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21 January 2012 @ 01:47 pm
Fic: Endurance Past the Point (13 of 19)  
Summary, notes, and warnings are located in the Table of Contents.

Part 13

Teal’c nodded to the SFs outside Sam’s door as he knocked.  When he received no answer, he looked back to the guards.  “Please open the door.”  They looked at each other, uncertain of the protocol.  “Dr. Fraiser has asked me to check on Major Carter’s condition.  Open the door now,” he insisted.  He was stretching the truth a bit, but it was assumed that he and Daniel Jackson were to keep tabs on their distressed teammate.

With a shrug, one of the men swiped his badge and keyed the security override code.  SG-1 always held to their own rules, why should this be any different?

Teal’c nodded his appreciation and stepped into Sam’s room.  Almost 00
immediately, he yelled back for them to alert Dr. Fraiser as he knelt by Sam’s side where she lay on the floor.  A quick check of her pulse assured him that she was still alive.  By the time Janet arrived, he had covered her with a light blanket from the bed and was sitting next to her on the floor, talking and trying to rouse her.  

The first thing she noticed as she gradually came back to consciousness was the hard floor beneath her. She opened her eyes and saw Teal’c’s worried face.  Then Janet’s face came into view.  “Sam, what happened?”

Sam sat up slowly, leaning on Teal’c and rubbing her head where it must have hit the floor.  “I don’t know.  I was sleeping.  I guess I got up too quickly.  I just got dizzy.”  But the memory was muddled in her head.  She found herself mentally trying to retrace her steps.

Janet did not look satisfied with Sam’s explanation, but didn’t push the issue.  “All the same, I’d like you to come down to the infirmary for a complete checkup.”

Sam suddenly remembered the gate address tucked into her pocket. “Janet,” she burst out but couldn’t seem to make herself say anything further.

“No arguments, Sam.  You’ve had a lot of meds in the last few hours, not to mention the physical and emotional tolls today has taken on you.”

Sam could feel the headache beginning to build again as she struggled to tell her friends about the new memory.  All of a sudden, it just seemed easier to ignore it.  With a soft sigh, she acquiesced.  “Sure, Janet.  Whatever you say.”

Janet exchanged a quizzical look with Teal’c.  Something was definitely off with Sam, but she couldn’t tell if it was a new something or just after-effects from the hypnosis.  She looked around the room as Teal’c helped Sam to standing.  Nothing seemed amiss, other than a pen that had rolled onto the floor.  Janet stooped to pick it up and placed it on the desk before following Sam and Teal’c out the door.  

Sam submitted patiently to Janet’s tests while Teal’c kept her company.  She tried to talk to them about her dream from earlier, wanting to share it before it got lost in the haze that seemed to permeate her brain now.  But each time, the pain would ramp up just a little more and the words would get lost in her throat.  Halfway through the exam, she had already lost hold of what exactly she wanted to tell them.

Janet concluded the exam, noting that Sam’s blood pressure had still not returned to normal, as well as an elevated body temperature, and decreased muscle elasticity.  She and Teal’c both tried to follow up on the first few aborted attempts Sam made to talk to them, but it only seemed to cause greater distress.  Feeling helpless, she allowed Teal’c to escort Sam back to her quarters.

The next couple of days passed by in a blurry fog for Sam.  The folded paper was carefully kept hidden, forgotten for long periods of time.  When it did surface in her memory, she tried to tell whoever was near about it, but each attempt was choked off and resulted in the already agonizing pain circulating around her body becoming even more excruciating.  Janet, Daniel, Teal’c, even her guards: she couldn’t force herself to turn it over to any of them.  She thought sometimes that maybe she could tell Jack, if only he were there.  But she couldn’t seem to ask for him any more than she could tell them about the secret memory.  She began to sequester herself in her room, venturing out only for visits to MacKenzie or Janet, only allowing visits from members of SG-1.


~SG1~


It was several days later when Janet, Jack, and Hammond all met again.  Despite the weight in his chest, General Hammond tried to keep his tone businesslike as he shared the information that had come across his desk overnight.  “The NID has worked faster than I anticipated.  I just received the final transfer orders for Major Carter.”

Jack’s mind kicked into tactical mode even as he heard Fraiser’s startled gasp and protest.  “Sir, even if I had no other problems with turning Sam over, I have to lodge a medical protest.  She is not well enough to travel.  She has essentially stopped eating.  Her blood pressure is elevated and her heart rate is erratic.  I was already considering restricting her to the infirmary, trying to...”  Her voice broke and she paused.

“Doctor?” the general prompted gently.

Janet made an empty gesture with her hands, her eyes wide, trying not to allow the tears into existence.  She very carefully avoiding looking at the colonel as she said, “She’s dying, General.  I don’t know why, but something happened the day we tried the hypnosis, and she’s been going downhill, very quickly.  Daniel said she’s not even trying to talk to him and Teal’c anymore.  I think she’s given up.”  She swallowed.  “The best I can do at this point is to try and make her comfortable.”

