Before you start reading, please keep in mind that English is not my native language. Therefore, have mercy with my spelling and grammar mistakes. If you notice some, please send those in a PM to me and I will make the changes.
This story was co written with KodiakWolfe13 - Thank you so much for your help :)
For DP: Season three only happened until "urban jungle"
For SG1: The episodes are a little jumbled, you may notice, this is intentionally - and I ask all SG1 fans for forgiveness, but I needed it this way.
Snow crunched under her feet with the distinctive sound from frozen water crystals pressed together. Single flakes were blown around from the wind together with more icy-cold into the face of the blond woman, her short hair moving to the sharp current of air.
Exasperated by the plain vicinity surrounding her, overwhelmed and crushed any spirit that had held her up for the last few hours. There was no help for them to call, nobody to save them, no hope. Sam jumped back into the hole she had previously pushed through and pulled out her radio to inform her best friend and superior about the situation.
"Colonel," Sam waited, catching her breath before she had to submit the devastating information: "... it's an ice planet!" she barely managed to say, "It's all there is, as far as the eye can see... No chance," she mumbled, releasing the button from her radio for the last time.
"Colonel...," she shouted, pushing herself up to her knees hoping that her voice might reach him. When she didn't receive an answer from Jack, panic and dread boiled over and one final thought came up, pushing everything else to the back of her head, they would die, both of them. With this fact clear in her mind she also decided that she didn't want to die alone and she didn't want Jack to die alone either.
"I'm coming down," She slurred stumbling to her feed and made her way down to the cave Jack and her had arrived in.
Unnoticed by the female air force captain and half hidden behind a grey stone bolder, the shadow of a person drew itself over frozen stone. A young man, mid-twenties, looked as much out of place in this vast area as she had, standing to the age old monument, head tilted in confusion as he watched her fist pop up from a hole in the ground and then after a look around jumping back into it.
While she had been clothed in the usual dark green and black army fatigues of a soldier, he was dressed with a pair of black pants and a dark green-greyish hoodie. Sturdy boots on his feet, which clearly had seen many miles, while still somehow holding together and a black overcoat that was just long enough to reach the middle of his calves was the last layer of protection against the wind.
Black hair grew like a bird's nest, just reaching the top of his shoulders, and livid blue eyes, holding to many memories for his appearing age. A faint shadow on his cheeks suggested that he had left civilization not to long ago.
Someone with a keen eye would notice that the layer of clothes the young man was draped in could never be enough to keep a human warm enough to survive. However, he didn't show any sign of hypothermia or that the cold even bother him in any way. It just added to the strangeness of the young man and his presence in the middle of nowhere.
Without further hesitation, Sam made the difficult way back to the hollow area around the gate. It was not with grace and more a sliding and falling as she finally arrived on the bottom of the cave, or icy grave that it soon would be.
The fear that she might already be to late gave her energy to scramble the last few meters and be at Jack's side again. "Colonel" she stammered, hoping against hope that it was not over, not yet... "I'm here Jack," ...not before she could say what had left unsaid between them.
Slowly two weary eyes opened, looking glassy and not really able to focus on anything else as the voice of the woman he had learned to respect. "…cold... so cold," He felt gratitude that he would not be alone in his last moments. He felt shame at his bringing her into the mess and his inability to save her. With that thought he closed his eyes again, his energy left and, in his head, Jack changed his previous statement; he did not regret death for himself; he regretted that Sam would die to.
"I know...it's alright," Capt. Samantha Carter saw his eyes open for a second before they closed again: "You can sleep now," In her head she knew this was probably for the last time. Using the last moment of consciousness, she huddled closer to the man and decided, should someone ever find their remains they would see that they hold only love for each other.
"It was an honour to serve with you, Colonel." Fatigue finally taking over and blackness swallowed her into a deep and probable eternal sleep.
Warmth was the first thing Captain Carter became aware of, as the black darkness of sleep slowly released her from its tight grip. Warmth, she repeated in her head, a sensation she did not link to a death in a glazier. Next to the feeling of a comfortable temperature came light, bright enough that she could see it behind her closed eyes. Too tired to actually open her eyelids, she just bathed in the pleasant feeling. It was good and if this was passing on, she didn't mind at all.
A sound to her left, the rustle of clothing, finally lifted the last mist over her thoughts. She was not alone and her heart jumped. Had Jack joined her in the next stage? She had to find out.
With all the energy Sam could muster, she turned her head towards the sound, opening sluggish her tired eyes.
Dark, messy hair on a lean figure, became slowly clear in her view. Voicing out the first thought this sight brought up she asked: "Danny?" Her voice was hoarse and barely audible.
The person, a young man she corrected immediately, turned away from the fire that was only a few feet away from her. He blinked, confused, then smiled when he saw her awake.
"I'm sorry to disappoint you." He breathed, "I'm not the Danny you might have expected, but yes that is my name." His voice was balm on her soul. Sam was unable to describe the feelings that washed over her. Not only were they no longer alone, the person that had found them also spoke English and he might not be their Danny, but it didn't matter. He was here and had brought them warmth.
"... Jack?" she asked, her eyes scanning for her friend.
Danny, as she now knew his name was, nodded to the other side of the fire, to a pile of blankets. "He is okay; he will live…I did what I could for him." He assured her, his words strangely aligned, as if he had not spoken with others for a long period of time.
"...Bleeds...internally..." Sam managed to mutter, fighting away the blackness for a few more moments. There was still so many questions.
He stood up, leaving his place by the fire, and walked to her. His steps were carefully placed and her trained eye recognised in him a skilled fighter.
"I have healed him, to the best of my ability's. He is fine, sleeping though. Other than that he should wake up in the next 12 to 16 hours." He crouched down next to her. "What's your name?"
Her voice only a whisper: "Sam."
Cocking an eyebrow he asked: "Sam? And you are friends with another Danny and a Jack? If the next thing you tell me is that you also have a Tucker on your team, I'll stop believing in coincidences." His words came now more fluently.
Unbeknown to Sam how she had manage to gather enough energy to do so, she somehow achieved a simple smile: "It's Teal'c actually."
The young man in front of her chuckled and shook his head. "Close enough."
Sam closed her eyes again. Tiredness began taking over again and the safe feeling of being in Danny's care lulled her back to sleep.
"I'm sorry Sam, before I can let you sleep, you should drink some." A cup was pressed to her mouth and she felt a strong arm helping her upper torso to a more upright position. An unfamiliar scent invaded her nose and she noticed this was not just water that was offered to her. She opened her eyes again and unspoken question was voiced just with a look into the ice-blue orbs of the young man.
"It's tea, a special blend of mine. It will help you regain your energy that you will need to heal." He explained, still holding the cup on her lips.
Not seeing any ill intent in his eyes, and more or less being at his mercy anyway, she allowed her lips to open and he poured carefully some of the warm tea into her mouth.
The taste and mix of herbs was unknown to her, although the effect was like she had downed one of the commonly known energy drinks in a high concentration, or one of Jack's homemade coffees; strong enough to eat the spoon plus the amount of sugar Daniel normally added in his batch. She signed in content, feeling better and revitalized already.
The cup was pulled away and the arm at her back disappeared, letting her slowly lay down again.
"So Sam, can I ask you a question?"
When she reopened her eyes, she noticed Danny had moved back. He now sat on his heels, his eyes focused on her and sparkling with curiosity. With a nod of her head, she gave him the okay to ask away.
"Where did you come from?"
An understandable first question.
"...Gate" she explained, nodding towards the ring in the middle of the room.
"You came through the portal? You don't look like one of them." Danny's gaze wandered also to the ring, his thought wandering; unable to follow him, Sam had her own question.
"Are there any others...a village...more help?" She asked knowing that they could not safely move Jack out of the cave with just the two of them, not that she was a big help anyway in her condition.
Scratching his chin he said: "There is a settlement, around one hour like a Hawk would fly. But the terrain is too rough to get you there at the moment. Once Jack has woken up, we will discuss this okay?"
She blinked once in consent.
