By: ANNIEFEEDBACK TO: Annie
DISCLAIMER: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the properties of others. No money has been paid and no copyright infringement is intended.
RATING: PG. A small swear word or two.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoy it. Thank you to Tate for the alpha read and as always to Lyn, the best and fastest beta in the business, and for giving my imagination a home.
Janet nodded her thanks to Teal'c as he helped her secure her heavy med pack to her back.
"It is good to have you with us, Doctor Fraiser," Teal'c said, inclining his head in his customary manner as he took up position next to her in front of the gate.
"Thank you, Teal'c. I just wish it was in better circumstances," Janet replied, with a grim smile.
"I'm sure that if anyone can help us get Sam out safely, it'll be you, Doctor," came a voice from her other side.
Janet turned and smiled at Daniel Jackson. "Thanks for the vote of confidence, Doctor Jackson. I'll do my best."
"You ready?" the archeologist asked, giving her shoulder a comforting squeeze.
"Yeah," Janet said, swallowing hard. This was her first time through the Stargate but she knew enough about the effects of the ride to feel a faint nervousness for what she was about to undertake.
"You'll be fine." Daniel smiled as he turned to make sure SG:3 were ready to head out behind them. The planet had appeared to be vacant for some time but it paid to have backup. They'd learned that much over the past few months of gate travel.
SG:1 had gated to the planet the day before and found it uninhabited. There were no clues as to what had happened to the population. There were, however, some outworked mining shafts that Samantha Carter had been unfortunate enough to discover by dint of falling down one and becoming trapped. The earth around the hole the captain had fallen into was dry and crumbly and her team had been unable to bring her to the surface. To complicate matters, Sam had sustained injuries in the fall and the cave-in had narrowed the original entrance to the shaft making it impossible for any of her team to go in and bring her out. Finally, Colonel O'Neill had sent Daniel and Teal'c back to the SGC for help while he stayed with Sam, trying to keep her still and calm.
Up till now he hadn't had to try too hard. Carter had obviously hit her head when she'd landed and been knocked out, but now she was beginning to stir, moaning softly as she moved.
"Carter!" Jack called, trying to get her attention. He didn't want her to wake with a jolt and begin moving around too much, possibly causing herself further injury in the process. It was going to be difficult enough to get her out as it was. He saw her eyes flicker open then close again. He was trying to decide whether that was a good or bad thing when she blinked again and finally gazed owlishly up at him.
"Sir " her voice wavered, but at least she seemed to be aware of him.
"Carter, listen to me. Try not to move. We'll have you out of there soon. Do you remember what happened?" Jack fought to keep his voice calm. He could see blood on the side of Carter's face but was unable to see exactly where it came from.
"Um sorry, sir " Sam's voice trailed off.
"Hey, stay with me here, okay," Jack called. As much as he'd prefer that Sam wasn't in pain, he knew that if she had a head injury it was important to stop her slipping too deeply into unconsciousness until help arrived. "That's an order, Captain," he called, seeing Sam's eyes losing the battle to stay open.
"Yes sir, sorry," she whispered back. "Where am I?"
"You fell in a hole." Jack forced a smile into his voice. "You know, I thought that was Daniel's department." He relaxed slightly as he saw her answering grin. At least she was following what he was saying. "Daniel and Teal'c have gone back to the base for help. So you just need to lie still and take it easy for a while till we get you out, okay?"
"Okay," Sam murmured, one hand moving up to touch the side of her face. "Head hurts," she said as if surprised by that fact.
"I bet. You took quite a tumble."
"Get me out, please. I'm cold."
The words were pleading and Jack had to swallow hard before he could answer.
"I can't do that yet, Sam. The earth around the hole you fell into is too soft and the other entrance that Daniel found has been caved in. But soon as Teal'c and the others get back, we'll have you out in no time." Jack's voice carried an assurance he didn't really feel.
"What happened?" Sam asked, plaintively. "It hurts."
