Chapter 5 - Menace... Elemental, my dear Jackson.
Daniel burst into the centre of the Ishten village, blue robes and feathers fluttering in the wind of his passing. His spectacular arrival had the people running for cover, much to his relief.
Deprived of any other prey, his unwelcome companion turned its attention to their dwellings. Bolt after bolt of power streaked from Daniel's hand into the lath-and-mud huts. Exuberant cackles reverberated through his mind as the little homes flew apart in showers of dust and sparks. Finally, when nothing more remained of the village, it ceased.
~ Well, that was fun, Bro ~
"See! You really don't have to kill people to... ah, have 'fun'."
~ Maybe... ~
"No, not 'maybe'! No more killing Ever. I'm going to be in enough trouble over this as it is.
~ What? That bossy shiny lady? ~
"Oma Desala? Yes."
~ She gonna have your nuts in a vice? ~
Daniel choked on a laugh.
"Well, no, I guess not quite that "
~ Tha's good, 'cos they's my nuts too, now... ~
Daniel cringed. His passenger seemed to be taking a rest from its wanton destruction and was exploring within. He could feel it burrowing through the deepest corners of his mind. Creepy as it was, at least it gave him a brief respite to consider his own circumstances. He wandered over to a convenient boulder and sat down to think.
Oma Desala had warned him that Duva was a devious creature likely to drift over to the dark side. He'd probably been practising ritual magic for some time before Daniel's arrival. Perhaps that was why Oma had dragged him along with such urgency.
Well, if that was the case, then clearly, he had failed. Although Supposing Duva, at this moment, were the one possessed... Maybe he hadn't failed entirely. And on the plus side - if there was a plus side - he'd saved the Ishten from following Duva's slide into spiritual darkness. For a while, anyway.
Until now, despite his wide knowledge of ancient cultures, their traditions and folklore, and despite his openness to things that more analytical minds would dismiss out of hand, Daniel had never really believed that 'magic' as such really worked.
Even now, he felt unsure. There must be some rational explanation that twenty-first century science had not yet discovered - or else it had been discovered and quietly buried...
Probably the Stargate was partly to blame for Duva's activities, with its symbolic shape and its mystical looking glyphs. Not entirely surprising that the weedy little shaman was tantalized by its promise of arcane power. And he wouldn't be the last to be tempted...
Of course, it wasn't the real source of Daniel's current embarrassment - was it? He seemed to have been possessed by an 'elemental'. Some sources gave these as the essential life force in all things - fire, water, the earth, whatever; others suggested they were malign spirits from another 'plane' of existence.
He hoped it wasn't just wishful thinking but somehow, it didn't feel inherently evil. It felt more like a very young child - all ego and id and absolutely no conscience whatsoever. Not that this made it very much safer, for it was a 'child' with tremendous power. He suspected - feared? - that it was currently making a home for itself in his own id.
Daniel was so deep in thought that he failed to notice the Ishten regrouping until an arrow thunked into his shoulder. He exclaimed in pain and threw himself behind the boulder. Two more arrows thunked into his thigh as he fell. Yes, he was definitely 'alive' again!
Whatever was within him seemed to re-awaken.
~ Ouch! THAT hurts! ~
Almost as a reflex action, a huge charge of power retraced the arrows' flight back to their source. It exploded like a blue shell-burst. No more arrows came. For once, Daniel didn't remonstrate about the killings. He merely remarked with some asperity, "That's what you get when you're alive. It kind of goes with the territory."
~ Owww! And, hey Bro', we seem to be leaking... ~
"Bleeding. It's call bleeding. 'We' are losing blood."
~ I don't like this! ~
"Tough!" Daniel grunted. "Let that be your first lesson - don't dish it out if you can't take it. Urgh."
~ So what you gonna do about it? ~
"Me? Nothing. There's nothing I can do."
~ What?! You mean we're stuck here? In PAIN?! ~
"Yes! Get used to it! It's going to last for quite a while assuming we don't bleed to death first...!"
~ Bleed to death?! So soon? ~
Daniel felt almost sorry for his alter ego.
~ NO! I won't die yet! I don't want to! ~
Daniel gave a pained laugh. "I don't think we'll have any choice in the matter."
