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22 January 2012 @ 10:35 pm
Fic: Endurance Past the Point (14 of 19)  
Summary, notes, and warnings are located in the Table of Contents.

Part 14

Jack walked into the briefing room to find the general, Daniel and Teal’c already seated, looks of concern apparent on his team’s faces.  Carter’s note was laying on the center of the table.  He took his seat next to Hammond.

The general addressed him.  “I’ve brought Dr. Jackson and Teal’c up to speed on what I know of what happened.  But first things first: how is Major Carter?”

They all looked at Jack.  He sighed.  “Dr. Fraiser asked that we get Jacob here as soon as possible.  It’s bad.”

“How bad?” Teal’c questioned.

He couldn’t bring himself to say the words; he didn’t even want to think them.  He went with a more circumspect answer.  “You guys should go see her when we’re finished here.  She wasn’t really conscious when I saw her, but I think she knew I was there.”  He looked at the others to make sure they were comprehending his unspoken message, then continued.  “In the meantime, I think we need to talk about this note.”

“It’s a gate address.”  Typically, Daniel started with the most obvious fact.  Jack bit back an impatient retort.  “And it’s Sam’s writing.  I would guess that this is where she is supposed to meet Ugallu to turn over the information.”

The general nodded.  “That’s one possibility.”

Daniel looked perplexed.  “What’s another?” he questioned.

“It could be a trap, Daniel,” Jack explained.

“Sam wouldn’t do that to us,” Daniel protested.

Hammond looked at him sympathetically.  “Dr. Jackson, you know as well as I do that she is not operating entirely of her own volition.  This could just be a way of trying to damage our forces or send him more prisoners.”

“I disagree,” Teal’c interjected.  They all turned to look at him.  “Major Carter is a very strong woman.  She would do everything in her considerable power to see that no harm ever comes to the members of SG-1 or to Stargate Command, even to her detriment.”

Daniel took up the argument.  “That’s right.  And General, her reaction when she gave Jack the gate address only supports the fact that she wasn’t supposed to give it to us, like she’s being punished somehow.  I think it’s real.”

“I agree with Daniel and Teal’c, General.  I say we put together a team and go in hard and fast.  This may be our only opportunity.”

“You don’t think we should wait for a recon report, Colonel?”

“No, Sir.  Not only would we risk tipping him off that we know his location, but we don’t know how long he’s going to be there, if he’s even still there.  Who knows when Carter was supposed to meet him?  Every minute we delay, there’s a greater chance we lose him.  Not to mention that if we want to have any hope of finding something to help Carter, time is a very real factor.”

“Understood.  And if it is a trap, Colonel?”

Jack’s lips thinned but he didn’t respond.  

The general took a deep breath and looked at his most trusted team.  “I will take your arguments under advisement.  I’ll have an answer for you in one hour.”  

Jack stood as the general left the room, then he motioned for the other two to follow him and led them back to the infirmary.  Sam was quieter now, laying still, the only sounds the quiet beeps from the monitor.  Janet met them near the doorway.

“She looks like she’s doing better,” Jack noted hopefully, questioning the doctor.

Janet shook her head.  “I’m afraid not, Sir.  Nothing was working, so I started her on morphine.  But according to her EEG, there’s very little change in the amount of pain she’s experiencing.”  She looked at the three men who all looked a little bit lost as they watched Sam slowly breathe in and out.  As one, they moved to her bedside and settled in to wait out the next hour.


~SG1~


They returned to the briefing room at the end of the hour.  Sgt. Harriman was waiting at the table while Daniel and Teal’c took their places.  General Hammond invited Jack into his office before beginning the meeting.  

Closing the door behind him, the general turned to look at Jack.  He was well aware of feelings between SG-1’s commander and his 2IC that went beyond an officially sanctioned relationship.  However, he trusted absolutely in their abilities to conduct themselves in an honorable manner and had not seen any reason to break up his most successful gate team.  Now, he just needed one question answered.  Choosing his words carefully, he began to speak.  

“Colonel, recent events have placed great stress on you.  As Major Carter’s CO, and as her friend, you are understandably angry and concerned about what has happened to her.  I need to know that this is not coloring your judgement.  You are advocating we undertake a a no-intel mission into what could possibly be an ambush.”

