Disclaimer: Nope, not mine. Nope, no money. Nope, no life...

A/N: A brief synopsis so far: The 'Threads' Communication Series:

story one - Mark and Carter have a conversation on the phone

story two - Mark and Jack have a conversation on the phone

story three - a Jack and Sam e-mail conversation with very unusual consequences

story four - Carter receives a concussion when she interrupts a meeting between Jack, the VP (Kinsey), et all. She then spends time in ICU while Jack anxiously waits for her to wake up

story five - Carter learns secrets - from Mark and Daniel, and from Jack - and on a side note, someone is trying to kill her - but who?

Now, on with the series....

Coded 'Threads'

by Linda Bindner

A/N 2: All letters are really in code, but I thought I wouldn't aggravate all my readers, and instead of weird code that my computer makes, I would make life easier for me (and you) and write everything in English. (Somehow I think that I would make a rotten SGC addition as Daniel Jackson's newest assistant)

The Code:

.

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z


And now, the story:


Carter,

I propose that since you're now in Colorado again, and to keep Daniel OUT of our e-mail accounts, that we write letters using the code that I made up and sent to you (see insert, then hide, even if you have to swallow it) That way, no one else can read our letters except us - I'm thinking mostly of Daniel and his love for breaking dead languages - but this language isn't dead - though that probably won't stop him if he ever finds out about this...

Whadyasay?

Jack


Jack,

What a good idea! Though it might have helped if you had included numbers and punctuation in this code, which I've done (see your own insert, then swallow)(I find that beer helps a lot in this)


n 0

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ? ' ! , ~ . - ( ) [ ] { }


Daniel might figure this code out, anyway, if given him enough time - so I say we never take these messages to work... so he'll never see them... and 'work' is anyplace where Daniel could potentially find the key and these letters. So, hiding them under the moldy hay in the henhouse next door is still an option.

What do you propose that we do in these letters? A whole new code seems a waste unless we tell secrets that should be encoded in the first place.

Carter


Carter,

Secrets, huh? As in 'us' secrets, not national secrets?

... 'us' as in you, and in me... separately... Ya know, I think I'll stop while I'm ahead.

And I find that I already know my own code well enough not to need my own insert - I still need your number insert, but I find that swallowing inserts just gives me gas. So to avoid stomach problems, stick insert to bottom of foot using tape that I sent to you along with new insert until you memorize it...

Secret numero uno: I joined the Air Force to get away from my family when I was a teenager - Dad and (maternal) Grandma were driving me nuts! {}.?',{}`~[]!!!!!! (Just practicing my punctuation there)(and brackets? Who uses brackets these days, Carter?) Back to my secret ---- What did Dad do? Nothing. That was the problem. I could have been arrested for stripping on the White House lawn and he wouldn't have noticed. And Grandma - picked and picked and picked me to death. By the time I joined up, I felt like a chicken.

Why did you join the military? And don't just say 'Because of my dad, I guess.' I know you... If you say that, then tell me why.

Jack


Jack,

Why I joined the military... Because of my dad... Seriously... I wanted him to be proud of me, not forget I was there for once. So I guess it was for him to notice what I was doing... kind of like you, only your reason was to get away, and mine was to draw the attention that I wanted. It was either join the military, or become a prostitute to get Dad's attention, and prostitution just isn't what it's cracked up to be. (I would have loved to join you on the White House lawn...)

I didn't know that about your family pecking you like a chicken. You look good in feathers... even unwanted feathers...

Carter


Carter,

Meet you at the White House!

I still can't get used to seeing you in glasses. I still wasn't used to it by the end of my SGC visit last week, and I had been staring at you for hours during that briefing on the (future) X-305. [Where do you come up with these designs for all these ships, anyway?](Notice the use of brackets. I had to check my punctuation insert before using them - good thing I didn't swallow it)

Jack


Jack,

You forgot to tell a secret, so I'll go first this time... Not a secret, exactly, a question... one that's been bugging me for years.

