Pairing: Jack and Daniel.
Category: Alternate Reality. Angst. Drama. Hurt/Comfort.
Season/Spoilers: Season 1. An alternate reality springs from the events of “There But For The Grace Of God.”
Synopsis: At the end of everything, Daniel Jackson provokes unexpected feelings from General Jack O’Neill and changes both their lives forever.
Length: Novel; 137 pages, 64,772 words.
Formats: Word 2003, PDF, RTF, Mobipocket PRC.
Cost & Download: $5 US. PayPal should provide a link to the download page after purchase. Email me if it doesn’t.
Extract: Read the rest of this entry for an extract from Genesis.
This is not happening.
The thought sawed through Daniel’s mind, pounding edgy and dull, as the blast doors finally slammed down on the Jaffa pouring into the control room. At General O’Neill’s curt order, Sam and Catherine bolted through the Stargate, the last two of the Genesis personnel to make it out to the Beta Site.
“Autodestruct in one minute,” the pleasant female voice of the SGA base computer announced.
This is not happening.
As an explosion boomed and shattered concrete began to slither down the wall from behind the blast door, the stranger wearing Jack O’Neill’s face turned hard on his heel, a rough hand biting into Daniel’s shoulder.
“I should’ve sent that bomb,” he said, looking as if he hated Daniel as much as he hated the choice he’d been forced to make.
“Auto destruct in thirty seconds.”
“I thought you could reach Teal’c,” Daniel said, wretched at his miscalculation, his failure here. “The same way Jack did in my reality. I thought there was a chance.”
“Auto destruct in ten seconds.”
“There’s nothing!” General O’Neill snarled, wheeling around without warning to shoulder his MP-5 and track a fast-moving target.
The First Prime of Apophis dove to the ground in a headlong, complicated roll that brought him to his knees, his thickly braided top-knot swinging. His face a focused, familiar mask of aggressive concentration, Teal’c smoothly spun his staff weapon hand over hand, raising it to blast Jack.
It was the end of choice.
It was the end of everything.
Despairingly Daniel reached out for the friend he could save, hauling Jack bodily into the Stargate as he pulled the trigger on Teal’c.
Searing heat punched into Daniel’s arm, slamming him into the blue with Jack…
…and then he was falling flailing down onto concrete, Jack’s hard, resistant body thudding down full-force on him. He lay pinioned and breathless as Jack fought to control the arcing burst of rapid fire he’d intended for Teal’c.
Who was dead anyway.
This was happening.
As an iris closed over the Stargate, Daniel heard Sam’s urgent voice calling out for Jack, her shrillness cutting through the masculine noise and confusion battering at the edges of his consciousness as the weight on him shifted.
“Dr. Jackson!” Jack said, cradling Daniel’s neck and shoulders as he lifted him clear of the concrete ramp the Stargate was embedded into. “Daniel!”
“Oh my God,” Daniel whispered, straining around to meet the fierce dark eyes fixed on him. “I’m sorry!” he gasped in pale recognition of the enormity of the loss these people had suffered.
Jack — the real Jack, his Jack — would’ve told him to lighten the hell up, that it was only the end of the world, but apparently Daniel and this man holding on to him had never met. He had to try to remember that.
“We need a medic here!” Jack said, holding Daniel against him in shockingly gentle contradiction of his killing mood. “Fraiser! Somebody get me Fraiser!”
“Right here!” a sharp voice called out and then a warm, familiar face emerged from behind the sea of surrounding guards to fill Daniel’s vision. “The last group through told us the Goa’uld were closing in,” she informed the general. “I thought I might be needed, Sir.”
“Janet!” Daniel said, gratefully touching the quick hand reaching deftly to explore his wound.
Janet Fraiser’s double-take at this familiarity was quickly suppressed as she asked O’Neill about how Daniel had sustained his injury. Listening to the man’s explanation, it wasn’t clear if Daniel had saved his life or gotten in the way of his last kill.
Daniel watched numbly as Janet delicately cleared the singed cloth of his uniform from the edges of the staff weapon burn, cleaned it, applied an antimicrobial ointment and dressed it, all the while giving a grim-faced situation report to the general. Hand-picked personnel or not, it was the literal end of their world and the mood was one of mounting hysteria as people began to realise the true cost of their survival lay not in what was saved but in what was lost to them — in the deaths of family, friends, the homes and lives they knew.
“Is Cassandra okay?” Daniel asked, breaking in on Janet’s report, hardly able to face the death of someone else he was close to, not after losing George Hammond and Teal’c.
“Who?” she asked blankly, automatically looking to the general for her answer.
Reality, an entirely different reality, crashed down on Daniel. These were not his people. Not his life.
“I have to get out of here!”
He pushed away from Jack, who reacted as if this was a hostile act, the gentleness of his support replaced by a swift, restraining grip Daniel struggled to free himself from.
“Jack, please!” Daniel said, twisting around to glare at him. “I have to get home! Don’t you understand? This could be happening there. In my reality. And I have a chance to prevent it.”
Jack glared back at Daniel as if he was choking down an argument, then he nodded terse, grudging acknowledgement of the justice of his claim. “When I can spare someone to take you.”
“I don’t need an escort,” Daniel snapped.
