Category: Humor (I hope), but mostly just for fun, Sam/Jack UST

Season/spoiler: season 7ish… and into the future

Summary: A warehouse of alien technology and a nine year old - Now what?

Status: complete

Archive: Heliopolis and whoever who wants it.

Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended.

------------------------------------------------------------

NINE

"Guys… this is fantastic," Daniel Jackson's voice held awe and wonder as he panned his flashlight over the ancient inscriptions on the large assortment of equipment housed in the dark gateroom.

Silence answered him for a few minutes as the others perused the array of alien machinery.

"Carter…? You're awfully quiet…," O'Neill prompted his 2IC.

"Hmmm… sir?" the astrophysicist glanced at him from her inspection of a particularly weird piece of the melange. O'Neill just shook his head and left her to her musings and looked over to see that Daniel Jackson was similarly absorbed in his own inspections.

O'Neill sighed. He knew that the two scientists would not want to venture out of this gateroom for quite awhile. He and Teal'c walked around, inspecting and policing the large room while the two younger members continued their absorbed explorations. After fifteen minutes, O'Neill was satisfied that there were no obvious traps or immediate dangers in the room. "Teal'c, how about if you and I check out what's outside while we let these two play around with all of their new-found doohickeys?"

"I concur, O'Neill," the Jaffa intoned.

Turning back to address the archeologist and the astrophysicist, he was momentarily surprised to see only one of them. Jackson had doffed his pack, gun and vest and was leaning against the wall intently inspecting some minuscule inscriptions on one of the alien pieces. Carter… was gone.

"Carter…?" he called as he stepped around a few of the larger pieces.

"Yes, sir?" her muffled reply came from the far corner… over back by the gate. He made his way over to where her voice was coming from… and found her… at least the lower half of her…. Her legs were sticking out from under another of the alien machines.

"Carter…whacha doing?" he asked with amusement… and worry.

"Hmmmm….sir?" she replied distractedly and he sighed again.

"Carter?" he tried again.

"Yes, sir?" she replied more quickly and he knew that he had her attention now.

"How about coming out from under there for a second," he asked with long-learned patience.

"Yes, sir," and he could hear the reluctance in her voice as she shimmied out from under the alien machinery.

He smiled at her… he couldn't help it… she had grease smeared across her cheek. Leave it to Carter to get alien grease all over her.

"What?" she asked when she saw the bemused look on his face.

"Oh… nothing…," he replied with a deliberately teasing voice and her brows furrowed with puzzlement and suspicion.

"Sir…?" she asked in consternation.

"Teal'c and I are going to recce the area outside this room. You and Daniel can continue checking out your doohickeys, here… if you promise to not turn anything on… or open any portals to other dimensions… or turn yourselves into aliens… or become trapped in some alien narcotic machine… or…," and he just grinned at her.

"Yes, sir… we'll try not to create too much havoc, sir" she replied with exasperation and he saw her look over at Daniel for support… but Jackson was obscured by the piles of equipment.

He nodded… while still grinning at her grease smeared face. "Keep your radios on, we'll check in every 15," he instructed as he moved over to join the patient Jaffa.

"Yes, sir," she replied dutifully and then turned back to her earlier inspection of the alien gizmo. He noted that she was not crawling back underneath it, however… she was walking around it and inspecting the back side…

"OK, Teal'c, looks like it's the two of us. Let's go and see what's beyond these walls," and he gestured to the nearest archway. The Jaffa followed him quietly.

------------------------

Their exploration had been quick and fruitless. They found three more rooms. All full of alien equipment. But no apparent way out. No other doors. No controls that appeared to indicate any method to open any doors.

"O'Neill, I do not see any way out of this structure," Teal'c informed O'Neill.

"Yeah, I agree with you there T," O'Neill replied. "So, what do you think this place is anyway?"

The Jaffa paused as he considered his answer. "Perhaps this is a way-station, or a supply station… or perhaps... we have just not discovered the method of transport out of this facility….,"

"Right… thanks for narrowing it down, there, buddy. I could have gotten that type of answer from Daniel or Carter." O'Neill returned sarcastically and the Jaffa did not deign to reply.

After a few more minutes of fruitless exploration of the three storage rooms and the hallway that connected them…. "Perhaps we should return to Major Carter and Daniel Jackson. Perhaps they have discovered something useful," the Jaffa proposed.

-----------------------

"Howdy, campers!" O'Neill announced their return to the other two.

"Hey, Jack," and "Sir?" came back to him in distracted tones.

Daniel was now on the other side of the room, peering up at some inscriptions high up on a large, two-story machine. Carter was nowhere to be seen. Again. O'Neill started moving around while trying to ascertain her position amongst the maze of machinery.

"Carter?" he called out.

"Yes, sir?" she replied… from somewhere over near Daniel.

"Carter, where are you?" he asked, his patience wearing thin.

"Here, sir," came the uninformative reply and he rolled his eyes and Daniel glanced over at him.

"She's in there, Jack," and the archeologist gestured at the machine where he was attempting to decipher the inscriptions.

"IN where?" he asked in disbelief.

Daniel looked bemused and stepped towards Jack and gestured around behind the large machine. "There's a large doorway in the backside that apparently leads to a control panel of some sort. She's back there," and he gave Jack another grin before turning back to his translations.

O'Neill walked around and behind the machine to find the opening described by the archeologist. Stepping in and shining his flashlight around carefully, he found an area about the size of a walk-in closet. Each of the walls was covered with alien doo-dads and whoknows-whatzits…. And there was a decided absence of one Major.

"Carter?" he called again as he carefully began to inspected each corner and crevice.

"Sir?" she replied from very close… and from right above him. He turned his flashlight up to pin the lower half of his 2IC in its beam. He played his beam upwards and he could see that she had climbed up and was perched on some piece of the machinery. Her head disappeared into the machine and her feet dangled free just over his head.

"Carter… what am I going to do with you?" he asked in wonderment.

"Sir?" she returned, not understanding his question.

"Were you like this as a kid, Carter?" he tried again.

"Sir?" he got the same response… and he could tell that he was only receiving a small fraction of her attention… the rest of her attention was focused on some inner workings of this alien behemoth.

"I said, Did your father have to drag you out of trees as a kid?" he asked patiently, waiting for his humor to catch up to her… and he realized that he might be fighting a losing battle at the current moment.

"Sir… trees…, sir?" and she was looking down at him now, as if he'd just walked in. He smiled back at her.

"Yes, Carter, trees," and he enjoyed the look of complete bewilderment on her face. He sooooo enjoyed messing with her mind. It wasn't an easy thing to do… confuse Carter. But he was a master of it. And he soooooo enjoyed it.

"So, Carter, did I give you permission to go inside any of these machines?" and he paused for effect as she looked down at him.

"Well…sir… I was just checking…," she started, but he was having too much fun now.

"And… I certainly don't remember saying anything about climbing around…or up… the insides of any of these alien doohickeys," he interrupted her.

She didn't try replying this time. She knew better. She just looked a little guilty… a little 'caught,'… and a little frustrated. She sighed as she looked around at the lure of the alien machinery surrounding her.

"Time to come on down, Carter," he said knowingly and she looked down at him in resignation.

"Yes, sir," and she began looking for the handholds and footholds that she'd used to climb up. He watched carefully, but she didn't need any assistance and a few seconds later, she bounced lightly on her feet onto the floor.

"I'd like to take a few more video recordings before we leave, sir," she was pulling her digital video camera out and assessing the interior of the machine once more.

"Sure, go ahead, Carter. I'll go and get Daniel to collect his stuff. We'll gate out in 20," he sent over his shoulder as he headed back around to get the archeologist started on assembling his gear and wrapping up his explorations for this outing. It was always difficult to pull these two off of these types of finds. Carter and Daniel would be perfectly happy to spend the next few weeks here, studying these doohickeys….

Fifteen minutes later and O'Neill was ready to dial out so that he could bring Hammond and the SGC up-to-date on the findings of their latest excursion. O'Neill dialed the address for Earth and thought about how nice it was to be able to dial out without having anyone shoot at them.

As he dialed the address, the chevrons locked and the gate hummed and spun. He hit the seventh symbol, the one for Earth, and then the center dome. The gate locked into position and the event horizon flushed outwards and then there was bright flash of light in the room and O'Neill's vision blanked out.

"Whoooaaa…," O'Neill breathed out as spots swam before his eyes. He blinked and images began to take focus again.

"What was that?" Daniel exclaimed.

"Carter? Teal'c?" O'Neill called out as his vision settled down. He could see Daniel standing a few feet away, shaking his head and blinking his eyes as he tried to get the room to focus.

"I am here, O'Neill," the Jaffa answered somberly, "However, my vision appears to be temporarily impaired."

"Yeah, I think that goes for all of us," O'Neill muttered. "CARTER?" he yelled as he turned back towards the sharpening image of that large machine where he'd seen her last.

"Yes, sir!" her voice finally floated over from behind the machine.

"You allright?" he asked.

"Yes, sir… just letting my eyes refocus before I try to negotiate my way back around all of this stuff," she replied.

"Understood, let's all give it a few minutes," and he looked over at the gate where the shimmering blue pool of the wormhole waited sedately for them.

"Anyone have any idea what happened?" he asked, shouting so that Carter could hear the question.

"No idea, Jack." "No I do not, O'Neill." "No, sir." …came back the replies.

O'Neill looked around the room. His vision was just about back to normal. Daniel and Teal'c were looking back at him expectantly. Their vision appeared to be restored as well.

"Carter? How you doing back there?" he asked.

"Just peachy, sir. Am finishing packing my gear, I'll be there in just a minute," she replied.

Nodding to himself, he turned back to the Stargate and clicked on his radio. "SGC this is SG-1, come in."

"SG-1, this is the SGC. What is your status?" General Hammond's voice came back to them.

"We found some sort of alien warehouse of machines and technology, sir. Just what the President and the Joint Chiefs are looking for, sir. And there doesn't seem to be anyone around to claim any of it…. doesn't actually look like there has been anyone here in ages," he sent that to Hammond while bouncing on his toes. Maybe this would get those in control of the purse strings to loosen up a bit.

"That sounds promising, Colonel. What are your plans?" Hammond returned.

"Well, Carter and Daniel have done a little preliminary exploration of some of the doohickeys here, and they've got oodles of recordings to analyze. So, I figured that we'll head back in a few minutes and bring a few of the smaller pieces to analyze back in the labs. I figure that a research team should take it from there, sir," O'Neill sent back.

"Understood. Signal us when you are ready and we'll open the door for you," Hammond referred to the iris.

"Appreciate that, sir," O'Neill radioed back and then turned to his team. "OK, campers, let's pack up and move out. Daniel, you can pick a piece to take back and so can Carter," he instructed.

"Already got one," Daniel returned smugly, and O'Neill figured that if he checked the archeologist's backpack, he'd probably find more than one… but he let it go, Daniel's pack did not look overpacked…. so if he had more than one artifact, then they were small.

"CARTER? Get a move on," he shouted and then started moving over and around that large machine.

"Yes, sir, coming…coming…," he heard her voice coming closer and then almost ran into her as she stepped quickly around the side of the machine. "Whoops, sorry, sir."

"You ready?" he arched an eyebrow at her.

"Yes, sir," she replied while trying to catch her breath.

"So… how many alien doohickeys did you put in your pack?" he asked innocently.

"Sir?... none actually…," she grinned ruefully, "Didn't have time, sir… and, besides…. it wouldn't fit…," and she gestured back at the multistoried machine.

Stepping back over in front of the gate, he ran his eyes over his team. Daniel and Carter had their packs on and were waiting for him to give the word. Teal'c waited impassively, as always.

They all looked good-to-go, so he….

"Hello?" a small voice came from behind them.

From somewhere amidst the piles of machines.

They all turned and looked for the source of the voice.

No person or alien-being appeared anywhere obvious.

All four members of SG-1 let their flashlights roam over the room, its walls and the piles and stacks of machines.

"Sir…?" Carter called over to O'Neill. He turned over to her and then looked at what she was holding her flashlight on.

A young girl. He moved over to Carter's side and turned his flashlight on the little girl. Carter moved her light off of the little girl so that they were not blinding her. Daniel and Teal'c stepped over behind O'Neill and Carter. The young girl was slim, blond-haired, blue-eyed and dressed in a light green t-shirt, blue jeans and sneakers.

"Hello? Who are you? And where is this?" the little girl spoke again. Her tone of voice expressed curiosity and not fear.

Carter stepped forward slowly and held out one hand. "Major….," O'Neill said lowly and warningly… "We don't know who, or what, she is…"

Carter glanced at him, and said softly to him, "I'll be careful, sir… she just looks… a little afraid…," and she turned back to the little girl. Giving her a non-threatening smile, she asked "Hi, what's your name?"

"Sam, what's yours?" the little girl replied quickly and they all started.

"Uh…," Carter faltered as she looked at the young girl with widening eyes.

O'Neill was looking at the girl with narrowing eyes. Glancing at Carter, he decided to step in, "That's a beautiful name… what's your last name?" he asked with a voice that he reserved for children.

"Carter. Now what are your names?" the little girl began to look frustrated. O'Neill looked at his Major and saw a look of disbelief. His 2IC's mouth was open as if she was trying to think of a reply… but she looked like her brain had temporarily frozen. At any other time, he would have found that look extremely amusing. But, for now, he turned back to the little girl, just as Daniel stepped out slowly from behind them.

