Summary: Seeing double for the second time, MIA find surprising allies. The usual thanks go to Joy for patience and the beta. Ta chuck.
Sam. You okay?
Fine. You're sounding perky. Is he up?
Not yet. Still sleeping like a baby.
So why are you awake?
OY! I'm not that bad.
Humph. I'm just putting some coffee on.
So, how's Teal'c?
Just you and me then, eh? Shall we run away together?
Daniel!... You keep suggesting that but nothing ever comes of it.
Well, we've got a stargate nearby. All we have to do is dial up...
We've got two hot men, honey. You really want that?
Um. No. Ack, gotta go, he's waking up.
"Hey, Daniel. You're quiet. You okay?"
"I'm fine, hun. Just been talking to Sam."
"You're settling into this really well, aren't you?"
"Yeah, I think it's pretty cool."
"Me too. It's handy. I guess it would be a good idea to find out how far this goes."
"Okay, how about later today. We can take Mia and see."
"Good idea. How's the coffee coming on?"
"Done. Here you are."
Yeah, he's right. We really have to figure out just how far our reward from the quest goes. It's surprising how quickly you can get used to telepathy, you know.
It was weird when we got back from Tiwaz' world. The moment we stepped through the gate we realised that we could hear each other's thoughts. At first, it was awful, but as the days have gone on, we've learned to switch each other 'on and off' as if the connection is a radio.
Making love with Teal'c while our minds are joined is like nothing else. I doubt we'll be able to go back to 'normal' after this. But it was really embarrassing to find out that the guys had inadvertently been listening in that first time...
One thing we have discovered is that we're only connected to each other, that we can't listen in to other people's minds. Just as well, really, or we'd have had to have found a way of either controlling it against massive mental noise or getting rid of it. Dad popped in to see how the quest had gone and we couldn't hear him.
I'm not sure why, but we just told him that we'd 'found each other' and not told him about the telepathy. Without even saying anything, we all seemed to agree that we'd keep this information to ourselves. We've always had a pseudo-telepathic link, I guess. Always knowing each other. But now... now? Now I'm not so sure. It's beyond what you'd expect for us. It's almost instinctual, as if we know how to deal with it.
The first day, we were all as expected, frustrated by not being able to keep our thoughts to ourselves. After we slept on it though, it was as if a light had gone on and we knew what to do. Perhaps it was part of the process, we don't know. All I know is that if I think of any of the guys in a certain way, they hear me. I can think of them in other ways and they don't get it. It has to be a deliberate, conscious effort.
So, all in all, it's pretty cool. Daniel told me that he and Jack had joined their minds while making out and had come like rockets. The result is the same with Teal'c too. Hell, it even works on me!
Sam? Are you guys going down for breakfast?
I think Teal'c is just waking up now, honey. We'll be down soon. See you there.
Not having to use the communicator has other advantages. Daniel and I wanted to discuss a problem the other night. Teal'c and Jack were having none of it, saying that we should go to bed. So, we went. And while we were tucked up with our guys, we carried on with the debate and neither man was any the wiser.
All sitting around the breakfast table and it's business as usual. When we get together, we're still talking out loud. Daniel's in charge of coffee, it's Jack's turn to sort out the food. Daniel's always in charge of the coffee, though. It's good. Fun. These guys are much more my family than my brother was, er, is to me. I forget about him sometimes. It's awful, but I do.
"Sam? What's up?"
"Um, nothing Jack."
"Oh, just thinking about Mark and how you guys have been closer to me, are closer to me than he ever was."
"I thought you two had made up before we headed out here," Daniel says.
"We did. But it's not as if I can go see him, is it?"
Jack's pronouncement is stunning.
"Come on, I've already said that we should take Mia back to Earth. There's no reason you can't be dropped off in San Diego. I'd like to go to Minnesota, see how the cabin is doing."
"What, see if there are any fish in the pond, yet?" Daniel teases.
I'm not sure what Jack just thought at him, but Daniel's sniggering.
"Where would I go?" Teal'c suddenly says.
"You could come with me," I tell him. "'Bout time you met your brother-in-law." Well, he always talks of me as if I were his wife. By Chulakian standards, I am.
"Would it not be awkward?"
"Why should it?"
"I am, after all, Jaffa."
"I know, honey. But we'll work out an appropriate cover story. If Dad comes back with us, he'll give the story backup, I'm sure of it."
"Then I should be glad to meet him."
As Jack would say, sweet.
Ah hell, why not? We could do with going home. It's been about six months since we left. We need to get there. I'll talk to Jacob and arrange it. But first, we have a mission brief to collect. It's been a while since we had to get one, and we're all pretty excited about it.
Breakfast's over, we're all at the gate. Daniel's got the address, he dials up and we step through and find... fuck, that's cold.
"Daniel? Sam? Teal'c? Can you see it?"
There's no reply. Not surprised, the wind's blowing up a storm.
Guys? Can you see the briefing?
No, Jack, it's Daniel.
Perhaps it's in the DHD? Sam suggests.
Good thinking. It wouldn't blow away in there. Open it up and look. And get a move on, will ya? It's freezing!
She'd huddling at the base of the DHD, we're all surrounding her to try to keep the wind off her. The thing is open, and yeah, there's the folder. Before the wind can whip it out of her hand, she puts it inside her jacket.
There, we can go home now.
Back home, and in the underground kitchen. We're all still freezing, and hugging our coffees, even Teal'c. When the big guy feels the cold, we're all feeling it. Especially Daniel, desert rat that he is.
"So, what's in the folder?" Daniel asks, unwilling to let go of the heat from his mug.
Teal'c recovers first, natch, so he grabs it and opens it up.
"This is intriguing," he says, then stays silent.
"Teal'c? What's up?"
"It would appear that there is a group of people travelling the stargate network who are purporting to be SG-1. The old SG-1. Us."
He shows us the information received, included in which is a photograph of them. Jacob was supplied with a whole load of digital cameras and stuff so that we could get information onto our computers quickly back at the SGC. I guess that some of the information goes directly to George. Much easier for him to hide stuff if it's on a small memory card after all. The photos are indeed of us. But they're the old us. I'm grey - or rather the guy that's pretending to be me is. Daniel and Sam look older. Teal'c has the tattoo.
"Clones?" Sam asks.
"Possibly," Teal'c replies thoughtfully, sounding like Daniel. "However, it would seem that they are fighting the Goa'uld, so whoever has cloned them would appear to be on our side."
A groan passes my lips as I hit my head slowly, but repeatedly, on the table.
I know they're all looking at me, I don't need the link with them to know that. They're wondering what the fuck is going on. I can't be bothered to tell them out loud.
Collective groans ring through the room. We are in so much shit.
We do not need to speak for the moment. It would seem that the short time we spent on Harlan's world was not as short as we assumed.
"Harlan did seem like something was up, didn't he?" Daniel says eventually.
"Yeah, he did," Samantha replies. "So, what's the mission?"
"Somehow," I say, "we have got to find them."
"That would be like finding a needle in a haystack. How many gate systems are there?" O'Neill asks.
"Thousands," Samantha moans.
"We can limit it," Daniel suggests. "Assuming that these guys come from Harlan's lab, they were made only recently. So, they know about us. As they are us, they won't interfere with what we're doing."
"Maybe not," O'Neill interrupts. "Remember the last lot? Oh, of course, you didn't meet them the second time, did you, Daniel? Well, let's just say they got superiority complexes."
"They did?" Daniel's eyes are wide open.
"Well, the other O'Neill did. I think that if we were in the situation where we were faster, better, stronger..."
"We were, with those armbands," Daniel reminds him. O'Neill frowns, then he continues.
"Think about it, Daniel. You're already a genius, so's Sam. Teal'c's the biggest, baddest Jaffa around, and I get to lead you guys."
Daniel grins. "Don't think you're special, eh, Jack?"
O'Neill blushes a bit. "Ah, you know what I mean. Anyway, what I was saying was this. Remove the inhibitions that stop you guys being all ego, add to it an increase in your already awesome brainpower, and you've got a sure-fire recipe for Super SG-1."
"What have they done?" Samantha asks.
"As an example, they visited a Goa'uld technical research facility," I say.
"They, I believe your phrase is, 'nuked it'."
"Wow. How did they build a nuke?" O'Neill asks.
Samantha is about to tell him, I believe. He puts up his hand and says, "That was rhetorical, Carter."
She is smiling at him.
"So, how do we limit their likely places?" she asks instead.
"Well, they're not going to go places we've already been," Daniel says. "Unless... unless..."
"There was unfinished business there," he says.
"Unfinished business? I do not understand."
"Come on, how many times have we been somewhere and been frustrated because we had to leave things?" he persists. "This facility, where was it?"
I look at the briefing and I am surprised. "P8X-987," I inform them.
"Hanka?" Samantha says, shocked. "Why?"
"Perhaps they were afraid that Nirrti would return there?" Daniel suggests.
It is as good an explanation as any.