"What happened before you came through?" He asked.
Not having enough strength left to describe the full situation back on their last off-world assignment, Sam replied: "...ambush."
He nodded in understanding and gifted her with another smile. "Okay, I'll keep an eye out then. You should sleep some more; I'll protect you and Jack."
Too tired to argue with him, she closed her eyes and with a whispered "Thank you." She drifted back into sleep, knowing subconsciously that she could trust this man with Jack's and her safety.
Loud shouting and a variety of voices, calling out for Jack and her, brought the blond captain back to her senses, leaving behind the comfortable darkness of sleep. A person came into her view with a bald head, clothed in a tick jacked with fur on the hood. She recognised the person, but could not believe this to be true. "General?" Sam questioned her eyes and sanity.
The older man smiled: "Yes Captain."
"You... came... through the... gate?" She muttered, tilting her head to the side, unsure if this was a dream or not.
"Not quite," He beamed at her, lifting his head and looking towards the others that had made it down the steep entry to the cave: a team of medics quickly scurried to the two.
"Danny?" asked Sam, hoping that her saviour was close by. Mistaken the question, for concern to her team member the General replied: "He is fine and with Teal'c." He looked confused, when the woman shook her head: "Not him, the other...black hair...saved...saved us." She slurred, fighting against the darkness that was not happy about her early release and was now calling her back to sleep.
"There was only Jack and you, nobody else." The perspective army man let his eyes wander through the cave. Besides the black residue of some burned down fire between the two, there was nothing much that would indicate a third person who had been with his two subordinate.
By the mention of her partners name Sam tried to right herself up to see: "Jack..."
Turning his focus back to the blond, Hammond hold her with one hand on the shoulder: "He is fine. A team of medics is already checking him over."
Finally letting go of the worries, all tension left her and she succumbed to slumber again, knowing that they had been found and were saved. Everything else could wait.
Three weeks had gone by since the incident with the second gate in the Antarctic. Almost a month passed without much more than interview after interview after interview happened, with the occasional medical check-ups in between.
Why? Because once they had arrived at the safety of Cheyenne Mountain and Dr. Frasier had taken over, they noticed that Jack's broken bones where healed. They still had been sore and she insisted to put his leg into a cast for a fortnight, but beside that he was fine. Not on the brink of death, Sam remembered him in before the mysterious "Danny" had shown up, for he was the reasons of the repeating interviews Sam had to endure.
Jack was not much help with that; he only said he had dreamed about a pair of glowing eyes. Not golden like a Goa'uld, but ice blue, that would put the shine of a 'Boron' infused diamond to shame. If Sam had not seen the vivid colour of Danny's eyes, she herself might have waved it off too.
Today and after all this time, General Hammond had finally called the complete Team of SG-1 into the briefing room.
Closing the door behind him, he waited only a few seconds, building up a comfortable tension that would aid in the meeting later on, then spoke: "12 hours ago, a new lead had opened up in regards to Captain Carter's and Cornel O'Neill's mysterious saviour."
The announcement made Jack and Sam straighten up their posture even more.
"We followed his words he had mentioned to Capt. Carter of a settlement, 'one hour like a Hawk would fly'," he quoted, adding air quotes with his fingers: "What bird he might refer to will always be a puzzle for me," shaking his head he continued. "The settlement is almost 200 miles from the location we found you and the beta Stargate."
"Maybe he meant Black Hawk," joked Dr. Jackson.
"Hopefully you will be able to ask him that himself," responded the General, allowing himself to smirk at the reaction of his favourite SG team.
Unable to hold back, Sam asked: "You found him?"
Instead of an answer, the General opened up a wide map behind him, pointing out a black mark in the right corner. "McMurdo, the settlement, I spoke of has only one store. The owner, a man in his late forty's, confirmed this 'Danny' character as one of his customers."
Jack and Sam shared a look.
"He also told us the young man is picking up supplies every six to eight weeks."
"So we just wait until he comes the next time and we will ask him," Suggested their present Danny.
Hammond shook his head, rejecting the idea on the spot: "We don't believe in a success should we follow a plan like this. With the way he avoided detection, while the beta gate had been removed from that cave, and leaving nothing behind that could positive identify him. Hell, without the almost miraculous recovery from O'Neill and the blood results from Cap. Carter, we might had had put that person as a frivolous dream of yours."
The results from Jack's medical had been part of many discussions over the last weeks, so that was no news for the four. However, that they had also found something in Sam's blood got the team's attention.
Excitement and concern fought in Cap. Carters mind, until she gave away into the question all the other had in their head too. "What have you found?"
Anticipating her question, the high rank officer pulled a grey manila folder from a stack of documents in front of him and handed it over to her.
"An unknown compound," He explained to the others while Sam was reading the more detailed information. Cocking his head slightly, he watched her read. "We found some herbs and other things, like minerals, we could identify, but not all are known and not in this combination."
"That is amazing," mumbled the blond army officer, the scientist in her intrigued about the new information.
Jack shook his head at her antics. He had always been the man with the two feet on the ground: "So what is the plan of action now?"
'Leave it to Jack to bring the focus of the meeting back to the point,' The General thought, sharing a rare smile with the salt and peppered haired army man.
"Placing a team in that settlement would be too obvious, not enough people to blend in and we don't expect a success. Therefore, we made a deal with the store owner. Next time this 'Danny' goes to pick up supplies, he'll add a provided GPS sender to the bags." He explained to the team.
"What if he finds it before we can get there?" asked Daniel.
"He didn't," smiled the General opening another manila folder, from the top of the documents and pulled out a single sheet of paper. "The signal was activated 12 hours ago, and had not moved for the last 10 hours," He handed the order to Jack as leader of the team. "You and your team will make contact and, if possible, bring him here."
Giving the words on the paper only a brief look, the Cornel acknowledged the command with a nod. "Okay gear up. We're going back into the freezer."
One long plane ride and several hours with a sturdy old helicopter later, SG-1 found themselves near the location Sam and Jack discovered the newly named "Beta" gate. Each of them was fitted with a thick parka over the usual uniform against the bitter cold and freezing wind. The only difference from an off planet mission they usually did would be that they had only their hand weapons on them; the automatic weapon that Sam and Jack normally had equipped, had been left in the helicopter that would wait for them at their drop of point. Teal'c staff weapon was also left behind as it would raise too much question or would be seen as a thread.
"How do we know that he will even show himself to us?" Inquired Daniel to Jack, "He did evade every search team that was sent out, while we moved the gate out of the cave."
"We don't," The leader of the group explained, "However, the signal should bring us, at least, close to his hideout." Giving Sam, who was holding the GPS device, a short nod, the blond captain pointed in the direction they had to follow.
It didn't take them long until they came to the entry of a canyon. Black stone mixed with white blue ice raised straight up to 20 meters, flanking two sides of a narrow path, which vanished from sigh after a short distance behind a curve.
"O'Neill." Teal'c pointed at a small rock of grey colour next to the entry where a sign with white marker was sitting. "That was from the search teams; they searched the canyon and didn't find anything." The Cornel explained the markings.
Sam checked the GPS signal again and said. "Well then, they didn't search good enough. The signal is coming from there." Waving her hand towards the canyon entry, Jack wordlessly took the lead and walked in.
Immediately, the surroundings became darker as the sun disappeared behind the tall walls. Walking in a row, as the way was narrow, they followed the path for a few minutes, slowly closing in on the location the GPS device was reporting from.
Suddenly, out of the shadows, a voice called: "Glad you could make it."
The four member of SG-1 turned around.
The three warriors of the group moved their hands towards their weapons out of instinct, only to see a young man in the mid twenties with raven black hair and icy blue eyes sitting on a small ledge three meters over their heads.
"I was afraid the granite would block the signal and I was about to position it closer to the top." He smiled, showing no uncertainties or worries to their actions or large number of people.
"Danny, I presume?" asked Jackson, stepping closer, straining his neck to look up to his spot; he was, by now, used to making the first contact with someone when they were on a mission. He deliberately forgot that they didn't really leave the planet this time.
