NEW FIC: Under Friendly Fire - Chapter 12 Chapter 12
The Stargate’s event horizon burst into life and Jack watched as the energy billowed out toward him, then settle into a swirling pool of blue light. He and his team had only been back at the SGC for a few days and the Tok’ra had already responded with a definite interest in what SG-1 had acquired on their mission to Omer’s planet. Jack stood there next to General Hammond, with the rest of SG-1 gathered around them, while the normal reception party of soldiers stood at the ready to blast away the enemy should one step through the Gate. Granted, it was the Tok’ra coming for a visit this time, but it never hurt to be careful.
“Wonder who they’ll send this time?” he asked, with a grim expression.
“Maybe it’s Anise,” Daniel responded with a thoughtful look on his face. “She hasn’t been by for quite some time now.” Jack couldn’t help but grimace, as Daniel added, “She really liked you Jack.”
“Don’t remind me,” Jack growled, suppressing a shudder at the very thought that a woman with a snake in her head would even try to make a pass at him. Daniel tried to hide his grin and Jack glowered at him before turning his attention back to the Stargate. He would never admit it to anyone, but Anise had scared the crap out of him when she had so casually kissed him that day in his holding cell. He had tried to tell Daniel about it, but found that he couldn’t admit it even to his best friend. He ended up telling him that “it was bad timing”.
Two figures finally stepped through the wormhole and onto the ramp and Jack breathed a sigh of relief. Anise was not one of the visitors. He could still remember the terror he’d felt when she kissed him so passionately. All he could think about was the possibility of the Tok’ra leaving her through her mouth and sliding down his throat, taking over his body. He couldn’t let that happen – Hathor’s snake was one incident too many, as far as he was concerned.
The two men stood at the top of the ramp for a moment, taking in the sights, then walked toward Jack and the General. “Welcome to Stargate Command,” the General said, as the two men stopped at the bottom of the ramp. “I am General Hammond and this is…”
“SG-1,” one of the Tok’ra supplied. “We have met.”
“We have?” Jack and Daniel both asked at the same time, then looked at each other and shrugged. Jack couldn’t stop the grin that formed on his face as he went back to looking at the Tok’ra. It was scary how attuned he and Daniel seemed to be with each other.
“Of course!” Carter spoke up, her eyes alight with recognition. “You were there when we first met with the High Council. You are Braedel.”
“That is correct,” Braedel answered. “I am pleased that you remember me.”
“I remember that you wouldn’t let us leave when we wanted to,” Jack groused, still a little angry at the memory of that meeting. Carter’s father was dying, for crying out loud!
“We were within our rights,” Braedel replied. “This is Lamdyn,” he continued, apparently deciding to put their little disagreement to rest. “We have come for the information Omer passed on to you.”
“If you gentleman will follow us, we can go someplace more suitable for this talk,” General Hammond offered, moving into his role as a diplomat.
The Tok’ra nodded and Jack waited for them to pass before turning to follow them up to the briefing room. He had his qualms when it came to the Tok’ra and it didn’t pay to turn his back on them. His trust only went so far.
“Do you have the device?” Braedel asked when they had all sat down at the table.
“Yes,” Carter answered. “I admit that I tried to activate it, but was unable to determine how to do it,” she added. Jack just knew she was gearing up for one of her long-winded, technology-laden explanations, and he sighed inwardly as he waited for her to wind down.
Why she insisted on babbling on about technological theories and her fascination with devices she probably shouldn’t even know existed, was beyond him. But for once, he didn’t try to stop her. She was in her glory, and he didn’t have the heart to put a stop to it. So he sat back and half-listened to Carter’s explanation and the sparse additions that the Tok’ra deemed okay to divulge. Jack was not surprised by this. The Tok’ra were notorious for keeping their secrets to themselves, even to the point of endangering the Tau’ri. But when the tables were turned, the Tok’ra would be the first ones in line to demand that the Tau’ri divulge the secrets that they had acquired. Jack wished this was one of those times. He so loved it when he had one over on the Tok’ra.
