Alpha site. Summer 2030.
Daniel and Teal'c helps Jack limp into the room, and to sit down in a chair, while Cam slams the door after them and locks it.
Sam and Sheppard walks over to them, while Colonel Paul Davis stays in his chair behind his desk.
"That's all?" Davis asks.
"Yeah, no one else made it," Cam confirms.
"I told you that you should've just left me there!" Jack complains. "I'm told old to risk it for!"
"Shut up, Jack," Daniel says, looking to Sam. "Any news?"
She shakes her head. "No, sorry. What about Malek?"
"He's dead." Cam sighs. "Nothing we could do."
"Then we're finished," Davis exclaims. "No one left who can sense them!"
"Preciously few left to save at any rate," Sam says. She takes a deep breath and runs a hand through her greying hair. "Did SG-7 return?"
"Not yet..." Daniel is interrupted when Sheppard makes a guttural sound.
"John?" Sam asks, frowning.
A hoarse laughter comes from Sheppard. "Not any more! Foolish humans!" He whips out a sleek black weapon from a bag standing in a corner and shoots Teal'c.
"He's taken over!" Cam shouts.
They all hit the floor as fast as they can, with the exception of Jack who moves too slowly, and Sam who instead jumps Sheppard - or the alien who has taken him over.
With an unhuman growl the alien throws Sam clear across the room, and he would have fired at her if Cam had not been faster and hit him over the head with a chair. The alien shimmers briefly and disappears, then reappears at the other end of the room.
"Dammit! He's manifested fully! Get out of here!" Cam shouts.
"There's aliens outside!" Sam warns.
Davis surprises them all when he empties a machine gun into the alien. The creature screetches and sinks to the floor, then black fluids starts leaking from it.
"Keep away from that crap!" Jack warns.
The fluid seeps into Teal'c who lies on the floor, apparently dead. Moments later he stirs and gets up in a jump, and goes directly for Davis, grappling his throat.
The others hit the alien with all that they got, and 'Teal'c' falls over Davis.
The others pull him off, but black liquid has started to soak into Davis.
"Ki-kill me!" Davis croaks. "It's...overtaking me..." He looks at Sam. "Execute order 15A. No...no other cho...ice."
They kill him as the alien overtakes him. Cam, Sam, and Daniel jumps back and Cam grabs his firethrower and burns Davis and all the other bodies.
Finally, the room is silent, except for their exhausted panting and the unnerving sounds from the outside.
"What now?" Daniel asks no one in particular after a long time has passed.
"Colonel Davis said to execute order 15A. Do that," Jack says, looking hard at Sam.
"You're not in command any longer, Jack," Sam says. "And Davis wasn't my superior."
"No, but he was in charge of the Alpha site."
"I am in charge now." Sam looks around. "Not that there's much to be in charge of."
"SG-7. If they ever return." Cam reminds her.
Sam nods. "That's a pretty big if."
"What about your ship? The George Hammond is still intact, isn't it?" Jack asks.
"Yes - and in the hands of the enemy." Sam admits. "My CO had become one of them - and slowly turned everyone."
"Lucky for you that you can't be turned," Daniel observes.
"Yeah, well. That's the only advantage being a former host gives me. I'd prefer I could actually sense them - but only live symbiotes can do that." She sighs. "None left of those anymore. Not after first the revenge attacks from the new Jaffa government, and then the war against the Litillians."
"Never thought I'd miss the damn snakes," Jack observes. "But then who could have expected us to be invaded by worse parasites?"
"No, the Litillians make the Goa'uld look like small-time bullies." Daniel looks to the charred corpse of Sheppard. "Never thought he'd have been taken over by them. Sheppard, I mean."
"Why not? We all could be - except Sam." Jack looks stubbornly at Sam. "One more reason you should enact 15A. And as quickly as possible."
Sam hesitates. "You know what it means. I don't think we're there yet."
"If the eggheads are right, it's a chance to change the timeline. What is it you think would get worse?" Jack says.
