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Bits and Pieces #15: The Serpent's Bite Part 3

Title: Bits and Pieces: #15 The Serpent's Bite
Author: Pink Rabbit Productions
Fandom: Stargate SG-1
Pairing: Sam/Janet
Part: 3
Date: 3 July, 2009


Spoilers: Politics, Within the Serpent's Grasp
Archive: The Pink Rabbit Consortium (www.altfic.com)
Disclaimer: It all belongs to assorted other folks (MGM, Gekko, Double Secret, Showtime, and possibly Santa Claus for all I know), or at least the characters, settings, situations, et al do. The actual arrangement of words is mine own, though God knows, if any of those entities were to opt to sue, I'd disavow them all in a New York second. There's definitely musing on matters of a sexual and romantic nature between females of the same genderish persuasion, so if this is a problem of age, maturity, intelligence, ability to deal, or anything else, please, do take a pass.
Author's Notes: Well, this one has been on hiatus for awhile now. This part was first written a couple of years ago, and I never managed to finish the second part. However, I’m currently working on continuing the series, so I called on my friendly neighborhood beta reader (who is an angel) and got this tuned up (the unedited version has been up on the site for awhile). It’s cleaner and reads tighter, but no major changes. All previous notes about the concept behind the series stand.
Special Thanks: to ocean gazer, who also happens to be the most caffeinated and cheerful minion around.
Additional Author's Notes: Silly me didn't notice that the order for first season eps listed on assorted webpages doesn't quite mesh with what's on the box my DVD set came in, sooooo, though I don't think it ever matters too much, in case anyone cares, I'm using the order on the DVD set.
Yet Another Author's Note: Okay, so having had some luck dealing with LJ by posting shorter and more often with the Otalia story, I think I'm going to try that with this as well. Hopefully, it will lower the glitchiness and problems.
Earlier Parts: Earlier stories at altfic.com ( Bits and Pieces Series )
Bits and Pieces #14: | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 |
Bits and Pieces #15: | Part 1 | Part 2 |
One More Author's Note: I haven't been posting this one on Passion_Perfect, but since a couple of folks have asked, I thought I'd go ahead and put it up here. I've also linked the earlier parts as posted on my blog (stories #14 and #15 are really part of the same story...with the season break between them). The earlier stories are also linked at my website if anyone is interested.

Bits and Pieces #15
The Serpent's Bite
By Pink Rabbit Productions
Part 3


Robert Makepeace stood off to one side of the glowing cage that enclosed the Stargate, an annoyed expression on his face as he listened to the science types debate what they were looking at. At best, he understood about one word in five and requests for additional clarification had so far only resulted in explanations that made even less sense than the original comments. The one thing he had figured out---judging by the rate at which theories were flying back and forth---was that, wild-assed guesses aside, they had no more idea what it was than he did. He would have felt better about that realization if it weren't for the fact that knowing what it was might make the difference in the team's survival. He could handle feeling like an ignoramus if it was balanced against some certainty that others on his team knew what the hell was going on. At least the whatever-it-was didn't look like it was going to explode or otherwise fry them all in the immediate future. By the look of things, it was just meant to trap them there.

Of course, if the Goa'uld wanted them trapped there, it was very unlikely it was so they could throw a really wild party.

At least not the kind of wild party any sane person wanted to attend.

Once again, he cursed Jack O'Neill for missing this little outing, then just for good measure he mentally lobbed a few additional obscenities Carter’s way. He glared at the eager-eyed engineers busy studying the thing as he grudgingly admitted to himself that the astrophysicist's strange knack for alien technology would have been a welcome addition to the team. If nothing else, she would have understood the seriousness of the situation; that this device wasn't some fun new toy to play with, but rather something that might very possibly be the first step in their annihilation.

And on that cheerful note....

He cursed Jack O'Neill again. If not for the other man’s quixotic need to play the hero, he would have been here and Makepeace would have been back on Earth dealing with things he was far more comfortable with, like brutal combat and impending doom. Not exactly a fun time, but at least a task he was qualified for, unlike what he was listening to now.

