Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate SG-1 or any of the characters.
This is the fifteenth and final chapter to my first fanfic Written in Sand. I want to write a sequel, but no promises. Hope you like it!
One week later:
Maria carefully stuck her bandaged arm through the sleeve of her shirt. Doctor Frasier had finally released her from the infirmary, and she could at last see everything that she'd been told about. She smiled.
All week she'd visited with her sister, and the others. Especially her father and, of course, Selmak. Selmak, she was glad to learn, had a great sense of humor, and his jokes made the week go by much easier than it probably would have.
The sound of the infirmary door opening brought her back to the present.
"Maria? You decent?" She heard Sam ask through the curtain that Maria had drawn closed around her area of the infirmary.
"Yeah," she answered, pulling the curtain back. Seeing how her older sister was dressed compared to her suddenly made her feel somewhat out of place. Her sister was wearing her green military uniform, while Maria was wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt that Sam had brought her from home. They were, of course, civilian cloths. Which, she figured, would make her stick out like a sore thumb. Not that she really cared much. She had more important things to think about.
Like the fact that her father would once again be leaving today.
But then she shook her head to be rid of the saddening thought.
"Is it time yet?" She asked Sam eagerly.
"Yep," she answered. "Come on. They're waiting for us up on the ground level parking lot. Dad's finally going to show us what he's been doing all week."
She and Maria had tried to pry some kind of information from those who knew what their father was doing, including Garshaw/Yosef, Martouf/Lantash, and even General Hammond. But the bunch stubbornly said not a word, the other Tok'ra being especially secretive. Whenever asked about it, they simply acted like they hadn't heard the question. Either that, or they simply smiled teasingly at them.
Maria followed her sister out of the infirmary, glad to be out. But it was then Maria realized something she hadn't before thought about. She'd long since known that they'd been underground. This base was in a mountain, after all. It just hadn't struck her just how far underground they might be.
"Sam? How far underground are we, exactly," Maria asked, looking at the ceiling, which was all that stood between them and probably hundreds of tons of earth.
"We're about twenty-six stories underground. The Stargate is two levels lower than this one, on level twenty-eight," Samantha explained. She sensed her sisters' unease. "And don't worry. You get used to it pretty quick," she said to reassure her sister. "The walls aren't about to cave in any time soon."
Sam pressed the button on the elevator, and Maria had a flashback to when they both were much younger, and would've fought over who would push the button.
"Thanks," Maria replied. Knowing the irony of her life, she'd probably get used to it just when she had to leave. Then she'd feel weird under the hugeness of the sky. If she had realized this fact at the beginning of the week, she'd be fine by now, of course. But she hadn't, so she wasn't.
When the elevator arrived, they both stepped in, and this time she rushed to push the button for the floor they need before Sam, just for old time's sake.
Sam realized why Maria had done it, and rolled her eyes. But then they shared a somewhat mischievous grin, and spent several moments of the elevator ride in companionable silence, until Maria spoke.
"So... any more last minute, wild guesses you wanna let fly?"
Samantha sighed, feigning exasperation.
"You've already asked me that a hundred times this week," she pretty much whined.
"Come on, just a hundred and one more," Maria persisted.
Samantha yet again rolled her eyes, but answered anyway.
"Well... for all I know, with Selmak in his head, it could be anything from... I dunno... a metal of thanks to a nuclear reactor."
Maria couldn't help but scoff at the thought.
"A nuclear reactor? Why in the world would Dad make me a nuclear reactor?" She asked.
Sam shrugged. "Well, you did ask if I had any wild guesses," she reminded Maria as the elevator doors slid open.
Oh, yeah, Maria thought as they stepped out of the elevator.
Looking around, she saw that the gang was all there, so to speak. All three(technically six) Tok'ra were there, as well as the rest of SG-1, and General Hammond. Even Doctor Frasier had shown up to see this.
Her father-or maybe it was Selmak- stood apart from the rest of the group behind some kind of object covered by a sheet. He looked like he was trying to keep a straight face, but every once in a while the corners of his mouth would twitch upward, betraying his excitement.
There was a moment of somewhat awkward silence, until he spoke.
"Friends," he said- and Maria could tell that it was indeed Selmak speaking because of his voice- smiling.
