Summary: Somewhere inside is the answer
Why am I so hot? I can feel myself drifting. Didn't Jolinar have any happy memories? I jerk as another blow descends on me but this time the meaty fist passes harmlessly through me. This is just a dream, I remind myself. I'm a ghost here, an observer. The bald man again. Yellow eyes filled with malice, lust. Not my memory. A nameless Jaffa threatens me and then it's Jonas, his blistered face twisted with arrogance, madness. That's definitely one of mine. I'm on the wrong track. Jolinar. I have to remember. but what I seek is not here.
The man. The man has the answers. At least those memories bring only feelings of sadness, not terror and pain. So much pain. I try to channel my thoughts deeper, letting the drug do its work, influencing my subconscious mind to seek out the man with the vivid blue eyes and ready smile.
So hot. This isn't right. Why isn't Janet doing something to help me? Am I ill? Where's Janet? I want. no. focus. I'm not ill, well not really. It's a side effect of the Nembutal that Janet is giving me. The drug that makes the dreams, Jolinar's memories easier for me to access. Too easy. I have to focus. Focus!
I slip between the images, frozen faces, ghosts, a thousand fractured landscapes leaving the dark hot tunnels behind. I'm in the sunlight, on a beach. Nem and Daniel are by the water's edge helping Cassie to make her sand sculpture. I go towards them. Nem beckons me forward. They have sculpted a circle, a Stargate. The centre is filled with water, reflecting the blue sky. It looks just like.
"Whatchyadoin' Carter?" The Colonel comes up behind me, shadowed as ever by Teal'c.
"It looks like the open Gate," I said.
"For crying out loud! Time's a wasting, Carter. Teal'c - give her a hand."
Before I could do or say anything Teal'c picked me up and threw me into the pool of shining water.
I lifted my head. I was in the Gateroom, sprawled at the foot of the ramp. No one else was here. The control room was empty. It was very quiet, the blue light of the event horizon flickering around me. The Stargate. But that was not what he had called it in my dream.
The Chappa'ai. I had to activate the Chappa'ai. "
He was there, on hand under my elbow urging me forward. People were running all around us, carrying boxes, bundles, weapons. The grey concrete walls of the Gateroom melted into blue crystals, glowing eerily.
The ashrak stepped in front of me, his hand raised. I could see the bodies of the airmen who had been guarding me sprawled gracelessly on the floor. Golden light poured down on me, piercing my skull. I could feel my brain expanding, liquefying, the pain so intense it was almost a physical entity surrounding me, crushing me.
Then the ashrak was gone but the pain remained and it was another Goa'uld standing over me, his skin pale, diseased, his eyes a baleful silver. No. this was nowhere I needed to be, nowhere I ever wanted to go back to. The man. I had to find the man again. He was the key.
"We're very brave, remember." Cassie's small hand touched my cheek before she was swept away in a blaze of white light.
Blue. Blue eyes. Blue crystals. People running. We were in a large cave, brightly lit with more of the crystals and flickering torches. Ahead of us was a Gate, inactive for the moment. In front of me a DHD. I could hear the explosions now. Jaffa were attacking the base, they had already broken into the tunnels. The evacuation had been ordered, the outer tunnels being destroyed. Tok'ra were being sent to various safe addresses. I was one of the few who knew them all. The explosions were getting louder, the bombardment penetrating deeper. We were running out of time.
So hot. What am I doing? What's happening? I need something cold. water. icecream. ice.. My breath frosting on the air as I crawl painfully over to the still figure lying huddled under the blankets at the base of the useless DHD. "Colonel," I whisper brokenly. "It's an ice planet. That's all there is as far as the eye can see. No chance." The edge of the blanket is obscuring his face. My hand shaking, I pull it down but it's not O'Neill, it's Janet, ice crystals glittering in her hair and lashes, her skin so pale, so cold, lovely even in death. I could not save her, could not. I touch her face and her eyes snap open.
My love was gone. The ice melted away and I was in the Tok'ra gateroom again. I reached out, my hand hovering above the DHD for a long moment as I selected the address. I pressed the first glyph and then reached for the second.
This was it - a gate address that might lead them to the Tok'ra. The dream image wavered for a moment and I whimpered, almost crying in pain and frustration as another cascade of heat washed over me. I could not lose it, not now, not when I was so close.
"So this is your latest big idea, Carter? Dreaming Gate addresses?" The Colonel leant back in his chair and put his feet up on the briefing room table. The ruby slippers twinkled. "What's next? Tea leaves?"
"Divination through dreams has been a recognized practice for millennia, Jack," Daniel said from behind a stack of books.