Maybe Fraiser would have a better--

"Shit! " The profanity exploded from his lips as he remembered the woman and child left in the forest when everything blew. Faced with trying to get things back under control in camp, and the danger emanating from the gate, he'd completely forgotten. They were probably okay, he reminded himself. Elvis had left the building. It was just that the radios were still down and he knew the doctor couldn't call for help if there was a problem. He signaled to the lead physicist, a pretty redheaded major by the name of Reed, then pointed back toward camp. "Gotta go."

He was halfway up the hillside and still cursing his own distraction when a lieutenant met him on the way down. Fraiser was back in camp with a medical team, and it didn't sound pretty. According to the lieutenant, the doctor had stumbled into camp insisting she'd faced down a Jaffa in the woods. Makepeace couldn't imagine that coming out well at all.

Visions of his second-in-command on the verge of death driving him, he broke into a run. Christ, she was a doctor, not a grunt. What the hell had he been thinking leaving her alone with the kid? He was moving so fast, he didn't even hear what the lieutenant called after him.

The remaining team members were gathered a short distance from the top of the rise, clustered together to defend each other, all armed and jumpy. He brushed past the outer guards and kept moving, quickly spotting a couple of still-groggy lookouts getting checked out by the medical team in the center of the group. Good. They were in the most protected position.

Long-legged strides took him through the crowd as it parted to make way, allowing him to see through the crush to where Martinez and Hayes---the second doctor on the team— were leaning over a figure lying prone on a stretcher supported by an equipment locker on either end. All he could see was a pair of lower legs, still encased in boots and fatigues.

It was the sight of a shredded, black tactical vest that pulled him up short. Thrown over an equipment locker, it was slashed, with a gaping, horizontal wound that laid it open roughly at stomach level. The attack had sliced through the tough, canvas pockets, then the open weave shell. Only the zipper appeared to be intact. He didn't want to think about what that kind of savagery must have done to the flesh beneath and suddenly found himself in less of a rush to continue forward. He'd lost people under his command before. He knew what that felt like. No sane man would be in a hurry to experience that kind of pain or guilt again.

Which was why he couldn't seem to take his eyes off slashed and gashed black fabric, staring at it with the kind of horror usually reserved for destroyed flesh. In a way it was like staring at the damaged flesh and bone. He'd been in enough fights to know what the corresponding injury would probably look like, and his imagination was already conjuring a pretty good mental image of it.

The sudden sound of Dr. Hayes' voice sounding frustrated and annoyed drew his head up.

"Dammit, stay down."

"Look, I'm fine, just a little--"

"Fraiser?" Makepeace growled, his voice coming out gruffer than intended as he stepped around the equipment lockers and personnel blocking his view, incredibly relieved to see her looking remarkably whole and undamaged. His eyes ran over her where she lay on the makeshift cot, vest and jacket both gone. No sign of massive injuries or heavy bleeding. He could see some bruises, but nothing that wouldn't heal. His eyes dropped to her stomach. Her black undershirt had been unevenly cut in places, the perforated line following the same path as the one in the gashed tactical vest. Miraculously, the flesh revealed by the messy slice bore little more damage than a faint red mark and a few drops of blood. "You okay?" he continued, still sounding rougher than he meant to.

She looked up, expressive eyes going wide, and batted Hayes' arm aside to push up on one hand. "A little worse for the wear, sir," she admitted, her tone ironic and undercut by an unsteady groan.

A slight rustle of movement drew Makepeace’s gaze sideways and he noted that Cassie was standing just off the doctor's left shoulder.

"But all things considered,” Fraiser sighed, “better than I would have predicted."

Still shaken and struggling to integrate expectations with reality, he nodded. She looked pretty rough, one hand and forearm tightly bandaged, the other still showing the evidence of the fight she'd been in. And to judge by the stiff way she moved, there were more than a few bruises under her clothes. But overall, she looked damn good. His head tipping back, he heaved a harsh sigh, shoulders slumping as he reached up to run a hand over his short-cropped hair. He hooked his thumb over a shoulder. "The louie mentioned a Jaffa?" he said on a questioning note.

She nodded. "He attacked. I got lucky…he wasn't very experienced...and he seemed to be in some kind of Hathor-induced haze." She indicated the forest bounding the rear of the camp with a loose gesture. "I sent four men to retrieve him. He may be dead by now, but he was still alive when I left him ... it might be possible to question him."

