should have listened to me, Sam. You really should have. I did try to
warm you. But you always did know best, didn't you. You didn't leave me
any choice. I had to take action, I had to save you from the
consequences of your own arrogant, misguided ambitions.
been a very busy, naughty girl, Samantha. Very naughty! You've waxed
venomous all over the Pentagon and Capitol Hill, whispering sweet
poison into the ear of anyone who would listen to your 'selfless'
concern for DAN-iel's welfare and your paranoid, completely groundless
fears about fate of the world. Oh dear. Playing the megalomania card
was just so - obvious. Not to mention trite. Clichéd. Dated.
Ridiculous. But then again, very much in keeping with the rather
conventional and unimaginative way your mind works. You've more than
demonstrated a considerable inability to think outside the box.
outside the cell.
so touched by the faith the military machine has shown in me, their
anxiety to assuage my concerns for your welfare. You'll get the very
best of care, Sam, dear. The very best. Although, as I cue the security
camera monitoring your cell 24/7, I have to admit your surroundings are
far less salubrious than the mental health ward DAN-iel once found
himself consigned to, and the orange is an unexpected touch of cruelty
given your skin tone, but still, the very best of care. I made sure of
a pleasing symmetry to disposing of Sam in this way. Quite delicious,
actually. An eloquent object lesson for the good Major Doctor on the
perils of being perceived as the flake, the emotive little romantic
always 'doing the right thing', of being the sole voice of 'reason'
crying all alone in the wilderness only to have the scientist come in
and overwhelm intuition and accusation with facts. I've seen your
theory and raised you a proof, Sam.
if only she had the wit to perceive the point of the lesson, we could
share the exquisite irony of consummate role reversal.
been monitoring all the phone calls and outgoing messages she's been
relentlessly sending in the vain hope of getting someone, anyone to pay
attention to her delusions. She's already exhausted the 'A' list during
her rapid descent into the cell she's gracing and there's only one name
of note on the 'B' list.
he won't be at all happy to learn just how far down the pecking order
he comes these days. Poor Jack. It's almost in me to feel sorry for
him. The rapidity of his self-inflicted slide from apex to nadir made
Sam's subsequent tumble look leisurely by comparison. I've been curious
to see if he'd turn up. It's not like he has anything to distract him
from his own redundancy.
well what do we have here? Speak of the devil. Looks like today's the
day we all get lucky.
came through for her after all. I see. That's the way it is - still. He
refused to answer any of my calls and yet, the moment she crooks a
finger, he comes running. He's so utterly reliable in his mundanity.
thank you for coming," she says to him as Jack walks up to the bars
are you doing Carter?" he asks in a tired voice. Maybe this isn't as
bad as I thought. He sounds like he's humouring her. Maybe this is
simply a professional courtesy call. The least he can do for someone
who once served under him. No matter how much of a nutbar she's become
in the interim.
Still, it's a lot more courtesy, professional or otherwise, than he's
trying to do what's right," she starts to whine. "I've talked to
everyone I know. No one's answering my calls, responding to my e-mails,
even my letters."
they think you're NUTS!" Jack cuts her off with his unique and entirely
refreshing knack for stating the blindingly obvious.
do you think?" she asks him pointedly.
now THAT'S really the question, isn't it? What DO you think, Jack?
Enlighten us, please.
talking about Daniel here," he tells her with a small shrug. Daniel --
"Sometimes he can be a little odd. Every once in a while he gets
carried away, but he's not gonna do anything to jeopardise the entire
was unexpected. Approval, of a sort, from the man's own lips. He still
believes in me. Correction, believes in DAN-iel. Not the same thing.
Not even close. Not any more.
looking good, though. Looking very good. A little tired, but boredom
will do that to you. Especially to someone who's seen as much action as
Jack. Needs as much constant stimulation, needs to be - needed. It's
good to see him. Haven't seen him in such a long time. What the hell,
it's so good to see him I'll overlook the fact he called me 'odd'.
not so sure, sir," Sam tells him with all the studied directness of the
a news flash. I already know your views on the subject. I want to hear
what Jack has to say.
wish I could see his expression but unfortunately he's keeping his back
to the camera. Looking at HER.
are a lot of very smart people who believe in this," Jack reminds her.
Way to go, Jack. Tell her the way it is. Say it with me. 'Sorry, Sam,
but you're NUTS'.
got them brainwashed!" she snaps.
I'm persuasive. So sue me.
tries to placate her but she's not quite ready to be patted on the head
and placated. Not going to admit she's beaten without a fight.
about Teal'c?" she challenges. "You don't still blame Daniel for that?"
Jack, what about Teal'c? Is he still coming between us?
don't have to be able to see his face to know that one went home. His
back stiffens, he pauses a moment before replying. When he finally
manages to get the words out his voice lacks the conviction he is
trying to convey to her.
couldn't prove anything. Can you?" he says uneasily.
not being able to prove anything doesn't mean he still doesn't suspect.
Still doesn't hold me accountable. Dammit! Guess that means the answer
is still 'yes'.
just like that useless, bothersome slave to go on giving me grief even
after he's dead. I want to kill him all over again for the trouble he's
still causing me.
to that 'proof' you're looking for, sorry, she won't be able to help
you out there, Jack. No one is ever going to be able to prove anything.
I'm much too smart for that. Teal'c took the truth of the circumstances
of his unfortunate demise with him when he - went. I'm the only one who
knows what really happened, and wouldn't you know it, I'm not telling.
me nicely, however, and I might tell you.
she admits. "I just have my opinion. But that used to be worth
something to you."
that's not bad! You've been practising! Hit his guilt button. Appeal to
the good ole team loyalties. Not bad at all. Especially as it seems to
be working on him.
Jack, you always were a sucker for a sob story.
Carter, you helped Daniel create these weapons," he reminds her.
bad yourself, Jack. Assigning blame. Your speciality. As well as
shifting the load. You're one of the best when it comes to active and
creative avoidance. Nothing sticks to you once you start flinging
responsibility around. You've got her there, fair and square, dead to
rights, she's admitting she's partially responsible for creating the
'monster' she's now bound and determined MUST be destroyed. For the
good of the world. Of course.
your selfless dedication to your cause in the face of your own
complicity astonishes me.
does your driving determination to 'stop me at all costs' stem from an
even simpler motivation than that? Are you just pissed off with me
'cause once again, I thought of it first?
you couldn't stop it, what do you expect me to do?" Jack asks her in
his best 'bottom line it for me' voice.
here it comes. What do you really want here, Sam? What do you want from
Jack. Why is he here? What are you hoping he will do for you?
to him," she says earnestly.
to me? That's it? You want Jack to try and intercede for you? Put in a
good word with Doctor Jackson for you? You want Jack to try and wheedle
a get out of jail free card from his good old forgotten friend and one
time pal DAN-iel?
just might work. At least it would be interesting to see just how far
Jack is willing to go to persuade me to turn you loose. And there's a
certain satisfyingly fitting irony inherent in the scenario that
frankly appeals to me.
to me a lot!
you have to try. Somebody has to stop him before it's too late."
sorry, back to this, are we? I knew it was too good to be true. Why
Sam, I'm impressed. How selfless. Not 'oh sir, please get DAN-iel to
let me out of jail', but 'I don't matter, stop him before he takes over
truly noble of you. Getting all misty-eyed here.
talk some more, but I'm no longer listening. Just looking at them. At
him. With her.
all this time it seems Jack O'Neill is finally going to be coming to
see DAN-iel. Going to be paying a visit to his late-lamented friend.
I'd be quite happy about this, but I'm afraid this conversation has
cast a bit of a pall on my elation about the impending blessed event.
I'd be viewing Jack's imminent return into my life as a lot more
significant if I was a little surer of his motives. It would definitely
be more meaningful if I knew he was doing it because he genuinely
wanted to see me. Not because he was doing it for her.
whys and wherefores are going to have to wait. Whatever's driving him
to come, it seems he's on his way.
is going to be coming to see DAN-iel. Doctor Jackson will be waiting.
Between the two of us, we'll get to the bottom of things. Once I have
him I'm not letting him go until I know the truth.
here. After all this time, he's finally come to me.
annoyed I'm not as calm about this as I should be. A little
disconcerted by the fact I find the prospect of seeing him again, face
to face -- exciting.
nothing I can't handle. Nor am I kidding myself. He's not exactly shown
up on my doorstep with the purest of intentions.
the most impure, more's the pity.
it's all I can do to smother a smile as I walk into the room and see
him nervously fumbling with the flowers on the mantle. Bending over to
pick one up as it falls.
stands up quickly, whirling about to face me, a startled, slightly
guilty expression on his face. Which abruptly turns into one of
self-conscious horror as he realises I've walked into the room in time
to catch him standing there waiting for me apparently bearing flowers.
pleasing thought, if only it was really true. However, we both know
while you weren't planning to say it with flowers, you haven't exactly
come empty-handed, have you, Jack? You've brought me a gift, but it's
not one you want to show me, not until the moment when you finally let
me have it. The moment I'll know why you've REALLY come to see me.
