Daniel reached the gate at a dead run, breathing hard as he dialed. Teal’c wasn’t far behind him, carrying Sam’s unconscious form, with Jack jogging beside him. “Stargate Command, this is SG1. We have a medical emergency. Have medical meet us in the gate room.”
“Acknowledged, Doctor Jackson. Medical is on its way.” Daniel ran for the gate, glancing behind him once before he stepped through.
Janet was at the bottom of the ramp and he could see the rest of her team racing in with a gurney. “Her temperature spiked over 104 about twenty minutes ago. We got her here as fast as we could.” Daniel said as Janet pulled the gurney to the bottom of the ramp.
“Get her here.” Janet said to Teal’c, who wasted little time following her instructions. Janet turned her attention to Sam, checking her pulse and then moving to check her pupil reaction. “Okay, let’s get her down to the infirmary. I want a full blood work up. Let’s move.”
Jack came to a stop beside Daniel as General Hammond moved around the medical crew, the question on his face. “Colonel O’Neill?”
Jack rubbed his face and pulled his hat off. “I don’t know, sir. I wasn’t there when Daniel found her.”
“Major Carter was supposed to be heading back to the gate to check in and let you know we would be staying another day. We were investigating some strange deaths.” Daniel offered. “It was only thirty minutes each way, two hours later she still wasn’t back, we got worried and started looking. I headed toward the gate, Jack and Teal’c went to look near a piece of alien tech we’d seen earlier. Sam wanted to get a better look at it.”
“How long was she missing?” Hammond asked.
“Almost four hours, sir.” Jack responded. “When Daniel found her she was delirious, her temperature was 103, she was pale and shivering.” He shook his head.
“She was conscious but barely. I asked her where she’d been and she said she didn’t know. By the time Jack and Teal’c got back to us, her fever had spiked, she was unconscious and we ran for the gate.”
“Major Carter didn’t say anything about where she’d been or what had happened?” Hammond asked.
“Major Carter told me that she was cold.” Teal’c said. “And that there were red flakes burning the clouds.”
“I want you all to get checked out right away. If this is some sort of virus, you have been exposed.” General nodded at them. “You’re on stand down until further notice.”
The three of them moved almost as one to get down to the infirmary. Janet held up her hands as they came in and directed them to the exam beds. “How is she?” Jack asked, even as he moved to the first bed.
“We’re working on getting her fever down and get fluids into her. I’ve got broad spectrum antibiotics going. I’m afraid there isn’t much more we can do until some test results come back. And while we’re waiting on that, let’s get the three of you examined.”
“Whatever this disease is, it isn’t like anything I’ve ever seen.” Janet said, the frustration clear on her exhausted face. “It isn’t responding to antibiotics, antivirals, nothing. Her white blood cell count is almost non-existent, her body isn’t even trying to fight this.”
“What is your prognosis, Doctor?” General Hammond asked.
Janet sighed and didn’t look up. “She’s dying. And there isn’t anything I can do.”
“This doesn’t make sense.” Daniel said softly. “How can it be killing her in under ten hours and none of us have any symptoms?”
“It isn’t contagious, at least not in any of the ways we understand.” Janet offered. “I did find some marks on her wrists, puncture marks, almost like teeth marks, but they don’t look like any kind of teeth I’ve ever seen.”
“Could it be some kind of poison?” Hammond asked.
Janet lifted both hands. “I don’t know. If I knew more about what happened to her, maybe.”
“Colonel O’Neill, what about these strange deaths you were looking into?” General Hammond asked.
Jack shook his head. “No, sir. Those bodies were drained of blood, through large holes in their necks. The villagers claim that something they called üri så-a, was responsible.”
Daniel shrugged, his mind racing over everything he had managed to learn in the short time they were there. “I don’t know what to tell you, sir. The villagers weren’t exactly talkative about it, other than to say it never took so many.”
“Is there nothing we can do to save Major Carter?” Teal’c asked.
“Sir, permission to go back—“Jack started, but Hammond cut him off.
“No. I’m not risking more of you.”
Daniel’s stomach twisted and he shook his head. “We can’t just sit here and watch her die.”
“How long?” Jack asked, his voice low and hard.
Janet swallowed hard. “I don’t know. A few hours, maybe. We should contact her father. If you want to say goodbye, don’t wait.”
Beside him, Jack slammed his hands down on the table and stormed out of the room. Teal’c stood more stoically and followed him. Daniel hung his head and covered it with his hands. He’d found her, held her while she shivered. If he’d only gone with her when she left the village, but he’d been absorbed in the lore in their library.
