Title: Unusual Choices
Characters: Sam, Jack, Daniel, Teal'c, others
Summary: The original members of SG-1 flee from the Milli, who have killed and conquered almost everyone in the Galaxy.
Warnings: Character deaths, violence (minor)
Prompt: 182. SG-1, any. Eventually, even Sam admitted using the time machine could not make things worse.
Notes: Starts out several years post season 10. Written for Apocalypse Kree! 2014. Oneshot.
"Come on! There's no time to waste! We've gotta get out before they reach the gateroom!" Jack shouts.
Teal'c is beside him, stoic as always. He has more grey in his hair now, but aside from that he looks little different. He looks with concern at Jack, who supports himself on a cane, his knees so bad now he has trouble walking.
They are standing in the doorway to the control room, at Stargate Command. Most of the personnel is gone. Dead. Killed directly or indirectly by the latest alien threat.
Inside, Sam and Daniel are working desperately, trying to figure out how to activate a Furling device.
"Just a moment, sir!" Sam answers, not looking up from her work. "Daniel?"
"Uh, Sam? What I said before? About the shield frequency? I don't think it talks about a shield at all..."
"What, then?" Sam asks, frustrated. "It makes sense!"
Jack smiles to himself, for a moment enjoying to watch his former team mates discuss a problem. Like they have done so many times before. He allows himself the fantasy that it is not the fate of the Galaxy at stake this time, but he knows it is.
"Can you get it to work? It has to be now!" He tells them, looking worriedly up the corridor at the bulkhead they sealed earlier. It holds, but it doesn't sound like it will for long.
"Almost..." Sam mumbles.
"Now, Carter!" Jack orders. His radio crackles and he answer it. "O'Neill here."
"This is Mitchell." The man at the other end coughs. "I'm surrounded. Vala... Vala's dead. I'm the only one left."
"Can you get here?"
"No, I'm surrounded. They're coming through the door. It was a pleasure serving with you, sir. I'm gonna take some of the bastards with me!"
"Mitchell!" Jack shouts, but all he hears from the other end is the sound of a grenade that explodes. He shuts off the radio. "Come on. Carter, Daniel!"
"Cam?" Sam asks.
"Dead. Can you or can't you activate that thing?"
"O'Neill. The bulk head is buckling." Teal'c warns. They are coming through."
"I can." Sam says, flipping a switch. The machine hums and crackles. She hits the button on the computer and the Stargate starts dialling. "Let's go!"
She and Daniel quickly gets up, and follows Jack and Teal'c. Teal'c supports Jack, and they get to the gateroom. Behind them they hear the bulkhead give and then the eerie shrill screams that is the communication of the aliens.
Teal'c looks out in the corridor. "The shield is holding." He looks, unnerved at the creatures at the end of the corridor, using their many limbs to try and press through the force shield.
"When will it blow?" Jack asks.
"Less than a minute." Sam promises.
"So they shouldn't have time to suck up the energy of the shield. That's good." Jack sighs.
Moments later, the Stargate finishes dialling, and the wormhole activates. They all hurry through, just as they hear the explosion.
The wormhole shuts down behind them, and Sam feverishly dials another. "We can't be sure they didn't see the address."
"But they're all dead, aren't they? The ones at the base, I mean. That explosion should have taken out the whole floor!" Jack insists.
"Yes, but we can't know it killed all of them, and even if it did, they may have had time to send a telepathic message with the coordinates. There are so many of them now!" Sam says, as she hits the center button of the DHD.
They step through, and out on another planet, which fortunately seems deserted. "No one here. Yet." Jack breathes deeply.
"It won't be long, though." Sam observes.
"I know." Jack admits, a misearable look on his face. He takes another deep breath. "We succeeded against the Goa'uld, the replicators, and the Ori. We'll kick the Milli's asses too."
"The more there are of them, the stronger they get. There's a LOT of them now. All over the Galaxy." Daniel says, unhappily.
"The Ori got stronger when more people worshipped them - we still won." Jack reminds them.
"True," Sam admits. "However, we don't have any weapon that will kill the Milli without destroying all other life too - and right now we need something that works all across the Galaxy."
"Yeah." Jack sits down heavily on a rock, massaging first one, then the other of his knees. "Too bad we didn't stop them immediately, before they became too many to touch."
"The Jaffa must take some responsibility for that." Teal'c admits. "When the Milli arrived, my people thought they were gods, sent to help them."
"Many humans thought the same. It's not easy when your enemy can shapeshift!" Daniel says.