I say to him, smiling now as I watch him grimace and hurriedly stuff
the flower back into the arrangement behind him. " Nice to see you."
is. It really is. Not that I've needed you around or anything. I've had
plenty to do to keep me occupied. Tons and tons of subservient, pliant
people more than willing to fulfil my every - whim.
got it made, Jack. Can have anything I want. Any ONE I want. All I have
to do is crook a finger and people come running. People who've made
satisfying my every desire nothing short of their life's work.
tell you how bored I've been.
it's all been too easy. Nobody gives me any grief. Talks back. Gets in
my face. It's all my way and it was okay for a little while, but, I
have to admit, seeing you again, it hasn't been the same without you.
missed the battle. The constant confrontations we used to have. The
give and take. Mostly you taking. Daniel giving. He was an idiot in
that respect as well.
missed your crap. You were a pain in the ass and a constant, gnawing
irritant under my skin but the one thing you NEVER were, Jack, was
now, here you are. You've come back into my life, just like that. After
months and months of 'return to sender, no such address, sorry wrong
number, no one by that name lives here', you've just up and waltzed
through my front door, wearing that same old 'hey, it's me, Jack!'
smile, figuring as always, that's all it's going to take? Give Danny
the twinkling, rakish, bad-boy grin and he'll take you back, no
might have a better chance of getting me to play along with your 'no
fault' approach to friendship if you hadn't gone to see HER before you
came back to me. You see, and I know this is going to shock you, Jack,
that I could even THINK to doubt your sincerity after all the trust,
support and faith you've shown me, but I find myself wondering why
you're really here. Danny would clasp you to his bosom without a second
thought, but Doctor Jackson is a little less trusting and a LOT more
why ARE you here, Jack? Thinking you're on some kind of mission for
Carter, her knight in shinning armour, or looking to get back into my
good graces? Which is it, Jack? What's it going to be?
suck it and see, shall we?
started out with a definite tactical disadvantage, being caught with
the pansy in his hand and all, but he quickly shows me although it's
been a while since we've danced together, he hasn't forgotten the
steps. He quickly rallies and responds to my greeting with an
enthusiastic pseudo-sincere rejoinder of his own.
too!" he says emphatically, with a nod. "It's been a while, huh?"
Shrug, his 'sorry' face, then he gestures around and launches into the
big compliment. "I love the place. Love what you've done with it."
little too big, a little too forced. But, still, not bad. My turn, now.
sorry I haven't kept in touch." Giving him back just a hint of DAN-iel.
Not too much. Just enough to pique his interest. Don't want too shoot
my entire load too soon. Save some for later.
you've been busy," he returns, bigger shrug, tossing it off but still
letting me see the 'pain' he's pretending he's not been feeling and
further pretending to be unaware he's let slip out. 'Yeah, I'm hurt you
forgot your old friends when you made it to the top, but hey, that's
life.' No hard feelings?
the truth is we couldn't have done any of this without your help and I
probably should have been more appreciative." Okay, Jack. I'll take the
responsibility you're trying to give me. Once again, it's all DAN-iel's
fault. Mea culpa. Like always, Jack is the injured party, here. Some
things never change, do they?
mind it was YOU who walked out on ME.
fruit basket was nice."
Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Glad to hear you GOT it. Your thank you
note must have gotten lost in the shuffle. Along with your replies to
my phone calls, invitations -
be a coincidence you showed up here on the day of the launch." Getting
a little side-tracked, here. Time to get to the point.
that today?" he returns, feigning surprise. Badly.
it was supposed to be top secret." Supposedly. Obviously you still have
a source or two of information I don't know about. Interesting. I'd be
looking into it, but after today, there won't be any need.
knew?" he grins at me in such an obvious, endearing way I can't help
but forgive him the lie.
wanna stay and watch?" I dangle the invitation before him. He's clearly
been looking for an opening, an opportunity to worm his way back into
the 'inner sanctum' but has been painfully unsure of his welcome.
sure he could still count on having as much pull with me as he did
before. I've got no intention of setting his mind at ease on this
score. No intention whatsoever.
let you in, Jack, but if you want to stay, you're going to have to ASK.
got a big screen?" he grins in anticipation at me, taking a hesitant
step forward. For a second, I can see something gleaming in his eyes. I
still don't know why he's really here but suddenly he seems to have
forgotten it as well.
in the grip of that inchoate 'something' both of us were always aware
of, but neither one of us would own or admit to.
something, it would seem, neither one of us can ever completely turn
our backs on. Whether we're actually on the same team or not.
a brief instant he's forgotten his 'mission'. Whatever brought him to
me, it's not what's making him come to me now. He's here, reaching to
me across the space between us without moving, not because he has to
be, but because he WANTS to be.
to let him in on it.
here." I say softly, commandingly.
stiffens immediately at the sound of my voice. Stares startled into my
eyes as if suddenly surprised to hear me speaking his own thoughts
means of course he has to immediately deny he was thinking any such
his mouth says suspiciously, eyes looking me over warily while his feet
are shuffling him, unwilling, but still coming.
see." I smile provocatively at him. He inches uncertainly toward me,
taking a few more hesitant steps, his eyes never leaving my face.
that's not true. He's looking me over. All of me. Licking his lips,
wanting to, hopeful and yet terrified of his own covetous attraction.
Come just a little closer, Jack. We both know you want it. You've
ALWAYS wanted it. You've yearned for it from the moment we met,
suffered years of maddening desire deadlocked by adamantine denial.
he says stubbornly, glaring at me. Not coming any closer, huh, Jack?
Won't show me yours 'til I show you mine?
onto your ass, we're going for a trip.
look on his face when the rings drop down around us is truly one for
the books. Definitely the last thing he was expecting.
are such a pain in the ass." I say teasingly to him before turning away
at his open-mouthed astonishment and striding over to my command chair
in the middle of the bunker. It takes him a minute to recover but then
he follows me, almost meekly, clearly overwhelmed as he takes in our
to my place, Jack. My humble little home away from home. Better than
state of the art, more than cutting edge, the best, the most advanced,
the biggest, every square inch of it conceived of, designed and
realised by yours truly, every aspect of its construction personally
supervised by your dear little Dannyboy. I thought it up, they built it
for me, just the way I wanted. Just the way I told them to. Because I
told them to. Mine.
beats the hell out of your rec room, don't it, Jack? Go on, take a good
look around the joint and tell me you're not seriously impressed. "What
do you think?" I ask him as I bring the chair into position and start
checking my monitors. Things are going well, everything is on schedule.
I'm aware of this immediately, but continue to appear as if I'm
completely focussed on the data I'm receiving and the status reports of
really I'm nothing of the kind. I'm watching Jack. Watching. Waiting.
If he's going to make his move, it'll have to come some time soon.
see where the game takes us.
mind registers every piece of information being relayed to me by my
people as I watch Jack surveying the new playing field. He's doing his
best country bumpkin impersonation, gaping about like he's just come up
to the big city from the farm, but he's not fooling me.
a much better tactician than he likes to let on. Threat assessment is
his middle name.
doing plenty of 'assessing' at the moment. From the looks of it he's
not too pleased with what he's seeing.
cool," he observes casually, with a slightly vacant grin. "Kinda like
Vegas." Duh, don't mind me, moron here. I've never been in a top secret
military ultra high tech missile launch monitoring site before. Haven't
got a clue what I'm looking at. Don't have the foggiest what any of
this stuff means.
Jack. Save it for Sam. Doctor Jackson wasn't born yesterday. But you
are very cute when you're playing the buffoon.
we've got three to one odds in favour of the launch going off without a
hitch," I inform him with a rather satisfied smile.
I'll take some of that action," he quips.
sooner said than done. You want action, Jack, I'll give you a run for
your money. Take you for everything you've got. And more.
Colonel O'Neill down for a hundred." I toss over my shoulder to one of
my techs. To an instant, efficient acknowledgement of my wishes.
doesn't miss it. Doctor Jackson speaks, people jump. Was a time it used
to be you, huh Jack? How times change. Doctor Jackson is a much bigger
deal than you could ever hope to be. Question is, are you man enough to
admit I'm a better one than you?
you deal with it Jack? Can you handle me? You had DAN-iel under your
thumb. Doctor Jackson is nobody's blue-eyed boy. You're going to have
to learn a whole new set of ground rules and I'm more than up for
teaching them to you.
you take what I'm going to give you?
right?" Jack adds nervously. What's the matter, my friend, suddenly not
so sure of yourself? Don't know if you've got the balls to play with
the big boy? Can only take a chance when you've got the home advantage?
Doctor Jackson making you nervous?
find out where we really stand.
glad you're here, Jack." I tell him with a rueful smile. "After what
happened to Teal'c, I thought I'd never see you again."
up, Jack. That was the truth. Every single word. No games, here, just
me, levelling with you. What have you got for me?
ancient history," he brushes what I've just said aside with a casual
wave of his hand. "Besides, I didn't want to miss watching you save the
pass up an opportunity to stop me from doing it.
actually Sam thinks I'm trying to take it over." Hah, hah! That's a
laugh, huh? Imagine your very own sweet, stoic take it up the ass every
time but keep right on tickin' little DAN-iel trying to take over the
world! I mean, even if he could, what would he DO with it? The meek are
supposed to hang in there, suffering in dignified silence and justified
expectation until somebody finally gives them their fair share for all
their patience, tolerance and forbearance. Oh, they get what's coming
to them all right. Not what they're expecting, but exactly what they
deserve for standing by and doing and saying nothing in their own
defence while stupider, louder, more aggressive people fuck them over
and throw them aside.
guys finish last. It's a cliché, but there it is.
how ARCH," Jack ripostes. Trying to convince me he thinks it's a
ridiculous idea. To imagine Daniel capable of it, certainly. DAN-iel? A
threat? Furthest thing from his mind.
so sure of Doctor Jackson, though. He's a completely different story.
have no idea. But very, very soon, you're going to be gaining some
first hand knowledge. Up close and profoundly personal.
