DOPPELGANGER BY PHOENIX
Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves
Angst. Hurt/Comfort. Action/Adventure. Drama
Small Spoiler for Cor Ai. Stargate the Movie.
Serpent's Grasp/Serpent's Lair.
from an aborted mission and it's business as usual.
Or is it?
situations, violence, torture, character death is
alluded to but does not actually occur in the course
of the story.
Originally completed early 2000.
Jack yelled, leaping up off the couch and away from the
man sitting next to him in a spasm of sudden, terrified
revulsion. Unfortunately he forgot the coffee table was
right there, banged into it, lost his balance and would
have tumbled over backwards.
have fallen, except Daniel moved swifter than his eye could
follow, sweeping to his feet, reaching out, grabbing his
wrist pulling him back.
No – not
Daniel just looked like him. Some – thing. Wearing his
Jack yelled again, snatching his wrist back, retreating
as hastily, this time managing to avoid any further complications
stood where he was, extending his arms out slightly in
an open-handed gesture, profuse apologies hanging on his
about that. Don't really have the time to be gentle. I
know this has to be quite a shock, but for Daniel's sake
you're going to have to get past it fast. You're also going
to have to trust me, because I'm the only one who can get
you to him."
ran a hand through his hair, quelling the rising urge within
him to make a run for his gun. He didn't have a chance
anyway. From what he had just seen, there was no way he
would even get across the room before this thing was on
him. God only knows what ELSE it could do…
me – to Daniel?" He began. "You'd be willing to do that?
Take me to Daniel?"
let his arms fall to his sides, heaved a huge sigh and
gave him Daniel's patented why-can't-you-just-for-once-accept-what-I-tell-you-without-making-me-lay-the-whole-thing-out
of COURSE, I'd do that! What would be the point of telling
you any of this if I didn't intend to do something about
emitted an annoyed grunt and started to walk away from
him, making for the stairs. Still in shock, Jack stood
there dumbly, not moving, watching him move across the room.
When Not-Daniel reached the steps which led to the main level
of the house he turned and addressed a parting remark to the
man who was staring at him.
not 'be' Daniel Jackson, but I am everything he is. Work
it out for yourself, Jack. Now, if you want, I'll tell
you everything on the way. But Daniel can't wait for you
to decide whether or not you can trust me. I'm going to go get
your friend back for you. Are you coming, or are you just
going to stand there?"
get my keys…"
Sam and Teal'c out of this?" Jack queried, keeping his
eyes on the road.
still having a hard time getting his mind around this.
The man seated beside him was Daniel. In every sense of the
word. Walked like Daniel, talked like Daniel. Had all his
funny little mannerisms. Except for that mayonnaise thing –
unless this was something Daniel had never bothered to share
with him before.
wasn't – Daniel. Just what the hell it was – he was in
the process of finding out.
risk it," Not-Daniel replied. Too many people to try and
shield. I can keep your presence masked from the automatic
defense sensors, but not all three of you. The second we
hit the collection area you'd all be – toasted."
I'll pass on that one," Jack returned.
himself starting to relax. No longer feeling quite so much
as if he had to keep one eye on the road, one eye on the
man beside him and one hand on the door handle in case he had
to bail out of the truck in a hurry. Whatever it was, the man
beside him felt like his friend. Logic was telling him it
was really stupid to trust this thing. But his gut was
giving him the green light all the way. He told logic to
ah, Daniel – can I call you Daniel – just what the hell
laughed. "That's one of the things I like about you Jack.
No messing about. Bottom-line every time. What the hell
am I? Well, in simplest terms, I'm a probe, Jack. An exploration
and evaluation program launched in a bio-simulation vehicle
that looks acts and feels like the real thing and is specifically
patterned after a member of the species it was sent out
to evaluate. Call me a rather sophisticated anthropological
say. Think I'd rather call you Daniel. Easier to pronounce."
