TITLE: The Alternative Factor
DISCLAIMER: All publicly recognisable characters and places are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment only and not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
SUMMARY: Written for the 2009 Tok'ra Resistance fic contest. Plot bunny: 'Lost City' part two. In an alternative reality, SG-1 was unable to reach the weapons platform at the Ancient outpost in Antarctica in time to save Earth from Anubis. Only Sam, Daniel, and Teal's survive. They manage to escape and use the quantum mirror to go to a reality where they have just died a short while ago.
CHARACTERS: SG-1, Jolinar, Martouf/Lantash, others
SPOILERS: Up to and including SG-1 season 7.
AUTHORS NOTES: * denotes thoughts or host/symbiote communication. In my story the Jaffa can not sense symbiotes (as in the 1st season of SG-1). It never made sense to me that they could in later episodes, since they do not have naquadah in their blood and do not communicate with their symbiote. Contains some dialogue from "Thor's Chariot."
Note that the last chapter has two versions, one that is NC-17 and one that is PG-13.
Chapter 1 summary: SG-1 attempts to reach the Ancient weapons platform in Antarctica in time to save Earth from Anubis's attack. When they fail they have to flee, the enemy hot on their heels.
[ Chapter 1: A New Reality | Chapter 2: Old Friends, New Friends | Chapter 3: Jolinar | Chapter 4: Getting Acquainted | Chapter 5: The NID | Chapter 6: Cimmeria | Chapter 7: The Tok'ra | Chapter 8: Mission with the Tok'ra | Chapter 9, version I: Together Again (NC-17) | Chapter 9, version II: Together Again (PG-13) ]
It was late evening when Sam awoke. For a few moments she just lay there, trying to collect her thoughts. She remembered they had returned from the Ancient outpost - Proclarush Taonas, where they had found a power source and learned that the weapon they sought was not there, but actually on Earth. They had then hurried back to Earth - desperate to arrive before Anubis could attack and conquer the planet. When they had arrived, they had detected Anubis's fleet and had jumped out of hyperspace closer to the planet than the enemy. However, the battle had already started and they had not been left alone for long. Hoping to find Atlantis and weapons to conquer Anubis, they had begun drilling through the ice of Antarctica. However, there had been no Earth ships left to protect them and Anubis soon detected them and dispatched a few of his ships. SG-1 and Bra'tac had been unable to complete the drilling and had been forced to flee.
That much she remembered clearly. She tried to focus her thoughts...what had happen afterwards? If only her head did not hurt so much.
Ah - yes. They had realised they would not be able to get past the enemy ships and away from the planet, without getting shot to pieces. Quickly running out of options they had decided to try to reach Stargate Command. They hoped to perhaps be able to escape through the Stargate and contact their allies - and maybe get help from them. They had just entered US air space when one of Anubis's ships had again detected their teltac. After that it had only been a matter of time before they were hit, not just once, but twice. The second hit had damaged the ship badly. That was the last thing Sam remembered.
She opened her eyes and sat up, groaning as the pain in her head temporarily increased.
"Sam?" Daniel hurried to her when he realised she was awake. "We were beginning to worry."
"Daniel...I'm OK." Sam looked around. "I'm guessing we crashed?"
"Oh, yeah. I don't know how much you remember, but the teltac got hit pretty badly and Bra'tac tried to land it. We were shot again just before we touched down, and hit the ground hard. You, Teal'c, and I...we're the only survivors." Daniel swallowed, suddenly looking pained. "Bra'tac and...and Jack...they're dead..." He sat down beside Sam, taking her hand.
She closed her eyes, thinking of her friends. So terribly many of them had died because of the Goa'uld; and now these two as well. She felt tired. It all seemed so hopeless to her. She squeezed Daniel's hand tightly. They could not give up! She sighed deeply and opened her eyes again, looking at Daniel. "How long was I out? And where are we...do you know?"
"A couple of hours. You hit your head, but Teal'c didn't think it looked too bad...he and I...we only got scratches." He thought for a moment. "We don't know exactly where we went down - it was pretty chaotic, you know...however, from what we did see, we believe we're no more than a couple kilometers or so from Nellis."
Sam nodded, then winced and immediately realised her mistake. Her head throbbed for a moment, before the pain subsided enough that she could concentrate on what Daniel had told her. "We need to get there - see if anyone is still alive there, and if there's anything we can do. Perhaps...perhaps they can get us in touch with Stargate Command or even help us get there."
