Alpha Site, July 10 1998
"Jacob - how are you?" Hammond said, as he walked into the infirmary and spotted his friend.
"George!" Jacob sat up, then groaned. He lifted his hand to tell Hammond he was all right, took a deep breath, then continued. "Finally a decent man! No one here's telling me anything! I got as much out of them that I know I'm on the 'Alpha site' so I know I'm off world, but not why. I told you guys I wanted to stay on Earth!"
"I know, Jacob, but you were unconscious and someone decided to bring you here. I didn't hear about it until after the 'gate had closed behind the last group, and you wouldn't have survived if we had left you."
"I won't live long here either. George, I have cancer - lymphoma," Jacob told his friend. "I probably have less than a year, maybe only six months."
"Why didn't you tell me! I wouldn't have put you out there in the line of fire!"
"I had only just found out - and I knew you wouldn't have put me on any kind of active duty if you knew. I wanted that last fight - if I died, my death would at least mean something!" He sat up straighter. "Enough about me. How did the fight go? I can almost guess we lost, since we're not on Earth, but I'd like some more information."
Hammond took a deep breath. "Very well. Yes, as you've guessed, Apophis won. He got into Stargate Command, and as far as we know he has conquered Earth. The last group out tried to blow up Stargate Command, but we're not sure the enemy didn't manage to stop the explosion. We got just over 10,000 people evacuated, so I'd say that's an accomplishment we can be proud of."
Jacob nodded. "So we're staying here? Do you have housing for that many people? Food? Ammunition?"
Hammond shook his head. "No, we don't - and we can't risk staying here. The dialling computer was destroyed, but if not all of the SGC blew up, then Apophis or one of his scientists will sooner or later figure out how to dig out the address for this place from some computer backup. It's just a matter of time. Our people have already found another world, though, and work is starting to move everything and everyone there and build housing. We'll have to get by with tents for a long while, and even those we don't have enough of, but they tell me it's summer there right now, so we'll manage, I guess. We have food enough for about two more months, if we stretch it - a combination of MREs and other pre-made emergency meals. After that, we'll have to hunt - or trade for it. Not that we've got much of anything to trade with. We have weapons for all those that knows how to use them, and fairly much ammo - that's about the only positive point."
"That bad, eh?"
"We're well and truly screwed, yes."
"One other thing... George... Sammie was stationed at Cheyenne Mountain. I didn't see her during the evacuation, and we haven't talked as much as we should recently - as you know, but... is she here at the Alpha site? Do you know what's happened to her? I couldn't get a straight answer out of those I asked."
Hammond looked down and was quiet for some time, which clearly worried Jacob.
"She is here, at the Alpha site, and she is... physically fine." He looked up. "I won't lie to you, Jacob, she is in a holding cell, and she is, ah, not herself."
"She's what?! In a holding cell? How? Why? What did she do? What do you mean, she's not herself?"
"We don't know anything for sure, but... Jacob, how much were you told about the Goa'uld?"
"The Goa'uld? Not very much, only that... that guy Apophis, that he's a Goa'uld." He frowned. "What did those bastards do to my little girl?" He demanded.
"The Goa'uld use hosts to interact with their surroundings - they're somewhat snake-like parasites," Hammond explained. "One of them took her as a host. Now, we haven't..."
"Host!" Jacob interrupted Hammond. "What do you mean, host?"
"One of them is inside her. They can control humans - against their will."
"My poor Sammie!" Jacob exclaimed.
"We haven't given up - and the situation may not be as straight forward as it sounds anyway."
"What do you mean, not straight-forward. You've gotta get that thing out of her!"
"I got to be honest, Jacob - we haven't had much success with that in the past. Also, this Goa'uld... she claims she's part of some sort of resistance against those Goa'uld who attacked Earth. If that's true..."
"Oh, no you don't! I know where this is heading! Please don't tell me there's some of those higher-ups that's considering letting the alien parasite keep Sam in the hopes of getting some sort of favour from this creature!"
"I'm sure they would, if they believed her. As it is... well, I don't know if you've been told, but very few members of the government survived, and I'm sure you can imagine the types of leaders that might get elected in a situation such as this - and how they'll react if they capture someone they think is part of the invasion of their planet. They're not listening to anything but their own fear right now."
