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Sam sat on the floor in front of one of the pillars. Before she could even get started with the repair, this particular group of crystals had to be realigned. Someone had changed it, for what reason she had no clue. She did sense that whoever had done the work was not completely familiar with the crystal circuitry. She closed her eyes, trying to remember the drawing she had studied. With a muttered curse, she got to her feet, went to the console to look at the figures, then sat back down. "Red…two down, left one…blue, one up, three right…" she mumbled to herself. She jumped to her feet again when the floor beneath her began to shake slightly. She glanced around. Nir was looking around, and if she wasn't mistaken, that was fear in his eyes. "Was than an earthquake?"
"I do not understand," he said apologetically.
"The planet…was that the tectonic plates of the planet shifting?" she asked.
Nir shook his head nervously. "No, Colonel Carter. It is caused by the failing power grid. The strain of the water against the shields at this depth is enormous, and each time the grid…fluctuates, the buildings within the dome are disrupted."
"Now I don't understand," Sam admitted.
"The buildings of our city are all connected to the power grid. In this manner they are lit and heated. Many rooms, such as this control room, and the Archives, are kept free of water as well. When there are fluctuations, the buildings in which the force field is holding back the water are put under enormous strain for a few fleeting seconds. This causes the entire structure to…shudder or sway. If one shudders…all of the structures shudder," Nir explained.
Sam grimaced. She didn't have the luxury of studying any longer. The fluctuations were only going to grow worse, and according to the output displays that she had located, it wouldn't be long until the grid collapsed completely. She grabbed her radio. "Jack? I need you, Casey and Teal'c. We have to do this, and we have to do it now."
"Need my help?" Daniel's voice asked.
She smiled. She could hear the distraction in his voice. "No, Daniel, you keep on with what you're doing. We can handle this."
The smile became a grin. That room had a lot of writing on those two walls, he'd be content there until he had translated every bit of it. She turned to Nir. "I need for you to bring my three friends here."
"Do you wish Doctor Jackson to remain in the Archives?"
Archives? Daniel was in the Archives? Oh, boy! She almost laughed out loud. The archaeologist would never forgive her if she dragged him away from what she was sure he would declare to be the most interesting thing he had ever seen. "Yes, Doctor Jackson can remain in the Archives. My friends and I need to go to these two rooms." She pointed to a map of the underwater city.
"Those rooms have not been entered in many years," Nir replied, once again reacting nervously.
"Yeah, well we're going in now; it's the only way to fix your problem," Sam responded.
With a nod and a slight bow, Nir hurried out of the room.
She finished the rerouting in the column, then closed the drawer. She read through the schematic one last time, memorizing every step that would need to be taken.
Several minutes later Jack followed Nir into the room, Casey and Teal'c behind him. She glanced at them, noting that they had all of the gear with them. "What's up?" Jack asked, watching her as she studied something on one of the control consoles.
"There are two separate control rooms. And in each control room there are redundant levers that will need to be operated, all at the same time," Sam explained. "It's a pretty ingenious set up, there is no way to tamper with the power grid, not without a team to do it, and I don't think a team would easily get into this area unnoticed."
Jack nodded. "Okay, how do you want to do this?"
"Well, Nir says the rooms haven't been entered in a long time. So I'm thinking that most of the controls are going to be hard to maneuver. Which means we'll need muscle power in each room."
"T, you go with Case, I'll go with Sam," Jack instructed.
"I'll tell you what you need to do," Sam said.
Casey and Teal'c nodded their understanding.
"Let's go," Sam said to Nir. The creature led them out into the corridor. Jack lowered his pack and weapon, leaned both against the wall. He did the same thing with Sam's gear, which he had been carrying. Teal'c and Casey followed suit.
The green creature waited impatiently, then led them through a door that none of them had noticed before, and down a narrow corridor. It wasn't as opulent as the corridors they had seen so far. Within a few feet the walls were no longer adorned, they appeared to be plain concrete. They could feel the slight decline in the floor, they were going deeper, probably beneath the ocean floor itself.
A A A A A A
Dym entered the library, watched the human for a few minutes before speaking. "I have come to see if you require anything," he said quietly.
Daniel glanced up. "No, nothing, thank you." He looked back down at the tablet he had been reading, then looked up again at the Oanne. "How did this happen…I mean, how did your people find themselves without mechanics and engineers?"
It was difficult to tell, but it looked as if Dym frowned. "We have traveled through the Chappa'ai to many places, tagged many species for study. There have been numerous species who have appeared on the beach where the Chappa'ai rests. Many of them were also tagged."
Like my Wife, Daniel thought to himself. Their experience with the 'tags' led him to believe that they caused a great deal of grief and anguish to the victim who had been 'tagged'. It was possible that left in an unsuspecting 'host', the tags could cause mental instability, and complete mental and emotional breakdowns. He wondered just what these people did with all of the information they 'gathered'. He found it difficult to understand how a civilization…as advanced as the Oannes appeared to be…could be so callused in their treatment of other sentient beings.
