Stargate Horizons


After getting all the blood, urine and DNA samples she figured that she'd need and giving him an MRI, CT, EKG, EEG, PET, X-rays from top to bottom, and performing every other procedure she could think of short of exploratory surgery, Janet decided that she'd learned all that she could about Gennae's body and told Sam that he could be taken back home.  By that time, the poor man was looking a little ragged around the edges.

Jack had been contacted again a while ago and had reported that he and Teal'c were still fine.  Sam had the wormhole established once more.

"Sir, Doctor Fraiser is finished with Gennae," she announced.

"Does she know anything yet?" Jack asked.

"No, sir.  It's going to take a while for her to get back all the test results.  Sir, if you're okay there for another hour or so, I'd like to get Gennae something to eat and let him take it easy for a little while.  As you can imagine, he's a bit worn out after all the tests."

"Yeah, been there, done that.  Sure, Major.  Feed the guy and let him relax a little.  It's the least we can do for him."

Sam took Gennae to the commissary and fed him the best things on the menu, topped off with a huge piece of chocolate cake that would have had Daniel in nirvana.  Gennae, who was a member of a hunter/gatherer society and had never eaten that kind of food before, stuffed himself shamelessly.

After the meal was over, Sam took the native to her office, got online, and showed him photos of New York City, Los Angeles, and other major cities around the world.  Gennae stared at it all, open-mouthed.

"The people are like insects compared to the size of the buildings," he whispered.  "These places truly exist?"

"They sure do."


Sam then showed him photos of some of the greatest architectural examples of ancient history, the Coliseum, the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Giza, and more.

"I wish that Daniel was here to show these to you," she said.  "He could tell you all about their history, especially the pyramids.  He has a tremendous amount of knowledge about ancient civilizations."

Gennae looked at her.  "Will all the things that your doctor did to me help him to live?"

"We don't know yet.  I really hope so.  We don't want to lose him.  He means so much to us.  He's . . . irreplaceable to our people."

"I will pray to Dengai that Daniel will get well."


"The God of our deliverance.  We no longer see him as we do Bendrak, but he is with us all the same."  He stood.  "And, now, I must go back to my people.  Thank you for showing me some of the wonders of your world."

Sam took the old man to the gate room and went with him back to his world.

"Carter.  How's it going?" Jack asked.

"All right, sir."

"So, I guess we can get out of here."  The colonel stepped forward.  "Thanks for everything, Gennae.  We appreciate your help."

The native bowed.  "I am pleased that I could help you.  I hope that my people and yours can be friends."

Jack smiled.  "You bet.  Maybe one of these days, we can help you so that you won't have to give tribute to what's-his-name anymore."

"I do not know how you could do so, but a people who could create such wonders as you do might be able to find a way."  He bowed again.  "I hope that we will meet again someday."  Gennae then walked away down the path toward his village.

"Come on.  Let's go home," Jack said.

The hours passed with agonizing slowness as Daniel's teammates watched him get sicker and sicker.  He was now extremely jaundiced.  He was also cyanotic, his lips and nail beds possessing a distinct bluish cast from the reduced oxygen saturation.  Every breath was an extreme effort for him.  Janet had wanted to put him on a ventilator, but Daniel refused, not wanting to lose the ability to talk. In fact, he had insisted that the oxygen mask be replaced with the cannula so that he could talk more freely.  His blood pressure had dropped to a dangerously low level, barely high enough to keep him alive as his heart lost the strength to keep pumping blood through his veins. His kidneys had almost completely shut down, and he was now on dialysis.  He could no longer move his arms and legs at all and was having difficulty moving his head.  The only blessing was that he was no longer in pain.  His whole body had pretty much gone numb.  Jack, Sam and Teal'c had not left his side since returning from P7Y-359.

Daniel was asleep when Janet finally came over to them.  The expression on her face told them how bad the news was.

"You couldn't find anything, could you," Sam whispered, trying not to cry.

The doctor's head shook.  "Every scan, every test I've run shows Gennae to be one hundred percent human.  There is nothing different about him.  Bloodwork, chemical analysis, organ structure, it's all normal.  I have no idea why his people succumb so quickly to Bendrak's attacks while Daniel didn't."