"We've come here today to celebrate the heroic actions of Maria Carter, who is, as you know, the daughter of my host, Jacob."
Dang... he'd said it so... ceremoniously. When he'd told her that he'd be giving her the surprise, she hadn't expected anything like this. She'd just sort of expected him to hand over whatever it was as he told her goodbye or something like that. With not nearly this many people watching to see what her reaction would be.
She stared down at the ground, an embarrassed smile spreading across her face. Hadn't he thanked her a million times this past week already?
"Oh, come now, Selmak," she heard Garshaw cut in, which surprised her. "Can you not see how much the young woman blushes? Show her what you built."
Thank you, Garshaw, she thought. She managed to look up just in time to see Selmak roll his eyes at Garshaw.
"Very well, Grand Councilor." Then his head dropped downward, and then it was her father looking at them, grinning.
"Ready to see what all this fuss is about, kid?" He asked her.
"Dad, I've been ready for this for a week," she replied.
Her answer made him laugh.
"Good answer," he commented, gripping the fabric of the sheet covering the object. "And... voila!" He cried, pulling the sheet off.
What Maria and Samantha saw next nearly made the pair fall over. Of all the... The one thing they'd ruled off the list of possibilities was the one thing he had built. A bike.
Except... it wasn't just a bike. Was that... was that an engine?
"Oh. My. God," Maria exclaimed. "I can't believe you did this for me! But what's that? Looks like an engine." She repeated her thoughts out loud. If this had an engine, then was it technically a motorcycle?
"Sure is," he answered. " But it's good for a one time use only. It's only to be used when absolutely necessary. For emergencies only, alright?" He gave her a look that said he really meant business.
"Yes, sir, I understand. How's it work?" Maria asked.
He motioned for her to take a closer look at the bike as he dug around in his pocket for something.
Upon closer inspection she saw that there was a hidden ignition right next to the right handlebar, well camouflaged from sight, unless you were looking for it.
A moment later he took his hand out of his pocket, and handed her the key, which she put in her own pocket.
"So, can I test it?" She asked eagerly.
Her father blinked in surprise. "Test the engine, or the bike?"
She rolled her eyes when she realized he was teasing.
"Dad! Of course I mean the bike!"
Her father nodded, and she was about to get on when Dr. Frasier cut in.
"No, Maria." She looked pointedly at her arm, which was in a sling, still healing. "You shouldn't risk straining it. You can start riding in a couple of days, okay?" She explained.
While Dr. Frasier spoke, Samantha, who'd been right next to Maria, leaned over toward their dad.
"What the heck is this thing powered by?" She demanded, her voice low.
Her father only smirked.
"Don't tell me it's-" She started to say, but he cut her off.
"Naquada, yes," he stated. "And before you start feeling left out and neglected, I have something for you as well."
He took a folder out of his pack that was next to him on the ground, and handed it to her. She flipped through it, and her eyes widened when she realized what it was.
"I realize you and Maria have been in a bit of a pinch financially, and since I won't be needing these anymore..." he explained. He'd basically given her her his bank account, and other important records related to it. She had the power of attorney over the money.
"Oh my God...Dad..." She wasn't sure what to say. "Thank you..." she managed to get out.
The two hugged.
"I'm proud of you," he told her. "I'm proud of both of you," he added when Maria joined the hug a moment later, inviting herself.
They were a family again, all together, and glad. Even without the bike and the money, the would have been just as happy.
Meanwhile, as everyone looked on, Colonel O'Neill leaned toward Daniel.
"Shouldn't we all be going "aw" or something?" He hissed in his ear, and Daniel smiled.
"Nah, it'd be way too corny," he joked back.
The family ended the hug a moment later, when several people started to applaud, each one looking a little embarrassed.
There was a moment of awkward silence before someone decided to speak.
"We must take our leave soon," Grand Councilor Garshaw reminded everyone. "Though it pains me to say it," she added.
Maria exhaled slowly in a silent protest. She didn't want her father to leave; she'd only just gotten him back.
But the Councilor was right. They'd done what they'd promised, staying for the week while she recovered, and now it was time for them to go. The Tok'ra needed its' leaders back.
So she had to let him go. But she knew-or at least hoped very much-that she'd see him again.
"What do I do with the bike for now?" She asked Sam, as several of the others started to head over to the elevators.
