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Many things happened in the span of those few seconds. When Cam and Jack saw Jessie pull her gun from her holster, they both began yelling.
"Walter, get a lock on Watson, NOW!" Jack ordered.
"Jessie, don’t do it! NO!" Cam yelled.
Kinsey joined in the fray. "Sergeant Harriman, I order you to get a lock on that weapon. My command overrides General O’Neill’s as per orders of the IOC!"
Jack and Cam watched Jessica raise the gun, and Jack’s voice becomes more urgent. "Watson, don’t! That’s an order! Goddamn it, Walter, you’ve got to get her out of there now!"
Cam’s eyes locked with Jessie’s, time slowing to a crawl as he watched her raise the gun to her temple. The last thing he heard her say was, "I love you, Cam," just as her finger squeezed the trigger.
Cam screamed, "Walter!" as Kinsey turned on him. Acting on pure instinct, Cam lashed out, his fist catching Kinsey just beneath his jaw, the crack echoing throughout the room, knocking Kinsey out cold.
Almost simultaneous with Jessie pulling the trigger, the Destroyer weapon activated. Several seconds later Walter’s voice crackled over the intercom.
"The ha’tak’s shields have fallen, Sir! I’ve got a lock on Dr. Watson!"
As soon as Walter got Jessica back on the Prometheus, they opened up on the Goa’uld. Cam looked at Kinsey’s prostrate form, then at Jack. In silent communication, Cam grabbed Kinsey and hauled him over to the transporter while Jack went to the control panel. Waiting until Cam was clear, and ignoring Jacob’s questions, he keyed in a destination. His gaze locked with Cam’s as he activated the transporter, and Kinsey disappeared.
Not missing a beat, Jack opened the intercom once again.
"Do you have her, Walter?"
"Yes, Sir, we do."
Jack hesitated a second before asking, "Is she alive?"
"Yes Sir. She’s got a nasty bruise on her temple, but no other visible wounds. Dr. Fraiser is taking care of her as we speak."
All three men on the Tok’ra vessel breathed a sigh of relief. An exploding fireball drew their attention back to the view screen. With the shields down, the ha’tak couldn’t withstand a prolonged attack. The initial shots had taken out the hyperdrive, leaving the Goa’uld ship a sitting duck. Given their past contact with Camulus, Colonel Pendergast wasted no time in eliminating the threat.
Glancing at Cam, Jack said, "Good job, Walter. We’ll be heading back shortly."
Jack turned off the intercom, the three men looking at each other. They all knew too well that sometimes one had to commit unethical acts to ensure a greater good, but they hadn’t seen this one coming.
Jacob was the one who broke the silence. "So, what do we say happened to Kinsey?" No further explanation was needed.
"He was beamed off the ship about the same time Walter got a lock on Jessie. We assume it was to the Goa’uld ship, since he was in cahoots with Camulus. In the ensuing battle, the ha’tak was destroyed, presumably with Kinsey on board."
Jacob nodded. "I’ll make sure the logs reflect that. Just between us, you did what should have been done a long time ago. This wasn’t the first time Kinsey had collaborated with the Goa’uld, and it wasn’t going to be the last. He wasn’t going to change."
Jack walked over and grasped Jacob’s hand. "Thanks Jacob, for everything."
Looking out at the debris field, Jacob asked, "I don’t suppose there’s any need for testing that power supply now, is there?"
"I doubt seriously anything could have survived that blast. But, Sam has the schematics. If anyone is able to put something together like it, it’ll be her."
Walking over to the transporter, Jack said over his shoulder, "Would ya mind beaming us over to the Prometheus, Scottie?"
Jacob grinned. "Aye, Captain…er…General."
As the two men stepped up on the platform, Cam finally broke his silence. "Where’d you send him?"
Jack looked straight ahead. "P5C-353." Just as the transporter activated, he added, "Toxic, uninhabitable. Bastard ought to feel right at home."
As soon as they got back to the Prometheus, Cam went directly to the infirmary. Janet had already stabilized Jessie and assured Cam that although she was unconscious, she was going to be fine. She repeated the same thing to him when they arrived back at the SGC and Jessie hadn’t woken up yet.
"She’s going to be out for a while, Cam," she said, gently laying a hand on his arm. "I promise you, she’ll be fine. Her body used a lot of energy; once she’s recovered what she lost, she’ll be back to normal in no time."
Sam was coming down the hall when she saw Cam come out of the infirmary. She had been on her way to check on Jessie, but something caused her to follow him instead. When she finally got close enough, she called out to him.
"Cam, wait up."
At first she thought he wasn’t going to stop, but he finally slowed so she could catch up.
"Are you all right?" One look at his face answered that question for her, and she maneuvered him into the first empty room she came across, closing the door behind them. "Is Jessie okay?"
Cam went and sat down on the bench next to the wall, and Sam sat beside him.
"Janet said she’s going to be all right."
His voice was tight with emotion, and Sam reached out, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"Hey, what is it?"
He swallowed convulsively a couple of times, and she could tell he was trying to keep a tight hold on his emotions. He looked the other way as he said, "I…it was just kind of rough up there. Nothin’ personal Sam, but I really don’t want to talk about it right now."
She squeezed his shoulder gently. "Okay. Is there anything I can do?"
He shook his head as he looked down at his boots. "Nah, but I appreciate it. I…I just need some time."
Sam bit her lip, but acquiesced. "Are you gonna be okay?"
Cam nodded, still not making eye contact with her. "I think I’ll stay here for a while. I’ll catch up with y’all later."
She didn’t really want to leave him, but she knew he needed his space. Patting him on the shoulder, she stood. "Well, if you change your mind, you know where you can find me."