"Well, there are too many places we've been to that need a follow-up visit. If we try to visit every one, we'll be chasing our tails for ages. There's got to be a quicker way."
"We'll have to go visit Harlan," I say with a sigh. "However, we're going to need to make sure he doesn't clone us again."
"We could just talk to him through the gate, send a VCD," Sam suggests.
Jack shrugs, so I guess we go do that.
"What are you going to ask him?" I ask him.
"I don't know yet," Jack says thoughtfully. "Um, I guess I want to talk to them."
"What, like a summit or something?"
"Yeah. Powwow." His voice is trailing off, his mind is elsewhere. I thought that I was the one that did that.
"Jack? What aren't you saying?"
"Jack, you couldn't pull the wool over my eyes when we weren't linked. Don't you think you can get away with it now."
"Look, I've just got an idea, okay? I'm not even sure if it'll be a workable idea. Let me think on it, will ya?"
"Sure. No problems. If you want to bat an idea off me, though, just call."
He smiles and says, "I can do that."
We're at the gate and I've dialled up. Sam sends the VCD through and looks at the receiver on our end. There's nothing there. Literally. The whole place is a disaster area.
"Looks like they had a major oh-oh there," Jack drawls.
"So, assuming they weren't there when this happened, and assuming they have those extended power packs in them, where would they have gone?"
We shut the gate down and think.
"What about the pleasure palace?" I suggest.
"Daniel? What makes you think of that?" Sam asks.
"If you had to leave here in a hurry, maybe because of an impending disaster, and you only had the gate, where would you go - factoring in cover, easy protection, an unused gate and so on."
"The pleasure palace," they agree.
"But they must know that we may turn up there from time to time," Teal'c says.
"Sure, but it's a big place, Teal'c. They could have fixed up quarters away from the gate, put in an early warning system to alert them if they are there when we turned up. And let's be honest here, the break between them being created and us being us now isn't so long. It's only a couple of months. They know what MIA is up to. They may not be willing to approach us, but I doubt they're too worried that we're going to turn them in to the SGC."
Jack shrugs and nods. "Dial it up, Daniel. Let's go see if they're there."
So I do and we do.
We step through to our expected sight. I'm about to speak when Jack calls out,
Not a word, guys. Let's keep quiet, shall we?
I have a feeling we're being watched.
Jack's instinct when it comes to matters military is usually spot on, so I'm going with that one. He gets silent acknowledgement from the others too. He sets off down a corridor, sending Teal'c and Sam off in the opposite direction. I don't need orders to know he wants me to follow him.
I see why he's saying it now, I'm getting that prickly feeling on the back of my neck. Also, there's something different about the place. Can't put my finger on it, but there's definitely something different. What is it? I know! There's a smell here, something metallic, like a tang.
You smell that, Jack?
Yeah. Leaving a nasty taste in my mouth. I know when I had this last.
When was that?
Before or after the robot O'Neill got hit?
Yeah, something like that. Teal'c? Sam? Double back. They're here somewhere.
I hear them calling out assent and then we find them.
"Hey," I say. Their Daniel's been hit, by the looks of things. Liquid is leaking from his arm. Sam's been hit too, it's in her leg. The others look at us, a bit worried but at the same time, relieved.
"That looks nasty," Jack says, his voice hitching.
"You could say that," the other Jack says. "If we don't get it stopped, they're going to bleed to death."
Sam, you'd better hurry. They're in trouble. I figure they may as well get all the help we can give them.
"Can we take them back to Remoc?" I ask Jack.
"Daniel, they're not puppies," he snaps. I punch his arm.
"Jack, they already know everything about the place. I take it you were hit when..."
"You were about to go on the clone mission. A couple of months ago," R-Jack says. Yeah. R-Jack. Or Jack-R? Um, no, Jack 2? Nah, don't like that. Tin Jack? Ach, for crying out loud, Daniel, get a grip.
"See, Jack? It's okay. Come on, Sam's got tools there, they may be of some use. If we can get a sample of the fluid, maybe we can come up with an alternative."
Jack stares at them, ignores the 'Holy Hannah' from Sam as she and Teal'c crash around the corner, then he nods. "You okay to be moved?" he asks.
"Got no choice in the matter," robot Daniel says.
His Jack stands, then helps Daniel to stand, holding his arm up high to stop it leaking more than necessary. Their Teal'c gathers their Sam into his arms and carries her.
"You think you can help them, Sam?" Jack asks our Sam.
"I don't know," she says vacantly, "but I'll try. We may need some things."
"Gotcha. Come on, let's get out of here."
He stalks off, and somehow I know better than to go charging off after him.
"So, what happened?" I ask as we head back to the gate.
Their Jack says, "Harlan's place was hit by a snake. Don't know who it was. Not sure how they managed it either. We weren't there."
"Yeah, about that," Daniel says.
"Not now, Daniel," the other Daniel says. "We'll tell you everything, but not now. All we know is that there were some left when we got there. Sam and I were first through the gate and we were hit by staff weapons. Jack and Teal'c took them out as soon as they came through. Fortunately, the blasts aimed at them missed."
"Do you know which Goa'uld it was?" I ask.
"No, their tattoos were not recognised by me," their Teal'c says.
"Look, this is going to be confusing, everyone having the same name and so on. Can we use other names?" our Daniel puts in.
"I suppose you want us to be the ones to change?" robot Jack sneers.
"No, we could just leave you here and there'd be no confusion," Daniel smiles sweetly.
Jack shakes his head with a grin. "Call me John. It's not as if you can't tell the difference between us to look at. What the fuck happened there?"
"Um, long story," Daniel says. "Later, okay? Daniel, what about you?"
Robot Daniel just says, "How about DJ?"
"DJ?" I ask.
"College nickname. About the only one I never minded."
"And why was that?" I ask again. There's something behind that story I know it.
"Just the gang it came from," he obfuscates. I can see me, him and a bottle of some liquor before long. "They were a great bunch. We all had nicknames."
He looks at the other me. Oh shit, I just know what she's going to say.
"Don't say it," I say.
"Say what?" she grins. "Come on, Sam, it's not as if you didn't use it for years."
"Yeah, I know, but it's been years since I used it, and they'll tease me if they know it."
"Would we do that, Sam?" Daniel teases.
"Yes you would. And before you ask, it's not a bad name, it's just not me anymore. It was my high school nickname."
"Don't tell me," he says as we approach the gate. "Brains?"
"Sam? What was it? Tell me now or when Jacob comes to call, I'll tell him about the trip to P92-63X."
"You wouldn't! You promised."
Ack. Okay. "Frankie," I say.
"Yeah. My middle name is Francesca, as you know, and I went through a phase of hating being called Samantha. Of course, if I used Sam, I was teased for being too boyish. So, I used to be asked to be called Francesca, but someone started calling me Frankie and it stuck."
"Ah." He looks at the other me and tilts his head. She grins. Frankie it is. We step through the gate that Jack's already opened before we get to Teal'c.
"So, Teal'c," I say as we go along the beach to the transport rings. "What should we call you?"
"I did not go to school and my name is Teal'c," he intones.
I look at my Teal'c, but he says nothing. "Surely you had another name at some point?" I push.
"I did not," he insists.
"That is not quite true," my Teal'c finally says. "I had a... nickname from Bratac, but I have never shared it."
"Why's that, sweetie?"
"It is personal. However, if it cannot be shared with my brothers-in-arms, my family, I do not believe it can ever be used."
The other Teal'c nods in acknowledgement.
"What is it?"
"Kar Shel," he says.
"What does it mean?"
"The nearest equivalent would be 'heart of a lion'."
"A good name," I say. The others agree.
We're all in the underground chambers, their Daniel and Sam, or rather, DJ and Frankie, are together in one of the bedrooms, lying on one of the double beds we've made up here. No matter that they're leaking, they're trying to look calm. I look at my opposite number, John as they've decided he'll be called, and I can see he's worried sick.
Seeing them like that in the pleasure palace shook me up but good. I still get nightmares about seeing that headless body of Daniel. I know he's been thinking about that too.
"So, what do you want us to do?" I ask.
Frankie replies, as she's the one with the most technical knowledge.
"You'll need to replace the tubes that carry the fluid. It can be done. However, they're made of a specific polymer. I doubt you have that here."
"Perhaps we can find something in the stores on Mia. She might have something suitable as a replacement," Sam says. She looks closely at the injured arm and leg and hums and haws for a bit. "I'll just go and have a look. Be back in a moment. Jack, if you call my dad, maybe the Tok'ra will have something that can help?"
Teal'c says that he will go. He knows I need to talk to John.
Daniel, stay with these guys for a minute, will you?
Sure thing, Jack. Are you okay?
Not really. It's just shaken me up, that's all.
I understand. Go on. We'll be fine.
I leave him to talk to them, then I take John with me to the kitchen.
"You couldn't stay put, could you?" I start. He puts his hand on my arm and shakes his head.
