Summary: Nirrti Versus Doctor Moreau
Info: The season six flashback is Danielized!
Nirrti Versus Doctor Moreau
Author Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Feedback welcome)
Author Website: http://orrymain.com
Category: Slash, Drama, Missing Scene/Epilogue, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: Beyond the Series - April 21, 2017 (FB to May 5-6, 2003)
Spoilers: Metamorphosis (Danielized), Singularity
Written: May 13-14, 2017
Summary: Jack and Daniel entertain some friends and end up recalling the mission that resulted in Nirrti's demise.
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically. Their "silent" words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
2) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s): "Playtime on PBJ," "Dinner at Seven," and "Kelowna No More"
Nirrti Versus Doctor Moreau
"Beers coming," Jack called out, tossing a bottle to Sam, Pete, Janet, and Teal'c before taking one for himself and setting aside another for his husband.
"What is the film, O'Neill?" the Jaffa questioned.
"A sci-fi standard, 'The Island of Dr. Moreau' and not that waste of celluloid from ninety-six, but the Lancaster one made in the seventies."
"I've never seen it," Pete Shanahan admitted as he opened his beer. "Where's the popcorn?"
"Right here," Daniel responded as he arrived with two trays of assorted food items. He placed them on the table and noted, "We have popcorn, fruit and veggies, nuts, some half sandwiches, and ..."
"Yadda, yadda," Jack interrupted. "It's on the table, folks. Help yourself."
The movie goers were spending the evening at the Jackson-O'Neill home in their tri-level man cave that included a theater setup featuring an eighty-four inch Mitshubishi screen. The room had two three-person seating units that were side-by-side in an arc. Janet and Teal'c were seated on the left side while Sam and Pete were on the right. Jack and Daniel would be sitting in the love seat that was behind the arced row and up two steps onto a platform.
"We need to get one of these," Pete whispered as he reclined back, something everyone could do, if desired.
"Yes, Dear," Sam chuckled.
"Everyone ready?" Jack asked.
"Roll 'em!" Janet called out as she reached for a pretzel.
The movie played on for more than ninety minutes until the ending was reached.
His mouth agape, Daniel stared at his lover as the credits rolled, prompting Jack to look down at his guests, especially Sam, who noticeably shifted and fidgeted quite a bit during the film.
Aware of his miscue, Jack admitted, "Okay, maybe not the best choice. Sorry, Carter, I wasn't thinking."
"It's not a problem, Sir."
"Hey, what am I missing here?" Pete asked innocently.
"O'Neill inadvertently chose a move that reminded ColonelShanahan of an unpleasant mission."
"Gorgeous?" Pete asked his wife of six-plus years.
In kind, Sam looked back at her commanding officer and asked, "Sir?"
Pete was given clearance to Stargate Command several years ago when Sam was given permission to inform the civilian about the Stargate and its history, but when it came to mission specifics, that was a more iffy matter.
"Go for it, Carter. The witch is dead and the Goa'uld are, too, for all intent and purposes. Can't hurt."
"I have a suggestion," Janet interjected. "How about we review this one at the bar?"
"Doc, sometimes I could kiss you," Jack responded in jest, smiling as he stood up. "Sound good, folks?"
Nods of agreement found the six heading upstairs to the main level where the bar was located near the entrance to the man cave.
"Place your orders," Jack welcomed as he walked behind the bar.
"Uh, no," came the definitive voice of the co-owner.
"Jack, don't take this the wrong way, but there's going to be drinking during this story, and I know this story, and I know how you're going to react to this story, so, uh, no."
Daniel's mouth upturned as he smiled and blinked a few times.
"You don't think I'm capable of participating in the storytelling hour without spiking our drinks?"
"No, I'm not saying that, exactly, but the problem is, you will," Daniel paused, "spike the drinks. Sit."
The others chuckled or at least grinned at the conversation between their hosts, especially when Jack retorted, "You played right into my hands, Dannyboy."
"Right," a disbelieving Daniel responded. With Jack withdrawing from behind the bar, the archaeologist asked Sam, "What's your pleasure?"
"Hmm. I'll have a fuzzy navel, please."
Daniel nodded and began to prepare the drink.
"Daniel?" When the archaeologist looked up, Sam clarified, "With double vodka!"
With a smile of comprehension, Daniel put back the orange juice and instead located the bottle of vodka that was behind the bar.
"Do you like your navel to be fuzzy, ColonelShanahan?" Teal'c asked.
"Teal'c, after all these years, can't you just call me Sam?"
"As you wish, Samantha."
"Closer," Sam laughed to herself.
"Teal'c, what can we get for you?" Jack asked as he saw Daniel was about done with Sam's beverage.
"Milk," the Jaffa requested.
As Daniel looked up in surprise, Jack stared and asked, "You sure you can handle it, Big Guy?"
"It makes a body good," Teal'c claimed with a straight face.
"Ah, vintage TV," Jack noted. "I'll get it," he said, heading for the kitchen since there wasn't any milk in the man cave refrigerators.
"A white Russian," the redhead responded. "Oh, Daniel, do you happen to have Godiva White Chocolate Liquer?"
