Just a Small Experiment - Part Fifteen


Daniel sorted his thoughts and emotions out in his head before he met Sam in her lab as promised, then shared an enjoyable meal with the astrophysicist and her ward. However, a brief encounter with a somber Jonas - he was leaving the commissary as they were entering - had the descended man thinking about something other than the discussion at the table. Something about him had Jonas feeling melancholy if he was reading things correctly, and he found himself experiencing an intense desire to find out what that something was.

Once Sam and Danny had bid him farewell and headed back to the major’s lab, Daniel made his way to Jonas’ office with the help of the SF assigned to him. He knocked on the open door and entered when he was bid to do so. He moved over to the table where the other man was leaning over a thick, cracked stone tablet, staring at it intently and periodically referencing an open book that lay to the right of it.

“Oh! Doctor Jackson!” Jonas blurted in surprise when he looked up and saw who his visitor was.

“Hi, Jonas,” Daniel greeted him with a smile. “I hope I’m not disturbing you.”

“No, no, of course not!” Jonas said hurriedly. “How can I help you?”

Daniel gazed at him for a silent moment, taking in how nervous the other man seemed. “Do I bother you?” he asked finally.

Jonas blinked in surprise at the question. “Why would you ask?”

“You jumped about five feet into the air when you recognized me a minute ago, that’s one clue,” Daniel answered wryly. “As for another, both times when you saw me in the commissary your mood seemed to drop. Now I may not remember when and how we met, or what our relationship was like, but the signs aren’t pointing to anything very positive. What’s going on?”

“I’m not sure what to say,” the Kelownan said with hesitation. “If you haven’t remembered the way we met, it’ll be difficult to explain how I’m feeling right now.”

Daniel sighed and let his gaze fall to the tablet between the two of them. Suddenly Jonas’ behavior was pushed aside in his mind as the crystal blue eyes widened dramatically behind the wire-framed glasses. “What is this?” he breathed, quickly moving around the table to see the engraved stone right side up.

Jonas stepped back and his eyebrows rose at the odd actions. “Um, this is the tablet we brought back from Abydos, the one you helped us find under the pyramid. The location of a powerful weapon is supposed to be written here, but I haven’t been able to translate it yet.”

Daniel nodded distractedly, his eyes never leaving the Ancient text. “The Lost City,” he murmured. “This talks about a lost city.” He began to run his fingers along the grooves of the block that made up the letters of the alien language.

“Do you understand this?” Jonas asked, shocked.

“Yes,” the other man replied, still distracted.

“How do you know how to read this?”

Daniel shrugged. “I don’t know. I just do.” He leaned in for a closer look at one particular section, then glanced at the open book next to the tablet. He frowned. “What’s this?” he asked, pointing at the pages.

Jonas glanced at it. “That’s your journal. I’ve been using it to help me…”

“I was way off. I mean, this is totally wrong.” Daniel tilted his head slightly to the side. “Although I think I see why I went in this direction.”

“If you can read this, we can find the weapon,” Jonas said, starting to get excited. He paused. “We need to tell Colonel O’Neill.”

“Let’s wait on that,” Daniel said, still reading the engraved words slowly. He placed a hand on either side of the stone and leaned in for a closer look, briefly pausing to readjust the desk lamp that was providing a spotlight on the area.

“Did you find something?”

Daniel shrugged. “I’m not sure, but I think I should be before we run around getting everyone excited over something I may not be able to deliver.”

Jonas nodded. “Right.” His eyes drifted over to the now useless journal and stared at it for a long moment, wishing there was a way he could help. “Maybe there is,” he muttered, then went over to the bookshelf and pulled down another journal.

Daniel glanced at the other man when he opened the new book and started to flip through the pages. “What’s that?” he asked.

“I was thinking that maybe the Asgard were closer to accurately translating Ancient than you were, and I’d be able to help that way,” Jonas replied.

