<<Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>
The Blonde, the Redhead and the Archaeologist(s)
"Uh…unless your SGC has gone for the casual, suburban look," Annika’s physical self spoke to the Daniel’s, "I think I’ve taken a wrong turn."
"Why? What do you see?" her Daniel asked.
"I’m in some sort of study. Someone’s home," she replied, gazing around the room. Her eyes landed on the desk with a family picture proudly displayed. "I think I’m in your home."
"Is Casey with you?"
"Nope, not yet."
"Why did you go there?"
"It’s not like I planned it," Annika groused. "Something obviously drew me here, something more important than telling the others what’s going on. Daniel?"
"Yes?" They both chimed.
"Not you My Love, the other one."
The men exchanged lopsided grins.
"Other Daniel, can you describe your study?"
"Computer on the desk, photo of my family on the corner, artifacts scattered around the place-"
She interrupted him, "Specifics man, specifics. I need details. For all I know I’ve ended up in some other reality."
"Oh." He looked sheepish. "Let’s see, there’s an ink stain on the carpet near the right desk leg." That had happened when Nicholas had discovered Daniel's old stylus, a pen that his grandfather had actually used, and the bottle of ink. Casey had been livid at first, until Nicholas proudly proclaimed that he was 'witing jus' wike Daddy'. Which he had been...on the back of several of his translation notes. "On the desk there should be a piece of tablet shaped like a crooked crown, straight side facing towards the front, the text is Ancient-"
"The photo of your kids, what are they wearing?"
Daniel frowned in thought. He’d looked at it dozens of times, the knowledge should be on the tip of his tongue. "It was taken at the lake early this past summer," he said, more to himself than the young woman who waited. "Emily’s in a pink frilly one piece, she’s on my shoulders, Nicholas should be in dark blue trunks with his floaties on, hanging off my arm, Casey's very pregnant…"
"Okay, right universe, just wrong destination," Annika mused. The sound of a baby crying penetrated the walls of the closed study. It wasn’t a usual cry to indicate hunger or the need of a nappy change, it was inconsolable tears. She began to get an inkling of why she’d been brought here first. "Daniel, have your kids inherited Casey’s gifts?"
"Yes, in different degrees. We’ve had a visit from teenage versions of them from the future…"
"Wow, that must have been bizarre," her Daniel murmured.
"Sorry. Nicholas is apparently stronger than Emily, but he hasn’t shown any signs yet. Emily has had some ‘feelings’. We don’t know about Ethan yet."
Annika smirked. "Pretty safe bet that he has some facet of ability." She cautiously poked her head through the wall. "I think they all sense that something strange has happened."
The father was instantly concerned. "Are they okay?"
"Hang on." Annika headed towards the sound of the baby’s cries.
In the kitchen she saw a woman with her back to the study door, trying to juggle Ethan on one shoulder and the phone pressed to her ear. She sounded frazzled. "Duncan, has something happened to Casey and Daniel? All the kids have become hysterical. Emily and Nicholas have locked themselves in their parents room and won’t come out, and Ethan just will not stop crying..."
Ethan saw Annika’s ghostly form and his wails quieted down to rough hiccups. Annika gave a little wave at the child, smiling at him. He gave a gurgle of laughter, it seemed that he instinctively knew that Annika was there to help. Erin spun around, wondering what had so abruptly changed her grandson’s mood.
Annika quickly ducked through the wall.
"Other Daniel, would Emily and Nicholas get freaked out by my…er…appearance?"
"They’re scared. I’m pretty sure that I was drawn here to reassure them. They think they’re not going to see you again…worried that Casey’s going to…die…again."She knew that Casey and her Daniel were Immortal. But the feelings she picked up had been of a very... permanent death...one that no one expected her to return from. And her 'miracle' reappearance had been just about...a year?...a bit over a year ago. But the time without her was indelibly stamped on her children's minds and hearts.
Daniel’s heart wrenched. "Okay, talk to them."
Annika silently floated through the wall, down the short hallway to the bedroom wing of the house, emerging in the corner of the bedroom, near the double door. She saw the kids huddled on the bed, clutching their parents pillows; tears had reddened their little faces. There was no denying that these children belonged to Casey and her Daniel!
