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 Parallel-o-gram

Chapter 4

The briefing had gone quickly. General Hammond was as interested in learning about the miniature pyramid as he and Sam were. Daniel stretched, rubbed his eyes, and settled his glasses back into place.

"The energy coming from it is steady," Sam reported. "There's not a lot, but it's most definitely there."

"The Stargate on the front has got to be the key to getting inside," Daniel replied. "I just don't have a clue what the combination would be."

"What are these?" Sam asked, pointing to a row of stones with numbers on them, just beneath the Stargate.

"I have no idea," Daniel admitted. He examined the hieroglyphic text that surrounded the stones. "I need a magnifying glass, and then I can translate all of this."

With a nod, Sam searched for, then handed Daniel the magnifying apparatus that she used. It fit over the head, leaving whoever was wearing it hands free to work. The magnifying glass itself was face width, and three inches high, providing an ample magnification field without requiring exaggerated head movement.

"Thanks," Daniel murmured, slipping the band around his head. He reached for his pad and pencil. Within seconds was lost in the translation. Time. Each side spoke of time. And paths. Or rather, 'many paths'. The many paths of time? He frowned. Each side also had glyphs that were associated with decisions, or choices, depending upon the text around each.

Sam had quietly continued her own study of the device, as she called it. It was an artifact, that was true. But she was certain that the energy signature that continued to radiate from it indicated that it was a device of some sort.

"This just doesn't make sense!" Daniel exclaimed after forty minutes of silent work.

"What does it say?" Sam asked.

"It really doesn't say anything," he groused. "It lists three things, almost continually, in every glyphic way possible. Time, paths, and decisions. Or choices. The same glyph means two different things, depending on the text around it."

Sam frowned. "Rather odd, isn't it?"

"Very," the archaeologist agreed. He tossed his pencil onto the note covered pad beside him. "The only thing I can come up with is that choices affect the paths of time."

"Alternate realities," Sam whispered.

"What?"

"We already know that alternate realities exist," she said excitedly.

"Yeah," Daniel replied, rubbing his shoulder absently. The shoulder on which he'd suffered a staff wound escaping from a reality where Earth had been doomed to Goa'uld domination by Apophis.

"And we know that certain events alter each path." She hurried to the dry erase board. "Say this is time," she said, drawing a single line across the middle of the white surface. "Let's go all the way back to when, say man discovered fire." She drew what looked like a candle flame. "Now, this group used the fire. But, what if someone had decided that fire was too dangerous?" A line from the flame, to become a separate line.

"Or what if it wasn't discovered at that point in time at all?" Daniel offered. He watched Sam draw another line.

"Every major event could be viewed as a choice," she said.

Daniel nodded eagerly, understanding what his colleague was saying. "So, there are multiple time lines."

"An infinite number of them, because each time line would have it's own key events, which would branch off, and those lines would have events, and so on. We already know that there are realities nearly identical to our own, and we can hypothesize that there are those so different that we wouldn't even recognize the planet if we were to visit there," Sam said.

The two scientists frowned at the device. "So, what does this thing have to do with alternate realities?" Daniel asked.

"Could it be like the Quantum Mirror?"

"Kind of small, don't you think?"

"Not necessarily. It's possible that it can create a small wormhole," Sam replied.

"If it's that small, what good would it be? You couldn't go through it."

"We couldn't. But a probe of some sort might be able to."

His eyes widened. "Send a camera through and take pictures of an alternate reality?"

Sam shrugged. "It's just one theory," she admitted.

He still couldn't shake the feeling that the device was dangerous. "I need to finish translating this," he said, pointing to the device. "Promise me you won't try to activate it, or turn it on, or whatever."

She frowned. "Daniel?"

It was his turn to shrug. "I dunno, Sam. All I know is that I've had a bad feeling about it since Teal'c and I pulled it out of that hiding place."

"If it was dangerous, wouldn't it have been destroyed?"

"Like the Ancients destroyed their time device?"

That had caused no end of problems, Sam thought. There was still no way of knowing exactly how long nearly a hundred planets in almost as many solar systems had been affected when Malikai had activated the Ancient device. "Right," she murmured.

"Maybe," he said softly, "we should just put it back where we found it. Maybe there was something in that temple, or on that planet, that prevented it from working."

