Take My Hand
By Gen Varel
Episodes: In the Line of Duty
The Tok’Ra I & II
Rating: PG 13
Summary: Sam confronts her buried memories and
finally accepts her new self.
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for the enjoyment of Stargate SG-1 fans all over the world. No copyright infringement is intended and no monetary gain is expected.
Jack was already sick of this planet. He was pretty sure they would find no signs of humans around, given the state of the area around the gate, and he was tempted to end the mission early, gather up his team, and return home. He had been irritable all day, not in the mood for a hot, humid climate. But here he was, trying to be professional and complete the planet’s survey to Hammond’s satisfaction.
“Wow!” he heard Captain Carter exclaim from fifty feet away.
“What is it?” he asked dutifully, not really that interested. What she normally found fascinating usually left him wanting to go to sleep. However, he started to approach her obligingly. It was his job, after all.
“I’m not positive, but it looks like spider webs,” she responded, pulling at something from the bark of a tree using her P-90.
He knew it! What could possibly be so interesting about that? “Really? We better radio Teal’c and Daniel so they can come running. They wouldn’t want to miss seeing spider webs!” he commented sarcastically as he approached her.
Sam just gave him a patient look, “Just come over and see this. This is not like anything you’ve seen before,” she requested tolerantly.
Jack finally stood by her side, looking up at the trees looming over his captain. The trunks were covered with a substance that, indeed, looked like spider webs, but much thicker, and bluish in color.
“This stuff is really strong. I was unable to tear any of it away, and it feels very flexible and soft, like silk,” she commented, obviously enthralled by the discovery.
“Humph!” Jack responded, still bored to tears. He made a show of inspecting the material, touching it with his own weapon, making interested sounds, and frowning in concentration. “Nope! I got nothing! Let’s go back!” he finally said, eliciting a sigh of exasperation from his captain.
“Aren’t you even a little curious about what could have made this?” she was asking him, following him as he retraced their steps.
“Not really, Captain. And, please, don’t tell me you want to go find out!” he begged, still walking.
“Of course not! Why would I? It’s just a material that could be studied and that may serve countless purposes back on Earth. I’m sure those who invented glass and plastic also probably did it just for the heck of it, not because anyone would ever want to use…” Sam was rambling on behind her CO, obediently following Jack against her will. He stopped and turned abruptly, and she collided with his chest, taken off guard.
“Please, Captain, leave sarcasm for the professionals, okay? You don’t do it very well,” he scolded her firmly.
“Yes, Sir,” she automatically responded, a little worried that he may be seriously upset by her lack of respect. He was, after all, her superior officer, and she had no business questioning his orders. She looked away, and Jack could swear he saw a pout start to take shape on her face. But she quickly caught herself and it was gone now.
Her contrite look made him feel guilty and he relented, mentally kicking himself the whole time, “Okay, you win! We can search the area for a while, but if we don’t find anything within half an hour, we are heading back. Deal?” he proposed.
“Deal!” she smiled. ‘He’s such a softy, really,’ she thought, and she happily started back to the trees.
Jack saw her go with a deep sigh, “Scientists! Beware of all scientists! Especially pouting female scientists!” he was mumbling to himself, following her grumpily.
Time was almost up, and they still had found nothing, just more and more of the same substance, leading them away from the trees and onto the edge of a ravine. At least they were heading back towards the gate, to Jack’s relief. Sam looked down and saw that the bottom was not that deep, and that there was nothing of interest there. She then looked across from the hole and skimmed the horizon. Again, nothing.
“Anything, Carter?” Jack asked from a short distance, where he was checking in the opposite direction.
“No, Sir,” she answered, frustrated. “I guess we should head back,” she admitted, starting to walk away from the ravine, looking back at the colonel.
Jack was looking away, checking out more of the material hanging from trees near him, when he suddenly heard Sam cry out. He turned to her instantly, but saw nothing where she had been standing just seconds before. “Carter?!” he shouted, and started to run towards the ravine, fearing she had fallen over.
“Carter!” he yelled, looking down the hole, but finding no captain down there.
“Sir!” he heard her voice call out.
“Where the hell are you?” he asked, looking around him.
