Stargate Horizons


Daniel stared down at Teal'c as he lay in the infirmary bed.  Ma'chello's Goa'uld killer was gone, tricked into thinking that the larva inside the Jaffa was dead, and everyone was confident that he was going to be okay.  Daniel wasn't so sure about himself.  Now that the crisis was over and the danger past, he was really starting to think about the events of the past few days, about how everyone had allowed him to be taken away to Mental Health without a fight.  He was trying not to be angry, to understand, but the fact was that it hurt, it hurt a lot.  Why were they so quick to accept MacKenzie's diagnosis?  Why, after all the things they'd seen and experienced, didn't they at least consider the possibility that something alien was causing his symptoms?  Why didn't they investigate, question, test things . . . do something?

Suddenly feeling the need to be alone, Daniel hurried out of the infirmary.  No one noticed his departure.  He headed for the locker room to get his wallet and keys, intending to go home.  He wasn't going to take the time to change.  What difference did it make anyway?  The people of Colorado Springs were used to seeing military uniforms.  Why bother hiding it?  All he'd really have to do was remove his patches.

On the way to the locker room, several people greeted Daniel, saying that they were glad he was feeling better and asking if Teal'c was okay.  News on base always traveled fast, and Daniel guessed that, by now, just about everyone knew the reason for his mental illness and what had happened to Teal'c, Jack and Janet.  This was good since he shouldn't have to worry about someone stopping him from leaving.  He was not feeling very well and just wanted to go home.

Daniel knew that he probably shouldn't leave, that Janet would not be happy, but he simply didn't care.  To be honest, he didn't give a damn what the doctor thought or felt.  She more than any of them should have considered other causes for his symptoms.

With wallet and keys in hand and BDU patches left in his locker, Daniel headed for the elevator, in a hurry to get off the base.  He was afraid that Jack or someone else would start looking for him soon.  The problem was that he was really starting to feel sick now.  He was feverish and sweating, his hands were trembling, and his muscles felt stiff.

By the time Daniel got to the elevator, he knew that he wasn't going to make it to his car.  Even if he did, he was in no condition to drive.  Why was he feeling this way?  Was it because of that thing of Ma'chello's?  Daniel had a feeling it wasn't that.  It was the drugs, the stuff that MacKenzie had been pumping into him.  They were still in his system and were doing this to him.  All he needed to do was sleep them off, and he'd be okay.  Hopefully, everyone would leave him alone and not take him back to the infirmary.

The elevator doors opened, and Daniel stepped inside.  Then he just stared at the panel of buttons, feeling a little confused and disoriented.  Where was he going?  He was going home.  No, not home.  He was sick and needed to lie down.  A VIP room.  He could go to a VIP room.  Level . . . Level 25, right?

Daniel pushed the button for 25, then stared a little vacantly at the buttons as the elevator took him down the four flights.  When the doors opened, he didn't immediately exit, his mind growing progressively more confused.  When he finally stepped off the elevator, he found that he was having such a hard time walking that he wasn't sure he was going to make it.  He felt like his muscles were set in cement.  And he was so hot, the sweat pouring off him in buckets.

Daniel stood unmoving for several seconds, feeling so disoriented that he wasn't even sure where he was.  He looked down the corridor and saw something familiar, a room number that he remembered.  He headed for it, though the mere act of making his body move took a monumental effort.  It seemed to take forever to reach the door.

With great difficulty, Daniel swiped his keycard through the lock and entered the VIP room, shutting the door behind him.  He raised a shaking hand to his forehead, feeling the heat of his own skin.  His respiration had increased, and his heart was beating like a triphammer in his chest.

The logical part of Daniel's mind was telling him that he should call the infirmary, but that logic was being overridden by confusion and the fear of what they'd do to him if anyone found out that he was sick.  Would they put him back in the padded room, shoot him full of more drugs?

Daniel's gaze cast about the room.  Why was he here?  Oh, yes, to rest.  He needed to rest.  So, he should go do that.  Looking at the bed, Daniel thought about going to it, but he couldn't seem to get himself to move.

With glacial slowness, Daniel finally started walking to the bed.  He was about halfway there when he lost his balance and fell to the floor.  As he lay there, the last lucid part of Daniel's mind was telling him that he needed to call for help, but he couldn't move.

"Jack," Daniel whispered.  "Help."

"Sir, where's Daniel?"

Sam's sudden question drew the colonel's eyes away from Teal'c.  He looked around and saw no sign of the archeologist.  Where did he go?  He was just here a moment ago.