Sam frowned. She'd never known Daniel to be so spooked about anything they found. If any of the artifacts had markings on them, he was hell bent to translate them, to learn as much as possible about the item. "You really think this thing is dangerous?"

"Yeah, I do," he said softly. "Don't ask me to explain, I can't. All I have is a feeling. A very bad feeling."

Gut feelings, hunches, and instincts were what had seen SG-1 through many of their most difficult times. She'd had a few of her own that had served to get them out of one jam or another. Sam nodded. "It's safe enough now, with the containment field around it. Let's go talk to General Hammond about returning it."

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Daniel dropped his backpack onto the floor beside the sofa table. Sorted through the mail he'd brought up. Nothing important. A couple of bills and junk mail. After starting the coffee maker, he settled onto the sofa. Stared out the French doors that opened to the balcony. As soon as he'd walked through the door, that odd, unsettling feeling had wrapped around him once again. For some reason, there was something...not right...about the apartment. He looked around. Everything was in its place. Yet, there was something...

General Hammond had agreed that if he and Sam felt the device they'd found was dangerous, that it should be put back where they'd found it. Daniel had asked for, and received, a day in which to examine and translate all of the hieroglyphs that covered three sides.

The more he thought about the damned thing, the more he was certain that something was wrong. And the more he felt that agonizing sense of loss. He felt...empty. Cold. So damned alone! He tried to force the entire situation from his mind, to no avail.

More tired that he'd realized, he tossed together a sandwich, drank a couple of cups of coffee, took a shower, and headed to bed. His hand moved over the expanse of mattress beside him. Something was terribly wrong. Sleep was a long time coming, as he tossed and turned, his thoughts focused on the miniature pyramid.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

He hurried out of the building, glanced at his watch. Good, he had enough time to stop at the kiosk on the corner for a cup of coffee. He wandered past the small neighborhood grocery store. Flowers were on display beside the open door on one side, fresh produce on the other. A small table held freshly baked cookies.

The combined aroma of fresh spring flowers and vanilla assailed his senses. He stopped mid-stride; was nearly run over by the man who'd been walking behind him. He mumbled an apology. Frowned as something so familiar about the scent began to poke at him. He shook his head mentally. The store always had goods outside on the sidewalk, as long as the weather was cooperative. It wouldn't have been unusual to have smelled the flowers and cookies before. But...that particular scent...spring flowers - lilac, honeysuckle, sweet pea, hyacinth - mixed with the subtle hint of vanilla...he knew that scent!

Grappling with the strange puzzle that had suddenly appeared in his mind, Daniel absently ordered a cup of coffee. When he turned to walk back toward his apartment building, ready to go to the garage and get the jeep, he stopped in front of Harold's Main Street Market, and sniffed again. His entire body reacted to the aroma. His heart raced, his cock twitched, and at the same time, a feeling of such...happiness...surrounded him that it startled him. There was no reason for him to react this way. None at all. He sniffed again. Felt himself becoming aroused. What in the hell was going on?

Had he come into contact with something on that planet? Something that would intensify his reactions to certain stimuli, particularly smells? Maybe he should stop in the infirmary, and have Janet take a look at him. Just to make sure this wasn't a repeat of the Urgo...problem.

 

 

 

He took the same route to work as he did every morning. Oh, some days he'd vary it slightly. Just to be able to tell Jack that no, he didn't follow a predictable routine. He sighed when he hit yet another red light. No doubt this was going to be one of 'those' days, Nothing seriously wrong, just a lot of little annoyances.

At the turnoff to the highway that led to the Cheyenne Mountain complex, his attention was caught by the billboard on the other side of the street. Part of it was missing. What was left was a photo of a woman...long blonde hair, big green eyes, standing in a seductive pose; a white corset was laced around her slender waist, her hands barely covered breasts that made his breath catch in his throat, and white angel wings sprouted from slender shoulders. He stared. When the hell had that gone up? He didn't think he'd ever seen such a beautiful woman in his life!

The loud and insistent honking behind him let him know that the light had changed. He surged forward, the image burned into his brain. It seemed to merge with the sweet scent he'd noticed in front of Harold's just a few minutes earlier.

The two things were totally unrelated...weren't they? Why did it seem...right...to think that that woman would smell like spring flowers and vanilla? Why did those green eyes feel as if they were calling to him?

