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Dr. Warner was prepping Taylor for surgery. He hadn't been optimistic about the results. Janet had been carefully placed on the first bed in the infirmary. Sam had called Cassie, telling the teenager that an SF was on his way to pick her up. There was no need to say any more.
General Hammond stood just inside the infirmary door, watching as nurses and medics dealt with the three teams, running the requisite post-mission tests. Jack and Sam were sitting side by side, the shock on their faces a mirror of those who'd returned to the base with them. Teal'c was staring straight ahead. Casey was crying quietly, sniffing every few minutes. Daniel was sitting beside her, his blue eyes reflecting his distress, his arm around her shoulders, the one that wasn't being pumped for blood pressure or poked for a blood sample. Blood! Oh, hell! He'd have to find a way to destroy the samples taken from SG-1!
Twenty minutes later Cassie raced into the room. Saw the members of SG-1 gathered around one of the beds. Realized that the person lying in it was her mother. She ran toward them, stopped when she saw the blue tinge to her mother's lips, the cold paleness of her cheeks. "No! No!" She began to back away.
Sam hurried toward her. Wrapped the young woman in her arms. Began to cry when Cassie's wails of grief split the air.
Casey turned and buried her face against Daniel's shoulder. Her own tears prevented her from seeing his.
When she was able to regain control, Cassie pulled away from Sam. Gave the woman a watery smile. Then approached Daniel. "We talked just before she came back to the base. She..." the young woman glanced around. "She was going to accept. Is it too late? Can you...can you help her?"
Daniel shook his head. "I'm not sure, Cassie. I don't even know-"
Casey lifted her head. "Get everyone out of here."
"Get everyone out of here. Make certain all of the cameras are off. Sam...get that Goa'uld healing device."
"But-" Sam started to protest.
"Just get it, Sam," Casey insisted. Quietly. Firmly. She glanced around. "They have to leave. Now."
Jack never once questioned her. He began to order the very confused medical staff out of the room. Sent Teal'c to the monitoring room to make certain that the cameras for the infirmary were off, and would remain off until further notice. Sam raced toward the safe room, where the most dangerous artifacts were kept under lock and key.
With a smile for Cassie, and one for her husband, Casey closed her eyes.
A A A A A A
Senator Shepperd was livid. He'd sent Sergeant Harriman back to Silver Springs. With a very simple message. "Consider the situation contained."
He was going to see to this matter personally. A call to the president, who had indeed viewed the evidence, had garnered him permission to make certain that the NID Director was taken into immediate custody.
Thirty minutes later the senator was waiting at the gate where the flight from Denver would be arriving, four FBI agents at his side. He wasn't taking any chances that the bastard might try to escape. Shepperd tried to keep his anger from reflecting in his face. He knew that he'd been recognized by many of the people gathered at a nearby gate, waiting for their flight.
Simmons stood up, walked to the back of the plane. None of the tiny restrooms were occupied. Nor did he see Maybourne in any of the coach seats. He bit back a sigh of frustration. There was no way the bastard could have gotten off of a goddamned jet in the middle of a flight! When he attempted to peek behind the curtain into the galley, the male flight attendant stopped him. Well, now he knew where Harry was hiding!
"I suggest you alert the Air Marshall that we have a wanted fugitive on board," Simmons said quietly.
"Sir, there isn't an Air Marshall on this flight."
"Well, notify Dulles. Tell them that Colonel Harold Maybourne is on this plane. Have agents standing by to arrest him. He's the man hiding in the galley," Simmons smirked.
The flight attendant stared evenly at the man. "There is no one in the galley, I can assure you."
"Sir, you need to return to your seat..."
"I want you to notify Dulles, and I want it done now!"
The attendant put a hand on Simmons' arm. "Sir, you must return..."
"Get your hands off of me! I'm the Director of the NID!"
"I don't care who you are! Up here, I'm in charge, now return to your seat!" the attendant demanded.
When one of the three female flight attendants saw what was happening, she raced to the cockpit. Within minutes the co-pilot had arrived. He and the male flight attendant escorted Simmons to his seat, and handcuffed him. "If you move before we land, Ray here will knock your ass out," the co-pilot hissed.