Jack mentally shook his head.  That wasn’t possible.  She hadn’t given up when Ugallu had her physically, she wouldn’t give up now.  She was biding her time, waiting for something.  Sam Carter didn't go down without a fight.  He felt himself relax just a bit as he made his final decision.

Janet continued.  “Transferring her now will only hasten her decline.”

Hammond nodded.  “Put it in writing, Doctor.  I will get it to the President, but I really think it will only buy us a few hours at most.”  

She sighed.  “Yes, Sir.  I’d better get back to the infirmary.  Sam’s due for a checkup soon.  I’ll let her know.”

Jack spoke up.  “No, I’ll tell her.”

Hammond looked at his 2IC.  “You don’t have to do that, Jack.  We can take care of it.”

“No, Sir.  I should be the one to tell her.”


~SG1~


As Jack walked slowly to Carter’s quarters, hoping to catch her before she saw Fraiser, the various contingency plans he had developed ran through his head.  There was no way he would turn her over to the NID if she didn’t want to go.  Entrusting her to their custody had always been risky, but given her current condition, it was as good as a death sentence.  Even being a virtual prisoner on a strange planet was preferable to what they would do to her; although if Fraiser was right, it wasn’t going to be long either way.  

He strode forward on autopilot, selecting the favorable plan given the timeline he now had.  He had worked out how to cause the least amount of damage to SGC personnel, and their careers, while getting her through the gate.  Then he’d have to procure a ship, fly them to a non-gate planet, disable the ship, and voila, no chance of her getting to Ugallu.  He cursed himself for not having assembled supplies yet, but would be able to take a couple of hours to get what he could.  Based on Fraiser’s latest update, he added morphine to his mental list.  

Now he just had to figure out how to propose it to her without the guards picking up on it.  From what everyone had told him, she was distracted at best, already well on the way to incapacitated at worst.  He wasn’t sure that she would pick up subtle hints.  He’d have to talk to her in private then, in her room.

He rounded the final corner and cursed to himself as he saw her already walking down the corridor with her escort , probably on her way to the infirmary.  He called out for her to wait.


~SG1~


It seemed to take longer each morning for Sam to prepare herself to face the day.  She no longer slept; instead she entered a state of consciousness where the nightmares were more vivid, less distinguishable from reality.  It encroached upon her waking time more and more each day.  When she was awake, every step, every breath was now tinged with pain.  

She knew she was fading, and she almost welcomed the end.  Maybe then her secrets would reveal themselves.  She had one more gambit to try, if given the chance.  As she braced herself against her door, willing herself to stop shaking before opening it to go see Janet, she realized that the chance may not materialize in time.  

She had been taking advantage of the half-dreamlike state before she fell in her nightmares at night.  At those points, her mind could wander where it would and she suffered little punishment.  It had occurred to her the night before that it was in a similar state that she had been able to write the secret down: waking from a heavily drugged sleep, before she was fully aware of her actions.  Perhaps distracting her conscious mind was the key.  She sighed, opening the door.  She doubted that Janet would give her another mega-dose of meds, so she needed to find another way to tell her secret.  ‘Her secret.’  She scoffed internally; she even had to use euphemisms inside her own head now.

She nodded to the SFs waiting for her and started down the hallway, her fingers running nervously over the paper in her pocket.  She pulled it out and was folding and unfolding it as they started walking slowly as she mentally ran through possible ‘distractions’ she could engineer.  Pain probably wasn’t going to work, given her current condition.  Sleep obviously worked, but without being able to overtly ask anyone to stay with her, it would take sheer dumb luck for someone to be there when she was waking up.  

Then she heard his voice from behind and felt a brief flare of hope as she stopped and turned.  She could tell him; she had to tell him.  This was what she had been waiting for.  She suddenly realized that he had already drawn near and was talking to her, the words getting lost in a buzzing in her ears.  She interrupted.

“I need to talk to you, Sir.”  

Her tone and the look in her eyes were so serious, so desperate, that he stopped talking immediately.  When she didn’t continue, he replied gently, “What is it, Carter?”  She was nearly swaying on her feet and he moved a hand to support her.  

She heard the warmth in his voice and took a deep breath.  She closed her fingers tightly around her secret.  “I have to give you...” she said in a rush, as the first shooting pain lanced through her brain.  Jack saw the pain reflected in her eyes.  “I... know...”  She couldn’t talk through the pain, she couldn’t even lift arm to hold the secret out to him.  

She had to do this, had to end this one way or another.  Looking back up into his warm brown eyes, patient and worried and kind, she did the only thing she could think of.  Distraction.  With a quick step, she closed the distance between them and snaked a hand behind his neck, tilting his face slightly downward as she brought her lips to his.  

At first, Jack was so stunned that he didn’t react, but quickly became aware of the feelings overwhelming him underneath the very real confusion.  For just a second or two, he allowed himself to enjoy the sensations of her pressed against him, of the heat between them.  One of her hands was playing with his hair, the other tangling with his fingers at their side as she endeavored to deepen the kiss.

Jack suddenly came to his senses and pulled back abruptly, breathing heavily and willing himself under control.  His thoughts were racing in circles.  “Carter, that was unbelievably...” Wonderful, amazing, bizarre, over the line.  “What the hell was that?”