“It can’t hurt,” Daniel said with another shrug, then returned his attention to the tablet.

Jonas stopped turning pages when he reached the one he was looking for and looked it over. “You know, there’s something that never made sense to me. How could the Ancients lose one of their cities? And if they did, why would they call it the Lost City? Why wouldn’t they just call the city by its name?” He pointed at one of the words on the tablet. “There, lacune. According to this, that’s ‘of the lost’. City of the Lost makes more sense than the Lost City, don’t you think?” He snapped his fingers and continued before Daniel could say anything. “Wait a minute! You mentioned something about a city that was under construction when the plague that started to wipe out the Ancients began. What if that’s the city the tablet is talking about?”

Daniel looked up, blinking. “I mentioned that?”

“Well, there’s a reference in a partial translation you were working on from the library of the four races,” Jonas explained. Then he paused when he realized it wasn’t much of an explanation considering Daniel’s lack of memories. “Um, you’ll understand once you remember.”

“I’m sure I will.” Then Daniel shook his head. “But you’re wrong about the translation here. Lacune doesn’t mean ‘of the lost’; it means ‘to make lost’, approximately. I’m going to guess that the Ancients camouflaged the city to hide it from those people who would try to find it, then removed all references to it from their written history.”

“Oh.” Jonas dejectedly shut the journal he held.

Daniel gave him a smile. “It was a good thought, though.”

Jonas shrugged. “I suppose. But I guess I’m not going to be much help.”

“Well, I don’t know how I know the language, but I’d be happy to teach you how to read it,” Daniel offered.

“That would be great,” Jonas replied with a blossoming smile. “It shouldn’t take too long; I’m a quick study.”

“That’s good to know.” Daniel nodded at the tablet. “Let me take another look at this, since it’s supposed to be important, then we can start if you’d like. Unless you have something else planned.”

Jonas shook his head. “No, no, that would be fine. I was just going to work on the tablet anyway. Actually, while you look at that, I’ll look over a translation I did for SG-22. Just let me know when you’re ready.” He put away the journal in his hand then picked up a file from his desk as his companion returned his gaze to the tablet under the desk lamp.

Daniel barely noted the soft flip of papers beside him, caught up in reading about some of the Ancients reaching ascension. Not long after, a tingling sensation in his right hand drew his attention away. At first he dismissed the feeling, attributing it to the heat from the desk lamp that was directly above it. But then something clicked inside his mind, and he found he could do nothing more than stare wide-eyed at the back of that hand. He never noticed his gaze becoming distant and his focus turn inward.

It was the change in the sound of Daniel’s breathing that drew Jonas’ attention away from his review of the report for SG-22. He looked up and was shocked to see the other man standing stiffly, his eyes locked on his right hand. “Doctor Jackson?” he asked hesitantly, not sure what was going on. “Are you all right?” He started to reach out for him.

“Don’t touch me!” Daniel cried, twitching away. “Don’t…” He stepped backward, his hip sliding along the edge of the desk.

“Okay…” Jonas could finally see how unfocused Daniel’s gaze was, but didn’t know what was going on. He slowly drew his hand back.

Daniel was practically hyperventilating. He took another step back from Jonas, then cringed and drew his arms in close to his torso. With a low groan, he collapsed to the floor, his eyes squeezing tightly shut.

Jonas gasped in horror and snatched at the phone. Once he placed a frantic call to Janet in the infirmary, all he could do was wait, still utterly confused as to what was going on. Daniel had gotten a clean bill of health, hadn’t he? So what was this all about?

“What happened here?” Janet asked matter-of-factly as she and a couple members of her staff hurried in a few minutes later. She dropped to her knees beside her patient and began her examination.

“I’m not really sure. One second he was reading the tablet we brought back from Abydos, and the next he’s breathing heavily and staring blankly at his hand. When I tried to take a hold of his arm to bring him back to reality, he yelled at me not to touch him, then took a step back and collapsed. Then I called you.” Jonas never took his eyes off of Daniel throughout his explanation.