I'm making jokes. Must be getting okay with this. Hope
I'm not making a really big mistake…
stared out the windshield, his voice taking on a slightly
stayed a program, we wouldn't be having this conversation
right now. I'd have assumed the role of the man I was patterned
to replace flawlessly in every detail and continued to
go about my business – namely my evaluation mission - thereby
fulfilling the purpose for which I was created. What set
me in motion would have finished encoding and absorbing
YOUR Daniel, disposed of what was left, and you would never
have been the wiser."
of – what was left? Ohhh, that didn't sound too good…
built the complex back there on P3C-354 and designed the
system that launched me did a better job of creating the
perfect duplicate than maybe they intended. I say 'whoever',
because over the millennia during which the complex lay
dormant until 'something' turned it on again very recently,
certain areas of the central data core have become corrupted.
Several important areas, actually. All having to do with
who built the place and what the grand purpose for all of
created me and sent me out to gather all the information
I could about what it means to be a human being on a deeply
emotional, experiential level – but I don't know who and
I don't know why. I find I have a problem with that. I
have a problem with all of this.
I am who I am. Like I said before, whoever made me, made
me too well. I AM Daniel Jackson. His exact physical, mental
and emotional duplicate, right down to the quantum level.
Everything he is, was, thinks, feels, believes, fears,
hates, loves, knows, everything he has experienced up until
the moment I came into being – I AM.
moment of creation, I had all the 'content' that defined
me as 'Daniel Jackson'. Information with no comprehension
of this content. I was – form without substance. Knowledge
without understanding. A book having everything it needed
to inside it without knowing how to read.
'how to read' – was my mission. I was to come to your world
and learn to understand the substance. Emotions, motivations,
the 'whys'. How your species thought, how you behaved,
what ruled and ran you through living in your midst and
interacting with you as one of you. That was what my programming
told me I was supposed to do."
a minute –" Jack piped up. "Sorry to interrupt, but if
you already had all of Daniel's 'stuff' inside you – what
did you need him for? Why not just copy him and let him
a good question, Jack," Not-Daniel replied thoughtfully.
I wish I could answer you. Aside from the obvious observation
that it is hard to replace someone who is still walking
any further information about that part of it falls into
the area of the 'what is this all for' part of the data
core that is corrupted. Daniel was separated from you in
order to be duplicated – creating me. He was collected
in order to be – encoded.
reason the creators of the complex wanted to have a baseline
file of each specimen they selected. That baseline being
the complete physical and mental/emotional parameters of
the specimen as it existed up until the point in time where
the experiential gap began. Where I began and he – left
I returned, the data I had gathered was to be compared
against that baseline file – what I had made of what I
learned compared with the experiences of the original specimen.
To what use all of all this information was to be put I
have no idea.
I do know is the encoding process is designed with efficiency
in mind. Consideration for the specimen is not an issue.
It is a source of information, nothing more. Once the specimen
has served its purpose – which is simply to be drained
of all the pertinent information it possesses - it is efficiently
– disposed of."
the sound of this one bit, ah – Daniel."
crazy about it myself, Jack," Not-Daniel returned, grimly.
"There is something about this that doesn't make a lot
of sense. For instance, how the makers – whoever they were
– would create something that was so much what it replaced
and not anticipate how the moral and ethical dubiousness
of the entire process could very possibly create irreconcilable
conflicts between the programming imperatives and the new
awareness engendered by the increased understanding those
imperatives required me to acquire."
driving. All of a sudden he knew what had happened.
what my programming told me to do - I am Daniel Jackson.
At first, I didn't understand what that meant. But I learned.
Fast. I 'became' the man I was programmed to replace very
quickly. An inevitable conflict arose between my programming
and my growing understanding of the innate wrongness of
a purpose that would employ such immoral methods in my
very creation, and furthermore require me to support and
abet that immorality in its service.
I set out to fulfill my programming and 'understand' what
I was, the more I couldn't escape the simple truth all
I was learning was - I was wrong. What I was doing was
wrong. It was wrong to hurt. It was wrong to kill. The
very fact I existed was wrong. That I continued to exist was
wrong. How I had come to be – all of it - wrong.
I learned was that I had no right to exist. Nor did I have
any right to continue to exist. It was impossible for me
to carry out the mission for which I was created. There is
only one way I can be what I am and still be able to justify
– being here. If I use this life I do not deserve to do
everything in my power to save the man whose life I have
stolen. That is the only 'purpose' sustainable to me
shrugged. "Although, in a funny sort of way, I guess you
could say I have fulfilled my programming after all. I
DO understand the substance. I really do. I really am –
Daniel Jackson. Because I am – I don't have any other
choice. I have to get him back, even if it means the end of
mulling over what he had just heard. At last he brought
himself to ask the question he was dreading.