Daniel helped Sam get up. She leaned heavily on him for a moment, then insisted on standing on her own. "I don't think there's anyone left. We've been listening to radio transmission while you were unconscious. Most of Earth's defences are destroyed and the planet has surrendered. Anubis's forces seem to be in the process of mopping up what resistance is left before he can enslave the rest of the population. We've lost, Sam. This time it really is over." Daniel looked like he had given up.
"We're still here. Area 51 is located at Nellis Air Base. We should see if there's something there we can use. I know they have several weapons under development." Sam looked around. "By the way, where is Teal'c?"
"He is doing some sort of Jaffa death rite for Bra'tac. We buried him and Jack a little while ago."
"I understand." Sam had determined that except for a few scratches and what was probably a mild concussion, she was all right. "We should really get going. We need to arrive at Area 51 while it's still dark - we don't know if Anubis knows about the place." She was quiet for a little while. "However, I think...before we leave I would like to see O'Neill and Bra'tac's graves."
Daniel nodded. He took her there without saying anything. Teal'c was still there, nodding somberly at them. A a little while later, the subdued group began their journey to Nellis Air Force Base and Area 51. It was a good thing it was night and they could walk hidden by the darkness. Had it been daytime, water would also have been an issue, since they were in the Nevada desert.
They had walked for a couple kilometers and could now see some of the buildings of the Air Force Base in the distance. Area 51 was located inside Nellis - there were some 10 kilometers more to go. Normally it would not have taken them long to walk such a distance, but they had to move slower than normal since Sam was not feeling well. They walked on past guard posts which were now deserted. Except for a few dead soldiers outside one of the buildings, they saw no signs of anyone. The buildings appeared to have been hit by staff cannons, probably from death gliders. Fortunately, there were no Jaffa on the ground.
Jaffa! Sam suddenly thought about something.
"Teal'c...how much tretonin do you have?"
"Enough for now."
"Meaning?" Daniel wondered.
'We will likely die in battle before I have no more - or reach the Tok'ra, in which case it is no longer a problem." He looked at his team-mates. "My supply will last almost 7 days."
"We need to get away from Earth and contact the Tok'ra before that, then." Sam said.
They walked on in silence until they were almost at the entrance of one of the labs of Area 51. The buildings seemed mostly intact, except for one of them where a death glider had crashed. It was eerily silent - until suddenly they heard the whine from several airborne vessels. Looking up, they saw a number of death gliders, as well as one alkesh.
Amid shots from the death gliders, they ran as fast as they could across the open space. Where they before had been grateful the moon was up, they now wished for darkness in which to hide. Finally, they reached the entrance to the building Sam hoped would contain something useful, and managed to get inside. She had been here several times before and quickly led them down stairs and corridors to the lower level labs where the advanced weaponry was being developed.
Desperately, they went through several labs, finding nothing that was close to being operational. Behind them they heard crashes and footsteps, getting closer and closer.
They had managed to break the seal on one of the lockers, and Sam was just looking through the contents, when the door to the lab was forced open.
"Sam...!" Daniel called.
She turned around in time to see a Kull warrior enter. Teal'c raised their only weapon - a zat'nik'tel - and shot at the enemy. As expected it had no effect.
"Shit!" Sam exclaimed. Looking around in desperation, she suddenly spotted a hand device which she frantically put on. Turning towards the Kull warrior she sent out a shock wave which lifted him up and threw him against the wall, momentarily stunning him.
"Wow...it worked!" Sam said, looking surprised. "Though I guess even they are not immune to the laws of physics..."
"Well done, Major Carter." Teal'c said appreciatively.
"Uh...guys?" Daniel pointed at the door. Another Kull warrior had appeared and the first one was already starting to get up.
"Damn." Sam focused her weapon and sent out another shock wave in their direction, before she and Teal'c turned to run, followed closely by Daniel.
They hurried out through the nearest door and down a flight of stairs. The Kull warriors were already following. Running down a corridor, they came to a single door which they tried to open, only to find it locked. Teal'c quickly raised his zat'nik'tel and shot it three times. The door disappeared and they went inside. The place was full of all kinds of contraptions - it seemed to be a storage room of sorts - but there did not seem to be any other way out.
"With no door to keep those guys out and no other way out, we're dead!" Daniel yelled.
"Perhaps not..." Sam pointed to the far corner where a large, rock-like contraption was standing.
Teal'c raised an eyebrow. "It was my understanding the quantum mirror had been destroyed."
"Yeah, well...it was supposed to have been. Must be...what do I know...a clerical error! Not that I'm complaining!" Sam ran towards it, the other following quickly.