"That would be correct." The other jumped down from the position he was sitting in and landed, effortlessly a short distance away from the team, "I'm happy to see you again Sam, Jack," He gave a short nod to the two before focusing back to the archaeologist, "and you are Danny and Teal'c, if I'm not mistaken."
The dark skinned Jaffa cringed in displeasure. The young man before him made him nervous; he moved as a skilled fighter while having the build of an athlete. Despite the cold, he was dressed in a loose pair of pants and a black overcoat that reached barely the middle of his shins. Not nearly warm enough for a human, as he was sure, and he wished he had his staff weapon. The metal in his hand would give him the knowledge that, whoever this person was, he would be able to defend his friends.
"Dr. Jackson," The brunette man said, holding out his hand to shake, as ever the more open one of the team, "Pleasure to meet you."
The other Danny took the offered hand and smiled. "Pleasure is all mine but with two Danny's, it will get confusing very fast. You may call me Phantom."
"It that your last name?" prodded Jack carefully. He, too, had seen the way the other man moved and, while he remembered the kindness this young man had shown Sam and him, it was to ingrained into him not to just trust someone unknown.
"Kind of." With an innocent smile on the lips, the now named Phantom replied, "Well come on in, you must be freezing. I have tea ready to warm you up." He turned around towards the wall behind him.
"You expected us." Said Sam, stating the fact and not asking.
Black hair moved in a nod. "Yes, the GPS sender in my supplies was a dead giveaway about a visit and I'm very happy that they decided to send you and not someone else."
She cocked her head to the right. "Why? What would you have done if someone else had come to search for the GPS signal?"
Phantom smiled and pulled out of a pocked to his overcoat a piece of paper. "They would have found the sender and this." He handed her the note.
I'm flattered for you interest in me, but I do prefer my privacy. I do not intend to share any information to the "Gate" or anything I have seen; therefore you don't have to fear discovery or something similar from me.
If you are in the position to know of Sam and Jack, please send them my regards, and I'm happy to share a cup of tea with them should they decide to visit. This also goes for their other team members.
Besides, please refrain from sending further search teams. I have my ways to stay hidden and your men would just be wasting their time.
Have a nice day.
The blond smiled, showing Jack and Daniel the note too. The cockiness in the note made Jack smile and it eased a little bit of his wariness, finally moving his hand away from the position where his gun was hold.
Even Daniel smiled, turning toward the young man. "You said something about tea?"
Phantom walked up to wall under the ledge he had sat on previously. "Here," He held his right hand against the ice and a big part became see-through, "come on in." Behind it they could see a well-lit, but narrow corridor that made a sharp turn to the left short after.
Sam was the first, stepping closer but not walking through as she held her out hand, hovering over the wall. "What is this, a hologram?"
"Not really. I will explain it in detail later, if you wish." He smiled about her curiosity and waited patiently until she decided it was safe to touch.
Her hand sank into the intangible wall and Sam shuddered. It was cold but similar to the first time they passed through the Stargate. She pulled her hand back, inspecting it in detail. Not seeing any changes to her appendage, she shared a smile with the young man before she turned to her team leader. "It feels like passing through the gate."
A few minutes later the four members of SG-1 were sitting in a cave, around the size of the Stargate room in Cayenne Mountain. Jack and Teal'c had each claimed a wooden chair, made out of two broad planks, angled together that they had a small seat with a long back rest. A thick cushion made out of sheep skin and other fur provided some comfort. Sam and Daniel found themselves on a stone bench, also covered with several animal hides to make it more comfortable.
The room was unexpectedly bright. The light came from a handful of shining balls, aligned close to the ceiling. Three braziers on stilts were placed in a loose circle around the room. The fire pits also provided warmth in the otherwise cold environment, making it warm enough that the team and Phantom had shed off the first layer of clothing, leaving the team in their army fatigues and the raven haired man in a comfortable and well-worn hoodie.
"I must apologize; I usually don't have people visit me for a cup of tea," Said their host, placing a tray of mugs and a hot water jug on the handmade stone table between the four. The mugs were a mix of different designs and the jug was well-used. He opened the sugar box, but instead of the white (or brown) sweetener you might expect to find inside, there was a fine green powder. Phantom took a spoon from the side, adding a small amount of the powder to each mug before he stopped by the third one, looking up at Teal'c again.
The Jaffa was sure, for a heartbeat, he saw the blue colour of the eyes fade into green.
"Hm, I'm not sure that this tea would be beneficial to you." The young men looked down to the spoon he was holding and added the powder to the last mug that was also standing a little on the side, together with a second, more piled up on the spoon and a third.
Curios about this comment Teal'c raised his eyebrow. "Why?"
Phantom smiled while focusing on his task: "This tea will restore and recharge energy of the person drinking it, but I'm not sure what your Symbiote will do. It's strong enough to possibly wake it up and I'm not sure you wish for something like this to happen, do you?"
At once, all four became rigid, ready in an instant for a fight.
"How do you know?" Asked Dr. Jackson, the strain of keeping his voice calm audible for his friends. He was speaking out loud what they all thought.
With the jug in hand, Phantom looked up and noticed that his casual reply had gone the wrong way and he smiled apologizing at his guest. "I'm sorry. I didn't wish to irritate you."
"How do you know?" Repeated Jack in a commanding voice that many recruits in the past had learned to fear. He couldn't say what annoyed him more; the serene demeanour of the young man before him or that every second it became more and more complicated.
"What? That he has a Symbiote or that he isn't from earth?" Asked Phantom, tilting his head to the side. Jack growled and rested his hand over his weapon, the threat unspoken but clear.
"Both." Jumped Dr. Jackson in hoping to avoid any further escalation.
The young man looked Jack straight in the eyes, holing the dangerous glare as if he was used to something far worse. His body transmitted calm and he remained unresponsive to the tense air around them. "I can smell that Teal'c is not from earth, because everyone born on this plant has a distinctive note of soil he has not. His scent is more that of dry sand, and I can feel that he is holding a second being inside his body, as his energy is shifting around it. I just guessed it as a Symbiote. For his location, it could also easy be a parasite but it's too large to have been undetected. Therefore, I predicted it to be a Symbiote."
"How can you just smell that Teal'c is not from earth?" Inquired Captain Carter. Like O'Neill, her hand hovered over her weapon.
Breaking the eye contact with Jack, Phantom turned his gaze toward the blond. "It's a long story I'm willing to share with you. First, I ask for your forgiveness should I have offended you," he bowed his head towards the Jaffa, "I hope you will accept my apology."
Teal'c could not say what he felt. The apology was sincere but the mystery behind the young man was grinding against his nerves. A quick look shared with Jack, who felt the same way as him allowed him to push his worries to the side, at least for the moment, and to accept the apology. "You are forgiven." He stated and waited for the young man to explain.
With an honest smile, Phantom continued to fill the four mugs where he had add green powder in it with the hot water. "I should have some peppermint leafs, if I you wish I can get you some?" he offered Teal'c but the Jaffa denied. "That will not be necessary."
With a shrug, Phantom placed the jug on the table and handed each human member of the experienced team one of the steaming mugs before he took the last one for himself, reclining on the remaining available chair.
Sam immediately recognized the smell coming from her drink. "This is the same tea you made back at the cave."
The male members of her group looked down into the mug with new curiosity.
"That would be correct, but it's a slightly different mix and, by far, not as strong I made for you back then."
"What is in it?" Requested the salt and pepper haired Colonel.
"Oh, I'm sure your scientist already analysed the components. It's a mix of herbs and minerals." Making a one-sided shrug, Phantom smiled behind the mug he was holding.
"Yeah well, they could not say for sure what minerals and herbs exactly were used. Would you elaborate?" Asked Dr. Jackson.
"I'll show you after I finish my story, if you don't mind."
"But you will share this information with us?" Sam asked and the black haired man, who gifted her with a smile and a nod.
"Well, where should I start," He mumbled, his eyes wandering to the ceiling, taking a sip. "Ah yes, I was born and raised in the US, in a town called Amity Park."
