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Confirming Carter Bk. 03 Changes Ch. 02

Another unexpected visitor shatters the calm of the city...and his appearance brings out Carter's dark side.

A new character is added, Steven (Cisco) Carter. I see Gerard Butler in the role, mainly because he projects the attitude I wanted, and has a kewl accent...


Confirming Carter3 Changes02

The Next Day


0650 Hours

The vortex burst from the gate, consuming the makeshift pyre they had put up, along with the body. As the vortex receded, a man stepped from the gate.

"Whore!" He shouted, his face twisting into a mask of rage as he drew a handgun, pointing it at Carter as he began firing.

"Don't kill him, we need him alive." Tammy shouted as she pushed Sam to the floor, covering her body with her own. Her hand pawed at the personal shield as they tumbled off the platform.

Ronin stepped forward, his own gun whining as he set it to stun. Weapons fire sounded from all around him as the marines opened up on the man. Walking forward slowly, he fired again and again, not taking his eyes off the man until he lay limp on the floor.

"Are you and the colonel okay, Tammy?" He called, glancing over at where he had last seen them. He kicked the body lying on the floor in front of him, rolling it over. He kept his gun trained on it the whole time.

"I...I took a hit...I couldn't get my shield up. Sam...Sam's okay." Tammy panted, rolling off of Sam onto the floor.

"You're hit?" Sam cried out as she scrambled to her knees beside her. "Where, baby? Oh god." she moaned as she saw blood soaking Tammy's vest, just above her waist.

"I need a med team in here right now!" She shouted as she ripped Tammy's vest open, and felt around the wound. She looked up at the marine closest to her. "I mean now, goddamn it! Move!"

"They're on the way, colonel. They'll be here in two minutes." He said calmly, pushing her aside as he knelt beside her, then pulled a battle dressing from his flak jacket and tore it open. "Roll her toward me so I can get this on the wound." He said as he shook it out, then pressed it to her side, applying pressure.

"What's your name?" She asked him as she sat back on her heels, watching him work.

"Carter, ma'am. Steven Carter." He said. "No relation."

"Did you shoot at him?" She asked.

"Two hits. Hip and thigh." He said as he lifted the dressing and looked at the wound. He smiled as he glanced over at her. "In and out, it just grazed her." His face got hard again and he added, "I'm sorry ma'am, I had to pull low when she yelled not to kill him. That let him get off more shots."

"You did your job. Thank you." She said softly, leaning over and kissing him lightly on the cheek.

"I'm sorry, Sam." Tammy groaned, trying to sit up. "I should have had the shield on. Thank god you did."

"I know, he scored two hits on me, both center chest."

"Oh god." Tammy gasped, tears rolling down her face.

"It's ok, baby. We're both gonna be okay." She said softly, brushing her hair away from her face.

She looked up at Ronin as he stood over the man's body. "Is he alive, Ronin?"

"He's alive. How's Tammy?"

"Flesh wound. It looks like it just grazed her."

He nodded, his face clouding up with anger. "What do you want me to do with this?" He asked, kicking the man as he began to stir.

"Take him to detention. I'll be with you as soon as I can." She said as the med team came up behind her. "I want to know what's the hell is going on, but there's something I have to do first."

"Carter." She said, looking back over her shoulder as she strode across the gateroom. "You and your squad, on me."

* * * * *

Sgt. Carter stood with his back to her as he waited at the door to her office. Sam was at her desk, going through the logs of the STM bridge. Her face paled as she saw the entries in the logs matched the gate events. There was no doubt that it was the bridge that was causing all this.

She got up, and moving quickly, she pushed past Carter and went into the kitchen, digging in drawers for the biggest knife she could find. She ran the blade across the back of her arm to test the edge.

"Colonel?" Carter said softly behind her.

"What?" She grunted as she pulled open another drawer, looking for a whetstone.

"If you want that knife for what I think you do..."

"Shut up marine." She grunted, looking back over her shoulder at him. She stopped, then turned around when she saw what he was holding in his hand.

"This'll do a better job for what you have in mind than anything you have in here." He said quietly, holding his fighting knife out to her, butt first.

"Bowie. Not standard issue." She said as she took it and turned it in her hand. She smiled at him, then turned and walked out of the kitchen. "Come on. I'm going to ask that asshole some questions."

* * * * *

"He's not going to last long if we don't get someone to look at him." Ronin said as she walked into the detention center.

"He doesn't have to." Sam grunted as she stared at the man in the cell. He was kneeling, bound hand and foot. A short piece of wood spread his knees apart, and a long pole ran up his back to keep him upright. "Open the door."

"Are you sure?" Ronin asked, then hit the control as she glared at him over her shoulder.

"Who are you?" She asked the man as she backhanded him in the face with the butt of the bowie knife, knocking him backward and making him topple to one side.

Stepping over him, she grabbed him by the hair and jerked him up, getting him settled back on his knees.

"Who are you?" She asked again. She drew the knife back, getting ready for another swing.

"Sulan Qint, Knight of Atlantis." He shouted at her. He spat a mouthful of blood at her. "But you know that, you witch whore! I served you faithfully before you betrayed us!"

"Who wants us dead? And why." She leaned down, her lips brushing his ear. "And if you call me whore again, I'll cut your balls off and let you wear them for earrings."

"It doesn't matter what you do to me, witch." He grunted, staring up at her. "The Dorquan will see you dead before this is through. Your demon spawn as well."

"Who is this Dorquan, and why does he want us dead?" She asked as she squatted in front of him and dug the blade of the knife into one of the wounds on his leg.

Qint screamed, and she pulled the blade back and stood up. "I asked you a question. Who and why. Tell me, or I start cutting off pieces."

"You know, but I'll play your game witch." He groaned. "The Dorquan decreed that you and the child must die when it was discovered that you had mated with a demon, replacing your husband's legitimate heir!"

"And you believed that bullshit?" She laughed. "Where the fuck are you from, Oz?"

"Ronin, my brother knight, I beg you! Slay this witch and her demon spawn so our people will know peace." Qint cried out suddenly. "Why do you serve her? You kno..."

Carter backhanded him across the mouth with the butt of the knife again, sending blood and teeth flying across the room.

"Shut up!" She screamed as she kicked at him. "He serves me because it is just and right that he serve me you piece of shit! Now tell me why your master wants her dead!"

Qint fell in a heap on the floor, staring at her. "You..."

"You're finally getting it, huh asshole?" She whispered harshly. "This isn't your Atlantis. You jumped into a different universe on your way to wherever you were going." She leaned closer, her face a mask of hate. "But I'll tell you this. You succeeded. She's dead, we were having her funeral when you came through the gate and started shooting up my city."

She leaned even closer, her hands resting on either side of him, her face inches from his.

"But you only did half the job. The child lives." She paused, smiling down at him as his eyes got wide. "That's right. And I'm going to raise him as my own, as I hope my sister would do for me."

She stood up, holding her hand out behind her as she looked down at him. "I'm going to kill you now. Not because you killed her, but because you shot my wife you piece of shit!" She said, her voice rising to a shriek. She kicked him again, looking back as Ronin put his gun in her hand.

"Thank you." She said softly. "What's it set to?"

"It'll do what you want to do." Ronin said softly as he stepped back.

She nodded as she stepped right up over Qint, her feet straddling his body. She looked down at him, her eyes blazing with hate.

"If you thought she was a witch, you ain't seen nuthin yet, asshole." She said quietly. "After I kill you, I'm going to go kill your precious Dorquan, your family, your world. I'm going to go kill your whole fucking universe. And when her son is old enough to understand, I'm going to tell him about you, and how I avenged his mother."

She stared him in the eye as she raised the gun and fired point blank at his face. The blast disintegrated his head, sending pieces of flesh and shards of bone flying in all directions. Her next shot hit him at the neckline, and she continued firing, working her way down the body until it fell in half. She started shooting at the pieces, moving the gun from side to side.

Ronin stepped over and grabbed the gun, jerking it from her hand. "He's dead, colonel. You can stop now." He said gently, putting his arm around her shoulders and leading her out of the cell.

"I'm not done yet." She said as she shook him off and walked quickly toward the porter. "Come with me, both of you."

The rest of Carter's squad was waiting for them just outside the detention area, and they stared at her as she strode passed them. She stopped at the porter and looked at the marines.

"Give us your weapons and ammo, and go back to your quarters." She said as she looked from man to man.

"What happened in there, colonel? Are you okay?" A corporal asked, staring at her.

She looked down, noticing for the first time that she was covered in blood.

"I'm fine." She said smiling at him. "It's not mine."

"You heard the queen! Weapons and ammo, now." Carter barked, holding out his hands. He looked at one on the end and added, "Wilson, gimme your flak jacket, you're not gonna need it."

He looked back over his shoulder at Ronin.

"I'm good, but thanks." Ronin said as he took weapons from the marines, handing one back to Sam.

When they'd collected everything, they stepped into the porter and Ronin keyed in the code for her suite. He grabbed her arm, stopping her as the doors opened.

"Take off your clothes." He said as she looked up at him. "You'll get blood all over everything if you don't."

She nodded and ripped her vest open, shrugging it off, then opened the button on her pants and pushed them down. She looked down, then wiped her feet on the wad of clothes on the floor. She looked at Carter as she stepped out.

"Hold the porter. I'll be right back."

Ronin followed her into the office, and stood watching as she worked at the keyboard of her ancient terminal.

"Are you really going to do it?" He asked her quietly.

"Do what?" She asked him, looking up at him with a bland expression on her face.

He nodded, and stepped over by the door, letting her work.

A few minutes later, she stood up and took his hand as she went out the door.

"Yes, I am." She said quietly.

"Good." Was all he said.

They joined Carter in the porter, and she tapped out the symbols for the gateroom. When the doors opened, He stepped in front of her and held up the flak jacket. "Put this on." He said, holding it out to her. "I'm not letting you go into a firefight butt naked." He glanced over at Ronin.

Ronin nodded, then squatted down, picking up her vest and lifting the shield pendant from it. He handed it to her, and she pressed it to her skin. It began to glow as she ran her fingers down the center of it.

"I'm good." She said as she brushed him aside and walked over in front of the gate. She turned and looked up at the techs on the balcony. "Open the gate, it doesn't matter what address. And give me an open channel. Squeeze as many frequencies onto it as you can."

"Yes, ma'am." The tech answered and a moment later, the gate began to dial.