~ Yes... Yes, we will... ~
"Ok, have it your way," Daniel murmured softly, and closed his eyes.
The intruder was quiet for quite some time, for which Daniel was profoundly thankful. It was bad enough lying under a scorching sun in excruciating pain without having the alien voice crashing around his cranium as well. He was still aware of its presence within his system though.
After a while, a gentle clatter made him open his eyes again. The arrow, minus its top few inches, was lying on the sandy ground beside him. Daniel felt his shoulder in surprise. He felt the gash through his robe and the congealed blood around it. And smooth, unbroken skin. It didn't hurt any more either. Wow!
He hoisted himself up on to his elbow and observed the arrows still protruding from his thigh. The wounds were already less painful. It was slightly more interesting than watching paint dry, but eventually the second and then third arrows joined the first. He was extremely grateful for this unexpected turn of events, though his gratitude was tempered by the reflection that the elemental had effected the repair solely for its own benefit. Still, best to set a good example.
"Um, thank you - er - Bro'," Daniel said aloud.
~ Well, it seemed like one of us got to do something... ~
"Yeah, and, um, I'm very grateful that you did... whatever you did. Ah, what exactly did you do?"
~ Oh, just tinkered about with those itsy-bitsy little things... ~
"Er, atoms?" Daniel suggested tentatively.
There was silence for a while. Daniel felt a familiar tingle through the synapses of his brain, but this time in his left frontal lobe.
~ No, not atoms - smaller ~
"Smaller than atoms?"
~ Where's Sam when I need her? ~
"Ah, that would be elementary particles...?"
~ Yeah, you got it, Bro' ~
Daniel was stunned. "What? You just... rearranged the elementary particles in my body?"
~ OUR body, yes Bro' ~
Daniel suddenly saw the funny side of it an elemental reorganizing his - their - elementary particles. It made sense in a bizarre kind of way.
~ Say Bro', what we gonna do next? ~
"Well, how about we have a little talk?"
~ Say what?! ~
"A talk, a chat. You know, get to know each other?"
~ Aw, but I know ALL about you, Bro'... ~
"Um, no, I don't think so, but we'll let that one pass for now. See, I don't know anything about you. At all. I don't even know your name..."
~ Gee, I never thought of that. Well, your name's Daniel, right? ~
~ Well then, you can call me Danny - since we're sharing the same body. Ok, Bro'? ~
"Ah, ye-es, I guess so Danny."
~ Great! Now let's go kick some ass! ~
"Whoa! What are you planning to do?"
~ Well now, Bro', this here world sucks Big Time, don't ya think? ~
"And?" Daniel asked in some trepidation.
~ So that big ring thing ~
~ That's the thing. It goes to other worlds right? ~
"Yes, sort of."
~ LOTS of other worlds, right? ~
~ Well then, Bro', THAT'S where we's goin' - through the Stargate! ~
Chapter 6 - Child's Play... The game's afoot.
Daniel/Danny stood before the Stargate once more.
"It won't work," Daniel said, a little superciliously. He felt like Oma Desala with new and ignorant protégé.
~ Why not? ~
"Because it needs a power source, which is something we don't have here and won't have for another, ooh, twenty thousand years, give or take. That's why not."
~ Ya think?! ~
Oh great! He must have been poking around in the file marked 'O'Neill, J'. Daniel wondered what other O'Neill-isms were going to start trickling through his brain. By this time, Danny had hoisted their arm up and was aiming towards the ring.
"No!" Daniel exclaimed in panic.
Too late. Danny had fired off a bolt of electrical energy at the ring. For several minutes, trails of sparks danced around the great circle - and then died. Daniel breathed a sigh of relief.
"See. I told you it wouldn't work. We just don't have enough power..."
~ Yes. We do ~
Daniel's hands reached outwards in great sweeps. As when Duva was working his ritual, the air all around felt tense, charged with the oppressive sense of an oncoming storm. Sparks skittered around the rocks. Like iron filings around a magnet, they flew to Daniel. Like a million pinpricks, they pierced his flesh.