Carter rambled on and Jack found himself watching her as she and the Tok’ra battled for information regarding the device and the well-being of Omer. The Tok’ra wanted to know everything Omer had told Carter, and he hated that she had to relive that experience once again. He well remembered the debriefing of that mission where Carter spoke of her experience, holding back on the finer details of what was done to her. Jack had decided halfway through the debriefing that she wasn’t going to get away with keeping those secrets. He’d had a pretty good idea of what she went through and he had been determined to force her to talk about it.
Jack smiled as he thought about the ensuing conversation when he had finally caught up with her in her lab after the debriefing. He had asked specific questions, guaranteed to get at the truth and she didn’t let him down. She had told him of her fears and he couldn’t help the feeling of pride that flowed through him when he realized she had conquered those fears and stood up to her would be rapist.
Samantha Carter was going to survive and Jack was glad that she had worked past her anger and guilt.
But now Braedel was badgering her, asking what seemed like a hundred questions to find out everything he could about Omer’s welfare. Jack could see that Carter was tiring of the interrogation, even though General Hammond and Daniel were butting in with their own opinions to get the Tok’ra to back off. Jack had finally had enough, but didn’t get a chance to say anything, because the Tok’ra’s next words had him gaping at the man in shock.
“I apologize for my insistence in getting as much information as possible in regard to Omer,” he said, as he bowed his head at Carter. “Thank you for your help in this matter. But now I must ask if you were able to procure samples of the drug you encountered on Etelner?”
“Etelner?” Daniel asked, his expression suddenly wary.
“Yes,” Braedel responded. “You and your team were there several months ago, were you not?” he asked, as he looked directly at Jack.
“Etelner,” Jack said, with a sinking feeling in his stomach. “Doesn’t ring a bell.” The only planet they had visited a few months ago ended up with three drug-induced teammates raping one of their own, but Jack wasn’t about to admit anything to the snaky bastard that was asking about it.
“We have an operative living on that planet,” Lamdyn said calmly. “He has been trying to acquire information and samples of a drug that is produced there, one that could be used against the Goa’uld. We had hoped you were able to procure samples of the drug and would be willing to share with us.”
“You have an operative living there?” Carter asked. She looked like she was going to faint and Jack suddenly became very worried for her.
“Yes,” Braedel responded, watching her with interest. “We had hoped you would be able to tell us if you were exposed to the drug and of your reactions, if you were.”
“Your operative did not tell you this?” Teal’c asked in a voice that was filled with danger. Something had pissed him off, and Jack knew exactly what it was.
“Why didn’t your ‘operative’ come to our aid?” Jack snarled, the anger coiling up from his gut was threatening to strangle him, and Jack knew just the person to take that anger out on.
“He would have been exposed,” Braedel answered warily, apparently understanding exactly what Jack was thinking and realizing the danger he had put himself in. “Surely you know the importance of a covert accomplice staying out of situations that could expose his identity.”
Fortunately for the Tok’ra, Jack did know the importance of such a task. His own background in special ops had provided him more memories than he liked to admit to of standing by and watching atrocities inflicted upon other humans, while he ignored his inner turmoil in an effort to finish the job. But it was Carter who suffered the ultimate sacrifice this time. Jack turned his glare to the table in defeat. He couldn’t blame the Tok’ra operative for not interfering and he felt the old feelings of shame and self-hatred flaring up as he realized that he would have done the same thing were it him in the operative’s shoes. The job was more important than a stranger’s life.
It sucks that this time it just so happened to be Carter’s life.
Unbeknownst to both men, Teal’c was thinking the same thing. He had built his life around the main goal of becoming Aphosis’ First Prime, and to do this meant to harden his heart and soul to the atrocities that Apophis expected of him. Samantha Carter suffered greatly on that planet, but for the Tok’ra to expose his identity to save just one person would not have been feasible, nor would it serve a purpose.
“What happened on that planet is considered classified information,” General Hammond said, his expression showing his distaste of the whole situation. “I can tell you that my people did not bring back samples of anything that would be of interest to you.”
“Where was your operative?” Daniel Jackson wanted to know, effectively cutting off Braedel’s attempt to protest. “Why can’t he bring you the samples you so desperately want?” His voice had lowered by the end of the question, and was laced with anger. Teal’c knew why Daniel Jackson was angry. The operative could have saved Major Carter from the pain and grief of being raped, as well as put a stop to Daniel Jackson’s personal downfall.
