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DISCLAIMER:All characters and property of Stargate SG-1 belong to MGM/UA,World Gekko Corp. and Double Secret Productions. This fan fiction was created for entertainment only and no money has been or will be made from it. (Cant have everything.) Also no copyright or trademark infringement was made intentionally. Any similarity to any persons, living or dead is coincidental and not intended by the author. Any other characters, the storyline and the actual story are the property of the author.
SPOILERS: Minor, for One False Step, Spirits.
They came through the Gate onto an outcropping of shale like rock. Jack O'Neill adjusted his sunglasses and pulled his cap brim further over his eyes.
" Okay, kids, spread out," he called, indicating a 360 degree sweep with his arm. " Let's see what we can find to take home to nice Uncle Maybourne. "
Sam pulled one of her scientific doo-dads out of her backpack, waving it over the rock, it's little lights flashing like a miniature poker machine that had just struck a jackpot.
Daniel already had his eye to his ever-present video camera, mumbling every now and again into the microphone of his recorder.
Teal'c? Teal'c did Teal'c-standing erect, staff weapon at the ready, eyes narrowed, alert for any sign of danger.
As they moved off, Jack had a sudden thought. "Daniel," he called.
"Yeah, Jack," Daniel answered distractedly, still fiddling with the camera.
"Don't touch anything, huh?"
"Okay," Daniel grinned, his eyes twinkling.
Jack glowered at him, then realizing he could not stay angry with the scientist for longer than a second, sighed and waved his hand dismissively.
"Knock yourself out," but Daniel was already clambering among the rocks. Amazingly agile for someone who had spent his life with his nose in a book.
Jack jogged to catch up with Sam. "Found anything of interest, Carter?"
"Well, sir, there does appear to be some naquada and other identifiable minerals here in the rock-all in rather low quantities. The motion detectors indicated no life forms but high readings of naquada. After what happened on Tonane's planet, sir, if it is deserted we could feasibly set up a mining operation. Also if we find no indication of the Gou'ald here, it further substantiates Daniel's theory that they didn't build the Stargate. Of course until we look further afield "
As she paused for breath, Jack held up a cautionary finger "You and Jackson separated at birth, perhaps, Captain?"
Sam opened her mouth.
"Uh-uh , Carter. We're only here for a couple of hours recon. Save it for the debriefing."
Sam opened her mouth again to speak, saw the warning look on the Colonel's face. "Yes, sir."
"Okay, let's get what information we can and go home. Still, I kind of like this place."
Teal'c raised an elegant eyebrow, glancing sideways at O'Neill.
Jack grinned. "No trees!"
"Jack, Sam, Teal'c. Down here." Jackson's excited voice floated up to them, somewhere away and down to the right.
Jack trotted down a small hillock of gravel that skidded under his feet, making it difficult to keep his balance. Sam and Teal'c followed close behind. He came to the base of the rocks and looked around searchingly for the archaeologist. "Daniel?"
"In here, Jack. This is amazing." Daniel's voice echoed from the opening they could see in front of them, nestled at the base of a cliff face.
"Carter, you're with me. Teal'c, watch our backs."
"O'Neill," Teal'c rumbled. "The MALP showed no life signs "
Jack groaned inwardly. 'Teal'c too?'
"Just trust me on this, okay? After the episode on PJ2-445 with those weird little guys dressed in nothing but body paint, I'll never fully trust another readout again."
Teal'c stood sentry like at the entrance to the cave as Jack and Sam followed the direction of Daniel's voice. Daniel was standing in the middle of an opening into the mountain, almost jumping out of his skin with excitement. Jack took in the surroundings. It appeared to have been roughly hollowed out and the walls and ceilings carried deep cracks that spidered across each other. He wiped a smattering of dust from his eyes and spoke.
"And this would be?"
"Well, it's a cave" Daniel replied pushing his glasses up his nose.
"Ah," Jack answered.
"Oh, but that's not what's so amazing," Daniel said. "This is!"