He let his head drop back against the headrest. How in the hell had Harry managed to do it? He had no doubt that the former NID agent was in that galley. When the plane landed, he'd insist that the passengers be detained, and the plane searched. Harry was going back to prison. And he was going to get the credit for bringing him in!
"Sir, there's been an incident on the plane," one of the agents whispered.
Oh, god! All they needed was for some innocent civilian to get caught in the middle of all of this and hurt. "How bad?"
"A man claiming to be the Director of the NID tried to access the galley, then refused to obey the flight attendant. He's cuffed and under control," was the reply.
The senator smiled grimly. Keep it up, Frank, he thought. You're just making this all the easier.
When two Air Marshals hurried toward the gate, Senator Shepperd stopped them, explained the situation. The fact that four FBI agents were with him only emphasized his point. The marshals and agents held a quick conference, and decided the 'pecking order' of those present to carry out the impending arrest.
As soon as the plane began to taxi toward the waiting gate, word was sent that an Air Marshal and an FBI agent would board the plane, and remove the prisoner before the other passengers were allowed to disembark.
"Colonel, if you will come with us, please," Agent Damien Cooper said quietly, holding his badge out so that Simmons could see it.
"The man you want is hiding in the galley," Simmons insisted.
"We'll check out your complaint," Cooper replied. The flight attendant named Ray had already filled them in on the incident, and the accusations. And had vehemently denied the presence of anyone in the tiny galley.
"There is a fugitive in that galley!"
"Sir, right now, the only person I'm interested in is you. Please, Colonel Simmons, let's not make a scene. Come along quietly."
In that instant Colonel Frank Simmons, Retired, Director of the NID, knew that his world was tumbling completely out of control. And this time there wouldn't be a convenient scapegoat. He realized now, far too late, that the information that General George Hammond had shown him had been only a part of what that man knew. He closed his eyes, nodded wearily. He was about to be dragged down. His exposure would be public, and humiliating.
The agent helped the handcuffed man to his feet. Put Simmons' coat over his hands, somewhat disguising the fact that he was restrained. The man was a retired colonel. Rank alone was reason enough to offer that bit of dignity. Had Cooper known the full extent of the charges, he wouldn't have been so generous.
Senator Shepperd was waiting. "Colonel Simmons, you are being placed under arrest for treason against the United States of America."
"You have no idea what's going on," Simmons replied.
"I rather imagine I know more than you think I do," the senator replied. "Gentlemen, I leave you to do your duty."
"Colonel Frank Simmons, you are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to the presence of an attorney during questioning. If you desire an attorney, but cannot afford one, an attorney will be assigned to you. Do you understand each of these rights?"
"Yes," he hissed.
In an office deep in the Pentagon, a man listened carefully to the voice on the phone, then sat back in his chair and smiled. Sometimes it was just too easy.
A A A A A A
The infirmary had been cleared. As far as the medics and nurses knew, Major Carter was going to attempt to use the Goa'uld healing device. They knew it was possible for her to use it, and they understood that it would indeed heal wounds, and even illness. Each of them assumed it was desperation, and a deep-seated hope that it could revive the doctor as well.
General Hammond approached Daniel. "Doctor Jackson, I don't know if now is the time to bring this up, but..." he paused, glanced at the bed where Dr. Fraiser was lying.
"You want to accept the gift as well," Daniel said softly.
"Son, somebody has to watch your back," the general replied.
"Sir, I can't tell you how glad I am to hear that!" Daniel glanced at Casey. As soon as she knew what he was supposed to do, she'd tell him.
"Please tell me it's not too late! Please tell me that Daniel can save Janet!" Tears were rolling down her cheeks.
The old woman reached up, and brushed the wetness from smooth, firm cheeks. "It's not too late. Does she accept the Gift?"
Casey nodded. "Cassie, her daughter, said that she'd just made the decision, was going to tell us as soon as we returned from the mission."
Miss Eloise nodded. Looked up, spoke silently with whoever it was with whom she communed. "Give me your hand, Casey."
