ship’s self-destruct has been reactivated. We’ve got to get the DSRV as far from here as possible. Start the engines.”
The pilot didn’t need to be told twice. He hurried back into the sub.
“What about the colonel and the others?” Davis asked.
“Jack,” Jacob called into the radio. “We’re at the sub. What’s your status?”
“We’re going to take a couple of gliders.”
“I don’t know if those can operate underwater,” Jacob said.
“Got a better idea?”
“No.” Jacob thought for a second. “You’ll have to activate the compartment’s force field to stop the flooding. Those systems went off-line after the crash.”
“Yeah, Carter and Teal’c are trying to reroute the power from here.”
“What’s happening?” Davis whispered to Daniel.
“Glider bays have forcefields that allow ships to go in and out without having to depressurize the compartment. Basically, they keep the air in even if the bay doors are open. If Sam can’t get that forcefield back online, she won’t be able to open the doors without reflooding the hanger. Right now, the hangers are full of water. Initiating the force fields will push the water back out into the ocean and recreate a breathable atmosphere long enough for them to get to the gliders.”
“Oh,” Davis said. “How do you know all that?”
They heard Jack order, “Jacob, I want you to get him in that sub and get the minimum safe distance away. Is that clear?”
“Understood. Good luck,” Jacob said. He turned to the other two men and said, “Let’s go.”
“They’re not going to be able to reroute that power system, are they?” Daniel asked.
Jacob shook his head. “I don’t think so.”
“Why not?” Davis asked.
“The system is isolated, Major. Sammy’s going to have to patch in manually and hack into the ship’s main system to reroute the power. If she can.”
“Can I reroute it from any auxiliary control panel?” Daniel asked. “I’ve seen Sam do it a dozen times.”
“Not unless you grow gills. The nearest panel is cut off by a room full of water. Anyway, Jack will kill me if anything happens to you, you know,” Jacob said.
“No choice. You two get in the sub and get out of here. I’ve got to try.” Daniel didn’t wait, he just ran back down the corridor.
“Daniel!” Jacob yelled. “Dammit! Daniel!”
Davis looked at Jacob and said, “O’Neill’s going to kill us.”
“Count on it.”
“I’m still working on it, sir,” she answered as she feverishly tried new series of combinations to reroute the power.
“Okay, no pressure. We’ve got all the time in the world.”
Teal’c cocked his head at that statement. “On the contrary, O’Neill –“
“Nope, T, we’ve got all the time in the world,” Jack answered as he put up a hand to stop any more objections. “No pressure.”
“Jack,” Jacob’s voice came over the radio.
“Jacob, will you PLEASE get out of here?”
“We’re on our way, but Daniel just took off to try to get the force field back online from another relay panel.”
“Why the hell didn’t you stop him?” Jack yelled into the mike.
“Have you ever tried stopping him when he was determined to do something?”
“Shit!” Jack cursed.
Daniel thought that this was officially the most suicidal thing he’d ever done. Forget stepping in front of a staff weapon on Ra’s ship or volunteering to stay behind when half his chest had been blown off on Klorel’s ship or shooting out a window in a lab to stop an explosion and getting soaked with radiation. Nope, forget all those. This was heads and tails over those instances.
Too bad he didn’t have time to grow gills. If he was lucky, all those times he’d helped on underwater archaeological expeditions was about to pay off. Did he ever mention to Jack that he was a good swimmer?
Running as fast as he could, he was removing any and all extra weight – his backpack, his jacket, even his boots at some point. He hurried to the door that separated him, a room full of water and the pad panel that would let him get the force field working again. He took some deep breaths and entered an unlocking code.
“Jack,” Jacob’s voice echoed through the room, “we’re clear. If Daniel made it to the pad panel, he should have those forcefields on line in less than a minute.”
“Roger that,” Jack answered.
Just then, another goa’uldized announcement was heard over the intercom.
“T, what was that?”
“We have approximately seven minutes before the ship is destroyed.”
“Seven minutes?” Sam said, her voice betraying her worry.
“Yeah, plenty of time,” Jack told her.
Opening the door let a wall of water rush in so fast; Daniel didn’t have time to realize he was being yanked underwater. There wasn’t much time to think. He swam over to the panel… okay, work fast…
He removed two panels after a few good tugs, swam to the other side of the computer and placed them in slots on the opposite sides. The computer indicators lit up.