A small hand rubbed over his back and Daniel inhaled and looked up. Janet didn’t say anything, but he nodded and stood. They walked to the elevator in silence. Janet’s hand slid into his as they approached the infirmary, and she guided him to the door to the private room where she had isolated Sam.
Daniel opened the door and she squeezed his hand before she let go, leaving him to go in alone. Sam lay on the bed, pale and small among monitors and machines. Her eyes were closed, her lips chapped and dry. He moved closer, snagging a rolling stool and pulling it with him. He settled onto it before lifting his hand to hers, sliding his fingers under her palm to rest them against the pulse point at her wrist, and finding two raised points. He turned her hand to look.
Not much more than mosquito bites, the two marks were joined by several smaller dots in a semi-circle. His fingers rubbed over them, his mind scrambling to find some kind of cause or meaning for what was happening.
The door behind him opened and Daniel glanced back. Teal’c nodded his head. “I have come to pay my respects to Major Carter.”
Daniel nodded and leaned in to kiss her hand before he stood. “I’ll leave you to it.”
“There is no need.” Teal’c moved to her other side, his big hand lifting hers and holding it. They sat there in silence, watching every slow breath grow slower until finally there was no inhale after the last exhale and the monitor near the head of the bed beeped long and low as it showed the flatline.
Behind him, Daniel heard a stifled sob and turned, surprised to find Janet and one of the nurses. Janet wiped a tear from her face and moved around him to turn off the monitor. The tears didn’t come until he was out of the room, and down the hall where he ducked into a side corridor as they came over him.
Major Samantha Carter was dead.
The first thing that came to mind was the cold, followed rapidly by hunger. Like she hadn’t eaten in a week. She opened her eyes slowly. The room was dark, but she could see clearly. She was in the SGC, in the infirmary. She frowned and sat up. She didn’t remember coming back through the gate. She must have been hurt, but she felt fine now.
She ran her hands over her body, checking for wounds or bandages, but found none. The equipment around the bed was all turned off. It was almost like she’d been forgotten.
Shaking her head, she put her bare feet down on the cold floor. The hospital gown she wore felt coarse against her skin. Walking softly to the door that lead to the infirmary, she eased it open, peering through and listening for signs that something was wrong.
One of the exam beds was occupied by an airman who was receiving a blood transfusion, a nurse talking softly to him. Other than that, the place was quiet. Except, she thought she heard someone crying. She slipped through the door, her bare feet making no sound as she approached Janet’s desk. The doctor had her face in her hands, her back to the room, her shoulders shaking.
Her head shot up, her eyes wide as she turned toward the sound of her name. Tears still streamed down her face as she stood, shaking her head. “Sam? You….how…” Doctor Frasier surged toward her, pulling her into a hug, then freezing. She was scowling as she pulled back. “You were dead.” She grabbed Sam’s hand, fingers pressing to her pulse point and her scowl deepened.
Janet’s turned Sam and pressed her to sit in the chair she had just vacated. “This isn’t possible.”
“What are you talking about?” Sam asked, with a slight smile. “I feel fine.”
Janet ignored her and grabbed her stethoscope, putting it on and pressing the end to Sam’s chest. Her face tightened and her head shook. “You’re not fine.” Janet said. “From what I can tell, you’re still dead.”
“What?” Sam stood, reaching for the stethoscope.
Janet gave it to her easily. “See for yourself. You have no pulse. Your heart isn’t beating.”
“That’s ridiculous.” Sam countered, putting the ear pieces in her ears and pressing the sensitive end to her heart. Where there should have been the reassuring beat of her heart, there was only silence. “Is this some kind of joke?” Sam asked, a little louder than she meant to. She pressed two fingers to her jugular vein, expecting to feel her heart beating, but still there was nothing. “What…”
“Janet. Jacob is on his way.”
Daniel’s voice pulled her attention away from Janet. Daniel stuttered to a stop, like Janet, his face filled with shock and confusion as he spotted Sam. His eyes danced from her to Janet and back again. “I don’t…understand.” He stepped closer, one hand lifting to touch Sam’s face as if he didn’t believe what he was seeing. “You were dead.”
“Clearly I’m not dead.” Sam responded, starting to get exasperated at the repeated insistence that she was dead, and trying to ignore the evidence to the contrary. “I feel fine. Hungry, starving even, but fine.”
She stepped around them both and took two steps away. “I just want to find my clothes and get something to eat.” As she got closer to the airman and the nurse who was pulling out the IV needle, she could suddenly smell blood. It made her stomach rumble and she found herself leaning over him, licking her lips.