“Oh God, it hurts!” Daniel yelled as one of the nurses tried to check one of his arms for injury.

The nurse looked at Janet in confusion. “But I barely touched him,” she said helplessly.

Janet’s brows creased as she frowned in thought. “Daniel?” she asked gently, hoping she could draw her friend out. “Can you tell me what happened?”

Daniel’s eyes popped open, but they were as unfocused as they’d been before. “Is it time to change the bandages?” he whispered. Then he shook his head ever so slightly. “I don’t think it’ll be much longer. I can feel it.” He cringed and squeezed his eyes shut again.

“Daniel?” Janet gazed at him for another moment before realization dawned. “He’s reliving a memory!” she exclaimed. “Something so intense he’s been mentally drawn into it.”

“But what is he remembering?” Jonas asked.

Janet shot him a sympathetic look. “I can’t be sure, but I suspect it might be…”

Her sentence was cut off by a loud gasp from Daniel, followed by a heavy exhalation of air. Everyone in the room tensed as the man completely relaxed yet failed to take another breath for a long moment. Fortunately, another breath finally came, and he continued to breathe normally. After another minute, Daniel’s eyes fluttered open and focused on the redheaded doctor above him. “Janet?” he whispered. “What’s going on?”

The relief in the room was palpable. “We were hoping you could tell us, Daniel,” Janet replied with a soft smile. “Apparently you just collapsed, and Jonas called me in. Did you remember something?”

“Yeah, I think so,” Daniel said with a shudder. He considered it for a moment, then his eyes fell shut. “I remember the radiation poisoning.” He reopened his eyes as he turned his head and caught Jonas’ gaze. “I remember Kelowna.”

“You remember?” Jonas parroted, worried about what that meant.

“It wasn’t your fault,” Daniel said quietly but firmly.

“You can discuss it later,” Janet interrupted, beginning an examination of the prone man and taking note of the way he unconsciously flinched away from her touch. “For now I think I should take you back to the infirmary and make sure everything’s all right.”

Daniel frowned. “Are you sure I can’t just go back to my room and rest?” he asked. “I think I’m just wiped out from all the emotions I’ve relived today, that’s all. I don’t think there’s actually anything medically wrong with me.”

Janet smiled at him. “Well, I can see your reluctance to spend time in the infirmary is firmly back in place. How about you humor me and let me do a thorough examination? As long as everything comes out all right I’ll let you go back to your room.”

“Fair enough,” Daniel said with a sigh and sat up.

“Is this the first time you’ve had a memory come back so powerfully?” Janet asked as her nurses helped Daniel to his feet with just a bit of hesitation on his part.

“No, the second. I was talking with Sam earlier and remembered about my parents.” Daniel shuddered but quickly shook it off. “It wasn’t quite this bad, though. I didn’t get quite as caught up in it.”

Janet shook her head. “There are lots of reasons for that, I suppose. Do you know what triggered this one?”

Daniel considered it. “My hand. It was sitting directly under the desk lamp. When it got warm, I could feel a slight tingle, and it was like the flood gates opened.”

Janet nodded thoughtfully. “I see.” She paused for a moment. “I think I’d like you to talk to someone about this, even if it’s only once. This is a lot to deal with, and I want to make sure you’re going to be all right with it. I’ll talk to the psychiatric staff and set something up.”

Daniel tensed. “Are you sure I have to? I just… I don’t feel very comfortable with the idea for some reason. Something about the psychiatric staff…”

Janet tensed as well. “Are you remembering something else?”

“No, not exactly. The thought just makes me extremely uncomfortable. I don’t think I want to talk to the psychiatric staff.”

“I’d really feel better if you did, though,” Janet refuted.

“Um, Janet?” Jonas offered hesitantly. “If it’s really necessary, isn’t there a way Doctor Jackson could talk with Sabrina? She’s not part of the official staff, but she’s more than qualified.”