"Never heard of it," Remarked Jack, rolling the warm beverage between his hands.
Phantom smiled. "Doesn't surprise me, as it doesn't exist here."
"Here?" Enquired Dr. Jackson and Sam simultaneously, sharing a look before the blond connected this piece of information with the other information she had. "You are from an alternative dimension."
"I love an open-minded scientist, 'alternative reality – totally valid excuse'," Phantom mumbled and smirked while nodding his head in respect, "You are correct." He confirmed her thoughts.
Dr. Jackson chuckled, Jack's look was just too good. Thanks to the dry humour from the young man, some of the left over tension between the four and their host was relieved.
Jack looked at the two confused. "Sam?"
"The gate, he called it a portal," she explained her conclusion, turning from Jack to the young man again. "You came through the gate, right?"
Phantom confirmed this with another nod, taking a sip of his tea: "Your world and mine doesn't differ much from each other," He started to explain, "Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492, the Titanic sank in year 1912, and we had World War One and Two. There was only one major difference to your world I could tell, that is worth mention." He took a deep breath, "We shared our universe with second dimension and the barrier between the two had, over the time of several millennia, thinned so much that portals between them became an almost daily occurrence."
The four members of SG-1 shared a confused look, but, before they could start with more questions, their host hold up his right hand and stopped them.
"I know you will have many question and everything will be explained, but just let me finish first."
"You keep saying that. Will you really answer all questions we have?" Dr. Jackson asked with so much curiosity in his eyes that they almost glowed in the strange light from the ceiling.
Phantom confirmed: "As long it is in my knowledge, sure, and if there is something I can't tell you for a reason, then I will explain to you why." He waited for the four to acknowledge his conditions and continued. "So where was I, ah yes, we called the other dimension 'The Zone' or 'GZ'. First you should know this dimension was, unlike the human world, not bound to the laws of physic. Well, not all of them, at least." He chuckled, seeing the confused looks of his guest he continued: "As example there was no ground surface, no planet or anything. The sky is green and black, grass is usually blue."
Dr. Jackson blinked twice, trying to imaging the place Phantom described to them. Sam captured the clue, hidden in the words, first: "If there is no surface, how is there grass?"
"Floating islands. Some of them are the size of Manhattan and others much smaller. The biggest is," He remembered the land of the Far Frozen "I have to guess…maybe Cuba," He shrugged and added, "It took me several hours to fly over it."
"Are you serious?" Questioned Jack, feeling a headache coming as he tried to picture a world as Phantom was describing it.
Their young host stared to the older man. "Yes Colonel, the size of the islands depended on the power lever of the creature living there. I say creature, as they were not human." He tiled his head slightly to the right. "They had the ability to appear human, but they were, in fact, not."
"Fascinating," Mumbled Dr. Jackson.
Sam jumped in and asked. "What were they, if not human?"
Phantoms eyes wandered from Jack to Sam. "Unlike a human body, which is based on carbon, they are made out of energy."
The two scientist of the team looked at each other, wonder and excitement sparkling in their eyes. Both went through several theories in their mind on how this life form could come to exist.
Letting the group time to digest the information, Phantom took a long sip of his mug before he continued. "With that in mind, you should also know that they could manipulate this energy and shared several abilities, which made the human side of my universe believe that these beings were ghosts of deceased people, hence 'GZ' or 'Ghost Zone'. Only recently I became aware that this was incorrect."
"What kind of abilities?" Requested Teal'c to know, adding to the conversation for the first time.
Two blue orbs switched towards the Jaffa. "Flight, invisibility and intangibility." Danny deliberately left out possession, for that might have sparked a sour note in the conversation.
"Intangibility?" Asked Teal'c, confused.
Before the young man could explain further, Jack, used to this kind of question, jumped in. "The ability to pass through solid objects."
Cocking his head slightly to the side "Like Martian Manhunter's density shift?" he asked O'Neill.
Phantom laughed out loud, placing his mug on the table to prevent any spilling: "That's one way to explain this," shaking his head he smiled.
"The wall," Sam almost jumped out of her seat of excitement, when she connected the information. The other just looked at her confused, while Phantom turned his focus solely on her.
"So you caught that already," he bowed his head in respect, "You are correct, or at least partial, but we are jumping in the story, again." When he noticed the confused look of the others he added, "For the moment just know I'm what is called a halfa, a hybrid, and yes this means I share some of the abilities I previous mentioned."
"How?" Asked Daniel, untamed curiosity making him squirm in his seat.
With a sigh, Phantom refilled his mug with more green powder and topped it off with the still hot water. "The story is rather long, and for you to understand it and how I came to arrive in your world I'll have to start with my parents."
Sam shared a look with the others and saw that they all had noticed the same hesitation Phantom used when he mentioned his family.
The young man reclined back into his seat, avoiding the gaze of the others for the moment. "The name of my mother was Madeleine or Maddie for short. My father," He shot a quick glance at the team leader, "Jack." Phantom could see the older man flinch. "They both studied at the University of Wisconsin, both had a brilliant mind," He shared a secret smile with a memory only he knew, still staring into the empty air. "They were also 'slightly' crazy." He chuckled.
"They were one of the few people entirely convinced that there was a second dimension next to ours. At this time, it was not commonly known and, even though there were occasional visits from one of the occupants, were waved of as nonsense or ghost stories. With that belief, they started to build a portal to look into the GZ. The first one was just the size of a basketball and fit on a table."
Weaving his fingers through raven hair, Phantom calmed his bubbling emotions as he remembered his parents.
"There was an accident, when they tried for the first time to break through the barrier between the two dimensions," He let out a deep sigh. "The lab was destroyed and their lab-partner and good friend, at this time, got seriously hurt… he didn't die," The young man shook his head, "but had to stay in the hospital for years.
"After that accident, it took them 20 years to rebuild the portal again. This time it was much bigger and they had moved to the 'most haunted city' in the US, Amity Park. I can't say if they had come up with the theory that the barrier between the two worlds would be thinner there, or it was just luck, that they choose that particular city." He signed and then continued.
"In the meantime, they had married and became parents, first with Jasmine, my sister, and, later, I was added into the mix." A sad smile tucked at the corner of his lips. "We were both normal children, or as normal as you could be as the offspring to two crazy scientist. Jazz, my sister, was brilliant and a genius herself. I was just lucky not to have inherited the build of my father, who was as tall and wide as a wardrobe." He chuckled.
"They assembled the new portal in the basement of our house with a two and a half meter diameter and it was big enough to walk in, even for my father. A week after my fourteenth birthday, they called my sister and I down, as they were finally ready to start up the portal for the first time."
"How could they do that, after what happened the last time they tried the experiment?" Dr. Jackson asked as he glanced towards Jack, knowing how protective he became when children were involved.
Phantom smiled. "I did say my parents where a 'little' bit nuts, right?" They all noticed the way he stressed the word 'little.' "But rest assured, nothing happed and I mean that literally. They plugged it into the wall and nada, zilch, no explosion, no awesome light show, and no portal to the GZ."
A dry laughter came up his throat: "Later that day, my two best friends came over and asked me to see the portal, as my parents and my sister weren't home at this time so nobody could object. Samantha, but she preferred to be called Sam," Phantom here grinned at the blond. "Dared me to go into the portal." Shaking his head, he added, "I know it was stupid and reckless, but we were kids." He shrugged and continued, "I did, however, put on a hazmat suit before I walked in." He sighed again. "As you might have guessed, something happened. As brilliant as my parents could be, especially my father, they had the tendency to be idiotic at the same time. In this case, they built the actual on and off switch inside of the portal. One lose cable on the ground, a stumble, and I pressed the button while still inside."
Pain flared in his eyes while Phantom was captured in the memory. The four members of SG-1 looked shocked, not yet understanding what they were told at this point.
As the young man continued, his voice was much darker now. "It was the single most painful experience in my life and I do not have the words to describe the pain I felt. The effect, however, was that the high voltage that the portal was powered with destroyed half of my human DNA. I would have died, if it wasn't for the portal opening up and flooding the portal with ecto-energy, which bound to myself, rebuilding the DNA that was lost, changing me forever.