When did you first start liking Mary Steenbergen, and why?

Carter


Carter,

WHY!!!! She was in that cool Back to the Future movie with what's his name - that Alex P. guy - whatever - and she was sweet in that movie - sweet as in nice, not sweet as in hot - as in you... I admit that I'm thinking of you on the White House lawn right now...

Jack


Jack,

'Because she was sweet in that cool movie...' You are such a... a GUY... sometimes!

Carter


Carter,

A GUY and proud of it!!!!!!!!

And you also forgot to tell a secret, and no questions this time.

But I have a question for you... Why the cop? He was such a ... dweeb!

Jack


Jack,

Why 'the cop?' Because he was there, I guess - available. He did good things for my personal life ego, which had nowhere to go but up. And if he was a dweeb, that makes me a dweeb too for going out with a dweeb in the first place.

Who do you think made that naquadria now floating around inside me? Any ideas - 'cause I'm out of ideas... Double vision is making me tired all the time.

Carter


Carter,

YOU ARE NO DWEEB!!!!! HE is a dweeb, YOU are a geek - my science geek... a science geek with no geeky Daniel along for the ride at the moment.

I didn't know that your ego needed a boost. I would have been happy to be your boost... er... if you had told me.

And you're tired all the time? Maybe you should go to the Infirmary for a check up. I can't help but worry...

No idea who put the naquadria there. I do know that whoever it was didn't know about the naqueda in the first place. Dr. Lam told me on my last visit that she ran what you would call 'computer simulations' on the nequadria-causing agent found in your blood, and that agent would have collapsed both lungs and killed you if the naqueda hadn't stopped it, and as it's my guess that if 'they' wanted you gone, and the naqueda stopped that going, then 'they' didn't know about the naqueda in the first place. It's also my guess that you had already been given a dose of the agent while in ICU, and when that wasn't enough, were given more that morning in your room.

This whole thing freaks me right out. Not knowing who to blame for this when I really just want to beat somebody up for messing with you... with any of my team... my old team...

Jack


Jack,

I tried to tell you that I needed a boost - that night in my lab, over the... the ring... yeah, that ring... But I guess that I was too vague... Note to self - be more specific in future conversations with old CO {Just kidding - you are not old!}{I shouldn't even joke about that... sorry}

Secret - I hate mushrooms. They're so... slimy!

Carter


Carter,

No mushrooms, ever. Must remember that.

And that was not remotely vague. Very specific.

And I am old... er. Older than you. By a lot.

Secret number 2 - um... secrets that we never talked about around an off-world campfire... um... I know - I'm secretly in love with Hillary Clinton.

Jack


Jack,

Hillary Clinton? Is she there to give Mary Steenbergen and Uma Thurman a run for their money? If she is, then it's a good thing that you both live in DC, where you might run into her. Should I be jealous?

And that really isn't a secret, as in a get-down-and-dirty secret that not even Sergeant Harriman knew... and he knows everything.

Carter


Carter,

Yes, Walter did... does... know everything. He even knew about the Bart Simpson underwear that I never wore to work. (Don't know how he learned about them. He would use knowing about them, and promising to tell about them to bribe me to do something I didn't want to do. Wonder what he has on Hank?)(Landry)

And if I didn't tell a secret, then neither did you, not one of those get-down-and-dirty secrets.

Jack


Jack,

Bart underwear... kinky... kind of weird, wearing a kid on your butt. Where did you find them?

Secret... not of the mushroom variety... Secretly... Pete used to drive me crazy. I hated the way that he was always so cheerful and so... accommodating. He was just... EVERYWHERE! Always underfoot, it seemed. He was like having a puppy around full time. I should have gone to the pound...

Carter


Carter,

Now, that's more like it! Though the mushroom variety secret is good too, especially when paired with secrets like you gave in your last letter. This time you delivered the whole pizza, not just the mushrooms!