He cried out in fear and pain, then drew in a massive breath. He - or Danny - gave a great bellow. Colossal forks of lightning shot from both hands to the 'Gate. It shuddered into life. The inner wheel shrieked in protest as it began to move. Chevron after chevron lit up. Inexorably, the seventh chevron locked. The watery blast flew outwards, then settled into the familiar rippling surface.
~ Finally!! ~
Danny sounded so triumphant. For a moment, Daniel wondered, guiltily, if he should have leapt to oblivion in front of that blast wave and saved the world - worlds - yet again.
It was followed, almost instantaneously, with the thought that he'd already done more than enough of the self-sacrificing bit - and with precious little thanks too!
Whoa! Wait a minute. Where had that thought come from? It was purely selfish. Straight from the id. What was happening to him? If it had been right to give his life for others before, it was still right. His super-ego said so. He knew what Danny was capable of. Was self-destruction to be his fate again?
~ Don't even think about it I'm wa-ay stronger than you are, and there's no way I'm giving up what I just got... So "get used to it!" - Bro' ~
"Yeah? Well, without the code, they won't open the iris. We'll just get splattered against it when we get to the other end anyway. So go ahead."
~ Oh, I already sent the code ~
"Wha'?! You didn't!!
~ Ok, let's go find out...! ~
In the Briefing Room at Stargate Command, General Hammond was presiding over a discussion of S.G.-1's forthcoming mission to T'latti'lolco, A5Z-203. Major Carter was running a video recording from the M.A.L.P. Quinn was attempting to give a commentary on the film which Teal'c was attempting to follow. Jack was looking bored.
"Er, well... this planet appears to be quite an arid world," Quinn was saying.
"Carter already told us that from the M.A.L.P.'s telemetry," O'Neill put in, "breathable atmosphere, sub-tropical temperatures, low humidity but enough water around to support an agricultural economy What?" he concluded in response to an astonished look from Carter.
"Nothing, Sir, I was just a little surprised, that's all."
"Didn't want you to think I was falling asleep back here," Colonel O'Neill said with a bland smile.
Teal'c raised an eyebrow.
"Next you will tell us you have read the report," he smiled quizzically.
"Well, yeah, actually. It wasn't very long and I figured someone ought to know what was going on."
Quinn shuffled uneasily in his seat, gave nervous grin and continued.
"Um, the, er, Stargate is situated near to a fair-sized, er, step pyramid"
"Ziggurat," O'Neill butted in again, "Daniel called them ziggurats, and we can all see it as well as you can. Now, what can you tell us about the ziggurat?"
"Er, well, actually, I've, er, never seen one before, Sir..."
"Great! Just... peachy. Can we go now, General Hammond?"
"Very well, people. We don't seem to be achieving very much here. I'll meet you in the 'Gate Room in fifteen minutes.
Sergeant Davis keyed in the co-ordinates when S.G.-1 entered the 'Gate Room. As they waited for the wormhole to establish, General Hammond said,
"I'd like a quick word with you, Colonel. Please keep an eye on Quinn while he's still new around here."
"Sure thing, Sir. Who knows, they may even have crèche facilities on Tinka-loco... whatever."
Hammond frowned at him, while Teal'c looked as deadpan as only a Jaffa warrior can. Major Carter tried, not entirely successfully, to suppress a smile. Quinn produced his best unctuous smirk. It was nice to feel that they were beginning to accept him at last.
Chevron seven locked, the wave shot outward and settled back into peaceful passivity. S.G.-1 set off up the ramp to boldly go through into yet another new world... Hammond watched them go, then went up to have a word with Sgt. Davis. As he arrived in the Control Room, the Stargate swung into action once more.
"Incoming wormhole, General. Er, it's S.G.-1's code, Sir."
"I suppose Quinn's left something behind again. Open the iris, Sergeant."
A few moments later, a brightly-clad figure in a plumed headdress suddenly erupted through the event horizon. It hit the ramp at a run, then skidded to an abrupt halt. It gazed around, eyes glowing an intense electric blue.
"Now what the blue blazes is that ?!" exclaimed the General.
Chapter 7 - "Nothing like coming back from the dead..."
"Danny, you've got to let me do the talking here," Daniel exclaimed as the klaxon sounded, "and absolutely no killing. These are my friends, Ok?"