"It felt as if eons of time had passed when the pain finally ceased and I managed to stumble out and into the arms of my two friends. With the alteration of my DNA also came some changes that I was not aware at this moment."
"How did you survive this?" Asked Sam, calculating the percentage of the chance that a human could survive an accident as described. She soon came to the conclusion that it should have killed the young man before her.
He shrugged. "I don't know and I'm aware of the fact that I should not have lived through it. Later, I learned that in all the time of the two worlds sharing one universe, there has only ever been one other person that had this kind of accident and survived."
"Who was the other?" Jack inquired.
Phantom cringed. "My parents' old lab partner and previous friend; his name was Vlad. He, as did I, gained certain abilities and one of which was that we now had a second form in which we could transform. The new form was still human-like. Our hair inverted its colour. While his skin changed to blue and his eyes became red, my form became more tanned and my eyes turned toxic green."
Holding his hand up, Phantom interrupted Dr. Jackson. "I will show it later; promise." He reassured the man with a smile. The archaeologist nodded. "Okay."
"He called his second form Plasmius," Phantom shook his head, "and he used the abilities for selfish reasons, as in, he stole a lot of money and, with it, built his own company where he developed high tech items, many from stolen blueprints or other illegal sources." He breathed deeply, scowling at the memory. "We didn't get along, for many different reasons and I will come to that later on. For now, let me tell you what happened after the portal between the two worlds became stable."
The other four nodded and he continued. "It took me a month to get a basic control over my new found powers. Intangibility was especially difficult, leaving me banned for life from handling any breakable items at my school and a teacher parent's conference, in regards to me losing my pants several times in public."
O'Neill smirked. "You must have been the hit on by the girls then."
With a deep blush on the face, the young man sent the older a mock glare. "With my parentage, I was already at the social bottom. Adding my new and, at that point, still unstable powers, I was in the social sewer."
"Urg," Sympathised Dr. Jackson, remembering his own time at school. "I'm sorry. What did your parents say?"
Phantom gifted the scholar with a grateful smile. "Thank you." Danny took up his discarded mug again. "They didn't know."
"Huh?" Jack looked perplexed.
"I said it before. My parents where ghost hunters and extreme ones, at that. I could not tell them that their only son had become what they most hated."
The shock that appeared on the faces of Sam, Jack and Daniel was balm on Phantom's soul and he knew that his decision to help them at the beginning was the right one. Even Teal'c, who couldn't fully comprehend the situation, was showing empathy with his dark eyes.
"They...they didn't hunt you, right?" Asked Sam, her voice laced with concern.
Phantom avoided looking at her, keeping his eyes focused on his cup. "I never blamed them; they didn't know that it was me. I also had been framed by some of my enemies over the time, making me public enemy number one."
The silence drew on for a minute and the team slowly became uncomfortable, not knowing how to respond to something like that.
An awkward cough later, Phantom continued. "With the now stable portal in place, entities that we called ghost, at this time, entered our plane of existence and started to cause havoc. I was involuntarily pulled into the fight as they attacked my school and my friend Sam. Thanks to some of the more thought through inventions from my parents, I was able to win my first encounter and capture the 'ghost' in a devise that allowed me to send her back to her dimension. In the process, it got me more enemies, unfortunately."
Carting a hand through his raven black tresses, Phantom checked the expression from the members of SG-1. He could see interest and also concern, but they were partly still in shock about his confession about his parents. In his head, Danny sighed, knowing that he should use the moment to continue on with his story. "As the months went by, I learned how to fight those 'ghosts', got new abilities and, on the way, made some friends and allies. Then my parents' college reunion came around. In truth, the whole thing was staged by Vlad, the lab-partner I mentioned previously, to kill my father for revenge and to reunite with my mother.
"That day, I learned that I was not the only human with 'abilities' and that I was also undoubtedly and hopelessly out matched against someone who had the time to master his powers for over twenty years." Danny let go of an annoyed groan shaking his head. "Vlad had become obsessed with the idea that my mom and I should join him, as wife and son." Phantom could not suppress a shudder at this point.
"Your parents?" Inquired Sam.
"My dad was totally oblivious of Vlad's hate for him, thinking him his best friend and old school buddy. My mom soon became aware about Vlad's intention and made it clear that she didn't feel the same. However, Vlad had his mind set and didn't budge; telling himself that she was blinded by my father Jack and she would see reason once he was out of the way." A smirk tugged at the young man's lips as he thought about the time Maddie had emptied a hot tea pot on Vlad's lap.
"After a while, the government got involved and they dedicated a new agency to the single goal of eradicating the world of any 'ghost', I included. They called themselves the "Guys in White." It was a horrible name."
"Guy's in White? Seriously?" Asked Jack, one eyebrow up. "Were they all wearing white suits or what?"
"As a matter of fact, they did. Every one of them had an obsession about cleaning too." Said Phantom with a smirk. "They were the laughing stock of the government and could not catch a fly. At least, the first year they couldn't." His expression turned sour. "Then they learned. Collecting and combining technology they had stolen over time, the GIW slowly got a hold of the 'ghost hunting business'."
The young man leaned forward, resting his elbows on the knees and twirling the mug between his hands, as Jack has done before, staring at the greenish colour liquid inside. The four immediately took note of his change and each of them came to the same conclusion. The next part was the heart of the story he was going to tell.
"Three years after the incident that had changed my life and future, I was seventeen, close to eighteen now. Vlad and I had a terrible fight." A dry chuckle barely covered the foul mood of the speaker. "I can't even remember what it was about anymore." He shook his head to clear away any dark feelings that was a thread to his barely composed demeanour and he continued again with a strong voice, "The fight got us out in the open, high above the park and in the center of our city. It was bad. We both were bleeding from several burns and cuts, and we were so focused on each other that we didn't notice the arrival of the GIW."
His hands stopped in their motion and he had to focus to keep them from trembling.
"It was an unfortunate series or events. A prototype weapon, in combination with an ice blast released from me, hit Vlad in the lower chest area: the location of our core." He pointed at himself just at the end of the sternum. "It's a very sensitive spot when we are in our other form."
Phantom swallowed, the grip around his mug intensified. "Vlad stopped his attack immediately, the energy blast still in his hand as he looked at me. I will never forget his look of surprise, his red eyes turning blue as he changed back to his human form, 50 meters over the ground."
Daniel was about to interrupt but Sam placed a hand on his leg, shaking her head slightly, ordering the other male to stay quite.
"I acted on instinct and caught him before he hit the ground, simultaneously teleporting us to his laboratory at his mansion."
"Teleport?" Cracked Daniel, before he was hushed again from Sam.
Phantom just nodded his head in confirmation, his eyes never straying from the mug in his hands.
"Oh my God, Vlad," Danny's hands trembled in fear while he tried to apply pressure on the wound of his arch nemesis, red blood gushing over his pristine white gloves, "w…what…must I do?"
Pale human hands cupped his. "There is nothing you can do, Little Badger."
The finality in the words hit the younger halfa like the projectile that had pierced through Vlad's core.
Tears streaming down from glowing green eyes, Danny shook his head: "There has to be something I can…I…I didn't…"
"I know, Daniel…no… it's okay," A wet cough interrupted the older business man. Somehow, Vlad managed a smile, which was more of a grimace. "It's better this way…and I'm glad it was me…*cough* and not you…"
"No…no…" Stammered Danny over and over again, clearly in shock.
When the younger didn't stopped in his ramblings, Vlad repeated with more force, "Danny."
The nickname coming from the older made Danny stop short, finally focusing. "I need you to lis… listen," Vlad waited until he saw the otherworldly green eyes were less glassy, showing that the young boy was paying attention. "You have to destroy…destroy everything, they…my research…everything…they have…they have seen…you…you understand?" He waited for Danny to acknowledge the order he was given; then he rested his head back on the table the younger halfa had placed him on. "The pass…password…Daniel…Masters."
