Janet bristled. “They got trapped by a madman,” she cut across Daniel’s words, almost wishing she had her hands on a scalpel. Sam was trying to hide it, but it didn’t take a doctor to notice how stiff she was; how the major was looking anywhere but at her teammates. This had to be like Jolinar all over again. Only worse, because Jack and Daniel knew damn well no one had volunteered for this. “They meant to play a game. Instead, they got locked into a waking nightmare. So help me, Daniel, if anyone tells these people it’s their fault some of them are dead-!”
Behind glass, blue eyes were bleak. “Janet, we have to use this.”
She gaped at the archaeologist, completely taken aback. She’d known Daniel could be cold-blooded under pressure. You couldn’t keep saving the planet by the skin of your teeth with Jack O’Neill and not develop a deep, dark streak of ruthlessness when the chips were down.
The problem was, the planet didn’t need saving right this minute. No one needed saving right now, unless you counted people suddenly petrified of stubbing their own toes. What was going on here?
“Why?” Sam’s voice was almost steady. “Daniel, they’ve risked their lives for two years. They aren’t a study group. They’re people. People who want to go back to their own lives.”
“Exploding pen,” Jack said dryly.
“Ribbon device,” Sam shot back.
“Difference being, we can lock up the ribbon device,” Jack pointed out. “We can’t lock up the fact that Asuna can drag along a guy her own size like a feather duster. Or that Tsuboi and every other clearer we’ve seen moves faster than a ticked-off rattlesnake. Or that Kazuto just flat-out disappears when he doesn’t want to be found. Much as I hate to consider it, Major, if you ever resigned, you could probably go the rest of your life without causing a security breach. Kazuto? Two words, Carter. High school.”