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samcarterfic

"Coercion" by kellifer_fic

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August 29, 2006 | 05:56 pm
Posted by: splash_the_cat in samcarterfic

Title: Coercion
Author: kellifer_fic
Rating/Warning: Adult themes
Spoilers: None
Recipient: settiai
Request details: Wants "During early season one, Sam
and Daniel are separated from the others on a mission,
and at least one of them is hurt." And doesn't want: "Character death. "



-Isolation-

Elizabeth.

They kept trying to tell her her name was Elizabeth.

She wasn't buying it.

Four syllables just didn't seem right. She'd spend hours in front of the mirror saying it on the days they left her alone.

Elizabeth...Liz...Lizzie.

It just didn't fit her face when she stared at herself in the mirror so hard that the edges of her cheeks blurred.

Elizabeth, they would say and then leave heralone for days on end. Meals would slide under the door and that was the only way she could tell the time. It would be nine in the morning when she got cereal. Midday when there was a sandwich and six in the evening when protein and vegetables finally made their appearance. She knew to sleep after the evening meal.

"My name isn't Elizabeth," she said to her reflection.


She was terrified of the day when she stopped being sure.

~~~

She came awake, blinking and felt a warm hand travel across her chest. She fought her first instinct to bat it aside and instead captured the fingers with her own, holding the hand to her chest while she breathed raggedly.

"You okay? Nother nightmare?" a sleepy voice asked and she looked down beside herself to the man lying beside her, his choppy red hair being scraped aside by his free hand so he could look at her.

"Fine. Just, go back to sleep," she tried to reassure but her voice was a little shaky. When he'd nodded and rolled back over, she leant down over the side of the bed and quietly pulled the shoebox out that she kept there. She gripped it to her chest as she walked to the bathroom and only opened it when she'd sunk down on the cool tile floor. The lid was lifted slowly and then the three objects were retrieved and placed carefully before her feet, her fingers always gentle.

There was a pair of glasses, a Swiss army knife and a black beanie. She touched each of these items in turn, her breathing slowing and evening out as she did.

She didn't know what they meant or why she kept them but she'd found them in the basement behind the furnace and couldn't let them go. They had a strange calming affect on her, like grounding her when not even the touch of Steven could. She heard his feet hit the floor and then pad towards the bathroom and she swept the items back into the box and then shoved it into the cupboard under the sink, behind the extra toilet rolls and spare toothbrushes. When Steven opened the door she was standing, washing her hands.

"Don't forget you have your appointment with Doctor Espenez tomorrow, Lizzie," Steven said as he elbowed her playfully aside to fill a glass with water.

"I'm not sure I need it. Can't I just skip it?" she asked, knowing what the answer would be.

"You do need it. Every couple of months you start thinking that you're okay and you don't need to see the therapist anymore and you skip your appointments and then we go through you having another episode."

"I just... I don't like it. I never remember what we talked about."

"It's hypnotherapy. He's working on your subconscious and you're calm and rational so it must be working." He turned, placing both hands on his chest. "You agreed to do this for us. I would've hoped you would think we were worth it."

"Alright," she agreed, just like always. He dropped an arm around her shoulders and kissed her temple and just like always, she felt him tense for the tiniest moment before she relaxed into his embrace, like he was expecting her not to.

She didn't know if he even realised he was doing it but she filed it away in her mind. It was something to think about.

Sometimes she wondered if he even liked her.

Monopolization

"Elizabeth Bentley."

"Carter."

"Elizabeth Bentley."

"Carter."

"Elizabeth Bentley."

"Can't you get it through your thick skulls? My name is Carter!" Lightning quick was the blow to her cheek and her head rocked sideways. There were starbursts behind her eyes and she blinked the tears out for a few moments. "Hitting me doesn't make me any less Carter," she ground out.

"Why do you make us do this Elizabeth?" a voice said and she tracked it, tracked the sound like a dog. She had a thick blindfold over her eyes but it had slipped a little with the last blow and she got a sliver of light at the very bottom of her perception. It wasn't much, but it was the most light she'd seen in what she figured had to be five days. A rough hand yanked it down again and she let free a tiny whimper at the loss.

"Elizabeth Bentley." The voice was neutral, no distinguishing quality to it, almost like a computer simulation.

"Carter!" she screamed and then was a sharp blow to her neck, making her wretch and gasp.

She'd lost her first name a few days ago but somehow, some way, the second was easier to hold onto. She kept in her mind the voice that spoke it. A low, masculine voice that would say it first in exasperation, affection, then with anger and finally curiosity.

Carter, Carter, Carter

She held on.

