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03 April 2012 @ 12:17 am
Fic: Final Order (SG-1)  
Title: Final Order
Word Count: 3471
Rating: T
Original/Fandom: Stargate: SG-1
Pairings (if any): none
Warnings: major character death
Summary: Jack gives his final order
Notes: written for a challenge at writerverse. Prompt is 'coming home'


  


Final Order


A shocked silence spread throughout the cavern as the team tried to process what Jack had just said.

Sam was shaking her head in futile denial. He swore he could see the neurons firing in her brain as she raced through alternative solutions. Daniel’s brow was deeply furrowed as he stared at Jack, as if he were trying to parse the meaning behind the words, because there was no way that Jack could have meant what he thought he heard. Even the usually stoic Teal’c was rattled, deep distress showing through his normally impassive demeanor.

Daniel was the first to break through the fog. “You can’t be serious.” His voice was half angry, half pleading.

Jack straightened up as much as he could, even that little movement causing agony. He grit his teeth against the groan that bubbled up and said, “Yes, I am serious, and we will all be out of time if you guys don’t get your asses in gear. Now!”

Teal’c was the first to comply, turning silently to begin a visual survey of the small cavern, and soon after, Daniel dropped back to close up his pack, his mind still racing through arguments and alternatives. Sam looked back at them briefly before she crouched down beside her CO.

“Sir... Jack, please, don’t do this.”

Jack swallowed when he saw the naked pain in her eyes. The whole cavern felt thick with grief. He hated to be the cause of it and he knew it would only get worse. And she would try to take the responsibility for all of it.

Steeling his resolve against the tide of emotions converging on him, he cleared his throat. “Teal’c, Daniel, get over here. I want you to hear this, too,” he said loudly, enunciating clearly through the pain. He waited while they approached. Then he looked directly into her eyes. “Major Carter, I am ordering you to get yourself and your team back through the gate to Earth. Go home.”

For a second he thought she would balk, refuse a direct order. He didn’t know what he would do if it came to that, order Teal’c to carry her out of here? But then her eyes hardened and her jaw set. “Yes, Sir,” she spat through clenched teeth. She rose and pivoted, turning her back to him in one smooth motion, and set about collecting the rest of their supplies.

Jack broke the uncomfortably silent void she had left. He looked at the two men he had served with for years. Never had he thought that the best unit he’d ever be a part of would be half comprised of civilians.
“Teal’c, it’s been an honor.” He nodded toward the Jaffa warrior.

Teal’c bowed his head solemnly. “I will always consider you my brother, O’Neill.” He held the colonel’s eyes, attempting to convey in one look what there was no time to say, before he turned to help Major Carter with their preparations.

Daniel silently stared at him, angry and defiant.

Jack sighed and tried to head off the inevitable debate. “Daniel, I can’t have this argument right now.” His face was drawn tight, skin creased near his eyes and mouth as he struggled to hide the extent of his pain.

“I know.” The look in the archaeologist's eyes changed to resignation. “Dammit, Jack,” he whispered harshly.

Jack just shrugged in response, his eyes tracking to where Carter was angrily tying off the fastenings on her pack. They’d move out in a minute. He looked back to Daniel. “Take care of her, okay?” he said in a low voice.

Daniel nodded. “You know we will.” He wanted to say something more but for once, words failed him. Just as he opened his mouth, Sam’s voice came from the other side of the cavern.

“Daniel, we’re leaving.”

Daniel looked helplessly between Sam and Jack, waiting for someone to say something to defuse the tension, but Sam was refusing to even look in their direction. After a second, Jack silently motioned for him to go. With a forlorn nod to Jack, he slowly turned and followed Sam, Teal’c falling in behind him.

Jack watched them leave and listened to the faint whispers of their footsteps fading away as his fingers traced the sharp contours of the device in his hand. He clenched his teeth, fighting the urge to call them back, to apologize to her, say something, anything to make it better.

At least Daniel and Teal’c had grudgingly accepted his decision and had left with some measure of closure. He hated that his last memory of Carter would be that stunned, betrayed look, but it was necessary. It was good; that anger would burn hot enough to get her back to the gate. Once she was on Earth, Daniel, Teal’c, the Doc... they would all help pick up the pieces.

He tried to arrange himself a little more comfortably against the rock wall, wincing as the jagged outcroppings dug into his back. The wince became a groan as his movement was channeled down his leg and he fought the wave of black brought about by the sudden spike of pain. He stopped moving; consciousness mattered more than comfort now. He didn’t anticipate that this would take too long.

Within a few minutes, he was proved right as echoes of dozens of booted feet filled the cavern. He reseated the device in his hand and thumbed the switch to arm it.

