Rascals - Chapter 23

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About a week later, Malek surprisingly showed up, together with another Tok'ra scientist. With them were two SGC scientists, working on the problem as well. They claimed they knew how to reverse the effect of the alien device!

"Are you sure it will work?" Hammond asked.

"And more to the point - is it safe?" O'Neill demanded.

"Yes to both. We have tested it, and it worked without problems." Malek said.

"What did you test it on?" O'Neill wanted to know.

Malek looked a little uncomfortable. "A cat."

"A cat!"

They all gaped at him.

"Shouldn't it have been tested on a person?"

"I have looked at their data, and there is no reason to believe it would not work on a person. Everything looks sound." Janet said. "The cat was first transformed into a kitten, then regrown to adult form. It is fully healthy, albeit a little younger than before."

"That was due to a minor calculation error, which has been fixed." Malek said, with determination.

They discussed it for a lengthy period of time, then decided it was their best chance.

The children were asked, and they all agreed to take the chance.

"Since the machine was not meant to work in reverse, we cannot run it at full effect. Thus, we would prefer to reverse the effect on you one at a time." Malek said.

"Okay, sounds reasonable. Who's first?" O'Neill wondered.

"The Tok'ra council has discussed this and it was unanimous - they want Garshaw to be the first, in case our re-wiring destabilises, so not everyone can be reverted to their adult form."

"How do you feel about that, Garshaw? Yosuuf?" Janet asked.

Garshaw actually looked a little uneasy, but swallowed her nervousness and determinedly stepped forward. "I am ready."

O'Neill sighed. "Go on, then." He shared her uneasiness.

Suddenly Garshaw turned around and ran back to the other children, hugging them tightly. After saying goodbye to them, she did the same to Teal'c, Janet, and O'Neill - just in case things did not go well.

Everyone else went outside, while and Garshaw/Yosuuf stayed inside. The machine was activated remotely, and they heard the ominous rumbling from months ago, though it sounded different in pitch. It was followed by a strange thump and a crackling noise.

Nervous, the people outside waited a few moments more. When several minutes had passed, Malek, Janet, and a group of scientists and healers went inside to see what had happened. Why did Garshaw not just come out? During the reversal, the cat had not become unconscious like the children had, when they were de-aged, but it might well work differently on humans and symbiotes, than it did on cats.

Malek and the others soon came back out, carrying a larger version of Yosuuf on a stretcher.

"How is she?" O'Neill demanded, nervously hurrying to her. He was followed by an equally concerned Teal'c and the worried children.

"Unconscious, but alive." Malek frowned.

"Is there a problem?" O'Neill looked at Yosuuf and immediately knew it had not gone as expected.

"The device short-circuited before it could complete. As far as we can tell from our scans, she is completely healthy. However, as you can see, she did not age to the point she was at before being de-aged."

"No shit! She looks like a young teen! How old is she?"

"We estimate Yosuuf is approximately fifteen, and Garshaw is around nine." A Tok'ra healer answered.

"Great, just great!"

Much later that day, O'Neill and Teal'c were called to Hammond's briefing room, to be informed of the results. The scientists had spent the day examining the alien machine, and the doctors and healers had spent it examining Garshaw and Yosuuf.

Just as last time, Garshaw/Yosuuf had been unconscious for a while, followed by a period during which they did not remember anything. They had now regained their memory - both of the time before they were de-aged, and of the time they had been small children.

"What do you have to report?" Hammond asked. "Are Yosuuf and Garshaw all right?"

"Yes, they are perfectly healthy in every way. Their personalities have matured together with their bodies, and they are in every way as if they were fifteen and nine, respectively. Which, of course, they are." The Tok'ra healer said.

"They will have to grow up the rest of the way naturally, though." Janet added.

"You cannot run her through the machine again?" Hammond said.

"We could, if it was still working. However, it did not merely short-circuit as we thought before. We have examined it thoroughly, and there is no way we can get it to work again, short of rebuilding it completely, which we have no idea how to do. There is some chance we may be able to restore the original function, but it will not sustain the reverse function again." Malek said.

"What does that mean?" O'Neill asked, worriedly.

"Samantha Carter, Martouf, Lantash, Daniel Jackson, Anise, and Freya will all have to remain children until they grow up on their own." Malek looked unhappy.

"No reset button? Doctor Fraiser, tell me there is a reset button."

"I'm sorry, Colonel. There isn't." She looked apologetic.

"Come on! You can't mean that! I won't survive taking care of those six for another - what do I know - ten or twelve years!" O'Neill exclaimed. "What about you, Yosuuf? Garshaw? Will you be staying here?"

"No, we - Yosuuf and I - we have discussed it and we have decided we are ready to return to our duties among the Tok'ra."

"Won't you have problems with..ah...people not respecting you? I mean, you do look a little young to be a fearsome resistance leader..." He smiled wryly.

Garshaw smiled back. "On your world, perhaps, but it is of less importance among the Tok'ra - while hosts are rarely this young, we are used to not discriminate on the base of age - or race, gender...and any of the other things you seem to discriminate against here on the Tau'ri. Earth. At least if your television are to be believed, which I realise it often is not." She smiled wider. "I have learned a lot about you Tau'ri. While I like many things here, some of the things you do simply does not make any sense. No offense meant, O'Neill...Jack." She smiled again.

"Well, they often don't to use either, so don't worry about that."

Garshaw nodded, then turned to Hammond.

"General. Thank you very much for the time you have let me stay here. I apologize for some of the things I have done. Like yesterday, when I pushed all the buttons in the elevator as you were trying to get to the mess hall..." She flushed a little.

Hammond smiled. "Don't worry about it. It's been an experience, and for the most part a good one. Hell, it's been great having you here!"

After talking to Hammond, she turned to Janet.

"Doctor Fraiser...Janet. Thank you for all the times you have been looking after me and the others. I must apologize for causing...trouble, now and then."

"Like when you 'borrowed' a whole jar of cookies from my office?" Janet said, a glint in her eyes.

"Yes, like that." Garshaw nodded, then gave control to Yosuuf. "Sorry about that - and thank you from me as well." She gave Janet a hug before going back to O'Neill.

"O'Neill..." She gave him a wide smile. "Jack! It has been great! Thank you for taking care of us, and for usually not getting angry - unless we had a food fight in the mess hall...and I think you took that pretty well!"

"I'll miss you - but I won't miss things like that!" He gave her a warm hug. "Take care - and don't forget to visit."

"I will - and I have already promised Samantha and the others that I will come back and spend time with them now and then."

Yosuuf and Garshaw turned to leave. O'Neill watched her walk up the ramp to the open Stargate, together with the other Tok'ra. She was carrying a large bag with a number of things she had chosen to bring back with her.

He suddenly smiled when he saw a thatch of white plush stick out. She had decided to bring Mister Fluffy with her to the tunnels! He laughed to himself, imagining about how Delek and some of the others would react if she decided to bring the stuffed animal to a council meeting! He found himself hoping she did!  

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