"Changing the timeline isn't something to be done lightly." Sam sighs. "But you're right. There isn't a whole lot left to lose." She looks around at Daniel, Cam, and Jack, thinking 'except the three of you'.
"We'll keep the Litillians occupied while you make a run for the rings. The cloaked teltac is still in orbit, isn't it?" Cam says.
Sam nods slowly. "Yes, last I checked." She sighs. "Listen guys, I know the changes Jolinar did to my body protects me a little, but I doubt even I can make it to the device without dying. Not without a protective shield."
"Sorry, there aren't any left. You'll just have to try," Cam says.
Sam sighs. "It's too bad the damn Litillians managed to detonate one of their devices so close to the time travelling machine - and that it opened up a lava river just beside it. Which I guess makes sense - the machine runs on geothermal energy, so it it had to be in a place where that is close to the surface."
"Well, at least it means they are unable to even get to it now! They're even more sensitive to the heat and radiation than we are. The Litillians can't destroy our means of changing the past - only make it hard for us to reach the machine." Daniel offers.
"Right. Okay. Let's do this then. Tomorrow morning." Sam decides. "Do we have any MREs left? I'm starving!"
"Sam?" Jack says. "Can I talk to you for a moment?"
Sam nods. "Sure, what is it?"
He looks in the direction of where the two others are getting a small amount of sleep before next morning. "Listen, I'm glad we're still friends. Even after... you know."
"Me too." She smiles a little. "We were both idiots. To think that I spent years thinking I wanted you, and then when we got together, it didn't last a month!"
"Yeah, well. I wasn't much better. I think it was the whole forbidden part to it." He smiles and pats her arm. "Friends." He sighs. "Sam, if you do succeed in making it back - could you tell me? And yourself? Maybe I'd have a chance of getting back together with Sara then."
Sam nods slowly, hesitantly. "Jack... I'm not sure how far back in time I'll end up - or how long I'll live if I even make it there. Depends on how badly damaged I'll be from the heat and radiation. The scientists who studied the device didn't have much time to do so before the Litillians attacked, so I also only have a very tenous grasp on how it works."
"I know." He smiles. "I still have complete confidence in you. Carter. You've always been the one to save us."
She looks at him a little embarrassad. "Thanks - I just really hope I can do it one more time."
"Good luck, Sam!"
"Thanks - you too!" she tells them before crawling out through the ventilation shaft. Behind her she hears the others make a lot of noise and pretend to open the welded shut back door. Hopefully it would keep the aliens occupied for long enough that she could flee to the room with the rings.
Machinegun fire behind her soon tells her the aliens are attacking her friends. She closes her eyes for a moment, then continues on. Their only hope lays in her making it - she knows she has to!
She makes it safely to the exit into the room where the rings are located. She looks through the grille of the ventilation and seeing no one she carefully opens it and slides out.
Her feet is barely on the ground before strangely looking, six legged creatures attack from behind some boxes. It's the aliens in their fully mature natural form, she knows.
Sam fires at them with her machine gun as she runs to the rings and starts coding in the sequence. One of them makes a jump at her just as the rings come down, and is whisked away to the teltac with her.
She screams as the creature bites viciously into her right thigh, and she feels her head reel as it injects some of the black fluid that contains its essence, and takes over people, or even transforms them if that is most suitable for the aliens.
She empties her clip into the alien and kicks it back into the ring circle while it is stunned. It is not killed, she knows that. It takes a lot more. She hits the controls and sends it back to Earth, then stumbles to the bridge. She almost falls against the panel, but manages to push the activation, and the ship's engines starts up. She pushes 'auto' as she slides to the ground, unconscious.
The teltac speeds out of the star system on the course programmed in weeks earlier - on course to the planet Wunar, where the time travelling device had been found.
Sam slowly wakes up. The naquadah in her blood, and the other changes to her system that Jolinar did so long ago, have finally won against the alien retro-virus, and she is still herself. She screams out in pain as she tries to get up, and puts weight on the leg.