“I’m down here,” she answered, then coughed a couple of times. “I fell down a hole in the ground… watch where you step!” she warned.
Jack followed the sound of her voice, carefully looking down, and realized that there were a number of holes in the ground a few feet apart from each other. They looked like they had been dug out by some kind of animal, and covered lightly by debris.
“Keep talking, Carter! There’re more than one hole around here!” he ordered her, walking carefully.
“I’m down here! You’re almost on top of me, I can hear you,” she responded.
Jack finally spotted her P-90 on the ground and found the right hole. He knelt by it and peered down. He could barely make her out, just enough light penetrating the deep tunnel-like hole to be able to see her face looking up. “Are you all right?” he asked worriedly. She had fallen quite a distance.
“I think so, although I can’t move much. It’s kind of tight down here. Aside from the tunnel on top of me, there is one other tunnel perpendicular to it, leading away from the ravine. I can tell because I can see a little light coming directly from my right. It’s really dark to my left, and it seems to go deeper underground.” She coughed again, evidently bothered by the dirt and debris still falling on her.
“Let me drop a rope and I’ll pull you out,” Jack reassured her, taking the length of rope out of his pack.
“It may be easier to use the side hole, Sir. This upper tunnel is too narrow for me to climb, and I’m much closer to the one on the ravine’s wall. I’ll just crawl to it and you can pull me out,” she suggested.
“Okay, let me tie this down to a tree and I’ll lower myself into the ravine. Start crawling,” he agreed, and walked over to the nearest tree to tie the rope.
Sam started to crawl toward the light to her right, trying not to think of what kind of animal could have created the tunnels. She was only a couple of feet away from the end of the tunnel when she realized the hole was much too small for her to go through, and that there were some roots blocking her way out. She could already hear Jack outside, near the opening.
“Sir! Over here!” she called out, poking a hand out of the hole and waving. She felt his hand grip hers right away.
“Sorry, Sir. I didn’t realize that the opening was so narrow. I guess we’ll have to try to make it bigger,” she apologized, feeling more than a little stupid.
“Well, that shouldn’t be hard. The ground is soft and you’re no Teal’c,” he responded good-naturedly.
Sam smiled in the darkness and started to push dirt out of the hole, but she then suddenly froze. She thought she heard something moving behind her, and she felt the hairs on her neck stand on end, spooked.
“Ah… Sir?” she called Jack, her voice thick with apprehension. “I think I have company. Could you dig a little faster?”
Jack didn’t like the sound of that and picked up his pace, now pulling out his knife to cut away the roots that were in the way. Sam had started to push dirt out frantically, her small hands inefficient in the narrow tunnel. Jack pulled out his radio, now sincerely worried about their situation, “Teal’c, Daniel, respond!” he called anxiously.
“Daniel, here! Where are you guys? We’ve been waiting by the Gate for the last twenty minutes!” he complained.
“Shut up and listen! Start running southwest to come meet us. Carter’s in trouble! I’m hanging down a ravine trying to dig her out. Follow the rope!” he ordered.
“Copy!” Daniel responded immediately.
“Colonel, please!” Jack heard Sam’s nervous voice from inside the hole. “It’s getting closer!”
She was frightened. Not knowing what was behind her was the scariest part, and she tried to move her arm down her side to try to reach one of her weapons, but the tunnel’s narrowness prevented her from doing so.
“Relax, Captain. You know I’ll get you out. It’s probably just a chipmunk,” he joked, trying to settle her.
“Ahh!” she shrieked, “Something’s got my boot! It’s pulling me back!” she shouted, now terrified.
Jack realized she had taken hold of a thick root and was trying to hang on, her knuckles white. He instinctively grasped her wrist, holding on to her.
“TEAL’C! TEAL’C!” Jack screamed in panic, feeling his grip start to give. Whatever was pulling Carter away from the hole was extremely strong. He could see how scared she was, her huge blue eyes even larger in the darkness.
“JAAACK! Where are you?” he heard Daniel shouting from the distance. Jack was frantically trying to hang on to Sam’s wrists with both hands now, his boots against the ravine’s wall. Her hands were wrapped around his wrists in desperation and he was relying on the rope to hold his weight.
