Carter's lab, Level 19
SGC, Colorado Springs
February 13, 2004
Major Samantha Carter was quietly examining a piece of alien technology at her workbench, trying to focus on her work. It was a welcome task after the month she had had. First she had gotten marooned on Prometheus after she had asked Colonel Ronson for a small detour to investigate a nebula-like gaseous cloud and they had come under attack, with her losing consciousness and thereby missing the call to evacuate the ship. By the time she'd regained consciousness everyone was gone and she and the enemy ship were both stuck in the nebula. The concussion had really done a number on her as she'd been plagued by hallucinations of her father and teammates, and some strange little girl, until she came up with a solution and made a deal with the enemy; she got her crew back and safe passage in return for helping the enemy ship out of the cloud as well.
Two days later she had woken up in the SGC infirmary and heard that she had only been stranded for four days, while it had felt like weeks to her! After an overnight stay to monitor her condition she had been released but put on medical leave. Apparently her massive concussion, exhaustion and slight electrolyte imbalance were reason enough to send her home for two weeks! Knowing she wouldn't be allowed on base and get bored at home Sam had called her brother, Mark, and asked him if she could visit him and his family in San Diego. He had been delighted and while his wife had doted on her for the first few days after learning of her concussion, Sam had gotten annoyed.
That's when Mark had come up with the idea to set her up with one his friends, a cop. At first Sam had wanted to protest but then she'd recalled the decision she made aboard Prometheus to finally get a life and stop using her feelings for her commanding officer as a safe bet, to prevent herself from getting hurt. So, against her better judgment she had agreed to meet this Pete Shanahan and they had gone on a few dates while she was in San Diego. To her surprise she had enjoyed herself immensely as he had made her laugh and feel special and feminine again. Things had gone pretty fast and knowing she had to go back to Colorado Sam had tried to be spontaneous but ended up making a big mistake.
She shuddered, not wanting to be reminded of it and silently chiding herself for getting lost in her thoughts.
It didn't matter anymore, anyway, since she had told Pete he was going way too fast when he started talking about transferring to Colorado, maybe Denver, so they could be together – after knowing each other for less than two weeks! Thank God she hadn't given him specifics about her work or where she lived and she'd told Mark not to give his friend her home address or number either. Fortunately she hadn't heard from Pete since returning home and had quickly been distracted from everything when Jonas Quinn had visited from Kelowna, needing their help. Since she had been cleared for duty after a quick checkup that morning General Hammond had given her the green light and she had accompanied Jonas to his home planet. She had returned to the SGC that same day after a successful mission but because of the nuclear bomb they had set off she had once again been kept in the infirmary.
The CMO, Doctor Janet Fraiser, had wanted to take precautions just in case Sam had been exposed to radiation while in the Kelownan deep underground excavation vehicle, after their friend, Daniel Jackson, had died of radiation poisoning almost two years ago. Luckily, Daniel had simply ascended to a higher plane of existence at the time and eventually descended to join them once again. But Janet hadn't wanted to take any risks despite knowing the DUEV would have to be protected against radiation because it was designed to drill into the planet and would be exposed to heat from magma and radiation from the planet's core. Not to mention that Sam hadn't shown any symptoms of acute radiation syndrome.
The next day Jonas had contacted the SGC to tell them his people had gone over the interior of the DUEV with a fine toothcomb and there had been no signs of radiation, meaning there was nothing to worry about. Janet had just told Sam her blood work wasn't showing any signs of radiation poisoning when General Hammond had called down to the infirmary to share the Kelownan's message, so Sam had been free to go… after letting the good doctor take yet another blood sample.
In the past week Janet had insisted on a quick exam and blood sample every day, just in case of delayed effects and it was really driving Sam crazy. She knew her friend had the best intentions and was just looking out for her but she was finally beginning to understand her CO's hatred of big needles!
Speak of the devil… Sam looked up to see none other than Colonel Jack O'Neill standing in the door opening and gave him a small smile. "Hi, Sir."
"Whatcha doing?" He asked as he strolled into her lab, leaning against her bench and picking up her project.
