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Fic, Stargate SG-1, Invasion, NC-17, 5/21

5. Still On the Run - and Some Contemplations


 

"Any idea where we are?" Daniel wondered, when they had walked for a couple hours through the forest.

"Well, the river is called Tanana," Sam said. "Dad and I actually went for a trek through these woods when we were here. We stayed in a bed and breakfast near the highway." She pointed. "Somewhere in that direction. The highway, I mean."

"Any guesses on the distance?" O'Neill asked. "Or exact direction? We need to get a car some place." He frowned. "No, we can't risk it. Not in a place so close to where they will be looking for us, and especially not during daytime."

Sam thought about it for a moment. "I think we're 4-5 miles from the highway, if I'm right about the distance to the river from here, but I can't really say for sure. It should be almost exactly north-east of here."

"Okay, that's good enough. What's the nearest city if we followed the highway? Which we aren't going to, of course - there's probably cops everywhere."

"There's an inn near the bed and breakfast where we stayed, but to get to an actually town, I think you'll have to get to... Nenana, I think it was called. That's probably 25 miles from here. At least."

O'Neill grimaced. "That's a bit more than I'd hoped."

"Especially since we're still so weak it's taken us twice as long as it normally would to get there," Daniel complained. "How long is it going to take?"

"Before we're back to normal strength?" Sam said. "Probably several months, but it should get better gradually."

"Wonderful!" Daniel grumbled.

"Cheer up! You're right we're going slower than normal, and we have to take more breaks, but that means we'll probably arrive in Nenana, or whatever Carter called the town, around midnight or a little after. That's pretty much perfect!" O'Neill said. "Besides, the sun is shining and it's almost warm."

Daniel gave him a tired smile. "Okay. You're right." He touched his jacket. "Our clothes are almost dry, so I guess it could be worse."

"Yup, think of it as, as a picnic." O'Neill grinned.

Sam rolled her eyes, but smiled. "Complete with alien invaders instead of ants, or what?"

"There are some large rocks over there. Perhaps we should take the opportunity and use them to sit on and get something to eat?" Teal'c suggested.

"Not a bad idea," O'Neill agreed.

"It's a great idea," Daniel said, smiling at him.

Sam nodded. "Yes, it almost looks warm."

They went to sit down, letting their large backpacks slide to the ground beside them. Sam winced visibly when her bag brushed against her injured arm.

"Sam?" Daniel said.

"I'm fine - it's just because it got bumped in the car." She found the glass of painkillers in her pocket and shook out a couple of them and swallowed them with some water from her canteen.

"How many have you taken of those?" Daniel wondered.

"I've got it under control," Sam assured him. "Stop worrying. You know I need to take more of most drugs for them to work, because of the changes from Jolinar."

"Perhaps we should examine the wound," Teal'c said.

"We definitely should. Sit down and let me take a look at it, Carter. And that's an order," O'Neill insisted.


"Too bad we don't have a needle. If I did, I'd like to put in some new stitches. Looks like they've ripped a bit," O'Neill said, inspecting Sam's wound.

"It's stopped bleeding. I can manage until we get somewhere we can do something more about it," Sam said.

O'Neill nodded. "Right." He wrapped a fresh bandage around it, hoping the wound would not get infected.

Daniel handed them each a sandwich. "See? I managed to fit one for us each. I got them in the lunchroom at Radioshack. Aren't you happy about that now?"

"We are," Teal'c said, accepting one of the sandwiches, looking closely at it.

"It's turkey," Daniel told him.

"Thank you." Teal'c smiled, pleased his friend remembered his preference.

They each sat back on the rocks and munched at their food, allowing themselves to relax for the first time since they had escaped from the alien complex. The sun was shining, and it was almost warm where they sat, since the trees provided shelter for the wind.

"This is actually nice," Daniel said, leaning contentedly back against a tree when he had eaten his sandwich.

"Less talk, more sleeping," O'Neill mumbled, his eyes closed and an almost happy expression on his face.

"I'll keep guard, then you can do your kel'no'reem," Sam said.

"You should take the opportunity to rest, Major Carter. I do not need to kel'no'reem right now," Teal'c said.

Sam looked closely at him. "Maybe you are able to survive without it, but I bet you would feel better if you did, so please do. I can't sleep until my painkillers kick in anyway."