"Hello." Annika kept her voice soft, non threatening.
Their heads spun toward the sound of the voice, their eyes widening.
"My name is Annika."
"You a ghost?" Emily’s voice trembled.
"If you isn't a ghost, how comes I can see through you?" she demanded.
"I have a gift, similar to your mom’s. My soul can leave my body when it needs to," Annika explained.
Nicholas sniffed, his eyes narrowed. "You has my mommy and daddy. Give'em back."
Annika smiled. "I haven’t got them, but I am with them. I know that you ‘feel’ that something is wrong, but they are both okay."
Emily warily eyed her. "How’d you know what we feel?"
"Same way you know that something odd has happened on your parent’s mission."
The girl considered this logic for a few moments and then found it acceptable. "You’ll help them come home?"
Annika nodded. "That’s why I’m here. I’m going to tell your Uncle Jack, Auntie Sam and Uncle Teal’c what’s happened so that we can work out how to get us all to our homes. I just thought I’d drop by and let you know first."
The children’s chests puffed up in pride that they were the first to be delivered such important news.
"You should tell Unca Duncan too," Emily said. "He’s the President you know."
"I’ll do that," Annika assured her, stifling a grin. "I’m going to go now, why don’t you go tell your…Meemaw…that everything’s okay. She’s worried about you."
Both of them nodded.
"It was a pleasure to meet you." Annika held out her hand and after a moments hesitation Emily took it giving it a light squeeze.
Her eyes became accusing.She didn't understand the feelings, but she could...see... this lady kissing her Daddy, just like Mommy did. "You loves my daddy like my mommy does."
Annika winced. "No. I love a man who looks like your daddy."
"Like Unca Wade?" Nicholas asked.
"Who’s Uncle Wade?" Annika's physical self asked Daniel.
"My brother," he replied.
"Sort of," Annika answered the kids once the explanation reached her astral self. She tried to tune out the ensuing conversation between the two men that little snippet caused. She held out her hand to Nicholas. "Lovely to meet you too."
The boy shook it. "Wiw you come back?"
Annika shook her head. "Probably not. It’s kind of a long way to travel. Goodbye." She gave them a wave which they returned and then slipped outside through the open French door.
"Okay, which way to the base?" Annika asked Daniel, hurrying toward the front of the house. "I don’t want to risk re-projecting myself in case I mix up universes."
Following the archaeologist's directions she zipped down the streets, giving a running commentary to the men as she went. She traveled slow enough for the people she passed to do a double take, but fast enough that by any second look she’d disappeared. "Hope’s a nice place." She curiously observed the town. "Okay passing the Hope Credit Union, there's Mitchell Hardware, The Mercantile…oh hey, you’ve got a Dairy Queen here!"
"Annika take the next left, onto Olive."
"Righto!…" Annika made a sharp turn. "Oooh crap! I hate that…"
"What?" Two concerned voices echoed in her ears.
"Just flew through someone…it gives me the willies."
The man she'd accidentally zoomed through gave a slight shiver, but his focus was on keeping the rhythm of his jogging and barely noticed the apparition that shot ahead.
Both Daniels grinned.
Annika rounded the corner and the base came into view.
"Where the hell have you been?" Casey’s voice echoed in her head. She had been pacing nervously, waiting for the woman to 'appear'. When Annika hadn't appeared in the 'gate room, she had raced topside, thinking that the woman might be waiting there...for whatever reason.
"Sorry, took an unexpected little side trip. Your kids were worried and dragged me over to them."
"They did?" Panic gripped her. Her poor babies...they had gone through so much...wait... dragged her there? How the hell...she shook herself mentally. She'd worry about that later.
"Yep and before you ask, all is okay, they’re fine." She heard the woman’s sigh of relief in her mind. Annika hovered behind a tree. "So how do you want me to play this? Should I try just asking to see Jack and the others?"
"If that fails you can just fly down and find them."
"Let’s try politeness first. Don’t want them to think it’s some sort of invasion."