"Clear the gateroom. Everybody out." She said, looking around. "I'll let you know when you can come back"

The last tech was stepping into the porter as the seventh symbol locked on the gate. A moment later, the vortex burst into the room.

"Fan out, three meter spread." She said, reaching up and touching her ear. "I don't know what's going to...damn, I need a comm."

"Here." Carter said, tossing his over to her. "I want that back."

She put the comm on and pressed the button on it, waiting for the beep. When she heard it, she stepped forward, her arms spread wide, and shouted at the gate.

"Dorquan! I am Samantha Carter, Queen of Atlantis, and I come to avenge my sister, who you have unjustly murdered! Come face me you coward, or face a death you cannot escape!"

She looked at the men on either side of her. "Shoot anything that comes through the gate. Don't give them a chance."

Both men nodded, guns at the ready.

"I'm waiting for you, Dorquan." She said, stepping closer to the gate. "Come face me. Or do you need your minions to do that for you."

"What of the child?" A calm voice asked a moment later. "Does it live?"

She froze, her heart skipping a beat.

"He lives, and I will raise him as my own. I believe she would do the same for me."

"You did not know her. But perhaps you are right, filth begets filth, and clings together."

"Why. I would know why she had to die. It seems such a pointless death."

"She displeased me, and I grew tired of her. As I grow tired of you." The voice said in her ear. She took a step toward the portal, then gasped as she felt a hand grip her arm, pulling her back.

She looked over her shoulder, and saw Ronin looking at her. 'Trap', he mouthed, pulling her further back.

She nodded, and turned back toward the gate.

"I'm sure she tired of you long before..."

"SILENCE!" The voice shouted. "What have you done witch? How is this possible? What magic do you use..."

"There are many forms of magic, little man. What you are seeing is but one." She said calmly. "You will be dead before the portal closes, long before, I would think, but I'm going to wait to make sure."

"How? No such magic exists." the voice said.

"Not in your reality. But I have reached out and touched yours from mine. A fateful accident. But one with dire consequences. For you."

"Stop this! I am Dorq..."

"And I am Samantha Carter, Queen of Atlantis. I come to avenge my sister. You don't fuck with my family." she said softly.

There was no response, so she stood, waiting patiently.

Before she knew it, the gate shut down on its own. She turned and looked at Ronin. "Has it been thirty-eight minutes already?"

He nodded, coming over and taking the guns from her hands, handing them to Carter.

"Come on." He said, taking her by the hand. "Let's go the infirmary, they should have Tammy patched up by now."

* * * * *

Jennifer spotted her as they walked into the infirmary. She hurried over, pointing at her office. Carter started to walk by her, but Jennifer stepped in front of her, stopping her.

"Go in my office Sam." She said softly, looking over her shoulder at Ronin, then back at Sam. "Tammy is fine. It was a clean wound, no damage to any organs. But we need to get you cleaned up, and get you some clothes before you see her."

Sam looked at her, then nodded and stepped into the office with Ronin. Sgt. Carter stopped and stood in front of the door, looking around as he held his weapon at the ready.

Jennifer went over to a cabinet and pulled down a set of scrubs, then got a box of wipes and a bottle of antiseptic, and went into her office, closing the door behind her.

"Sit down, and don't give me any shit." She said as she pushed Sam back onto the couch. She knelt in front of her, tossing the scrubs onto the couch as she tore open the box of wipes. "I don't know what you've been doing, but I'm not letting Tammy see you like this."

Pulling a handful of wipes from the box, she poured antiseptic over them, then began wiping the blood from her face.

"Thank you, Jennifer. You're a good friend." Sam said softly, sitting quietly as she let her work.

"This isn't your blood." Keller said, dropping the wad of wipes on the floor.

"No." Sam said.

Keller looked at her as she began cleaning her neck, then moved down to her hands. She looked up at Ronin. "There's a brush in my top desk drawer, left side." She said. "Get it for me?"

Ronin nodded, and moved around behind the desk. He found the brush, and came back, standing quietly behind her.

"Can you tell me what happened?" Jennifer asked, pulling Sam forward so she could wipe some blood off her shoulder. She examined her quickly as she cleaned her, relieved when she found no wounds.

"A man came through the gate, and started shooting." Sam said quietly.

"I know about that. What happened after?" Keller said, reaching over and picking up the scrub top. She shook it out and handed it to her. "How did you get all this blood all over you?"

"Need to know, Jenn." Carter said as she took the top and pulled it over her head. "You don't." She stood up and grabbed the pants, stepping into them, then holding her hand out to Ronin for the brush.

She ran it through her hair quickly, then shook her head, and looked at Keller, handing her the brush.

"Take me to her."

* * * * *

"Tammy?" She said quietly as she stepped up next to the bed, taking her hand in hers.

"Hi baby." Tammy smiled groggily, squeezing her hand. "I'm so sorry. I should have had my shield on. It was stup..."

"Shhhhh, it's okay. You're going to be okay." Sam whispered as she leaned down and kissed her forehead. "That's all that matters, so don't think about it anymore."

"Did he tell you anything?" Tammy asked her.

Sam nodded and smiled softly. "Who and why. It was pointless, and sad." She shook her head as tears ran down her cheeks. "It was such a waste, love."

"What are we going to do?" Tammy asked her.

"It's done. We won't be hearing from them again." Sam told her.

Tammy looked at her for a moment, then nodded. "Thank you."

"I did it for all of us." Sam said, her voice cracking as she spoke. "But mostly for her. She deserved better."

"Sam?" Jennifer said as she came up behind her. "We need to let her rest. The meds should wear off in a couple hours, and I'll let you take her home then. But for now, I want her to try to sleep."

"Yes ma'am." Sam said, looking down at Tammy and squeezing her hand. She leaned down and kissed her gently, then looked back at Keller. "Call me when I can come get her, Jenn."

"Go sweetie, you have things you have to do." Tammy said. "I'll be fine. I'll see you in a little while."

Sam nodded, then turned and walked away. Ronin followed, and as she passed Carter at the infirmary door, he heard her say, "Come with me."


0845 Hours

She told them to wait for her in the kitchen as she stepped out of the porter and went into her bedroom. Pulling off the scrubs, she went into the bathroom, showering quickly, then getting fresh clothes from her closet.

Still buttoning her vest as she walked into her office, she moved behind her desk and checked the STM bridge. The bridge had collapsed, because the universe it had been connected to no longer existed. She looked at the screen for a moment, watching the 'No Target Selected' message flash, then shut the system down, and turned off the terminal. Opening her desk drawer, she picked up her spoon and moved out from behind her desk. She walked out the door and down the hall to the kitchen.

Most of the court was gathered in the kitchen when she walked in. She looked around, then stepped over next to Ronin and Carter.
"I need the room." She said. "We'll be with you shortly."

She waited as they filed out, then turned to face Carter. Ronin glanced down, and saw that she had her spoon in her hand.

"You stood by me today, defending my city and my love." She said softly.

"I didn't do it alone, colonel." He said, meeting her gaze.

"After...what we did...after." She said, stepping closer to him.

Ronin put his hand on Carter's shoulder, pushing down lightly. Carter looked at him and Ronin nodded. "Join us, in the brotherhood."

Carter stared at him, then dropped to one knee in front of her.

"Steven Carter, in recognition of your service to us, we wish to reward you with honors befitting your loyalty and your deeds. Do you accept this honor, and pledge to serve us faithfully and well?"

"Always, my queen." he said quietly, his head bowed.

She reached out with her spoon, and laid it gently on each of his shoulders.

"Rise, Sir Steven." She said. "Welcome to the Knighthood of Atlantis. May we serve each other well."

She took him in her arms as he got to his feet. "Thank you." She whispered as she drew back. "My sister will do her part when she returns. For now, let me introduce you to the family."

* * * * *

"Knights of Atlantis, stand forward." She said as they came into the living room.

The four officers stepped away from the group and assembled before her. Ronin stepped past her and joined them.

"Gentlemen, allow me to present your brother, Sir Steven Carter. Please make him welcome to the Knighthood."

The officers came to attention, with Ronin imitating them. They saluted as a group, then dropped it and gathered around him, drawing him off to the side.

"What di..." Caldwell began, but Ronin cut him off.

"He was rewarded for service to his queens, and our city." He said softly. "I was there, he's worthy of it. That's all you need to know."

Carter came up behind them, joining the circle. "I said make him welcome, not run off with him." She said lightly.

She looked over at Carter, smiling softly. "Now I need to figure out what to do with you. I like to keep my knights close."

"I need a captain of the guard." Ronin said. "Someone I can trust."

"And?" She asked, her smile widening.

"I want him."

"Steven?" She said, then shook her head. "That's not going to work. I already have a Stephen. And we can't just call you Carter, that will be confusing too."

"Cisco. My friends call me Cisco, ma'am." he told her.

"That fits." She laughed. "Especially with that big ass..."

She stopped, staring at him. "Oh my god, Your knife! What did I do..."

"You gave it back to me. But you still have my comm." He told her.

"And you said you wanted it back." She said, reaching up and pulling it off, holding it out to him.

"I finally got one that worked." He said as he took it and put it on. "I just don't want to jinx it."

"Can you tell us what happened?" Caldwell asked her. "We heard that a man came through the gate and started shooting at you, and that Tammy got hit."

She nodded at him.

"That about covers it." She said. "Ronin and Cisco's team took him out. I know how it happened, and it will never happen again."

"This has something to do with Prince Jacob, doesn't it?" Caldwell said, "There's more to this that you're not telling us. We can't..."

"Jacob and his sister, along with the intruder this morning were intercepted and brought here by my STM bridge." She said, looking at him. "I've taken steps to ensure that it won't happen again. Including shutting down the bridge. We really don't need it right now, so it's not a hardship."

Caldwell opened his mouth, and she glared at him.

"The situation has been dealt with, Stephen." She said, cutting him off. "We won't need to speak of this again." She looked at each of them. "Is that understood?

"Yes, ma'am." They all said.

"Ronin, Cisco. A moment if you will?" She said, then walked over to the windows.

"Ronin," She said as they came up behind her. "Get with Andi, and get him quarters near you. Introduce him to your teams, and get him into the rotation. I want you two to split the teams between you. One of you will be on at all times."

She paused, then turned, smiling at them. "I'm sorry, Cisco. But you need to audition." She glanced over at Ronin. "We'll do it in the morning. Let me know when you're ready. Make sure you bring Amelia."

Ronin nodded.

