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Posted February 1, 2006
Fan Fiction: Eclipse
Act Six: Hope of Day
Time passed slowly as the three members of SG-1 stuck in the cave rested, sharing what little water and food they had left and waiting for another option to present itself. The glowing gastropods crawling across the ceiling provided enough light for them to make out each other's features, but they were all very aware that it was still pitch black outside. The hammering sounds of alien predators bashing their skulls against the rock blocking the cave mouth were proof enough that the eclipse was not yet over.
They hadn't heard from Teal'c since he had disappeared into the darkness. Sam suppressed the urge to try contacting him over the radio-- she had a feeling that he would have tried to transmit some sort of goodbye if he'd been caught, and if he hadn't, he could very well be hiding in a place where the slightest noise would betray his presence to the enemy. He was a master warrior; he would tell her to use her energy on more important concerns than worrying about him.
Even as she completed that thought, her radio came to life-- but to her surprise, it wasn't Teal'c on the other end. "Sam? Sam, can you hear me?"
The transmission was full of static, but she recognized the voice instantly. "Dad!" she exclaimed, keying her radio as she struggled to her feet. Her muscles were stiff and sore from over-exertion followed by too much sitting around, but she was too excited to care.
"Jacob?" the Colonel asked, disbelieving. "What are you doing here?"
"I knew you were still alive!" the Tok'ra answered, relief plain in his voice. "When the SGC contacted me and told me your team was missing, I looked up PM3-44G on the galactic map. You're practically next door to the Alpha Site, so I grabbed a tel'tac and flew on over. What's going on down there? I took out a squad of Jaffa by the Gate, but there's a lot of movement in the shadows and I'm still taking fire."
"There's some kind of deadly predator here that only comes out at night," Sam informed him, speaking quickly. "But night only falls here once every couple of decades. The Jaffa belong to a Goa'uld named Shu, who appears to be using the eclipse as a means of executing important prisoners. We were unable to take the Gate, and Daniel and the Colonel were injured, so we retreated to a cave for shelter. We're safe enough for the moment, but Teal'c's still out there; he was trying to lead the Jaffa away from us. Have you seen him?"
"No, no, I-- wait. I see a light; it looks like a flare--"
The radio fell silent. Sam exchanged glances with Jack, then began checking and reloading her P-90. Jack scrambled to his feet, leaning on the cave wall, then busied himself with the same chore. Daniel stood last, his brow creased with pain as he stretched bruised and strained muscles left too long untreated. He wasn't carrying a P-90 this trip, but he did have his handgun, which he quickly checked over. Sam handed him her flashlight, as his had been lost in the initial encounter with the alien predators, and he turned it on before bracing it against the gun. All of them seemed to be feeling the same urge to motion, their hopes for survival rekindled.
"Got him!" the radio announced suddenly, a triumphal note in Jacob's voice.
Sam closed her eyes briefly, immensely relieved.
"Thank you, Jacob," Jack said, emphatically. "Now-- I don't suppose you can fly that thing close enough to the canyon to pick us up from the bottom?"
"Sorry, Jack," Jacob answered, apologetically. "The rings won't reach down that far, not unless there's another set buried down there somewhere. You're going to have to come out of there first."
"I was afraid of that," Jack sighed. "Look-- just keep the Gate covered. How many Jaffa d'you think are still out there?"
"A dozen, at least," was the pessimistic answer.
"Damn. Just be ready to grab us the second we're clear, all right?"
"Will do, Jack." The transmission ended.
Without Teal'c's help, it was going to take all three of them to clear the cave mouth again. Sam took her flare out of her vest, holding it ready in her left hand, then braced her shoulder against the rock and waited for the others to join her. Once they were ready, Jack counted down from three and they all pushed as hard as they could.
The rock shifted slowly. As it moved, grinding loudly against the smaller rocks beneath it, Sam realized she hadn't heard the sounds of impatient aliens in several minutes at least; they might actually be able to pull this off without incurring any other serious injuries. The moment she could see clear to the outside, she lit the flare and tossed it out into the darkness.
