by Watery Tart
Rating: M (language, adult themes)
Fandoms: mainly a Stargate SG-1 fic with a few characters from BtVS.
Timeline: Stargate SG-1 - season 4 after "The Serpent's Venom"; BtVS - during the summer between S4 and S5.
Disclaimer: All characters and settings in this story belong to the Stargate and Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchises. I'm just playing in their sandbox.
Author's notes: I started posting this in 2004... yikes. But it started rolling around my head again, so I picked it up, edited and reorganised every chapter, and have more material ready to post. If any of you subscribers were still waiting for the next bit... coming up!
"Unscheduled off-world activation!"
The gate room siren blared. Carter stopped short in the middle of her report on P4R-286's soil samples, and the sudden noise made Daniel choke on the coffee he'd been sipping. Teal'c didn't move, and a brief exchanged glance told O'Neill that he too was grateful for the distraction. Soil analysis was just about the most boring subject he could think of, and now he had an excuse to stretch his legs.
The team followed Hammond down the stairs leading to the control room, with O'Neill wondering what was going to hit them this time. Unscheduled wormholes could be just about anything, from Goa'uld strikes to dorky scientists coming back with sunstroke. The latter was far more common, these days.
"Receiving IDC: it's SG-1," said Sergeant Davis.
"What?" snapped O'Neill.
"Can you think of anyone who could have got hold of your IDC, Colonel?" asked the General.
O'Neill shook his head, cold rage coiling around his stomach. They'd been compromised, dammit, and he hadn't even suspected it.
The General got hold of the microphone and sent out a message on the radio. "This is General Hammond of the SGC. Identify yourselves."
"This is Major Kawalsky," said a familiar voice through crackling static. "I bet this sounds weird to you, but we're under attack and requesting asylum, sir."
"How many of you are there?"
"Three," said Kawalsky. "We really need–" Gunfire, staff weapon shots and zat blasts took over.
O'Neill stood there dumbfounded. It wasn't the first time he'd heard Kawalsky again after his death, but it was downright spooky every damn time.
"Could he be from some alternate reality?" asked Carter. "I thought we'd had the mirror destroyed."
"So did I, Major," said Hammond. Then he heaved a great sigh and turned to Davis. "Close the blast doors, Sergeant. Defence teams, stand by," he instructed into the microphone.
"Are you sure, sir?" asked O'Neill. "It could just be a big fat trap."
"I'm quite sure, Colonel. If that mirror still exists, I want to know where it is and why it's still intact. And if not, I want to ask the people responsible for stealing your iris code a few questions. That's a damn big security breach, Colonel."
A team of SFs took aim at the gate, hidden behind thick shields. Jack swallowed back a comment about how useful a bunch of SFs would be against a Goa'uld bomb or whatever else the slimy bastards thought of sending through a wormhole.
"Open the iris," said Hammond when everyone was in place. "Major Kawalsky, you have a go," he said through the radio.
O'Neill sighed and fixed his eyes on the screens that showed what was going on in the gate room. Daniel and Carter crowded around him to watch too.
The iris opened, just in time for a man to fly through the gate head first. He landed hard on his face at the bottom of the ramp, his weapon skidding across the concrete ground. Tall, dark hair, BDUs... definitely Kawalsky. Or someone who could make themselves look like him.
"Wow, that's really him..." said Daniel quietly.
"Oh boy," Carter mumbled.
He knew just how she felt. If a long-haired Carter sauntered in, hanging on the arm of an alternate version of himself – probably one with a Ph.D., knowing his luck – he would... well he didn't know what he'd do, but it wouldn't be pretty.
Kawalsky straightened slowly. He had a bloody nose and was covered in grime and sweat. He raised his hands to show that he wasn't here to fight, wincing as he did so, and twisted back to look at the gate. Waiting for the others, no doubt. Well at least they hadn't sent a nuke in, so far.
Enemy fire suddenly crashed through the gate. The blast from a staff weapon slammed into one of the walls, at the same time as a woman hurtled out of the event horizon, reeling under a zat blast. She bashed into the ramp's railing, twitching under the crackling energy shot, and then her legs gave way and she fell to her knees on the ramp.
O'Neill stared at her in utter shock. Of all the twisted shit his brain had been able to think up about alternate dimensions, nothing had been as quite bad, as sick, as this. This had to be a dream.
More staff weapon fire flew into the gate room. O'Neill was pretty sure they'd got out the big guns, the intensity of the last blast was more like a staff cannon. The SFs' shields were getting hit, and a couple of them toppled over, smoke rising from blackened equipment.
"Close the iris," said Hammond.
She whirled around when she saw the iris start to close.
"No!" O'Neill saw her mouth it, horror written all over her face.
"We still have someone out there!" Kawalsky's shout reverberated through the gate room.
The iris closed, cutting off the enemy fire. Silence fell in the gate room, resounding after the roar of the staff cannons.
Davis checked the monitors for impacts. "I can't tell what happened, sir, there are a lot of impact events from the fire fight. But if there was a third one..."
"Thank you, Sergeant," said Hammond quietly. It had been a tough call, but it was getting too dangerous in there; O'Neill would have probably done the same.
It all seemed so unreal, though. Maybe it wasn't who he thought. The black and white screens distorted everything, after all. He could barely make out her features, she was crumpled against the ramp, face pressed against the railing.
O'Neill rubbed his forehead and screwed his eyes shut, hoping against hope that when he opened them, he'd wake up in the middle of Carter's report on soil samples. Anything was better than this.