"So, what does this mean?" Jack asked, not wanting to hear the answer.

"It means that I'm going to die, Jack," Daniel murmured in a calm, quiet voice.

Everyone turned to him.

"No.  I can't accept that," Jack said.  "There has to be something that somebody can do.  What about that Goa'uld healing device?"

Sam shook her head.  "I'm just not skilled enough with it.  The last time I used it on Daniel, I just made things worse.  We sent a message to the Tok'ra, but they haven't responded."

"I'm not sure if they'd be able to do anything to help anyway," Janet admitted.  "This isn't a disease or an injury.  It's like Daniel's entire body has simply lost the ability to function, like his . . . life force is draining away."

"Well, I bet there's one person who could help him," Jack stated, an angry, determined look in his eyes.  "Bendrak did this to him, and he could probably fix it.  Maybe it's time I go back there and have a little chat with him."

"No," Daniel weakly said.  "No, Jack, you're not going back there."

"Daniel, you may not be a member of SG-1 right now, but, unless somebody made you a general while I wasn't looking, you still can't give me orders."

"Jack."  Daniel put a wealth of meaning into that one word.  His eyes caught and held his friend's.  "There's no more time."

A look of pure agony passed over Jack's face as the truth of that statement hit him.  He shook his head, trying to deny the cold, hard fact.

"I'd . . . I'd like to talk to Teal'c in private for a few minutes," Daniel requested.

Silently, the others moved away.  The Jaffa came up to stand beside Daniel's bed.

"Teal'c, when I was dying the last time, before I ascended, you came to me and said some things.  I want you to know how much I appreciate what you told me.  It meant a lot to me."

"The words I spoke were true, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c said, his voice roughened with the emotions that he had been trained not to show.  "For these many years you have proven yourself to be a great and courageous warrior in the fight against the Goa'uld.  Your knowledge and your skills have been invaluable.  But more than this is what I have seen in your heart and your spirit.  Your mightiest weapon has not been in the strength of your body or your skill at arms but in the power that resides within your soul."  Teal'c voice wavered.  "You have shown me that there is more strength in holding a hand out in friendship and peace than to strike out in anger and hatred.  From you I have learned that the truest test of a warrior is not how well he can conquer his enemies by force but by how well he can destroy his enemies by turning them into allies.  You have shown that love is a far greater power than any weapon of destruction.  And for that, I will always be grateful.  You had much reason to hate me.  Most in your place would have done so.  But, instead, you offered me forgiveness and friendship.  In that moment, you showed me that you are a far greater man than I."

Teal'c voice broke.  His chin trembling, eyes shining with the tears he would not let fall, the former First Prime of Apophis gazed long and deep into his friend's eyes.  "I am honored and proud to have known you, Daniel Jackson.  You will forever remain one of the greatest friends I have ever had."

Tears slipping silently down his face, Daniel looked at the Jaffa.  "As you are mine, Teal'c," he whispered.  "It has been a great privilege fighting at your side.  I can think of no greater honor than to call you my friend."

Teal'c stood back and crossed his arms over his chest, bowing his head deeply.  Daniel had seen him do that only once before, when he and Bra'tac had seen Oma Desala on Kheb.  Daniel knew that it was among the Jaffa's greatest gestures of respect and honor.

Without another word, Teal'c left the room.  A moment later, Sam came in.  She sat on the chair and took Daniel's hand, pressing it against her cheek.

"Daniel," she whispered.  Then she started crying.

"Shh.  Please don't cry, Sam.  It's all right.  Really it is."

"How can you say that?" she sobbed.  "I'm going to lose you.  You're going to die.  Oh, God.  This hurts so much."

"I know.  It hurts me, too.  I don't want to leave you.  I don't want to say goodbye."

"I wish that you had stayed ascended," Sam said vehemently.  "Even if I had never seen you again, it would have been better knowing that you were out there, alive in some form, than to get you back only to lose you again so soon, knowing that, this time, it will be completely."