She pulls aside the torn pants from her right leg and looks at her thigh. The bite from the alien is leaking a dark substance - the virus which her body is rejecting. Her entire thigh is feverishly hot and a dark blue-red colour. Nothing to do about that right now, Sam knows. She eases herself down into the pilot's chair, and tries to focus on the controls. She has a high fever, she realizes, her body still battling the last of the virus.
Convinced the ship is going in the right direction, she gets up and limps to the back of the ship, to find a medi-kit. She injects herself with something she hopes will help against the virus, and then drinks from a vial which contains a drug she remembers from Jolinar is used to strengthen symbiotes. She just hopes it will help her too.
Exhausted, she makes it to one of the make-shift beds and collapses on top of it. She is asleep before her head touches the pillow.
Groggily she wakes up. There is some sound. She realizes it is the alarm from the teltac, informing her she is approaching the planet she was going to.
She frowns. That should have taken three days! She couldn't have slept for three days, could she?
Soon she realizes she has - her mouth is dry and she needs to pee like crazy. She stumbles to the bathroom, taking care of both. Her leg still hurts, but less, and the fever is down. She checks on her leg. The bite is still very obvious, but the flesh around it is slowly returning to a more normal colour. She pulls the tan cloth of her pant leg together as much as she can, but decides against wasting time on trying to find something to stitch the cloth.
Then her stomach screams its hunger at her, and she finds an energy bar to munch on as she walks to the bridge, sitting down in the pilot's seat.
Her ship is cloaked, which is a good thing. Several of the alien's ships are in orbit. She lands as close to the entrance to the time machine's cave as possible. It is well within the area that the aliens cannot enter, even with protective gear.
She gathers her courage and opens the door. A wave of heat slams against her from the lava rivers flowing nearby. That is not the worst. She knows the radiation is so high that it will kill her in hours - or less.
There is nothing to do about that, and she sets off in a run towards the cave entrance. Inside it is almost hotter than outside, and the entrance itself is starting to melt. Soon this place will be gone, Sam realizes, melted down into the molten core of the planet. If she had arrived a few weeks later, the aliens would have already won.
Sam makes it through the long corridors, and finally into the alien lab with the time machine. By then she is dizzy and weak from the heat and the radiation. She coughs and blood comes up. She shakes her head to clear it as she walks up to the alien device. What had the scientists said? How to set the time? How to activate it?
'Damn!' she tells no one in particular as she sees the power level on the machine is down. The lava flows that it taps for energy has shifted, and it looks as if there is no longer enough power for sending even one person back.
'I wonder what this means?' Sam thinks as she notices the symbol for 'secondary transport only' having lit up. That it s less safe?
The idea was to go back at least five years, to warn of the Litillians coming. Or ten years, if possible, to stop the Jaffa from slaughtering the remaining Tok'ra with the Goa'uld - one problem had been that so few were left to sense the aliens's presence.
Sam realizes as she looks at the controls that she is not sure which are years, months, and days - or even how long the aliens's year is. She shakes her head at her confusion. She knew this before, didn't she? Is she so close to death already? She is wracked by a cough and feels blackness threaten to consume her. If she is to try and go back it has to be now - or never.
Deciding to gamble, she punches in a time sequence, hoping it means ten years. The device lights up and makes a warning noise.
Sam frowns, looking at the panel. 'That means not permitted? Why is it not permitted?' She tries again, and gets the same result. The symbol for secondary transport is flashing. 'So maybe it's because it is low on power,' she decides. 'And in secondary mode it can't go back very far.' She feels nausea come on and throws up, mostly blood. She wipes her mouth and feels even more woozy and her head is starting to hurt like crazy.
'Okay - let's gamble that this is three years, then, and that it can go back that far.' She punches in another sequence and hits the activate button. 'Here goes nothing!'
A humming noise fills the chamber she is standing in and a light plays over her. Blackness consumes her.