I give him a noncommittal grunt.
you threw her in jail, huh?" he asks as he takes another look around
the bunker. No mistaking the meaning behind that one. He thinks he
knows what's going on but he wants to hear me say it.
was getting dangerous," I tell him a little tersely. I'm slightly
disappointed he needs me to explain my actions. Still expects me to
justify myself to him. Doesn't accept my judgement. Once, just once I
wish he would take me on trust.
don't want to hear 'why did you do it' from you, Jack. What I want to
hear is 'I don't understand why you did it, but if you thought you had
to, Danny, it's good enough for me.'
what I want to hear from you, Jack.
think the military didn't take all kinds of precautions to make sure I
couldn't just control everything?" I finish patiently. Stating the
obvious. We both know DAN-iel is smart, but even he's not smart enough
to out-manoeuvre the best scientific and technical minds of the United
States Military! Not DAN-iel.
So what is all this?" Jack asks with a wave of his hand. Cautiously
sceptical. Not buying what Doctor Jackson is selling.
a big screen TV so we can watch and fix things if it goes wrong." I
let's cut the crap, shall we? So we both know I'm lying. Still nothing
wrong with your instincts, it would seem. But where's it written taking
over the world is a BAD thing, Jack? After all, it's me. Of all the
people in the world, you've got the least cause to be apprehensive of
the impending new order. You've got an in like no one else if you're
finally man enough to take it. Trust me. I know what I'm doing. It's
for the best.
Sam did send you to stop me, but you're both presuming I NEED to be
stopped. That what I'm planning to do isn't in the Earth's best
interests. This all could have been so much different for her if she'd
only trusted me. Worked with me. Instead of trying to supplant me.
now she's reaped the rewards of her own short sightedness. Don't be as
stupid as she has been, Jack. Don't make the same mistake. I'm offering
you the world on a platter. Literally. Take it. Trust me.
you were over Sam. You never fucked our own dear Sam, did you, Jack?
Afraid of whose face you'd see, whose name you'd call if you were to
let go with that pale, rigid imitation? I've got news for you. You were
a pale imitation to her too, her own need and fear of not belonging
made manifest. If the other Carters had you, well, why shouldn't she?
And you saw it all clearly, the way she needed you to after she pointed
it out to you so forcefully, in front of an audience.
didn't know DAN-iel knew all about it, did you? Didn't know the poor,
stupid, caring schmuck figured out something was wrong and wanted to
help his friends. Didn't know he went and watched the tape of the whole
sordid scene, did you?
of course you didn't. Didn't have a clue. The same way as you never had
the slightest clue about ANYTHING where DAN-iel was concerned. Well, he
did. He watched it. He saw the whole thing. The stupid, dumb, trusting
fuck. He knew everything that went on, everything that was said.
Everything YOU said. Everything YOU never bothered to tell him. The
whole time you were carrying on and billing and cooing with Sam and
giving him the boot. After you'd been browbeaten into thinking the
whole thing was YOUR idea.
is smarter so if she told you that you were in love with her - not like
she could be wrong or anything - follows therefore you HAD to be?
Right? Even poor DAN-iel could have pointed out the flaws in that
hypothesis. If you'd ever given him the opportunity. Or half a chance,
even. But of course, you never owned up. You just acted out. As always.
Why DO you find it so easy to take professional responsibility whilst
at the same time opting for the 'not gonna deal' fork in the personal
responsibility path? Easier for you to be the colonel than the man?
is it simply a matter of plain not having the guts to face the music
informs me I've got a call from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and
sure enough, there he is, General Vidrine, bright eyed and smiling all
over my nice big, wide screen. All ready to share the joy on this our
proud and shining day of achievement.
won't be so happy if things go the way I'm expecting them to. But that
would be putting the cart before the horse. Right now, I'm still
playing the part of Doctor Jackson, dedicated servant of the Earth. I
pull out all the stops as I talk with Vidrine, fully aware Jack is
watching my every move.
missing a damned thing.
go ahead, Jack, you get the whole story. Gather all the intel you need.
You've got a big decision ahead of you. Let's hope you've got enough
sense to chose the winning side.
Dr. Jackson," Vidrine's self-satisfied voice booms through the bunker.
Great sound to go along with the picture. "We've all worked very hard
for this day."
you and congratulations to you," Kiss, kiss smoosh, smoosh, my people
will be taking over for your people, but I'll get back to you about it,
is looking a tad - superfluous. Little colonel lost, reduced to being a
spectator, nothing to do but watch history being made before his eyes.
Right in the middle of things, privileged to be one of the select few
present in the pulsing heart of the action, front row and centre for
the main event but having a hand in nothing happening all around him. I
feel for him, but he's going to have to play with himself for the next
little while. The Doctor has to go to work right now, big, grown up
important work, but don't go away, Jack, I'll have time to play with
you real soon.
the time in the world.
a go for launch," Vidrine announces. "Commencing twenty-second
systems are go. The clock is running," my lead tech reports. Jack's
eyes are dancing over the monitors, taking in everything. I can't
resist a little bragging.
got twenty four delivery systems all launching concurrently. Each one
is carrying twelve AG3's that will disperse once they reach orbit," I
inform him as I continue to monitor my own telemetry system. In spite
of himself, Jack's impressed. Damned impressed. He looks me over, takes
in the imposing spectacle of Doctor Jackson ensconced in the centre of
his power, his attention seemingly completely devoted to the monitors
he's scrutinising and the switches he's confidently flicking, and even
Jack has to give me a moment's grudging respect.
something, but is it enough? Not sure. Jury's still out, I'm thinking.
He's evidently still thinking as well, as he frowns slightly and turns
his attention back to the big screen.
off! Showtime! I can't help but feel a thrill of excitement lance
through me as I watch my babies leap up from the Earth and throw
themselves into the sky. It's a major turn on, I admit it. I've worked
damned hard for this day, why shouldn't I get off on watching it
happen? While also getting off on knowing I'm the only reason it IS
think this is exciting Jack, wait till you see what happens next.
all goes like a charm. Naturally. I watch him watching the flawless
dispersement of the system when the missiles reach their correct
orbital altitude. With perfect, clockwork precision the technology
performs exactly as I designed it, the monitoring system coming on line
without a hitch, a glitch or so much as a whimper, bang on schedule.
The network is officially in place.
That was good!
according to plan. My plan. My baby. Couldn't be prouder of it if it
was an actual child. The fruit of my mind. My gift to the world. Mine.
Jack's been right here beside me to watch its coming into being. Born
right in front of his eyes. He turns to me, awed and quite speechless.
He's stunned by what he's just seen, especially as it really hits him,
I think for the first time, that he's looking at the man solely
responsible for all of it.
Doctor Jackson. The most powerful man in the world.
it. Pay the winners." I smile proudly as I look to him and share the
fullness of my elation only with him.
not getting into the spirit of things. He's still worried. I'm doing my
best to show him he's got no cause. I pop the cork on the bubbly, pour
the first glass and offer it to him. He shakes his head and stands
uneasily at my side.
sure?" I cajole gently. " It's two thousand dollars a bottle." Nothing
but the best for Doctor Jackson and his friends. Come on, Jack, loosen
thanks," he shakes his head again. Maybe he's not comfortable with all
these people around. He's going to have to get used to being the centre
of some very focused attention. Better bring him up to speed on a few
other ways his life is going to be changing for the better, all thanks
on, Jack, you're about to become an international hero," I inform him
in a lightly teasing voice.
which he reacts with a pointed look of alarm.
do you mean?" he asks me suspiciously.
now that we have a way of defending ourselves against the Goa'uld, the
President is gonna make the Stargate's existence public knowledge."
Should be doing so any minute, actually.
there we go. I'm informed the satellite news feed is coming in, right
on schedule and both Jack and I turn to the big screen.
what's this? Not the press secretary. A reporter. Oh, how annoying. I
hate it when people are so numbingly predictable.
Jack, looks as if your guest shot on Letterman is going to have to be
postponed. The Russians are freaking. Better get Vidrine on the line
and go through the whole 'pretending to need presidential approval'
riff to deal with this song and dance.
turn my back on Amy Jensen whittering on about international crises and
head back for the big chair. Jack's eyes follow me as I sit myself down
and start working the seat. I don't really need to mess with all the
buttons I'm pressing, but doing it sure seems to press a few of his.
Ah, there we go, press another one and Amy goes away and Vidrine comes
dealing with all life's problems were as easy as making them go away
with a little finger action. One single button - nothing but good
times. But come to think of it, very shortly it all might very well be
coming down to just that.
on how far anyone planning to get in my way tries to push ME.
going on?" I demand brusquely of Vidrine.