"Don't. Neither would you. Look, Harlan was desperate. But the place was falling apart. We knew that it wouldn't be there for long, and neither would he. He was getting past the point of being repaired. We know what you're up to out here and we agree with it. We tried not to interfere, but we had to do something. So, we figured that going over old ground would be a good way to go about it. Finish what we started, if you see what I mean."
"Yeah, we'd figured that out. Wasn't nuking Nirrti's place a bit over-the-top though?"
"Not really. It wasn't a big nuke," he says with a grin. "Just enough to let her know it wouldn't be safe for her to return for a long time. When the radiation dissipates, the planet will be viable for colonisation again. Sam, er, Frankie made it so that it was a low radiation bomb. Enough to give off a strong signal, but weak enough that it won't permanently damage the land. And don't ask how, I don't know. Maybe she'll pass on the info to your Sam."
"I doubt we'd want it, but thanks anyway. Where else did you go?"
He gives me a list of places that they visited. One brings me up short.
"You went back to Ma'chello's place? Why?"
"Daniel was convinced that not everything had been found," he said. "He was right."
"Oh? How come?"
"We searched out the place a lot better than the SGC did. In a few, very well-hidden spots, there were more data pads. One of them contained the code."
"What, the uncrackable code?"
"Yes. Daniel was then kicking himself for having the key but not the data pads which are on Earth."
"That sounds like him."
"It is him."
I put my hand up. "I know. I learned that lesson the hard way, as you well know. And don't you go off with the faster, stronger, better routine or I'll kick your ass off this planet so fast you won't know which way is up."
He nods at me, not wanting to get into this either.
"What about your power sources?"
"Renewable energy," he shrugs. "Sam figured, when she saw the state of Harlan's place, that we wouldn't have the luxury of getting 'recharged' there for long. So she designed a few modifications. Basically, we're solar-powered."
I don't know why, but that makes me laugh. "Solar-powered?"
"Yeah, sort of. Look, we have the power packs that she designed before. Turns out the last robot Sam left instructions in the computer there for making them. But even they would run out of power, so she needed to adjust the method of recharging. It's not solar power as such, but any light."
"Photo-charged cells?" I ask in amazement.
"Yes. The brighter the light, the quicker we power up. The light down here is enough to keep us going, but when we go out to somewhere bright, we're full of beans. We can work in the dark for up to forty-eight hours, but by then, we're pretty desperate for light."
"How do you pick up the charge?"
"Our eyes for one. She adjusted them. That was strange. I mean, she took out our eyes, fiddled with the circuitry and then put them back. I couldn't look."
"I'll bet you couldn't," I say.
He laughs, then says, "Trust me, it was gross. Anyway, she also adjusted places like the backs of our hands. The skin is thinner there and absorbs any light radiation and converts it into energy. I'm telling you, O'Neill, back on Earth, if she could show anyone this technology, it would be Nobel Prize winning stuff."
"But didn't Harlan give her this knowledge?"
"Not really. She had the knowledge of how to make the adjustments, but she got the ideas to do it in the first place."
"Not surprised, she's pretty smart."
He smiles. "That she is, Jack. That she is. So, are you going to tell me how you're looking so young?"
I settle back into my chair and tell him.
I've got what I could from Mia, and checked out what fluids I have on her. Not many, unfortunately. First things first, stop them leaking.
"Right, let's see if any of this works," I say, just as Teal'c comes in with Dad and another Tok'ra in tow.
"Hey Dad. This is, er, Frankie," I mutter. "And, DJ. This," I point to their Teal'c who hasn't left their Sam's side, "is Kar Shel. They're, er, well, Harlan struck again before we got out to Hera's place."
"Ah," Dad says. "So, what can we do to help? I'm guessing that you are the ones going around making out you're the old SG-1?"
First things first. "Dad, why don't you take Kar Shel into the kitchen and join Jack and John, then you can talk mission status and stuff. Leave, er, sorry, who are you?"
"I am Erlick," he says.
"Yeah, hi. So, leave Erlick here and we'll try to fix these two up, okay? Then we'll talk."
He nods and leaves, and we get to work.
Erlick has taken samples of their fluids and gone back to his lab. The Tok'ra have set up again and have the facilities. I've found a bunch of spare cable I had - hollow, like fibre optic cable at home. It's just the right size, a little larger than the tubes inside them, so it's fitting over them. Not pretty, but it's working.
"How are we going to patch up the skin?" Daniel asks. "I mean, no offence guys, but this is pretty awful to look at and you'll need the protection. You've lost some of the metal casing under it too."
"I can fix up a replacement casing," I say, "but as far as the more cosmetic work goes, I don't know. I'll ask Erlick when he gets back. Unless you know?" I ask my counterpart.
"All of the facilities were on Harlan's planet," she says. "If you say it's all gone, then there's nothing I can do."
"We'll do something," I reassure her. Though what, I don't know.
I've fixed her tubing and she's no longer leaking, time to work on Daniel now. This is hard. Our Daniel never saw the outcome of the Juna thing, so he's a bit more immune to the aftershocks that are hitting us. We've already seen one set of robots 'die', I doubt we'll face having another set go.
There, that's done. Frankie is weak though, and DJ doesn't look as perky as I'd expect him to be.
"What more can we do?" I ask.
"We need light," she says. "The stronger the better. But we'll need more fluid too if we're going to recover properly."
"We'll have to wait till Erlick comes back for that. Without an analysis, I wouldn't want to put anything inside you. It's not as if I have lots of lubricating fluids around the place."
DJ smirks and looks at Daniel, who's laughing. I backhand him and say, "Not that sort of lube."
In the meantime, we need light. There is a natural light here, the Tok'ra crystals give off more than enough for us to see comfortably, and it's obviously keeping them going. Frankie's already explained about their need for it, though, so if she says they need more, they need more.
"How about we take you above ground? It's a nice day today - which makes a change. We think we're at the end of the rainy season now. We have good days and bad days, but the good ones are increasing. Would that help?"
"May well do," she says.
"Hang on, don't move. I'll talk to the others."
Sam, go talk to them physically. Jack doesn't want anyone to know about this yet.
So, I go.
Seeing Daniel shot up was hard. I know they're not human, but still... Too many bad memories there. Sam's just said they're going to take the others above ground to boost their light intake so we're all heading that way.
John and I talked about something and it gave me an idea that I want to discuss with everyone. But first, I'll sound out my guys.
Sam? Daniel? Teal'c?
I get acknowledgement from them and continue.
I need to know something. Are you okay about this? I mean, these guys. What do you think of them?
They're us Jack. I know that they're robots, but still, they're us. Daniel and I were talking to DJ and Frankie and they are us.
I agree, Jack. I've got no problems with them.
Neither do I, O'Neill. Having read and heard of their exploits, I can honestly say that I would have done similar things in their places. Do you have a problem?
Me? Nah. Not really. I've just got an idea, that's all.
I'd tell them more but we've arrived at the one place we use when we're getting together above ground. It's got a lot of logs that we set about the place in a squared off circle, with a 'fireplace' and spit in the middle. If we want to eat in the open air, this is where we come. Sam cut seats into the logs, so they're pretty comfortable. Daniel, however, usually sits - yeah, just there. In-between my legs and on the sand. It's nearest the fire so he gets to keep warm.
He's already gotten a fire going - we collect up firewood and keep it in a little store that I built by the side of the picnic area, as Daniel nicknamed this place. He's good at lighting these things, and the Tok'ra gave us a device that helps us start one pretty much instantly. Gotta love technology sometimes.
"So, you feeling better?" I ask the robot kids. They're gravitating towards the fire. I guess it's more to do with absorbing the light radiation than anything else.
"Yes, thanks," DJ says. "We really appreciate this."
"No sweat," I say, but my voice is a little distant, I guess. They all look at me. Time to spill, I think.
"Right, I've got an idea. We," I point to the real us, "see what you guys have been doing and understand it. We also agree with it, by the way. But, you've got to know as well as we do, you may run into SG teams out there, or inadvertently screw up a Tok'ra mission."
"Yeah, we'd guessed that," John says. "Which is why we went over old ground."
"It was a good idea," I agree. "But now, I have a better one. How about you work with us? What do you say, Jacob? Most of the snakes out there think that we're either stuck on Earth, or we look like them. There may be a few occasions when they could run interference for us. Given that they can run faster, etc., they'd stand a much greater chance of getting out of a situation safely than we will. So, while they distract, we get to go in and do whatever, then we meet up later on?"
"Of course, we could just do the missions," John says. I'm about to argue with him when I see the look in his eye. He's teasing. I just mouth, 'shut the fuck up' and he grins.
"So, Jake? What do you think?"
"If you lot think you could work together, then I don't see why not. Will you live here?" he asks them.
John shakes his head. "I don't think that's a good idea. Chances are we'd get on each other's nerves after a while. Besides, being perfectly blunt here for a change," (huh?), "separating us increases the chances of at least one team surviving. If something were to happen to either us or them, if we were together, it would happen to both us and them. Working together once in a while is fine, but we'll live in the pleasure palace."
