ALTERED STATES BY PHOENIX
||Fiction Featuring the close friendship
between Jack and Daniel
||Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Drama
||Season 2 No spoilers
||Jack gets tired of waiting for a
certain errant archaeologist, goes hunting and makes a terrifying discovery.
|| 72Kb Original completion date
cast a baleful glance around the deserted commissary. It hadn’t changed
any in the last five minutes. He picked up the spoon, banged it against
his coffee cup. Well, that took care of another couple of minutes. He debated
whether or not to get another cup of coffee, and then decided in deference
to his kidneys, what he had already consumed didn’t need any more company.
So that left more fidgeting, wondering if they couldn’t have managed to find
any chairs for this place that were a little more uncomfortable, and
trying to think of anything else to do besides look at his watch.
going to look he wasn’t going to look he wasn’t going to look.
and a half! An hour and a half, for crying out loud! Fifteen minutes, Daniel
had said. 'Just give me fifteen minutes. Go on ahead, I’ll meet you
he'd believed him. Schmuck.
like Daniel did it on purpose. He never did. On more than one occasion Jack
had been made painfully aware of the difference between Military Time and
Jackson Standard Time. All it took was one little bright, shiny conundrum
to beckon and suck Book Boy in, and all bets were off. Daniel's 'just five
more minutes, Jack' - he'd fallen for that one before. Five minutes his
ass, more like five hours in the real world. Jack scowled at his watch.
again for a bunch of squiggles.
Jack wouldn’t have minded so much, but he wanted to get the hell out of this
place already. They’d been off-world for almost two weeks; it had been a
bit of a hairy time but everyone had come back with all their parts intact,
always a good thing. Daniel had even found a few new toys to play with.
Probably what he was doing right now.
that was all well and good for him but now the reporting and report-writing
was done and they'd been cleared to go Jack wanted to put an egg in his shoe
and beat it already. Daniel had definitely given him the
impression he wanted to do so as well. Which
is why Jack had suggested they grab a coffee,
put their heads together and see what sort of plan they could come up with. For
why, instead of leaving was he sitting
here in the empty commissary with his
empty coffee cup feeling like a schmuck?
he was one?
enough was enough was enough. Obviously Daniel had forgotten about him and
he wasn’t going to stand for sitting around here all night being stood up
for an artey-fact. He could find better things to do with his time
than cool his heels in this place. With or without Mr. Obviously-gotten-a-better-offer.
put the palms of his hands on the table and pushed himself up to his feet.
He started to stride from the room, fully intending to keep going until he
got into his truck and off to wherever the hell it was he was going. Fully
immersed in his disappointment he ambled down the corridor on automatic pilot
and was almost there before he realized his feet had taken him not in the
direction of the exit, but towards Daniel’s office.
he was here. He might as well see what was more exciting for Daniel than
a night on the town with his best friend.
gave the door a tentative rap with his knuckles. No response.
Daniel must really be into what he was doing.
tried again, rapping a little harder this time. “Daniel?”
no response. What – was he deaf? Jack sighed impatiently as he grasped
the door handle, turned it and flung the door open.
familiar sight of Daniel’s disordered office greeted him. The desk piled
high with books, papers and strange little curios from even stranger places.
The desk was also littered with a couple of empty, unwashed coffee mugs and
the decomposing remains of some abandoned, unconsumed, unspecified foodstuff
rapidly becoming even more unidentifiable. Daniel Jackson - the Oscar Madison
of Archaeology. Jack smiled to himself. Daniel didn’t need to go anywhere
to search for mysteries of the past. He could conduct quite an excavation
of his own desk. There was enough crap stratifying there to keep Daniel
busy for the next six months.
Daniel had been here all right. All the signs clearly attested to his presence.
Everything was here but Daniel. Hello – what’s this?
glasses were on the desk. Right beside the really ugly statue. That was
odd. Where would Daniel have gone without his glasses? More to the point,
how would he have gotten there, without his glasses?
it was possible or not it, he must have. 'Cause there was no getting around
the fact the office was empty. Daniel definitely was not here. Which meant
he had to be somewhere else. Unless he had learned how to turn invisible.
Now wouldn’t that be annoying….
paused, momentarily confused by this development. Okay, now he knew what
Daniel had told him. This was where Daniel was going to be until he joined
him up in the commissary, like he said he was going to. So, where was he?
wasn’t angry with Daniel now. Far from it. Daniel might be absent-minded,
but he wasn’t inconsiderate. He wouldn’t have just ditched him. Not without
a very good reason and not without telling him about it first.
the hell was he? Jack was starting to get a bit concerned. It was also
gradually dawning on him standing here staring at Daniel's fossilizing desk
wasn't answering any of his questions. So maybe he'd better stop standing
around with his mouth open and start -
was about to back out of the office and set out on his quest, fully intending
to track Daniel down, even if only to make sure everything was okay. As
he turned to pull the door closed he spotted something he'd missed on his
first visual sweep of the room.
feet poking out from just behind the desk.
word tore from him as he scrambled around the desk and threw himself to his
knees beside the man lying there on the floor. Face down. Not moving. Not
making a sound.
was wringing with sweat; his black T-shirt soaked and sticking to his skin.
