Author: ocean gazer: email@example.com
Date: Feb.-May 2001 (ok, so it was a really slooooow writing
Category: um � well � I have no idea �
Pairing: Sam and Janet, established relationship
Spoilers: relatively minor ones for One False Step
Season: set in season two, sometime after the above mentioned
Archive: PR, Singularity, Area52 � yes.
Summary: When Carter acts strangely after a mission, it�s left
to Fraiser to find out why.
Disclaimer: Though I love the characters dearly, they aren�t
mine. They belong to a whole gob of really nice folks like
Showtime and MGM and Gekko and assorted others. I�m simply
borrowing them to keep myself entertained, and promise to play
nicely with them and put them back when I�m done. I do this
for love, not money; the above-mentioned owners are invited to
steal rather than sue. (Please?)
Author�s Notes: Ok, so blame this one on "Doctor Who and
The Android Invasion" � I took a bare kernel of an idea
and warped the idea and came up with this. As always, feedback
is welcome, and constructive criticism is great. Thanks go to
Barb and Phil, just because.
PS to DW fans�I did mention I warped the idea a lot, didn�t
I? Please don�t hurt me.
"Hey good looking!"
Janet Fraiser looked up from her research file and did a slow pivot
when she heard those words spoken in Sam Carter�s familiar voice; she
was taken off guard, to say the least, by the unexpected entrance. The
blonde captain sauntered up to her side, draped an arm around her
shoulder, and added, "Have you got anything cooking that I should
Janet raised an eyebrow at the greeting and gave a sharp jerk of the
head to indicate the security cameras planted at random intervals around
this section of the infirmary. Luckily they were not in the sights of
one, and the vocal recording capabilities were somewhat muted, but there
was no sense in tempting fate. And showing their affection on video
would definitely qualify as tempting fate as far as their respective
careers were concerned.
Moving slightly away from Carter, she hissed in a low voice,
"Have you forgotten about all the security cameras installed down
Carter glanced up, reflexively, her gaze clouded. She shook her head,
as if to clear it, sighed heavily, and glanced at Janet. "It is
just really nice to see you. We just were released from the post mission
exams, and Doctor Warner told me you were in the lab doing some
research. I wanted to have a few minutes with you before we de-brief
with General Hammond, just to hear your voice and see your face."
"It�s nice to see you too, Sam," Janet managed in a quiet
voice. "But we need to be careful to not give anyone the wrong
Sam sighed again and leaned against the bed rail at her back.
"Or the right idea, as the case may be."
Janet narrowed her eyes as she regarded the woman, who was looking
decidedly dejected. The strain of keeping their relationship hidden was
not a new one, but ironically enough, she was usually the one feeling
depressed about it while Sam worried about her.
That irony sent a stab of concern through Janet, and her automatic
instinct was to reach out and put a hand to Carter�s forehead to check
for fever. She knew perfectly well that her medical staff would not have
released the woman if there were any questions about her health, but the
urge to double check anyway was too strong to ignore. As much as Fraiser
trusted in and relied on her staff, she usually felt better when she
could see things with her own eyes rather than read them on the dry
pages of a report.
The object of her concern chuckled unexpectedly and said softly,
"I am fine, really. I have just missed you so much."
Fraiser met the laugh with a laugh of her own. "You�ve only
been gone three days." Noting the puppy dog look that met her
words, she added in a hasty whisper, "I�ve missed you too, but we
have to be careful while we�re here. You know that as well as I
The captain offered another profound sigh and Janet felt a sudden
sense of both discomfort and perverse amusement at the woman�s display
of emotion. She was not used to seeing strong, confident, rational
Samantha Carter looking so out of her depth--well, at least not at the
SGC. In the privacy of Janet�s home, away from critical military eyes,
and exploring the largely unfamiliar worlds of intimacy and love, Sam
often looked a little lost and overwhelmed. The innocence of the woman�s
reactions was one of the things Janet found so appealing about her--but
it seemed wholly out of place and uncomfortable when it crossed into
their working environment.
She tamped down her amusement and pushed away the discomfort, sternly
reminding herself where they were and adding a professional tone to her
voice. "So, Captain, is there something I can do for you?"
Carter glanced up and shook her head briefly as she regarded Janet
carefully. "No, I just wanted to say hi." The puppy dog look
still hung on her features, but she seemed to finally remember just
where she was.
Janet nodded her head, and then heard the approach of heavy footsteps
coming rapidly down the corridor to the lab. She quickly offered a
silent "thank you" for the few seconds of warning, and backed
away from Carter, holding her clipboard in front of her as an additional
distancing tool. Just as a pair of Marines entered the room, Janet said,
"Thanks for checking in with me, Captain. Glad to hear you all made
it back from a mission with no scrapes and bruises for a change."
The marines snickered at that, which was the reaction Janet had hoped
for. She wanted them too distracted to wonder why Sam was here with her,
since she was not the doctor on duty and since it was not Carter�s
usual routine to make social visits before a de-briefing. (One of the
joys of being part of a relatively secluded military unit was that it
closely resembled a small town in that people�s habits and routines
were fairly well known.) And it was a source of many a joke that at
least one member of SG1 could get hurt on even the most innocuous
Sam seemed to finally have gotten herself together as she said,
"I just thought you would like to know that we behaved ourselves
for a change. Anyhow, I have to go, so I will talk to you later."
She started to edge out of the room and Janet called after her,
"Don�t forget, you�re supposed to come over this afternoon and
help me paint Cassie�s room while she�s on that overnight field
trip. Come back down after the de-briefing and you can ride home with
Sam nodded and then made her way down the hallway. Janet turned her
attention back to the still snickering Marines. They both shot her their
best innocent looks.
"Now, now boys," she chastised gently, "it isn�t
nice to laugh at the misfortunes of others. SG1 can�t help it that
they seem to have bad luck anytime they step through the Stargate."
Actually, she mused, it really wasn�t even a team problem--it was just
that Daniel, in particular, and O�Neill couldn�t seem to go more
than a day without a mishap.
One of the men sobered up under her rebuke, but the other continued
snickering evilly. Janet rolled her eyes, starting to feel a little
exasperated at the reaction, even if she HAD instigated it. The sober
man noticed her reaction, elbowed his companion sharply in the ribs to
shut him up, and asked quickly, "So, painting Cassie�s room, huh?
How�s she doing anyway?"
Seeing the keen interest on his face, Janet launched into the sort of
tales spun by proud mothers everywhere, pushing her mild concern about
Sam to the back of her mind for the moment.
"I have no idea what came over me. I am really sorry,
Janet," Sam apologized for what the doctor estimated was the tenth
time in twenty minutes.
She didn�t answer for a moment, preoccupied with not running over
Cassie�s dog where it lay sprawled in the driveway, completely
oblivious to the car�s approach. Janet swore under her breath but
managed to avoid any canine death or dismemberment.
She looked over at Sam, who was staring distractedly out the window.
For the tenth time, Janet said, "It�s not that big a deal, Sam.
We just need to be really careful." She studied the blonde for a
long minute, feeling like there was something else she should say to put
the woman�s mind at ease. The problem was that she had no idea what to
She�d never seen her lover so preoccupied by something that didn�t
involve either mathematics or astrophysics. Not that Sam couldn�t
dwell on things with the best of them, but she usually kept those kinds
of reactions to herself a little more. And not that Janet was
complaining, she just felt as if something in their relationship had
shifted over the past few days and she needed time to learn how to
respond. That was one of the things about being in love that people too
often glossed over, she mused quietly, that it took learning to know how
to relate to someone on such a deep level.
After a long moment of silence, Janet reached out and let her hand
rest lightly on top of Sam�s hand. "I am really flattered by how
strongly you care about me, you know, by the fact that you had a hard
time keeping up the pretense for a moment." She felt a sense of
relief that she seemed to have hit the right thing to say when the blue
eyes swung her direction and the other woman�s face lost some of its
tightness. With a hint of teasing in her voice, she continued, "And
once we walk in the door, we don�t have to pretend anymore."
A smile was her reward and she squeezed Carter�s hand tightly. The
women clambered out of the car, each taking charge of a can of paint for
their afternoon project. They started up the walkway, and the dog ran up
to greet them, only to howl abruptly, bark menacingly, and race as far
away from them as its chain would allow.
Muttering several choice words under her breath, Janet handed the
paint to Sam, ushered her into the house, and grabbed hold of the leash
to escort the dog into the backyard. Not for the first time, she cursed
O�Neill under her breath for the gift to Cassie. The girl loved the
dog and tried to be responsible, but as with parents everywhere, Janet
ended up far too often being the one to remember those minor details
like food and water and playtime.
As she locked the gate and walked to the door, she mused, "And
here I had such misguided fairy tale pictures of the house with the
white picket fence and the perfect family, complete with the sweet and
lovable family dog."
Walking into the house, she found herself swept off her feet and into
a twirling embrace. It was just like the ones depicted in movies, only
with the added elements of dizziness and light-headedness. Janet tapped
hard on Sam�s shoulder, and with a muffled apology, the woman set her
Janet let herself lean into the woman�s warm arms, letting her head
rest against Sam�s shoulder and feeling the warmth of the other woman�s
breath against the back of her neck. She felt the soft lips pressing
kisses into her hair, and the blonde�s hands were caressing her back,
pulling her closer.
Janet allowed herself some time to enjoy the rare mid-day moment
before untangling herself from the embrace. The disappointment stood out
clearly on Sam�s face and Janet let her hand wander up to stroke her
cheek gently. Not for the first time, she felt a sense of wonder that
someone as talented and intelligent as Samantha Carter had the slightest
bit of interest in her.
"I have missed you, Sam," she offered softly, still
stroking the woman�s cheek. "And I promise you that this evening
and tonight we will more than make up for the three days of being apart.
But you know as well as I do that we�ve got some work to get done
first." The blonde reached out to trace lightly over Janet�s
breast and her breathing sounded ragged to Janet�s ears. A sudden heat
flooded the blue eyes and Janet had the unnerving sense that Carter was
barely in control of her feelings.
She stepped back, partly to give her words more impact, and partly to
study the woman. It wasn�t like Sam to be so � well � lustful. It
wasn�t that she was incapable of being very sensual and very much into
lovemaking, just that she did not usually have any problem saving such
activities for an appropriate time and place. She was a military officer
who had been raised by a soldier�thus duty came first for Carter, no
matter whether it was a mission to some other planet or cleaning the
bathroom. Janet couldn�t put her finger on the problem, but something
just didn�t feel right.
Briefly she wondered if something off-the-record had happened on the
mission that had gotten under the woman�s skin. It wouldn�t be the
first time that an off-color O�Neill joke or a smugly superior Daniel
comment had gotten to her, no matter how hard she tried not to pay
attention. For all her emotional distance from others, Sam had a
sensitive streak a mile wide, both with regard to other people�s
feelings and with regard to being hurt by others.