“Come on, boys. It’s not nice to keep a guest waiting,” he muttered quietly to himself.

His thumb hovered over the red button as he waited. Shadows flickered across the wall as the small lights they carried announced their presence around the corner.

He took a deep breath.



~SG1~


Sam didn’t falter as the sound of the explosion thundered through the air around them. Teal’c worried at the look of startled disbelief on Daniel Jackson’s face when he looked back as much as the lack of reaction from Major Carter. But he needed all his concentration to keep up with the pace the major was setting.

She led them silently, her movements fluid, her expression set so as not to betray the turmoil in her mind. Images of blocks of C4, detonators, and that damn remote kept cycling through on an endless loop, interspersed with the colonel’s face, his blood, ‘Go home.’ The words spun in her head, pounded against her skull. A few minutes after the last rumble of the explosion had died away, she veered off the path, taking only a few steps before falling to her hands and knees, vomiting into the brush.

She welcomed the pain of the spasms, the sickly stench, the prickly gritty dirt underneath her palms in her quest to stop thinking about his last moments. Damn him, she growled to herself, pretending that the sob escaping her was due to the final spasm passing through her.

She heard the other two stop and felt someone approach. The light hand on her back told her it was Daniel. Teal’c would stay close to the path, alert, watching for nearing Jaffa troops.

“Sam.” She closed her eyes against the pain and compassion in Daniel’s voice. She twisted and angrily flung an arm behind her, knocking his hand away.

“Don’t touch me,” she ground out.

Daniel silently retreated a step, checking with Teal’c that they were still in relative safety. The Jaffa nodded, although Daniel could sense his anxiety at the delay.

Sam knelt back and rinsed her mouth quickly with a swig from her canteen. She spit the water out and returned to the path. Pointedly not looking at the other two, she resumed their route back home, watching and listening intently for any indicator of the enemy. She almost laughed as the words filtered through her brain, followed by echoes of the explosion, “enough C4 to bury a couple of Jaffa patrols, Sir.”

Who the hell was the enemy anymore?


~SG1~


General Hammond was watching from the control room as three figures emerged through the gate. He felt a weight settle in his gut when he saw the wormhole disengage behind them.

“Get a medical team down there,” he ordered even as he quickly made his way down to the gateroom. He strode up to the ramp where the three of them were waiting, pale and silent. Sam straightened up, staring directly ahead as he approached.

“Where’s Colonel O’Neill?” he asked.

Sam’s voice was steady as she replied tonelessly, “He didn’t make it, General.”

Hammond swallowed, waiting for clarification. When none was forthcoming, he tried to ask. “Major?”

Teal’c spoke from where he stood immediately behind and precisely between the two scientists. “Colonel O’Neill sacrificed himself to ensure our safe return.” Hammond was aware of Sam’s slight wince and Daniel wrapping his arms around himself, as he met Teal’c’s somber gaze. The Jaffa shook his head slowly. There was no need to return.

The medical team rushed in and inserted themselves between the three remaining members of SG-1. Janet started her assessment the moment she reached them: checking their pulses, noting their appearances and the feel of their skin beneath her fingers. She was well aware that there were only three patients here when there should be four, but performed the duties immediately in front of her. There would be time for answers later.

“General, I’d like to get them to the infirmary now, if possible, before you debrief.” While none of them were showing any visible signs of traumatic injury, they were all in various states of shock.

Hammond sighed heavily and nodded. “Go ahead, Doctor. Take your time. We’ll debrief when they’re ready.”

Janet’s heart skipped a beat. If the debrief wasn’t urgent, then that meant that returning for the remaining member of SG-1 wasn’t a priority. So, either everything was okay and the colonel had stayed behind for some completely innocent reason, or he wasn’t coming home. The looks of the three in front of her didn’t leave much room for hope.


~SG1~


Janet stood back and watched her two human charges. Sam was particularly worrying her. She had been cooperative in her exam, dutifully taking deep breaths on command, demonstrating motor control, changing into a hospital gown and climbing into a bed. But she had done it all without saying a word. Janet would have restricted her to base even based solely on the obvious emotional trauma, but she was also moderately shocky and Janet wanted to get some fluids into her and keep her under observation until she was past the worst of it.

Daniel was doing slightly better than Sam. He had tried to talk to her about what had happened, but stopped immediately when he heard Sam’s monitor broadcasting her reaction. He had refused to leave her side since they arrived, obviously agitated even for the brief few minutes Janet had drawn the curtain to allow Sam privacy to change. He was currently sitting on the bed next to Sam’s, silently watching her ignore him.

