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No Matter the Time, II...an Alternate Love Story
Casey’s green eyes couldn’t get much wider by the time Daniel had led her into General Hammond’s office.
The older, bald man stood to his feet, a wide, welcoming smile on his face. "Welcome to Stargate Control, Ms. Webster," he said, shaking her hand. "Please, sit down."
Casey sat down in one of the two chairs in front of his desk, grateful that Daniel was beside her. She was even more grateful when she felt his fingers close around hers.
"I don’t know if Doctor Jackson has told you why I wanted you to come here today," the general started.
"You think I’m psychic," she replied.
Hammond nodded. "Your…nightmare…saved the lives of the flagship team of this operation, Ms. Webster. For that we’ll all be eternally grateful. If this wasn’t just a fluke, I’d like you to continue protecting SG-1, and the other teams that work here as well. Colonel O’Neill informs me that Doctor Jackson broke some rules and told you about the Stargate. He also says that he thinks you would have known about it, or suspected something about it without that prior knowledge. If you agree, we’d like to run some tests, find out just what kind of abilities you do have."
Casey nodded "Sure," she said softly. "Just please don’t be angry at Daniel, it was my fault, I was being rather…demanding."
The general smiled. "Doctor Jackson is in no trouble…yet," he said sternly, looking at the young archaeologist, a warning in his eyes. "Since you already know about the ‘gate, I need you to sign some papers. Then how would you like to see it?"
Her eyes lit up. "That would be wonderful!" She took the form that the general handed her. It was a standard legal form, stating that she agreed to keep secret anything she saw or heard while on the premises, under penalty and prosecution of law. She signed her name.
General Hammond stood up, held his arm out and escorted her to the ‘gate room.
She looked at the huge ring, the strange markings that covered the entire surface. "Wow!"
Daniel grinned. "Yeah, that’s for sure. Wait ‘til you see it open."
She cocked her head to the side. "Does it always do that?" she asked.
Hammond and Daniel exchanged a look. "Do what, Ms. Webster?"
Hammond turned to look up into the control room. "Get Major Carter in here now!" he ordered.
Daniel took Casey’s arm and led her up the stairs to the control room. He had her sit down beside Walter Davis. That man, having heard her question, was already running tests.
"I take it that the answer to my question is ‘no’," she said softly.
Sam had just come running into the room when the klaxons and alarms began to wail.
"Incoming wormhole…no IDC!" Walter announced.
"Close the iris," Gen. Hammond ordered.
Casey watched the large iris starting to close. "No! No! You’ll kill them! They lost the...the...the opener thingy!" she cried out. "They don’t want to die!"
"No, sir, never mentioned anything like that."
"Open the iris," Gen. Hammond ordered.
Several long seconds later four men came rolling down the ramp, and weapons fire burst over their heads.
"Close that iris! Get Doctor Fraiser and a medical team up here stat!"
Sam was still sitting at a computer, staring at the screen. "Casey, is it…"
She shook her head. "It stopped humming the minute they came through," she replied.
"Major Carter?" Gen. Hammond said.
"Well, sir, it wasn’t ‘humming’ according to any of our sensors. Taking into consideration the time it takes to dial a gate open, I’m thinking that she picked up the ‘hum’ when SG-7 started dialing."
Everyone in the room looked at her.
"You mean none of you heard it?" Casey asked, frowning. "It was so loud!"
Daniel shook his head. "You’re the only one who picked it up, babe," he said softly.
"Doctor Jackson, why don’t you take Ms. Webster down to the infirmary. Have Doctor Fraiser begin the tests," General Hammond said gently.
"Yes, sir." He held out his hand. "Come on…you’re going to like Janet."
She put her fingers against his, took comfort in the warmth and strength of his hand. "It was nice to meet you, general. Sorry to have caused trouble," she said softly.
"Young lady, you just saved another team. If that’s what you call causing trouble, you can cause all the trouble you want," the general replied with a warm smile.
She smiled in return, and let Daniel lead her out of the room.
A A A A A A
Janet Fraiser met her with a friendly smile and firm handshake. "So you’re the one who has Daniel knocked for a loop," she said, smiling brightly. "I got to inspect your handiwork," she said, winking broadly.
Casey giggled, and blushed. "Couldn’t help myself," she said in a stage whisper, leaning toward Janet conspiratorially.
Janet giggled, glanced at Casey’s neck. "I see that he can’t help himself, either."
"I have no complaints," Casey grinned.