Russians have gone on high alert," he responds quickly. Not panicking.
Not concerned. That's good. No need to lose our heads over this,
people. This isn't a big deal. I've anticipated all of this. "The
Chinese are following suit. The Russians are repositioning one of their
anti-satellite weapons. Looks like they're going to try and take out
one of our AG3's."
so it doesn't look so good. But still not such a big deal.
they respond to the statement?" I ask him as I look over my own
Russian parliament considers the secret development and deployment of
this new alien technology weapons system to be a direct violation of
prior agreements to share all information garnered through the Stargate
programme. Unless control of this system is relinquished immediately it
will be considered an act of aggression and will be responded to as
pretty much what we expected," I calmly remind him, and he agrees.
"Then my advice to the President is we have to demonstrate what we are
capable of." Next logical step in the progression of the 'Russians
getting out their guns' scenario, which I've previously meticulously
plotted out for you. Well in advance of it actually happening.
given you the script, people. All you have to do is follow it.
have suggested that to him already and the President agrees."
good man. Doing exactly what you are told. Excellent. So far the
President has also shown himself to be worthy of the position of
authority he is currently holding. We'll see if he continues to be half
the man he needs to be when push really comes to shove.
has settled into a chair at the console in front of me and is watching
me while pretending not to watch me going through the motions of
waiting for the launch codes for the system. I get 'permission' from
the Prez to bring out my brand new gun and away we go. It's the work of
a few seconds to take care of the Russian missile.
go boom. Score one for Doctor Jackson. Thunderous round of applause, if
you please. And for my next number -- What'cha got for me now?
effective," Vidrine says approvingly "Everyone here is very impressed."
well should be. I've got the biggest damned gun on the whole planet,
now, and I'm not afraid to use it.
hope the Russians are as well." I wave away his praise with the correct
air of self-deprecation. Oh, it's nothing. Really.
however, like me, is a realist.
predicted their next step would be to launch more anti-satellite
weapons and that's exactly what they're doing. I'm sure they're moving
rockets into position as we speak."
you can count on it, General. They've already demonstrated they're
idiots by sending out the first missile. Seeing how far that got them,
only makes sense they'd not learn from their mistake and try, try again.
of the major failings of arrogance is how unbelievably stupid
unwarranted belief in your own omnipotence makes you.
your next step?" I say wearily to him as I bend my head and rub my eyes
in an effort to disguise my impatience. Let's stop playing games with
these losers. Wrap this up so we can get down and party. I'm keeping an
old friend waiting, one who doesn't look like he's having a good time,
and, frankly, I'd rather be someplace else so I can give him that
quality time he's always wanted with me, thanks.
preparing a proportional response. I'm recommending we take out their
no Vidrine. Too conservative. Thinking too small. Wasting more time.
Let me help you out a little, here.
is all leading to a full-scale nuclear attack though, isn't it?"
don't mind stating the obvious if doing so helps others get to where I
need them to go.
we comply with their demands, yes, that would be a high probability."
think? I'm starting to get a headache from all this foolishness. Not to
mention losing what little remaining tolerance I have for idiots and
cowards. I really would have preferred not to have had this unfortunate
set of circumstances spoil what otherwise has been a most satisfying
day but now that we've got no choice, it's time to stop messing around.
we just nip this in the bud?" I tell Vidrine bluntly. Also can't help
noticing the way Jack sits up and focuses on me. He's been sitting
there trying to make like the boob once more, but in truth his eyes
have barely left my face the entire time.
been watching me, studying me. Trying to make up his mind. We're coming
to the moment of truth in more ways than one.
next few minutes should prove to be very illuminating indeed.
is talking again.
our new ability to defend ourselves we don't see the need to jump the
gun. The President is currently rethinking our position on unilateral
control of the system."
see." NOT what I wanted to hear. But again, pretty much what I was
expecting. Politicians and bureaucrats. Fools and weaklings, the whole
lot of them. Well, fortunately I've set things up so I don't need any
of them. I hit my personal override turning the control of the system
over to me, locking out all other access.
is making 'what the hell are you doing noises' which I barely hear as I
explain the new facts of life to him.
I suspected the President is obviously failing to overcome a lack of
necessary leadership abilities. So I'm gonna have to step in and
prevent a global nuclear war."
be clear enough, even for you.
not supposed to be able to do this!" he protests. "You CAN'T do this."
monitors tell me otherwise, General, how about yours?
already done this," I brusquely inform him as I continue to bring the
rest of the system under my personal control. "This bunker is well
protected. Don't even think about sending a cruise missile our way."
won't like the way I respond to such discourtesy.
trying to say something else but I cut him off at the knees. Bye bye,
General, can't say it's been great.
don't know about the rest of you, but I had about enough of that guy,"
I quip lightly to the room in general, Jack in particular. I almost
want to laugh. Maybe later. Got work to do right now.
What are you doing?" Jack is walking up to me, a worried look on his
face. I'm a little busy at the moment, but I can spare him a moment or
two so he can fully appreciate exactly what sort of decisions I'm faced
with. Perhaps it'll be easier for him to understand precisely what's
going on if I give him the rest of the picture.
response only makes sense when the playing field is even. We have a
distinct advantage here. Problem is the other side just doesn't realise
how wide the gap is. What they really need is a visual aid."
in mind, Jack, this isn't my fault. I didn't start it. But I'm damned
well going to finish it. Quickly and cleanly. What's more, as you just
saw, I'm the only one who's got the vision and the balls to do what has
to be done.
is absolutely still, watching the monitor, until my lead tech announces
the AG system is targeting Moscow. Then he quickly turns to me, a
strange, expression on his face.
he says softly.
is it, isn't it Jack? The moment of truth? This is when you chose. Her,
or me. Who's it going to be?
worry," I tell him as he turns his back on me, "there's no threat of
residual radiation spreading, it's quick and clean, it's like cutting
your enemy's heart out with a scalpel."
find the image suddenly, strongly appealing. To actually DO it. Remove
a living, beating heart with my own hands. It's an interesting thought.
What would it feel like? How would it really be done? How much blood?
In my mind I'm seeing it as an almost antiseptic event. Simple,
elegant, clean. Beautiful. But it wouldn't be anything like that at
all, would it? Not really. Reality would be so much more vital. And
satisfying. It'd be messy, gruesome, painful. Dreadfully painful. I
wonder how much. Wonder how much it would hurt, how much she would
when Jack abruptly spins about, the gun in his hand, firing point blank
at me, right between the eyes. I see the bullets impact off the force
shield, see where he would have hit me. If I'd let him - or anyone else
- take me by surprise.
continues rapidly squeezing the trigger, emptying the entire clip in
his grandly futile gesture. When he's given me all he's got he stands
quietly, staring at his useless gun for an embarrassed second before
looking at me with rueful regret.
for having crossed the line or regret for having failed to kill me I
can't say. Guess we'll never know. Not that it would make any
can't find it in my heart to hate him, even after this. Even though
what he's just done has excised what little heart I realise I still had
you think it was strange you got through security with a loaded gun?" I
ask him gently. None so blind as those who will not see, Jack.
little," he acknowledges with a slight shrug.
never were that bright." I tell him sadly.
he assents, with equal sadness. For once, not arguing with me.
quite a moment. Maybe the most honest one we've ever shared. He never
saw. Never got it. Never understood me. Thought he did. But now, for
the very first time he gets it. He knows exactly what he could have
had, right up until the very moment he wantonly threw away his last
thing I don't think he gets, though. He could have stopped me. He never
needed that gun. All he had to do was ask.
you ever had to do was ask, Jack. Say the word - I'd have given it all
up to you. For you. But - that was then. This is now.
glances nervously at the monitor before him as the system targets
Moscow. Life goes on. At least, for some of us.
think about one thing before you do this," he says quickly, turning
back to me, desperation flaring in his eyes. "We never proved that kid
was a Harsesis."
are you talking about?" I'm thrown by this. Admittedly, Jack's forlorn
last-ditch attempt to 'reach' me has taken the last direction I was
expecting what little conversation was left between us to go.
he put in your head," Jack continues fervently. "The Goa'uld have used
mind control before."
gaze at him intently, with interest. Appear to be giving what he is
saying careful consideration. "You think this is some elaborate Goa'uld
plot to get me to destroy the world?"
seen them use kids too!" he urges.
used Shifu to put a bunch of stuff into my head in order to build the
weapons only to eventually turn them on Earth?" Interesting idea, Jack,
my expression seems to say to him. He's very encouraged - thinking no
doubt he's finally gotten through to me.
possible," Jack says hopefully, still trying to appeal to a better
nature he erroneously believes I still possess.
once. Maybe only seconds ago. But no longer, Jack. You just saw to that
yourself. Maybe you didn't do what Sam asked you to, maybe you didn't
'stop' me, but you did succeed in killing something.
Daniel is finally dead. By your hand.
only one flaw in that theory," Doctor Jackson tells him. Watching the
fear and the horror in Jack's face grow with every advancing syllable.
As he realises, finally, at the very last, how completely he's failed.