"He died in my arms." A single tear escaped Danny's eyes, the emotion running rampant in his heart. Somehow, he managed to keep them from overflowing.
"My condolences." Mumbled Sam, breaking the silence and their host granted her words with a small but teary smile.
"Thanks." He nodded in her direction. "We may have been enemies, but I never wanted his death." He sighed deeply, placing the mug on the table before him and reclining back into his seat. His arms crossed over his chest and he firmly avoided eye contact with anyone. "After that, I deleted all his research, as he had asked me to do."
"Why would you do that?" Sam asked. For her, as a scientist, it was a sacrilege. The work of a lifetime... lost.
"The GIW could never get their hands on the information." Ice blue eyes focused on her and the blond felt a cold shiver running up her spine. "It contained information on who I was, DNA samples, and how to replicate the accident. Can any one of you imagine what a corrupt government could do with even a handful of people with similar powers as mine?" Phantom shuddered by the simply idea.
Jack blanched. They may have not seen what the young man before them was capable of but the minimum even he had caught onto made him cringe. "I think I know what you mean," He added quietly. The blue eyes swapped to him and he received a grateful nod.
Sam was about to voice her apologies as their host changed his focus back to her. "I understand your point; really, I do. Just so you know, I only deleted the information on Ectos. The other research Vlad had done in the past was saved in backups, placed in all the different companies he owned around the world.
"That was very thoughtful of you." The scientist expressed her gratitude with a smile.
He smiled at her then turned his focus back toward the rest of the group. "I knew with the secret about 'halfas' out in the open, the GIW wouldn't need much time before they connected the information and came to the conclusion on who my human half was. So, after I had wiped Vlad's server of all the information, I sabotaged the portal he had in the lab in the way that it would explode, destroying any hard evidence such as weapons and other inventions that would be dangerous. Vlad's body was incinerated, in the explosion as well.
"My plan was to go home, hoping my parents had yet not seen the event from the park, collect everything I could, and run for it. There was no way I would let them or the GIW capture me... to make me their lab rat."
"You are a human being; I was told there are laws that would protect a human from experimentation." Teal'c pointed out, slightly confused.
"Yes, but, in their eyes, I wasn't a human anymore. The government had also not long before this the 'Anti-Ecto-Control-Act' released, that would allow them to capture, seize, and experiment on any Ecto-being they could get their hands on, including a half-human hybrid like me."
"That is horrible." Daniel stated. His eyes wandered toward the Jaffa in their midst, thinking about what his fate could have been with a similar law passed.
"What happened next?" Jack surprised everyone in the room with the question. The Colonel knew better than most of them how the army and the government worked with possible threats, and without General Hammond's interference, he was sure that his friend Teal'c wouldn't have the freedom, as limited as it was, he had now.
"When I arrived at home, my parents were already waiting. Apparently there had been a news wagon in the park who had filmed the fight between us and then Vlad's change back into his human half. It streamed the information all over the world instantly. My parents had seen it somehow and suddenly every piece of information they had clicked into place; all the evenings I had come home after curfew, all the absences and lateness at school, my sleep-deprived state and the many injuries I had come home with over the last few years."
Dread was building up in the four member of SG-1, afraid to hear what a couple of ghost hunters would do with their own child that was half the being they hunted for living. So it came with a small surprise to see the fond smile appear on Phantoms face.
"My mom tackled me in a hug only a mother could give, mumbling apology over apology for all the things they had said and done over the years, thinking they were hunting a ghost and not their own son." The smile dimmed a little but was still present. After a short inhale, the young halfa continued. "My father took a little longer but he, too, collected me in his arms, apologizing for the threats he had shouted at me. It took my sister Jazz, who was in the know about me being Phantom for years, showing up to remind us about the dire situation.
"Jack, my father, argued with my mom about making a stand, not wishing to leave behind his home and his invention, but mom convinced him that the government and the GIW would stop at nothing to get their hands on me, nor would they stop at using my family to get them to do their bidding.
"Once the decision was made, I asked my mother and sister to go and get my friends, as they too would otherwise be drawn into this. Luckily, both had turned eighteen already and I knew that they had no issues coming with us, until the most of the storm had blown over."
"Was there nobody that would speak up for you? You did protect your town and…" Asked Daniel.
Phantom just shook his head, a sad expression on his face. "With Masters' death, any high influence we could muster was gone." He let out a sigh, leaning back into his seat. "Once my sister and mother were gone, my father and I got to work. We had to pack all weapons that we could take and destroy everything that we couldn't, including the portal.
"We had guessed wrong." Danny's eye's glassed over. "We didn't have nearly enough time to complete our task as the GIW came in, guns blazing, shooting at everything in their sight. My father Jack..." Phantom swallowed.
The reinforced metal door shot open. Danny and his father, who stood at the entrance to the weapons' vault, looked up. The shock of seeing the small army of white-clad operatives froze Danny on the spot and it was his usual goofball of a father that reacted instinctively to protect his only son. Before anyone else could, Jack raised the Fenton Bazooka that had been next to him on the desk and shot at Danny. The device build to create a miniature portal with the purpose to suck in any ghost in the direct vicinity.
The halfa, who was currently in his ghost form, didn't had a chance to avoid the blast. The last thing Danny saw was his father getting hit by the fire from the GIW agents and then seeing the man turning, somehow ignoring the mortal wound in his chest, aiming his next shot at the still active portal at other the end of the lab.
A tremor rippled through the last inches of the temporal portal that had sucked in the young teen before it closed down completely.
Having lost his orientation tumbling through the pathway between the two worlds, Danny took a moment to reorient himself again. When he did, the first thing he noticed was the permanent portal that had been there just seconds ago was gone… forever...
"He died." Ice-blue eyes searched out the dark brown ones from O'Neill. "He sacrificed himself for my escape. In the process, he caused a massive explosion, taking out any member of the squad that had come to capture me while destroying the last man-made portal to the zone." Tears trickled down his cheek.
"I…" Jack, out of words, looked at Sam for help and she interrupted, "We are sorry."
"Thank you," Danny said, avoiding their eyes while swiping the salty liquid from his cheeks.
They all stayed quiet for a few moments, startled out of the stupor by the surprisingly steady voice of the young man in their mid when he continued talking.
"It was then that I learned that those supposedly 'ghosts' that had attacked my home were actually a different species."
"I don't think I can follow?" admitted Jack.
"Sorry, I had never to tell my story before. I think I've jumped a little bit too far." Phantom muttered. "So yeah, uh... back to the moment after I found myself stranded at the zone, I flew to the home of my teacher and guardian, Clockwork. He was one of the last ancient 'ghosts' and extremely powerful with the ability to control time."
The four team members stiffed by the word ancient and that this being somehow had the power to control time. If they could trust the words of the young man, then this was eventually the missing link to the 'Ancient' that had created the numerous Stargate all over the galaxy, in their world.
"I may have, instead of asking nicely, demanded that he reset the day, to prevent everything from happening." A slight blush tinted Phantom's cheeks pink, bringing it to a more healthy shade. "As an excuse, I was very emotional at that time, losing both my father and the only other halfa in existence in one day. So when he denied my request I…I kind of destroyed his place and he had to freeze me in time before he could knock me out." In a nervous habit, he scratched the back of his head and neck and he avoided the eyes of the four.
"When I came back to myself, Clockwork showed me the events that took place while I was out for the count."
"How was he able to show you?" Sam inquired.
"He had these huge mirrors that allowed him to view everything that is happening on earth and also in the zone. They are fuelled by his powers so that he can watch over the past, present, and future. What did he say…ah yes," imitating the voice of his mentor Phantom quoted "'other see time like a parade, one thing after another. I see the parade from above, all the twist and turns it might…or might not take'."
"A little full of himself?" Jack chuckled.
Phantom shook his head. "No, not in the slightest. Clockwork is the most powerful being where I come from." He coughed a little at the eight eyes staring at this declaration. "Yeah, well, he'd never misused them and there's also a council of observers but we're getting off topic."