"He shouldn't have left," Janet said.  "I need to run more tests on him.  His dopamine levels were normal earlier, but I'm concerned that there's a chance they'll drop, go in the opposite direction."

"Why?" Jack asked.

"Because Doctor MacKenzie was giving him haloperidol, which works by blocking dopamine receptors.  The problem is that, while that thing of Ma'chello's was in him, it was counteracting the haloperidol.  Well, it's gone now, but the drug is still in Daniel's system, which means that his dopamine levels could drop below normal."

Jack started to get worried.  "Is it dangerous?"

"No, it shouldn't be, though he could experience some very unpleasant side effects.  He'll be okay once the drug wears off, and we could help speed up the recovery with medication that will counteract the haloperidol.  Daniel may experience some symptoms similar to what people suffering from Parkinson's Disease do: tremors, slowness of movement and muscle rigidity, but nothing life-threatening."

Jack gave a sharp nod.  "Okay, I'll go find him."

"I'll look, too," Sam said.

The two members of SG-1 split up to cover more ground.  The first place Jack went was Daniel's office.  No luck.  After checking a couple of other places and still not finding him, Jack started searching at random, hoping that the archeologist hadn't decided to leave the base.

As he searched, Jack asked people he passed if anyone had seen Daniel.  A few said that they had and told him where.  Jack's concern increased when one of the Marines revealed that Daniel had been getting something out of his locker when the man saw him.

"Dammit, Daniel, you'd better not have gone off and left the base," Jack muttered.  He called one of the checkpoints and was relieved to hear that, no, Daniel had not left – or at least not that way.  Jack wondered if his friend might have gone up to the top of the mountain so that he could be alone.

Jack was just about to go check when an airman called to him.

"Sir?  I heard that you're looking for Doctor Jackson."

"Yes, that's right."

"I was just on Level 25, and I saw him going into a VIP room.  I think it was the same room that he was in when he was, um . . . sick."

Thanking the man, Jack hurried to the VIP room where he had spent those hours with Daniel before the archeologist was carted away to Mental Health.

Reaching the room, Jack opened the door.  He came to a dead halt, his heart leaping up into his throat upon seeing Daniel sprawled, unmoving, on the floor, eyes staring sightlessly up at the ceiling.


Jack leapt forward and knelt at his friend's side.  Daniel's clothes were drenched in sweat, his face beaded with perspiration.  As Jack touched the younger man's neck to feel for a pulse, he was alarmed by the extreme heat emanating from Daniel's skin and the racing speed of his pulse.  Most unnerving of all was the vacant, fixed stare.  He looked dead.

"Daniel?  Daniel, can you hear me?"

Getting no response, Jack scrambled to his feet and called the infirmary.  Janet answered.

"Doc, I found Daniel in the VIP room he was staying in before.  He's burning up with fever and he's just lying there, staring at nothing."

"What?!  I'm on my way."

After hanging up, Jack returned to Daniel's side.  Janet had sounded really worried.

"Daniel?  Daniel, it's Jack," the colonel told his friend.  "Help's on the way, buddy.  You hang in there."

Jack was suddenly filled with anger and guilt over what had been done to Daniel.  'God, what have we done to him?  Why did we let this happen?'

Though Jack knew that it was really only a few minutes, it seemed to take forever for Janet and her medical team to arrive.  He was forced to move out of the way as they attended to his friend.

"Pulse is one thirty-seven, BP one seventy-eight over ninety-five, respiration, forty," called out one of the nurses.

"Temp's one hundred and six point two," announced another.

Janet let out a soft curse.  "We need to get him to the infirmary, stat!"

Daniel was lifted onto a gurney and rushed away, Jack following closely behind.

Once they were in the infirmary, Janet rattled off a huge list of tests to be taken.  Then she turned to Jack.

"I'm sorry, Colonel, but you need to leave and let us do our job," she said.

"What's wrong with him?  I thought you said he'd be okay."  There was a harsh accusation in Jack's voice.

"I have my suspicions, but I can't be sure until some of the test results come back.  Sir, I must insist that you leave.  I'll talk to you as soon as I know something for sure."

Jack very reluctantly left the infirmary.  He nearly bumped into Sam, who was rushing in.

"Sir!  What happened?" she asked breathlessly, apparently having been running.  "I heard that they rushed Daniel here."