He ran his hand over his jaw. Okay, he was totally losing it here. There was no reason, none whatsoever, to be so affected by simple smells and a half-erected billboard. So why was his stomach in knots? Why did he suddenly have such an ache in his heart? Why did he feel as if part of his very soul was missing?

 

 

 

As soon as he'd made his way through the check points and security that was part and parcel of the secret SGC, he headed straight to the lab where the containment field continued to hum. Turned on the light and crossed the room to examine the artifact once again. There was something about it, something so...familiar.

"You're here early."

He glanced over his shoulder. "Hey, Sam."

"Daniel, are you all right?"

He straightened quickly, turned to face his friend. "I'm fine. Why?"

She shook her head slightly. "There's just something..."

"Off? Odd? Not right?"

Sam nodded.

"It started the day before yesterday."

"Before we found the artifact?"

"Before we even had the briefing for the mission."

The astrophysicist frowned. "I couldn't sleep last night. I kept seeing this thing. And feeling...panicked."

"I had the strangest experience this morning," he admitted.

"What happened?"

"I was walking to the corner to get a cup of coffee. Passed by that little market. They had fresh cookies out-"

"What kind?"

Daniel smiled. "Sugar cookies."

"Oh," Sam replied, obviously disappointed. "Sorry, go on."

"There were bouquets of fresh flowers. There was this...scent...fresh flowers and vanilla. I know it. I mean, I recognized it somehow, and it turned me on..." His face flushed beet red when the words hit the air and echoed back at him.

Sam's frown deepened. "Why would those particular smells...do that?"

"I have no idea. Did you notice the billboard on Duffer Road?"

"The one that has the big truck on it? I think it's for the new car dealership on the highway."

That was not what he'd seen! "No, they're changing it," he replied.

"Daniel, I just saw it. It's been up for two weeks. It's a big truck. A Dodge, I think," Sam insisted.

He barely made it to the chair beside the work table before his knees gave out on him. "Truck? Are you sure?"

"I'm positive."

"I think I should head to the infirmary," he said quietly, after a moment.

"Daniel?"

"I didn't see a truck, Sam. I saw-" he broke off, shook his head.

"You saw what?" she asked softly.

Only the most beautiful woman he'd ever lain eyes on. Sexy, gentle...wait, how in the world did he, could he, know that? Probably the same way that he knew the sweet scent of spring flowers and vanilla surrounded her. "Not a truck," he replied finally. His eyes went back to the miniature pyramid. "We have to get that thing out of here."

Sam studied her best friend, colleague and teammate for several minutes. "Daniel, what did you see on that billboard?"

He sighed heavily. "Does it make a difference?"

"It might."

"Fine. I saw a woman. Long blonde hair. Beautiful green eyes. Sexiest, most gorgeous creature I've ever seen in my life. And I know that she's the one who smells like spring flowers and vanilla." He held up his finger when Sam opened her mouth to speak. "I have no idea how I know that, but I do. I also know that I'm missing the biggest, best part of me. I feel as if I'm wandering around with half a heart, half a soul. And she's the other half!"

Sam was stunned, and from the look in his eyes, Daniel was just as surprised at his outburst. "Maybe you should talk to Janet."

"Maybe we should just get this thing the hell out of here!" he retorted.

"Do you think that'll help you?"

Daniel closed his eyes, shook his head sadly. "Not now. Not now that I've seen her. Now that I know about her."

"Any other clues?"

He gave a snort, laughed derisively. "None."

Sam put her hand on his shoulder, could feel him shaking. "I'm so sorry," she said softly.

"Sorry for what? That I'm losing my mind...again?" He shook his head. "I'm sorry, that was uncalled for. Sam, what am I going to do?"

"I don't know," she replied honestly. "If it started before we found this thing-"

"But it's...worse, now," he interjected.

The two stared at the device for some time. "Daniel, have you finished translating everything on it?"

"Not yet."

"What if...what if it had been activated, before we found it? An earthquake, a rat running across it maybe, who knows, but somehow, it was activated? What if some other reality is...touching...ours, and you're experiencing something from one of the other realities?" Sam asked.

"That's a bit far-fetched, don't you think?"

"Any more so than walking through an event horizon to explore other planets?"

"Good point. I suppose it's possible," he allowed. "But why me?"

"Because you've spent time in an alternate universe. Well, two actually. Maybe you're more...sensitive...to them."