The colonel's expression hardened. "If he's a Jaffa, he may be up and running a four minute mile by now." The larval Goa'uld served as the carrier's immune system, and allowed them to do some pretty amazing healing tricks.

She shook her head. "I doubt it, sir. I stabbed him in the stomach ... cut the Goa'uld in half...." The words sputtered to an uneasy halt. She looked down, fumbling with the torn front of her t-shirt, the bandages hiding split and bruised knuckles particularly pale against the black cotton. "If he's not dead now, he will be soon." Without the Goa'uld, no Jaffa could live long, even without the injuries she’d inflicted.

"You sure?" he questioned doubtfully, finding it very difficult to believe the small, rather slightly built doctor was capable of making such a major strike against one of the alien warriors.

Head still down, she nodded. "He was unconscious ... so I checked. The Goa'uld was cut in half ... definitely dead."

Makepeace supposed he should have been surprised by the note of shame in her voice---after all, the Jaffa had been out to kill her---but he wasn't. Killing wasn't something to be taken lightly as she knew better than most. She'd ushered enough of her charges out of this world, holding their hands, offering what comfort she could even as she fought to save them. That she would feel guilty for ending a life – even that of an enemy -- was right in character from what he'd seen. He considered offering his sympathies, but it wasn't the time. He wasn't sure he could honestly express any regret for the death of a Jaffa out to kill one of his people, and he certainly wasn't up to being sorry for a dead snake. "I'm glad you're okay," was all he could think of to say. He looked at the child hanging close. "Both of you." He glanced at Hayes, who was glaring disapprovingly, but managing to control the urge to intercede and press her superior back down onto the stretcher. "They okay?" he asked, the double meaning of the question implicit in his tone.

Hayes understood the question he was asking, and nodded. "I've checked them both, sir. They’re okay." She noted Fraiser’s ironic look and flushed. "No serious injuries," she said, attempting to cover the fact that she'd carefully checked both of them upon their return.

"And no Goa'uld either," Janet offered dryly, well aware of what was really going on. A small hand curved to her shoulder as Cassie drew closer and she reached up to enclose the child's hand in her own. This time she allowed Hayes to push her back down flat onto the stretcher, falling back with an exhausted sigh, her battered body running out of strength as the final traces of adrenaline that had kept her going drained away. "What about the glow we saw? What was it?"

Makepeace shrugged. "Nothing you need to worry about for the moment." That situation was relatively static, and the experts were on it. Better she get cleaned up so maybe she could translate for him when the engineers started offering more theories.

She picked up on the terse note in his voice and started to push back up, her voice questioning. "Sir?"

It was obvious she wasn't going to relax until she had some idea what was going on. "There was a second Jaffa," he explained as simply as possible. "He did something that's blocking the gate." She would have spoken, but he held up a hand to stop her. "The experts are trying to figure out what it is, but for the moment, the best thing you can do is look after yourself." He glanced back in the direction he'd come. "Things are quiet, but they may not stay that way, and I want you in the best condition possible if all hell breaks loose."

It went against the grain, but she allowed Hayes to press her back down, hissing through tightly clenched teeth as she twisted her shoulder the wrong way and battered muscles protested.

"Is it that bad?" he asked sympathetically.

Eyes sliding closed, she shook her head. "A little sore," she underplayed her injuries. "I'll be all right in a little while."

Hayes and Martinez both rolled their eyes, and he could see the thought running through their brains. Their superior was just as bad as the soldiers she routinely treated when it came to admitting to her own pain.

"Well, I should probably go check and see if they've brought your attacker back yet," Makepeace said after an uncomfortable silence. He wanted to make sure they kept that bastard well away from the rest of the camp. He didn't care if the Goa'uld in him was dead; he didn't trust a Jaffa as far as he could throw one.

Hayes and Martinez shared a look, then the doctor looked at Makepeace. "One of us should really go with you, sir. If he's still alive, he'll need care."

"Good idea, Doctor." He glanced at Fraiser, half expecting to have to shoot down an effort to volunteer, then at Hayes, who was a couple of inches taller than her superior, but not exactly firefight material, and finally at Martinez, who wasn't a huge man, but had a pretty solid set of biceps. Makepeace knew from his file that he'd served as a field medic before joining the infirmary staff. "If you don't need Martinez here?"

