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Killing The Cat
pegasus b
by Raven

PG, gen, humour. Back on the home front, all is not well.

It was like a sixth sense, or even a seventh one, or maybe more like the way a person’s name always catches their attention even from the other side of the room. Sam wasn’t even looking at the briefing-room window, but she recognised the way the light was playing across the wall in front of her, and she was on her feet and on her way to the control room by the time she heard the familiar announcement.

“Unscheduled gate activation! Incoming traveller!”

“Close the iris,” said Sam softly to the technician, and in the gateroom the panes of metal spun neatly into place.

“Who is returning, General Carter?” asked Teal’c with all his usual solemnity, coming up the stairs.

“I have no idea,” Sam said, staring at the dialling computer. It flickered as it registered an incoming transmission.

“It’s SG-1,” said the technician, then looked nonplussed. “SG-1?”

Sam considered for a moment, then pressed her hand down on the iris control panel. Down below the control room window, the defence team stood to attention, aiming their weapons resolutely at the newly visible event horizon.

It shimmered. A man stepped out, and there came the sound of a dozen guns being cocked. “Put your hands on your head!”

Sam stood still for moment, just watching, then walked briskly down towards the gateroom. Behind her, Teal’c kept pace. As the heavy doors opened to let her through, she shielded her eyes for a moment. “Who are you?” she said carefully.

The man stared at her, eyes wild. “Daniel Jackson, SG-1.” He pointed to the patch on his arm, then suddenly acquired an expression of resignation. “Oh, god. Not again.”

“SG-1,” Sam repeated, and nodded to herself. “Come with me, please,” she said, and her voice brooked no argument.

“No,” he said calmly, stepping away from any member of the defence team who attempted to lay a hand on him. “You’re not going to haul me in. I can tell you now I’m not a Goa’uld.”

“I do not believe you,” Teal’c said, and zatted him.

Once he had been sedated, given an MRI, certified free of Goa’uld infestation and had blood drawn for good measure, Janet sent the newcomer to the briefing room, where his presence had been specifically requested. “You’re the worst patient I’ve ever had,” she grumbled, then amended, “Maybe second worst.”

Daniel nodded understandingly and went.

Sam looked up as he entered. “Your test results confirm you’re human,” she said, wondering when saying something like that had begun to feel normal. “Still, I didn’t think you should be wandering around the base.

“Let me guess,” he said, sitting down. “You have no idea who I am.”

“Daniel Jackson, linguist, expert on cross-cultural pollination,” said Sam serenely, staring at him as intensely as she could whilst remaining polite. “Laughed out of academia eight years ago for some pretty radical theories and last seen en route to the Pegasus galaxy.”

His head landed on the desk. “Alternate reality,” he said. “It always happens. I touch something I shouldn’t, and bam, I’m in another universe.”

Sam smiled broadly. “I hoped you would say that. I’ve theorised about this before, and I wondered if any alien race had actually come up with technology that used the idea.”

“I’m glad someone’s happy about it.” He paused, and his eyes narrowed. “You’re not under attack by the Goa’uld, are you?

“No.” Off his look, she asked: “Should we be?”

“Just checking. Wait.” He had lifted his head again. “Did you say the Pegasus galaxy?”

“The lost city of Atlantis,” Sam said. “You’ve heard of it?”

“Yes!” Daniel looked straight at her. “It belonged to the Ancients. When I was one, I found the tablet in the pyramid at Abydos and we tracked it down to Antarctica before we realised the city wasn’t here at all.”

“It was in another galaxy,” Sam agreed. “Wait, you were an Ancient?”

“Kind of.” Daniel took off his glasses. “Technically, I ascended to a higher plane of existence. It’s a really, really long story.”

“I can imagine.”

“Yeah.” The subject change was natural, immediate. “So I take it you’ve never met me before? The other me, I mean?” He paused, and she knew to six decimal places what he was thinking.

“In passing, when the Atlantis expedition embarked. Certainly not eight years ago. In fact, Dr. Jackson, while the Stargate programme was aware of your existence beforehand, your recruitment on the Atlantis expedition six months ago was due to a recommendation made by one of the base physicists.”


“No.” Sam wondered at his assumption, then realised: he likes me, he respects me. And I – she – likes him. “His name is Rodney McKay.”

Daniel squinted. “You mean Sam’s lemon chicken guy?”

She laughed. “Excuse me?”

He had the grace to look embarrassed. “Sorry, that’s just what Jack and I called him. Our Sam, I mean the Sam that exists in my world, she’s the one who actually knows him. I don’t think I’ve ever met the man.”

“Ah.” Sam sat back in her chair and thought about it. “Dr. Jackson, I really hope you don’t mind me asking, but are you in any kind of long-term relationship?”

He frowned, but he answered the question. “Not at the moment. My wife died some years ago.”

“Your wife,” Sam repeated, and there was just the faintest shred of disbelief in her tone.

“Yes... I’m sorry, is that a problem?”

“The version of you in this universe has never been married,” Sam said diplomatically. “And I doubt he ever will be.”