The idea bounced around in his head. It was easier, and certainly more pleasant than believing he'd gone insane. "Makes sense to me. But then, I'm apt to agree with anything that doesn't leave me a raving lunatic."

Sam smiled. "You're the sanest man I know."

"You need a better class of friends, then," he teased gently.

"Let's get you checked out, just to make certain there isn't any other extraneous reasons for your feelings."

"Like a virus or something?"

"Exactly. Then you need to finish translating this. I'm betting the answers are there, somewhere."

Daniel took one last look at the pyramid. What the hell was going on? The feeling that he...that the team...needed to get it off the base continued to grow. Something was so damned...not right!

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

He frowned. Finished with another section of text, he was more confused than ever. Glyphs for 'guide' and 'seeker' were circled beside the already present 'time', 'choices', and 'many paths'. Running a hand over his jaw, he grabbed his coffee mug. The frown deepened when he realized it was empty. He wandered into the commons area, a room set up where the archaeologists and anthropologists working for the SGC could relax, or even sit and discuss their projects, bouncing ideas off one another.

Dr. Cameron Balinsky was sitting at the rectangular table, studying notes...the notes Daniel had left for him concerning a set of tablets. "Just the man I needed to see," he said with a smile.

Daniel filled his mug, and sat down beside the man. "What's up?"

"These aren't Ancient."

"I know that."

"I really wanted to work on those Ancient artifacts."

"Cam, you're the best I have at translating Sumerian, and all of the bastardized versions of the language. These tablets were hidden in one of Ba'al's temples. There has to be a reason, and we need to know what the reason is, as quickly as possible."

The redhead heaved a sigh. "Fine. But this is a formal request, Doctor Jackson. I'd like to work with-" He stopped when he realized that Daniel was staring at the small television that was sitting in the corner, one of the local news anchors reporting the latest stories.

He felt as if someone had slapped him. Filling the screen was the face of that beautiful woman he'd seen on the billboard. It was her! She was real! Stumbling over two of the chairs to reach the box, turning the volume up, Daniel wrapped his arms around his waist, trying to hold back the tears that burned in his eyes as he listened.

"...murdered woman was an employee of Hightower Containers of Tacoma. When she failed to report to work, her friends began to search for her. Her body was located near the entrance to Stanley Park, although police believe she was dumped there. Authorities believe she was still alive when her murderer left her hidden beneath a large bush..."

"Daniel?" Cameron was on his feet. He watched as the brilliant archaeologist turned around, his face ashen, obviously seeing nothing around him. "Daniel?"

No! Oh, god, no! Feeling as if his heart was being ripped from his chest, Daniel staggered to his office, closed and locked the door. Sank into his chair. Hot tears of regret, of such loss that it left him breathless, ran down his cheeks. The ache he had felt so acutely for the past four days became an unbearable sharp pain. "No!"

There was no need for anyone to speak the words out loud. He knew, in the very deepest part of his heart, that he'd just lost something very special. That he'd never know love, and happiness. Not now. Not without her. Folding his arms on his desk, he lowered his head and wept as the loss settled into his very soul.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Casey looked around, still a bit surprised that Sam had been serious about apartment hunting with her. She stood beside the large window that overlooked the street. The previous night had been the most fun she'd had in...in a very long time. Dinner at the Olive Garden with Janet and Sam had been wonderful. They'd opted to go to the Old Town Theater, where five dollars bought them a ticket, a small bag of popcorn and a small soda. The movie was an old black and white film; Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in "Keeper of the Flame". Which had led to a lively discussion of whether or not Christine had really wanted her husband dead.

"Well?" Candy asked, breaking into the young woman's reverie.

"Hmm? Oh!" She looked around again. The apartment was furnished, it looked as if the few pieces were fairly new. Not having much, that was a good thing for her. "It's fine," she said softly.

"Let's go back to the office. You can sign the lease there, and then it's yours."

She smiled at the beaming realtor. "I'll finally be able to get all of the boxes out of my car!"

Sam grinned. "And get a good night's sleep!"

The two women giggled, although the realtor was left wondering about the comment. Within three hours Casey was moved into the apartment. Sam had called Jack, and Teal'c, who had alerted Jonas. The three men had arrived, carrying pizzas and beer and soda, and when Janet and Cassie showed up, an impromptu party broke out in the small living room. Casey was certain she'd never had as much fun, never laughed as hard as she had that night.