She frowned at him while he was fiddling with it like it was a toy and had to resist the urge to snatch it from his hands. Right now they had no idea what the device did but she would prefer it if he didn't break it before she had a chance to find out. Or injure himself with it somehow. "I was working on the device you're playing with, Sir."
The Colonel quirked up an eyebrow and quickly placed the item on the bench's surface. "What does it do?"
"I don't know yet."
"Hm," he said noncommittally. "Well, I hate to tear you away from your latest doohickey, Carter, but we have a pre-mission exam to go to."
Oh! She had completely forgotten about their upcoming mission. It was a standard recon and they'd had the briefing late last night after all the MALP data had finally been analyzed and, like her teammates, Sam had been too tired to drag herself to the infirmary to undergo yet another exam to be cleared for the mission. A quick glance at the clock told her they only had a few hours to spare before they had to gear up and step through the Stargate to explore a new planet, meaning they had to hurry and get the exam done or they wouldn't be allowed to go off-world. "Right."
"Excited, I see," Colonel O'Neill said dryly.
"Oh, don't get me wrong, Sir, I'm looking forward to the mission… just not the exam."
He smirked at the face she pulled and looked pleased to know he wasn't the only one who dreaded this part of their job. "That little Napoleonic power monger finally driving you nuts with those big needles of her?"
Sam absentmindedly rubbed the inside of her left elbow, which probably resembled a pincushion by now after all the blood samples that had been taken in the past week, and then got up and straightened out her tools. "I guess. Janet examined me just yesterday, Sir."
"Hammond said Doc Fraiser had called to let him know SG-1 hadn't been checked out yet and that they were waiting for all four of us at the infirmary," he said. Suddenly his face turned serious and he looked at her intently. "You're all right, aren't you, Carter?"
"Of course, Sir. Otherwise I wouldn't be allowed to work. Janet is just overly concerned about possible exposure of radiation, even though all the evidence shows there is nothing to worry about." She gave him a small, reassuring smile, touched by his concern and after a last glance at her workbench she walked over to him. "We might as well get it over with."
The Colonel nodded solemnly and then his expression cleared, a twinkle appearing in his eyes. "I sent Daniel and Teal'c ahead so hopefully they got all the big needles!"
Sam grinned at his attempt to cheer her up as she followed him out to the corridor and locked up her lab. Hopefully it wouldn't take too long and she could finish her report about the alien device before they had to leave for their two-day mission so another scientist could take over.
Infirmary, Level 21
About half an hour ago Sam and the Colonel had arrived at the infirmary, where Daniel and Teal'c were already being examined on their respective beds behind a curtain. As usual Teal'c had remained silent other than uttering a greeting when they had announced their arrival while Daniel had started chattering away, excited as always at the prospect of exploring a new planet. But the conversation – albeit slightly one-sided – had stopped when the nurses came to lead her and Colonel O'Neill away to their own beds for their pre-mission examination.
After several incidents during the first year of the Program it had been decided every mission would be preceded by a quick exam and SG teams would only be allowed off-world if they were cleared by one of the doctors. Blood samples were also taken but simply stored rather than analyzed because of the number of personnel and the expenses of testing it in the lab. After an SG team had completed their mission they had to undergo a more thorough post-mission examination and the blood samples taken then would be analyzed and if something was off, they would use the pre-mission samples as a base line. Of course there were exceptions to the standard operating procedure, like long-term missions or suspicious symptoms.
Either way, Sam had hoped to forego the pre-mission exam today considering all her visits to the infirmary this past week but it seemed Janet was intent on keeping an eye on her. It was a bit silly though, considering the mission would be simple recon and there hadn't been any signs of radiation sickness so far. However, as the base CMO her friend's medical orders and opinion overruled even General Hammond, so Sam had reluctantly changed into one of the less than flattering infirmary gowns behind her privacy curtains waiting for the medical staff.
