by Eilidh17

Daniel remembers the last time he saw Major Coburn; the look of relief on the team leader’s face as SG-1 broke through the treeline on P3X-888, after a two day search and rescue mission that claimed the lives of SG-11 and Robert Rothman, was something he’d never forget.
What he’d much rather forget though was the mission that came several months later.  SG-1 had been on downtime, spending a few days catching up on their departmental obligations and just generally relaxing, when they’d been called to the gateroom.  SG-2 were coming in hot, their every move captured in glorious, if not slightly fuzzy, technicolor by the planet-side MALP.  The peaceful, uninhabited planet that they’d been sent to gather routine environmental data from had turned out to be a lion’s den full of Jaffa, and the team were cut down as they dove for the open wormhole.
Three of Coburn’s boys had made it home, but the Major, only a year or two younger than Daniel, had taken a close-quarter staff blast to the back, his lifeless body stretched out on the dais steps, eyes fixed on the target of home.  The transmission cut off moments later when the Jaffa made short work of the MALP.
Coburn’s body was never retrieved.
SG-2 had grieved for their lost commander, but the wheels of the SGC ground onwards, and within a few weeks, Major Griff had taken over their battered helm and led ‘his’ boys back into action.
That had been almost four years ago.
In a quite corner, on one of the less frequented floors of the SGC, near the all-denomination chapel that sprung up within the first few months of the program’s instigation, there is a tribute wall.
Surface cut and polished like a fine pair of parade boots, the wall holds the names of those who lost their lives in defense of Earth—guarding a way of life they all fought hard to preserve.
Hands fisted tight in his pockets, Daniel walked up to the wall, taking a quick breath as he scanned the names.  He finally found the one he was searching for near his own. Despite his attempts to have his name removed, Jack had argued that his track record was a compelling enough argument to leave it there.  That… and explaining its removal to the local engraver would require some creative thinking.  Jack didn’t do creative.
Daniel reached out and ran his fingers across Coburn’s name, pausing long enough to let the cold of the marble bite at his skin.  He needed to do this, needed to ground himself for a moment against the tide of emotions threatening to bring him down.  He had no doubt others had been just as shocked as he was when the three System Lords had stepped through the ‘gate to Earth.  He tried to hide his surprise behind an officious mask, no daring to let his gaze linger on Camulus any longer than was appropriate, but something in the Goa’uld’s eyes told him he had failed.
So when the meeting finally broke to allow Weir time to gather her thoughts and plan her next move, Daniel had politely excused himself and sought out quiet refuge among the names of the dead.
Only, Coburn wasn’t dead—just another soul trapped in the prison of his own mind.

The End


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