Janet hefted her bags up onto her shoulders and mentally went over a list. Sam's head appeared from around a wall and smiled at her. "Hey Janet." she said.
Janet smiled in return at her friend. "Hey Sam." she said.
"I'm surprised that the General is letting you and your team off the base." Sam said. "He told Jack and I that no one was to go in or out of here."
"Apparently he's placing the study of Stan's body as a top priority."
"What can we hope to learn from it?" Sam asked.
"Like I've said before, chances are that the virus broke down in Stan's body so that no one could get ahold of the genetic coding, but there's always a chance that some part of it has remained."
Janet glanced at a chronometer and sighed. "I'd better get top-side. I don't want to make the transport wait for too long."
Sam nodded and then her face grew deadly serious. "Janet, be careful. I mean it, be careful. We don't know what these Others are capable of yet."
Janet offered Sam a weak smile and left the room.
Sam sat down at her desk in her lab. As she reached for the telephone to get an outside line, someone banged loudly on her door.
"Who is it?" she asked, hoping that it wasn't the General.
"It's me. Can I come in?"
"Alright me, you can come in."
The door opened to admit Jack into the room. He saw Sam sitting with the telephone receiver in her hand and gave her a questioning look.
"Who ya callin'?" he asked.
"Bonnie." Sam mumbled.
"You're calling Bonnie? We're not supposed to have any outside contact, you know the rules."
Sam frowned. "I know, but I hated leaving her in the lurch. Think about it, we moved in and befriended her. Now suddenly one her neighbours is dead and gone and we just disappeared. She's going to know that something is up."
"You're not going to tell her, are you?"
"Tell her what? That I'm a Major in the Air Force and part of a team that goes to other planets and that her neighbour was actually an undercover alien who was killed by other undercover aliens? I think not."
"Good, you had me worried for a moment there."
"I just wanted to call her and touch base with her. Just let her know that we're alright."
Jack moved a folder full of paper out of the way and perched himself on the edge of Sam's desk. "I won't tell the General if you won't." he said.
"He'll find out anyway." Sam said. "But this is important to me."
Sam got an outside line and dialled Bonnie's now familiar number. Jack picked up a paperweight and began picking at the paint on it. Sam waited for ten rings before putting the receiver back in its cradle and sighing.
"No answer?" Jack asked.
Sam shook her head. "No answer."
"He actually let her go?" Daniel asked, incredulous about the fact that Janet had left the base. "Is he crazy?"
Sam shrugged. "That's debatable, but I guess he really wants some answers about that virus that killed Stan."
Daniel lifted his mug of steaming coffee to his lips and took a sip. "He shouldn't have let her go." he said, after he put the mug down.
"I told her to be careful." Sam said, picking at her salad. "I hope she heeds my warning."
"I don't care how safe the Air Force thinks their facilities are, she should not have been allowed there."
"You think that these aliens will be there?" Sam asked, spearing a tomato slice.
"I do, I just wanted to know if we were thinking along the same path. Of course they're going to be there. If there's anything that can be learned from this body, they're going to want to protect it."
"Who went with her?"
"Just a few nurses. Apparently there's already more than enough staff at this facility."
Daniel shook his head. "Teal'c should have accompanied her. At least have someone trained to fight there."
"Janet can look after herself Daniel. She's more than capable. You should have seen her when Hathor took over the base."
"That was years ago and besides, I'd rather not remember that experience." Daniel replied with a shudder. "Has she had any combat training since?"
"Of course she has. She's a major in the Air Force, she's not helpless."
"I'm just worried about her." Daniel said after a few moments of silence.
Sam pushed away her plate and put her hand on top of Daniel's. "I know you are." she said. "We all are, but if she can learn anything about this virus, it could be the most important breakthrough in our defence against the Goa'uld to date."
Janet put on the regulation haz-mat suit and checked her air hoses. One of her nurses gave her suit a thorough once over and then gave her a thumbs-up. Janet felt a bit claustrophobic in her suit, rightly dubbed a spacesuit by the industry professionals, but knew it was a necessary precaution. Stan's body had been declared a level four hazard and that meant full body suit and external oxygen.
Janet proceeded into the hot zone and approached Stan's body, which lay prone on the table. She moved slowly and carefully so that her air hoses didn't tangle with those of the others who were working in the area. She glanced down at her arm and punched the intercom button which would link her with everyone else in the room.
"Alright people." she said. "We have here the body of a Tok'ra who was killed with any unknown synthesised virus. Our job is to find out exactly how this man was killed and to retrieve samples of the virus if at all possible."
There was general murmuring of assent and the team got to work. The instruments used in a level four hot zone are purposefully blunt. It makes performing an autopsy difficult, but most people will agree that it's better than accidentally cutting through your gloves. Janet picked up a blunted scalpel and began to difficult task of cutting through flesh. Her hands were double gloved but she could still make out the familiar structures of the body.
Someone, Janet thought his name may have been Irwin, moved in beside her and began to draw blood samples. The rest of team was busy with tissue samples and one of the nurses that Janet brought with her, assisted her in performing the autopsy.
After what seemed like hours, Janet was standing under the decontamination shower. She had to remain in decon for a full ten minutes before being allowed to move to the next stage. In the next room, a woman helped her pull off her suit and then left her alone to change out of her scrubs and into her street clothes. Janet was glad to be left alone as you weren't allowed to wear anything under those scrubs.