Jack moved her away from the door.  "I don't know what's going on.  The doc won't tell me anything.  But he's really sick, Carter.  He's burning up with fever.  His eyes were empty, like he was dead."  Jack ran a hand over his face.  "God, I don't ever want to see that again."

Jack and Sam parked themselves in the hallway and waited.  It was a long time before Janet came out.

"How is he?" the two SG-1 teammates asked at the same time.  The pause before Janet replied sent their hearts dropping into their boots.

"He's catatonic," she answered, "and I'm concerned that he may slip into a coma.  He has an extremely high temperature.  He's suffering from severe tachycardia and tachypnea, which means that his pulse and respiration are very high.  His blood pressure is all over the place, fluctuating from dangerously elevated to very low.  I'm very worried that he may go into respiratory failure."

"What happened?" Sam asked in a shaky voice, stunned by the news.  "Is it a reaction to the drugs or Ma'chello's invention?"

"The test results we got back appear to confirm that Daniel is suffering from neuroleptic malignant syndrome, which is a rare reaction to neuroleptic medication."

"Neuro what?" Jack asked, wishing that the doctor would speak in plain English.

"Many antipsychotic medications, especially those that primarily target dopamine receptors like haloperidol does, can sometimes cause what's called neuroleptic malignant syndrome, NMS for short.  But it's extremely uncommon, generally affecting only a very small percentage of patients taking such medication."

"So, Daniel ended up going against the odds," Sam said.

Janet shook her head.  "I'm afraid that this may be partially due to Ma'chello's Goa'uld killer.  Remember how I said before that, now that that thing is out of Daniel's body, the haloperidol could cause his dopamine levels to drop below normal?  Well, that's exactly what happened.  The problem is that his levels dropped very suddenly and severely.  There is strong evidence that an acute reduction in dopamine activity in certain portions of the brain is the basic underlying cause of NMS.  I also wouldn't rule out some residual effect from Ma'chello's invention to be the reason why Daniel is suffering from such an extreme case and why it developed so quickly.  Just a few hours ago, he had no symptoms at all, and now. . . ."  Janet sighed.  "I can only be grateful that he didn't get his last dose of medication.  If he had, this would have hit him even harder.  As it is. . . ."

"What?" Jack asked sharply.  "What aren't you saying?"

"He is extremely ill, sir.  We're doing all we can to stabilize him.  He's on oxygen, and we've got him on several medications to reduce his fever, stimulate dopamine receptors, and treat his other symptoms."

"More drugs," Jack muttered, thinking about all the crap that had been forcibly pumped into Daniel against his will.

"At this point, Colonel, there isn't much else we can do.  This hit him so hard and so fast.  I wish to God that we'd gotten to him sooner.  If only he hadn't left the infirmary."

Sam's stomach was tied into a tight knot of fear.  "Is he going to be okay?"

"I wish I could say for sure that he is," Janet replied.  "Normally, the mortality rate for NMS is very low, if treatment is received in time, but Daniel is suffering from an extremely severe case, and his exposure to Ma'chello's invention is an added factor that may be making things worse.  He has some other chemical imbalances that I can't blame on the NMS or the haloperidol.  Right now, my biggest concern is getting his temperature down.  The dantrolene we're giving him is usually very effective in rapidly reducing extreme temperature elevations.  Unfortunately, there are other dangers to worry about, including renal failure and cardiovascular collapse."

Jack was getting progressively more frightened, trying to grasp the fact that they could lose Daniel.  "How long before you know if he's going to be all right?"

"The next few hours are going to be the most critical.  If he starts to show an improvement in that time, then I'll be a lot more optimistic."  Janet looked at the two very worried faces.  "You should both get some rest, especially you, Colonel.  You had three of those things in you."

"I'm fine.  Besides, so did you, and you're not resting."

Janet smiled very faintly.  "I guess I can't argue with that."

"We'd like to see him," Sam said.

The doctor shook her head.  "Until we get his temperature down, you'd just be in the way."

"Then we want to see Teal'c," Jack stated, determined to get into the infirmary one way or another.

"All right."

All three of them entered the infirmary.  Jack's and Sam's eyes immediately went to where a group of nurses were gathered around Daniel.  The archeologist was hooked up to several IV's and monitors, an oxygen mask over his face.  He was naked from the waist up, the sheet probably the only thing covering his lower half.  Ice packs had been placed on various points of his body.  Both Jack and Sam desperately wanted to go to him.  Instead, they went to the bed that held their other teammate.  Teal'c was conscious and sitting up in the bed.