Janet looked up at Daniel. "I like her. Treat her right or I’ll give you a complete physical work-up every day for the rest of your life."
Daniel’s eyes went wide. "That’s one hell of a threat, Janet."
"No threat, Doctor Jackson. That’s a promise." The diminutive brunette put her arm around Casey and led the young blonde towards her office. "Did General Hammond explain what we’re looking for with these tests?"
He watched as the doctor led his fiancée away. He smiled, knowing that Janet would see to it that Casey wasn’t scared or panicked in any way. And he figured she’d just made another friend.
A A A A A A
Two hours later, General Hammond and SG-1 were sitting in the observation room above medical room two. Janet had already given Casey a thorough physical, and noted that she was remarkably healthy. There had been several standard IQ tests, on which the young blonde woman scored highly. At the moment Janet was sitting in front of a computer monitor, the computer was randomly choosing numbers to flash on the screen. Casey, who was sitting at a small table in front of her, was already three numbers ahead of the computer, although she didn’t know that.
"Casey, how do you…know…what number is going to come up?" Janet asked, after the program was completed.
She shrugged. "I just…see…the number."
Janet nodded. She was writing everything down, as well as recording the interview. "How long have you been able to do this?"
Another shrug. "I’ve done it a few times…but it was never…strong…like it is now."
The doctor frowned. "Now? When did you notice the change?"
"Right after Daniel and I…well, after the first time…" her cheeks turned red.
Janet reached over and patted her hand. "It’s okay, I understand."
In the observation room, Jack was grinning from ear to ear. "Gee, Danny, when you turned the woman on, you turned her on."
Daniel just looked at the colonel, rolled his eyes, and went back to watching what was happening in the room below them. Sam and Teal'c hid their smiles.
"Casey, I want to try something. I’m going to hand you a file. You've received clearance for this, so you can read anything in each file that you want to," Janet said, handing the blonde several blue files
Janet smiled. "You tell me."
Casey nodded. She opened the first file, read it, frowned, looked carefully at the images that the MALP had sent back. She closed it, went to the next, repeated her actions, then moved on to the next. She was on the fifth file when she gasped.
She was shaking, so hard that it was visible to the observers above her. "No, don’t let them go there! It is not a good place! They’ll be killed if they go there!"
The doctor glanced up at General Hammond. He nodded. She entered the information into the computer.
Casey went through the rest of the files with no further ‘reactions’. "I’m sorry, Doctor Fraiser. I just don’t know what it is you want," she said softly.
"Well, you managed to pick up something on one of them…"
Casey was pulling her lower lip between her teeth. Only Daniel seemed to be aware of what that meant.
"Casey? What’s wrong?" he asked using the microphone that allowed the observers to communicate with anyone in the lower room.
Casey jumped, turned around and looked up. "Daniel? How long have you been there?"
"The entire time, babe."
"What is she talking about?"
"You told Janet not to let them go there, that it wasn’t a good place, warned that the team would be killed on file number five," he replied, frowning.
Now Casey was frowning. "No, I didn’t. I just read them. That’s all."
"She must enter some sort of fugue state when she gets…whatever it is she gets," Janet said.
"Is it possible for to be in a fugue state for just a few seconds like that?" Sam asked.
"Apparently so," Janet replied.
"Doctor Fraiser, if you’re finished, I’d like to speak with Ms. Webster," General Hammond said.
"Yes, sir, I’m finished."
Daniel met Casey in the corridor, walked her to the general’s office. "I can’t come in with you, Case. This is something you have to do on your own. Any decisions are totally up to you. Whatever you want, I'll support you one hundred percent."
A A A A A A
He waited, pacing the conference room, glancing into the office, watching as she talked with the general. She was laughing now, so was Hammond. In fact, they seemed to be having a very lively, very entertaining conversation. He couldn’t help but smile, wondered what it was they were talking about. They were standing now, the general was shaking her hand, both of his wrapped around hers.
She left the office with a smile. General Hammond had been so sweet, explained to her what they wanted her to do. He asked her about her hobbies, was particularly interested to find out that she had been an active paintball and laser tag player for over two years. She had explained that her best friend’s brother had needed a partner, and she had volunteered out of sheer boredom, and that they had become one of the most feared two-man teams in the area. Ricky had always insisted on paying all of the expenses for her, which was a good thing, otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to play. The general had asked her if she would be willing to demonstrate her ‘talents’ during a ‘game’ later in the week. She had agreed. Then he had offered her a job. Working in the same place as Daniel, how cool was that? He had even told her that if things worked out, he would place her on SG-1. He had said that the Casey from the alternate universe had been an asset to their SG-1, and he was sure that she would be the same for his. She had told the general that if she ‘passed’ the test later in the week by winning the ‘game’, she would certainly be willing to join SG-1. If not, she would remain on the base and use her talents as best she could there.