Jacob shook his head. "My god! They're interrogating her for information about the invasion! Torturing her! George, you've got to stop them!" He started getting out of bed. "I need to see her, immediately!"
Hammond tried stopping him. "Now, Jacob, you're not well enough to do that, and I'm pretty sure they won't let you near her anyway..." He caught Jacob when the other man was about to fall, and helped him sit down again. "Please, let me handle this. Her team talked to her - or maybe the parasite - earlier today, and they said she was all right, all things considered." He spotted a nurse coming towards them, having clearly seen what was happening. "Listen, lie down and rest. You need your strength. I promise I'll do what I can and come back to tell you what I find out."
Jacob pushed the rest of his food away and leaned back in the bed, thinking back to the day he had first learned of the existence aliens and the possibility of travel to other planets...
...He poured himself a mug of coffee and went to his favourite armchair and sat down, heavily. He looked morosely at nothing in particular as he sipped the strong black brew. He felt very tired. It was less than a week ago that he got the results from the hospital. He had cancer, lymphoma. They had given him six months, tops. There were treatments, of course, and they would attempt them, but it did not sound good.
He took a deep breath and drank some more of the coffee. He imagined it gave him strength. Should he tell Sam and Mark? He doubted Mark would listen to him - not after how it had gone the last several times they had talked. A part of Jacob felt guilty, and he knew it was his own fault, at least as much as it was Mark's. More, probably. Not that he was ever going to admit that to anyone. Sam, then? He talked to her, at least. Well, sometimes, and only about superficial things, but at least they talked.
What was it she was doing? Some sort of radio-telemetry, she had told him. That could not be what she had wanted to do with her life - even if that was probably a cover for some Air Force secret. He was suddenly tired of all these secrets. There had been far too many of them in his life. Far too much time spent away from those he loved. He decided it was time to do something for them, or for Sam at least. Mark would probably not be interested. Perhaps he should put in a good word for her, try and get her that spot as an astronaut with NASA? He knew it had always been one of her dreams.
Suddenly, he heard what sounded like a fighter plane flying low and fast over his apartment. Here? In Washington? He shook his head and took another drink. He had barely swallowed before the sound returned. It was definitely a fighter plane, and it had company. Was it some sort of exercise? Here? Or an airshow he had not heard about? He took another sip of the coffee, then put the mug down on the floor and got up, wincing as the arthritis in his knees made itself known. He hated growing old.
He walked over to the window and looked out, just in time to see another group of planes fly past. They all went in the same direction, and several more groups followed while he watched. Then he saw what was clearly an explosion in the sky, in the direction where the planes had been headed. It was followed shortly by another, and then another. Opening the window he could hear them.
Then he heard the warning siren sending out the wavering signal, notifying the population of an attack. He wondered briefly why it had not sounded earlier, since the attack was evidently already in progress. How could an enemy have reached Washington without being detected?
Very worried, he hurried to turn on the television.
"...we repeat, do not go outside. We don't know much about what is going on, but we have been assured everything will be taken care of. The President will make an announcement at 12PM."
Jacob just stared at the screen. What was happening? He looked at his watch... 10 minutes to noon. Then they would hopefully get some information. He took a deep breath and went to get another cup of coffee and some cookies. He suspected he would stay in front of the television for some time.
He had barely got into the kitchen when his telephone rang. All things considered, he ran for it.
Jacob picked up the telephone. "Carter."
"Jacob - George, here."
"Hi, George. You calling about this attack that's going on?"
"You have noticed, of course. There's a bit more to it than you think."
"We're not being attacked?"
"Yes, yes, we are. Unfortunately. Listen, are you watching tv?"
"I am. They said the President is going to make an announcement at noon...in about 5 minutes."
"Watch it. He's not going to tell everything, but he'll tell you who the attackers are - and that we don't stand a chance of winning."
"Who's attacking? Not the Russians, it is?"
"No, not the Russians. Actually, we're fighting together with the Russians - and every other country on this planet. And we're going to lose. Badly."
"What! But who are we fighting, then?"
Hammond took a deep breath. "Aliens - as in extra terrestrials." He interrupted the exclamation Jacob was about to make. "Not now. Just trust me, Jacob, and watch that announcement, then I'll call you back. I need all the trusted men I can get, if we're going to pull off the evacuation."