Teal'c nodded. "As you wish."


"Sam?" Daniel said, walking over to where his friend was sitting. "Aren't you going to get some sleep?"

Sam sighed and smiled tiredly at Daniel. "I'm tired, and I know I should get a bit of sleep, but I don't think I can right now."

"Your arm?"

"That too, but it's not the main reason." She took a deep breath. "I'm thinking about this situation we're in."

Daniel nodded. "I'm worried about the aliens too. I'm sure we all are. I wonder how long they have been here?"

"Yes. I have been thinking of the same, trying to remember what happened in the year 2000. Well, now." She sighed again. "I really hate not being able to rely on my memory!"

"It's so confusing," Daniel agreed. ""Well, I remember that I had an appendectomy early February, and then there was the official signing of the Tok'ra-Tau'ri alliance in late July."

"Yes, thank you. "I remember that," Sam said dryly.

"Sorry. Because of, because of what happened to Martouf of course."

"Yes." Sam was silent for a long time, clearly saddened. She pushed the dark thoughts aside. "Well, many of the people who we thought had died, are alive. No reason Martouf couldn't be, though I guess that's less likely, given the fairly small amount of time we've probably been in the hallucination. Janet, on the other hand, is most likely alive."

"Right." Daniel smiled. "She's probably in that alien facility, but probably alive. So's your dad."

"Yes, almost certainly." She frowned. "I wonder if he's still on that mission you and I interrupted, to get him to come save Teal'c and the Colonel." She shook her head. "Of course, he may never have been on that mission. Damn! If we only knew when we were put in that cursed hallucination!"

"You said it couldn't be too long ago," Daniel reminded.

"No more than a few months." Sam nodded slowly. "However, I've been thinking... in hindsight there are some things that seems strange."

"Strange?"

"Yes, about us, our behaviour, about some of the missions. I'm wondering if that's because they were dreamt up. For instance, do you remember that Jaffa priestess, Shau'nac, who thought she had converted her symbiote?"

"Tanith. Of course."

"Well, don't you think it's strange how hostile we were towards the Tok'ra? Particularly the Colonel, who was barely civil during most of that mission. He even accused the Tok'ra of using us and not giving us anything in return."

"Sam, I know you have a, a special relationship with the Tok'ra because of your dad, and Jolinar, and I do agree that they have helped us many times, but they do have a tendency to be, ah, a bit arrogant. They've also held back information and been unwilling or difficult to get to help, even when humans were in danger."

"Thing is, Daniel, I'm not sure that is true. Yes, they can be arrogant, they clearly have a bit of a superiority complex, and they perhaps haven't always been as forthcoming as we'd like, but isn't most of that something that's happened - or not - in the time we have hallucinated?"

Daniel was quiet for a long moment. "You may be right. Aside from the very first time we met them, I don't actually remember any major issues."

"Not until that time with Shau'nac," Sam said.

"So maybe that didn't happen." He frowned.

"That's not the only thing. A couple weeks before that, Anise came to us with those Atanik armbands. Now I can accept that they could somehow make us stronger, faster, more intelligent - to a degree. However, they made us able to see the oscillation intervals of a forceshield and run so fast we could move through it during those intervals! That's just not possible, Daniel! There is no way our bodies could have been made to do that!"

"It does sound, well, improbable," Daniel agreed. "So, what are you saying? That never happened? Anise never brought us those armbands? Or does she exist at all?"

Sam nodded. "She exists. Jolinar knew her, and they didn't always get along well. Jolinar found Anise to be rather... abrasive. Which is actually kind of hilarious, given that Jolinar could be very direct." She shook her head. "I don't know if Anise came to talk to us, or if she brought those armbands and they just wasn't quite as effective as we imagined, or what. I guess we could have hallucinated all of it, using my memories from Jolinar as a base. There is no way to know."

"In that case we should stop worrying about it right now. I agree that we need to know what is real and not, what has happened and not, but right now we should focus on getting away from where the aliens are looking for us."

"Which is probably the entire northern american continent, if not more," Sam said. She yawned.

"You really should try and get some sleep before we continue," Daniel said, concern for his friend showing clearly on his face.

"Maybe I will. In a little while." She looked towards where O'Neill was sleeping against a tree, the Sun warming down on him. "How can he just sleep like that?"