Daniel was waiting for her. "Well?"
"I have a job," she smiled.
He grinned and hugged her. "I figured you would have."
General Hammond had instructed her to say nothing to any of the SG-1 team members about the ‘game’. She was sure this was a test to see if she would break the rules of confidentiality. Somehow she knew that keeping this secret from Daniel wasn’t a bad thing, and it was very important that it be kept.
A A A A A A
The day was warm. Hot even. General Hammond had seen to it that she was dressed in a BDU, and had taken her to the armory personally make sure to that she was given everything she needed for this game. He only gave her a ten-minute head start, and that was with Marines watching. She sighed. She could only do as much as she could do. She stopped in the middle of the road, knelt down to tie a boot that didn’t need to be tied.
Four of them. Only one was watching her, and he was looking bored. Okay, easy now. She kept her eyes on them, inching her body closer to the edge of the road and the ditch beyond it.The sound of an approaching jeep was just the break she needed. When the four Marines turned to look at the jeep, she dove into the high grass in the ditch.
"Hey, where the hell did she go?" One of the Marines asked, looking back at the now empty road.
They all grabbed their field glasses, but could see nothing.
Casey lay where she had jumped, taking a count of sixty. She knew that they would be looking for her, and any movement in the grass right now would give her away. She pulled her own miniature binoculars from one of her pockets and took a little look-see. Damn, Daniel looked good in that uniform! The Marines were busy saluting and issuing SG-1 their laser vests and guns. She almost giggled out loud. All she needed was three minutes.
She made it to the grove of trees in just under three minutes. She was breathing hard, but used the relaxation techniques that Ricky had taught her to get her breathing under control. She climbed a tree closest to the path, settled herself for the wait. General Hammond had given her twelve hours to ‘kill’ all four of the SG-1 team members with out getting ‘wounded’ or ‘killed’ herself. She thought she could do it…well, except for Teal'c. She had learned that he was Jaffa, a man trained to be a warrior from birth. She’d need a lot of luck to get him before he got her. She contemplated all of the other things she had learned during the week as well. She had a much different view of the world now, and Daniel assured her that once she went ‘off-world’, it would change even more.
She watched as the team split up. Sam wasn’t going to be easy to get either, after all, the woman had flown bombing runs over Iraq during the Gulf War. Jack was Special Ops, another tough one. From what she had learned, Daniel wasn’t going to be any pushover. As much as she didn’t want to admit it, from a logical, military stand point, because he had no formal military training, he was the weakest link. And the best way to break a chain was to start with the weakest link. The good news was that whoever passed beneath this tree was out the game. Hammond had allowed her the use of ‘knives’; laser-sensing devices that looked and handled like a knife, but did nothing more than alert headquarters that it had been used, by whom and on whom. The one thing that the general hadn’t mentioned was the use of duct tape. He hadn’t said she couldn’t use it, and she’d rather not have any ‘corpses’ helping the living.
Here came her first victim. It was Sam. She only hoped that the blonde major wouldn’t take this personally. She waited until Sam was just underneath her, then dropped down, hanging upside down, right in front of her face. A quick swipe, and the major was dead, throat slit open.
Sam sat down on the ground like a good corpse, giggling, and shaking her head.
Casey raised a finger to her lips. "Sorry, Sam, but I play for keeps," she said with a smile. She took a zip tie and locked Sam’s wrists together, then put a piece of duct tape over her mouth. She helped the woman to a nice shady spot under a tree. "I’ll let them know you’re here," she whispered.
Sam nodded, her eyes dancing with laugher.
She moved off in the direction she had seen Daniel head. It didn’t take her long to find him. He was on one knee, looking around, using his field glasses. SG-1 didn’t know who the enemy was, only that there was an ‘assassin’. She moved up behind him. Oh, wow, he was good! He must have picked up the scent of her shampoo. He was sniffing the air. Just as he turned around to face her, ready to fire, she rose up and shot him. Three times, all in the heart. She raced up to where he sat, shaking his head.
