<< Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>
Forever And Ever, Amen
Casey opened her eyes. She could just make out ductwork crisscrossing the gunmetal-gray ceiling above her. She tried to move, and winced from the pain in her back. The sound of cloth moving against cloth caught her attention, and she turned her head in the direction from which it came.
"Hello again," a soft male voice said. The handsome man with short blonde hair smiled down at her.
She looked up, and recognized the blue eyes she had seen just before she passed out. She licked her lips, and tried to smile back. "Hello," she said at last. She looked around again. "Where am I?"
"You’re in a…uh…military hospital," was the soft-spoken reply.
"Yes, you are," was the answer, given with a warm smile.
That smile could light up an entire room, she decided. Before Casey could question the man further, a tall woman with short blonde hair entered the room, her hands behind her back.
"Hello, Casey," the woman smiled.
Casey didn’t stop to wonder how they knew her name. "He…hello." She looked from the man to the woman and back again. "You’re Daniel," she said, recognition flaring in her eyes.
Daniel smiled. "Yep, that’s me. I’m flattered that you remember."
Casey tried to sit up and winced again.
"Don’t try to move just yet," Daniel told her. He turned to his companion. "Did you bring it?"
The woman nodded.
Daniel looked back down at Casey. "This is my friend, Colonel Samantha Carter."
Casey nodded, acknowledging the introduction.
"Casey, we have something that can heal your back for you, and your face, if you will allow us to us it," Sam said. She held up her hand, on which a Goa’uld device was strapped.
Casey had seen similar devices used on Gargantua’s ship. She pulled away. "You’re like…him?" Terror filled her anew. Had she escaped one captor only to be taken by others?
"No, no, not like him," Daniel replied, knowing immediately who 'him' was. "He’s a Goa’uld. We’re human just like you are. We’re fighting the Goa’uld. We just managed to…uh…liberate some of their devices."
Casey nodded. She wasn’t sure she understood exactly, but if they were fighting Gargantua and his ilk, these couldn’t be bad people. She instinctively trusted Daniel. His blue eyes were filled with genuine concern.
"Can I help you?" Sam asked, nodding at the device on her hand.
Casey pulled at her bottom lip with her teeth for a second, then nodded again.
Daniel helped Casey ease over onto her stomach, careful to keep the sheet around her slender frame to maintain her modesty. Casey appreciated the fact, although by now having her body seen by strangers no longer seemed to bother her. That, in itself, caused her pause.
She couldn’t see what was happening, but she felt wonderful warmth on her back. She closed her eyes. It was as if the sun were shining down on her. A few minutes later, and she was asleep, her back healed and devoid of any scars that would have remained if Sam hadn’t used the Goa’uld healing device. A few more moments, the beam concentrated on the cuts and bruises on her face, over her arm to remove the slave tattoo, and Sam was finished.
The blonde colonel took a deep breath, more weary than she wanted to admit. She nodded toward the doorway.
Daniel stroked Casey’s long honey-blonde hair for just a moment, noting that it felt like silk, then turned to follow Sam out of the room.
Jack was waiting for them. His hands were shoved into his pants pockets, and he was obviously distressed about something. "We need to talk," he said, motioning with his chin toward the infirmary.
A A A A A A
"Jack, are you out of your mind?" Daniel demanded, pacing around his office. Sam merely sat and stared at Jack from her perch on the edge of Daniel’s worktable. Teal'c stood near the door, his eyebrows nearly on top of his head. The story Jack had just told them was fantastic enough, but where it had led was unbelievable.
"Hey, if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I wouldn’t believe it either. But Pierson…uh, Methos - and MacLeod - say that she’ll be in danger if they don’t make her ‘fully Immortal’ and start her training."
"What if she doesn’t want to be Immortal?" Daniel argued.
Jack shrugged. "Daniel, I’m not sure she really has a choice."
"But to just…kill her?" Daniel said, his agitation clear in his voice.
"Shouldn’t we tell her about this first, sir?" Sam asked. "She should be given the chance to make her own decision."
Jack dropped down onto a nearby chair. He twisted first to the left, and then to the right. "Let me ask you something. Suppose you didn’t know anything about Stargates, or Goa’uld. Then suppose that out of the blue you’re abducted by a Goa’uld; even if you didn’t know what he was, you would know that something was odd, and then you’re ringed up to a Goa’uld mothership. Next thing you know, you wake up a Goa’uld slave. You finally manage to escape, get rescued by a secret military organization, and then they tell you that you gotta be killed because you’re immortal. What would you think, or do?"
Three faces frowned back at him.
"It would be much easier on her to just…do it, explain when she wakes up, and then let her start training. Methos and MacLeod agreed on that. I don’t think MacLeod likes the idea any more than we do. But he does agree that it needs to be done." Jack told them.
"When?" Daniel asked, his voice a mere whisper.