"I have faith in Captain Carter. If she believes that it will work, then it will work," Teal'c said. He bowed his head. "I believe we should just leave her to get on with it."
He took my arm again, escorted me into the Gateroom. Cracks were beginning to appear in the walls. We were running out of time. The DHD was right in front of me. The address. I had to remember the address. It was my responsibility to get as many of our people to safety as possible.
Duty. responsibility. Concepts that we could both relate to. No more hesitation. A moment of perfect clarity, all confusion banished. I activated the glyphs in the proper sequence then pressed the central dome. The Chappa'ai activated. The man smiled at me, started towards the steps leading up to the active Gate through which refugees were already running. Then he stopped, turning to wait for me. I walk towards him, then stop in front of a reflective panel set into the wall. I see myself - and not myself. I am wearing soft pastel coloured robes that bring out the blue of my eyes. I am. beautiful.
It's not me. This isn't me. Hot. why is it so hot? Flames all around me. Must get out must.
I am sitting bolt upright, sweat beading on my skin, blood roaring in my ears as I gasp for breath. Am I awake? I wanted to ask the question but was worried about sounding stupid. Cycling in my mind over and over again the seven glyphs that made up the address and point of origin for the world to which the Tok'ra had fled. I had to concentrate. I could not forget them. Too important. And no way did I want to go through this again. The room blurred around me again and as my focus came back I saw the General looking at me, his expression somewhere between expectation and concern. Fuzzily I wondered what the General was doing in my bedroom and then everything cleared again.
"I think I might have found something!" I focused on the General as the nurse carefully took the sedative IV out of the back of my hand. Someone held a cup of water to my lips, advised me to drink slowly. The General said something but my head was still buzzing from the Nembutal and I could not really hear him. Cool fingers rested against my cheek, my arm, the touch familiar. Janet. I gave in to the urge to lie down as the room took a slow roll sideways. Janet steadied me, helped me lie down, her expression concerned, watchful as she took in my stats, giving quick crisp orders to her staff.
I remembered, shivered, suddenly chilled as my abused metabolism took its revenge but this could not wait. I tried to sit up again. "Janet. I need."
As has happened so many times before, Janet almost seemed to read my thoughts. She reached into the pocket of her lab coat and brought out a pen and notepad, handing it to me with a quick bright smile and slightly exasperated shake of her head. Quickly, hoping no one - particularly Janet - noticed how badly my hands were shaking - I sketched out the symbols for the gate address where I - where Jolinar had sent the fleeing Tok'ra. Whether or not they were still there, there had to be some sign, some clue that they really existed. There just had to be.
The page wavered in front of me, the glyphs smearing. "Here," I whispered, handing the pad to General Hammond. "They went here. Lieutenant Simmons should be able to check. to tell." I ran out of energy, my mind closing around the worlds I needed to say, the things I had to make him understand.
"General, Captain Carter needs to rest," Janet said. "She won't be fit enough to attend a briefing for another twelve hours at least, not until the sedative is completely out of her system."
"I'll make sure Lieutenant Simmons gets this and starts work on it right away," the General said. "Good work, Captain. Now, I suggest you follow Dr Fraiser's orders and rest."
"Sir." I managed to stay sitting long enough for him to leave the room then slumped against Janet. With the help of the nurse she got me lying down again, then drew the curtains around my bed.
"We're going to make you more comfortable, Sam, and then leave you to rest. The Nembutal should be completely out of your system in about twelve hours and you should feel fine. I don't expect you to suffer any more side effects." Her hand rested against my cheek for a moment, and then she began to detach the sensors from my forehead, taking a moment to run her fingers through my sweat damp hair, smoothing it back from my face. "How much do you remember?"
"Everything, I think," I said, my voice slurring. The nurse brought a clean dry gown and they helped me change into it, and then Janet laid a heated blanket over me so that I would not get too chilled.
"Sleep. That's an order, Captain." She smiled. "You're going to be okay, Sam. You did good."
I smiled up at her, fighting against the urge to just shut my eyes and sleep for a week. I felt her fingers brush against my cheek again as my eyes drifted closed. I melted into the pillow and then my eyes flew open again as I clearly heard his voice, close by.
"Jolinar, you must hurry. There isn't much time."
When the room is quiet
The daylight almost gone
It seems there's something I should know
Well, I ought to leave
But the rain it never stops
And I've no particular place to go
Just when I think I'm winning
When I've broken every door
The ghosts of my life
Blow wilder than before
Just when I thought I could not be stopped
When my chance came to be king
The ghosts of my life
Blew wilder than the wind
Well, I'm feeling nervous
Now I find myself alone
The simple life's no longer there
Once I was so sure
Now the doubt inside my mind
Comes and goes, but leads nowhere