Getting a short nod from Jack to confirm it was okay, the young halfa started again. "Clockwork showed me what had happened the moment I had been sucked into the zone. The final shot my father made broke the ecto-filtration system of the portal: very crucial piece of the portal, causing a massive explosion. Taking out every intruder of our home but also the house, and most of the street surrounding it. Nobody could have survived in that and when my mother arrived together with Sam, Tucker and my sister they thought me gone as well. The disaster was enough for the government to lose all interest in my family and friends, in fear of losing their face if the truth ever was fully discovered.
"Clockwork explained to me that, should I go back, the government would hunt me down, kill the rest of my family over time, and never stop until they caught me. Experimentation and torture would break me at some point in the future, causing the balance to tip to the favour of the humans and a devastating war would follow."
"War?" Teal'c inquired.
"They had planned to recreate the accident that had given me my abilities so that they can create an army of halfas, as if one megalomaniac with powers was not already enough." Phantom huffed.
"Speaking from experience?" Daniel remarked with a feebly smile.
Dark hair shook with the head in confirmation. "Dark Dan. He was something that I could have become under certain circumstances. In ten years time, he took over one city at a time until only our home town was left. With a little help from Clockwork, I stopped him and also the event that occurred for me to become him." Phantom explained, frowning at the memory of Dan and the fight in the Nasty Burger ruins.
"Wait, you fought against your own future self, to prevent him of taking over the world?" Sam surmised and Danny could hear the colonel mumble angry, rubbing circles into his temple, "I hate time travel…"
After a long moment of silence, where all four men and one woman followed their own thoughts, Jackson, ever the curios one, asked, "What happened then?"
"Well, as I said before, I was stuck in the 'zone' and beside the looming threat from the GIW, I argued with Clockwork that if he would not let me go, the other ghost would wreak havoc in the human world.
"That was the moment he decided to let me in on the secret of the supposed 'ghosts' of the zone. The zone itself was not a dimension inhabited by ectoplasmic post-human conscious. Long ago, it had been a separate dimension with creatures formed from energy. Over time the barrier, between their world and the human world, weakened and the first natural portal formed. At the beginning, only in special location, that later would be declared as "haunted" and over a few hundred years, the portals became more frequent.
"When an 'Ecto' passed one of those portals and slipped into the human world, they sometimes crossed paths with a humans that had an obsession so strong it burned itself into the energy of the "Ecto," making the human's obsession their own. With the abilities an 'Ecto' possessed, it was easy to mistake them as 'ghosts' and they believed that they were ghosts themselves."
"How could they forget what they are?" Daniel questioned, wariness in his eyes and his posture stiffening up defensively.
Their host shrugged. "What I told you didn't just happen overnight. This is just the summary of almost 50,000 years of history. 3,000 years ago, the human race believed the world was flat like a pizza and that the sky could fall on their heads if they didn't sacrifice a goat every month and a virgin on a solar eclipse."
A chortle passed Jack's lips. They knew, at least, in their world it had been the case, way back then the human race was mostly enslaved by the Goa'uld.
Danny quirked an eyebrow, but didn't ask the salt and peppered haired man what had humoured him at his words. He pushed his own curiosity aside and continued, "Anyway, Clockwork explained that with both man-made portals closed, the portals between the two realms would be less frequent. Not completely separated, but no major ghost would pass and the better human 'ghost' hunters would take care of those that did. At least for the next few years."
"What happened then?" Sam asked after Danny had been quiet for some time.
Phantom shook himself out of his memory. "Oh…he kicked me out."
"What?" Sam, Jack and Daniel simultaneously shouted. Even Teal'c raised an eyebrow.
"I thought you said he was your guardian?" Daniel questioned.
"He is…or was," Danny admitted with a shrug. "…anyway, he is also the Master of Time, therefore he knew of the outcome if I had stayed. With him, I was constantly reminded of my own world and the little family I had left. So he said that my friends Dora or Frostbite would help me and pushed me out of his tower."
"That wasn't very nice of him…." Daniel mumbled into the slowly cooling mug of tea he was sipping. Memories of his own childhood at the orphanage came back to his mind.
Danny waved his namesake off. "Maybe, but it was for the better. I have total faith in Clockwork and he did everything for a reason."
"Then why did he kick you out, after you lost your father and was, more or less, banished forever from your home and the rest of your family?"
"To stop a world ending war." Danny replied dryly.
The others blinked in confusion. This time it was Sam that voiced the overall concern. "I thought he did that already by not letting you back."
"The war between the two species was inevitable. If the GIW had captured me, then they would have the upper hand and, at the end, they would have conducted a genocide on the 'Ectos'. As I didn't return, it took them much longer to learn about their weakness; their hatred for the different was just too much to ignore. The war following would devastate not only the 'ghost zone' but completely eradicate human life on earth."
Jack stared at the young man sitting in front of him, staring into those blue eyes, not knowing if he even wished to believe the statement he just had been told; that humans could do something like that. "That's even worse…" He muttered, shaking his head.
"So what did you do?" queried Sam.
"I went to my friend Frostbite. He and his clan had their own territory and I knew it would be safer for me at this time to go to him, instead of Dora's kingdom. Going to Frostbite allowed me the time to grieve over my loss and I could complete my trainings.
"Time passed by, I mourned my loss and learned. First, I completed my training with Frostbite. Using my powers helped me with my "banishment" as you phrased it," Phantom said as he nodded towards Daniel.
"My last day of training included a survival test. The island of the Far Frozen, home of Frostbite and his clan, was one of biggest areas in the zone, and a permanent blizzard raged war against his inhabitants. A human could not survive in the cold more than a few minutes and it was debated if I should even try to finish the test."
The four team members remembered their own survival in the ice, which had led to this encounter.
Phantom took hold of his mug again, downing the rest in one go. "My stubbornness didn't let me go of this challenge and, in the end, I did the test." The black hair swished, as he shook his head fondly.
"I almost died that day… again," He chuckled about the absurdity in that situation. "At night, I had to find shelter and somehow I was able to locate a cave, hidden in the ever frozen ice. I hadn't even settled down completely when the surface of the cave shattered and I was dumped in…a sort of…chamber." He shrugged at this point, not knowing to label the eerie feeling that had overcome him when he had regain consciousness and found himself reverted back to human form at the bottom of the cave.
"What I discovered there… well, it's difficult to describe… though in one word… it was knowledge."
Sam, Jack, and Daniel blinked in confusion before the curios doctor Jackson asked, "What do you mean?"
"The walls had been covered with countless books, old tomes as thick as my fist. Something happened, I don't know what, only that when I opened the first book, there were words I had never seen before. There was a bright flash of light; I was hit with something. Pain erupted in my head, and a moment later, the words suddenly made sense."
Sam and Daniel shared a concerned look. Could it be Goa'uld tech or even the technology of the Ancients that their young host had encountered?
"It was the collective knowledge of an extinguished species, which somehow entered the zone on the flight from a widespread epidemic of their dimension. When they entered the zone, they ruptured the connection between the human world and the zone. It was too late when they noticed what their arrival had caused and, at this time, the barrier had permanently merged the space between the two dimensions. It made each other the flip side of their own. In other words, if the GIW ever got access to a portal and launched the attack they had planned, it wouldn't only destroy the zone but also annihilate the human world too."
"I really don't like those guys." grunted Jack into his mug taking another sip of his drink.
"You are not alone; believe me." Phantom replied, a dangerous gleam in his eyes. "Anyway, after I left the chamber the next morning, I knew just what I had to do. I was now a full warrior of the Far Frozen and each warrior gets to choose one task once they pass the final test. Some become guards; others follow a more scientific path. I decided to rebuild that barrier so that both worlds would be safe again."
"That couldn't be an easy fix, if those two dimensions had merged as you said." pointed Sam out.
"Oh, it wasn't." Phantom smiled at the blond Captain, his voice changing to a proud tune. "I worked on it for over 15 years and on the day of the Christmas truce, a day every 'Ecto' would be in the zone, I completed the ritual that would restore the barrier between the world of the humans and the 'Ectos', forever separating them."