Without a second's hesitation, Casey wrapped her fingers around the gnarled hand of her guide.
"Take Daniel's hand."
In the infirmary, Casey began to reach out. Daniel immediately took her hand. Lifted it and gently kissed her fingers. "Talk to me, Angel," he whispered in her ear.
The old woman reached up, and a golden light surrounded her arm. "Tell him to send the power into her body. Slowly...gently."
"I hear you, Angel."
"Send your power...the blue light...into Janet's body. Do it slowly...gently."
Daniel nodded. Lifted his free hand, held it out over the still, cold body of his friend. He closed his eyes, concentrated on the heat that he could feel coursing through his veins. Struggled for a few seconds to control it. Certain that he could maintain that control, he pushed the heat toward his fingers.
Blue light began to glow around his fingers, his hand, moved up his arm...then slowly moved toward the woman on the bed.
Jack, Sam, Teal'c, General Hammond, and Cassie watched in silence; holding their breath, waiting for the miracle...watching the miracle that was being performed before their very eyes.
The clock on the wall ticked off the seconds. The blue light grew stronger, brighter, spread from the top of Janet's head to her feet. His teammates and friends stepped back when that light seemed to totally envelope Daniel and Casey as well.
Cassie pressed her fists to her mouth, tears on her face, waiting to see her mother take a breath, to come back from the dead just as she'd said Jack, Sam, and Daniel had done.
Casey's body began to tremble. She was the conduit, the power from the Beings who were granting the most precious of all gifts flowed through her slender frame, passed on from her spirit guide, absorbed by her husband, The One.
When it seemed as if she were on the verge of collapse, Jack stepped forward, wrapped his arms around her waist, pulled her to lean back against him. Sam and Teal'c had moved forward as well, prepared to support Daniel if it was so needed.
General Hammond watched in awe as that blue light enveloped the entire team. He couldn't help but smile. Casey had told him on several occasions that SG-1 was a team connected at the heart. This was visible, tangible proof.
Sam pressed her fingers to Janet's neck, waiting to feel the pulse that would signal that her heart was pumping once again, pushing blood through her veins.
With a sudden gasp, Janet's back arched off of the bed. She took two...three...four gulps of air. Tears and smiles lit every face in the room.
"Casey?" Daniel whispered, lowering his hand.
"I hear you," Casey replied.
"General Hammond has accepted the Gift as well."
She couldn't contain the giggle that welled up inside her. "Sweet!"
Daniel opened his eyes, looked over at his best friend, who continued to support his Wife. "You are such a bad influence on her," he teased.
Jack grinned broadly.
Casey looked at Miss Eloise, her green eyes dancing with excitement, with joy. "She's breathing! And General Hammond has accepted the offer as well!"
The old seer couldn't help but smile at sheer happiness that was making the slender body beside her bounce. "Tell Daniel to take the general's hand."
"Daniel, take General Hammond's hand," Casey instructed.
General Hammond stepped forward. Wrapped his hand around the strong, callused hand of the archaeologist.
"Now what?" Daniel asked.
Casey looked at her spirit guide. "Now what?"
Miss Eloise smiled. "Wait."
"Oh, he'll love that one," Casey replied drolly. And then repeated the answer.
The blue light that still enveloped the members of SG-1, and Janet, who was looking around with a bit of confusion, stretched to take in the general. Once again the power began to flow from The Source, to Miss Eloise, and through Casey, who transferred that power to The One.
Warm. He felt safe and warm, and if there had been any lingering doubts in his mind about what he was doing, they fled in the wake of a feeling so special it made him breathless. General George Hammond stood like a rock as the gift of Immortality was bestowed upon him.
The light that had engulfed Miss Eloise's hand faded. She lowered her arm. "The Gift has been accepted, and now given. The very stars rejoice to know that The One, His Guide, and those chosen to stand with him, will forever protect the Innocent."
Casey nodded. "Thank you." She looked up, could see what seemed to be dozens of glowing orbs, that varied in size and color. "Thank you."
One very large orb, deep lavender in color, seemed to pulse from within, glowed briefly.