*Dammit* Jack cursed softly as he realized that Carter had already forgotten everything he'd just explained to her. *Concussion* he thought grimly. He hoped it wasn't more serious than that.
"Where does it hurt?" he asked, more as a way of distraction than anything else, though he figured it would be as well to have something to tell Fraiser when she got here.
"Head, shoulder " Sam groaned as she pulled her injured arm up across her chest, cradling it with the other. "Wha' happened?" she asked again.
*Oh for crying out loud! * "You fell look, never mind. Just keep still, Carter, all right. We'll have you out soon."
"Okay," Sam sighed, closing her eyes again.
"No, you don't! Carter! Sam, stay awake! You hear me! I need you to stay awake!" Jack yelled, shocked as he saw his 2IC's eyes slide open again, tears trickling down her cheeks. He couldn't remember ever seeing Sam cry before.
"Don't have to yell at me." Carter replied softly. "My head hurts."
"Sorry, I didn't mean to yell. It's just really important you stay with me. We're going to need your help when the others get here," Jack said, more quietly, playing on Carter's innate need to do the right thing. To his relief it seemed to work, her eyes staying open and gazing steadily into his this time. He puffed out a relieved breath and glanced at his watch. Daniel and Teal'c should be on their way back by now. At least, by the time they got back, Carter would probably be with it enough to follow instructions so they could get her out with a minimum of trouble. He shot a reassuring grin in her direction. "How you doing, Sam?" he asked, gently this time.
"Don't know," she mumbled. "Hurt everywhere." She twisted her head around, taking in her surroundings, then looked back up at Jack. "What happened?"
Janet stumbled out through what she guessed was the exit to the Stargate. She couldn't be sure. She was too busy tossing up what was left of her SGC lunch. She wiped a hand across her mouth once her stomach settled and tried to act as if this was a normal part of her day, immensely grateful for Dr. Jackson's steadying arm under her elbow and the bottle of water he handed her as he pulled her to her feet. She sipped gratefully and smiled tremulously up at him.
"Okay, Doctor?" Daniel asked.
She nodded, then swallowed the last of the nausea down ruthlessly as she heard Colonel O'Neill's voice over the RT.
Teal'c had keyed his radio the minute they left the wormhole. "O'Neill?"
"Teal'c? How long till you get here? Carter's not looking too good," O'Neill responded.
"Colonel?" Janet cut in on her own RT. "What's her condition?"
"Hey, Doc. Glad you made it through. Ah, not sure exactly. She's got a head injury and she keeps forgetting where she is. She told me her shoulder hurts, too. Look, just get here ASAP." Jack's voice sounded harsh with strain.
"We are approximately two hours walk from your location, O'Neill," Teal'c replied.
"Got it. O'Neill out."
Janet took off after Teal'c and Daniel, moving as fast as her legs would carry her. She was already diagnosing Sam's condition. Short term memory loss? Concussion at least, hopefully not a fractured skull. The fact that the captain was still conscious was a cause for optimism but the air was growing chillier and Janet wanted to get her patient out and home before hypothermia or worse set in. She heaved a sigh of relief as Daniel halted her with one arm on her elbow and relieved her of the heavy pack. She smiled her appreciation at him when he grappled it onto his back, then pushed ahead to catch up to the rest of the rescue crew.
Jack kept up a non-stop dialogue, chivvying Carter to consciousness every time she looked as if she might drift off. He'd resorted to asking her to explain the theory behind black holes by the time he heard the rescue team approaching. He figured he didn't understand it when she was fully compos anyway and it wasn't as if he had to sit a test afterwards. But at least it kept her talking and a talking Carter was a conscious Carter.
"Hey, Carter, help's here. You hear me?" He looked down into the hole again, then up at Daniel and Fraiser as they reached his side, accepting Daniel's helping hand up. He'd been stretched out full length on his belly for almost four hours and his legs tingled as the feeling returned.