They had just turned it on and were in the process of trying to find a suitable reality to flee to, when the Kull warriors came into the room and began firing at them.
One of the energy bursts from the weapons fire hit the quantum mirror just as Sam, Daniel, and Teal'c all dove for it.
The image in the mirror shimmered for a moment. Sam noticed it just as she touched it. It was replaced by a different picture just as they crossed over.
"Turn it off, quickly!" Daniel exclaimed, having seen the Kull warriors approaching in the other reality.
Sam immediately turned off the device. "We are safe - they have no device with which to turn it on."
"Good." Daniel breathed out in relief.
"This room does not resemble the one we entered from." Teal'c observed.
"No...well, the mirror has been moved a number of times in our reality - why not in this?" Sam said.
"Actually..." Daniel looked around. "I think I've seen it in this place before..."
Sam was quiet for a moment, thinking. "I believe you're right. We're at the SGC - this is where the quantum mirror was stored just after you found it, before it was shipped off to Area 51."
"So in this reality they decided to keep it here? Strange."
"It shall be interesting to see what else is different." Teal'c said.
"Yeah..." Sam looked worried. "Let's hope it's not too different."
"We can always try again, right?" Daniel now looked concerned as well.
Sam nodded. "We may have to, if any of us is still alive in this reality. We'll soon know."
"Entropic cascade failure? Yeah...I remember..."
Before they had time for any further discussions, the door was opened and several soldiers entered, followed by O'Neill.
"All right, stay right where you are..." He gave Sam, Daniel, and Teal'c a very strange look.
"Hi, Jack." Daniel said.
O'Neill gaped at them for a moment, then recovered and addressed the soldiers.
"Remove any weapons they may have." He turned back to Daniel and the others while Teal'c calmly handed over his zat'nik'tel. "You may look like Daniel...and Carter and Teal'c, but you're not. They're dead."
"Colonel, I know this may seem strange - especially if we're dead here, but I assure you we are who we appear to be." Sam said. "We came through the quantum mirror. You do know about it's ability to take you to alternate realities - right?"
"Yeah...but...wait a minute. Carter, what's with that ribbon device-thingie?"
Sam looked at her left hand, just now remembering she wore a hand device. "Oh - yeah. We were being attacked by Kull warriors and we only had Teal'c's zat to defend ourselves with. As you know, that doesn't do a thing against them. I spotted the hand device and tried it in a desperate attempt to do something...and what do you know, it worked! Even they are not completely immune to a shock wave coming their way! We may actually want to explore this further..."
"I have no idea what the hell you're talking about...wait...you know how to use that thing?" He pointed at the hand device.
"Yes...don't you know?" Sam decided not to mention Jolinar yet - who knew how different this timeline was. What if they had not even have met the Tok'ra here?
"No, I most certainly don't...but you'll get ample opportunity to explain later. For now we'll just take that..." He walked over and took the ribbon device from her. "Come with me. Doctor Fraiser is gonna check you out and see if you really are who you say you are. Afterwards we'll meet in the briefing room. Then you'll get your chance to explain yourselves." O'Neill started to turn away.
"Janet's alive?" Sam asked, surprised.
O'Neill gave her an odd look. "Of course she is."
"There are obviously differences." Teal'c noted.
"Yes...and there is something else. I just noted...don't you think Jack looks...um...younger?" Daniel whispered to Sam and Teal'c as they were being led out.
"Now you mention it...he does, actually..." Sam agreed. "Maybe he colours his hair..." She shrugged.
When they had arrived in the infirmary, Janet looked up from some papers. She rose immediately.
"Sam! Doctor Jackson...! and Teal'c!" Janet just gaped at them for a moment, very much in shock. "You're alive?"
"Yeah...the same! In our reality you're the one who is dead!" Sam said, still disbelieving.
"They seem to have come through the mirror - you know, the one Daniel went through?" O'Neill explained.
"Oh." She smiled. "Well, it's wonderful to see you again - even if you're not actually our people, I guess."
"Let's wait a little while before we celebrate, shall we? I'd like you to check them out...see if they really are who they say they are. No little nasty surprises. Can you do that?" O'Neill looked sceptical.
"I would say so. I have all kinds of scans stored, as well as samples - blood and tissue...to compare with."
"I'll leave you to it, then. Oh, and give Carter an MRI while you're at it!" O'Neill left several guards there while he went to talk to Hammond and arrange for a debriefing - or more likely an interrogation of their strangely familiar visitors. Could it really be them? Or at least a very close version? He really hoped it - actually, he very much wanted to believe it, but for now he would wait and see.