“Sam?” Daniel touched her arm and pulled her back.
She blinked and forcibly pulled her attention away from the smell. “Sorry. I…don’t know what that was.”
“Okay, let’s look at this logically.” Janet said, gesturing them both back toward the room where Sam had woken moments before. “There has to be an explanation.”
“I’m all ears.” Sam said, sitting on the bed and crossing her arms.
“What do you remember?” Daniel asked as Janet closed the door and turned on the lights.
Sam blinked in the sudden brightness and thought back. “We were on P3X-212.” She remembered Daniel was excited about the library, and Colonel O’Neill was worried about the body they’d found as they approached the village. “There were a series of murders.”
Daniel nodded and gestured for her to continue.
She swallowed and frowned. “I know we…” She shook her head. Everything after arriving on the planet was hazy, almost like a dream.
“You left the village to walk back to the gate to check in with General Hammond.” Daniel prompted.
She nodded. She vaguely remembered that. Then everything went a sort of dark grey. “I don’t know.” She shook her head. “Next thing I know I was waking up here. The lights were out, everything turned off.”
“Lay back for me.” Janet said, pulling a rolling tray closer. “Let’s draw some blood, and do a basic physical exam. I’m sure there’s some….” She looked at Sam and lifted the syringe.
“What? Reasonable explanation for the fact that I have no heartbeat?” Sam asked.
“Wait, what?” Daniel asked.
Sam took his hand and pressed his fingers to her neck. “Nothing.”
“That’s not possible.” Daniel said, stepping back to let Janet in to draw blood.
“That’s what I said.” Janet agreed.
Sam flinched as the needle bit into her skin. The blood that Janet pulled into the vial was dark and thick. They both frowned at the sight. Sam pushed her finger against the needle as Janet pulled it out. Once again, she could smell the blood, even though, as she pulled her finger away, the hole the needle made was already closed.
“This isn’t very warm.” Janet said, almost to herself, her fingers wrapped around the vial of blood. She stepped across to one of the counters and came back with a thermometer. Sam opened her mouth for it and pushed a rush of panic from her mind. Janet was right. There would be an explanation.
The thermometer beeped and Janet took it, frowning yet again. “That can’t be right.” She pressed her hand to Sam’s forehead, then her cheek, shaking her head. “According to this, you’re a lukewarm 78 degrees.” Janet said.
“I was pretty cold when I woke up.” Sam said. She didn’t want to admit that she was starting to freak out, just a little bit. Her stomach rumbled, drawing her attention away from Janet, who was taking the blood sample back out and calling the on-duty nurse over. “Any chance you’ve got a protein bar or something on you?”
Daniel shook his head, then held up one finger and disappeared out the door behind Janet. He came back holding an apple. “I saw it on Janet’s desk.”
“Thank you. I feel like I haven’t eaten in days.” She took a bite, making a face as a sour taste filled her mouth. She spit the piece out into her hand. “Yuck. It must be bad.”
Daniel took it from her, sniffing it. “Seems fine to me.”
Sam sat up, her legs down to the floor. “Do you smell that?”
Daniel frowned at her. “Smell what?”
She ignored him, pushing off the bed and rushing into the main infirmary. SG12 was entering the room, two of them covered in blood. Sam licked her lips, moving swiftly across the room. Major Barrett had a gash down his arm. She reached for his arm, turning it toward her and leaning in, her mouth open, the smell of his blood making her salivate.
“Sam!” Once again, Daniel’s voice cut through the haze and he pulled her back. “What the hell?”
She was shaking, the hunger roaring inside her as she lifted her bloody hand and licked it clean. It only made the hunger worse. Daniel dragged her back out of the way as Janet and her team went to work on the injured. “Oh my god, Sam.”
Daniel shoved her back into the private room and closed the door. Slowly it dawned on her what she’d been about to do. “Daniel….”
“Blood-sucker.” Daniel said almost breathlessly.
He shook his head and started pacing. “I didn’t realize….I mean some of the oldest scrolls were written in what looked like a derivation of Sumerian, but I figured it was some kind of animal, not…”
“Daniel!” She interrupted his pacing and he looked up at her.
“They called it üri så-a. Its literal translation is blood-sucker.” Daniel said. “Think about it. Those dead bodies were exsanguinated. Here you are with no heartbeat and yet you’re walking and talking.”
“I think you’re stretching things.” Sam said. It was her turn to pace.
“When we brought you back, you had a very low white blood cell count, you stopped breathing, your heart stopped. You were dead.”
“Still am, apparently.” Sam said, hysteria starting to creep in.