Casey agreed. The people in the SGC Gamma didn't take well to the thought of being invaded, and had enough experience with the...bizarre...that it was possible for Annika to be 'caught'. Sam would come up with a way to do so in short time. She knew...and had faith...in her best friend's abilities.
Annika floated to the guards at the entrance. "Hi. I’d like to see Colonel Jack O’N…"
"General," Casey interrupted.
"Oh, I mean General O’Neill or Major…"
"Crap, Colonel Samantha Carter…
"Carter-O’Neill, they’re married."
"Dammit, Colonel Carter-O’Neill or…I take it Teal’c doesn’t have a title?" Annika asked Casey.
"Teal’c or President Duncan MacLeod." She flashed the guards a bright smile.
They stared at her open mouthed. There were always strange things happening around here. It still didn't make seeing an...apparition...even a beautiful one, any easier. Or any less a threat.
"Hello?" She waved her transparent hand in front of their gob smacked faces. "Are you deaf?"
The men automatically raised their firearms, pointing them at her.
"Guys, I’m non-corporeal. Don’t waste your bullets."
She saw their fingers tighten on the triggers and sighed. "Plus I can do this…" She waved her hand and the guns were flung out of their hands and landed a few feet away.
They immediately drew their sidearm.
"Politeness isn’t working," she informed Casey and the Daniels.
"That was polite?" Casey gave a snort of derision.
"Sweetheart, that was downright sugar coated for me. Diplomacy is Daniel’s area of expertise not mine."She heard Daniel chuckle and felt that wonderful tickle beneath her heart.
"God I love that woman," he grinned at his counterpart.
"If you stunned mullets aren’t going to help me, then I hope you don’t mind if I try to find them myself?" She quirked an eyebrow. They still had their weapons trained on her. "Why don’t you put your toys down before someone gets shot…I promise you it won’t be me… ricochet is so unpredictable." Another flick of her hand and the guns landed next to the P-90's. "I’ll just be going now." She floated through the floor. "Casey, where are they likely to be?"
"Briefing room or Duncan’s office."
"Which is where?" Annika ignored the emergency klaxons that started wailing, continuing her downward flight into the depths of the base.
"Level twenty-seven. I'm betting that your SGC is identical to ours," Casey replied.
She floated through the halls, waving at the personnel she passed. They clearly had no idea how to react. Some aimed their weapons at her, others simply gaped. "Hello….nice to see you…can you direct me to General O’Neill? No? Okay, I’ll just keep looking…"
"What are you doing?" Casey’s voice was amused.
"Still trying the polite thing. Thought I’d give it another go," Annika grinned, keeping up her salutations. "Howdy…Hiya…Have you seen President MacLeod?…That way? Thank you so much…G'day…"
Casey was giggling hysterically. The looks on the faces of the people they passed were priceless. Talk about your Kodak moments! If there had been time, she would have directed Annika to Daniel's office, and to the digital camera he always kept there.
Annika was still smiling...the look fading from her lips when she heard the blonde's giggle end in a hiccup...more likely a sob that the other woman had fought to hide. "It's all right, Casey, I'll get the message to them, and your Sam will figure all of this out," she said gently.
"Damn it, run it again!" a voice said sharply.
"That's Duncan," Casey said. "They're in the control room."
"Probably trying to figure out what the hell happened," Annika mused.
"No doubt. Okay, Duncan is the guy with the dark hair, dark eyes."
"Tall, dark and handsome, huh?" Annika teased, sensing Casey's sadness, understanding that the lingering worry about her children was the cause.
"I guess," Casey replied. She had never thought of Duncan that way...not even when Framone had 'programmed' them. Oh, he was handsome enough, she had always acknowledged that fact...but she just didn't see him 'that' way. He was her dear friend, and that was as far as her interest in him went.
Annika entered the room. Cleared her throat. Wished for a camera when Sam, Jack, Teal'c and three men she didn't recognized turned to stare at her.
"Duncan is standing by Jack," Casey said.
The redhead smiled, drifted closer to the men, offered her hand. "President MacLeod, I presume? You're taller than Casey told me," she said.
"Casey? You know where Casey is?" Jack asked immediately.
"Yeah, she's standing...uh..." Annika looked around helplessly.
"Right beside you," Casey said.
