Stargate Horizons


Daniel dropped the two Alka-Seltzer tablets into the glass of water and watched them start to dissolve, filling the cup with scintillating bubbles.  Once they'd dissolved completely, he drank the water, grimacing at the taste.

Setting the glass down, he rubbed at his stomach again.  The stomachache had been bad enough, but, now, he was feeling a little nauseous, too.  Maybe it wasn't just the stress of what had been going on, and he was actually getting an ulcer.  Oh, wouldn't Janet have a thing or two to say about that.

Perhaps he should just go home.  It was Sunday, and it was supposed to be a day off for him.  But if he did go home, all he'd end up doing was sitting around since he didn't feel up to doing any chores.  He might as well stay and get something accomplished.

Daniel returned his attention to the translation before him.  At around one o'clock Sam came in with an alien device that was covered in strange symbols.

"Is that the thing SG-5 found?" Daniel asked.

"Yep.  I've finished scanning it, and it's not giving off any energy readings or traces of radiation, so it's your turn to take a crack at figuring it out.  General Hammond wants you to see if you can decipher the writing before I attempt to open it up."

Daniel studied the thing, turning it around in his hands.  "Okay, I'll see what I can do."

Sam sat on the edge of the desk.  "I didn't see you at lunch.  Skipping meals again?"

"I'm just not hungry."

"Are you still tense about this stuff with your family?"

"Well, for a few blessed hours I wasn't, between the time I went home last night and about halfway here this morning.  Kate called my cell and sprang upon me the news that she's been calling pretty much every relative under the sun and telling them all about me, and there are now a couple dozen people who are all dying to meet me," his lips curved into big, fake smile, "including several unmarried second and third cousins."

Sam fought to keep the smile off her face.  "Oh, boy."

"Yes.  I suspect that she didn't tell me this last night at dinner because she didn't want me to have a heart attack in front of the children."

Sam tried really hard not to laugh.  Poor Daniel.

"I'm considering moving to another planet," he remarked.

Sam grinned.  "Well, look at it this way, Daniel.  Once you've met all those other relatives, you'll probably hear from most of them only at Christmas time," she paused, "except perhaps for some of those unmarried second and third cousins."

Daniel gave her a glare.  "Thanks for making me feel so much better, Sam."

This time, the major couldn't hold back her laugh.  She rose fully to her feet.  "Well, I need to get back to work.  Call me if you solve the mysteries of that thing."

"I will."

Daniel unlocked the mysteries of the device three hours later when he figured out the key to the strange symbols carved all over it.  It turned out that it was nothing more than an alien "brain teaser" toy.  After letting Sam know, he wrote up his report, then got to work on what he'd need for SG-1's mission tomorrow.

That evening, Daniel still had no appetite, still had the stomachache, and still had the nausea.  He came to the conclusion that he was going to have to go to the infirmary in the morning and tell Janet, as much as he really didn't want to.  She'd likely tell Hammond to reschedule the mission while she subjected Daniel to a million tests.  Just great.

When Daniel woke up the next morning, he found that the stomachache was virtually gone, though he was still feeling a touch queasy.  Maybe whatever was causing this was going away.

Though Daniel still had no appetite, he forced himself to eat a couple of pieces of toast and some juice, then went into work.  Upon arriving, there was no sign of the stomach pain returning to its former level, and the nausea really wasn't all that bad.  Daniel had a little internal struggle with himself and decided to go ahead and go on the mission.  It probably had all just been caused by the stress, as he'd believed.  Or perhaps it had been some kind of stomach bug that finally ran its course.

An hour later, SG-1 exited the Stargate onto a world that, at one time, must have been home to a booming civilization that, based on the ruins in the distance, originally came from Japan.

It took the team well over three hours to cover the rocky, uneven terrain between them and the city, which was built on a rise and was probably visible for miles around.

"Well, it's definitely Japanese," Daniel remarked, studying the architecture and writing on some of the walls.  He read a passage.  "This talks about the Shinto god of war, Hachiman.  I'm assuming he's a Goa'uld."

"Indeed," Teal'c confirmed.

"Well, we've got a lot of ground to cover and not a lot of time to do it," Jack said.  "Carter, Teal'c, you head southwest.  Daniel and I will go southeast.  Check-ins every half-hour."