"You're assuming this is not what I wanted all along."
of you, every single one of you, needed to understand. You're only
getting exactly what you deserve.
made me. You created me. You could have had Daniel. But you didn't even
bother to see what you had - didn't have any APPRECIATION at all. Shut
him out, cast him aside, ridiculed him, none of you worthy of the
smallest part of what he suffered for you. None of you. I despise all
now you're MINE. To do with as I please. Believe me, you should have
appreciated Daniel. He had a heart. More fool him. You should have
treated him better. Every damned one of you, but most especially you,
Jack. Well, now you're all choiceless in the matter. Now every single
one of you is going to pay for the sins of the colonel. Starting with
the man himself. Get ready to take what Doctor Jackson has for you,
Jack. Where you once sought to control, you will learn to submit.
gone. You never knew what you had, but believe me by the time I get
through with you, you're going to miss him. You'll learn the true
meaning of loss.
find Doctor Jackson slightly less than compassionate in the teaching of
this much-needed lesson.
Don't." Jack mutters desperately, shaking his head. He still can't do
it, still can't say what Daniel needed to hear. Even in the last
second. Not that it would matter. Too little, too late. Too bad.
eyes lock in an instant of consuming clarity, of aching, thwarted need
too long denied. And now never, ever to be consummated. It's far too
late for both us now. The ship has sailed and we're both left forever
stranded on opposite shores.
finger hovers over the button as we share the moment. Know a sudden,
strange fusion of mingling understanding. He's been here, where I am
right now. I watched him all those years ago, with his finger on
another button. We come together at last, over the one thing we can
finally claim we both have in common.
mutual moment of genocide.
did it without a moment's hesitation. While I watched. Flicked a
switch, condemned thousands of innocents. Sealed the fates of people
who'd trusted him, people who'd helped him - saved him, people who'd
served by his side and called him friend. Consigned them all to
oblivion with no more thought or consideration than I'm about to use in
sending those millions of faceless souls beneath us on their way.
least I didn't lie to them and make them believe in me before I blew
can damned well stand there and watch me do it. Fair is fair, after
all. He's got no grounds to judge me. He hasn't got a shred of moral
superiority to stand on. He knows it. Besides, I'm about to go him one
better. His one bid for acceptance into the mass murderer fraternity
got called on account of Ra. His bomb only got one for the price of
five thousand. Maybe he shot a big blank, but I'm not only loaded, I'm
don't expect any form of divine intervention to interfere with my
break our connection as I push the button, my entire focus on the
screen before me.
is firing," my lead tech announces. Pristine fire lances from the
heavens, my divine coup de foudre descending swiftly to cleanse the
mundane earth and clear my path. An incendiary flower blossoms where
Moscow used to be.
has been eliminated."
I did it. Blew them all away. Poof. That's all she wrote. The fat lady
can start singing any time now. Somehow, I feel strangely disappointed.
I just killed a couple of million people with the touch of a button and
it wasn't nearly as much fun as I thought it was going to be.
anti-climactic after all the foreplay. I was hoping for a much bigger
turn my eyes to the man standing in front of me. So, there it is. It's
done. Over. My grand concerto, played out to the last, sweet note,
exactly as I planned it. Now, in my moment of triumph, as we watch
Moscow burn, are you finally going to give me what I want, Jack?
I said before, about sticking it to the world for sticking it to
DAN-iel? It's a nice fringe benefit and I'm definitely going to enjoy
collecting it, but it wasn't the first item on my personal agenda. One
of my motivations, but not the only one. Or the real one. Not what I've
really wanted all along.
do I really want, Jack? I want you to give it to me. What you've always
wanted to give to me. How little use you've always had for me. Your
hate. Your loathing. Give it all up to me and give it to me now. I want
you to finally be honest with me and let me see how much you despise
me. DAN-iel worked for years to earn your love, never suspecting the
truth. He tried, he gave you everything, but he never clued in it
didn't matter what he did. Whatever it was it would never be good
enough, never been enough to earn your simple respect, never mind your
not DAN-iel. I'm Doctor Jackson and I know what he could never face.
The truth is a bitch, but there's no getting away from it. And the
truth is the best we can ever hope to get from you is your contempt.
I want it now. I've worked hard for it; I've earned it. I want what's
due me. That's what this is all about. I've done all of this for you.
So you can give me everything I've got coming to me. I want to see your
disgust, your loathing, want to see just how low I've fallen in your
the vilest creature on the planet. Everything you despise. HATE ME!
Show me how right I've always been about myself! GIVE me what you OWE
in his eyes. Regret. Not hate. Not what I want to see. Pity? Where do
you get off - who the hell are you to pity ME? Not playing by the
rules, Jack - not playing fair! I did what you wanted, lived up to all
your worst expectations, did my part - now you have to give!
away, he's turning away from me! BASTARD! You can't DO this to me! I
offered you the chance to save a world and it wasn't enough to earn me
your love so give me my due for having the will to destroy it!
the payoff, what's the point - don't - don't leave me like this! I need
you - I - I -- Don't leave --
all for nothing without you. I'm nothing - without you.
can't hear the music anymore.
The music does not play the musician. //
there is truth in that? But not - not this time.
God - what have I done? I must have been insane! I - I never wanted any
of this - never believed any of this. Don't think he - don't want -
this isn't me - isn't what I - I would NEVER do this! This isn't me!
God - and yet it is. It has to be! I'm here - I've done it. This is
some kind of bad dream - a nightmare. Can't be happening! Sam, Teal'c -
the things I said to them - did to them. Jack -- Oh God, all those
have I done?
own words ring in my ears as the truth reverberates soundlessly in the
echoing emptiness within me. Crap. I've been played for a fool. The
great and powerful Doctor Jackson? Biggest big shot on the planet?
Vilest creature going? Contender for Goa'uld of the year?
don't even rate an honourable mention. Architect of all I survey? The
Maestro? I wish. No such luck. I'm not even the musician. I'm an empty,
hollow reed, inconsequential, a mere conduit, simply the means to an
end. A pathetic little collection of paltry grievances and faintly
sputtering woes lied to, seduced and lured onto the shoals of my own
ruination by the siren song I thought I was the master of. Tricked into
thinking I composing the concerto when all the while I was merely doing
a mindless buck and wing to the melody of another's orchestration.
unsuspecting dupe of a far more powerful and sinister will and agenda.
Played up to until I was all played out.
nothing but a broken whistle with delusions of grandeur. Used to
perform the entire, sick symphony from the opening strains to the last,
discordant note and then cast aside. What, no encore? Bravo! Show's
over. Nothing more to see here. The only accomplishment I can claim as
my very own with indisputable pride and certainty, is all my critics to
the contrary, I've forever removed any doubt I can carry a tune.
slouch sullenly against the console in the control room. Hammond took
one look at my stony face, après Janet's suggestion I find
someplace else to be other than under her feet in the Infirmary, and
wisely didn't insist I accompany him to greet our 'guest'. Carter and
Teal'c are rolling out the SGC welcome wagon right now. It's that
Aldwin guy. I remember him. He's the one who wrote us off for dead on
Netu. Oh, joy. Can't wait to renew our acquaintance.
watch Carter do the meet and greet and thing. Daniel's thing. Cannot
watch this mockery for another minute. Hope Carter has better luck with
Aldwin than she did with Shifu. The kid is three for three, so far,
though Carter didn't limp out minus a goodly portion of self-respect
not at all balanced up by a shit load of unlooked for and furiously
the SFs scatter from my path I realise the bad news has spread. Colonel
O'Neill is in that whole other realm of Not Happy. Lock down the
breakables and keep a respectful distance. Sorry guys. Another galaxy
isn't respectful enough, mood I'm in.
subconscious must have some kind of masochistic streak. It's leading my
unwilling feet in a bee line straight for the Infirmary and Daniel. I
should have swung a left for my office and instead I'm in the elevator
punching twenty one.
sidle in through the entrance and no, I'm not gonna sneak past the
Chief Medical Officer. She's with Daniel right now. I stroll over and
stand beside her.
nothing?" One hundred percent sure this is a rhetorical question, but,
even knowing it could get me booted straight back out the Infirmary
door, the inner masochist just can't leave it alone.
There's nothing physically wrong with him, or at least anything I can
for the fact that he's in a COMA." It's out before I can stop it.
not really a coma," Janet explains patiently, for maybe the twentieth
time today, "he still has rapid eye movement."
putting aside for JUST a moment the fact I'm known the galaxy over for
being dense, I mean, it may be just me, but if it looks like a coma,
acts like a coma, feels like a coma, it goddamn well IS a coma. Get
over it and more importantly, FIX it.
shrug her off and walk away without another word since I suspect the
next word will be from her and it will be 'leave'. I'm too tired to
make nice and get back in her good books.
