A tale of two S.G.C.s by Minerva, a.k.a. Min the Merciless

Category: part A.U., part action-adventure, part satire, part pseudo-canon, part humor - whatever ;-)
It's more or less gen. which means this would be all gen. but for a couple of snarky references to slash and fem-slash . :-p

Season: 7 - midway between 'Resurrection' and 'Inauguration'.
Spoilers: minor references to earlier episodes, but likely nothing you haven't already seen.

Summary: An A.U. Colonel Samantha Carter (the narrator) rescues an unhappy Major Sam, taking her to her own universe. There, Major Sam joins the A.U. S.G.-1 in a mission to a world where a ruined city shows architecture derived from the Indian subcontinent.

The mission is neither as simple nor as straightforward as they'd anticipated, and our Major Carter is able to be the smart professional woman she used to be, and still should be.

Meanwhile, her disappearance causes mounting consternation back home... He-heh!

Archive: Please feel free. I'm not possessive but would appreciate a heads-up when you do.

E-mail: Min the Merciless

Author's note: This was just supposed to be a short snark, but the story escaped and took on a life of its own... It seemed interesting, so I thought I'd follow it and see where it went. :-)

Very grateful thanks to Eos both for the alpha and for the idea for the ending. {short description of image}

Warning: If you think that a love-lorn adolescent bimbo with the magical abilities of Wonder Woman is the ideal way to portray a highly intelligent, professional U.S.A.F. officer who also happens to be female, then this probably isn't for you. {veg} The language ain't too fluffy either.

N.B. This isn't necessarily aimed at T.W.I.C. who own the characters' asses,
but if the cap fits, guys... ;-)
And remember - you're getting paid for your crap; I don't get a bean for mine.

Introduction - In a galaxy not so far from home...

My name's Carter - Colonel Samantha Carter, theoretical astrophysicist. I'm 2IC of Stargate Command's flagship team, S.G.-1. It was a hard struggle to get there, what with having a general for a father. I had to work that much harder - be that much better - to prove my promotions were on merit, not on patronage. Being female didn't help overmuch either.

Now I have the job of my dreams and I am doing nothing to jeopardize my position. I freely acknowledge than I am also very lucky that most of my writers are women, thank heaven! Other Carters in other universes are not so fortunate...

Part 1

Chapter 1 - In which Colonel Carter goes on a mission of mercy.

Several days ago, my writers gave me some time off to do my own thing after we disposed of the threat from Anubis's Kull Warriors. They were a silly invention by our two male writers. It was an homage, they said - one of many they try to sneak in - to one of the science-fiction films they like. They wanted me to call them Super!Soldiers for fuck's sake. I was kind of surprised they didn't want me to call them Thuper!Tholdiers and faint into my C.O.'s arms when I saw them. Huh! Like that would ever happen!

So— I was having fun tinkering with our Quantum Mirror when I came upon this sad A.U. version of myself.

"Hey, Colonel!" I said as I arrived on her side of the mirror. Then I noticed her insignia. "Oh sorry. Major."

"Er, hello— Colonel? You're a full bird?" she responded as if she didn't believe it.

"Well, yeah. I earned it."

"Really?" she said, looking a tad suspicious. "How?"

"I'm good at my job. Very good."

It's the truth. You want me to simper girlishly and say it's nothing...?

I drew her attention to the P-brane generator attached to my skin just below my collar bone. In effect, it encased me in my own skintight 'universe', isolating me from hers.

"I think what tipped it was solving the problem of entropic cascade failure," I said.

"Wow! So you won't start falling apart if you stay here too long? How did you manage that? Membrane theory is just a theory - isn't it?"

"You're working in ten dimensions, aren't you?" She nodded. "Trying factoring in the eleventh dimension..."

Her mouth made a big red 'Ohh'.

"Hey, do they really let you wear make-up here?" I asked. I was quite surprised. In my universe, it's not permitted in the military except for official functions.

"Let me?" she expostulated, then added grimly, "It's mandatory."

"You're kidding!"

"Believe me, I wish I were! You know, I actually dread getting further promotion because everyone's going to think I slept my way to it, which is so not fair. I mean, we're basically the same person. I'm just as good as you are, given a fighting chance."

"Don't tell me, you've got a lot of male writers in your company?"

"A lot? Try all."

"No shit!"

"Oh yeah... I live in a total phallocracy - blood supply never reaches the brain."

I laughed. "Really?"

"Why else would they turn me into their Boy's Own fantasy? A pair of tits with a brain, that's me— emphasis on the tits!" She stuck her fingers down her throat and made loud barfing noises. "And as if that wasn't bad enough, my directors are no better. They just collude with my writers. It's always, 'Look at Jack - no, look yearning.' 'Come on, make with the doe-eyes. Make-up! More mascara... more lipstick...' Fucking men - huh!"

"'Make doe-eyes at the general'?" I exclaimed, not following her for the moment.

"General? The colonel's a general...?" she asked, then gave a little shake of her head at what she'd just said. "Um, you know what I mean."

"The general hasn't advanced beyond my rank yet?" I asked, equally surprised.

She snorted. "Well that's hardly surprising."

"How so?" I was really curious. Never mind going the extra mile for our leader, most of us would follow him to the ends of the universe. Frequently do in fact.