Sam shakes her head. "If we'd still had the alliance with the Tok'ra it might have helped. Hosts can see through the disguise, for some reason. The Tok'ra might have warned us earlier, or been able to help us make a weapon if we had had regular contact with them. Of course, there were too few Tok'ra left now to make much of a difference."
Daniel and Jack look at each other, then at Sam.
"Maybe it's time to use that time travel device we discovered last year - you know, the one you insisted on burying the entrance to!" Daniel suggests gently.
Sam hesitates, then shakes her head. "No, I don't think we dare do that yet. There are still other options. The remaining Free Jaffa - and some of the more advanced human cultures that we've met over the years. The beta site was still good last we heard from them."
Jack nods, sighing. "I knew you'd say that, and truth be told, the thought of deliberately messing with the time line - when we've got no clue what will even help - is not a pleasant one."
"Bra'tac, Rya'c, and Ishta leads a fairly large group of Free Jaffa." Teal'c says.
"Bra'tac told us to leave them alone last we talked to him." Daniel points out. "After what happened, I don't blame them."
"It wasn't our fault. It was a left-over cell of the Trust that had infiltrated the IOA, and ordered the attack." Jack reminds them.
"Right, but most of the Jaffa won't believe that." Sam says.
"I believe it is worth the risk of contacting them now. Bra'tac will convince them of your innocence." Teal'c says.
"We should also check on the status of the beta site." Sam reminds them. "After the alpha site fell, they went into stealth mode."
"We'll check on the Jaffa first, then the beta site." Jack decides.
"I'm sorry, Teal'c." Jack pats the Jaffa on the shoulder. "I wish there was something we could have done."
"I should have been there with them." Teal'c insists, staring desolately at the glowing embers, the only remnants of the funeral pyre where they had burned the dead bodies of Rya'c, Ishta, and Bra'tac.
"It wouldn't have made a difference." Jack looks out over the depressing sight of place where the Free Jaffa had their last stand. Now no one is left alive, and all that is left are burned down houses, holes in the ground from explosions, destroyed trees - and funeral fires.
"It would. I would have died with them," Teal'c points out.
Jack spots Sam and Daniel approaching, after they have been doing the rounds to see if anyone is alive. "What did you find?"
Sam shakes her head. "No one is left alive - anywhere."
Sam, Jack, Daniel, and Teal'c stepped through the wormhole and out on the beta site - to a dismal sight. Buildings are burning, bodies are everywhere - but just like with the Free Jaffa, no one seems to be alive.
"Crap!" Jack moans, then hisses in pain as he puts weight on his worst knee. Teal'c gives him a supporting arm without asking.
"Doesn't look like anyone is alive," Daniel remarks.
"Check it out - carefully!" Jack orders.
They have not been at it for more than a few minutes, before there is a droning sound. "Incoming!" Sam yells.
Jack and Teal'c looks up to see a swarm of the Milli 'death-flies'. Each and every one of them has a small explosive charge - just barely enough to take out a person. They rarely used the explosives against people, though, since they also had a laserbeam which could be used to cut with. One of the death-flies would not be able to do enough damage that way, but a swarm easily could.
"Let's get out of here!" Jack orders.
"They are blocking the way to the Stargate!" Teal'c says.
"The buildings over there!" Jack points at some still structurally sound houses. He and Teal'c hurries towards them, while Teal'c is taking pot-shots at the death-flies, trying to keep them at a distance.
Sam and Daniel race after them, zig-zagging to throw off the deadly enemy weapons.
All four people make it to the building that looks most intact, and slams the door after them.
Teal'c push a heavy cabinet in front of the door, hoping to hold off the death-flies which are already cutting into the door. "That will not hold for long."
"There's a safe room at the back!" Sam exclaims, having checked. "Come on!"
"They're trying to destroy the door by blowing up!" Daniel exclaims.
"No shit!" Jack says. He turns to Sam. "Will the door hold long enough to exhaust all the flies, Carter?"
Sam frowns as she studies the door and tries to judge the quality and thickness of the metal against the size of the swarm. "Possibly."
"Possibly? That's the best you can do?" Jack complains.
"They stopped attacking the door, so I believe General Carter is correct." Teal'c says.
That's when there is a powerful explosion and the roof collapses over them and comes crashing down. Sam cries out, but no one can go to check on her immediately. The air is full of dust, and large pieces of concrete from the roof is everywhere, blocking off most of the room.