Janet knelt as close to the hole as she dared. "Sam? It's Dr. Fraiser. We'll have you out soon. Can you tell me where you're hurt?"
"Janet? That you?" Sam muttered back. "What are you doing here?"
"I came to help get you home. Where are you hurt, Sam, can you tell me?" Janet persisted.
"What happened?" Sam asked, her voice suddenly panicked. "Where's the Colonel? Daniel? Teal'c?"
"Whoa, calm down, Captain," Jack said, kneeling down next to the hole once more. "We're all here and we're all fine." He turned to Teal'c. "Get back down to that adit and see if there's any chance of shoring it up long enough to get her out."
"I will do my best, O'Neill. We may be able to remove some of the debris and make a large enough entrance for someone to enter and retrieve CaptainCarter." Teal'c turned and headed downhill to the caved in entrance, SG:3 following him.
"Doc?" O'Neill turned inquiringly to Fraiser.
"I can't make a proper diagnosis from out here but she's definitely concussed "
"Ya think?" Jack said snidely. "Sorry," he apologized. "Go on."
"Okay, you said she was complaining of pain in her shoulder as well?" Janet asked.
"That might make it difficult to pull her up with a rope, even supposing the ground around here would hold. The other problem is that I just don't know if she's cognisant enough to be able to get a rope around herself if we drop one down to her," Janet continued. "I think the best way to do this is for Teal'c to be able to widen that entrance enough so someone can get in and bring her out that way."
"Okay, let's do it then." Jack turned to Daniel, who'd flopped down on his stomach and was keeping watch on Sam. "Daniel, try to keep her awake and calm, all right?"
Daniel nodded, his eyes riveted on his charge.
"Colonel?" came a worried voice from below them. "What's going on?"
"Carter, Daniel's gonna keep you company for a while so I can go down and help Teal'c get you out. You just hang in there," Jack called, his voice as even as he could make it.
"Hey, Sam, it's Daniel," Jackson said conversationally. "You know, there was something I've been wanting to tell you about. Remember P4X765? Well, that papyrus we found there "
Jack smiled as he moved away behind Janet. Daniel knew the drill. Carter would be safe with Daniel keeping watch. But he figured Sam would make Daniel sit through a talk on quantum physics or something to get even when they got her back to base, if she actually remembered any of this, that is. He stifled the small voice in his mind that said *if they got her back to base* and concentrated on the doing instead of the thinking.
By the time they'd reached the bottom of the hill Teal'c and SG:3 had managed to clear some of the debris away from the entrance to the mine, leaving a narrow gap. Teal'c was using large beams of wood he'd found nearby, braced by rocks at the bottom to reinforce the opening. He looked around as Jack and the doctor joined him. "The opening is still very narrow, O'Neill," he said, "but to remove more would undoubtedly cause the walls to collapse again. I still do not see how anyone can get through to CaptainCarter."
Jack glanced down in surprise at the small figure next to him. "What?" he asked.
"I could fit through," Janet replied, eyeing the narrow aperture appraisingly. "The only problem is going to be getting Sam out with me and making sure the opening doesn't cave in on us on the way back. I can do it, Colonel. I'm sure of it."
Jack nodded. This was really their only chance of getting Carter out before she became too weak and disoriented to cooperate with them. "You sure, Doc? You don't have to do this," he said.
"Yes I do. All part of the Hippocratic oath and all that," Janet quipped. She looked again at the small gap in the hillside, swallowing down her fear, deciding now was not the time to tell anyone about her claustrophobia.
"Okay." O'Neill opened the med pack that Daniel had been carrying. "What do you need out of here? You won't be able to take too much. Just the bare essentials."