Major Carter's face registered deep disapproval.

"I think he's suffering from retarded adolescence - or premature senility maybe. In the past, he only acted dumb to confuse our enemies." She paused, then more grievances came to mind. "He makes stupid ill-timed wisecracks as well. And I don't like the way he keeps cold-shouldering Daniel. They used to be the best of friends once upon a time..." She sighed.

"Oh, that's sad." It seemed an inadequate response but what else could I say? This S.G.-1 was apparently one seriously dysfunctional flagship team.

"Well, to be fair," she conceded, "although the directors keep them well apart on screen, it hasn't been quite so bad since Daniel descended."


"Yes. What? Your Daniel's still with Oma Desala?" she asked, eyes wide and full of sorrow.

"No... Oh my god. Your writers killed Daniel?" She nodded. "Bastards!"

"Oh yeah. They think killing off characters makes for Really Good Television."

"Well, yes. We've killed off a few Bad Guys ourselves."

She looked suddenly angry. "Martouf?"

"What? Martouf?" I was aghast. I could hardly believe it. Daniel and Martouf... "Why, for fuck's sake?"

"Our writers thought he was too much competition for the colonel," she said, disgust writ large across her face.

"Competition? For O'Neill? In what way? Martouf's Tok'ra— Nothing to do with the S.G.C. - is he?" Then the penny dropped. "You mean as a 'lurve' interest, don't you?"

Major Carter audibly ground her teeth. "Oh yeah, and when our writers're not making me behave like I can't wait to get the colonel between my legs, they're writing as if the S.G.C.'s an intergalactic dating agency. It's like— It's like I don't exist as a person in my own right— that I can't function without a man in my life..."

"Men!" she growled after a considering pause. "They think they're so indispensable - like the sun shines out their asses."

"Hey, steady on," I protested. "Our guys are okay."

"Well, it's just so fucking frus-trating!"

"Jeez, you are in a bad way," I said, shaking my head in incredulity and thinking, 'this one really needs a break - needs to regain her sanity'.

"Say, why don't you come back with me now, to my world?" I suggested. "We're on down-time at the moment, but Daniel has a mission he's been wanting to undertake for a while now and our writers haven't gotten around to it yet. I'm sure they - and General Hammond - would be quite happy for us to fit it in now - well, tomorrow anyway."

"Oh, I couldn't," was her instant reaction.

"Oh boy, they've really got you brainwashed into letting them do your thinking for you." I said giving her a wry smile.

"They have rather, haven't they?" she agreed with a look of chagrin. "Okay, you're on. Just let me ask— tell them what I'm doing."


"You're right. They'll just have to rewrite the next episode. Sam - er - Major Carter goes missing and the rest of S.G.-1 have to find her." she grinned. The grin faded. "Maybe then, they'll give Teal'c something useful to do for a change..."

On the other side of the mirror:

Chapter 2 - In which Sam joins A.U. S.G.-1 in a mission to a planet they thought was uninhabited...

Major Carter and I came through the quantum mirror to my universe. She'd requisitioned theirs from Area 51 and was experimenting with it to take her mind off the unfairness of fate.

General O'Neill gently teased me about our new recruit.

"You mean I'm not the first one that - er - Colonel Carter's— ?" Major Carter began.

"Taken under her wing? That would be a no. And I hope she feels suitably guilty about depriving your team of a valuable member?" General O'Neill told her with a friendly smile.

He then turned to me and I put in a request for an extra mission. "Okay," he nodded, "assuming Hammond agrees. For now, get her checked out and we'll have a briefing tomorrow - 0800. Oh, and when you're through in the infirmary, take Major Carter to get a haircut."

We stopped in at my lab. first to fit her up with a P-brane generator so she wouldn't have any problems now that she was in my world. On our way, we chatted about past missions. The main difference was that her SG-1 hadn't met the furlings yet. They aren't cute and furry as their O'Neill seemed to think.

There were quite a few similarities in our missions, though, if not in their outcomes, for instance, the afore-mentioned death of Martouf. He wasn't the Zatarc. Anise was. Hard to believe no one called her on it when she said she'd never been in any situations where she'd be vulnerable to that technology.

"What happened here when the Gadmeer came to the Enkaran's new home world?" Major Carter asked.

"Well, after I found that the alien ship was 'terraforming' the planet for a different type of life-form, we successfully made contact with the alien ship. It created an android to communicate with us. That indicated non-hostile intent, so the general - then a colonel - asked Daniel to find a way round the problem."

"Colonel O'Neill didn't order you to make a naquadah bomb?"

"Hell no. That would've been genocide. O'Neill was trying to avoid that. Wait. You made a bomb?"

She hung her head. "I had no choice."

"But you did ask him to put the order in writing first?"

"That would be a no." She scowled. "I'm just the bimbo with a computer for a brain and no mind of my own."

"Is that when your writers killed Daniel?"

"Oh no, that came much later." She thought for a moment then asked, "If your Daniel solved the problem without all the - the phoney suspense and out-of-character activity, wasn't it rather a dull episode?"

"Er, no." I grinned. "When we arrived on the original Enkaran home world to check it out, there was a welcoming party of Mafdet's Jaffa waiting for us. Things got kinda hot. While Teal'c held off her elite guard, I got to take out Mafdet. Not before she'd given Daniel and O'Neill a bit of a rough time though."