"We needed those who were trained to understand the nature of each species: their biology, their culture, their speech, everything about them," Dym was saying. "We have many who specialize in just one area concerning just one species. We have continued to advance our techniques for tagging and observing. The need for those who understand the workings of our machines was thought to be unnecessary. This city has been here for thousands of years. We had no reason to believe that there would ever be a problem with the machinery."
The young archaeologist nodded. "If anybody can repair it, Sam can. She can fix anything," he said confidently.
"That is our hope," Dym said. With a slight bow, the creature exited the room.
Daniel looked up when the room began to shake again. This was the fourth time it had happened. He frowned, gathered all of the CDs he had filled with images, carefully put away the dozens of tracings he had taken, and grabbed his gear. He left the room, hurrying down the corridor to where he had last been with his friends. He wasn't there to see the water inch into the Archive room ever so slowly.
A A A A A A
The four members of SG-1 were led down the narrow corridor. When they came to a 't', Sam and Jack went one way, Casey and Teal'c went the other. Assured that his presence wasn't necessary, Nir was more than happy to leave the humans to the task for which they had been summoned. Both duos found the narrow corridors they traversed long and dank. The fact that water already seemed to be seeping into the structure was of concern. Sam was confident that once the power grid was repaired and working to full capacity once again, the seepage would be halted.
The rooms were identical. Not more than ten feet square, the concrete ceiling about nine feet above them, the rooms were stale, cold, and damp. Thick strands of conduit lined the walls, covered with a shiny black substance that felt sticky to the touch. They were connected to two control consoles that faced one another in the middle of each small room, and through the walls to four very large cylinders, through which the sea water moved, producing the power needed to run the converters. Four pillars stood against the far wall.
"You there yet?" Sam's voice crackled on the radio.
"We are in place, Samantha Carter," Teal'c replied.
"Good. Okay, see those columns at the end of the room? Go to the third one from the left."
Casey followed the tall Jaffa to the column. "Now what?"
"Open the middle drawer," was the instruction.
It took a few seconds to locate the panel of lighted buttons that would open the drawer. It moved a few inches, then seemed to slide back into place. Casey touched the panel again, and when it opened, Teal'c grabbed the sides of the drawer and pulled. It took several more seconds for the corroded circuits to give way to the brute force.
"Okay, it's open," Casey informed Sam.
"Good. Now tell me the order of the crystals. Start on the left, closest to the drawer face. Then the next row, again starting with the closest to the drawer face."
"Okay. First row; red, green, green, blue, clear, green, red, red, orange. The next row is just the opposite, orange, red, red, green, clear, blue, green, green red," Casey said. "Um, are there supposed to be little black specks in them?"
"No!" Sam's voice relayed her surprise and dismay.
Casey and Teal'c exchanged a look. "The second red from the end of the first row has black specks in it," Casey reported.
"Okay, go to the first column, open the bottom drawer. Find a red crystal the same shape and length," Sam told them.
This drawer didn't want to open, either. It seemed to take a great deal of effort for Teal'c to finally pull it out far enough that Casey could locate a red crystal. She took all of the red ones she could find, then began comparing them to the damaged one. When she had located one, she put it into place.
"Okay, Sam, it's in."
The room rocked around them, and the lights began to flicker. "Oh, hell," Casey mumbled. "That can't be good!"
"No, it cannot," Teal'c agreed.
"Casey? Teal'c? Are you all right?" Jack's voice asked.
"We are uninjured, O'Neill." The lights above them flickered once more, then went out completely. "However, we are without light," Teal'c said.
Casey already had her flashlight out. She felt Daniel's caress. 'I'm fine, Daniel.'
'Get out of there, Case. We're going home.' His voice was firm.
'Daniel, we can't leave these people without trying to help them!' she protested.
'They can breath underwater. We can't. I have Dym's promise to get us to the 'gate.'
She shivered as a feeling of doom washed over her. She listened as Daniel insisted that the team meet back in the room where they had awakened the second time. Sam argued, determined to complete the repairs she had been asked to make. A compromise was reached. The two duos had fifteen minutes. After that they would join Daniel and let Dym take them to the Stargate. The compromise seemed to 'dull' the poking in the back of her mind.
Sam began to give instructions on what needed to be done. Several of the procedures had to be done simultaneously. Which wasn't possible when levers were found to be rusted into place. Which in turn meant that each operation had to be started from the beginning. The shaking was occurring at regular two-minute intervals. Dust and pieces of what looked like concrete began falling from the walls around them.
"Okay, let's try this one more time," Sam said. "Right three clicks on my mark. Three, two, one, mark."
"Houston, we have a problem," Casey's voice said over the radio. Everyone listening could hear the slight tremble.
"What's wrong, Case?" Sam asked.
"The lever just broke off in my hand. On click number two."
"We need to get out of here," Daniel's voice insisted.
"We have five more minutes, Daniel," Sam said, determined to complete the repair. If she didn't, they wouldn't survive long enough to get to the 'gate.