Janet blinked. “That might work.” She looked at Daniel. “Would that make you more comfortable, talking with someone outside the staff?”

Daniel started to let himself relax. “If you’re absolutely sure I need to talk with someone, I think that’s what I’d prefer.” He thought for a moment. “Sabrina… Are you talking about the psychologist that was brought in to help Sam and Daniel after what happened at the NID lab?”

“That’s her,” Jonas said, nodding.

“She’s very good at what she does,” Janet added. “I’ve talked with her a few times myself about what I saw at the lab, as well as a few other things.”

Jonas looked at her in surprise. “You have?”

Janet’s eyebrows rose. “You didn’t think you were the only one that was horrified by the sight in the bunkroom, did you? Sabrina offered to listen, and I took her up on it. It helped a lot.”

“She helped me, too,” one of the nurses said quietly.

Daniel looked around at each of them and sighed. “I’ll talk to her, if she’s willing. For now, though, could we get this examination out of the way so I can get some rest? These memories have really taken a lot out of me tonight.”

“Of course,” Janet replied, then led him and her people out of the office. Jonas hesitated for a moment, then followed. Something inside him needed to make sure everything was going to be all right.

* * * * * * * *

The rest of the evening went quickly. Janet found nothing physically wrong with Daniel, and so sent him to his quarters to rest as promised. Jonas, after quietly keeping Daniel company during his examination, went back to his office and started to work on a translation for SG-17. The stone tablet remained on the desk, untouched.

After breakfast the next morning, Sam stopped by Daniel’s room with the mission reports she had promised during dinner the night before. It was hoped by both she and Daniel that they would help trigger more memories. When she was told about Sabrina’s upcoming visit, she approved, reassuring Daniel that everything would be fine. Then she arranged to meet with him for lunch and headed off to complete a shortened list of possibilities for the refugees.

Around ten o’clock there was a knock at Daniel’s door. The man didn’t recognize the black-haired woman with an obvious Italian heritage standing there when he opened it, leading him to believe this was the famous Sabrina Marconi Janet had wanted him to talk to. “Hello,” he greeted her simply.

The woman smiled. “Hello. I’m Doctor Sabrina Marconi,” she said, confirming his suspicions. “Doctor Fraiser asked me to stop by, assuming you’re Daniel Jackson.”

“That would be me,” Daniel agreed, relaxing a bit at the casual tone. He stepped aside. “Why don’t you come in?”

“Thanks,” Sabrina replied as she moved inside. She watched as Daniel closed the door behind her. “Janet mentioned you weren’t exactly looking forward to this.”

“Um, yeah,” Daniel admitted, drawing out the words slightly. “I can’t completely explain it, but something about psychiatrists makes me uncomfortable.”

Sabrina nodded. “Did you get back any memories that would explain that?”

Daniel tensed for a second then relaxed as realization came. “Ah, you were told about my lack of memories.” He shook his head. “Well, um, no, I haven’t gotten back anything clear that would explain how I’m feeling.”

Sabrina nodded again and gave him a half-smile. “Why don’t we sit down so we can be comfortable while we talk?”

“Sure.” Daniel looked around then cleared the books off of a chair. He sat on the edge of the bed once Sabrina had seated herself. “Where do you want to start?”

The psychologist took a deep breath before she answered. “Well, I suppose we can start with the memories you got back last night. We can decide where to go from there.”

Daniel told her about the memories of Kelowna, and of his death and ascension, the psychologist gently leading him through the details at a pace he set. Part of him noted in pleasant surprise the way she merely listened, asking questions only when necessary, never making him feel judged or like he was being evaluated. It felt more like she just wanted to know what happened than she was gathering information to make a diagnosis. The difference made memories start to tickle the back of his mind; he’d let himself dig into them later.

“Wow,” Sabrina said in awe once Daniel had finished, shaking her head slowly. “That is an experience I don’t think I can even imagine, and I have a pretty good imagination.”

