For years there had been a curious phenomenon in the academic community, the top minds in their respective fields would suddenly go dark, stop publishing, stop appearing at events, for all intents and purposes the top minds in every academic and scientific field with a very few small exceptions just suddenly went Howard Hughes. Naturally enough dozens of theories were passed around, it was a fun thing to speculate on at parties, and the theories ranged all the way from, mass burn out, to government conspiracy, to alien abductions.
Personally I had always believed the version that blamed the government, recruiting, willing or not, top minds for some kind of extensive multi-discipline research, but since they didn’t seem to have much use for linguists, and I didn’t have much use for parties, it wasn’t something I thought about often. My colleagues thought I was odd and reclusive, which was something I encouraged, I had no desire to be social, and the translating work I took on a freelance basis more than funded my simple lifestyle, and allowed me enough free time to research and study. It was close enough to happiness for me.
Or at least it was until the day I came home and there was a representative of the United States Air Force sitting on my front porch.
I stated emphatically before the man could even begin speaking.
He stood at the sound of my voice,
“I haven’t said anything yet.”
“You can go ahead and leave without bothering, the answer is no. No I will not be a part of whatever you have come here to recruit me for.”
We stood and tried to stare each other down, until eventually he relented,
“Have a nice day ma’am.”
He nodded politely before he took off walking down my driveway, as I watched him stroll off I realized I hadn’t seen another vehicle on my way into the property, and since I lived remotely there wasn’t anywhere within walking distance, particularly not for someone in dress blues. I stood there for a moment looking at the end of my driveway, before shaking my head and bringing my groceries in the house. If he wanted to take a long walk, that was his business.
Half an hour later I had finished unloading and was sitting down at my desk with a cup of coffee, calmer now that the scent of coffee filled the room, and I had an actually interesting translation to do, one that I would even be getting paid for. This contentment lasted all of ninety seconds before there was a knock at my door and the irritation was back.
I stalked to the door and yanked it open not really surprised to see a different, older member of the Air Force standing there,
“I already told the other one no, that answer stands.”
He removed his sunglasses and looked at me,
“Ma’am please your planet needs you.”
I rolled my eyes,
“Well I’ve always known the United States military was arrogant, but this is on a whole other level, to think that the decisions of the government are in the best interests of the American people rather than the people who run the government is arrogance, to believe those decisions are in the best interests of the entire planet is hubris.”
He sighed heavily,
“Oh you’re going to be fun.”
I went instantly from irritated to furious,
“How ‘fun’ I am is really none of your concern. Now, please leave my property.”
He reached one hand to his ear,
“Okay Daedalus we’re ready.”
Before I could scoff and slam the door he placed a hand on my arm, and there was a blinding white light.
When I blinked away the dancing spots and could see clearly again I was standing in a metal room, surrounded by people in flight suits,
“General O’Neill, I see you had better luck than I did.”
He sighed again,
“Well about that…”
I didn’t know where I was, I didn’t know who these people were, and I didn’t know what they wanted with me, but I was fed up. I pulled the pocket knife from my bra strap where I always wore it when I left the house, and today luck was with me as I hadn’t gotten around to unhooking it yet, and yanked the nearest person in flight suit to me resting the point of my blade against the soft flesh just under his rib cage.
“Put. Me. Back.”
The General sighed again, and someone spoke from behind him,
“Jack did you kidnap someone again?”
The brunette stepped around the crowd to study what little of me he could see from behind the officer I was currently threatening.
“It would appear so Daniel Jackson.”
Suddenly the largest man I had ever seen stepped into view,
“Doctor Wulf please release the nice airman.”
This was said by the brunette who was apparently Daniel Jackson, a name I was sure I should know, not that I had time to focus on that now, but I kept my eyes on the General,
“Put. Me. Back.”
The brunette stepped in front of him
“Hi, I’m Doctor Daniel Jackson, sorry about the confusion…”
He trailed off when I started laughing hysterically, I had finally realized where I had heard that name before
“You’re telling me I was teleported from my house by an Air Force General who is working with the crazy Archeologist who believes aliens built the pyramids? This is the worst hallucination ever.”
Dr. Jackson sighed heavily,
“Yeah, sorry it's not a hallucination. You’re aboard the spaceship Daedalus, and we need your help.”
I pressed the knife a little harder, while subtly angling the tip, I didn’t actually want to hurt this man I just wanted to go home. Suddenly two large hands closed around my forearm, and twisted my arm away from the airman. I dropped the knife quickly, but the hands didn’t let go fast enough and a wet popping sound filled the room.
I looked at my dangling arm,
“Great this day just gets better and better.”
The large man was staring at my arm like it had irritated him, while Daniel Jackson buried his face in his hands,
“You dislocated her arm Teal’c.”
“I am aware Daniel Jackson, I do not understand how as that was not my intention.”
Daniel gestured to me,
“She’s half your size Teal’c!”