"Do I love chocolate?" the bartender-of-the-moment retorted as he arched his eyebrows.
"I knew you would," Janet returned happily.
"Janet, do you prefer cream or milk?"
"Doesn't matter," Janet answered. "Whatever you have works for me."
"Milk for the Big Guy," Jack announced when he returned. "And, Danny, the kids are all asleep. Jen and Bri are still up, just in case any of the kids wake up and need them."
"Thanks," Daniel acknowledged, appreciating the update on the brood.
"Where are we?"
"Pete," Daniel answered as he continued to work on Janet's drink.
"You wouldn't have a brandy, would ya, maybe Dewars?"
~Score one for the general,~ Jack laughed inwardly. He happened to be standing behind where Sam and Pete were sitting at the bar and he immediately gave the man a gentle slap on the back, keeping his hand there as he talked. "We sure do."
"How'd you know?" Pete inquired while seeing Daniel retrieve a bottle of the Bacardi beverage.
"Remember that military shindig we all had to attend a while back?" Jack asked, seeing the nod or recollection from everyone in the man cave. "I overheard you asking for a Dewars; made a note."
"I only drink it a few times a year; can't afford to most of the time," Pete admitted, not referring to finances but rather his job.
Since it was Friday evening and he wasn't one of the on-call detectives for the weekend, Pete was free to imbibe whatever drink he wanted. As a rule, he didn't drink much beyond beer since even when not on the sheet, he often was called in for one reason or another, but this weekend, most of his division were in town and available, so he felt he could let go and enjoy, as he had during the get-together Jack mentioned.
"Nice job, Jack," Daniel praised as he poured the drink and then handed it to Pete. "Jack?"
"Focus on your drink, Danny. I know what I'm having," Jack answered with a happy smile as he walked behind the bar and reached down, pulling out a bottle. "There she blows!"
"What's that?" Janet asked.
"Froot Loops infused Campari and Vermouth."
"Won't that make you hungry?" the physician queried.
"He's always hungry," Daniel remarked.
"I've heard about those cereal cocktails, but I haven't had one yet," Sam admitted.
"Want to trade in your navel for some loops?" Jack asked with a wink.
"No, thank you, Sir."
"General, I'm a little surprised your bar is so well stocked," Janet observed with a big smile and then took another sip of her drink and let out a happy, audible sigh.
"We stocked up for tonight," Jack admitted since they normally didn't have such a wide range of liquor on hand.
"How sweet," Sam sing-songed as she swayed contentedly on her luxurious and comfortable barstool.
"Whoa, Carterrrrr-Shanahan!" Jack said, combining Sam's last names at the last moment as he realized he should really be using her married name, which he often did, but sometimes old habits were too hard to break. "You've only had a couple sips of that thing."
With a giggle, Janet reminded, "Sir, none of us drink more than an occasional, mmm, martini, maybe a light aperitif. Even these drinks are bound to wake up our systems and make us all a little ..."
"... giddy," Sam completed for her friend, laughing afterward.
"Right," Jack acknowledged dryly. ~That'll go away when we start talking about Nirrti. I get it. Enjoy a moment of sheer ignorance in alcoholic bliss before dealing with the dark side. Been there, done that *oh* so many times.~
Pete smiled at his wife and found himself thinking about the extra fun they might be having after the party. That thought tickled his fancy much more than the Scottish brandy he was enjoying.
"What's your drink?" Jack questioned his soulmate while filling his glass with his homemade alcoholic beverage.
Daniel smiled and, while reaching for the ingredients, announced, "I'm having an Old Fashioned."
"Ah, nice one, Danny."
The archaeologist filled the bottom of his glass with a sugar cube, some bitters, an orange wedge, and a cherry. He added water and a bit of lemon zest. He stirred and added more ice before he poured in his choice of Jack Daniel's whiskey sour mash and then some bourbon.
"Wow," Jack exclaimed with wide eyes. ~Don't complain, O'Neill. This could lead to a great private after party tonight.~
Drinks served, it was time to tell the tale to the only person in the room who didn't know how the movie just viewed tied into a past mission for SG-1.
"Okay, well, Nirrti," Daniel spoke as he thought back to the mission from 2003.
"It all started when the Russians ..." Jack began.
"No," Daniel interrupted.
"Daniel, you're terribly fond of the 'no' word tonight," Jack observed. ~Get it all out of your system. All I want to hear later is a loud, resounding, 'Yes!'~
"Sorry, Babe, but the story began when Jonas arrived."
"Mister Teeth," Jack sighed. "Can't we leave him out of this?"
"He was there, Sir," Sam chimed.
"Not by my choice."
Jack was never fond of Kelownan Jonas Quinn. The alien was constantly smiling, was usually eager for any experience whether good or bad, and he was, in Jack's view, a Daniel wannabe. It didn't help that even before meeting Jonas he'd had a nightmare in which Jonas caused Daniel's death. It still made him shiver, though he tried never to think about it.
