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10 September 2007 @ 07:48 pm
No Hero, Am I  
Title: A Coward's Death
Rating: PG-13
Challenge: Failure - samcarter_gen #010
Character: Samantha Carter
Summary: To have fought so hard, to have come all this way, only to crash to a halt...

The retort of alien gunfire echoed off the high valley walls around her, growing instead of diminishing with every subsequent rebound. It was nothing new to her, the crawling sensation of unease and fear that reminded her the alien warriors were behind her and would soon come up on her exposed back; neither was the stench of the thick alien mud, the sight of the swaying purple alien vegetation, the reassuring metallic feel of the DHD under her fingertips. As contradictory as it sounded, she was used to this unknown and unsettling foreign landscape.

So why she froze now, when speed was of the utmost importance and her life endangered by any hesitation on the part of her quick fingers, was a question she herself could not have answered.

Move, she thought desperately at her body upon realizing it had ceased to dial Earth’s address. Move, damn you! It was one of the first lessons you were taught in boot camp: never expose your flank, your rear, your weakness to the enemy. Face death head on.

Her body remained stubbornly still.

The mind that had begun to glimpse the vast expanse of the future, the intelligence that had brought a small world into the galactic playing field and helped to keep it there, raced. On her fourth review of the last five minutes, Carter had to conclude that there was nothing that could have caused her body’s unexpected and unexplainable freeze. Over the sudden and horrible silence that seemed to fill her mind, the blasts got closer.

It was then that she noticed her hands were trembling.

Cuts and scrapes covered her quivering fingers like so much trash in a football stadium; smears of mud painted the bruised skin in various stages of drying. Her ragged fingernails clung to her calloused fingers, the cuticles bleeding slowly from where she had been slashed by the alien thorn bushes while running through the weeping willows that tried to snag her by her ankles and eat her. Slowly, and only with the greatest exertion of her will, her hands turned to face the green alien sky palms up, scarred and burned and still shaking.

Move. Move, please, move! But her eyes remained locked on the unnerving sight of her life lines… both of which had been interrupted by a single vicious slash.

She swallowed, feeling her very blood seem to throb in agony as she remembered the desperate escape, the wild adrenaline that had carried her through the subsequent fights, and the gleam of the pale yellow alien sun off the alien’s saber as it swung down to kill her.

Close, so very close; had it not been for her instinctive and instant response, her head would be lying on the cobblestones where it had fallen from her shoulders. Another inch, another second, and she would have been dead. But her body had moved on its own, just as now it refused to listen, and her hands had risen up to grasp the steel blade even as it hurtled towards her unprotected neck.

That sharp, intense pain had been fortunately forgotten once she had disarmed and killed the guard, but it returned with a vengeance, perhaps brought on by the oddly detached sensation of seeing white bone through the open wounds. She shuddered, trying to swallow a sudden rise of bile, and attempted to push back the unbidden image of what would have happened if she had failed.

And it might have been that she had anyway, that her actions had only prolonged her inevitable demise. Her body was taunting her, foretelling of the moment her heart would falter and stop, betraying her with salvation so close. Earth, only a breath and step away… and she would die here, on an alien planet unmarked in the astronomical charts of space-going species thousands of years more advanced.

Please. Begging with her body, asking it to simply twist and take the imminent fatal blow to the chest, proved to be useless; and so it was that Samantha Carter prepared to spend to her last moments on this strange earth frozen, helpless, shaking.

With that acceptance the approaching alien footsteps and grating alien calls faded into the background, a white haze rising up in her vision to obscure the trembling hands, the unresponsive DHD.

Huh. And I always thought I’d go out with a bang... literally. Wondering if her body would be kind enough to let her die with a smile on her lips, she breathed out and waited for the end.

“Carter!” A sharp voice fairly crackled with annoyance as the radio, previously dead due to interference from the atmosphere, spat it out.

She jerked, all sensation returning to her limbs as her mind reeled. What the hell is the Colonel doing here? But even as she lifted her eyes to the green alien sky, her hands leapt forward and pressed the familiar sequence of constellations.

“Carter, get the damn Gate open, because I did not fly an F-302 all the way down from the Prometheus just to get out and push the buttons for you!”

Her palm hit the center control without thinking, and the wash of pain was pushed aside as she saw the fighter craft soar overhead, scattering her pursuers. Heart in her throat, she waved once and watched the Colonel take the F-302 for another loop, his arm lifting briefly in acknowledgement of her gesture and then settling back on the controls as Teal’c gave her a solemn nod from the rear seat.