Jack tried to interject. “Sir.”

Hammond held up a hand.  “Is this simply about revenge for you, Colonel?”

Jack thought for a minute then shook his head.  “No, Sir.  As long Carter and Ugallu are both alive, he presents a serious threat to this facility and ultimately, this planet.  We need to remove that threat.”  He paused for a minute, then added dryly, “The opportunity for revenge is just a bonus.”

“Very well.  Let’s start the meeting.”  The two walked out and took their seats.  

Hammond began.  “Gentlemen, are you all still in agreement that this is a likely location for Ugallu?”  SG-1 nodded.  “Walter, what can you tell us?”

The gate tech was slightly flummoxed with everyone watching him, but spoke steadily.  “This gate address corresponds to P6S-845 in our dialing computer.  It is one of the addresses loaded from the Abydos cartouche.  The planet was determined to be uninhabited and unlikely to provide significant natural resources.”

Jack asked, “Were there boots on the ground or was it all remote telemetry?”

“Remote, Colonel,” Walter responded.  “A MALP was sent through two years ago and found no signs of habitation within its operational perimeter, Sir.  Data was sent back regarding the soil and air composition and the scientists deemed it not worth pursuing.”

Jack looked at the general.  “So, no real way to know if Ugallu’s been dug in there for a while or if this is a temporary base.”

“Based on our most recent intel from the Tok’ra, it is unlikely that they have any operatives or ships near enough to 845 to do a quick recon of the planet,” Walter offered.

The general sighed.  “Well then, Colonel, you will have to address that ambiguity in your mission plan.  Walter can give you the list of available teams for support.  We will hold a full mission briefing at 1500.  Thank you, gentlemen.”


~SG1~


1500 hours found members of 5 SG teams and medical personnel crowded into the briefing room.  Jack looked at each person in the room, their resolve evidenced on their faces and was assured that he had made the right choices.  The general entered and they got down to business.

Jack detailed the plan he had developed.  A MALP would be sent through the gate first to ensure environmental suitability and assess the immediate threat in the vicinity of the gate.  Because of their lack of intel at the location, Jack had drawn up several contingency plans, each of which was discussed thoroughly, stressing the importance of identifying and securing any possible escape routes open to Ugallu.  

“If all else fails,” he said, “we go with Plan C.”

One of the newer members of SG-3, who hadn’t worked with him previously, asked, “What’s Plan C?”

He smirked.  “I’ll let you know when I figure it out.”  Some of the veteran gate travellers nodded and smiled faintly as they recalled past situations where O’Neill’s on-the-spot plans had pulled their butts from the fire.  

“But regardless of the layout, we’ll be following the same basic strategy.  Teal’c and I will go in first with Ferretti’s and Rogers’ teams.  Reynolds and Matthews, you bring your squad immediately after.  Griff’s team will come through with Daniel to clean up.”

Daniel immediately protested.  “Jack, no.  I want to be there.  I want to go in with you guys.”

Jack shook his head.  “I am not thinking that Ugallu is just going to tell us what we need to know to help Carter.  Daniel, I need you looking for anything that could tell us what he did to her.  To do that, you’re going to need peace, quiet, and relative safety.”

Daniel took a deep breath, realizing the practicality of Jack’s directive, despite his desire to take a more active role.  “Okay, I can do that.”

They continued discussing possibilities and probabilities of the assault.  Jack looked down into the gate room when an incoming wormhole was established to see Jacob come through.  He was met by Sgt. Harriman and escorted to the infirmary.  It was another couple of hours before Jack adjourned the meeting, setting an embarkation time of 0600.

He immediately headed down to the infirmary himself to find Jacob sitting next to Sam’s bed holding her hand.  He froze, the look on the older man’s face hitting a little too close to home.  Jack supposed that age didn’t matter much; no parent should ever have to watch their child die.  After he had steadied his emotions, he took a few steps closer to the pair.  

“Any change?” Jack asked.