Jack turned him gently over, concern biting through him as he felt the heat
rolling in waves from every part of Daniel he touched in the process.
what the hell was going on here?
was unconscious, burning up with fever, his flushed face like a blast furnace.
Jack could feel the heat coming up to meet his hand as he moved away the drenched
strands of Daniel’s hair plastered to his forehead in order to place his
hand there in a futilely unnecessary gesture of confirmation. He didn’t
need to touch Daniel to know what his eyes already told him. Crap – this
was nuts – didn’t make any sense at all. He had just left him, just been
talking to him. Daniel had been fine. What the hell was this?
wasted a few more seconds shaking Daniel and calling his name. No response.
He was in over his head. Get help. Still not quite able to accept what
he had just seen but forced to by the fact it was indeed happening, Jack
shot up from Daniel’s side in order to call put in the call for help.
sorry, Colonel, but I have absolutely no idea what is causing this.”
looked down at the man burning up in the bed beneath him. Daniel was still
out of it, but he was starting to move fitfully in the throes of delirium,
muttering under his breath in snatches of unintelligible, exotic phrases.
Jack wished he could curse in as many languages as Daniel apparently could
looking at Daniel because he didn’t want to look at the Doc, to see how desperately
frustrated and unhappy she was. Janet Fraiser was the epitome of the competent,
dedicated medical professional, and she hated being stumped as much as he
did. But like it or not, and they both sure didn't, it didn't change the
fact they had one very dangerous mystery on their hands.
run every test I can think of, Colonel.” Dr Fraiser continued. I can’t
find any organic cause for Doctor Jackson’s condition. He seems to be exhibiting
a massive systemic reaction to some sort of infection or invading organism,
but I can find no trace of it in his blood work. There is no evidence of
any bacterial or viral infections, no alien organisms, and no toxins or any
abnormal substances. I can try and deal with the symptoms, but without being
able to identify the causal factor I don’t know how to administer any sort
of treatment. Or if I there even is anything I can do at all. I’m sorry,
can you do for him?” Jack said softly.
until we find out what is causing this all I can do is try and bring the
fever down. Right now that is my biggest worry – brain damage and febrile
convulsions. I won’t say don’t worry, but I can assure you everything that
can possibly be done will be done.”
that right, Doc,” Jack set his jaw with determination. “You keep him alive,
I’m going to see if I can get you some answers. I'm gonna back track him,
see where he has been, what he's been doing. Something caused this, and I
mean to find out what.”
luck, Colonel,” Janet said earnestly. “Daniel could use some.”
hours later Jack was a thoroughly defeated man. The trail hadn’t been a
very long one; for once Daniel hadn’t done much since coming back to base
besides go where he was supposed to. The infirmary, the showers, the briefing
room, his office. That was it. Jack had talked to anybody and everybody
who had seen him, talked to him, passed him in the halls, thought about him,
Not a clue.
the hell was going on with Daniel, it was only happening to him. There had
been no reports anywhere on base of anyone developing similar sorts of symptoms.
He hadn’t really been expecting any; Janet had said there didn’t seem to
be any sort of alien organism involved. Still, something was responsible
for Daniel's condition and he had to look for it. Look and look and look,
although there seemed to be nothing to find.
the hell is going on here?" Jack snarled at Fraiser. "Why have you got
him trussed up like this?"
stood at Daniel's bedside, struggling
to swallow the rage and frustration boiling
up inside of him at the sight of the
leather straps binding Daniel's arms
and legs. Daniel lay inertly on the
mattress, breathing shallowly, huge droplets
of perspiration sullenly beading his
moist, clammy skin.
please calm down," the doctor
said firmly as she strode swiftly toward the
bed. "We had no choice.
Daniel has been delirious.
Hallucinating. We had to restrain him
so he wouldn't hurt himself. Or
us," she finished, grimacing as she
rubbed her right shoulder.
Jack blinked, stunned. "What are
you saying, he's getting worse?"
Sir, I'm afraid so. We've managed to
get his fever down so he's no longer
in danger but when it started to drop,
that's when the hallucinations started.
Daniel has been - raving. He's been
making little or no sense, most of what
he's been screaming hasn't been in any
language I recognise and it took three
airmen to stop him from bolting from
the infirmary and get him back into the
bed. We had to do this, Colonel," Janet
soothed, laying a hand on Jack's arm.
