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Fic, Stargate SG-1, Invasion, NC-17, 2/21

2. Escaped and Some Realizations


 

"I regret to inform you that four of the prisoners have escaped from the mind-link facility," Major Davis said.

"Which ones?" Hammond demanded.

Major Davis hesitated. "SG-1," he finally said, unhappily.

"And you have not captured them? Are you aware how important they are?" Hammond exclaimed. "Catch them. Immediately. Take any troops and resources you need!"

"Yes, sir," Major Davis said, getting up to leave the room.

"Wait! Send one of the collaborators into the simulation!"

"Of course, sir. What will be his orders?" Major Davis asked.

"Have him inform the humans that SG-1 were urgently needed and were... transported aboard one of the Tau'ri X-303 ships they have hallucinated into being," Hammond said, in a derogatory tone.

"I will do so. Since we cannot enter the simulation, it is certainly fortunate the beings of this world are so greedy that they will cooperate with us against their own kind, just for minor trifles."

"They are inferior. There is no reason to ponder deeply on their motives," Hammond said. "Carry out my orders immediately."

"Yes, sir." Major Davis hurried out the door.


SG-1 drove on for several miles, turning onto another road and continuing until they found an old abandoned farm, some distance up a gravel road, inside a small forest. By then, the rain had almost stopped, but it was still completely overcast and very dark.

"Let's hide the car for now and take a break to assess our situation. We also need to do something about your injuries Carter, Teal'c," O'Neill said.

"Agreed." Sam grimaced as she carefully touched her upper arm.

They had stopped very briefly as soon as they had dared, and tied a makeshift bandage around the wounds, to stop them from bleeding heavily.

"We should get to a city, don't you think?" Daniel suggested. "Find a doctor."

"Of course! But not until we've determined what is going on or where we are," O'Neill said.

"We can hide the car in that old barn, don't you think?" Sam suggested.

O'Neill nodded. "I think that'll work."

He got out of the car and went to open the large door to the barn, and the others drove the car inside.


Sam groaned, as she let herself down into one of the rickety chair still standing in the kitchen. She shivered. She had made it inside before the rain started again, but it was cold and clammy.

"I found an old kerosene lamp in the barn," Daniel said, entering the room. "We just need some way of lighting it." He stopped. "It's so dark in here I can't see anything. Sam?" He began to close the door.

"I'm here," Sam told him. "Don't close the door - the windows are too dirty to let in what little light there is."

Daniel nodded, despite Sam not being able to see that. "Okay. I think I see a shadow where you are." He slowly walked closer, then let out a low groan as he hit the table.

"Careful. That's the kitchen table. At least I think it is."

Daniel felt along the table. "Seems like there isn't anything on it." He put the lamp down on the flat surface. "Except dirt." He grimaced.

Teal'c and O'Neill came in as well, and Teal'c walked over and sat down on another chair, opposite Sam. It creaked dangerously under him.

"How can you see anything in here?" O'Neill complained, shivering from the cold and rain.

"We can't," Daniel said.

"Not very much, at least," Sam added.

"I am a Jaffa," Teal'c told him.

"Sure." O'Neill sighed. "There's a brook behind the barn. We can get some water from there to clean your wounds, Carter, Teal'c," O'Neill told them. "It's also starting to rain strongly again - it may be to our advantage. It'll mask all tracks we've made on the gravel road."

"It also means it's almost completely dark in here," Sam said. She looked towards the dirty windows, which stood out as grey rectangles in the sea of black. The door was still open, giving a bit of light as well, and letting them easily hear the rain that now fell steadily.

"I found some matches in the glove compartment," O'Neill informed them.

"That's great! I found a lamp! It sounds like there's still kerosene or something in it," Daniel said.

"Okay, if someone can tell me where the hell it is, I can try light it." O'Neill carefully took a step in the direction where Daniel's voice had just come from.

"Here, sir," Sam felt along the lamp, and found the glass top that covered the wick. She lifted up the glass.

"Let's see, then," O'Neill got a match out and lit it. The lamp was lighted on the first try. "Hey, what do you know! Some good luck for once!"

"We can certainly use it," Sam observed solemnly as she put the glass back on the lamp.