He motioned toward the right of the cave entrance. Nestled in a small alcove, stood a tall pedestal. It appeared to be made of naquada and in its center sat a deeply coloured emerald stone.
"There's some glyphs on here but they're a little faded by time." Daniel spoke leaning forward to squint through dust coated lenses, reaching out his hand. "Let me see if I can just make out "
"Daniel, I really don't think you should touch "
As Jack spoke, the stone inset glowed a deep blue and shot a beam of light, centering on Daniel, who stumbled back, gasping, blinded by the laser like beam. As Jack and Sam looked on in horror, it elevated him several feet above their heads and skewered him in its glow for several seconds, before it spewed him across the cave to slam sickeningly against the wall.
Daniel felt a crushing pain in his side as his ribs buckled under the assault and the breath was driven from him. He collapsed, slamming to the ground as the rest of the team rushed toward him.
Jack gently touched the stricken man's shoulder. "Daniel, you okay?"
Daniel struggled to regain his breath and put a shaky hand out to Jack for help in sitting up."I-I'm okay, it just knocked the wind out of me," he wheezed, holding his chest.
Suddenly, the ground shook beneath their feet.
"O'Neill, we must leave this place now," shouted Teal'c over an ominous rumbling from above. Jack just had time to throw his body over Daniel's prostrate form before the sky fell in, and with a roar louder than Thor's thunder, blackness descended.
Jack woke to an insistent shaking of his shoulder and Teal'c's voice calling to him.
"O'Neill, it is I, Teal'c. Are you injured?"
Jack coughed and spluttered the age-old dust from his nose and mouth, simultaneously testing his limbs to see if they were still working. "I'm okay, Teal'c, really. You?"
"I am uninjured, Colonel O'Neill," answered Teal'c, pushing aside a large rock that had fallen perilously close to the Colonel's head.
"Carter," Jack called.
"I'm fine, sir, just a few scrapes and bruises." he heard Sam answer.
"We appear to have been spared the worst of the cave in by being on the far side," Teal'c said.
Jack coughed again, feeling the grit crunch in his mouth and ran his tongue over a split in his lip. "Yeah, well, lucky Daniel got tossed over this side, huh?"
"Daniel," he called.
Then he heard a moan at his feet and fished at his belt for a flashlight, hoping it hadn't been damaged. He triggered the switch and breathed a sigh of relief as its glow illuminated the cave. He angled the beam downwards. Daniel lay at his feet, prone, his hands appeared to still be clutching at his chest.
"Daniel, God." Jack knelt at his friend's side, feeling frantically for a pulse. It was there, rapid but reassuringly there. He noted the dark blue bruising around Daniel's eye, extending down his cheekbone to his jaw. "Must have been where he hit the wall."
Jack rocked back on his heels and rolled the flashlight up until the beam caught Teal'c and Sam. Sam looked a little pale and had a nasty cut on her forehead. "That's a bad gash, Captain. You might want to put something on it."
It'll be okay, sir," she answered "I'll check out Daniel first."
She hurried forward, pulling her first aid gear from her backpack as she moved. Teal'c appeared unscathed and was holding a second light.
"Okay, Carter, see what you can do for Daniel. Teal'c and I'll scout around for a way out."
Jack handed Sam his torch and stood, stifling a groan at torn muscles and yet another damaged knee. "I'm getting too old for this," he muttered to himself. He cursed as Teal'c shone light over the cave's entrance. It appeared to be completely blocked. "What about your staff weapon, Teal'c?"
"It appears to be functional, Colonel but I fear its blast could bring more rocks down upon us." Teal'c answered.
"Yeah, you're right," Jack said "Forget I mentioned it."
"Why should I forget what you have said, O'Neill?" Teal'c quizzed.
"Just forget " Jack shook his head, "I'll explain it to you when we get out of here. We seem to be getting air from somewhere, let's see if we can find a back door."
Sam knelt down at Daniel's side and softly called his name. Daniel moaned again and then came to in the darkness with a start.