"Right here," she replied, waving her hand in the general direction from where Casey's voice seemed to emanate.
"I'm not amused," Duncan said, his voice strained.
"Tell the oaf I'm not too freaking amused either," Casey spat.
Annika spoke out of the side of her mouth to Casey, forgetting for the moment that the others were in the room and would clearly hear her whispered words. "Shit, Casey, I can't say that to a President."
"Sure you can. I've heard you say worse."
"But not to a President," she protested.
"It's the kind of comment he'd expect from me. It'll build your credibility."
"Alright," Annika gave a resigned huff.. "It's your reality." She turned her attention back to the others, who were watching the one way conversation with a mixture of confusion and amusement. "Uh...she says, and I quote, 'tell the oaf I'm not too freaking amused either'."
The Highlander grinned. "Case, what the hell is going on?"
"That's your cue," Casey said.
Annika took a deep breath. "I'm Annika...Jackson." They were married...technically. They certainly couldn't be with anyone else, not with the bond that connected them, heart to heart.
Sam's eyes went wide, and Teal'c's eyebrows were in danger of crawling completely off of his head. "Jackson?"
"Yeah, man I really wish I had a camera...if you could see your faces..." She sighed. "It seems that while Fate decreed Daniel's second wife be a psychic, I was the lucky one chosen in my reality."
"Is Daniel okay?" Jack figured that since Casey was flitting about here she was fine, so he just needed confirmation of his other kid's well being. Daniel had a scary habit of getting himself injured.
Annika couldn't help herself. She tilted her head with wide eyed innocence. "Which one?"
Jack blinked. "Um...both?" Alternate realities made his head ache. He caught the twitch to the 'ghost's' lips. A seer and a smartass. Wondered if those two 'traits' were as inseparable as ying and yang.
"And just to confirm, Casey's good too?"
Annika rolled her eyes. "Sheesh you're as bad as my Jack, General Mother Hen! She's perfectly fine. We all are. Well aside from being in the wrong reality."
"Solar flare?" Sam asked immediately.
"No. There's a device, the Daniels say it's some sort of Ancient device."
The blonde colonel frowned. "That could be a problem. If it's a device on...that end... there isn't anything I can do here to help."
"Tell Sam that right now, the best we can hope for is that Daniel...both of them, can figure out the text, and we can get the damned thing to work again," Casey said.
The redhead relayed the message. She was beginning to feel like a walky-talky. "We just need you to be...ready...in case we need help." Right now she had the two Daniel's and Casey's voices bombarding her mind, all talking at once, plus she knew she, Annika, was in there somewhere...I think I'm there...here...somewhere, dammit this was getting so friggin' confusing. Annika didn't know if she was Arthur or Martha. "For shit's sake, would you all give me a break! Now I know what a schizophrenic feels like." She gave the people in the room a weak grin, rubbing her temple. "The only person I need to talk to right now is Casey!"
The slender blonde giggled.
"I wish proof that Casey Jackson is with you," Teal'c said quietly, firmly. He was well aware of the fact that she was able to...interact...with the plane of reality from the astral. Unless she did so, he would not believe that his dear friend was really with this... apparition.
"Coming right up," Casey smiled. She walked over, stretched up, then frowned. "Tell him to bend over a bit."
"Casey says to bend over a bit," Annika said.
The Jaffa complied. Felt the lightest of touches against his cheek, in the same spot where she always kissed him, whenever she decided to bestow such a gift on him. He smiled. "I am glad you are unharmed, Casey Jackson."
"She is too," Annika passed on. "Look, we really need to get my reality, pass the message on. If something...comes up, and we need help, we'll be back."
Duncan nodded. "We'll be here."
"We'll try to come straight to the 'gate room the next time," Annika promised. It had, after all, been their 'target' this time.
"Why didn't..." Jack started.
Annika held up a finger. "I'll let Casey explain...when she and her...uh...Daniel, get home. Ready for the next stop on the Schizophrenic Express?" She asked Casey.
"Oh, you bet. Pulling out of the station now." Casey chuckled.
Laughing, Annika concentrated on her own time, and then blinked out of the room.
<<Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>