Janet thought carefully, then listed the most urgent supplies - a sling to support Sam's injured arm, gauze dressings and tape for the gash on her head, a torch, injectable morphine, though Janet would prefer not to use that in view of the head injury. However, if Sam's arm injury made movement too painful, the doctor would use the narcotic and deal with the consequences later. Depressed respiration could be dealt with once Sam was out of the mine. A space blanket. She took one bottle of water in case they were in there longer than necessary. She didn't want to give Sam anything to drink if she could avoid it.
Head injuries had a tendency to cause vomiting when oral fluids were introduced and that could cause inhalation pneumonia or worse if Janet was unable to get Sam onto her side at the crucial moment. Besides, she planned on being in and out. Fraiser was tough and fit, Air Force trained like all of the SG personnel, but she had no intention of hanging around in a dark mine with an injured patient one minute longer than she had to. She grabbed up the items she'd requested, placed them in a pack Teal'c handed her and strode towards the opening without looking back.
Janet had to duck below the rock wall that was virtually all that was left of the original entrance to the mine. She turned side on and squeezed through between the beams that Teal'c and SG:3 had propped up either side of the crumbling rock face. The first steps through were relatively easy, requiring no more than a sucking in of her abdominal muscles to get by but a few feet in, the pack on her back snagged on an outcropping, pulling her to a standstill.
Janet tugged to no avail, her breath hitching in her throat as her heartbeat raced to keep pace. She looked around at the grey black walls surrounding her, feeling as if she could literally see them closing in and tried to regain control.
"Doc? You okay?"
Janet gasped with relief at the sound of the Colonel's voice coming through her RT.
"I'm snagged on a rock or something," she replied, hating herself for the panicked tone of her voice.
"Oh," O'Neill answered calmly. "Permanently, or is it something you can get yourself out of?"
"Of course, I can get myself out of it," she snapped back, even as she twisted back and forth.
"Look, just don't panic, Doc. If you can't handle it, we'll bring you back out and think of some other way to get Carter out," Jack said, still in that calm matter of fact tone.
*Damn you. Just because I'm female and a doctor you automatically assume I can't do this* Janet tugged hard once more and felt the strap of the pack break free. "It's fine, sir, I've got it," she said, unable to keep the smugness from her voice.
"Sweet. Never doubted you could do it, Doc." Jack smiled to himself.
"Asshole," came the mumbled reply back through the RT. Janet cringed, realizing she still had the send button thumbed down.
"That'd be Colonel Asshole," Jack replied easily. "Let us know when you're ready to get out of there, Doc. We'll be waiting."
Janet squinted through the murky gloom ahead of her. She could see Sam's sprawled form a hundred or so yards ahead, outlined by a circle of light from the hole above. She moved forward quickly, dropping to her knees on the damp ground as she reached the captain's side.
"Hey, Sam, how you doing?" she asked softly, taking Sam's chin gently in her hand and turning it so she could see where the blood was coming from. There was a long deep gash just above Sam's right ear, tinging the hair around it crimson.
Janet tilted Sam's chin back and pulled out the torch, using it to check Sam's pupils. They were equal but slightly sluggish in reaction.
"Janet?" Sam's voice was husky with pain. "Wha's goin' on?"
"You did an Alice, Sam, and fell down a hole," Janet replied, as she unpacked the medkit and spread out the supplies on the ground. "Don't worry about it. We'll have you out soon."
She used a gauze pad saturated with sterile water to clean the wound on Sam's head, wincing as Sam pulled away from her ministrations. "Easy, Sam, this is pretty deep. You're gonna need some stitches when we get back home, but for now I just want to clean it up and stop the bleeding, okay?"
Sam nodded, then winced.
"Ssh, try not to move." Janet placed another pad against the head wound then wrapped a bandage around Sam's head to hold it in place.
"Shoulder hurts," Sam whispered.
"Yeah, I know. The Colonel told me," Janet said reassuringly, as she began to ghost her fingers over Carter's limbs, looking for any other injuries.
