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The Blonde, the Redhead and the Archaeologist(s)
General Hammond, Jack, Sam and Teal'c were sitting in the briefing room. It appeared they had just sat down. "Major, do you have any explanation on why we can't dial out to the Norettens planet?"
"No, sir. Right now, it seems that we can't dial out at all. None of the addresses we've tried have locked," Sam replied.
"I'll bet they're having the same problem on Gamma," Casey whispered. That would certainly explain the sense of panic that she had felt from her teammates. It was bad enough that she and Daniel had 'disappeared', but to be cut off from the 'gate system completely, well...that was never a good thing!
Annika nodded. She floated through the threshold. "Well, by my calculations you owe Daniel and me three lobster dinners. Last one through and all that."
"Annika!" Gen. Hammond exclaimed. His eyes went wide when he realized that he was looking at an astral projection of the young woman. Obviously something was wrong, or she wouldn't be here...like that. "Are you and Doctor Jackson all right?"
She smiled. "Yeah, for the most part."
"Took your sweet damned time, Casper," Jack growled, trying not to show how relieved he was to see the apparition.
"Sorry, still haven’t worked out how regain consciousness any quicker," she quipped.
"So…just where in tarnation are you?"
"It’s more a question of when, we got sucked into an alternate universe. Along with another Daniel and his wife."
"Whoa, two Annika's. Double the trouble," Jack teased.
"Actually, she's a scrappy blonde named Casey," Annika replied.
Sam frowned. "Then their reality must be totally different from ours."
She shook her head, the red tresses flying into motion. "No, not really," Then she thought about what she’d learnt about the other reality. "Well…actually, it is. You’re a general," she gestured to Jack and then to Sam, "you’re a colonel, the two of you are married to each other…" she paused with a mischievous grin, "live on another planet, oh and Daniel...and the three of you...are Immortal."
Casey hadn't explained that Duncan, and three hundred and sixty other people on Gamma were Immortal as well. She didn't think Annika was quite ready to hear about that...just yet!
"Immortal?" Sam asked with wide eyes.
"Cool!" Jack smirked.
"But the basics are similar. SGC, Goa’uld, Asgard. They're about twelve, maybe thirteen years ahead of us. And we think we know why I'm with Daniel in this reality and she's not."
"She is not alive in this reality," Teal'c said quietly.
"So we think," Annika replied. And fought down that feeling of happiness that she was with Daniel. It just felt so damned wrong to think like that!
"Tell them about the Ancient device," Casey whispered. She had felt that 'tremor' of guilt from the young woman again. Understood what had caused it. Thinking about being dead wasn't easy. And obviously Immortality didn't exist in this reality...or she'd still be alive...somewhere. But if the shoe were on the other foot...she would be just as happy knowing that Fate had conspired to put her into Daniel's arms. After all, Sha're had died so that she could be with her Daniel, hadn't she?
"Oh, righto," Annika nodded.
Jack raised an eyebrow.
"Casey is a seer...damned powerful one, too. Neither of us could reach our own realities alone, but together we seem to be able to jump wherever we want. We got a message to their...Casey and her Daniel's SG-1."
"And that message was?" Gen. Hammond asked.
"Well, there's some sort of Ancient device where we are. Somebody turned it on, and the four of us just happened to be going through wormholes at the same time...and got sucked there. The Daniel's are working on translating a wall full of text so that they can figure out how to work the damned thing and get us all home," Annika replied.
"If there are two Daniel Jackson's in the same reality, and we have to assume that the...uh...original for that reality is there as well, they could suffer from entropic cascade failure," Sam murmured. "And it could cut their time in half, from twenty four hours, to twelve, or even less."
General Hammond frowned. "Is this device the reason we can't dial out?"
"I don't know, sir. Possibly. Although it would have to be very powerful in order to...skip realities, like that," Sam replied.
"Daniel believes the Ancients, that all those on higher levels can...interact...with other realities much easier than we can," Casey said softly.
Annika passed on the observations.
"Suggestions?" General Hammond asked.
"Right now, sir, there's nothing we can do," Sam replied. "If the device is on their end, they'll have to activate it, and hope that they can return to the correct reality."