The lamp gave off a soft light, enough that they could easily see each other, the table, and the chairs around it. Further away the room faded into shadows.

O'Neill held his hands up close to the lamp, trying to warm them somewhat.

"Yeah, it's cold," Daniel observed, unnecessarily.

"Yes, it must be late fall. Unless we're far to the north. I haven't seen the stars, so I don't know," Sam said. She rolled up the short sleeve of her shirt, grimacing as she touched the makeshift bandage around her upper arm.

"It's bled through. We need to do something about it soon," O'Neill said, unhappily. "How is your shoulder, Teal'c?"

"I will manage," he answered.

"Stop trying to be a hero, Teal'c! You don't have a symbiote any longer, so you can't just heal up in no time," O'Neill exclaimed.

"I have not forgotten."

"Yes, he does," Sam said.

"What?" O'Neill asked.

"He has a symbiote."

Teal'c was silent for a moment. "Colonel Carter is correct. I can feel it."

"What!" O'Neill exclaimed. "How?"

"Maybe those aliens that captured us didn't have access to tretonin, but needed Teal'c alive? Couldn't they have reintroduced a symbiote?" Daniel suggested.

"The pouch had started to close," Teal'c said.

"It is also risky, and doesn't always work," Sam added. She shook her head. "I sensed the energy signature earlier. I don't know why I forgot about it."

"Maybe because we were all drugged, and then you got shot by the bad guys we're currently trying to escape?" O'Neill suggested.

"Possibly." Sam gave him a small smile. She frowned. "Something else I noticed back in the compound, but that I'd forgotten; you all look different. Younger."

"That's true," O'Neill said, looking around at the others in the gloom. "What the Hell is going on here!"

"Maybe we're hallucinating and still back there in the harnesses?" Daniel suggested.

"Don't be so depressing, Daniel!"

"All right, then maybe they made us younger. The aliens I mean."

"Doubtful, why would they do that?" Sam asked.

"Okay, what about time travel, then?" Daniel suggested.

"How would that make us younger?" O'Neill asked.

"Uh... maybe it was just our consciousnesses that time travelled. Or... something," Daniel said, feeling a bit sheepish.

"I suppose that is possible," Sam said slowly. "Though unlikely."

"Could they not have cloned us?" Teal'c suggested. "We know that the Trust has this technology. Perhaps they are working with these aliens."

"That's a scary thought!" O'Neill exclaimed.

Sam nodded. "Very." She moved her arm a little and gave a small yelp.

"Okay, we can discuss this later. We need to do something about your arm first, Carter - and about your shoulder, Teal'c."

"As I again have a symbiote, it will be able to take care of this minor injury myself," Teal'c said, his expression mixed.

"Then do your kel'no'reem. Daniel and I'll check out this place and see what we can find," O'Neill ordered.

Daniel got up, putting his hand against the table for support as he stood. He groaned. "Are you guys also still feeling weak? I can barely stand!"

"Yeah, I am," O'Neill said.

"So am I. I thought it was the drug, but it hasn't really gotten better," Sam told them.

"It is a minor inconvenience," Teal'c said.

"Good for you! I guess that's something to thank Junior - or whomever - for," O'Neill said. He took the lamp. "Come on, Daniel."


"What's that?" Sam asked. "Whisky?"

"Moonshine," O'Neill said, grinning. He put the lamp back on the table in front of Sam. "We found it in a shed behind the house. It tastes really bad, but it'll work just fine for cleaning wounds."

She nodded. "Right."

"I also found these!" Daniel said, placing a stack of candles on the table.

"Teal'c will be happy. I think he really didn't like the idea of kel'no'reem without candles." Sam gave him a wry smile.

"Got a small sewing kit too. Now, where's Teal'c?" O'Neill asked, letting himself down on a chair with a soft groan.

"Outside, checking up on a sound we heard."

"Okay, I'd better go see how he's doing." O'Neill sighed. He pushed off against the table and got to his feet again, then grabbed the lamp.

The door opened and Teal'c entered. "The door to the barn had not been closed properly and the wind caused it to make the sound we heard."

"Ah - that's a relief," Sam said.

"And now there are no more excuses, Teal'c! Kel'no'reem! We've even got you some candles," O'Neill told him sternly.

"That is most appreciated."