"Oh, please, please don't leave me here," he croaked.
"Shh, Daniel it's okay, it's Sam, I'm here."
Carter grabbed at his flailing hands and pressed them up to her face, wincing as he brushed against the cut on her head.
"Sam?" Daniel called. "I thought I was " he broke off as harsh coughing assailed him and he grabbed again at his chest.
Sam saw blood spray from his lips as he coughed and swore softly. She gently laid him back against a boulder and felt along his ribs. She counted two or was it three ribs on the lower left side that gave under her questing fingers. Daniel suddenly struggled to sit up.
"Oh God," he moaned. "Can't-can't breathe."
Sam could see his face was sheened with sweat and his lips taking on a dusky shade.
"Alright, Daniel, easy. Colonel O'Neill, Teal'c, I need you - now." she called.
She was fumbling in her knapsack for more first aid gear, keeping a perilous hold on a panicking Daniel with one hand as Jack and Teal'c came crawling back.
"What is it, Carter? What's wrong with him?" Jack ground out.
"He's got a couple of broken ribs, sir. I think he may have a collapsed lung and maybe some internal bleeding."
"Damn it," Jack cursed "What can we do?"
"We need to calm him down first and then sit him up and back to expand his chest."
Jack grabbed Daniel's hands. "Daniel, it's me, Jack. You've got to stop jumping around and let us help you, okay?"
The frightened eyes finally fixed on his face. "Jack," he wheezed. "Can't breathe."
Jack could see the huge effort Daniel was making to draw air into his damaged chest.
"Easy, buddy, easy."
He put Daniel's arms over his shoulders, Daniel's head cradled on his chest and slowly knelt up, cutting short the moan as his knee complained. Daniel's breathing eased slightly as his undamaged lung expanded more fully, but he still wheezed horribly.
"Daniel?" Jack whispered, gently stroking the young man's hair. He could feel Jackson shivering uncontrollably.
"He's unconscious, sir," Carter said, pressing her fingers to Daniel's throat. "His pulse is pretty weak, too."
Teal'c shrugged off his jacket and placed it carefully around Daniel's shoulders. Another jacket served as padding as Jack slowly eased Daniel back against the boulder. He watched the laboured breathing for a moment, then shook his head. He sat and faced Carter and Teal'c.
"There appears to be a passage way at the back that may lead out of here. I'm going to go check it out. See where it goes, okay?" He held a restraining hand up to Teal'c as the big man began to protest. "Teal'c, I need you to stay here. Help Sam with Daniel."
"Yes, Colonel," Teal'c acquiesced.
Jack checked his torch again and laid a gentle hand on Daniel's heaving chest. "I'll get help back here if I have to dig through the rock with my bare hands. You just hang in there," he whispered. He began to crawl toward the back of the cave.
"Colonel," Sam said.
Jack stopped, looked back.
"Be careful, sir."
Jack nodded and was swallowed up by the darkness.
Teal'c laid a reassuring hand on Sam's. "Do not worry, Captain Carter. Daniel Jackson is the strongest man I know. He has survived much already. He will be fine."
Sam nodded and forced a smile. She set about keeping Daniel warm and comfortable.
Jack entered what amounted to a crawl space at the rear of the cave. He had to hunker down on his chest and crawl through the passage. Small pieces of gravel and sprays of dust showered down on him as he moved along, making his eyes water.
God, there must be an end soon, he thought. He'd been crawling now for hours and his elbows and knees were scraped raw from the abrading rock surface. 'Maybe it's a deadend. Maybe it never got finished.'
He felt a sudden wave of panic overwhelm him. The tunnel seemed to close around him and he felt himself suffocating. He fought for control and took a deep, shuddering breath.
"Come on, O'Neill," he growled. "You've got too many people relying on you to give up now."
