Category: Drama, contest response (September's Daniel/Janet "Episode-based" Challenge)
Summary: How the verdict changed from "natural causes" to...
"But," Teal'c paused as if trying to find words. "She appeared well."
"Shan'auc's death was simply the unfortunate result of waiting too long," Anise responded.
Nice bedside manner, Janet thought. All the compassion of a... well... a snake, to use Colonel O'Neill's favorite term.
She waited until SG-1 left the gate room to broach her request. "General, I'd like permission to perform a full autopsy. Perhaps if we learn what specific factors caused her death, even after the implantation..." Her voice trailed off.
Hammond gave her a sharp nod, indication that she need not go on. "Understood, doctor. Every bit we learn about Goold physiology is of benefit. Report your findings to me."
Janet sighed and straightened, trying to resolve in her mind whether it would be better if this got easier each time, or whether it would only mean that she was losing her humanity bit by bit with each death. "Toxicology screen negative," she continued her recording. "No sign of external trauma. Subject..." she corrected herself, "Jaffa subject one hundred ten years of age, in apparent good health typical of a young adult Jaffa."
Confident, she added, silently, remembering how she had first met the woman, seated on the other side of Teal'c in the conference room. Determined. She surprised herself with the next adjective that appeared in her mind. Happy, she thought, with a pang of sorrow for Shan'auc.
"Subject's musculature and bone development indicate good nutrition throughout developmental years." Probably better than most Jaffa, though from what Teal'c had said of Chulak, most Jaffa there were treated well. As befitted the breeding stock for beasts of burden, she though with disgust. "No calluses on hands or feet, no breaks or spurs on bones to indicate manual labor of any kind." But despite what some might see as a "pampered" life, Shan'auc hadn't seemed content in her gilded cage.
"Subject's pelvis indicates that she has not undergone childbirth," she noted. Teal'c's sudden tension and expression of revulsion as Shan'auc referred to the larval Goa'uld within her as a child flashed into her mind. Sadly, she recalled what Daniel had told her of his conversation with Jack. She's a temple priestess. So, they don't do a lot of dating. Would this have been the only child she could have had?
She sighed again. Daniel had tried to tactfully convey the celibacy required of priestesses, and Jack had been determined that Shan'auc and Teal'c had "history." Neither made her next findings easier to relate, even to the recorder.
"Indications of-" she jumped, stuttering to a halt, as Teal'c materialized at her shoulder. "Teal'c, you startled me." She turned slightly from her desk, craning her neck to look up the foot-plus distance to her friend's eyes. The light she had seen in them the past few days seemed to have gone out.
"DoctorFraiser," he intoned, inclining his head slightly, "such was not my intent. I wish to learn of your findings."
"Um, Teal'c, there's..." she paused a moment, "there's no sign of... what killed her. I'm sorry. It looks like Anise was right..." She broke off as Teal'c, normally polite to a fault, turned and began to walk from her office.
"May I see her?" he asked as he moved into the main infirmary, his attitude clearly indicating that asking her permission was a mere formality.
"Of course, Teal'c," she responded, walking quickly to keep up with his longer strides.
Teal'c paused at the autopsy table, motionless, hands down at his sides. Janet looked across the table at him, gauging his intentions, and pulled the sheet down from Shan'auc's face. If anything, Teal'c's face became even more expressionless. There was a long moment of silence.
When he spoke, his voice was a register lower than usual. "You have found nothing?"
She hedged. "There was no evidence of violence, Teal'c." He looked up from Shan'auc's face and raised one eyebrow. She gave a mental sigh, wishing she were better at the whole deception thing
"What did you find?"
"I'm sorry, Teal'c. She..." She paused, searching for words. She couldn't retreat into medical terminology, and despite Teal'c's years on earth, she was sure she'd still have to explain any euphemisms she tried. "There was..." she swallowed, "evidence of recent sexual contact."
Stony, she decided. That was the word for his expression, or lack of it. "She was assaulted?"
Janet hadn't thought she could feel worse than she did, but found she was wrong. In a voice barely above a whisper she said, "No, Teal'c. There was no trauma... no damage..." She stopped, shocked, as some of the tension eased out of the big man.
"Then I believe that I can clarify your findings, DoctorFraiser," he said in a low voice. "Shan'auc would not have participated willingly in sexual relations with anyone else."
"Anyone..." She paused as the final word sank in. Anyone else. "Oh." Suddenly Teal'c's recent, strangely ebullient (for the Jaffa) behavior seemed to make sense. She wanted to reach out to him, offer him some kind of tangible comfort, but the distance between them was too great. "I didn't know." And this, added to the recent loss of his wife. "I'm so sorry Teal'c."
"It was none of your doing," he responded, and turned to leave the infirmary. His shoulders rounded slightly from his normally rigid posture to something more like a human in grief, but before she could make a sound or a movement, his fist had lashed down onto a nearby cart. Metal bent, plastic trays cracked, and the implements on the surface rocketed into the air. Janet flinched as something whizzed past her ear.
Teal'c seemed as surprised by his sudden action as she was. He stared at his fist in its metal crater. The part of his face that she could see looked perplexed, as if his arm had somehow taken action on its own.
"I apologize, doctor," he said, not turning back to her. "I shall inform General Hammond of my actions."
"It's all right, Teal'c. The infirmary suffers worse when Colonel O'Neill's having a bad day. Just... get some rest, please."
He inclined his head slightly. "I shall retire to my quarters to perform Kel-no-reem." He straightened and, without turning to face her, strode from the room.
Janet stared after the Jaffa until a slight sense of movement caught her attention. She looked down and saw blood drops on the sheet.
Teal'c lit the candles in his quarters, trying to find the focus needed to begin his meditations. Perhaps this evening he could focus on the freedom Shan'auc's discovery could bring to his people.
Janet put up a hand to the side of her face, wincing when the contact stung. The flying instrument hadn't missed her after all; her fingertips came back with blood on them. Can't let it contaminate the autopsy results, she thought. "Nurse," she called. One of her lieutenants popped her head into the room. "Get me a hand fluoroscope."
"Right away, doctor," the girl chirped.
Awaiting her nurse's return, she quickly cleaned the cut and bandaged it, washing her hands thoroughly.
Teal'c sank into kel-no-reem, seeking not so much peace but rather to again touch the mind of his prim'ta. He needed to learn to commune with the immature symbiote, to pass on the knowledge that Shan'auc had taught him.
Janet directed the fluoroscope over her own hands. She nodded in satisfaction as she found that no blood traces remained. She ran the scanner over the sheet, looking for other droplets that she might have missed.
He stretched his thoughts toward his prim'ta, trying to focus on thoughts of peace and welcome. His father, standing before Cronus in flickering torchlight...
Janet frowned. Was she seeing a reflection of the light off of the sheet? Or...
His father, facing Cronus, the fierce pleasure and satisfaction on Cronus's face as he crushed the symbiote...
She pulled back the sheet. Around Shan'auc's symbiote pouch and on her hands...
The Goa'uld's blood dripping from Cronus' hand...
... traces of blood glowing...
...the symbiote's blood glowing
What would cause that?
"Shan'auc was murdered," Teal'c stated from the doorway, anger roughening his usually velvet-like voice.
Click here to send feedback to this author.