“You went after Barrett like you were going to eat him.” Daniel said.
“No, I just…” She shook her head. What he was suggesting was insane.
“You said the apple tasted bad.”
“It had to be rotten.”
“It wasn’t.” He intercepted her and grabbed her shoulders. “I don’t want to be the one to say it, but Sam, it’s beginning to sound like—”
“No.” Sam said. “Don’t say it.”
“Say what?” Janet asked as she reappeared.
“Vampire.” Daniel said.
“There’s no such thing as vampires.” Sam argued, her stomach churning.
“I’m with Sam.” Janet said. “I’ve sent her blood into the lab. I’m going to run every test I can think of. We’ll figure it out.”
“Let me try something.” Daniel said. He picked up a syringe and pricked the end of his finger, squeezing it to get the blood flowing.
Without meaning to, Sam was across the floor in the space of a breath and he held the finger up to her. Janet gasped as Sam grabbed his hand and pulled him closer, sucking his finger into her mouth. He yelled as she bit down and he yanked his finger free.
“Oh my god.” Janet and Daniel both stepped back and Sam thought she saw fear in their eyes.
“What?” Sam asked. Her voice sounded strange, deeper, harsher. The taste of blood filled her with a desire for more and she ran her tongue over her lips to savor it, startled by the sudden realization that she had fangs. She jumped back, one hand moving to her mouth to feel them.
“Your eyes.” Daniel said.
“What about them?”
He lifted a chrome tray from the counter and held it up. A distorted reflection of her face confirmed what her tongue and hand told her, she had two teeth on either side of her front teeth that seemed to have descended over her normal teeth, sharp and long and her eyes were red and softly glowing.
She could still smell Daniel’s blood and her stomach was demanding more than just the taste he had given her. “I think that answers that question.” Daniel said, moving his hand away as she came close again. “Sam?”
Her eyes were fixated on the blood and she couldn’t stop herself from reaching for him. “Sam, stop.” Daniel pushed her shoulder and turned away, hiding his lightly bleeding finger in a fold of his shirt.
“Sam.” Janet’s voice was firm and there was a new smell, making Sam turn. Janet held an IV bag filled with blood and she’d cut the top off, holding it at arm’s length.
Sam took the bag and stepped back toward the bed, sitting as she felt it against her legs, staring at the bag. The smell was so inviting, even as the realization that she was salivating over a bag of blood made the panic rise inside her.
“We’re going to step outside.” Janet said. “Give you some privacy. Okay?”
Sam nodded without looking at them, the bag held close to her. She fought the urge to drink it until she couldn’t, the hunger was too strong. Sam sucked at the opening, tilting her head back and letting the cool blood slide down her throat. It wasn’t enough and she swallowed greedily. When the bag was empty, she licked her lips and started wiping at the blood that had spilled down her chin, licking it off her fingers.
The door opposite the infirmary door opened and Sam turned. Colonel O’Neill stepped into the room, looking surprised to see her. She stood, dropping the blood bag and turning to him, need driving her toward him.
He moved to pull her into a hug and she let him, turning her face into the crook of his neck, the scent of him filling her nose. The first taste of his blood is hot and fiery on her tongue, even as he realized that she was biting him and started to push her away.
Sam pushed her leg between his legs and swept his left, riding him down to the floor. He yelled and shoved her. “Carter!” He yelled and managed to dislodge her, sending her sprawling a few feet away. Her head cracked against the bed and it seemed to knock the blood lust back some. Enough for her to realize what she’d just done.
She scrambled to her feet and out the door into the hall, running away even though there was no place for her to go.
Janet was behind him, so he let her deal with Jack and ran to the door. Sam was already out of site. Daniel turned back to where Jack sat. “What happened?”
“I already told you, she bit me.” He moved his hand so Janet could look at the wound. “Teal’c told me she was dead.”
Daniel shrugged his shoulders. “Well, yes, she was…is…” He shook his head, still trying to wrap his head around the idea, but more and more all of the pieces were starting to fit.
“Daniel.” Jack growled his name and pulled away from Janet to stand up. The wound was still oozing.
“It’s a long story.” Daniel said.
Janet pointed Jack to sit on the bed. “She’s a vampire.” Janet said as she moved to get gauze and tape to cover the wound.
“A what now?” Jack asked, scowling at Daniel.
“The villagers called it a üri så-a, which means blood-sucker.” Daniel supplied. “I should go find her, before she does something she’ll regret.”