She looked at him, dazed by both the kiss and the sudden abatement of her pain.  The only thought she was conscious of was that the kiss had been so much better than she had ever imagined.  She couldn’t quite remember yet why she had done it.

As her hand slipped out of his, he became aware that he was holding something.  He looked down to see the paper Carter had been playing with earlier in his hand.  She must have passed it to him, while their hands had tangled together.  Her eyes followed his and as she saw the paper, her expression changed from bewildered contentment to animalistic fury in an instant.

She swiped at the paper.  “Give that to me,” she snarled.

Jack took a step back, automatically thrusting the page into a pocket.  She lunged toward him, scrabbling at his clothes.  “Give it back, give it back,” she kept saying, each repetition sounding less savage and more desperate.  The pain began in the center of her brain and was rapidly expanding throughout her body.  She sank to the corridor floor at his feet, no longer able to stand, curling into a ball as though she could protect herself from the onslaught of painful sensations.  

Jack was on his knees immediately.  “Carter?” he questioned as he tried to assess her condition.  

“Sir,” she whispered weakly.  “Please, just make it stop.”  

He looked up at the SFs who were watching the situation uncertainly.  “Get Fraiser and Hammond down here now!”  He gathered Sam as close to him as he could, holding her tight against his chest, as she alternately quivered and went rigid with pain, trying not to voice the whimpers and moans.

It was just like in her memory, heat suffusing her body, every pain receptor in her brain on overload.  As the pain continued increasing, she couldn’t hold it in anymore and let out an agonizing scream that seemed to Jack to go on forever.  He rocked her slowly back and forth, stroking her hair and face.  “I’m here, Sam.  I’m here.”  He looked at her eyes, glassy and unfocussed, and knew that she wasn’t seeing him anymore.

It seemed an eternity before Janet was running down the hall with a medical team, followed a moment later by the general.  

Janet immediately began examining Sam while questioning Jack.  “When did this start?”

“Uh, right after she kissed me,” he answered.  

The general looked at him sharply.  “Excuse me, Colonel?”

“No,” he corrected himself, remembering the bizarre chain of events.  “It was when she realized she had given me this.”  He pulled the paper out of his pocket.  

Janet shook her head, unhappy with the responses she was getting from Sam.  “I’ve got to get her to the infirmary now, Sirs.  Let me know if that’s anything I need to know about.”  The corpsmen lifted Sam onto a gurney and they headed quickly down the hall.

Jack tried to ignore the hint of panic he’d heard in the doctor’s voice, as he slowly unfolded the paper and looked at it.  Hammond waited a moment and then asked, “What is it, Colonel?”

He handed the paper over.  “It’s a gate address, General.  I think she’s trying to tell us where to find Ugallu.”

Hammond looked at the note then back at Jack.  “Go check on Major Carter.  I will ask Teal’c and Dr. Jackson to meet us in the briefing room in twenty minutes.”


~SG1~


The infirmary was quiet enough when Jack stepped in that he could hear Carter’s muffled cries even before he saw her, eyes closed, pale and sweating, her body jerking occasionally as in a nightmare.  Janet was standing by her bedside, injecting something into an IV.  She looked up when she heard his footsteps and nodded to him.  She finished up and walked away, motioning for him to follow her.

She looked smaller than normal, her jaw set firmly against the tears that seemed to be sitting in her eyes.  Taking a deep breath, she asked, “What did she give you?  What triggered this?”

“A gate address.  I think it might be where she was supposed to meet Ugallu.”

Janet nodded, a small smile playing at her lips then quickly disappearing.  “If anyone could do it, Sam could.”

Jack looked over at Carter.  “How bad is it, doc?”

Janet bit her lip and shook her head.  “She hasn’t been lucid since we brought her in.  Obviously, she is in a great amount of pain.  I’m trying the same mix of pain killers and sedatives that worked the other day, but so far I haven’t seen a positive response.”

Jack waited for the rest of the prognosis, the part where she laid out the possible solutions that she would be trying, but she was silent, looking at Sam.  He shook his head, not wanting to admit he heard what she wasn’t saying.

“Colonel, I suggest that we ask her father to come back.  Soon.”

“Right, Doc.  Jacob.”  He looked at his watch.  “I have to go meet with the general anyway.  I’ll make sure that we get a message to the Tok’ra.”

She nodded.  “I have to grab something from my office, Colonel.  If you could stay with her for just a minute, I’ll make sure that she’s not alone after that.”  She squeezed his arm lightly and then retreated to her office, closing the door behind her.

He looked around, realizing that for once the infirmary was empty.  The SFs were outside, the nurses were who knows where, and there were no other patients.  Subtle, Doc, he thought as he walked over to stand next to Sam. She was still twitching, her eyes and forehead tight, and he reached out to soothe the tension away.  As he rested his hand on her cheek, she stilled slightly.  

“You did good, Sam,” he whispered.  “Hang in there, please.  We’ll find something, we’ll make him fix this.”  

Another wave of pain must have hit her and she jerked away from him, crying out loudly.  He stood there until Janet appeared, then left without another word.