“Trust me, you’re not missing much,” Daniel said wryly.

Sabrina gave him a smile, then let the expression fade as she cocked her head to the side in thought. “I’m really getting the impression you’re okay with all that, as much as you can be,” she said after a moment. “Now what I’m trying to figure out is how. I mean, this wasn’t just a near-death experience, this was actual death…”

Daniel held up a hand to stop her. “First of all, to me it wasn’t dying exactly. It was a release of my physical body so my consciousness could ascend to a higher plane of existence. I did feel my body take its last breath, but it ended up being a seamless transition, no definitive break. It was an end to the pain, and it was liberating beyond anything you can imagine.” He gave her a rueful half-smile. “Well, it was liberating to begin with at any rate. Apparently there were some very restrictive rules I just couldn’t follow after a while.” He blew out a breath and shook his head. “Second, I’ve had time for everything to settle in my mind,” he continued. “The way things seem to be working when I get a memory back is that I feel all the emotions that come with it like it just happened, but then they fade quickly as the piece falls into place. Now I can’t be sure what happened between then and now, but no matter what it’s been over a year, and I was doing something during that time.”

Sabrina nodded. “Ascension sounds absolutely incredible. Not something I’m sure I could sign up for, considering my tendency to meddle in the affairs of others, but still incredible.” She gave him an impish wink then returned to the more important matter at hand. “So at first the memories are like you’re experiencing everything for the first time, and then it’s like the way it would feel currently if all your memories were in place.”

“That’s right.”

“That’s quite a roller coaster you’ve got going for yourself.”

“I’d rather be riding it than not. Trust me when I say you don’t ever want to live without any knowledge of who you are or where you came from.”

Sabrina blinked at the intensity of Daniel’s tone. “I can believe it,” she said softly.

Daniel sighed. “Now all I have to worry about is getting all my memories back.”

“Considering where you were three days ago, I’d say chances are pretty good they’ll all be back. And probably relatively quickly. Mind you, had someone asked me prior to this about how quickly memories would return, I never would have given this kind of timeline, if I bothered to give one at all. Your experience goes completely against what I learned in school.” Sabrina’s mouth twisted into an amused smirk. “I love it when Doctor Alexander is proven not to know everything like he thinks he does.”

“I have a feeling my experience goes against a lot of things people on Earth think they know for certain,” Daniel said with a chuckle.

Sabrina nodded. “Very true. Then again, I’d say that about most things that I’ve encountered here.”

“What do you do when you’re not straightening out the heads of galactic explorers?” Daniel asked.

“I work for the CIA,” Sabrina answered with a laugh. “In between assignments I help straighten out the heads of international agents.”

“In between assignments?” Daniel repeated. “You’re an agent?”

Sabrina nodded. “I can’t tell you exactly what kind of assignments I go on, but I am an agent. That’s how I got the clearance to come here as quickly as I did.”

Daniel blinked. “Those must be some interesting assignments if you can take everything that happens here in stride like you apparently are,” he commented.

“You could say that,” she said with an enigmatic expression, inwardly surprised at the man’s ability to recognize her sense of ease so quickly, especially when no one else had.

“But you can’t tell me, I know,” Daniel said in a reassuring tone. “I won’t pry, I promise.”

“I didn’t think you would.”

Daniel smiled. “So, Doctor, did our conversation reveal anything wrong with me?”

Sabrina laughed. “No, Doctor Jackson, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you. In fact, I think you’re a lot better off than any number of people out there.” She pushed herself to her feet, Daniel following suit. “Just keep in mind there are people here who are willing to listen when these memories and the emotions that come with them hit you - and that includes me. And if you need to vent about anything else, anything that lingers or bugs you or whatever, feel free to give me a call. No charge.”

Daniel’s smile turned grateful and he shook the psychologist’s hand. “Thank you, Doctor Marconi. I just might take you up on that offer. And it’s actually a relief to know you think I’m all right.”