She saw Sheppard heading toward them, and she met him halfway. "John, I'm sorry, but..."

"We need to talk." He said. "Can we go in your office?"

She looked at him for a moment, then nodded. She led the way, closing the door behind them.

Sheppard held out a flash drive. "I watched the video feeds from the gateroom and the detention center. I copied them onto this, and deleted them from the servers. No one else needs to know what happened this morning."

She stared at him, then took the drive and slipped it into her pocket.

"Did anything happen here? Did you talk to..."

"No. Nothing that anyone can use to make a connection, even Andi." She said. "The most they'll see is me working at my terminal, and you can't see what I'm doing on it. There's no audio in this room either."

Sheppard nodded. "Good. I'll discharge Carter, and get him transferred over to Ronin. We should do that quickly. What do you want to do about the rest of his team?"

"Nothing, they don't know anything. The most they can say is they saw me with some blood on me." She said. "Promote one of them to sergeant, we should keep them together."

He nodded again and stepped toward the door.


He turned and looked at her.

"Did I do..."

"Don't start second guessing yourself now." He said, coming back to stand in front of her. "It's done. Would I have done the same thing? Yes. My only regret is you didn't get to watch the bastard die."

She nodded, looking down at the floor.

Lifting her chin with his fingers so her eyes met his, he looked at her, then said, "Put this behind you. We need you. Our people need you, and Tammy is going to need you. Don't dwell on this. It's done, and we need to move forward."

Interior-Floor 140, North Tower

0940 Hours

"As captain of the guard, you'll report directly to Ronin. He'll give you duty assignments and brief you on what may be going on with the queens, or anything else you need to be aware of." Andi said as she led him into the suite. "This is a city view. There's two other open suites on this floor, so if you don't like this one, we can look at one of the others..."

"After two years in an open bay with twenty other guys, this is fine." Cisco said, looking around. He turned back to her after a moment. "When can I expect to report for duty? And when will I meet the guards?" He asked.

"You won't go into the rotation until Ronin and Amelia give you an audition." She said. "You're going to have to prove yourself to them before they'll let you go out with the queens."

He nodded. "The colonel mentioned that. She says she wants to do it in the morning."

"She's planning on being there?" Samuels asked, looking at him closely. "I wasn't expecting that. You must have impressed her. Just what happened this morning? I went to look at the video from the gateroom, and it had been deleted."

"I'm not at liber..." He began.

"Sergeant, I'm the foreign minister of Atlantis, and I've been in on this from day one." She said. "When I ask you what's going on in the city, you tell me, is that understood?"

"Yes ma'am, I understand." He said carefully. "But you'll need to take this up with the colonel. I'm sure she'll tell you whatever she thinks you need to know."

Samuels nodded, staring at him. She looked down at her tablet, then pulled a slip of paper from her pocket and handed it to him.

"This has your access code on it, you need it to get in and out of the royal residence, that's building fifty-eight on the southwest pier. The first set of symbols will get you into the colonel's suite. The next one is for your quarters. We're on floor one forty of the north tower. The conference room is up on forty-four. The last set of symbols is for the east tower. That's the formal dining room. With me so far?"

"Yes ma'am." He said, nodding as he looked at the slip of paper

"You and Ronin will be on call twenty-four seven." She told him. "He's been doing twenty hour days since he started, and I'm amazed at how well he's holding up. You can work out a division of labor, but one of the first things I'd like you to do is work with him on how we do things, and teach him how to use our computers. I'm not sure he knows how."

She paused, then smiled at him. "You can expect to put in some long days for the next few weeks. The colonel and Tammy are going to want to have you around so they can get used to you, and I'm sure Ronin is going to have you working with the guards, either teaching them what you know, or catching up to them."

"So how did you get the name Cisco?" She asked, changing the subject abruptly. "Got anything to do with the Cisco Kid? You a cowboy or something?"

"No ma'am." He laughed. "My dad works at Cisco. And when I first got here, he was sending me care packages from their mailroom. They let employees ship free to military family members. So every time I'd get a package, the sergeant would yell 'Cisco', and it stuck."

"That's precious!" Samuels laughed. "And I think we're done for now. Why don't you go get your gear and bring it over here. Sam is visiting with her father, and Tammy is still in the infirmary. I'm pretty sure it'll be a couple hours before we need you. But keep your comms on, and plan on joining them for dinner."

Interior-Guest Quarters, North Tower

1000 Hours

"I'm sorry I couldn't get over sooner, Dad." Carter said as she came into the suite. "It's just been a busy morning." She walked over and hugged him quickly, then went over and sat down on a couch.

"It looks like it." Jacob said as he came over and sat beside her. "Selmac and I have been going over what we talked about last night, and we have some ideas." He glanced over at Ronin and the marines standing by the door. "Can we speak privately?"

"We are speaking privately, Dad." She said. "I trust these men with my life. None of them will repeat anything they hear."

"I see." He said. "So you don't trust us either."

"Dad, I haven't seen you in over a year, and before you found out about the stargate program, I was a disappointment to you because I didn't want to be an astronaut, and fly on the shuttle."

"That's not tru..."

"Yes, Dad. It is. But I'm over it, and I like having you in my life again, accepting what I'm doing. It makes me feel good. But to be honest, I don't trust the Tok'Ra anymore than they trust me. That's why I can't be alone with you."

"You believe that I would try to blend with you." Selmac said, taking control.

"I'm just not sure, Selmac. And I don't want to put you in the position where you might be tempted." She said. "I've always liked you, as an individual. You have a better sense of humor than most Tok'Ra I've met. And I'll always be in your debt for what you've done for my father."

"I owe you a debt as well, and if only for that, I would never blend with you without your consent." He said. "But I understand that you must protect yourself, and your people. I take no offense."

"Good." She said, leaning back on the couch. "My Dad said you had some ideas. And can I have him back? I really need someone to rub my feet for me, and..."

"Martouf enjoyed having his feet rubbed as well." Selmac said, a small smile on his face. He held out his hands as he slid back on the couch. "If I may? I can assure you that your father does not enjoy this activity. He believes it to be unsanitary."

"Knock yourself out." She grinned, twisting on the couch so she was leaning back against the armrest. She lifted her feet into his lap and sighed happily as he began rubbing them gently.

"Given what we saw last night, and I must admit, the view of your city, lit as it was, was magnificent." He said as he massaged the ball of one foot. "But what you told us about your plans, with what the Asgard have told us, has convinced me that our best course of action is to leave you alone, and let you progress at your own pace. This is what I will tell the High Council."

"I'm glad to hear that." She said, sighing as he increased the pressure on her foot. "But you said basically the same thing last night, you just didn't commit to it. I haven't heard anything new yet."

"You mentioned establishing trade with the Jaffa." He said. "We know that you can deliver goods to anywhere in the Milky Way galaxy, but trade implies an exchange of goods and services, or compensation for goods delivered. How were you planning on moving goods from my galaxy to this one?"

"That's one of the issues we're still looking at." She said. "And to be honest, it's our biggest roadblock. We're still trying to figure it out."

"The ancients left many outposts in both galaxies, perhaps if one could be located and restored, it could be used as a gateway of sorts." He said.

"That's a great idea. Do you know of any outposts like that?" She said. "Having you assist in locating some of those outposts would go a long way toward convincing me that we can work together, as partners."

"I do not have specific knowledge of any at the moment." He said. "But should the council know of any, why would they wish share that information, given your reluctance to allow them into this galaxy."

"Well, to begin with, I wouldn't expect them to do it out of the goodness of their hearts. I'd be willing to compensate them, probably in the form of technology and research. I might even throw in training with our ancient teaching machines if they got me a really good one."

"That is an attractive offer, and I will pass it along to the council." He said. "But I fear that it still may not be enough. They will wish to be active participants in any venture you establish between our galaxies."

"Well, the best I can do there would be to make them my agents in the Milky Way. They can act as brokers, managing the network on their end."

"The High Council will not accept simply being merchants, and shopkeepers." Selmac said.

She lifted her feet from his lap and sat up on the couch. She smiled at him as she spoke again.

"Let's put it all on the table, shall we? I don't need the Tok'Ra. I already have the Jaffa looking for ancient outposts for me. And their asking price isn't anywhere near as high as yours is. Sometime in the next few months, we'll normalize relations with Earth, and you can bet they already have teams out scouring the galaxy for outposts. They both need me to provide them ZPM's to power them, and my asking price for that is full control, with no interference. My people run them, and I say who and what goes through them. They'll both give it to me, and you know it."

"What you say is true. Both the humans and the Jaffa will be eager to deal with you on your terms. They would both benefit immensely." He said. "I fear that the Tok'Ra will be left behind as other races do business with you."

"Then your people think less of themselves than I gave them credit for." She said. "With the last of the system lords out of the picture, the Tok'Ra have access to more Goa'uld technology than anyone in your galaxy. And you not only know what and where it is, you know how to use it."

"What are you suggesting, that the Tok'Ra do as you seek to do, and distribute Goa'uld technology to any that ask for it?"

"Not quite. I'm saying that you should use the technology you have to help people live better lives, not try to tell people how to live their lives."

She stood up and stretched, then looked back down at him.

"Tell me something, Selmac. Why did the Tok'Ra begin fighting the Goa'uld in the first place? I thought it was because you objected to how they treated the people under their control, that you wanted to help free them. Was I wrong? I was there when they found Egeria on Pangara. She was proud of what your people had accomplished fighting the Goa'uld. What would she think if she knew that you were making moves to replace them?"

"That is not what we are doing, Samantha..."

"That's what it sounded like to me last night. The first thing you said was that the High Council had concerns about humans having control of ancient technology. That told me that they wanted to limit our development, just like the Goa'uld did with the rest of the galaxy."

"Yes, I can see how you would interpret it that way, but that is not what was meant." He said. "We only wish to prevent you from making mistakes that will cause harm. Not just to the Tok'Ra, but to the galaxy itself."

"But what gives you the right to make those decisions? The fact that you've been running around the galaxy longer then we have? You didn't make any of the technology you use. You stole it from the Goa'uld, who stole it from the people that developed it. We came into possession of technology abandoned by its creators. That falls under the law of finders keepers in my book. I'm doing the same thing you did, and you want to tell me I can't. That's just not right."

She paused to catch her breath. "There's one more thing I want you to tell the council for me." She said. "Tell them not to confuse experience with wisdom. And remind them that the capacity for intelligence, doesn't guarantee it. Just because you're older than I am, and genetically disposed to be more intelligent than I am, doesn't mean that you're smarter or wiser. Tell them to think about that."

"Wow, you knocked his socks off baby. " Jacob laughed. "The Asgard were right about you. And I think we're going to have to get you to meet with the High Council, that's the only way we're going to get your case across."

"I'll do a video conference anytime they want, we do it with Earth all the time." She said as she walked over to Ronin.

"Comm." She said, holding out her hand.

"Carter to Cisco." She said as she put the headset on.

"Go on Cisco." He answered immediately.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm putting my gear away ma'am."

"Good, what do you think of the new place?" she asked.

"It's nice, and the view is great." He said. "I'm going to have to stock up, the cupboard is bare."

"We'll take care of that." She laughed. "Meet me in the infirmary in ten minutes. We're doing lunch with my Dad and Landry, and I want them to meet you. I also want to spend some time with you."

"Yes ma'am, I'll be there."

"Dress is casual. You won't be wearing a uniform anymore, so wear your civvies till we get you something else."

"Yes, ma'am." He said. "Anything else?"

"That's all for now. Carter out."

She handed the comm back to Ronin and turned back to Jacob.

"I have to go down to the infirmary for a few minutes, Dad." She said lightly. "Ronin is going to take you over to the house, and when I get back, we can eat lunch before I send you and Gen. Landry home."

She turned to Ronin and grinned. "Have Landry brought over to the house, and call ahead and have someone order food. You can go ahead and start eating, I don't know how long this is going to take."

He nodded, smiling as she moved towards the door, motioning to the three marines.

"You three, on me." She said as she walked through the doorway.


1140 Hours

"Jenn?" She said, standing in the door of Keller's office.

"Sam. I was just about to call you." Jennifer said, standing up and coming around from behind the desk.

"How is she?"

"Oh, she's fine." Jennifer said as she led her out the door. "The bullet went in and out through the transverse abdominis on her right side, here." She said, running her hand over her own side just over her hip. "She's going to be sore for a few days, but she's in no danger. It never got close to a major organ."
"So can I take her home?" Sam asked.

"Oh god, would you? Please?" Keller laughed, leading her over to Tammy's bed. "She's been a pain in the ass since she woke up."

"Sam!" Tammy said when she saw her. "For the love of god, get me out of here!"

"Well, it looks like you're in agreement." Sam laughed as she took Tammy's hand. "You want out of here, and she wants you out of here."

"Let me take these leads off before you try to get out of bed, okay?" Jennifer said. "For god's sake Tam..."

She stopped suddenly when she saw a man standing a few feet behind Sam.

"Can I help you?" she said as she looked over at him.

"I'm here to see the colonel." he said quietly. "I can wait."

"Who's the stud, Sam? You replacing me already?" Tammy asked, looking him up and down.

Carter turned around, her eyes going wide when she saw Cisco. "Wow. Not quite what I was expecting when I told you to wear your civvies. But she's right, you're hot."

He was wearing a pair of skintight jeans, cowboy boots and a black Willie Nelson t-shirt. The t-shirt clung to him like a second skin, and every muscle on his upper body was on display.

He shrugged his shoulders as he put his hands in his pockets and ducked his head.

"Sorry colonel." He said. "But these are my civvies."

"Oh my god, he's blushing." Tammy laughed. "So who is he?"

Sam held out her hand and he came over, standing beside her.

"Tammy, Jennifer, allow me to introduce Sir Steven Carter. No relation." She grinned as she looked over at him. "He's going to be our new captain of the guard."

"Sir Steven?" Tammy asked, looking back and forth between them. "When did this happen?"

"He goes by Cisco." Sam said. "And it happened this morning. I'll explain later, okay?"

"That's fine." Tammy said, turning and sitting on the side of the bed. "Did you bring it?"

Sam reached into her pocket, pulled out her spoon and handed it to Tammy.

"You put the battle dressing on me." Tammy said to Cisco.

"Yes ma'am."

"How many times did you hit him?"

"Twice, hip and thigh. I had to pull low when you said not to kill him."

"What else did you do? Why did she knight you?"

"Tammy, I said I'd..."

"Let him answer Sam." Tammy said, not taking her eyes off him.

"I stood with my queen to defend our city, ma'am." He said quietly, meeting her gaze.

Tammy nodded as she slid off the bed and said, "Take a step back and kneel."

He took a step back, glanced down, then took another step back. Dropping to one knee, he bowed his head and waited.

"Steven Carter, in recognition of your service to us, we wish to reward you with honors befitting your loyalty and your deeds." Tammy said as she stepped forward. "Do you accept this honor, and pledge to serve us faithfully and well?"

"Yes, my queen." he said quietly, his head bowed.

Tammy reached out with the spoon, and laid it gently on each of his shoulders.

"Rise, Sir Steven." She said. "Welcome to the Knighthood of Atlantis. May we serve each other well."

He stood and Tammy put her arms around him. "Thank you." She said softly, then released him.

"What did Ronin have to say?" She asked Sam as she reached for her hand.

"He asked for him as captain of the guard." Sam said. "I think he's been studying."

"So you're loyal, discreet, and buff." Tammy said. "I think I'm going to like having you around."

She turned to Jennifer and grinned at her.

"Get a sample before you send him home." She said as she walked away, pulling Sam behind her.

Jennifer handed him a plastic cup.

"I'm sorry." She said, trying not to smile. "But we don't have any magazines. You'll just have to use your imagination."


1220 Hours

"So how much did you get, Jenn?" Tammy asked as she saw Keller and Cisco come onto the kitchen.

"He's a bull. He damn near filled the cup." Jennifer laughed. "I think he did it twice though."

"Really..." Tammy said slowly. She glanced over at Sam and grinned.

"Ask him if you want. I got mine." Sam said.

She looked down the table at Ronin.

"Let's do that audition today, Ronin." She said. "Call Amelia and ask her to come over. We can do it after lunch."

"Let's do it now." Cisco said. "I don't like to workout on a full stomach."

"He's got a point." Sam said, standing up.

"What's going on?" Landry asked.

"I'm sorry, Hank." She said as she walked over toward the door to the gym. "This is Sir Steven Carter, known a Cisco. He's going to be the captain of my guard. He has to audition first though. Come on up and watch."

She looked over at Cisco, a sly smile on her face.

"And judging by his attitude, I'm betting it's just going to be a formality."

She opened the door and started up the stairs. Ronin looked over at Cisco, looking him up and down. Cisco just stared back.

* * * * *

"Full speed, full contact, anything goes." Tammy told Cisco as they gathered at the far end of the gym. "No deathblows, and keep the broken bones to a minimum. A win is a knockout or a submission. Understand?"

"Yes." He said. "Straight-up hand to hand, no weapons?"

"Not to start. We just want to see what you have."

He nodded and pulled up his pants leg and pulled his knife from his boot. He paused and pulled his boots off, stuffing the knife in one, then reached behind his back and pulled two small pistols from the waistband of his jeans, dropping them in the other boot.

"Whoa! Hold-up there, Cisco." Sam laughed. "Let me see those peashooters you got there."

He looked at her, then pulled the guns from his boot. He broke one open and shook the rounds out into his boot, then dropped the clip from the other one into it. He worked the slide, then handed them to her.

"Pepperbox. I've heard about these, but I've never seen one." She said as she turned it in her hand. She handed it to Tammy as she looked at the other gun. "You're not going to stop anything with this little thirty-two though."

"I use explosive rounds, mercury tipped." He said as he opened his pants and pushed them down over his hips. He pulled them off over his feet, then pulled his socks off and dropped them next to his boots. When he stood up, he was wearing his t-shirt and a pair of boxer briefs.

"Nasty ammo." Tammy said, looking at him. "But it does add punch."

Ronin had been watching him as he spoke to them, then stepped forward when Cisco faced him.

They circled on the mat, and Cisco opened with a spinning backhand roundhouse that Ronin blocked easily. Ronin's eyes went wide as his feet were swept out from under him and Cisco landed on top of him, his arms closing around his neck, the fingers of one hand griping his chin, the other pressing on the back of his head.

"You're dead." Cisco said softly. "I just snapped your neck."

Ronin nodded, and Cisco released him and moved back.

Ronin got to his feet and faced him again. He leaped at Cisco with an overhand punch. Cisco stood his ground and took the punch on his shoulder as he drove both fists into his kidneys and ribs half a dozen times. Ronin staggered back and Cisco followed him, grabbing the front of his shirt and jerking him forward, head butting him, then bringing his knee up into his crotch several times.

Ronin collapsed on the mat, and Cisco looked over at Sam.

"Next." He said quietly.

"That's me." Amelia said as she stepped onto the mat and helped Ronin to his feet. She was guiding him off the mat when she spun and darted at Cisco, dropping low, going for his legs.

He dodged to the side quickly, and landed a punch on the back of her head. Amelia dropped to the mat and didn't move. He circled her slowly at a distance, then squatted, turning his head to get a better look at her face.

Standing up, he took another step back. "Would someone check her, and make sure she's okay? At this point, I'd just shoot her."

Amelia rolled over and got to her feet, laughing as she rubbed the back of her head, then went over and stood next to Ronin.

"I'm not going to be able to beat him, not if he's gonna act like that."

Sam nodded, looking over at Tammy. "What do you think?"

"I like what I've seen so far, but I wish Teyla was here." Tammy said. "And I wish I wasn't hurt, so we could double team him."

"On the mat? Or..." Sam laughed.

"Either, or both." Tammy laughed.

"If you would indulge me, Samantha." Bra'tac said as he pulled off his robe and stepped over to the weapons rack. He picked up two staffs and tossed one to Cisco, stepping onto the mat in his breechclout.

They circled each other, probing with their staffs, each trying to find an opening. Bra'tac stepped forward, his staff a blur as he worked it from side to side. Cisco blocked every blow, then spun to the side, dodging out of the way.

Bra'tac planted his staff on the mat and swung around on it, driving his feet at him. Cisco ducked out of the way, and Bra'tac released his staff and dropped onto his back, driving his fists into his sides in a flurry of blows.

Cisco had twisted under him before they hit the mat and had his arms locked around his throat, his legs wrapped around his ribcage, squeezing tightly.

Bra'tac had an arm across his throat, choking him, and was driving his other fist into his face when Sam called draw.

They broke apart, and Cisco picked up his staff, facing Bra'tac. Bra'tac shook his head and picked up fighting sticks. Coming back onto the mat, he held a pair out to Cisco, then swung at his head as he was reaching for them.

