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Fic, Stargate SG-1, Invasion, NC-17, 6/21

6. Travelling by Train


"There's a train there!" O'Neill exclaimed, when they looked out from between the trees and out onto the track.

"Let's hope it stays there long enough for us to get onboard," Sam said.

"There doesn't seem to be guards, so let's find a good place and get on it!" O'Neill said, enthusiastically.

"Is it even going south? I mean, we don't want to risk ending up back in Fairbanks again!" Daniel warned.

"There are several wagons with lumber. I doubt they'd transport that from the south to Fairbanks," O'Neill said.

"Besides, there are two locomotives in the southern end of the train," Sam added, her teeth starting to clatter. "I can't see the northern end from here, but in any case, I suggest we risk it. It's getting very cold."

"Agreed." O'Neill snuck up close to the train, and the others followed. There was a light on at the locomotives, but no where else.

"We can't sit outside in a timber wagon! We'll die of exposure," Daniel said. "Same goes for those hopper cars that have ore or gravel, or whatever."

"Daniel Jackson is correct. However, I see several closed wagons. Come," Teal'c said. As a Jaffa, he had better night vision that humans.

They hurried after him, and got to the boxcars.

"Locked, of course. What do you think is inside?" Daniel wondered.

"Who cares. It's better than being out here!" Sam said. She already had her lock-pick kit out, and was trying to pick the padlock. "Damn, my hands are freezing!"

"Hurry up! Who knows when the train leaves!" O'Neill urged in a low voice, nervous the train personnel would be checking the train before it left again.

"I'm trying! It's difficult when your hands are numb," Sam mumbled. She finally succeeded. "Yes, it's open!"

"Well done. Let's get inside!" O'Neill said.

They stepped up into the boxcar, and looked around in the almost complete darkness. Teal'c pulled the door closed behind them, and Sam turned on a flashlight and let it play over the walls.

"It's almost empty. There's only a small stack of bags or something over there," she said.

"That's odd, isn't it?" Daniel asked.

"Not necessarily. I guess the train could have transported something to Fairbanks, and most of what they need exported are transported better in hopper cars," Sam suggested.

"Will the people in charge of this train not become suspicious when the padlock is missing?" Teal'c wondered.

"Yes, you're right, they might." Sam shone the light at the roof. "I saw a ladder on the outside of this car, leading to the roof, and I think that's a door up there. Someone could lock the car from the outside and then re-enter that way."

"I'm not fond of being locked up in here." O'Neill said. "We could end up trapped. However, I agree. It's probably necessary that we at least put the padlock back on and make it look as if it's locked. Since Carter is the only one that can probably pick it, I don't want to do anything else."

"Okay, I agree with that," Sam said. "We can use a small amount of gum, maybe, to keep it closed. I saw you got some, sir."

"Right. That'll work. We should hurry before the train leaves."

"I will do it." Teal'c held out his hand, and Sam gave him the padlock.

O'Neill handed him a wrapped stick of chewing gum.

Teal'c went outside while O'Neill jumped up on the stack of sacks, some of which were located just under the hatch in the roof. Doing so, he could just reach the opening mechanism for the door. He had just opened it when the train started moving.

"Teal'c!" O'Neill called out.

Moments later, Teal'c appeared, looking down through the opening. "I am here, O'Neill."

"That was close! Too close! Get down here before we reach the town!" O'Neill said.

The train had passed through Nenana without stopping, and SG-1 could relax for the time being.

"Let's check out what it is they're transporting." O'Neill went over to the stack of bags. They were lying on pallets, with plastic wrapped around.

"Yes, there's a weird, dusty smell in the room," Sam said.

"Concrete. That's what it is. I recognize the smell from when I cast a new floor in the garage!" O'Neill shone his light on one of the top bags. "Yup, cement."

"Too bad it isn't something soft, like fur," Daniel said.

"We should change into dry clothing. We still have some in the backpacks," Sam said, shivering. "It's really cold." She turned on her flashlight again and put it on the ground, while she started rummaging through her backpack.

"It's not that bad in here, at least," Daniel said, going through his backpack. "I've got a bunch of energy bars down here. Anyone want one?"

Sam nodded. "Yes, thanks, Daniel."

"I would like one as well," Teal'c said.

"Jack?" Daniel asked. When he did not get a response, he looked up. O'Neill was sitting on the bags of cement, looking as if he was far away in thought. "Jack?" He repeated.