“Call me Sabrina. Like with the rest of SG-1, I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more of each other. And you’re more than welcome.”

“And you can call me Daniel.”

“I’ll see you around, Daniel. I’m going to go check in with Janet and let her know you’re okay, then I might pop in to see Sam and Danny.”

Daniel nodded. “I’ll see you later, Sabrina. It was nice talking with you.” She smiled and winked, then he watched her go, closing the door behind herself. He gave a small chuckle, checked the time, then decided to read a mission report or two before heading to Sam’s lab as planned. His morning had definitely gone better than expected.

* * * * * * * *

The next few days went by relatively uneventfully. Daniel continued to read SG-1’s mission reports and gain back huge chunks of his memory as he did. Periodically he took breaks and joined Jonas to try to finish deciphering the Ancient tablet, teaching the Kelownan the language as they went along. SG-1 and Danny met up for meals in the commissary, reforging and strengthening the bonds they shared.

Friday morning dawned as days on Earth usually did, and things at the SGC transitioned from the night shift to the day with no complications. Sam and Danny came in at eight, the physicist looking forward to starting a new project since the refugees had been moved to their new home the day before, SG-12 and 18 sent along to help them set up everything they were going to need. Daniel was still teaching Jonas the language of the Ancients, unsurprised at the speed at which the alien was picking it up since he remembered their conversations on Kelowna. Teal’c worked with the marines during their morning drills, Colonel Reynolds happy with the increased challenge the Jaffa presented for his men.

At his home in a quiet neighborhood of Colorado Springs, Jack O’Neill dragged himself out of bed a couple of hours before he was due at the base and blearily trudged into the bathroom to start his morning rituals. With his eyes practically shut he relieved himself and washed his hands. It was only when he shut the mirrored door of his medicine cabinet, razor and shaving cream in hand, and met his gaze with a gusty sigh that he finally realized there was a problem. And it was a huge one.

Brown eyes widening dramatically as he dropped the items he held, Jack spun and dashed out of the bathroom back to the bedroom. Well, he tried to dash at any rate. His extremely loose sweat pants slipped down his hips, causing him to stumble and roll gracelessly into the room that was his destination. Lying unhurt and spread-eagle on the carpet, he scowled up at the ceiling. This figured. This just freaking figured.

A quick mental argument with himself had him deciding against a call to the mountain. It would just be a waste of time. There was no way anyone was going to believe this without seeing it in person; hell, he had a hard time believing it and he was living it! But he had to get to Carter and Fraiser. They were the only ones he trusted to get to the bottom of this crap.

And he’d better get a move on. Thinking of little Danny and the kinds of alien technology the rogue group of the NID could possibly have at their disposal, Jack realized he was surprisingly vulnerable at that moment. He reached down, yanked up his sweatpants, and scrambled to his feet. Once he was dressed, he’d drive himself to the mountain, his eyes open for threats as he went.

He couldn’t help but smirk. His friends’ reactions when he got to the SGC were going to be absolutely priceless.

* * * * * * * *

Sam had just entered her starting parameters for her new experiment when an airman knocked on her open door and told her General Hammond was requesting her presence on level sixteen. “What is this about, Airman?” Sam asked, a bit confused. If the general wanted to see her, why wasn’t she meeting him in his office?

The man shrugged. “I don’t know the particulars, Ma’am, but I do know the general is on level sixteen dealing with the source of a security breach.”

“Security breach!” Sam yelped. She straightened to her full height. “Let General Hammond know I’ll be there as soon as possible.” The airman nodded and disappeared from the doorway. She turned to Danny, who had sat at his computer silently listening to the exchange. “Will you be all right here while I take care of this, or should I call Janet and have her come sit with you?”

“How long will you be gone?” Danny asked quietly.

“I can’t be sure.” Sam shook her head. “I’ll call Janet. Will you be okay until she gets here?”