Safe now, with her teammates watching her from above like guardian spirits, she turned her back on the alien world and walked through the Gate, to where her own planet awaited her return.

majorsamfan: Amanda Photo-Opmajorsamfan on September 11th, 2007 12:25 am (UTC)
Wow! Talk about pulse-pounding!

Good job!

(But is there a number missing on the fighter? Isn't a 302 or something?)
grow your own damn wingssoapbox_solo38 on September 11th, 2007 01:10 am (UTC)
Thank you! It's been a while since I've written Sam-specific fic, and she always seems to draw out the most action and sensory writing I have to offer. She's just such an awesome character...

I'm glad you liked it!

(And yes, there was. Thanks for catching that!)
aurora_novarumaurora_novarum on September 11th, 2007 01:16 am (UTC)
Very descriptive. I could almost feel Sam's heart pounding myself. (And I wondered where Jack and Teal'c and Daniel were during all this).

Very good!

P.S. Extremely minor canon typo. During the Prometheus era and after, the X-302 was the F-302.
grow your own damn wings: Teamsoapbox_solo38 on September 11th, 2007 01:53 am (UTC)
Thank you; the others were on the Prometheus in order to get to the planet because the planet's gate had been damaged (during the firefight in which they escaped and Sam was stranded) and thus could only dial out, preventing Earth from dialing in. (Yes, I do come up with too much backstory, why do you ask?)

I'm glad you liked!

*headdesk* You know, if the show writers could have gotten their acts together, it would be easier for all of us... But thank you for pointing that out!
aurora_novarum: bad dayaurora_novarum on September 11th, 2007 06:36 pm (UTC)
LOL! No, backstory is good! You need that logic in your brain, even if it never plans to be on the page.

There actually is a logic to X/F designation. The "X" stands for "eXperimental". So in the Season 6 opener, um...Redemption?, Jack was flying an "X-302". Since it actually worked okay rather than the X-301 that drifted into deep space with Jack and Teal'c aboard, they started mass producing it. It was no longer experimental, and became the "F-302".

Why planets suddenly change their designation and what the letter is in front of the "303" and "304" programs once "Prometheus" was no longer experimental...I have no idea.

And that's probably way TMI, isn't it? Heh. I am way too geeky about this show. :-D

Anyway, very fun read. Poor Sam. She needs a hug.
grow your own damn wings: Requesting Backupsoapbox_solo38 on September 11th, 2007 11:15 pm (UTC)
One can never have TMI, except in certain cases; this isn't one of them, I'm happy to say. And it's good to be geeky about something; why not a scifi show? ^^

Thank you. (And she really does, doesn't she?)
Gunhilda: green samgunhilda on September 11th, 2007 04:43 am (UTC)
Loved it!
grow your own damn wings: Praying for Strengthsoapbox_solo38 on September 11th, 2007 11:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
grow your own damn wings: SJsoapbox_solo38 on September 11th, 2007 11:28 pm (UTC)
No, I have to admit, it's a valid point: I do write a lot of angst!fic. And it's good to see a bit of the light at the end of the tunnel, I suppose. ;)

Thank you!
One Whose Honesty is Stronger Than Her Fear: messamilyn on December 12th, 2007 06:37 pm (UTC)
Excellent. Poor Sam. You do excellent Sam-at-the-breaking-point, and I love it. Thank you.
grow your own damn wings: Requesting Backupsoapbox_solo38 on December 12th, 2007 11:59 pm (UTC)
If these characters were real, they'd have my head for all the things I put them through.

Thank you. :) She's so strong, it's always interesting to see how she'd fall apart.
One Whose Honesty is Stronger Than Her Fear: fearamilyn on December 13th, 2007 12:08 am (UTC)
Course, if they were real people, they'd long since have been put on medication I think. Or institutionalized. Or heavily sedated on a regular basis. Or given medical discharges. You know...stuff like that.
grow your own damn wings: Gesturesoapbox_solo38 on December 13th, 2007 12:19 am (UTC)
Ah, you mean reality. *glances around* We don't talk about that much around here...
lilpheonix5: Samanthalilpheonix5 on July 16th, 2008 07:31 pm (UTC)
that was very well written, i loved it...a perfect capture of heart pounding realization and dealing with imminent death...does that make any sense :)
grow your own damn wings: Redsoapbox_solo38 on July 24th, 2008 02:54 am (UTC)
Well, it made sense to me. :) Thank you very much!