"Wow!" She was impressed, I could tell. "Mafdet? Haven't come across him."

"Her. Egyptian panther goddess who carried out punishments and executions. So Daniel said, and that was before she'd gotten her claws into him!"

Major Carter scowled again and I sensed that another grievance was due for an airing.

"Ya know, speaking of goa'uld queens," she remarked with a steely glint in her eye, "our writers' idea of a strong female character seems to be to make her incredibly arrogant. Like I would really override all safety protocols just to get a lock on a particular planet when there are so many out there we haven't been to...!"

We'd reached the infirmary and walked in side by side. Then she stopped. Dead. Her jaw dropped.

"You okay?" I asked. "You look like you've seen a ghost."

"Close," she muttered. "You know what's the worst thing our writers have done?"

"No..." I said with a deep sense of foreboding.

"They had me kill Janet." Her eyes narrow and her lips compress into a thin red line.

"But - but..." I spluttered, "they couldn't have! Even a male writer couldn't be that stupid!"

"You think?" She filled me in on all the gory details, the ignoring of protocols, the lack of plain common sense.

"Oh, a lot of the fans were great about it. They said they didn't actually see my dereliction of duty resulting in Janet's death - that maybe it would've happened anyway. But I saw what happened. Now I'm minus my best friend, and I'm the only female in a totally man's world. Gahhh!" She shuddered.

"But what was the point?" "Our writers wanted to trick the viewers into thinking that the colonel was dead."

"Bullshit! They couldn't have! I mean, everyone knows his actor's in the next part."

"Yeah. Don't let the facts get in the way of the story, huh?"

Major Carter stayed in our V.I.P. suite overnight. As we entered the briefing room, next morning, General O'Neill complimented her on her smart appearance. She gave him a wary look - not quite 'deer in the headlights' but close.

"It's okay, Major," I reassured her. "No strings attached here."

She relaxed and gave a genuine smile. "Thank you, sir."

"Don't mention it. Looks like you didn't get here a moment too soon," the general smiled back.

Daniel entered, took in the two of us and raised his eyebrows.

"Another errand of mercy, Samantha?" he grinned. He warmly welcomed our new team member, then asked, "Alive or dead?"

She looked a little confused.

"Your Daniel Jackson...?" he prompted. You could see the penny drop.

"Oh. He's living. At the moment anyway."

"Oh good. That's... good, I think," he said and took his seat at the table. "It isn't always the case. In one universe, their Daniel was permanently dead. Apparently one of their writers was - ah - particularly homophobic. He came across some stories written by the fans. They'd - um - they'd expanded our friendship into— well, a little more than friendship..."

"So, to avoid the remotest possibility of any 'homosexual subtext'," I said, sketching in air quotes, "he had Daniel blown up on the Gadmeer ship. Can you believe it?"

"Actually, yes," Major Carter said acidly, "though what the Colonel and Daniel may - or may not - get up to in their own time off-screen is nobody's business but their own."

The general and Daniel shared a grin. "We've got a good one here, Jack," Daniel said.

"For the record, we let that Samantha— actually she answered to Sam. You?"

"Our Daniel calls me Sam."

"Great. Well, that other Sam chose to join her father and the Tok'ra rather than go back to her own universe. We all thought it was a good call."

"That's nice," she said with a wistful smile.

Before more could be said, Teal'c came in with General Hammond. He welcomed our guest with a courteous inclination of his head. The general greeted her too, then handed the briefing over to Daniel to make his case for a mission to P8A-114.

"Thank you, General Hammond," he began. "I think this would be a very useful - a very different mission to undertake because it's the first planet we've come across that appears to have been derived from the cultures of the Indian subcontinent."

He went on to detail the style of buildings in the remains of a sizeable city a mile or so from the 'Gate. He presumed that the erstwhile inhabitants were taken there from Earth - possibly, but not necessarily, by the late Nirrti.

"If there is another System Lord we don't know about, we may pick up clues about him or her there. That alone would be a good reason to undertake this mission. There aren't any signs of any humans living there now, which could be the result of another of Nirrti's... experiments, but there are large herds of deer-like animals living on the plain between the 'Gate and the city, so it looks like any bio-hazards are long gone."

"Neither the M.A.L.P. nor the U.A.V. registered any contra-indications," I confirmed as he gave me a questioning look. As a final sweetener, I reported that the U.A.V.'s Ground Penetrating Radar picked out a sizeable underground deposit of naquadah a couple of miles beyond the city.

General Hammond gave us the go-ahead.

We were greatly surprised as we stepped through the 'Gate to meet a man of Asiatic appearance standing on the ramp leading from the Gate's platform. He was clad in silky red and gold colored robes over baggy shalwar pants, and was wearing an ornate headdress. The faint shimmer in the warm air indicates that this was a holographic projection - that and the fact that he was hovering slightly above the ramp rather than actually standing on it, putting him on the same level as us.

"Namaste," he said, bowing deeply with his hands together as in prayer. He indicated the city with a sweep of his arm, and said with a charming Indian lilt in his voice, "Welcome to Mahishmati in the Land of Bharat. I am Lankesh."

General O'Neill gave me a questioning look. I shook my head, baffled for the moment as Daniel stepped forward to introduce us.

