The Grandfather Paradox Part V
Synopsis: And now our conclusion.
Rating: PG-13 - Jake, Sel curse!
General George Hammond.
Jacob laughed dryly and shook his head, "So he zatted you also?"
"Wanted to save my career," I drawled. "He gave you that same line of crap, did he?"
"Yeah, right," Jake growled. "When I met him at the Award Ceremony, I wasn't sure it was him. It's been more than thirty years, George. Though according to Selmak, it's been a lot more than thirty years."
"Will Selmak tell you what's going on?" I questioned.
"No, she's being difficult. Sel keeps repeating, "If I tell you, I'd have to kill you." Then she makes comments about how she's finished breaking me in as her host, and that she doesn't want to have to go through that again for a few hundred more years." Jake sighed and then leaned back in his chair. "She sounds like she's housebreaking a puppy."
Jacob paused, and then his face turned dark at an unheard comment from his symbiote.
"Oh, so a puppy is cuter than me, Selmak? I'll remember that!"
"Selmak's worried, Jacob?"
I knew Jacob very well, so I could hear what he wasn't saying. He was deeply concerned, and his new... soul mate... Selmak... was sharing his unease. That explained the constant banter between the two of them, as that was how Jake reacted to stressful situations.
"Yes, she saw something on the Tollan quantum mirror. Sel did something to the mirror that surprised the hell out of the Tollans. It normally shows the same time, in each different reality. Somehow, Selmak fast forwarded it. She took over the body then, completely, and I don't know what she saw. But from what she's let slipped, you and I are going to be involved in getting them home."
"And we'll never know what we did, will we?" I questioned.
"No." Jacob said. "Not if it works, and I think whatever Selmak saw, truly frightened her."
"Maybe we'll get her drunk one day, and she'll tell us." I pondered for just a moment. "But how do you get a symbiote drunk, Jacob?"
Jake clapped his hands, and then waved them to express his complete befuddlement. "I have no idea."
I checked my watch again. The trucks were revving, the Stargate was being powered, and I knew we had to be exact in our leap. Yes, leap, as the last few days had felt like a really bad episode of "Quantum Leap".
"Ready?" I roared over the engines.
"One more minute," Samantha protested, as she checked her watch. "On my mark... one.... Two.... Three...."
The four of us ran into the puddle, and I felt the familiar disorientation of using the Stargate. Normally, I wasn't aware of the time passing when we gated, but now, I did.
There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home.
Was it taking longer? The cold was seeping in my bones, stealing my breath even as my knees began throbbing in time to my racing pulse.
Something had gone wrong.
I fell onto the ramp, shaking.
"Cold... cold... "My teeth were chattering loud enough to be heard in Hoboken.
"Jack," Daniel said in a very quiet whisper. "We're not home. I really hope that we're not home, because if we are home, we've just destroyed the time line."
"Bow before your God!" screamed an unfamiliar voice.
Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.
The staff weapon slammed into my ribs, and I found myself kneeling with the help of a few Jaffa. They pulled my head up by yanking on my hair, and I found myself viewing something that looked suspiciously like a walking carpet. The walking carpet was staring at Teal'c and he seemed... amused... well... as amused as a walking, talking carpet could be.
"What is this? He wears the crest of Apophis? Fool, hasn't anyone informed you that Apophis has been dead for centuries?"
Two men with no particular place to go, awaiting an appointment made several hundred years ago.
"They're here," I said to my partner, and then I glanced down to his knee that was swaddled in bloody bandages and braced by the broken halves of a staff weapon. "How's the knee?"
"Hurts," he admitted shortly. Even though his cowl hid his face, I could imagine how much pain he was in. Admitting that he was hurting meant that he was in a hell of a lot of pain, as when you looked up stoic, you saw a picture of him. "Doing what he can, but he keeps reminding me that it will take time to repair the damage."
"They're not good at replacing legs, but once this is over, we'll see if he can actually grow you a brand new leg."
"If this works, we won't have to worry about my leg," he retorted. "This bastardized time line will be prevented from ever being whelped."
"From your ears to whatever god's listening," I responded, then paused due to an unspoken comment. "It's time. She says they should be in the cells now, and you and I have to get them out."