"Just leave it here, and we'll put it in the car later," she answered.
Maria nodded, and together the three-four-of them moved to catch up to the others.
It was a quiet ride down to level 28, but it wasn't the somber kind of quiet. Everyone had things they needed to think about.
Dr. Frasier had to head back to the infirmary when they arrived at level 28, and she gave Maria a quick hug and a smile before she left the group.
They walked through what seemed to be some kind of a control room. General Hammond stayed there, giving directions to a man sitting at one of the many computers in the room.
They went down another, short flight of stairs, and came to a large door, which slid open when a guard next to it slid a credit-card like key through a slot.
Sam suddenly smirked and nudged Maria with her elbow, who nudged her right back.
"I can't wait to see the look on your face," she hissed. But it was all in good nature.
They walked through, into a huge-huge- room, and Maria saw what had to be the Stargate.
"That's the Stargate?" She asked, though she already knew, studying the strange symbols all around the ring.
"Uh-huh," Sam answered, grinning.
"Just you wait," Colonel O'Neill came and stood next to her. "Next is the really cool part," he hinted, hooking his thumbs in his pant pockets.
Suddenly the metal iris in the center of the Stargate opened, and a part of the Stargate started to spin. When it stopped, a section would light up, and the process would repeat. What was this thing? A giant combination lock or something? Maria smirked at the comparison.
Then the seventh symbol lit up, and a blue substance leapt out at them from the middle of the ring, making Maria jump. Sam tried and failed to hold back a laugh.
Just as soon as the blue light leapt out, it went back, leaving behind what looked like a vertical pool of shinning blue water.
"That's a wormhole?" When Maria thought of wormholes, she sort of pictured a black hole. Didn't black holes theoretically have wormholes or something like that?
This wasn't like that at all.
"Yep," Colonel O'Neill answered.
Maria turned to glare at her sister. "You didn't tell me it was gonna jump out like that! Some warning would've been nice, you know."
"Sorry, Maria," Sam apologized.
"No, you're not," Maria argued.
Meanwhile, Jacob watched, unsure whether to laugh or conk his children's heads together.
"I take it that this is just like old times for you?" Selmak asked Jacob.
"You have no idea," Jacob answered out loud without meaning to.
"What'd you say, Dad?" Sam and Maria looked up at him, argument over.
"Uh, nothing. Just talking to Sel. We should get going," he stated.
The trio of Tok'ra started up the ramp, Jacob giving his daughters one last hug before he moved away.
"What will the Tok'ra do now that your plan succeeded?" Daniel asked.
Jacob's head dropped, giving Selmak control. He grinned.
"The same thing we do every day, Daniel," he said dramatically. "Try and defeat the Gua'uld!"
The other Tok'ra looked at him with slight confusion. But Maria got it.
"You stole that from Pinky and the Brain," she accused, grinning back.
"So what if I did?" Selmak replied casually. He turned his attention to everyone.
"Thank you,' he said. "We look forward to seeing all of you again and working together as allies side by side."
With that-neither her Dad or Selmak liked long goodbyes-he turned and walked through the gate. Martouf and Garshaw bowed their heads in deep nods, then turned an followed Selmak.
A moment later, the Stargate shut down, and the wormhole disappeared.
Oddly enough, though, Maria didn't feel sad or whatever. Maybe because she knew now that her father was okay, and Sam didn't have to lie with cover-up stories anymore.
They turned and left the gate room, Sam putting an arm over Maria's shoulders, and Maria doing the same.
"So Sam," she started casually. "What's this I hear about you once going back in time and having to dress like a hippie?"
Sam's face turned a little red with embarrassment, and she cleared her throat.
"I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about," she lied.
"Yes, you do. Spill, please," Maria pressed.
"There's nothing to spill," Sam insisted.
"Yes, there is," Maria continued to pry.
And so they bantered back and forth, happy to have each other, sisters in arms once again.
So that's it, people. It took me, like, three years to write this thing, and now I've finally finished it. So this is a triumph for me. I hope you enjoyed it. I'm thinking about doing a sequel, but I'm not sure. By the way, I know I changed/ignored some stuff in order to write this story, so please don't nag me about how I got something wrong, unless it was spelling or something, okay? :) Please remember to review!