When everyone had left, a yawn that nearly split her face sent her in to shower. She caught herself listening, waiting for klaxons to begin wailing. It had been so long since she'd spent a full, undisturbed night that she wasn't sure she'd be able to sleep.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

It had been a long day. She'd spent almost ten hours working on the database. It was more difficult, not because of the work itself, but because Colonel O'Neill had seen to it that she'd been moved into Dr. Jackson's office. Her desk had been tucked into one corner.

Being in the room where the archaeologist had spent so much of his time, at least, while he was on the base and not off-world on a mission with SG-1, was unnerving to say the least. She could almost feel his presence. Warm, gentle, kind...

Throwing herself into her work, doing her best to lose herself in the myths and descriptions of ancient gods, she continued to battle her guilt, and the growing sense of loss. When she'd caught yet another mistake, she'd given up, and left the base. A hot bath did little to ease the ache in her heart. Nor did the half bottle of wine she drank numb the emotions that continued to wash over her in waves of misery.

The morning saw her feeling no better...worse actually; her sleep had been fitful at best. For the first time since her arrival in Silver Springs, she called in sick. There was no way she could sit in that office. No way she could deal with his presence. Not today. She paced liked a caged animal, from one small room to the other. Finally sat on the floor of the living room, where the afternoon sun was shining through the window. What's wrong with me? she brooded, as tears filled her eyes. Why do I feel so damned...abandoned? So utterly alone? What's wrong?...What's wrong?...Something is so terribly, horribly wrong!

She wasn't certain how long she stayed there. The sun was long gone, the sky was indigo, and although she couldn't see them, she knew that the stars were shining. Stars. Suns in other solar systems. Around which other planets revolved. So many of them the home of humans taken by Goa'uld from Earth; the First World, they called it. Taken as slaves, as breeding stock for hosts. To be used as the Goa'uld saw fit.

With a shiver, she stood to her feet. Felt the 'pins and needles' that came from being in one position too long. She filled the tea kettle that had belonged to her Grandma Rose, sat it on the stove. As soon as the water boiled, she'd have a cup of coffee. It was instant, but she'd never been picky. She snorted silently. She'd always been too poor to be picky.

The feelings of unease continued to haunt her as she sorted through the books on the plain wooden bookcase, searching for something to read, in hopes of dispelling the uncomfortable feelings. She stood in the middle of the room, and looked around, as if seeing the apartment for the first time. The African Violet that Sam had purchased as a 'house warming gift' sat in the center of the coffee table, a nondescript piece of furniture. The sofa was dark blue plaid. The table had two chairs, both with blue vinyl backs and seats. In the bedroom a full bed and chest of drawers took up what little floor space there was.

The apartment had no more warmth than a hotel room. But, she sighed, it was going to be her home for the foreseeable future. And she'd be able to add a bit of life. Maybe a poster or two. A few more plants. She was almost finished with the construction of the database. Once it was completed, she wouldn't put in such long hours. She'd have time to do a bit of shopping...

The roar of motorcycles in the street below drew her to the window. She looked down, watched as seven of the machines were parked in front of the bar on the corner. One of the riders was wearing black leather chaps over his jeans. She frowned when something about them poked the back of her mind. For just a second, a familiar face with a warm smile, and beautiful blue eyes full of love and laughter filled her vision. She shook her head. Tired. She was just tired.

The bed was made with sheets freshly washed in the laundry facilities in the basement of the building. Casey sank into slumber as soon as her head hit the pillow. The dark feelings of fear, of something being so very wrong, plagued her dreams. She reached for the answers that lay hidden in her subconscious.

 

 

 

The sounds of traffic filtered through to her, pulling her from slumber. What in the world was going on out there? She reached out, ready to wake Daniel. Only to have her hand come into contact with...nothing.

She forced her eyes open. Blinked sleepily. The sound of car horns had her sitting up. Where in the hell was she? The room was small, white. And completely unfamiliar. Her heart began to pound. What was going on?

Tossing back the blue and peach floral comforter, she stumbled from the bed...full sized, she noted, and stared out the window. Fourth floor. On a busy street. Okay, this is weird.

The bathroom...small and uncharacteristically neat. And no Daniel. The bedroom opened directly onto a narrow living room that had a kitchenette tucked into one corner. He wasn't there either. Panic began set in. Back to the bedroom. She opened the closet. Recognized her clothing. But there was nothing of Daniel's to be seen...anywhere.