Daniel had lighted several of the candles he had found, and was dripping wax on the table so they would remain standing. When he was finished, he sat down with a relieved sigh.

"So Colonel 'Splint-setter'. It is payback time!" O'Neill said with a smirk.

Sam frowned. "What are you talking about?"

"You, me, Antartica. Ring any bells?"

Sam groaned. "I'd hoped you had forgotten."

"Teal'c, are you sure we don't have a thicker needle?" O'Neill asked, grinning. "Daniel?"

Teal'c merely raised an eyebrow.

"Uh, I think I saw an icepick..." Daniel suggested.

Sam rolled her eyes and sighed deeply. She carefully pulled her sleeve up again, and steeled herself.

O'Neill removed the blood-soaked bandage and poured a good amount of alcohol on the wound. "It's a flesh wound as you said, but pretty deep. I'll have to put in some stitches."

"That's what I feared." She shuddered.

He cleaned a needle and some thread in the alcohol, then held out the bottle to her. "Take a sip."

"No thanks, you told me it tasted like shit!"

"Oh, it does. It's rotgut. You're still going to want a drink - and make it a big one. Trust me, I've been there." He pushed the bottle at her, and this time she took it.

Sam took at small, hesitant sip, then grimaced and almost spit it out. She forced the offending liquid down. "God! It's even worse than the stuff we got on Abydos!"

"Ska'ara's moonshine? That was first class compared to this." O'Neill grinned. "Take another drink. It's an order, Colonel!"

She sighed, but did as he told her and drank again, deeper this time. She forced the fiery liquid down. "Happy?"

"Acceptable." He smiled.

Sam gritted her teeth as O'Neill set to work, stitching the wound on her arm.


"Teal'c?" O'Neill asked. "Sure you're okay already?" He grabbed the half-full bottle of homemade alcohol, deciding it could be useful later.

"I am sufficiently healed to continue. My symbiote will take care of the remaining injury while we drive."

O'Neill nodded slowly, hesitantly. "All right. The sooner we get going the better. Daniel? Carter?"

"Coming... whoa!" Sam exclaimed, grabbing hold of the table as she almost fell getting up. "Still weak..."

"And drunk..." Daniel suggested, getting up too. He groaned. "Though I'll agree on the weakness. How long do you think it'll take before that damn drug is out of our systems?"

"I don't think that's why we're weak," Sam said as they walked to the car. "Not the only reason anyway."

"What, then?" O'Neill asked. He looked up into the completely dark sky. At least it was no longer raining, but the wind was picking up again, and they were all very cold.

"If we've been in that alien device for a long time, well, more than a few weeks, really, then we'd become weak from not using our muscles."

"Of course," O'Neill said, nodding. "But that's good news. It means we've probably only been in that damn thing for less than a month or so!"

"Then the aliens may not have conquered your entire world, and there could still be allies for us to find," Teal'c added. "We should attempt to make contact with Stargate Command."

"We need to find a different car," O'Neill said, looking at the windshield. One of the bullets had made a small hole in it, and the glass had fractured and splintered, somewhat like a web. The front of the car was also damaged, from driving through the barriers by the closed bridge.

"I just remembered something. We have implants and can be beamed up to Daedalus or whatever as soon as they realize we are missing or we contact them," Daniel said, as they all got into the car.

"As much as I love that optimism, there has to be a catch. I mean, look at yourself! Things are clearly not as we remember them!" O'Neill started the car.

"We can't know how long we've been in the machine," Sam said slowly. "There's no way to tell what it's effects are, and we also had some sort of drug in our systems. It could have slowed down the weakening of our muscles."

"Okay, I may buy that, but it wouldn't make us younger. Would it?" O'Neill asked.

"No, I don't think so."

"Which means we're back to the cloning business."

"Maybe not... I mean, it's possible, sure, but I think we should be able to check that pretty easily. We've all gotten some scars over the years. It's not likely those have been replicated."

"Right, that makes sense," Daniel said. He pulled up his shirt and examined his stomach. "Uh, guys? I do have the scar from when I got an appendectomy."

"So probably not clones." O'Neill sighed, as he turned the car onto the gravel road that lead from the remote farm to the paved road they had arrived by earlier that night.

"Probably not," Sam agreed.