She didn't hear any shrieking noises-- but she did hear several peculiar hissing sounds coming from the direction of the flare, as if droplets of water were striking a hot grill. The rock finished moving, and they emerged into the fitfully lit canyon to find it liberally splashed with blue blood and pieces of the creatures they'd been fleeing.
"They're killing each other!" Daniel said, aghast, gazing up into the air above them.
Sam swallowed hard, fighting nausea at the sight of disemboweled predators and severed limbs strewn willy-nilly across the canyon floor. She didn't want to look up; she already knew what she'd see, and she had a feeling the same process-- territorial fight or mating flight, most likely-- was responsible for most of the smaller bones they'd found earlier that day. Several more chunks of flesh fell into the space around them as they stood outside the cave mouth. "Let's get out of here," she said, plaintively.
Daniel took their last flare from his vest and tossed it toward the mouth of the canyon as hard as he could. Between its light and the one Sam had ignited, they'd be able to traverse most of the distance to the plain without stepping into deep shadow, while leaving their hands free for their weapons. He waited for Jack take point-- the Colonel couldn't quite run, but even with a leg wound he was moving faster than Daniel was currently able to-- and Sam took up the rear. If anything attacked them from behind, she'd be best able to take care of it.
They were halfway to the mouth of the canyon when both flares seemed to sputter, and chilled droplets of something began striking the top of Sam's head and sliding down her collar. Her sunburned skin stung under the onslaught, and one of her feet slipped as the dusty ground underfoot began turning to mud.
Daniel laughed, a bitter sound that held no mirth. "For who is Shu without Tefnut?" he said cryptically, and stumbled forward to slide his good arm under one of Jack's. Neither of them could afford to slip and go down at this stage of the game.
A trickle of cold liquid slid down Sam's cheek into the corner of her mouth, and she licked her lips automatically. Water. It was water-- if they'd been stuck here any longer, they might have been able to survive after all. Thank God they wouldn't have to, though.
It was just a little bit farther. Sam was almost convinced they were going to make it without complication, after all; but no sooner had she formed the thought, than a charge of blue lightning surged out of the darkness and nailed Jack. He went down like a sack of potatoes; Daniel only caught part of the charge, but he was unable to support Jack's weight in addition to his own and went down too, groaning in pain.
Sam fired at the source of the zat blast, furious at the interruption, and caught the Jaffa in the chest. He flung up his arms and fell forward into the light, and Sam caught the glint of a golden tattoo as he collapsed to the ground. It was Shu's First Prime. His master couldn't be far off.
"Teal'c!" she screamed into her radio. "Daniel and the Colonel are down! I need some help down here!"
"He's ringing down now," her Dad's voice answered, sounding concerned. "Are you okay, Sam?"
She didn't bother to answer. Of course she wasn't okay. She was tired, sunburnt, dripping with water, and the sole line of defense for her two wounded teammates in very hostile territory. How did he expect her to answer? She fired two more sustained bursts, targeting a pair of creatures swooping down on the little party, then sagged in relief as a brilliant column of light flashed down some distance away. Teal'c was coming.
He had to have some kind of portable Goa'uld lightsource with him; the guttering flares, which had been nearly extinguished by the rain, seemed dim in comparison. "Major Carter!" he called, staff leveled in front of him as he ran.
"We're here, Teal'c!" she answered, kneeling at Daniel's side to help the half-stunned archaeologist to his feet. There was no way she was going to be able to carry the Colonel, but if she could get Daniel moving, she had no doubt that Teal'c would be able to handle Jack.
A staff blast flew over her head; Sam flinched, then relaxed as she realized it was only Teal'c, defending them from a threat behind her. Then he was there, kneeling at her side, scooping Jack up and over his left shoulder. "We must hurry!" he said, urgently, staring intently into her eyes for a moment before turning and lurching back up the canyon.