"I'm Daniel, and this is Jack, and this is Teal'c,… and this is…," and Daniel faltered when he looked at Carter.

She shook her head as if coming out of a dream, "and my name is… Sam…," she helped him out, watching the little girl intently.

"Your name is Sam, too?" the little girl replied. "Is it short for Samantha?" and Carter nodded and replied, "Yes," with a smile.

"Cool, I haven't met any other girls with the same first name as mine," and the young girl smiled brightly at her.

"Sam," Daniel was addressing the little girl, "How old are you?"

"Nine, how old are you?" she asked him right back and he looked bemused. Carter's eyes were growing wider.

"Remind you of anyone, Car… Major?" O'Neill asked in a low voice and his Carter looked up at him.

"Sir… I…," she floundered for words.

"What are your parents' names?" Daniel asked.

"Why should I keep answering your questions when you won't answer mine?" she replied and now, Major Carter groaned softly and hung her head.

"Major?" O'Neill asked her and she stood up and turned away from Daniel and the little girl.

"Nine… sir… if that's supposed to be me… well, nine was not the easiest year for my parents….," and she looked embarrassed.

"So… do you think you can get … you to talk?" he returned softly.

"Probably with no more success than any of you…. errr… if that's supposed to be me, sir… then all you really have to do… is answer her questions… at least that's what I remember thinking when I was that age…," and she shrugged her shoulders.

"OK, Sammie," O'Neill turned to the little girl and saw her face cloud over. "What…?" he stepped back.

"NOT Sammie, sir… Sam or Samantha… but not Sammie… I…. my mom and dad could use it… but no one else... and my brother tortured my with it…," the Major explained in the same low voice. His eyes twinkled… this just might be fun… and she saw the glint in his eyes and winced.

Turning back to the young girl, Carter tried again, "Sam, do you remember what you were doing here…or how you got here?"

The young Sam looked back at her intently. "You look a lot like my mom," she stated, without answering either of Carter's questions.

"Ooooohh….," O'Neill muttered, "this could be fun to watch," he grinned as his 2IC tried to wrestle answers out of what appeared to be her younger self. His Sam Carter just gave him a glare and then turned back to the young girl.

"Sam, I don't know how to explain all of this to you yet, but I promise that I will try… but first I have to understand it all myself," she tried again. "So, I need you to answer some questions for me so I can try and figure out what is going on… OK?"

The young Sam looked at her with deep consideration, and O'Neill and the others were impressed by the similarities to their Sam, "OK… for now…," the young girl temporized. "So, my Dad is Captain Jacob Carter, US Air Force – like you guys," and she pointed at their BDUs.

Carter nodded and then asked, "Do you know how you got here?"

"No, but this looks like some kind of warehouse on the military base. I don't remember how I got here – I just woke up a few minutes ago over there on the floor," and she pointed to a small area between some of the machines, "and then I heard you talking."

"Do you know what military base this is?" Carter asked.

"Don't you?" the young Sam shot her a look of disbelief and Carter rolled her eyes and couldn't keep her amusement off of her face.

"I really need to know if you know," Carter encouraged her.

The young Sam sighed and rolled her own eyes and the men in the room widened their eyes in disbelief. "Don't say it, guys, just don't say it," Carter warned them threateningly.

"Sam, what military base is this?" Carter persisted.

"Hickum Air Force Base, of course!" the young Sam replied with exasperation.

"Right….," Carter replied with a smile. "Hickum Air Force Base, Captain Jacob Carter, nine years old…," and she gave them all a look that told them that the data all fit for her memories of nine.

"Sam, I have to have a private conversation with my CO," and she pointed at O'Neill, "I'll be back in a few minutes. Daniel and Teal'c will stay with you until I get back, OK?"

"Can I go home when you are finished?" the young Sam asked quietly. She still wasn't showing fear, but she was starting to look uneasy.

"We're going to work on that next, OK?" Carter told her with an encouraging smile.

"OK," the young Sam replied, "But the longer this takes, the more pissed my Dad is going to be at me by the time that I do get home…," and she looked resigned to her fate. O'Neill watched as a look of empathy crossed his Major's face as she thought about the parental ire that awaited her young self at home.

O'Neill and Carter stepped off aways to get out of earshot and Daniel moved forward to distract and amuse the young Sam while they spoke. Teal'c hung back, not wishing to scare the young girl.

"Carter, I'm going to have to call Hammond in a few minutes, here. He was expecting us back toot-sweet and we've been holding the gate open," O'Neill reminded her. "Any ideas for what's going on here?"

Carter shrugged and ran her hand through her hair. "Not really, sir…"

"Guesses?" he prompted.

"Well, she could be from an alternative reality…. she could be a clone… she could be from the past…. or maybe…. this is some alien race's method of trying to communicate with us?" and she shrugged again. "I'm sorry, sir, I just don't have enough data."

"OK, so let's take them one by one…," O'Neill suggested.

Carter shook her head in agreement, "First, if she's from an alternate reality, then her DNA should match mine and she should start to experience entropic cascade failure in approximately 2 days." O'Neill shook his head in agreement to let her know that he remembered what had happened when her alternate had come through with Kawalsky's alternate.

"Second, if she's a clone, again the DNA will match… and there should be things that Janet and/or Thor could look for to confirm that she's a clone. But where we go from there, I don't know."

"Third, if she is from the past…. then we'd have to be very careful not to tell her anything that could change the future… that is, the years ahead of her. I don't know what would happen… it would probably have the most affect on my life and the lives of those around me….," and Carter shrugged, "On the other hand, I haven't disappeared or anything… and I don't remember seeing the four of us when I was nine – let alone the Stargate, over there, sir." and they both turned to look at the shimmering blue pool. "And, sir, I think I would have remembered seeing that…. so I'd say that it's unlikely that she's actually me somehow transported here from the past."

"Fourth, if she is an alien trying to communicate with us… then it's a very confusing form of communication, sir," and she looked at him apologetically.

O'Neill had listened carefully without interrupting and he thought for a few minutes before speaking. "Well, just leaving her here isn't an option….," and he looked at Carter who was looking at the floor, "So… how about if we ask her to come with us back to the base… and we have Dr. Frasier run some tests on her… We limit her exposure to the base, just in case she is from the past, or in case she is some kind of alien who is trying to figure us out in some fairly weird fashion."

"I'll report in to Hammond and see if he agrees. Why don't you go… and get reacquainted with yourself," and he gestured back towards the young girl with a small grin.

"Yes, sir," she shook her head and headed back over to where Daniel was still talking to her young self.

-------------------

"Hi," Carter spoke up as she got closer and Daniel stepped back. "My CO is going to talk to his CO and then they'll tell us what to do in a few minutes."

"OK," young Sam replied. "I'm sorry if I've caused a lot of trouble…. I don't even remember how I got in here," she apologized.

"Sam was just telling me about what she wants to do when she grows up," Daniel told Carter with a sly grin and Carter just gave him a look that said 'O Big Surprise, There.'

Turning to her young self, however, she asked with a grin, "So, what do you want to do when you grow up?"This is really weird. she thought to herself as she spoke to herself. Yep, too weird.

"I want to be an astronaut," the young girl replied firmly.

"Any other choices?" Carter teased her young self and Daniel watched in surprise at how well Carter handled being around another version of herself.

"Nope, I'm going to be an astronaut," young Sam replied with determination and a small challenging grin of her own.

"So, why do you want to be an astronaut?" Daniel asked and Carter looked up at him with surprise and then winced a bit in anticipation of the reply.

"I want to go UP THERE!" and the young girl pointed straight up. "I want to fly among the stars and I want to walk on the moon… and I just want to explore!" she said animatedly.

Carter flushed and looked a bit embarrassed at the clear expression of her heart's desires… which hadn't changed much in more than 25 years.

"Can I ask a question now?" young Sam asked politely and looked directly at Carter.

"Sure," Carter replied.

"What is that big blue circle over against the wall?" and young Sam pointed at the Stargate shimmering behind them.

"That is…. a top-secret military project….," Carter replied, knowing that even her nine year old self would respect this military answer.

"Can you tell me what it does?" young Sam persisted politely.

"Not right now, but if my CO says it's OK, I will," Carter answered sincerely.

"OK…," young Sam replied thoughtfully. "It sure is pretty."

"Yes… it is," Carter replied and smiled at her.

"Hey, I hate to break in here, but we got the go-ahead to return to base," O'Neill rejoined them.

"Yes, sir," Carter replied. "Sir, permission to explain the… 'Gate to… Sam here?"

"Within reason, Major," O'Neill figured that Carter was the best one to decide what the minimum was that needed to be said.

Nodding, Carter turned to young Sam and pointed at the Stargate. "OK, you wanted to know what that was, right?" and her younger self nodded and listened intently. "Well, this is a 'Gate'… a way to travel from one place to another… it's kind of like an intense roller coaster… and it's actually a lot of fun… although the first time can be a bit scary… but don't worry, I'll hold your hand… we're going to step through the Gate and we'll come out on another part of the base. You'll get to meet my boss's CO and we'll let them take things from there, OK?"

O'Neill watched the interaction between the two carefully. Carter's explanation was pretty good considering that they didn't know what they could really say to the young girl yet. Not until her origins and purpose were discovered.

But the play of emotions and reactions on young Sam's face were priceless. At first she listened intently… and the look on her face was soooo Sam… but then her look changed to one of disbelief… and then frustration and then skepticism. How could a nine-year old run through those emotions so quickly?... he wondered to himself.

And, unfortunately for Carter, young Sam had stopped on skepticism. With one eyebrow cocked in a facial expression which seemed to belie her young years, she responded with "Yeah, right!" and her tone of voice said very clearly that she wasn't buying it.

Carter looked stymied and frustrated herself. It would be hard enough to explain this to an adult… how could she explain it to her nine-year old self? Carter looked to the guys for help…. and each of them shrugged their shoulders or simply refrained from speaking.

"Sam…listen to me," she spoke to her younger self again. "Remember when you said that I look like your mom?" and her younger self nodded again, "Well it's because I'm related to you… and I know your mom and dad really well. I know that you and I have never met… but I've been off in the military… and well, you know what that's like, right?" and the young girl nodded while frowning slightly.

"So, here's the deal, Sam, I need you to trust me. I promise that I will hold your hand when we go through the gate, and I promise you that I will try as hard as I can to get you back to your mom and dad as soon as possible, OK?" Carter asked herself… to trust herself.

Young Sam's eyes met Carter's square in the eyes the entire time that she'd been speaking. "Aren't there any other regular doors that we can use instead? I mean, it's pretty and all, but my parents will kill me if I go on a rollercoaster without permission."

Carter shook her head, "That's the only way in or out that we know of… but do you want to take a walk around with me and look for a regular door?" Carter offered and looked at O'Neill for his reaction. O'Neill shrugged… sounded like a good idea to him. If the young girl was actually an alien, then she might show them a door that they'd missed… or tell them what was going on.

"Allright, then, let's have a look around," and Carter held out her hand and young Sam took it in one of her own.

"Daniel, Teal'c, report in to Hammond, again," O'Neill ordered, "And let him know what's going on. Then wait here for us, we shouldn't be long."

"Sure, Jack." "Understood, O'Neill." the two replied.

Turning back, O'Neill followed Carter's flashlight as she let her younger self explore and look for doorways.

Twenty minutes later, they returned to the gateroom. Young Sam had not found or pointed out any doorways that O'Neill or Teal'c had missed.

O'Neill observed that the young girl was getting more and more quiet as the minutes passed. The time away from her familiar friends and family was starting to wear on her. She hadn't cried or yelled… yet… but O'Neill figured that it couldn't be too far away. Even if this was Sam Carter, she was only nine… and she wasn't in the military… so she could be emotional if she wanted to. O'Neill was actually amazed at how the young Sam had kept it all together so far.

Looking at the death grip that the younger one had on Carter's hand, however, he suspected that the composure might fall away at any minute. He caught Carter's eye and she told him with her eyes, that they'd better get through the gate soon. He nodded.

Carter knelt down in front of the young girl, "Sam, we have to go through the 'Gate, now… then we'll let the bigwigs get you home, OK?"

The young girl just nodded dejectedly and sighed. "My mom is going to be so disappointed in me. I haven't gotten lost since I was really little."

Carter smiled at her, "Don't you worry about that at all… remember, I know your parents… and I know that they love you very much…. all they want is for you to come home safe."

The young girl looked at her sadly, "Yeah, and I love them… but I hate being the baby!"

"So this is where it comes from…," O'Neill muttered in soft voice and earned another glare from his 2IC.

"I tell you what… if your older brother, Mark, gives you any trouble… you just remind him of what happened when he was 10 and he got lost at the fair….," and Carter grinned at her conspiratorially.

Her younger self grinned back at her…., "He was sooooo embarrassed… he thought he was such a big shot… and then he got lost and he was crying like a baby….! But…how did you know about that… you weren't there?" she picked up on that quickly.

"I told you that I know your mom and dad really well. You don't think they'd want to leave out such a great story do you?" Carter replied mischievously.

"Mark will be sooo pissed to hear that mom and dad are telling that story to relatives," her younger self gloated with glee and Carter just chuckled.