She showered and dressed, believing every moment that Daniel would walk into the room, explain what was happening.

"Chances are, the snakes will make you think their illusion is real, in order to get as much information from you as possible."

Casey came up short, Jack's voice echoing in her head. She took a deep breath. All right, snakeface, she thought, whoever you are, I'm onto you.

If this was an illusion, she shouldn't be able to leave the building. Or she'd notice anything...unusual. When she stepped onto the sidewalk, she looked around uncertainly. Recognized the battered Toyota parked at the curb. She began to dig through her purse. Found the key ring she'd carried before Janet and Sam had bought her a new one.

With a deep breath, she unlocked the door. Slid behind the wheel. The car had never started on the first try. Never. Usually not on the second either. It wasn't until she turned the key the third time that the car sputtered and hiccupped, and began to run, the clickety-clack of lifters in dire need of replacing familiar in its rhythmic beat.

This should not be happening, her mind told her. She forced the panic down. She didn't recognize the street she was on. If she was in Silver Springs, she'd be able to find her way to Cheyenne Mountain.

Real. But not real.

The thought bounced around in her head. She tugged her lip between her teeth. If this was a dream, it was a bad one! Hands gripping the steering wheel of a car that as far as she knew, didn't even exist any longer, she went over the possibilities. She was hallucinating. Okay, that was a given, considering where she was. It was a drug induced hallucination. Again, very plausible. The only real question she had was who'd drugged her, NID or Goa'uld? Another thought tried to take purchase, even as she continued to push it away...that she'd been dreaming everything about her life for the past year and a half. She wasn't in Silver Springs. Had never met and married the most incredible man in the universe. Wasn't a part of a secret base that fought a battle that John and Jane Q. Public knew nothing about. That this 'bad dream' was actually her reality.

One choice changes everything.

What in the hell did that mean? One choice...she understood, firmly believed, that each choice made had ramifications. There were those who made choices that affected only their little part of reality. Others affected the entire time line...Time line? She frowned. The answers she needed were at the SGC. She was certain of that.

With a careful glance over her shoulder, she signaled her intention to pull out, eased the little car onto the street. The third stoplight brought a sigh of relief to her lips. Baker. That was Baker Street! And she needed to make a left here. In spite of the traffic beside her in the turn lane, not at all concerned about a ticket...after all, this was just a dream, right?...she jerked the wheel and hit the gas, throwing the Toyota into the intersection and in front of the first car making a legal left turn. She ignored the sound of car horns as she sped up the street, heading for the highway.

 

 

 

She had to dig in her purse for her ID badge. Barely waited for the guard to wave her forward, the red and white striped stop bar still moving up as she gunned the engine and lurched forward. There wasn't anyone parked in Daniel's assigned parking place. She was in such a hurry to get inside that she didn't even notice that his name was no longer painted on the wall in front of the parking space.

That she didn't recognize anyone on the bus didn't impact on her either. Her mind was going over and over the few facts she had; what should be, and wasn't. Signing in at each of the check points seemed routine, even if the guards were a bit...overly friendly.

Racing into Daniel's office, she came to a sudden halt when she saw the young man sitting at his desk, going through one of his journals. "How dare you! Put that away! It's personal...private! Who the hell are you?"

Jonas had risen to his feet at her first words, looked at her with all the confusion he was feeling. "Casey? What's wrong?"

"What's wrong? Who the hell are you? You have no right to be here! This is Daniel's office! Those are Daniel's journals!"

"I know that," Jonas replied, trying to remain calm. Realized that there was no recognition whatsoever in those wide green eyes. "Casey, what's gotten into you? I'm Jonas Quinn. I'm your friend, remember?"

The name bounced around in her head. It sounded familiar...but it didn't. She was losing her freaking mind. How perfectly lovely, she thought sarcastically. "Where is Daniel?"

"Casey, Doctor Jackson died, almost eight months ago-"

"No! No! I don't believe you!" Tears filled her eyes, spilled onto her cheeks.

Jonas picked up the phone, pushed the number for the emergency intercom. Hoped that he could remember the correct terminology. "Medical team to Doctor Jackson's office, stat!"

Her arms wrapped around her slender waist, Casey continued to stare at the man who seemed to know her. "He's not dead! He's not! I can't live without him," she murmured.

Jack was the first to arrive. "Casey?"