~~~

Sunday brunch with her sisters was not her favourite time of the week. They would all eat too much and then both of them would drive her over to the clinic to make sure she made her appointment with Doctor Espenez. They would assure her it was because they cared but every now and again she felt like she exasperated them and that the brunch and drive was as much a chore on them as her.

Lying in bed at nine in the morning, with the sun slanting across her body, she was tempted to lean over and hit snooze on her alarm clock, sisters and therapy be damned. Just as that small hint of rebelliousness flittered through her mind, her cell phone bleated, disrupting the morning quiet.

She reached across to her bedside table and lifted it to her ear. "''llo?"

"Lizzie! It's Sal. Look, Evie and I are going to be about half an hour late this morning. I already called and had your appointment shifted back. Is that okay?
You can have a bit of a lie in."

"If it's difficult for you guys, we can just raincheck it," she offered, the very idea she would get out of the breakfast and therapy for just one damn week was too good to be true.

"No, it's fine. Something just came up. We'll see you soon."

She winced at the over-chipper tone of her sister. "Sure."

Despite the offer of a lie in, she got up, showered and dressed and was ready at the usual time. She took her small car and drove into the tiny shopping village at the centre of town and just wandered about, giddy with the freedom of it all. She felt like she was forever monitored and coddled by her family because of her problems and never seemed to get a moment of peace.

She spied a decrepit looking bookstore that her sisters always passed by with wrinkled noses and followed her feet inside. There was a man sitting behind the counter, mid thirties maybe with blue eyes and short brown hair. She looked at him for a while, thinking he was fairly attractive and wondering if she should tell her sisters about this place's untapped resource of cute man when he looked up at her and their eyes locked.

It looked as if a fog had cleared from his eyes when he stood slowly and said, "Sam?"

"No, my name is..." she started, but somehow Sam sounded right, more right than Lizzie ever had.

As he looked at her, he squinted slightly and canted his head and something inside her slammed open. "Daniel!" she exclaimed. A moment later there was a sharp sting in her neck and she reached up, pulling a tiny red dart free of the skin at her throat.

Everything went black.

-Exhaustion-

When you’re smiling…

Sam always got the worst songs stuck in her brain. She would hear them on the radio just before she left the house and there they’d be, swirling through her mind for days on end, especially if she was offworld and heard no other music.

Sometimes though, it was Jack that would inflict the song on her.

Jack had been humming an annoying kids song under his breath as they had prepped for going through the ‘gate and Sam was now pathetically grateful that he had. It cycled through her brain, blocking out everything else. That low, off tune hum of Jack’s that would occasionally get inexplicably louder, probably when
Jack noticed you were listening.

You had to hang onto something when you were hanging at a forty degree angle with water dripping on your forehead for what felt like days. Sam had given up squinting and closing her eyes and trying to turn her head away. Instead, the irregular patina of water acted as a counterpoint to the song in her mind.

The whole world smiles with you…

~~~

-Enforcing-

“Sit.”

Her natural compulsion was to resist but she fought it, lowering into the chair that was offered. She wanted to know where her team was, how they were doing and where the hell she was for that matter, but the time for making demands had not presented itself. She didn’t know what these men in matching charcoal suits and blank eyes wanted.

“Look, I-“

There was a blinding crack and pain radiated outwards. Blood burst from her nose and she felt as if her bones hurt. Something had been touched to her spine and was now taken away. Sam slumped in the chair but managed to stay on, not wanting to give them the satisfaction of watching her roll off it into the stagnant water at her feet.

“You will not speak unless asked a direct question.” Toneless voice, almost colourless. It made the room colder when uttered, as if the very sound could leech warmth.

Sam wanted to curse, but bit her lip bloody instead.

“We have many things we wish to learn from you. You are extremely valuable. We know that pain is merely a deterrent but will ultimately not make you cooperate
with us.”

Sam was pretty sure there wasn’t a question in there so kept her lips firmly closed against the biting retort she would normally come out with. She watched as one of the men past in front of her, impassive face finally showing a hint of something, perhaps annoyance that she hadn’t given them the opportunity to use the spine zapper again.

Another man, identical but his hair was the colour of burned wheat instead of a dirty brown like the first man, pulled something from his pocket and laid it on the table in front of Sam.

It was a pair of glasses.

One of the lenses was starred and the other was covered in a fine spray of dark red.

“I’m going to kill you,” Sam growled and this time when she felt the pain stick, she let the black agony wash over her and drag her under.