I reach the briefing room, punctual to the second, the general gives me
a hard look. Okay. Hands up. Just call me - irresponsible. I do NOT
trust these Goa'uld-Lite boys any more than I trust the snakes
themselves. Less in some cases. We're nursing these vipers to our
bosom, in spite of the fact they've already bit. More than once.
slump into a chair next to Teal'c and turn my head to watch Aldwin.
fact is, he may not be the Harsesis at all."
still watching him as he walks back over to the table and sits next to
Carter. I like a healthy dose of scepticism as much as the next man,
but that whole tornado thing? The riddles? Dead giveaway this kid has
been spending quality time with Mother Nature herself. The question
isn't whether he is the Harsesis or not, the question is what we do
about neutralising the threat he represents.
you saying this could be some sort of Goa'uld trick?" Hammond asks.
we have seen, General Hammond, the Goa'uld are not above using human
children as weapons," Teal'c answers calmly.
you! Glad I'm not the only one seeing the potential threat here. Teal'c
should know, we all should know, this one has hit us all close to home
at one point or another. Charlie, Ryac, Cassie: all used against us in
differing ways by the Goa'uld and other enemies.
all Shifu would say is that he is teaching Daniel," Carter fills in the
general and snakeboy.
know she gave it her best shot and then some, and still she got
nothing. We're no further ahead than we were. "So? What do we do?" I
ask, shrugging and raising helpless hands. If I had any answers, I'd
have used 'em by now.
you know the zatarc detector's original purpose was to detect
deception," Aldwin says.
I KNOW? Is he being sarcastic? Am I ever frigging likely to forget one
of the lowest of low ebbs in the whole of my life? It ain't malingering
in my conscience for the entertainment value.
could at the very least determine whether the boy is actually Harsesis
and possibly what he did to Dr. Jackson."
that's right, throw the dumb Tau'ri a bone, whydontcha? Like that
wasn't a palpable afterthought and you're not hoping whatever he did to
Daniel you can learn to do it too. Bastards.
a lie detector test," Carter supplies helpfully for the hard of
harm would come to him," Aldwin assures us. Missing the point
what? Just hope he doesn't explode in the meantime?" I'm withering.
Daniel's been ATTACKED and this bothers precisely no one? Maybe I
should fall into line with the others, make like an ostrich. I'm not
good at standing idly by and hoping the worst doesn't come to pass. If
Shifu does blow up in our faces, will anybody at this table be able to
say honestly we did everything we could to prevent it?
brought Shifu here and look what he already did to Daniel. And that's
not even touching what he did to me, helping me set up shop in my own
little personal slice of emotional hell. If the lesson Shifu is
teaching Daniel is ANYTHING like the one he got me to learn, we'll be
picking up tiny bleeding pieces for months to come.
he really is who he says he is," Aldwin replies.
like you've got a hidden agenda, or anything, is it? The Tok'ra want
their weapon. They want their weapon full stop, no matter what it
takes, no matter who has to be hurt, riding right over anybody in their
path. I roll my eyes at Hammond, letting him see the disdain I can't
maybe help Dr. Jackson," the general suggests quietly.
gives a tiny nod.
grimace. Real subtle. They'll help Daniel, all right. Sure they'll get
round to him in the fullness of time. Providing they've got nothing
more important to do crops up in the meantime. Like tidying out a sock
drawer or something.
so dark. So quiet. Silence of the grave kind of quiet. No such luck.
That would be way too easy. I'm not dead. Can't be dead. It hurts too
don't know where I am, only know I'm not where I was before. I'm not
WHO I was before, but who am I now? That's a good question. Wish I had
Someone calling me? Calling me - calling me Daniel. Daniel. I'm Daniel.
What is it? What do you want? Who's calling? The voice is so familiar,
like a bell, ringing inside me, but I can't place it. The pain is
receding a little. It's getting easier to be, not hurting as much to
It was all a dream. Shifu, touched me - did something. Not real. A
dream. Felt so real. So real. God - the things I did - thought -felt.
Oh God - what AM I?
teach. That's what Shifu said. He tried to tell me, but I wouldn't
listen. Wouldn't understand what would really happen to him if he let
me use him the way I was planning to. What would happen to ANYONE who
tried to dance with the devil thinking he would be able to lead. So he
had no other choice. He showed me.
Sha'uri, I'm so sorry. The only thing you EVER asked of me, and I
failed you. You asked me to promise to SAVE him from what I just went
through. How could I have been so blind? You lived in the heart of that
darkness for three years. Had to deal with having that obscene evil in
your mind with no relief or surcease. You knew what would happen to
your child if anyone tried to use him - tried to make him dip into that
pit of seething evil. Total, absolute, utter, corruption. Not only of
the vessel, but of anyone who tried to exploit it as well. You wanted
to spare him from having to endure the same horror you did. Wanted to
save him. That's why you told me what he was - not so I would use him,
but so I would know why I had to make sure he COULDN'T be used. By
anyone. You trusted me with your CHILD. I failed you.
course you wanted to spare him this! You were his mother. You loved him
- how could you not have? He was your child, no matter how he was made.
He was yours, he was you. Is you.
the living proof of your goodness. That your spirit was strong, loving;
defiantly uncorrupted to the very end. You gave your life for him, used
your last moments to reach out to me, trusting I would love him and
protect him for you, knowing you no longer could.
all I could think of was how I could use him to further my own selfish,
selfish ends. Twisting your good intentions to suit my own agenda.
Seeing him only as an instrument of my own need for personal vengeance.
No matter how I tried to wrap the whole thing up in my 'it's for the
good of the world' justifications.
The whole thing was a big, fat lie. Even me telling Shifu I was
fighting the good fight as a way of honouring you. Another big fat lie.
I've been lying to myself about a lot of things for a very long time.
Starting from the first moment I ever imagined I was worthy of someone
as wonderful as Sha'uri. A moment in time, a single decision, a path
chosen, a path not taken --
it is again. The voice. Coming from the light, up ahead of me. Strange,
wasn't there before, but there's definitely a light. Big light, getting
stronger. Pool of light. Drawing me closer.
like the Stargate. Oh, how Jungian. Well, I shouldn't be surprised my
subconscious should be bringing me full circle. Right back to the
circle starting all of this in the first place. My own personal circle
if you want to be strictly accurate everything that's happened in the
past four years is all my fault. If I hadn't been so damned smart and
figured the damned thing out --
I was. I did. It's done. I went through, and now it's calling to me
again. The circle, and someone standing within the sphere of its
illumination. There is someone there, I can just make out the figure.
But can't see who it is.
to me. They're calling to me. A hand, reaching out toward me. Want to
reach back, take it, but suddenly --
I - I can't. I know what you want but you don't understand. I'm not -
I'm not what you think I am. Not - not worthy of you. Not worthy of
this. I should have the first time, but, but I didn't and it's too
late. Too late now.
failed to honour her before, the whole time I was telling myself I was,
but I won't fail her now. Won't betray her by betraying what she purely
gave to me, even when I didn't deserve it. Shouldn't have - shouldn't
have taken it.
can't have you. I'm sorry. I'm going to have to find another way. The
path not taken is barred to me by my failure to be worthy of the
turn away from the light, making myself forget the face I just looked
I cry, the vehemence of my denial shocking me back to full awareness.
open my eyes to see myself looking into Janet's slightly startled, but
vastly relieved face.
back, Daniel," she smiles warmly at me. "You gave us quite a scare."
Her expressive, dark eyes fill with sudden concern. "Are you all
right?" she asks gently.
confused, then realise my face is wet. Her eyes follow the track of a
tear I feel trickling down my cheek and I hurriedly eradicate the
evidence of its existence with a self-conscious brush of my hand.
I say gruffly, sitting up quickly. "I'm fine." I look down at myself.
Hospital scrubs. Damn.
don't you let me be the judge of that," she soothes, putting a gentle
but firm hand on my shoulder, trying to push me back down onto the bed.
I say, a little too forcefully as I push her hand away. "I have to go
to Shifu. I need my - my clothes. Where are my clothes?"
do. I have to go. Now. Don't know how I know, I just do. I don't want
to get pushy with you, Janet, but I will get up and walk out of here
dressed like this if I have to.
what I just 'lived' through my personal dignity is the very last thing
on my mind. Making sure that boy is not harmed in any way is all that
sees the determination and desperation in my expression and doesn't try
and fight me.
plan, Doc. Now point me to my clothes, please.
make short work of getting dressed. Janet fills me in on what's been
going on while I've been 'dreaming'. Tells me what they're doing to
Shifu right now.
my dead body. Not that I don't think, after what I just experienced,
Shifu can't take care of himself. But still, I'm going to make tracks
and get down there fast. Just in case.
the looks of things my Doctor is coming along for the ride. Whatever.
very strange and disorienting, walking through the halls of the SGC
once more. Feels as if I haven't been here in a long time. Like I've
been away forever. I'm still in a bit of a Twilight Zone state, some
last, lingering residuals of the dream I just woke up from, but the
more I keep my thoughts focussed in the here and now and most
specifically on Shifu, the more I am feeling like ME again.
ole, dumb -- Daniel.
Doctor Jackson had the hissy fit to end all hissy fits at the expense
of the entire world because he told himself he was avenging every wrong
ever done to Daniel, but the sad truth was he hated me every bit as
much as he imagined everyone else did. Had no more use for DAN-iel than
he had for every other 'idiot' he stepped on and over on his relentless
climb to the top.
I'm not fond of the good Doctor either, I'm hopefully going to be a
little smarter than he was. Hopefully. For while I don't like him much,
I'm not going to make the mistake of hating him. Or trying to pretend
he doesn't exist. I'm going to try and learn from his mistakes. And
take a good hard look at some of the things he showed me about myself.
particularly the things he showed me about how I've been letting some
unresolved issues with the people closest to me fester inside me
unexamined and unresolved for far too long.
starters I owe Sam and Teal'c one HELL of an apology.
hear Sam's voice as I approach the threshold .
did you do to Daniel?" she demands.
