Disclaimer: 'Stargate SG1' and all the characters associated with the show belong to someone who isn't me. As I doubt that the owners would be willing to trade their rights for some magic beans that aren't in any way magical, this is not going to change at any point in the foreseeable future.
Author's Note: I'd like to thank everybody who reviewed this story. It was wonderful to read your thoughts and thank you for putting up with my sporadic updates.
Chapter Twelve: Loose Ends
Three days later
Three days later
"The duct tape did the trick in the end." Sam reported to General Hammond and the rest of her team as they sat down for one of the stranger mission briefings they had had thus far. "The quantum mirror won't work again and I doubt that it will do anything as far as defence goes, but it looks intact and that's enough to satisfy the locals."
"Publius stopped crying." Jack added helpfully. "And nearly kissed Carter when she told him that the mirror was back in the temple. We took that as a good sign."
"And you're certain that the planet's defence systems won't be adversely affected?" General Hammond pressed, inwardly wondering which malign deity he had so offended that his order to destroy the quantum mirror would have led to such a mess.
"As certain as I can be, sir." Sam said. "Individual mirrors are able to absorb and reflect weapons fire, so if the effect is magnified by the number of mirrors, losing one won't lessen their defensive capabilities much."
"We'd need to borrow a Goa'uld mothership to really test it, though." Jack quipped. "It's got a quadruple Carter seal of approval, though, and that's good enough for me."
"Fair enough." Hammond noted, seeing the young woman sitting next to him blush.
"Do not forget Doctor O'Neill." Teal'c reminded Jack with a completely straight face.
"We can be thankful that all our guests were able to return to their homes – nearly all." General Hammond amended, remembering General O'Neill.
"And that there's only one each of Sam and Jack in this reality – no offence." Daniel said quickly, seeing the looks on his friends' faces.
"At least we didn't mix anybody up." Jack joked. He shuddered inwardly at the thought of sending the wrong Carter back through the quantum mirror.
"It seems as if the mission was a success, then." Hammond smiled at the quartet sitting around the table, grateful that he had his SG-1 back in one piece with no extras running around.
"Yes, sir." Jack responded. The rest of the team nodded.
"Good." Hammond's keen eyes scrutinized the faces of the two officers sitting at the table, wondering how they had really felt when they had seen evidence that their counterparts had been involved. It was a question he would never have asked, however. "Dismissed." He said at last.
"What was it like seeing so many versions of you?" Daniel asked as soon as he, Jack and Sam were alone.
"Weird." Jack said flatly. "Very, very weird."
"I never would have pictured you as a scientist." Daniel agreed, smiling at the memory of the contrast between Jack and Jonathan.
"I'd have liked to spend more time studying the mirrors in the temple." Sam said, sounding wistful. "The technology was amazing." She made a face. "Even if it did have us transporting all over the place. Samantha told me that the mirrors where she, Colonel Carter and Major O'Neill were showed them the past and the future."
"Anything about the winning lottery numbers?" Jack asked.
"Figures." He grumped.
"Seeing the past and future would have been interesting." Daniel observed, his expression darkening as he remembered the torment of seeing his dearest wish play out before him on the mirror.
Who knew how long he would have stood there had the others not been able to snap him out of it.
A thought, born of his conversation with Dr Carter and Jonathan, struck. "Jack? You looked into the same mirror as I did – did you see anything?"
Only somebody who knew Jack O'Neill very well could have caught the split second hesitation or the brief flash of discomfort on his face before he responded. "Nothing."
Teal'c had not remained with his teammates once they had been dismissed after the debriefing.
Colonel Carter and Major O'Neill had sought him out before they had left to enlist his assistance, leaving him with advice and instructions he was not certain how to proceed with.
He was observant, something that had helped him to rise to the rank of First Prime in Apophis' service and his friends' reactions to learning of their counterparts' involvements in other realities had not escaped him.
There had been no female warriors in Apophis' army and close friendships between his Jaffa had been discouraged for fear that it would compromise their loyalty and devotion to their false god.
He understood the regulations regarding fraternization but did not agree regarding the need for them, especially where O'Neill and Major Carter were concerned. He knew them both well enough to know that they would not allow a personal relationship to interfere with their duties in the fight against the Goa'uld.
Had he had any doubts, Colonel Carter and Major O'Neill's presence was evidence that they were groundless.
Dr Carter and Dr O'Neill worked well together, though they were promised and from what little he had heard of the reality Daniel Jackson had visited and of Samantha's reality, O'Neill and Major Carter's counterparts had been able to successfully balance their personal and professional lives.
In their case, no regulations were needed to govern their relationship but he knew that neither of his friends would ever disregard them.
He knew from Major O'Neill that it was possible to obtain a dispensation but in this world, Senator Kinsey would never entertain the thought of helping.
Daniel gaped at his friend, surprised, when Teal'c had come to his office to pose the question.
"They talked to you too, did they?" He said at last. "Jonathan and Dr Carter waylaid me before they went back to their reality."
"Colonel Carter and Major O'Neill spoke to me."
"I take it that you're supposed to play Cupid too."
Teal'c raised an eyebrow. "I do not believe that it will be necessary to assume that role, Daniel Jackson. The feelings are already present."
Daniel nodded, acknowledging the truth of this. "So all we need to do is to get them to see it and to arrange it so that the regulations aren't a problem." He shook his head, mentally cursing the two scientists who had wished the task on him, no doubt knowing that he wouldn't be able to refuse to help his friends. "We'd better start with the regs - we'll probably have an easier time with them than with getting those two to see sense."
"Carter? Carter?" Jack repeated a little louder when she showed no signs of hearing his approach.
She glanced up from the notes and sketches she had been studying. "Sir?"
She passed the sheet to him. "Dr Carter gave me this before we left for P7L-886. Something about you needing this."
"Remind me to send flowers to her reality." Jack said, beaming down at the schematic for a motion sensor for a fishing rod. "Do you miss the rest of the Carter team? Or are you glad to have the place to yourself again?"
"A bit of both. I'll miss working with them but it's nice to be the only one of me in this reality."
"Definitely." He was silent for a while, uncertain how to proceed. "Was it weird for you?"
Both of them knew that he wasn't simply referring to the presence of their counterparts.
"A little." She responded honestly, though she omitted the fact that it hadn't surprised her as much as it should have.
"Yeah." He said quietly. "Carter... Have fun with your project." He finished lamely.
"I will, sir." She gave him a small smile. "I'll see what I can do about building one of these." She offered, gesturing to the design for the improved fishing rod.
He grinned, glad to be on a more comfortable topic. "Then I'll have to drag you - and Daniel and Teal'c - to my cabin to try it."
"I'll look forward to it." She responded sincerely.
"So will I."
Author's Note: Thanks for reading, everybody. I didn't think it fit with the story to be any shippier with our Jack and Sam, but I'm sure that Teal'c and Jack will sort them out. Please don't forget to review.