One dark eye flicked open, then slid closed again. " She doesn't," Fraiser assured the colonel, wincing as Hayes began carefully cleaning the grit and blood from her unbandaged hand. "There's no sign of internal injuries or concussion. Two people really is overkill." She opened both eyes this time. "And if he's still alive, he'll need treatment to keep him that way for questioning." Martinez could do most of what both doctors could, and had more field experience than Hayes. She turned a hard look on the medic. "Get one of us if you need help." As much as she hurt, she could still do the job if necessary.

"I will," he assured her, then grabbed a field kit and moved to follow Makepeace.

"Don't worry," Makepeace murmured understandingly, "I'll send somebody to get you if you're needed. Meantime, you get some rest."

She didn't argue this time, and he gestured to Martinez to stay put, then disappeared for a moment to speak briefly to the guards. When he finished, he waved to the medic to follow him before moving away into the darkness. Makepeace threw one last glance over his shoulder, then looked at the man moving easily at his side. "They really okay?" he asked a little worriedly.

Martinez nodded, his concentration on the rough ground to keep from tripping in the darkness, the unwieldy medkit leaving him less sure-footed than normal. "They're fine, sir." He risked a quick look back. "A little shaken, but who wouldn't be after...y’know ... facing down a Jaffa?" He shook his head, oddly enough, not as shocked as the combat types by Fraiser’s feat in taking down the Jaffa. He’d seen just how tough she could be in the infirmary. But still….

"Yeah," Makepeace murmured, trying not to allow too many suspicions in. After all, Hayes had said the kid and Fraiser were both clear. Hell, he didn't even know if a child could be taken over by one of the creatures. Still, he was glad he'd posted one of the guards on Fraiser just in case. "She said you were with her earlier?" he said by way of question, then added a quick explanation when Martinez looked a little uncertain. "Before she went to bed ... at the edge of camp."

"Yes, sir," Martinez confirmed quietly, his expression and tone unreadable, leaving Makepeace to wonder what they might have been talking about. Any kind of romantic relationship between the doctor and the medic would be completely against regs, but he was a good-looking guy who seemed pretty bright. Wouldn't be the first time somebody crossed the line. He'd heard a few rumors about the guy now that he thought about it, but he'd learned never to put much stock in such things. The way people made up stuff to keep themselves entertained, there was probably at least one story floating around that had him in love with Jack O'Neill.

"I just needed to know for sure," the colonel explained when he realized the other man was still staring at him oddly. "I saw her out there acting a little weird ... and ... well ... with everything going on….”."

"You saw her?" Martinez murmured, keeping his voice low.

"Yeah ... just kinda got to thinking ... and ... never mind," he brushed the question away, not wanting to consider that he'd stood for several minutes silently watching the woman, Jacobs' suggestions beating a none-too-helpful drumbeat in his head. He flashed a quick glance at the man keeping pace beside him, his look covertly assessing before he could think better of it. If she was having a fling with the medic, it was none of his damn business so long as it didn't affect how things ran. And besides, he had a hell of a lot more important matters to consider. Like the fact that they had a goddamned Goa'uld barrier of some kind over the gate and no way to get home, plus no one likely to be looking for them for several days at a mimimum. If ever.

All that and the radios still weren't working. He muttered a curse under his breath and lengthened his stride, forcing the other man to work to keep up.

They hadn't gone much farther when he heard a shout from the direction they were headed.

"Colonel!" Two of the four men Fraiser had sent were carrying a limp body between them while the other two were guarding point.

"He still alive?" Makepeace called out.

"Just barely, sir."

As if to confirm the statement, the Jaffa struggled to lift his head, just barely conscious, his eyes glazed with pain, but full of hate. "You're going to die," he gasped, offering a bloody-mouthed smile, a harsh cough bringing up more blood. "But before you do ... I'm going to ... kill the Tau'ri bitch ... for my Goddess."

Makepeace didn't say a word as he drew closer, peering down at the prisoner. It would be so easy to simply kill the son of a bitch and be done with it, and he seriously considered that option. If not for the fact that the Jaffa might be able to offer some insight as to what was happening, he might have done it. "No," he said at last, "you're not."

* * * * * *
TBC
Tags: stargate
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