The spooky part of Jack's dream, a dream that Daniel also had, was that not long thereafter, SG-1 went on a mission where they met Jonas and discovered they were on a planet called Kelowna, just like in the nightmare. Jack literally grabbed his lover's arm and walked him to the Stargate.
However, the Kelownans developed a relationship with Stargate Command and Jonas occasionally participated in an exchange program and did, every now and then, go on missions with SG-1. Such was the case with the mal-adventure being discussed at the moment.
Jack sighed, "It was bad enough with had to work with the Russians, but that kid, too? I almost resigned on the spot."
"You're exaggerating," Daniel opined.
"Not by much," Jack stated pointedly. "I'd managed to avoid the curious Mister Quinn for a few days."
Daniel couldn't help himself and laughed.
"Daniel, what's so funny?" Janet inquired.
"We didn't even know Jonas was on the base until that day. We were, uh, out of town, together. I ... I don't remember now if you knew that or not, but we went to Missouri."
"Great place, natural, back to basics, no frills," Jack denoted.
"Cozy," Daniel added with happy eyes.
"Fine," Jack conceded. "I tried to avoid him all morning, and I did, until Hammond pulled the rug out under me."
"Come on. Fill me in," Pete requested.
"SG-4 was our Russian team back then. Sergei Evanov was their leader. He broke a cardinal rule, he brought someone through the Gate without permission."
"His name was Alebran," Daniel recalled.
"Turned out this guy was sick."
"To be clear, he wasn't sick," Janet interjected. "We determined that his DNA was being manipulated in real time."
"Geez, like in the movie," Pete assumed since the movie revolved around a scientist experimenting with animals by injecting them with a serum that contained human genetic material. "The man-beasts," he noted about the half-human, half-animal hybrids from the film.
"Something like that," Daniel acknowledged.
"What happened?" the police detective asked, going from person to person to see who would tell him more.
"This Alebran guy claimed this glorified Goa'uld ..."
"Nirrti," Daniel stated.
"... was experimenting on his people and transforming them somehow," Jack continued. "We couldn't get anymore information because the poor guy exploded."
"Say what?" Pete asked.
"Every cell in his body broke down," Janet explained. "The only part of him left was water."
"I almost shot the guy," Jack sighed with his head bowed. "He begged to be killed."
"But you didn't, Jack," Daniel reminded quietly.
There was silence for a few seconds before the story was advanced.
"Nirrti wished to develop a hok'taur," Teal'c explained. Before Pete could ask what that meant, the Jaffa defined the term. "An advanced human."
"Okay, that's science fiction, or should be," Pete put forth. "Why would she want to create super people?"
"Power," Jack answered coldly.
Sam stated, "Pete, you know how the Goa'uld are. They use symbiotes to keep them alive much longer than a normal human. Some of them have lived for hundreds of years."
"You've told me that. My mind gets it, but it's still hard to imagine."
"It's true," Sam reiterated.
"Nirrti always wanted to be one of the big guns," Jack noted. "She was a fly in terms of hierarchy to the snakes."
"Uh, Nirrti thought if she could create a hok'taur, she would be able to increase her power," Daniel explained.
Janet added, "When we first encountered her, she was experimenting with eugenics, a quest to improve human genetics. She experimented on Cassandra's people and ..."
"Cass?" Pete interrupted. "Her people?" The cop again went from face to face as he realized there was something else he didn't know. "Janet?" he prodded.
Janet glanced at Jack and Daniel and then sighed, "Cassandra is an alien. She lived with her family on their planet, Hanka. I adopted her after her parents were killed as a result of Nirrti's experiments. She even ..."
The petite redhead became emotional as she thought back to that time. Her eyes became watery and she looked away from the group.
"It was long ago, Sim'ka," Teal'c reminded as he took Janet's hand in his.
Quietly, Daniel explained, "Nirrti placed a naquadah device, a sort of ... bomb, inside Cassandra. Nirrti wanted the device to destroy the SGC which would happen once Cass went through the Stargate again. Fortunately, we discovered it in time and found a solution, but it was close, *very* close."
"That lady Goa'uld is a real bit..." Pete began.
"Yeah, isn't she," Jack stated as he took another sip of his drink.
"Keep going," Pete urged, wanting to know more since there obviously was much more to know, events that somehow affected his wife.
"General Hammond wanted SG-1 and SG-4 to go to Alebran's planet and find out what we could. I wasn't thrilled with the Russians tagging along, but Hammond was the man and that was that," Jack stated. "But then he had to go one better by insisting Smiley Face come with us."
"You don't like that guy, do ya, Jack?" Pete chuckled.
"He's not a bad person," Sam remarked. "He tried to fit in. In fact, I remember seeing him before Alebran arrived."
Sam approached the elevator on Level 22 and used her card key to gain access. When the doors opened, she saw Jonas and Lieutenant Rush, one of the nurses on Janet's staff. She watched with amusement as the two finished their conversation.
"I'm sure I'll see you again," Rush spoke sweetly as she exited.
"Hey, with any luck I'll get sick," Jonas replied as he leaned against the elevator.
Once the doors closed, Sam repeated the Kelownan's line to the nurse.
"Lieutenant Rush is a nurse. She works in the infirmary," Jonas explained.
