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Moebius Squared -- Patterns of the Past

Moebius Squared is waiting for final MGM sign off on the cover, and so I thought I'd share one of my favorite scenes with you. This is AU Sam, the one from Moebius, and our Teal'c. I love this scene so much!



Sam woke at mid afternoon with the muzzy feeling of someone who had been up all night and then slept during the day, her breasts aching with the need to nurse. The whole house was sleeping, visitors sprawled on mats and curled up in corners wherever they could, the best bedroom given over to Pharaoh and his mother, who had presumably taken the opportunity to nap while they could. But Ellie…Ellie wouldn't be asleep at this time of day.

She wasn't. The other Teal'c, the Teal'c from the future that wasn't hers, was playing with her in the courtyard, one eye always on the road. A shadow moved in the entrance to the gatehouse, Colonel Carter keeping watch in the shade, her camo uniform blending with the colors of the mud brick.

"Here is your mother," Teal'c said to the baby quietly. He looked up at Sam and she could swear she saw his mouth quirk in a smile. "I believe she is growing hungry."

"Well," Sam said scooping her up. "Some bread and some me. Thank you for watching her."

"I do not mind," Teal'c said. He put his large hand on the baby’s head for a moment as he released her. "I like children."

"Do you have children…" Sam began and stopped, worried that she was stepping on a sore subject.

"I have a son named Ry'ac," Teal'c said, and this time he actually did smile. "He has grown into a fine young man and has recently married."

"Oh." Sam hauled Ellie up on her shoulder as Ellie flailed around with pudgy bare feet. "That's wonderful."

Teal'c nodded. "Perhaps he has grown well despite my choices rather than because of them, but I am very proud of him."

"Isn't that the way it works?" Sam sat down. Ellie wanted to nurse now, and she was going to flail until she did. The next thing would be a piercing scream, and it seemed cruel to wake everybody up, as tired as they all were.

"Perhaps," Teal'c said. He glanced down at Ellie with a smile, not looking away from her as most of the rest of his team did, like they'd never heard of breastfeeding before. Maybe the Jaffa were a little more sensible about these things than people from her own culture had been.

Sam settled Ellie on the left, brushing an errant strand of brown hair back from her face, soft and fine against her baby cheek. A thought occurred to her. "Daniel said that the other me knew my father."

"That is correct." Teal'c nodded slowly. "As did I. General Jacob Carter was a fine man. It was an honor to know him. I owed him my life."

"Oh." Sam looked over at him, then away. "I didn't. He died in December 1969, before I was two years old." Teal'c didn’t say anything, so she went on. "He was killed in action over Vietnam. His plane was shot down and he tried to bail out, but his parachute didn't open." Sam had told this story so many times that her voice was even, and after all she didn't remember any of it. "His wingman, George Hammond, tracked where he fell and his body was recovered. I think he blamed himself somehow."

Teal'c nodded again, his eyes rising to the endless azure sky. "George Hammond. Lieutenant George Hammond."

"Yes."

"We met him," Teal'c said. "A few months before that time. It must have been shortly before he was sent to battle."

"How..."

"It is a very long story involving temporal physics." The corner of Teal'c's mouth twitched. "If you would like a technical explanation you had better ask Colonel Carter. But the result was that we were transported into the past, to the summer of 1969, and there you gave Lieutenant George Hammond a note from his future self, asking him to help us return to our own time. Which he did."

"Oh." Sam felt a frisson down her spine, the touch of the fascinating and marvelous. "Time travel."

"Indeed. I did not consider greatly at the time that you were, of course, already there."

Sam nodded. "In the summer of 1969 I was learning to walk. We were at Pope Air Force base in North Carolina. My dad got sent to Vietnam in the fall. It was his second tour."

"General Jacob Carter said that his life was saved by George Hammond, and in that battle he won the Distinguished Flying Cross and then returned home to his wife and daughter. Your brother, Mark, was born two years later."

Sam blinked. The pieces fit together, beautifully and perfectly as they always did once you understood. "You changed it," she said. "That's why I'm so different from your me. She changed it when she gave George Hammond the note from himself. He knew he couldn't be killed in Vietnam because he was going to live to be an old man and send the note! He couldn't be killed! So he took risks that he otherwise wouldn't have, and one of them saved my father's life." She met Teal'c's eyes. "George Hammond was always guilty. He always said to my mother that he felt responsible for my father's death because he should have done something heroic and insanely brave to prevent it. And in your world he did."