"So… how about let's go through the Gate now?" Carter gestured towards the rippling blue wall. Daniel had broken the connection and reestablished it when they were nearing the end of their doorway exploration. Daniel and Teal'c had felt that they probably didn't want to scare the stalwart nine-year old with the dramatic flushing effect created when the wormhole first connects. So, when they'd returned, the 'Gate looked just as it had when they'd left. A shimmering, light-blue curtain.

"Okay…," young Sam replied and looked at the 'Gate apprehensively. Carter winced as her younger self tightened the death grip on her hand even more. O'Neill gave Carter a look of encouragement and empathy.

"Now, just hold onto my hand, and I promise that I'll stay right by your side," Carter spoke to her gently as she led her up the steps to the gate. They stopped right in front of the shimmering wall of light blue metallic ripples.

"Wow. It's beautiful!" Young Sam breathed.

Carter smiled at her. "Yes, it is," she agreed.

Her younger self reached out tentatively with her free hand and touched the end of her finger to the shimmering wall. Her finger eased into the 'wall' with little resistance. "It tingles a little!"

"A little," Carter agreed and didn't push her younger self into the wormhole, neither did she stop her explorations.

Young Sam looked up at her, encouraged, and then slowly moved her finger tip across the event horizon. Feeling the sensation and watching the resulting ripples move outward from her movement. "Wow! This is sooooooo cool! What is this made of?" and she looked up at Carter for an explanation.

Oh, no! O'Neill thought to himself. Ack Carter just asked Carter for an explanation of something scientific! Ack Warning! Warning! Danger Will Robinson! "Oooo…uhhh… sorry there," O'Neill interjected, "the Major will have to explain that later, Sam, we really have to get going now…"

Carter rolled her eyes at her younger self to let her know what she thought of her CO's interruption and young Sam giggled.

"Oh, soooo that's where that comes from… from waaaaaay back…," O'Neill took the time to mutter that loudly enough for Carter to hear.

Looking back at him in exasperation, she turned back to young Sam and said, "I guess we'd better go before the CO gets too grumpy…," and she gave a sideways look at O'Neill for her benefit. Feeling like she was part of something special with Carter, young Sam stepped forward into the 'Gate holding tight to Carter's hand.

O'Neill turned to Daniel and Teal'c before following Carter and Sam. "So, what are your thoughts?"

"I like her, Jack. Sam was adorable at nine," Daniel smiled.

"I agree, Samantha Carter was a most polite and well-brought-up child. This is not what I have come to expect from most Tauri children," Teal'c replied.

"Well, I was thinking more along the lines of your assessment of what that little girl is doing here… but I agree… she sure is… cute… but if you tell Carter I said that, I'll deny it... unless I get a chance to say it where it embarrasses her…. then that comment is all mine," and he gestured them up the steps with him. "Let's go home, campers."

-----------------------

Still holding onto Carter's hand as they stepped out of the wormhole onto the ramp in the SGC Gateroom, young Sam's eyes were wide with excitement. "That was sooooooo cool!" And Carter winced as her younger self used the word cool again. "Why was it so cold?" young Sam immediately followed her evaluation with a question.

Carter smiled at her, "I can explain that, but not in two minutes. That explanation will have to wait for some other time when we don't have other things to do first," and she gestured to the large, uniformed man standing at the end of the ramp. Gently leading Sam down the ramp, Carter stopped them before the General.

"Major, would you like to introduce me to this beautiful, young lady?" General Hammond asked with a sparkle in his eyes and a genuine smile on his face.

"I'm Samantha Carter," she introduced herself and Major Carter shrugged with a small apologetic grin on her face. Whatcha gonna do when your younger self doesn't follow military protocol?

But the General looked even more taken with the young girl. "Young lady, you are the spitting image of someone that I knew when I was younger myself!" he smiled at the young Sam. "Samantha, I am General Hammond, and I am a friend of your father's. Does your father know where you are, young lady?" he asked gently and her young face clouded over.

"Um, no sir, I don't think so, sir," she replied politely.

"She's afraid that her parents will be upset with her for getting lost, sir," Carter explained with a look in her eyes that told Hammond all that he needed to know.

"Sam, your father is not going to be mad at you. I know your father pretty well, and I can tell you that all he wants is for you to be safe," Hammond spoke gently to the young girl.

"Yes, sir," she replied quietly while looking at the floor. Hammond looked at the young girl and then up at the Major standing quietly beside her. The similarities were astounding.

Movement further up the ramp caught the General's eye as he saw the rest of SG-1 moving down the ramp. O'Neill, who had caught the end of the conversation, was still replaying the image of a nine-year old Sam Carter politely saying 'Yes, sir'… he wondered how early that was instilled in her….

"Sir?" Major Carter was addressing the General, "Permission to take Sam to the infirmary for a checkup?"

"Granted, Major," the General replied at the same time that Sam began to object…

"I don't need to go to the infirmary. I just want to go home and get my punishment…. and then maybe something to eat… if I'm not grounded for life!" she protested.

"Sam," Carter spoke to her gently, still holding her hand, "We all have to go to the infirmary for a checkup after we go through the 'Gate. Remember, I told you that it's a top military secret? Well, they have to check us out after we use it. It's still pretty new, and they want to be safe. Don't worry, I'm going too… and so is Daniel and Teal'c and even the big, old grumpy Colonel…," and she grinned at young Sam again.

"I am not old, Major….," O'Neill glared and narrowed his eyes at the Major.

Sam giggled as Carter rolled her eyes so that Sam could see her expression and O'Neill could not. The giggling response, however, told O'Neill that Carter had done something at his expense… and he narrowed his eyes even further, playing along.

"Hmmmm…. I believe that you said that you were hungry?" and she nodded at him, "Well, I believe that we can scare up some food for you at the commissary after your checkup… let's see what do smart-alec Majors and little girls get to eat…? Yep, I'll bet that the cook still has some left over eggplant lasagna and brussel sprouts from three days ago…. yes, yes…. just right for the two of you…,"

"Yeccckk!" and he heard it in stereo from both of them… even the Major was not able to contain her disgust at the choices that he'd offered… but, then he knew what she didn't like… and he grinned smugly.

"Come on," Carter tugged her towards the doorway, "I promise that we will not have to eat anything that disgusting! The cook likes me a whole lot more than he does the Colonel, trust me. The Colonel is always complaining about the food….," and Carter's voice trailed off as she took her nine-year old charge on the way to the infirmary.

Turning back to the General, O'Neill raised his eyebrows at Hammond, "Pretty amazing, isn't it?"

"More than amazing, Colonel," Hammond replied with the wonder still on his face, "Samantha Carter was a very special little girl… and I can tell you that that was her spitting image."

"Yeah, well, we didn't get to spend much time with her over there, but there's no doubt that that's a nine-year old Carter…," O'Neill replied, "the only question is how did she get there… and why?"

"Doctor Jackson, Teal'c? Do you have any ideas?" the General asked.

"Not yet, General," Daniel replied for the both of them, "But we'd like some time to go over the records and notes of what we found over there. Hopefully, we can figure it out."

Hammond nodded, "Debriefing in two hours. Get your checkups, some food and a change of clothes."

"Yes, sir," O'Neill replied as they filed out of the gateroom towards the infirmary.

Turning off to head to the control room, Hammond said, "I'm going to send a call to the Tokra… I think that Jacob will want to know about this…."

------------------------

In the infirmary, the two Carters were getting their post-mission physicals side-by-side. Trying to ease her younger self's apprehension, Major Carter had told the doctors to give them exactly the same tests, at the same time. Most of the tests, like blood pressure and temperature, were not intrusive, but the blood draws always made patients apprehensive, so Carter tried to maintain a camaraderie of shared experience between the two of them. Her younger self went along with it… watching and imitating how Carter reacted to each test.

O'Neill watched it all from his exam station. The similarities between the two Carters were spooky, and yet, somehow fun to watch.

After the tests had all been taken, Carter turned to young Sam, "Sam, I have to go to a meeting with Colonel O'Neill and General Hammond. Dr. Frasier is a good friend of mine and she is going to take you to lunch in the commissary and I'll meet you when my meeting is done, OK?"

The young girl's face clouded again. "Sam, honey?" Carter asked softly and the young girl looked up at her with the unhappiness still evident on her face, "Janet is a really good friend of mine and I know that she'll make sure that you don't have to face any eggplant or brussel sprouts…," and Carter tried to get her to smile.

"Allright…," her younger self agreed grudgingly.

-----------------------

At the briefing, they hashed out the possibilities and what they could do about them. Dr. Janet Frasier had submitted young Sam's blood and tissues for DNA testing. They would just have to wait for the results.

If young Sam was from an alternate reality, then they would have to figure out how to get her back before the entropic cascade failure killed her.

If she was a clone, then they would need to speak with the Asgard and ensure that she was healthy and not in need of medical assistance from the Asgard cloning technology. Then they would have to figure out why someone wanted to create a nine-year old clone of Major Carter and leave her in that gateroom on an alien planet.

Major Carter was more and more convinced that young Sam was not simply her nine-year old self from the past. They hadn't been able to prevent young Sam from seeing the Stargate or the SGC… and since Carter had no memories of ever seeing the Stargate or the SGC when she was nine… Unless, someone like the Asgard had the technology to remove those selected memories, then it was unlikely that the young Sam had been plucked from her childhood and brought more than 25 years into the future.

And, finally, was she an alien?… somehow impersonating a young Sam for some yet-unspecified reason? Again, they couldn't answer that yet… they couldn't even fathom a reason for that type of 'first contact.'

For now, they got the lab scientists and technicians working on the materials and records that they had collected. Perhaps they would be able to figure out if one of the machines back in that storeroom had been responsible. Hammond ordered that an exploratory research science team get kitted out for a visit to the alien gateroom… among other things, they would specifically look for anything similar to a quantum mirror.

While this exploration was ensuing, they would wait for the DNA results and try to keep young Sam occupied.

"Sir?" Carter addressed General Hammond.

"Yes, Major?" He replied.

"I… don't think I can lie to her, sir…. that is, if she asks me… I … and we're going to have to tell her something….," and Carter's voice trailed of.

"Anyone got any ideas?" the General asked the table and received nothing but uncomfortable looks in response. The General sighed… "Yes, we've got a bit of a problem… I can't think of anything that this nine-year old is going to accept…."

And, Carter winced and shifted in her seat, "Sorry, sir," she apologized for her younger self and Hammond and the others at the table looked amused.

"Yeah, Carter, it sure would be easier if you weren't so smart… or if you weren't so… intense…. with any normal kid, we could probably distract them with a Gameboy… or some such….," O'Neill teased.

Carter got a thoughtful look on her face…. "Why don't you try the Gameboy, sir? She's never played one before… you could show her how to play….," and she trailed off hopefully. She knew that the Colonel loved to play… and this would give him a partner… and, well… it would keep them both occupied… and maybe she could get some work done in her lab… uninterrupted…?

O'Neill considered it… it was tempting… "Sure, sounds great… so I'll spend some time showing her how to play….," and he could have sworn he saw a hint of glee and anticipation cross Carter's face…. hmmmmm….

"Do you think that she would enjoy a hike outdoors?" Teal'c offered. "Yeah, I could go along with that," Daniel piped in.

"And, I could ask Janet to see if she would ask Cassie to come in and visit. Cassie's a bit older than Sam, but I think Cassie would be OK with it," Carter proposed.

"Sam, do you think that she'd like to play on my computer?" Daniel asked.

"Um… yeah… she'd probably love that, Daniel… she hasn't had a chance to work with anything that sophisticated, yet," Carter responded carefully… and O'Neill thought he saw it again… something passed across Carter's face… something that he couldn't pin down. Something that she was trying to hide…?

"But we still haven't figured out what we are going to tell her," Daniel pointed out and brought them back to the actual problem.

Silence descended on the briefing room.

"Major Carter, what do you recommend?" General Hammond asked.

Carter sighed, "I don't know what the correct answer is, General, but… I feel like we need to tell her the truth… or at least some of it. I think that she needs to know why we can't take her to her parents…."

"This is much more difficult than when O'Neill's young clone was here," Teal'c spoke up. "O'Neill's clone remembered the SGC and O'Neill's life… we did not have to explain it to him. The young Samantha, however, only appears to have the memories of Samantha Carter up through her nine-years of age."

Carter nodded and studied the tabletop, "That is how it appears."

"However," Teal'c continued, "I have observed that the young Samantha is very astute, and I do not believe that any lies that we contrive will withstand her mental acumen. She will discover the lies and then she will not accept the truth when we attempt to explain it to her."

The General looked around the table for other opinions.

"I agree, General," Daniel spoke up. "I don't think I can lie to her. I think it would be harder for me to lie to her at nine, that it would be to…," and his voice tapered off in embarrassment and he looked over to find Carter looking at him with a curious, piercing look as he'd dug a hole for himself that he wasn't expecting. "Oh, Sam, you know what I mean," and his cheeks flushed as he studied the tabletop in front of him intently.

O'Neill was smirking as he watched Daniel stick his foot in his mouth. It was fun to see the young archeologist have a turn at it.

"Colonel, what are your opinions?" the General asked.

"I have to agree with Daniel and Teal'c, sir. I don't think that any of us can successfully lie to that nine-year old version of Carter. She's…. just sooo… Carter…," and he let his voice trail off before he said too much that exposed his deeper feelings for his 2IC… or before he stuck his foot in his mouth… and why do that when Daniel still had shoelaces for floss?

