Title: Beneath the Surface
Word count: ~7200
Summary: What will Sam and Janet do after ‘Therra’ and ‘Neva’ act on their feelings while Beneath the Surface of P3R-118?
Spoilers/Timeline: This is a different version of the events of S04E10 Beneath the Surface.
Disclaimer: SG-1 its characters belong to B.W, J.G. and MGM. No copyright infringement intended, no money be made.
A/N1: Most of the dialogue taken directly from the show. Written for the Spring 2010 Sam and Janet Ficathon.
A/N2: Special thanks to my beta oxfordshoes2!
Beneath the Surface
“Unauthorized off-world activation. Unauthorized off-world activation.”
General Hammond entered the control room. “Who is it?”
“Receiving IDC now, sir... It’s SG-1,” Walter replied.
“Open the iris. They’ve only been gone half an hour.” Hammond headed down to the gate room. When Major Carter came through, followed by Teal’c and Daniel Jackson helping Colonel O’Neill, he turned and looked up at the control room. “Get a medical team down here.”
“Medical team to the gate room. Medical team to the gate room,” sounded over the PA system.
“What happened?” the general asked.
“Colonel O’Neill had a little accident,” Sam answered, suppressing an amused smirk.
“Colonel?” The general wanted clarification.
“It was nothing, sir. I just...” Jack was clearly embarrassed.
“He tripped,” Daniel provided.
“Over his own feet,” Teal’c added.
Dr. Fraiser and her team arrived. She started to check his knee out.
“Ow! Easy does it, Doc.”
“Okay, let’s get him up to the infirmary and get an MRI of his knee. I want to make sure he hasn’t torn his ACL,” Janet ordered as she and her medics took Jack away.
“Yes, Dr. Jackson?”
“Administrator Caulder wanted to make sure this didn’t interfere with our visit and the start of diplomatic talks. He has invited us back for a banquet and complete tour of their bio-dome, including their medical facilities.
The general thought about it for a moment. “Very well. Once Dr. Fraiser checks out Colonel O’Neill, she can join SG-1 when you return.”
Brenna stepped out onto the platform and looked down at the workers. “Colleagues! Your attention, please! I’m pleased to report that thanks to your hard work, we now have enough reserve energy to heat the greenhouses for the next two months! Special merit to the workers of section 23. Let us use this not as an excuse to work less, but as motivation to work harder. Our world may be covered in ice, but one day we will reclaim our place on the surface!”
“It is an honor to serve,” the workers replied in unison.
Brenna withdrew and the workers continued with their meal.
Neva, a petite brunette, went through the line to get her food. An attractive black woman carelessly dumped some slop onto Neva’s plate, accompanied by a hateful glare.
“Kegan, how about some bread?”
The woman sneered. “Sorry, just gave away the last piece.”
“Oh, here we go. Every time–” Therra, a tall blonde, began from where she stood beside Neva in line.
“What is your problem?” Neva snapped.
“I don’t have a problem!” Kegan retorted.
“And we don’t have any bread.”
Karlan, also serving food, addressed the blonde. “Is there a problem here?”
“Stay out of this,” she ordered him.
“Therra, there are other people waiting.”
“Give her the damn bread!” Therra growled at Kegan. She lunged and grabbed Kegan when the woman didn’t comply, shoving her back. She then took Karlan down, flipping him and slamming him into the ground.
“Somebody stop them!” someone cried out.
Teal’c grabbed Therra from behind, pulling her off of Karlan and locking her arms with his own. “This is not right! The two of you are friends, Major Carter!”
“Stay out of this!”
“We are part of something called SG-1. He is Daniel Jackson, I am Teal’c, and she is Dr. Fraiser,” he said turning her to face the petite brunette. “Do you not remember?!”
“Somebody get this guy off me!” Therra growled, still struggling against his hold.
Brenna, again looking down from the platform, took control. “Get him upstairs,” she ordered.
It took three large men, but Teal’c was restrained. As he was being taken away, he continued to try to reach his friends. “We don’t belong here! You must remember! We must escape!”
Therra looked up at the platform. “Brenna... it is my honor to serve. I don’t know that man.”
“I know, Therra, don’t worry. He’s night-sick.” Brenna looked at Kegan. “Give Neva her bread.”
Kegan, reluctantly and belligerently, took out a full tray of bread and slammed it down on the table.”
“Everyone finish, then get back to work,” Brenna ordered.
“These pumps regulate the overflow,” Kegan explained to Karlan. “Sometimes they get clogged and you have to...” She trailed off when she noticed he was staring at Teal’c and not listening. “Karlan!”
“Where has he been for the last five days?”
“Recovering from night-sickness. It’s a strange thing. There was this guy once, a couple years ago, tried to smash his way through one of those skylights.”
“Did he do it?”