I nod, agreeing with him there. Much as I could take these guys in for a while, I couldn't live with them. One Daniel is more than I can handle on a good day, and I know for a fact that John would get as jealous as hell if I seemed to get too close to DJ. No, not a good idea.
"Well, okay then," Jacob says. "I'll tell George when I next see him. We can expand our mission capacity this way too. Would you guys be happy to work for us in the way that MIA are?"
"We are MIA - sort of," John says. "Sure, we can do that."
"Don't you need to ask your team?" Jacob asks.
"No, no need. We have internal radios. They've already agreed. It saves time," he says.
Jake's gone, Erlick's come back with a large tub of something gooey and the kids are back underground. Teal'c and his counterpart have disappeared to have a Jaffa chat about something or other, and that's left John and me preparing dinner. We decided we'd eat up here, making the most of the good weather.
"So, you okay about this?" I ask him.
"Working with us."
"Sure," he shrugs. "It's not as if I don't know your working methods, is it?"
I nod at that and then say, "There's something you should know. It's a secret, not even Jake knows it."
"Yeah, well, we went on this quest a few weeks back ..."
I tell him about it, about Daniel and the chasm, Teal'c disappearing and so on. Then I tell him about Tiwaz and the 'reward'.
"So, you're telepathic?" he asks.
"Only among the four of us. Kind of like your internal radio thing. It's cool now we that know how to operate it."
"This could come in handy," he says. "Cuts down on the chance of us being discovered."
"Yeah, which is why I told you. If you see us not using radios, you know why. What I'm hoping is that if you have a joint mission with us, you'll know us well enough to anticipate our movements if we can't contact you over the air."
"Makes sense. By the way, who would lead a mission? I mean, it's not as if you are more senior than me, is it?"
"No, I'm not. But you know the way we work, John. It's not a democracy but hell, I always listen to the rest of the team. I guess we just have to be sensible about it."
"In other words, you want to be in charge?"
"No, it will depend on the roles. Whatever happens, I can't see your team and mine working in physical proximity, not unless there's a special reason, maybe for the Einstein twins, er, quads to get together on something, in which case we'll be pretty much redundant. What I think will happen is that we'll operate like two SG teams. Each one having its own leader, but the leader of the team that's going to be in the thick of the action, or the most danger, should have the say. If that's you, then so be it."
He nods, getting what I'm saying. I'm long past fighting now, it's pointless. With the other 'me' on Juna, I was furious because he'd let his Daniel die. But that isn't the case here. Besides, I learned a painful lesson there, and John knows that. He also knows not to push me further than is necessary. Whatever happens, to me, my team come first. His team will come first with him. I can live with that.
Talking of living with things...
"So, er, John... seeing as I was with Daniel when you guys were created, and Sam and Teal'c were an item, are you continuing with this?"
"Relationships? Um, yeah. Sort of."
I think he'd blush if he could.
"It's not that simple."
"It never is. What's the problem?"
"Well, we're anatomically correct," he says, "but it just doesn't happen, you know?"
"No, what do you mean?"
"There's no... oh fuck. We can't... Shit. It won't..."
"Rise to the occasion?" I ask.
"Something like that. Look, I love Daniel, I love him completely, our relationship has never been about sex - you know that." I nod, I know that one all right. "And in my mind, I'm still finding him attractive and I have the human wants to make love and so on, but we don't have the physical reaction."
"Have you tried, er, jerking off?"
"Yeah," he says miserably. "It just won't work."
"That's inconvenient," I sympathise.
"It's fucking tragic! We kiss, we touch, we cuddle up naked together but nothing fucking happens!"
"Ouch. Can Frankie fiddle with your circuitry or something?"
He looks at me in disbelief and snorts. "Oh yeah, I can see that conversation happening, can't you? Oh, Carter, would you mind probing our workings so that Daniel and I can have some fun? Not."
"It's got to be frustrating her too," I point out, as gently as I can. "After all, if you two can't, neither can Kar Shel."
He looks really down about this. I've got an idea.
"How about I tell my Daniel, he can talk to our Sam, then she can talk to yours. They talk about anything and everything."
To reassure him I tell him why Daniel and I ended up on the island with the hot springs. His eyes brighten as he understands that Daniel would have explained to the guys all of the reasons behind it.
"Yeah, they've always been able to talk about everything, haven't they?" he agrees.
"Great. I'll talk to him tonight. You're in no rush, are you?"
Dinner's nearly ready, so I call down, using the Tok'ra communicator, seeing as Erlick's with them. They're just about transfused, so they're on their way.
Kar Shel and I have spoken about some personal feelings, as well as some personal non-feelings. It would appear that he is in no position to make love to his Samantha. He received my wholehearted sympathy for that. Even though his love for her is total, it is still frustrating for him, as I could imagine it is for her. My Samantha is... demanding.
We have decided that we should explain to Rya'c about him but we should swear him to secrecy. Our son - for he is that - will keep the secret; although undoubtedly Draya'uc will find out because he lives with her. That will not be a problem as she will also keep the secret, of that we are sure. Kar Shel will be able to meet up with him and advise him when I am unable to. This will be good for Rya'c in the long run. Kar Shel knows everything about me so he will be able to help Rya'c as he grows up. He is already a fine young warrior and we are very proud.
We have returned to the fireside, I shall eat, but Kar Shel needs nothing. O'Neill has finished cooking the food and has put it on the plates.
"Are you sure you guys don't eat?" he says.
"Nah," DJ replies. "That would be messy. Besides, we're not like Data. He could eat, but he'd have to clean it out later. I guess we could do that, if we needed to for undercover work. We'll have to check it out. But we have no desire to eat."
"It just seems inhospitable," O'Neill replies.
"Don't sweat it, Jack," the other O'Neill adds. "You eat. Smells good."
We exchange 'small talk'. It would seem that DJ and Frankie (it is strange to think of them as such) are feeling a lot better. Samantha has stated that in the morning, she will find some metal to shape and replace their damaged pieces.
Erlick is still with us. He says that he can get a Tok'ra specialist in skin adaptation to visit. They should be able to at least cover the damage so that it is not too obvious. He has taken the measurements of the various cables and tubes needed to keep the robots active, and will return with supplies of them when he is able. He has also kept the 'recipe' for the fluid so that we have some to replace any further losses. He has left what was remaining of the supplies that were brought here and the robots seem to be grateful.
"You will need other supplies," he states as he stands up to leave. "I will see what I can do."
We thank him and he departs, saying that he or another Tok'ra will come in the morning.
"I wonder what sort of missions we'll do together," Daniel says.
"Probably the more complex ones," Samantha replies.
"What, like the space station? I'm not sure how doubling our numbers would have helped there."
"No, but undoubtedly there will be times when doubling up will help. Think about it Daniel, even doubling up when it comes to things like the Mayan people's conundrum will help. You'll have DJ to work with - two minds that think alike, able to bat ideas back and forth..."
Daniel shrugs, but then he turns to DJ and says, "No offence, but I don't see how that can work, unless you have more information on linguistics stored in your mind."
"None taken," DJ answers.
The rest of us are confused, so DJ continues. "Daniel and I think alike. We work best by batting ideas back and forth with people who don't know linguistics. Sometimes we overlook the obvious."
This is greeted with understanding, especially by the two Samanthas. There have been numerous occasions when an outsider has triggered off her thought processes.
It is getting dark, so we retreat. The robots have gone underground, stating that the light from the tunnels will help them with their power. There are sufficient beds there. Samantha and I have moved to our cabin and Daniel and O'Neill have gone to theirs.
"Samantha, there is something that I wish to bring up with you."
"Oh?" She is preparing for bed as she replies.
"I spoke to my counterpart and he has informed me of a... deficiency in the robot make-up."
She is giggling. "I know, honey. Frankie was telling me about it. She's frustrated too."
"Is there anything she can do to help?"
"She doesn't know, honey. She's too embarrassed to say anything because the men are keeping quiet about it. She doesn't want to upset her Teal'c by mentioning it. It would be as if she only wanted him for one thing. Which she doesn't. Just like me. I want you, it's just..."
"Physical contact is most pleasant, is it not?" I ask.
"You should inform her that Kar Shel will be most receptive to her trying to improve their situation. I can only assume that their Daniel and O'Neill will feel the same way. If they are as our teammates are, they must be finding this enforced celibacy difficult."
She giggles again. "I'll say. Those two aren't as bad as they were, but they still love to be intimate. So do I."
"Are you suggesting we become intimate tonight?"
"Oh, I think I could manage that, what do you think?"
I think I could too.
Jack just fumbled through a chat about the other Jack and Daniel. Poor guy, I didn't have the heart to tell him that I already know - as does Frankie. Well, the four of us were talking... I've just said I'll sort things for him and he's pleased.
"In the meantime, how about you and I do something?" I suggest.
"Something? Did you have a particular something in mind?"