Cisco ducked, gripping the sticks and driving them into Bra'tac's midsection, then pulled back and got one in each hand, a small smile on his face as he faced Bra'tac again. Bra'tac nodded, and Cisco charged him.

The sound of wood on wood sounded through the room as they exchanged blows, neither of them able to land anything. They broke off, going back to circling each other.

Bra'tac opened with a flurry of swings, and Cisco let his guard drop, taking one on his left side as he reached over Bra'tac's back, pounding up and down his spine with the blunt ended stick. Bra'tac dropped to his knees and Cisco brought the other stick around, stopping it just before it connected.

Bra'tac looked up at him and nodded, and Cisco stepped back and held out his hand, helping him up.

"You've had training, that much is obvious." Sam said. "Let's hear the resume."

"Karate, judo, jujitsu, savate, street, and a little of whatever the Jaffa call what they use. Plus some stuff I made up on my own." He said. "Are we done?"

"I want to see Ronin and Amelia at the same time." Tammy said.

Cisco nodded and faced them, waiting calmly.

"No, he'll take us both." Ronin said. "Make him head of the house guards, and your personal guard."

"I agree, we can learn alot from him." Amelia said, then looked at Cisco. "What belts?"


"Which disciplines?"

Cisco grinned and put his head down for a second, then looked up at her. "All of them. Well, I don't know about the Jaffa stuff, I don't know their ranking systems."

"Master." Bra'tac said, stepping over and holding out his hand to Cisco. "You matched me easily. And you willingly took damage to win, few in my experience would go so far."

He looked over at Sam. "I agree with Ronin. With his skills and attitude, no harm will come to you in his presence."

Tammy saw him wince as he bent over to pick up his jeans, and she walked over to him.

"Hold up a second, Cisco. Let me look at you." She said as she lifted his t-shirt and ran her fingers over his side. "I thought so. You've got at least two broken ribs."

"A couple fingers too." He said, holding up his hand.

"Okay, let's get you down to thirty-one and get you patched up." She looked over her shoulder at the group. "Someone call ahead and tell them we're coming down." She bent down and picked up his clothes and boots, handing them to him. "Let's go."

* * * * *

"Why did you want a sperm sample?" Cisco asked Tammy as they got on the elevator.

She looked over at Sam.

"Don't look at me. You're the one that wants it." Sam laughed.

"I want to have your baby." She said bluntly. "We'd go in vitro of course, after Jenn picked which little swimmers she'd want to let into the pond." She looked at Sam again, then stepped closer, running her fingers lightly over his chest. "But you can still make a direct deposit if you want, I wouldn't mind."

He stared at her.

"Are you serious?"

"About which part?" Sam asked as she moved to the other side of him. "She's serious about wanting a baby, we both do. I already have my donor, we were going to use the same one, but you look like good stock, and having different fathers might be a good idea."

She dragged her fingers over his chest next to Tammy's. "But would that be a problem? Having sex with us, I mean?"

"We're really good in bed, and..." Tammy said.

"I...I don't know what to say." He said blushing furiously.

"We'd have to be discreet of course." Sam said. "But since you're going to be with us all the time anyway..." She dropped her hand down and stroked it over the front of his briefs.

She looked up at him, then over at Tammy.

"Big?" Tammy asked as she glanced down.

Sam nodded, then stepped back, taking his hand and pulling him behind her off the elevator.

"Think about it, Cisco." She said as she led him to the med bay. "It's going to take a few days for those ribs to heal, and Tammy's hurt too, so there's no hurry."

"Speak for yourself." Tammy laughed. "I can't remember the last time I had a good shtupping."

"Shtupping? Did you actually just use the word 'shtupping'?" Sam laughed.

* * * * *

"What would happen if I said no?" Cisco asked as he laid on the bed in the med bay.

"To which part?" Sam asked, glancing at Tammy.

"The second thing." He said, looking at Susan as she stood at the controls of the scanner. "I'm fine with the other one, honored even."

"Nothing would happen." Tammy said. "You'd do your job, and we go on business as usual. We won't take it personally."

"I'll be back in a minute." Susan told him. "I need to go next door and get the other scanner. I don't know who keeps moving it in there."

"We're not asking you to be our boyfriend or anything." Sam said as the doors closed behind Susan. "It's just that sometimes, it would be nice to..."

"To get fucked till our brains run out of our ears and make a puddle on the bed." Tammy finished for her.

Cisco laughed, wincing and holding his side. "Oh god, don't do that. Please don't make me laugh again."

"You're going to see us having sex anyway." Tammy said. "We do it a couple times a day, all over the house. Most of the time we clear the floor, but we forget sometimes."

"Just think of it as one of the perks of the job." Sam said, walking over and standing in front of Tammy. She pulled her hands up so they were cupping her breasts, her eyes closing as Tammy started nibbling at her neck. "But it's not like we're going to want it everyday. Not after the first few weeks, I mean."

Tammy moved her hands down to Sam's waist when she heard the door swoosh open, and she looked over at Susan as she pushed the ancient scanner over by the bed.

"Why did you want that one, Susan? Did you see something on the other scan?" She asked as she walked over next to the bed.

"I'm not sure." Susan said. "And I wanted to get a better look. This thing will give me a 3D view and let me look from different angles. Here, take a look, and tell me what you think." She said as she handed Tammy her tablet.

"Is something wrong?" Cisco asked, looking back and forth between them.

"Based on what we just saw upstairs, I want to say no." Tammy said. "But looking at this, I don't know what to think."

"Let's do some blood work, Jennifer's going to want it, and have you called her yet?" She asked Susan.

"Yeah, she's on her way." Susan said, going over and opening a cabinet. "She should be here by now."

"Oh my god!" Jennifer laughed as she came in. "You just couldn't wait to get him into bed, could you?"

"Would you pass up beefcake like this?" Tammy laughed. "We were gonna tag team him."

"I'm in." Susan said as she came over with a tray.

"Susan!" Keller laughed. "What would Robbie say?"

"I wasn't planning on telling him." Susan said as she wrapped a rubber tube around his upper arm. She tapped on the inside of his arm to bring a vein up, then slipped a needle in and quickly filled two vials with blood.

"Not that I'm complaining," Cisco said, looking around at them. "But is anyone going to look at my ribs before I start servicing you all?"

"Your ribs are fine, a couple of hairline fractures. I'm more worried about the fingers." Susan said as she picked up another syringe from the tray and injected a clear liquid into his hand at the base of his middle finger.

"Let's get the scanner set up before you do anything on that." Keller said. "I looked at the first scans, and I want a better look with the ancient one."

"What did you see?" He asked.

"Nothing serious, definitely not life threatening." Susan said. "It's just that your internal organs seem to be...larger than normal."

"It looks like the external ones are too." Tammy said, looking at his crotch.

"Oh for god's sake." he laughed, reaching down and pulling his briefs off to one side. His cock flopped out, dangling limply over the wrinkled sac of his scrotum. "Happy now?"

"Wow." Susan muttered, stepping closer.

"That's a nice dick you got there, Cisco." Tammy said. "Can I touch it?"

"Move over, I want to see too." Sam said as she came up next to Tammy.

"John's is bigger." Jennifer said to no one in particular.

"Yeah, but it would be weird doing it with him." Sam said. "I can't even fantasize about that."

"I do." Tammy and Susan said at the same time.

"Really?" Sam asked, looking at Tammy.

"Just...sometimes. You know, when I...never while we're doing it." Tammy said. "I wake up and..."

"Uh huh."

"I can save you some trouble." Cisco said as he pulled his briefs back in place. "They saw the same thing on my initial medical exam. They said it was no big deal."

"I wasn't done with that." Tammy said, reaching for his crotch.

"Yes, you are." He said, grinning at her as he sat up. He looked over at Keller. "Why don't you do this. Look at my records, then if you still think there's a problem, I'll let you check me out again. But before you do that, can we do what we came down here for, or do I have to go over to the infirmary?"

"He's assertive too." Sam said, smiling at him. "I think I made a good choice."

"Let's do this." Jennifer said coming around in front of him. She pushed Tammy out of the way and grinned at him. "You're here, we have the equipment ready, and it will only take a couple of minutes to do the scan we want. If it will make you feel any better, I'll throw these two out so you can relax."

"You wouldn't dare." Sam said, glaring at her,

"Okay, Doc. Do your scan." He said, laying back down on the table. "But let them stay. I didn't realize that this job was going to be this much fun."

"I think he likes us." Sam said, putting her arm around Tammy's waist.

"I know he does." Tammy said, smiling at him.


1450 Hours

Bra'tac and a squad of marines had taken Landry and Jacob over to the gateroom so they could go back to Earth while they'd been in the med bay. They'd said their goodbyes, and assured Sam and Tammy that they would stay in touch.

"Your heart is more than eighty percent larger than the average human heart. Your lungs a little over fifty percent larger." Jennifer was telling him. "Kidneys and liver not quite forty percent. This isn't a genetic defect or anomaly. There's something else at work here."

"You already know what it is doc." He said. "Just tell them, so they quit fretting."

"When did you start martial arts training, or what sports did you play in school, at what level?" She asked.
"I didn't play sports in school, my family moved around alot." He said. "But I started learning how to fight before I could walk. I have five brothers. I started martial arts when I was four."

"I thought it was something like that." She said nodding. "Who gave you your early training? Did you study with the same person for a while at the beginning?"

"Yeah, we took lessons from a crazy old chinaman who thought Bruce Lee was a fag." He told her. "I was already a brown belt when they enrolled us in the new dojo. I think I was eight, maybe nine. I got my first black belt at ten."

She looked over at Sam and Tammy. "Now that we got his booboo's taken care of, he's gonna be fine. Susan overreacted, I guess she's never seen a world-class athlete before. At least, not the inside of one."

"His internal structure is the same as a typical olympic athlete, they demonstrate the same traits. I knew there was nothing wrong with him when I saw that his resting heart rate was thirty-two."

"You took Ronin down twice in less than a minute both times. I don't think that first one lasted twenty seconds." Sam said.

Cisco nodded. "I watch him all the time in the gym, I like his roughhouse style. He hasn't had much formal training, he learned what he does by fighting, and incorporating what works for him. I had an advantage, he's never seen me fight."

"Why is that? That we didn't hear about you, I mean." Sam asked him. "And why didn't you tryout already?"

