Samantha Carter, a brilliant scientist and military officer, is an integral part of the SG-1 team. Her birthplace and exact birthdate are unspecified, however she celebrates her birthday in May. Her father, Jacob Carter, had been a general in the US Air Force. Her mother had died tragically after Jacob had been delayed in picking her up from an appointment and she had instead taken a cab which was involved in an auto accident. Carter was a teenager at the time, and her relationship with her father became strained after the devastating loss. Her brother Mark grew estranged from his father, and until a recent reconciliation, Carter had also lost touch with Mark and his young son and daughter when they moved to San Diego.
Carter has devoted her life to her work. Ever since she was a little girl, she had wanted to become an astronaut, but she redirected her energies after the suspension of the shuttle program following the Challenger disaster. She followed in her father's footsteps and entered the US Air Force Academy where she studied and trained under General Kerrigan and Professor Monroe, and she proved to have a brilliant scientific and mathematical mind. She earned her Ph.D. in theoretical astrophysics, and transferred to the Pentagon in Washington, DC. There she spent a year studying nano-technology, and she worked with Dr. Timothy Harlow in the field of genetics. She studied gate technology and helped to pioneer the field of wormhole physics, working to develop the stargate program for two years before the first Abydos mission. As an expert on the stargate, she was transferred from the Pentagon to join the second mission to Abydos, and at the rank of captain, she became a member of SG-1 under Colonel O'Neill.
In addition to her scientific background, Carter is also an outstanding military officer. She logged over 100 hours in enemy airspace during the Gulf War and has completed simulated bombing runs in an F-16. Although she does not wear pilot's wings, she has had training as a pilot, and has flown both first seat and second seat in alien craft such as the F-302. She is an excellent marksman, and has even been known to take out an assassin from across a crowded auditorium with a single shot. She has reached level three advanced in hand-to-hand combat training, she has medical field training, and is even adept at picking locks.
Carter's knowledge of science and technology has been a tremendous asset to the Stargate Program. Her extensive familiarity with alien technology and design has enabled her to repair, reverse engineer, and interface with many kinds of alien devices, and she is intimately familiar with the technology of both the stargate and the F-302, BC-303, and BC-304 series of human-designed spacecraft. Using the resources at the SGC and Area 51, Carter has been instrumental in the development of advanced technology including a particle beam accelerator based on Sokar's technology, an energy weapon designed to counteract the Kull warriors, a modification of the Ancient communication terminal that allows for communication between galaxies, an adaptation of Merlin's phase-shift device, and an anti-prior device designed to counteract a Prior's higher abilities. Carter is also a senior consultant for Applied Technologies, for which she and Dr. Lee presented their development of the X-699 plasma cannon and the Chimera holographic system, and she has twice been awarded the prestigious Binder Prize for advancements in theoretical physics. Her knowledge of astrophysics has even allowed her to accomplish the formidable task of creating an artificial supernova to blow up a sun. She is an expert in computer systems and is often called upon to write programs or to work with encryption or data retrieval. She is able to read and translate basic information in the Goa'uld language and has some understanding of the Ancient language as well.
On a mission to Nasya during her second year of service with SG-1, Carter was taken as a host by Jolinar of Malkshur, a Tok'ra symbiote who was fleeing assassination by the Ashrak and leapt from a dying host into Carter to hide. Unable to escape the Ashrak, however, Jolinar was severely tortured, and she made the choice to sacrifice her life in order to save Carter's. Remnants of Jolinar remain in Carter's mind, and she has been able to retain flashes of memories and feelings that once belonged to Jolinar. Having carried a symbiote, Carter's body now contains traces of naquadah in her blood, as well as a unique protein marker that identifies her as a former host. These changes have also enabled her to sense the presence of a symbiote or traces of naquadah in others, and to make limited use of Goa'uld technology such as the healing or ribbon devices.
Carter was reunited with both her father and the Tok'ra when Jacob Carter was dying of cancer and volunteered to become a host to the Tok'ra symbiote Selmak. Jacob became a liaison between the SGC and the Tok'ra, and with many of the past wounds between them healed, the relationship between Carter and her father became closer than it had ever been. Carter also shares a very close bond with her teammates. In many ways she shares Daniel's passion for science and exploration, while also admiring Teal'c's military perspective, and she holds great admiration and respect for her commanding officer, O'Neill. Carter had been especially close to Janet Fraiser, and together they had shared many of the responsibilities of raising Fraiser's adopted daughter, Cassandra. Often the three of them would spend time together, including a regularly scheduled chess game with Cassandra every other Saturday whenever Carter was on Earth. Cassandra was 18 when Janet Fraiser was killed, and Carter continued to be a parent and role model for her. Among the personal documents she keeps on her laptop is a letter to Cassandra in the event of her death, the password for which is "fishing."
Carter has never married, and she lives alone in a single-story home, house number 1025, in suburban Colorado Springs. She talks to her plants, she takes her coffee black, and her tastes include preferences for diet soda and blue jello. She is fond of Volvos and has driven both a 1961 vintage Volvo and a late model silver Volvo sedan with a moon roof, license plate Colorado QTL3016. She is mechanically inclined as well, and in her spare time she enjoys restoring her 1940 classic Indian motorcycle. Her passion for speed and competition also emerges occasionally. She especially enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the space race known as the Loop of Kon Garat on Hebridan, and she can be a formidable poker player. She has a reputation for being a workaholic, however, and usually devotes her spare time to research projects such as the construction of the first Earth design for a naquadah generator.