..."Would you like more to eat, General Carter?" the nurse asked.
Jacob looked up from his reverie. "What? No, no, thank you."
"You really should eat some more. You need your strength." She admonished him as she took away the rest of the food.
"Hmm," Jacob said, then returned to his thoughts.
He had watched that announcement. The President had told them that Earth was being attacked. By aliens who called themselves Goa'uld. This particular one had named himself after the Egyptian deity Apophis. The President had also said that all of Earth's forces were fighting the aliens, and that people should remain calm and not go outside before they heard anything further.
It has all sounded ludicrous, but when Hammond had called him again afterwards, he had confirmed it all. Apophis was indeed fighting Earth's forces - and Earth was losing badly. They needed to use what time there was to rescue as many people as possible off world, before Apophis came to take Cheyenne Mountain, which held something called a 'Stargate' - a device that could be used to travel to other planets.
Jacob felt as if his head was spinning, but when Hammond had said he needed him to help, he has said yes. He had been given 2 hours to pack, and the Air Force had sent someone to pick him up. By then the city was in chaos, with people running around and screaming. There were looters and fire everywhere, and here and there some sort of weapons fire had hit the buildings, blowing large, scorched holes in them. Jacob had only seen a little of it on the short car ride to the nearest place the Air Force had been able to set down a helicopter. They flew out of the city, just as an air battle between Earth fighters and some kind of alien vessels, began right over the city.
During a brief moment of quiet, while he waited to be taken on board a plane that would take him to Colorado Springs, he had attempted to call Mark on his cell phone. The service had already become unreliable, but after trying a few times he got through. Mark and his family were on vacation, in a friend's cabin out in the woods. They had not watched television and Mark flat out told Jacob that he thought he had gone crazy - and besides, he was not to disturb him on his holiday. Then he had hung up. Jacob had not succeeded in getting through to him again.
He took a deep breath and pushed the thoughts away. At least Mark and the children would have been safer out in that cabin. They would probably have avoided most of the attack, even if the world and the life they would return to would be quite different.
Sam he had expected to meet, as he knew she was stationed with NORAD, but Hammond had kept him busy, and had been strangely evasive about Sam's whereabouts.
Now he knew why.
"What did Kinsey and his goons say?" O'Neill asked.
"As you expected, they wouldn't listen. However, they agreed to hold off on further interrogation of Jolinar until the base has been moved to another planet. Even they agreed that should take priority, so you're all to focus completely on that," Hammond said.
"All right, I guess that's something," Daniel agreed.
"There is something else." Hammond was quiet for a moment, not sure if he ought to tell them this, but decided he should. "I talked to Captain Carter's father yesterday. He's still weak from his wounds, but he also told me he has cancer."
"This just keep getting worse! How bad is he?" O'Neill asked.
"Just before he left Earth, the doctors had told him he probably had less than a year, maybe only six months. I talked to Doctor Fraiser, and she has checked him out also. She believes the six months is closer to being the correct estimate - and that it may even be somewhat optimistic, especially here. As you're no doubt aware, we could only bring a limited amount of medical supplies, and so the doctors are only able to treat the most basic things."
"Carter's dad shouldn't die while his daughter is in a holding cell - or taken over by an alien!" O'Neill said with determination.
"I agree, but I fear nothing is going to change until Jolinar tells them something they want to know."
"Jolinar will never talk, regardless of the torture they expose her to. She was quite correct when she said the Tau'ri does not have the means to make her talk," Teal'c said.
"Maybe, but that's were you come in. If you really think she's a member of these Tok'ra, then you've got to convince her to talk! It's the only way she'll ever be let out of that cell." Hammond sighed.
"I doubt we can convince her, and frankly, can you blame her? They won't let her out even if she talks, will they?" O'Neill said, shaking his head at himself. He would never had imagined he would start seeing things from a Goa'uld's side - even if it was, perhaps, a good Goa'uld.
"Probably not." Hammond admitted. "I don't know how to fix this. There's one thing, though - I was called into a meeting with the Council. We're not to tell Captain Carter about her father. Not that he's here, and not that he's sick. They're afraid the Goa'uld - Tok'ra - will somehow use it to its advantage."