"The damn things decided the roof was easier to destroy than the metal door!" Jack exclaims.
"However, they cannot presently get to us," Teal'c answers from somewhere close by. "It would seem the area we are in is sealed - at least no light comes in."
"That is true. You okay, Teal'c?" Jack asks.
"I am largely unharmed, yes."
"Daniel? Carter?" Jack shouts.
They hear someone groaning in the darkness.
"Daniel?" Jack repeats.
"Yeah..." he sneezes.
"More or less, I think. You?"
"Amazingly nothing fell on me, so it's just my knees, but that's always the case. Carter?"
"I do not believe she is in here." Teal'c observes. "I have felt along the edges of this enclosure. It is no more than about 15 feet on the longest side, and I do not feel any bodies anywhere, aside from the three of us."
They heard a muffled cry from somewhere behind the rubble, followed by the sounds of the death-fliers discharging their beam weapons. There were also sounds of a zat'nik'tel firing - Sam trying to defend herself against the death-fliers, no doubt.
"Carter?" Jack shouts. "We gotta help her!"
They start trying to move away rubble, and soon they clear enough that there is a path they can crawl out through - if they are not too worried due to the risk of collapse. By then the sounds from the outside has ceased.
"Sam?" Daniel asks, being the first one through. He gets up and runs to the still body some twenty feet away.
There are rubble everywhere, holes from explosions, and parts of the mechanical death-flies scattered over the floor.
"How is she?" Jack wonders, worried.
Daniel falls to his knees beside his friend, and feels for a pulse among the dirt and blood that is smeared everywhere on her. "Alive - but barely."
Sam coughed weakly. "Daniel?"
"Sh, Sam - we're all here."
"You got them all," Jack says, looking around and not noticing any more. "We got to get out of here!"
"I don't think we can move Sam right now." Daniel says.
"L...leave me. Get out of here...before they come back!" Sam insists.
"That's not gonna happen!" Jack insists hotly.
"I will carry her." Teal'c says, sweeping up Sam who groans in pain. They all look worriedly at her.
They move as fast as they can to the Stargate.
"Where?" Daniel asks, his hand hovering over the DHD. He gazes nervously at Sam who has lost consciousness.
"Anywhere!" Jack exclaims. "Just get us out of here!"
"Wait! Do you have the address of that world with the time machine thingie?" Jack asks.
"Uh, yeah, yeah I do, but hadn't we decided we wouldn't use it?" Daniel frowns. "Sam said..."
"She's dying! Given recent events, I think we've changed our minds on time travel!"
Daniel nods and dials the address.
They step out on the planet, again struck by the eerie silence they had noticed the first time too.
"This planet creeps me the hell out!" Jack exclaims. "Let's get Carter patched up so she can figure out how we go back and fix up this whole mess!"
"That would seem prudent," Teal'c agrees, carefully putting Sam down on the down in soft grass.
"Sam?" Daniel touches her gently.
Jack painfully sits down on a low rock beside Sam and feels her pulse. "Weak, but it's there." He frowns, looking worriedly at Sam's pale face under the dirt and blood.
Sam wakes while her team mates and friends are checking on her injuries and trying to stem the blood that is flowing from some of the deeper wounds caused by the 'death flies' laser beams.
"I believe she may have internal injuries as well," Teal'c says.
"Shouldn't those laser beams seal up the cuts at least so she doesn't bleed?" Daniel wonders, unhappily.
Jack shakes his head. "Normally, yeah, but I don't think normal means much to the current enemy." He shook his head. "Carter..."
Sam woke up just then and groaned. "Wh...ere are..." a powerful cough wracked her body, and she brought up a lot of blood.
"Sshh, be quiet, Carter." Jack tells her. "You're badly injured."
"I'm dying." Sam states.
"Nonsense. We'll get you patched right up, then you figure out how to set the time machine, and we go back in time and clear up this whole mess. A couple years or so, I'd say. Maybe a bit more. 2020, perhaps? We can get you to the infirmary then too."
"Sounds great, but..." Sam coughs again, and it takes several shaky breaths before she can speak. "We're on... P2X-635?"
"Is that the name of the planet with the time travel thingie you guys found last year, Daniel?" Jack asks.
Daniel nods. "Yeah, that's the name of this planet."
"Okay, then yeah, we're there." Jack tells Sam. "And don't get started on the whole 'oh, we can't risk the time line!'"
Sam grinned a little, then grimassed from the pain. "No, I won't. I'll admit we're probably..." She coughed again.
