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 Puzzles

 

Epilogue

Casey sighed as she sat down. "Here’s hoping this week will be less stressful."

Sam laughed. "Well, knowing what’s going on between certain people helps, doesn’t it?"

"Like you wouldn’t believe," the seer responded. "I just have no idea why Daniel would think Cam Mitchell is a threat! I mean, I know he was flirting with me, and to be honest, he was so sweet that it was just impossible not to respond, ya know? Not that it meant anything." She frowned. "At least, I didn’t think it did. I was so surprised when he tried to kiss me! I mean, no one has ever done that before!"

Sam frowned slightly. "He’d only met you a few hours prior to that, right?"

"When I ran into General Hammond’s office..." Casey shivered noticeably. "I was so afraid I wouldn’t get there in time. It would have been nice if I’d gotten the warning sooner, but I’d been looking at the notes for the first contact mission just before we met up for breakfast...and that’s when it hit me. If I’d been just a few seconds later..." Her voice trailed off, and she shivered again.

Janet was now frowning as well. "Casey, were you very afraid?"

"I was terrified," the seer confirmed.

"Well, I’ll be damned," Janet mused.

"What?" Sam asked.

"This is the first time we’ve actually experienced this."

"Experienced what?" Casey asked, with not a little impatience.

"The results of that Hathor-gene," Janet said softly.

The color drained from Casey’s face, her green eyes went wide. "Oh, good lord! He was reacting...it was because...?"

The seer’s distress was obvious. Sam reached over and took her hand, noted that it was trembling. "Casey, it just happened. You did nothing wrong."

"It sure doesn’t feel that way! Poor Cam! He has no idea...and...oh, I hate this!" Casey stammered.

"I don’t want you to worry about this. I’ll take care of it, and I’ll make certain no one knows," Janet promised.

"How can you do that?" Casey asked. It was a nice thought, a sweet offer, but this was the SGC, after all. Fastest rumor mill in the west!

"I’m the CMO here, remember?" Janet smiled, and patted Casey’s shoulder as she stood. "In fact, I’m going to take care of it right now. There won’t be any...repeats...of what happened."

"Chin up, Case. Knowing how it works, we can use it to our advantage," Sam said softly. "It’s a secret weapon to use against our enemies. We already knew that Ba’al was affected."

"He’s a snake. He doesn’t count," Casey retorted.

Sam snickered. "Point taken. But...if we need the advantage, we know how to use it."

"But Daniel-"

"I’m betting that Daniel will find the entire thing...amusing. After all, he’s the only one with the honor of being addicted to you."

She couldn’t help but smile at the look of impish glee in Sam’s eyes. "True. He does like to torment Jack with it."

"Yes, he does," Sam agreed. "Just between you and me, Jack isn’t nearly as tormented as he pretends. He’s so thrilled that Daniel has you in his life, nothing that happens between the two of you that keeps that archaeologist smiling is a ‘bad’ thing, in his eyes."

"Don’t tell Daniel. He’d be so bummed to find out that Jack doesn’t mind when he uses his addiction as an excuse for a quickie!"

Sam giggled. "Not a word."

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

She had already worked out exactly what she needed to do by the time she reached level twenty-seven. Janet knocked on the general’s office door. "Sir, we might have a problem."

Hammond looked up. "I see."

"Is the Daedalus in orbit?"

The general frowned. "Yes, it is, why?"

"Well, I need to give Colonel Mitchell a shot."

"A vaccination? Didn’t he receive those that he needed during his physical?"

The petite doctor smiled. "Yes, he did. This is one I never thought about."

"I see. What is it?"

"The antidote to the Hathor-gene."

He sat forward, his jaw falling open slightly. "Explain, Doctor!"

"Well, I just discovered this," she started. In fact, she never would have thought about the need for using the antidote if not for the conversation with Sam and Casey. "The first time Casey met Colonel Mitchell was here in your office, correct?"

"Yes."

"And she was upset?"

His lips twitched. "Panicked is closer to what she was."

Janet nodded. "Very strong emotion. Which made her pheromones...all of them...stronger."

Hammond frowned, but nodded his understanding. "Go on."

"Then she was in close proximity to the colonel when he and the team had coffee together. The next time he saw her, in that tiny office used by Jonas, he tried to kiss her."

"He what?" The general’s voice had taken on a dangerously calm tone.

She held up her hand. "Not his fault, sir. I’m betting he probably doesn’t have a clue what possessed him to do that. There were two more times that he was near her...and those times she was excited about the stele."

"Doctor, are you telling me that Colonel Mitchell has been...compromised...by the Hathor-gene in Casey?"

"Not compromised, sir. Just affected by them."

Hammond frowned. "I don’t understand. Why haven’t any of the other men in the SGC been affected. Why haven’t I been affected, as often as she meets with me?"