~~~

Compulsion

She was allowed to see Daniel just the once ever since the nightmare had begun, and only for a few minutes. Perhaps the men holding her had believed that seeing him again would remind her of how much she valued Daniel, but she didn’t need to see him to know that Daniel meant the world to her, as much as Jack and
Teal’c.

Didn’t change the fact that she wasn’t going to tell them anything.

It just made her angry.

~~~

“How are you today Elizabeth?” Doctor Espenez asked blandly, waving a hand at the dark green couch that he preferred she sit on when they were conducting their sessions. As always, she skirted it and sat down on one of the office chairs. She knew he probably meant only to use those for interviews with other family members and concerned friends.

“I’ve been feeling good lately. I was hoping we could dial back my sessions a little… maybe once a fortnight instead?”

Doctor Espenez clucked his tongue and sighed heavily. “You don’t remember having an episode last week, do you?”

She frowned, balling the bottom of her shirt in her fists. “No… I don’t really… I’ve been a bit tired and…”

“You went into a store and started throwing things about. You hit a police officer. Look at your knuckles.”

She looked down at her hand and then balled it into a fist. There was a dull ache when she did so and the knuckles on her right hand were red. She opened and closed her fingers a few times, looking doubtfully at the small appendage. “I-?”

“Hit a police officer when he tried to calm you down. You were convinced you knew some man in a bookstore and that there was this vast conspiracy to keep you both apart.”

She supposed Espenez was just saying it aloud to make it sound ridiculous, but instead a name rang through her mind like a bell.

Danieldanieldanieldaniel

A fierce wave of protectiveness assaulted her and she put her head in her hands for a second. Espenez misunderstood this as remorse and made a soft mew of sympathy. “He’s fine, although he said he had never been hit by a woman so hard. He was quite impressed.”

If only Espenez would stop talking and she could concentrate for just a second. She needed to see… she needed to see him and consequences be damned. If she could see him, she would remember… she would remember… she wasn’t sure exactly but she knew that everything would stop being so… grey.

Thankfully, the little alarm clock chimed to signal their hour was over and she stood, trying not to look to eager to escape while wanting nothing but to run from the room.

Out in the waiting area, she excused herself to the bathroom and the two women who claimed to be her sisters but weren’t, narrowed their eyes in suspicion, but finally allowed her to escape. Espenez’s office was on the second floor and the window in the bathroom was tiny, but she managed to shove her way out of it and was willing to risk a sprained ankle or worse just to get some space to think.

The ground underneath was soft from the recent rains and all she suffered when she dropped down was a pair of dirty knees and a scraped palm and she scooted along the wall and around the back of the building, feeling ridiculous for creeping, but not being able to stop doing it.

The small shopping village was pretty deserted that early in the morning and she spotted the small bookstore almost immediately. She was wondering if it was too much to hope that he would be there again but also something fuzzy was coming back about it not being such a good idea to just stroll in the front door so again feeling like a prize idiot, she circled the block. As she got closer to the building, another name popped into her brain and she knew it was hers.

Sam.

Luck was smiling on Sam because the man, Daniel, had just come out the back to dump a small bag of rubbish. He spotted her approach and stepped backwards, looking nervous. “Oh hey, I don’t want any trouble,” he said, holding up his hands.

Sam hesitated, but then remembered what Espenez said and she relaxed her stance as much as possible, giving Daniel a bright smile. “Look, this is going to sound crazy but-“ Sam sensed a presence behind her before a shadow fell across the pavement at her feet and she automatically crouched down and spun, sweeping a long leg sideways and a man clad in a dark blue jumpsuit off his feet. He hit the pavement hard, with a resounding crack as his head bounced and then was still.

“Hey!” Daniel yelped and Sam looked up, seeing another blue clad man behind him, grabbing him and hauling a protesting Daniel off his feet. Sam’s fingers dug into the purse she had slung over her arm still and closed around the one object she hadn’t seemed to be able to leave the house with lately. She brought forth the Swiss army knife and flicked it open, small blade protruding through her fingers.

Sam was at Daniel’s side in a heartbeat and brought the blade down on the other man’s thigh, parting fabric and flesh easily and the man let go of Daniel and went down with a wail of protest, too loud for the quiet morning. Not wasting a moment, Sam grabbed Daniel’s arm and hauled him down the side street behind her, the sound of running feet following them.

Daniel, in his shock, merely followed.