"I didn't know that there were open tryouts, and I don't spar in the gym. There's no one I can go with and not worry about hurting them." He said. "I tried when I first got here, but I kept sending people to the infirmary, so my sergeant told me to knock it off. Now I just do my kata's out on the east pier. I guess I just slipped under the radar."

He paused for a moment, then looked over at Sam. "What's the old man's name? I've seen him before."

"That's Master Bra'tac." She said with a grin. "Teal'c was his apprentice, and succeeded him as first prime of Apophis."

"I thought so, I just wasn't sure. I know Teal'c, I used to spar with him. I spent three years at the SGC before I came here. I was on SG-14."

"Is he going to be okay?" Ronin asked as he came into the kitchen.

"I'm fine, they got me taped up." Cisco said, starting to get up. "You need me for something?"

Ronin waved him down and stopped next to Carter. "I wanted to talk to the colonel about how we're going to set up the guard, now that we have you."

"We can do that." She said, looking up at him. "Have a seat, and let's hear what you have to say."

"You don't need me for this, so I think I'm going to go back over to the infirmary for a while. I have a few things I need to catch up on." Keller said as she stood up.

She looked down at Cisco as she went by. "Change the tape on those fingers everyday, and keep the splints on for at least a week. You can get the wrap on those ribs changed day after tomorrow. Come to the infirmary, or Susan can do it downstairs. It's waterproof, so you can shower in it."

"Thanks, doc." He nodded

"Come back for dinner later if you want, Jenn. And bring John, we're going to want everyone to get used to having Cisco around." Tammy said, getting up and filling her glass from the tap.

"We'll do that. Thanks."

"What's on your mind, Ronin?" Carter asked as she left.

"I said it upstairs, make him head of the guard." Ronin said, looking down at the table. "I don't know what I'm doing. and I don't want what happened this morning to happen again."

"No." She said. "You are my guardian of the realm, and head of the household guard. If you don't think you know how to do the job, we'll get people in to teach you how to do it. We just got you your first teacher. He can teach you the military structure we use here, and how the guard is going to fit into it."

"And you've been doing a great job so far." Tammy said. "You've got people picked out, and are getting them trained. And you've got us trained not to leave the house without a team."

"You didn't turn your shield on." He said, looking down the table at her. He looked over at Carter, then back at Tammy. "I keep telling you that you have to keep them on, because we don't know what's going to happen."

Tammy looked away, and before she could say anything, Cisco spoke up.

"She got the colonel out of the line of fire and was covering her while we took him down." He said. "She made a mistake, but she made up for it. And that was our fault too, for not checking."

He looked down the table at Carter. "Can we do this here? Or do you want us to get things worked out between us, let him bring me up to speed, and set up a program, then come back and tell you what we're going to do?"

"We don't have anything planned." She said. "I wanted to spend some time with the boys, and I haven't seen Jacob since this morning. But let's do it now." She looked over at Tammy. "Get them a couple tablets, we might as well write it down."

"Okay, then item one, Ronin and I should have quarters in this building, not all the way across the city. We need easy, unrestricted access to you. Dr. Samuels said that she had moved everyone else out of this building. Give us two floors for our security teams."

"Andi took a floor for the household staff, so having your guys here won't be any different."

Tammy came back and slid a tablet over in front of each of them. Ronin looked down at his, and Cisco said. "I'll do it. I've got a couple smaller ones over in my quarters that will work better for us anyway. I'll show you how to use one later."

Ronin nodded and pushed the tablet away.

"Put your guys on thirty-two up to thirty-four, that will give you room for growth. You two take the suites on the next floor down from us." She said.

Cisco nodded, and looked over at Ronin. "How many people do you have picked out so far for the guard? And how were you going to schedule them?"

"We've found twenty-eight so far, Amelia wanted to bring in some of the special forces guys, but I don't trust them." Ronin said. "We talked about two teams of three on eight hour shifts."

"I don't trust them either, they don't have any reason to be loyal yet." Cisco said. "But I'd go with a six hour shift. There's going to be a lot of standing around on this job, and that wears you down fast. Plus we want some time for training, and still keep it under a ten or twelve hour day."

He looked at Carter again. "Can that porter out there be locked out?" He asked.

"It is, you have to have an access code, and know the symbols for it." She said.

"And how many people have access codes?"

"I'd have to look." She said. "The senior staff, Daniel, Vala and Chuck. Call it a dozen."

"I'd like to take that down to two. You and Lady Tammy." He said. "Everyone else can go through a security checkpoint on a lower floor and come up in the elevator. You should know who wants to come up, what they want, and approve it before they come up."

"I wanted to do that, but they didn't like it." Ronin said.

"They'll get used to it." Cisco said. "Besides adding a layer of security, it ensures them a little privacy. There's no reason for people to walk in and out of here anytime they want."

"We might not miss as many meals that way." Sam said. "Next?"

"Call your med bay. I think Tammy is bleeding." He said as he stood up and moved around the table, kneeling beside her chair. Lifting her scrub shirt, he nodded when he saw blood spotting the bandage.

"Put your arm around my neck." He told her as he put his arm behind her back.

She pushed him away and got to her feet. "I can walk, and do you really think you're going to lift me with those ribs?" She laughed. She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. "But thank you."

Ronin led them to the elevator and they went back down to the med bay. Susan was waiting for them, and she got Tammy up on a table and cut her shirt off. She was cutting the bandage off when Jennifer walked in.

"I thought I told you to take it easy." Keller said. She waited while Susan cleaned the wound, then stepped closer to look at it. "You didn't tear the stitches, this blood is coming from inside."

She looked at Sam, then back at Tammy. "I'm sorry, I must have missed something. We're going to have to take her back over to the infirmary. I can't do what I need to do here."

Sam turned and looked at Cisco. "How did you know?"

"She was quiet, not as lively, and I noticed that she was getting pale. And I saw it on her shirt."

They got Tammy laid out on the bed and wheeled it out to the porter. Cisco stopped at the door, and looked at Ronin. "Can you cover this? I need to touch base with Col. Sheppard, and I'd like to talk to Dr. Samuels again."

He looked over at Carter. "Is that okay with you?"

"That's fine, just stay on comms. And plan on doing dinner with us."

He nodded as he stepped back and watched the porter doors close.

Interior-Marine Barracks, Central Tower

1600 Hours

"Second squad, front and center." Cisco called out as he stepped into the bay.

The men assembled quickly, coming over to stand in front of him.

Before they could say anything, he said, "Come with me." then turned and walked out of the bay. Leading them down the corridor, he stopped at a storage room, opened the door and looked inside, then stepped in, waving them in behind him.

Closing the door after the last one, he turned to face them.

"Where the hell have you been, Cisco? And why are you in your civvies?" One of them asked.

Cisco held up his hand, and looked at them for a minute. "I'm being transferred to the house guard. I'm going to be working for Ronin Dex." He said. "But I need to talk to you about what happened this morning."

"Yeah, what the hell happened in there?" Wilson asked. "And where's my flak jacket?"

"Shut up, and listen to me, all of you." Cisco said, a hard edge in his voice. "Have any of you talked about what happened this morning, to anyone?"

They all shook their heads. He looked at them carefully, then nodded and went on.

"If anyone asks you what happened this morning, and I guarantee they will, you tell them that an intruder came through the gate, we took him out, and the colonel dismissed you and sent you back to your quarters."

He paused again, letting them absorb what he was saying.

"The video from the gateroom and the detention center has been deleted, so there's no official record of what happened. But I'm putting all of you up for commendations anyway. There's six of us, and he had fifteen bullets in him. We put him down good."

"What happened in there Cisco?" Wilson asked. "She went in there with your knife in her hand, and we heard Ronin's cannon going off."

"And she looked like she had skinned a whale when she came out. I ain't never seen that mu..."

"Shut up! Just shut the fuck up!" He said softly "This is what's gonna cause a problem. You saw a couple things, but you don't know what happened in the middle. I do, and I'm gonna tell you right now, I was proud to be standing beside her."

"No one else, not even your grandkids fifty years from now can ever hear about what you saw this morning. I asking you as a friend, and a fellow marine, keep this to yourselves. It's best for everyone. Running your mouths about it will only hurt the queens, and the city."

"Did she send you down here?" Wilson asked.

Cisco shook his head. "She doesn't know I'm here. They had to take Lady Tammy back to the infirmary, Keller missed something when they worked on her earlier."

"What happened to your hand?" Wilson asked. "You looked fine earlier."

Cisco grinned. "I had to audition for the job. I kicked the shit outta Ronin, then Master Bra'tac gave me a lesson in Jaffa dirty tricks." He lifted his t-shirt, showing them his ribs.

"You sure about what you're getting yourself into, Cisco?" Wilson asked.

"No, but they're good people, and I like what they've done so far." He said. "And I want to help them."

"Okay, we'll do it your way, but just so we know, who's gonna come asking?" Wilson said.

"Samuels, the foreign minister, maybe Caldwell. It won't be Sheppard." He told them. "She worked me over earlier, and he was pushing the colonel. They know less than you do, so just be cool, and don't volunteer anything."

Interior-Col. Sheppard's Office, East Tower

1630 Hours

"You're out of uniform, Carter." Sheppard said as he stood up and came from behind his desk. "You still work for me."

"Yes sir, Col. Carter told me to report in civvies, and this is all I have." Cisco said, coming to attention.

"Relax, I'm kidding. I already signed your discharge papers." Sheppard said as he held out his hand. "What did she call you, Cisco?"

"Yes sir, it a long story."

"Make it short." Caldwell said from behind him. "And when you're done with that one, tell us what the hell happened this morning, and why she made you a knight."

"An intruder came through the gate and we took him out sir."

"I suppose your squad is going to say the same thing." Caldwell said.

"Yes sir."

"Give it a rest Stephen," Sheppard said. "If anything else happened, the colonel has a good reason for not telling us. Need to know. Personally, I believe him."

"Okay, I just don't like being left out of the loop." Caldwell said, getting to his feet.

"There's a lot of loops Stephen, you can't be in all of them." Sheppard laughed.

"You got that right." Caldwell said as he walked toward the door. "Teyla says we're doing dinner with them tonight, you going?

"Lady Tammy had to go back to the infirmary, they missed something when they worked on her this morning." Cisco told him.


"That's all I know, they haven't called me yet."

Caldwell just looked at him, them looked passed him at Sheppard behind him. "I'll be in my office, John." He said, then turned and walked away.