"So you were ... flirting?"
The two got off the elevator when they reached Level 28. As they walked the corridors, they continued to chat.
"Well, I'm thinking of asking her out."
"Then you should."
"In Kelowna, it's common for that request to be passed on by a friend," Jonas cajoled with a nudge in her arm.
"Oh, it is not."
"Well, you could at least find out for me if she'd be receptive," Jonas prodded.
//End of Flashback//
"It's a good thing Rush transferred to the Academy hospital full term," Jack opined at the end of Sam's story.
"How did you know that?" Daniel asked.
"Ah ... I ..." Jack searched for a respectable answer. "I had to sign off on her transfer."
"That was my responsibility, General," Janet refuted.
"She was pretty," Jack finally admitted. "What?" he questioned to the surprised faces. "I was, *am*, committed to Daniel, but I'm not blind."
Daniel shook his head, though he wasn't really surprised. Jack always noticed a beautiful woman.
"The point," Sam spoke as she sought to refocus on the story, "is that Jonas was just like the rest of us. He wanted to date and be part of us."
"Some date that would have been," Jack began. "He was never allowed off the base unless with one of us as part of a situation."
"I'm ... sure they could have found ... somewhere to be together," Daniel spoke slyly, taking a sip of his beverage while giving his lover a bit of a seductive leer.
Jack didn't respond verbally for fear of saying something a little too inappropriate and private. The truth was, though, that over the years he and Daniel found many areas within the Mountain to enjoy private time.
"So you went to the planet," Pete prompted.
"We did," Sam confirmed. "Colonel Evanov had already done a recon of Nirrti's fortress, so he was able to guide us in. After what we learned about Alebran and how Nirrti was trying to transform his people, we knew we had to go in right away."
"She was lying to them, filling them with crap that she was helping them. All she did was lie and use them for her own nasty desires," Jack added. Centering again on what occurred, he continued, "Evanov got us the fortress. After a little firefight, I left him outside to provide cover and keep a watch, and we went inside."
"We met the natives," Daniel said as he picked up the report. "They, uh, were deformed in a variety of ways. We thought Nirrti must have done some really horrible things to these people. They were loyal to her, though, and insisted she was their god and was helping them."
"Nirrti is of a race called the Goa'uld," Teal'c explained to Wodan, one of the apparent leaders of the planetary residents, and the others.
"They're parasitical beings that use our kind as hosts," Sam pointed out.
Wodan responded, "We are very ill. Nirrti is curing us of our sickness."
"I wouldn't be so sure," Daniel responded. "The Goa'uld only help themselves, not others."
"When the god Nirrti came, a great plague had befallen our people. We were dying. With the machine, Nirrti has kept us alive," Wodan maintained as he gestured to a device located in one of the rooms.
"Check it out," Jack ordered his 2IC. Then he said to Wodan, "Don't take this wrong, friend. If this is cured ..." he trailed off, unable to know how to continue. "Daniel."
"What he means is that your appearance is not what our world would consider ... healthy."
In response, Wodan spoke, "My brother Alebran once looked as I do now. In time, she made him whole again."
"Alebran you say?" Jack queried as he struggled again on how to proceed. ~Tread carefully, O'Neill.~
"Wodan, I'm sorry, but, uh, your brother, Alebran, is dead," Daniel advised.
Not believing the archaeologist's words, Wodan rebutted, "Nirrti allowed him to return to our village."
"Before he died, Alebran told us that everyone in your village is dead. Wodan, that's why he came to us to ask for help. He knew Nirrti was lying to you and he felt the change she was doing in his own body," Daniel asserted.
"Wha...?" the upset Wodan asked.
Jack felt a need to interject, observing how shaken Wodan was. He just wasn't sure where it was all leading. As such, he wanted to shift the focus away from Alebran and the village and back to Nirrti.
"Might have been a different Alebran. It's a popular name," Jack spoke, his look to the others indicating he wanted them to play along. "The point is, we need to know exactly when and where Nirrti's coming back."
"Very soon," another of the group named Eggar responded. "And when she comes, she will punish you."
Jonas piped up, "Your people were never sick. Nirrti's been lying to you."
Not believing the visitors, Wodan denied, "No. No, the plague ravaged our people long before she came. Our village was almost wiped out."
Teal'c put forth, "It is possible she discovered them in this condition and took advantage of their situation."
"She brought me to this place. She gave me back my life," Eggar claimed.
Sam asked, "You said Nirrti would be returning for your treatments? What would happen to you if you didn't get them?"
"We would die," Wodan answered.
"We must receive treatment by tomorrow," Eggar added.
"Their mutations might be unstable," Sam surmised.
"So what happened to Alebran will most likely happen to them too if they don't go back in that machine," Jonas put forth.
"Sir, this is an incredibly advanced piece of technology. My guess is that it was built by the Ancients," Sam stated.
Jack looked at Daniel, who nodded his agreement, and then queried, "Can you figure it out?"
"Not by tomorrow. Maybe with a few days and a lot of help. We're gonna need Nirrti, Sir."