~~~

-Abasement-

“We don’t know why you insist on staying loyal to these people that left you and your friend behind.”

“They didn’t,” Sam ground out, jerking her head aside when the wheat-haired man made to stroke her cheek.

“Ah, but they did. Without a backward glance.”

“I don’t believe you,” Sam sighed, more tired than anything. This had been their first tactic, to try and turn her, to make her believe that she and
Daniel had been abandoned without a thought. She knew it wasn’t true and wasn’t sure what had given these men the belief that they could convince her otherwise.


“It’s true that the information you hold is valuable, but you yourself are not. They showed that by sending diplomats back through to try and negotiate your release, bargain for it, and it was obvious that their concern was for what you and your companion could tell us, not for your safety. They never once asked after your well-being, just what we had learned from you.”

The man had confirmed Sam’s suspicions that she and Daniel had been snatched, during the meet and greet that had been held apparently in their honour. The people of P4C-889 had seemed so welcoming and ready to trade and it had been such a nice change that everyone had let their guard down just a little. Drinks were had, food was eaten and then Sam had started feeling a little light-headed and then… nothing.

“In fact, their fervour about the knowledge you had was such that we decided to hold off on ransoming you back as we would normally do. Something tells me we hold the valuable items ourselves already and anything we asked of your people would not be enough.”


Sam gritted her teeth but said nothing. Jack had been a little merry himself but had still kept darting looks at her all night at that first party. He’d started towards her when Daniel had crashed into her, a large book hugged to his chest. They’d both laughed as they’d ended up in a heap on the floor and Sam had started wondering if she should be concerned that she was feeling so happy when the queasiness had kicked in.

“I’m not going to tell you anything,” Sam sighed, not out of any bravado but simply stating a fact. The man’s grin was feral and Sam leaned away from him, feeling greasy just by proximity.

“Not yet, no. But eventually.”

~~~

“Andrew,” Daniel introduced, holding out his hand, but had clenched it and drawn it back to his chest almost immediately. Daniel’s brows drew down. “Except that’s not my name, is it?”

“That’s what they tell us,” Sam sighed, looking about the small alcove they were crouched in, her eyes coming to rest on the street camera down the small laneway. “I remember you from the other day. You said Daniel and it sounded right, much righter than Andrew. I just… do I look like an Andrew to you?”

Sam canted her head, one hand on her chin like she was actually giving it thorough thought. “Not so much, no. You don’t look like a Daniel either.”

Daniel grimaced. “What do I look like?”

“Like an Elliot.”

Elliot?”

“Yeah.”

Daniel nodded slowly. “Yeah, I guess… it doesn’t matter anyway. I’m sure it’ll come back to us, eventually.”

“I’m sorry I don’t really know you. I feel like I should.”

“I don’t know me either.”

Sam chuckled and there was something about the way the man pressed beside her was casually funny without trying to be rang familiar to her. She really needed just some quiet time to think.

“Hey campers,” A jovial voice greeted and Sam and Daniel struggled to their feet, startled that they hadn’t heard the man now standing before them approach. Sam pushed Daniel backwards behind her body and held the Swiss army knife out in front, knowing it was pathetic defence, but it was something.

“That’s where that went,” the man observed, looking from the knife to her face. “Now, I don’t want you stabbing me with that thing because while it may not kill me outright, it’ll be really annoying.”

“Stop it,” Sam growled, feeling off-kilter by the casualness of their pursuer. He was tall and had dark hair shot with grey. He wasn’t in one of the blue suits but instead black pants and a jacket with a vest over the top that had a lot of pockets. He had a stubby looking weapon clipped to his vest that he was fingering but hadn’t brought up yet. “Stop being so…flip.

“Flip? Look, Carter, I know it took us a while to get here but you can be grouchy at me all you want once we’re safely back at the SGC, deal?” he offered, making an ushering gesture with his arm away from the end of the laneway with the camera. Daniel and Sam both looked at the direction he was motioning and saw another man down the other end, big and dark and menacing. The larger man was glowering, but at the same time looked oddly relieved which unnerved Sam even more.

“Look… you, we’re not going anywhere.” Sam widened her stance a little, bracing herself for the man in front of her to make a grab for her. The man instead rubbed a hand over his head, looking stricken.


“Aw hell, what did they do to you?”