Now, he was running out of air!
“He did it!” Sam yelled as she saw the forcefields activate.
“Let’s go!” Jack told the team. Daniel, you'd better be there to meet us!
Daniel didn’t have time to think things through.
He swam over to the ring panel, pressed the necessary buttons to get him closest to the launch bay and then swam to the transport ring position. His air was almost gone….
Time to run!
“We’ll have a breathable atmosphere if the forcefields are at 100%, sir,” Sam said as they sped through the corridors.
“Good,” Jack yelled. “Ya know, there’s a reason I didn’t join the Navy. Too much water!”
“O’Neill!” Teal’c stopped as transport rings formed before them, Jack and Sam almost running into him.
As the transport rings appeared, a massive wave of water was delivered inside them. In the water was one very soggy Daniel Jackson. The rings returned, the field held momentarily, and then the water lost its cohesion and splashed over the corridor, getting everyone’s boots wet. Daniel landed hard on the floor, coughing and trying to breathe at the same time.
No time to stop.
Jack took off again, grabbed Daniel by his good arm and pulled him along with him.
“Did it work?” Daniel asked.
“We’re about to find out. We’ll talk about this little stunt later.”
They reached the launch bay to find it fairly dry and filled with air.
“Let’s go!” Jack ordered. “T, Carter you take that one. Daniel, you’re with me.”
Jack jumped into the pilot’s seat, another non-padded pilot’s seat, Daniel in the co-pilot’s.
“Did I say thanks for getting us out of that mess?” Jack asked as they strapped themselves in.
“I don’t think we had time, but you’re welcome.”
“We really need to stop making a habit of this life-saving thing.”
“Actually, I think we need to stop making a habit of getting into life-threatening situations.”
“Yeah. I’ll put that on a memo.”
“You don’t do memos.”
Sam’s voice came over the radio. “Opening glider bay doors.”
The force fields kept the ocean water from pouring into the docking bay.
“Nice!” Jack yelled as he closed the hatch. “Let’s go! Last one to the surface buys the first round!”
Both Teal’c and Jack flew their ships out of the bays and into the water, feeling the push of the water pressure as they flew toward the surface.
“We shouldn’t have to worry about depressurization. The gliders should compensate for the external pressure,” Sam told them.
“Hang on!” Jack yelled into the radio. “Here we go!”
As the ships escaped the ocean’s pull, the hat’ak’s explosion caused a huge funnel of water to churn from the ocean’s surface. The death gliders flew up and over the ensuing spray and away from the aftermath.
“Woo hoo!” Jack cheered. “T, you’re buying the first round! Everybody all right?”
“We’re fine, sir,” Sam said. “Although I don’t think Teal’c is very happy about being stuck with the bar tab.”
“Jacob?” Jack called again.
“We’re fine down here, Jack. A little seasick, but we’re in one piece. You should have seen that explosion!”
“Glad to hear it!”
“Daniel? How are you?” Jacob’s voice sounded a little concerned.
“Wet, cold and with Jack flying, a little airsick. And we don’t have sick bags in these, do we?”
Jacob wasn’t the only one laughing at that.
“SG-1,” Hammond’s voice cut through the laughter. “Well done.”
“Thank you, sir,” Jack yelled back. “Wouldn’t want this to get old, you know.”
“I understand. What’s your status?”
Jack looked around, “SG-1 all present and accounted for and ready for our next mission. Preferably some place dry, sir.”
“I’ll see what I can do. I believe we have a nice desert planet for you to visit tomorrow, something about a celebration as soon as Doctor Jackson was well?”
Kasuf! Damn, Jack had forgotten about that! Kasuf made him promise to come to Abydos and they’d celebrate Daniel’s return to active duty.
That was going to be one angry Chief Elder if they didn’t make it on time.
And to make matters worse, he could hear Hammond chuckling in the background. “Yes, sir. Got that. We’ll be home for supper.”
“You might be having supper on the U.S.S. Westphalen. The Navy’s loaned us the ship so we can bring the gliders in secretly. The DSRV will be heading that way as well.”
“Supper at the captain’s table, huh? Cool,” Jack joked. “Teal’c, why don’t you lead the way?”
“Jack,” Daniel’s voice sounded from behind him as they followed the other glider across the ocean.
“Ever notice how uncomfortable these seats are?”
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