"When Casey first arrived, she was never around anyone, but particularly the men, not even you, Colonel O’Neill, or Teal’c for more than a few minutes. Just passing the others in the corridors isn’t enough to affect them, or even riding on the bus or elevator, unless her emotions are particularly strong at that moment, fear being the strongest."

"Then when that Goa’uld attacked here, she should have affected the men?"

"Well, if they hadn’t already been exposed to Hathor’s...perfume...they probably would have been. Casey is a natural carrier of that pheromone. It’s not as highly concentrated as what Hathor used. But it is the same chemical breakdown, I’ve already determined that. We know from SG-1's final run-in with Hathor that her victims were immune to any second attempts of exposure to her drugs, if they'd already been infected, and then cured. Because the men in the SGC had been exposed to the drug, and had ‘broken free’ from what would have developed into a narcotic addiction, they were, and are, immune to Casey."

"I see."

"Colonel Mitchell has no such immunity."

"Will this shot create that immunity?"

"Yes, sir," Janet replied. "Since the Daedalus will be the ship transporting SG-1 on this...scavenger hunt...for the Ancient weapon, I thought it would be best to give him the shot right away, as he’s already exhibited signs of being affected."

"Very well. What about the men of his crew?"

"I’ll send some of the antidote back with him, to have the doctor on the Daedalus inject the crew members."

"Very well. I’ll see to it that the colonel reports to you immediately."

"Thank you, sir."

He watched the doctor hurry out of his office. Never in his life did he think he’d have to worry about pheromones, or how they could affect the people...or in this particular instance, the men...under his command. Just more proof, he thought, that there wasn’t a base commander in the world who dealt with the things he did on a daily basis. What had the president said...a full staff of on duty psychiatrists? He couldn’t help but smile. There were days he was certain that he might wind up in need of one.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

Thirty minutes later, Mitchell walked into the infirmary. He looked around warily. Had something been found in the tests that had been run during his physical? He wouldn’t even let the thought that he might lose his chance to captain the Daedalus because of some medical problem form in his mind. "General Hammond said it was important that I get here as soon as possible. What’s up?"

Janet smiled. "Just need to give you a shot."

"Okay. Why?"

"Well, let’s just say you’re having a reaction."

Mitchell looked confused. "I am? I feel fine. What am I reacting to?"

"Casey Jackson."

If the doctor had told him he had cancer he couldn’t have been more shocked. So now I'm allergic to beautiful women? This job’s just getting weirder and weirder. "Huh?"

"Roll up your sleeve, Colonel."

Stunned, Mitchell did as the little CMO asked. Watched as she swabbed his arm. "I’m allergic to Casey?"

Janet snorted. "Not exactly. It seems you’re more...susceptible...to her than most men."

He couldn’t help but grin. "Yeah, well, I’ve always had a weakness for gorgeous blondes." The fluid in the hypodermic tube was the strangest green he’d ever set eyes on. "Uh...just what is that stuff?"

"It’s an antidote to the Hathor-gene." Janet carefully injected the antidote.

"Uh huh." He winced slightly. Not only did it look screwy, it burned like hell, too!

"I’ll let you look up the reports on Hathor, and the couple of days she had taken over the SGC. What she used...a perfume of sorts...was based on something we theorize she discovered centuries ago. No doubt from one of her hosts."

"Okay, I think I’m with you so far," Mitchell replied.

"Casey is a natural carrier of what we call the ‘Hathor-gene’. Apparently it only shows up in a few women, or possibly just one, every ten thousand years or so. No clue where it comes from, although we have determined that it was a bit of DNA manipulation that was ‘added’ to the genome, and has a dormancy level that you wouldn’t believe."

"So...what does this...gene...do?"

"Well," Janet grinned, "it causes Casey to produce a special pheromone. It’s the most...noticeable...although not consciously by any means, when her emotions are strong. Fear is the strongest emotion by far, and you were subjected to a full dose of those pheromones when she ran into the general’s office. She was terrified that she would be too late to save SG-13."

Mitchell mulled over what he had been told. "That’s why I-" He broke off, looked away from the intense gaze of the doctor.

"That’s why you tried to kiss her just a few hours after meeting her," Janet confirmed softly. "Why you’ve been so attracted to her, even when your own...common sense...has been at a loss to figure out why."

He wouldn’t even bother to ask how the doctor could know that...he’d been berating himself for all that had happened since he’d made it to the Daedalus. He did wonder if everyone in the SGC knew he’d been a colossal ass. "So I made a fool of myself because I’d been what...drugged?"

"More or less."

"And this will...?" He waited patiently for the doctor’s response.

"This will make you as immune to her as the rest of the men around here. They’re immune because they defeated the Hathor-gene in the perfume worn by Hathor. Once they’d been...well...I suppose ‘cured’ would be as good a description as any, their bodies developed a natural immunity."

He frowned as he thought about his crew...and the fact that SG-1 would be aboard the Daedalus for at least a week.