“Daniel!” He heard Jack call after him, but ignored him. His concern was Sam. He admittedly didn’t know a lot about vampire lore, but he did know that nearly every culture had some, which would seem to indicate a possibility that vampires had, at one point, been very real on earth. It wasn’t something he had ever really considered. As far as he knew, there wasn’t any scientific evidence of how exactly it happened.
Except for the fact that it very clearly had happened.
He checked her quarters first, and when she wasn’t there figured maybe she’d head for her lab. He pushed the door open, his eyes dancing over the room. He reached for the light switch.
“Don’t.” Sam’s voice came from the far corner. Daniel pulled his hand away and stepped in, leaving the door slightly ajar so that he could see at least a little. He rounded her table and past the desk to find her in the corner, knees to her chest, her head on her knees. She lifted her head a little and licked her lips before using a hand to wipe the tears from her face. “The light hurts my eyes.”
Daniel squatted beside her. “You okay?”
She rolled her eyes. “No.” She wiped both cheeks and leaned back against the wall.
Daniel pivoted to slide down the wall beside her, lifting his arm. “Come here.”
She shook her head. “I don’t want to hurt you.”
He smiled a little. “You won’t, I trust you.”
She hesitated, but he put his arm behind her head and drew her close. They sat quietly for a long few moments. “What am I supposed to do now?” Sam asked, her head resting against his shoulder.
The truth was, he didn’t know. He was still trying to wrap his head around it himself, scrambling over myth and lore and comparing it against what he was seeing, what he thought he knew to be true. “Well, if it’s true that you can’t die, just think of all the time you’ll have to finally get to all of those experiments you’ve wanted to do.”
She chuckled lightly and looked up at him. “We don’t know that I can’t die.”
He looked at her and smiled. “Sure we do. You’re sitting here, aren’t you?”
She shook her head. “I’m…I tried to eat Colonel O’Neill.” She pulled away and sighed.
“He’s fine.” Daniel insisted. “He was a little surprised, he was coming to pay his respects.” He shifted, bumping his shoulder against hers. “Janet is already setting up testing protocols, asked me to assemble all of the lore I can find so we can validate what is real and what’s myth.”
“I’m a scientist, Daniel, not a…lab animal.”
“You’re a vampire, Sam. I think that means you’re kind of both, at least for now.” He stood and held out his hand. “How about we find you some clothes, get you a little better fed, and start from the beginning.”
She put her hand in his and let him help her up. “None of this makes any sense.”
Daniel put his arm around her as they left the lab. “That’s what I said the first time I died too.”
Sam finished dressing in her on-base quarters by putting her feet into her boots and sitting on the bed to tie them. There was a knock at the door, making her look up. “Yeah, it’s open.”
The door opened and her father’s head peeked in, followed by the rest of him. “Sam?”
“Dad.” She stood and crossed to him, spreading her arms for a hug.
“What’s going on, Sam? I get pulled off a mission with news that you were sick, then before I even manage to get to a gate, I get word that you’re dead.”
Sam backed up and turned away. “As you can see, I’m fine, Dad.”
His face softened and he nodded, pulling her into a hug. “I can see that. What is going on?”
She bit her lip and tried to figure out where to start. “We’re not completely sure.” She moved back to the bed and sat to finish tying her boots. “It seems that I was infected by something while we were on a planet…I don’t really remember what happened. By the time Daniel found me, I was very sick.”
“I got that much from the message I got from General Hammond.”
“Okay, well, I got worse.”
“Are you saying you died?”
She slapped both hands down on her thighs and stood. “Technically, yes.”
“So, Doctor Frasier managed to revive you? Why aren’t you in the infirmary?”
“Technically, no, Janet had nothing to do with reviving me. I’m not….” She rubbed a hand over her face and tried to figure out a way to say what she needed to say. “Technically, I wasn’t revived.”
“What are you saying?”
She closed her eyes, still not ready to say the word. Instead, she crossed to her father and took his hand, pressing his fingers against the absent pulse point in her neck. He cocked his head to the side and moved his fingers several times, trying to find her pulse.
“Yeah, I know.”
“No, I don’t think you do,” he said.
She walked to the corner and back again. “I’m fine, Dad.”
"You're not fine, Sam, you're dead."
"I realize that, but I feel fine."
"That makes no sense, Sam. Even Selmak says this makes no sense."
"I know! I didn't say it did. But, I'm...fine."
“This isn’t fine.”
There was a knock at the door and Daniel stepped in. “Everything okay?”
“No,” both Sam and Jacob answered together.
“Right. Okay. Um, General Hammond is…waiting.”