“Indeed, Which I took into account. I merely intended to disarm, not to hurt her.”
I was poking at my elbow as they talked, having decided that it really was out of place I turned and placed my hand on the wall behind me, before pushing my elbow back into place in a quick movement, the conversation between Teal’c and Daniel broke off as the sound of the joint popping back into place caught their attention.
“Uh, Dr. Wulf, what did you just do?”
I bent my arm back and forth silently in answer to his question.
“We do have a medical officer.”
“You were distracted, and I have a doctor, who I will go and see just as soon as you put me back.”
Teal’c stepped towards me and I tensed, but he simply gestured with a hand,
“The infirmary is this way Doctor Wulf.”
I walked in the direction he indicated grumbling under my breath.
We walked silently through identical corridors until the initial burst of adrenaline wore off leaving me shaky, with my racing heart in my throat. Without assistance I couldn’t walk any further, so I leaned against a wall, and slid slowly down until I was sitting, braced against the curving bulkhead,
“Alright Teal or whatever I need to sit for a few minutes.”
He paused and turned to me,
“It is Teal’c.”
I waved my hand at him,
“Why have you stopped Doctor Wulf?”
I looked up at him from my spot on the floor,
“Before I was kidnapped was any research done on me.”
He inclined his head,
“Yes you were studied extensively.”
“Not extensively enough.”
I leaned my head back against the wall, and dropped my injured arm to rest across crossed legs,
“What did we miss in our research Doctor Wulf?”
“I am a genetic mistake.”
He raised an eyebrow at me which I took as a indication to continue,
“I have a number of genetic conditions, pulmonary, cardiac, neurological, and so on.”
He inclined his head then raised a hand to touch his ear.
“Doctor Wulf requires immediate medical attention, we are in corridor F-12 near the elevator.”
He looked back down at me,
“Will you be alright until medical help arrives?”
“Yeah, as long as I stay awake I’ll be peachy.”
I heard Teal’c’s voice again,
“Please come quickly”
I felt a hand on my shoulder shaking me lightly, the pain that came from the contact was sharp and clear, and brought my attention back from the drifting sensation I had been riding before,
“That hurts you know.”
I spoke through gritted teeth, and attempted a stern look, but I had a strong idea I was failing,
“My apologies Doctor Wulf, but it is necessary to keep you awake.”
“Okay, how long until that help you promised is here?”
He smiled slightly,
“So why did the illustrious general and the crazy doctor kidnap me?”
The smile grew slightly,
“It was General O’Neill who took you against your will, he is most impatient. Daniel Jackson would have been much more diplomatic, and I assure you is quite sane.”
I shifted slightly and gasped,
“That would be more comforting if our first impression was better.”
I ground out to to stop the question I could see forming on Teal’c’s face,
I rolled my eyes,
“Do you always dislocate people’s joints to say ‘hello’?”
I turned to look at him crouched beside me, but was saved for the need for a witty retort by the arrival of a medical team lugging a stretcher,
“Well that’s possibly overkill.”
I mused taking in the stretcher and the strapping young marines who came with it,
“Perhaps but I’d rather not need it than not have it. I’m Dr. Beckett and we’ll get you taken care of, while I take your vitals what can you tell me about your medical history?”
The doctor rattled off efficiently while strapping a blood pressure cuff to my arm. I used my free arm to pat my pockets relieved when it turned out my palm pilot had been kidnapped with me, so I pulled it out and opened the memo pad, on the screen were a series of miniaturized notes each one contained a different category of relevant information, and handed it to the Doctor.
“Wow, you’re prepared, you should get along with Dr. Mckay just fine.”
Despite the light tone of his voice his face was serious as he studied the information.
“Right well your heart rate is too high for my liking, and your blood pressure is a wee bit low so we’ll let the nice Marines help you to the infirmary, and then we’ll see what we can do.”
I nodded vaguely, and took the offered hand to help steady me as I clambered onto the stretcher. The hands steadied my shoulders until I was laid down and centered, and only after they moved away did I realize they belonged to Teal’c,
“Well aren’t you a contradiction.”
He simply raised an eyebrow at me before turning neatly on his heel and striding away.
“Aye, but we’ll gossip later.”
“Holding you to that.”
I muttered as he secured the straps across my legs and stomach.Once the straps were tightened the stretcher went up and started moving double time and I focused on my breathing in order to not throw up.
A couple of nauseating minutes later the stretcher was set gently on a bed in the infirmary, and I muttered what I hoped was a thank you to the marines who had hauled it.
“Okay Dear, we’ll I’m going to hang some fluids and see what of your medications I can replicate with what I have on hand, and we’ll go from there.”
I nodded and extended my arm pointing to a spot on the inside of my elbow,
“Good vein is there.”
“Thank you Dear.”