"Yeah. Figure out what you can. I'm gonna go brief Evanov. Jonas, Teal'c, take these fine folks someplace where they can be comfortable for a while," Jack ordered. "Daniel, you're with me."
At that point, Eggar feared that Jack wanted to kill Nirrti and shared his concern with Wodan. Jack overheard and opted to respond as cautiously as possible.
"No. First, I intend to ask her in the nicest possible way to undo what she's done to you folks. You're just gonna have to trust me. We came here to help you."
"Only because you believe you are responsible for what has happened to us," Wodan replied.
"Do what you can," Jack ordered Sam before motioning to Daniel and leaving the area.
"Thoughts?" Jack asked as he and Daniel walked towards the exit of the fortress.
"Well, I think we need to be open to what Eggar said about this plague. Jack, we walked in here and assumed that the way these people look is a punishment from Nirrti, but Eggar could be right. Maybe Nirrti did save their lives and is in the process of transforming them. Alebran could have been one of the first and maybe the others do look better now than how they looked when she first came here."
"You saw what happened to Alebran."
"Yes, and I'm not saying Nirrti isn't ... killing these people, but she might have made them better so she could conduct her experiments."
Jack let out a disgusted cackle, "Yeah. Heal the sick and then turn them into lab rats. Worse, let's just watch them all turn into water."
"We have to stop her."
"That's what we're doing, Danny."
When Jack and Daniel reached Evanov outside the fortress, they agreed Nirrti was not on the planet at the moment, but certainly would be back soon. Jack advised the Russian that he wanted to set up an ambush for the Goa'uld.
"Your team will be our back up, and we have to take her alive. Right now she's the only one who knows how to run that machine in there."
On their way back to rejoin the others, Jack and Daniel continued to talk.
"So, Jonas is doing okay," Daniel stated.
"He's still smiling, Daniel."
"There's nothing wrong with smiling."
"What did he say when first walked inside the fortress?" Jack challenged.
Daniel sighed, "That it was his first time inside a Goa'uld fortress."
"Jack, he's learning and he's excited."
"These people are being killed. That's not exciting," Jack responded.
"Jack, he can't help what we saw in that dream. It's not his fault."
The older man looked away for a moment and then stopped walking. He continued to look all around, a routine that was second nature to him after years in the Air Force. Then he turned to face his life partner.
"Daniel, maybe he is a good man. He probably is, but we both know that dream was some kind of foreboding. I can't explain it and neither can you, but it is what it is. He makes me nervous. Let him work with SG-2 or SG-11, for all I care, but I don't want him near SG-1 and specifically not near you. I'm sorry, but that's how I feel and you know why."
Daniel looked deeply into the brown eyes that were the mirrors to his beloved's soul and he understood, even if he wished things were different.
Jack gave a tiny nod and then resumed walking to the large building that housed Nirrti's inhuman equipment.
//End of Flashback//
"Daniel gives everyone the benefit of the doubt. He's my conscience," Jack told his family of friends.
"Someone has to be," Daniel replied with a smile.
"What happened next?" Pete questioned.
"JonasQuinn and I saw many others like Wodan and Eggar when they showed us more of the fortress."
"Tell him," Jack ordered when the Jaffa hesitated in continuing. Seeing a lack of will to follow through, Jack mused, "He and Jonas were dragged into a cell and held as prisoners."
"They beat you in a fight?" Pete asked lightly while trying to hold back a laugh. "From what you've described, I can't believe it."
"Do not," Teal'c advised sternly. "They had great powers."
"Part of Nirrti's reason for choosing these people," Daniel noted. "We never really knew their history. They weren't able to communicate their history to us fully, but whether it was Nirrti's experiments, their natural abilities, or a combination of the two, they were able to use their minds to move objects."
"Including former First Prime's," Jack mused.
"Did you rescue them?" Pete asked his hosts.
Jack and Daniel exchanged a look, and as Jack cocked his head and shrugged, Daniel verbalized, "Not exactly."
Pete laughed, "You two were caught, too?"
"Careful, Shanahan," Jack warned about the delight he sensed in the other man.
"No worries, Jack. I've been slapped around once or twice myself."
"What was her name?" the general quipped with a smirk.
"Ouch!" Janet chuckled.
"Sir!" Sam warned.
"Yeah, well, where were we?" Jack asked no one in particular.
"Wodan and his friends got the best of you," a pleased Pete chuckled, not at all fazed by Jack's glare. "Doesn't work on me, Jack. I'm a cop. I've seen it all."
"On Earth maybe," Jack spoke eerily.
"You know, I think you're right, and I probably don't want to know the half of what you guys have experienced."
"You're a smart man, Shanahan," the general praised.
"The story," Pete requested again, still wanting to know all about this SG-1 experience.
"Actually, Pete, when Daniel and I got back, we looked for Teal'c and Jonas, but couldn't find them. Sam was working on the device."
"I'll tell him, Sir," Sam interjected.
Pete turned his body a bit so he was facing his wife more directly. He was serious now, the humorous tone of a minute earlier gone. It was something in the way Jack used his wife's first name. He didn't do it that often, tending to use her maiden or married name instead. It was in more intimate, sensitive times that he'd heard Jack call Sam by her given name.
