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A Storm of Shadows
Jessie clenched the hooded cloak around her like it was some sort of a shield as they drew closer to the Tok’ra encampment. They were about halfway there when her brain finally reengaged, and luckily far enough away to make going back and killing Kutkh a nonviable option. Instead, her mind focused on the next pressing problem…Ba’al’s meeting with Camulus, and him obtaining the Destroyer weapon. She knew time was of essence…they had to get off the planet before Ba’al started playing with it. The fact that her back had started itching where the scar from the godstick had been didn’t bode well, and she’d bet a good chunk of change those damned nanites weren’t gone, either. Jessie figured if she were far enough away, theoretically she wouldn’t be able to interact with the damned thing. She hadn’t told Cam yet…they hadn’t wasted any time in leaving, and little was said between them during the trek to the encampment. She had hoped it could wait until they got back to the SGC, but as with most things during the last eight weeks, it wasn’t meant to be.
Cam heard a sound, not quite a groan, but close, as they entered the tent. Running on pure adrenaline of having rescued Jessie, plus eluding Ba’al, he had had blinders on in getting back to the outpost. Turning and seeing Jessie standing rigid, sweat beading along her brow and upper lip, chills rippling through her caught him completely off guard.
"Jessie?" he asked as he reached out, shocked to find her skin cold as ice. "What’s wrong?" He helped her sit down as the shaking became worse.
Trying to keep her teeth from chattering, she whispered, "Ba’al…Camulus meeting…didn’t die…Destroyer weapon."
"It’s here?" he asked incredulously. When she nodded, he methodically began recalling any and all information he had about the weapon, the nanites, and Jessie’s connection to it. As her shaking became worse, he eased her back until she was lying on the ground. "Do you have any control at all over the process, either the weapon or the nanites?"
Clenching her teeth tightly together, she shook her head, the roaring in her ears starting to drown out other sounds.
"What is wrong with her?" One of the Tok’ra had come into the tent, and saw the young woman lying on the floor, obviously in distress. "Is she ill?"
"Get out, and don’t let anyone in until I say so!" Cam growled, the look he gave causing the other man to leave immediately. He grabbed his pack from the table, rummaging through it for the med kit, his mind running through the possible scenarios. "Do you think a sedative would do any good?"
"No…no…idea…" she stuttered as she pulled at the cloak. "Get it…off…back…on fire."
Cam made quick work of stripping the cloak from her, rolling her on her side to pull it from her back. Was shocked to see the Earth symbol on her back as clear as the day it had shown up, as well as other symbols appearing alongside it, as if coordinates were being typed across a screen. "Crap," he muttered beneath his breath. He yanked the top off the med kit, digging through the contents in search of something, anything, that might help her. He ticked off her symptoms in his mind, thinking of what might counteract them. Shaking, sweating, dilated pupils, cold so intense it felt like he was standing in front of a freezer with the door open. Recalled the initial meeting where Daniel had talked about the nanites, and Janet… Cam stopped as his gaze came to rest on the rubber tourniquets. Could it really be that simple? He grabbed two of them, and a syringe.
"Jessie, listen to me," he said as he threaded one of the tourniquets around her upper arm, tying it tightly before grabbing the end of the second one with his teeth and using his free hand to tie it around his own arm. Tearing open an alcohol prep pad, he rubbed it over the bend of his arm before doing the same to her, his brow furrowing at the granite-hardness of her skin. "Jess, look at me."
Barely able to hear his voice above the roaring in her ears, she struggled to focus on Cam. Watched as he tore open the wrapping on a syringe before deftly inserting the needle into his vein below the tourniquet, his thumb pushing the plunger away from the syringe, the tube filling with his blood.
"Do you remember when Janet talked about doing tests on the nanites, when Hammond asked if there was any way to transfer them to something else? She said when they came into contact with anyone’s blood other than your own, they disintegrated." Cam withdrew the needle from his arm, pulling his tourniquet loose. "My blood," he said as he held up the syringe, checking that there were no air bubbles, "should destroy the nanites. We’re both O-positive." His free hand grasped her arm gently, ignoring the icy temperature. He leaned closer to her, talking softly. "The nanites make you invincible to harm. You know I’m not a threat; I’m not trying to hurt you." He kissed her gently. "You’re gonna have to concentrate, to focus on that, Jessie." Looking down, he placed the needle against her visible vein. Noted there was no indentation, no give to the skin. "Jessie, honey, you’ve got to let me in," he whispered, staring at her intently. "It’s time to go home." She began to pant, taking small, shallow breaths. It was then he felt it, the slight softening in the texture of her skin, watched as the tip of the needle disappeared, sliding smoothly into her vein. Pressing slowly, he injected his blood into her vein, hoping against hope that he was right, pulling the tourniquet free at the same time. For the first few seconds nothing happened, but as her heart pumped his blood through her body, her pupils contracted, her breathing slowed and she began to warm. Other than one prolonged shiver, her body quieted. The storm had abated.
Pulling her into a sitting position, Cam wrapped his arms around her, cradling her close. "It’s okay, Jessie," he said softly. "Everything’s okay." The fact that she didn’t return his embrace didn’t register with him.
Less than 24 hours later, they arrived back at the SGC. Jessie had slept most of that time, with Cam never leaving her side. Delek met them when they arrived at the Tok’ra base, and followed them through the Stargate, intent on getting the crystal General Hammond had withheld from him until Dr. Watson’s return. SG-1 and SG-7, Dr. Fraiser and General Hammond were all present in the briefing room, and witnessed the confrontation between Jessie and Delek.