"I don't even know if that's good or bad! I mean, what other explanation is there but time travel?" O'Neill exclaimed. He shook his head. "Now we have to live through all the crap with Anubis and the Ori again! Dammit!"

"Depending on when this is, maybe not. It may even never have happened, indeed may never happen." Sam hesitated. "It... could all have been a, well, a hallucination, something we have... dreamed up..."

"Dreamed up?" O'Neill scoffed. "Who would think of something like that! What we have experienced over the years." He shook his head. "No one is that crazy. No one!"

"Don't be so sure," Sam said. "The human mind is amazingly creative." She gave a small yelp of pain as her arm was bumped against the back of the seat, when the car hit one of the many potholes in the road.

"I don't think 'amazing' is the right word. I'd say 'insane' is more fitting!" O'Neill insisted, sarcastically. "If I ever learn who imagined those things for the rest of us to 'enjoy'..." He shook his head. "So, how much of what we think happened is real? What about Anubis? I mean, that guy was so crazy and over the top, even for a Goa'uld, so he almost had to be imagined!"

"Obviously, there is no way of knowing that - except that if we figure out when this is, then we'll at least know that anything after that time didn't really happen. If this theory is true, of course," Sam said, sheepishly. "Um, Anubis is real, by the way. Or was, because he's dead, if I remember correctly from Jolinar - I suppose it's possible he did ascend, I guess."

O'Neill grumbled. "Wonderful!"

"And I am probably to blame for most of the, ah, hallucinations about the Goa'uld, and the Tok'ra. From Jolinar's memories," Sam said, looking guilty.

"It is likely there has been some influence from my knowledge of the Goa'uld as well," Teal'c observed.

"Gee, thanks for that, guys!" O'Neill snorted. Raindrops starting hitting the windshield. "And now it's raining again! Typical!"

"Uh, but most of the stuff must actually have happened, right? I mean, either that or a long time has passed in the hallucinations. Many years, and from what Sam said about us not being weak... even weaker, that can't be true, can it?" Daniel asked.

"No, we're not that weak. We would not be able to walk unsupported, if we had been in there for years," Sam agreed.

"Unless the alien drug affected us, keeping us stronger than otherwise, as you suggested before," O'Neill said. "What? Someone has to play devil's advocate!"

Sam nodded slowly. "Yes... no, I don't think it's been years."

"Which means most of what we think has happened, has happened," Daniel said. "It's probably two thousand and fourteen, at least."

"No, assuming we can trust any of our memories, then it can't be more than February two thousand and three," Sam decided.

"Because I still have my symbiote," Teal'c said.

"Right."

"In that case it also can't be earlier than, uh, early in the year two thousand," Daniel pointed out. "Since I've got the scar from when they removed my appendix."

"And that means we what? Hallucinated thirteen years? Just like that? In a few weeks or months?" O'Neill said, clearly unconvinced.

"Why not? Think of dreams. They go much faster than reality. Partially, I suppose, because you don't dream that you're asleep, and so on, but the time just doesn't flow as linearly in your dreams. It could very well be the same inside the hallucination," Sam explained.

O'Neill groaned. "Stop! You're making my head hurt! Okay! Say I believe all this. We can't prove it, so there's no reason to talk about it further until we've got our hands on a newspaper or something. That will tell us the date."

"Agreed," Sam said.

O'Neill scratched his cheek, and realized something else. "No beard. None of us have a beard! Why is that, if it's been many months?"

"Something in the alien drug must have inhibited growth of facial hair. Possibly because smooth skin gives a better connection for the part of the device that was placed against your chin," Sam speculated.

O'Neill took a deep breath, then nodded. "Right. That's possible."

"We should make plans for contacting our superiors," Teal'c said.

"Or what to do if the aliens have infiltrated the whole planet," Daniel added.

"Let's hope that's not the case!" O'Neill said, with empathy. "Anyway, as I said; first order of business should be getting a different car." He turned the car from the gravel road out onto the paved road.

"Different clothes too. They're probably looking for us, so the more we can conceal ourselves, the better," Sam pointed out.

"Right, I saw a sign for a city a few miles back along the road. Hopefully we'll soon reach it. It's the middle of the night, so with any luck we can avoid being detected," O'Neill said.


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