Sam shook her head. “I should…”
Daniel raised an eyebrow and glanced to his right to draw her attention to the fact that his right hand was behind him. She nodded to him and turned to his father. “Can you give me a minute? I need to…take care of something.”
Her father nodded and stepped out of the room. Daniel handed her two bags of blood. “You okay?”
“I wish you’d stop asking that.” Sam said. “Just give me a minute.”
“Yeah, okay. I’ll take Jacob up to the conference room.”
“Thanks.” She waited until the door was closed behind them before she lifted the first bag. The hunger burning in her stomach seemed to grow as she opened the plug on it. Sam closed her eyes and poured the blood into her mouth, swallowing quickly. When she had drained the second bag, the hunger seemed appeased, at least for the time being. She threw the bags into the trash and wiped her mouth on her sleeve before pulling open the door to go face her team, her father and General Hammond.
“Let me understand what you’re saying,” General Hammond said, squinting at Doctor Frasier. “Are you saying that Major Carter both is and isn’t currently dead?”
Janet liked her lips. “I am not entirely sure, sir.”
“But she was dead.”
“And as we can both see she’s sitting here at this table.”
“Yes, sir.” Janet sighed and looked at Sam. “My tests are...inconclusive, but the fact is, Major Carter is…”
“A vampire.” Sam said, wincing as she said. “Apparently.”
“A what now?” General Hammond asked.
Sam stood, pacing over to the window looking out at the gate. “It’s really the only…word for it, sir.”
“Need I remind you, Major, that vampires are a myth?” General Hammond asked.
Sam turned back, her hands out as she shrugged. “And yet, here I am.”
“Okay, let’s all take a step back.” Daniel said. “We know that a lot of things we think as only myth have a basis in reality. There’s no reason to believe that this isn’t the same.”
“Except we’re not talking about aliens taking our own myths and bringing them to life.” Jacob said. “We’re talking about vampires. Which is ridiculous.”
“I’m the first to agree.” Sam said. “It’s ridiculous. But ask Colonel O’Neill how real it is.” She looked at her commanding officer as his head shot up at the sound of his name. The bandage covering the side of his neck she had bitten was stark white against the tan of his skin.
His hand moved to cover the bandage and he looked uncomfortable. “I can only tell you what I saw, General. And the word vampire seems right.”
“Jacob, what does Selmak have to say?”
Sam watched her father’s eyes flash, and his facial expression change. “Even among the Goa’uld there are legends of such creatures, that pre-date the Goa’uld. They have always been considered to be made up tales to frighten their slaves into good behavior.” He turned to look at Sam. “To my knowledge, no one has ever seen one.”
“Great.” Sam turned away from them again to look down into the gate room. She didn’t want to admit that she’d secretly been hoping Selmak would have something buried in his genetic memory, something that could fix this. “What about the hand device?” she said abruptly, turning back around. “Dad?”
“I don’t know how that would affect you.” Selmak replied. “You are technically dead.”
“But it’s worth a try, right?” Sam said.
“Sam, I’m going to side with Selmak here.” Janet said, standing. “At least let us finish running some tests, see if we can figure out exactly what we’re dealing with.”
“If we wait too long, I could be stuck like this.” Sam said, wanting to walk away from them. She could feel tears welling in her eyes. Her father stood and came to her, taking her hand gently.
“I hate to say it, Sam, but the chances are good you are stuck like this.” He tugged her closer and pulled her into a hug. “But you’re still here with us, and that’s a good thing.”
She let him comfort her for a moment, but pulled back. “So, what do we do next?” Sam asked, brushing the unshed tears from her eyes.
“To be honest, I don’t really know.” Janet said. “I have a battery of tests I’d like to run for starters. Even if this is something we can’t cure we need to know as much as we can.”
“And I will compile as much lore as I can.” Daniel said. “Jacob, if you could ask Selmak to point me to any off world sources, I’d appreciate it.”
He nodded. “I’ll contact the council and ask them to assemble whatever they know about. I can’t promise anything, though. Selmak says not much survived after the Goa’uld came to power.”
“I have to ask,” General Hammond interjected, his eyes fixed on Sam. “Do we need to worry about Major Carter hurting anyone?” His hand gestured at Colonel O’Neill for emphasis.
Sam felt the accusation in her stomach, but had to admit, it was a fair question. “I don’t think so, sir.” Sam said. “Colonel O’Neill…I was…” She cleared her throat. “It won’t happen again.”
“I interrupted her, sir, while she was…feeding.” Colonel O’Neill said. “And if I know my vampires, the hunger after the change is always intense. It was instinct. If Major Carter deals with it on a regular schedule, it shouldn’t happen again.”