"C�mon, Sam," she stated, willing the other woman to snap
out of it. "We need to get this painting done sooner rather than
later so that it�ll be dry by the time Cassie comes home tomorrow. You
know how much she�ll want to move all her stuff back in and rearrange
her space, and put up new posters of whichever boy band is popular this
The blonde didn�t say anything and didn�t even chuckle at the
reminder of Cassie�s rather undeveloped musical tastes, but finally
nodded after a long moment. Janet let out a breath she hadn�t been
aware of holding. "Are you okay, Sam?" she asked as gently as
possible. "You seem a little tense."
Carter squared her shoulders and took a deep breath. "I just
really want to be with you. I missed you a lot while I was away. I just
want to have sex with you so very much."
Janet felt a smile tugging the corners of her mouth, her thoughts
floating to how much she cared for this very special woman. And she
thought to herself that the intensity of Sam�s reaction was quite a
compliment, since she�d never quite seen this bold and needy side of
her lover. "I do want you too, you know. Just� well� we can�t
do this yet. Think how much better it will be later when we�ve had all
afternoon to anticipate it." She saw the hint of a smile on the
blonde�s face and continued, "Now, let�s go get a couple of
buckets of water and get this chore over with so we can have time to
She led the way into the kitchen, and bent down to retrieve the
buckets from underneath the sink. And then strong arms picked her up,
lifted her, and set her down. Before she could even voice a protest or
figure out what had happened, Janet found herself sitting on the table
top, her legs spread apart with Sam wedged in between them, and an
insistent mouth kissing her shoulder where her shirt had been slipped
"Sam," she barked sharply, "what are you doing? Knock
"You said that you want me too," the blonde muttered into
Anger, worry, and desire warred for control of Janet�s emotions.
She struggled to get the words out, very aware of the warmth of the body
pressed close to her own. "I do, but not here, not like this. And
not right now."
Sam tightened her hold on Janet, ripping her shirt completely open,
and pressing her mouth hard against the newly revealed flesh. The doctor
struggled to escape the grasp, surprised at just how strong the other
woman seemed. She knew Carter was strong, but never had that strength
been used against her, and she would never have imagined it being used
She protested with all her might, but the blonde ignored her, still
kissing insistently, while a small part of Janet�s brain kicked into
full-blown panic mode at the lack of effect her words had on the woman.
Coupled with the earlier impression she�d had that Sam was not
entirely herself, Janet wasn�t sure what exactly to expect, knowing
only that the woman was thinking with hormones alone. Fueled with sudden
fear, she pounded her fists against the other woman�s face and arms,
to no effect. Carter grabbed hold of her hands and pinned her arms to
her sides, leaving Janet struggling futilely to escape the hard hold.
And then Carter began to talk, her voice full of desire, telling her
all the things she was going to do to her, all the ways she was going to
lick and bite and touch, how she was going to make Janet scream. Janet
sat shock still, her mind spinning, unable to form a coherent thought
for a long minute. And then�
With the swiftness of an electric shock, her brain kicked back into
gear. �Did Sam just say she was going to f*** me? SAM just said F***?
Did she just say she was going to MAKE me�? What the�?�
She reached blindly behind her--having finally freed one arm--grabbed
the heavy skillet from the stove top, and brought it down as hard as she
could on the back of Carter�s head. With a slight grunt, the woman
fell forward against Janet before sliding bonelessly down to the floor.
Janet pulled her torn shirt around her as best she could, and looked
down at the woman she had just knocked out. She wasn�t sure of much at
the moment, but she knew with no shadow of doubt that whoever was lying
unconscious in her kitchen was NOT Samantha Carter.
She stood staring down at the unconscious body, trying to figure out
what to do about it. Well, actually, she knew what she had to do about
it: she had to get the woman back to the SGC so they could figure out
who she was and where she came from. That part would be easy, just pick
up the phone and summon a containment team. What Janet didn�t know how
to do was explain how she knew the woman wasn�t Sam.
She couldn�t very well call General Hammond and say, "Sir, I
know there�s an imposter here because Sam was acting totally out of
character when she tried to make love to me." No, that would be a
quick and painful path to complete humiliation. She had to think, had to
find some sort of plausible deniability that would prove her point
without revealing their relationship.
"Ding", chimed the doorbell, the sound causing Janet to
start in alarm. She stayed perfectly still for a long moment, not
wanting to deal with visitors, feeling a bizarre sense of guilt over
having an unconscious body in her kitchen, as if somehow the person at
the door knew about it.
"Ding," chimed the doorbell, the sound louder somehow and
much more insistent. Janet did a series of mental exercises, trying to
fathom who on earth would be at her house. Then panic mode struck as she
wondered if it was about Cassie somehow, if something had happened to
her daughter. She was too off-kilter by recent events to remember that
Cassie was out of town and any bad news about her would be relayed via
She ran out of the kitchen and went to the door, momentarily
forgetting that her shirt was torn and perhaps answering the door wasn�t
the brightest of ideas. She didn�t even glance through the peephole,
her mental processes fogged by the thoughts of Cassie lying dead in a
ditch and of not-Sam lying dead-to-the-world in her kitchen.
"Daniel," she breathed with relief when the open door
revealed his frame--relief because he was the last person in the world
who would be here with bad news about her daughter.
"Hello there," he responded simply, his eyes going over her
Now that her moment of panic was over, she remembered her ripped
shirt, cursed under her breath, and decided that this just was not her
day. Before she could even begin to think of a usable excuse for her
appearance, Daniel surprised her by fingering a ripped edge of fabric
and saying softly, "I see Sam is already here."
"What?!" came Janet�s eloquent response.
She suddenly felt as though she�d been dropped in the middle of a
movie scene without the benefit of a script, a director, or even a
barebones plot. She knew full well there were people at the SGC who
might have reason to suspect about her relationship with Sam; Daniel,
however, was not one of them. Personal undertones slid right past the
man, well, unless they involved him or unless they involved speculation
about people long dead.
He stood, looking expectantly at her, and she managed to ask,
"What makes you think Captain Carter is here?"
Daniel edged his way into the house, pushing past Janet. The move was
ruder and more abrupt than she expected from the archeologist; she stood
in shock for a moment before closing the door and muttering in an
annoyed tone, "Please; feel free to come in."
She ran a hand through her hair, waiting for him to say something
that would explain his presence, as well as explain why seemed so
certain of Sam�s presence. She and Daniel got along as colleagues, and
he was no stranger to the infirmary, but she rarely interacted with the
man outside of the SGC, unless it was part of a group outing that Jack O�Neill
He ignored her, looking around as if expecting something or someone,
before answering her question. "Sam told me she was coming over
He turned and the doctor saw a look in his eyes she�d never seen
him direct towards her before: pure, raw, unadulterated desire.
She gaped as he continued. "She was planning to come over and
let the two of you have a little fun, and get you all hot and bothered
before I arrived and joined in."
Janet heard the words, understood the words, and still wondered which
language--exactly--the man was speaking. He knew twenty-three different
ones, and what he�d said couldn�t possibly be in English. She
struggled to process what was going on, wondering if the entire world
had gone insane or if only she had. This certainly was not the Daniel
He reached out and cupped her cheek in his hand and she pulled away
slightly, which did not seem to deter the man in the slightest. He
stepped forward and ran his fingers along the slope of her arm.
"So, have you two been having fun? Are you ready to have a man
joining the action?"
Suddenly Janet realized that she hadn�t been dropped into a scene
with no script and no plot--but, unfortunately, she�d been dropped
straight into the middle of a porn movie. She�d seen just enough of
those movies with her ex-husband (back when they were trying--and
failing miserably--to understand each other and their sexual needs) to
recognize the genre.
Pulling her wits about her, somehow knowing that this man was no more
Daniel than the woman in her kitchen was Sam, Janet reached out and
lightly touched his forearm. She thanked any gods that might be
listening that the response he expected was so completely predictable,
since she wasn�t up to guessing how to deal with him. Whatever else
the genre might be, it was not known, in Janet�s admittedly limited
experience, to be novel and innovative.
In a throaty whisper she offered, "Sam and I were in the kitchen�
trying something new."
She struggled not to laugh at the ironic statement--hitting the woman
on the head with a skillet certainly qualified as new. "Why don�t
you let me get back in there with her, Daniel, and give us a few minutes
to get ready before you come play with us?"
He nodded, leaning forward to kiss her, a move she neatly avoided by
sidestepping and chastising, "Not yet. You�ll get your reward
when you join us."
She could see the shiver of desire work its way down his spine and
heard the ragged quality of his breathing, and she turned and retreated
into the kitchen, fighting the urge to run screaming out the back door
at the sheer insanity of her afternoon. Once she made it safely out of
eyesight, she took a deep breath to steady herself, and looked down at
the blonde, satisfying herself that the woman was still unconscious.
Then, picking up the skillet, she stood behind the door, waiting for
Daniel to come join the party.
"Well, sir, Sam and Daniel are androids." Fraiser tossed a
thick sheaf of paper onto the table in the de-briefing room to punctuate
her point. She looked around at the General, O�Neill, and Teal�c,
taking in their shocked looks, before continuing.
"Actually, that�s not precisely the right term, as they are
both primarily organic rather than synthetic, but it�s the best term I
can come up with at the moment." She sighed deeply, feeling the
effects of hours of conducting medical tests catching up with her.
"To put it at its simplest, they are highly sophisticated machine
brains in the bodies of humans � humans that seem to have been somehow
replicated from Sam and Daniel. The DNA is identical to theirs and the
� the Samdroid has the same protein marker that Jolinar left in Sam�s
She sat down heavily next to Teal�c, weighed down both by worry
about where the missing members of SG-1 were and by the sense that the
only information she had uncovered managed to raise more questions than
answers. She sat back in the chair and surveyed O�Neill across the
He glanced up, and she waited expectantly for a trademark quip,
thinking that his sarcasm would bring a nice touch of reality to her
day, which had been far too surreal for her liking. Instead, he simply
inquired quietly, "Samdroid?"
Janet gave a one-shouldered shrug and answered in an equally quiet
tone. "It seemed to fit. Gave me something to call � it �
instead of calling it �Sam�."
He nodded and Hammond cleared his throat. They all turned their
attention to him and Janet steeled herself as she took in the deadpan
expression on his face. To say he was extremely unhappy with the
situation was putting it far too mildly.
His question was a simple one. "How did two androids manage to
get through the medical screen?"
Even though she�d been expecting the question, knowing perfectly
well that an in-depth medical test would have revealed the truth
earlier, the deadly quiet tone in his voice made her wince. She felt
like kicking herself for not being more concerned initially with Sam�s
odd behavior, for not following her instinct that something was wrong.
"Well, sir, it�s part of our new budget restrictions. Any time
a team comes back from a planet where we�ve been before and where
there are no known hazards and no evidence of Goa�uld, we are supposed
to only perform an extremely basic exam� blood tests and checks for
obvious illnesses and injuries. We�ve been ignoring the restrictions
for a while, but right now, as you know, Senator Kinsey has that
Compliance Aide wandering around and�"
She took a deep breath as Hammond�s upheld hand interrupted her
speech. His soft sigh made Janet perversely happy that she had nothing
to do with the panel of bean counters that had come up with the money
saving plan in the first place. She would rather have a root canal
without Novocain than have his carefully contained rage erupting full
force on her head. At least the root canal would lead to relief of pain.