“But I do need the intelligence,” Jack retorted, quick anger surging. Yet his hand was there again when Daniel scrambled to his feet, steadying him when pain, exhaustion and the suffocating sense of dislocation slammed down.
“I should go now,” Daniel insisted wearily. “I need to go.” Maybe it was selfish of him in the face of all this destruction, he didn’t know. It wasn’t that he didn’t care, only that it would kill him if he was too slow to save his own friends, his own world.
“And I need all the information you have about Apophis, the Goa’uld and those Jaffa you insisted I’d be better off if I left alive,” Jack countered with nothing that could be mistaken for patience.
“We still have the gate address for Chulak,” Catherine reminded Daniel.
“And more reason than ever to strike back,” Sam Carter said, looking bleakly around her at the SGA’s Beta Site.
With the short time they’d had for its construction, the site was impressive. The Stargate was standing in a hangar, doors on either side open to their widest extent. Directly in front of the Stargate, but set a short distance back from the DHD, was a control room with a bank of monitors and computers, presumably to control the iris, staffed by a team of technicians and watchful security guards. Another room held an armoury. There were aircraft runways either side of the hangar with various helicopters lined up one side and an array of military vehicles the other.
Behind some serious security fencing stood a huge military camp in regimented blocks of squat, concrete barracks, interspersed with massive warehouses, each several storeys high, and other large buildings of varying sizes. Construction was still under way on some. The roof of every structure bristled with solar panels, glinting in the strong sunshine. The roads and walkways between buildings were surfaced. There were clear spaces, green spaces in this sea of concrete, sports facilities.
The land around the fenced camp was cleared for agriculture, the plain beyond the large, flourishing crop fields and embryonic orchards thick with animal herds, literal food on the hoof. Oil derricks peppered the plain where the herds roamed. A forest was visible in the far distance, a dense, darkly green wall that rose to cover the foothills of an aggressively circling range of jagged mountains. Access roads crisscrossed the plain, penetrating into the forest.
With the light and heat, power and fuel, food and water, all these natural resources, it was impressive, it was a chance at life, until you remembered this was all that was left of Earth and what was here represented not the world, but America, and not the people of America, but its armed forces and whatever Genesis list civilian contractors, scientists, doctors had been squeezed through the Stargate in time.
And then it was frightening.
No one had to make the decision to sever the last tie with home and leave the Stargate. A couple of humvees rolled into the hangar and a vaguely familiar tall man in cammos emerged from the first of them.
“General?” the officer called, looking across at their small group in some dismay. “This is the last of you? What about the President?”
“Air Force One didn’t make it,” Jack said, marching across to him with Daniel in tow, not quite his prisoner but something close, Catherine and Sam trailing them.
“Is our position compromised, Sir?” the officer asked. “Are we expecting reprisals?”
“I erased these co-ordinates from the dialling computer as soon as we obtained a lock,” Sam said. “After the general activated the base auto-destruct, there was no time for the Jaffa to interrogate the dialling computer and the only visual display in the control room was the countdown. I think we’re pretty secure here.”
“For the moment,” Catherine sighed, unable to prevent the comment escaping.
The officer was peering beyond them, searching faces among the personnel gathered at the Stargate.
“Colonel Hammond?” he asked hesitantly.
“Didn’t make it,” Jack said shortly, a hard, defensive look in his eyes that suggested he knew how many people he’d lost and how often he was going to have to say this exact thing to his personnel.
“And this gentleman did?” the man gave way to a flash of anger, scowling in Daniel’s direction.
“Davis,” Daniel recalled with an effort, now he could focus in on the man’s face. “We met once before.”
“We’ve never met, sir,” Davis contradicted flatly.
“Major Davis, Pentagon liaison for the SGC,” Daniel said tiredly.
“SGC?” Davis frowned, glancing to the general for enlightenment.
“Dr. Daniel Jackson,” Jack introduced him dryly. “He’s from another dimension. In more ways than one.”
“Jack,” Catherine chided him before smiling at the major. “It’s good to see you, Paul.”
“Likewise, Dr. Langford.” Davis summoned up a smile for her. “And you too, Dr. Carter. We need your expertise. Less than fifty per cent of the Genesis personnel made it through and we’re coming up short on hard sciences.” He pulled a rueful face at Sam. “Let’s just say the guy we’re stuck with comes up long on arrogance and short on people skills. He’s even arguing with his own sister.” He looked inquisitively at Daniel, ready to catalogue him as a possible resource.
“Dr. Jackson speaks Goa’uld,” Jack pointed out. “The only one of us who does.”
“I’m not one of you,” Daniel contradicted. “My people are on the other side of the mirror that brought me here.”
“Your people?” Davis said, looking Daniel over, quiet, assessing. “Do they have any resources we can tap into? Reinforcements? Weapons?”
Daniel startled them all with a choke of harsh laughter, unflinching when Jack’s glare strove to plant him six feet under. “You have security forces and no scientists,” he said, trying to explain the insane irony of it. “Jack — General O’Neill — in place of a duly elected president and a population that looks to be predominantly male as well as military. The last thing you should be looking for is more creative ways to kill the few of you who’re left. Your responsibility now isn’t to fight or to die, but to live.”