Janet was still waiting for Teal’c to return from his MRI when the general entered. She walked over to meet him, shaking her head. “I don’t think we’re going to get anything coherent from them tonight, General,” she said softly.

“I will provide you the information you require, General Hammond.” Teal’c was entering behind Hammond with a nurse who handed over his MRI results to Fraiser. “But not here,” he added, with a look at his teammates.

Janet looked between the two men and motioned toward her office. “We can speak in there.”

They settled in her office. Teal’c was unusually subdued as he looked at the two military officers waiting patiently for him to begin. “The mission objective was achieved; we procured the information required.” He drew a small pouch from his pocket and handed it to the general. “This data crystal contains everything that Major Carter was able to find on the new shield design.”

Hammond took the pouch and set it carefully on the doctor’s desk. “Thank you, Teal’c.”

“We paid a high price for this information,” Teal’c continued, almost as if to himself. Janet folded her hands on her desk and held on tightly. Hammond calmly nodded at Teal’c to continue.

“Our presence was detected as we made our way out of the compound. O’Neill was covering our escape when he was hit by a staff blast. We defeated the first wave and put some distance between us and the rest of our pursuers. O’Neill decided that we would take the paths through the mountain, rather than around as we had on our way in.

“None of us knew at first how severe his wound was, but it soon became apparent that he was continuing to bleed profusely from the abdomen. His pace was slowing as we progressed through the tunnels.”

“How far from the gate were you?” Hammond asked.

“About 10 miles, General Hammond. Possibly more given the circuitous route of the caverns.”

Hammond exchanged looks with the doctor. She looked back at him gravely. A direct hit by a staff weapon was nearly always fatal without immediate surgery. It was unlikely that the colonel would have been able to cover the distance to the gate with the type of wound Teal’c was describing.

“What happened next?” Hammond asked gently.

“We came upon a section of tunnel that was extremely narrow forcing us to proceed single-file. O’Neill was followed by Major Carter, then Daniel Jackson, and lastly, myself. He stumbled into a crevice. The rest of us maneuvered past it and pulled him out, but his right leg was badly broken in several places.

“I retraced our steps to scout for pursuit while Major Carter attempted to address his injuries. I found that the Jaffa were significantly closer to us than we had hoped. I returned to find that they were having little success with either his staff wound or his leg. Pieces of bone had broken through the skin in at least two places. There was no chance of us moving him safely.”

Teal’c was silent for a moment, remembering the feel of desperation in the air as they frantically tried to think of a plan that would get them all home safely. The look in O’Neill’s eyes had told Teal’c all he needed to know, although that did not stop him from trying to think of a different plan.

“It was O’Neill’s idea to use C4 to collapse the tunnels and slow down or disable the pursuit. He had Major Carter set the charges.”

Teal’c fell silent again. He wasn’t certain whether she had honestly not known the colonel’s true plan when she set the charges or whether she was purposefully avoiding the knowledge, but her distress had been genuine when O’Neill had taken the remote from her hand.

“I’m staying, Major.”

“But Sir...”

“We blow this thing now, we might, I stress might, slow them down but chances are they know these tunnels better than we do and know a way around. Not to mention, it’ll be heard for miles and there are more Jaffa back at that compound ready to come after us. If you take me with you, I’ll only slow you up.”

She spoke rapidly, her voice tinged with anguish. “We can get you out of the blast range at least. You could blow it from there and wait.” She was grasping at straws and they all knew it. His shirt was almost completely soaked with blood, his skin pale and clammy.

“No, Major. Unless you have surveillance equipment in that pack that I don’t know about, I’d have no way of knowing when they are in the blast zone. I’m going to die on this godforsaken planet anyway; let it have some meaning.”

“And Major Carter agreed to leave Colonel O’Neill behind?” Hammond inquired.

“O’Neill gave her a direct order. She had no choice but to obey.” Both true statements, and Major Carter’s moment of near-mutiny was nobody’s business outside SG-1.


~SG1~


Daniel could hear the rise and fall of Teal’c’s voice from Janet’s office. He felt vaguely guilty at leaving his friend to handle the debrief by himself, but he didn’t want to leave Sam alone. Or maybe he just didn’t want to have to say the words out loud yet.

He sank back into a nest of pillows. Earlier, he had swiped all the pillows from the nearby beds, putting most on his bed and setting one next to Sam. She had taken it without a word and was now holding it tightly against her chest, eyes closed, still shutting everything out.

Daniel knew, deep down, that Jack had made the only decision he could have at the time. Maybe, in the coming days, they would figure out the medical miracle that would have allowed them to hide him away, safe and sound, and still stay ahead of their pursuers. But even now, hours later, none of them had come up with it ,and it didn’t matter anymore, anyway. Jack was gone.