Only then did she realize that he'd been wounded, too. A great rent crossed the back of his BDU jacket, and the T-shirt underneath was wet with blood. Whatever he'd been doing while they'd been holed up in the cavern, he'd been right in the thick of things.
She didn't bother to question his urgency. She was feeling pretty damned impatient to be off this rock herself. She finally got Daniel in an approximation of upright posture, and half-dragged, half-pushed him along as they stumbled the last little distance to safety.
Finally, finally, they were out from between the walls of the canyon and onto the rocky plain. Sam slipped and went to one knee, clutching heavily at Daniel to try and keep him from falling, too. Teal'c stepped close, carefully positioning Jack on his shoulder to keep all four members of the team in as tight a circle as possible.
"Dad!" she called into her radio. "Ring us up, we're clear!"
Jacob's tel'tac swung in overhead at her summons, gliding into a hover above the tight cluster of SG-1. A portal opened in the belly of the ship and the rings activated, slamming down around them. Sam had never been so glad to be caught in one of the Goa'uld transporters; one second, the team was bleeding into the mud of a hostile planet, and the next they were all safe, sprawled across the floor of the cargo vessel.
They weren't alone. A strange Jaffa, part of a chain still attached to one ankle, was laid out on a blanket against the wall nearest the cockpit. His eyes were closed, but his chest rose and fell; bandages were wrapped around one thigh, both arms, and a significant portion of his torso. Teal'c must have been in the middle of rescuing him when Jacob had arrived.
Speaking of-- where was her father? She got to her feet, helping Daniel move away from the rings. Teal'c lowered Jack to the ground along a section of wall opposite the wounded Jaffa, then went to the door separating the section they were in from the cockpit, anticipating her move. "All are aboard," he announced, clearly for Jacob's benefit.
"All right. I'll be over the Gate in thirty seconds," her Dad replied.
"Teal'c?" Sam asked, wrinkling her brow at him. "What's going on? Why aren't we getting out of here?"
"We must not allow this abomination to continue," her teammate announced, staring down at her with an impassive expression. "If we move quickly, we can disable the Stargate and prevent Shu from ever leaving this place or using it for such a purpose again."
Well. At least her choice of C4 over an extra flare was going to prove worthwhile in the end. "I'll do it, Teal'c," Sam told him. "I'm the only one not wounded." She helped Daniel settle himself against the wall next to Jack, then dropped her pack from her shoulders and dug in it to find the errant blocks of plastic explosive.
He stared at her for a moment, then shook his head. "We will go together," he said, then stepped back into the circle of the rings, refusing to take no for an answer.
She followed him, holding her breath. Seconds later, they were back down on the surface, just in front of the Gate. Her eyes had just begun to adjust to the illumination aboard the tel'tac; everything outside the reach of Teal'c's light seemed impenetrably black and threatening. Fear curdled in her gut again; she thrust it aside and stooped quickly at the base of the Gate, positioning the blocks of C4 so that it would be blown over backward and hopefully buried in loose rock. Even if it weren't fully closed, anyone trying to Gate in from the other side in the future would fall right back into the wormhole and disintegrate into their constituent atoms.
Only seconds had passed by the time the last block was placed and the timers set. Sam lurched back to her feet and joined Teal'c again, standing close up against him as he toggled the radio to let Jacob know they were done. She didn't even notice that she was blocking the glow from his lightsource, trapping it between them, until her lower left side suddenly seemed to erupt in pain.
Her heartbeat faltered; a deep chill swept over her as time seemed to slow to a crawl. Teal'c's eyes widened, and he reached out with both arms, one pulling her against him, the other raising his staff weapon to aim behind her.
The rings came down before he could fire. Something shrieked and crunched behind her; then the rings went up again, snatching them back aboard the tel'tac.
"Samantha!" a deep voice seemed to call; several other voices were calling her name, as well. Sam found herself unable to answer them as she fell back into the dark.
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