"You know about zats."
"Oh, yeah, I remember," Pete responded about the weapons he'd seen used when Osiris was finally captured. "That's when you told me about the Stargate."
"Yeah," Sam replied with a sweet smile. She put down her drink and took Pete's hands as she moved forward with the story. "Nirrti came back, but she was invisible, so I didn't see her."
"She used a personal shield."
"Okay," Pete responded, knowing he needed to simply listen and believe whatever his spouse told him at the moment.
"She shot me with her zat and I was unconscious, of course, but she apparently positioned me in front of her on the floor and waited for the general and Daniel to join me. I'd told them Jonas wasn't responding to my messages. Anyway, Pete, one zat disables a person to differing degrees, but two immediate blasts kills."
"Yeah, the timeline is a little shaky on that, but we try to limit it to a blast a day, when possible."
"A blast a day," Pete echoed, his back arching a bit. "Okay."
Sam caressed her husband's hands as she continued, "Obviously, she didn't zat me again."
"But the general, then the colonel, he wouldn't take chances with my life ..."
"Thanks, Jack," Pete called out, though he never took his eyes away from Sam's.
"You're welcome," Jack replied. "The next blast was at me."
"I was last," Daniel pointed out.
"Lucky you," Jack retorted lightly. "We both woke up on cots in a cell. Carter was sitting in our cell over on our right and in the cell to our left ..."
"Teal'c and Jonas?" Pete guessed.
"You're paying attention," Jack teased. "Carter?"
"I still don't like that woman, and she's long dead."
"Yes, Sir," Sam laughed.
"We knew then that the people on the planet had telekinetic powers and that one or more of them were telepathic. We also knew Nirrti hadn't yet made the perfect host for herself. The genetic manipulations we'd seen was unstable. We had barely scraped the surface at understanding what abilities those people possessed, and it could have been anything from enhanced senses to superhuman strength."
"I tried to get them to help, but I didn't have any takers," Jack lamented.
"I doubt they'd seen 'Superman' at their local theaters," Daniel remarked.
"It was worth a shot," Jack maintained as he thought back.
With so many of the planet's residents lurking near the cells, Jack called out, "Hey folks, how you doing? Jack O'Neill, Earth. Listen, originally we came here to rescue you, but as you can see we've run into a bit of a snag. So, if any of you can bend steel with your bare hands or happen to be more powerful than a locomotive, just raise your hand. Identify yourselves. Let us know where you are."
The people only looked around with uncertainty. No one said or did anything to help the imprisoned team.
Daniel approached his lover and quipped dryly, "They must not know what a locomotive is."
Jack didn't even bother to give the archaeologist a glare. He was too worried about how he was going to get his team out of this situation.
Then Wodan and Eggar approached and Jack observed that the latter was carrying Evanov.
~This is not going well.~
//End of Flashback//
"And that's where things got a bit worse," Sam told Pete. "They took me from the cell to Nirrti and she made me get onto the platform of her device."
"I didn't have a choice, Pete. She could have killed me in a second. She turned the machine on, and I remember seeing holographic projections of DNA chromosomes surrounding me. I can still hear her, Pete. She said, 'Now, let's see what you're made of.' That's when I felt it. It hurt like I'd never felt pain before. It did something to me. It was like Alebran said at the SGC. He could feel it inside, and so did I. I don't know how long she kept me in that thing and I don't remember much after she taunted me. The next thing I knew, I was back in the cell. I felt so weak. I was sweating, and I believed I was going to die."
"They took Jonas next," Jack told his friend. "I tried to stop them, from taking Carter and the kid."
"Jack wanted to go in their places," Daniel noted. "They only wanted Sam and then Jonas."
"JonasQuinn and I attempted to gain control, but their powers were too strong," Teal'c stated.
Pete nodded to acknowledge all the comments, but he was still only looking at Sam.
"The general and Daniel tried to make me feel better. They both provided their shoulders. I remember thinking for a minute that I was a limp Raggedy Ann doll. I'm not sure why, but I didn't know whose shoulder to rest on."
"I ordered her to rest. She wasn't in good shape," Jack recalled solemnly.
"I went back and forth for a minute, and I'm not sure where my head landed. I was so out of it."
"It was Jack's," Daniel told the blonde.
"Oh, well, I'm sorry, Sir."
"Well, you ordered me to rest, so I recall thinking that made it your responsibility to make sure I got some rest. Besides, we needed a way out and Daniel does his best thinking when he can pace. I knew he'd come up with something."
"Thanks, Carter," Jack said with a slight edge to his voice.
Chuckling slightly before sighing and returning to the hardest point of the story, Sam admitted, "I really believed we were going to die, Pete. I already felt dead, but then Colonel Evanoc worsened. Focusing on him took my mind off of myself.
"What happened to him?"
"He died, the same way Alebran did," Sam answered.
"He was a good man," Jack admitted, something that wasn't easy for him to say about a Russian.
"What happened to Jonas?"