"And you are Doctor Daniel Jackson," Lankesh continued before Daniel could open his mouth, "And Brigadier-General Jack O'Neill, Teal'c of Chulak, Colonel Samantha Carter and..." He looked momentarily puzzled then smiled and nodded his head. "Another Samantha Carter? A visitor from another universe maybe?" He smiled again, more broadly. "Yes."

"You've heard of us?" the general asked, sounding uncharacteristically disconcerted.

"Should I have?" Lankesh asked, his smile becoming uncertain. "Have you been here before?"

"Ah, no. But you seem to know who we all are." There was a question in his voice.

"I see. No, I have only 'heard of you' from your thoughts."

"What? You read our minds?!" the General exclaimed as we all exchange worried looks.

"No, no, no," Lankesh reassured us. "This is only possible when you are - how would you say - 'broadcasting on an open channel'. If you would like it, we can give you the same ability. It makes communication so much simpler - and quieter - than using your devices. It has kept us safe from the goa'uld - and other would-be conquerors - for many generations now."

Just as I expected the general to demand, "What's the catch?" in his usual snarky manner, Lankesh pre-empted him.

"There is no catch, General O'Neill. And yes, I would say that, wouldn't I?" He laughed.

"The trouble is—" Daniel began.

"That your allies are usually unwilling to share their technology with you," Lankesh said. "Oh. Yes. I am sorry. I will try to stop finishing your sentences for you. I am just so excited at having visitors. It does not happen very often." He looked at Major Carter. "You have a question."

She gave him a long look askance before speaking, as if waiting for him to voice it for her, but he waited patiently. "Actually, I have several questions, if I may?"

"Please. Ask away. I shall do my poor best to answer them if I can."

She took a deep breath. "Firstly, what sort of technology do you use to give you your telepathic ability? Secondly, I can see this is a holographic projection. Where exactly are you? And would you care to share the technology you use to create your holograms? In a trade exchange of course. It must give you a great advantage in assessing potential threats."

"Yes, we have cerebral implants which act as receiver/transmitters. No, they are not silicon chips but biological implants." He looks my way. "It does not require invasive surgical techniques. I am inside our city of Mahishmati yonder and yes, knowing that you come with good intentions, we would be most willing to share our hologram technology too. If you would come to Mahishmati, I will be happy to show you how it works."

With a smile and a bow, the hologram blinked out.

"Well, that was... different," the General said, not looking too happy. "Carter - both of you - how far do you reckon this telepathic ability reaches?"

I looked to Major Carter before giving my own input.

"Well, I don't see anyone between here and the city," she said, "which implies that the range is at least a mile. I wouldn't like to estimate an upper limit. This is assuming that everything is as Lankesh said. I'd like to check out the M.A.L.P. to be sure it hasn't been tampered with, and there's always the possibility of some sort of transmitter in the vicinity of the gate to - to con in-comers into believing that the locals have telepathy when they haven't. Don't know about the rest of you, but I found that decidedly unsettling."

I agreed with everything she'd said and added that it certainly made you feel very ill at ease when you thought that a third party might even then be tapping into your thoughts.

"You think we're being eavesdropped on now?" the General asked, looking round edgily.

"I don't know whether we are or not. I think that's the idea - to make you feel insecure," I replied.

"Well, it's working..." he said.

A cursory check of the M.A.L.P., the 'Gate, and the surroundings revealed nothing. We didn't feel we could run full diagnostics because of the possibilities of either the walk to the city seeming to take a suspiciously long time or of having our thoughts monitored. It really did give us uneasy feelings, despite Lankesh's apparent friendliness.

"I don't know about you," Major Carter said as we headed for the city, "but I can't help feeling that we were being toyed with back there. Or that a prospective ally wouldn't do that."

"On the other hand," Daniel said, "he was up front about it."

"And he's offered to share," the General added, "which has to be a first among our 'allies'."

"And doesn't that make you just the least bit suspicious," she asked.

The general thought about it a while. "Yeah," he nodded, "but we can't afford not to investigate the offer at least."

"I think, as we don't know whether we're - er - broadcasting or not," Major Carter continued, "we ought to try to think as little as possible about this - or anything sensitive for that matter - at least until we arrive."

"Good idea," the general agreed. I wasn't too sure of his methods, though, as he started singing in his distinctive slightly off-key manner.

"Somewhere over the rainbow, wa-ay up high — Come on, join in everyone..."

By the time we were within a stone's throw of the city gate, we'd gone through all of the songs from the show that we could all remember and were on our third repeats. It'd seemed like a very long mile.

"This place doesn't look all that ruined," the general commented.

"Guess they must have it shielded somehow," Daniel said.

"Or camouflaged holographically?" Major Carter suggested.

As we passed through the beautiful gateway, we were greeted by another member of the indigenous people - a real person this time. He too looked like an escapee from a Bollywood movie. He pressed his hands together and bowed politely.

"Namaste, honored guests. Welcome to Mahishmati. I am Khadim. Please be so good as to follow me and I will guide you to the Dhawal Mahal where his Graciousness, the Lord Lankesh, awaits you."