Sam, and everyone in the room, looked at him, surprised.
“What? I read.”
“Okay then, Major Carter, you are in Doctor Frasier’s hands until we can figure this out. Keep me informed. Dismissed.”
“Okay, after going through all the lore from all the cultures here on earth, and the various off world reference Jacob gave me, I’ve created a list of things for us to test.” Daniel said, gesturing at the array of items spread out on the table in the cavernous storeroom that had also served as housing for refugees from off world more than once.
Sam fidgeted uncomfortably, her eyes skipping over the assembled items. “I’m not sure how comfortable I am with this.” Her hands toyed with a piece of wood that was sharpened to a deadly looking point.
Daniel pulled it away. “Yeah, I wasn’t really planning to…I mean…I’m not gonna…”
Sam smiled at him. “It’s okay, Daniel. I didn’t expect you to shove it into my chest.”
He set the stake aside. “I thought we would start with the less…deadly myths.”
She rubbed her hands down her legs and stood up. “Okay, where do we start?”
Daniel nodded and moved to the end of the table where there was a collection of religious symbols. “Okay, how about we start with these. I’m reasonably sure that none of these will actually hurt you, but in the interest of being thorough…”
Daniel lifted a heavy wooden crucifix first and after looking at it, he held it up as if to ward her off. Sam chuckled and reached for it. She took it in her hand and put it back on the table. “Nothing.”
He smiled and scratched at the back of his head. “Yeah, well, if the original vampires predated the Goa’uld, then I wouldn’t expect something from thousands of years later to actually do anything. Maybe we go back further?” He held up an ankh, which she also took from him.
She shook her head and put it back on the table.
“Okay, let’s try something different.” He pointed to a silver dagger.
Sam lifted it, testing the weight of it. “What is it supposed to do?”
Daniel shrugged. “Myths differ. Some say vampires are…allergic to silver. It slows them down, affects their special powers.”
Sam frowned. “I don’t feel any different. Besides, we don’t know that I have any special powers.”
“Fair enough.” Daniel agreed. “So uh…maybe we should test…well, what you can do. Obviously, we know that you have fangs when you…you know…and you seem to have a reflection, so let’s see. Myths also claim vampires have super strength and speed.”
“I don’t feel like I’m stronger.”
Daniel pointed to the stake. “That’s a good, what inch? Inch and a half in diameter?”
Sam nodded. “Sure.”
“Not something you could just break in half?”
Sam shook her head. “Not with my bare hands, no. Give me some leverage and a good boot and I could.”
“Okay, so pick it up and try to break it, with your bare hands.”
Sam thought he was crazy, but she picked it up. It was hard wood. She wrapped both hands around the ends, but it felt foolish.
“This is silly.” She held it up and rolled her eyes, but pressed both ends down and toward each other. To her shock, the stake broke easily, sending shards of wood flying. “Whoa.”
“Okay, good. That’s a yes in the strength column.” Daniel looked around the room and darted over to a stack of metal rods. “What about this.”
Sam lifted an eyebrow at him, but walked over to the stack. They were steel, six-foot-long, a solid inch in diameter. She squared herself to the stack and put both hands out to lift one, anticipating the weight. Instead, the rod came easily. Easily enough she let go with one hand as she stepped back where she had more room.
She glanced at Daniel and shrugged. “What can I say…it’s…not heavy. She put one end of it on the floor and held it with one foot then casually bent the rod until the two ends were touching.
“Okay, a definite yes in the strength column.” Daniel said. “What about speed?”
Sam dropped the rod with a loud bang and looked at him. “No room in here, really.”
“True. We could go up to the track.”
Sam glanced at her watch. “It’s one o’clock in the afternoon.”
She shook her head. “Vampire, remember? Sunlight….ring a bell?”
Daniel rolled his eyes. “Right. I was still trying to figure out a way to test that without….”
“Killing me if it’s true?”
“Well, yes, that.”
“Okay, then what else?”
Daniel snapped his fingers and went to the table. “Okay, supposed, vampires can heal quickly. We can test that.” He was still looking for something when Sam lifted the silver dagger. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Test two theories in one?” Sam drew the blade over her arm and regretted it instantly. Pain seared the small cut and raced up her arm, dropping her to her knees. The dagger fell to the floor and rolled away as Daniel rushed to her side, covering the wound with his hand and easing her down.
“Holy Hannah.” Sam gasped as the pain began to ease. “I think we know that silver is bad.”
Daniel moved his hand so they could see the wound. It wasn’t healed, but it was no longer bleeding. “How do you feel?” Daniel asked as he helped her sit up again.