O'Neill looked up. "Sorry." He took a deep breath. "That concrete floor I talked about, it was in, in Sara's garage."

"You ex-wife?" Daniel asked.

O'Neill nodded. "Yes. It feels like it was in another lifetime, but in reality it was only maybe 3 months ago. Damn aliens!" He shook his head. "I wonder how Sara is doing." He pushed the worries and dark thoughts aside. "I will worry about that later. Anyone knows where this train is going, or how long it'll take to get there?"

"Anchorage, I think, to the harbour there," Sam said. "Most of them do. No idea how long it'll take, but probably several days. Freight trains doesn't go very fast, and they have to wait regularly for other trains." She finished putting on dry clothing and sat down on a cement bag with a sigh of relief.

"Days!" O'Neill stared at her.

"We can't stay in here for days!" Daniel exclaimed. "We don't have enough food, or water, and what about going to the bathroom!"

"We each have two almost full canteens of water. That should last us a day, at least, if we are careful. How many energy bars do you have Daniel?" O'Neill asked.

"One moment." He checked. "About 20, I think."

"I've got three packets of biscuits, and a bunch of beef jerky," Sam said.

"I have some beef jerky as well," Teal'c told them.

O'Neill nodded. "Okay, with what I have, we won't starve, at least. Water is more of an issue, but if the train does stop from time to time and wait for long enough, then maybe we'll be able to find something to drink."

"Is it not possible to move between the cars of the train? I have seen that done in some of your movies," Teal'c said. "We should find out if there is something drinkable in the other cars."

"Ah, yeah. Well, I guess it's possible, but I'd think it's pretty damn dangerous," O'Neill said.

"Um, why don't we just put up something on the roof to capture water in? It's raining right now," Daniel suggested.

"Sleeting, but you're right. That's not a bad idea!" Sam said. "Do we have anything we can use?"

"There are large pieces of plastic around the concrete bags. Some of it has ripped a bit, so I don't think it would be too hard to get hold of some of that," O'Neill said. "I'm sure we've got something we can use to tie the plastic to the rails at the top of the cars."

"We risk someone seeing that, though," Daniel said.

"The car next to this one is carrying timber. Perhaps it would be better to put the plastic on that?" Teal'c suggested.

"That's possible. If we put it right, it'll look as if it's there to cover it, or something. Good idea!" O'Neill went to look at the plastic. "This piece looks whole and fairly clean. Teal'c, help me get it off the bags?"

It had gone better than expected to set up the plastic for gathering water, and they had gotten it placed between some stacks of timber on the car just behind their own. Since the stacks of timber were of uneven height, the piece of plastic could be hidden between them, ensuring that no one would notice unless they stepped up on the car.

After taking care of that, the members of SG-1 had allowed themselves time to relax, and sleep. It had been a long time since they got more than a few short naps, so they were grateful for this opportunity.

When Sam, O'Neill, and Daniel woke up again, it was almost noon. Teal'c had found a small hatch that could be opened on the side of the car, and was looking out.

He turned when he noticed his friends and teammates were awake. "It is still raining. I believe the plastic we placed tonight will soon be full."

"Great!" O'Neill yawned. "Have you seen anything we can use to tell where we are?"

"I have not. Now and then we are close enough to see the river, but most of the time it is obscured by trees. It would seem we are driving through some sort of forested wetland."

"Sounds about right," O'Neill reached for his canteen.

"We have passed many small waterways where we could possibly fill our canteens. Should the territory remain the same, that is an option if it does not rain sufficiently during this journey. Unfortunately, the train has only stopped twice, both times briefly, and neither time near water."

O'Neill nodded. "Understood." He took some beef jerky from his backpack and held some out to the others. "Breakfast?"

"Yuck, not jerky for breakfast! I think I'll stick to a protein bar," Daniel said.

"Suit yourself." O'Neill shrugged and handed some jerky to Teal'c. "Carter?"

She shook her head. "No, thanks. I'll take an energy bar." She grabbed her backpack with her good arm. "I'll attempt to construct a disruption device from the component we got at the electronics store."

"Okay, good idea." O'Neill gave her a concerned look. "How's the arm?"

"It hurts," Sam admitted, but added, "I'll manage."

O'Neill nodded. "Okay. We should probably change the bandage, though."

"Can't it wait, sir?" Sam grimaced. "Or haven't you gotten enough revenge for that split I made on you?" She made a small smile.