To her surprise it had been Janet, once again asking her if there was anything she needed to know and if Sam had experienced anything out of the ordinary. The physical exam itself had been more thorough than in the previous days, including abdominal palpation. It looked like Janet was still concerned about gastrointestinal symptoms, even though those would usually show within hours of exposure to radiation if Sam remembered correctly. Janet had kept an eye on her face while doing the exam and Sam had been forced to admit the palpations had felt uncomfortable but not painful, like one would expect. It hadn't seemed to reassure the doctor, though.
Then she had mumbled something about getting Sam's file plus the results from yesterday's blood sample from her office and had left, without even taking another blood sample! Now Sam was starting to feel uncomfortable about the whole situation and it didn't help that her teammates were already talking among themselves. Clearly their exams were done and since they were talking about the upcoming mission it sounded like they had all been cleared, as expected. She didn't like to be the one holding everything up, but it wasn't her fault Janet was being so overly cautious.
Sam was about to ask one of the nurses if she had to stay here when she heard Janet's voice coming from the corridor, followed by the familiar clicking of heels. Finally! Letting out a deep sigh, Sam tried to relax and straightened her gown before sitting up, determined to not take her frustrations out on the good doctor. "Hey Janet," she greeted her, when her friend slipped through the curtains with a chart in her hand. "So, what's up? For a moment I thought you'd forgotten about me."
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you wait but I was going over your test results," she replied, her eyes still on the chart. Then she looked up, her face unreadable. "Sam, you're pregnant."
Her head snapped up and she scowled at the petite doctor. "That's not funny, Janet."
But rather than wink and laugh Janet shook her head. "I'm not joking."
"That's not possible," she frowned. "Someone in the lab must have screwed up the test then."
"We ran them several times and they're all positive."
"So they mixed up the samples," Sam countered defensively. "Clearly someone on your staff mistook someone else's samples for mine or the patient codes were switched around." She was referring to the coding system that ensured the patient's privacy to the people in the labs, who were running the tests and thus would not be able to influence anyone's results on purpose; only the doctors on Janet's staff had access to the system and matched the results up with the right patient using the codes.
Janet continued shaking her head and took a step closer, eyeing the bed as if contemplating whether to sit down or not. She remained standing but looked at her. "I labeled them myself and took them to the lab personally. Heck, I even went against protocol and ran some of your blood work this past week just to be sure."
"It doesn't make any sense, I'm not pregnant."
"Are you still adamant there's nothing I need to know?" She inquired with an intense gaze.
Sam huffed angrily. "I'm not lying, Janet! Maybe it's a false positive."
The doctor rolled her eyes and sat down on the bed. "I know you know that's not true. Maybe there would have been a slim chance of that with a home pregnancy test but not when testing for hCG in your blood."
"Well, maybe there's another reason; aren't there certain tumors that secrete hCG?"
Janet looked at her like she was nuts for preferring a diagnosis of cancer over pregnancy but after taking a deep breath she replied. "Yes, there are, but I eliminated all other possibilities. Believe it or not, but you're pregnant."
"That's just ridiculous!" Sam refused to believe it, knowing there was no way she could be pregnant. "I feel fine."
"You were feeling sick and queasy a little while ago," she reminded her.
Glaring at her, Sam threw up her hands. "I had a massive concussion! You said that was normal, especially because of the accumulative traumatic brain injuries I've had over the years."
"A few days ago you also mentioned your jeans were getting tighter," Janet continued in a softer tone.
"Because my sister-in-law stuffed me full of food during my medical leave and I wasn't allowed to exercise yet."
Her friend looked at her pensively. "You seem to have been craving certain foods lately as well, like those new donuts from the commissary even though you normally don't eat donuts."
Sam snorted and crossed her arms in front of her chest to prevent herself from shaking some sense into her. "Those donuts were different and tasted much better than the old ones. Plus I haven't been chased to the 'gate by Jaffa for a while."
"This is going nowhere."
"That's because I'm not pregnant," she hissed.
Janet sighed and leveled her with an intense stare. "Are you saying you haven't had sex with anyone recently?"
Embarrassed, Sam looked away with burning cheeks. She hadn't told anyone, not even Janet despite her being the closest thing to a best friend she had. "No, but-"
"Why didn't you say something?" She questioned with wide eyes, even though she had to have known or at least suspected considering the test results she was claiming were correct.