"Well, I'd suggest Scrabble, but the box is underground. There's a pack of cards here..."
OOF! He's just tripped me up and tipped me onto the bed.
"Or something," I laugh.
"I'm going with the something. You've got too many clothes on."
So I have. Off go the boxers (which constitutes too much clothing in Jack's view) and I wait for him to join me. I don't have to wait long.
He's kissing me now. Hmm, I could do this for hours. Jack is good at many things, but this is tops in my book. He's hesitating before taking this further. I want to find out why, but I don't want to stop this. Oh, sheesh, Daniel, you are dumb at times.
Jack? What's wrong?
Daniel, I'm kissing you here, does something have to be wrong for me to do that?
No, silly. But you're hesitant. What's up?
I hear a chuckle in my head as he dips down for a nibble at my neck.
Just seeing them, Daniel. It just reminded me of that time, a time that scared me. I've told you that before.
I know, hun. But they're not them, I'm in the safest place in the universe, there's nothing to worry about now.
Huh? What do you mean the safest place in the universe?
I'm with you.
He's stopped kissing me and he's looking into my eyes, his own are dark and sexy. Woof.
"You are a sap," he accuses.
"Me? Coming from the King of Sapland? Ha!"
He's smiling now. I live for that smile. Okay, that was sappy, but I'm not telling him so it's not. Oh, shut up, Daniel and get with the programme. I reach back, grab the new tube of strawberry flavoured lube and pass it to him. Janet seems to be having fun with this shopping for us - I think she gets a perverse kick out of it. We had a box delivered not so long back and it had a handwritten note in it. "Couldn't remember which flavour you liked the best, so I got the lot. Don't spread it too thickly on your bread."
She is one warped woman.
"What do you want, Daniel?" Jack asks as he takes it off me.
"Oh, just want you, Jack. How about I lie here and let you have your wicked way with me?"
He actually growled at that. Not the quiet growling groan I usually get, this was more like a snarling dog-type growl. The vibrations went straight to my dick who's up and begging. I'd say 'down boy' but I don't want to. Time to let this puppy play.
"Yeah, why don't you?" he replies, his voice husky and low and sexy... and I want him to get on with it!
Oh God. He's licking me; warm, wet stripes up my chest, over my nipples - ooh, he's blowing on them. They're hard already. Give me a break, will ya? Sheesh. Oh boy. My neck, the inside of my arm, aargh, major hot spot. The inside of my elbow gets me every time.
I'm not allowed to respond in kind, it's the main rule of this game. Whoever's turn it is to do whatever he wants literally gets to do everything. The other one has to take it. It's a fun game though and one I love being on the receiving end of. Don't mind giving it either. Driving Jack out of his mind is pretty cool.
He's doing a damned good job at sending me out of mine, that's for sure. My wrists, my fingers, all getting the lick, nibble and suck treatment. He doesn't have to go anywhere near my dick, it's already close.
Is he ever going to stop? This has been going on for ages. He's on my legs now. He's already gone down on my toes and licked his way up my calves. No, not the backs of my knees, for crying out loud. I'm trying not to writhe around and whimper like a puppy but I'm failing miserably.
"Like that, do ya, Daniel?" he's asking, sounding decidedly smug.
"No, I'm hating every second of it, can't you tell? And why the fuck have you stopped?"
Oh shit! He's putting me into his favourite position for me. Face up and he's spreading my legs wide. The tendons in my thighs are stretching, he's running his thumbs up them. He's popped open the tube of lube. What now? As if I can't guess.
"Ah god, Jack!"
Damn it. One lick of my balls and I'm coming.
He's lying on top of me, holding my hands above my head. I love seeing his body over mine like this. The heat is so sensual, and being held down... well, I've got a kink about it, okay? So sue me. He's pushing inside of me, slowly, surely, but filling me in the way I want.
"Fuck," he whispers against my neck. "You are one amazing fuck, Doctor Jackson."
I'd reply, but I'm not capable of more than a grunt at the moment.
Well, I tried to answer.
He's not talking anyway, and I doubt he's going to want a conversation. Talk about primal. The only sound is my puffed breath as he slams into me, his own grunts and breaths, the slap of skin on skin and the crash of waves as the tide comes in. I wrap my hands around his neck and pull myself up a bit, wanting more and more of him. He's put his left hand on the bed, his right hand is digging into my hip. He's holding me hard and fucking me stupid.
With a loud grunt he starts coming. A few more thrusts into me and he's collapsed onto my stomach. We're both panting for breath. He's wrapped his arms around my waist and he's resting his head on my shoulder.
"Fuck," he says again. "That was incredible."
"Hmm." Well, you want a monologue on the techniques of carbon dating? I thought not. "Tired."
"Me too. Hang on."
He's left me. Wah. Ah, he's back with a cloth. Good thinking, Batman. Yeah, you clean me up. I'm not in a position to do anything.
Sleepy now. He's in bed, wrapping me up in his arms and holding me tight.
"God, Daniel," he's whispering. "Love you so fucking much."
I murmur a 'ditto' as I lay a kiss on his chest. Too tired to do more now. Gonna sleep.
It's been a week since we met up with the robot MIA. Jack, in his usual wisdom, decided to rename them. Can't call them SG-1, because that's Ferretti and the gang; so they are now MIB. Guess it makes sense. MIB are holed up in the palace, we've shared our supplies, some clothing and so on. It's not as if they need food. The Tok'ra came through and supplied them with weapons, their version of C4 and some VCDs so they can contact us. DJ and Frankie were fixed up - not perfectly but a lot better than they were before, and now they're relaxing and 'recharging their batteries', so to speak.
Well, they were. Till we got a call from Dad this morning. Jack and Daniel have just gone to the gate to go retrieve MIB and Teal'c and I are waiting for them in the kitchen. It seems we have a mission to go on.
Ah, here they all are. I'm pleased to see them, really. It could have been awkward, what with seeing ourselves and all, but it's working out okay. None of us want to fight, we all have the same goals. It could be because we were only separated for a few months, so our experiences are more or less the same. Years had passed between us and the original robots meeting up on Juna, so changes in personality were inevitable. Though the decision to live apart is definitely the right one, I think, stopping any build-up of animosity before it starts.
We're all sitting around the table, coffees in hand for MIA, and Jack has the briefing in front of us.
"I'm guessing that the Tok'ra think that this will be a good first mission for us," he says. "We need to take out an armament... well... factory is the best word for it. It's heavily-shielded, has limited entry and so on. Here."
He puts the blueprints to the centre on the table and spreads them out so that we get a chance to look. He's not kidding. This isn't going to be easy.
The factory is situated on an otherwise uninhabited planet, and as the gate is heavily-guarded, we'll need Mia to get there. It's only about six hours' travel though, so we can be there quickly. The only place we can set down, according to the Tok'ra information, is about a mile away from the outer walls.
"I think we should set a delayed explosion," John says.
"Dangerous," Teal'c counters. "The devices we leave may well be discovered."
"John's right," Daniel argues. "If we are not in orbit by the time things go boom, we won't be leaving. And no way can we park Mia further away if we want to get to her in time to escape the explosion. We're not going to leave her there and get through the gate, either. She's too valuable and has too much on her to tie her into us and the Tok'ra. Also, what if the explosion doesn't occur for some reason? We don't want the snakes finding her and getting the cloaking device."
Damn, this is not going to be easy then.
We bat ideas back and forth, unsure as how we're going to play this. The reason we're worried about the size of the bang is the power supply for the factory. It's naquada, and basically a large-scale reactor. If this goes off and we're within about fifty miles in any direction, we're history.
"It has to be a delayed reaction or remotely set-off, and we have to take the chance," John insists. Jack nods, but his shoulders tell us he's not happy.
We could try to take out the place and leave the reactor intact, but it would be too easy to rebuild. Goa'uld arms factories are placed on remote planets, always unsettled and usually out of the knowledge of the other Goa'uld. There has to be a naquada supply line, whether on the planet or elsewhere and coming through the gate, but usually it's on the planet. The information here is uncertain as to whether there's any there or not. If there is, fifty miles is a conservative estimate. Personally, if the raw naquada is within the boundaries of the factory, I'd rather be outside the solar system.
We've finally come up with a plan and agreed that we'll go tonight, sleep on Mia, then get there morning our time, but as night falls on the planet. Should suit us nicely. That gives us twelve hours here to prepare.
I'm left with Frankie as we go to Mia to prepare her. The others are going off to get supplies.
"So, how's things?" I ask her.
"Oh, better," she replies with a grin.
"Well, since the subject was brought up, I've been able to, um, fiddle with my Teal'c's circuitry."
"Oh? Tell me more!"
"We're getting there. I've been learning more and more about our internal wiring, so to speak. My own, included. There's no point in getting him off if I'm going to be left with screaming sexual frustration, is there?"
"No, no, there's not. It's working then?"
"Getting close. The other guys keep looking at us every morning to see if we've got any though. I'm not going to sort them out till we're done."