"O'Neill, Major Carter.  What is wrong with Daniel Jackson?" he asked.  "I attempted to speak to one of the nurses, but I could not attract her attention."

"He's having a really bad reaction to the drug they gave him in the hospital, Teal'c," Sam explained, figuring that she didn't need to go into details right now.

"Will he be well?"

"The doc doesn't know yet," Jack replied, "but you know Daniel.  He's a tough guy to kill, and he's as stubborn as they come.  He'll be fine."

Jack and Sam both found chairs and sat facing Daniel's bed across the room.  They were all silent for a long while.

"This should never have happened," Sam said in a low, anguished voice.  "Daniel should never have been put in that place."

"I know, Carter," Jack agreed.

"We should have figured out right away that it was something alien causing his symptoms.  I think of all the things we've encountered through the Stargate, the disease on P3X-797 that caused us to turn into neanderthals, the nano-virus on Argos that aged you, Daniel's addiction to the sarcophagus.  All those things yet we didn't say a word about any of that when MacKenzie spouted off his theory about Stargate-induced schizophrenia.  We didn't do a thing to try and figure out if it was something else.  We just stood there and let them take Daniel away."

Jack didn't say anything in reply.  He knew she was right.  They had all made a terrible mistake and betrayed Daniel's trust.

"How is he ever going to forgive us?" Sam whispered, tears in her voice.

Jack closed his eyes for a moment, then focused on his hands.  "I'm the one who's to blame the most, Carter.  I'm Daniel's C.O.  It's my job to watch out for him.  I should have gone over MacKenzie's head and asked Hammond to hold off on letting them take him."

"Janet approved it, sir, and she has the authority to override the general on medical matters."

"Yes, but I could have held them off long enough to try and convince Hammond and Fraiser to let Daniel stay on base.  We could have taken care of him.  Instead, I didn't do a damn thing.  And not only did MacKenzie's drugs not help Daniel, they made him worse.  When I saw him like that in that padded room—"  Jack broke off, trying to push the horrid memory from his mind.

He looked over at the archeologist.  If Daniel died, it would be on Jack's conscience for the rest of his life.  He'd never forget that his best friend died with the knowledge that Jack had betrayed him.

The next several hours passed with agonizing slowness.  The medical staff had succeeded in lowering Daniel's temperature to a level that was not dangerous, and some of his other symptoms had eased, but he was still in guarded condition.  He had been moved to the bed beside Teal'c's in Intensive Care.

"I feel that I bear great responsibility for what has happened to Daniel Jackson," Teal'c somberly admitted as he stared at his friend's unmoving form.  "At the time that Doctor MacKenzie stated his belief that traveling through the Stargate could cause physical and mental difficulties, I failed to state that such a thing was not likely.  While in the service of Apophis, I knew of many human slaves who were taken repeatedly through the Stargate, yet none of them were harmed by doing so.  No Jaffa I know has ever said that they knew of such a thing happening.  Yet, I did not think of these things until a short while ago.  If they had come to my mind in the beginning, I may have been able prevent Daniel Jackson from being taken away."

"Yeah, well, this whole thing was a huge mistake right from the start," Jack said.  "It should never have happened."

Just then, they all heard a familiar and very unwelcome voice.  They turned to see Doctor MacKenzie talking with Janet.  An irrational rage filled Jack.  He jumped to his feet and strode over to the two doctors.

"You."  He pointed an accusing finger at the psychiatrist.  "You did that," he gestured at Daniel, "you and your damn theories and your drugs."

"Colonel O'Neill, please calm down," MacKenzie said in a tone of voice he probably used on difficult patients.  "My treatment of Doctor Jackson was perfectly logical given the symptoms he was exhibiting.  I certainly had no desire for him to become ill.  Nor did I have any reason to suspect that he would.  NMS only happens in—"

"Oh, I know all about the odds, MacKenzie," Jack interrupted.  "Doctor Fraiser already told us.  That doesn't change the fact that he's lying in that bed now because you were so quick to present your little pet theory that you didn't even consider for one second that it might be something else."

"Sir, Doctor MacKenzie did have good reason to—" Janet began.

Jack rounded on her.  "Don't you dare defend him.  You're as guilty as he is.  After everything you've seen come through this infirmary, how could you just toss out all that experience and accept some dumb-ass, unproven theory from some guy who's never even set foot in the gate room, let alone gone to another planet?  Where was all your medical expertise when Daniel needed your help?"

Janet's face went utterly white.