Annika's mind continued to echo Sam's warning. Twelve hours or less. "What the hell is entropic cascade failure?" she asked. Needed to know. Didn't want to know. Because she already understood that whatever it was, it wasn't good.
Sam took a deep breath. "When two people, who are identical down to the cellular level, are in the same...space, increased entropy is generated by both existing in the same reality at the same time…it's technically still theoretical, but we know that it causes a temporal distortion."
"And that means?"
"The person...or persons...who don't belong in the reality they're...trapped in...well, they start experiencing...distortion."
Annika's already pale apparition paled further. "That does not sound good," she mumbled.
"They'll die...very painfully," Casey said softly. "It will happen sooner for them because there are two of them in close proximity to one another. It will happen to us as well, if our...counterparts...exist in that reality."
"If there's anything we can do, just say the word," General Hammond said kindly.
She nodded numbly. "Yes, sir."
"Does Daniel need any of his notes?" Sam asked, trying to be as helpful as possible.
"No. The...other Daniel...reads and speaks Ancient fluently, it seems," Annika replied.
"Oh...well...that's good," Sam said, a bit surprised.
"We need to get back, Annika. I might have to help them, to speed things up," Casey said.
"We have to go," the redhead said. "Hopefully we'll be back...soon."
"We'll be waiting, Casper," Jack said, his eyes reflecting his worry. It was the same look that the Jack in Casey's reality had had. In fact, the faces looking up at her mirrored the expressions of those she had seen earlier. Worry. Frustration. And a healthy dose of fear.
With a flutter of her fingers, Annika led the way back out of the SGC, and back toward that tiny speck of 'light'.
A A A A A A
They had barely passed through the opening that allowed them to move between the realities, when a Goa'uld ha'tak dropped out of hyperspace directly in front of them. Moving too quickly to stop, the two women, or rather, the astral projections of the two women, flew through several decks, coming to a breathless stop in one of the corridors.
"Oh, hell!" Casey grumped.
"Have I ever mentioned that I really hate being on Goa'uld ships?" Annika asked, her own voice betraying her frustration.
"No, don't think you have."
"Well, I do. Bad things happen to me on Goa'uld ships."
"Bad things happen to anybody not a Goa'uld on Goa'uld ships," Casey replied dryly.
"Fools! You have failed miserably! It was a simple task that I set before you!" a female voice screeched from somewhere nearby. "I should kill you all for your insolence! It is because of your inadequate translating abilities that the Ancient device failed to work properly! Had I been able to stop Geb in the distant past, he would not have taken two of my planets this day!"
"Whatever she's saying, she sounds pissed," Annika whispered.
"She's giving them what for, apparently she's the one who was screwing around with that device, and she's blaming...whoever...for not getting the translations correct," Casey replied.
Annika started, then recalled that Casey had mentioned being able to speak Goa'uld, as well as several other...alien...languages.
"Annika, how much do you hate the Goa'uld?"
The young redhead grinned. "On a scale of one to ten, about twenty."
Casey giggled. "You're a ghost. They can't see me at all..." she let her voice trail off.
"I do believe that we owe this bitch a bit of payback. After all, it is her fault we're in this situation," Annika said, following Casey's train of thought, grinning as broadly as the blonde, although she still couldn't see her friend.
"You will have the correct translations for me within the hour!" the woman shouted.
"No they won't," Casey giggled. "She's giving them an hour to get some translations finished. Let's see if we can mess up...er...find out exactly what they're translating."
Annika giggled as well. "Okay, let's go."
"After you," Casey said cheerfully.
"Why, thank you," Annika grinned.
Casey followed the apparition, both of them moving in the direction they had heard the voice coming from. The sound of a door opening had them both diving for cover, habit for her, because she couldn't be seen. She watched as Annika ducked behind a support pillar, just as a dark haired woman with the gaudiest purple cape she had ever seen strode by, the features of the lovely face twisted in anger. "Bitch!" Casey hissed. "It's plain to see that all of your taste is in your mouth! Somebody should get your sorry snake ass on that 'What Not to Wear' show!"
It was difficult to remain quiet. The Goa'uld might not hear Casey, but she would certainly hear if she slipped up and giggled out loud right now. "She came from that room," Annika whispered, struggling not to laugh audibly.
"Lead on, McDuff," Casey giggled. "To misquote Shakespeare."