She smiled. Her thanks had been acknowledged. She opened her eyes.
Casey smiled at Janet. "Hey, girlfriend! Welcome back!"
The petite doctor gave a weak smile. "Thanks. What a wild ride!"
Daniel laughed. "Yeah, isn't it though?"
The feeling of pins and needles in his hand had General Hammond shaking it slightly. "Well now, that was easy enough."
Casey flashed a smile at him. "Sure a lot easier than what we went through." She looked down and frowned when she realized that the arms around her waist weren't Daniel's. She glanced over her shoulder. "I take it you kept the floor from greeting my butt?"
Jack grinned down at her. "Yep." He moved away, wrapped his arm around Sam's shoulders.
"What about Taylor?" Janet asked.
"We haven't heard yet," Sam replied. "Dr. Warner wasn't hopeful."
"I should get in-"
"I think you should just take it easy for another hour or so," Sam said, her hand firmly keeping Janet on the bed.
"Why don't you guys go tell everyone that Sam was successful. Then Janet can get cleaned up and change her clothes," Casey suggested.
Cassie had been standing at the foot of the bed. Watching as the blue light had surrounded SG-1. And then swelled and brightened and included the general...and her mother. In that moment, she understood that there was a bond between them that could never be broken. A secret that they shared that made them unique in all of the world, perhaps on every other world as well. And that she'd never be a part of that special group. She understood that now her mother was...different. She took a deep breath. But Janet was still her mother. Still loved her. And that would never change.
The men filed out of the infirmary. General Hammond instructed Sam to call him when they were ready for the cameras to be turned back on.
Janet caught site of her daughter, hovering nervously. "Cassie?"
She ran into the arms that opened for her. "I was so afraid I'd lost you," she admitted, fresh tears falling.
"Never," Janet whispered. "Never gonna happen."
Casey reached out and touched Janet's shoulder. "Thank you."
"For making the sacrifice." All three women looked at the young teenager.
"For her, as well as for you," Janet replied softly.
A A A A A A
SG-1, SG-2, SG-3, and Dr. Fraiser were waiting at the conference table. General Hammond hurried into the room.
"I have some good news," the general said, settling into his chair. "Colonel Simmons has been arrested for treason."
"Do tell," Jack said, feigning surprise.
"It seems that information pertaining to several of the colonel's illegal activities was brought to light, by an anonymous source," General Hammond replied.
Casey giggled. Daniel, Sam, and Teal'c exchanged glances.
"He's starting to scare me," Daniel admitted.
"Who?" Janet asked.
"He's the anonymous source?" the doctor squeaked.
"And you'll never be able to prove it," Jack replied.
"Now, can I assume that the mission was successful?" General Hammond asked, steering attention back to the debriefing.
"Yes, sir," Jack said. "Radar says the whole moon exploded."
"Actually, I think it imploded more than exploded," Casey clarified. Gave Jack a quick glance, noted the twitch in his cheek. Bit back her own smile.
"You're confident that none of the information about these..." the general checked his notes, "'Kull' warriors could be in any other hands?"
Sam shook her head. "Anubis was the poster boy for paranoia. Every Jaffa and Goa'uld he had working in that facility were carefully controlled."
Ferretti nodded. "Every one of them had those memory device things on the side of their head."
"No one made it out of there alive, not even the Jaffa who were camped topside," Jack added.
The general nodded. "I'll alert the Tok'ra that the mission was successful. Now, we have reason to believe that Ba'al is looking for this laboratory, but we know he's looking in the wrong place."
Jack kept his face carefully neutral. Ortega had done one hell of a good job. The memo he'd received concerning the operation informed him that the general had pulled the plug...there was too much of a chance that Ba'al was going to start demanding more, and it would be nearly impossible to prevent him from suspecting duplicity if and when his Tau'ri spy was 'unable' to provide what he wanted. It was bad enough that the snake bastard knew that Casey was a seer. It wasn't a secret by any means, but keeping the snakes ignorant of that fact had been an advantage.
"If I might ask, sir, how can we be sure of that?" Sam asked.
"There will be a full report later this week, you'll all receive a copy," Hammond replied.