"Colonel O'Neill, that's enough!" bellowed a voice from the doorway.  General Hammond came into the room.

"No, it's not, sir," Jack said.  "It's not nearly enough.  I don't want that man," he stabbed his finger at MacKenzie, "anywhere near Daniel ever again."

Hammond looked at the psychiatrist.  "I think it would be best if you leave, Doctor MacKenzie."


The base commander did not allow him to finish his protest.  "Do you have a medical reason to be here?"

"No, General.  I was just—"

"Then please leave.  Now."

A deep frown on his face, the psychiatrist left with as much dignity as he could muster.

"And don't let the door hit your ass on the way out," Jack muttered under his breath.

"Colonel, I want you in my office in five minutes," Hammond commanded, then left.

Knowing that he was about to get his butt chewed off, Jack went over to Daniel's bed and gave the archeologist's hand a brief squeeze.  "I'll be right back, Daniel."  Then, after shooting Janet a glare, he left the infirmary.

Sam watched him leave, then turned to the doctor, who had come up to the bed and was looking at Daniel with a stricken expression on her face.

"Janet, the colonel's just angry," Sam told her.  "I'm sure he didn't mean what he said."

"Oh, I think he did, Sam."  Janet's voice was just the slightest bit unsteady.  "But whether he did or didn't does not change the fact that he's right.  What he said is true.  After all the things I've seen during my time here, all the strange, terrifying and amazing medical events, I should have suspected that some kind of alien organism was the cause of Daniel's illness."

"Didn't you run all kinds of tests on him?"

"Yes, and none of them showed anything except for the increased dopamine levels, but I still shouldn't have jumped to the conclusion that Doctor MacKenzie was right.  I should have considered the possibility that, if it was some alien organism, conventional tests might not show anything."  Janet returned her gaze to Daniel.  "My incompetence put him in that bed."  She then turned and left.

Sam met Teal'c's eyes for a moment, then she turned to Daniel.  She brushed his cheek with her fingers.  "Please be all right, Daniel.  We need you to be all right."

"Colonel, what possessed you to verbally attack both Doctor MacKenzie and Doctor Fraiser in the infirmary like that?" General Hammond asked about two seconds after Jack entered the office and closed the door.

"I apologize for making a scene, sir.  I was just really angry.  And I'm worried about Daniel."

"We're all worried about Doctor Jackson, Colonel, and we're all sorry that he was misdiagnosed and sent to Mental Health, but your issue with the doctors should have been aired in private."

"Sir, if I'd been alone in a room with MacKenzie, I'd probably have broken his jaw.  I saw him standing there, and I just lost it.  That quack has no business being here.  He has no clue about the kind of nasty stuff that we encounter out there on other planets."

"I suspect that you may be right, Colonel, but that does not change the fact that you should have kept your grievances to yourself until you could lodge a formal protest."

"Yes, sir."

The general's voice softened.  "Jack, Doctor MacKenzie and Doctor Fraiser are not the only ones to blame for what happened to Doctor Jackson.  I bear some responsibility as well since I chose not to interfere and failed to consider other possibilities."

"Oh, you're not the only one, sir," Jack bitterly responded.  "I've seen with my own eyes the kind of things we've run across out there.  Hell, I've personally experienced more than one nasty illness or physical reaction to something encountered off-world.  Yet it wasn't until after Daniel had been taken to that . . . that place that I really started to think about what else could be causing his problem.  I mean, for cryin' out loud!  We'd just come back from a planet where we found the bodies of nine Goa'uld who died under mysterious circumstances.  I should have figured out right off that there was a connection."

Hammond let out a weary sigh.  "We were all too quick to accept Doctor MacKenzie's diagnosis, Colonel, and we all owe Doctor Jackson an apology."

"I just hope we get the chance to give it to him."

"Doctor Fraiser said that his condition is improving."

"Yeah, but, even if he does recover, we may still lose him."

"You think he may resign?" Hammond asked, concerned.

"Wouldn't you if you were in his place?  Could you work side-by-side with people who betrayed your trust like that and let you be locked up in a looney bin?  You didn't see him when he was there, General.  He looked so scared and alone, so . . . desolate.  If I was Daniel, I'd probably never want to lay eyes on any of us ever again."

"I hope you're wrong, Colonel.  I do not want to lose Doctor Jackson.  He is a great asset to the Stargate Program, and he is a man whom I deeply respect and admire."

"We'll all lose a lot if Daniel leaves."  'I'll lose one of the best friends I've ever had.'

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