O'Neill and Carter are stuck behind the front in an off-world battle. With Carter injured and both exhausted, can they hang on till the SGC can mount a rescue?
I was going through some of my old files and found this, mostly written, from 2012. Cleaned it up a bit and slapped an ending (of sorts) on it. I have no memory of where it was going originally, but, hey. Enjoy :) [also posted to
Jack watched through the mouth of the cave as the distant cityscape was illuminated by weapons fire. Silhouettes of aerial fighters dodged around each other and the rumble of the bombs being dropped reached them even here. He couldn’t quite see the stargate from here, but it was there. Safety, home, help for Carter: all less than half a day’s walk from here... and completely out of reach.
A voice called weakly from farther in the cave. With a last look at the chaos outside, he made his way over to his 2IC, automatically laying his hand on her cheek to check her temperature. She was still burning up, but trying to push up to sitting, to see outside. It was taking all her effort just to keep her eyes half-open.
She blinked up at him when he didn’t speak and repeated herself. “I can hear thunder. Is there a storm coming?”
He winced a bit, as echoes of another rumble filled the cavern. Gently pushing her shoulder to keep her in a prone position, he answered, “Yeah. It looks like a bad one. We’re just going to stay put for a while.” No point in worrying her when there wasn’t anything either of them could do at the moment.
Her eyes drifted shut again. Jack watched her for a minute, waiting to see if she was going to try to stay awake, but she stayed still. He grabbed the cloth he’d made from an extra t-shirt earlier and submerged it in the small stream that ran about 20 feet away. Bringing it back, he sat next to her and gently wiped away the sweat from her face and neck. One more trip to the stream and back and he laid the cool cloth across her forehead.
He sat quietly, leaning against the rocky wall as he watched her sleep. His own exhaustion was pulling at his eyelids and he occupied himself trying to total how much sleep he had gotten since everything had gone to hell. Not enough, that was for sure. He couldn’t shake the fear that, if he fell asleep, she’d be gone before he woke up.
He glanced at his watch. It had been about 77 hours now since the call from Daniel to get out of there. Daniel and Teal’c had been looking at some ruins between the capital city and the gate, while Carter kept him company on yet another tour of the ‘wonderful, magnificent’ facilities of the capital. Roadways into and out of the city were closing up even as they were leaving, and they ended up coming out on the far side of the city from the gate. Sounds of gunfire could be heard clearly once outside of the city walls.
They were ambushed as they tried to navigate around the city, surprised by some wet-behind-the-ears rebel kid who got one shot off before Jack zatted him. He had gone to make sure the kid was really out, and grab his weapon, holding it up for Carter to secure when he realized she wasn’t behind him. He turned to see her leaning against the wall, hands pressed against her side, a steady stream of blood dripping from beneath them.
Jack didn’t know what kind of ‘wonderful, magnificent’ weapons they favored here, but it quickly became apparent that the bullet carried some sort of toxin; within minutes, Carter was showing disoriented and shaking. He patched her up as quickly as he could before they started off again. The fighting grew more intense as they headed toward the gate. Carter was leaning on him heavily, shaking non-stop by this point and already running a fever.
He radioed the others. “Daniel, Teal’c, we’re not getting through to the gate. What’s your situation?”
It was about 30 seconds before Daniel’s voice came back through the radio. “Not great, Jack. We can see the gate, but there’s a lot of fighting in the area. We’re waiting for a chance to cut through.”
“Okay. When you guys get back there, tell them we need a medical unit. Carter’s been shot and is having some sort of reaction - she’s shaking, feverish, having trouble staying on her feet. I’m going to get us up to those hills they showed us on the first day. We should be able to shelter in some of those caverns until you guys can get a rescue team through.”
“Understood. We’ll be back as soon as we can.”
They hadn’t heard anything from Daniel, Teal’c, or the SGC since. There was no way of knowing if Daniel and Teal’c had gotten to the gate, or through it, or if a rescue mission would even be authorized given the volatile nature of the area surrounding the gate.
Checking the time once more, he grabbed his radio to make his hourly attempt at contacting SGC personnel. Waiting a minute to make sure he didn’t hear any chatter, he keyed the transmitter. “This is Sierra Golf One Niner. Does anybody read?” His voice sounded eerily flat to his own ears.
Three attempts, all met with only static. He turned off the radio once more and dropped his head back against the wall, eyes closed. The rumbles from the night’s battle continued in the distance, background noise as he, once again, ran through the very short list of options open to him. Stay. Or go.
Their packs had been left behind in their guest quarters in the city. It had been a diplomatic mission, after all, designed to allow the best and brightest minds of both worlds to touch base. And when they got back to Earth, Jack was going to have words with whichever SG team had declared this a politically stable planet. He tried very hard to ignore the tiny voice inside his head taunting: if they got back to Earth.
Thankfully, no matter how safe things looked, SG-1 was fanatical about keeping basic emergency supplies with them at all times offworld. It wasn’t much, but it had gotten them this far.
He’d given Carter the last of their antibiotics about 12 hours ago, for all the good they had done. Water purification was going to be the next to go, although he had been drinking straight from the stream for about a day now. He figured he might as well determine if there were any ill effects before she had to drink it. They were down to one half of a power bar in terms of food; she had not been able to eat since soon after they set up camp in this cave and he had been limiting himself to single bites at a time. He’d ventured outside a couple of times, looking for signs of animal life, but it seemed like the nearby fighting had driven off any animals that may have made this rock their home.
He put the radio down and ran his hands roughly over his face. There was no choice. He wasn’t going to leave her here alone. It was up to Daniel and Teal’c now.