"Methos says it can wait until the doc releases her."
"I do not understand, O’Neill. If this young woman must be killed for her own safety, would it not be wise to do so immediately?" Teal'c asked.
"Methos said it would probably be better to wait until she’s dealt with the emotional issues of her abduction first. I've been given authorization to offer her a job here at the SGC, and I thought that a bit of military training would help make her eligible for working on one of the SG-teams. She’s already proven that she’s a quick thinker, not afraid to take a risk; and if she was able to hold herself together during and after her abduction, kill the snake, and then make a successful escape, she’s tough enough to handle working here." Jack said, watching the faces of his friends. He could already see Daniel’s eyes lighting up.
"Would this be before or after her…murder?" Daniel asked.
"Before. Definitely before," Jack replied.
"You think the discipline will help her cope," Sam said.
Jack nodded. "She’d be safe enough in basic training."
"You hope, sir." Sam replied. "If Doctor Pierson…er…Methos…could become a linguist here without anyone knowing his…secret, then isn’t it possible that another…Immortal…could get into a basic training camp?"
Jack grinned. "Not General Jack O’Neill’s Special Training Camp on PX3-695."
Teal'c raised an eyebrow. "You intend to take this young woman-"
"Casey," Daniel said softly. "Her name is Casey."
Teal'c inclined his head towards Daniel, then turned back to Jack. "You intend to take Casey to the planet where the stone tablets discussing Immortals were discovered to train her?"
Jack grinned. "Yep. We can all take part in her training. We could do in about three weeks what regular basic could take up to eight weeks to do."
"Sir, what about her state of mind?" Sam asked.
"We’ll have Doctor Mackenzie talk to her. If she has all of her marbles, I have a go on this. But I want your support, and help," Jack admitted. He waited, watching the faces of his team.
"I’ll do it, sir," Sam said.
"As will I," Teal'c said.
"Count me in," Daniel sighed. He didn't like the idea of the beautiful young woman being murdered. But if Jack could give her basic military training to help her cope...
Jack grinned. "Okay. We’re going to take her to PX3-695 just as soon as the doc says she’s okay to travel. We’ll have to hold back on the physical stuff for awhile, but…What?" he asked, catching the by-play between Daniel and Sam.
Sam pulled her hand from behind her back, where she had been keeping it. The healing device was still around her palm.
"Ah, I see," Jack said. "Any particular reason?"
"Why should she have to carry scars on her body because of a screw-up by the NID?" Daniel asked softly. "She’ll have enough on her psyche to deal with."
Jack nodded. He fully understood the reason that Daniel and Sam had used the device. More than that, he agreed with them. "We’ll start her physical training as soon as we get planet-side."
"When do we leave?" Daniel asked.
"Tomorrow morning. We’ll be there for at least three weeks," Jack warned. "So make sure you pack enough underwear and extra socks."
The only answer was the nodding of three heads.
"Okay campers, let’s get ready. We’ll spring Webster just before we’re ready to go through the 'gate."
"What if Pierson…uh…Methos…decides to…kill…Casey before then?" Daniel asked.
"He won’t. I have his promise. And he has mine as to what will happen if he breaks his," Jack replied, a grin on his face.
Sam chuckled. "Does it have anything to do with separating his head from his shoulders?"
Jack’s grin broadened. "Something like that."
A A A A A A
Casey sat beside the tree, her breath coming in gasps. She was grinning from ear to ear as she listened to General O’Neill swearing at the top of his lungs as he swung helplessly. He glared at her whenever he twisted in her direction.
"I did not teach you about booby traps!" he shouted.
"No, sir," she replied, forcing down a laugh.
"Carter! It had to be Carter!"
Casey stood up, dusted herself off, and then picked up her P90. "No, sir."
"Teal'c?" He was guessing now.
Casey allowed herself a laugh, and shook her head. "Nope. Sir."
"Daniel? You have got to be kidding!"
With a grin, Casey waggled her fingers at him and disappeared into the brush.
Ten minutes later, right on schedule, the rest of SG-1 came jogging into the clearing. They stopped and stared, jaws gaping. Before they had a chance to fully take in the sight of their leader, dangling upside down, his feet tied neatly in a noose, their vests began buzzing. All them were dead. Or at least seriously wounded.
When Casey emerged from her hiding place, Teal'c nodded to her, his lips pulled upwards slightly. "You have done well, Casey Webster," he said.
Sam nodded in agreement. "You’re a fast learner, Casey."
Daniel continued to study Jack’s predicament. "This is why you kept asking questions about the types of booby traps we’ve run into!"
"Uh…Hello? Anybody going to get me down from here?" Jack demanded.
Ducking her head so that her CO wouldn’t see her grin, Sam headed toward him. Before she could reach him however, a WHACK! filled the air, and he dropped unceremoniously to the ground with a thud.