"Oh God!" Sam yelled suddenly, surging up, "The Colonel Daniel Teal'c what happened to them "
"Sam?" Daniel called down. "It's okay. We're fine. Just stay still and let Doctor Fraiser fix you up and get you out of there, okay?"
"Daniel?" Sam slumped back down onto the ground again, peering up at the figure above her. "You're okay?"
"He's fine, Sam. Please just stay still for me," Janet said, beginning the examination over again. "The rest of SG:1's fine."
"Janet? Wha's going on? Wha' happened?"
*Crap* Janet thought succinctly. "Don't worry about it, Sam. I'll explain it all when we get back."
The captain definitely had a dislocated shoulder and from the grating under her fingers, Janet thought there was a fair chance her collar bone was broken as well, but there was no way to know that for sure without x-rays. Janet used the sling and another gauze bandage to strap Sam's arm tightly to her chest. She checked her pupils again. They were still equal and sluggishly reactive. Janet was feeling confident that her patient had a fairly severe concussion with no underlying skull fractures. "Sam, listen to me. We need to get out of here. Do you think you can stand up?"
"Okay," Sam replied. "Where we going?"
"Home," Janet answered, smiling encouragingly. "Let's try getting you on your feet." She looked back at the entrance to the tunnel, seeing Colonel O'Neill and Teal'c both peering through the gap, O'Neill shining a torch unwaveringly into the mine. She glanced up at Daniel and gave a thumbs up. "She'll be okay. We just need to get her out of here and back to the base quickly. She's got a heavy-duty concussion, her shoulder's dislocated and she may have fractured her collarbone. She's also verging on hypothermia. But I think she'll do just fine once we get her home."
Daniel nodded, the relief on his face evident even from this distance.
Janet managed to get Sam to a standing position. The captain swayed as the petite doctor took most of her weight. "You're doing great, Sam. Let's get moving, okay? Just let me know if you're going to be sick or anything."
Sam nodded, then began swallowing convulsively as her already pale face lost whatever color it had left.
"Sam, you all right? Are you feeling sick?"
Sam shook her head, then gasped and bent forward, retching miserably onto the floor of the shaft and over the doctor's shoes.
"Sorry," she panted.
"That's okay. Better out than in, my mother used to say." Janet looked with distaste at her spattered pants and footwear, then shrugged philosophically. "Just warn me next time, all right?"
"Okay," Sam whispered. "Janet "
Janet grasped Sam round the waist and held her till the nausea had passed. "Um, never mind, Sam, they were already stained anyway. You finished?" Janet stroked the damp hair away from Sam's sweaty face and began to move slowly with her toward the adit.
By the time they'd covered the distance back to where O'Neill and Teal'c anxiously awaited them, Sam was barely stumbling under her own steam and Janet had found herself trying to take more and more of the captain's weight. Sam was slim but she was several inches taller than the doctor was and it was hard going.
"Doc, if you can get Carter to lie flat on her side with her head as close to the entrance as possible, Teal'c and I can pull her through the opening without jarring her too much. You'll just need to watch her legs, make sure they don't get cut on any sharp bits of rock, okay?" O'Neill said.
Janet nodded and turned to Sam, eventually managing to get her to follow the Colonel's instructions.
Carter's eyelids were drooping now, the last of her stamina all but extinguished, and Fraiser heaved a sigh of relief as she saw Teal'c reach through with one strongly muscled arm, snag the captain's jacket and gently drag her forward, while O'Neill placed a hand under Carter's head and kept it supported above the ground.
In a few minutes Sam was out and being placed on the ground a few feet away.
Daniel stuck an arm in through the hole. "Need a hand, Doctor?" he asked.
"Thanks, Doctor Jackson," Janet said with relief as she grabbed hold and let him guide her through the entrance.
Janet quickly made her way across to her patient. She checked Sam's vitals once again.
"How's she doing, Doc?" O'Neill asked.
"She'll be fine, Colonel, but we really need to get her back soon." Janet shivered. The temperature had dropped and even though she was semi conscious, Sam was trembling noticeably. Janet pulled out the space blanket and wrapped it securely around Sam.