And did it ever occur to you that Pete was the canine pup because he couldn't help being that way? And you knew how he was right from the time that I met him too, only I don't think you were paying attention to how he behaved at the time.

And it makes sense that you didn't see his behavior that way - as in, the canine variety. You had a lot going on just then.

But he followed you, enough that he almost blew the whole Osiris thing wide open. Any one of us could have ended up shot, or worse, A HOST, because of that dweeb. And I could never quite forget that... though I tried... for your sake...

Jack


Jack,

I wish you had told me this (the way you think about Pete and the Osiris thing) months ago... Like when I was staring at that dumb ring would have been a good time!

Carter


Carter,

Are you mad? The dweeb is not a good enough reason to be mad about. There are a lot bigger - much more important - dweebs to be mad about... like Kinsey.

And I did tell you... sort of (though I thought that I had no right to even try to say anything) that night with the ring...

Jack


Jack,

If I recall, the night of the ring, you only said that you 'wouldn't be here' if things had been different.

WHAT did you mean by that? Trying to figure out what you meant has been driving me nuts for months!

Secret - more like a Question - you do have more class than Daniel thinks you do and wouldn't really propose marriage over e-mail, would you?

Carter


Carter,

Answer - yes, I do have more class than Daniel thinks I do, and what's wrong with proposing over e-mail? I wouldn't do it - though I obviously seem like I would since that's what Daniel did - you never answered that proposal, either, did you?

And what did I mean by the whole 'I wouldn't be here' thing?... oh, I guess that I meant lots of things.


- I would have died years ago on Abydos in a huge flaming fireball of a suicide bombing mission if things had been different

- I wouldn't be 'here,' as in, part of the SGC, the Stargate program, if things had been different.

- I wouldn't have been staring at the dweeb's ring if things had been different...

- On the night of the ring, I wouldn't have been standing in your lab, then getting ready to run (or throw up) if things had been different

- I would have still been married to Sara, and Charlie would have been alive if things had been different

- I wouldn't have joined the military at all and never met you if things had been different...

Take your pick...

Jack


Jack,

Are you mad now? Sorry for bringing up bad memories if you are.

No, I never answered that proposal... and you never really asked.

Secret - of the pizza variety - if you hadn't been 'here,' then neither would I. There would have been no reason in the beginning of the program to stay, and I would have asked for a transfer sooner rather than later. Kowalski would have been mission leader, and as much as I liked Kowalski, he wasn't you. I wouldn't have stayed, even when Feretti took over for Kowalski - 'The Good Old Boy' club. No thanks.

Does being old... er... than the rest of us really bother you?

Carter


Carter,

I'm not the oldest - Teal'c is.

Jack


Jack,

That is not an answer.

Carter


Carter,

You hard ass... Who taught you to be that way? Me?

Okay... Yeah, the age thing bothers me. To me, you especially are a Spring chicken... to my snowman... melting snowman... as in, I'm in the winter of life (shades of Antarctica there... sorry... bad memories.)

Jack


Jack,

Daniel is younger than I am, so why would I 'especially' be a Spring chicken to your winter snowman? Mom used to have a saying 'Age is like wine - it gets even better over time.' So that would make you in wine up to your eyeballs and wise because of it, and me still getting my feet wet and not nearly as experienced in life. I'm like Mom - I would rather have wine.

Did I ever tell you that my dad was 10 years older than my mom? It bothered him a lot, too. I could never understand why, though. Maybe Mark can tell me...

Carter


Carter,

Dad was 10 years older? No, you and he never mentioned that bit of information before.

And Daniel is younger than you are? Guess I did know that.

Question - Why do you think the betting pool at the SGC was so concerned with what we would do and when we would do it? I'm just not that interesting a person to bother betting on... though you are - I can see why people bet on you. But on me? I just don't get it.