“Okay. Headache. Not something I want to try again.”
He chuckled and stood. “Maybe that’s enough for today.”
She nodded and held up a hand for him to help her up. “Yeah, good. I should probably go…eat.”
“How is that going, by the way?” Daniel asked as they walked toward the door.
“Better. We’re running some experiments in that department too.” It had been nearly a week since she’d woken up in her current condition, and while she still couldn’t wrap her head around it entirely, some things were getting easier. She had been working with Janet to make feeding herself easier and with less danger of losing control. She glanced down at her arm as they approached the elevator. “Wow.” The cut had closed completely, though it was still red.
“I’d like to see how that works with something other than silver.” Daniel said. “Maybe tomorrow?”
Sam nodded. “You know, I’m wondering if the sunlight thing has to do with radiation levels.” She bit her lip and considered everything she’d been reading in the last week. “I mean, when you think about it, that’s what sunlight is. Most of the lore assumes it’s the UV light. Maybe I’ll start there.”
“Makes sense.” Daniel agreed.
He walked with her to the door of the infirmary, but stopped outside it. “I should get back to that translation I was working on.”
Sam lifted a hand in greeting as she entered the infirmary. Janet smiled and waved her over. “I’ve been waiting for you. I have some good news.”
“Oh?” Sam followed her back to the room that she had taken to taking her meals in.
“I have the latest test results, and I think we’re on to something. I want you to try this.” Janet handed her a glass beaker filled with rich, red blood. It was warm and the smell made her salivate.
Sam lifted it and took a sip, then tilted her head back and poured the blood into her mouth, swallowing quickly. When she was done, she handed the beaker back. “So what’s this new discovery?”
Janet set the beaker on the counter. “It seems that your body needs very specific nutrients, and the hunger is driven by the level of those nutrients in the blood you drink. At least theoretically. I pooled blood from several donors, analyzed the make-up and then added what was missing or low. If I’m right, this should help you need less to satisfy your hunger.” She crossed her arms and looked at Sam. “How do you feel?”
“Good, actually.” Aside from the whole notion that she was technically dead, Sam had to admit that she hadn’t felt as good in years.
“That was about half the volume of what you’ve been consuming when you come in. How’s the hunger?”
Sam shrugged. “I’m good.”
“I’d like to test your blood again in about a half hour, see if my theories are correct.”
“Of course. I may need your help with something I want to test too.”
“Are you sure about this?” Janet asked for maybe the third time.
“No.” Sam responded. “But I have to try.”
It was early morning, the sun still working its way up over the mountain. After several days of experimenting in the lab, she was ready to try a field test. Daniel and Jack were already on the surface and Teal’c stood behind her, his arms full of a large cooling blanket in case everything went very wrong.
Sam approached the door, pausing. She would step out into the shade and slowly expose herself to the sun. Her bare arms were marked off at one inch intervals, demarking various formulations of sunblock that she and Janet had devised, in hopes that one of them would protect her.
The rest of her body was covered in dark material and her head was covered in a wide brim hat to keep her face out of the sun. She opened the door, squinting out at the bright spot where she assumed her team mates were waiting. Her eyes watered and she almost couldn’t go through with it.
“Okay, let’s do this.” She stepped out into the early morning air with more confidence than she actually felt. She couldn’t see much outside of the shade, and her eyes hurt from trying. Closing her eyes, Sam inched closer to the line where the shade ended.
“I got you.” Colonel O’Neill said softly and she could feel his hand under hers. She let him guide her the last few steps and stopped.
“Oh,” Sam could feel the sun on her skin. In some places, it burned and she wanted to shake her arms to get free of the feeling. The untreated spot was the worst, the others varied.
“Okay, I think that’s enough.”
She was walked backward, into the shade and the relief was nearly immediate. She opened her eyes, blinking past the tears. Once she could see, she examined her skin. The untreated area was red and blistered. It wasn’t a lot different than the result from artificially created UV she’d tried in the lab. Several of the formulas had worked though and her skin hadn’t even gotten pink.
That proved at least part of her working theory and it could mean she would be able to continue working, provided the blocking compound worked for more than a thirty second exposure and that she could narrow down the particular spectrum of ultra violet light she could handle.
Janet gave her an ice pack for the burn, though she expected it would be healed by the time they got back down to the SGC. She’d have to do something about her eyes, which admittedly had become super sensitive, even to artificial light since her change.
They were quiet as they headed back to the elevator, but for the first time since figuring out what she had become, Sam could actually see a way back to herself, if not completely her old self…something more than a monster.