“While the population on that planet has dwindled considerably over the past several years due to the use of that drug, the few that remain are very suspicious and extremely dangerous,” Braedel began.
“You got that right!” O’Neill snarled.
“That planet used to be heavily populated,” Braedel continued, ignoring the interruption, “But once that drug was introduced into the various societies, the people began to kill their neighbors and family members, seemingly without remorse. At least until the drug wore off, and suicide became the only option for many of the users.” He looked over at Lamdyn, then apparently decided to continue with his narrative. “We had hoped to acquire samples of the drug to use in our fight against the Goa’uld. It was determined that the Goa’uld are not immune to the drug and…”
“And just how did you come up with that information?” O’Neill asked angrily. Teal’c understood O’Neill’s anger. The Tok’ra could have saved the members of SG-1 a great deal of grief and pain if they would have warned the Tau’ri about that planet.
“That does not matter,” Braedel said haughtily. “What matters is that we know you were there and that you survived the effects of the drug.”
“What makes you think we were exposed to that drug?” Daniel Jackson asked. Teal’c stared at his friend curiously. Daniel Jackson was deliberately holding back on the truth, which was not something he did on a normal basis. His friend had changed a lot over the last few months, Teal’c realized, and he was glad because it meant that Daniel Jackson had moved a step closer to being a warrior in his own right.
“You were attacked within minutes after your arrival,” Lamdyn answered, his face showing his impatience with those he deemed inferior. Lamdyn may be Tok’ra, but Teal’c knew that the symbiote inside was still from the same line as the Goa’uld. The Tok’ra would never be able to convince him otherwise. “You were taken away,” Lamdyn continued, “Then reappeared at the Stargate days later fighting for your lives.” He stared straight at Daniel Jackson, then reiterated, “You were exposed to the drug.”
“We were in too much of a hurry to get out of there to grab any samples,” O’Neill offered. He appeared to be sitting there without a care, but Teal’c knew better. The anger was there in O’Neill’s eyes for anyone who cared to look deep enough to see. Teal’c had learned the hard way to never underestimate Colonel Jack O’Neill.
“General Hammond, please,” Braedel said, turning his attention to the Tau’ri leader of the group. “I cannot stress how important samples of that drug are to the Tok’ra cause. One of our operatives died from complications of that drug. We know that a symbiote can not fight off the effects of the drug, and if we can find a way to reproduce it, we could effectively annihilate the Goa’uld by introducing it to their Jaffa.”
“I’m sorry,” General Hammond said, his own expression grave as he stared at Braedel. “But my people did not bring back any samples. You will just have to rely on your operative to do that for you.”
Braedel and Lamdyn glanced at each other again, and Teal’c had a sudden insight into their dilemma. “You can not trust your operative,” he told them. Everyone turned their attention to Teal’c, who leveled his gaze on the Tok’ra.
“That is correct,” Braedel admitted quietly. “His reports were encouraging at first, but as time went by, it became apparent that he was not functioning as well as expected. His reports were sporadic and filled with half truths and…,” he stopped to glance at Lamdyn for a moment, then continued, “And filled with anger and hatred. His last report told us of your visit, and that although he was living among the natives who dwelled by the Stargate, he was fairly sure you were all exposed to the drug.”
“Did he say why he thought that?” Major Carter asked. She was pale and tense and Teal’c understood without being told that she was worried about what the Tok’ra knew. Her fear worried him. He had thought she was past the fear and had moved on toward acceptance of what had happened to her. They had spent many hours over the past few months helping each other to deal with the events of that mission, although Teal’c had done much worse in his lifetime. He had already found a way to live with his actions. But he wanted to rebuild her trust in him and he had made the effort to help her learn to trust him again. Her actions now gave him pause; perhaps she had not come to complete terms with her ordeal and the feelings that resulted from it.
“I have already explained this to you Major Carter,” Braedel responded. “And from your reactions and those of your companions, I now know that you were definitely exposed to it. You were given the drug and it would help us greatly if you would tell us what happened while you were under the influence.”