"I understand, Doctor," he offered quietly, "but from
here on out, you�ll do complete exams as per our usual guidelines. And
as for this Compliance Aide� I�ll deal with her personally and show
her in graphic detail the reasons why we have certain protocols."
Janet nodded her heartfelt assent. "Thank you, sir. I couldn�t
agree with you more." Then she turned her attention back to the
immediate problem, keeping herself firmly in professional mode so she
didn�t have time to worry about what could have happened to her lover
and to Daniel.
"I�ve done complete physical work-ups on everyone who was
planet side, and there are no other�"
"Droids?" suggested O�Neill helpfully.
She raised an eyebrow. "Right." She knew it wasn�t nearly
the right word to describe the two people she had whacked over the head
with a skillet, but it was the best one she could come up with that
would mean roughly the same thing to both herself and to the less
Drumming her fingers on the table, she continued. "It�s almost
like someone extracted their DNA and grew physical replicas of them
around a machine brain at an extremely accelerated rate. It�s not like
anything I could even imagine. Leaving aside the simple ability to do
such a thing in the first place, the speed of the process is incredible�"
O�Neill broke in. "Especially since Carter and Daniel were
only off on their own for 24 hours. The rest of the mission they were
with us. And yeah, we�ve been on that planet before, but Daniel and
Carter weren�t off on their own the last time."
Teal�c spoke up for the first time, very quietly. "And I must
apologize for a lack of awareness. I believed Captain Carter and Dr.
Jackson to be as themselves. They seemed to appear tired, but I did not
pay as careful attention to that as perhaps I should."
Hammond�s eyes narrowed. "There is that point. In talking to
the colonel earlier, it is obvious that these� androids� acted
pretty much exactly like Captain Carter and Dr. Jackson. Doctor, how
were you able to tell that something was wrong with them when their
teammates didn�t notice?"
Janet could not resist a chuckle; trying to decide what answer to
give to that question had gnawed at the back of her mind for the past
several hours while she�d been running tests. She�d only decided on
the perfect answer about fifteen minutes before the de-briefing.
"They tried to seduce me, sir."
While jaws dropped around the table, Janet took a moment to be
forever grateful that the Dandroid had shown up and told her point blank
that they�d planned the seduction. It gave her an answer that was
completely honest, that would match anything said by the droids (not
that they�d shown the slightest inclination to talk since coming to as
prisoners in the infirmary), and it gave completely plausible
deniability to any rumors that she and Sam were, indeed, lovers. As far
as Janet was concerned, that was all good.
Despite the gravity of the situation, Janet had to tamp down hard on
a surge of laughter as she noticed the appreciative look on O�Neill�s
face at the thought of at least herself and Sam together, as it fed
nicely into the whole male fantasy of two women as lovers. She fought
another surge of laughter at the way Teal�c�s eyebrow raised
speculatively, though she doubted fantasies had anything to do with his
reaction. It was yet another piece of evidence he was filing away in his
quest to understand the odd habits of the Tau�ri.
"At least they�ve got good taste," O�Neill muttered.
General Hammond derailed that train of thought as he said abruptly,
"We�ll wonder why they chose that course of action once we know
why they�re here. In the meantime, my main question is a lot simpler.
Who created these� duplicates� and what have they done with Captain
Carter and Dr. Jackson?"
To Janet, it came as no surprise when the only answer was silence.
"You will get no information from us. This interrogation is
simply a waste of your time and continuing it will achieve no purpose.
We demand to be returned to the planet from which we came."
Janet couldn�t help glaring at the Samdroid as the blonde calmly,
tonelessly, stated that demand. She wanted to slap the unfamiliarly smug
look off the familiar face, wanted to shake the imposter and make her
own set of demands--the chief among them to know what had happened to
the woman she replaced.
Instead, like a dutiful officer, she remained quiet while Hammond and
O�Neill questioned the duplicates. She contented herself with glaring
daggers, and trying not to think all that hard about where Sam and
Daniel were--she knew all too well that having no information to go on
would simply prompt her imagination to concoct any number of unpleasant
scenarios. She�d done that before when SG-1 was overdue in reporting,
and it would do her no good to do it now, since her imagination was far
too pessimistic for her liking.
O�Neill muttered something and Teal�c�s expression grew ever
more bland and unreadable--a sure sign of either his annoyance with or
his agreement with O�Neill. Janet couldn�t actually decipher his
reaction, and quickly gave up trying, since Teal�c�s facial
expressions were too subtle for her at the moment, given her fatigue and
Hammond stepped forward, stopping mere inches from the Samdroid�s
face. His face was deadpan--a look of pure anger that Janet had no
trouble reading. "You are in no position to make demands," he
snapped in his best command sort of voice. "Now I�m getting tired
of this, and I want to know what happened to my officers, and where they
The Dandroid spoke up in a display of perfectly calm, unemotional
logic that proved irrefutably that he was not, indeed, Daniel Jackson.
"We cannot tell you things which we do not ourselves know. As we
did not exist before your officers disappeared, we cannot tell you what
has happened to them. As for where they are, we could indeed inform you
as to their last whereabouts, but that would not tell you what you wish
to know because they may no longer be in that location."
Janet leaned back against the wall of the holding cell and brought
her fingers up to her temples, massaging away the very nasty ache that
was pounding through her head. Beside her, O�Neill growled in a low
whisper, "I never thought I�d say this, but I�d much rather
listen to Daniel ramble on about nothing than listen to this guy talk in
Hammond shot a quieting glare at them and turned his attention to the
Dandroid. In a tone of extremely exaggerated patience, he asked,
"And where were their last whereabouts?"
The imposter blinked slowly and spoke in ponderous tones, sounding
exactly like Daniel in his best scholarly mode. "Somewhere on the
surface of the planet."
Janet sighed heavily and turned to see O�Neill literally throw his
hands up in the air. She agreed wholeheartedly with the sentiment;
hearing the banally obvious stated had always tended to annoy her.
Looking over at Teal�c, she noted that even he seemed to be tired
of the interrogation. An hour of talking to--or rather, talking AT--the
droids had produced nothing other than this tidbit of non-information.
Janet mused on that for a moment and then looked up in sudden interest,
her scientific curiosity piqued.
"What do you mean you didn�t exist before our officers
Every head in the room swung in her direction, and she found it
interesting to see that both friend and foe wore matching looks of
incredulity, as if no one believed she would ask such a question at a
time like this. She studiously ignored everyone but the duplicates, and
while part of her knew that the information would not do a damn thing to
find the missing members of SG-1, she really wanted to know. Besides,
her brain whispered reasonably, it wasn�t like the imposters were
bubbling over with secrets and ready to tell them anything remotely
The Dandroid spoke in the exaggeratedly patient tone one might use to
try and embarrass a particularly incompetent colleague. "We could
not exist before your officers were missing because otherwise we would
not have these bodies. Is that not correct?"
Janet shut her eyes for just a moment, trying to summon up any slight
degree of patience that she could find. She was curious, yes, but not in
the mood to play twenty thousand questions, especially since she knew
perfectly well that the questions would all be like this one: designed
to try and throw her off-track.
In her best doctor�s lecture mode, she said, "You are the
machine brains that reside in these bodies, and would have had to exist
before these bodies were � grown � around you, because there is no
physical evidence to show otherwise. Even the most minor surgical
procedure on organic tissue leaves some evidence. Do you really expect
us to believe that you were programmed and functional only after
inhabiting these bodies? Or are you telling us that you were not given
your instructions until after you replaced our officers?"
She folded her arms across her chest and noted the way Teal�c�s
eyebrow rose higher than she�d ever seen and saw O�Neill�s jaw
hanging open roughly around floor level. Hammond actually nodded and
looked even slightly impressed. She had to admit to herself that she was
glad for their reactions, not as an ego stroke, but simply because they
seemed to have forgotten that the question was entirely off topic.
The droids regarded each other and the duplicate of Carter cocked her
head to the side and said slowly and seemingly reluctantly, "We had
not been given our instructions. We have been operational for only a
brief period of time."
Teal�c asked very quietly, "How long is brief?"
It was probably the least eloquent thing Janet had ever heard the
Jaffa say, but it had a poetic beauty about it. Or maybe it was a
philosophical beauty; Janet didn�t always see much difference between
the two. At any rate, his question got an unexpected answer from the
"It has been only one of your Earth months that we have been
Hammond gathered his officers in a huddle several feet away from the
imposters. "And it was two months ago was when SG-1 first visited
that planet. The timing seems a little too close to be coincidence. But
I�m puzzled because on that mission, Captain Carter was on the planet
less time than any of the rest of the team; she came back both because
of her wounded hand and to assist in trying to determine what was making
the inhabitants fall ill. So how could anyone have created a brain to
put inside her body when she was not there long enough for anyone to
Janet started to respond, but O�Neill surprised her by stating,
"It�s a machine, isn�t it? Doesn�t really matter whose body
it�s in � male, female � snake�."
Hammond looked to Janet for confirmation and she nodded in agreement.
"He�s absolutely right, sir."
O�Neill puffed up smugly at her confirmation of his statement, and
Janet couldn�t help a flicker of amusement at the gesture. Speaking
quickly to cover her reaction, she said, "The fact is, General,
that whoever created these � droids wouldn�t have needed to spend
time around the members of SG-1 in order to build and program the
machines. They only needed the actual humans in order to create the
physical duplicates that we have here with us now."
"Which leaves us with no more information now than we had an
hour ago," Hammond stated accusingly, his patience apparently at an
Janet winced at the note in his voice. She had the distinct feeling
that he�d finally figured out that the question was irrelevant in the
first place and that his tone was directed specifically to her. She gave
a tight smile and shrugged slightly.
O�Neill seemed oblivious to the subtleties, instead jumping in to
comment, "Well, sir, we know that whoever created these � these.�"
His voice trailed off, unable to find an appropriate word. "Anyway,
whoever created them must have done it specifically with SG-1 in mind,
knowing we�d eventually come back to check on the status of that sound
transmitter thingie and see how the charming little naked and mute
people on the planet were doing."
Janet heaved a silent sigh of relief as the general�s annoyance
shifted to the colonel. "And that still leaves us with no more
information than we had an hour ago."
The two men began exchanging opinions in fierce whispers, which Janet
tuned out, since the arguing was neither interesting nor unexpected. She
took a moment to wonder why O�Neill seemed to have such a love affair
with insubordination, and then turned her attention back to the
Her heart skipped a beat as she caught the Samdroid watching her--it
was a measuring look and she suddenly wondered what the � woman was
thinking. An edge of fear knifed through her as she realized abruptly
that despite her caution in revealing the details of their little
kitchen encounter to Hammond, all the droid had to do was open her mouth
and she could easily pose a threat to both Janet and Sam�s respective
�Brilliant, Fraiser,� she berated herself. �That�s just
brilliant � completely forget that you were enjoying part of the
seduction and that all she has to do is say that.��
Her inner voice trailed off as she watched the imposter watch her,
and then she saw the last thing in the blue eyes she ever would have
expected: the faintest glimmer of fear.