"You know she doesn't have any. The further she went down this time line, the murkier everything got, and the Tollans aren't around anymore, so we can't ask to view their magic 8 ball. The Asgard are gone and the Nox were slaughtered while they passively sat in a circle and sang. No one's seen a Furling in so long, we wouldn't recognize one if we tripped over its eight legged body. There's nobody left but us. Two old men that should have died centuries ago, and two headsnakes who deserve not to die on this asinine mission."
His partner snorted softly.
"It's a good day to die, Carter," was all George said.
"Yes, and we've been waiting for over three hundred years for this."
I didn't say anything else, but because... what else could be said?
How does one use mere words to describe a pact made between three friends, conceived on that horrible day when my daughter never returned from the past? George had lost his family and his past, after he had agreed to become a Tok'Ra host. For years, he had watched them from afar, until one day, overwhelmed by his personal sacrifices, he had stopped. He had almost lost his soul, watching helplessly as the Goa'uld attacked... no ... annihilated Earth, knowing that his great-grandchildren and their children were among the first slaughtered. The Goa'uld not content in their victory had poisoned the wells and salted the Earth, and George and I had watched, two ancient men, alone, and adrift in a future that Selmak said should not have happened.
For the want of a screw, the kingdom was lost...
For the want of SG-1, our galaxy had been lost....
Dear God, please let this be the right thing to do. I couldn't live with myself... if I had caused the horrors I have lived through these last three hundred years.
The pain in his leg was increasing, as he was gasping each time he took a step. Being stubborn as a Texas Bull, he refused to accept my assistance. I cursed under my breath, wondering why two very old men had to save the universe.
Selmak, can't Lantesh help George with the pain?
Lantesh is doing everything thing he can to keep George alive. As am I, Jacob. Both of you have been severely wounded. It is remarkable that Lantesh and I were even able to bring you two back from near death, Jacob!
Well. It was a gamble, talking to Yu. We knew that there was a possibility that things would go badly...
Yu's insane, Jacob. He hung George upside down and threatened to gut him!
Really? I didn't notice the foam flowing from his mouth or the fact that he was gnawing on the leg of his throne while his First Prime, Oshu, did all the talking.
Oshu believes that if we do this, we might be able to kill Anubis, allowing Yu's troops to conquer. Then Yu will die, unexpectedly, and Oshu will be the new God of the universe. And the two annoying Tok'Ra will no doubt be quite dead.
Won't he be surprised when he wakes up and realizes that something's gone horribly wrong! I'd love to see his face then!
Jacob, I always admired your delightful sense of humor. You have made me laugh during our years together. Thank you.
And you saved my six more times than I can count.
3,492 times to be exact.
I laughed to myself, and then I gestured quickly at George. George nodded once, and then we unwrapped the very volatile explosives. Deliberately we began placing a unit there, another block there.
"George, you can you move any faster?" I questioned, though hating myself for asking.
He can not, Lantesh answered for his host.
I nodded my head in apology, hoping that George knew that I had regretted asking.
"Jake?" George gasped. "I think it's time that we blow this taco stand."
"Sky high!" I answered.
The four of us were in the SGC, surrounded by Jaffa. And, if I didn't know any better, I'd swear that we were sitting in Samantha's old lab. It was on the same level, and the room was the fifth door on the left.
"Something's gone wrong," I winced the minute I heard the words pour out of my mouth.
Yes! Daniel Jackson! Rocket Scientist! State the obvious why don't you?
"Ya think?" O'Neill retorted. "Do we have any idea where we are? And When?"
"It appears to be the SGC, Sir," Samantha answered easily. Then her tone faltered, "As for when? I'm not sure."
"It is at least 2199," Teal'c inserted. "Apophis was alive in 1969, and it has been at least two hundreds years since he was killed. The Jaffa mocked me for wearing the symbol of a long-dead False God."
"Ok, so Apophis is dead and I didn't go to the funeral. Darn. I would have sent flowers at least. But who's the walking carpet?" O'Neill questioned. "The Egyptian god of Carpets?"