Glances were exchanged. Everyone of them had heard the rumors that one of the teams had a traitor in their midst. No doubt this report would either verify...or put to rest those rumors.
Casey was carefully studying the report she'd typed, was ready to sign it. She'd known about Ortega, in fact, she'd talked with the young man, taught him a few basic breathing methods to help him deal with the torture he'd no doubt endure, and would help him to maintain his cool while dealing with the enemy.
Daniel glanced at his wife. She knew exactly what the general was talking about. He wouldn't question her, however. She took General Hammond's trust in her very seriously, and would do nothing to jeopardize that faith. Which just made him all the more proud of her.
"All right people. Have your reports-"
Dr. Warner knocked on the door. "Excuse me sir, you wanted to know..."
Janet took one look at the weariness around the man's eyes, and knew what he was about to say. "Taylor didn't make it," she said softly.
"No, I'm afraid he didn't. The damage was extensive, and so much tissue and muscle had been destroyed, there wasn't much to work with. His kidneys and liver had been hit, there was nothing we could do to save him."
"Son-of-a-bitch," Ferretti hissed. Taylor hadn't been part of SG-3 very long. He was a good kid. Followed orders well. Fought like a demon. Stood strong in the face of the enemy. He wiped a hand over his face, hastily removing any trace of tears that might have been in his eyes.
Captain Richards ducked his head. Willy Lopez stared at the doctor, shook his head slowly. This was the first time either man had been forced to deal with the death of a teammate.
"Well, hell," Jack groused, tossed his pen onto the table.
Casey felt her eyes fill with tears. Young Randy Taylor had been one of the men who'd willingly risked his life in an attempt to rescue her from Ba'al.
Sam was also fighting tears. She'd been teaching Sergeant Taylor all she could about Goa'uld crystal circuitry. He was eager to learn, and was an apt pupil.
General Hammond nodded slowly. "Thank you, Doctor. I'll notify his next of kin."
The silver-haired doctor turned and left the room. He'd stop in the SGC Memorial Room, and light a candle for the newest casualty in the war against the Goa'uld.
A A A A A A
The Memorial Room had been the result of a conversation that Janet, Sam, and Casey had had over pizza and beer at O'Malley's on one of their 'girl's night out' excursions. The secrecy of the SGC made it impossible for the military funeral of any fallen of the SGC to be the true hero's send-off that each casualty deserved. Which created tension in the surviving members of the teams. What the base needed, Janet said, was a place to go to...a way to remember. To honor their fallen.
It had been Casey who'd suggested a Memorial Room. It could serve as a cross between a chapel, and a Memorial, like those that honored the dead of other wars. One of the storage rooms had been emptied out. A long table was placed against one wall, and candles were available. There were always at least a dozen burning all the time, in memory to one fallen hero or another. Photos of the SGC heroes were hung on the wall above the table; their name, rank, team number, and date of death on a small plaque beneath each. Personal photographs, pictures taken with friends and family were tacked up around the frames. Red, white, and blue bunting decorated the tops of the walls. A dozen folding chairs were set up in the middle of the room, for any who needed, or merely wanted, to just sit and 'be with' their absent friends.
In the four months that the room had been 'open', it was visited daily. And the healing that had been so slow to happen for several teams was now nearly complete. Being able to honor their dead in the way that the teams knew was deserved, to be able to openly grieve - far from the prying eyes of those who knew nothing about the SGC, could never understand the loss...the sacrifice - had gone far to aid that healing.
Casey took a candle from the box, placed it in one of the empty holders, lit it. She sat down in the corner, her back pressed against the wall. "I'm so sorry, Randy," she whispered, tears rolling down her pale cheeks. "I should have seen it! I knew they were there! I'm so sorry!"
Daniel looked up. Casey had been sitting beside the artifact covered table when he'd started on the list of email he needed to deal with before leaving the mountain for the two days of down time the general had given SG-1. She wasn't there now. He frowned. He knew he hadn't been so involved that he hadn't heard her say anything. Which meant she'd just quietly slipped out of the room.