"Allright then, so how much do we tell her?" the General asked and they spent the next 30 minutes working out what they thought they should and should not say. They'd given up on trying to hide her 'future' from her. If she was from the past, they weren't going to be able to send her back. They all just hoped that that meant that their Carter wouldn't suddenly disappear…along with the Stargate and everything else that their Carter had affected in the past 25 years.

-----------------------

An hour later and Dr. Janet Frasier had brought young Sam to join them in the briefing room. The young girl was holding the doctor's hand tightly and looking a bit shy and overwhelmed at all of the strangers.

"Hey, Sam, come on over here and sit by me," Carter spoke softly and the young girl walked over while glancing around the room at the others already present. She'd already met them all and there were no additional, new strangers.

"Samantha?" she asked quietly.

"Yes, Sam," Carter answered gently.

"When do I get to go home?" and she asked it in a voice that tore their hearts out.

"Sam, that's what I want to talk to you about," Carter continued kindly and the young girl looked up curiously.

"Sam, I want to show you something," and Carter reached up to her neck and pulled the chain so that her dogtags came up and then she pulled the chain around her head and held them out to her younger self. "You know what these are, right?"

The young girl nodded as she took Carter's tags. "Read mine," Carter directed her and the young girl obediently flipped them over and read the engraved letters.

"S. Carter 654-10-4389," and her young eyes widened in shock and looked up to meet Carter's. "Your last name is Carter too?" and Carter nodded with a small smile and waited. "So your name is Samantha Carter… the same as mine…?" and Carter nodded again.

A look of puzzlement settled on her young face, "I don't understand…"

"Sam, you want to be an astronaut, right?" Carter asked her and the young girl nodded. "So, how do most people become astronauts?"

"Well, you work really hard in school… and then go into the air force and learn how to fly jet airplanes… and then apply to NASA…," the young girl quickly spieled off the route taken by many of the original astronauts. Carter just nodded and didn't say anything and let her younger self mull that over for a few minutes.

"Is that what you did?" her younger self asked. "Is that why you went into the air force?" And Carter nodded again, "Yes," and she smiled.

"Did you get to go… into space?" young Sam asked eagerly.

Again Carter nodded, "Yes, yes I did."

"Wow!" Young Sam responded… and then, of course, "Cool!" and Carter winced again at the overused word, but she couldn't keep a small smile off of her face. Glancing around, she saw that Janet and the men were all watching with bemused or goofy grins of their own. They all seemed to be entranced by the developing conversation.

"So…. one Sam Carter has already been into space, right?" and Carter nodded. "Well, I've read the list of all of the astronauts… and I would have remembered an astronaut that had the same name as me…" the young Sam pointed out.

"Mmmmhhhmmmm….. you're right, you would remember that, wouldn't you….?" Carter sent it back to her younger self. Young Sam picked up on the challenge immediately and everyone could see the wheels turning inside her young mind. So like the intense look that their Carter got when thinking something out.

"Sooo… when you went into space… it was a secret… one of those military top secret missions… and no one is supposed to know about it or talk about it?" the young Sam ventured.

"Yes, that's part of it," Carter smiled at her. "The people here at this base know, and some people in the higher ranks of the military know, but other than that, most of the rest of the world does not know."

"Well, that's no problem, right?" the young Sam asked, "I mean, you still get to go into space… who cares if anyone on the rest of the planet knows!" and the young girl just grinned at her.

"Well, I do happen to agree with you there," Carter replied with an answering grin and she glanced around the table to meet the amused grins of her colleagues as they watched her agreeing with herself. Again. Well, at least she was consistent! she thought to herself.

"So…. you're name is Sam Carter… and you've already gone into space…," her younger self asked for confirmation as she handed Carter's dogtags back to her. Carter nodded again and waited. The young girl's eyes scanned the others in the room and then her eyes wandered to the Stargate through the briefing room window.

"Where are my parents?" she asked in a very quiet voice and Carter found herself at a loss for words.

"Sam, you've read some physics books, right?" Carter asked young Sam and the young girl nodded. "And you've read some science fiction, right?" and, again, the young girl nodded. And Carter faltered again, unsure of what to say next… and a few seconds of silence passed as Carter searched for a logical, non-traumatizing chain…..

"Unscheduled Gate Activation, Unscheduled Gate Activation," came over the speakers and the General and the Colonel excused themselves to move down to the control room.

The gate spun and the chevrons locked in sequence. Young Sam watched intently. After the seventh chevron locked, the wormhole flushed outwards dramatically and then settled back into the calm rippling pool. The iris was closed at Hammond's command.

"Wow!" young Sam exclaimed without taking her eyes off the wormhole. "And we went through that!"

"Yep!" Carter smiled at her.

"Receiving Tokra IDC, sir," Sergeant Walters informed the General.

"Open the iris," the General commanded.

And then a tall lanky figure stepped out of the shimmering pool and young Sam stared in shock, "Daddy?"

Carter was holding the young girl's shoulder as her younger self began to tremble and shake. "Why does he look so old? Is he sick?" she asked and she was shaking from the cascade of events and unanswered questions. Carter pulled her into a hug and held her tight.

"It's OK, Sam, everything is going to be OK," she spoke to her gently as she comforted her.

Downstairs, General Hammond and Colonel O'Neill were quickly outlining the events of the past few hours to General Jacob Carter.

A few minutes later, the retired General (cum Tokra) slowly entered the briefing room and took in the sight of his thirty-something daughter… comforting… his nine-year-old daughter.

Major Carter looked over at her father and met his eyes, but did not say a word. Instead, she pulled young Sam away a little and gestured with her eyes and chin over the young girl's shoulder, "There's someone here to see you, Sam," she said softly.

Her younger self turned around and saw her father and she took a few quick steps towards him and then stopped. "You…you look… different, Daddy…," and she said it in such a small, fearful voice that his heart almost broke.

"Oh, Sammie, come here," he stepped over and pulled her into tight hug and she hugged him back.

Major Carter stood up and watched with eyes shining with her own tears and she didn't know if she was happy or sad. She looked around the room at her friends and colleagues as they all struggled to figure out what to do next.

After a few minutes, the two pulled apart and young Sam asked, "Dad, why do you look as old as grandpa?" and no one in the room could hide their grins at that, not even Major Carter. Jacob looked around the room for help, but saw that there was little to be had… even from his own daughter.

"Angel, that's going to take a little time to explain," he said to forestall the barrage of questions that he knew his nine-year old would pin him with, "so you'll just have to give me time to figure out how to do it, OK?" and she nodded reluctantly. Major Carter quirked an eyebrow at the familiar echo of those oh-so-familiar words that she'd heard too often after she'd asked a question when she was younger. Her father smiled over at her knowingly.

"Any help, here, would be gratefully accepted," Jacob indicated to the others in the room, but particularly to his older daughter.

"Why don't you tell your Dad what you already know, Sam?" Carter encouraged.

"Well, Dad… I woke up in some weird military warehouse…. and I don't remember how I got there…," she paused and then screwed up her courage, "I must have gotten lost…. I'm sorry Dad," she apologized and looked down in embarrassment.

O'Neill was again stunned by the similarities with his Major Sam Carter…. she was always apologizing for things beyond her control. As if she thought that everyone expected her to control the universe in her spare time. And, she hated to appear weak. Oooo…. did she hate that. He'd always written it off to a product of her being one of the few females to succeed in the male-dominated military. But… now he saw… that it was a deeper, more fundamental fiber of her character. He glanced over at his Major and saw that she was uncomfortably watching him assess her younger self. He grinned at her and she looked even more uncomfortable.

"Angel, you did not get lost. You have nothing to apologize for," and he hugged her once again. "I want you to remember something, Sammie," and he paused for a breath, "I will always love you, no matter what you do," and he looked over at his older daughter and she smiled and looked at the floor. "Do you understand me, Angel?"

"Yes, Dad," the nine-year old's response was muffled into his shirt.

--------------------

"Dad, I miss Mom… when are we going to go home?" the little girl asked him and Jacob felt his heart twist painfully again.

"Angel, it's going to be awhile before we can go home," and he looked into those blue eyes that could melt his heart in an instant. "I need to do some work here… and it's very important, Angel. We're going to have to stay here, at this base for awhile, for a few days, or even more."

"Mom will be upset if I miss school," the nine-year old pointed out solemnly.

"Your mom will be OK with it this time, Sammie, I promise," he replied.

"OK, but you have to tell her….," his little Angel warned him seriously and he couldn't keep his grin from escaping.

"Understood, Angel," and he kissed her on the forehead.

Turning, he looked back at the array of people watching the touching tableau. Catching his older daughter's eyes, "Well, I guess we need to…,"

Catching on quickly, O'Neill stepped forward, "Sir, I'd like to offer to show Sam something that she might find interesting….," and he paused as he recognized that familiar look of curiosity… but on a nine-year old's face…. and he glanced over at Major Carter with a grin… Carter was watching him with a long-suffering look, "I'll bet that you would be a wizard at Gameboy…?"

"What's a Gameboy?" the young blond asked innocently and he grinned again. She was sooo darn cute. "Well, if you follow me, I'll show you, and your Dad can get on with his work here with the other officers," and he held out his hand for her.

She looked at her father first, "Dad?"

"Sure, Angel, you go along with Colonel O'Neill," and he gave her an encouraging smile as she reached up and took O'Neill's large hand in her small one.

----------------------

A little over an hour later and they had brought Jacob Carter up to date on what they knew.

The research teams were working on deciphering the transcriptions and the equipment in the alien storage gateroom. They checked in every hour. No one honestly expected answers immediately, but they still hoped…

---------------------

Major Sam Carter and General Jacob Carter sat side by side in the briefing room. Everyone else had left to give them some privacy. Young Sam and the Colonel were still playing with O'Neill's Gameboy. The Colonel could become absorbed in the game for hours… and young Sam rarely let go of a challenge quickly… so, the two older Carters figured that they had several hours of peace and quiet ahead of them which they could use to try and resolve the problem before them.

Well, they did have a few hours. They didn't resolve the problems, however. They still didn't know what they should do next with respect to young Sam. How much to tell her? What should happen to her? Did they have a right to decide? They needed to discover why she had been created in the first place.

But that was all they got.

Just a few hours.

Not enough time.

Not enough data to solve the problems yet.

Just a few hours.

And then, Colonel O'Neill reappeared in the briefing room.

Looking a bit disgruntled.

"Hey," he greeted them, "Mind if I come in?"

"Sure, Jack," Jacob waved him to a nearby chair.

"Figure anything out yet?" O'Neill asked.

"Not really," Jacob answered and studied the Colonel for a moment. "Jack… where is Sam?"

O'Neill glanced at the silent Major Carter, and then, "She's in my office playing with the Gameboy," he said simply and wouldn't meet their eyes.

Both Carter's raised their eyebrows… and then Jacob grinned knowingly while Carter's cheeks flushed a little pink. "So, how long did it take her to beat you?" Jacob asked teasingly.

O'Neill shot the older man a glare and avoided looking at Major Carter. "Oh… I'd say just over an hour or so….," he muttered, "Carter, you're nine-year old reflexes are… wicked…," he said accusingly.

"Sorry, sir," she apologized for her younger self, but she couldn't hide the trace of humor from her tone.

"So… Jack," Jacob pursued, "Do you think it's wise to leave a nine-year old unattended in your office? Is there anything in there that might be dangerous to her… or anything that might reveal things to her that we haven't explained yet?"

"Well… there is an SF standing in the doorway…not like I think it's really necessary…" O'Neill replied, "But… well…sir…. this is Carter… and no offence, sir… but she's just the most ridiculously well-behaved nine-year old kid that I've ever met!"

Jacob looked at him with amusement and pride. "Well, her mom and I can take credit for some if that… but a lot of it is just Sammie… it's just the way she is…."

"Hey… fellas…. I'm right here… In the room and all… 'Hello?'," Carter waved her hands in the air to point out that her presence seemed to have been forgotten. They both looked at her with amusement at her embarrassment.

"Sorry, kiddo… but you were a pretty well-behaved kid, you know," and her father tried a disarming smile, but Carter wasn't buying it.

"Perhaps… most of the time," she grudgingly admitted…, "But I did have my moments," and she grinned mischievously.

"Especially when you were…," and her father looked at her curiously and then over at O'Neill…. the glint in his daughter's eyes… and she briefly waggled her eyebrows at her father… ooooooo….. she was up to something….

"Jack, what is a Gameboy?" Jacob asked the younger man.

"Hmmm…?" Jack was nonplussed by the sudden change in topic.

"What is a Gameboy?... I believe that I've heard of them, it's a kid's toy, right?" Jacob asked again.

Jack smiled, "Well, yeah, it's a kid's toy… but it's also for adults," he defended and then elaborated, "it's a handheld computer game. You can play against the computer or against other players. Lots of hand-eye coordination."

"Mmmmmmm….so… it's a handheld computer… an electronic device….," and Jacob immediately knew what the glint in his daughter's eyes meant.

Nine. Oh, yeah, he remembered Nine.

The warning bells should have gone off as soon as Hammond had briefed him on the Gateroom ramp.

Nine.

"Sir?" O'Neill was waiting for a response or a reaction. Jacob looked over at his daughter and she just let a small smile play over her lips. Ooooo, boy, the Colonel was going to get some payback for all of the teasing that he'd been handing his daughter since they found her nine-year old self.