I was about to say that I didn't know, when I felt the building shudder. Cheyenne Mountain was literally buckling under my feet. Alarms went off, and I heard the sounds of screaming. Our guards fled down the hallway, and I have to admit that I was really very, very confused.
"Earthquake? Sam, do they have earthquakes in Colorado? Are we being attacked?"
That's when the door to the room opened again, and two robed figures staggered into the room. Yes, they staggered. Teal'c saw the opportunity to escape so he attempted to hit one of them. He got whacked across the head by a staff weapons for his trouble, even while one figure sprouted off a fluent curse in Goa'uld. Then he began talking exceeding fast to Teal'c, who looked puzzled. Teal'c put his arm down, and then my friend turned to look at me.
"Daniel Jackson? How can this be?" He questioned.
"Daniel? For those of us who don't speak Goa'uld?" O'Neill questioned loudly.
"It's... your father, Sam.... And General Hammond. They're here to rescue us." I turned to face Samantha and Jack, and I shook their head. "They said that they've been waiting for over three hundred years."
"Dad?" Samantha gasped.
The man that had cursed in Goa'uld, then uncovered his face. His partner did the same.
Oh my God, it was Jacob and George. But both men were old and haggard, their lines faces marred with livid scars and burns and displaying numerous half-healed bruises and cuts, but what surprised me most was that both men's eyes were full of hopelessness. I had seen Hammond appear discouraged, but I had never seen him look defeated before...
"Yes, George and I are attempting to get you home," her father said in an emotionless voice. "The time line split when you didn't return from 1969. George, Selmak, George's symbiote Lantesh ..."
Jack O'Neill mouthed, "symbiote?" and I nodded my head to confirm that he had heard correctly.
"And I vowed to thwart this bastardized time line from ever occurring. It's been three hundred years of hell..."
"Here's your weapons. We have a little distraction occurring right now. Yu is attacking the base," I explained.
"You are?" O'Neill questioned.
"No ... Yu..." I answered quickly, even as I distributed the Zats.
"I am?" O'Neill asked again.
"George, I forgot what he was like," I snarled to George, who had the nerve to laugh. "Yu got us into the building, now it's time to get you out of the building. We planted a lot of heavy explosives and Yu will be taking advantage of the confusion."
"We will?" Samantha blurted.
"Will you all please stop yammering about Yu? Yu, Yu, Yu! It's all about Yu! Ok? We've got to get you to the Gate room, so we can send you home. Teal'c, you're going to have to help George, as that leg of his will slow us down," I snapped. "George, time?"
"Four minutes, thirty two seconds," George answered. "Look, I'll stay behind, don't you worry about me. I'll cover your tail."
"Not acceptable," I snapped. "Let's go people; you've got a date with destiny. I just hope we can trust Yu."
My father and General Hammond had met us and were trying to send us home. I had a thousand and one questions to answer the stranger that wore my father's face, but my father kept telling me to run faster.
"Teal'c, can you carry George?" My father growled over Hammond's protests.
The general was easily picked up and positioned piggy back on Teal'c back. That movement caused George to curse fervently, and my father shook his head when he saw the fresh blood staining George's heavily wrapped knee.
"Holy Hannah, George, I know that hurt, but we've got to move. I'm not leaving you behind, not now. Old friend, we've come too far to let you die alone! Hurry!"
And so we ran toward the Gate Room even as Hammond continued to sear. We turned the corner to find us surrounded by numerous Jaffa. Their staff weapons were opened and ready to fire.
Hammond was yelling in Goa'uld toward an Oriental that had the golden badge of a First Prime, and my father was motioning for us to continue forward.
"Jacob, there are Goa'uld there," O'Neill pointed out helpfully.
"They're on our side, unless Oshu's a Hassak," my father retorted.
The Oriental Prime nodded his head once, "It will be as we agreed upon. Though once my Master's forces have conquered Anubis, we will hunt you down like the dogs you are."
"Good hunting," my father snapped. "While I'd love to stay and chat, we've got to go. Come on!"
We entered the Gate Room with only a few moments to spare. Selmak took control of our body, and she began entering the coordinates into the DHD that she had modified just for this adventure. It was small enough so I could wear it on my wrist, yet capable of confirming the correct time flux to send my daughter home. It was the achievement of a lifetime, the culmination of an entire race's temporal knowledge in a small chip.