She whirled, grabbed the colonel by the arms. "Where's Daniel? Oh, god, Jack, what happened? What's going on? Where's Daniel?"

"Whoa, calm down," Jack replied. He was surprised by her questions, but even more so by her use of his first name; she always referred to him as 'Colonel'. He maneuvered Casey to the nearest chair. "Now, let's start again. What's wrong?"

"Where is Daniel?"

Jack glanced up at Jonas, who shrugged helplessly. "Casey, Daniel is-"

"Don't you dare say it!" she hissed between gritted teeth. "This is all so wrong! Where is my Husband?"

"Husband?" Jack's eyes went wide. "Casey, I have no idea what you're talking about! Daniel died eight months ago. You never met him."

She began to laugh hysterically. "Oh, that's rich! Never met him! I'm married to him! He came to Tacoma to find me! See..." her voice trailed off as she held out her left hand. On which there were no beautiful diamond rings, nor was there any mark that would indicate she'd ever worn rings. Horrified, she lifted dull eyes to Jack's face. "Something is so very wrong!"

Sam and Teal'c had arrived, followed in quick succession by Janet and two medics. "What's going on?" the petite doctor demanded.

"Casey's flipping out," Jack said, running his hand through his hair. "Claims she's married to Daniel."

Kneeling down in front of the obviously distraught young woman, Sam took cool slender hands into her own. "Casey, look at me. Can you tell me what's wrong?"

"Yesterday...I knew it yesterday. Something is so very wrong!"

Jack, Sam, and Teal'c exchanged worried looks. The day before they'd uncovered an artifact on a planet designated P3X 482. They'd brought it back to the SGC, and Jonas had spent the night researching, going through Daniel's journals in order to find something that might explain what it was. So far they knew no more now than they had when they'd found it in the temple where it had been hidden, beneath the altar.

Tears continued to stream down her face. "This is all so wrong! I don't belong here!"

"Casey, I'm going to give you a sedative," Janet said calmly, softly.

Casey jerked away, managed to rise to her feet. She placed her back against the wall. "No! I have to be able to think! I have to figure this out!"

"Do you think maybe Casey's...gift...could be affected by that device?" Sam asked quietly.

"I don't understand her gift well enough to know what would or wouldn't affect it," Janet replied.

"Let's find out if she can tell us what it is," Jack suggested. There had been at least three instances in which the young seer's gift had pointed the scientists in the right direction with artifacts they'd given up on unlocking the secrets to.

At a loss to know what to do, the team exchanged looks, then turned to the doctor. "I don't know, if she's this agitated now, it might be worse the closer she gets to it," Janet warned.

"Then come with us. You can sedate her there if you need to," Jack said.

Janet gave a sharp nod.

"Casey, there's something I want you to take a look at. Think you're up to it?" Jack asked softly.

She nodded. "I have to find Daniel," she whispered. She knew he was alive. She could feel it. If she could find him, he'd explain what was happening, why she was in a place where she shouldn't be.

Jack held out his hand. "Let's go up to Carter's lab. You can take a look at that thing. Then we'll talk about Daniel."

Casey had always been able to trust Jack. That was one thing she knew for certain. Jack, Sam, and Teal'c would help her. They'd help her find Daniel. She put her fingers against those of her friend.

He closed his hand around cold, trembling fingers. "It's okay, Case." When she stepped away from the wall, he put his arm around her shoulders. Her entire body was shaking. Slowly, he led her toward the elevator.

She clung to Jack's hand and arm as he led her to the room that was Sam's lab. Sam hurried ahead, double checked that the containment field was still strong, still holding.

When her eyes stopped on what appeared to be a miniature pyramid, she screamed out loud. "No! No! It's all wrong! It's dangerous! Turn it off! Oh, god, turn it off!"

"Holy Hannah!" Sam breathed, watching as the already pale cheeks of the seer went completely colorless.

Jack was hard pressed to hold onto Casey as she collapsed, her body convulsing violently.

"Hold her steady, I've got to get this into her mouth," Janet ordered. There was certainly no way she could sedate the woman now, not as long as she was seizing the way that she was.

Jonas and Teal'c rushed forward to help hold the thrashing woman, Janet worked frantically to get a pen between Casey's teeth.

Sam stared at the pyramid that, as far as they could tell, hadn't been activated. Just what in the hell was it, anyway?


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