Title: Leap of Faith
Spoilers: Need to be familiar with what happened in "2010" and "2001"/vague spoilers for "Heroes" (Season 7)
Summary: A slightly different take on how SG-1 might have found out about the Aschen in "2001"
Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be!
Author Notes: This story exists for one reason- the egging on, encouraging and unconditional support of my beta Marty. (Who also helped me get Felger into it, deal with ‘time issues’ and wrote a wonderful ‘briefing room’ scene for me) Well, maybe two, considering I needed to write a story focusing on Janet- and the events of "2010" wouldn’t leave me alone. Also, as I said above, you need to have a basic understanding of what happened in "2010" and "2001" to put this story in context. This is also a way of me paying tribute to Janet, whom I thoroughly believe is a central figure to the SGC and SG-1- not to mention to Daniel! *eg* Yes, there could be slight spoilers for what looks to happen in "Heroes" later this season, but hopefully, it works in this context too.
Leap of Faith
The first sign that alerted Janet Fraiser things had not gone as planned was the realization that she was still alive and standing in front of Chulak’s Stargate when the huge video screen over it flared to life. If the message had gotten through the gate- physically, she should have ceased to exist- at least in this reality.
Feeling sick, she watched, along with the other hundred or so people standing there, as the President appeared on screen to announce the ‘deaths’ of four people millions had considered heroes. Heroes who were now apparently being branded "terrorists" and accused of plotting the destruction of the Aschen since the treaty signing in 2001.
/He’s dead. Daniel’s dead and I’m still alive./
It was the first thought that went through her mind- and the pain of if nearly crippled her. She had expected it, knew he had too- but had tried to rationalize it with the fact that if they succeeded, they’d end up saving their past- protecting their future. She’d never thought she’d have to watch the images unfolding on the huge screen in front of her.
She caught her breath, her stomach turning through the pain, as scenes of the chaotic Earth gateroom appeared- clearly showing the four prone bodies of the former SG-1 team. It was with a horrified fascination she watched ‘security video’ showing what had happened in clear, graphic detail. She could barely watch as those she loved died in front of her. Yet even as she tried to push down the horrific image of Daniel’s last gasp of breath, her eyes focused almost without her realizing it- on the small piece of paper that fell into the gate.
The message had gone through. Despite their deaths, they had succeeded- which meant she should have ceased to exist.
What the hell had gone wrong in 2001?
Another thought suddenly hit her dazed and tormented mind- sending a chill down her spine.
Nothing had changed- the Aschen were still here- and more than likely already trying to figure out what SG-1 had been up to. No doubt they would question the Ambassador- who would defend his wife to the end. However, seeing as Sam had obviously chosen to die with SG-1 rather than stay with her husband- he might not be thinking too kindly of his wife’s former friends and teammates- of which she was the only one still alive.
The sick feeling in her stomach solidified as she realized that even if Joe kept their secret- the GDO found with Teal’c would eventually connect them to her departure to Chulak only moments before Teal’c’s arrival on Earth.
Which, most probably, now made her their prime target.
The fear was instinctual, and she found herself nervously looking around to see if anything appeared unusual. So far, no one was paying any attention to her, too caught up in the scenes playing out on the screen overhead. Trying to look casual, she discreetly moved through the crowd, realizing she needed to get out of the gateroom, but having no idea where to go. She knew no one on Chulak, and if she soon became Aschen Enemy #1- she wouldn’t stand much of a chance anywere.
The thought was terrifying, although she tried to calm herself enough to think clearly. First things first, she had to get out of the Gate terminal- the sooner the better. She could figure the rest out later.
She’d nearly made it to the facility’s doors when alarms began to sound throughout the building. It didn’t take a genious to realize that someone was now aware she was here- and looking for her. Never let it be said the Aschen were not quick on the uptake. Lowering her head, she ducked out into the warm sunshine of Chulak, trying to walk casually away from the building.
She hadn’t made it more than 10 feet before she heard shouting and loud footsteps behind her.
Fear gave her a burst of adrenaline and without looking back, she began to run.
"Felger, you want to tell me one more time what exactly I’m doing here- with several petrie dishes of rather virulent bacteria?"
Janet Fraiser tried to keep the annoyance out of her voice as she watched the SGC’s resident absent-minded scientist fiddle with a strange piece of equipment on his lab desk. All she’d gotten was a memo from Hammond this morning- to report to Felger’s lab at noon- with samples of seven types of common bacteria.
"It’s really pretty incredible Doctor Fraiser, or can I call you Janet, since we’re going to be working closely together on this one?"
Felger was really getting on her nerves, not to mention she wasn’t sure she wanted to be anywhere near the man if he was going to conduct some kind of ‘experiment.’ The results of his last one still sent a shiver down her spine. Not to mention she did not like not being told if she were supposed to be involved in some type of experiment.
"I prefer Doctor Fraiser." She kept her tone clipped as she continued. "Since we’re apparently supposed to be working together on this- whatever it is- would you care to explain what exactly 'it' is?"
She tried not to sound annoyed, feeling bad at the flinch on his face, remembering how Sam had said he really was brilliant, just terribly insecure. Somehow, she suspected Sam had a lot more patience than she did.
"I thought they were going to tell you, I’m sorry Doc- I thought you knew."