We hummed quietly to ourselves as we followed Khadim along twisting sandy streets. These were made narrow by displays of merchandise set out to attract buyers, much like Asian and north African cities on Earth. The scent of spices, incense and perfume filled the air. It was blended with the stink of unwashed bodies and poor hygiene - a combination that made me wrinkle my nose.

The street vendors were much like those back on Earth too. Their grubby clothing was much simpler than Lankesh's, and made of courser material. The colors were mainly pale neutral shades - but I could pick out a few faded greens and blues, sandy yellows and rusty browns. Quite a few of the vendors were wearing thick dark sunglasses.

I was just thinking that the planet hadn't give any signs of excessive UV radiation and wondering if there was physiological problem with the natives when Major Carter let out a surprised, "Oh!"

"What's the matter?" I asked.

"I've just realized I haven't simpered once since I came to your universe," she said with a delighted smile.

I laughed as we high-fived. It's always nice to bring a little happiness into the life of yet another fucked up sib.

Meanwhile, in the briefing room in The Other Place:

Chapter 3 - In which Teal'c gets to say a few words and the stenographer has a nasty experience.

"It's not like Major Carter to be late for a briefing," General Hammond said. "Has anyone said anything to upset her?"

The three members of S.G.-1 who were already present exchanged puzzled glances.

"I have not seen Major Carter since our return from Los Angeles," Teal'c remarked.

"Maybe she had some loose ends to tie up?" Hammond suggested.

"I do not believe she has any interest in Agent Barratt, General Hammond, as she is already smitten by Detective Peter Shanahan from Denver who is a friend of her brother Mark who lives in San Diego."

"Hey, since when did you become Exposition Boy, T?" Jack snarked. "That's Carter's job. Besides she's a beautiful woman. It's only natural for men to lose their heads around her."

"Including you, Jack?" Daniel smirked.

"When I want your opinion, Rock Boy, I'll give it to you," Jack snapped earning himself a reproving stare from his C.O.

Daniel sank back into his seat and looked for something more interesting to do. He focused on a large cobweb in a corner of the ceiling where a fly was struggling to escape while a Shelob-sized spider was jiggling the threads to enmesh the fly more securely.

Hammond reached for the red telephone and hit '3' on speed dial.

"I need to speak to the writers urgently ... Oh, good morning, sir. I'm afraid I'm the bearer of bad news. Major Carter has gone missing. ... I am aware of that, sir. It could be the reason why she's not here..." Hammond said drily. "You do know she's not happy about the direction she's been taking over the past four years, don't you? And frankly, neither am I. Sir."

There was the sound of agitated babbling from the handset as Hammond held it away from his ear.

When the speaker seemed to run out of steam, Hammond asked, "So what action do you wish us to take in the interim? ... I see, sir. I'll get them on it right now and I'll keep you informed about the situation." He replaced the handset. "Well, gentlemen, there's going to be a bit of a re-write, and you'll have to improvise for a while like you did when we were stuck in those time loops."

"More golf, sir?" Jack asked with feigned innocence, earning a stony stare from his C.O. "Hm, guess not."

"In the meantime, your first mission is to thoroughly search the base for Major Carter," Hammond concluded while the linguist mentally admonished him for splitting an infinitive.

Briefing Room - four hours later:

"You appear to have failed to locate Major Carter," Hammond said grimly.

"Daniel Jackson and I have searched the base from top bottom, ably assisted by many S.F.s who gallantly ran up and down corridors with great assiduity and aplomb, General Hammond, and can only conclude that Major Carter is not in fact in this facility."

"Thank you, Teal'c. Colonel?" There was a knock on the door. "Oh, just a minute— Come!"

A flustered looking secretary came in, handed a sheet of paper to O'Neill and left. He looked through it, raised his eyebrows, puffed out his cheeks, rolled his eyes, sighed and passed the paper around. Then he picked up a pen and began fiddling with it. Jonas Quinn wasn't the only one who could speed-read when the 'plot' demanded it...

"Colonel? Your report please."

"Erm well, sir, I went to Carter's house and searched that thoroughly," Jack replied, doodling on the pad in front of him.

"Did you find any clues there, Colonel?"

"I found a dozen photo albums."

"Oh? What did they contain?"

"Ah, that would be photos, sir," Jack quipped, looking up from his doodling.

"Colonel O'Neill! This is neither the time nor the place for Cosmic Giddiness!"

"Oh, I don't know, sir. No time like the present," Jack shot back at him, grinning smugly as if he'd just said something really profound.

"In my experience," Teal'c intoned with a superior inclination of his head, "the present is often very much like the past."

"Not one of your best, Teal'c," Daniel muttered as Jack went on with his drawing.

"You would do well to consider who is writing this, Daniel Jackson."

"Oh. Is this supposed to be the comedy episode then?"

"Do you have something to contribute to this discussion, Daniel?" Jack asked tetchily.

"Please. Tell us. About. The Photos. Jack," Daniel replied, his smile stretched thin over gritted teeth.

"Go on, Colonel."

"Ah, well, one album was full of photos of the team, going back six or seven years. Three contained pictures of Carter's boyfriends - Jonas Hansen, Narim, Tonane, Martouf, Orlin, Doc. Mackay, Harry Maybourne— "

Three jaws dropped in synch.

" —Martin Lloyd— "

"Martin Lloyd?" came a chorus.