Major Carter did not respond. Instead, she up straight and stared back at the Tok’ra, her whole demeanor speaking volumes. She was not going to cooperate and Teal’c smiled inwardly. The battle-scarred warrior had moved back into his comrade. His worries were for nothing, she had definitely survived that ordeal.
Daniel Jackson was infuriated. He sat there, glaring at the Tok’ra, all the while wondering what he could do to those bastards without getting tossed into a jail cell. He was pretty sure that Jack would help him destroy the two men, but the General may have a problem with the mess that would be left over after the two Tok’ra lost the battle. So Daniel just sat there, silently scheming and planning scenarios he knew would never come to pass, while he waited for Sam to respond.
Sam hadn’t said anything, although she did have that look on her face, Daniel thought with pride. The one that said she wasn’t going to give an inch and Daniel was secretly glad. The Tok’ra didn’t deserve to know anything that happened to him and his friends. The drug was far too dangerous, as far as he was concerned and it was probably better that no one get their hands on it anyway. Besides, the Tok’ra knew of the dangers the Tau’ri would face on that planet, and they still hadn’t bothered to warn them. All par for the course, Daniel knew, but it still rankled when he thought about it. Sam nearly died on that planet.
“Major Carter?” Lamdyn prompted. He was staring at her, probably hoping to intimidate her, but Daniel knew that Lamdyn was going to be disappointed in that area. Sam had stood up to men much scarier than the Tok’ra sitting in front of her. Even Jack, who had intimidation down to an art, had to resort to “ordering” Sam to get what he wanted. Sam was much stronger than she looked. She just shrugged her shoulders, and Daniel smiled, as he Braedel sighed in frustration.
“Teal’c,” Braedel said, apparently hoping to garner some support from a Jaffa. “Did your symbiote aid in the determent of the drug?”
“It did not,” Teal’c answered haughtily. Daniel wondered what his friend was thinking. Teal’c had always been a hard person to figure out, and Daniel had long since given up trying. But that didn’t stop him from talking to his friend about the guilt that was threatening to destroy him. Teal’c’s faith in him helped Daniel a lot during the last few months, as it helped him to understand the demons running around inside his head. The demons were under control now and Daniel hoped that he would never have to face them again.
“What were your reactions to the substance?” Lamdyn asked, apparently encouraged by Teal’c’s response.
“It made me angry,” Teal’c said, causing Daniel to smile, despite his own anger. It was apparent that Teal’c had no intentions, whatsoever, of divulging his secrets to the Tok’ra.
“Was your reaction more violent than the others?” Braedel asked. It appeared the Tok’ra had decided to gang up on Teal’c. This should be interesting, Daniel thought, as he looked over at Jack. Jack glanced back at him, but then turned his attention back to Teal’c. Jack was another mystery to Daniel. There were times when he could relate to the man, and other times when it seemed he was a complete stranger. This was one of those times when he could relate to the anger Jack was hiding from everyone else. No one would know it by the look on his face, but Daniel had seen the rage reflected in the man’s eyes when he glanced over at him and he was suddenly glad that the anger wasn’t directed at him.
“I would not know,” Teal’c replied. He was sitting there quietly, and Daniel wondered when he was going to tire of his game.
“Did your symbiote protect you from the drug?” Lamdyn asked.
Teal’c turned to stare directly at Lamdyn, his expression giving nothing away, but for once Daniel was afraid for the Tok’ra. Teal’c had finally tired of the game. “It did not,” Teal’c said with a look that dared the Tok’ra to say another word.
The Tok’ra apparently didn’t know Teal’c as well as Daniel did, because Braedel stepped up to the plate to take over the interrogation. “What happened while you were under the influence?” he asked.
“That is none of your concern,” Teal’c responded, as he glared at the Tok’ra. He then turned his attention away from them, telling everyone without words that he had finally tired of the whole scene and wasn’t going to cooperate anymore. The Tok’ra understood this as well as Daniel did, because they looked at each other before turning as one to Daniel.
