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L is for Lost

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Sam sighed as the glass she had been hand grinding cracked. She needed better lenses for a microscope and this was the last, and most difficult, of the lenses she needed.

"Dammit!" she said, frustrated and tired.

She looked around and saw that it was getting later in the afternoon. With the shorter winter days, she didn't get as much done in the lab as she would like. There was power rationing everywhere, and the incandescent lighting was poor on a good day.

Closing down her workstation, Sam looked around for anything else that needed cleaning up. The Pabrian people desperately wanted what she could do for them, but they begrudged every resource she requested -- from a lab assistant, to raw material, to equipment.

Pabria was at the Earth equivalent of about 1900. There was basic electricity, simple electronics, and -- relatively -- crude scientific equipment. Microscopes existed, but the best microscope available was about 50X. Anything more than that, she needed to build herself.

Hence, grinding her own lenses.

An embedded gender bias added to her difficulties. There were three genders on Pabria -- males, females and bearers. Children were born without a gender, and raised in state run creches. But only a small number of children presented as female, and an even smaller number as bearers. But a trio of three was required to create new babies.

As a result, Pabrian society was almost one hundred percent male. Females were cherished and kept at home. Bearers were essentially government property and only seen when needed to procreate.

Sam had tried to talk about DNA and the problems of inbreeding, but that wasn't a welcome topic and she had to give it up as a bad deal. She couldn't afford to lose the little support she had.

Because the Pabrians really didn't know what to do with her, they gave her a laboratory space and... left her alone.

Back in her room for the night, Sam blew out the oil lamp that lit her room and climbed into bed, wondering why she even tried.

They -- herself, Jack, Daniel and Teal'c -- had come through the Mirror, more than a year ago now, and Daniel had actually found the information they needed to defeat the Ori. There was a 'Merlin' in this reality that had helped Daniel build what they needed, and explained in detail how to use that against the Ori.

Device in hand, they were at the Mirror, Daniel paging through realities to get them back home, when disaster struck.

The Pabrians had been mild-mannered and seemed to have no attachment to the device that now rested on the dresser in Sam's room. Yet, a young man had strolled through the crowd, raised a gun, and started shooting.

Sam had to admit that what happened was as much her fault as anyone's. Not encountering resistance to their mission and, about to bring hope to their own world, SG-1 had become lax. Only Teal'c had been standing guard, but he was only one man, watching the wrong direction.

Before anyone could do anything, the young man had shot Daniel and Jack, ignoring Sam in his gender-blindness. Acting on reflex, Sam drew her own weapon and shot the man dead. But, by then, the damage was done.

Daniel and Jack died before Sam even drew her weapon. Head shots took them both out, snuffing out their lives in an instant. Their bodies lay motionless in front of the Mirror that was to take them home.

The Mirror that had shattered in that shooting rampage.

Sam could only watch in horror as the 'glass' in the frame turned to mirrored shards that tumbled almost silently to the ground. An empty frame that reflected nothing stood there in the moments that followed.

Murmured apologies had carried a stunned Sam and Teal'c -- who would not be moved from Sam's side -- away from the Mirror, back to the home they had stayed in the previous night.

The next day, Sam and Teal'c returned to the Mirror, gathering whatever they could find and demanded a laboratory to be able to work on restoring the Mirror.

Teal'c helped as he could, but Sam had to soon turn her energy to attempting to synthesize Tretonin. Having neither larval goa'uld nor the sophisticated equipment needed to perform the needed DNA sequencing, Sam was forced to watch her remaining team mate die in front of her eyes.

"Do not give up, Samantha Carter," Teal'c told her as she held his hand that last time. "I believe that you can do it."

Tonight, Sam was tired and depressed, so she simply went to bed.

Tomorrow as another day.