When it was clear their host didn't directly speak of it, Daniel asked, "How did you do it?"
Danny lifted his head, starring for a moment into space, then turning to the curious doctor. "The information the others had left were a big help, as they had tried to undo their mistake, but failed in doing so."
"Why?" asked Sam.
"They didn't have access to the energy in the zone; only an 'Ecto' can influence this type of energy. I, being only a halfa, took much longer then a regular resident of the zone. And before you ask, I could not ask others for their help, as the majority of the 'Ectos' would never agree with my plan of separating the two worlds from each other again. I also needed a humongous amount of energy to complete the ritual."
Sam eyed him suspicious. Phantom was leaving something out, something very important. "What about your friends? Would they not offer their energy to help?"
"Oh, I knew that they would if I had asked. However, the ritual required to have the user sacrifice the energy used, not just have your energy drained. Any 'Ecto' taking part would have permanently dissolved."
"But you as a halfa, who has control over the energy while still having a human form, would not." Daniel gathered.
"So you were the only one who could actually do this ritual and survive it." Jack added.
"More or less," The young man confirmed. "There was still a good chance that I would die. The ecto-energy in my body had become a part of me. However, I was prepared to do this if it would guarantee the safety of both worlds… and… I almost did die," He confessed with a sad look in his eyes. "My body was so weak I slipped into a coma."
All four team members shared a concerned look with each other.
"When the other occupants of the zone realized what I had done, most of them screamed for my blood and decaled me enemy #1 of the zone. It was Clockwork, together with Frostbite, who protected me during this time. They hid me and fended off any attacker that managed to slip past their guards."
A pregnant silence fell over them that was once more only broken when their host continued, "When I finally woke up, after almost a full year into the coma, much had changed in the zone. Not all for the best but the 'Ecto's' started to come to terms with their own world again. However," Phantom let out another sigh. "Clockwork told me I couldn't stay."
Jack rolled his eyes and waved his hand around furiously. "Of course not."
"This Dimension now belonged once again to the 'Ecto's.' A human, even just a 'half-human' as I, was prone to disrupt the still shaky balance. So, as soon I was fit enough, Clockwork showed me to the far outskirt of the Zone, to an area no 'Ecto' had seen for a few millennia. There, hidden inside an unsuspicious rock formation, was a portal, or, as you call it, a gate."
"How did it come to be here?" interrupted Daniel.
Danny shrugged. "Don't know. Clockwork said it was already there when he was 'born.' He guessed it was also the entry point of the 'others' that once had merged the Zone and the Human world together."
"Then wouldn't the use of it rupture the barrier between the worlds again?" Sam asked.
"Yes and no. The way the 'others' first entered was what had caused the merge; over time, they had found the errors made and documented on how to do it without rupturing it again. They just couldn't reverse it."
The four nodded.
"You said that there was only the gate. How did you activate it and how did you know who to call? We spent years to figure those things out." Daniel asked.
"Again, the 'others' and Clockwork. They had left a list of symbols with descriptions and Clockwork suggested powering the ring directly with my own energy. The material, whatever it was made of, accepted the ecto-energy so well that any other 'Ecto' touching it would be sucked dry of his energy. It made the perfect escape, as none of my enemies could use this to follow me."
Jack raised his hand in a stop motion. "Hold on, let me ask something real quick. You have not only been banished from one but two worlds and lost your family and friends in the progress. How are you still sane?"
Their young host chuckled. "Who said I am?" He smiled and shrugged with one side. "I don't know. I do meditate a lot and I have my plants to look after so…"
"Plants?" Sam interjected.
"Yes. As you all know by now, half of my biology is 'Ecto' and not human anymore. This side of my body needs ecto-energy to sustain itself. With no access to the Zone and the constant energy there, I had to compromise. Frostbite supplied me with enough seeds to grow all kinds of plants that would grow in the human world under special condition."
"What kind of condition?" She asked.
"They need to be cold, at a frigid temperature of -68 degree Celsius to be exact."
"Chilly." Jack joked.
Danny chuckled "You could say that." With a quick brush through his hair, he looked at his guests expectedly. "So, now that you know my story, I guess you have questions?"
Sam and Daniel nodded in sync but, before either of them could start, Jack interjected, holding his hand up again to silence the two. "I know you eggheads will have a ton of questions for him but let me speak first, okay?"
The two frowned at their team leader, neither speaking up.
"Good, so… your story covered a lot of ground; years, even. How old are you? You don't look 34 to me, plus the added years in this dimension."
"'Ectos' age very slowly. This partially affects me too. Luckily not by much, I do age just much slower than other humans. I can't pinpoint how slow exactly and I would have to test that first. However, I arrived a few years previous to our tea time today so that would make me 42, plus or minus a year or two." Danny smiled, having expected that question.
"Why are you staying here at the pole? Doesn't it get lonely?"
"I wanted to keep an eye on the portal, I mean, gate. Some of my enemies can be very persistent. It's better to have an eye on the gate so that, should they somehow find a way to follow me, I can send them back again."
"I don't think that will be necessary any longer. General Hammond gave the order to seal the beta gate and our own is protected. So you still planning on staying here?"
Phantom shrugged. "Don't know yet. I'm due to a visit in Wisconsin. Maybe I'll travel a bit after that."
"Wisconsin?" Daniel interrupted.
"There is a minor time difference between our worlds. When I left, it was past 2010. It took me a while, but I was able to locate my parents in this world." Danny's eyes wandered towards O'Neill. "They are much younger so Jack only recently finished high school and is now in his first year of college. However, my mother Madeleine was one of the changes to this dimension. She was born as Matthew. He, too, is in his first year at college and they share, not only the same passion over science, but also a huge crush on each other." He chuckled slightly. "It's safe to say that should they get together, I don't expect there won't be any biological child between the two."
"Oh." Jack blinked, a touch of red dusting his cheeks. He coughed once. "What do they know about you?"
"They have always been open-minded, or, at least, I thought them to be, though telling them that you are their son from a different dimension, would pass far over their crazy limit. So, I introduced myself as a distant relative to Jack, who lost his parents and grandparents at a young age."
"Hm," Jack scratched the little stumble he was somehow always sprouting. "When you are done with your visit, you might want to take a trip to Colorado. I know someone who would be interested to meet you in person. Let's say he wishes to express his gratitude for helping us. He might even offer you a job. Someone with your talents would be highly appreciated."
Danny quirked an eyebrow. "Me? A job?" Shaking his head, he said, "I don't have such a good track record with the Military or any Government in the past."
"I won't say there's not the usual… troublemaker at command but General Hammond is very different from that. See Teal'c here?" Jack waved his hand into the direction of his friend. "Two years ago, we were enemies. Now he is a firm part of my team."
"What do you think about it, Teal'c?" Danny asked the Jaffa.
"General Hammond is a fair leader and a great warrior; I'm glad to work with him." He answered in his stoic voice, nodding into Jacks direction. "And with the rest of my friends."
Their younger-looking host tilted his head upwards, staring into the artificial lights hanging on the ceiling, weighting different arguments to make a decision. After a few moments in silent, he smiled and turned in Jack's direction. "Yeah, why not? However, I have one condition."
"And that would be?" He asked in return.
With a wide grin, Danny said, "When I'm there, we get the greasiest burger we can find. While living here is actually not bad, you don't get much fast-food."
Jack's booming laugh echoed along the stone walled room, the quieter snickers from Sam and Daniel joining in a second later. "Deal!"
AN2: Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it. Just to you know there will be no sequel or further chapters to this story. This is a single one shot. If someone is interested in continuing it, feel free to do so. Just let me know if you need any help (there is more background to Danny's story in my notes that I had not the time nor place to weave into the story as I had wanted.)
AN3: For the people following my other story "Adjust," don't be alarmed over the long waiting for the next chapter. I have not abandoned the story; chapter 8 is done and only needs to be transferred to PC. I just needed a break before uploading the rest… however, I won't make any promises for a time or date…
Please review and let me know what you think… See you soon.