Page 61

Sam relaxed, certain Janet had gotten a handle.
*I never knew you had such a temper. I mean, I knew, but you were usually so in-control that I never really realized it.*
*I had no control as a child and it took a lot of problems to knock into me that I had to discipline myself since no one else seemed to be able to. Usually I'm able to control it, but lately I've just had really bad mood swings.*
*I noticed.*
*I know. Again, I apologize.*

* * * * * *

George stood there, waiting for the word and watching his second in command.
One moment he looked irritated, the next he looked thrilled.
He looked slightly insane, actually, with those glittery eyes.
George shook his head slightly, vowing the Colonel wasn't leaving the base until that weird glaze was gone from his eyes or the infirmary staff swore it was safe.
His attention was caught by a tall, blond airman standing just far enough away no one else was probably looking at him, but he could hear pretty much everything that was said at a normal volume level.
He was also holding his hands sideways beside him, signaling he had information.
About time.
George looked around to make sure no one really cared whether he was there or not, and after telling the Colonel to let him know the moment anything of note happened, he turned and headed straight to his office.
Closing the door behind him, he walked to his desk, sat down, and casually felt beneath the chair.
Sure enough, attached to the underside was an envelope.
He held it up to the light to see what all was inside.
Making sure one end was clear of all inner obstructions, he carefully cut the edge off with scissors.
A small audio tape, three surveillance stills, and a folded paper fell out onto the desk surface.
He put the tape aside, and stared at the stills.
They were of a rather familiar group of people suspiciously looking around three different corners at Nurse Morhs.
He quickly unfolded the paper to see what message his Grapevine informant had to say.

[ Three photos of Dr. J/J, Dr. B.J., Dr. F/Capt. C, Gen. C./S, M/L, and T following Operative #5. Nothing but suspicions. Nothing confirmed or denied. Operative #5 completed blood sample switch successfully. Tests being run now. Tape is copy of original audio capture of possible new alien threat as told in Dr. F.'s office. Want confirmation on authenticity by 0600 for next presidential update. Keep Fraiser off duty 2 extra days. Want confirmation on activation of temple implant in Col. O/Dr. C. ]

His eyebrows pulling together in some surprise and an underlying sense of foreboding, George pulled out a new envelope and thought carefully a moment before writing a note.

[ Alien threat confirmed by Tok'ra. Will leave copy of drawing on floor under desk. A51 investigation required. No Maybourne. Want test results A.S.A.P. SG-1 suspicious = SG-1 dangerous. New problem. Need updated potential host list. Will receive 150 zgun from Tok'ra in exchange. Col. O/Dr. C. activation? Implant? Not informed. Rectify. ]

He re-read his informant's note, his stomach twisting with the implant implications.
What in the world had they done to them?
More importantly...when and how?
He fought down the increasing unease he felt about the whole set up.
Quickly taping the envelope to his chair for the informant, he then slipped the stills, the paper, and the tape into his briefcase, barely latching the cabinet door closed before he heard a knock on his office door.
Turning, he called for the person to enter.
"Sir, Dr. Jackson is awake and his vitals are within normal parameters."
"Thank you, Lt."
George got up, making sure nothing showed and then slipped a copy of Jolinar's drawing onto the floor under desk before following Lt. Simmons out of the office.