"And no, before you ask, we still have
no idea what's causing this. Did you
have any luck?"
I look like I did?" Jack said glumly,
his bleak eyes roving over the comatose
form of his friend. "He's quiet
now," Jack murmured. "Did
you put him out?"
Janet shook her head. "I haven't
dared to give him any sort of
sedation. Without knowing what's
causing this - I might make things
Exhaustion. He's been screaming and
fighting the restraints - "
okay, it's okay," Jack waved away the
rest of her statement. "I get the
really are doing everything possible,"
Jack said, feeling numb and helpless.
"I know. I'll just - I'll just
stay here for awhile, keep an eye on
merely nodded, patting him gently on
the back before moving silently away.
gripped the bed rail, clenching his hands upon it with enough force to shatter
bones. He felt so damned helpless! He wanted to break something. It wouldn’t
change anything, but at least it would be doing…something. This made no
sense. It shouldn’t be happening. He should be able to find out why
it was happening. Jack was furious about Daniel's condition, even more furious
with himself he had failed to discover the reason for it. There had to be
something! What had he missed?
it again, Jack. There had to be something. Daniel hadn’t picked up whatever
it was off-world. They'd all been together, all of the time, and everybody
else was fine. So that meant whatever had happened to Daniel had happened
here. At the SGC. Where had Daniel been where he'd been alone? Where?
They’d all hit the showers pretty much at the same time so that wasn’t it.
Not alone during the debrief or the infirmary...
office. That was the only place. The only place where he 'd been
alone. His office, where Jack had found him. That had to be where
it had happened. Where the clue was.
yelped with surprise, shocked by the feeling of a hand clapped around his
wrist with a grip threatening to turn his bones to jelly. Jack looked dumbly
down at Daniel’s hand tightly gripping him and then up and over to be met
by a pair of fever-clouded blue eyes momentarily alit by a feeble spark of
was struggling to say something. Tell him something. Trying to push away
the madness long enough to tell him something important. Jack leaned closer,
aching to help.
Daniel gasped weakly. “Need to see…eyes….“
all Daniel could manage. He fell back against the pillow again, his hand
loosening and dropping away as well. He could no longer see the man beside
him staring down at him, violent happiness transforming his face.
Jack remembered now. What he'd seen on Daniel’s desk. Danny’s desk! That
Jack whooped triumphantly, scaring half the duty shift in the infirmary,
and tore from the room. He pelted down the corridor to get what Daniel needed.
made it there in what he considered to be record time. He’d bowled a few
people over in the process; he’d make his amends later. This was an emergency.
sitting on the desk was the little mother causing all the problems. It was
one of the pieces Daniel had brought back from the site they'd been poking
around for the last couple of weeks. Before the little - disagreement -
with the locals had caused them to pack up and go home.
six-inch tall statuette was carved out of black stone and looked like some
kind of crouching toad with huge, baleful eyes that were pale yellow crystals
set into the carved eye sockets. The black toad was squatting on a thick
base inscribed with a phrase written in early gibberish. Well, Jack couldn’t
read it, but he had a feeling that Daniel could.
had been quite excited when he'd found it. He'd babbled something about
shamans and totems and spirits and he'd been saying something else at the
time, but it was right about then Jack had tuned him out. Now he wished he'd
listened more closely. But he hadn't, and his regrets about not listening
weren't going to help Daniel any more than his previous inattention.
this ugly little bugger he'd come for would.
started to pick it up, then stopped himself. Maybe touching it wasn’t such
a good idea. Although Daniel had been swinging it around with impunity on
the site. Come to think of it, Jack was sure he could remember Carter holding
it as well, at one point. And she seemed to be fine. Still, there was no
point in taking any chances.
took off his jacket and held it out in front of the nasty little article
glaring at him as if daring him to try it. He grabbed a magazine, used it
to tip the statue over and into the folds of his coat. After wrapped it
up in the jacket he stowed the bundle under his arm and made tracks back
to the infirmary.
word had obviously gotten out. This time people were staying well out of
was standing at Daniel’s bedside, but she turned to give Jack a ‘maybe we
need to restrain you as well’ look as he came charging back into the infirmary.
“Sorry Doc, but I think I found it,” was all Jack was able to get out as
he tried to catch his breath. Damn, he had been doing some boogie-ing. He
was definitely getting too old for this shit.
she had a chance to question him or protest Jack loosened the restraints
on Daniel’s arms, unwrapped the statue and put it in his hands.
hands clamped around it as if he was a drowning man clutching at his last
straw. He raised his head, locked eyes with the big, beady yellow ones staring
back at him and gargled at the top of his lungs for a couple of seconds.
that's what it sounded like!