“You would have known if he had! This place would have been buried under snow and ice along with everyone else.”
Therra was working on a generator when Teal’c walked over... and past her. She looked at him, curious. But her diverted attention resulted in a mistake. Something blew on the generator.
“Stay back!” someone yelled.
“Cover those valves!” Therra ordered.
Brenna rushed over. “What happened?”
“One of the stabilizers ruptured. They can’t stand the pressure.” She was clearly frustrated with the situation.
“There’s not much we could do.”
“Actually, I think there is. If we set up an automatic release valve on each of the stabilizers, we could vent the excess pressure. I’ve done some calculations. If you want, I could show you.”
Brenna nodded. “You can come by my office later,” she said before leaving.
Therra looked over at where Neva was helping another worker. The brunette smiled coyly and gave Therra a nod. The blonde returned the nod and then focused on her work. She looked over her shoulder in time to watch Neva walk away.
When Neva walked passed Therra’s work station later, the blonde fell in step with the brunette.
“Are you alright?” Neva asked.
“Oh! No, no. I’m fine, really.” Therra was warmed by Neva’s concern.
“Brenna wants to see me. She wants to hear my ideas for improving the plant.”
“You know, you could take a few minutes off.”
Therra gave the brunette a dimpled smile. “Please. You work just as hard as I do.”
It was time for Therra to go see Brenna. “Have a good shift.”
Kegan watched as Therra climbed the stairs to the platform and then entered Brenna’s office. “There she goes. Why does Brenna listen to her?”
“I don’t know,” Karlan replied. He looked over to where Neva was working. “I don’t know why Neva seems so... enchanted by her either.”
Kegan followed Karlan’s gaze. “She thinks she’s better than the rest of us.” She looked back up at Brenna’s office. “They both do.”
Karlan frowned. “Teal’c said we were friends.”
“His name’s not Teal’c. It’s Tor. Night-sickness,” she added in explanation.
After the gate activated, Walter completed the video link. “Sir, we’re ready with the video link to P3R-118.”
“Very well.” The general waited until someone appeared on the monitor. “Administrator Caulder.”
“General Hammond, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but our search has turned up nothing. Given the hostile conditions outside the dome, I don’t see how SG-1 could have survived very long.”
“With all due respect, Administrator, I’m not ready to give up on my people just yet. We have specialized equipment, and people specifically trained for this type of operation.”
“When Dr. Jackson first expressed an interest in exploring the glacier, I tried to explain the danger, but Major Carter was quite overly confident that they could handle the conditions.”
“I appreciate your concern. I assure you, I will take full responsibility.”
“Very well.” Caulder cut the transmission and then keyed his intercom.
“General, let me go and find them. They’re my team!” O’Neill implored.
Hammond pointedly looked at the crutches currently holding Jack up. “And you can’t do them any good in your current condition. Major Griff and his team can handle it.”
After the general left the control room, Jack kicked a chair with his bad leg... and managed to stub his toe.
Karlan watched Tor as he shoveled coal from a wheel barrel into a furnace unit. He noted the bandaging wrapped around the large man’s abdomen.
“I was injured.” Tor gave him a hard look as he continued to work. “Why are you speaking to me?”
“I just thought... since, apparently, we’re friends from way back I just thought... What is that thing on your forehead?”
“A birthmark,” Tor replied flatly.
“A birthmark! You’d think I’d remember something like that,” Karlan said sarcastically.
“I do not know you.”
“You said you did.” He approached Tor, “Last week during morning lineup.”
“I was not here last week,” Tor said with certainty.
“You said we were friends, and you said we had to escape. And I’d like an explanation.”
“I said no such thing!”
“Alright. I’m obviously completely wrong about that.”
“Yes. Do not talk to me again.”
“Yeah, right.” Disgusted, Karlan walked over to his friend Kegan.
“I told you to leave him alone!” the woman admonished him.
“He was there, Kegan. You heard him. Why would he deny that?!”
“The night-sickness affects the mind.”
“That doesn’t explain the dreams I’ve had. Something is wrong here, Kegan. Something’s not ri–”
“Karlan! It’s bad enough he named you as part of his delusion. Now, if people hear you talking like this they’re going to think you’re night-sick.”
“Not that I would ever... Karlan.”
“No, no, no! Of course not.” He forced a laugh to put her off. “It’s just a dream.”
Brenna stood before the Administrator’s desk.
“Why didn’t the memory stamp work on Teal’c?”
“I’m sure it was the creature his species has within him. We’ve stamped him again. This time it seems to be holding.”
“What about the others?”
“They’re all proving to be excellent workers. In fact, Therra has some ideas for improving the plant.”
“The personality we’ve stamped Major Carter with.” Brenna placed a file on his desk. “We’ve been having problems with pressure. She suggested an automated release valve. If we didn’t have to regulate the pressure manually, we’d free up workers for other tasks.”