Jessie’s eyes bored into Delek. "How could you?"
"We needed the information. Too much was at stake…"
"You knew what I was walking into! That wasn’t a generic slave market, and those weren’t the servants’ quarters! You sent me in as a gedikli, an odalisque trained in the erotic arts, into the quarters that housed the System Lords’ sex slaves!"
"It was the only way to get the crystal…"
"No, it was NOT the only way. If you had been honest from the beginning, we could have figured out another way in." Jessica placed her hands on the table, trying to control her emotions. "Do you have any idea what I had to go through because of your stupidity?"
"If you had stuck with the original plan, instead of trying to rescue anyone, you would have made it out safely," Delek replied, as if that explanation absolved him from blame.
"You son-of-a-bitch…they were CHILDREN! They were minutes away from being taken to Ba’al so he could rape them until they died! I was supposed to walk away and let that happen? You can’t tell me you didn’t know exactly what was going on in that compound, that you allowed it to happen."
"It was your choice to try and save them."
"Yes, it was my choice, because I couldn’t just walk away and let that happen."
"Dr. Watson, it was an unfortunate set of circumstances, but you are here now, safe. Your sacrifice will not go unnoted."
"My sacrifice?" Jessie was having a hard time controlling the urge to attack Delek. "My sacrifice, as you so eloquently put it, was unnecessary. An alternate plan based on all the facts would have prevented me from being on the receiving end of a staff blast. It would have prevented me from being revived in a sarcophagus by Kutkh, and finding myself on a ha’tak with no way home. It would have been unnecessary for me to try to elude him for an entire week in some cat and mouse game." Jessie dug her nails into her palms, trying to stay focused on what she needed to say. "If you had been honest, you would have told me that a virgin slave would have been trained not only in the erotic arts, but also in the use of aphrodisiacs and mood altering substances. When Kutkh brought up daninha, I had no idea what he was talking about. Fortunately he bought my story of not having completed my training…which he then took upon himself to do." Jessie stood up and leaned across the table, her eyes shooting daggers at Delek. "From that day forward, until I was rescued, I was drugged and raped repeatedly. Every…single…day. I had to submit to whatever twisted fantasy Kutkh could think up because Ba’al was breathing down my neck and Kutkh was the only thing standing in the way. Not to mention that as a gedikli, it would seem odd that a slave who was trained specifically to fuck her ‘god’ would balk at her good fortune!"
For the first time since the meeting began, Delek looked uncomfortable. Jessie stepped away from the table. "You have no idea what you’ve done," she said in disgust. Jessie turned to General Hammond. "Sir?"
"Yes, Dr. Watson?"
"Would you please have Delek removed? I have information I need to share with you."
With a nod from the General, the guards made quick work of physically escorting the protesting Tok’ra from the room and closing the door.
Jessie swallowed against the wave of nausea, taking a slow breath to settle her stomach.
"Are you all right, Dr. Watson?" Hammond asked, concern for the young woman apparent in his voice.
Jessie ignored the question. "Camulus and the Destroyer weapon survived the attack by the Prometheus. Ba’al is aware of the weapon and has been trying to obtain it. Kutkh apparently has some kind of relationship with Camulus, and Ba’al is using him to try to get the weapon."
"Does Ba’al know how the weapon functions? More specifically, does he know your role in it?"
"No, Sir, he had no idea who I was. I managed to avoid Camulus when he was meeting with Ba’al and Kutkh, because he would have remembered me. I don’t think Camulus or Kutkh had filled in Ba’al about the specifics of the weapon. Each of them is too busy trying to out-trump the other."
The General considered this information. "If the weapon wasn’t destroyed, then what about the nanites?"
Janet spoke up. "All the tests I had run on Jessie came back negative…"
"They were hiding, Janet," Jessie replied. "I started having signs of nanite activation when we escaped to the Tok’ra encampment on Neowe; evidently Camulus powered up the weapon."
"What happened? Hammond asked.
"Nothing." At his puzzled look, Jessie continued. "Colonel Mitchell remembered Dr. Fraiser saying when the nanites came into contact with any blood other than my own, they disintegrated. He injected me with a syringe of his own blood."
Cam looked at Janet. "Jessie and I are both O-positive blood types. It was the only thing I could think of at the time." He was trying to keep his face neutral, but anyone who had been looking at him saw his pained expression when Jessie called him Colonel Mitchell.
"All symptoms I had from the nanite activation ceased."
General Hammond was becoming more concerned as he watched Jessie. If anything, it looked like she had become paler in the last few minutes. "If that’s the case, then Ba’al and Camulus have a nonfunctional weapon, at least for the time being. Dr. Watson…"
"Sir, I…I need to speak with Dr. Fraiser, please."
Janet had already risen and she followed Jessie over to the door, noting her pallor. "Jessie, are you okay?"
Jessica had her back to the room, but most of the ones gathered could see Janet’s face. They didn’t hear what Jessie said to her, but there was no mistaking the shock in her expression.
"That’s not possible…" Janet began, but before she could finish Jessie collapsed. Everyone was instantly on their feet, but it was Cam who reached Jessie first. Janet began giving orders. "Take her directly to the infirmary," she said as she rushed to grab her files from the table. Cam was already out the door before General Hammond had a chance to say anything.
Janet glanced at those gathered, then at the General before answering quietly, "I’ll know more after I run some tests, Sir, but Jessie said she’s pregnant."
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