– what's happening to him out there?"
turned to him for a brief moment, and then lowered his
eyes. "Don't, Jack," he said softly. "I don't want to say
it and you don't want to know."
silent for a long time. Trying to think of something –
anything to say that would help him stop thinking about
what he had just heard. Finally, he had it.
answer me one thing? Not that it has anything to do with
anything, but I'm just curious."
smiled at him. "Sure thing, Jack. What do you want to know?"
– chats? With each of us. Sam and Teal'c didn't tell me
what you said, but I'm guessing it was pretty personal.
Not exactly Danny's style. Whatever you said, you shook
them up pretty good. Ditto over here, I might add."
Daniel replied. "One was for him. The other was for me.
Just in case we don't make it to him in time, I wanted
you all to know what he most wanted you to know. But was
never able to bring himself to tell you. So you would have
that part of him – in case something went wrong."
was the part that was for you?" Jack asked.
of being the messenger. Using the life I stole from him
to do some good for him – in the event we succeed. Opening
a couple of doors he has been too afraid to try and open
himself. Call it my way of trying to make it up to him.
Least I could do, under the circumstances."
grinned a little slyly at him.
a hell of a nice guy, Jack. Some very interesting things
going on in here. You know what? This is your chance. Anything
else you have always wanted to know, but could never get
him to tell you? I've got it all, Jack. Everything Daniel
has ever seen, been, thought, felt, known - the whole damned
deal. What's more, I'm not afraid to say. Anything you want to
he was going to hate himself later for letting the opportunity
slip by him, but they were there anyway.
look sharp, mountain coming up. Now that we're here, what's
next? You're the one who knows the lay of the land and
what's waiting for us at the other end, soooo you like,
got a plan, or what?"
just going to waltz through the gate and go and get him.
Just like that. That's your plan?"
moving swiftly through the corridors of the bunker, heading
for the control room. Daniel had his arm around Jack's
shoulders, impelling him forward with a sense of urgency and a
strangely compelling 'otherness' Jack found he could not
was clearly the one calling the shots. More than in control,
he moved with an innate sense of self-confidence and self-mastery
that Jack had never seen him display the whole time he
had known him. That is – he had never seen this in the
Danny he had known.
really used to letting someone else do the driving. Usually
it fell on him to do the leading, the protecting, the choosing.
All the stuff that sometimes meant deciding who lived and
none of it was on him. Even though the mission was the
rescue of his best friend, the man they were trying to
save was the one who was saving himself. Jack O'Neill was just
along for the ride.
now, Jack wasn't having a problem with any of it. Oh, to
be sure he was gonna have more than a few sleepless nights
when all of this finally hit, but for the moment, he was cool.
corridors of the SGC tended to be rather empty at three
in the morning. Tonight was no exception. They obtained
their objective without seeing a soul. The control room was
empty save for the duty sergeant seated at the control
console, who looked up in surprise when they entered the room.
O'Neill? Dr. Jackson? What are you doing here? Is there
had already crossed over to the man. He reached down and
touched him on the forehead. Cut off in mid sentence, the
man's eyes closed; he started to slump forward. Daniel caught
him, cradling his head with one hand as he gently lowered the
man to the floor.
all right," he said to Jack as he got back up again. "Put
him to sleep. He'll be fine. Will wake up in about an hour
or so, no worse for the wear."
down at the slumbering sergeant, and then at the man at
you do that?"
shrugged. "No biggie. Just a little stimulus to the sleep
like a Vulcan nerve pinch? Sweet. How hard is it to learn
something like that?"
shook his head, stepped up to the computer keyboard and
started swiftly typing.
won't take very long. Just have to lock the barn doors
so we won't be interrupted, dial up the complex and send
my return code so they'll let us in. Then we're outta
as Daniel's fingers danced over the keyboard. It was an
odd sight. Carter was usually the one doing all the fancy
data entering stuff when it came to anything having to
do with the gate. Just something else to remind him the man he
was looking at wasn't his Danny.