Caulder let out a sarcastic huff. “Maybe one day she could increase productivity to the point where we don’t even need workers.”
“What would be so wrong with that?”
“Nothing. I’m sure they’d fit right in.” His derision was obvious. “Of course, they don’t even know the city exists.”
“We could tell them.”
“That they’ve been lied to all their lives? And how would the people of the city react, when there’s less to go around and they need to make room for workers? Right now, Brenna, we have no crime, no unemployment–”
“They’re happy where they are. That’s what the stamp assures. Do only what is necessary to guarantee uninterrupted power.
“Yes, Administrator.” Brenna didn’t let her discomfort show too much. She knew as bad as things were, if she were to upset the Administrator her lot in life would be much worse.
Therra knocked on the door to Brenna’s office.
“Brenna, have you had a chance to look over my plans yet? I’d like to get started–”
“We can’t do the improvements,” she said, cutting off the blonde.
“But, you said–”
“No. They would require the generators to be offline too long. If they begin to freeze we might not be able to get them started again.”
“I agree there’s some risk, b–”
“Too much risk.”
“Well, okay... What about my other ideas?”
“I’m sorry. This plant is all that stands between us and the ice. Uninterrupted production is more important than efficiency. You may return to work.”
“Brenna, I know you were excited about this. What happened?”
“Well, I’ve thought it over.”
“At least let me come up with a safer way–”
“Therra... please leave.”
The blonde realized she couldn’t push any more. It was time to back off. “It’s my honor to serve.”
“It’s not like I’m making this up off the top of my head! I’ve got a detailed plan including the safeguards,” the blonde complained to Neva.
“I’m sure she knows that.”
“I could make a difference here! She won’t even let me.”
The petite brunette walked over to Therra. “Just go back to her in a couple of days, offer something small. Maybe you have to work into the big stuff,” she said encouragingly.
“How do you stay so calm?”
Neva smiled. “I think in another life I made life and death decisions. I don’t know.”
“What do you mean ‘in another life’?”
“I don’t mean anything by it.” Neva shrugged. “It’s just an expression... isn’t it?”
When Major Griff and his team returned to the SGC, General Hammond and Colonel O’Neill were both waiting for them.
Griff saluted. “I’m sorry, general, there’s no sign of them.”
“I understand. You and your team have been out there a long time.”
“No, sir. When I say there’s no sign, I mean, literally, not a trace!”
“What are you saying, Major?” Jack asked, no longer able to keep quiet.
“I can’t imagine what reason Dr. Jackson would have to want to check out those ice fields. Even if they wanted to go up there, there’s no way in hell, Major Carter would have let them.”
“That’s what I said!” Jack growled.
“According to Administrator Caulder, Major Carter believed the risk was acceptable,” said Hammond.
“I can’t speak for that, sir. I’m not a diplomat.”
“Off the record,” the general said, giving the major permission to speak his mind.
“They’re not out there, sir. No way!”
“Administrator Caulder says they are.”
“Then I’d say he’s a damn liar.”
Karlan and Kegan sat together as they took their work break. Kegan used a rag to sponge water along her neck to help her cool down.
“Kegan, I need to ask you something. How did I get here?”
“What do you mean how did you get here? You were transferred from the mines.”
“No, before that.”
“Before?” She looked at him like he was crazy.
“You don’t remember?
“I keep... thinking about it, and all I come up with is a handful of memories.”
“What is this about?”
“I’m just wondering if Neva and Therra were ever my friends.”
“Friends...” sighed Kegan.
“Maybe I don’t recognize them because it was years ago.”
“They are just trying to get close to Brenna so that they can get special treatment.”
“Look, all I’m saying–”
“All I’m saying is that if you’re friends with those two... you’re not mine,” Kegan snapped angrily.
Karlan watched as she walked away.
Tor was sick and on the verge of passing out. However, he needed to vent the over-pressure before something blew. He tried to turn the valve, but collapsed. Fortunately, a couple of workers came along and realized the situation.
“The pressure’s too high! The pipes are hot!” exclaimed the first man.
“We’re too late! This whole section’s going to blow! Help me get him out of here!” said the second man.
They grabbed hold of Tor and dragged him away, crossing paths with Therra.
“What’s going on?” she asked.
“We’ve got to fix it!” the blonde exclaimed.
“It’s too late. We have to evacuate.”
Karlan ran up. “What’s happening?”
“If that boiler blows it’ll take this whole section with it!” Therra explained. “I can shut it off from here, but somebody has got to get back there and open the primary release valve.”
“Karlan!” Kegan yelled and waved for him to leave with her.
When both Karlan and Therra turned toward Kegan, Neva ran past them to the release valve the blonde had indicated.
“Get these people out of here!” Karlan told Kegan.
“Get out of here! CLOSE THIS SECTION!” Kegan yelled.