"In my world he did," Teal'c said gravely. "George Hammond and Jacob Carter were lifelong friends. He died nearly four years ago after his symbiote, Selmak, died."

"Symbiote?"

"Your father chose to become a Tok'ra host like Aset," Teal'c said. "He had contracted a fatal disease. I believe you called it lymphoma. Selmak's host was dying of old age, and Selmak offered to become one with your father and save his life if your father would share that life with him."

"Cancer," Sam said. "An incurable cancer?"

"He chose to become the host of the Tok'ra Selmak who healed him of the disease. Together they were a powerful force in the war against the Goa'uld." Teal'c leaned back against the wall. "He himself rescued me and General O'Neill in a ha'tak when our glider malfunctioned and left us adrift in space."

"My father flew a space ship." Sam shook her head. She could still see the color picture that had been beside her mother's bed, that young man a decade younger than she was now, stiff and formal in his uniform, posed in front of the flag like everybody else. She'd looked at it a million times, wondered what he would say if he could talk, wondered what he would have wanted. Wondered what it would have been like to know him. Well, now she knew that.

"He flew it exceedingly well," Teal'c said.

She shook her head. "And so that's the right future? That's the good future and I'm some kind of mistake?"

"I do not believe so," Teal'c said. His eyes rested on Ellie. "I do not believe that either of you are a mistake. You are different, products of different lives and different experiences, and hence you have made different choices. But I do not believe that either of you are wrong or have failed." He leaned back against the wall, stretching his long legs out before him. "Perhaps you wonder if you should be her. And yet she wonders if she should be you."

Sam blinked. "Why?"

"You have what she does not, just as she has what you do not. And you are as valued here -- king's architect, builder of a new world -- as she is in her place. It is no little thing, what you do, and you do not seem unhappy."

"I'm not," Sam said. "Actually, I'm really happy. I like my work and I like my family and..."

"And you would not return to the future if you could?"

Sam shifted Ellie, switching her to the other side. That was the operative question, and they hadn't had time to talk about it. "No," she said quietly. "I don't think so."

Teal'c nodded again. "Then it is as it is. Perhaps given all the worlds there may be, each of us plays all parts somewhere. I do not know."

"Neither do I," she said. "But you have to start somewhere."

Jack stuck his head out the door. "Sam? We need you for a minute for a logistics thing. Hor-Aha wants you."

"Coming," Sam said, getting to her feet, and Teal'c smiled.

"As I said," he said.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Shawn Edwards
Dec. 20th, 2012 03:16 am (UTC)
I love this! I wasn't really planning to buy this book but I have changed my mind. There is nothing like asking that haunting question, "what if" is there?
jo_graham
Dec. 20th, 2012 10:02 am (UTC)
That is the question, isn't it? Why are they different? AU Jack isn't very different from our Jack -- he just retired after Charlie's death and never came back -- but Sam is completely different! But maybe, just maybe, it was because of things she did herself in the Stargate program, which in this universe never happened....
toparty1
Dec. 20th, 2012 04:50 am (UTC)
Great snippet
I'm already loving the book - even though it's not out yet. You do know btw that lots of little fantastically written snippets prior to the books release are an exquisite form of torture.
Will review your book on amazon when it's out. I love your writing style btw - excellent and very vivid. Have I mentioned that I can't wait for the book to be out??? Am checking Amazon daily.
jo_graham
Dec. 20th, 2012 10:03 am (UTC)
Re: Great snippet
It is torture! I love to torture readers! :D

I hope you enjoy Moebius Squared a lot.
janetlin
Dec. 20th, 2012 07:42 am (UTC)
This whole thing is just gorgeous. Teal'c's speech pattern is easy, but you've really got his _voice_, if that makes sense.
jo_graham
Dec. 20th, 2012 10:04 am (UTC)
Oh good! I'm glad you think so. Daniel is actually the hardest one for me. Not what he thinks, but what he says, his speech patterns and mannerisms. Sam is easiest, and then Cam because in real life apparently I sound just like Ben Browder.
janetlin
Dec. 20th, 2012 11:26 am (UTC)
Indeed. So much of Daniel is in his inflection, the talking too much, too fast, and then slowing down at specific spots with that _look_... Yeah, hard to get down on paper.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )