* * * * *
|| Jack O'Neill ||
The dismal truth is that there was one thing and one thing only keeping my relationship with Sam Carter within reasonable parameters all those years: common sense. That was it. There was nothing else. Just the good judgement to know how painful it would be, and the dismal knowledge that it would never work out.
For the first couple years, it worked. Common sense sufficed perfectly. It teamed up with denial and low self-esteem and made an unbeatable combination that effectively blinded us to anything MORE. And if it could have simply stayed like that - friendly and respectful - we would have been fine. I'm as certain of it as I ever have been of anything. If it hadn't changed, we wouldn't have either.
But one of the great, immovable facts of the universe, one of the real, true constants, is that everything proceeds from order to chaos. Everything. Our cars, our bodies, our social structure. Sam would refer to it as the Second Law of Thermodynamics. I would prefer to simply say that, given enough time, everything will go to hell. Our relationship, as comfortable and inexorably settled though it was, was no different, and it wasn't immune to the subtle variations that each new year ushered it.
I wish I could say that it started to go downhill when we acted on impulse... caused an indiscretion... overstepped boundaries... something. Because I can't give an exact date. I can't give an exact reason or an exact motive. The others can... but I'm not absolutely sure I can fathom their explanation.
There's one thing I CAN do.
I CAN give an exact PERSON.
But I didn't know then what I know now.
It's embarrassing, actually, so much so that if Sam weren't the focus of all attention right now I'd be feeling distinctly uneasy. I was second in command of a base that was supposed to eliminate an alien threat against all of mankind. Samantha Carter was a brilliant doctor right beneath me in the chain of command at said base. Pretty weighty stuff. Pretty IMPORTANT stuff. Stuff you wouldn't trust to just anybody, that you would want in capable, experienced hands. I thought I had those hands, that we all did. I thought we knew just about everything there was to know and possessed all the right faculties to execute any mission, if not perfectly then at least with a minimum of casualties. And especially by the year 2004 I was certain that we were, in a way, at the top of our class. Maybe even not so 'young' anymore.
But the truth is that we had never acted more childlike.
I have my excuses. I was stressed, I was rushed, in my own special way I guess I was ambitious. Whether the drive came from the strong urge to beat the crap out of the Gou'ald, or to get my mind off my deteriorating relationship with Sam Carter, I won't say. In a way, though, it was both. And I'm sure she has her excuses, too. I'm sure they're very good ones, but they're just excuses. Just another way we were acting like spoiled brats. Like CHILDREN. And I'm embarrassed because of it, not just for my actions but because of my attitude. For believing I was 'grown-up'. The truth is that I have matured more than I imagined possible in just the last two years.
That's why I'm able to admit that I'm not the best person to tell the whole of this story. For instance, there's entire parts that only Sam knows. There's a lot Daniel and Janet picked up on that I never did. And Teal'c has a way of looking at things all his own. His point of view is invaluable.
By the time this is published, Sam Carter's fate - all of our fates - will have undoubtedly been decided. Hell, we might even all be dead. I suppose in the long run, the grand scheme, this won't matter much, but it matters to us. I wanted my say. That's why I talked to the reporter, the same one who had it in her heart to tell me the news that Sam was alive. That's what started it all, so it might as well be what ends it.
This is our story.
|| Daniel Jackson ||
Twenty-twenty hindsight. They say we all have it, and I have to agree with them, whoever THEY are. It's so easy to see things clearly and understand things distinctly after the drama has passed. By contrast, it's all but impossible to judge things as they truly are in the heat and passion of the unguarded moment, which is why things got as out of control as they did.
Jack claims to not know when things started to break down, but that's only because he writes - or WROTE - lousy reports. I wrote very GOOD notes, which is why I can look back, on paper or in my mind, and recall the circumstances much better. P2C-260, that was the planet. May 3rd, 2004, that was the day. Maybe he's lying about not remembering; I don't see how it would be possible to ever forget.
In hindsight, we should have believed Julie Piper. We should have been more careful and we should have questioned it more when things started to go downhill for Jack and Sam. I suppose it was simply easier to figure that the dynamics of their relationship had changed, rather than accept something weirder... like telepathy. I carry a lot of guilt for all of it, because in hindsight I can see that the dissolution of her relationship with her CO contributed a lot to her decision to leave us all. It wasn't me, after all, and it wasn't Teal'c. Then again, historically speaking, she'd always put more weight on Jack's opinions.
But after P2C-260, things changed. Slowly, subtlety, but they changed. My friends had always argued, but they had also always known when to back down and let up. After that planet, that all changed. He was start something, she would jump on it, and before I knew it they would be snapping, yelling, berating, and more than once I was fearful that it would come to blows. A little sexual tension, I'd told myself. A couple disagreements. A bad day. A bad week. A bad MONTH.
Hammond began picking up on it in no time, but he stayed silent. Besides, by the time things started to get really ugly on that front, he had other things to worry about. Like an incoming Gou'ald invasion.
|| Janet Frasier ||
I'm still a little angry over it; how can I not be? Samantha Carter was my friend, and she left me.
I tell myself that these feelings are stupid and selfish, that I'm wallowing in self-pity only now that I know she's alive. But my feelings have never been under tight rein. The only thing I can do is try and control them, to keep other people from noticing them and thinking me the weaker for it.
Welcome to this man's army.
In my heart of hearts, I know that she had her reasons: emotional, physical, medical. It's hard to feel actual anger towards her, or O'Neill, or even the Tok'ra. Things happen. Circumstances come to pass. Fate, destiny, and all that. There's even the fact that everything eventually worked out, to some degree or another. But that was two years - more, if you want to get technical - that we lost. Two years of Sam that we'll never get back. In an existence where our own lease on life is perpetually up for grabs, that's difficult to contemplate.
Of course, it's hard to reconcile that one reason she didn't try harder to return was because she thought that O'Neill was dead. That hurts my self esteem in bad, embarrassing ways. Since when was O'Neill her life? Since when did he dictate anything and everything about her?
Since May 3rd, 2004, apparently, though if you believe Piper and Daniel, they should have KNOWN that the other was still alive...
Circles within circles, and I'll be damned if I can understand any of it. I was left high and dry when the SGC was closed down -- high, dry, and alone, especially after Cassie left to go to school at Stanford. O'Neill shut himself off from a world that wanted to do nothing more than park itself in his living room and chronicle his life. Teal'c ran for office, disgusted by the ways of people like Maybourne and Makepeace and determined to remake the government into an organization that wouldn't support such traitors. They all had their reasons and their good intentions, but I can't help but be bitter about that, as I am about Daniel's engagement.
I'd actually thought that I meant more to him than...
Why I'm writing this I'm not all that sure. This is about SG-1, and there's very little I can contribute. If I can help, though, I suppose I'm happy to. These are my friends. No matter how angry I become, I can't forget that.
|| Teal'c ||
Seeing my comrades after so long a time was very strange. It was not simply odd to witness how they have aged, or how their personalities have been altered. It was peculiar to look upon these four people and realize that while I was campaigning, becoming a part of Earth politics and SOCIETY, they were living their own lives.
It saddens me that we drifted so far apart with such swiftness. In fact, 'sad' does not accurately reflect what I feel. It is a deep and poignant anguish that I experience when they very notion of my former life comes to mind. Jack O'Neill, Daniel Jackson, Samantha Carter and Janet Frasier introduced me to this existence, this planet, this people. Without them, my life would not be worth living. In a way, they were my saviors, closer to gods than anything Apophis ever represented.
It seems to me that one should have a deeper connection with one's saviors than I did with mine.
I firmly believe that the decay of our friendship began when Samantha Carter left with the Tok'ra, though perhaps the origins go even further back. It is difficult to think that so much of our entire team was built upon the shoulders and good sense of two people, but over the years it has been proved to be true. General O'Neill changed drastically upon Sam Carter's departure. I have a hard time believing that he would have acted the same way had Daniel or I left, but then again, things had always been different for the two of them.
Now we know why.
I have committed myself to a life of public service. It is what I do -- it is what I excel at. Service. Indeed I have come up through the ranks, from an alien aggressor's slave to a freedom fighter to a MAN attempting to return some splendor and respect to the words 'government' and 'politician'. Already, I believe some deal of public apathy has been lessened, and I do take pride from that. I truly believe that there is no greater honor than to satisfy the needs of others. But that accomplishment seems inferior somehow when I remember that to achieve these great things I had to leave behind my old life, and the greatest friends a man could ever know.
I do not know if things can be mended now that Samantha Carter has returned. I do not know if complete reconciliation is possible. Even know, as we sit down to write these words, there is an uneasy feeling in the room. There are jokes, and there are smiles, but it is not the same.
Perhaps it will never be the same. Perhaps we should simply hope for the best fate has to offer.
|| Samantha Carter ||
All this fuss over little old me.
When I say that, I'm completely and utterly serious. I was shocked when I found out how I'm regarded by the entire world... and a little put out by it as well. After all, I took as many risks as the rest of them, maybe more. The only thing I did, the only thing I fault and hate myself for, is...
I was a coward.
I ran away. I couldn't deal with it and so I took off. Distance helped to some degree but there are some things that even a million light-years can't change. My feeling for Jack O'Neill - however convoluted or misplaced or prohibited - are a case in point. In my heart, I always knew that. I know Martouf did.
It'll be hard, telling the truth. I want to say things exactly, so they aren't taken the wrong way, but at the same time I don't want to seem that I don't assign any blame to myself. I DO. In a way I did betray man... but not mankind.
A man. One man. His forgiveness is more than I can hope for, or deserve.
According to Daniel and Janet and Julie Piper, it wasn't my fault. It wasn't his fault. It was P2C-260's fault, or at least the race rgar created that damned technology. It didn't CHANGE us in any elemental ways. It didn't bring up something that wasn't already there. But it enhanced and magnified and intensified whatever HAD been there. And it was simply too much for us. If things hadn't changed, we would have been fine, but the only thing in the world that stays the same is that NOTHING ever stays the same.
I remember the first night he dreamed about me, about making love to me. I didn't know for sure, I couldn't 'read his mind' or anything, but I'll be damned if I couldn't just TELL. And when I saw him the next day, saw his eyes and the way he looked at me, I was certain. Never in my life have I felt so mortified, so exposed. Then again, never have I felt so... touched. So loved. Not with any other man... not even with...
But no. Not now.
This is how it began.