They've already got him in the chair, already started to use that THING
on him! Have to stop this.
sometimes teach," Shifu says confidently. " I am teaching him,"
He still looks okay. They haven't started to ask him any of the bad
stuff yet. Not too late.
him what?" Sam asks him.
the true nature of a man is determined in the battle between his
conscious mind and his subconscious, and that the evil in my
subconscious is too strong to resist."
strong for ANYONE to resist. Certainly too strong for Doctor Jackson to
resist. For all he imagined he could be the master of the evil that
enslaved HIM to it's own ends.
turns and smiles at me, welcoming me back.
only way to win is to deny it battle," I tell him solemnly.
understand, now. I get it. I'm sorry I didn't understand before.
Nothing like a visual aid to drive the lesson in. God --
bows. "As Oma teaches," he acknowledges with serene grace.
has come in behind me, joining the others, bringing them up to speed.
I'm not listening. My full attention is focussed on the child.
miracle I'm seeing for the wonder he is. That and only that. For the
very first time.
of these days I'm gonna figure out if she's worth listening to," I tell
him with rueful regret as I walk up to him.
happened?" Sam asks me.
was having a dream," I tell her without looking at her. Can't. Not yet.
Can't face any of them yet. Especially not -
what?" she presses.
not really important," I say quickly. Nothing to see here, Jack.
Nothing you need to know about. Move on. "The important thing is it's
time I chose a new path."
a bit of an idea about that. Not so much 'new' as the old one I was
claiming I was on, when I really wasn't. Only this time, I'll be doing
it for real.
it is time for me to continue on mine," Shifu tells me. A little sadly,
maybe? Maybe not, maybe only wishful thinking.
a minute, if he really is Harsesis -- " the Tok'ra - Aldwin. Almost
forgot he was here.
it. You can't have him.
is," I tell him bluntly. For all the good it will do you.
can still extract some very valuable information from him," Aldwin
you can't," I assert. You can't. You won't. End of story.
really, really can't. Any more than you can pour salt in pure water and
hope to be able to drink the end result. Both substances are altered by
the very act of combining them, and the new product resulting from the
blend is quite unfit for human consumption.
good can come of what this boy has within him. Better for everyone it
stays safely buried where it will never hurt anyone, especially the
innocent burdened with it. I am profoundly grateful a being far wiser
than myself has been his custodian and teacher. So grateful for
everything she's done for him. For Sha'uri.
don't understand," Aldwin says blankly.
know," I answer softly. I didn't either. I do now. Take my word for it,
you don't WANT to understand. Trust me on this one.
you for telling me of my mother," Shifu says with quiet, profound
sincerity. Pretty much the way he says everything, actually. Which
doesn't mean he doesn't mean every word, though.
would have been very proud of you."
never said a truer thing in my life. Very, very proud.
you as well." Shifu tells me. He means well, saying that. Know he does.
But he has no idea what he's saying.
of me? I hardly think so. Not after the way I let her down, betrayed
her misguided trust and faith in me and almost let them take you. Hurt
you. I'd have done it, gone through with it if you hadn't - hadn't
shown me the consequences of my 'good' intentions.
God. What have I done? Proud of me? Sha'uri would have been better off
without me in her life. If I hadn't stayed with her she'd be alive
right now. They'd have buried the gate behind us, forever, and she'd be
alive. Probably happily married, having babies. Little Abydonian babies
with her wonderful, beautiful eyes and gentle, loving spirit. Alive,
right now, this instant, living the life she should have lived, happy,
content, Daniel Jackson only a distant, vague memory.
way he should have stayed.
then you wouldn't be here either, would you? So maybe - it wasn't ALL
I see you again?" I ask Shifu, wrenching my mind away from the pain of
a past I can't undo.
roads eventually lead to the great path," he tells me with calm
cross on the way."
maybe. Maybe some day. There's always hope. Isn't there?
find myself less certain of this as I stand in the control room and see
him ablaze before the event horizon. A small, regal figure in a nimbus
of light even more impressive than the power of the brilliance he is
about to give himself over to. Twin sources of light, both of them
bottomless founts of mystery in their own rights.
doubt very much we will ever fully comprehend the extent of either of
them. Nor - should we.
leaves me with the memory of a dream and the weight of its lesson. I
might not have the evil of the Goa'uld lurking in my subconscious, but
as I once was told and glibly failed to comprehend, I do indeed have my
own burdens. Such evil as Daniel Jackson carries within might be small
in comparison to the genetic memory of the Goa'uld, but it's more than
sufficient for MY corruption. As I have so painfully seen.
seeds the song played on were already planted. All the 'evil' I was
given did was feed and nurture what was already inside me. Added fuel
and focus to a pre-existent spark. Gave it something to sing about. I
can't blame it for everything. Can't blame it for anything. Because in
the end I was the one who took it all the way and made the choice to
press that button.
going to have to learn how to live with that. I'm not sure how, yet,
but I do know it starts right here and now. I'll take the first steps
on the path to finding the way to atone to Sha'uri for what I've done
to her. This time I truly will honour her strength. Her life.
WILL make her proud of me. If it takes me the rest of my life.
turn away from the gate, my eyes sliding by the man at my side. Jack's
been standing there, watching me. Damn. He's got that 'look' in his
eye. The 'I smell a secret, something the kid's not telling me'
expression which means I've got some grief coming in my future. My
Jack. Not now. Not so soon. Please, for once in your life, give me a
break. Leave me alone and let me tell you what I want to tell you when
I'm ready. In my own time. Please trust I will, and let me.
Let me be.
bound into the observation room a little late, but better late than
never. It came pretty close. I'm not in the habit of neglecting my
duty, but I've already had one completely miserable experience in this
room and in that infernal machine. Already had my dignity shredded and
my emotional life cut to pieces in public. Once was once too often,
thanks, don't want to go through it again even vicariously.
gives me the exact same look Janet's been giving me since my first
visit to the Infirmary. Pardon me for not rushing back here with open
I see they've started the show without me. Aldwin is getting Shifu
ready. I wish I knew what the hell was going to happen. I don't even
know what I want him to say or be or do. If he's on the level, then
this is torture of a minor in my simplistic book. If he's actively
hostile, with what he knows, what he can do, the SGC could buy the farm
at any moment.
Shifu is on the level, I won't be able to hide behind him. I'll have to
resolve this deadlock with Daniel, face up to the galling grief of
wanting as my lover a man I've driven away from being my friend. Find
the strength from somewhere not just to make the friendship right, but
to let go. Let go of the past and the future, let go in Daniel. Trust
Shifu is the abomination his heredity predisposes him to be, then the
things he made me face about myself, the self-knowledge he inflicted on
me were an act of deliberate cruelty.
doesn't really matter, not to me. Not now. It's gone too far. I'm
fucked either way. Damned if I do, and doubly damned if I don't. Daniel
doesn't want me, and I'm not strong enough to selflessly eat my heart
out in silence. Something will - give. I will say or do something and
it will end us, right there and then. Not a question of if. WHEN.
will hurt a little. After that I promise you will feel no pain. I will
merely ask you some questions," Aldwin assures Shifu.
are plentiful. Answers are few," Shifu replies confidently.
try and keep it simple. Ready?"
attaches the disk-thingy to Shifu's forehead and walks over to the
machine, by Carter. Teal'c is just standing down there with them,
observing proceedings and offering support with his usual majestic
calm. Am I the only one thinking we may as well bend over and kiss our
asses goodbye for all the tactical response we could muster if Shifu
turns out to be a Trojan Horse?
your vision here. First question, what is your name?" Aldwin asks.
sure. Just cut to the chase, whydontcha? You even able to spell
am many things," Shifu responds calmly.
occurs to me this kind of answer may very well confuse the shit out of
the machine. Shifu could tell the absolute truth, tell us every damn
thing we want to know and because we're only capable of listening in
incomprehension we won't know the difference. He can pass the test,
tell us everything and leave us understanding nothing. Given my own
track record in that contraption, I have to say that's pretty cool.
you possess the genetic knowledge passed on to you by Apophis?"
a straight question get a…
answer? That's a first.
did you do to Daniel?" Carter pounces on the unexpected opening.
sometimes teach. I am teaching him," Shifu being - Shifu. Again. Same
old same old.
him what?" Carter sounds as thwarted as I feel.
the true nature of a man is determined in the battle between his
conscious mind and his subconscious, and that the evil in my
subconscious is too strong to resist."
that, he turns to the doorway. I follow his gaze.
Oh, Christ, oh, thank Christ, he's awake, he's up, on his feet, he's
OKAY. The relief coursing through me is so profound I can hardly take
in the solid reality of his presence.
only way to win is to deny it battle," Daniel says gravely.
bows to Daniel. "As Oma teaches."
woke up a few minutes ago." Janet's voice yanks me back to the here and
now as she darts in between Hammond and I. Get a grip, O'Neill. Not the
time or place to be coveting Daniel.
of these days I'm gonna figure out if she's worth listening to," Daniel
comments dryly as he walks over to Shifu's side.
happened?" Carter asks, fascinated.
was having a dream," Daniel replies.
nothing and no one in that room for me now but Daniel. I stare and
stare, avidly tracking every animate inch of him. I don't like what I
see. Hands tucked deeply in pockets, NOT making a lot of eye contact.