Jacob shook his head.  “Not since I got here.  Dr. Fraiser says it’s probably the best we can hope for right now.  When she gets worse, it’s going to go quickly.”  He couldn’t take his eyes from his daughter’s face, so beautiful to him even nearly emaciated and drawn tight with pain.  He could see their whole history every time he looked at her: the bright-eyed little girl looking through her first telescope, the determined teenager defending her very advanced science fair project as her own work to a panel of sceptical judges, the proud Academy graduate, and the brilliant, accomplished officer working to secure the safety of Earth in a dangerous galaxy.  He found it hard to believe that her story might be coming to a close and gripped her hand a little tighter as if he could anchor her to him.

“Actually, Jack, it looks like it will be a long night for me here.  You mind sitting with her while I go grab a quick bite to eat?”

Jacob excused himself and Jack took a seat, leaning his arms gently on the edge of the bed.  “Come on, Sam.  You’ve got to pull through this.  Just hang in there a little while longer.”  He slipped his hand over hers, lifting it up to brush his lips across her knuckles before letting their hands rest on the bed.  “Plus, you’ve got to wake up and tell me what the hell that kiss earlier was all about.”  He smiled gently as he remembered the way she had felt, selfishly glad that they had gotten to experience that one last time, if this was truly the end.

He lapsed into silence for a time before he heard footsteps from the doorway.  Assuming it was Jacob returning, he was momentarily stunned when he looked up to see Colonel Frank Simmons standing a few feet away.  He let go of Sam’s hand, pushed the buzzer to alert the doctor, and rose to his feet to stand protectively between the smarmy NID officer and his 2IC.  Behind Simmons, he saw Fraiser exit her office then pop back in when she saw their unwanted guest.  

“What do you want, Simmons?” Jack began.

Simmons looked around the infirmary as if it were of great interest, finally resting his gaze on what he could see of Sam around O’Neill’s still form.  Dr. Fraiser appeared from behind him and stood next to O’Neill, staring defiantly.  “Well, I was already on my way when the paperwork came through regarding Dr. Fraiser’s medical protest of Major Carter’s reassignment.  Since I was out here anyway, I thought I’d drop by and make sure that everything was, shall we say, as represented?”

Janet stood up even straighter at the affront to her integrity but kept her voice level and calm.  “I can assure you, Colonel Simmons, that there is no way to safely move Major Carter at this time.”

“Perhaps I could talk to her?” he asked.  “I’ve come all this way.”

“She is not responsive at this point,” Janet replied.  

Simmons opened the folder he was carrying with him.  “Yes, I see you have her on a rather significant regimen of morphine.”  Jack ground his teeth.  He shouldn’t be surprised that Simmons had the current medical file, but it still ate at him.  “Maybe if you stopped doping her up, she might be a little more communicative.”

“I’m sorry, but as her doctor, my responsibility is to her, not to whatever investigation you are purporting to conduct.  To withdraw pain management at this time would likely lead to Major Carter going into severe shock resulting in death.  I doubt even you could get any useful information in the few minutes you might have.”

Jack felt an involuntary grin flash across his face as he saw General Hammond enter the room, nearly red with anger.  “Colonel Simmons,” the general nearly roared.  

For his part, Simmons merely raised his eyebrows as he half turned to the acknowledge Hammond.  “General Hammond, it’s wonderful to see you again.”

“You are aware, are you not, Colonel Simmons, that all visiting personnel are required to check in with the base commander before pursuing any official business?”

“Ah, an oversight on my part, General.”

Hammond looked back at the airmen he had brought with him.  “Please escort the colonel out of the infirmary.  The major needs her rest.”

“General, I would like to request that I be allowed to stay in the VIP quarters here on base.  I’d like to be around in case Dr. Fraiser pulls off another one of her medical miracles.”

Hammond stared at him for a moment, weighing the pros and cons of getting into a pissing match with Simmons off at this point.  He nodded at the airmen.  “Very well, escort him to the VIP quarters.  Make sure someone is nearby at all times in case the colonel needs anything.”  After Simmons and his escorts had exited, Hammond spoke to the SFs standing near the door ‘guarding’ Sam.  “Your orders now include making sure that no one leaves this room with Major Carter without my express authorization.  I don’t even want her out of your sight unless she is with myself, Dr. Fraiser, her father, or members of SG-1.  No exceptions.”  They nodded their understanding.  

Hammond looked wearily back to his 2IC and CMO.  “All right, people.  We have a big day tomorrow.  Let’s get some rest.”

 
 
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