Janet sighed, raising a hand for him to be quiet and trying to ignore the way he shortened her title in the same way Colonel O’Neill tended to.
"It’s okay, the explanation memo probably got lost somewhere in the pile of paperwork on my desk." She saw his shoulders relax and felt a slight bit of guilt for being so hard on the man. He was just trying to do his job- whatever that might be.
"Why don’t we start from the beginning?" Giving him what she hoped was an encouraging smile, she took a seat on one of the stools at the lab table. She wasn’t sure what to make of the eager expression that came over his face as he began to explain.
"This device is some kind of advanced weapon we believe the Ancients created." At her raised eyebrow, he continued eagerly. "It emits a steady stream of chronotons at a very fast pace-"
"Wait a second," she interrupted with a raised hand. "What is a chronoton? I’ve heard that term somewhere before-"
"In simple terms, Doctor Fraiser, it’s easiest to describe as a ‘time particle.’ It somehow distorts- or at least pretty well screws up time."
Janet’s eyes widened, not only at the implication behind his words- but with a bit of apprehension at the way the scientist was fiddling with the machine.
"Distorts time? You’re playing around with some kind of ‘ancient’ time machine?" Felger’s eager expression told her she had hit the nail on the head. Sam would have been proud of her.
"Exactly! Do you know how useful a weapon like that could be against the Gou’ald? Imagine young, strong Jaffa warriors- suddenly aging and dying in seconds when hit with a blast from this baby!"
It sounded like something out of a bad science fiction novel, but then again, what about the whole SGC didn’t? Still, the implications of this device could prove significant- although she wondered exactly why Felger was the one working on this instead of Sam.
Felger must have sensed some of her confusion because he suddenly looked sheepish. "Actually, when SG-10 brought this back- Sam- I mean, Major Carter, was going to look at it. But then SG-1 got called off-world for this extended mission- and time was of the essence- so I volunteered to examine it myself."
Janet closed her eyes, hoping her pained expression was not obvious. Great, this bumbling idiot was messing with a potentially lethal device that could possibly significantly alter the balance of power in the war on the Gou’ald- and disrupt time in the process.
And she got to be a part of it. What God had she pissed off today to deserve this?
Sensing Felger had been silent for too long, she opened her eyes and found him staring at her with an almost hurt look. Suddenly feeling horrible, she tried to smile at him.
"Sorry, it’s just a bit much to take in- it’s been a long day." Seeing his face relax, she sighed, glad she’d diffused a potential situation. Looks like she’d just have to grin and make the most of it.
"Okay, so now you’ve got me and my bacteria here- what are your plans?" She was curious, she’d admit that much, especially if he wanted to do what she suspected.
Felger became animated again as he gestured towards the small specimin dishes. "I figure by bombarding the bacteria with the chrono- ‘time particles’- we could judge the effects of the aging process- see if it actually works."
She had to admit, it wasn’t at all a bad plan. In fact, it was probably exactly what Sam would have done herself. At least it was bacteria being subjected to the test- no dangerous side effects to worry about there.
Taking a deep breath, she figured they might as well see what happened.
"Okay, I’ll bite- how does this thing work?" Reaching over, she began to place the small dishes into the glass container on the lab table, arranging them about 5 inches apart as Felger again became almost hyper in his drive to explain.
"It’s really pretty simple, all you have to do is aim at the dish and press this button-"
She wasn’t sure what happened in the next instant, only registering a loud scream from one of them- then intense pain- before her world went black.
Janet panted for breath as she ducked into the heavy forest that mercifully hadn’t been far from the Gate building. She could hear the crunch of footsteps and the yelling of guards as she pushed her way into the trees- not caring where she was going, just determined to get as far away from those chasing her as possible.
The dense foilage made the going rough, but the adrenaline had her plowing through branches and brambles, oblivious to the cuts and scrapes she incurred along the way. Her only thought was to get away from those chasing her- no matter what it took.
Finally, after running for what seemed forever, she was no longer able to hear voices behind her. Panting, she came to a stop, collapsing against a tree as she tried to regain her breath. As her breathing evened out, the silence around her became almost eerie. Shivering, she wrapped her arms around herself and sank to the ground, resting her back against the firm trunk of one of the forest’s plentiful trees.
Jack O’Neill would have been amused to know his ‘damn trees’ had most probably saved her life.
The thought of her friend brought back the intense pain of earlier, and the realization that her life was of little use in this world- considering she would never be able to live peacefully in it again. Not that she wanted to- knowing that no one she cared about was left alive.
For a moment, she entertained thoughts about trying to finish the mission herself- somehow, getting another message back in time- something that would work this time. Those thoughts quickly fled as she realized the only way she knew how to do that was with a solar flare and the Stargate- both of which she’d never be able to access again, being Aschen Enemy #1.
She was stuck in this hell of a life- with nowhere to run- with nothing she could do to change things. Worst of all- there was no Daniel to comfort her- to tell her everything was going to be all right.
God, why did it have to be her that survived? Why couldn’t she have died with them- by Daniel’s side to the very end? The thought of not being able to hold him, or touch him, or hear his beautiful voice whispering of his love to her every morning was enough to make the tears finally escape her tight control.
/Oh God, Daniel! How am I supposed to do this alone?/
For a long time, the only sound in the forest was her harsh sobbing.
On to Part 2