It caught her totally off-guard; she was the one who had reason to be
afraid, not some machine brain that talked in circles with a program to
guide it � and she nearly fell over backwards when the implications
collided in her brain to produce a rush of insight. The droid was trying
to determine whether or not Janet had submitted to the seduction because
she had known something was wrong and was playing along to expose the
Armed with this new thought, Janet reappraised the blonde, and saw
the imposter cringe ever so slightly at the penetrating force of her
gaze. The reaction was so slight that no one save Janet would have
caught it, intimately aware as she was of Sam�s face and eyes and
expressions. And it was an ever so subtle shift in power � one that
Janet decided to press to her advantage.
Raising her voice to be heard over the still very frank exchange of
whispered opinions between the two ranking officers in the room, Janet
announced, "Ok, enough of this playing around. We were aware that
you were not our officers and simply played along with your plan to see
what you would do."
Once again, Janet felt the incredulous scrutiny of every eye in the
room, a feeling she was quickly learning to dislike. She kept her gaze
locked on the Samdroid, concentrating on the expressive face to help her
ignore the quiet questioning of her sanity on the part of her
"We�ve clearly ruined your plans, and you are prisoners here.
Refusing to give us information isn�t going to gain you
Behind her, O�Neill seemed to have recovered his wits as he added,
"We could negotiate if you help us, but if you don�t tell us
anything, we�ll just lock you up and throw away the key and search the
planet inch by inch for our teammates."
The Dandroid crossed his arms and pouted, in a perfect imitation of
Daniel at his most stubborn. The Samdroid bit her lip in a perfect
imitation of Sam trying to make a difficult decision. Then she opened
her mouth, while Janet mentally and literally crossed her fingers on
both hands (and her two little toes on both feet to boot) that the
imposter was going to actually cooperate.
Before the droid could actually say anything, she suddenly convulsed,
as if an electric shock poured through her. Janet�s automatic doctorly
instinct was to rush forward to help--only to be caught by O�Neill,
Teal�c, and--for good measure--Hammond. Even though she knew it wasn�t
her lover, the sight of that expressive face twisted in pain was
difficult for Janet to stomach when she couldn�t do anything about it.
After a long moment, the woman settled, her features going bland,
while the Dandroid smirked smugly at her. Janet glanced up as O�Neill
whispered in her ear, "Why�d they have to copy him right down to
She shrugged in answer to the question, using the gesture to wriggle
away from the hands holding her. The general offered a word of warning,
which she completely ignored, walking up to the blonde and asking
quietly, "Are you okay?"
A brief nod met her words. Painfully precise words echoed through the
room. "As you can see, we are not able to give you much of the
information you seek. It is counter to our programming."
Janet heard Hammond clear his throat to speak and the Dandroid jumped
in, his tone arrogant. "And I can tell you before you ask that it
would not be possible to reprogram us to give you such information. The
level of science on your planet is not nearly high enough to be able to
do such a thing."
"Doctor?" Hammond asked concisely.
She shook her head and turned to face him. "He�s right, sir.
This is way beyond our current capabilities."
Everyone in the room seemed to freeze, realizing that they�d
reached an impasse. Janet groaned inwardly at the feeling of
helplessness that hit her with that realization; the droids couldn�t
help them even if they wanted to, and she knew that O�Neill was simply
whistling in the dark with the statement that they could search the
entire planet. They could indeed search the planet, but Janet knew
perfectly well that it would be like looking for a very dull needle in a
very big haystack.
Teal�c cleared his throat and said unexpectedly, "I think I
may have arrived at a solution, but I do not wish to discuss it in our
Hammond ushered the group out of the room, sending in two guards to
watch the prisoners. Teal�c led them a short way down the hall, as if
he didn�t want to be overheard.
Janet felt a keen sense of curiosity, wondering what on earth he
could have devised as a solution. She knew that he had many talents they
were unaware of, but she rather doubted reprogramming androids was one
She stared up at Teal�c, her neck muscles not terribly happy at the
angle. She saw that his expression was perfectly calm as he stated
blandly, "My solution is to release them and allow them to return
to the planet."
With the tiny part of her mind that was not suspended in paralyzed
disbelief, Janet wondered whether today was the Jaffa version of April
"Are you completely out of your mind?" O�Neill was the
first to recover his wits after the suggestion offered by Teal�c.
"They�re our only link to the rest of SG-1. We release them,
their creators know something went wrong, and they all disappear --
taking Carter and Daniel with them. Great plan there, Teal�c."
Hammond spoke up in his best patient father voice. "I�m afraid
the Colonel is right, son. Your idea seems to leave us in the same
situation we�re in now."
Teal�c turned his gaze to Janet, and the utter calm in his eyes
made her mind shift gears rapidly, trying to figure out what was going
on the man�s brain, knowing that with someone as cryptic as Teal�c,
second guessing could drive her completely insane before she found her
The Jaffa�s voice was perfectly level and without rancor. "Do
you also wish to inform me as to the futility of this suggestion?"
She shook her head, and the sharp motion seemed to let a new thought
fall into place. She pondered it for a moment and then burst out with,
"Teal�c�s right; we�ve got to let them go."
O�Neill and Hammond exchanged measuring glances and Janet (tired of
the looks on their faces as they pondered her sanity, or lack thereof)
let her gaze drift back up to Teal�c�s implacable face. He offered
her a very brief nod--the type of gesture intended to indicate
acknowledgment of someone�s skill or knowledge.
Hammond addressed both of them, hands fisting at his sides
impatiently. "Will one of you please explain how that�s going to
help? I seriously doubt that they�ll allow any of us follow them to
where Captain Carter and Doctor Jackson are. And even if they did lead
us to our people, our mere arrival would tip off whoever sent them that
we are aware of the situation, and they could use Captain Carter and
Doctor Jackson as hostages."
Janet couldn�t help grinning as she squared her shoulders and faced
the general. "Not if they don�t know they�re being
followed." She looked up at Teal�c again and her grin widened by
degrees as she noticed the faintest hint of a smile on his face.
"I thought they were supposed to come through the Gate at 1400
hours," grumbled O�Neill, pacing a hole in the dirt, kicking at
pebbles with his toes.
"They will be here, O�Neill," Teal�c stated calmly.
Janet peered around the side of the rock formation behind which the
three of them were hiding. She knew that the Gate had not been activated
or they would certainly have heard it, but there was just something
reassuring about seeing it for herself. And what she saw was a whole lot
of nothing new: the Gate stood silent, the weird plants stood humming
inaudibly, the rounded huts of the natives sat the in same places they�d
been sixty seconds ago when she�d last looked.
"And how the hell are we supposed to keep up with two androids
when we have to keep out of sight and they probably are as strong and
fast as machines? It�ll just be our luck that they�ve got bat
hearing or eyes in the back of their heads." O�Neill continued
muttering under his breath, leaving Janet quite glad that Teal�c was
the patient type, since this was roughly the twentieth time O�Neill
had complained about this.
She knew perfectly well the colonel was not seriously worried about
being able to follow the droids, since he had Special Ops training and
knew how to track a foe as well as Teal�c did. He was just venting his
frustration about the whole situation of having his officers replaced by
duplicates practically under his nose.
She didn�t bother to listen to Teal�c answering the rhetorical
questions, as she was more interested in pondering the more basic
questions of who, what, where, when, and most importantly, why. She
tugged on the straps of her backpack, feeling the way her shoulders were
displeased with her for the unaccustomed weight. "Sorry," she
muttered under her breath, as if somehow a spoken apology would matter
to her body.
"What?" O�Neill asked her, and she turned to him and
shook her head. She felt stupid enough as it was for the comment; she
somehow doubted that explaining it to him would make her feel any better
� in fact she was pretty sure that Mr. Sardonic would make her feel
anything but better about it.
He seemed about to persist, and then Janet heaved a prayer of
thanksgiving (in the manner known to all students when they are saved by
the bell) as the familiar sound of the Gate opening rolled over the
three of them.
"They are here, O�Neill," Teal�c offered in his
maddeningly helpful manner.
"Thanks for the tip," came the caustic, whispered reply.
The three of them peered cautiously around the rock to see the droids
and the members of SG-4 step through the wormhole and stand blinking in
the sunlight. The members of SG-4 held their weapons on the imposters
and the unit CO said in his best command voice, "We brought you
back like we said we would. Now it�s your turn to follow our agreement
and take us with you."
The two droids nodded in unison and started walking, the members of
SG-4 following behind, watching for tricks.
"Is it just me, or was that too easy?" Janet hissed at her
"Oh, just a tad," came O�Neill�s soft reply.
The unusual procession they were watching wound past one of the giant
plants, and the Dandroid stumbled, grabbing hold of the plant to steady
himself, then moved suddenly away from the plant, along with the
Samdroid. Janet�s eyes widened as a ray of light shot out from the
plant and touched on the four members of SG-4. They all stopped in their
tracks and then toppled over; Janet could see the faint rise and fall of
their chests to show they were unconscious, rather than dead.
The two imposters looked down at the fallen soldiers, nodded briefly
at each other, and then took off at a leisurely pace. Apparently they
had all the time in the world to get to where they were going. Janet
couldn�t help musing that from behind, they almost looked like a young
couple ambling out for a Sunday afternoon walk. The mere thought of Sam
and Daniel as a couple sent a surge of amusement through Janet, what
with Sam being partial to women and Daniel being partial to demure
After a long moment to let the droids get a little way ahead, the
three of them moved cautiously out of their hiding place. Janet tried to
go over and check on their downed comrades, only to have O�Neill stop
her by literally grabbing the scruff of her neck.
"We don�t have time for you to play nursemaid; our mission is
to follow those droids," he snarled in a fierce whisper, and even
though she knew his aggravation was not directed at her, it still grated
on her nerves. She tried to twist her head around to glare at him and
remind him bluntly that she was a doctor and the safety and health of
every member of the SGC was her responsibility.
Teal�c stepped in front of her and said quietly, "We prepared
for this possibility; do you not recall that another SG team is to
arrive in two minutes to provide assistance and backup? SG-4 has not
been killed and I see no sign that they were injured. I have seen many
alien devices that operate in this manner to render a foe unconscious,
and they do not cause harm."
She nodded, reluctantly acknowledging that they were both right, even
as her muscles twitched with tension to go over and check for herself.
Given that the team was still breathing and there were no obvious signs
of injury, she knew they would be fine until backup arrived, even if the
knowledge did nothing to make her feel any better.
O�Neill released his hold on her and asked tartly, "Now, can
we get a move on and go find Daniel and Carter so we can get the hell
out of here?"
Janet shot one more look over her shoulder at the members of SG-4,
reassuring herself, as she followed O�Neill and Teal�c in the wake
of the duplicates.
Never in her life had she been on such a surreal journey, Janet
reflected, after two hours of trailing behind the still ambling droids.
The planet was covered in sandy dirt and had lots of wide-open spaces
that left the three of them running from giant plant to giant plant in
an attempt to remain hidden. Janet felt like she was in some twisted
game that combined hide-n-go-seek and freeze tag with cops-n-robbers.