"Thanks, Major." She nodded at the 2IC of SG:3 who unfurled a stretcher and was waiting on further orders.
Daniel and Teal'c moved up next to Sam and helped to move her onto the stretcher. Then, they headed back to the gate.
Janet sat next to Sam's bed. She felt exhausted. In the past 24 hours she's made her first trip through the Stargate, overcome her claustrophobia long enough to help rescue
Captain Carter, then trudged back to the gate and took the roller coaster ride again.
Once back at the SGC, she'd had no time to rest. She'd sutured the captain's head wound, overseen the x-rays, which confirmed her diagnosis of a dislocated shoulder and a fractured collarbone. Dr. Warner had done the surgical reductions, giving Janet welcome time for a shower and a quick snack. Then she'd overseen the routine medical exams of the SG:1 and SG:3 teams and come to check on Sam.
Sam was resting comfortably, still unconscious from the anesthetic. Janet had spoken to Colonel O'Neill and assured him that his 2IC would be fine. He, Daniel and Teal'c were all in the waiting room, eager to see that for themselves.
Janet sighed and looked at the clock. She'd been up for 18 hours straight and felt wiped.
Her stomach churned ominously, revolting against the bland cheese sandwich she'd eaten earlier. She stood, taking a last look at Sam's obs. They were stable and she headed out to inform SG:1 they could come in.
She'd barely opened the door and nodded to them to come in before they'd poured past her, taking up stations on either side of Sam Carter's bed. Janet smiled tiredly to herself.
They'd been a team for only a few months but on that planet they'd gotten things done with a minimum of fuss, each member knowing without asking what was needed.
Now, they did the same. Carter was part of SG:1 and Jack, Teal'c and Daniel seemed to know instinctively what to do, what she needed to help her recover. They were a good team and she was glad she'd been a part of it, even if just for a short time. She opened the door and left, nodding goodbye to Jack O'Neill as he looked up in time to see her leave.
Janet was almost to the locker room before she became aware of footsteps behind her.
She glanced behind to see Colonel O'Neill running to catch her up.
"Wait up, Doc," he called.
Janet turned and faced him. "Colonel?" she asked. "Is there are a problem? Is Sam okay?"
"Yeah, she's fine, Doc. I just wanted to say thanks."
"You're welcome, Colonel. All part of the service." Janet winced, knowing she sounded glib but unable to think of anything else to say. She never expected to be thanked for what she did at the SGC. It was all part of being an Airforce medic. If she'd wanted undying gratitude, she'd have done what her ex-husband wanted and gone into private practice.
"No, it wasn't, Doc. It was your first time through the Gate and off world and yet you never lost track of what you were there to do. When you got hooked up there, in the mine, I was just trying to yank your chain you know?" O'Neill said.
"I know. I'd started to panic a bit but you gave me the incentive to override it and get on with the job," Janet replied, gazing steadily at the floor. "I apologise for what I said, Colonel. I'll understand if you want to make a complaint."
"Claustrophobia?" the Colonel asked, so quietly that Janet had to strain to hear him.
She nodded, finally daring to lift her eyes to his.
"Me too," he whispered conspiratorially. "Though if you even think of mentioning that to anyone round here, I'll have to kill you, you know?"
Janet smiled. "No problem, sir. Your secret's safe with me."
"Thought it might be," he grinned back. "Seriously, Doc, I just want to say you did great today. Thank you."
"You're welcome, Colonel. I'm glad it turned out as well as it did." She gave him a farewell smile then turned and headed for the locker rooms again.
"Great, Doc. So I guess now that you and I are friends, I don't need to worry about ever being stuck with one of those humungous needles you use every time we come back through the gate, right?" O'Neill called after her retreating back.
"In your dreams, Colonel," Janet called back over her shoulder as she ducked into the change room.