"Mmmm…. oh, nothing, Jack," Jacob tried to look innocent, but O'Neill was now looking at him intently, so Jacob looked away before he started laughing. O'Neill then turned his eyes onto his 2IC, to find that she was intently studying the tabletop again.

"Carter?" he asked suspiciously.

"Yes, sir," and she had to look up at him and he couldn't miss the glint in her eyes or the smile that she was fighting to keep off her of her face.

Without another word, O'Neill shot to his feet and quickly departed for his office.

-------------------

Slowing down his pace as he reached his office door, he stepped quietly around the open door to look inside. The young nine-year old was sitting right where he'd left her – in the chair next to his desk.

She was not, however, engrossed in building her scores up to ever higher and higher levels…. No… that was no longer possible… because his Gameboy was in pieces. Very small pieces. Not smashed by a hammer or any other blunt object… No…. his Gameboy had been disassembled… into very, very small pieces.

The pieces were all over his desk.

The used-to-be-so-cute little blond girl was working intently on one small piece… trying to do something to it…? Break it down into smaller pieces?

How much smaller was there? Molecules?

Just like her older self, this younger one had yet to notice his presence… so intent was she on figuring out the puzzle that she had decided to unravel.

He sagged against the doorframe. He let the recent conversation in the briefing room replay through his mind. The glint in Carter's eyes stared back at him. He'd been teasing her unmercifully since they'd found young Sam. And he hadn't even considered revenge along these lines. Usually, Carter's revenge was… more open and… easy to see coming. But… she'd known what was going to happen here. And, she'd hidden it very, very well. He'd even offered himself – and his Gameboy – as sacrificial offerings.

Good description…. he thought as he looked at the remains of his pet toy strewn over his desk top.

He watched the young genius working industriously before him. In many ways, she hadn't changed very much, he thought with amusement. Of course, Major Carter would never have actually taken his Gameboy apart… no Major Carter was an adult who knew that tearing apart your CO's favorite toy was not a good idea…. Only a nine-year old innocent… a cute little innocent… could get away with that.

"Hey there," he said to announce his presence.

"Hi!" she replied with the innocence of a child, and then she looked back at him and then back at the parts strewn all over his desk… and he saw her realize just what she'd done…. and then guilt descended over her face and she looked back up at him…

"Whatcha doing?" he asked with no threatening tones as he walked in and sat in his chair.

"Ummm…, welllll… I….," and she was looking at the parts… and then looking at him… and he knew that she was waiting for him to start yelling at her….

He just raised an eyebrow at her, "What?" and he again left all threatening tones from his voice. He knew he could replace the Gameboy…. well, actually there was a newer version out… and he figured that one Major Carter would just have to be purchasing one for him in the near future…. so he figured he could let the innocent nine-year old off the hook.

Besides… she was just too cute to yell at.

This nine-year old had stolen his heart.

"Well… I wanted to see what was inside of it… to see how it worked…," and she looked at him expectantly as she waited for his wrath, but he just smiled encouragingly.

"So…what did you find out?" he asked.

"Well, it's really cool," and he smiled at that word again… he'd seen Carter wincing every time her younger self reused the word. And then he sat back and listened to this nine-year old Carter babble on about the inner workings of his now-deceased Gameboy. The young girl didn't know what most of the pieces were called, but she seemed to have figured out how much of it worked.

---------------------

An hour or so later and O'Neill found Jacob and his older daughter in her lab. He saw the two of them exchange glances as he walked in.

"So, Jack," Jacob went first, "Has young Sam grown tired of the Gameboy, yet?"

"Yes, yes, Jacob, I would say that she has….," O'Neill responded with more in his tone than his words. "And that's why I'm here…," and he paused to wait for them both to look up, "Major Carter… have you ever reassembled a Gameboy?" he asked as he pinned her gaze.

"Well, no sir, actually, I…..," she started, but he interrupted her, "Ah… then you apparently still share this with your nine-year old self," and he slowly allowed the parts to slide out of the bag that he'd collected them in.

Jacob had surrendered now and was simply laughing. Carter was trying to bite back her laughter and she wouldn't look him in the eye.

"Carter….," and she looked up at him with wincing expectation, "I think… that you got me pretty good, there….," and she looked up in surprise at his good humor. He nodded, "It's just a Gameboy… or at least it was…. I think I'll live….," and he grinned at her and her smile burst forth full force. OK, so, the older Sam Carter owned his heart too, he admitted to himself. He couldn't stay mad at her at any age.

Carter was running her fingers through the parts, "Wow, there's more stuff in here than I would have thought for a hand-held game…," and Jacob and Jack exchanged bemused looks as the older Sam Carter began working out how the parts fit together.

"So, Jack, where is my younger daughter?" Jacob asked O'Neill as they left Carter to her musings.

"I left her with Daniel. He had some computer games that he was showing her when I left," O'Neill replied.

Jacob raised his eyebrows as he thought that over…. "Anything in Daniel's office….," and he saw the look in Jack's eyes and shook his head. "You are incorrigible…, you know that…., Sam?" and he turned to his daughter… and they were both stunned to see the Gameboy partially resurrected. Jacob signaled for Jack to be quiet and the two of them watched as she intently worked out how to put the pieces back together… and she hadn't even seen it taken apart….

Fifteen minutes later and she was snapping the cover pieces back together.

"Does it work?" O'Neill broke the silence and she jumped a little and looked around, apparently very surprised to see the two of them still there. She furrowed her brow in consternation as she wondered how long they had been watching her.

"Sir?" she asked, not having actually heard what he'd said.

"Does it work?" he asked again and he pointed at the now-normal looking Gameboy.

"Ummm… yes… well… I think it does…," she answered, "I've never actually played with one, so I'm not sure if…. and I think there was a piece missing… but I juryrigged it…."

He held out his hand and she handed it over to him. He inspected it… turned it over… it all looked normal on the outside…. so he flipped the on switch… and was rewarded by the typical start-up sequence. He ran the machine through a few simple operations and looked up at her to let her know that it worked, but she and her father were already back at work on some of the recordings taken from the alien storerooms.

"Well… ummm… thanks, then….," he stood there for a few minutes. So…. maybe one certain Major was not going to have to buy him that new Gameboy….

------------------------

"Well, Sammie, I think we should take a break for dinner… what do you think?" Jacob asked his daughter.

"Hmmm…?" she didn't look up from her inspection of the alien artifact.

"Dinner…?" he asked her again.

"Oh… sure, Dad… you go on ahead… I'll catch up to you in awhile," she said with a distracted tone. One he'd heard thousands of times before.

"Sam…," and he waited until she stopped and looked up at him. "I think that we should go and collect one nine-year old and take her to dinner. The three of us. You will set a bad example if you stay in here working…"

She looked amused, "Well, Daa-a-ad, I think that that damage has already been done, don't you?"

"She's got years ahead of her where we might be able to change that….," he said hopefully and she rolled her eyes again.

"Allright, allright. Dinner it is…," and she was interrupted by the phone ringing.

"Carter," she answered. "Yes,…. ummmm…. sure, Daniel… we'll be right there," and she winced as the archeologist ended the call abruptly.

"Errrr… trouble…?" Jacob asked knowingly.

"Mmmm…. seems as if… someone has taken Daniel's computer apart….," and she grinned at her father and shrugged.

"You know, you really were a holy terror at nine," he admonished her and she tried to look innocent.

"Aw… Dad… I just wanted to know what inside of all that cool stuff…," she offered self-mockingly.

"Yeah, yeah… and you took it all apart… everything that you could get your hands on….and, do you know what the worst part was?" he asked her and she shook her head to say 'no'. "Well, the absolute worst part of it was that you always looked like an angel… even when you were destroying expensive equipment….," and he looked at her smiling back at him now and he realized that she hadn't changed much….

"And… beings that you were sooo polite and generally well-behaved around most everyone…. no one at the base would believe me when I tried to explain to my colleagues just what a nine-year old Sam Carter was really like!" he shook his head at her.

"Well, Dad, that nine-year old is over in Daniel's lab right now… and I think we should go and rescue her… I've never heard Daniel… at quite such a loss before….," and she ushered her father out of her lab.

----------------------

Daniel was waiting for them outside his lab.

"Hi, Daniel," Sam tried a friendly greeting, but was met with a stony glare.

"I only left her for a little while…," he started, "She was playing one of my computer games… and she was sooo quiet," and he shot an accusing look at Carter, "she looks so innocent….," and Carter tried to look apologetic.

"So what's the damage?" her father's tone of voice surprised her…. it was one of 'Been Here Before, Done This, Got the T-shirt…so Just Tell Me How Much it Costs to Replace.' Seeing her look at him, her father just shrugged.

"Take a look for yourself," Daniel grandly gestured towards his open office door.

Stepping around and into the room, they were greeted by the sight of computer parts strewn all over the floor… and little legs sticking out from under Daniel's worktable. Both Carter and Jacob couldn't contain their grins of amusement, which just caused Daniel to glare even harder.

-----------------------

Daniel's computer was eventually fixed by Major Carter and Sergeant Siler. A shy apology from the nine-year old had melted Daniel's already soft heart and he was sitting next to her during dinner as if nothing had happened.

----------------------------

As the days passed while they waited for the results of the research team's analysis, the unprepossessing nine-year old was watched over and amused by a myriad of SGC volunteers. Everyone quickly learned to never leave the youngster alone with her curiosity and anything remotely technological.

Every now and then, however, someone slipped up… and Jacob and Major Carter were called round to literally pick-up the pieces. No one, however, could stay angry with the little girl when she turned her young, innocent eyes on them. She never took anything apart due to any desires for malice…. she was just bursting with curiosity…. and it got the best of her.

--------------------------

O'Neill was watching Major Carter as she was, once again, completely absorbed in her mental gymnastics while trying to decipher the assortment of machines and equipment arrayed on the video of the alien storeroom. Ostensibly, he was also supposed to be inspecting the visual records for anything useful….. but mostly, he was watching her… watching her think…. who knew that watching someone think would hold his attention?

"Ah…. Colonel…Major," Major Ferretti entered the lab with a dismantled piece of equipment that O'Neill couldn't identify. Carter grimaced and O'Neill just grinned at his long-time colleague.

"Got a problem there, Ferretti?" O'Neill teased.

"Well, actually, I think that you have a problem, O'Neill!" Ferretti glared back at him. "This is supposed to be a digital video camera….. until 'guess who' got ahold of it….?"

"Sorry, Ferretti," Carter apologized as she reached out for the dismembered piece of equipment. "Where is she now?" Carter asked.

"She's eating ice cream in the commissary with the General," Ferrretti admitted with a 'Whacha gonna do?' smile and O'Neill grinned. Sam Carter was the only kid that Jack had ever met who could destroy expensive military equipment and follow that with dessert with the base commander.

Watching him leave, O'Neill turned back to see Carter resignedly placing the pieces of equipment on her lab table. Trying to bring up her spirits, he joked, "Buck up, Carter, you were only nine for a year, right?" and he saw her eyes widen as she thought about what came after nine.

-----------------------------

The days turned into weeks and Jacob Carter informed the Tokra that he would be staying on Earth until this current matter was resolved. The Tokra Council argued vehemently at first, however, they finally gave in and decided to assign ambassadorial status to Jacob… and once they'd done that, they immediately began requesting meetings and conferences that kept Jacob busy when he wasn't spending time with his young daughter.

Jacob was assigned VIP quarters and an extra bed was placed in his room for young Sam. Janet and Major Carter went shopping and picked up clothes for the young girl. Cassie visited the base in the afternoons and spent time with the little nine-year old.

Jacob spent every evening with his young daughter, relishing the chance to do what no other parent ever gets a chance to do. Go back and spend time with their children when they were young. And, Jacob had many regrets. All the time when he was overseas for months and she was at home growing up without him to watch out for her.

Over the past few days, he'd spent time just holding her. He hugged her all the time. He'd heard O'Neill comment on it to his older daughter and he'd seen the unshed tears shining in her eyes as she'd shrugged a non-committal response to her CO.

Young Sam would wait a day or two, and then she'd ask again. About when they were going to get to go home. And see her Mom and her brother. He would simply ask her to be a 'good little soldier' and wait a little longer while he worked on his 'special top-secret military project.'

--------------------------

"Um…. Sam?" Cassie tried to get Carter's attention.

Carter turned to see Cassie standing nervously in the doorway to her lab. "Hi, Cassie, what's up?"

"Well…. ummm…., have you seen… young Sam?" Cassie finally got it out and looked at Carter apprehensively.

Carter's eyes widened a bit… "Are you saying… that… you've lost her?"

"Well, sort of…," Cassie prevaricated.

"Sort of?" Carter asked incredulously.

"We… were playing Hide and Seek…. seemed like a good game for a kid her age… although, she does act a bit older than a nine year old…," Cassie was rambling a bit, Sam realized.

Sam nodded, though, "Hide and Seek… yeah… I remember loving that game…," and she grinned at Cassie.

And Cassie scowled at her, "Yeah, well, I can guess why… you were probably really, really good at it!" she said accusingly and Carter had the good graces to look slightly embarrassed.

"So…. how long have you been looking for her?" Carter asked.

"Over half an hour…," Cassie admitted uncomfortably.