"Good thinking. What problems have you arrived at so far?"
"Not tweaking enough... tweaking too much," she giggles.
"Poor boy was left with a hard-on that wouldn't go down for a whole day. Nothing I did, either electronically or, er, otherwise would help."
I can't help it, I fall about laughing. She's joining me now, oh, and so are the guys. Well, they're not laughing but they've just come on board and are wondering what we're on about. Kar Shel's looking at us suspiciously.
I don't like this mission. Seriously. I'm thinking that there's scope for a major fuck up if we're not careful. John agrees. When I agree with myself, I get worried.
Teal'c and his twin have disappeared. They said that they wish to discuss some things. I'm guessing that it's to do with Rya'c and the Jaffa rebellion. If Teal'c buys the farm, I think he wants Kar Shel to take over and pretend to be him. Without the spectre of Teal'c in the background, the rebellion might falter. Bratac's not getting any younger. Of course, Kar Shel ain't gonna get any older. If he sticks around for the next hundred plus years, he's going to be spoken of in terms of the Goa'uld. A god. Could be interesting.
Daniel and DJ are arguing about something in Abydonian. I think they're doing that so none of us will understand what they're talking about. Well, it's not as if they're going to get any privacy, is it? Didn't I mention we're in space? Three hours into the trip. Mia's loaded, we're full of explosives and stuff. We've got extra black gear for MIB. Jacob managed to get some from George a few days ago. Said that the Tok'ra liked the get-up and asked for some for them. So, we've got a few new sets each. Sweet. We've done what we can to share gear between us, including the old computers we had. It's only fair, even if John is better at the games I gave him than I was.
When we get back - note I said when we get back - to Remoc, we'll have to go on a major trade mission. We'll use Mia to fly all over the planet to get all the goodies that they like on the Land of Light and then give them a shopping list. Those guys are so cool. We're thinking of flying over to that other planet, the twin of Remoc. Daniel wanted to call it Romuloc. When I questioned him, he just giggled. I got it - eventually. Instead of Romulus and Remus, we have Romuloc and Remoc. That guy needs to get a life.
Of course, we could just go home and do some shopping in Minnesota...
"So, how's things going?" I ask John as he sits next to me.
Daniel's taught me how to fly the ship, believe it or not. I can read enough Goa'uld to operate the controls. I'll learn more as time goes on. I may not be the brilliant linguist Daniel is, but I get there in the end. If he can learn to fight, I can learn to talk.
"Oh, not so bad," John sighs.
"Any developments on the, er, you know what front?"
"I think that Frankie's practising on Kar Shel," John replies with a grin. "Not sure what happened the other day, but he wouldn't come out of their room and she looked, well, fucked. I think something went wrong though, 'cause she wouldn't try it on us."
John has also told me that they've started calling each other by the pseudonyms at the palace for continuity's sake.
"I'd get frustrated by that," I sympathise.
"Oh, I'm getting used to it. I just wish I could show DJ what he means to me, ya know?"
"You don't have to, John."
It's DJ. He and Daniel have just come over to us. Like the twins they are, they've simultaneously wrapped their arms around us.
"I know how you feel for me, John," DJ tells him. "Same as I feel for you. It'll happen. If it doesn't, it's not a problem."
"No, it's not a problem. Just wish I didn't have the mental urges," John mutters.
They look at Daniel and me, we're both feeling kinda guilty. Just before we left for this trip, he took me to our cabin and fucked my brains out.
"Don't," DJ says. "We know what you two are like before a mission - we're you, remember? It's okay. We know you've been holding back on your displays of affection in front of us, but you don't have to."
"It's kinda like the food thing," I tell him. "I know you can't eat, but hell, I still feel bad."
"We understand," John replies. "But think of it like this. You don't need sunshine - well you do, but not like we do. You can function perfectly well without it. We crave light. We could feel guilty about having all the lights on around here, but we know we need them. We know you'd be as happy to rest without them. Same thing. You need food for fuel, we need light. As far as the other things go, well, if something happened between you that meant you couldn't have sex, would you begrudge Sam and Teal'c?"
"Course not," I tell him. "I know this. Just doesn't stop me feeling bad."
Daniel gives me a squeeze, then straightens up. "Should we go over the plan once more?" he says. I doubt he needs to do this, but we need to change the subject.
So we talk and talk, looking for any loopholes in what we have planned. Our wandering Jaffa have returned, and the ladies are now by our sides. Every possible danger is hashed out.
So why am I still feeling nervous? Could it be because I'm not sure about the robots?
Kar Shel and I have discussed many contingency plans. Not least of all is what will happen to our respective Samanthas if one of us dies. However, we both know that the Samantha belonging to the dead 'me' would likely stay with whichever team she is on. We know better than to make her do something. It is not comforting.
We are now in the system of the planet where we must launch our attack. Our time of arrival is upon us. None of us likes the plan.
"I've just thought of something." Daniel is sounding distant.
"Spit it out, Daniel."
O'Neill's voice is 'tolerant'. It is the same voice that he used for errant airman. In other words, he requires an answer immediately or he will 'have his ass'. And not in the manner to which Daniel is accustomed.
"How are we going to communicate with MIB? I mean, we could use the Tok'ra communicators, but there are so many reasons why that may not be a good idea."
I see O'Neill's face drop. He realises what Daniel is about to say. As do I.
"No, Daniel, you are staying with me. All of you."
"But Jack, you know that this makes sense. If one of us swaps with our counterpart, we will be able to communicate telepathically. If our range is not enough, theirs will be. That way we can time the attack much better - just in case one team is delayed and so on. I wouldn't suggest this if I didn't think that it was important. Let DJ and me swap over. You know that John will watch my back in the same way you would."
Before O'Neill can argue, I must speak.
"Daniel. O'Neill. Perhaps Kar Shel and I could swap?"
"Does it matter which pair of the three of us does?" he counters. "The only thing that's important is that John leads MIB and Jack leads MIA. I'll follow John - I'm sure you and Sam would too."
Samantha and I agree. The robots say that they, too, would follow our O'Neill.
"So, which one is it going to be?" John asks.
Daniel turns to me, he pulls my hand in front of me. Then he cocks his head to one side and Samantha joins us. I now know.
"Paper," Daniel says as Samantha shows a fist. "Not you, Sam. Teal'c?"
I know that he will not choose paper again. I too choose rock. He has chosen scissors this time. I have no idea why he insists on playing this. I always win.
"Kar Shel and I will swap." I look at my counterpart and he nods.
We're down. Down, but not out. At least, not out of the ship yet. We're all changed into our black gear, we are loaded up with Tok'ra C4 and we're just waiting for the last bit of night to fall. Each one of us is with his or her partner. We're touching - maybe a hand, maybe just arm to arm, but we're all touching each other.
"It's time," Jack says.
We're going to launch a two-pronged attack. MIB will take the west flank, MIA the east. North has no entry and south is too heavily fortified. East and west, we assume, are covered by shielding.
We're going to try out a new gizmo. It's the shielding equivalent of white noise. Sam had the idea months ago and spoke to her dad about it. She told him how she imagined it would work. He presented us with prototype versions when he delivered the new clothes. They haven't had a chance to test them on a Goa'uld shield, though, and he made no promises. Still, it's got to be worth a try. If it works, it's going to be a godsend.
How it works is that it figures out the frequency of the shield, then creates it itself, just as white noise machines use the same frequency to blank out noise. At least I think that that is how it works. Sam does tend to oversimplify physics things for me. Gotta love that gal.
We're about a mile from the factory. At first, all eight of us are together, but soon, MIB will split from us. Teal'c had better come back or else Sam's going to kill me. I know that tactically it's a sound strategy, but I don't like the idea of splitting us up any more than Jack does.
Getting closer now, it's time to go. Sam's just landed a huge kiss on Teal'c's surprised face, as has Frankie with Kar Shel. They've gone, heading off into the darkness. We're slipping quietly to the other side of the factory. We're not speaking, not even thinking anything yet. We need to stay absolutely silent. I'm good at that; contrary to popular belief, I can stay silent. I just don't usually choose to.
This is it. There's a Jaffa patrol nearby. Kar Shel put up his hand and we all stop dead. I can hear Teal'c in my head.
Kar Shel has informed me that you must all stay low for a moment. He will scout ahead.
I hear Jack acknowledging him. I'm guessing that Kar Shel told his team and then Teal'c was given the message in a whisper. Just hope they weren't overheard.
We've gotten the signal to move. Still creeping in the undergrowth, we're skirting the patrol. Shouldn't be long now. As the gate hasn't opened, the patrol looks relaxed. They're not expecting anyone. This is all to the good. Let's hope it stays that way.
Finally, we're where we want to be. No sign of the enemy. Teal'c's told us that MIB have arrived too. I whispered the information to Kar Shel extremely quietly, even though we're pretty sure we're not being watched. One of the benefits of having our Jaffa swap is that they both have better hearing than humans, so we can communicate at a much quieter level. Kar Shel's hearing is incredible. I barely let out a breath to tell him and he heard me. If this works, I'm thinking that the Teal'cs will be a permanent swap on missions.