The rest was a blur of familiar sensations, the needle in my arm, the taste of the saline on the back on the back of my throat, the drifting feeling of the anti-anxiety medication, and when sleep came for me, I let it.
When I woke up what I assumed to be several hours later the doctor was checking the machines near my bed,
He smiled down at me,
“Hello Dear, your vitals have come much closer to normal range, and if you feel a bit better after you’ve eaten, then you can go to the bridge and speak with the General.”
I rolled my eyes,
“I do so enjoy conversations with monosyllabic kidnappers.”
The Doctor chuckled lightly,
“Aye, but be that as it may I’m still to send you to the bridge.”
I nodded and pushed myself up into a sitting position,
“Well at least you said food first.”
“Aye, I’ll send for it now.”
“Thank you Doctor.”
After he left I slowly stretched my limbs wincing a bit at the cracks from joints when they moved, by the time my food arrived I was able to curl stiff fingers around cutlery and manage the simple lunch on the tray in front of me, about ten minutes later I was using the table to help me balance as I tried to stand on shaky legs, but when he saw me trying to stand the Doctor came hurrying over,
“Oh I didn’t mean for you to walk to the bridge!”
I looked at him curiously,
“Exactly how accurate is that teleporting thing?”
He chuckled, and it was a bright happy laugh that made me smile in spite of the rest of it all,
“I’m afraid not that accurate, but we do have very boring and low-tech wheelchairs.”
I shook my head emphatically,
“One does not negotiate from a position of strength when one is in a wheelchair. I need them to know I’m serious.”
“Didn’t you pull a knife on an airman?”
I nodded feeling defiant,
“Then I wouldn’t worry Dear I’m sure they know you’re serious.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle at that a little,
“It didn’t exactly work out for me, Teal’c disarmed me and dislocated my elbow, then the crazy archaeologist lectured him, and the general looked like he was reconsidering several of his life choices.”
Dr. Beckett started to laugh, then stopped and turned back to me,
“No one mentioned a dislocated elbow to me, which one was it?”
I held the arm out for his inspection,
“It’s not a big deal.”
He shot me a bit of an incredulous look,
“Well I’ll just take a look anyway shall I?”
I shrugged half-heartedly and let him poke around at my, bending it, and checking it for swelling,
“It doesn’t look too bad, you put it back well, but take it easy anyway.”
“Sure thing Doc.”
He turned and spoke to a nurse for a second,
“Well then into the chair and I’ll take you to the bridge.”
I grumbled under my breath about not being helpless, but let the doctor steer me into the chair anyway.
On the way to the bridge the Doctor answered some of my more general questions about the Daedalus, and the people I had encountered so far, and he conceded that kidnapping unsuspecting linguists was a bit of an aggressive hiring tactic, which made me feel better.
Soon we were opening one of the identical metal doors and I found myself in normal looking conference room with the General, Daniel Jackson, Teal’c and several more people I didn’t recognize.
“Feeling better Dr. Wulf?”
The general asked politely, and I nodded,
“Yes I am recovering from being kidnapped quite well.”
Dr. Jackson grinned at the table at my tone,
“Would anyone like to tell me why I was kidnapped?”
“We require the services of a linguist.”
Teal’c responded cutting General O’Neill off before he could say whatever was about to come out of his mouth.
“On a spaceship? What could a spaceship need that requires a linguist and not an engineer?”
“Well it's where the ship is going that requires the linguist.”
I sighed heavily,
“This spaceship is turning around and taking me home.”
The General scrubbed his hands over his face,
“Don’t you have a sense of duty?”
I went from calm but emphatic, to furious at that one statement.
“Duty? Duty to what? Duty to a government that refused to even slap a corporation on the wrist after their negligence made me a widow? To a government that sent my father into a war zone a year into a forty day war? Or the government that seems to choose what zones of the world deserve freedom based on where has the largest oil deposits? What exactly am I supposed to have a sense of duty to?”
The General rose to his feet and opened his mouth I’m sure to yell at me, but Daniel Jackson put his hand on the general’s arm and broke in,
“What Jack is trying to say is that a lot of people will die without this translation, innocent people from a farming civilization, people who had nothing to do with any of your issues with the American government.”
I sighed heavily, and my anger warred with my convictions for a moment but I knew they had me, I groaned in frustration before speaking,
“FIne I have three conditions.”
The general snarked, before gesturing for me to continue,
“First and foremost the government will open an investigation into my husbands death, a real one, not a corporate pay off one. Second, I will do one translating job, then I will be returned home, and compensated for my time. Finally, if we are still in orbit around Earth I need to go home and pack a suitcase, there are things I need, medicines and such.”
I folded my hands in my lap and stared the general down. He met my gaze evenly for a moment, before nodding curtly.
“One condition you surrender your knife and any other weapons you have on your person.”
“I can give you a half hour to pack your things, it's a three week trip, so take that into account.”
“Well then general you have yourself a linguist.”