"Well…. it is a large base… and there are hundreds of rooms if you count all the storerooms and closets….," Carter mused.

"Hey, Carter, Cassie," O'Neill stepped into her lab followed by Daniel and Teal'c.

"Hi Jack, Daniel, Teal'c," Cassie responded and Carter nodded at her teammates.

"Where is young Samantha?" Teal'c was the one to pinpoint the problem and O'Neill saw the guilty look on Cassie's face immediately.

"Well…., she and Cassie were playing Hide and Seek… and Cassie can't find her," Carter quickly filled them in.

"Hmmmm….," O'Neill looked intrigued at the game… right up his alley… and it sounded like fun. "Cool, let's all help Cassie find Sammie," and he gloated over the look on Carter's face when he used the word 'cool' -and when he used the form of her name that she didn't like.

"Uh… sir… I think we should just," Carter attempted, but O'Neill cut her off with, "Ach, ach, Carter, time for us to have a little fun. So, Cassie, where have you already looked?"

"The commissary, the workout room, the infirmary, Jacob's quarters and Sam's quarters….," and she listed off all of the places that she'd already scoured.

"OK, then let's split up into teams, Daniel and Teal'c you team up and Cassie and I will make the other team," O'Neill directed. "Carter, you want to call your Dad and join in?"

"Ummm… no, sir…, I have work to do here… and, sir?" and she paused to make sure that he heard her, "I really don't think that," but he cut her off again, "Carter… we're going to pick up the challenge that has been thrown by your young nine-year old self. A good game of Hide and Seek is just what the Colonel ordered, got it?"

"Yes, sir...," and she looked at him and then, "Well, I guess I should tell you that I was really really good at hide and seek, sir…. and one of the reasons is that I didn't stay put and just wait to be found…," and she saw dawning awareness in his eyes.

"So…. we'll need to go back over all of the places that Cassie has already been… and we'll need a search pattern that takes into account a moving target….," he was smiling with anticipation. His quarry may only be nine years old, but he couldn't wait to get started.

"Sir?" Carter was looking at him apprehensively.

"Yeah?" he responded distractedly.

"Remember, when you find her… she is only nine years old, sir…," and Carter was looking at him with a worried expression.

He smiled at her, "Don't worry Carter, I won't tackle her or put her in a full nelson or anything like that…"

"Good," and she turned back to her work on her computer.

---------------

An hour later and the search party had expanded.

Most of the SGC was now participating in the little-girl-hunt.

Finally, Teal'c appeared in the doorway to Carter's lab. "Major Carter, where is young Samantha?" he asked very simply and very plainly.

Carter looked up at him with astonishment. "Why do you think that I would know where she is?"

He looked at her knowingly and quirked an eyebrow up. "Because you do not appear to be even slightly worried that the entire SGC can not find her." Teal'c did not beat around the bush.

Carter was impressed. The Jaffa rarely demonstrated his impressive powers of observation…. but each time he did, Carter was impressed.

She smiled at him and gestured with her head and eyes to one side of her lab. He scanned that side of the room… and then saw it… a well-hidden door. He couldn't even remember ever seeing it open… and he didn't know what was behind that door. Other than one nine-year old, obviously.

"A closet?" he asked.

"A small storeroom, actually," Carter admitted.

"She has been in there for the past several hours?" he asked again.

"Well, not from the beginning. She really was hiding somewhere else when Cassie was originally looking for her…. but, then, she moved around… and eventually came here… and when I told her that everyone was looking for her… she asked for a little help… and I just found that I couldn't say no…," she admitted.

He nodded at her knowingly. "What is she doing in there?"

"Well, there is a small table, and I gave her some old broken equipment to play with," Carter explained, "I checked on her a few minutes ago… and she didn't even seem to notice that I was there."

The Jaffa grinned at her, "We are used to that," and she wanted to stick her tongue out at him, but she refrained… but found herself wishing she were nine, however, so that she didn't have that self-restraint.

"As I now know of her whereabouts, may I join her while the search continues?" Teal'c requested.

"Sure, but I think that you will probably be bored," Carter replied.

"I will perform Kel-nor-reem. Perhaps, Young Samantha will be intrigued and ask to learn," he stated sagely as he carefully opened the door and entered.

------------------------------

It was at least another 30 minutes later when Jacob Carter came by her lab. "Sam?"

"Yeah, Dad?" she answered with that distracted tone that he knew so well.

"Where's young Sam?" he asked her straight out and hoped that she was too distracted to realize what she was answering.

But it didn't work. She stopped and looked up at him. "She's off playing Hide and Seek, Dad."

"Mmmmmhmmmm… With the entire SGC, I might add. Colonel O'Neill and General Hammond are starting to get both worried and embarrassed. They could just use the PA system to order her to come out… but that might be too embarrassing for them to broadcast their failure to find her… so I think they are talking of starting to look for her on the security tapes," he watched her expression carefully. "Do you know where she is, Sam?"

She looked back at him evenly. Her face didn't give anything away. She'd never been good at lying, but she was good at hiding her feelings.

"Now, Dad, why do you think that I would know where she is… we're not telepathic, you know," she asked.

"Mmmmmhhhmmmm…., I'm asking you because you are sitting here calmly working in your lab when the rest of the SGC is running around like 10-year olds. I'm asking because you do not look even slightly worried about your younger self…. and that tells me that you know something," and he was still watching her carefully, but her expression had still not changed.

And, then a small smile flitted across her face and she pointed at a door on the side of the room… a door that Jacob had never noticed amongst the array of equipment and tables in her lab. He raised his eyebrows in askance and she smiled back at him and nodded. "Go on in, Teal'c's already in there. He figured it out the same way that you did."

Walking over, he slowly opened the door and saw his young nine-year old daughter with an array of destroyed components stacked on a small table and the quiet Jaffa meditating in the corner. Sticking his head back out into her lab, "Sam… do you know what she's playing with in here?" he asked cautiously.

"Mmmmhmmmm….," his older daughter responded with that distracted tone again. "Don't worry Dad, it was all broken before I gave it to her."

He should have known. Sam Carter knew herself. He shook his head as he entered and found a place to perch. "How ya doin' munchkin?"

His nine year old looked up at him, "Just fine, Daddy. And Sam said that I could play with this stuff. She said that it was already broken."

He kissed her on the top of the head, "You're doing fine, Angel, just fine," and he watched her absorbed explorations for a few minutes. "Any idea when you're going to let Cassie and the others find you?"

"What?" she asked in bewilderment.

"The Hide and Seek Game that you were playing with Cassie…? They are still looking for you, you know?" he reminded her.

"Oh….," and she'd obviously forgotten all about that game.

But he hadn't… and he had an idea. "Hey, Teal'c?"

And, a few minutes later, they were walking nonchalantly down the corridors to the commissary. Everyone around them came to a halt and simply watched. No one had passed an announcement that the child had been found…

The word passed quickly and O'Neill, Daniel, Cassie and Janet caught up to them as they were sitting down to eat. "Hey, squirt!" O'Neill opened with, and was rewarded with a mock-glare from the nine year old, "Where were you? We were getting worried?"

"Yeah, Sam, I was worried when I couldn't find you – don't do that again," Cassie admonished the younger child.

"I'm sorry, Cassie… I was having lots of fun for awhile, but then I found some equipment to play with and I forgot about the game…," the nine-year old apologized, "I didn't mean to make anyone worry."

"It's OK, hon," Janet said gently, "We were just worried when we couldn't find you."

"I'm sorry," she apologized again.

"Ummm… Sam?" O'Neill got her attention.

"Yes, Uncle Jack?"

"Where were you all this time… and what equipment were you 'playing' with?"

"Umm… I didn't break anything, I promise… everything was already broken," the young girl quickly explained. Jacob was trying hard to squash the grins that kept trying to escape onto his face. Jack, however, caught onto Jacob's problem…

"So…, Jacob, you wouldn't know where young Sam was all this time, would you?" O'Neill focused in on the father.

"Perhaps you should ask Teal'c," Jacob tried stalling the inevitable.

"Teal'c??!" O'Neill turned to the quiet Jaffa. "Not my good buddy, Teal'c. No… he wouldn't help hide a young girl from the entire base…. and from me… now would he…? Naw, not Teal'c?... Right, Teal'c?"

"O'Neill, I simply analyzed the situation and realized that there was only one person on this base who could tell me where the young Samantha was," and the Jaffa left his response cryptic on purpose. O'Neill's eyebrows climbed further up his forehead.

"Jaaacooobbb…?" O'Neill turned back to the father.

"Don't look at me. I actually finally figured out the same line of reasoning that Teal'c did and I found the two of them together," Jacob tried to fend off the confounded Colonel.

"Jack…?" Daniel had a look of inspiration in his eye and then it hit O'Neill. Squarely between his eyes.

"Carter!" He looked at the younger child and shook his head. "How did anything that sweet and innocent…," and then he caught himself. "Excuse me…. I have to speak to a certain Major. One, certain, blond-haired, blue-eyed Major. Looks so innocent…. but Oh. Ho!" and he was muttering to himself as he exited the commissary, headed towards a certain physics lab.

"Dad?" young Sam was looking up at her father.

"Yes, Sammie?" Jacob responded.

"I need to go and talk to Uncle Jack. He's going to yell at Sam and it's my fault. I keep getting her into trouble. Uncle Jack should be mad at me and not her," and her blue eyes pleaded with him to let her go.

He kissed her on the top of the forehead again, "It's OK, Angel, Major Carter can handle Colonel O'Neill… at least this time. Don't you worry about Sam getting into trouble because of you. She loves you very much and she's not mad at you. That's what counts. OK?"

Somewhere along the line young Sam put the pieces together. At least partially. Her father was now referred to as a General. Major Sam Carter knew too much about young Sam. And, she'd caught a couple of them referring to Major Carter as the older Sam… and then she'd heard them refer to her as Major Carter's 'younger self.'

She'd caught a little TV when they weren't watching her and she'd found that she didn't recognize any of the shows. On scanning through the channels, she'd stopped on CNN and seen the date and time.

November 10, 2003.

Two Thousand and Three.

She'd figured that it had to be a mistake. So… she'd hunted down a newspaper and checked the date. Two Thousand and Three. Confirmation.

She was in her future.

Her Dad was a General.

In the future.

Major Sam Carter was her.

She was in the future.

So, where were Mom and Mark?

She went to find Sam and her Dad.

------------------------

She found Major Carter in the control room. Normally, kids weren't allowed anywhere near the control room…. normally, kids weren't even inside the SGC…. but she was so polite and she'd charmed the socks off of everyone…so that she pretty much had the run of the place now. They tried to keep someone with her at all times… but no one gave her a second look if she went looking for Major Carter or her dad. And, they were usually in places that kids didn't normally go….

She stood and watched her older self. Major Carter was sitting in front of one of the computers, typing quickly while talking to the Sergeant next to her. General Hammond and Colonel O'Neill were both standing behind the Sergeant and the Major. The two standing officers were chatting to each other while watching the Stargate spinning as the chevrons locked.

She saw the reflected light of the Stargate opening and watched quietly as the officers and soldiers went about their business. When everything settled down after awhile, General Hammond turned to leave and noticed her standing there. "Hi, Samantha,"

And his greeting caused all of the others to turn and look at her expectantly. Major Carter turned, smiled and waited patiently.

"What are you doing up here?" the General asked gently.

"I wanted to talk to Major Carter," she said quietly and she looked at the floor. Everyone noticed that she'd called her older self Major Carter. Concerned looks spread across the room.

"Sir?" Carter had stood up and walked the few steps over to join the General and young Sam.

"Of course, Major," the General replied, "Take whatever time you need."

"Thank you, sir," Carter replied and she held out her hand for the young girl who seemed to have become suddenly withdrawn and wouldn't look at her. "Sam?"

The little girl looked up at her and then tentatively took her hand and let Carter lead her out. "Where would you like to go to talk?" Carter asked.

The young girl studied her and considered the offer seriously. Wow, was I that intense as a child? Carter thought to herself.

"Can we go up top and sit over among the trees?" the young girl asked with a shy smile.

"Sure, I think we can arrange that. The weather today is sunny and not too cold…. but let's pick up some jackets just in case the wind has picked up," Carter continued, "Would you like me to go and get your Dad? Would you like for him to join us?"

The little girl shrugged. "Not if he's busy… I really want to talk to you…?"

Carter looked at her younger self thoughtfully. She's figured it out. At least part of it. "OK, then let's not bother him. I'll leave him a message, though, so he knows where we went…. don't want to get in trouble about that again, now do we?" and she smiled at young Sam conspiratorially.

The young girl smiled back, but Carter could see that something heavy was on the young girl's thoughts.

------------------------

Up on top, they found a sheltered spot amid the trees and settled down on the blanket that Carter had picked up in her quarters.

"So… what do you want to talk about?" Carter prompted gently.

"Are you me?" the nine-year old asked clearly. "I mean… is this the future? My future?"

Carter sighed and then nodded to her younger self. "The explanation is complicated… are you ready to listen for awhile?" and the young girl just nodded while watching her intently, "and, I want to warn you, we don't know all the answers yet… but I'll tell you what we do know, OK?" and her younger self nodded again.

"Well, first off, you are me… sort of…. that is, when we found you in that storeroom, you were me when I was nine years old. We don't know how or why you were there. We've checked your DNA and it's a perfect match to mine." Carter started with.