~~~

Recovery

“She’ll be fine in a couple of days.” A woman’s voice drifted through the curtains and curled around Sam, who paused for a second in her dressing to think Janet, that’s Janet. She hated having to remind herself constantly who people were but was assured over and over again that everything would start falling into place, given a little time. “Their brainwashing techniques only held because of a regimen of drugs that she took daily. Weaning her off those will make the transition easier and everything will start coming back to her.”

“Will there be any lasting affects, Doc?” And that’s Colonel O’Neill, Sam added mentally, bringing him up in her mind. Tall and striking, brown hair turning to grey and dark brown eyes. He’d tried to convince Sam and Daniel to follow him and when that hadn’t worked, he’d kind of grimaced and said
sorry and then she’d been hit with something that had her crumpling to the ground, nerve endings on fire.

“We’ll have to see, but all indications are that there won’t be.”

“Will she remember… everything?” O’Neill asked and she heard Janet laugh quietly, which she thought odd until Janet said, “You mean will she remember you
zatting her? Probably yes. Everything else, I’m not so sure.”

“Damn,” O’Neill sighed.

“Hey.” Sam turned to see Daniel poke his head through on the other side of her curtained off area. He smiled gamely and stepped into the small space, pulling himself up on the bed. “Do you mind if I hide in here for a bit?”

Sam, knowing it was ludicrous but not being able to help it, was comforted by Daniel’s presence because currently he was the only thing that seemed familiar. “Why are you hiding?” she asked as she watched him push shaggy brown hair out of his eyes.

“That big guy keeps… hovering. I know he means well, but he’s scaring the crap out of me.”

Sam laughed, liking how it felt and somehow knowing that she hadn’t done it in a while. “Janet said we could have some time in one of the rooms around here if we needed it. She also offered to take me home for a while, get me oriented.”

“I asked about my home and everyone looked kinda guilty. Is it possible I don’t have one?”

Sam patted him on the shoulder. “I’m sure you do.”

“I have an office. I know that. It’s full of books and knick-knacks.”

“I think we got lucky here,” Sam said, almost absently. She ran her fingers over the patch on her jacket sleeve, tracing the S, the G and then the ‘1’ that she woke up in and hadn’t really wanted to let out of her sight ever since. She’d been told they meant something and she was angry at herself for not remembering what.

“I got lucky that I was in that situation with you,” Daniel said and Sam looked at him, blinking slowly.

“What do you mean?”

“You knew who you were. Despite the drugs and whatever else they did to us, you held onto it somehow. That’s why you came looking for me and why we were out in the open when they came looking for us. Somehow you held onto it, held onto you and that’s what saved our asses.”

“I don’t think that’s-“

“It is true, no matter what you think. You had nothing but your name and an instinct but you came for me. That’s not something I’ll forget, no matter how
many drugs are pumped into my body.”

Sam pulled herself up onto the bed next to Daniel and they both looked up as first O’Neill and then Teal’c appeared. “Hey kids,” O’Neill greeted. “Feeling less swiss-cheese brained today?”

“Not so much,” Daniel answered, flicking his head with his mouth open so it made a hollow thock sound and O’Neill chuckled.

“Eh, you were both too brainy for your own good anyway,” he said, waving a dismissive hand. “Look, you guys up for some fresh air? I’ve been given the okay to take you out for some decent food.”

Daniel slid to his feet nodding, but Sam hesitated. “Can I meet you up top? I need to put my boots on.”

“Sure, you remember the way?” O’Neill asked and Sam gave him a so-so waggle of her hand. That seemed enough and with Teal’c leading the way, they moved out of the room.