He looked at Sam’s still form and wondered if they had lost her, too.


~SG1~


Janet sighed as she closed her office door behind her. She had called Cassie earlier and asked her not to go out tonight. This was not a talk she was looking forward to having. Her adopted daughter loved SG-1 like family and Jack’s death was going to hit the teenager hard. She looked at her three friends as she passed through the main ward and shook her head.

It was too quiet; the colonel should be there, teasing and prodding, complaining, supporting. Even when he just sat quietly next to a recovering teammate, there was a palpable force in the room. She blinked away the tears at the idea that she would never have to shoo him away from their bedsides again, never again have to hear him complain about her needles or cold hands.

“Good night,” she whispered.


~SG1~


Hammond put down his pen and sat back in his chair, staring at the forms on his desk: the termination of a life somehow reduced to checkboxes and file numbers. He had completed this set of forms more times than he cared to think about in his tenure at the SGC, and he had felt grief and sorrow every single time.

But this time... It seemed that even General George Hammond had fallen under the spell of the invincibility of SG-1 and their ability to pull off last-minute miracles. The surprise shouldn’t be that he had lost one of his flagship team; it really should be that he hadn’t lost all of them before now.

He leaned down and pulled a bottle from the bottom drawer, pouring himself a good measure of bourbon. He held the glass aloft for a minute. “To you, Jack.”


~SG1~


Sam lay quietly. She knew it was night; they had dimmed the lights a while ago. She could feel Daniel and Teal’c beside her and she knew that she should open her eyes. It was her job now to pull everyone together, to be strong. It was her job because he was dead, killed in an explosion that she set. She could still see her hands setting each charge, calculating the placement of each for maximum structural damage.

She saw his face, the resolve obvious even through the pain in his eyes. His words still echoed in her head. “Go home.” She suppressed a giggle; she couldn’t even do that right, because this wasn’t home. It would never be home again. She hugged the pillow more tightly to her. She would give herself tonight, just tonight, to feel this pain. Tomorrow, she would suck it up and lead SG-1 in Jack’s honor until an official replacement was chosen. And then... what then?

Daniel woke from a light doze and looked around the dimly lit infirmary, trying to pinpoint the noise that had filtered through. He looked at Teal’c, seated between his bed and Sam’s, and followed the Jaffa’s gaze to where Sam was shaking in her bed. A second sound, a cross between a laugh and a sob, came from where her face was buried in the pillow, and in an instant, Daniel rolled off the bed as Teal’c came to his feet.


Sam felt their hands on her and wanted that anger back, wanted to push them away, needed to pull them closer, to stop the pain. She felt tears dropping onto her skin from above, some sliding down her neck, others meeting her own on her nose or her cheeks. She felt them share their strength, even as they crumbled around her, with her, as together, the three of them pushed away the memories and the nightmares for just a little while.


Author's Post Note: So, I think there's more to this story, but I quite know what it is yet. Any thoughts? Should I continue?




 
 
I feel: lonelylonely
I'm enjoying: White Collar
 
 
 
campylobacter: Qeteshcampylobacter on April 22nd, 2012 11:36 pm (UTC)
'Final Order' #Stargate SG-1 WiP by magickmoons, Team action/adventure rated T
Should I continue?

ONLY IF THERE'S A HAPPY ENDING
magickmoons: classic teammagickmoons on April 26th, 2012 10:42 pm (UTC)
Re: 'Final Order' #Stargate SG-1 WiP by magickmoons, Team action/adventure rated T
Well, I'm not that cruel! (Okay, actually I did have an idea which wouldn't exactly equate to a happy ending, but we'll ignore that) Yeah, I think I'm slowly uncovering the happy ending here. Don't know when I'll get it done, but it's there :)
campylobacter: Qeteshcampylobacter on April 27th, 2012 03:36 am (UTC)
No one dies in science fiction! (That's mah story & I'm stickin to it.)
Sid: Jack gate and skysidlj on May 1st, 2012 09:51 pm (UTC)
*iz dying of a broken heart* This was powerfully sad.
magickmoons: Lights on Jackmagickmoons on May 2nd, 2012 03:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks, it was pretty heartbreaking to write too.

*shares chocolate covered doughnut*

Ami Ven: Team Proseami_ven on June 2nd, 2012 09:48 pm (UTC)
Oh, that was lovely, and sad, and wonderful. Especially the last image, all three of them grieving together.
magickmoons: classic team collagemagickmoons on June 3rd, 2012 01:01 am (UTC)
Thank you. I'm glad it touched you. I think I actually cried while writing that last scene.