"Close the door, and have a seat." Sheppard said, pulling a chair over and dropping into it. "He's not a bad guy once you get to know him, it just takes a while. Give him a little time."

"Yes sir."

"You can call me John, or Sheppard." He laughed. "But that's going to take a little time too."

Sheppard leaned back in his chair, stretching his legs out in front of him. "I saw the video from the gateroom and the detention center. Was that your pig sticker she was hitting him with?"

"Yeah, it was better for what she was gonna do than was she was gonna use. She didn't use the end I was expecting though."

"Yeah, she has her own way of doing things, that's for sure." Sheppard said. He looked over at Cisco. "You understand what really happened this morning, don't you?"

"Yes sir, we killed them."

"She killed them, and I'm glad she did."

"No, we did it. I knew what she was going to do when we went back up to her suite, and I let her do it. Then I went down and stood with her while she called him out." Cisco said

Sheppard nodded. "Now I see why she knighted you. What happened to your hand?"

"Master Bra'tac gave me a lesson in Jaffa dirty tricks." Cisco grinned. "Dinged my ribs up pretty good too."

"How about Ronin?"

"I don't think I hurt him too bad. Well, maybe his pride." Cisco said. "We're good. But tell me something, does he know how to read?"

"Some, but not alot. We need to do something about that." Sheppard said.

"Does he have the ancient gene?"

"I don't know. Let me look." Sheppard got up and went over to his desk, bringing up a file on his laptop, he entered Ronin's name in the search field and waited.

"It doesn't look like he's every been tested." He said.

He keyed his comm as he stood up. "Sheppard to Ronin."


"Is the colonel with you, and are you still in the infirmary?"

"Yeah, I think they're about to bring Tammy out of surgery. I'll get the colonel." Ronin said.

A moment later, Carter came on. "Yes, John?"

"How's Tammy?"

"I'm waiting for Jennifer, they're not out yet."

"Okay. I don't have a record of Ronin ever being tested for the ancient gene. Can we get that done while you're there?"

"Sure, what made you think of that?"

"I didn't, Cisco did right after he asked me if Ronin could read."

"Okay, I'll take care of that while we're waiting for Tammy and Jenn. That all?"

"Yes ma'am. Call me when you know something?"

"Of course. Carter out."

He closed the channel and looked over at Cisco. "Tammy is still in surgery, and the colonel is going to have Ronin tested. You got any other ideas you want to throw out? You're on a roll."

"There's only twenty-eight guards so far, not enough for two three man teams per shift." Cisco said. "It didn't hit me till after they had left, so I haven't mentioned it to Ronin. But we could go with two man teams augmented by marines, at least until we get the guard up to strength."

"We can do that. Let's talk to Ronin about it tonight." Sheppard said. "I need to get him over for a beer, I've been neglecting our friendship. What else?"

"I heard Ronin got captured and taken back to Sateda, and killed a boss Wraith there." Cisco said slowly.

"Actually, it was Dr. Beckett that killed him, with a drone." Sheppard said

"Do you know if the Wraith are occupying that planet?"

"I don't think so, they took him back there so they could hunt him again. They meant to kill him that time. Why?"

"I was just wondering if there's anymore of those hand cannons Ronin carries laying around. Maybe some other stuff." Cisco said. "From what I hear, his people were fairly technologically advanced."

Sheppard just stared at him, then shook his head.

"You've been working for me for two years, and I'm just now hearing about this stuff?"

Cisco shrugged. "I'm just a grunt, colonel. I've mentioned it to people a few times. I just never heard anything else about it."

"You're not a grunt anymore, you're senior staff now." Sheppard said seriously. "If you get an idea, talk to someone else on the senior staff, or go right to the queens, you're going to have their ear. It sounds like you have some interesting ideas, and we need all of those that we can get."

Interior-Conference Room, North Tower

1740 Hours

"Jennifer is going to keep Tammy overnight in the infirmary." Carter said as she looked around the table. "They missed something this morning, and she lost about a pint of blood. There's some other problems now as a result." She paused, wringing her hands in her lap. "They have Jacob over there too. He's okay, but Jenn still wants to observe him for a few days, because he's so young."

"Are you going to be okay, Samantha?" Vala asked. "You can stay with us tonight, so you don't have to be alone."

"Thank you, Vala. I'd like that." Sam said. "I have some things I want to talk to you both about, so we can do that too."

She looked around the table again, her eyes finally settling on Samuels.

"Andi, we were talking earlier, and Ronin's team is going to be making some changes in the residence." She said. "I want Ronin and Cisco moved into the suites on forty-three, and three floors blocked out for their guards. Those people should be close, just like the household staff."

"That's a good idea." Samuels said. "Does it matter where? There are several large conference rooms around that building that they can use as assembly areas, or do you want them above thirty-one?"

"Get with Ronin and Cisco about that, show them what you have, and the three of you decide." Carter said. She looked over at Cisco, then spoke to the group.

"We're also changing the access to our suite. You won't be able to port right in anymore, I've already disabled all the codes." She said. "From now on, you'll come out at a security checkpoint on thirty-one, and only allowed up with approval."

Heads nodded around the table, but no one said anything.

"We found out today that Ronin had never been tested for the ancient gene, we had him tested, and as luck would have it, he has it." She said, smiling down at him. "He's been treated with the therapy, and it worked. Teyla is being tested right now, with luck, she'll have it too."
"I don't have the gene." Daniel said. "But I don't think Vala has ever been tested for it. Can we get that done?"

"As soon as we finish here." Carter said. "All of you that have the gene have been issued the ancient shields. Start wearing them. Andi and Daniel, I've ordered Kevlar vests that you can wear under your clothes like a t-shirt, that's what they look like. Gen. Landry is going to handle that for me, and send them along when they come in."

"Can I ask why your father and Landry came over yesterday?" Samuels asked.

"Sometimes a girl just needs to talk to her daddy, Andi. You should know that." Sam said with a sad smile. "It turns out that he was at Stargate Command when we called and asked them to find him for us. Landry asked if he could come too, and we said yes."

"It was good seeing him again." Caldwell said. "And it was nice to meet your father. He's an interesting character. Selmac was talking to me about my Goa'uld incident."

"Well, them coming here wasn't all upside." She said. "Jacob and Selmac were at the SGC talking to Landry about us. Apparently, the Tok'Ra have concerns about us being in possession of this city, and the ancient technologies here. Tammy and I talked to them about it last night."

She looked over at Samuels. "Andi, send that out to everyone, I want them to see it."

Samuels nodded, making a note on her tablet.

"I had another conversation with them this morning. I made it clear that the Tok'Ra have no say in how we run our city, and that they are not welcome here, or in the Pegasus galaxy. They can have the Milky Way."

She paused, looking around again. "I'm pretty sure that they know about St. Louis. Selmac turned the topic to us wanting to establish trade with the Jaffa, and Earth. He pointed out that trade is a two way street, and asked how we were planning on shipping back here."

"I told him that we were still trying to figure that out, and he suggested that we consider looking for ancient outposts to restore."

"Then they definitely know." Sheppard said. "Do we want to beef up the security team there, maybe send some jumpers or three-oh-two's over?"

"Yes, you and Stephen work out what you can give up." She said. "And Andi, I want that outpost maxed out on drones. Once you have it at capacity, keep loading it. Half of all drone production goes there effective now."

She looked at Daniel. "You just got back from there. How is it set up? Is the gate inside the main shield?"

"Yes, but there's a shield up on the gate too." He said.

"Have them pull the shield back around the outpost, so the gate is outside it, move the gate if you have to. If we get an intrusion, they'll still have to get through the main to get to the outpost."

"Now, before you all start asking me questions. Yes, this is because of this morning's intrusion. I've shut the STM bridge down, and won't turn it back on unless we need it." She said. "But that doesn't mean that someone else out there, in this reality, or another one, isn't playing with the same technology. I think we're safe with our gate where it is, since we have the secondary shield now, so I don't think we need to move it. Does anyone have any thoughts on that?"

"Having the secondary up all the time doesn't use that much more power, so that's not an issue." Chuck said. "And to be honest, we'd be alot more comfortable up on the balcony with it on, now that we've seen that things can come through the gate shield."

"I spoke to Dr. Zelenka. He says that these people passed through the gate shield because it was in such close proximity to the wormhole. If anything passes through it again, the secondary should stop it, because it will have reformed into matter or energy. At least, that's what I think he said."

"I'll talk to him about it, Chuck." Carter laughed. "I want to ask him about oscillating the gate shield too, to see what effect that might have."

"From a practical point of view, we might consider moving the gate to one of the production piers." Samuels said. "Once we begin actively producing and shipping goods, it would just make sense. At a minimum, we're going to have to look at redesigning the gateroom for easier access."

"Work something up. You'll need to get with Chuck to work out the logistics of it, and get input from the rest of the department heads." She told her.

She looked back at Chuck. "We'd really only have to move the gate, is that right? We could leave the DHD in the tower, or just use a DHD in a jumper?"

"Yes ma'am." He nodded. "There's no actual physical connection between the gate and the DHD. I don't know what the range on them is though."

"We can figure that out. In the meantime, you two get me suggested locations, and what would be involved in getting it done if we decide to do it."

She looked around the table again. "What's next?"

"I was talking to Cisco this afternoon, he came over to do some paperwork." He said. He looked over at Ronin. "He had an idea, and we talked about it, along with some other stuff."

"He told me." Ronin said.

Sheppard nodded, and turned back to Carter. "Why not go with two man guard teams, augmented by marines until they get the manning up to where they want it on the guard. They cover you and Tammy, and the marines cover their back. That gives them some breathing room, and frees up some of my marines at the same time."

"Work it out with them, and let me know what you want to do. Next?" She said.

"He also mentioned something I hadn't considered, that I think we should start doing on a wholesale basis."

"And what was that?" She asked.

"Scavenging. He mentioned going looking for some of those hand cannons Ronin uses on Sateda. There's probably other stuff laying around too." He said.

He looked over at Ronin again. "Your people were fairly technologically advanced before that last Wraith attack."

Ronin nodded. "I think we should go look. I know where some of the armories were. But it's been eight years, and I know that Kell was selling weapons, and that's probably where he got them."

"Work it out, and let me know what you find. We can send the Apollo or Daedalus if we need to."

"Ronin and I were talking about the boys last night, and Tammy mentioned that there were more than twelve hundred children in the city now." O'Neill said.