Her legs ached from the constant running and stopping and she could feel
the hint of sunburn despite liberal doses of sunscreen and a standard
She knew better than to whisper a single syllable of complaint,
however tempting it might be to bitch and moan. O�Neill had not wanted
her to come on the mission in the first place, considering that she wasn�t
precisely a field officer and might slow them down, and she had no
intention of giving him the satisfaction of being right. And Teal�c
would probably do something embarrassing, like offering to carry all her
gear � or offering to carry her.
She knew she probably shouldn�t have been part of this little
raiding party, but she wanted badly to help find Daniel and Sam, wanted
to be there in case her lover was wounded, since there were so many
other times when SG-1 had landed themselves in trouble and all Janet
could do was stand around the SGC and wait. This time she could actually
do something other than wait, and the beauty of it was that Hammond had
ordered her to go before she could even think of a plausible reason why
She ducked quickly behind a plant, seeing O�Neill and Teal�c a
few positions ahead of her, and peered out cautiously, freezing when the
Samdroid swung her head around, peering intently along the horizon.
Neither droid had paid any attention to their rear before, and Janet
wondered what on earth (or, more accurately, what on this world) had
attracted the blonde�s scrutiny.
In front of her, O�Neill started to move, and Janet caught his eye
as he glanced briefly her direction. She gave a single, brief, emphatic
shake of the head, hoping that her gesture had gone unnoticed. He nodded
back and very slowly twisted his head around to peer in the direction of
the imposters, freezing in place as he saw what prompted her warning.
Apparently satisfied, the Samdroid turned her attention back to her
fellow machine brain. No words were exchanged as she nodded at him and
they continued on their way, ducking onto a path that led into a shallow
wooded area that seemed oddly juxtaposed with the rest of the
Janet couldn�t help but think that it would have been nice if the
droids had actually said something, like in movies where the villains
talk in loud voices and explain their plans in full to the hidden
heroes. Unfortunately, real life villains were rarely so helpful.
She moved cautiously up to join O�Neill and then they both took off
at a run after Teal�c, who was causing even Jack to be out of breath
with his long strides. Janet took a spare bit of energy to wonder, not
for the first time, how someone as large as Teal�c could move so
quickly and so quietly.
Despite her tension and worry, she felt herself relax fractionally as
they entered the little forest, sheltered against the glare of the sun
for the first time in a very long time. Looking around at the flora and
fauna, she skidded into O�Neill where he stood stone still in front of
her, having missed his hand signal to stop.
"Sorry," she whispered against his back.
His impatient nod was answer enough and they stood there, unmoving,
scanning the area. No badge of blonde hair broke through the ferns and
tree trunks; no glint off the Dandroid�s glasses betrayed their
presence. Oddly enough, Teal�c�s distinctive form also could not be
Janet and O�Neill, as if synchronized, rotated in a full circle,
eyes watchful. She could not figure out where everyone had gone: it wasn�t
as if this little forest was all that big. She could easily see the
edges of it, the blur of sand and sun just beyond the borders.
Sudden movement caught both of them by surprise and O�Neill
accidentally elbowed her in the shoulder as he swung his weapon around
to face the threat.
"Geez!" O�Neill exclaimed in an extremely loud whisper as
Teal�c ran up to the two of them.
"There is no need to whisper; they are no longer within range of
hearing," the Jaffa announced blandly.
O�Neill offered a heavy sigh. "And where, exactly, are
"Of that, I am not certain." Teal�c�s tone remained
bland and unconcerned.
Janet thoroughly empathized with O�Neill�s frustration as he
lowered his weapon and figuratively threw his hands up in the air.
"If you don�t know where they are, then how do you know they can�t
She simply stood, tired, sore, and not inclined to play mind reading
games�watching with detached interest at the way O�Neill glared at
his friend and teammate.
Teal�c raised an eyebrow. "I watched as they ran along this
pathway and out of this forest, and I pursued them. I was not far behind
them, but when I reached the plains of sand on the other side of this
forest, I could see them nowhere. Had they doubled back and returned
here, I would have seen, but they did not."
O�Neill pushed his way past the Jaffa and followed the narrow path.
Janet shrugged in answer to Teal�c�s questioning look, and followed
the leader. Scant moments later, they emerged into the lovely blazing
sun and Janet sighed dispiritedly at the realization that they should
have been able to see the imposters somewhere on the boringly golden
brown plain of sand. She would have even settled for a set of
footprints, but a low, steady wind eliminated that option.
She squinted against the sun and suddenly stood up as straight as she
could, tugging on the colonel�s sleeve to get his attention.
"What?" he asked irritably, shaking his sleeve loose from
She blinked rapidly to ward off the sudden fear that she was simply
seeing a mirage. Nope, it was still there. "Colonel, look over
She looked up at his face as he followed the line of her fingers.
"I�ll be damned," he muttered quietly. "Good work
The three walked single file to the spot Janet had pointed out � to
where a curved metal ring stuck up absurdly in the middle of waves and
waves of sand. O�Neill knelt down and gave an apologetic grimace, and
tugged experimentally. The ring came up in his hand, bringing a door
with it, and revealing a set of stairs going down into a tunnel.
They exchanged glances for a long moment; Janet could tell they were
wondering the same thing she was � whether or not this was actually
where the imposters had gone. She took a harder look at the stairs and
then she laughed quietly. At the bottom of the staircase, off to the
side, sat the glasses the Dandroid had worn.
O�Neill nodded as they caught his eye as well, and Janet could see
some tension drain from his body at the certainty that they were on the
He looked up at Janet and she heard the faintest trace of humor in
his voice as he offered, "Ladies first?"
Janet didn�t miss a beat as O�Neill gestured in invitation to the
stairway. "Thank you, Colonel, but I wouldn�t dream of going
first. Age before beauty, you know."
Whatever response he might have expected to his offer, she was
reasonably certain that wasn�t it. She knew as well as he did that the
invitation to go first wasn�t serious; there was no way that he would
have let the least experienced member of the team take the lead and head
first into probable danger. O�Neill had many faults (as she knew
especially well from Sam�s occasional bouts of frustration with the
man) but insanity and bad leadership were not among them.
He turned his head away, trying in vain to hide his amusement, and
from behind her came Teal�c�s puzzled muttering, "I do not
Janet didn�t need to glance at the big man to picture the subtle
knitting of his brow as he tried to decipher yet another mystifying Tau�ri
phrase. Despite the seriousness of the situation (or perhaps because of
it), she couldn�t help a spark of amusement at having bested O�Neill
in his favorite game � "Who Wants to Be A Smart Ass".
O�Neill waved a don�t-worry-about-it-I�ll-explain-later hand at
Teal�c�s statement, and then spoke quietly into his radio. Much to
everyone�s relief, the clear voice of Colonel Makepeace came through,
indicating that the backup unit was in place, with two members of the
team positioned at the Stargate and two trailing behind the threesome
(following the figurative trail of breadcrumbs left behind). O�Neill
gave the other colonel a brief rundown on the situation and Makepeace
vowed they�d be at the tunnel ASAP.
With a raised eyebrow, O�Neill shifted his grip on his weapon,
reminded Janet to be careful and quiet, instructed Teal�c to leave the
door slightly propped open behind them as a signal to Makepeace, and
started cautiously down the staircase.
A very deep breath later, Janet followed in his tracks, moving slowly
and quietly, suddenly wondering about her own sanity. Wandering around
in underground tunnels after hours of sun exposure, chasing duplicates
of people she knew�these were not quite the things she had in mind
when she settled on a career in medicine, military backdrop not
withstanding. Of course, she also hadn�t planned to fall in love with
an astrophysicist (particularly not of the female variety), adopt an
alien child, or travel to other planets, so she supposed it was a pretty
fair trade off, all things considered.
She felt the reassuring bulk of Teal�c close to her back as the
three of them inched their way into the tunnel at the foot of the
stairway. After a short time they�d moved well out of range of the
crack of sunlight shining down the staircase, and since they didn�t
dare shine a flashlight around, they proceeded cautiously, with the only
illumination coming from somewhere up ahead.
She reached out her hand to feel the tunnel wall; it felt like rough
stone. The passageway was narrow, and while she had plenty of headroom,
she could just make out O�Neill ducking his head to avoid scraping the
top of his head on the ceiling. She didn�t even want to look back and
see how Teal�c was coping�she rather suspected that it would be
painful to see. It was one of the first times in her life where she felt
intensely grateful for being short.
They made their way to a wide doorway, through which could be seen a
wider tunnel with smooth walls and a faint, steady glow of light. Janet
was so busy looking at it that she nearly collided with O�Neill again,
entirely missing his hand signal to stop, saved only by a firm grip on
her collar by Teal�c.
She twisted her head and whispered, "Thanks," in his
direction, and he nodded slightly, before they both turned their
attention back to Jack, who had his head cocked to the side and seemed
to be listening for something. Janet strained her ears, and then asked
herself what she was supposed to be listening for, since all she could
hear was a whole lot of nothing.
Apparently satisfied with whatever he didn�t hear, O�Neill moved
forward stealthily, moving through the doorway and into the new (and in
Janet�s opinion, improved) tunnel. She looked around, feet following
automatically in the leader�s wake, trying to get a sense of where
they were. The walls looked like smooth cement, a sort of seamless grey,
but when she ran an experimental finger along the surface, it felt
almost like sandpapered wood.
She craned her head around trying to figure out where the dim cast of
light was coming from, seeing neither light fixtures nor torches.
Looking up, she saw a faint, straight line running along the length of
the ceiling--a line of illumination that looked as if it lay just under
the smooth surface. It looked as if the grey material simply glowed,
rather than as if there was some sort of fluorescent bulb just under the
surface of the ceiling.
Realizing that she had no idea how that was possible didn�t make
her feel any better about the situation, already painfully aware that
their adversary was much more technologically advanced than they were.
She shook her head quickly, trying to rid herself of that pessimistic
train of thought. Grasping at any possible straw, she told herself to
take comfort from the fact that at least they could see where they were
going. Not surprisingly, that did little to help her mood.
Moments later that train of thought was derailed when they reached a
fork at the end of the tunnel, with her attention being distracted by
the two different corridors they faced as options. Both looked identical
to the one they had just traveled, and neither offered any hint as to
where the duplicates had gone.
"Well this is helpful," O�Neill whispered.
Janet heard the low rumble of Teal�c�s answering whisper. "I
do not feel good."
She and O�Neill turned with one accord to stare in puzzlement at
the Jaffa, who clarified, "About the situation."
It suddenly struck Janet that her English teachers would be proud of
the fact that she noticed the odd sentence, even as she glanced
uncertainly at the colonel, not sure if offering grammatical corrections
would be considered proper protocol in the middle of a mission.
O�Neill seemed unhampered as he corrected, "That�s �I do
not have a good feeling about this,� Teal�c."
The big man seemed unfazed as he repeated his statement correctly.
Jack agreed by saying, "Neither do I."