They 'stepped' into the room. A dozen scribes were sitting around a very large, round table, all of them pale and shaking, what appeared to be fifty scrolls before them. Slowly hands reached for individual rolls of papyrus, carefully opened them, searching frantically for the magic words or phrases that would power the Ancient device that their god was intent on having.
"What are they doing?" Annika whispered.
"Looking for the way to make that device work." Casey moved closer to one of the men, read over his shoulder. "The stupid bitch thinks it's a time machine."
"Like the one our guys were talking about earlier, the one that screwed things up?"
"Yep. It seems that she doesn't have a clue what she's messed with. And I'd venture a guess that she has no idea that the damned thing did work!"
"We can't let her go back down there!" Annika said. Four people, well, five, counting her astral self, couldn't hold off a contingent of Jaffa for long, especially when they ran out of ammunition, and if the bitch decided to ring down into the temple...she shook her head. They didn't dare let the Goa'uld gain control of the device that was their only hope of returning to their own realities.
"I agree." Casey looked around. Several torches lit the chamber...which resembled an inner temple room. "Let's just light things up a bit, shall we?"
"Sounds like a plan to me." Annika stepped out of the shadows. "Hello, boys. Hate to bother you and all that, but we really can't take the chance of the bitch you work for getting in our way."
"Tuat h'as!" one of the men cried out, pointing at the redhead.
"Oh, that's just rude!" Casey growled.
"What'd he say?"
"Basically he just called you an underworld bitch."
"Oh, he did, did he?" Annika replied, her temper flaring. She reached out and slapped the man. "How dare you!"
Dark eyes grew wide with terror. This ghost was able to strike out! Surely she was a demon!
Casey grabbed two torches, one in each hand. "Say this, very slowly and carefully. 'I have come to claim the souls of the unworthy. Flee now, leave this ship, and you will be spared'."
Annika repeated word for word what Casey whispered in her ear. Watched as already pale faces went whiter. As if launched from their chairs, the men raced for the door, elbowing one another in their haste to escape what they believed to be a demoness of death. "What'd I just say?"
The slender blonde giggled, again, and translated.
"How are they going to get off the ship?"
"Escape pods. And with luck, there won't be one for Ms. Congeniality."
"I love the way you think," Annika giggled.
"Thanks. I have my moments," Casey replied. She set fire to the scrolls, waited until she was certain they were burning well before turning to the redhead. "Do you think we could mess this ship up? I'd love to see it crash and burn. In the desert."
"Lots of desert below us," Annika pointed out.
"Yes, there is."
"So we have that part. The crash and burn part can't be that hard."
"Let's find the engine room."
"Would the engine be same as an Al'kesh?" Annika asked. "'Cause I know which crystals to yank on one of those."
"Yep. Got snatched on my first mission. Bes decided he wanted me as His Beloved, so I figured since I was Lady-of-the-ship that some redecorating was in order."
"Same basic principles apply."
Annika started for the door. "Any idea which way?"
"Wait right here. Don't move," Casey said.
"Daniel, I need more of your Fire," she said softly, leaning back against him in that meadow.
"We ran into the Goa'uld who started the problem. Literally ran into her. Well, okay, not her, exactly, but her ship. We're going to see to it that she does a nice crash and burn in the desert. Killing her is the only way to guarantee that she won't show up in that temple before you and...uh...Daniel...get enough translated to get us home."
"Damn it, Casey..."
"Daniel, she's in orbit. We take her out up here, or fight her down there," Casey said softly. She could feel his anger...his worry...his frustration. He opened himself further, offering more of the Fire that burned so hot in his veins.
"Thanks, Stud Muffin."
"Be damned careful!"
"Promise." She turned her head, gave him a quick kiss, then raced back to the ship. She searched quickly. There!
Annika waited nervously. She could sense that Casey had 'left'. It wasn't a pleasant feeling, knowing she was alone on a Goa'uld ship. Didn't matter that she couldn't be harmed, it still gave her the willies. Annika felt totally exposed. She sought the safety of the inside of the thick pillar, hiding her ghostly image, and took a few deep calming breaths.
"Okay, found it," Casey said, running into the room. There was no sign of the redhead. Before she could even muster a worried call out, there was a startled yelp and she saw a transparent arm shoot out from within the pillar and jerkily fly halfway up. A second later Annika tumbled out, with a slightly embarrassed flush staining her cheeks.