"We weren't there, but, uh, apparently Nirrti recognized that his DNA was different than ours," Daniel answered. "She thought he could be her answer, and, well, Jonas said she even tried to seduce him."
"C'mon, Daniel," Jack spoke up with skepticism. "You really think a Goa'uld would go gaga for that teeth king?"
"He says she did, Jack, and I don't think he'd lie about that or anything else."
"Sure," the unconvinced Jack returned.
"When Jonas was returned to the cell, Jack tried to convince Eggar to look inside Nirrti's mind to get the truth," Daniel stated. "Eggar was afraid."
"You know, the Nirrti is a god thing," Jack groaned. "I didn't think I'd get through to them, but I had to try, and it was finally my turn to twist my insides all around.
After raising the cell door, Wodan called out, "O'Neill is next."
Pointing at the wet cot where Evanoc recently died, Jack argued, "Look, she just killed a good man. She's gonna do the same thing to the rest of us."
"Listen, please," Daniel besieged of their captors. "Together you're stronger than she is, you just don't realize it. Help us!"
Wodan used his telekinetic powers to draw Jack out of the cell, but Jack motioned that he'd go along without a fight.
"I'll be back, Daniel. It'll be okay."
//End of Flashback//
"I kept talking to them. I even admitted I wanted to kill the witch, but I kept after them to look inside her mind. They got me up on that platform thing and I thought my goose was cooked, but Eggar came through. He read her mind, realized I was right, and told Wodan the truth. Nirrti murdered Alebran and hundreds of their people and she was going to do the same to the rest of them." He sighed, "Wodan killed her."
"Nirrti?" Pete asked, facing Jack.
"He lifted her up in the air, let her plead for her life, and snapped her neck. She fell to the floor like a sack of potatoes."
"If she was dead, how ..." Pete looked at Sam, full of concern and curiosity for how everyone survived.
"Don't worry, Pete, the effects of the device were eliminated right away. When Eggar looked into Nirrti's mind, he learned how to use the machine. They fixed me just in time and then began to heal themselves."
"So they were able to undo the DNA changes?"
"They did," Janet chimed. "When I followed up, they told me they'd saved all but a handful they couldn't reach in time. They felt very lucky."
"I always meant to send them a movie," Jack quipped as he remembered his last conversation with Wodan and Eggar.
"It is done. You are as you were before," Eggar said when a bloated Sam regained her natural color and shape.
Feeling normal again, though still a bit weakened from the ordeal, Sam spoke, "Thank you," and stepped off the platform with an assist from Daniel.
"We can all be as we were before now that you have shown us the truth," Wodan proclaimed.
"Hail Dorothy, the wicked witch is dead." Seeing the deformed people looking at him in confusion, Jack explained, "It's a movie -- Margaret Hamilton."
"The point is, with Nirrti gone, you can get back to your lives, rebuild your village," Sam told the inhabitants.
"And we can help you, with food and supplies, medical attention, and," Daniel looked at his lover, "entertainment. Whatever you need, we'll help you."
"And once we get to know each other a little better, I'd really like a chance to study this machine," Sam requested.
Eggar and Wodan exchanged looks and then Wodan advised, "As soon as we have made our people whole again, we intend to destroy it."
"But, but this is an incredibly advanced piece of technology," Sam put forward in the hopes of changing their minds.
Jack quietly put forth his own opinion and interjected, "Carter, don't you think it would be for the best?"
"He's probably right, Sam," Daniel opined. "I mean, it's a lot to study, scientifically, but when you think about what could happen if the wrong person gets control ..." He paused and asked, "Is it worth it?"
With a slight smile, Sam replied, "You're right, both of you. I guess it would be best."
"To Oz," Jack urged his reunited team. Then he saw more confusion on the faces of Wodan and Eggar. "It's ... part of that movie," he sighed as he turned and walked away with his team.
//End of Flashback//
"No wonder you squirmed all through the movie," Pete stated.
"I haven't thought about that mission in years," Sam admitted.
"Neither have I, or I would have chosen another film. Y'know, though, SG-1 had a habit of doing movies better than the movie." Seeing the faces staring back at him, he groaned, "You know what I mean. We lived and breathed the science fiction that was real, not some movie fantasy."
"Yes, we did, Sir," Sam agreed.
"Indeed," Teal'c affirmed.
"I think that was the only time I really believed we were all going to die," Sam spoke.
"It was your mixed up DNA," Jack refuted.
Janet finished up the last of her drink and pondered, "Nirrti or Doctor Moreau: who was the most evil, as if there's any doubt."
"Screw 'em both," Jack answered. "Nirrti was real and the only thing I regret is not being the one to do her in. Eggar was right about that."
"Revenge for Cassandra," Janet put forth.
"He messed with her."
"There's another piece of this story, isn't there?" Pete questioned.
"Yes, but that's for another night," Janet answered, receiving an understand nod from the policeman. "So, Nirrti gets the evil vote."
"Well, maybe what matters is that they both were killed by those they hurt the most. I mean, it was the man-beasts who killed Moreau and it was Eggar who broke Nirrti's neck," Sam noted. "The parallel is a little too realistic."