"Shh…you’re dead. I’ll explain later," she whispered. She gave him a quick kiss, tied his hands and put tape over his mouth. "Love you."
His eyes were as full of amusement as Sam’s had been.
She gave a sigh. Now came the hard part. She had already located a small river…a stream really, that cut in near one of the paths. She headed toward it, hoping that she had arrived before Teal'c or Col. O’Neill. She moved slowly, carefully. She still had nine hours, and she’d use every minute if she had to.
She found an area near the path where reeds grew thick in the water. She put the plastic bag around her weapon, having already learned from one of the armory supply officers that the laser would indeed work through plastic. She put her goggles on, took the straw from her pocket, and slid into the water slowly, trying to disturb it as little as possible. She settled herself in for a long wait.
A A A A A A
Her back was aching, both of her legs were asleep, and she needed to pee. She was tempted to do the latter, but figured she really didn’t want to go back to camp smelling like piss. She was about to give up when she saw them. Together. How cool was that! She waited until they were close enough. Wait a second…why would they be together? Crap, did they already know she was here? It was possible that if they had found a vantage point high enough, as clear as the water was they might have seen her sitting here. If that was the case, then this was a matter of who was the quickest. She had no doubt that it was not her. Just a little closer… yeah, look over that way for a minute…she rose up on legs that were screaming at her, and fired repeatedly.
"Jesus, Casey!" Jack exclaimed, startled, looking at the lights that were flashing on his vest.
"Hush, you’re dead," she said to him, water dripping from her.
Teal'c was looking at her with a mixture of admiration and amusement.
Both men were tied and taped, just as the other two team members had been.
She tried to walk the ‘pins-and-needles’ out of her legs while she radioed to General Hammond.
"SG-1 neutralized, sir. Request orders, over."
The radio crackled to life. "Good job, Assassin. Report to headquarters."
"Roger that, over."
She wiggled her fingers at the two men on the ground and walked away. But she did not walk towards headquarters. She headed in the opposite direction. Which prevented her from walking straight into a trap. It wasn’t that she had perceived the trap…well, not really. She had the feeling she shouldn’t just go straight there. It was more important that she knew where there were some bushes big enough to hide behind so that she could empty her screaming bladder.
A A A A A A
She saw the Marines before they saw her, and ‘laying down’ continual ‘fire’ from her laser rifle, they were all down and out.
The SG-1 team members had been picked up and taken back to camp. They were free of the zip ties and tape when she walked wearily into camp nearly an hour later, two hours shy of her twelve hours
General Hammond was beaming at her. "I can see why you and your friend were the best laser tag team in the area. Very impressive Ms. Webster."
She smiled. "I just have to know why Jack and Teal'c were together…I mean, it worked out great for me, but if they hadn’t done that, chances are I would have lost."
Jack grinned. "We thought we'd already killed the assassin, and we were looking for Carter and Daniel. Turns out we killed an innocent sentry."
"Where did you learn that hiding in the water thing?" he asked.
"Ricky was in the Navy Seals, he taught me everything I know. He took me out to rivers and taught me how to stay still. If you guys had been about five minutes later, you would have had me," she replied. "I was at the end of my physical tolerance."
"What about the trap that was set up on the way to headquarters…done by breaking your code, by the way," Daniel asked.
"I had to…go…really bad…and I knew where there were some nice bushes," she replied.
Gen. Hammond laughed. "This has been as much luck as skill, which is exactly what any real battle is like. SG-1, I’d like to present to you the newest member to the team."
Daniel grinned, grabbed her up and kissed her. "You did great, babe."
"Thanks. Does this mean you’re cooking tonight?"
"Sure. Chinese on the way home?"
"Just as long as I don’t have to clean up after it. I’m beat."
A A A A A A
She was soaking in the tub, rather silly she thought, after spending nearly four hours in the water earlier in the day, but the heat was doing wonderful things for her back.
"When you’re finished, come lay down and I’ll give you a massage," Daniel said softly, standing by the counter, just watching her.
She opened her eyes. "I think I need help standing up," she admitted.
He grabbed a towel and lifted her to her feet. As soon as he had her dried, he grabbed one of her bottles of lotion, picked her up, and carried her to bed. He laid her on the bed, began to gently rub her back her shoulders, her arms. Before he could get to her hips she was sound asleep. He continued to massage her, his hands working the tension out of each muscle. He tucked her under the blankets, then pulled off his clothes and climbed into bed beside her. He wondered how many other surprises she held for him.
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