Neva tried to move the lever, but it was too hot and she jerked her hands away. Karlan ran up and handed her one of the two metal rods he was holding.
They used rods to hit the lever until it gave way and released the pressure in the boiler.
Karlan grinned at Neva and abruptly hugged her. “We did it!”
She pulled away, feeling very uncomfortable. “Uh... yeah.”
Brenna had all four of the newest workers in her office. Tor was lying on the couch.
“I must return to my duties,” Tor said weakly as he tried to sit up.
Brenna held him down without much effort. “I want you to rest! Stay here until I say you’re well enough to work.” She looked at the others. “As for you three, we all owe you a debt of gratitude. You risked your lives to save the plant.”
“It is my honor to serve,” they replied in unison.
“If it hadn’t been for your quick action, many lives would have been lost.”
“Next time will be different,” Therra muttered unhappily.
“Hopefully there won’t be a next time.”
“If you had listened to me in the first place–”
“Therra!” Brenna barked to silence the blonde. “You’re dismissed.”
Sullen, Therra left. Neva glared at their supervisor and then followed the blonde.
“Next time, don’t hold back. You know, just speak your mind,” Neva said when she caught up to the leggy blonde.
“She knows I’m right!” Therra growled.
“There’s something else going on,” said Karlan.
Both women were startled by the man’s voice coming from so close behind them. They whirled around.
He lowered his voice so no one else could hear them. “The big night-sick guy – with the uh...” He pointed to his forehead.
“Tor,” Neva supplied.
“He said we were part of something called SG-1.”
“Yeah, what is that?” Therra asked.
“A team?” guessed the brunette.
“What kind of a name is that for a team?”
“I don’t know,” answered Karlan. “Look, I just think I’m supposed to be doing something more important.”
Neva frowned. “We’re helping our people survive an ice age.”
“What could be more important than that?” the blonde added.
“I don’t know. I just have this feeling that all of us are part of some bigger, grander thing.”
Neva fought the urge to roll her eyes. “Well, I certainly understand what you’re talking about.”
“You do?” Karlan asked excitedly.
“No,” she replied flatly.
“Look, I don’t know how to explain this, but I had this... dream. You were in it,” he said to Therra.
“There was this big... glowing... puddle.”
“Okay! Just stop talking right now!” she exclaimed.
“Wait a second, Therra,” Neva said gently. “I had the same dream,” she said, remembering the image of the blonde standing, smiling, in front of the circle of water. Actually, she’d been dreaming about the blonde quite a bit lately.
“Holy Hannah! Would you two stop talking like that?!”
Both the brunette and Karlan gave her a strange look.
“What? It’s an expression... right?”
“Look, we can’t talk right now. Let’s meet after lights-out,” said Karlan before walking away.
Therra was sitting on the ground in an out of the way area. Karlan and Neva arrived within moments of each other.
“So...” Karlan started.
“So?” the blonde asked.
“Did you have the same dream?”
“About you?” Therra asked.
“No. About the shimmering circle of water,” Karlan clarified.
“No. My dreams are about...” she couldn’t keep from looking at Neva, “other things.”
“Tor said we had to escape. He also said we had to remember. Remember what?”
“Well, I remember when I was a foreman – anyone caught doing what we’re doing right now had their rations cut in half for a month.”
“We’ll have to risk it,” Neva said, finally speaking.
“What if our memories have been somehow altered?” asked Karlan.
“Well, if that’s true, then we can’t be sure of anything.”
“My memory’s fine,” Therra declared.
“Really?” he asked, unconvinced. “What did you do in the mines?”
“I mined,” she said deliberately.
“No. What did you do?”
“I remember shoveling ore into the cart.”
“And?” he prompted.
“I did that a lot.”
They stared at each other in a heavy silence.
“I remember a feeling of cold and darkness,” Neva offered.
“And that’s where the two of you met?” he asked.
Neva looked at the blonde. “Really?”
Therra looked at Neva. “Sure.” She looked back at Karlan. “So, what’s this important thing we’re supposed to be doing?”
“I told you, I don’t know. I keep trying to remember, but all I come up with are images of this place.”
“But if you’re right, then everything we remember about this place is a lie,” Neva pointed out.
“Yeah. Like a façade. It only works if we don’t dig too deep beneath the surface, if we don’t question it. So, that’s what we have to do. We have to question everything, every assumption.”
“We have to keep this to ourselves,” she said. “If the others heard us talking this way they’d think we were night-sick.”
“What if we are night-sick?!” Therra asked.
“I don’t think so, flygirl,” the brunette stated.
“What?” Karlan asked.
“What?” she replied, not knowing what he was asking.
“You just called Therra ‘flygirl.’”
She looked at the blonde, trying to figure out why she called Therra that. “Well, it’s an expression... isn’t it?”