Danny nodded. “I’ll be okay alone until then. You should go. General Hammond needs you.”

Sam smiled and came over to him to wrap him up in a hug. “You are so wonderful, I want you to know that,” she told him before planting a kiss to the top of his head.

Danny relished the warm feeling the declaration produced in him. He watched with a satisfied smile as Sam quickly placed a call to the infirmary and made her request. Sam had said she loved him. If this was how her love made him feel, he decided he liked it.

With one last smile and kiss to the top of Danny’s head, Sam hurried out of the lab and to the elevator. There’d been a security breach. She shook her head as she stepped inside the elevator, glad she was alone. It couldn’t have been incredibly huge, as the alarms hadn’t gone off and she hadn’t been summoned directly and immediately to help.

Thinking of that, she had to admit it was odd the order had come from the general and not Colonel O’Neill. Was her immediate commanding officer also on his way? Had something held him up?

There was no more time to consider the questions when the elevator’s doors opened and General Hammond was standing there. “General, what’s this all about?” she asked as she stepped out of the car.

“At oh-nine-twenty this morning, someone tried to enter the base using this.” Hammond handed Sam a plastic bag as the two of them began to walk down the hallway.

“Colonel O’Neill’s security ID,” Sam said, gazing at the card, her eyes widening slightly. Well, that explained why the general had called her. Or so she thought.

“After the person in question was taken into custody, he insisted on seeing you.”

Sam blinked as they stopped in front of a closed door being guarded by a pair of SFs. She looked at the base commander. “Me? Why?”

Hammond returned her gaze with a small, wry smile. “Well, I was hoping you could figure that one out, Major.” He looked at one of the guards. “Open it,” he ordered, gesturing to the door.

Sam did her best to keep her expression neutral as she followed Hammond into the room once the door was open. She was forced to quickly control the involuntary widening of her eyes when she saw who was responsible for the security breach. Stretched out on the bed, upper body cushioned by a pillow against the wall, arms and ankles crossed, was a teenaged boy, an expression of exasperation on his youthful features. His hair was short and light brown, his eyes a matching shade, and he wore a tan jacket, brown plaid shirt over a grey T-shirt, blue jeans, and black tennis shoes - all a couple sizes too large.

The boy sprang to his feet when he saw his visitors. “Thank you. Now we’re getting somewhere,” the boy said, his tone matching his previous expression. He looked at the SF just inside the door. “Sergeant, do you think I could finally get that coffee I asked for half an hour ago? Do you?”

Hammond’s eyebrows rose when he heard the sudden lack of hostility in the question; the teenager just sounded tired. He gave the waiting SF a nod and the man was off.

“He’s a boy, sir,” Sam said to the general in shock, turning away from the kid.

“Yeah, Carter, I am,” the boy said in the same tired tone. “Although hopefully not for too much longer.”

Sam’s head snapped back to him, and she couldn’t quite hold back an amused half-smile. “Do I know you?”

The kid’s eyebrows rose. “Do you think I would have requested your presence and referred to you by name if I didn’t?” he asked. He released a loud explosion of breath where there was no response. “Damn it, it’s me!” he exclaimed.

Sam’s expression turned skeptical as Hammond looked at her. “We tried to contact Colonel O’Neill, even sent someone to his house,” he told her. “No luck.”

“Well, it would be hard for me to answer the phone or the door when I’m here,” the kid muttered, crossing his arms over his chest once again.

“Do you understand how much trouble you’re in right now?” Sam asked him sternly, a little bit of fear starting to form for her CO and friend. “Impersonating a military officer is a federal offense.”

“I’m not impersonating anyone,” the boy declared and flung his arms out, frustrated. “I’m Jack O’Neill. Check my fingerprints, check my DNA, just… do something!”

Sam and Hammond shared a dubious look.