He began to inch forward again and suddenly, there it was- a small opening. It appeared so quickly he almost fell through it to the ground below. After crawling out, he stood, undecided. He realized they would never be able to drag Daniel through the tunnel. His mind made up; he ran full tilt for the Stargate, feeling frantically in his pocket for the remote signaling device and trying desperately to remember the order of the glyphs on the DHD. Last thing he needed now was to end up in the arms of the Gou'ald somewhere or squashed like a bug on the Stargate iris. He shuddered involuntarily at the thought.
"Do you think Jack got through, Teal'c?" Sam asked, softly stroking Daniel's forehead.
"Of course, Captain Carter. Colonel O'Neill would let nothing stop him from his purpose."
Tealc handed Sam a cloth soaked in water from his canteen. Daniel was getting restless again, struggling against Teal'c's gently restraining arms.
"Shh, Daniel, help's coming, I promise," Sam soothed.
Suddenly, the torchlight flickered and died. Daniel struggled harder in fear and Teal'c, concerned with harming him further, let him slip from his grasp. Daniel fell heavily to the ground and began to cough again. It was a sound that shook Sam to the core as he retched and then tried desperately to drag air into his tortured lungs. She saw fresh blood trickle from his mouth and could only turn him onto his side, so he didn't choke.
As the coughing slowly eased, Teal'c drew Daniel's exhausted body protectively to him and said "We must attempt to take him through the tunnel now, if he is to survive."
"No, Teal'c, he'll never make it. We've got to have faith in Jack. He won't let us or Daniel down."
Teal'c suddenly cocked his head to one side, then carefully placed Daniel back against the boulder. "You are correct, Captain Carter."
Sam could hear them now as well. Voices and machinery at the front of the cave. A large boulder was lifted away from the top corner of the entrance and blinding light streamed in. Sam shielded her eyes and heard a familiar voice.
"Teal'c, Sam, you guys okay?"
"We are okay, O'Neill," Teal'c responded.
There was a brief pause. "How's Daniel doing?"
Sam looked at Daniel's exhausted, battered face, and his lungs still feebly attempting to take in air. "We need to get him out of here quickly, Colonel."
Jack turned to the airmen beside him. "I'll take the stretcher down."
Daniel had begun writhing in panic again by the time Jack and Doctor Frasier arrived with the stretcher. Doctor Fraisier listened to his chest, then quickly appraised his cold, clammy skin, thready pulse and exhausted struggle to breathe and decided to act quickly.
"He's in shock. I need to get an I.V. and a chest tube in him right away and I don't have time to anaesthetize the site."
She smiled apologetically at Jack and Teal'c. "You'll have to hold him still. I need to stabilize him here."
Jack grimaced then gritted his teeth. "Let's do it."
Janet started an I.V infusion in the back of Daniel's hand, then adjusted an oxygen mask over his face. She poured betadine over Daniel's badly bruised ribs. "Hang on tight." she warned.
Jack and Teal'c positioned themselves at Daniel's side, one hand holding his shoulders down, the other gripping his hands.
Janet took a deep breath and quickly inserted the chest tube. Jack and Teal'c braced themselves, but Daniel's energy reserves were so depleted that his only response was a weak arching of his back and a moan escaping through clenched teeth.
Jack turned to check on Carter, while Janet adjusted the I.V. Sam was still pale beneath streaks of dust and the cut on her face looked vivid against her pallor.
They gently lifted Daniel onto the stretcher. The movement caused Daniel to stir and try to twist weakly away from their arms. Four voices quietly soothed him back to sleep.
Janet noted with relief that he was already breathing more easily, although she was still concerned about internal damage. The gentle jogging of the stretcher penetrated through the thick fog of Daniel's exhaustion. He slowly opened weary eyes.
"Sam. Teal'c," he whispered.
Sam bent to hear him through the oxygen mask.
She didn't know if it was a question or a statement.
"It's okay, Daniel. We're going home."
He closed his heavy eyelids. "Jack?"
A familiar voice came from somewhere behind him, the hand gentle upon his. "Geez, Daniel, when are you gonna learn not to look with your fingers."
- February 2000
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