"I don't, Sam.  I don't wish that I had stayed ascended, even though I'm now going to die for real.  I wish that I could have had more time with you, but these months have meant a lot to me.  When I was dying before, I felt like my life had been a failure, that all the things I'd done had, in the end, been for nothing.  I didn't think I deserved ascension.  But Oma taught me some things, that success or failure does not truly matter when weighing the worth of a person, that what really matters is how that person faces the challenges they are given and how they seek to live their life.  The final thing she told me was that there is only one thing that any of us can truly control, and that's whether we are good or evil.  I may not have succeeded in all the things I tried to do; there may have been more failures than successes, but I have always tried to do the right thing.  I have remained true to myself and to what I believe in.  I wasn't a failure, Sam.  My life wasn't for nothing.  I did do some good.  And I did the best that I could, despite all the obstacles that stood in my way.  This."  He nodded at their clasped hands.  "What I have with you and with Jack and Teal'c, with Hammond, and Janet, and everyone else who has become my friend, is important.  It matters.  It made a difference.  Perhaps not to the galaxy, but to us.  And, after I'm gone, you'll still have that.  It will always be in your memories and your hearts.  And if there is such a thing as an afterlife, it will always be in my heart, too."

Sobbing, Sam wrapped her arms around Daniel, knowing that it would be the last time she ever did.  Her heart breaking, she then fled from the room.

Daniel closed his eyes.  He could feel himself dying, sense his life force slipping away from him.  But there was still one person that he needed to see, so he held onto the bit of life that remained within him and waited.  He didn't have to wait long.  He sensed rather than heard when Jack came into the room.

"We've been here once before," Daniel murmured as Jack came up to the bed.

"Yeah, we have.  I don't suppose that Oma's going to. . . ."

Daniel opened his eyes and looked at his friend.  "No, not this time."

"That's what I figured.  Their loss."  Jack's gaze moved around the room, focusing everywhere except on the archeologist.

Daniel smiled faintly.  "You're still not good at this, are you."

"No, I'm not."  Jack finally met his eyes.  "But, this time, I'm damn well going to try."  He sat on the chair.  "The last time we were like this I couldn't tell you how I felt, and you deserved better than that.  You deserve so much more than what you've been given.  You want me to tell you how I feel?  I'm angry.  I am so angry at how bad life sucks sometimes, at how unfair it can be.  This shouldn't be happening.  It is so wrong on so many levels that there are no words for it.  You more than anyone should be one of those guys who lives to be a hundred and two years old and dies in his sleep.  I feel like this is one colossal mistake, and someone needs to wake up and say, 'Oops!  Wait a minute.  This isn't supposed to happen.  We need to fix it.'"

He paused, his eyes dropping to the bed for a moment as he gathered more of his resolve.  He met Daniel's gaze again.  "I also feel . . . ashamed, ashamed that all the things you said to me earlier were true on some level, though not in the way you thought.  I do respect you, Daniel.  You have no idea how much.  You are. . . ."  He stopped abruptly.  'Dammit, Jack.  You can do this.  You need to say this.  It's the last chance you'll ever get.'  Gathering the rest of his resolve, he continued.  "You are the finest, strongest, most courageous, most . . . incredible person I have ever known.  I have never known anyone else who could have gone through all the things you have suffered your whole life, yet remain a good, noble, caring man who never gives up and who never sacrifices his principles.  God knows that those lofty principles of yours have irked me to no end sometimes, but, despite what you may think, I'd never have wanted you to change, not really.  It's those principles and your unwillingness to back down when you know you're right that made you such a vital part of the SGC and of my team.  You gave us something that we desperately needed, something . . . something I needed.  You didn't just save my life, Daniel, you saved my soul."

Jack took a deep breath.  "What makes me so ashamed is that I was so determined not to show how much you meant to me and how much I admired you that I treated you like crap.  I didn't want to care about you so much, and it made me mad that I couldn't stop it from happening.  It wasn't like that in the beginning, but, as time went on and I saw that you didn't need me to be your protector anymore, your . . . your big brother, I used that as an excuse to pull away from you.  I tried to make myself not care so much so that, if something happened to you, it wouldn't hurt.