"I know what you’re thinking," Janet smiled. She pulled a small box from her pocket. "This has enough for about a hundred doses."

He gave a weak smile in return. "Never thought I’d have to inoculate my crew because of little slip of a blonde."

"Around here, colonel, the strange, the bizarre, and the totally unbelievable happen on a daily basis," Janet grinned.

"Guess so," Mitchell drawled. He rolled his sleeve down, accepted the box of serum. "I take it I can go back to the Daedalus now?"

"Yes, you can. Here's a list of side effects to watch for," Janet said, handing him a slip of paper. "Be certain Doctor Lewis gets this as well as the serum."

"Yes, ma’am."

Janet watched as the colonel walked toward the door. She wasn’t a psychiatrist by any stretch of the imagination. But she did know people...and she did know that certain reactions to a situation were ‘typical’. "Don’t be too hard on yourself. Casey is probably more embarrassed by this than you are."

Mitchell turned around to look at her. "Why?"

"She’s horrified that anyone would be...affected...by her. And, in her eyes, negatively. It’s one thing for Daniel to be addicted to her, that she can accept, but-"

"Whoa...hold on...addicted?"

The doctor nodded. "The pheromones produced are narcotic in nature."

How...bizarre...would it be to be physically addicted to your wife?

"Daniel revels in it," Janet smiled. "And he uses it to torment Colonel O’Neill whenever he can."

He couldn’t help but chuckle at that thought.

"But Casey finds the entire situation...distressing."

"Then I guess the best thing is to just not mention this," Mitchell said quietly.

"I think that’s an excellent idea."

"I know the doc upstairs will need to know...but can we tell the other guys this is just something you missed?"

"I don’t see why not," Janet replied. "I’m sure Doctor Lewis would be willing, if you ask her. Just have her...let’s see...oh, I have it! Tell her it’s a vaccine against an alien virus. It’s new, so that’s why it was overlooked. Being an alien virus, there shouldn’t be any questions about why only the men of the crew need to be vaccinated."

The ‘excuse’ was actually damned close to the truth, he thought with a touch of amusement. He nodded. "I’ll do that." With a nod, he walked out of the infirmary.

Janet watched the empty doorway for a few moments. Colonel Mitchell already understood the special camaraderie that existed in the SGC. Understood that the members of SG-1 were held in high esteem. He was going to fit in just fine, she thought, with a mental nod of approval.

 

 

 

Daniel stood in the shadows of the med lab doorway, watched until Mitchell had stepped onto the elevator, and those doors had closed. Janet had given him a heads up, explaining what had happened, why the pilot had reacted to Casey the way he had. It made perfect sense, he thought, continuing on his way to the infirmary. He should have thought of that sooner. Maybe he wouldn’t have gone through four days of sheer hell, thinking that he was losing the most important person in his life. Probably wouldn’t have hit Mitchell, either.

A grin tugged at his lips. Casey had admitted to him, in the sweet afterglow of their lovemaking the night prior, that she found his jealousy ‘endearing’. That part of her was thrilled that he was so possessive. She had no clue just how possessive he actually felt when it came to her. His entire world was centered around her, and he’d do whatever it took to keep his world upright, and her love shining on him.

"He just left," Janet said, when he walked into the room.

"I know. I saw him. Made certain he didn’t see me," he assured the doctor. "How’d he take the news?"

"I do believe he thought I was joking, for a minute or two. But he seemed...relieved...to know there was a logical reason for his...behavior. If I don’t miss my guess, he’s been beating himself up for his reaction to Casey."

"Have to feel sorry for him," Daniel said, surprising himself. "He never had a chance...not with her pheromones."

"And never of even catching her attention, much less winning her heart," Janet added softly.

"Yeah, how about that?" he asked, a smile on his face. "Sometimes...sometimes I guess my fears get the best of me."

"Fears?"

"That she’ll find someone...better. Someone better looking. Sexier. Someone more...exciting."

The confession left her momentarily speechless. "I suggest you go talk to your wife. In her eyes there is no man better looking or sexier than you, no one more exciting. Daniel, she worships the ground you walk on."

"Hard to believe a geek like me would win the prettiest girl in the galaxy," he grinned self-consciously.

"I think you need to take a look in the mirror, too," Janet replied.

His cheeks flushed red; he dropped his gaze to the floor for a moment. "Did you talk to him about keeping this...quiet?"

"Yes, I did. And he was more than willing to do so. I gave him an excuse to give Doctor Lewis for administering the vaccine."

"Thanks. I appreciate it."

"I know you do. I’m doing it for her, too."

His smile was warm. "I know. See you for lunch?"

"I’ll be there."

With a nod, Daniel turned around, hands shoved into the pockets of his pants, whistled softly as he headed for the elevator. Yep, he’d won the love of the most incredible woman in the universe. And her eyes saw only him. How incredible was that?

THE END


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