The teenager sighed and let his arms drop to his sides. “Why is it after a year of not seeing them you can look into the squirt’s eyes and recognize Daniel in them, but you look at me and not see anything?” he asked, his voice tired once again. “I just saw you yesterday! Stopped by the lab and everything to say goodbye for the night!”

Sam drew back slightly, eyes widening. “What exactly do you mean by that?”

“You know what I mean by that. Look, last night I ate some dinner, had a beer, went to bed, and woke up like this. Let me tell you, I was just as surprised as you are.” He looked like he was going to continue, but he closed his mouth as two new visitors arrived.

“General, Sam,” Daniel greeted the two stunned adults as he and Jonas joined them. He got a look at the teenage boy and his eyebrows rose. “This is the security breach?” he asked, surprised.

“This young man claims he’s Colonel O’Neill,” the general told him.

Daniel shared a look with Jonas. “It’s a joke, right?”

The boy let out another explosive breath. “Daniel!” he cried in an exasperated tone.

Daniel jerked his eyes back to the teenager. “Sounds like him. At least the loud, grating parts.” He blinked when he got a familiar glare aimed at him.

“Did anyone try to get a hold of the colonel?” Jonas asked.

Hammond nodded. “Nothing.”

“I meant what I said before, Carter,” the boy said. “I’m a bit offended that you don’t see Space Monkey here for a year and still recognize his eyes in a fraction of a second in that lab, but you see me only yesterday and nothing.” His expression turned serious. “Wanna try again?”

“Space Monkey,” Daniel whispered as he and the others drew back a half step.

Teal’c stepped into the room just at that moment and moved directly in front of the boy, who didn’t even flinch. “How is it you have such knowledge?” he asked after a long silent moment.

The boy smirked. “I thought it would be obvious, Teal’c. I’m Jack O’Neill.”

The Jaffa turned around and faced the others. “Does he speak the truth?” he asked.

Sam stood to the side, her eyes switching from the picture on the ID she still held and the teenager in front of them. Yes, there was something familiar there, but she wasn’t quite willing to bet the farm on it…

“Give us a little time to talk it over,” she said suddenly, meeting the young man’s gaze. “We’ll be back soon and take care of things when we’re finished.”

“Fair enough, Major,” the boy said after a brief pause, the corners of his mouth twitching upward and a blossoming relief springing up in his eyes. “I’ll just wait here.” He went back over to the bed and resumed his former position, this time with his eyes closed. Sam led the others out.

“Space Monkey,” Daniel repeated once the door had closed and the five of them had taken a few steps down the hall. “The only person who’s ever called me that was Jack, and he hasn’t done it for years.”

“Maybe we should do those tests,” Jonas suggested as the SF that had left earlier headed back toward the room with a steaming cup.

Hammond frowned. “I’d hate to waste the resources if this turns out to just be an elaborate prank.”

One of Teal’c’s eyebrows rose. “The child is aware of what occurred at the lab in Northern Colorado.”

“And would anyone care to speculate how a boy could be aware of such classified details?” Hammond asked. “If this isn’t the colonel, I need to know how this kind of security breach could happen.”

“Well, sir, it could really be him,” Sam said, thinking of those eyes.

“There is a physical resemblance,” Daniel agreed.

The general shook his head, his expression conflicted between wanting to believe and needing to cover all of the bases. “But he can’t be more than fifteen years old. Are you saying Colonel O’Neill has somehow regressed more than thirty years overnight?”

Daniel shrugged. “Stranger things have happened.”

“Name but one,” Teal’c said simply.

“Well, there was the time he got really old, the time he became a caveman, the time we all swapped bodies…”

“The time Sam had her consciousness transferred into a giant supercomputer,” Jonas added.

Before anyone could say anything further, a loud exclamation from the room they had left rang out. “Hot chocolate! Are you kidding me?”

The five of them looked at each other and smiled, a bit of the tension broken. “I think we can move on to the testing portion of this exercise,” Hammond said.

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