“Don’t look at me!” Daniel exclaimed in a rush. “I don’t know a thing about Teal’c’s symbiote.” It was a deliberate attempt to distract the Tok’ra and Daniel found he was glad he’d said it when Sam smiled warmly at him. Daniel shrugged his shoulders in mock innocence then grinned back at her.
“What went down on that planet has no bearings on anything,” Jack spoke up in a calm voice. Daniel was glad to hear that Jack had dealt with the problem at hand. It was so typical of Jack to take what life threw at him and deal with it on the spot, or as Daniel now knew, push it away to dwell on at a future date. The good news about what happened on Etelner was that Daniel now had a deeper understanding of Jack’s behavior. He no longer thought of Jack as an emotionless bastard. Jack felt the same pain and emotional distress as Daniel did, Jack had just learned how to deal with it and hide it from others. It was a trait that Daniel admired in his friend.
They had all found ways to cope with what happened on that planet. Daniel was just glad that the incident hadn’t torn their friendships apart. He knew it could have, but he also knew that the four of them were too strong, emotionally, to let it destroy them. He sighed inwardly as he realized how long it took for him to realize that.
Sam sat quietly in her chair, worry and fear threatening to destroy her. She wasn’t about to let the others know that she was on the verge of sheer panic though. The Tok’ra would be jumping on the knowledge that something did, in fact, happen on that planet, while her teammates and the General would be thinking that she wasn’t strong enough to deal with it. The last part made her more determined than ever to make sure no one ever knew of her inner turmoil. Too many years of proving time and again that she was a model Air Force Officer had taken its toll.
Instead, she had sat back in her chair, quietly listening to the Tok’ra as they asked question after question, hoping to get the information they needed. Sam was not surprised that Teal’c wouldn’t give them anything. His distrust of the Tok’ra rivaled the distrust the Colonel harbored for them. But Sam also knew that his silence in regard to what had happened on that planet was more out of deference to her. He, Daniel, Colonel O’Neill and General Hammond would never betray her confidence and she was glad that she could trust them on that.
“Doctor Jackson,” Braedel said, apparently ignoring Daniel’s glib remark about Teal’c’s symbiote, “Surely you understand the importance of learning about the influence of the drug that you encountered on Etelner. Entire cultures simply disappeared - became extinct, if you will. We believe that it is imperative we educate ourselves of the side effects in order to prevent that from happening to other cultures, including the people here on Earth.”
Daniel sat forward, but didn’t get a chance to answer. “You didn’t seem to be too worried about the people of Earth until now,” Colonel O’Neill spoke up. He was sitting in the chair next to her, leaning back in a casual stance, as he stared at Braedel. He was in his unreadable mode and Sam wondered what he was thinking. “You could have warned us about that place,” he went on to say.
“Would you have listened?” Lamdyn snarled, causing everyone to stop and take notice. The Colonel hadn’t moved a muscle, he just stared back at Lamdyn, who added, “The Tau’ri are well known for taking on System Lords and technology that are way beyond your understanding, only to find that you were better off not knowing those things existed.”
“Gentlemen,” General Hammond intervened. “This conversation will get us nowhere and I, for one, am tired of it. Now, you got what you came here for, and unfortunately, we do not have any samples of that drug. I believe our business here is over.”
“General Hammond,” Lamdyn tried one more time, “It is imperative that we learn as much as we can about that drug. We may be able to use it against the Goa’uld System Lords and your subordinates have the knowledge we need to control the substance.”
“The only thing my people will be able to tell you is how they reacted when under the influence, and from what you tell me, you already know what they experienced. They do not wish to discuss it with you, and I am in concurrence with their wishes. There is nothing more to discuss. Now if you will excuse me, I’ll just go and make arrangements for your departure. I’m sure you are anxious to find out what Omer put in that communication device.” He had stood up at that point, prompting Sam and the Colonel to do the same.
Relief was flowing through Sam, as the Tok’ra looked at each other and silently admitted defeat. She could see it in their eyes, as they glared at the Colonel. The glares didn’t faze the Colonel in the least. In fact, he was wearing a secret smile, and Sam ended up gaping at him when he winked at her. He was apparently enjoying this triumphant moment way too much, but Sam couldn’t fault him on this. There were many times when the Tok’ra had her nerves on edge with their secretive ways and outright arrogance. She smiled back at him, before deciding that now would be a good time to get out of that room.