the more time Daniel spent away from the original, the
less he resembled him. Jack kept trying to put his finger
on what it was about Daniel that was becoming so noticeably
different – from Danny.
just something – about him. The way he moved, stood, the
way he looked at you. Like he really OWNED himself, in a
way that Danny just didn't. It was as if he was – a Daniel
it. What had Daniel said? At the moment of creation he
was everything Danny was and had ever experienced right up
until that moment, but he had it without having any real
understanding of it. All the form, but no substance. Like
looking at a life as a series of photos in an album. Two
dimensions. No depth, no content.
he had all of Danny's experiences, but not the traumatic
associations that went along with them. He knew what had
happened, but was untouched by the events themselves. There
were no scars on his heart or mind.
he was looking at a Daniel who had come into being into
a personal world far more secure and nurturing than the
one Danny had been forced to find his way through. The
world Danny had grown up in had been a constant adversary to
be endured and survived. Daniel had nothing to fear from his
world, or the people in it. He was loved, he was respected. He
had a place, and belonged. There were no shadows or enemies
they were different, and becoming even more so. Daniel
was what Danny could have been – without all the pain.
What Danny should have been – had he been as lucky in his
life circumstances – as Daniel. Without shadows, walls,
scars or inhibitions. Fearless, confident, something the like
of which had seldom ever been seen.
into the eyes of the fulfillment of every aborted promise
Danny had every contained, and suddenly realized only one
of those two men was coming back through the gate.
so thankful the decision was not up to him…
about done." Daniel's voice brought him back.
– how do you know those command codes? No wait – don't
say it. I don't want to know, right?"
grinned at him. "Okay, that's it. Let's go. Oh – wait -
before I forget."
into his pockets, pulled out a wallet and a set of keys,
handing them to Jack.
want these. Hold on to them for him, will you?"
them and shoved them into his jacket pocket, trying not
to taste the fear rising in his throat at the significance
of the transfer.
going to happen to you?" he asked softly, trying to meet
the eyes of the man who suddenly would not look at him.
reached out, squeezed his arm, shook his head and walked
out of the control room. Numbly Jack followed him. No matter
what happened from this point on, he was going to lose
as much as he got back.
a lot better if you'd let me bring my gun," Jack grumbled
as they gained the gate room.
do you any good, and you might have been tempted to use
it," Daniel returned. "That would not be a good thing.
The defense program is pretty efficient. One shot and it
would take you out. Zap. That's why shutting it down's
one of the first things I have to do once we get there."
something. "Uh – wait – what about the radiation?"
grinned. "There never was any. The collection program had
selected Daniel. It wanted the rest of you gone. So it
messed with the instrument – making it show a false indication
of dangerous radiation levels. Nothing to it, really."
that's all right then. Guess we should go."
put a hand on Jack's arm to stop him just before he started
up the ramp.
minute instructions," he began in a low, subdued voice.
"Won't be any time for chit chat once we get there.
I have sent my return code signal, telling the complex
I'm coming back so the defense program will lower the screen.
I am not due to return for ten years. The only reason I
would return before then would be if I was malfunctioning
and needed to be – fixed."
his mouth, changed his mind, crossed his arms and went
back to listening.
as we hit the other side, start running. That will confuse
the retrieval ray, which will be looking for me to be standing
at the gate, waiting to be – retrieved.
gets me and puts me in the repair system I am going to
be there for awhile. You might be able to find Daniel on
your own, but you aren't going to be able to do anything
for him. I'm just going to concentrate on getting to an
interface junction and once I'm there, I can start shutting
things down." Daniel grinned at him and grabbed him by
the arm again.
you can run, Jack, cause we've got a lot of open ground
to cover to get to that junction. What do you say, feel
up to it?"
pulling him forward, they charged up the ramp and hit the
event horizon at a dead run…
on running without missing a stride the second their feet
hit the ground of the room on the other side of the gate.
a high pitched whine behind them. Daniel pulled at him,
jerking him off to the side and then pulled him forward
again faster. He heard the whine again, much closer this time,
and saw a flash of light out of the corner of his eye.
that was a close one.
and weaving their strides ate up the distance as they sprinted
desperately across the room trying to stay just ahead of
the ray, which was getting closer and closer with each
strike. They appeared to be just about running out of room,
but were they going to reach the wall they were heading for
before they ran out of time?
go faster," Daniel grunted.
he gave Jack a tremendous shove, sending him spilling to
the floor. As soon as he hit Jack rolled, coming up in time
to see Daniel diving to escape the impact of a ray blast
striking were Jack just been.
tucked, rolled, sprang back onto his feet in one fluid
motion. In two large bounds he was at the wall, slamming his
palm against a blank spot in the midst of a panel containing a
lot of colours, lights and squiggles.