With a sigh, he pulled the BDU shirt he'd taken off earlier up over his arms, his shoulders. He shoved his hands into his pockets, his wedding ring catching for a moment on the seam. It brought an automatic smile to his face. Casey was always hell bent to get her rings back on her finger as soon as they returned from each mission. It was the first stop they made, always on the way to the infirmary.
He had an idea where she was. And he also knew that she was probably sitting there blaming herself. He shook his head. Wondered how long she'd have nightmares about this.
Sergeant Taylor's death was only the second to occur in the SGC since she'd arrived. The first had been a young lieutenant who'd gone down during the first attempt to rescue her from Ba'al. She as still blaming herself for that particular death, as well. She didn't understand that the men and women who walked through the 'gate fully understood the risks. He didn't know if she was aware of the fact that every SG team in the mountain had been clamoring to go on that particular rescue mission.
Her gift weighed heavily on her at times. And she took to heart every time a team ran into trouble, something she was certain she should have 'seen', been able to warn them about. That she'd managed to save every damned team in the mountain several times over didn't seem to matter. She focused only on what she considered her failures. Daniel didn't realize that his Wife's behavior mirrored his own, a result of his critical self view.
The room was lit only by half a dozen candles. He glanced around, not seeing her at first. Caught the glint of the candlelight off of her blonde hair as he turned to leave. Without a word he settled on the floor beside her, his shoulder against hers. They sat in silence for several minutes.
"I knew they were there," she whispered.
"And you warned us," he replied in kind.
"I should have seen it! If I'd just done a search, I could have located them exactly...and then..."
"You have no reason to feel guilty." His heart constricted when she looked up at him, her amazing green eyes full of tears...and pain.
"I'm the resident seer. I'm supposed to prevent things like this," she snapped.
"You're also human, Casey. No one expects you to be omnipotent. You warned us of the danger. Without that warning chances are we'd all be dead."
She shook her head stubbornly. "I should have seen it."
He sighed. Reached for her hand, laced his fingers with hers, noted how cool her skin felt. She'd been sitting here for awhile. The concrete floor was cold, and she was starting to get chilled. She hadn't actually warmed up from their last trip through that icy river. "Do you remember telling me that when something is supposed happen, is fated to happen, nothing can change it, no matter how hard we might try?"
"Babe, what happened was supposed to happen. Sergeant Taylor moved on to the next plane of existence. You said that's what happens to our...spirits, right?"
Again she nodded.
"He's just going to be fighting from there, rather than here."
"It's not fair! He was so young!"
He bit back his grin. Sergeant Taylor was only a year younger than she was. "Yes, he was."
"Only the good die young," she whispered.
"That's not necessarily true," he countered.
Casey looked up into the face of the man she loved...adored...trusted. "It hurts."
"I know, babe."
She leaned her head against his shoulder. "I hate it."
"I know that, too."
"Poor General Hammond. Not only does he have to tell Taylor's family, he has to pretend it was some sort of bizarre accident. He can't even make up a story about a classified mission."
Wounds from staff weapons left distinct marks. There wasn't anything on earth that could create such wounds. Usually any deaths were explained away as the result of machinery failure and freak explosions. And the bodies were never allowed to be autopsied. That all happened within the walls of the SGC. The worst part was that none of the families were given the comfort of knowing that their loved one had died a hero, protecting them, and the rest of the citizens of Earth, from the most horrible threat that existed.
Teal'c entered the room. Lit a candle. When he realized that Casey and Daniel were sitting on the floor in the corner, he joined them. Folded his fingers around hers when Casey's hand reached for his.
Daniel glanced at his friend over the top of his Wife's head. Didn't have to say a word, could see that Teal'c understood why she was sitting where she was, the emotional upheaval she was experiencing. And both men knew that there was nothing that they could say that would change her mind; nothing that would alter or allay her feelings of guilt. She would have to find her own path to peace.
The three friends, teammates sat quietly. Mourning the loss of one of their own. Something that happened far too often. But hadn't happened as frequently since the arrival of a slender blonde dynamo who had a gift that protected all who worked within the secret mountain facility. Even if she had temporarily forgotten that fact.
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