Sam's gotten the machine out. We're trying to time it to get inside the shield at the same time as the others. Jack gives her the nod and she switches it on. A faint hum from the workings of the machine seems to blast out in the otherwise silent blackness that surrounds us. No moon for this planet.
We see the shimmering electric-blue of the shield appear. This is probably the most dangerous moment. All we can do is wait till it works. If it works.
The colours of the shield change. The noise holds steady. Jack and Kar Shel are watching for a patrol, I'm right by Sam and watching her back. She's fiddling with some dials.
We all turn back. She shows Kar Shel the reading and I'm guessing he's communicating it to Frankie.
We are in, O'Neill, we hear from Teal'c.
Good. We're all in.
Sam would leave the device in place, but we don't know where we'll get the chance to break through the shield on the way out, so it has to come with us. At least she has the reading locked so we can switch it on quickly. Of course, this also has the benefit of hiding our tracks.
We've seen the blueprint of the factory. There are doors on both of the sides we're at, kind of tradesman's entrances. The big door at the front is for the Goa'uld that owns the place, most likely. It was very regal in its design.
Shit, it's manned.
Daniel's translating what the Jaffa at the door are saying. Not much, really. Basically they're just chatting. Good. That means they're not on alert.
Jack has ordered Daniel and me to stay low. He and Kar Shel are going to take them out.
I hate this.
What's that, Daniel?
Waiting till Jack's killed someone.
Ah, I see. It's not nice. But it's not as if he doesn't think that we couldn't do it, is it?
No, no, it's not that. I guess it's just that he always does it, as if he thinks that it won't affect him.
More than he'll admit to. He hates killing believe it or not. He'll do it, he'll do anything to keep us safe, but he gets nightmares.
I knew he got nightmares but I didn't think that it would be over casualties like this.
Just when he's had to do the hand-to-hand thing, Sam. I guess it's less impersonal. Shooting someone is pretty surreal. I mean, you see the enemy fall, but you don't always see his face. This way, he hears the last breath that his target breathes. Hears the last sound they'll make.
I can't reply to that. I'd never really thought about it. When I kill, it's in battle. Always. Whether it was as part of a force, as when we were at the SGC, or as part of the team, and then I'm too busy to take notice of something like 'last noises' or even consider the implications. Or, it's been anonymous, like sending the asteroid into the space station.
I'm prepared to do it, especially to protect my boys, but fortunately, that thing with Seth is the closest I've gotten to this sort of deliberate, close-up killing. That hit me hard. Jack was really understanding, though. I guess I know why, now. Funnily enough, killing that Jaffa on Petrocus' world didn't bother me in the slightest, but then I suppose I was too busy to think about it.
Time to go, we've gotten the call. They didn't use a zat on them, the noise could've alerted anyone nearby. They've hidden the bodies instead. Waiting for Jack's signal, we sneak into the building. Inside, Daniel and I try not to look at the splatters of blood on Jack and Kar Shel.
We hear from Teal'c that their entrance to the building went similarly to ours. Time to move to our goal.
The reason we're approaching this from both sides is that if one team is captured, the others will stand a better chance of getting to the reactor.
There are surprisingly few people around. I guess it's because it's night-time. Kar Shel has stopped dead. We want to ask him what's up when we hear, MIB have found a room. It is empty of the enemy. However, it is full of what looks like weapons blueprints. There are new weapons and devices.
Can you get the blueprints? Jack asks.
Not without the possibility of someone noticing they are missing. The others are reading the blueprints and they will memorise them.
How long is that going to take?
A few minutes, Teal'c tells him. They read quickly.
We all share a grin, then Jack gives the okay.
We'll continue to our target. You concentrate on the R&D stuff. If we get into trouble, we'll let you know.
Very well, O'Neill.
Time to move on again, then.
Daniel was right about swapping a team member. We'd never have known about the R&D stuff otherwise. John would likely have given the order to get the stuff which could have left us vulnerable to discovery if someone had, as Teal'c said, noticed the stuff was missing. He wouldn't have wanted to compromise the mission, but info like that is too good to pass up.
We're nearly there. There are still only a few people around. This is what I really wanted. A quiet night in which to accomplish the mission.
Teal'c, we're at the door to the reactor room. How's it going?
They are nearly done, O'Neill. We have not been discovered and there appear to be no Jaffa in the vicinity. What are your orders?
Just hang on a minute. Let me look at the situation here. If we think we're going to manage this on our own, you guys can take the chance on picking up the data and sneak out.
I put my scope through a crack in the door and move it around. I see five Jaffa or workers or whatever they are, all going about their tasks. Not too much of a problem then.
Jack? Are we going to sneak in and hide the stuff or are we going to kill the people in there and hope that they aren't missed till it's too late?
I'd prefer to sneak in, I think. If they don't suspect that someone's here, they won't look for the explosives. Though to be honest, they're packaged so small that they'll have to know what they're looking for. Having said that, we could do with a distraction.
I've got an idea, Jack, Sam says.
She's getting something out of her pack. It looks like one of the cutting lasers that the Tok'ra gave us. She motions to me to open the door a bit more. I look around and give her the nod. She's wearing sneakers, as we always do on this sort of mission, so she's creeping around silently, keeping to the shadows on the edge. The three of us have our hands on our zats. If she's discovered, we're going in hot.
Good, she's coming back.
What did you do? I ask her.
I've weakened one of the joints on a pressure pipe. It's in the opposite direction to where we want to be. Any moment now, it's going to go.
As I can be. Give it a minute and if it doesn't work, we'll think of something else.
We don't need a minute. Thirty seconds after her pronouncement, steam blasts out of a pipe on the far end of the huge room. All of the techs run towards it, shouting stuff which I guess translates as 'What the hell?' and 'Turn that fucking thing off!'. Or something. I tell Teal'c to get MIB the fuck out of Dodge.
We're in, quietly and quickly making our way to the back of the reactor. It's not shielded. Or if it is, it's not a shield we recognise. I suppose they think that shielding the building was enough. Anyway, not to look a gift horse in the mouth, we're now sticking buttons of the highly-explosive C4 onto it. We're not setting a timer. That's way too risky, we decided in the end. Instead, we've switched to remote detonation. Just as well these little things have that option.
Daniel looks at a piece of equipment curiously. Then he grins and plants a lot of the buttons on it.
What is it?
I'm not sure, but I know that it's got naquada in it. Look. No other metal is quite that shade of grey.
I see that, 'I am so going to enjoy this' grin that he has, then I get the nod from them all. We're off.
I acknowledged the call from O'Neill to leave and passed on the message. MIB are now convinced that there is more than they can remember in the short time allowed.
"Let's just take it, then," John says. "If they're done, the chances are this is going to blow soon anyway."
"This is a possibility," I tell him. "However, they may also be caught."
"Okay, okay. DJ, Frankie, pack up as much info as you can. We're going to have to take the chance. Then we'll get ready to blow this joint before this joint blows."
We watch the door as they fill their bags with data pads and blueprints. Now it is time to vacate the premises.
Samantha? How are you managing?
We're fine, honey. We've just planted all the devices. Even if they find some, they won't find them all. We're just leaving. Uh oh.
We may not be leaving as soon as we'd hoped. Jaffa.
Will you be in a position to fight?
I'm afraid not, sweetie.
Where are you?
In the corridor on the opposite side to the reactor room that you are.
How many Jaffa are there?
Eight. Plus a snake.
Who is it?
Daniel says it's Morrigan.
Stay alive, Samantha. We shall be with you soon.
I catch hold of John's arm and inform him. He also knows as Kar Shel has told him. We are now making our way to their position.
We hear voices. One of which is O'Neill's. It will be but a moment before we are upon the site. I hear a yell. It is Daniel, we must hurry.
O'Neill! What is happening?
Damned snake has Daniel with that ribbon thing! Get a move on will ya? She's sucking his brains out!
The four of us are armed and ready. It is time to attack. We run around the corner of the corridor and see all of them on their knees, surrounded by Jaffa who are pointing staff weapons at them all. Morrigan is indeed attacking Daniel with the ribbon device.
"You will tell us what you are doing here!" she screams at him.
"Bite me!" Daniel replies.
I look at the rest of MIB and we fire as one. Four Jaffa are taken out in one go, the others turn to us. Morrigan looks up in horror, taking her device from Daniel's head and aiming it at us. The confusion in her eyes is apparent. How are there two teams? Now she looks down at O'Neill and back at John and realises that they are the same but different and she is now very confused. We have fired again, taking out the other Jaffa. She releases the energy from the device, but it is deflected as Kar Shel pounces at her and knocks her to the floor.
All of this has happened in a matter of seconds, from the time we arrived to the time Kar Shel holds her locked in his arms. It seemed like an eternity.
Ow ow ow fucking OW! That hurts!
"Daniel, Daniel, are you all right?"
