Fraiser Residence, Washington, DC
July 30, 2010
Pouring a dark stream of coffee into a waiting mug, Janet Fraiser picked up the newssheet e-reader with its seventeen-inch screen to read the morning's copy of The Washington Post newspaper. Immediately her brown eyes were drawn to the first page headline of the electronic newspaper: Aschen Anti-Ageing Vaccine Distributed Worldwide.
Janet sighed as she read the name of Earth's allied saviour. As always, thoughts of them brought mixed feelings forward: relief that the threat of the Goa'uld were eradicated; uselessness as Aschen advanced medicine made her profession redundant; and most personally, grief at the loss of a good friend who had disappeared months after Earth joined the Aschen Confederation.
Lost in memories and thought, Janet did not hear her adult daughter and son-in-law sombrely enter the kitchen.
"Mom." Cassandra Klerk formerly Fraiser spoke quietly, her muscularly slender, black haired, and brown eyed husband Dominic Klerk hovering behind.
The heartbreak in the young woman's voice caught Janet's attention immediately. She set the newssheet e-reader down beside the coffee mug and turned her full attention to her daughter. "Cassie? Sweetheart, what is it?"
"I'm—I'm not—" Cassie's voice broke, unable to say the news.
"Oh honey," Janet said sorrowfully as she rose from her seat at the kitchen table. Crossing the distance between them, she enveloped her daughter into her arms. "It will be okay, it'll be okay." She murmured soothingly, exchanging a compassionate look with Dominic as she rubbed soothing circles upon Cassie's back.
"I thought for sure this time…" Cassie sobbed brokenly into her mother's shoulder.
"They said it isn't either one of us." Dominic quietly informed his mother-in-law, answering the unvoiced question she had on her face. "We just have to keep trying."
"They're sure the naquadah isn't doing anything?" Janet asked softly, having hypothesised that as a host could only carry a foetus to term if the symbiote was dormant then the presence of free-ranged naquadah in her daughter's blood would prevent conception unless preventative methods were taken to suppress the metal.
Cassie wordlessly shook her head.
"I thought we could get a second option," Dominic said softly as he came more into the kitchen, a large hand reaching out to stroke his wife's back.
"From who?" Janet enquired. "The Aschen are hundreds of years more advanced in medicine than we are and none of our former allies have much to do with us anymore." It was not just allies that did not have much to do with them, but formerly friendly planets that polity refused relations with Earth and by extension the planetary confederation it was now a part of.
"I was thinking about you Janet."
"Me?" Janet was surprised. "It's the Aschen that have given us the anti-ageing vaccine and the anti-cancer vaccine… and they have medical machines that can reverse tissue damage and mend broken bones… I mean, what can I do? It all makes the medicine I practiced seem like it belongs in the Dark Ages!"
"But you were Cassie's doctor long before we knew the Aschen," Dominic reminded her gently.
Janet nodded slowly. Releasing Cassie from her arms, the young woman gathered herself while furiously wiping at the tears that were still leaking from her blue eyes.
"When would you like to do it?" Janet asked her daughter quietly.
"After the Alliance Anniversary," Cassie said softly as she stepped back more and intertwined her fingers with her husband's, visibly drawing support from him. "I… I need a few days before I can go through this again."
. . .
Three days later in the crowd present in the J. R. Reed Space Terminal that now housed the stargate in the capitol Janet watched as the current president, who had just been elected to his second term in office, Robert Kinsey give his speech via teleconference for the Alliance's tenth anniversary ceremony.
"My fellow Americans," President Kinsey spoke from the massive screen hanging behind the stargate. "Ten years ago a team code-named SG-1, then working in secret, came upon an alien race: the Aschen. With that introduction, I was able to forge the greatest alliance this country—indeed, this world—has ever known on this day."
Janet politely joined the clapping crowd as she observed the SG-1 members standing to her right exchange looks.
It angered her slightly that Kinsey would not even take the time to be physically present at the ceremony honouring an alliance he had been instrumental in forming. However, the anger was tempered by thankfulness that he was not present, considering the history between him and those being awarded medals today. It was a blessing to be spared the antagonism of his presence.
"I read from Colonel Jack O'Neill's mission report of that first contact. 'These folks sound too good to be true. Willing to share their science and technology. Friendly, smarter than we are. One thing's for sure: the Goa'uld are coming… The Aschen could save our asses.' Well, guess what, Jack? They did." Kinsey gave a sly and patronizing smile on screen.
Especially the antagonism and friction that burned hot between Kinsey and O'Neill that came through quite clearly with that quip directed to the absent former team leader.
"Jack O'Neill could not be here today, but those candid words hurriedly scratched down in a mission report ten years ago were prescient. Membership in the Aschen Confederation guarantees the security, the health, and the future of every human being on God's Earth."
As Kinsey concluded his speech, Janet watched the awardees mount the steps leading to the stargate and bow their heads forward to receive the anniversary medals that recognised their team's contribution to the alliance and the key role they had played in the Stargate program before it had become public.
The remaining SG-1 team members turned around and faced the crowd to stand proudly at attention. As they did so, the soldiers in uniform lining the steps raised their arms to fire the salute. Janet grew misty eyed as she looked at the ceremonial robed individuals standing before the stargate. So incongruous exposed in the glass-domed structure that now housed the alien device.
Ten years since the Alliance and the end of the Goa'uld threat to the world. Ten years since Colonel O'Neill had spoken out against the Aschen and when receiving no support for his loudly voiced suspicions, had walked from their lives. But it was not the fact that the colonel did not stand as an awardee that had her eyes misting.
It was the fact that only two stood and were honoured on this day.
Ten years had passed since the disappearance of Samantha Carter. A disappearance that had rocked the world and led to a massive planetary search and then an intergalactic one. Every search had been futile and in the end as the years passed, Samantha Carter's disappearance had become an unsolved mystery.