Carter's brilliant military career has brought her many recognitions and honors. She received a special commendation after her actions prevented Hathor from acquiring control of the SGC, and following the defeat of Apophis's motherships in Earth's orbit, she was awarded the Air Medal for distinguished courage and heroism. After two years of exemplary service with the SGC, Carter was promoted to the rank of major, and on several missions she was given temporary command of the SG-1 unit in the absence of Colonel O'Neill, including the mission to make contact with the Salish on PXY-887, the mission to recover O'Neill and Maybourne from P5X-777, and the mission to investigate Anubis's base on Tartarus. Five years after achieving the rank of major, she was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel, and with O'Neill's promotion to general placing him in command of the SGC, Carter became the commanding officer of SG-1.
In her personal life, Carter has had several short-lived relationships. She was briefly engaged to Jonas Hanson before joining the SGC, but she had broken off the engagement. Several men encountered on alien worlds have also developed a strong attraction to Carter, including Narim of the Tollan, Martouf of the Tok'ra, and Orlin, an ascended being. Even the human-form Replicator, Fifth, harbored such an obsessive attraction to Carter that he captured her and later duplicated her when his feelings were not reciprocated. Since joining SG-1, Carter has shared a special bond with O'Neill, however military regulations have always prevented the development of a personal relationship with her commanding officer. When Carter suffered a concussion during a mission on the Prometheus, the voices of her subconscious mind urged her to let go of the things that prevented her from finding happiness, and to allow herself to love someone. The experience left her more open to a relationship with Pete Shanahan, a cop from Denver and a friend of her brother Mark, who had introduced the two. Their relationship developed into a romance, and about a year after they met, Carter accepted Pete's proposal of marriage. As their wedding date approached, however, Carter began to question whether she had made the right decision. At the same time she faced emotional turmoil as her father confessed that he was dying and urged her to follow her heart. Carter was with Jacob as he peacefully passed away, but following her father's death, she met with Pete and gently broke off their engagement.
After the defeat of the System Lords, O'Neill was reassigned to Washington, DC and SG-1 was disbanded as Teal'c devoted his energy to building the new Jaffa Nation and Daniel prepared for an assignment in Atlantis. Carter, too, left the SGC for a position with more flexible hours that would allow her to be more available to Cassandra, who was going through a difficult time. She took command of Stargate Research and Development out of Area 51, and during her few months there she spent time on deep space reconnaissance aboard Prometheus and was instrumental in the development of the Mark IX weapon and electromagnetic pulse technology. With the arrival of the Priors of the Ori in this galaxy, however, Carter returned to the SGC, and she rejoined SG-1, sharing command of the unit with Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell, for whom she shares a mutual admiration and respect.
Carter's research into brain scan technology and Merlin's phase-shift device provided invaluable defenses against the Ori invasion. When she was inadvertently drawn into an alternate reality, she was able to save Earth in that universe from destruction by the Ori by taking the entire planet out of phase. Later, she had hoped to use the same technology to save the Odyssey from an Ori attack, however the plan could not be implemented quickly enough, and the ship was spared using time dilation technology instead. For 50 years, the members of SG-1 were trapped aboard the Odyssey within a time dilation bubble as Carter struggled to find a way to free them. During that time she also fulfilled a lifelong interest in the cello, and she taught herself to play. Finally, Carter calculated a means to redirect the energy of the Ori weapon in order to trigger a time reversal. In an instant, the Odyssey was destroyed, and time began to work backward to the moment the time dilation had first been initiated. Only Teal'c retained the memory of those 50 years as the Odyssey escaped and SG-1 returned to Earth. Through Carter's efforts, the Odyssey and the Asgard legacy it carried were spared, giving Earth an invaluable advantage in the battle against the Ori.
Portrayed by: Amanda Tapping, Christine Kennedy
See Also: Military Insignia and Ribbons
Cross Reference: Alternate Reality - Universal Bridge, Ashrak, Jacob Carter, Mark Carter, Cassandra, Fifth, Janet Fraiser, Grace, George Hammond, Jonas Hanson, Timothy Harlow, Daniel Jackson, Jolinar, General Kerrigan, Hank Landry, Vala Mal Doran, Martouf, Cameron Mitchell, Professor Monroe, Narim, Nebula, Jack O'Neill, Orlin, Pentagon, Jonas Quinn, Replicator Carter, SG Teams, Pete Shanahan, Teal'c, Time Dilation Bubble, Time Travel 3000 BC, Tok'ra
First Introduced: Children of the Gods
Significant Episode Reference: Singularity, In the Line of Duty, Secrets, The Tok'ra, Fair Game, Jolinar's Memories, The Devil You Know, Prodigy, Entity, Ascension, Space Race, Grace, Chimera, Death Knell, New Order, Affinity, Gemini, Threads, Moebius, Beachhead, The Fourth Horseman, Ripple Effect, Arthur's Mantle, Company of Thieves, Line in the Sand, The Road Not Taken, Unending