"It was a mistake and only happened once… I'd rather not talk about it."
Janet jumped up and flashes of hurt, anger and disappointment were briefly visible on her face before she composed herself again. "As your doctor I need to know these things. You know that! I kept asking you if there was anything I needed to know and you denied it. Not to mention that you should know better than having unprotected one night stands!"
"It wasn't like that," Sam countered angrily, "and we used a condom. Besides, that only happened last week!"
"Plus all the other times you had sex these past few weeks and didn't tell me, right?" She said dryly, tapping her foot.
"No! Just that once, I swear. Don't get mad, I would have told you event-"
Janet shook her head and interrupted her, clearly back into doctor's mode. "As your doctor you should have informed you were engaging in sexual activity, Major Carter. You know that's SOP! I need to know in case something happens off-world and I find evidence of sexual activity during a post-mission exam, especially if you have lost consciousness or time during your mission. I would also have to check for STDs or pregnancy-"
"Yes, because you're so good at that," Sam said sarcastically. "I'm telling you, before Pete I haven't… you know, in a long time. I mean, if I had gotten pregnant then I'd be enrolling the kid in school already. Clearly your test is wrong and if it came back positive multiple times then maybe there's a contamination problem in the lab that you should be focusing on right now."
"We can detect hCG just seven days after conception," she continued, ignoring the remark about contamination. "But I'm pretty sure you're already a couple of weeks along."
Sam rolled her eyes again and reached for her pants to get dressed. She'd had enough of this! "I told you; that is impossible."
"The abdominal palpation-"
"For my radiation sickness?"
"You don't have acute radiation syndrome," Janet replied. "Your blood work showed you are perfectly fine and even Jonas said there were no traces of harmful radiation."
Nearly falling over in surprise as she pulled on her pants, Sam glared at her. "That's what I've been telling you for days and yet you insisted-"
"Initially I ordered an extensive blood work up after you came back from Kelowna and told me about the nuclear bomb but the results made it pretty clear you weren't exposed to radiation. However, they did show changes in your hormonal balance and the presence of hCG in your blood. I didn't want to alarm you before I knew what it meant so I ran quantitative blood tests over the past week and the new results I just received prove you are indeed pregnant."
Suddenly the privacy curtain was moved and Daniel stuck his head in, his eyes wide behind his glasses. "You're pregnant?! Oh wow, I had no idea. Um, I guess, er… congratulations are in order then?"
Sam froze, shocked, and sent a pleading look to Janet. The good Doctor immediately pushed their friend back, all the while reminding him these examinations were confidential and private and that he had no right eavesdropping, let alone barging in… but Sam stopped listening when she felt someone's gaze boring into her and after swallowing hard, she looked up and into the brown eyes of Jack O'Neill.
Oh great, he must have overheard Daniel and now he would think she was in a relationship she had kept secret from him. Never mind that a month ago she had decided to move on with her life rather than pining away for the unattainable – her delicious CO – and had finally managed to convince herself that he was merely a safe bet.
If Janet was right, though and she really was pregnant then Sam would have tried to come up with a better, gentler way to tell him the news after getting to the bottom of this matter. "Sir-"
"Pregnant, eh?" His face was completely closed off and not even his eyes gave anything away. "Good for you, Major."
"You gentlemen will keep this information to yourself and leave the infirmary right now. I have to continue my examination of Major Carter and you have all been cleared for 'gate travel already," Janet stated with a shooing motion of her hands.
Daniel shifted from one foot to another with a sheepish look on his face, but nodded in understanding. "Sure, I'll talk to you later, Sam."
"Of course, Doc," the Colonel said. "I'll let Hammond know Carter will have to sit this mission out."
"I shall not betray Major Carter's confidence," Teal'c said with a regal nod, a small smile tugging at his lips.
Before Sam could even respond the trio was gone and it was just her and Janet in this area of the infirmary. "Major, why don't you go to isolation room two while I make a call to our obstetric consultant from the Academy Hospital. Then when I get back we can continue our exam and conversation in a more private setting than the infirmary."