"Oh that settles it," Daniel muttered to Teal'c, "this has to be the comedy ep."

" —And Jay Felger."

There was a scuffle from the corner as the stenographer made a grab for the wastebin and barfed noisily into.

"Sorry, sir."

"Think nothing of it," Hammond said gently. "He has that effect on most people. Please continue, Colonel."

"There were three albums with photos of me," Jack said in self-congratulatory tones.


"Two albums had photos of Carter and the late Doc. Fraiser."

"Oh. Medical photos, I suppose?"

"Eh - um... You could say that, sir," Jack smirked, folding his arms as if he'd concluded his report.

"What about the three?"

"Other three, sir?" Jack asked with assumed innocence.

"I can do the math here... "

Jack looked a little sheepish. "Erm - well... they contained photos of Carter and me..."

"Is there something I should know, Colonel?" Hammond demanded as Daniel looked daggers at Jack.

Jack shuffled uncomfortably in his seat and focused on his drawing again. "No sir. You'd have to ask Carter about that," he mumbled, adding sotto voce, "or the writers."

"I see. Did you find anything at all to indicate where she might be?"

"'Fraid not, General. I had a look through her laund— er, 'fridge... I looked through her 'fridge, and either she's been doing some biology experiments or she hasn't been there in a while."

Hammond looked around the remains of his flagship team - one slightly flustered Jack, one bored Teal'c and one very pissed off Daniel.

"I think we'll have to widen the area of the search, and Colonel, perhaps you could contact Thor? All right, dismissed, people."

Daniel, annoyed by Jack's apparent infatuation with Sam, picked up the doodle pad as the three filed out. He'd expected to see hearts with arrows through them and 'Jack loves Sam, tru'.

What he saw relieved his mind. He could recognize drawings of his own dick when he saw them. He grinned. Well, who knew? Jack wasn't a bad artist - not bad at all...

P8A-114 - Mahishmati in the Land of Bharat:

Chapter 4 -In which A.U. S.G.-1's new friends fall over themselves to be helpful, but Sam has misgivings.

"Are you getting anything here, Carters? Teal'c?" asked General O'Neill as we followed Khadim through the twisting streets. "Ya know, anything goold-y?"

"No, sir," I said a little slowly. Teal'c agreed.

"You don't sound too sure about that."

"I don't sense anything of that sort," I said. "It's just... I don't know. I'm probably being a little paranoid here— "

"You say that like it's a bad thing," the general said with an amused smile.

" —but I can't help thinking about that saying that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is."

"I agree, but we have an obligation to look into any chance of new tech. that might be useful in the protection of Earth. And if Lankesh is on the level, it could give us a major advantage."

We went back to humming until we reached a central market square. It was crammed with stalls shaded by striped awnings, and noisy with bustling with people, keen to find bargains, reminding me of a flea market back home.

Khadim led us swiftly across the market square and into a walled garden beyond. This was a beautiful verdant area with fountains and elegant water features. A wide variety of flowering plants scented the air, climbing up walls and tumbling from large terra cotta containers.

The garden was in front of a large, palatial-looking building faced with white marble which seems to glow and sparkle in the sunlight. Daniel stopped and took in its majesty.

"Guess this would be the Dhawal Mahal."

We all looked at him for further information.

"White Palace, roughly translated," he explained.

"Makes sense. I don't think our Daniel speaks - is it Hindi?" Major Carter said.

"I only know a little. It's not a language I've been called on to use much, hence my interest in coming here. It's something different and it's nice to widen one's horizons, " he smiled.

We followed Khadim up the broad shallow steps and into the cool shady interior. Sunlight shone through geometric patterns pierced through the stonework in lieu of windows and shone on the bright mosaic floor. The floor patterns echoed the piercings in the walls. We walked across this great airy entrance hall through tall double doors and into a smaller chamber beyond.

The mosaic flooring continued into this chamber and possibly throughout the palace complex. The walls here were bright and white, lit by a dome-shaped sky-light. There were more double doors opposite and smaller single doors in the side walls. A number of beautifully carved wooden storage chests and closets stood against the walls giving an air of wealth and achievement.

"Please to wait here," Khadim said with a bow that was somehow both submissive and self-important, in the manner of the man taking on the persona of the master, "and please to partake of anything which takes your fancy."

He indicated a couple of low tables surrounded by heaps of large, brightly colored floor cushions adjacent to one side wall. The tables were set out with fruits and tempting looking confections, along with flagons made of some sort of opalescent glass.

Khadim then took himself off through the other set of tall double doors to the rear of this antechamber. The general shrugged and wandered over to inspect the fare.

"Is that a good idea, Jack?" Daniel asked.

General O'Neill picked up a flagon and investigated the contents. "Smells like fruit juice, or squash maybe," he surmised, "and the fruit should be okay."

"That's what Sleeping Beauty thought," Major Carter said. She gave the general a meaningful look.

"Good point, Major."

One of the small side doors opened to admit a young boy. He bowed courteously. "Namaste, honored guests. I have come to taste the food, to show you that it is wholesome."

He sat down amid the plump scatter cushions and tucked in as we exchanged glances. Were our thoughts being read again?

"It is very good," he said with obvious pleasure.

"Okay, well leave some for the rest of us," the general said with a smile as he sat down beside the boy. "What's your name, son?"