Jack


Jack,

There is nothing more alluring than the person who doesn't see how well they affect others. You're one of those people. So of course the rest of the base personnel bet on you. They only bet on me because I was the only female on SG-1, and they found that interesting - that's rather uncommon - a female on a front-line team... with three of the best looking guys in the entire SGC. Every other female on base was so jealous of me!

Carter


Carter,

Nah, they weren't jealous of you... because of us... were they?

And I knew about plenty of drooling men who bet on you just because you're you... not because you're a scientist, not because you're a soldier (though we all bet on whose ass you would kick the farthest - Felger's ass won) and not because you were part of a front line team... because you're YOU - have you looked in a mirror lately? Being you is all right on most days, and everyone bet on you for that. That was and still is one safe bet!

We haven't talked about you not being on SG-1 anymore, 'cause of your loss of peripheral vision, or any 'normal' single vision at all. Or how you don't go through the Gate anymore, cause of that vision thing. How ya doin with that?

Jack


Jack'

Being you must be all right on most days, too - you're a General! I'm just a lowly Lieutenant Colonel.

I hate not going through the Gate anymore. But I surprisingly don't hate not being part of SG-1 anymore. The team is different now. You're not there. Teal'c's not there. It's not the four of us against the Universe. Seeing them - SG-1 - go through the Gate is like... like those guys are playing at being us. They're wannabes. Daniel is still on the team, as you know, and may still get excited about all the 'artifacts' that he finds on all those far away planets, but to me, they're rocks found on potential natives-gone-crazy-throwing-spears-at-you hunks of dirt. No thanks. I have a 9-5 job now that's safe. Cassie likes it that when she comes home, she knows that I'll also be home to see her at the same time. Ironically, this kind of life is exactly what Pete wanted me to have, and I had to get rid of him first before I got it.

But last year, you were part of the SGC too, even if not part of SG-1, and there was nothing like walking down the ramp after a mission, covered in mud, with you yelling 'Howdy, Campers!' at us from the Control Room loudspeaker system. Even Gen. Hammond's line of 'You have a go' didn't have the same punch. I still miss that... you being there. Even if I don't miss SG-1 as it is now so much.

Carter


Carter,

How about Hammond's line of 'Godspeed?' You know, I was always asking him if I could punch somebody's lights out, and he would smile... sorta... but never let me actually do it. He always managed to downplay my wilder ideas, but didn't let me know what he was doing. I wonder how he did that? The man was a saint for putting up with me.

Although I would have loved to punch Maybourne. Or Kinsey. On some days, I would still love to punch Kinsey.

How are you saving these letters, if you are? I always copy the ones that I send to you before I send them. That way I can read yours letters, then read my letters, then yours, then mine, etc...

Jack


Jack,

Of course I'm saving them, and in the same way, all alternating, in a PO box (not at home, where Daniel might find them) all bundled up in a yellow ribbon. Yellow means friendship, right? Or should I change the color of the ribbon? To something... meaning... something else?

Carter


Carter,

Definitely change the ribbon to red.

Meaning whatever you want it to mean.

Jack


Jack,

I do.

I mean, I want to... change it.

The color, I mean.

Of the ribbon.

Oh hell, I don't know what I mean anymore. Maybe that's my biggest problem. When I was growing up, (after Mom died) Dad always used to say 'You're going to do this' and I did that. Maybe he never let me make any decisions on my own, and now I can't.

But that wasn't and isn't his fault. It's mine... for letting him make those decisions for me. It was always my fault. It's still mine. Especially decisions in my personal life.

I miss him. And I don't. I don't miss his interferences. Is it awful for me to say that?

Carter


Carter,

No, definitely not awful. You can never be awful... even to the dweeb, who half deserved it. I bet that you weren't awful to him even when you were breaking up.

Jack


Jack,

I was no more awful to him than I bet you were to Agent Johnson.

Carter


Carter,

I let Kerry do all the talking at that time that she dumped me. And she did... talk... and dump me. And it didn't hurt like it should have. I admit that. And I know what hurt should feel like.

That's not a bid for sympathy. Just the way it is... and will always be... and I deserve that.