* * * * * *

**You don't actually think there's a conspiracy, do you?**
**Yes! I think there's an underground cult of vampires.**
**I think aliens have taken over your mind way too many times.**
**Don't believe me, then, but stop letting Demona take Daniel's blood. It's a deadly addiction.**
**Yeah...oh, and you know what?**
**No. Absolutely not. **
**Why? We restrained Danny while he got over the sarcophagus thing.**
**I think that's a bit over the top...oh now that was just disgusting.**
**You're a doctor, deal. Besides, it wasn't half as disgusting as those little visions of yours where I'm brutally dissected with a toothpick. That's sick.**
**You're confusing vampires and poltergeists. They're the ones who's heads spin around spilling green slobber all over the place.**
**She did something to my eye and she's still working in the infirmary. How wacked is that?**
**Anyway...there. See that?**
**See what?**
Jack looked around him, oblivious to his fascinated audience.
Then his breath caught as what looked like millions of toothpicks flickered into existence in front of him.
He knew it had to be fake, but it was so real.
**Stop it. It's not funny. What if it can cause actual damage?**
**They're mental projections from my mind to yours. No one else can see them. Kind of like virtual reality, almost.**
**Thank you, but I'm quite through with all virtual realities if you don't mind. Make 'em go away. Now.**
**Great, now you got them thinking I've cracked again.**
**They're your team . They already knew.**
"Carter, I'm okay. Amber is playing with my head again."
Sam stared at the very still figure of her commanding officer.
As soon as Daniel had taken control of his body back, Corvores had told the Colonel and they'd crowded into the room to see him.
Corvores had been taken aside for another blood test and was told to wait for the General to return before doing anything else.
Now, the Colonel barely even breathed as he stared at something she couldn't see.
Carefully, Sam reached out her hand.
*Sam? What are you doing?*
*I'm going to help the Colonel see that there's nothing there. Whatever she's got going on in his head, it seems real to him.*
She heard Daniel step behind her as she walked to the Colonel, her hand out in front just in case she was wrong and something was there.
One step more and she was next to him.
He had relaxed incrementally with each step she'd taken until he was breathing easily.
"Carter, I never want to see you walk through a million toothpicks again, but thank you."
"Don't ask. It's not something you want to know."
"Yes, sir."
Sam grinned at the mental imagery running through her head compliments to Janet's hilarity.
*I really want to know about the toothpicks.*
*The Colonel's got "that look." He gets that look whenever we're about to be interrogated by aliens.*
*Oh. That makes sense. He gets that look every time I ask him to give Cassandra the "birds & the bees" talk.*
Sam froze for a second, looking at her commanding officer and trying with everything she had not to bust up laughing.
She pursed her lips, held her breath, and felt her eyes start to water.
Her sides began to shake and she wrapped her arms around them half-afraid she was actually going to explode.
"Capt. Carter."
*Sam, it's not that funny. I mean, I even offered him an illustrated book to use if he didn't know what to call everything.*
Sam definitely couldn't answer her teammates and ignored Janet's increased amusement at her predicament.
Daniel fidgeted, trying to decide whether to touch Sam or just catch her if she toppled over.
He shared a worried look with Jack when she started to turn blue.
"Sam, breathe."
Teal'c walked up to her from behind, wrapping his muscled arms around her and squeezed lightly.
Daniel joined Teal'c in trying to help Sam when her mouth opened, expelling the breath she'd been holding, but no sound but a light whoosh accompanying it.
A breathily shrill laugh pierced the air.
Teal'c picked her up and laid her on the table Daniel had vacated.
Daniel relaxed a bit as he realized she was truly laughing and not crying.
She twisted as she sobbed on a breath.
Daniel hoped this was one joke she wasn't going to pass on.
Jack would probably institute it as a way to torture new arrivals.
"She gonna live?"
"Unknown. She is turning different shades of purple."
Teal'c's comment only made her laugh harder.
Daniel sighed and probed for Jolinar.
*Not yet.*
She'd been hiding since he'd fought off her emotions and took over his...their body.
Teal'c glued himself to Sam's side as she calmed down.
"Holy Hannah, that was funny."
Daniel barely heard her whisper and just held out an arm to help her up as she chuckled her way to a sitting position.
Jack stepped forward, but as soon as Sam looked at him, her face turned red and she started laughing again.
Daniel's eyebrows raised as he looked at Jack, trying to see what was so funny.
"Did I miss something?"
Daniel grinned, glad Jack had no clue either.
Jack shrugged, knowing Sam wasn't going to say whatever it was.
**The General was just here. I'm not allowed in the infirmary until Dr. Fraiser is re-activated and I don't know why.**
**Maybe the fact you're in my head?**
**No, I mean, I understand that. It's just a feeling I have...umm, the General's talking to the man that gave me the order. Jack, he's here. Just a few feet in front of me.**
Jack was already moving toward the door, Daniel on his heels.
"What is it?"
"The guy that gave Amber a fake order and the key to Carter's quarters is talking to the General and we want to finger him before he disappears again."
"Umm...fake order?"
"Yeah...Looked authentic and apparently wasn't first time the General had issued orders to Amber using that airman."
"Okay, I have been way out of the loop on this."
"Me, too, actually. After we do this, you tell me everything you found on Demona."

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