A A A A A A
He was no longer in the room where SG-1 had awakened the second time. The water had already moved into that space. He was pacing the corridor near the narrow tunnel that his three friends and Wife had traveled nearly forty minutes before. He stared down the dimly lit hallway, willing them to come running toward him.
"Doctor Jackson," Dym said softly. "The sensors that monitor the tunnels show that they are on the verge of collapse."
Daniel felt his heart drop to his feet. He grabbed his radio. "Get up here now! Time's up! You have to get out of there now!"
"Damn it, Sam! They're telling me that those tunnels are about to come down! Move it!"
Casey grimaced when the beam of Teal'c's flashlight bounced off of her face. "Sounds like we'd better go," she said softly. The poking in the back of her head was suddenly worse. That little voice was telling her that this time she wouldn't be walking away from disaster.
Before they had made ten feet into the narrow passageway, water began to push through the walls, the spray hitting them with enough force to feel like knife blades. They were bleeding from the wounds inflicted by the increasing number of streams. When one of the walls began to crack completely apart, water rushing in at a frightening pace, making passage through the flood impossible, they raced back to the room and slammed the heavy steel door closed.
"Uh, guys…we're uh…we're kind of trapped here," Casey reported, willing her voice to remain calm.
Daniel nearly dropped to his knees. He turned to Dym. "Is there another way out of that room? Is there a way to get to them? Is there a way to get them out of there?"
"I'm sorry, Doctor Jackson, there is not." The creature lowered its head. That the Leaders had waited too long was now evident. To compound this misfortune, those from whom they had sought assistance would also die.
No! This couldn't be happening again! Not again! The darkness that had overwhelmed him, when he thought Casey beheaded, hovered above him, ready to engulf him once again in its icy grip. 'Angel?'
'I'm here, Daniel.'
'I…there's…' He closed his eyes against the pain.
She closed her eyes. Could feel his anger, his pain…his grief. 'I know. There's no way out of this one, is there?'
He cried out, wrapped his arms around his body as he dropped to his knees. 'No, Case, I don't think there is.'
Oh, god! She didn't want to say goodbye! She wanted to go home, be with her babies, hold her Beloved in her arms…she didn't want to die! She tried to hold back the tears. Felt Teal'c's hand find hers and hold tightly in the darkness.
"Casey, can you relay a message to Daniel Jackson, for Carlotta?" the Jaffa asked calmly.
"Of course, Teal'c," she replied softly.
"Tell her that I love her, and that I was honored to be her husband."
Tears streaming down her cheeks, she nodded, squeezed the large hand. "Daniel? Um…Teal'c would like for you to give a message to Carly."
He closed his eyes, tears on his face. "Sure, babe. What is it?"
She relayed the message, her body trembling. Teal'c pulled her close, held her tightly against his chest. 'Daniel? I love you. Always. You're the best thing that ever happened to me.'
'I love you, Angel. Always. You're my sunshine, Casey. You're everything to me.'
'Hug Emmie and Nicholas for me.' She could hold back the sobs no longer. 'Please don't let them forget me, or how much I love them.'
He could tell that she was crying. His body shook as he struggled to keep from screaming out his pain and frustration. 'I promise.'
'I love you, My Heart.'
'I love you, My Star.' He crumpled, his chin on his chest. No! No! No! his mind raged.
Sam and Jack stumbled into the corridor. They had suffered wounds from the high-pressure sprays of water that seemed to be everywhere in the long, narrow corridor. They were wet and bleeding, but alive.
"Where's Case and T?" Jack demanded, gasping for breath.
Daniel lifted his tear-stained face. "Trapped. No way to get to them," he gasped.
"No! I won't accept that! Goddamn it don't you accept it either!" Jack shouted. His grief, his fear, evident in his brown eyes.
Sam stood trembling, tears sliding down her cheeks. "It's all my fault," she whispered.
Jack wrapped his arms around her. "That's not true! That is not true!"
"If we had left when Daniel first told us-"
The gray haired man pushed her head against his shoulder, held her as sobs wracked her body. Daniel was curled on the floor, his own sobs filled the air.
The room shuddered violently around them. Unlike Nem, who understood the pain of losing a loved one, the creature standing with them could not comprehend the displays of grief that the humans were displaying. Circumstances were indeed unfortunate, but with nothing else to be done to save the two, other matters required attention. One of those matters was getting the surviving Tau'ri to safety. Dym touched Jack's arm timidly. "There is little time. I must get you to the Chappa'ai."
Numb with disbelief…with grief, he nodded slowly. "Come on, Danny. We gotta go."
"I'm staying," Daniel said, his voice so full of tears it was difficult to understand him.
"Daniel, Emily and Nicholas need you. They can't lose both of their parents," Jack said softly. "Casey would kick your ass if you left them alone. Come on. We'll find a way to get to them. We just need to get to safety to think the problem through. We'll come back when it's safe and we'll get them."
His children. He had to think about his children. Had to keep his promise to Casey. He forced his body to obey, stood to his feet, swayed slightly. That raw, red-hot pain filled him once again, shattered his heart with its sinister grasp. The darkness enveloped him, crushed him, consumed him.
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