Still not a bid for sympathy. Crap

Jack


Jack,

Stop beating yourself up. I know that you won't believe me when I say that you're no more deserving of beating yourself up than I am... so every time you do it from now on, so do I.

Carter


Carter,

No fair!


Jack

No fair? Why not?


Carter,

God, now I'm gonna feel guilty! Is that what you want? Guilt oozing out of my ears?

Jack


Jack

Yes!

And no!

You don't 'deserve' that any more than I do!

Let me ask you a question - why is the fact that Charlie died your fault, but it's not my fault that Mom died? The situations are basically the same, or least, the outcome is. We both lost someone precious to us at the time that they died. How come I'm allowed to talk about it, and it's okay for me to feel sad about it, and to get sympathy about it from people, but you're only allowed to get mad? Where is the sympathy for you?

Carter


There is no comparison between Charlie and your mom, and don't ever say that there is. You couldn't even drive a car yet when your mom died, so you can't be held responsible for not picking her up that night, and making her take a taxi that got into an accident that ended her life.

But that gun that killed Charlie was mine, my responsibility. And I didn't act responsibly. You were only 14 years old when you lost that 'someone precious.' I, on the other hand, was 39. I should have known better. End of story.


Jack,

I couldn't drive yet, true, but Mark could. He could have picked her up - or even taken a taxi to go get her, and if the taxi is the deciding factor here, they would both be dead, and now that Dad is also dead, I would be all alone.

Is that how you think it should have played out?

And please don't be so... angry...

Carter


Carter,

You would never be alone, Carter. You know that. I said 'always,' and I mean 'always.' For what it's worth.

Jack


Jack,

Stop it! Stop being so self-sacrificing! I get to sacrifice too!

But now is the time that I should know - Does 'always' not mean 'till infinity' nowadays? I had been sort of counting on that 'always' of yours... good thing I now know that I shouldn't... 'cause 'always' doesn't mean 'till infinity and beyond' anymore... good to know...

Carter


Carter,

Don't be like that! You know that 'always' means the same as it ever did! I will 'always' be around if you need me... as in 'need help.' Just like if Daniel or Teal'c ever needs help... though you're not exactly Daniel or Teal'c, are you?

Jack


Jack

I'm not being 'like that' - I know that this code is just basic cryptography that Daniel could crack in his sleep if he wanted to... which is why I don't keep these letters at home, where he might find them. But writing in a code helps me feel... safer... (how did you guess about that?) Even if I know that it's a code that can be easily cracked. It's the code that matters. Not how hard it is.

Is the offer that I can stay with you while I get my eyes checked again with the DC doctor-lady that you made on your last visit still open? (And if this wasn't a free trip - thank you for arranging an Air Force flight to DC for me - then I would have had my eye medical records transferred to a doctor here in Colorado Springs. It just wouldn't be worth the hassle of flying across half the country to see an eye doctor [albeit one who at least is familiar with my case history] if it wasn't free.) But if you don't want me to stay with you, then I can stay in a hotel, of course, but... home cooking (even home takeout) is better... keeps my stomach more settled... or else the double vision makes me throw up for some reason...

Carter


Carter,

Don't want you to throw up - yeah, mi casa, su casa. I'm sending you a house key in case I actually lock the front door that day you get here, and I'm not home yet, so that you can just go right in and order takeout.

Jack

PS I know this code is just basic cryptography, and even Kinsey could crack it if he wanted to. (More a slur against Kinsey and how easy this code is than Daniel's cracking abilities) The better question is (and I know... knew... that it would make you... me... feel safe... safer... for talking) - why didn't Mckenzie think of doing this code/talking thing sometime before now? It seems so simple, and so obvious. If even dumb old General O'Neill can think of using a code, then why can't Mr. educated-to-the-hilt Headshrinker? If you know the answer to that one, you can tell me when you get here next week.


To Be Continued in 'Wordless 'Threads''


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