A slight noise broke into what had become a light doze and he looked down at Carter. She was shivering under the camp blankets, moaning quietly.
“C-c-cold. God, so c-cold.” The words, pushed through chattering teeth, were slurred and barely audible.
He gently eased himself down next to her and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her snugly against him. The heat from her body burned him, even through his t-shirt, but he held her tightly. Her fingers clutched weakly at his until he covered her hands with his own. He listened to her breathing slow as she began to sleep again and closed his eyes, giving himself permission to rest for few minutes.
As soon as he’d gotten them settled in the cave, he’d turned his attention to her wound. It didn’t take too much to dig the bullet out, most of it anyway; clearly, parts of it had fragmented and were likely stuck in the wound track. Apparently, its main objective was to deliver whatever germ or toxin it was that was making her sick, rather than to kill outright.
He watched her all through the night, as the fever climbed higher and she kept flirting with shock. By dawn, he had made up his mind; even a as a prisoner, she stood a chance of getting medical care. No news from Daniel or Teal’c or anyone else at the SGC made him reluctant to rely on that avenue for immediate help.
He made sure she was comfortable and headed down the hill. Halfway through a small wooded area, he heard movement and slowed down. As he approached through the trees, he was pretty sure these were rebel soldiers, a belief reinforced as several city soldiers came into view on the path, their hands raised in surrender. Before a word could be spoken, the rebels had attacked and killed the others. Jack quietly faded back further into the shadow of the trees, waiting for them to despoil the bodies and continue on their way. He hurried back to the cave. No way to get to the city, no good hope of turning themselves in to the rebels.
Jack started awake to find her staring at him intently. He took stock of the situation: he’d slept for about two hours; the bombardment sounded nearer now - they must be trying to flush out the rebel camps in the woods; Carter was just as feverish as earlier, if not more so. Her eyes were glassy and her face was ashen except for two bright spots on her cheeks, but she seemed lucid and aware for the first time in over a day.
Her voice, when she spoke, was dry and hoarse, causing Jack to wince in sympathy at the pain it must be causing her throat. “I know what’s going on, Sir. They’re getting closer. You need to stay mobile. Go find somewhere safe.”
She tensed and her hands fisted in his shirt as she fought a sudden wave of pain. He wrapped one hand over hers and pressed firmly. She finally relaxed with a sharp exhale that sounded almost like a sob.
Her eyes met his again and he shook his head.
“Nowhere to go, Carter. This is as safe as it’s going to get for us.”
Her eyes were already starting to close again. “Hey,” he said softly, drawing the last bit of power bar out of his pocket. “Try to eat something, okay?”
She slowly shook her head, eyes already shut. “I don’t think I can.”
“Please, Sam? For me?” He knew that the little bit of food in his hand wouldn’t make any tangible difference to either of them. But he needed to feel that he had done everything possible to keep them both alive. Some little part of him kept saying if she could just eat, she would have the wherewithal to fight this thing.
She opened her eyes. He tightened his jaw at the bleak resignation that shone through tears. After a couple of deep breaths, she nodded and he pressed the bar into her open hand. Her eyes closed again after one bite.
"Carter? Sam?" No answer other than shallow breathing, so he found the most comfortable place against the wall and pulled her close against his side, closing his own eyes just for a little while. No point in facing death exhausted.
He woke abruptly as his brain registered the silence outside the cave. Carter didn't move as he slowly reached for the radio and tiredly thumbed it on.
“...own position. Jack? Can you hear me?” Daniel’s voice was sharp with worry and fatigue and just about the most welcome sound Jack could imagine. He squeezed Carter's shoulder gently. "We're gonna get you out of here."
Jack tried to insist on walking back to the gate under his own power, but Fraiser pulled the whole medical authority business. He would never admit it but the weight of her stare was almost enough to knock him onto the stretcher by itself. Daniel and Teal'c flanked him as they headed back to the gate; just ahead of them he could see Carter, Fraiser at her side. The doc caught his eye and gave him a quick thumbs up.
He nodded his acknowledgement of Fraiser's optimism and eased back onto the stretcher. He turned his head to speak to Daniel.
"So, how’d you get them to stop?"
Teal'c glowered. "When we lost contact with you, DanielJackson refused to leave the planet. He began negotiations with the troops surrounding the gate."
Jack groaned, able to picture the scene: Daniel walking right out into the middle of the fighting, yelling for everyone to just listen to reason.
Daniel shrugged. "It wasn't as bad as you're imagining." Teal'c cleared his throat significantly. "Anyway, we've got SG-9 sitting with representatives from both sides right now, trying to hammer out of treaty."
"Is it going to work?"
"ummm... long-term to prevent a war? No, not a chance. Short-term yes; it got them to stop fighting long enough for us to come in and get you."
"And to obtain the antidote."
"Well, whatever magic you worked, ... worked."
The gate came into view. Jack welcomed the icy disassociation of the wormhole, happy to leave the 'wonderful, magnificent' planet behind. Through the gate, down the ramp, straight to the infirmary -- a route so familiar, Jack could do it in his sleep... had done it in his sleep actually. Might even be doing so now. Because he was now enjoying the nominal upgrade from stretcher to infirmary bed.
He opened his eyes slowly, every muscle in his body screaming exhaustion at him. Carter smiled softly at him from the next bed over.
"You got us home, Colonel," she whispered. "Now get some sleep."
"Giving me orders, Carter?"
"Just a helpful suggestion, Sir."
He had a great retort, guaranteed to make her have to stop herself from rolling her eyes, but it really was a good suggestion. Maybe he'd just have to store that comeback for when he woke up.
This entry was originally posted at https://magickmoons.dreamwidth.org/43403.html.