Everyone turned to face Casey, who stood, her P90 across her back, a knife still in her hand, and a wide grin on her face.
Jack yanked the rope from around his ankles, jumped to his feet and stalked to stand directly in front of his trainee. She snapped to attention, her eyes straight ahead, no sign of a smile on her face now. He walked around her, closing in on her "personal space", noting with satisfaction that she remained at attention, and she didn’t budge an inch. "I’m impressed, Webster. Truly, I am. I didn’t think you had it in you," he growled. He lowered his face to stare into her eyes. She met his gaze, her eyes never wavering. Finally he let loose the grin that had been threatening to split his face from the moment he'd felt himself hoisted into the air. "You did a great job, Casey. You really did. I’m proud of you. We’re all proud of you," he said, waving his arm towards the rest of the team.
A tiny smile escaped. Casey was proud of herself. Two months ago, she had been happily Christmas shopping. Three and a half weeks ago she had managed to get free from the alien who held her hostage as a slave, and had discovered the biggest secret that Planet Earth had: the SGC and their battle against the parasitic beings known as the Goa’uld. Right here, right now, she had earned the right to become a warrior in that battle. She knew it as well as the four people in front of her; four people who had made the past three weeks a living hell. Definitely not as bad as being a Goa’uld slave, of course, but it was a hell unto itself. She had survived being a slave. She had survived General O’Neill’s private version of boot camp. She had survived and become stronger.
Sam walked up to her and hugged her shoulders. "You’ve worked hard, Casey. You never complained, you never argued, you did as we asked…" she broke into laughter at the look on Casey’s face. "Okay, you did what we demanded of you. I’ve never known a recruit who worked as hard as you have."
"Recruit?" Casey croaked. "More like a draftee!"
Daniel snorted. "She’s gotcha there, Sam!"
Sam laughed again. "You’re right, Casey. You still did great!"
The group began to make their way back to where they had been camping for three weeks. Daniel fell into step beside Casey, his hands shoved into his pockets. "We’re all sorry you were…uh…drafted."
Casey smiled up at him, looping an arm through his. "I know, Daniel. There’s no reason for you to be. None of you had anything to do with what happened. Well, except for rescuing me, and that was the best part of the entire experience!"
All of them had been amazed at Casey’s attitude towards her capture and enslavement. She simply accepted it as a fact of life, something that she had no control over. She had told Doctor McKenzie, who had in turn informed General. O’Neill, that she didn’t intend to allow Wepwawet to control one more second of her life, and to dwell on any of the five weeks of her slavery would allow just that. She would learn from the experience, she would accept the changes in herself that the experience wrought, but she would not dwell on it. Doctor McKenzie had told General O’Neill that as far as he could tell, she was as healthy mentally as any member of any of the SG teams.
"Okay, campers. Let’s break camp. We’re heading home," Jack said when they arrived at the circle of tents.
It didn’t take long for the gear to be packed. A thirty minute hike to the ‘gate, and they were walking back into the SGC.
A A A A A A
General Hammond was waiting for them at the bottom of the ramp, a smile on his face. Jack had sent him daily reports on how their new "recruit" was doing. At first he had objected to Jack’s request to "draft" Casey to the SGC. True, she had been abducted by an alien, and that alone could cause trouble for the program if she chose to go public with her experience, although Hammond wasn’t sure that anyone would believe her story. Still, she had killed a Goa’uld in her escape, and knowing that she was Immortal also made her valuable to the SGC. He smiled at her as she walked toward him. She had been debriefed about her experience before embarkation, and what she had suffered made his blood boil. If he ever found out how the NID had learned about Wepwawet, he would plug that leak in a very permanent manner.
"Welcome home, people," he said. "I take it that this mission was a success?"
Jack grinned from ear to ear. "Yes, sir, it was."
Casey stopped just behind Jack, a smile on her own face. "I may not be in the military officially, sir, but I think I can hold my own in a fight."
General Hammond smiled again. "So I’ve been told. We’ve made arrangements for you to have your own quarters here on the base. You understand that we would prefer it if you wouldn’t leave the mountain just yet; there would be too many questions about your abduction and where you’ve been."
"Yes, sir, I understand," Casey replied.
"However, I think that it would be appropriate for you to bring your belongings here, since this is where you will be living. If you will give a list of what you want to Colonel Carter, I’ll see to it that it’s taken care of."
Casey stared for a moment at the bald general. "How can you do that, sir? Without a lot of questions?"
"We have our ways," he smiled. "I’m sure you'd like to rest. Airman, please escort Ms. Webster to her quarters," he said, turning to a young SF standing near the door to the gate room.
"Yes, sir!" The young man saluted, then turned to Casey, waiting until she had shifted her backpack and moved to stand next to him. "This way, ma’am."
Casey never noticed the two dark haired men who stood off to the side of the room, both of them watching her carefully.
<< Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>