"So… did I travel to my future?" young Sam asked seriously.

"I… don't think so…. because you'd have to go back for me to be here now… and I don't remember any of this from when I was nine…," Carter explained.

"So… if I'm not in my future, then where am I?" her younger self asked.

"Well, this is the year 2003…," Carter started and young Sam interjected, "I know."

"Right," and Carter smiled at the young girl.

"If I'm not you from the past, then where am I from? And where are my parents? My dad is Captain Jacob Carter… yours is General Jacob Carter…" young Sam continued.

"Here's where we run into the stuff that we don't know the answers to….," Sam admitted. "We have a research team working on trying to figure out the equipment in that storeroom where we found you."

"If I'm not you from when you were younger, why do so many people call me Young Sam or 'your younger self'?" the younger Sam persisted.

"Well, you seem to be me in every other way… except I don't remember ever seeing the Stargate when I was nine," Carter tried to explain, "I'm sorry that I can't explain it any better. I would if I understood it myself," she apologized.

"It's all pretty weird, you know, like that science fiction that you mentioned awhile back," the young girl's voice was trembling a bit. "If my Dad wasn't here, I….,"

"I know exactly what you would have done," Carter looked at her and saw understanding in her younger eyes. She would have run away. Any self-respecting nine-year old would do just that if they were faced with what they were trying to explain to her.

"Am I going to spend the rest of my life in this military base?" her younger self asked.

"No, that will definitely not happen," Carter assured her with a gentle smile, "But right now, we have to wait and see if we can figure out what happened. I wish I could tell you what happened, but we haven't figured it out yet," she apologized again.

The young girl was looking down and Carter could tell that she was crying. Carter pulled her close and hugged her. "It's OK, It's OK," she said softly while rocking her gently.

"I'm scared… and I miss my Mom… and I even miss my brother, Mark….," and the young child sobbed in her arms. Carter just held her and spoke softly to her as the young girl cried herself out.

------------------

"So… if you aren't me in the future… then that means that I won't be a Major in the Air Force?" the young girl broke the silence a few minutes later.

"Well, no one can say what your future holds. You can be anything. Anything that you want to be," Carter said encouragingly, "You can go into the Air Force, you can go into science… or you could choose to do something else…, your choices are up to you and are not predetermined," and Carter said this firmly.

"I still want to be an astronaut," the young girl admitted shyly.

"To go UP there," and Carter pointed up with a smile on her face.

"To go to the moon," her younger self chimed in.

"To fly among the stars… and explore!" they finished together and Carter hugged the young girl.

------------------------

"Sam?" Carter asked the young girl.

"Yeah, Sam?" the young girl asked back with a cheeky grin, and Carter took the display of humor as a good sign.

"I want you to remember, that whatever we find out, whatever happens…. I want you to remember that your Dad and I love you - no matter what… got that? No matter what." And Carter looked at the young girl steadily, watching for her reaction.

"Yes, I got it. Dad loves me… even if he isn't my Dad…," she said and Carter looked at her with worry, "… and you love me… even though I am you… which means… that you just love yourself… isn't that kinda…," and Carter looked at her younger self in surprise and saw the teasing look on her face.

Carter rolled her eyes. Just what she needed. For her younger self to get smart-ass with her. She really didn't need to have her 'chain yanked' by her nine-year old self…. but then who would know how to yank her metaphorical chain more effectively than herself! Carter found herself shaking her head in disbelief at the thread of her thoughts.

"Anyone ever tell you that you are a smart-ass?" she asked the slyly grinning young girl.

"You… just now… most people seem to think I'm cute… or adorable," and she said that with the disgust that a nine-year old would feel for that description.

"Yeah, well, I know you… and don't forget it, kiddo. I know that there is a little smart-ass hiding in there, just bursting to get out," Carter arched an eyebrow at her and the young girl smiled back at the shared knowledge. "But, don't you worry… our secret is safe between us," and Carter was careful to use the pronoun 'our' and not 'your', and she saw the look of relief on the young girl's face.

-----------------------------

When they went back inside, they had a talk with Jacob and then Carter brought the rest of their main group up to speed on what the young girl had pieced together and what Carter had been able to tell her. Everyone agreed to try and answer young Sam's questions as honestly as possible.

Another week or so passed and the research team started to send reports that they were beginning to make progress on deciphering the large machine that Carter had been investigating in the alien storeroom.

--------------------------

General Hammond, the members of SG-1, Jacob Carter and the lead scientists of the research team were assembling for a briefing. It was a few minutes before the scheduled start time and people were talking in twos and threes. Some were getting coffee. Only one of the scientists had not arrived yet.

Then the lights and power went out across the base.

"What was that?" "Wow!" "What happened?" "Man, this is what I call dark!" The comments flew through the stifling blackness.

And then the emergency generators kicked in and the emergency lights came on. Low, red lighting lit the room and the personnel in an alien cast.

General Hammond was already at the phone, "What was that?" he demanded of whoever was on the other end of the line.

"Any idea where young Sam, is Carter?" O'Neill asked with a deliberate overemphasis on nonchalance.

"Sir…, she's only nine! Surely, you're not implying that she caused this?" Carter asked her CO in exasperation.

"Well, she's taken apart nearly every other piece of equipment in the base… with the exception of the Stargate, main power and the main computer system," O'Neill teased her.

"Sir, that's an exaggeration," Carter protested.

And the lights and power came back on.

The General finished speaking to whomever was on the phone briefing him on the base status. Moving back to the briefing room table, "Well, Major Carter….," he started.

"Yes, sir?" and she looked at him apprehensively.

"Sergeant Siler requests your presence for some repairs to the power control computer systems…. it seems that one young Samantha Carter was visiting the Sergeant and he stepped out of the room to speak with a technician…. when….?" and the General swept his arm in a gesture that included everything around them.

Carter closed her eyes and let her head fall forward a bit, "Yes, sir. Would you like me to go now, sir?" And she tried not to look at the Colonel. She knew that he'd be smirking at her. But she had to look, it was like trying to not look at a traffic accident. And his face was not covered in a smirk…. instead, the Colonel looked… stunned… impressed?... and he mouthed a 'wow' in her direction. She grimaced in reply.

"Yes, I think that you should go in a moment… and we'll reschedule this meeting until later this afternoon. You can give me an update on the status of the control system programs right before the meeting," the General ordered.

"But, Major, Jacob, if the two of you would stay behind for just a few minutes before Major Carter begins the repair work?" The General requested as the rest of the people began filing out of the room.

When the room was empty except for the two Generals and the Major, the General addressed the two Carters, "So…. I think I'm catching on… apparently I'm a bit slow… I remember your reaction, Jacob, when you said 'Nine'…. and now I think I know what you were getting at ... I couldn't understand it for the longest time…. I mean, come on, Major…. you were soooo unlawfully cute and adorable… no one could ever believe that you could be trouble…. but… I now know that it is actually your middle name….," and he paused.

Jacob was looking at him with amusement and Major Carter was looking at the table in complete embarrassment.

"Who woulda thunk it, huh, George?" Jacob asked while shaking his head. "Do you remember when I tried to describe this to you when she was growing up? But then she'd come out, spend a few minutes with us, charm the pants off of you and you wouldn't believe me!"

"So, that's what this is? Revenge?" Hammond asked, "Jacob, I can't believe that you would let that technological terror loose in my base just to get revenge on me for things I said more than 25 years ago."

Hammond snuck a look at his Major and saw that she was cringing at the personal dialogue about her childhood… as well as the description of her younger self. Hammond didn't think the Major's cheeks could get any redder.

"Well, it has been fun," Jacob returned with glee at his old friend's difficulties.

"Daa-a-ad," her groan was so low, that they were both sure that she hadn't meant for it to actually be heard.

Jacob glanced back at Hammond, "So, George, is this really why you wanted us to stick around… I think that my daughter has to get to some repairs of some sort?"

"Yes, actually, I did have one more specific question. You have stated that 'Nine' was the trying year…. so how did you make it to 'Ten'? All of you? I don't understand how your little girl here didn't electrocute herself, or burn down any buildings, or blow up any military installations….," and he waited for an answer.

Major Carter was now slouched down in her seat, her cheeks permanently red and she wouldn't look at either of them. Hammond wasn't going to get an answer from her, and he actually felt sorry for her. Hammond knew that he was taking out his frustration on her because he couldn't seem to ever get angry at the young nine-year old angel…. an angel…George realized that the young girl was actually a young genius who hadn't learned how to control her curiosity yet…. Somehow, though, the Samantha Carter sitting here had either gotten lucky, or she'd figured out how to curb her curiosity before she'd seriously injured herself. He shook his head and turned to Jacob.

The father was looking at him knowingly. Jacob knew what the answer was. "Out with it, Jacob," George demanded and he noticed his Major was looking up curiously.

"Well… we finally managed to get it a little under control…," and Jacob grinned at him as he drew it out, "by enrolling her in some advanced math classes. I think she went into Calculus…?" and Jacob turned to his daughter for confirmation.

And she was looking at him curiously. At nine or ten, she hadn't known that they'd enrolled her in the special classes to keep her from tearing apart everything in the house. And, she'd been so absorbed in her studies, her research or the military ever since… that she'd never thought about it again. Now she was putting the pieces together.

She nodded her head, "Yes, Calculus and Physics… and an Electronics course, I think." she confirmed and elaborated.

"Ah HA!" Hammond slapped the table, "It's so simple, why didn't we think of it?"

"Well, don't beat yourself up about it, George," Jacob softened it for his old friend, "We had to consult with psychologists before we had a clue what to do."

Hammond noted that Major Carter was back to looking at the table and he began to feel sorry for her. They weren't being fair to her, and they were having a little fun at her expense. "Major Carter, I want you to know that I have always been honored to have you under my command, and, I feel privileged to have been allowed to spend a little time getting to know your nine-year old self."

"Yes, sir," she replied respectfully, but he could tell that she would rather just vanish into invisibility from the embarrassment of having her life discussed by her father and her base CO.

"Major, why don't you get down there and help Sergeant Siler with his repairs?" Hammond gave her permission to escape.

"Yes, sir, thank you, sir," and she was out of her seat and gone before her words finished traveling across the room.

"They are both pretty amazing, Jacob," Hammond told his old friend.

"Don't I know it, George… don't I know it," Jacob replied with his heart.

Ultimately, the researchers and scientists determined that there were actually three devices in the room which had worked in tandem to produce young Sam. One was the large multi-storied machine that Carter had been inspecting. The second was a device attached to the gate…. the device that O'Neill had found Carter underneath… and the third device was over near where young Sam had woken up.

They still weren't sure exactly how the technology worked, but they think that they'd figured out what it was supposed to do. Well, sort of…. As near as they could figure out, the machine made duplicates… not quite clones… but young duplicates of the subject in the larger machine. And… not quite duplicates… because, through the Stargate, the apparatus tapped into some type of temporal mechanics and created a duplicate from a specific earlier time.

O'Neill sarcastically pointed out that the weeks and weeks of 'scientific' research had so far only told them what they already knew. But the scientists were used to dealing with the Colonel and they were prepared.

They pointed out that they were fairly confident, now, that First: young Sam was not simply from the past. Second: young Sam was not simply a clone… there was some sort of medical technology beyond cloning here. Third: young Sam was not from an alternate reality.

Furthermore, the linguistics department, under the direction of Doctor Jackson, had deciphered enough of the inscriptions and control annotations, to determine that the purpose of the apparatus appeared to be historical research!

"Yes, Jack," Daniel was explaining animatedly, "We think that they were trying to invent time travel, but instead they came up with… this… way of bringing the past to them… so to speak… at least it would allow them to go back decades… or a century or so…. but it would depend on the lifespans of the individuals in their race…," and Daniel continued on and on explaining how they'd figured it out and what it could mean for historical research.

"Daniel?" Major Carter interrupted him.

"Yes, Sam," he waited for her question.

"If this entire procedure was for historical research, then how do you deal with the ethical ramifications… and disposition of… the living product when you are through extracting your data?" Carter kept her tone clinical and flat, but everyone froze at the clear meaning of the question.

Daniel did not answer right away and he let a few seconds of silence pass. "You are right, Sam. We should not use this machine as it is, because there are no good ethical answers to that question…."

The room was silent as no one could think of a solution… not an ethical or moral one anyway.

"General, the scientists and researchers on this team, have already discussed this question of ethics at length… and it is our unanimous opinion that if this apparatus can not be used in some positive, beneficial medical way, then this apparatus should be destroyed. No one should be allowed to create living beings for the sole purpose of research." Daniel concluded and retook his seat.

And, now they had the answer to the Fourth option…. young Sam was not, apparently, the creation of some alien race in some attempt to communicate with the Tauri.

There didn't seem to be any nefariousness behind the creation of young Samantha Carter.

Now, the question became, what do they do with a nine-year old Samantha Carter?

What would be fair to her?

---------------------------

Sam and Jacob sat down with young Sam and carefully explained what they had learned to the young girl. She listened with that same intensity. When they were finished, she asked direct questions.

"So, this means that I'm an orphan, right?" she asked first and Jacob wanted to cry.

"Angel, you are not an orphan – you are my daughter… no matter what… I don't care if you are nine years old or ninety years old," Jacob hugged her tightly.