Daniel grinned. "Yeah, I ask myself the same." He frowned. "Uh, Sam? In the, the hallucination, there were some times when you seemed, well, as if you were having feelings for Jack."

Sam groaned. "Thanks for reminding me! I was hoping never to have to think of that again!"

"Sorry. So it wasn't real, I take it?"

"No." She shook her head. "I won't deny I find him attractive, and I do like him a lot - as a friend. I like all of you a lot!" She smiled at him. "But there isn't anything else there. That was all part of the hallucination, and I must admit I'm grateful he hasn't mentioned it."

Daniel nodded. "That's what I thought - and you're right. I guess we're all very good friends." He threw a glance at O'Neill, and then at Teal'c.

"Exactly." She suddenly frowned, and listened. "Damn! It's a helicopter!" she exclaimed. "We have got to get out of here!"

"I hear it," Teal'c said, getting up from where he had been sitting. He had finished his kel'no'reem a short while ago.

"Colonel!" Sam called, picking up her backpack.

"Yes, I'm awake!" O'Neill exclaimed, getting up a bit too fast, and having to steady himself. "Whoa."

"A helicopter is coming!" Daniel repeated, grabbing his backpack.

Moments later, they had their bags on and were hurrying into the denser forest. The helicopter came closer, hovering just above their heads. They pushed themselves up against a large tree each, hiding under the foliage.

The helicopter circled for some time, then slowly continued.

"That was close!" Sam exclaimed.

"Too close. We'd better keep to the densest part of the forest as much as possible from now on," O'Neill said.


They had walked for most of the day, taking only short breaks to eat or when they were simply too tired to continue.

At some point they had come across a small waterway, with water that seemed clean. Since they had not dared fill their canteens in the river Tanana, they were happy to find more drinking water.

Their weakness was slowing them down, and the area was also frequently overflown by helicopters that circled, clearly searching, causing them further delays.

"I doubt we'll make it to Nenana before morning at this speed!" Daniel complained. "I can barely lift my feet!"

"We'll get there! We're more than halfway, I'm sure of that." O'Neill said, as he looked at the compass. "That way."

Daniel made a pained sound, and Sam groaned, but no one said anything else.


It was long after midnight when they finally could see the lights from Nenana across the river. By then the sky had become overcast again, and a light rain had started falling.

"I can't wait to sit down!" Daniel exclaimed.

"Yes, somewhere nice and warm, preferably," Sam said, shuddering. "I really hope we can find a car quickly."

"Stop!" Teal'c said. "Back between the trees!"

They could now all hear the sirens, and quickly jumped back into the safety of the forest. They looked on from behind some bushes.

"Damnation!" O'Neill grumbled when they shortly after saw several police cars with blinking lights drive past on the highway, entering the city SG-1 had expected to find a car in.

"We can't risk going in there now," Sam said. "The town is too small for us to hide in - there's less than 400 citizens."

"I'm afraid I'll have to agree," O'Neill said.

"Can't we just wait a little while and see if they leave?" Daniel suggested.

"Not in this weather," Sam said. "We'd die of exposure pretty quick."

As if to prove her point, the rain turned to sleet, and the wind picked up.

"Agreed. Any other suggestions?" O'Neill asked.

For a while, no one said anything. Then Sam spoke up, "Yes, maybe. We may be able to get on a train."

"What? How?" O'Neill said.

"When I went on vacation here with my dad, Selmak was very interested in everything, and she wanted to try riding a train too. So we took a short trip from Fairbanks down to Nenana."

"Okay. A train would work, but how do we get on it? It's probably not going to slow down except for in the city, and we can't get into the city," O'Neill pointed out.

"I think there was a spot a bit outside town where the tracks were double, you know, so two trains can meet?" Sam said. "If we're lucky we can get on a train there, while it waits for another one to pass. Good thing it's on this side of the highway."

O'Neill nodded. "Okay, that could work, but unless there's a lot of trains, we'd either have to be very lucky or have to wait a long time."

"Well, I think they transport timber, coal, gravel, and other stuff south, and various manufactured goods north, so I'd assume several trains will pass each day," Sam said. She grinned, a bit sheepish. "Selmak was very interested, so I looked up a bit of stuff."

"And as far as I know, freight trains run mostly at night." O'Neill considered it for a moment. "Okay, then. It's worth checking out. Show the way, Carter."


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