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Never Leave Your Wingman Chapter 4/11

Plan A hadn’t worked, nor had Plan B.  Daniel was sharp, even under the influence of whatever was affecting him.  The ‘unscheduled offworld activation’ announcement hadn’t flushed him out, and neither had the ‘med team to the ‘gateroom’ that blared throughout the SGC. 



 

That left them with Plan C, which was currently filling the air via the intercom:  “Doctor Lee to Major Carter’s lab, ASAP.”

 

There was no way a ‘normal’ Daniel—and when had he ever been normal?—would ignore any of those announcements.  A Daniel in his right mind would have been in the control room before the first announcement ended; he would have appeared at the infirmary to see which team was involved and who was injured.  Would he be able to resist the lure of whatever discovery waited in Carter’s lab?  Jack was counting on it, otherwise, they were running out of options that didn’t involve someone getting hurt—most likely Daniel.

 

From Kate’s description, it sounded like Daniel was fighting whatever was affecting him; that he’d realized what he was doing and ran.  Jack wondered if they were dealing with an alien entity, or if something Daniel had come in contact with had affected him.  It was bugging him, though, that none of the rest of the team had had a reaction. 

 

They’d passed the word around as quietly as possible for everyone to act normally if they ran into Daniel.  His friend would know that Kate would have told her story by now, but that didn’t mean everyone else on the base would know about it. The SG teams still on base had been discretely positioned in different areas, ready to move in if called. Trying to stay one step ahead of Daniel was stressful and tiring. 

 

Jack paced in the office he and Teal’c occupied across from Carter’s lab.  His radio buzzed, bringing him to a halt.  “Go ahead.”

 

“Colonel,” Griff’s voice came through quietly, “he’s been spotted on Level 19 headed in the direction of Major Carter’s lab.”

 

Hallelujah.  “Do not engage, I repeat, do not engage.  Remain in the area as backup. Teal’c and I are in position.”

 

“Roger that.”

 

“You ready for this?” Jack asked, already knowing the answer.

 

“Indeed I am.”

 

Carter and Lee would be prepared on their end.  The only wild card in the game was walking into a trap; Jack just hoped they could spring it without hurting Daniel.

 

~oOo~

 

Jack watched the monitor showing the feed from the surveillance camera in Carter’s lab. Their monitor had been hastily set up in the office to provide them with a view of what was happening across the hall. 

 

Just as they’d hoped, and Griff had confirmed, Daniel approached the doorway to Carter’s lab.  Jack watched as he hesitated, glancing over his shoulder before entering.  Carter looked up and smiled, saying something to him, while Lee stood on the other side of her.  He looked nervous to Jack and he hoped Lee could hold himself together and not give anything away. 

 

Daniel walked closer to the table, obviously looking to see what they were working on.  Carter said something else—she was cool and calm and Jack could see Daniel visibly relax.  This was it—time to move.

 

“Griff, we’re going in now.  Move into position and wait for my signal.”

 

“Acknowledged.”

 

Tucking the zat into the waistband of his pants—a bit of a tight fit—and pulling his jacket over it, he turned to Teal’c.  “Let’s go.”

 

Jack walked quietly to the entrance to the lab and called out in what he hoped was a relaxed voice.  “Hey campers—can anyone join this party?”

 

Daniel whirled, eyes wide, and Jack got his first look at his friend since he’d left him in the infirmary hours earlier.  He hoped the shock he felt didn’t show on his face.  Kate had said he looked pale, but this was beyond pale—he was gray.  The ridge of his nose was lined with bumps and a few were also visible on his chin.  This, combined with the bulge Jack had seen under the back of Daniel’s t-shirt before he turned, confirmed to Jack exactly what was happening to his friend.  He pushed away all the thoughts of how it had happened and focused on how they were going to fix it, the first step of which was to get Daniel back into Fraiser’s hands.  He had a feeling it wasn’t going to be easy. 

 

“Sir.  We were just looking at—”

 

“What do you want, Jack?”  Daniel was looking at him with narrowed eyes, his gaze sliding to Teal’c and back to him. 

 

“I just came to see what Carter was working on that was so important.”

 

Daniel drew himself up, a knowing, unsettling smile playing across his lips.  “No you didn’t.”

 

Daniel knew.  Somehow, he knew what they were up to.  Aware things could easily go to hell, Jack decided on the direct approach. “Look, Daniel, we’re worried about you.  You haven’t been yourself lately and we think you should let Janet check you out again.”

 

“I’m not going back to the infirmary.”

 

Lee backed as far away as possible, while Carter stood and eased herself around until she was standing across from Daniel’s other side.  “Daniel, let us help you.”

 

Daniel turned his head and gazed at her warily.  “If you want to help me, you’ll let me go.”

 

“Go where?” Jack asked, hyper-aware of the bulk of the zat pressing against his side. 

 

“Don’t try it,” Daniel hissed, backing away. 

 

Jack felt Teal’c move up beside him.  Carter blocked any escape around the other side of the lab table.  Daniel’s gaze darted to each of his teammates, finally settling on Jack.  He sighed and let his head hang.  “Okay, you win.”

 

“We’ll figure it out, Daniel,” Jack said approaching slowly. 

 

Two more steps and Daniel sprang, rushing at Jack, who thought he was prepared but hadn’t expected the strength Daniel showed.  “Do it!” Jack shouted as he hit the floor, scrambling for his own zat as Daniel leapt away. 

 

Teal’c’s zat was already in his hand as Daniel came up—he didn’t hesitate to fire.  Blue fire sizzled over Daniel’s body, sending him to his knees.  Jack jumped up, training his own zat on his friend, and watched, unbelieving, as Daniel seemed to shake off its effects and lift his head, a feral smile spreading across his face.  Jack stood unmoving—unable to bring himself to fire the second shot, not certain that it wouldn’t be fatal. In that moment of hesitation, Daniel shot up, vaulting over the lab table and darting through the door into the hallway. 