Too bad only Selmak and Lantesh were left of the Tok'Ra. I guess that meant that they weren't going to have a Version 2.0 any time soon.
"Dad?" Samantha asked, obviously confused about what the hell was happening.
"Samantha, get ready. When Selmak tells you to go, GO. You got your GDO?" Hammond questioned, from Teal'c back.
My daughter nodded her head,
"Ok, it's programmed," I announced loudly over the sound of the puddle ka-wooshing. "Ten seconds, people."
Looking at George, I nodded my head. We would enter the Gate with them, but if we had fixed the problem in the time line, we wouldn't re-molecularize in the SGC. We would have disappeared, and everything would be back to the way it was supposed to be.
Perhaps Earth wouldn't fall to the Goa'uld.
Please, God. After all these years, please let this be the right thing to do.
"FIVE," George announced.
"Four... three...," I stated as we walked toward the open wormhole. "Two.... One..."
I grabbed Samantha's hand tightly as she walked toward the gate, and I squeezed it hard, hoping that she'd understand why George and I had done this.
"There's no place like home," I whispered. "There's no place like home. There's no place like home..."
My father grabbed my hand securely before we entered the wormhole. Clutching his hand just as tightly, I expected to be holding his hand once we re-molecularized. Instead, during our extended trip through the wormhole, I felt his hand slip from mine, as though his corporeal body had turned to moonbeam and starlight.
We landed with our usual grace on the ramp. Yes, we smacked down face first on the ramp, and proceeded to roll the entire way down. It took me a moment to realize that the injured Hammond was not with us as I was searching for my father.
"Jacob, George!" O'Neill crowed as he realized we were home. "You sons of a gun, you got us... Where are they?"
Teal'c looked impassively from where he had landed. His clothing that had been stained with General Hammond's doppelganger's blood was now bloodfree.
It was Daniel who managed to put everything into perspective.
"They changed the time line," Daniel whispered. "They waited for us for three hundred years and they changed the time line. I don't think they exist anymore, and they knew it was going to happen."
Daniel stopped long enough to remove his eye glasses, and wipe his eyes.
"They did it anyway."
"And you were there, Auntie Em," Jack pointed to my father, who had the grace to look annoyed. "No. But it wasn't a dream -- it was a place. And you -- and you -- and you -- and you were there."
Colonel O'Neill pointed to Hammond, then Teal'c, then Daniel and then me, as he continued quoting "The Wizard of Oz."
George Hammond gave my father a long suffering look. "I don't think the ruby slippers are part of the BDUs."
"He's talking crazy, George, like he always does. Let Dr. Frazier check them out, thoroughly, debrief the hell outta then..." my father drawled. "Then you and I will go out drinking. Let's see if we can get Selmak drunk. The old girl has some explaining to do, I believe."
"I just love getting that little flash light in my eye. Do you think you can get it any closer, so you can knock my eye out?" Jack continued to protest as Janet Frasier pushed him back down onto the bed. "And the thermometer! That's the best part, I'd hate for you to forget that. What do you mean by it's time for me to drop my drawers? What? That's new! It doesn't normally go there!"
My father quickly pulled the curtain shut and winked at me even as Colonel O'Neill continued to squawk.
"There are some things even a strong man can't view," he stated dryly. "Sam, get yourself checked out, and whatever you do, don't act like that, please. It'll embarrass me."
I laughed, and agreed.
"I want some jello though! Blue!" I called after him, as he and General Hammond were leaving the room.
I sat down in a chair, and recklessly, I put my feet on top of his desk. George's eyes were amused, and he did the same thing. Just like old times, when we were both J.O.'s and we had shared a shift.
"So... Selmak thinks we changed the time line, as they wouldn't be here," I informed George. "She's really rather please with herself, which means that she'll be insufferable for days."
"The Grandfather Paradox," George drawled while he shook his head. "Well, we haven't disappeared, so I have to agree that it worked out."
"The only grandfather paradox I'm concerned about now is since you, Sel and I apparently saved Samantha and the rest of SG-1, does that mean I'm going to have more grandkids?"