"I am Suranjan," he answered with a beaming smile as we gathered round and tucked in. "Those are 'specially nice," he said, indicating a dish of little round cakes covered with sparkly white icing. "We call them 'moon cakes'."

They were indeed delicious, and I felt that maybe we'd been a little churlish in our earlier suspicions. I thought that Lankesh would soon prove to be a very valuable ally. He was certainly a charming one.

After a while, Saranjan departed, leaving us to finish off the crumbs.

"Smart kid," Major Carter said as the door closed behind him.

"How'd you mean?" I asked.

"The way he fended off all our questions."

"Did he?" I asked, tucking into another melt-in-the-mouth moon cake. "I really didn't notice."

"Uh-huh..." she responded drily, looking a little worried. "Maybe we should make our excuses and leave. Now."

"Why? We've only just gotten here. Besides," I reminded her, "we have to check out what that hunk, Lankesh, has to offer."


"Well, he's built like a god - handsome too. And he seems such a nice, likeable guy," I said with a happy smile. The look she gave me was one of - well, almost disbelief.

"Right," she sighed. "What was I thinking..."

I was quite surprised, but perhaps he wasn't really her type. At this point, Khadim returned and led us into a spacious audience chamber, the walls of which were hung with opulent tapestries. In the rear part of the room, Lankesh was sitting on an ornate chair - one might almost say, throne - set on a central low daïs and canopied by a wide baldachin hung with rich gold brocade.

On our entrance, Lankesh rose to his feet, and came down the three steps to meet us. As he did so, sunlight from another domed skylight cast a golden aura upon him.

"Welcome to my humble abode," he said with a slightly puckish smile,

"Lankesh?" the general said.

"In the flesh," our host replied. "You may touch me if you wish."

"Ah, that's okay."

"Sir?" I said, feeling a little disappointed.

Lankesh indicated a door to our right.

"If you will be so good as to follow me, I will take you to our labs. There is a young man who has chosen to receive one of our biological implants. You may watch the procedure and, if you so chose, we can equip each of you with one of them."

He led us to a state-of-the-art laboratory which was down three flights of broad stairs. There, he handed us over to a man in a white coat who was introduced as Manindra.

This doctor, or surgeon, beckoned us to gather round the central operating table on which lay a youth. He looked to be about fourteen years old and had already been sedated.

Manindra took a small round container like a Petri dish from a white cart adjacent to the operating table, and removed the lid. Inside was a small blob of gel that looked like something between protoplasm and soft raw flesh. I suspected that it was an electro-active polymer. I was familiar with the concept from journals on current research but this was apparently far ahead of our level of knowledge.

He laid the dish on the cart then took a pipette, squeezed the bulb and sucked the translucent pinkish blob into it. He turned to the youth, carefully inserted the end of the pipette into one nostril and 'injected' the blob.

"There - it is finished," Manindra announced. "The implant will gradually blend with the brain, giving enhanced abilities. Razak will awaken naturally in a little while. You will no doubt wish to ask him questions to ease your minds before you accept our gift of a biological graft."

We returned to the antechamber. The side tables had been restocked with more of the delicious fare which kept us pleasantly occupied until Razak's arrival. He appeared nearly an hour later.

"Namaste, General O'Neill," he said, bowing, and went on to greet us each by name. "I am here to answer any questions you wish to ask."

At the general's bidding, he pulled up a cushion and sat cross-legged on the floor opposite us. He was very friendly and co-operative, and answered every question clearly. He also demonstrated his newly acquired ability of holographic projection by creating an image of himself hovering near the ceiling.

"Nice trick," Major Carter said with a smile. "What can you see from up there?"

"I can see out into the market place. Khadim is coming this way. I will talk to him."

He fell silent, a studied look on his face that suggests that he was involved in a conversation with Khadim, then he announced that Khadim would be with us soon to take us to have our biological implants inserted. The hologram blinked out. As we had no further questions, Razak left us.

"Permission to speak freely, sir," Major Carter asked.

"Go ahead, Major."

"Do you think it's a good idea for us all to be implanted right now?"

"No time like the present. What's the matter, Major? Getting cold feet?"

"Not... exactly, sir. I just think maybe we're being a little... hasty. Maybe we should confer with General Hammond first?"

"Oh, I don't think that'll be necessary. Our friends here have proved themselves to be above board about this, and I'm prepared to do whatever it takes to protect our planet."

"Yes sir, I don't doubt it. I'm just concerned that if our new friends - our very new friends - aren't being - entirely - frank— which I'm not suggesting for a moment is the case," she said quickly, "then we'll have really burnt our boats."

"Nice cliché, Major," the general grinned. "Well, since you clearly have genuine misgivings— and I'm not saying you're right here - but just to ease your mind, I'll go right ahead and then get back to you. I'm sure you know that I at least would never mislead you."

"No sir, of course not— I mean, I know you wouldn't," she agreed, then added sotto voce, "not willingly anyway."

Khadim arrived on cue and General O'Neill explained that there'd been a change of plan. This was accepted with apparent equanimity, but for an instant I got a faint impression that he was a little displeased. If he was, he covered it very well with a deep bow, and invited the general to follow him back to the lab.