"But there was more to it than that.  I am a colonel in the United States Air Force.  I was trained to fight, to use military might to defend my country and defeat the enemy.  I wasn't taught to make friends with that enemy.  I wasn't trained to talk myself and my men out of bad situations.  That's not the way things were done in my little world.  So, when you came along and tried to convince me that there was another way to do things, I didn't want to accept it.  The more time that passed, the deeper we got into this war, the less willing I was to see things your way.  I just got so damn tired, Daniel, tired, and angry, and frustrated by our never-ending battle with the Goa'uld, of seeing so many good men die.  Sometimes, it seemed so hopeless.  I got desperate.  I was determined to beat the Goa'uld, to get whatever we needed to win the war no matter what, even if we had to do some nasty things, even if we had to turn a blind eye to stuff that we shouldn't.  And that attitude transferred to other situations as well."

Jack looked straight into Daniel's eyes.  "But you weren't like that.  You never lost sight of what was right.  You were never willing to sacrifice your morality and your principles, and you tried to keep everyone else from doing the same.  And it made me angry because I didn't want to listen to you.  I didn't want to admit that you were right and I was wrong.  But, deep down inside, I knew that you were, and that made me even more angry.  I meant it when I said that I admired you, Daniel, but it was an admiration that I didn't want to have or admit to because admitting it would mean that I had to accept that I was wrong.  And so I fought you.  The more you pushed, the more you tried to change my way of thinking, the more I fought against you.  I clung so tightly to my anger and hatred and to my determination to defeat the Goa'uld that I failed to see that I was choking the life out of the best friendship I've ever had.  And for that I am so sorry."

Now that the dam to his emotions had been breached, Jack knew that he had to say everything.  Gathering his courage, Jack completely bared his emotions, letting Daniel see them in his eyes.  "But, more than the anger and the shame, what I feel most of all right now is pain.  It hurts so damn much that this is happening, that you're going to. . . ."  Jack broke off for a moment, then continued, though it was a struggle to finish.  "It hurts to know that I'm losing my best friend, someone who has never failed to be there for me even when I wasn't there for him.  I'll never be able to make up for the ways that I've hurt you and our friendship, and that hurts so much that it's just about killing me."  Jack met Daniel's gaze head on.  "I . . . I care, Daniel, more than I ever thought I could.  I am so sorry that I never told you that before, that I never let you see how much your friendship has meant to me."

With tear-filled eyes Daniel gazed at Jack, his friend's words warming his soul.  The darkness was closing in on him.  He could feel this odd sensation of lightness, as if his body was losing substance.  His vision had narrowed to a single point, and the terminus of that point was Jack, his friend, his companion, the man he respected, trusted, admired . . . and loved.

"I know, Jack," he whispered, so softly that the older man had to lean in more closely to hear him.  "I have always known.  In spite of the fighting, and the insults, and the irreconcilable differences between us, I knew."  He gazed deeply into his friend's eyes.  "I forgive you, Jack."  A tiny smile curved his lips.  "That's what friends do."

Feeling whole and at peace, Daniel at last let go.  In horror, Jack watched as Daniel closed his eyes, gave a final soft, sighing breath, then grew still.  A long, unending tone began issuing from the heart monitor.  Jack stared at the lifeless face of his closest friend, his heart going cold and numb.

"No," he whispered.

Just then, Janet, Sam, Teal'c and General Hammond came in.  Janet walked up to the bed and looked at the monitor.  She reached a trembling hand out to Daniel and touched his face.

"He's gone," she said, a single tear sliding down her cheek.

"No," Sam sobbed brokenly.  Then she broke down completely.  Teal'c gently took her into his arms and held her as she wept inconsolably, his own tears falling unnoticed down his face.  Janet flipped the switch on the monitor, silencing it.

Suddenly unable to bear being in that place, Jack fled.  He rushed out of the base, passing the checkpoints in a haze of anguish.  He was in his car and a third of the way down the mountain before he even became aware of what he was doing.  Seeing an old logging road, Jack took it and drove until there was no more road to follow.  Then he was out of the car and running, crashing through the underbrush in his desperate need to get away.  All at once, he came to an abrupt stop.  Jack's chest heaved as his emotions built and built.  Then a single scream of torment ripped from his throat, and he fell to his knees to cry the first tears he'd shed since the day his son died.

Next Chapter

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