"Yeah, sure, Sam. I'm getting used to having my brains fried."
Jack's saying nothing, but I know I'm going to get a 'Dammit Daniel, how many times have I told you to nix the snake-baiting?!' lecture when we get home. I'm trying to stand up, Teal'c's helping me. Jack's retrieved his zat and he's now finishing off the stunned Jaffa. They're all going to fry soon anyway.
Kar Shel has Morrigan in his arms, with one of his hands clamped firmly over her mouth. She's stunned by how strong he is, wriggling to see if she can get out of his grip. Uh, uh, give it up. He's a robot. Ain't no one gonna get out of that grip.
"You ready to go?" Jack asks as he looks at me.
"Yeah. Just want to get out of here. What are we going to do with, er..." I point at the snake.
"We'll take her and walk out the front door," he says with a shrug. Then he looks at Kar Shel and says, "Do not release your grip and don't let her speak."
Kar Shel just inclines his head.
We pick up our gear and start towards the main entrance. A few Jaffa have turned up, undoubtedly wondering what the commotion was all about. Seeing us with their goddess and armed to the teeth to boot, they're all backing off. Jack's telling them to walk towards the front door. We don't want an attack from behind, I guess. We change positions; John, Sam and Frankie are watching our six, Jack, DJ and Teal'c are with me as we head up the front. The snake's stuck in the middle.
A few more Jaffa appear and point their weapons at us, so we step aside and they see who we're holding. They fall back again. Finally, we're at the door. Morrigan is wriggling more and squeaking under Kar Shel's grip, but we can't let her talk yet. I think that the Jaffa think we're going to let her go when we get out of the complex. Too bad, guys. We're not.
They've lowered the shielding and we're outside it, making our way to the trees. Kar Shel stops abruptly, releases her and then punches her lights out. Now he's picked her up and slung her over his shoulder. Just in case she wakes up, I remove the weapons from his belt and the ribbon device that was still on her hand. Now she won't be able to do a sneak attack on him.
"Time to move it, kids," Jack orders and we pick up the pace. We're only a mile away, so we're talking about eight minutes at a steady jog. I want to throw up, but I keep going.
"Why did you knock her out?" Frankie asks as we go.
"She bit my hand," Kar Shel replies with a straight face.
"Oh. Fair enough."
We're where Mia is. I call out the password and the door appears. The eight of us pile in with Morrigan still out cold on Kar Shel's shoulder, and the door is shut. Teal'c runs off to get us the hell out of here, Kar Shel goes with John to put Morrigan somewhere secure and Jack looks at me with pain in his eyes.
"Don't, Jack. You know it's always me they go for. Nothing we can do about it."
"No. No guilt trips, no lectures. I know the score as well as you and I knew that the guys wouldn't let us down. All I had to do was hold on. No one's more stubborn than me and you know it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to puke."
I run off to the bathroom and stick my head down the toilet.
One of these days, Jack's going to ground Daniel. Morrigan turned up and he started on her, deflecting all the attention to himself. I know why, too. Back in the beginning of SG-1, after one of his infamous snake-baiting episodes, I got him drunk and asked. He told me then that in a battle situation, he was the weakest link. By deflecting all the attention to himself, he allows us the opportunity to do our jobs. I guess it's a hard habit to break. What broke my heart was realising that he thought of himself as expendable.
We're in the air. Jack's given the order and we're watching the area of the factory on the view screen. A huge light flashed for a few moments then disappeared. Without going to check we're going to assume that the factory's no more. We don't want to go back because we want to get home asap.
Jack gave a satisfied grunt and now he's gone off to find Daniel. Frankie's gone too, I guess to find Kar Shel, leaving Teal'c and me alone on the bridge.
"So, you okay?" I ask him, wrapping my arm around his waist.
"I am. What of you?"
"I'm fine, honey. We were surprised by the Jaffa and Morrigan. Maybe they knew something had happened in the reactor room."
I tell him what I did, then I get 'the look'. It's the one that says 'I know you are a warrior and I respect you but I wish you would stay at home and not do something as dangerous again. I should have words with O'Neill'.
I'm saying nothing, just snuggling into him as he holds me close.
It's been a couple of hours and Jack's returned to us.
"How's Daniel?" I ask him.
"He's okay. He threw up, now he's gone to lay down. Says he'll be okay when we get home."
"I wish he wouldn't..." I start to say but he puts his hands up to stop me.
"I know. But that's Daniel for you, isn't it?"
I think that a lot more has gone on than he's revealing, perhaps Daniel's already lectured him. Pre-emptive strikes are things he's good at. I nod, not wanting to make him feel worse than he is. He shakes himself and says, "How about we look at those blueprints?"
"Sounds good to me. Teal'c? Is Mia on autopilot?"
"She is," I correct. "They're always 'she'."
"As I understand it, the English language only has neuter genders for inanimate objects."
"That's true," Jack says, "but it's a ship. A machine. Machines are always 'she'."
"Why is that, O'Neill?"
"'Cause they're temperamental, take a while to start. Need warming up before they'll let you do what you want to them. You've got to treat them well, oil them, feed them, and even then you can't guarantee they'll work."
You know, I'm glad he's no longer Air Force.
Yup. I'm really glad he's no longer my CO.
Home at last. Jacob came as soon as we called him. We gave him the lowdown on what had happened and he was surprised but thrilled that we'd caught Morrigan. This is really going to put the cat among the pigeons. A couple of honking great Tok'ra took her from us. We'd already trussed her up like a turkey as we didn't want to give her the chance to escape. She was also blindfolded so she wouldn't know where she was going. He reckons they'll get a lot from her.
The blueprints to the weapons were memorised by the robots and they're going to put them into our computers. With the Tok'ra, the robots and us working on the designs at the same time we should get some prototypes built fairly soon. It'll be good to see what they do. With the factory gone, the snakes will be set back. If we can take out the other System Lords soon, it's going to give us a crack at Anubis. Without his power base, he'll be weaker. I call that a result.
Daniel's okay, thank God. I can't begin to explain what went through my head when she attacked him. If I hadn't known that Teal'c was on his way, I'd have gone for her like Kar Shel did. Only knowing that he was on his way made me sit quietly. I've told Jacob that if they want me to extract the snake from the head of the host, I'll do it willingly. Without anaesthetic.
He just nodded.
Time for bed. I'm fucked. Or rather, I will be if I'm lucky.
"Daniel? Coming to bed?"
"Yeah, why not?" he shrugs.
We say goodnight to the robots. They're going to stay until they've inputted all the data. We'll meet up for breakfast (ours, that is) and then they'll go back to the palace. I dare say that Frankie's going to work on their little problem as soon as she can.
We're naked and in bed. My favourite place to be with Daniel and my favourite dress code.
"So, flyboy, you want to sleep?"
"Not really, no. But if you're still feeling the after-effects..."
"Nah, I'm fine. A couple of industrial-strength painkillers and my headache went. I'm kinda looking forward to some post-mission 'thank God we made it, I nearly lost you and I want to fuck you into the next millennium' sex, to be honest."
Sounds like a plan to me.
Forget foreplay, we're getting straight to the action. Neither of us wants to mess about. He's kissing me hard though, flipping me onto my back and holding me down. Oh God, his tongue. What can it do to me? Well, that, natch.
"On your stomach, flyboy and give me your ass."
He just growled that. The vibrations against my neck as he said it went straight to my dick. How I didn't come there and then I do not know.
I flip over. What, you were expecting a fight, maybe? Get real.
"Spread 'em, O'Neill."
Oh fuck. One more growl and I am going to come.
I'm lubed, he's lubed, now he's pushing in. YES! Damn, that feels good. He's laying along my back, holding himself up a bit. I turn my head from where I've been yelling into the pillow and see those biceps of his. That is such a turn on. They're locked in place, big, powerful - masculine. He's practically doing push-ups on me, slamming inside me, pulling back, slamming down again. There are no words, neither of us want to speak. Neither of us can speak. We're just grunting. Well, he's grunting, I'm panting. You got a problem with that? No? Good.
He's pulled back a bit more, his left arm is sliding under me and pulling me up onto my knees. Now he's thrusting hard, hitting my happy button with every stroke. God, this is good. I never want this to stop. Not going to be able to sit down for a week though. Don't care. Fuck, I came.
"UGH!" Ah, NeanderDan strikes again.
"Yeah?" he pants.
"G't th f'ck ff m."
He's pulled out and rolled onto his side.
"You okay, Jack?"
"Never better. Wow, I love post-mission sex."
"I'm pretty keen on pre-mission sex."
"True, true. In-between mission sex isn't bad, either, is it?"
"Nope, no complaints there, hun."
I look at him and he giggles. An honest-to-God giggle. He's setting me off and the two of us are howling now. I've never laughed so much before or after (or, if I'm truthful, during) sex as I do with Daniel. No one makes me laugh like he does.
I'm just going to make sure that I keep him safe so we can keep on laughing - with or without the sex.