“Wait a moment,” Daniel said. “When I came through the gate, how did you know I wasn’t him? Is he still alive?”

“As far as we know, he is, but we’ve had no contact with Atlantis since they left. You’re slightly different from him.” She only realised it as she said it, but it was true. This version of Daniel Jackson stood straighter and looked people in the eye. “Oh, and you’re wearing an SG-1 patch.”

“Ah.” Daniel sighed. “If he’s still alive, then I ought to leave here as soon as possible. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a visitor like me before” – she shook her head – “but there are these things called cascade tremors. They happen when there are two of the same person in the same world. It’s sort of like the universe sneezing.”

“Do you know how to get back to your universe?” Sam asked, and tried to hide the note of regret.

“There’s a planet.” He put his glasses back on. “It’s got a big mirror on it that looks like a slab of rock. Have you been there?”

“It doesn’t sound familiar,” she said.

“We called it a quantum mirror,” he persisted. “It lets you travel between universes.” He drew one of the notepads on the table towards him and began drawing.

“You memorised the coordinates?” she asked.

He didn’t look up. “You have no idea how often this sort of thing happens to me,” he said wryly, then pushed the pad across. “There.”

“We’ll run it through the computer,” she promised, and rose. He followed her to the doorway, where they were both met by Teal’c.

“I wish to apologise for shooting you, Dr. Jackson,” the Jaffa rumbled. “It appeared necessary at the time.”

“It’s okay, Teal’c. I’m used to it.” Daniel blinked. “You didn’t call me Daniel Jackson.”

“I do not understand.”

“Never mind.”

They descended the staircase into the control room, but while Sam stopped at the dialling computer, her guest wandered across to one of the other computers and sat down in front of it.

Once again, her internal voices pointed out the wisdom or lack of in allowing civilians into military operations. Out loud, she said: “What are you doing?”

He didn’t say anything. She left the gate address with the technician and moved to look over his shoulder. He was pulling up the personnel files, rapidly typing his own name.

“Last place of residence, Massachusetts,” Daniel read. “Formerly California. Texas. Michigan. Cairo. New York. Oxford.” He looked up at her. “Sorry, just morbid curiosity.”

“I think I’d do the same,” she said, and meant it. And then, because she had to ask, “What’s it like, your world?”

He shrugged. “Mostly like this, I guess. I’m on SG-1 of course, and so are you, and Teal’c and Jack...”

“You mentioned him before.” She gave up any pretence of hurrying him along and sat in the chair next to him. “Who is he?”

“You don’t know him.” Daniel’s voice was still, quiet. “Colonel Jack O’Neill. Team commander of SG-1.”

“I know him.” Sam knew her own voice matched his, but for different reasons. “You call him by his first name?”

“He’s my friend,” Daniel said, still quietly. “I’ve known him a long time.”

She held his gaze and didn’t think about what he had that she didn’t.

“Ma’am,” called a voice, and she turned. It was the technician behind her. “Ma’am, I’ve found it.”

“Show me,” she ordered, and Daniel joined her in crowding round the computer. The conversation they hadn’t had hung in the air, and she wished she could swat it away like she would a fly.

“The planet does exist,” said the technician, “and a team did visit it some years ago, but it was deemed unsafe. The surface is radioactive.”

“Teal’c saw a Goa’uld symbol, right?” Daniel asked. “He must have told you to turn back before you found the mirror. That’s where I need to go.”

Sam wondered at his blithe disregard of outside considerations. “If it’s radioactive, then...”

“Don’t worry,” he interrupted. “I won’t be there long and besides, it’s worth the risk if I can get home. And the sooner I go, the better.”

She nodded. “Cascade tremors. You mentioned them. Although I’d like to have seen one.”

“I hope that’s just scientific curiosity and not a genuine desire to make me suffer,” he said, but he was smiling.

“What, are they painful?”


Sam nodded. “Sergeant, are any teams expected back in the next hour or so?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Then dial up the planet.” She stopped, her air of authority deserting her suddenly. “Dr. Jackson, it’s been a pleasure meeting you.”

“You’ve already met me,” he pointed out as they began moving towards the gate room. “The real me, in fact.”

“Yes,” she said, but there was no certainty in the word. “I hope you reach safely.”

“So do I.”

Neither of them said anything as they made their way down. The last chevron lit up as they entered, and the rippling light made Daniel’s eyes seem even more blue. He lingered for a moment, then began clambering up the ramp. At the edge of the event horizon, he paused and turned back.

“About him,” he said. “The other Daniel Jackson.”

“Yeah?” she asked.

“He sounds like a total flake.”

She laughed and he disappeared. The surface of the wormhole flickered and stilled, as if no-one had ever been there.

After a minute, she went back towards the control room, step by careful step, and Teal’c met her in the corridor. “He has departed?” he asked.

“Yeah.” She stared at her boots. “Teal’c, I didn’t think I was supposed to like men outside of the military.”

Teal’c said nothing, merely looking wise. Behind them, the Stargate shut down.

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