Jack jumped back as two thin beams of yellow light shot out of the statue's
eyes and slammed into Daniel's. He knew he'd been expecting something to
happen but hadn't quite been expecting this something, and suddenly Jack
found himself hoping he hadn't made an mistake trusting this thing would
for a moment, though. No matter what it looked like, he trusted Daniel, trusted
he knew what he was doing. It was going to be okay.
shuddered for a moment, the light pouring into his eyes making him shake
alarmingly. "Daniel!" Janet exclaimed, quickly darting forward to take the
statue away from him. Never taking his eyes off Daniel, Jack held out his
arm to block her attempt.
He warned her. "Leave him
alone. He knows what he's doing.
It'll be all right."
later Jack re-entered the infirmary. He had finished tying up a few loose
ends, making sure small squat and more-than-slightly-dangerous was under
lock and key and he'd returned, bearing gifts. Daniel was lying in bed, looking
a little wan but a whole lot better than he had been, and definitely in his
right mind again. No fever, no screaming meamies.
Daniel. Which was more than fine with
buckaroo?” Jack grinned at him as he tossed the items on the bed he had
gone back to Daniel’s office to get for him. “Since you're gonna to be sacking
out here, at least for tonight, I thought I would bring you a few things.
You know, your glasses, toothbrush, that sort of crap. Oh yeah, and your
pillow. I know how much you hate the ones here.”
smiled at him as he reached over and retrieved the aforementioned item, a
rather extravagantly oversized and luxuriously soft pillow. He arranged
it under his head and then sunk back into it, half resting his head on it,
half hugging it fiercely.
The pillows here are like rocks. Funny, you wouldn’t think someone who has
spent as much time sleeping on the ground as I have would be much bothered
by something like that.”
had his own theory about why that was, if the way Daniel was hugging that
pillow was anything to go by, but he kept it to himself.
how are you feeling?” he grinned.
I’ve been dragged over ten miles of bad road by a herd of mastages." Daniel
grinned at him. "But a lot better than I was before. Thank you.”
t’weren’t nothing.” Jack made a dismissing gesture with his hand. “But next
time you don’t want to hang out with me, all you have to do is say so. I
can take a hint, honest.”
flashed him a shy smile. “Okay, I’ll keep that in mind. Well, it looks
like this evening is pretty much shot, but how about tomorrow? Janet says
I have to stay here tonight, but if everything checks out in the morning I
should be free and clear.”
made a show of pretending to mull this one over. “Well, okay. But if you
stand me up again I am going to have to hunt you down and kill you.”
taken. Trust me, it won't come to that. So, aren’t you going to ask me?”
you what?” Jack feigned innocence.
stupid thing it was I did this time?”
I wasn't going to say anything but since
you're the one bringing it up - "
grinned at him before continuing. “Well, if my experience was anything to
go by I'm guessing the statue is a device which enables the user to achieve
an the altered state of consciousness necessary to accomplishing a shamanistic
practice called journeying. On Earth, native cultures use a combination of
rhythmic drumming, dancing and sometimes drugs to achieve the ecstatic states
these people apparently attained with this device. I’m not sure if the severe
physiological reaction is supposed to be part of the experience, though.
If so, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to, but perhaps we can just
chalk up my reaction to a fundamental difference in metabolisms." Daniel
shrugged and made a face. "Whatever - it's a moot point. It's not something
I'm going to be trying again in order to see whether being sent into the
fever zone was a one time thing or part of the ticket to ride. So unless
anyone else is insane enough to give it a go I guess we'll never know.”
get it," Jack returned. "You say the statue put you into the twilight zone,
but – you were handling it before with no problem, and so was Carter. How
come – “
can pick it up and handle it to your heart’s content without turning it on,"
Daniel stifled a yawn before continuing. "Apparently it’s sonically activated.
The light is triggered by a specific combination of sounds, in this case,
the phrase inscribed on the base. Say it aloud and – whammo!”
Jack grunted. “You talk to yourself when you work.”
I do, “Daniel conceded grudgingly. "The phrase looked familiar, but I couldn't
get a handle - sometimes it helps to say it out loud. I was having trouble
figuring out how to pronounce the last two words. I guess I got it right.”
any luckier and there won’t be anything left of you next time,” Jack grinned
as he waggled an admonishing finger at the man in the bed.
thing you found me when you did or there wouldn’t be anything left of me
now,” Daniel returned with a grateful, but slightly self-conscious smile.
me, ole-always-arriving-in-the-nick-of-time-O’Neill.” Jack reached over
and ruffled Daniel's hair, a little rougher than he had intended to. The
next phrase came out a little gruffer than he meant it to as well.
talk, get some sleep. I’ll see you in the morning.”
beamed at him and he knew he had to leave the room.
Night, Jack,” Daniel sighed as he settled himself back down onto the bed
and closed his eyes.
do your stuff…