“DOWN HERE! HURRY!” he called back, hoping they could see the rope from where they were.
“AHHH!” Sam screamed suddenly, a grimace of pain on her face.
“Carter! Hang on!” he shouted at her, feeling her hands start to loosen up.
“I… can’t. It stung me! My leg…” she was saying, her voice growing weaker by the second.
“No! Don’t let go! Carter!” he ordered, but he was loosing her. Her eyes glazed over and closed, her hands fell from his wrists, and she went completely slack.
“TEEEAL’C!” Jack screamed again. He could hear noises from behind Sam’s inert body. Screeching sounds that he thought sounded infuriated.
“O’Neil!” he heard from above, and saw Teal’c looking down on him from the edge of the ravine.
“Teal’c! There’s a hole on the surface where she fell through! You need to block it! Something’s pulling her away from me… I can’t hold on to her much longer!” he ordered, still managing to hold on to Sam. His sweaty hands, however, were slipping.
“I found it!” he heard Daniel shout. At that moment, a sudden, strong pull made him lose his grip on one of her wrists, making him lose his balance and scratch his face against the ravine’s opening, still holding on to Sam’s right hand, now well inside the opening.
“I’m losing her! Try to block the thing from retreating!” he was shouting frantically.
Daniel was scrambling to find big enough rocks to drop down the hole, but there was nothing that could effectively block the tunnel. Teal’c had quickly started to lower himself down the ravine, trying to reach Jack to help him pull Sam out, having reached the same conclusion.
“No!” Jack screamed, feeling Sam’s hand slip further out of his grip. He knew he could not hold on if the thing pulled again, which it did a few seconds later. “Sam!” he yelled, losing her hand, horrified at seeing her body being swiftly pulled deeper into the tunnel. He soon could see no sign of her. “PULL ME UP! NOW!” he yelled at Teal’c, who was now half way down the ravine. The Jaffa quickly scrambled back up and started to help Jack up.
“I saw it! It went through here! It was dragging Sam!” Daniel was shouting at them, kneeling over the hole Sam had fallen through. “Sorry, Jack! There was nothing big enough to block the tunnel.”
“There are other holes around here! Be careful! We have to find where it took her! They all probably lead to the nest!” Jack warned them, checking out the other holes. They were all deep, but some were much bigger than others.
“O’Neill! This one seems large enough to accommodate us!” Teal’c called, kneeling over a particularly large hole, much farther away from the ravine.
“Daniel! Go back to the gate and dial Earth! Request a rescue team and a medical team! Then bring them back here! Teal’c and I are going down this hole, you got it?!” Jack had a hold of the archeologist’s shoulder, shaking him as he shouted instructions.
“Got you, Jack!” Daniel answered, and started running toward the Stargate as if the hounds from hell were on his heels.
“I’ll go first!” Jack told Teal’c, who had already tied his rope to the nearest tree and was on the edge of the hole.
The Jaffa just nodded and handed Jack the rope. The Colonel wasted no time lowering himself down the hole, his flashlight in his left hand and his knife between his teeth.
Daniel had never run so fast in his life. His side was hurting, but he kept going until he reached the Gate. The dial-up seemed to take an eternity, but he was ready with his GDO by the time the wormhole was established. Moments later, he landed feet first on the ramp back at the SGC, holding his side and bending over in pain, out of breath.
“We need a… medical team… and a… rescue team… stat!” he managed to yell at a bewildered Hammond, who was staring at him from the control room.
The Commander did not hesitate and picked up the phone to order both teams to report to the Gate Room. He then ran down to Daniel, who had collapsed on the ramp, trying to catch his breath.
“What is it? What’s going on?” he asked the archeologist in consternation.
Daniel looked up at him from the ramp, panting, and tried to explain, “It’s Sam…” he took a deep breath and continued, “She fell through a hole… and was taken by something… we don’t know what… some kind of animal. I only saw a big… dark shape… I couldn’t… make out what it was.”
Daniel was now being offered some water by one of the soldiers at the gate, and he drank thankfully.
Moments later, the two teams ran into the Gate Room, got quick instructions from Hammond to follow Daniel, and started jumping through the puddle, the young man in the lead.