"Jesus, Casey! You just scared the shit out of me!"
"Sorry. I found the engine room."
Annika answered the blonde's unasked question. "Pillars are great cubby holes."
Though Annika tried to hide it, Casey sensed how vulnerable the younger woman felt. She wasn't scared, just edgy. Almost immediately it was swallowed up by determination. "I understand," she said softly. Being on a Goa'uld ship was enough to make even the toughest Marine edgy
"Think we should take the corridors?"
"Probably. Better places for you to hide. If we go charging through any chambers or quarters, someone is bound to see you and raise the alarm."
"Won't our escaping friends do that?"
"Hmmm...good point. Well, we'd still better stick to the corridors, there's no telling what kind of nasty devices she's got hidden, and I'd hate to think she might have a way to...uh...catch us...or at least you."
Annika shuddered. "Getting caught is not on the itinerary."
Before Casey could reply, the familiar clank of Jaffa armor filled the air. She looked around desperately. She needed something to use as a weapon.
"Okay, here's the plan," Annika said hurriedly. "You're going to wait around that corner. I'm going to lead them to you. I'll toss a couple of staff weapons in your direction, we'll grab them and take the armored freaks out."
It made sense. And the thought that they would see a ghost, and a staff weapon floating in midair...she giggled. "I wish we had a camera. The looks on their faces are going to be priceless."
Annika giggled as well. "Without a doubt. They're getting closer! Ready?"
"Ready." She ducked around the corner, watched as Annika floated up the corridor, toward the sound of the approaching enemy.
Well, well, well! The First Prime himself! "Hi there. My friend and I are on the way to the engine room to totally destroy this freaking ship, you don't mind, do you?"
The man froze, his eyes went wide. He raised his staff weapon, opened it, the familiar whine of the crystal as it charged filling the air.
"You aren't very bright, are you? I'm a ghost, dipshit. You can't hurt me!" She turned her back on them, then twisted her torso around, giving her butt a wiggle. "Go on, give it your best shot!"
The seven Jaffa with the First Prime had charged their weapons as well.
With a flick of her fingers, three weapons went flying from suddenly nerveless fingers, skittering across the floor. One literally slid to a stop at Casey's feet.
"Too cool," Casey said. She grabbed the weapon, spun it around the way she had seen Teal'c do, although it was certainly not as fast or as smoothly as her large Jaffa friend could do it.
"Go'nak!" one of the men said nervously, backing up slowly. ["Bugger this for a lark!"]
The slender blonde giggled, and fired the weapon at the ceiling above the man. Alarms began to wail around them, the result of the weapon being discharged.
With a look of sheer terror, the man turned and ran down the corridor the way he had just come. The other Jaffa began to fire, watching in horror as the blasts went through the apparition to impact on the walls, leaving scorch marks for every hit.
Annika had picked up one of the weapons as well. The seven remaining Jaffa were down in a matter of seconds. "Which way?" she asked.
"We have to go the way our cowardly friend just disappeared," Casey replied.
The alarms were deafening, and when the lights flickered off, only to be replaced by dim emergency lights, the women stopped. Annika had a basic idea of where Casey was, and that she had stopped running, because the staff weapon was motionless above the floor.
"Okay, what's that about?" Annika whispered.
"I have no idea," Casey whispered in reply, missing the glance that the redhead tossed in her direction, in response to the oh so familiar phrase.
Once again the clanking of Jaffa armor filled the air. The women came face to face with another patrol.
"Charge the tin men!" Annika cried out, holding her staff weapon above her head.
Never before had the Jaffa witnessed such a sight. A ghost, a staff weapon in her hand, running toward them, and beside her, another such weapon, moving as if on its own. Every human, even Jaffa, have a built in 'fight or flight' mechanism. And the eight Jaffa in the corridor reacted without conscious thought. They tried to turn and flee, crashing into one another; falling to the floor, scrambling to regain their feet, each one shoving the others around them in an attempt to get away from the apparition and her witched weapon.
"Oh, this is better than television," Casey giggled. "Keystone Kops."
"Definitely," Annika laughed. She fired in the direction of the fleeing men.