"Oh, that can never be avenged sufficiently." He smiled. "Let's see the arm, Carter."

Sam sighed. "Yes, sir." She carefully took off her jacket and sweater and held out her arm. "Throw me the blanket, will you Daniel?"

"Sure. Here you go, Sam."

O'Neill pushed the sleeve of Sam's t-shirt up a bit so he could get to the bandage. He gave her a stern look. "You ought to have told me it had bled through again."

"It's not really bleeding anymore, just seeping a little fluid, I think, so I decided it was better to leave it alone to heal," Sam said, wrapping the blanket around her as well as she could, using one arm. "It's cold."

"Normally I might agree, but..." he loosened the bandage as Sam gritted her teeth. "I'm afraid the wound has become infected."

Sam turned her head to look at the injury and made a face. The whole area was angrily red and swollen, and yellowish fluid was leaking from the wound.

She had suspected there was an infection, given how warm and swollen the whole area had felt, and the fact that she was probably running a fever, but she had hoped the symptoms were just because she was weak and tired, and had not been able to rest the arm.

"Damn, I had hoped that wouldn't happen. I mean, I usually never get an infection," Sam said.

"After getting the stitches ripped open in the car crash and the wound submerged in swamp water, I guess it was to be expected." O'Neill sighed.

"Well, what do we do?" Daniel asked, very concerned. "We don't have any antibiotics!"

"For now, clean the wound again, put on a new dressing - and then I recommend rest and plenty of fluids!" O'Neill ordered.

Sam rolled her eyes. "Yes, doctor O'Neill. It's not like there's a lot else to do - I promise I'll take it easy while building the disruption device."

O'Neill nodded. "If we're lucky, it'll clear on its own, but if not, we'll figure out how to get antibiotics then. From whatever experience I have with wounds like this - and believe me, it's way more than I wish I did - it won't be critical for several days, at least." He went to get the bottle of alcohol they had found on the farm where they had hid the first night after escaping from the aliens.

"Sir, the police have searched the area around where... the kidnappers crashed the car. They have found no one. Our own forces have searched as well," Major Davis hesitated. "We can only conclude that they must have escaped."

"Escaped? That is not acceptable! You will find them!" Hammond exclaimed. "It is your responsibility!"

"I apologize, sir. I do not know how it could have happened. We had police cars blocking off all roads out of the area!"

"Excuse me," a middle aged man with red hair said. "I have a suggestion."

"Let us hear it, chief." Hammond sighed.

"I agree that the kidnappers couldn't have driven out of the area, and if they are on foot they could not have gotten far away. We should have been able to find them in the search or see them on infrared cameras when we flew over the area. However, there are other ways for them to get out of there."

"Such as?" Hammond asked.

"They could have hopped a train. Probably a freight train would be the most likely."

"I see. Please get a list of all freight trains that would have passed through," Hammond said. "Bring it to me as quickly as possible."

"Yes, sir. We are all worried for the President's advisor." He left.

When the door had closed behind him, 'Hammond' turned to 'Major Davis'. "You will look at the information as soon as the police chief brings it. You will bring back SG-1. Alive."

"Okay, we just rolled through something called Birchwood. Looks like there's a tiny airport," O'Neill said. "Anchorage should be next time, unless I'm mistaken?"

"Yes, I believe so," Sam said. She closed her eyes for a moment and leaned back against the wall of the train. She felt somehow weaker, even after resting, and she had a chill - as if she was slightly feverish.

"It's early morning. Do we get off at the railroad station, or continue to the harbour?" Daniel wondered. "Or do we try to get off at that base you mentioned, Jack?"

"Elmendorf-Richardson. No, I don't think so. I don't know anyone stationed there, and without knowing who is human or not, it's going to be difficult. I mean, even if every single one of them is a human, no one is going to believe that you're not the ones who have kidnapped me - and they'll probably think I've been brainwashed or something if I say different." O'Neill shook his head in disgust. "No, we should try to get to Colorado Springs as quickly as we can, and find someone there we can trust."

"Will not Major Carter's device be able to determine if someone is using the mimetic device or not?" Teal'c asked.

"It should work, but even assuming they won't take it from us, we can't be certain the aliens haven't found a way to counteract it," Sam said.

"Wonderful." Daniel groaned. "So, the harbour, or what?"

"The harbour," O'Neill confirmed. "And we had better be ready to get off quickly. We should remove the padlock now, before we pass through more inhabited areas."

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