As they were leaving, she heard Daniel ask, “Am I actually homeless, Jack?” To which O’Neill responded, “Well, you were living… out of town for a while and we hadn’t found an apartment for you yet because you were so fussy” to which there was a “Hey!” of protest and the sounds of a scuffle which ended abruptly when Teal’c’s deep voice rumbled.

“Do not make me knock your heads together.”

Sam stepped into her boots and scuffed over to the mirror above the shiny surface of the infirmary table. She leaned forward so far that her nose almost touched the glass, the image reflected back blurring until it was nothing but a skin-coloured smudge with a halo of gold. She pulled back slowly, breathing deeply.

“Carter,” she said slowly. “Samantha Carter.” Then she grinned at her reflection, feeling silly, but the smile fell off her face when a voice echoed in the back of her mind.

Are you so sure?






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Comments {13}

Dee

(no subject)

From: deejay435
Date: August 30, 2006 01:50 am (UTC)

Very interesting story. I love how Sam is the subtle hero here. And how even mushbrained Daniel recognizes it.

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One Whose Honesty is Stronger Than Her Fear

(no subject)

From: amilyn
Date: August 30, 2006 02:06 am (UTC)

Really excellent. I love the stories where there is playing about with memories and minds. Well done.

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Settiai

(no subject)

From: settiai
Date: August 30, 2006 02:26 am (UTC)

I absolutely adored this story. *smile* Thank you so much.

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Havoc

(no subject)

From: havocthecat
Date: August 30, 2006 06:10 pm (UTC)

Boring comment, but there's an italics tag somewhere that's not closed. Right after this sentence, the entire story is italicized:

"There was a blinding crack and pain radiated outwards. Blood burst from her nose and she felt as if her bones hurt. "

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(no subject)

From: anonymous
Date: August 31, 2006 01:05 am (UTC)

I love mind games. Nice twist at the end there.

KatG

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Deanie

(no subject)

From: deaniebtvs
Date: August 31, 2006 03:03 am (UTC)

Very clever story. Nice use of the mind games... I especially like Sam's little shoebox of stuff.

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Anxious Audrey

(no subject)

From: audrich
Date: August 31, 2006 07:05 pm (UTC)

Ooh! I love when the perception of reality gets messed with - I like the game that ensues as the readers knows what the correct status is and the author has to pull the reveal off - heee!

I liked Sam keeping the shoebox of memories, Sam's captors were *nasty* - nice job with the different brainwashing techniques.

Also, nice little twist at the end!

Aud
x

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Jenn

(no subject)

From: surreallis
Date: September 1, 2006 12:53 am (UTC)

Oh, I loved this! It was suitably creepy, and so very interesting. I loved, loved how Sam and Daniel sort of would never forget each other, no matter what's been done to them. Their friendship is so deep that there will always be something there in the corners of their minds, reminding them.

Lovely fic. :)

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(no subject)

From: anonymous
Date: September 3, 2006 02:28 am (UTC)

Loved how Sam clung to her identity and the bond she had with Daniel.

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Gunhilda

(no subject)

From: gunhilda
Date: September 4, 2006 01:29 am (UTC)

I like how Sam fights to retain who she really is. Nice twist on the ending, too.

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siggy

(no subject)

From: siggy63
Date: September 4, 2006 09:17 pm (UTC)

Great stuff! Even with her brains pu through the spin cycle Sam still fights to maintain her identity. Good creepy bad guys and a sinister feel throughout the whole thing. i loved it. Thank you

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Fig Newton

(no subject)

From: sg_fignewton
Date: September 5, 2006 06:55 pm (UTC)

/bounces

Oooh, I loved it! Totally creepy that they set up a scenario so Earth-like and with so many people playing the roles of her family members. And I loved how she held onto Carter more than Sam. And that she got to be the hero, yay! And Daniel told her so. :)

One little nitpicky question: this is clearly very early S1, as Daniel is still apartment-less, so should they know about zats yet? They first encountered them in the season finale.

Great story, especially the little twist of the knife at the very end.

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mostly waving

(no subject)

From: winterfish
Date: September 10, 2006 09:47 pm (UTC)

Great story. Fantastically creepy! Especially the last line. Very nicely done.

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