"Yes, sir," Sam responded.  She and the Jaffa headed off into the depths of the city.  Daniel and Jack did likewise in the opposite direction.

"So, how are things going with the family?" Jack asked after they'd been exploring for around twenty minutes.

"Okay for the most part.  Um, Vee lost a good friend Saturday night, a car accident."

"That's too bad.  Is she all right?"

"As well as can be expected.  She was at the woman's bedside when she died."

"That's rough."


Jack glanced at the archeologist.  "About this whole thing with you being Hammond's son.  I'm fine with it, you know.  I think it's a good thing."

"Thanks, Jack."

They continued searching the ruins.  Inside one of the buildings, Daniel saw a beautiful, elaborately painted vase up on a shelf and reached up to get it.  A sharp, stabbing pain in his lower right side made him gasp and grab the spot.

"You okay?" Jack asked.

"Yeah, I . . . I think I just pulled something."

Jack saw where his hand was.  "Ooh, groin pull.  Those aren't fun."

Daniel winced.  "No, I guess they're not."

Deciding to leave the vase where it was, Daniel left the structure with Jack, pushing the pain to the back of his mind.  Well, so much for escaping a trip to the infirmary.  He wouldn't be able to hide this.

Half an hour later, Daniel was beginning to wonder if he'd torn something rather than just pulled it.  The pain was getting progressively worse, making it difficult to walk upright.

When Jack turned around at one point to see Daniel hunched over, leaning against a column, a hand pressed to that same spot on his lower right side, he said, "Okay, that's it.  We're getting you back through the gate.  And don't you dare say you're fine."

"I wasn't going to say that," Daniel said through clenched teeth.  "I think I might have torn something."

Jack got on the radio.  "Carter, come in."

"Carter here, sir."

"Head back to the gate.  Daniel's gone and done something to himself.  He thinks he's torn a muscle or something down near his groin area."

"Ouch.  Is he all right?"

"He's hurting.  We're probably going to have to take it slow, so it's going to take us longer to get there than you.  Call ahead to the SGC and tell them to have a gurney waiting."

"Yes, sir."

Jack turned to Daniel and put an arm around his waist.  "Come on.  Let's go."

The return trip was a nightmare for Daniel.  With every yard they traveled, it got harder and harder for him to walk.  The pain had progressed to the point where it felt like he was being stabbed by a combat knife.  Jack was having to bear increasingly more of his weight.

Finally, Daniel couldn't walk any more.

"I have to stop, Jack.  I need to sit down."

The colonel helped him over to a low wall and eased him down onto it.

Jack was starting to get worried, concerned that this was more than just a torn muscle.  Daniel was not a wimp when it came to pain, so, judging by how he was acting, he was in a whole hell of a lot of it.

"Sit there and relax for a bit," Jack said.  "I'm going to contact Carter again."

The colonel walked away several yards and got on the radio.  "Carter," he said quietly.

"Yes, sir?"

"I need you to get to our position as quickly as possible."

"Sir?  What's wrong?"

"Daniel's getting worse, and I'm starting to think it's not a torn muscle."

"Oh no.  What do you think it is?"

"I don't know, but I doubt he's going to be able to walk any further.  We need to make some kind of litter to carry him."

"We'll be right there, sir."

A cry of pain made Jack whirl around in time to witness Daniel crumple into a heap on the ground.  When Jack reached him, he was curled into a fetal position, arms clutching his belly.

"Oh, God," the archeologist gasped, eyes clamped tightly shut.

Jack grasped his arm.  "Daniel, Carter and Teal'c are on the way.  We're going to get you to the gate."

"I-I can't walk, Jack."

"I know.  We'll take care of it."  The colonel touched Daniel's forehead and discovered that it felt a bit warm.  "You've got a fever, Daniel.  This isn't a torn muscle."

Daniel moaned.  "Janet's going to kill me," he said breathlessly.  "I should have gone to the infirmary."

Jack looked at him sharply.  "Have you been sick?"

"Just . . . just a stomachache and some . . . some nausea.  I felt better this morning, so I thought it was going away."

"Dammit, Daniel.  You should have known better.  You do not go on a mission when you're feeling sick!"

"I'm s—"  Daniel's apology was interrupted by another cry of pain.  He drew his knees up even tighter to his chest.

Jack got on the radio.  "Carter, you had better start running.  You need to get here on the double."

"We already are running, sir," Sam responded.

It took another ten minutes for Sam and Teal'c to get there, throughout which Jack had to helplessly sit by and listen to Daniel's moans and gasps of pain.

Sam rushed up to the archeologist and went to her knees.

"Daniel?  Daniel, where's the pain."

"L-lower r-right side."

"He was already sick when we left on the mission, Carter," Jack told her.

"What?!  Why didn't he say anything?"

"Obviously, because he's an idiot!"

Sam looked back down at the suffering archeologist.  "Daniel, how long have you been sick?"

"Stomachache started Friday night.  Nausea started yesterday."  Daniel moaned.  "T-thought it was just from all the stress."

Jack turned to Teal'c.  "Start making a litter.  There's a tree over there.  Remove a couple of the straightest limbs."

Teal'c hurried off to his task.  Sam was taking Daniel's temperature with a forehead thermometer from the first-aid kit.

"It's a very low fever," she announced, "barely one hundred, but that doesn't mean this isn't serious."

"Any idea what it might be?" Jack asked.

"Sir, I only have first-aid training.  I'm not even close to being a medic.  There are probably a lot of things it could be.  I wish we could contact the SGC, get someone here.  It's going to take a long time to get back to the gate."

"As soon as we get underway, I'm going to send you ahead to the gate.  Tell them to send a medical team through to meet us on the way."

Sam nodded and turned her attention back to Daniel.  Seeing the way he was holding his stomach, a sudden, horrid suspicion came into her mind.

"Daniel, you said that the pain was on your lower right side?"

He nodded.

"Do you think you can turn on your back for a moment?"

With Sam's help, Daniel got on his back, though being in that position made the pain worse.

Sam stared at his belly.  "Where exactly is the pain?"

Daniel laid his fingers over a spot around halfway between his belly button and the front of his hip bone.

"Okay, I'm going to do something, Daniel, but it might make the pain worse.  Are you ready?"

He nodded, eyes tightly closed.

Taking a deep breath, Sam laid her fingers over the spot Daniel had indicated and gently pressed down.

"Does that make it hurt more?"

"Not . . . not really."

Sam quickly released pressure.  Daniel screamed.  He heaved upward, then crashed back to the ground and curled into a tight ball.

"God, I'm sorry, Daniel!  I'm sorry!" Sam cried.

"Carter, what's going on?" Jack asked.

"Sir, I think it's his appendix.  We need to get him to the gate right away.  If it ruptures, he could die."


Jack leapt to his feet and hurried over to help Teal'c remove all the smaller branches from the limbs he'd blasted off the tree with his staff weapon.  Then they made a litter using Jack's and Sam's jackets, slipping the limbs through the arms.  While they were doing that, Sam gave Daniel some morphine, giving him just a half-dose because she wasn't sure if it was okay to give him the drug.

Getting Daniel on the litter wasn't easy, the archeologist not wanting to uncurl from his fetal position.  At last he was on it.  Jack grabbed the back handles, and Teal'c got the front.

"Go, Carter," the colonel said.  "Get to the gate as fast as you can."

"Yes, sir."  Sam paused and met his eyes.  "Colonel, from what I remember about appendicitis, if the pain suddenly goes away, it's . . . it's not a good thing."  Her eyes told Jack how very bad a thing it was.

Jack and Teal'c hurried through the ancient city almost at a run, trying to ignore the moans of the man they carried.  When they reached the edge of the city, they had no choice but to slow down, the terrain making it impossible for them to keep up the same pace.

With every rock, and hole, and gully that they had to bypass, Jack gave a curse.  Every time he stumbled over something he'd failed to see and Daniel cried out a little louder, he cursed some more.  It had taken them over three hours to get to the ruins.  It was going to take a lot longer to get back.

Jack didn't know how long they'd been traveling when Daniel said something that turned his blood to ice.

"It doesn't really hurt anymore."

"That's . . . that's good, Daniel," Jack lied.

"Maybe I can walk now."

"No, you stay there.  You're still sick."  Jack looked at the man at the front of the litter.  "Teal'c."

The Jaffa looked over his shoulder.  The colonel's eyes told him that they needed to go faster.  They went faster.

It was a while later when Daniel said, "It's starting to hurt again, but it's not as bad and not in that one spot anymore.  I'm sure glad that other pain is gone."

"Yeah, that's great, Daniel," Jack murmured, trying not to let the younger man see the fear on his face.

"I'm really thirsty, though.  I feel hot."

Daniel fell silent after that, his eyes closing.  The mantra "Faster, faster," kept going through Jack's mind through the interminable minutes that followed, but they couldn't go faster.  They were already in danger of tripping and falling.

Glancing down at Daniel sometime later, Jack saw that he was not looking good.  His face was pale and bathed in sweat, his breathing fast and shallow.

Just then, his eyes fluttered open.

"Oh, God.  I'm gonna be sick," he moaned.

Jack told Teal'c to stop.  They set the litter down, and Jack helped Daniel roll onto his side.  The archeologist promptly threw up, making sounds of pain as his stomach heaved and evacuated its meager contents.

Finally, he flopped onto his back, holding his stomach.  Jack tenderly wiped his face with a dampened handkerchief and gave him a sip from the canteen.

Daniel met his eyes.  "I'm really sick aren't I," he said in a calm, quiet voice.

"Yeah, Danny, you are," Jack admitted, not backing down from the probing blue gaze.

Daniel nodded slightly.  "Jack, if I don't make it, tell Dad that—"

"No," Jack interrupted angrily.  "I'm not going to tell him anything, Daniel, because you are not going to die.  You hear me?  There is no damn way that I'm going to tell Hammond that his son died because some little worm of an organ got the better of him.  You've survived ribbon devices, and staff blasts, and sarcophagus addiction, and a dozen other things, so you are damn well going to survive this.  You got that?"

Daniel closed his eyes.  "Yes, sir," he whispered.

"Let's go, Teal'c," Jack said shortly.  The two men lifted the litter back up and resumed the journey.

Jack could not describe the level of relief he felt when, a short while later, he saw an SG team and medical personnel hurrying toward them, Janet and Sam in the lead.

"How is he, Colonel?" the doctor asked as they came running up.

"Not good, Doc."  Jack met her gaze.  "I think it ruptured."

The announcement made the concern in the doctor's eyes deepen dramatically.

The litter was put down, and Janet got to work examining her patient.

"Daniel, can you hear me?"

Daniel's eyes slowly blinked open.  "Janet?  Are we in the infirmary?"

"No, not yet.  I decided to come meet you partway.  Daniel, describe how you feel."

"My stomach hurts quite a bit."


He waved his hand about over his abdomen.  "Kind of all over.  It's not as bad as the other pain, the one I had before."

"Okay, what else?"

"My stomach feels tight and . . . swollen.  I'm having chills and feel hot.  I feel sick.  I threw up once."  He looked at Janet.  "What's wrong with me?"

"I can't be sure, Daniel, but it sounds like your appendix has ruptured and that you now have peritonitis."

"That doesn't sound good."

"No, it's not."  Janet laid a hand on his shoulder.  "But we're going to get you to the infirmary and take care of it."

After performing a quick examination and asking a few more questions, Janet got to her feet and stepped away a couple paces with Jack, Sam and Teal'c.

"How bad is it, Janet?" Sam asked.

"Well, it's definitely not good.  He's showing clear signs of peritonitis.  We need to get him to the infirmary as fast as absolutely possible."  The doctor looked at Jack.  "You look exhausted, Colonel.  One of SG-8 will take over for you."

"I'm fine," Jack insisted.

Janet grabbed his wrists and turned his hands up, revealing the open blisters and swollen palms.  "No, you're not."  She turned to the other man who had been carrying the litter.

"I am fine," Teal'c stated before she could ask.  "I will continue carrying Daniel Jackson."

Janet hooked Daniel up to an I.V.  The strongest member of SG-8 took Jack's place at the back of the litter, and they all resumed the journey, Janet keeping pace at Daniel's side, Sam on the other side, her eyes going often to her best friend.

For as long as she lived, Sam would never forget the look she saw on General Hammond's face when she came through the gate with the news that his son had collapsed, most likely from acute appendicitis.  She'd often seen concern on the man's face, deep worry many other times, but she'd never seen fear until that moment.  She knew that he wanted to rush through the gate to Daniel's side, and she could only imagine how terribly hard it was for him to watch her and the others go through without him.

She did not want to see what his face would look like if someone had to tell him that his son was dead.

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