"That number is closer the seventy-seven hundred." Samuels said. "We had a problem in the census, and the numbers I gave her were off."

"Anyway, she said that she would talk to Daniel about heading a department of education. With her down for a few days, I didn't want it to slip through the cracks."

"Thank you, Jack." She said, smiling at him. "What were you talking about?"

"Nothing you have to worry about for at least five years." He laughed. "They've just been asking him about stuff he didn't have the answers for. We handled it."

"Before you ask." Daniel said, smiling at her. "Yes, I'll do it. I'm spending half the day with Geraan and Phinnar anyway. Picking up a few more won't be a problem. I'd like to make the cut off age twelve, anyone over that should just go right on a teaching machine."

"Make it fourteen. Get with the other department heads, and make sure you talk to Pharris, she may have some ideas, and you can look at how their education system is setup." She said.

"God." She sighed, leaning back in her chair. "We said we weren't going to use nannies, that we'd raise our kids ourselves. And I promised Bra'tac and Pharris that we'd spend time with the boys..."

"It's going to happen Sam." O'Neill said. "But the boys are being well taken care of. Ronin and Bra'tac are teaching them warrior arts, not just how to fight, Daniel takes them out into the city to explore, Vala lies her ass off during story time, Amelia has them doing math and language lessons, and I've been teaching them how to fly a jumper. They're getting a well rounded education."

"I don't lie." Vala said softly. "I embellish."

"Thank you, all of you." She said, tears welling up in her eyes. "You know I couldn't have done this, any of this, without you."

"Yeah, you being the notorious slacker that your are." O'Neill muttered.

Interior-Med Bay-Tower Fifty-eight

1900 Hours

"Are there any other languages in that thing besides ancient?" Cisco asked Sam as she scrolled through the menu, setting it up for Ronin's first lesson.

"Probably, I haven't looked." She said, glancing over at him. She held out a headset to Ronin. "Put that on."

Ronin put the headset on, and she started the process. When the cycle ended, she picked up a pad and wrote on it quickly, then held it up in front of him.

"What's it say?" She asked.

"I trust you with my life." Ronin said, his voice catching in his throat.

"I do, so does Tammy." She said, coming over and hugging him. She reached in her pocket and pulled out one of the shield pendants and handed it to him. "Put this on, and take the headset off. Just sit it on the machine."

She tossed one of the pendants over to Cisco. "You too." She said. "Now, why did you want to know about other languages?" She asked as she scrolled through the menus.

"I was thinking that if we could find something obscure, we could hit our guys with it, and not have to work up a separate code system."

"Smart." She nodded. "And everything in here is going to be obscure. But why not just use ancient?"

"Because everyone in the city speaks it, and word is going to get around that we speak it." He said. "So other people may start trying to figure it out, and I want to be a step or two ahead of them."

"Anything else you want while we're looking?" She asked.

"Jumper training, how to use the terminals like yours, weapons systems, math, medical or first aid training, and anything else that looks like it will be useful." He said as he watched her.

"I'll hit you both with jumpers, first aid, and the terminals now." She said. "Tell Andi to put a terminal in each of your suites, along with the standard desktop. Talk to Tammy, she has the boys tablets running games out of the ancient database. Ask her how she did it, or get her to set some up for you."

She was working rapidly through the screens on the teaching machine, and after a couple minutes she looked up and tossed Cisco the headset.

"Put that on. I included how to use the teacher so you can do your guys. This is going to take a couple minutes, so get comfortable."

"I'm fine." He said

"Have it your way." She said as she started the cycle.

It was almost five minutes before the process ended this time, and Cisco swayed slightly as he took the headset off. Ronin grabbed his arm and led him over to a bed, and helped him get up on it.

"Sit or lay down." He told Ronin as he handed him the headset. "I started getting woozy toward the end."

Ronin nodded and sat on the other bed, then put the headset on and laid back.

"Okay, I'm ready." He said.

Carter started the machine again, and came over next to Cisco.

"You give any thought to what we talked about?" She asked, not looking at him.

"A little."

She looked over at him, a small smile on her face. "You don't give up a lot, do you."

"You already got your answer."

"I did?" She asked. "When?"

"Think about it. You'll remember."

They waited quietly for the process to end, and when it did, Ronin sighed, then groaned.

"Just lay still for a few minutes, Ronin." She said as she took the headset off. "Open your eyes and look at me."

She felt his pulse as she looked at his eyes. They were glassy, and it was obvious that he was disoriented.

She stayed with him, holding his hand until he turned his head and looked at her. "Feel better now."

She nodded, and helped him sit up. She smiled at him.

"You had me worried there. I thought we had hurt you."

He shook his head. "So much...just so much."

"Just relax, it should get better." She said. "Do you have a headache? You're looking better than when the process ended."

He shook his head. "I keep seeing pictures, all jumbled up."

"What do you for a severed femoral artery?" Cisco asked.

"Apply pressure above the wound and clamp it off, then medivac." Ronin said immediately.

"Think about a jumper. Can you see the control panel." Cisco asked.

"Leave him alone, he needs to rest." Carter said.

"No, this helps." Ronin said. "I can see it. Now what?"

"Find the control for the HUD."

"Got it."

"What's right next to it, on the left."

"The emergency hatch release, it's a handle."

"Good, Just think about one thing at a time. That's what I'm doing." Cisco said. He looked over at Carter. "It is a little overwhelming at first, but it gets better."

"So we just do one lesson at a time, and let you get used to them." She said.

They both nodded.

She made them sit for another fifteen minutes to make sure that they were okay.

"I'm staying with Daniel and Vala tonight." She said. "Who wants to take me over?"

"I will." Cisco said. He looked over at Ronin. "Sheppard said something about wanting to have a beer with you. Why don't you give him a call? I want to touch base with Samuels, I didn't get to her earlier."

"And if he's still at his desk, tell him he's fired." Sam laughed. She turned to Cisco and held out her hand. "Come on, I want to talk to Daniel about his education program."

Interior-Dr. Samuels Quarters-East Tower

2030 Hours

"I'm glad you came by, I was going to call you." Andi said as she let him in and led him into the living room. She waved him toward a couch, and poured them both a drink.

"Nice place, doc." He said as he sat down. He sat his glass on the table and looked at her.

"Please, call me Andi." She said. "We're kind of informal around here. That'll probably change after the coronation."

"I wanted to talk to you about getting the guard moved into the residence, and where we're going to put them." He began. "Ronin and I just got some training on the teaching machine, and one of the things we got was how to use the ancient terminals. The colonel said to talk to you about getting one of those, and a desktop in our quarters."

He paused, looking at her for a moment. "Did you want to set up a contact for us, or would you prefer that we go through you?"

"Let's go through me." She said. "I've been dealing with Ronin, and the house guard is under my department. Plus I'm Sam's resident psychiatrist, and I need to know what's going on with her."

"I can't do my job if I'm left out of the loop on what she's doing." She added.

Cisco just looked at her.

"Did you know that their suite is monitored?" She asked. "There are video cameras in every room, and they're reviewed daily."

"Can Ronin and I get access to that system?" He asked. "If the system is already in place, we can have our people monitor. Are any other floors monitored?"

"Not that I know of." She said. "And you'll have to talk to Tammy about access, She set it up and installed the cameras."

Cisco nodded, waiting for her to go on.

"There was some interesting video this morning. Right after the intrusion, she came back to the suite and did something on her terminal, then went into the kitchen with you."

"That sounds about right." He said.

"She came back half an hour later, naked, with blood all over her, and did something else at her terminal, then left again. With Ronin this time. Oh, and one of the house staff found these in the porter." She said, reaching under the table and pulling out Sam's bloody clothes. She dropped them on the table.

"The Ops tech said that the three of you came in, she had them open the gate to a random address, and a comm channel with a wide frequency spread, then cleared the gateroom."

When he didn't say anything, she continued.

"She didn't show up in the infirmary till forty-five minutes later. That's about the time it would take the gate to do a full thirty-eight minute cycle, and for the three of you to walk to the infirmary."

He reached down and picked up his drink, tossed it back and reached for the bottle. He poured another shot, and sat back on the couch, looking at her.

"You're not going to tell me what happened, are you?" She asked.

"No." He said, tapping his comm. When he heard the beep, he said. "Cisco to Dr. Jackson."

A moment later he said, "Yes sir, I need to speak to the colonel please." He waited, then spoke again. "Yes ma'am, Dr. Samuels needs to speak to, this needs to be handled now."

He listened, then took the headset off and leaned over, handing it to her.

Andi put the headset on and said, "Yes Sam?"

She listened for a long moment, then said, "Of course, Sam. I can do that. No, that's fine. Have a good night, I'll talk to you in the morning."

She closed the channel and tossed the headset back to him.

"She said that that get up is all the civvies you have. Leave me your sizes, and I'll have your closets stocked. We can move you in in the morning, we should have everything setup in your quarters by then." She said.

"Thank you." He said. "Do you have an opinion about how we should dress the guard? I'd like to avoid uniforms for the ones that go out with them, maybe put them in Atlantian style clothes? I've been seeing lots of people running around in them recently. I'm guessing that they're just raiding closets around the city."

"They were. We started emptying the closets and clearing out personal items when we started moving people into buildings on the outer piers." She said. "We've got several warehouses full of clothes. Mail me names and sizes, and I'll get it taken care of."

He looked at her for a moment, then said. "I know this has been an unusual day. But there's something I have to bring up. Emotionally, she's been all over the place, and the changes happen quickly. I'm going to need to know about her medical history, and what we need to do if she has some kind of incident."

"Ronin already knows the whole story." She said, reaching out and picking up the bottle. She filled her glass, then held the bottle up. He nodded and held out his glass.

"Sam was exposed to the Athosian herb korathis, but I suppose you already know that..."

They spent the next two hours talking and making plans..


0110 Hours

He stopped and talked to the marines at the door, then went into Keller's office and pulled her chair out from behind her desk. He rolled it out and put it next to Tammy's bed, then pulled a stool over in front of it.

He sat down, and had just gotten settled when she said, "Did you come to keep me company?"

"Yeah." He said. "Go back to sleep."

"Okay." She said, smiling at him. "Thanks."

He nodded and closed his eyes, and was asleep in moments.


So ends Chapter Two of Book Three, Changes. Read Chapter Three to see what happens next.

Please leave a comment on whether you like the story or not...getting feedback helps in the writing process...

carter   confirming   changes  

Jul 25, 2018 in romance