 

“Griff!” Jack shouted into his previously hidden radio, “Daniel got away—do not use a zat on him, understand?” 

 

Carter and Teal’c were already sprinting for the hallway and Jack followed.  There was no answer to his request—not a good sign. Turning the corner, they found one airman in a heap against the wall, Griff dragging himself to his hands and knees, and Daniel in a struggle with the other two members of SG-2—and he was winning. 

 

Daniel tossed Jensen against the wall while holding Brewster against the floor.  Teal’c rushed forward, grabbed Daniel around the neck and beginning pulling.  Daniel held his ground, releasing Brewster only to wrap his hands around Teal’s head, bending and flipping him over.  Jack dove at Daniel, grabbing him around the upper body and pulling him over.  Griff regained his feet and, aided by Carter, piled on top of their friend, holding his feet and legs down.

 

Daniel was flat on the floor, Jack lying across him.  He could feel Daniel’s muscles tensing as he tried to rise, and he could also feel bony points poking him through Daniel’s t-shirt.  He couldn’t quit thinking how crazy this was.

 

Realizing Daniel was close to freeing himself, Jack made a decision. Praying there had been enough time, he shouted at Teal’c, “Zat him!”

 

Teal’c hesitated only a second—long enough to allow Jack, Carter, and Griff to roll away—before firing at Daniel.  Daniel jerked as the charge danced across his body, and slumped back to the floor.  Chest heaving with exertion, Jack slid across to check for a pulse, surprised once again to find Daniel wasn’t completely out.

 

Slivers of blue looked up at him from half-closed eyes.  “Jack… help… ”

 

~oOo~

 

Jack sat in the observation booth, looking down at the man strapped to the bed below. 

 

Daniel was face down to keep him off of his back and the… thingsgrowing out of his shoulders.  He’d been alternately quiet and ranting since the effects of the zat had worn off—he was currently in the ranting phase. 

 

A nurse entered and waited for the SF to check the extra-thick, double set of restraints that had been necessary to hold his friend; he’d broken through the first set minutes after he’d been placed in them.  Satisfied they were holding, the SF nodded for the nurse to continue.  She moved to the bed and set the tray she carried on the table.  Picking up a syringe, she uncapped it.

 

“Don’t give me that!” Daniel shouted, straining unsuccessfully against his bonds. 

 

She cautiously approached, cleaned his skin, and injected the contents of the syringe.  Daniel growled menacingly enough that, regardless of the restraints holding him, she stepped back.  He continued to pull for a few seconds before finally stilling.  The nurse left and Jack sat back, running a hand through his hair. 

 

There was no doubt now that Daniel was changing—changing into one of them.  How those creatures had done it, he had no clue.  He almost didn’t care, except that it might help them to know how to reverse this.  If it even could be reversed.  Jack stared at the growths on Daniel’s back, fascinated even as he was repulsed.  They were wings—honest-to-God wings.  They weren’t very big, yet—maybe two feet long—but they were growing; he almost felt like he could see them growing as he watched. 

 

The feathers were a deep golden brown and downy soft.  He’d touched one when Daniel was sleeping.  While Daniel was sedated, Jack had gone into the room and walked around and around, taking in the bulging muscles, the gray skin and facial ridges; but it had been the wings that had held his fascination.  What would it be like? To have wings—to fly without a metal shell around your body? Totally under your own power.  He had to admit that he was more than a little curious.  He so wanted to know what that felt like. 

 

Below, Janet entered the room.  She looked up at Jack and gave him a brief smile before turning to her patient.  Jack watched as she checked him over, and then a portable x-ray machine rolled into the room.  After a couple of minutes the techs finally got it in place over Daniel’s back.  Pictures were taken and then it was rolled out of the room.  Janet walked up to Daniel’s head and checked his pupils.  Her hand lingered, brushing back a stray hair from his face.  She turned, catching Jack’s eye again; this time there was no smile.  Not very reassuring. 

 

Carter entered the observation room, moving up to stand next to Jack, her gaze never leaving Daniel.  “How is he?”

 

“Well, for a guy who’s gray, got a lot of funny bumps on his face, and has a pair of wings growing out of his back—he’s doin’ just fine.”

 

He saw her wince at his remark and kicked himself for being so insensitive; she was as worried about Daniel as he was.  “Sorry—it’s just so… weird.”

 

“I know,” she agreed. “I don’t know how they did it—we were there the whole time!”  She’d obviously been thinking about it a lot, and was frustrated because she didn’t have an answer. 

 

“I’m not so much worried about when they did it—I want to know how,” he told her.  “Any ideas on how this was done?”

 

“Janet’s still running tests, but we haven’t found any sign of it being a virus.  They must have actually done something to him on a cellular level.”

 

“How did they do that?  We were together the entire time.”

 

“I’m not sure, sir, except that there is the question of us not remembering exactly what was said when we were sitting at the table with them.  Somehow they did something to our memories so we can’t remember it.  As for what they used to alter him—I have no idea.  My guess is that they used alien technology.”

 

“That just leaves one question—the only one we know the answer to.”

 

“Sir?”

 

Why.  Those bastards wanted to make sure we came back, wanted to make sure we had a reason to find a cure.”

 

“If one of us was ‘infected,’ they knew we’d do whatever we could to fix it.”

 

“And thereby find a cure—one that they would trade naquadah for.”

 

Carter closed her eyes and lowered her head briefly before turning her gaze back to Daniel.  “I don’t care if we get an ounce of naquadah—we will find a cure.”

 

~oOo~

TBC



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