She almost threw out her agreement, before she realized that it didn�t
matter any longer; both men had moved away from where she was standing
to peer down the corridors.
Knowing there was nothing she could contribute to whatever they were
doing, she remained in place, hoping that some miracle would occur and
the missing members of SG-1 would appear. Nothing happened.
O�Neill and Teal�c scurried back to her side, and the colonel
said in a low voice, "Well, we�ve got a problem."
She very nearly tossed out a sarcastic "What a surprise,"
but stopped herself just in time, instead contenting herself with
silence. Apparently oblivious to her reaction, Jack continued his
explanation. "The radio isn�t working outside of this tunnel.
Teal�c and I can hear each other just fine, but we can�t raise hide
nor hair of Makepeace."
Janet blew air out between her teeth in frustration, suddenly longing
for the safety of the infirmary so hard that it hurt. This was not her
forte, not what her recent training was in, and the thought of being cut
off from the backup unit made her feel like the walls were caving in.
She managed to take a deep breath, forcing herself not to panic, sternly
telling herself to think about Sam, to focus on the woman she loved.
Jack seemed to notice her reaction to this statement; his voice was
oddly kind as he continued. "We�ve got a plan, but it isn�t
what I�d call a good one. Teal�c is going down one corridor, and I�m
going down the other. With any luck, one of us will find Carter and
Daniel and we can get the hell out of here. And with no luck, at least
there�s a good chance that one of us will avoid capture and can bring
Puzzled by a glaring omission, Janet took a steadying breath and
asked, "What about me?"
O�Neill scratched the tip of his nose. "Well, I was thinking
that you could go back to the surface and be there to meet up with
Before she even had time to think that that might be a good idea,
Janet found her head shaking emphatically. "No sir. I need to go
with you. There�s a reason the general sent me on this mission in the
first place; we don�t know if any physical harm was done to Sam or
Daniel to create these duplicates. They may be in need of immediate
medical attention." Her voice dropped a notch as she continued,
"I need to be there, sir, just in case."
A brief look of admiration lit O�Neill�s eyes, even as Teal�c
murmured, "Did I not tell you she would wish to remain with
She stared up at the colonel, hoping his suggestion would not be
turned into a command, the sudden fear of being left behind oddly
chasing away the fear of going forward.
To his credit, O�Neill merely nodded as if he�d expected that
response, and said simply, "Ok, you�re with me. Teal�c, let�s
keep in touch, and we�ll try to raise Makepeace every five
Janet followed closely behind O�Neill, a hard grip on the
unaccustomed weight of her weapon, as they parted from Teal�c and
entered the left hand corridor.
The journey through the corridor at O�Neill�s back was both rife
with tension and excruciatingly boring. Janet supposed she should be
grateful for the boredom of seeing nothing more menacing than endless
grey walls, but she had too much adrenaline pumping through her veins to
feel anything but impatient. She was also starting to wonder if they
were off on a wild droid chase, since there was nothing to indicate the
duplicates had passed this way � or even that there was some sort of
lab in which to create the imposters in the first place.
That thought was running around in her brain when they arrived at a
doorway, and peered cautiously through it to see the biggest laboratory
Janet had ever seen in her life. Any faint thoughts of trickery flew
right out of her brain and she could not resist a low whistle.
There were all manner of test tubes and microscopes, as well as
hundreds of other pieces of technology that she could not even begin to
identify. No scientists anywhere in sight, but stools stood at various
work stations (or so Janet assumed they were work stations), and pieces
of what appeared to be clothing were draped over stools and tables.
O�Neill edged into the room, with Janet at his side. At the same
moment, they both stared at the back wall of the room, and muttered a
Sam and Daniel were there, each encased in a clear cylindrical
chamber, tubes and machines hooked to their bodies.
Janet stared in shock at the sight of her lover and Daniel trapped in
chambers out of some horror flick. She couldn�t see them very well at
this distance, but she could see the various tubes and electrode type
devices attached to them � and despite not having any idea what the
devices were for, she had a distinct feeling it wasn�t something good.
Her instinct to help overcame any sense of caution and she ran
forward, intent on closing the gap between herself and her friends. She
vaguely heard O�Neill�s warning, "Doc�" trailing after
her. She ignored it and continued forward, sensing, rather than seeing,
the colonel following in her tracks.
She skidded to a halt in front of the chambers, with O�Neill right
beside her, and they both started in alarm as the radio crackled to
life. Teal�c�s ever calm voice, accented with what sounded like the
footsteps of a running herd of elephants, echoed in their ears.
"I have found the duplicates and am in pursuit of them. They are
most displeased with my discovery."
Janet, busy examining both the half clothed figures in the chambers
and the various machines and such to which they were hooked, barely
registered O�Neill�s wry, "What a surprise."
The rest of the conversation was mostly lost on Janet, though she
vaguely registered the sound of Makepeace�s voice, indicating that he
and the other soldier were somewhere inside the tunnels, and heard just
enough to know that Teal�c�s chase was leading him back the way he�d
The bulk of her concentration was focused on Sam; Janet noted that
she bore several bruises, but that she seemed physically unharmed
otherwise. Daniel appeared injury free, which was something of a first.
She told herself that she�d have to share that particular tidbit of
irony with Sam once they were back in the comfort of home, and for the
first time in what seemed like weeks, Janet felt a surge of relief. They
would get back home, sit in front of the fire, share silly stories �
and this nightmare would simply seem like the remnants of a bad dream.
Armed with that optimistic bolstering, she continued to take note of
the chambers, and of Sam and Daniel. They both appeared to be
unconscious, breathing shallow but even, eyes closed, and on the back
wall of each chamber was something that Janet took to be a monitor of
their vital signs. She couldn�t actually read it--the numbers made no
sense and there was nothing so obvious as pulse--but she had the
instinctive doctor�s feeling that the numbers looked good.
A low, steady hum seemed to come from each chamber, and when Janet
reached out an experimental hand to touch the clear material directly in
front of Sam�s face, she felt a sharp, constant tingle, like an
electric shock. One of the tubes connected to the chamber also seemed to
emit the same hum, though she could feel nothing at all like electricity
flowing through it.
So intense was her concentration that she jumped about a foot in the
air (adding considerably to her height) when O�Neill appeared close to
her ear and asked, "So what are those things?"
Resisting the nearly overwhelming urge to ask him how the hell she
was supposed to know, she put on her best reassuring doctor mode and
spoke calmly. "I�m not sure yet, Colonel. I�m still trying to
put the pieces together, but as best I can tell, at least both Sam and
Daniel appear to be okay."
She could almost feel the concern radiating from the man as he took
note of the nasty looking marks on Sam�s face and forearms, showing
that she�d been in some kind of fight, but though he shot her a
questioning look he didn�t verbally dispute her assessment. She saw
his gaze swing to survey Daniel�s condition, to which he nodded in
He turned a slow circle to look once again around the room while
Janet figuratively scratched her head in an attempt to make the details
of this situation fall into some sort of picture.
Unwittingly, O�Neill gave her the mental push she needed when he
turned his attention back to her and asked, "So Doc, why are they
still in the chambers if they�ve already been � cloned? Why not put
them in a prison cell with guards or something?"
Janet heard the faintest hint of surprise in her own voice as she
mused aloud, "I think somehow these chambers connect them to the
duplicates." She held up a quieting hand as O�Neill started to
say something, presumably something along the lines of her being nuts.
"I know I don�t know how the chambers work, but there�s an
energy field and �"
She trailed off, trying to find convincing words to explain what
was--in essence--a grasping at straws theory.
Jack cleared his throat and his tone dripped impatience.
She ignored him for a moment, reaching out a finger and tracing the
air around the chamber, trying to figure out where the tubes and wires
and such went, hoping that some miracle of logic would occur to her to
explain this very alien technology.
A miracle of sorts did occur when the radio crackled to life with
Teal�c�s voice, distracting O�Neill. His words were accompanied
this time by the sounds of gunfire. "I have crossed paths with
Colonel Makepeace and we have been engaged in battle by the duplicates
and their allies, who seem to have appeared from thin air."
O�Neill muttered, "Oh hell." He said something else too,
but it was entirely lost on Janet as a sudden movement on Daniel�s
part grabbed her attention. He went rigid, as if he�d been shocked,
then slumped back into the position he�d been in before.
Without bothering to either look at O�Neill or muster up any degree
of her usual calm, she snapped, "Ask him if something just happened
to the Dandroid."
Much to her relief, he didn�t waste time arguing with her, simply
relayed the question. She was relatively certain he had not seen Daniel
move, but she had no way to be certain. They could hear the faintest
note of puzzlement in the Jaffa�s voice as he replied, "I fired
my staff weapon on him, but most of the energy was deflected, as if by a
force field, and what little reached him had no effect."
O�Neill raised his eyebrows at Janet and the demand to know what
was going on was written all over his face. Before she could even muster
up words, Sam jerked sharply, catching both their attention. Her
shoulder began to bleed profusely; the wound looked for all the world
like a gunshot wound.
Janet felt her face contort in horror at the macabre confirmation of
her theory, and she literally saw the light bulb go on over Jack�s
head as two and two came together in his brain to implicate twenty-two.
His voice full of tension, he demanded of Teal�c, "Did someone
just shoot the Samdroid?"
That faint note of puzzlement was still there as the Jaffa answered
Janet opened her mouth to speak, as O�Neill ordered, "Do not,
I repeat, NOT fire on the two droids. Whatever you do to them happens to
Carter and Daniel."
Teal�c�s reply was a simple, "I understand," but
Makepeace broke in, sounding highly irritated. "How the hell are we
supposed to defend ourselves if we can�t fire on them?"
O�Neill�s response was short and to the point, "Aren�t you
supposed to be some big shot marine? Figure it out, or ask Teal�c."
Janet interrupted him, struck by a sense of urgency. "Sir, we
need to get them out of the chambers. If nothing else, I can�t do
anything about Sam�s arm while she�s still in there."
Without arguing, he moved to the chamber holding Daniel and quickly
found what appeared to be the locking mechanism. His fingers probed
expertly at it as he asked, "Won�t that harm them?"
She fumbled at the lock on Sam�s chamber, trying to figure out how
to coax the materials apart. "I don�t honestly know, but I don�t
think so. My suspicion is that it will do more harm to the duplicates
than to the originals."
He raised an eyebrow at that, and she offered a one-shouldered shrug.
Under any other circumstances, she might have been entertained by the
non-verbal exchange. Under these circumstances, all she could feel was
frustration as the locks holding the chamber doors in place refused to
O�Neill apparently felt her frustration; he pulled out a revolver
and shot the lock on Daniel�s chamber. Much to her relief, the door
popped open and he came over to do the same to the chamber holding Sam.
Moving as quickly as she dared, Janet removed the various tubes and
wires and God knows what from Sam�s body, taking a moment to be
thankful that at least her lover still had enough clothes on to cover
her private parts. Regardless of circumstances, sharing that sort of
physical detail with O�Neill was just not her idea of a good time.