Daniel yelled triumphantly. "Beat ya!"
to his feet, looking warily about.
all right now, Jack," Daniel said in a slightly absent
voice. "I've interfaced with the system. Shut down the
repair retrieval program and the defense program. Telling
the drones to shut themselves down as well. Everybody go
back to sleep now. Going to see if I can get into the encoding
program from here. If not – we'll have to get to Daniel
over to him and then stood, fidgeting nervously as he waited,
feeling pretty superfluous. The wait wasn't long and from
the look on Daniel's face he wasn't having any luck.
of that. This interface isn't on the same system as the
core command systems. Systems are isolated from each other,
part of the way the complex was set up, for defense reasons.
Only way to talk to the core programs is from the interfaces
in the core itself."
took his palm away from the screen and quickly stepped
up to Jack's side. Putting his arm around him, he pulled him
tightly into the side of his body.
not trying to get fresh, this is going to be a tight fit
is all. Stay close, hold on tight, we're going for a bit
his eyes shut as they were suddenly assaulted by a brilliant
flash of light swallowing everything up in a nauseating
wave of momentary vertigo. He was very glad he had a strong
arm around him holding him up. Otherwise he was sure he
would have ended up on his – end.
same when Daniel removed his support he almost fell over
anyway. Jack shook his head, opened his eyes and saw that
he was standing alone on a small, softly lit circular
platform. It was beside a large, oval-shaped console directly
in the middle of a huge, open, round room with a vaulting
ceiling arching high overhead. Daniel was standing at the
console, his palm on another one of those black spaces like
on the other panel, his head down, eyes closed.
his head snapped up, his blue eyes awash with relief and
okay. I stopped it. We got here in time to stop it. He's
still with us, Jack."
had time to register the relief that little piece of information
brought him before he caught movement out of the corner
of his eye. Something over to the side was rising, going
up into the air.
To see a long rectangular slab covered with lights and
other ominous and unidentifyible stuff all over it lifting
up from the rectangular metallic table it had been hovering
over. As the slab cleared the table on its way back up to
wherever it was going it revealed the still, white form supine
upon it. Bathed in a harsh yellow light that only emphasized
the terrible inertness of the body lying there.
Oh my god! Danny!"
no idea how he got to his side, only that he was trying
to gather him into his arms, but it was difficult because
he was so limp and he just kept – falling - through his
grasp. Like he had no bones and no life even though he was
still warm and still breathing. No response, no answer to his
desperate entreaties. No flicker of life or recognition when
he called his name and tried to tell him that it was all
right now, he was here.
do this to me Danny, don't punish me like this I'm sorry
I didn't know. Got here as soon as I could it's okay, you
can wake up now…
on his shoulder, cutting through the shock and guilt. Daniel.
answer you, Jack." Daniel said softly. "We got here in
time to stop the program from beginning the termination
cycle, but the encoding process was almost complete. Most
of Daniel is gone. Absorbed by the machine. His body is
alive, but he's gone. But don't worry. I was prepared for
this. I know what to do. I promised you I would get your
friend back. Don't make promises I don't intend to keep."
continued to hold Danny Daniel drew up close behind him,
putting both his hands on his shoulders. He spoke in a
soft, low voice, close to his ear.
to access the file containing Daniel's encoded memory engrams,
but it's locked. I don't know the access code. Probably
only the makers themselves can access those files. More
security. That means I'm not going to be able to download
the engrams back into Daniel's mind from that source. But
there is another one."
hands moved around, clasping the tops of his shoulders,
squeezing them tightly. Jack could feel a slight tremor
in the hands upon him. Something was constricting his chest.