~ Aw! ~
"They can also hurt us very much if you frighten them - which will definitely not be any fun at all!" he ended as a dozen airmen raced into the 'Gate Room and surrounded him, weapons poised.
~ O-kay ~
"Great!" Daniel breathed as the blue glow died out of his eyes.
"It's me, Daniel Jackson!" he cried, waving at the Control Room. He saw General Hammond do a remarkable double take, then hurry out of the room. He arrived in the 'Gate Room post-haste. There was a lo-ong pause as he scrutinized the visitor.
"Dr. Jackson...?" he asked quietly, unable to believe his eyes.
"Yes Sir, General Hammond."
He looked around at the welcoming committee.
"It's ok, it is me. I'm not a... ghost or anything," he added, giving them a hesitant smile.
"Well, I'll be damned... Stand down, men. I think I can take it from here."
The men seemed a little reluctant to move, and Daniel overheard a few muttered remarks:
"Ah, can we go up into the Control Room, General. There's something I need to talk to you about, privately."
Upstairs, Hammond said, "Now, what is going on, Dr. Jackson?"
"Er, well, I don't really have time to explain. This is kind of a flying visit, General. First of all, though, I could use a shower and a change of clothes, then I need to go back through the Stargate. I was thinking about somewhere like P4Y-771 or P3X-429..."
~ Hey, Bro', what's your game here? Ain't nothing living on those worlds! 'Cept plants! ~
"No-o, but they're very pleasant - sunny and warm, plenty of food," Daniel replied, forgetting for the moment where he was.
"I beg your pardon, Dr. Jackson?"
"Ah, I'm sorry, General, but - um - I didn't exactly come alone."
"What?! Reetou?" Hammond exclaimed, he and Sergeant Davis looking round in alarm.
"No! No, it's nothing like that... Just, please... send me off this world."
Daniel's eyes glowed.
"Yeah! Somewhere where we can have fun!"
General Hammond stared. It still sounded like Dr. Jackson, but the voice was deeper and gruffer and sounded as if he were speaking through a radio with a bad attack of static.
"Look, I told you to let me handle it!" Daniel snapped.
"Are you sure you are who you say you are?" Hammond asked suspiciously.
"Please Sir, I just need to go to a more... suitable... world. My, ah, my... companion... is capable of making quite a... mess... around here. Trust me, General, it's the best solution I can think of right now."
"Cut the crap, baldy, and just do it!" came the crackly voice again. The blue glow flowed from Dr. Jackson's eyes.
"No, no, no, no, no that wasn't me! Honestly! That was, er... Danny..."
"Who is going to start making quite a... mess... around here, an-ny second now!"
"No!! No killing!" screamed Daniel as he felt the power building. "General, duck!"
Hammond hit the floor as the lightning flew. It hit the back-up computers on the far wall causing a minor explosion.
"Please Sergeant Davis, - just send me - oh - wherever S.G.-1 are," Daniel begged, "Now!"
He breathed a sigh of relief as Davis gave in to force majeur and began keying in the co-ordinates for A5Z-203, then he went over to check whether General Hammond had managed to avoid the main charge. He was breathing at least.
"Wait until I'm through the 'Gate, then call for Dr. Fraiser. And please don't try any heroics. I don't want to cause a blood bath."
"I do..." came a menacing rumble.
"Not now! Not here! We have to go!"
Daniel's eyes gave a parting flash of electric blue as he ran out of the Control Room and down the stairs. Klaxons blew again as he sprinted for the ramp. With the clatter of boots approaching the 'Gate Room, Daniel dived through the Stargate and into the wormhole.
His precipitate departure resulted in a very undignified arrival on the other side. He landed hard and slightly out of breath in a sprawling heap of blue silk and feathers.
As he staggered to his feet, he thought for a moment that he'd somehow returned to Jacksonworld... wherever. A score or more of screaming warriors clad in loin cloths and feathered headdresses appeared all around him. They carried feathered shields and a variety of weapons. One was wearing dark glasses...
Daniel's first thought was to let Danny 'have some fun'. He had no time for a second one. A brilliant shower of sparks filled his vision. Then the darkness took him...