The noise of the blast doors being opened made him jerk back to attention. They revealed Kawalsky standing there, blood still dripping down his face, staring at the control room with a mixture of surprise, exhaustion and anger on his face. She was hauling herself up, gripping the ramp, trembling violently and not making eye contact with anyone. The few glimpses O'Neill got of her face just confirmed what he suspected. Damn it.
"Call a medical team to the embarkation room," said Hammond to Davis, before hurrying down the stairs with Carter and Daniel following suit. O'Neill lingered behind, finally following when Teal'c gave him a quizzical look.
"Relinquish your weapons," ordered Hammond. Kawalsky's MP5 had already skidded far from his reach after the fall, and he handed over his side arm, as well as his tactical vest.
SFs approached her cautiously. She was white as chalk and immobile. The men took a zat gun and a M9 off her; she barely moved when they pulled her tactical vest off. Finally, the SFs stood back, some bagging and tagging the confiscated weapons, others still pointing their weapons at the newcomers.
"Who is in charge of this team?" asked Hammond, once he was facing them.
"I am." Her voice was sharp as ever, despite the zat blast. She managed to turn and shuffle down the ramp until she was next to Kawalsky.
The medical team had appeared behind the SFs, ready to intervene.
"Lieutenant Colonel Margaret Walsh, sir."
Lieutenant Colonel. What the hell?! And she was staring at them all. He could see how those familiar blue-green eyes flicked from one SG-1 team member to the next. When her gaze met his, he scowled at her.
"There were three in your party, you had Major Kawalsky and..."
She fell silent and stared at the floor. If it was possible, she looked even paler.
"Lieutenant Riley Finn," said Kawalsky quietly.
Well, at least it hadn't been Carter or Daniel. Killing them, even alternative versions of them, would have been hard on everyone in that control room.
"And how did you come into possession of SG-1's iris code?"
"We are SG-1, sir," she said, looking up at Hammond again. "We're SG-1 in an alternate reality. You may understand if you've also found the quantum... the..."
Whatever energy that had been keeping her on her feet suddenly ran out. She crumpled to her knees, shaking, coughing, retching. O'Neill averted his gaze, but he was pretty sure he heard her curse.
Fraiser approached. "Permission to bring them to the infirmary, General?"
"You do that, doctor."
A pair of nurses hurried towards Walsh and helped her up. Kawalsky walked, and SFs cautiously followed them.
Hammond turned around and marched back up to the briefing room, silent and pensive. They were soon all seated again in front of the paperwork about P4R-286.
"It's hard to believe this could happen again," said Carter. "I mean the chances of Kawalsky showing up again are, well, astronomical. Again."
"Well is it so improbable?" said Daniel. "After all he's been part of the Stargate program from the start, and last time he came through he knew how to use the mirror..."
"Yeah because their Carter had shown him how."
"Well okay, but you don't know that she didn't do that in their dimension. But what I'd like to know is how this quantum mirror is still in one piece. Or maybe there were two?"
"I don't think so. You see..." Carter went on to explain something science-y that O'Neill really didn't want to hear.
In fact, they were getting on his nerves; if this had been his command he would have told them to shut the hell up. But Hammond let them bicker about the possibilities and the probabilities and other annoying and pointless theoretical talk. O'Neill just rubbed his forehead and tried to ignore them.
"In any case," Hammond finally cut in, "we'll have to find out who these people are. I mean we know Major Kawalsky, but I've never heard of a Colonel Walsh."
Carter had grabbed a computer and was checking personnel files. "There's nobody in here by the name of Walsh, sir."
"That would be because she's dead, Carter," snapped O'Neill. Everyone stared at him. Damn mouth. It always opened when it shouldn't.
"You know her, Colonel?" asked Hammond.
"She worked here under General West's command, sir."
"I've got her, sir," announced Carter. "Doctor Margaret Walsh, she was a neuroscientist and a psychiatrist who collaborated with the military for the last twenty years, but most of the projects she worked on are classified. Apparently, she died in February this year."
"I heard she had a little operation going on in Southern California, with a bunch of kids that she'd handpicked," O'Neill said wearily.
"You seem to know a lot about her," said Daniel, frowning a little.
"She's the kind of person you want to keep tabs on. Kinda like Linea. You'll love her."
Daniel stared at him as if he'd been slapped in the face – the Ke'ra thing was still a sore spot. Teal'c scowled at O'Neill with the kind of expression that usually scared the crap out of anyone with a bit of common sense. Carter pretended she hadn't heard their conversation and continued tapping away on the computer, but O'Neill could tell she disapproved.
He didn't care. At this moment, he'd do just about anything to soothe the rage that bubbled in him, and if that meant insulting Daniel, tough. It wasn't like Daniel didn't ever lash out when he was pissed off.
"I can't find much else, sir," said Carter at last.
"I'll make my own enquiries, Major, thank you," replied Hammond.
"Sir, a word of caution, if I may," said O'Neill, making an effort to sound as calm as he could. "Maggie Walsh is bad news. Bad as in 'Dr Evil has nothing on me' bad."
"Are you sure that you're just saying that because she was a shrink?" asked Daniel. "Everyone knows you hate psychiatrists. If Dr MacKenzie's double came through the gate you'd be reacting just the same."
"Dr Jackson does have a point," said Hammond, casting O'Neill a withering glare.
He pasted on an innocent expression, but he knew that most of the psychiatrists who'd seen him had complained and/or tried to paw him off to someone else after mere evaluations, let alone attempts at so-called therapy. In his opinion, that just served them right for trying to pick his brains.
"Well, I'll go make a few calls," said Hammond after a while. "I'll let you know what I find."
Jack ground his teeth, forcing himself to shut up. They'd probably find enough incriminating material when they looked a bit further into the classified files. Hopefully that would put them off from wanting to keep her around for too long.