She watched the blonde closely, making sure that she was not causing
any adverse physical reactions as she eased the last set of electrodes
off the woman�s skin. She reached forward, absorbing most of Sam�s
weight, and then O�Neill moved in to help move Sam out of the chamber.
They gently laid her on the floor and Janet took a self-indulgent
moment to brush a lock of hair off the pale forehead before moving over
to remove the various devices from Daniel. She would have preferred to
stay at the woman�s side and get her arm bandaged, but she knew that
getting Daniel out of the chamber took priority�as much caution as the
soldiers might take, there was still a good chance the Dandroid could be
injured by a ricochet or something.
As she worked, she heard Teal�c on the radio. "It is most
mysterious; the duplicate of Captain Carter has fallen and appears to
have ceased functioning."
In lieu of answering, O�Neill helped her wrestle Daniel out of the
chamber and onto the floor and Teal�c offered, "It now appears
that the duplicate of Daniel Jackson is suffering the same fate."
Janet satisfied herself that Daniel was stable and rushed back to Sam�s
side. The bleeding from her arm had slowed, but not stopped, and Janet
dug through her supplies to find enough gauze to make a pressure
O�Neill was bending over Daniel, keeping an eye on him as he told
Teal�c, "Yeah, well we had something to do with that � freed
Carter and Daniel from these weird chambers."
Makepeace broke in urgently. "The � allies of these � droid
things are fleeing. You want us to chase them down and get some answers
out of them?"
Before O�Neill had time to offer a suggestion, a loud noise blared
through the lab and red lights began to flash. They could hear the same
sound as background on the radio. "Ok, that�s not good," O�Neill
"It sounds as if it was a warning of some kind," Teal�c
Janet finished bandaging Sam�s arm and looked down to see that she
was starting to come to. She glanced at Daniel, and noted his eyes were
open and he was blinking owlishly. O�Neill noticed it as well and
reached down to pat the younger man�s shoulder reassuringly as he
ordered a retreat. "I think we�ve already outstayed our welcome;
let�s get the hell out of here while we can. Teal�c, I think we�re
gonna need your help."
He signed off almost before receiving confirmation. Janet could hear
Daniel asking what was going on, but left the brief explanation to Jack,
her attention on Sam. The blonde opened her eyes and Janet stroked her
The doctor looked over to see O�Neill helping Daniel to his feet
and he gave an urgent nod towards Sam.
Janet kept her voice quiet. "I don�t have time to explain,
Sam, but we�ve come to rescue you and we need to get out of here as
quickly as possible. Can you walk?"
The woman didn�t bother with a verbal response; she simply tried to
hoist herself off the floor. Seeing the struggle she was having, Janet
reached out to help her, worried about the fact of moving the two
without knowing whether anything was seriously wrong with them, but
seeing that there was no alternative. She managed to help Sam get to her
feet, sliding her arm around her lover�s waist to support her, seeing
that O�Neill offered similar support to Daniel as he led the little
group back the way they�d come.
The loud blare of the warning siren pounded in time with their
footsteps as they moved as quickly as possible through the lab and back
into the endless grey tunnels. It was not easy going; Janet felt herself
tiring very quickly as she supported Sam, and even O�Neill�s steps
seemed to be lagging. Janet could see Daniel looking around as Jack
practically dragged him down the corridor. She could almost feel the
Colonel�s annoyance with the archeologist�s extreme interest in
minutiae, and though she couldn�t hear anything above the siren, she
could well imagine the comments O�Neill was offering under his breath.
She looked up into Sam�s face, seeing the pinch of pain coupled
with the set of determination. The sight made Janet�s heart beat
faster and gave her a much needed boost of adrenaline. She knew there
was no way she could manage to stay right behind O�Neill and Daniel,
but she felt her speed increase as she helped her lover down the long
corridor, thinking that in the case of these tunnels, familiarity really
did breed contempt.
And then the sound blaring all around them changed. It turned into a
voice that said � well, actually Janet had no idea what it said since
it was nothing close to any language she�d ever heard. She could see O�Neill
turn his head to quiz Daniel and saw the emphatic shake of the
Teal�c provided the answer for them, as he, Makepeace, and the
other soldier came at a dead run down the corridor, skidding to a halt
in front of their party. While the two humans caught their breath, Teal�c
said urgently, "It is a countdown of some kind, O�Neill. I do not
know the specific words, but I have heard many warnings such as this
one. We must hurry."
Jack turned back to look at Janet and Sam, swinging Daniel around
with him. She noted with relief that the younger man seemed to be pretty
much back to normal, despite the fact that he was still leaning against
the Colonel for support. She looked back up at Sam, who returned her
gaze and mustered up a thin smile.
O�Neill nodded to Teal�c. "Can you carry Carter? Makepeace
and I can help Daniel."
Sam seemed about to argue and then the voice of the countdown sounded
again. Janet said in a low whisper, "We need to get out of
here." The blonde nodded and took a shaky step towards the Jaffa,
who promptly hoisted her ungracefully across his shoulders and took off
at a run. Mere seconds later, the rest of them followed suit.
Janet felt like her mind was going numb at the nightmare race against
what she assumed was a clock. She was scarcely aware of her body moving,
just focused on the need to run. Logically she knew the trip back
towards the surface was going much faster than the trip into the
tunnels, given the different motivating factors in each. But somehow it
seemed like escape was taking forever.
And then finally they plunged through a doorway and into the darkness
of the first tunnel, the one that led to the staircase. And just in
time, too, as the voice blaring through their ears became more ominous
sounding and the tunnel began to shake. Janet stumbled along, trying
desperately not to fall, and somehow made it to the staircase. Teal�c
stood at the bottom of it, Sam still slung unceremoniously across his
shoulders, his strong hands reaching out to help all of them up the
Janet had never been so grateful for the threat of sunburn in her
whole life. She staggered out, half blinded by the sun, the unnamed
soldier at her side urging her forward, as far away as possible from the
entrance to the underground. She turned back, still moving forward, eyes
shielded as she sought to see whether everyone was out. O�Neill and
Makepeace were dragging Daniel between them, and then her heart grew
lighter as she saw Teal�c and Sam emerge from the tunnel.
And the next thing she knew, she was thrown off her feet and
backwards as the world exploded.
Okay, so the world hadn�t exploded, Janet decided as she opened one
cautious eye. Since nothing adverse (other than way too much sun)
greeted her sight, she opened both eyes and struggled into a sitting
The unnamed soldier appeared by her side, not that he didn�t have a
name, just that she had seen him so rarely as to not recall it (he was
one of the few SGC members who somehow managed to only go to the
infirmary on her days off). They exchanged brief nods, acknowledging
that they were both all right, and then turned their collective
attention to finding their companions. They weren�t all that hard to
find � five figures sprawled drunkenly over the sandy ground.
Janet pushed to her feet, staggering a bit, unable to decide whether
it was because of being knocked on her butt or because of the entire
experience finally catching up with her. She smiled her gratitude for
the steadying hand on her elbow and then moved forward slowly, making
her way to where O�Neill, Daniel, and Makepeace were easing themselves
into sitting positions.
She gave them a cursory visual exam--which all but Daniel waved off
impatiently--satisfying herself with seeing there were no significant
injuries. The unnamed soldier stayed to help the three to their feet
while she headed towards where Sam and Teal�c were starting to move
Reaching her target, she sank to her knees beside the blonde woman.
She glanced over to see Teal�c leap to his feet; with a small grin,
she concluded he was his usual healthy self. He cocked his head to the
side at her visual appraisal, but made no comment other than to say he
would check on the others while she checked on Captain Carter. She
started to tell him she�d already done that, but he moved out of
earshot before the thought got from her mind to her mouth.
And then the soft sound of her name on Sam�s lips chased all other
thoughts away, and pulled Janet�s gaze down. The blonde�s face
curved in a smile and the sight made Janet�s heart soar, an answering
grin on her own face. They�d made it out. Against all odds, they�d
Time slowed down for a moment as they simply smiled at each other,
and Janet could almost see her lover doing the same thing she
was--drinking in the details of finding herself so consummately alive
and close to the one she loved.
"He-ey," Janet drawled gently, "how are you
feeling?" There were many other things she could have asked, but
this was the detail that seemed most important at the moment.
By way of response, Sam pushed herself into a sitting position. She
seemed to be considering herself before she spoke. "My shoulder
hurts, but I think I�m ok. Feeling pretty groggy, but a lot better
than I was. How�s Daniel?"
That was so like Sam, Janet thought warmly, being concerned about
other people�s welfare. Her answer was a simple, "He seems
Sam�s relieved smile lit her face and Janet felt herself fall in
love with the woman all over again at the mere sight. Yes, her lover was
a beautiful woman in a physical sense, but it was her caring and
compassion, her intelligence and curiosity that actually attracted Janet
and that made her heart beat just a little faster every time she saw
that sweet face.
She reached out and brushed a stray lock of hair off the other woman�s
forehead. She knew it was not exactly an appropriate gesture for even a
doctor under the circumstances, but she just couldn�t bring herself to
care all that much. She had enough plausible deniability to brush off
any questions of impropriety, and given the circumstances, she rather
thought their companions had other things on their minds than the minor
As if the thought of their companions were a summons, they all
appeared at Janet�s side, waiting while Sam struggled to her feet, the
doctor automatically reaching out a helping hand. And then the
magnificent seven stood in a row and surveyed the landscape, looking to
see from what they had just escaped.
They didn�t have to look far; not ten feet from where Sam and Teal�c
had been flung to the ground, there was a hole. A big hole. A really big
hole. A really, really big hole.
It looked like the warrens of tunnels and the lab and whatever else
had been underground had simply imploded, sending the sand plummeting
down to layer the bottom of a massive crater, the smell of smoke
drifting up, and tiny licks of flame lapping wherever the sand had not
smothered the blaze from the explosion. In the distant depths of the
crater, they could see only a couple of objects still standing�all
else appeared to have been destroyed.
For a long moment, silence reigned as they took in the nearness of
death and destruction. Then O�Neill summed things up in a typically
simple phrase. "Glad it�s not me on clean up duty."
The boom of General Hammond�s voice rang through the debriefing
room. "Are you certain the chambers only facilitated a physical
link between our people and the duplicates? I don�t need to tell you
that if whoever did this had access to their minds, the damage could be
�No, you don�t need to tell me,� Janet�s inner voice grumbled
crankily. Aloud, all she said was, "I�m as certain as I can be,
sir, given the way the chambers seemed to be operating." Which was
far from 100%, she admitted to herself.
She pushed herself straighter in her chair, feeling her exhaustion
catch up with her. She�d returned from the mission and taken Sam and
Daniel right to the infirmary for a thorough set of tests, and then they�d
all come to the debriefing. Once she�d determined that they really
were Carter and Jackson, that Daniel was unharmed except for a lump on
the back of the head, and that Sam�s injuries were all relatively
minor, her nervous energy had worn off. Now all she could seem to summon
up were guilt over having hurt Daniel and her lover (albeit indirectly
in the form of the skillet), fatigue, and grouchiness because of the
fatigue. All in all, not the best combination of traits when Hammond was
in the mood for answers.