Body language shut down, defensive. NOT happy. Not happy at all.
second that, Carter. Make him GIVE. Used to be a time when I would do
that, but not now. It's a small grief, but his eyes haven't searched me
out once. Was a time when he would look for me and to me first. First,
last and foremost. A time that's passed now. Another tie between us
I've wilfully severed.
not really important. The - important thing - is it's time I chose a
new path." Daniel is dancing around the issue.
really important? I'm getting a GOOD look at his face for the first
time, and I think he's just lied through his teeth. Daniel looks like I
feel, like he's lost that one solid thing to hang onto in a shaking
universe. I can't bear to see him so sombre, his spirits so oppressed.
Like the weight of the world is bearing down on him.
it is time for me to continue on mine," Shifu tells Daniel.
a minute, if he really is Harsesis…" Aldwin protests.
is," Daniel says flatly.
can still extract some very valuable information from him."
huh? Gloves coming off as the prize slips from your grasp, snakeboy?
Guess there's a sell-by date on all that tender 'this won't hurt a bit'
concern. Like I didn't see it coming. Ah, bite me.
yeah, gotta believe the evidence of my own ears. That WAS Daniel, being
God's own definition of authoritative. He does assertive, he does
passionate, hell, he even does indignant. All adorable, Daniel style.
That wasn't adorable. I look from him to the kid and back. Looks like
papa's got himself a brand new bag. I guess Danny is looking like I
feel because he feels like I feel. He's had an epiphany of his own
while he was - dreaming.
a stab in the dark, here, but I'm guessing at no point did this
epiphany suggest to him he should get naked and hurl himself at me
ASAP. Or even bother to notice if I'm here.
One of our snake friends not grasping the milk of human kindness as
epitomised by the one and only Daniel Jackson.
know," Daniel informs him calmly.
you for telling me of my mother," Shifu says softly.
would have been very proud of you."
you as well." Shifu still has that tiny smile playing around his lips.
still staring at Daniel, of course, so I see the moment his guard
slips. See and ache for his unutterable desolation, a misery so
profound it's clenching at MY gut. He doesn't agree with Shifu. Doesn't
think Sha'uri, who loved him with all her heart and soul, would be
proud of him. What happened to him? What's hurting him so? What
possible 'lesson' could Daniel, my Daniel, have needed so badly the
very learning of it leaves him in such pain?
I see you again?"
roads eventually lead to the great path."
see him again when you're dead. A cheery thought to keep you warm at
night, all alone in that big, empty bed.
God, a little warmth there, a little of my Daniel peeking through the
cross on the way."
and better. That sounded like a promise to me, and Shifu has made
Daniel smile. It's kinda embryonic, but it's there, for those with eyes
to see. The sole exception in the room is sounding forth to Carter.
going on? We're not just gonna let him leave?"
don't think we have a choice," Carter confirms.
heart bleeds for snakeboy there. He's finally buying a clue he isn't
controlling the agenda. However, I'm not putting money on the Tok'ra
NOT beating the bushes to find the Harsesis now they know he's out
there. Oma couldn't happen to a nicer nest of vipers.
is - I bite back an insane urge to yell, 'I'm melting, I'm melting!' -
Shifu is evanescing into incandescently pure white light.
lets him get a safe distance, then bolts out after him with Carter and
Teal'c in hot pursuit.
of me notes that Janet looks dazzled as I turn to Hammond. "General, I
highly recommend you order all personnel to stand down and get the heck
out of the way," I kinda order him.
you sure, colonel?"
don't blame him for trying to second guess, lives could be on the line
here, lives he's responsible for. "The alternative might not be so
pretty," I say emphatically, turning on my heel to follow Daniel. I
pound along the corridor and catch sight of Teal'c bringing up the rear
of the cavalcade. I guess I'm more motivated, 'cause I rapidly pass by
both him and Carter to arrive in the control room right behind Daniel
as he halts abruptly in front of the window. The gate is already open.
Damn, wish we could do that.
Gate just opened, sir." Davis calls from the console.
the event horizon, the light solidifies and Shifu waves at Daniel,
smiling for a moment. Daniel waves back, his eyes never leaving the
hasn't looked at me once. I haven't STOPPED looking at him. Can't tear
my eyes from his face. He's got something going on in there, something
eating him alive. This isn't one of those classic Daniel stoic 'I'm not
fine but I will be' moments. He manifestly ISN'T fine, in fact he's
manifestly WRETCHED, not to say brooding. Thinking furiously about
something, thinking about it over and over and over, trapped suffering
beneath some leaden weight crushing down on his mind. On his SOUL.
can't leave it. I can't leave HIM, not like this.
hesitate at the doorway. Daniel is slumped at his desk, face shuttered,
exhausted; brooding over the photograph of Sha'uri.
knock?" I say lightly, trying to cover for the fact I'm not at all sure
of my welcome.
deliberately places the photograph back in its accustomed place, and
only then does he acknowledge me. "Jack."
smile and slouch over to the desk, hop up and sit next to him. He
doesn't actually move away from me physically, but emotionally,
spiritually I guess, we're worlds apart.
are you feeling?" I ask quietly, staring down into huge, wounded eyes.
he says brusquely, looking down at his nervously dancing fingers.
You don't LOOK fine." I keep my tone nice and even, no teasing, no
irritation. Trying for soothing.
start with me, Jack!" he snaps. "If I say I'm fine, that's what I am."
missing by a mile.
I agree mildly. "Just concerned, here. You've been in a de facto coma
for quite a while."
de facto coma?" Daniel asks in spite himself.
were in a coma, Janet just wouldn't admit it." I risk another smile,
invite him to share the joke. I hate this wariness, hate seeing him
sitting here so tense, just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I let
it drop, put him out of his misery. "So, about this dream - "
told you. Not important," he interrupts.
important? So not important it's not even worth talking about?" I
to you," he says coldly.
in that case, spill. It IS important to me. You're important to me," I
contradict. "I hate to see you like this -- "
frown. "What's that supposed to mean?"
means go back to your office where you won't have to see me like
anything, Jack. Shouldn't be too difficult. You have a lot of recent
experience on which to draw."
not used to biting sarcasm from Daniel, though he's used to it from me.
There isn't a whole hell of a lot I can say to that accusation, since
to my eternal shame, it's true. I've avoided seeing him hurting because
I've often been the one inflicting the hurt. I change my tack and go on
the offensive again. "Well, what about your behaviour in the briefing,
was totally out of character, Daniel." Nothing. He's giving me nothing.
I plough on regardless, feeling like my words are dropping into a
vacuum for all the reaction I'm getting. "I kept expecting you to jump
up and tear us all a new one for even SUGGESTING extracting Shifu's
memories, never in a million years thought you'd be the one to go out
and try to talk him into it. Thought I'd wandered into the Twilight
let it be, Jack. I made a mistake. It's over now."
sounds so weary. I'd like nothing more than to hug him but I'm
terrified of what the proximity would do to me. My hormones are already
insisting my blood should rally round the flag and just head south for
an incursion into virgin territory.
can't let it be. All I have are questions, no answers. "Why -"
because for once I took YOUR position, because for once it was me
saying it and not you, I'm suddenly the bad guy?"
words tumble out in a strained voice barely recognisable as his, and
before I can respond he gasps and pales, shooting me a stricken look. I
grab him by the shoulders. "What! What the hell is hurting you, Daniel?
shouldn't hold me to a higher moral standard than you hold yourself to,
Jack. It isn't fair, not to either of us. I'm not your picture in the
attic. I'm not your get out of moral turpitude free card," he says in a
bitter, rapid monotone.
don't!" It's my turn to gasp. I do, oh God, I do. I do exactly that.
can't win with you, Jack, and I'm tired of trying. I need a break."
me?" It tumbles out before I can stop it. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Why
don't I just put it up in neon lights? Desperate horny lovelorn.
is so agitated he doesn't even hear me. He frees himself with an
impatient jerk of his shoulders and jumps up, pacing restlessly.
have an interesting assignment coming up. They've found a palace with
inscriptions in a new Goa'uld dialect. They've asked me along and I
want to take them up on it."
shipping out tomorrow." I can't believe this. It's all so much worse
than I was prepared for.
Jack. I just need some time, away from - from," he trails off.
gotta look down for a moment. Away from me. Yeah. Got you the first
time. Turning into Colonel Sensitive, here, letting this hurt my
feelings. Hurt them this much. Not like I have any claim on him. He's
not my personal property. Let go. Got to let go. When I look up and
meet the weight of his anxiety, I smile, let him know it's okay. He
relaxes infinitesimally. "A little time away from the crowds. To
process. I understand. SG-1's loss and all that."
you," Daniel says simply.
remember, you're never alone with a bedside MALP. Keep in touch."
he musters a smile. "I promise."
nod, lightly, and leave him then. I can't wait to get away from the
crowds too. To process the fact I don't have to let go. I've got
nothing to hold on to.
Back to Part One / On to Part Three
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