Once outside in the main part of the facility, Janet was greeted by Nurse Gillian Hansen, who had accompanied her from the SGC.
"Did you learn anything?" Hansen asked, her green eyes wide. She had been disappointed to learn that she would not be allowed into the hot zone.
Janet shook her head. "Nothing conclusive yet. Many of the tests are still running, we'll have the results tomorrow."
Janet looked to her right and saw a young man looking at her questioningly. "Yes?" she said.
"You have a phone call, it's a Major Carter. You can take it in right over here in this office.", the young man said, gesturing to a closed door behind him.
Janet nodded and headed for the door. The young man followed her and Janet wondered if he planned on eavesdropping on her conversation. She picked up the phone. "Sam? What's up?"
Sam got up and stretched her legs. Her neck cracked and popped as she cocked it to one side. General Hammond had her compiling the data that she and Colonel O'Neill had gathered while undercover. To the best of her knowledge, the Colonel was in his office writing a full report on the matter. She hoped that he left some details out.
Sam glanced at the computer screen and sighed. She hadn't slept since they'd gotten off the plane and that was over 24 hours ago. Right now her quarters on the base sounded very appealing. Visions of beds, pillows and Colonel O'Neill danced in her head. Sam shook her head and mentally snipped the Colonel out of the vision. Now was not the time for such thoughts.
A knock sounded on her door and Sam looked up to see Teal'c entering her room.
"Major Carter." the tall, dark man said.
"Teal'c." Sam said with a smile. It wasn't very often that Teal'c paid her a visit.
"I find myself most distressed with our current situation." Teal'c said. "I have no knowledge of these other aliens."
"Surely Apophis would have known about them." Sam said.
"As First Prime I was privilege to a wealth of information." Teal'c continued. "But not everything was shared with me. Perhaps these aliens were considered too big of risk to inform the Jaffa of."
"That could be." Sam replied.
"Had I known about them. I would not have hesitated to inform General Hammond of them when I first arrived on Earth."
"I don't doubt that you would have."
"You look exhausted Major Carter. When was the last time you slept?" Teal'c inquired.
"Oh." Sam said, running a hand through her hair. "It's a been a while. I feels like sleeping would be such a waste of time when we have this threat on hand."
"You are of no use to us in your present state." Teal'c said bluntly. "I suggest that you get some rest."
Sam almost laughed at Teal'c blatant order to her but realized that he was right. "Thanks Teal'c." she said. "I'll go lay down."
Janet pulled on the spacesuit again the next day and looked around apprehensively. Sam's phone call yesterday had frightened her. The nurses and doctors that surrounded her all seemed to be staring at her. What Sam had told her yesterday was simply, "They're there Janet. I know they are. Please be careful and you'd better watch your suit."
Nurse McGrath inspected Janet's suit for leaks and Janet looked her through wide brown eyes. As she replayed the conversation in her head, she could almost swear that she'd heard mirth in Sam's voice. Janet looked at her gloved hands and imagined a crack opening up across the palm.
Of course, the level four hazard was just a precaution. Sam had been openly exposed to the body and she was suffering no ill effects, Janet tried to reason with herself. She had no reason to be nervous.
The air lock opened up and the various men and women proceeded into the chamber. Janet went over a machine and pulled a few slides out of it. She placed them under a microscope and turned it up to high power.
"Do you see anything?" asked a voice through her intercom. Janet stood up and turned around. A suit stood behind her, the face just barely visible through the hood. Janet pressed the button on her sleeve.
"Nothing, but I'm not a specialist. Perhaps you'd like to take a look, Doctor...?"
"Doctor Malysh, from the CDC."
Janet stepped aside and let the doctor look into the scope. "I'll need a while to analyze this." he said.
Feeling a bit useless, Janet left the microscope area and headed over the freezer where Stanley's remains were being stored. She lifted the lid and took a bag labelled simply: "Brain."
She was constantly intrigued by the matter in which a Goa'uld took control of the host and welcomed any chance to study it further. She laid the bag down on a metal tray and picked up the blunted scissors. Someone had taken tissue samples from the brain but what Janet was interested in was the lower brain, the brainstem where the symbiont attached itself.
The symbiont had died and was absorbed into the bloodstream when Stan had perished but it still left behind a fascinating legacy. Janet picked up a scalpel and began to cut through the layers.
"Excuse me" said a voice, startling Janet who was engrossed in her work. Janet looked up and saw the man she now recognized as Doctor Malysh standing in front of her.
"You might be interested to know what I've discovered." he said, gazing at her.
Janet raised her eyebrows, though she knew that he couldn't see this through her hood. "What have you found out?"
"That this body is highly infective."
"What?!" Janet said in a shocked voice. "How could it be? My friend stood over him as he died and is in perfect health."
"The virus that this man was infected with was engineered to break down and in a matter of hours transform into another virus, one that is lethal to humans."
"What virus is that?" Janet asked, trying to steady her shaking hands.
Through the hood, Janet thought she saw a malicious grin on the doctor's face as she spoke the next word. "Ebola."
Janet felt a chill run down her spine. Ebola was one of the most feared viruses in the world. She saw the doctor's hand reach out towards her and before she could stop him, he had gotten ahold of the scalpel. She could only watch in horror as the blade tore through the double layer of gloves and exposed her naked flesh.