Janet could feel Sam�s worried gaze on her, the concern for her
well-being so strong it was nearly palpable. But her own gaze was held
by the challenging look fixed on her by the general. She felt her
eyebrow arch in an equally challenging look, her mind searching for a
suitably withering statement that would not lead to an insubordination
In typically clueless fashion, Daniel interrupted the by-play.
"All I can say for sure is that it felt like our physical energy
was being drained, but it never felt like anyone had access to our
Janet felt a surge of relief when Hammond�s implacable gaze fixed
in on the archeologist. She knew that wasn�t a terribly nice reaction
to have, but she couldn�t help it. Daniel had been his usual
"obnoxious patient" self while she was running tests on him
and Sam, and as tired and grouchy as she was, she couldn�t help the
evil sense of pleasure she derived from seeing him squirm under the
This time it was Sam who broke up the by-play. "Sir, I know it�s
hard to explain, but I�m certain that they didn�t have access to our
minds." Her next words were very quiet. "I�m particularly
aware of what that feels like, and there was no sense of that. It was
all on a physical level, like somehow the energy of our bodies was used
to help activate our � duplicates."
Janet knew how hard that statement was for Sam to make; talking about
her experience with Jolinar was something she did as seldom as possible.
She turned in her chair, focusing her gaze on the woman sitting beside
her, trying to offer a sense of support through the simple visual
Hammond�s expression softened in a fatherly manner, as it usually
did when he regarded Carter. Janet had long been amazed at just how fond
he was of the young woman, and was equally amazed at how little Sam
seemed to know it. Not that that was terribly surprising; giving the
woman any sort of personal compliment or letting her know how much she
was liked was just met with a blank sort of stare and at most, an
embarrassed blush. She just didn�t seem to have a clue that she was
not only an intelligent and fascinating person, but an attractive one as
The general�s voice was kind but firm as he queried, "Correct
me if I�m wrong, Captain, but if you were drugged, you wouldn�t have
a reliable sense of what was actually happening to you."
Sam�s jaw tightened and her eyes grew glossy, and Janet felt a
spark of anger kindle in her chest, realizing that her lover was close
to falling apart, both from the injuries and captivity, and from the
still painful reference to having another being in her mind.
She drew herself up in her chair, but before she could do her best
mama bear impersonation to shield the other woman, O�Neill jumped in,
his voice a slow drawl. "Yeah, but sir � remember the whole
seduction thing that started this mess? If those droid things had been
mentally connected to Carter and Daniel, they�d never have tried
An all new kind of tension flooded over Sam, though it was so
imperceptible that none save Janet noticed it. The doctor knew exactly
what was going through the other woman�s mind: she and Daniel had
gotten the generic version of events during the debriefing, but Sam didn�t
have enough information to know whether the surreptitious relationship
between herself and Janet had been revealed, and unfortunately, she�d
have to wait for reassurance on that front.
Daniel was quick to agree with Jack. "That�s a really good
point. I would never try and seduce Doctor Fraiser; I don�t have the
slightest bit of interest in her."
Janet arched an eyebrow in amusement. The statement didn�t bother
her in the slightest (as Daniel was not exactly her type), but she saw
the sudden flush of embarrassment on his cheeks as he realized just how
"I mean � well � not that she�s not attractive and all
that � and not that it�s all about looks anyhow," he
backpedaled quickly, "but �"
Hammond�s raised hand stopped the flood of words. "I think we
get the idea."
The general seemed to take that point at face value--apparently
realizing it was about as much certainty as could be achieved--and
allowed himself to switch gears. "I�ve asked Colonel Makepeace to
get in radio contact with the initial excavation team and report
back." Looking down at his watch, he continued, "He ought to
be contacting us here in about two minutes."
Just as he�d finished speaking, an aide burst into the debriefing
room and offered the general a radio. "It�s Colonel Makepeace,
"Punctual guy," O�Neill offered wryly, with a wink to
Janet. She mustered up a smile and then all eyes focused on the radio,
as if somehow it would transmit pictures instead of just sound.
Makepeace�s voice was tinged with weariness. "Well sir, as you
can imagine, we�ve just barely scratched the surface, so to speak. But
pretty much everything has been destroyed. We did find three things
completely intact � a tv set, a VCR, and a whole collection of video
That was about the last thing anyone had expected to hear, Janet
mused, as she looked around to see surprise (and a touch of amusement)
on the other faces at the table. Before any of them could ask the
obvious question of, "How?" the colonel continued.
"Best the guys can figure it, since this stuff isn�t alien
technology like the other stuff, it wasn�t destroyed by whatever
self-destruct thing went off."
Janet noticed Hammond look questioningly at Sam; the Captain nodded
thoughtfully and said, "In theory, it�s possible � their
technology would only be effective on their own devices because of the
materials used in construction and the type of matter that an explosive
device was designed to target."
Makepeace waited until she was done, and when he continued his
explanation, Janet thought she heard a touch of amusement in his tone.
"The good news is that what while we didn�t find any sign of
these aliens to tell us who they were, what we did find gives us a
pretty good idea of why they did what they did."
He paused, and after a long moment, O�Neill�s impatience got the
best of him. "And what would that be?"
This time the man�s amusement was obvious. "Do you remember
that we had a couple of techs on planet doing some research on the
plants and monitoring the sound transmitter? Well one of them had fixed
up a way to use the energy generator to provide power for his tv and
VCR, which turned up missing along with his videos. He thought his buddy
had taken them as a joke, so never looked for them. Somehow these aliens
got their hands on them, because that�s what we�ve got here."
Janet found herself leaning forward with interest, and noted almost
absently that her companions were doing the same. Except for the slow,
crackling sound of the radio, it was quiet enough to hear a pin drop.
"There are tapes of CNN�s coverage of Monica Lewinsky�s
Congressional testimony, the movie Mars Attacks, the X-Files movie, and
last, but certainly not least, several movies taped directly off of the
Spice pay-per-view channel."
Janet quickly glanced around the table, as Hammond thanked Makepeace
for the information. Daniel coughed and scratched the tip of his nose,
looking studiously away from the women sitting across from him; O�Neill
muttered softly, "That explains the seduction thing;" Hammond
looked like he would like to pretend he didn�t know what that meant,
but couldn�t. Predictably enough, Sam looked completely confused and
Teal�c had his head cocked to the side in puzzlement.
Before anyone could offer an explanation of what that meant and why
it explained a whole lot, Teal�c asked quietly. "You have a
television channel devoted to the spices used in cooking?"
"I still don�t understand how it was that you knew the
duplicate wasn�t me." Sam looked up at Janet at she spoke.
"I mean, I know why Daniel�s duplicate trying to seduce you would
have made you suspicious. And I know that they targeted you for the
seduction because as the CMO of the Stargate program you have a lot of
control as to who comes and goes through the gate."
She paused, a slight blush crawling over her features. "And now
that you�ve explained those movies to me, I know why they would think
women seducing women would be typical behavior for this planet. But
since you and I ARE lovers, how did you know something wasn�t
They were stretched out on the couch in Janet�s house, or more
accurately, Sam was stretched out with her head in Janet�s lap, while
the doctor gently stroked her hair.
Janet smiled inwardly; she�d known that eventually it would occur
to Sam to ask that question. It had been a couple of days since the
debriefing, and the only reason it hadn�t occurred to the blonde to
ask before now was that she�d been pretty tired and sluggish from the
painkillers for her arm.
The doctor had wrestled with how much she should tell her lover,
knowing that Sam would be likely to blame herself somehow for their
relationship putting Janet in that situation. Now that she was in the
moment, she knew she couldn�t withhold anything in an attempt to
protect the woman; ironically enough, the very innocence in Sam that she
wanted to protect was what would prevent her from not telling her the
Janet shifted slightly so that she could see her lover, looking down
into those clear blue eyes, unmasked and full of curiosity.
With a slight sigh, her hand still playing with the soft strands of
blonde hair, Janet spoke quietly. "It was the way it � she �
was acting. The things she said were just not like you � and she tried
to force me. She ripped my shirt open and was holding me down, she
wouldn�t stop when I asked, and she was rough, so rough. I struggled
with her, but she was too strong. And you already know that the only way
I could stop her was by hitting her with the skillet. I knew you would
never do anything to hurt me, and would never push me to do something I
wasn�t ready for. You aren�t capable of that sort of violence or
She paused for a moment, watching Sam carefully. There was sympathy
in the blue eyes, and then Sam brought her hand up to her own face in
surprise to trace carefully over the bruises still visible. Janet winced
at the sight, knowing that it was her struggle with the Samdroid that
had caused those marks, and in a stuttering voice, she started to
A gentle finger against her lips stopped the flow of words.
"Janet, you don�t need to apologize. It�s not like you knew she
was physically connected to me. You were trying to protect yourself, and
there�s nothing for you to feel sorry for. I�m just sorry that you
had to go through that � seeing someone you thought was your lover
acting so out of character."
Janet felt a sudden threat of tears that she hastily blinked away.
She hadn�t known how much she needed Sam�s understanding and
forgiveness until she actually heard the words. She felt the gentle
touch of her lover�s hand caressing her face, her own hand still
playing with blonde hair. For a long moment they sat in silence,
comforted and soothed by the mere gift of presence.
And then Sam spoke again, another question on her lips. "So what
did she say that was so different from what I would say?"
The genuine puzzlement brought Janet�s sense of humor bubbling up
to the surface, knowing that the woman�s cluelessness about these
things was not at all feigned.
"Well, for starters, all she talked about was sex, never about
love or even about making love."
She looked down to see her lover nod thoughtfully. In Sam�s
vocabulary, it was love and making love that were the important words.
Despite her crude tongue (oh so helpfully nurtured by O�Neill), Sam�s
language when referring to the act of lovemaking was almost puritan in
Janet could not resist the wicked temptation to explain further,
knowing from experience exactly how cute Sam was when her cheeks were
pink with embarrassment.
"But that�s not all. In fact, this is word for word what she
said to me." Janet leaned down and whispered the words in Sam�s
ear, repeating all the things the duplicate had said to her.
She straightened back up when she was done, seeing the fierce blush
spreading across the pale cheekbones. She couldn�t help but smile when
Sam�s verbal response adequately summed up the entire droid saga.
She laughed softly and ruffled the blonde hair affectionately.
"I kinda thought that would be your reaction."
Sam shook her head as best she could with it cradled in Janet�s
lap. "I�m just sorry you had to go through that at all. Must have
Janet leaned down to kiss the other woman. "It wasn�t
something I enjoyed." She paused for a moment before saying,
"But I think you could help me forget about it."
She felt Sam�s soft shiver of anticipation at the implication of
the sentence. Easing herself out from under her lover�s head, Janet
stretched out beside her on the couch, reaching up to stroke the woman�s
cheek tenderly as she felt Sam�s hand circle her body and massage
lightly against the small of her back.
She found Sam�s mouth with her own, and the kiss they shared was
soft and sweet. Janet�s voice was a bare murmur against Sam�s lips.
"In fact, I know you can help me forget."
And then words were forgotten as the lovers lost themselves in the
feel of each other�s body.