"Let's go. We have to take this damned ship out fast, before the purple people eater tries to ring down, or land."
A A A A A A
In the temple, caught up in the action on the ship, Annika jumped to her feet. "Charge the tin men!"
Her cry startled both men, who were still sitting on the marble floor. "Annika, what the hell is going on?" ADaniel demanded to know.
"We're just taking out a few Jaffa. Well, scaring the hell out of them, actually." She could barely stop laughing long enough to talk.
CDaniel shook his head. "If she baits that snake, I'm gonna kill her," he mumbled.
Annika glanced at him. "She baits snakes?"
"Regularly," the blonde's husband replied. "Tell her to get her ass to the engine room and do what she...what both of you need to do, and then get back here."
She settled back down into Daniel's embrace. "Okay. But this is a lot of fun. If you could just see the faces on the Jaffa..."
He bit the inside of his lip. There was no way he was going to laugh. His counterpart's wife was as...inventive, as his own. And Casey could be damned inventive when it came to taking out Jaffa...and baiting snakes.
ADaniel could tell that his twin was struggling to keep from laughing. "I agree with Daniel. Do what you need to do and get back here." Gods, Annika didn't need any more encouragement when it came to baiting snakes. Jack had taught her well.
Daniel thought about what the two women were doing, and why they were doing it. Knew that Casey would never intentionally put herself, or anyone else, in danger. And that right now, she was about as 'safe' as she could be. "Uh...Annika?"
The redhead looked at the man, almost forgetting for a moment that he wasn't her Daniel. "Yes?"
"I'd like to change that message. Tell her...tell her, 'go get 'em, Tiger'."
Annika smiled. "Gladly."
A A A A A A
The two women were running through the corridors, any Jaffa they passed stood stunned, watching the apparition and her...weapon...disappear around the corner. When it came time to use the lift, the women jumped in and Annika hit the button.
"When the doors open, start firing," Casey said. "Don't worry about aiming your first shots."
"Got it," the young woman nodded. "You've done this before, huh?"
"Too many times," Casey replied softly.
There was a hint of sadness in her voice. Annika knew without asking that fighting...killing...wasn't something that Casey could do easily. "Your Daniel says, 'go get 'em, Tiger'," Annika said quietly.
"He probably bitched about me 'snake-baiting', too," Casey smiled.
"As a matter of fact, he did," Annika said.
"Only if I'm very lucky," the slender blonde giggled.
"Okay, I'll bite...how in the hell do you bait a snake?" Annika asked.
"Very carefully," Casey answered.
"You are so funny...not!"
"I prefer to start in as soon as they've finished with the usual 'I-am-a-god' speech. It's always fun to list the snakes I've killed, or helped to kill," Casey giggled.
"You've been fighting for a very long time," Annika said softly.
"It seems like forever, sometimes," Casey admitted. "I can't even remember what it was like to not know about the Goa'uld, to not be in the middle of this war. I can't count how many times I've died."
Annika wondered how long it would be before she could no longer remember simple days of baking cakes, her days spent working on her culinary creations for hours at a time. She frowned slightly. When was the last time she had even baked a cake, let alone decorated one?
The doors opened. The two women opened fire immediately, lucky shots taking down three Jaffa before they took the time to aim their weapons.
A tall woman with blonde hair, and sapphire blue eyes stared at them.
"Holy shit!" Annika whispered.
"Oh, god," Casey murmured. "Sam would hate living with a snake in her head!" She lifted the staff weapon. "Annika, tell her it's over."
"Sam, I know you can hear me," Annika said softly. The woman's eyes glowed. "It's over, I promise."
Casey pushed the trigger on her weapon, and killed the woman. She walked over to the downed blonde, rolled her to her side. Sure enough, the symbiot began to work it's way of out her mouth. She stood, aimed, and rendered the eel-like creature into charred flesh.
It took a few seconds to gather her wits. Seeing Sam like that, her eyes glowing because of the Goa'uld...Annika shook her head. "So what else has gone wrong in this reality?"
"I don't know. We don't have time to find out. We have two archaeologists we have to get out of here, and soon," Casey replied. She didn't want to think that if Sam had been infested with a Goa'uld, it was possible that the Jack and Daniel of this reality had been as well. This was a totally, absolutely screwed up reality. She couldn't wait to get home!
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