Drawing a breath was becoming an effort.
to me carefully, Jack." Daniel was speaking again "When
it's over, take Daniel back to the oval on the floor where
we were standing when we got here. I've already programmed
the travel ray to take you both back to the Stargate.
is set up to activate the gate as soon as you get there.
I disabled the iris before we left. It can't be closed
again until you return, but will go back on line as soon
as you shut the gate down once you're home. When you're
safely through, the screen will go back up. But not till
you're safe. Can't very well bring you here without making
sure you both get home, now can I?"
embracing him clutched him tightly. Daniel's head fell
on his shoulder.
you telling me this?" Jack heard himself saying. His voice
why," Daniel whispered. "Funny. All of a sudden, I'm afraid…"
around Jack's chest were moving up to his throat. Suddenly
he wanted to turn to Daniel but to do that he would've
had to let go of Danny and he couldn't…
was saying something, very quietly, but his jacket swallowed
up the sounds. Finally, Daniel's head came up again, slowly.
A pair of lips brushed feather-light on his cheek as Daniel's
voice sounded, once again, close to his ear.
Jack. Remember me…"
drew away and walked slowly around to the other side of
the table. Every step he took farther away from him drove a
nail of fear into Jack's heart.
Daniel stood directly across from him on the other side
of the table, Danny's limp body between them. Jack looked
into level blue eyes calm and ready for what had to come next.
him to me, Jack," he said firmly.
Jack let Daniel take Danny into his arms. Jack stood there,
his own arms now empty, feeling hopelessly bereft.
Daniel was still looking at him, compelling him to listen
and obey with the force of his strength and determination.
"Daniel's clothing and equipment were encoded and stored
in a separate file I was able to access. I reintegrated
them. You'll find them on the far side of the console.
I want you to go over there and get them. Now. Take your
time. As a matter of fact, stay over there – until it is
" Jack started to protest but Daniel stopped him with a
shake of his head.
don't want to see this, Jack. You don't want to watch me…"
right. Daniel was right. God – he was such a coward…
won't take long. Only a couple of minutes. Putting back
is easier than taking out. When it's over, he'll be fine.
He'll suffer a few residual physical effects from the
experience, but the process itself, while not pleasant, does
not inflict any actual damage to the organic structures. He'll
have a hell of a headache for awhile, but he'll be fine.
you." Dumb. That sounded so dumb. He didn't know what to
say. There was so much he should say – but there was just
smiled warmly at him, one last time. "You're welcome. Now,
go on. Go get Daniel's clothes. You know he's going to
want them when he wakes up. Go on, and don't look back.
himself turn around and start to walk away. When he reached
the console, he shot one look over his shoulder. Daniel
had laid Danny's body back down on the table, and was leaning
over him, his hands on Danny's temples. Jack pulled his
head back around, away from the sight and forced himself
to continue rounding the console.
the pile of clothing and equipment as Daniel had promised.
Scooping up Danny's uniform he crushed it to his chest
and let himself fall to the ground, where he just sat,
his face buried in the cloth in his arms, waiting. Waiting for
it to be over.
stretched onward. Jack wasn't sure how he was to know when
it was finished, and then he heard a sound that echoed
like a knell in the silence of the vast chamber. Something
slumping, falling to the ground, making a soft impact as
it hit - the loudest, most terrible sound he had ever heard.
On the heels of it came another sound - rather a series
of sounds - causing him to leap to his feet and rush back
to the table and the man who was on it.
– my head! Where the hell am I? Wait a minute – WHERE ARE
his friend who had started to try and push himself up from
the table, catching him as he began to fall weakly back
onto it. Danny emitted a soft sound of surprise as the
arms around him tightened almost to the point of forcing
all the air out of his body and not letting any more back in.
he gasped. "What's going on? I feel like crap. Whoa! Room
okay, Danny," Jack replied in a voice thick with emotion.
"You got a little lost, but we found you. I'm going to
take you back now."
Daniel's inner confusion was plain in his voice. "Just
for a moment…waking up… someone else….here… where..." he
broke off and turned to the other side of the table, looking
over to where –
Jack reached around and grabbed the back of his head, turning
it away from the sight he shouldn't see. "Don't. Don't
look. Come on. Let me help you. We'll get you dressed and
then get the hell out of here."
Daniel. I'll never forget you. I promise…
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