And Carter spoke up, "And I know that while I'm old enough to be your mom… well, I can't be… that would be…," "kinda creepy?" young Sam provided, "Yeah, kinda creepy…. since I'm you and you're me… you can't be mom to yourself…," and Carter took a breath and smiled gently, "But I can be like an Aunt, can't I?"

Young Sam smiled at her shyly, "Sure, I guess that will work."

"So, where am I going to live?" the young genius unerringly zeroed in on the most difficult questions.

"Well, we're still working on that…," Jacob temporized, "but in the meantime, we want you to continue with your studies. Math and physics if you want… but if you want to try other things, you just let us know and we'll get the materials for you."

They talked for a little while longer and then Carter left the two of them in her Dad's VIP quarters.

-------------------------

Ultimately, young Sam Carter was adopted by some close friends of General Hammond's. A young, thirty-something couple who were not able to have children of their own and were investigating adoption.

Jacob came to visit as often as possible, but Major Carter, Cassie and the men of SG-1 were the most frequent visitors who dropped by and took the young girl out for weekend excursions.

------------------------

One sunny, warm day, Major Sam Carter stopped by and picked up her younger self. Young Sam Fieldman… she'd adopted her new parents' name. She really did love them and they loved her to pieces. …As long as they kept her preoccupied with complicated math, physics or engineering puzzles… then their household appliances and machinery stayed intact.

Twelve-year old Sammy came bouncing out of the Fieldman's home and rushed into Carter's tight hug. Their golden retriever danced around them, trying to join in the play.

She held the twelve-year old out from herself, "Let me take a look at you! You've cut your hair differently…. looks nice… and… what? Your ears are pieced? Did Rob and Sandra say that you could do that?" she demanded.

"Yee-e-s, Mom," the twelve-year old responded in that Sam Carter tone which was reserved for annoying parental behavior.

"Well….OK, then," and Sam smiled at her grudgingly.

"It's your own fault, you know, you haven't been around for two months!" the youngster accused.

"Yes, I'm sorry about that… got a little tied up at work… got kinda stuck 'outside the gate', if you catch my drift," she said in a whisper to the young teenager.

Sammy looked up at her and relented. She did know about the Stargate, so she had to acknowledge that there might sometimes be… problems. "Allright, but you still owe me a couple of weekends….," she insisted.

"Absolutely," Carter returned with a smile as she petted the overfriendly dog. Carter had always wanted a dog, but moving from air force base to air force base had not allowed her to have a pet that required the more traditional family roots.

"Sam, why are you crying?" the teenager was asking with concern.

"I'm just happy… happy for you… you look so happy, and you are so loved…," Carter hugged the young teenager again. "The Fieldmans, the dog, the house… everything… I'm just happy for you, Sammy."

The teenager scowled at the use of the diminutive of her nickname, but she let it slide…. she always let Sam get away with it. If you couldn't let yourself get away with a few things… then who could?

"Sam, this is all great, and I know that I am really lucky… but I still need you and Dad…. I still miss you a lot when I don't get to see you," and the teenager looked up at her earnestly.

"And I miss you! Where else can I go for a good talk with myself, anyway?" and they both laughed at their old in-joke.

"So, have you got all your stuff ready?" Sam asked the young girl.

"Yep, all packed for the weekend… and you still haven't told me where we are going…?" she tried for a pleading look.

"Nope, not gonna tell you… it's a surprise. Let's go and tell your folks that we are going and then we can hit the road," Sam directed with an affectionate push.

"Yes, Major," and the teenager said it like a teenager and then couldn't refrain from a giggle at the end.

"That's Colonel, kiddo, keep up with the times… now scoot!" And she shepherded the girl, and the dog, into the house to check in with the Fieldmans before departing.

------------------------

An hour later and Sam parked behind an old airplane hanger on a small airfield outside of Colorado Springs.

"Are we going to check out some planes, Sam?" young Sam had been asking questions and guessing non-stop since they had left the Fieldmans' house. Carter had patiently deflected all of the young girl's attempts to wrest information from her.

"OK, get your stuff and follow me." and Carter led her around into the hanger where a small four-seat fixed-wing airplane sat awaiting departure.

"Sam Carter! It's about time you showed up!" a grease-covered, brown-haired man in coveralls approached them.

"Yes, sir," she replied with a smile.

"And this would be young Sammy Fieldman?" the man gave the teenager a welcoming grin…only to find himself receiving a scowling glare.

"Errr… sorry, there, she doesn't like Sammy…. Sam is OK, or Samantha… but not Sammy…," Carter apologized.

"Sure, no problem," and he glanced back to see the teenager watching him carefully, so he tried again, "Colonel Carter tells me that this will be your first time up in a small plane, is that right, Samantha?"

And he was rewarded with a beautiful, face-splitting smile, "Wow! We're going up in that?" and she pointed at the plane and looked between Sam's face and the now-smiling brown-haired man.

Sam just smiled and nodded at her enthusiasm and let the plane's owner respond, "Well, you sure are, Samantha. And you are one lucky little lady. That there is a wonderful plane….. and you're aunt here is a superb pilot… although she hasn't made it out here in ages, I'd like to point out," and he gave the older Sam an admonishing look for not paying enough attention to her flying muse.

"I consider myself reprimanded, Jerry," she shook her head at him.

"Hey, is there room for one more on this flight, or is the flight already sold out?" a deep voice called out from behind them.

"Uncle Jack!" the teenager shouted and jumped into his arms for a bear hug. "Sam is taking me flying!" and her eyes shown with excitement.

"So, she told me….," and he looked over at Sam, "Is it OK with you if I come along for the ride? I promise that I'll sit in the back and you can have shotgun up front."

"Sam, can he come? Can he?" the teenager asked her excitedly.

"As long as he doesn't back-seat pilot…," Carter teased.

"You won't hear a peep out of me, no sirree…," and he grinned winningly at his two Sams. And they both rolled their eyes in response.

"Jerry, if you would like to show your plane off to Samm…Samantha," she caught herself… the teenager wasn't nearly as forgiving when others witnessed her being called Sammy. She didn't even let Jack get away with it. And…. ohhh… did he try… especially since he knew that it torqued her chain. He'd even tried it a few times on his grown-up Carter, but she'd learned long ago to not let her exasperation show… lest he figure out her buttons too well.

"… then I'll go and fill out the paperwork and do the walkaround in a few minutes," she finished and Jerry obligingly took the excited teenager on a tour of both the outside and the inside of the plane.

O'Neill hung back with her for a second. "So… would you have made me stay down here in the hangar if she had said no…. if she'd wanted this flight for just the two of you?" he asked curiously.

"You know that there was no chance of that…. she hasn't seen you in months and you spoil her to pieces. Besides, you were smart and you offered her the front seat… now if you hadn't done that…. then you might very well be sitting down here in the hanger for the next couple of hours," she teased him.

"Well, I knew full well who I was talking to, remember?" he said knowingly and teasing her right back.

"Why don't you go over and help Jerry contain her enthusiasm while I fill out the paperwork. Make sure she doesn't touch any of the controls….," she sent back over her shoulder as she made her way to the small hangar's office.

Jack grinned at her and went to join the plane's owner as he struggled to keep up with the barrage of questions coming from the animated twelve-year old.

--------------------------

Forty-five minutes later and they were flying over the outskirts of Colorado Springs.

The air was clear from a recent rain.

The weather was perfect for low altitude flying.

Sam was letting her two passengers make up the details of the flight plan as they went. She'd go left when they saw something over there… then she'd go right when they saw something else that they wanted to check out. Sam was convinced that Jack was having the time of his life, not just sharing the flight with young Sam….but also because Carter was following his directions to the letter. She could tell that he was sounding out turns for no other reason than the fact that she was doing what he said… like some kind of voice-activated auto-pilot. She shook her head to herself as she kept a vigilant eye out for other planes or tall objects where they weren't supposed to be.

"Sam?" the teenager asked for her attention.

"Yes, honey?" she glanced over at the beaming face.

"This has been the best… the absolute best! Thank You!" the teenager's megawatt smile lit up the cockpit and Carter couldn't help but send back an answering smile of her own.

"Ack!" came from the back seat.

"What's wrong, Uncle Jack?" the teenager turned around in her seat to see into the back seats.

"Ow! Ow!... my eyes…. my eyes…," and he was covering his face with his hands and squirming for effect, "the smiles in the front of the plane were so bright that I think I'm blinded!"

"Uncle Jack!" the teenager flounced back around in her seat and rolled her eyes at Sam. Chuckling drifted forward from the back seat and the teenager chose to ignore it. Carter just flew the plane in gentle arcs, silently enjoying the flight… and the company.

"So…. do you want to try flying it?" Carter asked her younger self…. fully knowing the upcoming answer.

"REALLY? Do you mean it?" and the teenager's eyes shown even brighter.

"Ummm….Sam…. you didn't tell me… hmmmm…. can I get out first?" Jack asked from the back seat with feigned fear in his voice. At least, Carter figured it was feigned…. the man had faced Go'a'uld with nothing more than a knife before…. so surely flying under the control of a twelve-year old shouldn't scare him… too much…right?

She grinned mischievously at him…. "Afraid not… the back seat seems to just be in the habit of following the front seat…. so you'll have to just sit back and enjoy the ride…"

"Now, I can't actually give you full control of the plane because you don't have a license, understand? But, I can let you can reach over and place your hands just above my hands…." and Carter let the teenager hold the yoke, while Carter's hands maintained contact…. and she watched her younger self's eyes widen with delight.

-------------------------

Later, back in the hangar after the flight, Jack had headed back to the base and the two Sams were thanking Jerry. "Sam, when can I learn to fly? When can I get a pilot's license?" the enthusiastic young girl asked eagerly.

"Well, I believe that 16 is the earliest age that you can get your license," and Carter looked at Jerry for verification, and the plane owner nodded.

"Awww… sixteen? That's like… forever…," the young teen lamented and the adults exchanged bemused looks.

"Well, Miss Samantha…," and Jerry looked at Carter for the OK to reveal the next part to the young girl. Carter nodded indulgently, so he continued, "Your Aunt here has figured out something that… just might take your mind off of 'forever,'…..," and he paused tantalizing young Samantha.

"What? What?" and she looked between Jerry and Carter for clues.

"Well…. you'll have to come over here…," and Carter led them all to the back corner of Jerry's hangar. "This… might keep you occupied… for awhile…," and Carter gestured at a small two-seat fixed wing plane…. single engine… prop… It was old and rusty and needed a new paint job and probably… a new engine…

"Ummm… Sam… it doesn't look… like it… will fly….," Young Sam looked askance at Carter.

"Right you be! Little Lady," Jerry grinned at her. "This little ship needs a lot of work before she'll he airworthy again….," and he looked at the teenager invitingly.

Carter smiled at her younger self, "This is a gift... if you want it… the deal is, this plane is yours…. to take apart…. and then to put back together – in flightworthy condition… if you think that you want the challenge….?"

"Do you mean it? I can take a plane apart?" her young blue eyes were wide with anticipation.

"And put it back together…! Don't forget that part of the bargain!" Carter reminded her affectionately.

"WOW!" and Young Sam was running her hands over the small plane.

"And, if you want… Jerry and myself, will help out….," Carter offered, "Um… I know that… well… I'd sure like to help out with the… tearing apart process," she hinted hopefully with a wide grin across her face.

Her younger self looked at her knowingly, "I guess there's enough here to share," and she smiled with obvious glee.

----------------------------------------------------

Later, after the weekend was over, and Carter was dropping young Sam back off at her home with the Fieldmans, young Sam spoke up, "Sam?"

"Yes, honey?" Carter replied.

"So… I can be anything… right? An astronaut… an astrophysicist… an archeologist…. an airplane pilot… whatever, right?" the young girl asked.

"Yes, you can. Whatever you want to be. The choice is yours," Carter replied with a smile at the choices.

"Mmmmm….. but, our DNA is the same, right?" she asked again and Carter wondered where the young girl was going with this.

"Yes, our DNA is the same… but, remember, I told you that you are not me… your experiences are different from mine… you've already seen the Stargate… and…," she grinned and waggled her eyebrows at the younger girl, "you've already been up in a small plane… long before I got to."

"OK, so we're different, even though we have the same DNA…?" the young girl pursued.

"Yes…," Carter replied again.

"So…. with the same DNA… we might grow up and do very different things… but I'll look like you when I get old, right?" the young girl was looking down now.

"Would that be a bad thing?" Carter asked curiously.

"Well….," the youngster seemed to consider her answer… "I guess… it wouldn't be a bad thing…," and then she looked up at her older self mischievously.

"Ooooo…. there's that smart-ass…. just when I'd forgotten all about it….," Carter rolled her eyes and groaned. "And what was that 'old' crack?"

Young Samantha just grinned and giggled.

"How long have you been waiting to set me up for those questions?" Carter asked with narrowed eyes.

"Not long…," the teenager tried to look innocent.

Sam just laughed. "Smart-ass! It's a good thing that you are me, otherwise…."

The End?

Author's Notes and Comments

Again, all of my thanks to all of the other Stargate fanfic writers out there.

I hope that you enjoyed my short story.

Thanks again to Heliopolis, Gateworld, and all other SG1 fanfic website archives.

If you like Carter fic or Sam/Jack fanfic, you might like

'Dancing With An Angel'

or

'Come Fly With Me'

or

'A Beautiful Mind'

Thanks again to all who enjoy Stargate fanfic.