Jack gives her some water to drink. "Better?"
"Yeah." Sam is quiet for several moments. "Yeah, I think it's time for us to mess with the time line." She gives the others a wry grin. "What? Don't look so surprised."
"I don't think any of us ever thought we'd hear you say that!" Jack shakes his head. "I guess wonders will never cease."
"Seriously, though. If you want me to help you, you'd better get me to that damn machine quickly."
They had patched up Sam as much as possible, but she was very pale and still coughed up blood. It was obviously she was bleeding internally, and that it was only by sheer willpower that she was still awake. The fact that she was able to work was nothing short of miraculous, but then that was Sam for you.
"Well?" Jack asks, worriedly, when she has been at it for almost an hour, and is clearly growing steadily weaker.
"Bad news, I'm afraid. I think there's a power leak. Actually, I'm sure of it - I don't even understand why there's still any power to the device, if this leak has been going on for a long time."
"Uh, it may be from when we found it last year." Daniel admits. "We...kind of messed with stuff in here." He waves a hand indicating the whole lab, full of strange devices. "Not on purpose, I mean, we didn't do anything we thought would give problems, but when I was checking out the, uh, ornamental vases or whatever over there." He pointed. "One of them tripped and fell over, and that kind of pushed those big weird balls on that table, and then..."
"Stop it!" Jack complains. "What was the end result?"
"I think the ball may have rolled onto the panel and pushed some of the buttons. I'm not sure..."
"Whatever. The power has almost completely drained from the device. Now, it's..." Sam closed her eyes for a moment, gathering strength. "It's getting power from the planet's core, so I think it's going to recharge if we put the settings right... However, I don't..." She coughed and for a long time she was quiet. "Sorry, guys. I'm not sure I can do this."
"Of course you can, Carter!" Jack insists. "Just a little more, then we'll be back in safety - at the SGC, and you can get fixed up in the infirmary."
Sam shook her head. "Not this time, sir." She swallowed. "But the rest of you may be able to fix things, and the good news is that if all goes well, this won't have happened!"
"I'm not listening! We need you to fix the timeline!" Jack says. "Get working!"
Sam nods tiredly and for a long time works on the device again. "It will take years for it to recharge, but it may be possible to..." she suddenly collapsed and slid off the chair.
"Sam!" Daniel exclaims.
Daniel, Jack, and Teal'c all run to her.
"She is alive." Teal'c says, relieved.
Sam wakes up a few moments later, lying on the floor where her friends have put her. "Help me up."
"Take a break, Carter. If we're travelling in time, an hour more or less at this end won't make any difference, will it?" Jack says.
She smiles a little, but shakes her head. "No, but I don't think I have another hour. If this is to work - for any of us - then it has to be soon."
Without answering, the others helped her up, and she began looking at the machine again.
"Daniel?" Sam calls.
"Yes, what is it Sam?"
"Could you bring me that small device over there? The one that looks a bit like a GDO, just metallic blue?"
"Sure." Daniel fetches it for her. "What is it?"
Jack and Teal'c gets up and goes closer too.
"It's used to control the time you go to." Sam again stops to catch her breath.
"You've figured out a way to send us back in time despite the missing power?" Jack asks.
"Sort of." Sam says. "Turns out there's a second option, a fall-back, if you want. Or maybe it's just another option, I don't know what the aliens that made this used this for, precisely."
"Never mind. What have you found out?" Jack asks.
"If it doesn't have enough power to send back the whole person, it can send back just their consciousness." Sam says.
"Just their consciousness? How does that even work?" Jack wonders.
"You don't mean we'll just be free-floating, uh, blobs or something?" Daniel adds.
"Like the ascended beings, perhaps?" Teal'c says.
"No, not like that. The way this works, the consciousnesses needs something to... anchor to. They need to be in the body they belong to, which also means that you can't travel back in time further than you've existed."
"We'll end up back in the body we have then?" Jack wonders.
"Yes, just with the knowledge we have now."
"Isn't that...kinda ethically fishy?" Daniel asks. "I mean, isn't that, kind of, like killing the person we were then?"
"Daniel! Not know!" Jack orders. "Okay, that sounds weird, but as long as it works... we can still change the timeline, right?"
"Yes." Sam confirms.
"Okay, set it up then."
Sam nods and begins fiddling with the controls on both the large console and the small hand-held device. "How far back?"
"Two years?" Jack suggests. "No, four, that should be enough, shouldn't it?"