When she hesitated at the door, Cam turned and gave her a half-hearted grin, which did nothing to reassure her. "I’ll be fine, Sam. Go on."
Jessie awoke slowly, the question of whether she was still alive answered by the bright lights and her dull headache. Judging by the stiffness of her muscles, she had been lying in this position for a while.
"Hey there," Janet said as she walked over to her. "How you feeling?"
"I’ve been better," she replied hoarsely.
Doing a quick check of her vital signs, she wrote them down in her chart.
"How long was I out?"
"It’s been two days."
Janet shook her head. "You had a double wallop—the energy drain from the weapon’s activation, plus the nanites protecting you from the gunshot blast." She watched as Jessie tentatively raised her hand to her temple. "The bullet didn’t break the skin, but you have one hell of a bruise."
"Is everybody okay?"
"Yeah. Turns out the shields on the ha’tak fell, even though you and the weapon were on board. We got you back over before the ha’tak was destroyed."
Jessie was quiet for a moment. "What about the weapon?"
"We’re guessing it was destroyed as well. They didn’t pick up anything when they scanned the debris field, and, more importantly, the symbol has disappeared from your back."
"The slight energy signature the nanites were giving off is gone, and I can’t find them in your blood. Without the direct link to the weapon, it appears they’ve disintegrated."
Janet watched as the young woman’s body visibly relaxed, as if a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders. It was the next question that she was dreading the most.
"Is Cam around?"
Janet did the best she could to keep an impassive expression on her face. "No, Jess, he isn’t. He…he took some personal time off, but he checked to make sure you were going to be okay before he left." Janet winced inwardly as she saw the shift in Jessie’s demeanor, as if someone had turned off a light switch.
"Hey," she said as she sat down on the edge of the bed, "I’m sure he just had some stuff he had to take care of. That doesn’t mean anything’s wrong."
Jessie chose to ignore that. "So, when can I get out of here?"
Janet sighed. "Let’s have you eat something first, get you up walking around. If you do okay, I’ll go ahead and discharge you."
The drive for Cam had stirred a lot of dormant memories. It had been a while since he had been here, but this was the place that drew him when things got too overwhelming, when he needed a voice of reason to calm the turmoil inside. He hadn’t called beforehand, but as luck would have it, they were home. Knocking on the door, it wasn’t long before he heard the faint clicking of the crutches against the hardwood floor, and the door was opened by the one man who could get him to stop running in circles, and set his world right again.
He smiled. "Hey, Dad. Got a minute?"
After assuring his parents that everything was generally okay, and having a hearty lunch at his mom’s insistence, Cam and his dad drove down to the local park. Frank knew his son well enough; something was weighing heavily on him.
Getting out of the truck, they strolled quietly for a short distance before Frank asked, "Well, son, what’s going on?"
Cam looked out into the distance, before letting out a sigh. "I don’t know, Dad. I thought I had things figured out, but now I’m not so sure."
Cam sighed. "Might be kind of tough for me to explain. There are some things I can’t talk about."
"I understand, son. I was in the military, remember?" he said with a grin.
Cam chuckled. "Yeah. Well. It’s just that…you know how you’re trained…that there’s always the possibility you’ll lose men in battle. If it happens, you complete your mission…suck it up, grieve later, that kind of thing."
Cam looked off into the distance. "Been there, done that. Thought I had a pretty good handle on it all. But…"
"There was a situation." Cam rubbed his hand over his face before running his fingers through his hair. "Damn it."
Frank knew what the problem was. "Just tell me what you can, and I’ll piece it together."
"I’ve fallen in love."
Frank looked hard at his son. "With a soldier?"
It took Cam a second before he realized what his father was thinking. "A woman, Dad. I work with her, she’s on my team."
"Okay. No offense, Cam, I just wanted to make sure what we were talking about."
Cam shook his head. "We were in a situation, a battle. She…she deliberately put herself in the line of fire to protect us." Cam’s voice broke.
Frank stopped walking. "Is she okay, son?"
Cam took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. "She’s okay. It’s just…I wasn’t prepared for how I was going to react to that."
"It’s different seeing someone you love risk their life, versus one of your men."
"Don’t get me wrong. The times I’ve lost men, good friends, it’s been one of the hardest things to go through. This…this ripped my heart out. It was like a part of me died right there."
"That’s a pretty big shock, especially when you’re not expecting it."
"You’re preaching to the choir here, Dad."
Frank grinned at that, but then grew serious once more. "She must be a really special woman for you to have fallen in love with her."
"Yeah, she is."
"From the little bit you’ve told me, courageous and honorable also come to mind."
Cam blinked back the tears that were stinging his eyes. "Yeah."
"Well, it seems to me that you’ve realized how vulnerable being in love can make you. What you need to decide is, are you questioning the wisdom of working with her, or are you questioning the wisdom of loving her?"
"You know, you suck at pep talks, Dad."
"Well, I’m just being realistic. What was worse—the shock of seeing her endanger herself, or the shock of discovering a weakness you didn’t know you had?"
Cam didn’t answer, walking in silence beside him.
"Son, you’ve always been just like me. Always looking to the horizon, always looking for something more. If you’re in love with this woman, it’s because you saw something more in her. True love is a paradox. It strengthens you while making you vulnerable at the same time. The question is, can you come to terms with that?"
Cam swallowed hard. "I don’t know, Dad."
"It’s okay, son. If you knew the answer to that already, you wouldn’t be here. But, I do know one thing."
"In life, you either sit and watch it go by, or you embrace it and experience it fully. You’re just like me. You’ve never been one to watch from the sidelines."
"But I’m not like you, Dad. I’m not that strong."
"Ah, that’s where you’re wrong, kid. You just don’t know it yet."
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