"Next time, kids, we'll watch 'The Wizard of Oz' and sing along with Dorothy," Jack promised.
"You guys never found an Oz in your travels?"
Jack and Daniel immediately looked at each other, their minds in perfect harmony as they thought about the magical land they called Xanadu. It was a hidden world, one protected by the Nox, and while some of their children knew about it, few others on Earth did.
"No Oz," Jack replied. "We did find a nifty little alien amusement park, like the one in 'Star Trek' with Alice and the white rabbit."
"That's cool," Pete responded.
"Yep, space is one big star trek," Sam laughed, as did the rest of the group.
"Anyone for darts?" Jack inquired. Rubbing his hands together, he challenged, "Winner gets a couple of big, juicy, one-and-a-half inch mouthwatering steaks."
"Raw, or burned?" Janet teased.
"Doc, I love ya, but them's fightin' words," Jack threatened in fun, eliciting more chuckles in the room.
"Sim'ka?" Teal'c asked, knowing the hour was getting late.
"Oh, I want those steaks," Janet asserted as she sat up and stretched. "But first I need to make a little pit stop. Sam?"
"I'm with you, Janet," the blonde acknowledged. She leaned over and gave her husband a kiss. "I love you, Pete."
"Them's the best words I've ever heard," the good-natured cop replied as he imitated Jack's playful tone.
"Be right back," Sam said as she stood and, with Janet, exited the man-cave to use the nearby guest restroom.
"How close was it, Jack?" Pete asked in seriousness.
"Too close," Jack replied honestly. "She looked bad, real bad. I'm not sure how long she had, but it wasn't much."
Pete nodded and replied, "Thank you."
"It was the team."
"We're going to win those steaks," Pete vowed as he stood and clapped as a way to energize himself. "Let's go warm up," he suggested.
"We'll be right there," Daniel responded as he put his glass and a couple of others into the dishwasher.
Pete and Teal'c walked over to another part of the room, where the 'L' part of the bar was located. They engaged in challenging conversation, each man claiming they would easily defeat the other.
"Here are the other glasses, Danny," Jack stated as he handed over the empties to his soulmate.
"Jack, tell me something," the younger man requested while putting the glasses onto the racks. "We never really talked about it, but, uh, I know you. You offered yourself up to Nirrti, didn't you? I mean, in exchange for letting the rest of us go."
"What makes you think that?"
"Your team is always the most important thing on a mission. It's more than never leaving a man behind, it's making sure they come home, even if you don't." Daniel rinsed off an empty snack bowl, placed it in the dishwasher, and reached for a towel to dry his hands. "Sam was dying, Jonas was on her radar for what, we don't fully know except Nirrti thought he might the best fit as a host, and, well, we don't know what she had in mind for me or Teal'c. It just makes sense that you tried to make a deal."
"Okay, yeah, I did. That's my job, Danny. I'm responsible for everything that happens, to Carter, T, you, and," Jack sighed, "even Jonas. She didn't bite, though. I wasn't a big enough prize for her."
Daniel reached up with his right hand and caressed his husband's neck. His fingers played lightly with the silver-gray hair he loved so much. With his left hand, he caressed Jack's chest and then he leaned in for a moderately long, sweet, and loving union of their lips.
"You're my prize, Babe. I love you so much."
"I love you, Danny, to the moon and back and beyond," Jack pledged, sharing in another kiss.
"Hey now!" Janet called out as she returned to the man cave with Sam a few steps behind her. "You're not getting out of handing over those steaks, General. They have my name on them."
"Sorry, Doc, I plan on keeping them."
"Care to make a side wager?" Sam challenged, reaching for her purse and pulling out a twenty-dollar bill.
"You're on!" Jack exclaimed as he eagerly accepted the bet.
Daniel shared in the laughter and the good feelings that being with the two other couples evoked. They'd survived two decades of fighting to protect Earth from multiple enemies and threats. Now, though, most of their fighting was with game play of one type or another, and that felt amazingly good to him.
As he joined his eternal lover and their friends and listened to the crazy betting that was happening, Daniel mused, ~The wagers are higher than the price of the steaks, but who cares. It's not the amount of the bet, it's the joy of the battle. That's what SG-1 did all the time: battled. Somehow, we lived through it all.~ Interrupting Teal'c's latest best of fifty-dollars, Daniel called out, "One-hundred dollars says I'm the winner."
"Whoa!" a stunned Jack called out in laughter.
"You're on!" Janet agreed, tapping the big muscles on her husband's right arm as a signal for him to get more cash from his wallet.
"That's a big bet, Danny."
"Don't worry, Jack. I'm already the biggest winner here."
Jack grinned at the subtext and gave his Love a quick peck on the cheek before starting the game.
Jack and Daniel were deeply in love and they were never happier than they were on this night, in their home, with their children asleep in their rooms, and enjoying fun times with four of their dearest and closest friends. Neither could think of anything better than the goodness they felt now in Colorado Springs.
~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
Author's Note: Please feel free to email me with your comments or suggestions; constructive criticism, things you'd like to see, etc. A chronological listing of my universe is at http://orrymain.com