"2018? I don't know..." Sam suddenly loses consciousness again and falls to the floor with a crash.
"Crap! Let's get her woken up again." Jack says.
"I do not believe that will be easy," Teal'c says, checking on Sam. "She is barely alive."
"Oh, god!" Daniel says.
"Daniel - can you set the rest of the controls of that machine?" Jack asks, desperately.
"I...no, I don't think so. I think Sam got most of it set..." Daniel checks. "I think so...except she hasn't set the time yet."
"Well do that!"
Daniel studies it frantically for several minutes.
"You must hurry. Colonel Carter is close to dying." Teal'c tells him.
"Yeah, thanks for the encouragement, Teal'c!" Daniel exclaims, frustrated. "Okay, I think I know - somewhat - how to set this."
"Do it!" Jack orders.
"I'm...fairly sure it's right. Well, I'm not quite sure, actually, but this here means..."
"I don't care! Just activate the damn thing! We'll go somewhere!"
"It has to be now if we want Colonel Carter with us," Teal'c adds.
"No pressure!" Daniel complains and closes his eyes as he presses the activation button. "Here goes nothing!"
Sam groans and opens her eyes. She stares with disbelief at the walls and roof. Beside her she hears her friends wake up too.
"Where are we?" Jack asks. "Shouldn't we still be on that planet?"
"No, we would be wherever our bodies where at that time." Sam stares at the walls again and shakes her head. "Crystals. We're in some Tok'ra tunnels." She shakes her head. "I don't even remember when we last went to visit the Tok'ra, but it sure as hell is more than four years!"
"Uh, I may have set it a bit wrong. I wasn't completely sure..." Daniel admits.
Jack groans. "How wrong?"
"I have Junior again," Teal'c says, clear regret in his voice.
"At least 20 years then." Sam says.
"That is correct. Junior died at the beginning of March 2003." Teal'c tells them.
"20 years!" Daniel whistles. "That should give us time to change the timeline and stop the Milli at least!"
"Explains why I feel so much better!" Jack grins as he sits up. "This is awesome!"
"Our bodies may be young, but we now risk changing a great many things! Worse, we may not be able to fit in, and we risk people thinking we have been compromised, brainwashed - or are enemy infiltrators." Sam warns as she sits up as well. "Whoa! My head!"
"Yeah, I'm a bit dizzy too." Jack admits. "Got a headache as well."
"Yes. Probably an effect of our brains trying to arrange all the extra memories quickly." Sam says.
"How do we solve the problem of convincing the SGC that we can be trusted?" Teal'c asks.
"Maybe the Tok'ra can help - since we're far enough back that my dad at least should be alive. That means there are Tok'ra friendly to Earth." Sam says.
They turn to the door as they hear a familiar voice. "You are awake. That's good. We were concerned."
"Martouf!" Sam exclaims.
"You're alive," Daniel says, then realizes the error. They can't let anyone know they are not quite themselves. "Um, I mean, of course you are. Sorry."
Martouf frowns. "What did you mean by what you said, Samantha? About your father being alive - why would he not be? Also, the Tok'ra are allied to Earth. Why would we not be friendly? Has someone treated you wrong?"
Sam groans. "Right. Good hearing."
"I think I'll take another nap. My head hurts. Have fun explaining it all!" Jack says, lying back down.
Sam closes her eyes for a moment, try to think of what to say, then makes a decision. "I'll explain, but you must promise to hear me out, because it's gonna sound crazy!"
"We already know you have - somehow - acquired some extra memories, after collapsing in the tunnels earlier." Martouf says.
"You don't know half of it!" Sam says, sounding pained. "I think we need a memory recall device - if you can see my memories while I tell you, it should help. Maybe that will actually help us prove all of this - General Hammond as well!"
"I will do my best to assist you, Samantha." Martouf says. "And I promise to speak on your behalf to General Hammond. To testify that I saw your memories of the events you will describe. That will be accepted as proof among the Tok'ra, at least, so your people should as well."
"Sounds like the problem will be solved," Jack says, from where he is lying with his eyes closed. "I can get some worrifree sleep - that's the best kind." He yawns and pulls his hat down over his eyes. "Tell them to turn down the light a little in here, will ya?"
"Of course, sir," Martouf says.
Sam sighs and shakes her head. "Let's go get that memory recall device, Martouf." She smiles, suddenly convinced it will all work out. Martouf is alive, her dad is alive, and there are a very many years in which to somehow prevent the Milli from ever becoming a threat!