"You may remain here, ladies and gentlemen," he said, "and I will arrange some entertainment for you. Please to help yourselves to our hospitality. There is no shortage," he concluded with a smile and escorted the general away.

"He didn't seem too pleased about the change of plan, did he," Major Carter commented, as we reclined on the floor cushions once more.

"Really?" Daniel asked. "I didn't notice."

"He seemed momentarily put out," Teal'c said, " but that is not so surprising when we have caused him to alter plans which are intended for our benefit."

"Plans which were arranged very quickly..." Major Carter pointed out.

"They're very efficient, you have to give them that," Daniel said.

She gave up her objections as the entertainment arrived. This consisted of a small troupe of dancers and an ensemble of musicians who treated us to something akin to a Bollywood musical. It certainly helped to pass the time pleasantly until the general returned. We got to our feet to welcome him.

"Hey kids," he said with a smug grin. "I'm back, better than ever! And look at this!"

He projected an image of himself up near the ceiling just like Razak had done earlier. His hologram then swooped around the chamber like Superman. "And anything I can do, you can do too," the holographic general sing-songed.

The image blinked out.

"Happy now, Major?"

"Hey, Jack," Daniel laughed, "you thinking of going into show business? You don't need your shades on indoors. Oh... those aren't your usual ones, are they?" he added taking a closer at the dark glasses.

He reached out to slide the glasses off the general's face. General O'Neill batted his hand away and the glasses went flying. Major Carter picked them up to return them to him. She gave him a hard stare as he grabbed them from her and hastily replaced them.

"I have to wear these for a few days until the graft is fully established," he explained quickly. "Please not to touch them again."

Major Carter seemed very disturbed for a moment, but the look quickly faded into thoughtfulness. Khadim reappeared soon after in order to take the rest of us down to receive this marvelous new bio-technology.

"Erm, excuse me, Khadim," said the voice of doom, "I'm awfully sorry to inconvenience you once again, but please could you re-schedule this until after we've made our sit. rep.— Um, we have to make periodic reports on our mission or else General Hammond gets worried and sends out a rescue party. He worries about us a lot. Thing is, we're having such a great time here that we quite lost track of time. And we can't wait to tell him about you and your kindness and - and everything..."

I was too taken aback to butt in and remind her that we were not due to make a sit. rep. for another six hours, but then it occurred to me that she might mean General Hammond in her own universe. Just for a moment, I thought it was a little strange as I couldn't recollect her leaving a message before we left, but decided it probably wasn't important.

"I'm afraid that would be very difficult," Khadim responded.

"Oh, we wouldn't be very long," she reassured him brightly.

"The implants may no longer be viable when you return," he warned us.

Daniel and I protested to her about the possibility of a lost opportunity and also of alienating our new friends, but she asked us to be calm, so we were happy to let her continue her representations to Khadim.

"Perhaps we could bring General Hammond back with us and arrange to open trade negotiations for more of your amazing implants in exchange for things we have that might be useful for you? I'm sure he'll be very interested in our report - which will be glowing - really, really glowing..."

I couldn't help thinking that the major was simpering there. Then she started making doe-eyes at Khadim! It made me think that those writers of hers had a lot to answer for!

Khadim did seem interested in the possibility of us involving General Hammond. That was a good thing, I thought. She hadn't offended Khadim too much with her fussing.

"Maybe I can interest the people in my universe too. Er, that may take a little longer though... A-And I also need to go back for - for - erm— For 'women's things'... You know...? I didn't like to mention it earlier, but um... I need them. Fairly urgently. And it's not like we're prisoners here, or anything, is it?" she concluded with a beaming smile.

So it was settled that Daniel and I would accompany Major Carter back to the Stargate while Teal'c remained with General O'Neill. When we returned, the rest of us would be given our implants. I for one couldn't wait!

As we left Mahishmati and set off in the direction of the 'Gate, Major Carter started singing, "I could have danced all night, I could have danced all night, and never asked for more... "

"We don't have to sing any more," I said. "We're friends with the Bharati people now."

"Well, isn't that a good reason to sing?" she asked.

"Can't argue with that, Samantha," Daniel grinned and happily joined in.

I surrendered to the majority verdict, so we ended up singing all the way back to the 'Gate.

When we arrived, Major Carter dialed up Earth. As the surface settled into its familiar calm ripples, Daniel put in the iris code. Then the major walked past the M.A.L.P. towards the event horizon.

"I thought we were just making a sit. rep." I said in surprise.

"You're forgetting the things I need," she reminded me. "Come on."

She took our hands as we joined her, and practically dragged us through the wormhole.

As we ambled down the ramp, Major Carter sprinted down to General Hammond, yelling, "Colonel Carter and Doctor Jackson have been compromised!"

There was an amazing urgency in her voice.

"Please, General, you have to take them into protective custody - just for a while."

General Hammond was sufficiently impressed to give the nod. Daniel and I stopped on our way down the ramp, mouths agape. A metallic clatter echoed round the 'Gate Room and we found a dozen weapons leveled at us.

"We don't have much time, General," she continued a little breathlessly. "General O'Neill has, in effect, been kidnaped. I need lab. access, an analytical chemist - and Doctor Fraiser."

I didn't hear any more as Daniel and I were taken away to the holding cells.

On to Part 2 of 'Missing'

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