The Tok’ra followed the General out of the room, while Sam and her teammates walked out the other door. “The Tok’ra do have a valid point about the possible extinction of the cultures on Etelner,” Daniel said, as they made their way down the hall.
“Don’t start, Daniel!” the Colonel growled.
“What?” Daniel asked. “There have been many instances on Earth where entire civilizations just disappeared without a trace. The Anasazi, for instance…”
“Not interested, Daniel,” the Colonel said, as he moved purposefully toward the elevator. Daniel stopped for a second, his face showing his hurt and Sam wondered if she could get away with punching out her commanding officer again. Daniel shook off the hurt and smiled at Sam when she went up to him to link her arm through his.
“Don’t pay him any attention Daniel,” she said conspiratorially. “He’s just mad because Anise didn’t show up.” Daniel grinned broadly at her and Sam wondered what in the world got into her to say such a thing, especially since the Colonel had turned to her with a full-blown glare aimed her way. Daniel’s smile urged her on though, and she smirked back at the Colonel, hoping he would get the hint that she was just kidding. She didn’t know the whole story between that particular Tok’ra and the Colonel, but his reaction when Daniel mentioned Anise while they waited for the Tok’ra to appear gave her a clue that it wasn’t good.
“Yeah,” the Colonel said, the mean smile he was wearing causing Sam to mentally steel herself for the backlash. “She really is a great kisser.” With that, he swiped his card through the reader at the elevator, then turned to waggle his eyebrows at her. Sam was in shock. He kissed Anise? When? She closed her mouth with a snap when she realized that she was literally gaping at him. “Don’t worry though,” he added with a crooked grin. “The snake liked Daniel.”
“Yes sir,” was all Sam could manage. She supposed she deserved that, although she doubted Colonel O’Neill liked the experience much. He seemed to be really disgusted at the thought that Anise would show up.
No, this was too much, Sam thought, as she went back to staring at her commanding officer. He hated the “snakeheads”! “You kissed her?” was all she could say.
“Well no,” he admitted, his reluctance to talk about the whole situation clearly showing in his demeanor. “She kissed me.” He went back to looking at the elevator, probably hoping it would open up and swallow him whole.
“Why?” she asked, wondering what made Anise think Colonel O’Neill would be interested in her. He didn’t really like the Tok’ra, she thought, even as she tried to justify the jealousy that raged through her heart.
“What do you mean, why?” Colonel O’Neill asked indignantly.
“Perhaps she thought you would be more inclined to help her,” Teal’c said thoughtfully. Sam smiled at that. She knew Teal’c couldn’t be that naïve. He had learned how to add his own brand of humor into a situation and Sam appreciated his help.
“I had always thought it was because she felt sorry for him,” Daniel said, to add his two cents in.
“Whatever,” the Colonel said dismissively. “Anyone want lunch?”
“I do,” Sam said, as she beamed at her friends. They were going to make it, no matter what happened to them. As long as they had each other to lean on when times got tough, they would survive any hardship the enemy threw at them. That incident on Etelner and the subsequent months following her rape had proven that to her. She was much stronger in mind and spirit because of that incident and Sam intended to never forget the lessons she learned because of what happened.
The elevator came and they all got in, while Sam ruminated on the situation with Omer. That was just one more lesson she’d had to learn in order to strengthen her resolve and her will to live. She now knew that Omer had no intentions of raping her, but it very well could still happen. There were no guarantees in life, especially in her line of work. She faced the possibility of torture and rape each and every time she went out on a mission. There was a reason the Air Force provided the resources and training on these topics and Sam took advantage of everything she was offered. There was no way the enemy would win.
Sam smiled at her teammates when the elevator doors opened. The enemy didn’t know that Sam had a secret weapon in her arsenal when it came to surviving. The secret weapon had a name – SG-1. Her teammates would be there for her, of this she had no doubt. They had proved it over the years and especially over the last couple of months. Sam smiled at her friends as they walked toward the commissary. As long as they had each other, they were going to be all right.