17 days earlier –
O'Neill sat at his desk filling out paperwork and wondering for the umpteenth time why he had accepted this latest promotion. Sure it was a great honor, and he was now Major General Jack O'Neill, but he really missed the action. As he was brooding about all the fun that he was sure his former teammates were having without him, a bright light filled the room.
Jack fully expected to see Thor standing in front of him as the light faded, instead a tall leggy brunette stood there with the most mischievous smile he had ever seen. He was about to reach for the phone when the young woman spoke.
He wasn't sure which surprised him more – the fact that the brunette was standing in his office, her British accent, or the fact that she had just called him 'Dad'. Again Jack reached for the phone.
"Don't bother calling security." The brunette spoke again. "As far as they're concerned, you're still doing paperwork at your desk…alone."
Jack glanced up at the security camera in the corner of his office and back at the woman standing before him. She simply nodded.
"What do you want?" Jack asked cautiously.
"That's the best you can do?" The woman retorted, sitting down in one of the chairs opposite Jack's desk. "I just beamed into your office, called you 'Dad', and all you can say is 'What do you want?' For Pete's sake Dad, this desk job has made you soft."
"Fine…who the hell are you?" Jack demanded, infuriated by the insubordinate manner of the young woman.
"That's better." Jack's guest responded. "The name is Jackie, and in case your coffee hasn't kicked in yet, I'm your daughter."
"From an alternate universe?"
"Nope…from the future."
"And I'm just supposed to take your word for it?"
"Of course not…you're supposed to take your word for it." Jackie was just being cheeky now.
"Cut the crap!"
"Sorry Dad. Yesterday – my time – you walked into the SGC sat down at m…Major General's…" Jackie cleared her throat and tried again. "You sat down next to me across from the General's desk. You told me that a number of years ago – of course that would be now for you – a young woman had beamed into your office claiming to be your daughter. That young woman was me. Of course you knew that you wouldn't believe me, so you told me something that only you would know.
"A couple years ago, back when you were CO of the SGC, you walked into Colonel Carter's lab to find out what was wrong. You said something about her not trying to confuse you with techno babble being a red flag." Jackie saw the recognition cross Jack's face, good they were on the same page. "Anyway, fast-forward ahead in the story, when she told you that Pete had proposed, your stomach tied up in knots and your heart ached. When she said she hadn't said yes, sudden elation filled your heart until you realized that she hadn't said no either. When she made the comment about you being part of the reason she hadn't given him an answer yet, you wanted nothing more than to spill your guts out to her, but knew that you couldn't, knew that she deserved to be happy, even if it wasn't with you."
Jack sat back in his chair in amazement. There was no way that this chick could know all of that. No one knew any of that. Suddenly the realization that she was telling the truth hit him.
"Wait, if I'm your dad, who's your mom?"
"After all these years working with Carter, you haven't gotten it through your head that I can't tell you anything? Remember the grandfather paradox?" Jackie smiled as her dad's eyes began to glaze over. "Besides, you'd just end up screwing things up if I told you." His eyes hardened. "You've just got to let nature take its course."
"So if you can't tell me anything, why are you here?"
"To save your ass."
Jack stared as Jackie explained that over the course of the next week he was going to be shot at. She then explained how they were going to fake his death by injecting him with a drug that would slow his breathing and heart rate down so low that no machines would pick up on it. She would then have six hours to inject him with another drug that would counteract the first one – if she didn't make it within the six hours his heart would just stop beating altogether.
"Wait! Why not just stop the guy before it happens."
"Because I don't know when, where, or who."
"You wouldn't give me any details – something about nature having to run its course." Jack scoffed, hadn't she just used that phrase? "All I know is that over the course of the next couple of weeks I will run across clues that will lead me not only to the sniper, but also to the guy that hired him."
"I really must have spent too much time around Carter if I wouldn't give you more details than that."
"I'll be back later today, after your meetings." Jackie smiled and stood. "By the way, you should probably call and cancel your flight for tomorrow."
"What? There is no way in hell I'm giving up my trip to Colorado Springs just because you've said that I'm going to be shot."
"I didn't say you had to give up your trip, just your flight plans." The mischievous grin was back. "I'll be flying you out tomorrow myself."
With that Jackie was gone in a flash of white, leaving a very disconcerted Major General behind to brood.
Later that day –
Jack had just stepped out of his last meeting for the day. He wanted nothing more than to go home and crash, but he had a couple things that needed to be finished before he left for Colorado Springs the next day. He sighed as he entered his outer office, his secretary had gone home for the day, had probably left hours ago.
He was about to move further into the office when he was blinded by a white light. He was ready this time, was ready to see his daughter standing before him in his office. Instead, when he opened his eyes, he saw her standing before him in what he recognized as a puddle jumper.
"I said I would see you after your meetings."
"Oh, right. Guess I forgot." Jack's eyes brightened as he looked around. "This is how we're flying to Colorado Springs?"
The next day –
The flashing light on the intercom caught his attention. He glanced at his watch again, where had the time gone? Didn't really matter, she was here, punctual as usual.
"Yes Lieutenant?" Jack said, pressing the intercom button and trying not to sound too excited.
"Dr. Nielson is here to see you, sir."
Jack blinked in confusion. Then he remembered: no one could know that she was his daughter. So instead of Dr. O'Neill – which sounded really weird – she was using the name Nielson. He chuckled, for a genius she wasn't very creative.
"Thank you Lieutenant, send her in." Jack stood as the door opened; childlike anticipation in his eyes.
"Good morning Jackie."
Jack was taken aback at the formal use of his rank. Then he noticed that the door was still open behind her. Of course…
"Ready to go?"
When Jack reached down for his overnight bag in response, Jackie turned back towards the door.
"Where are we going?" Jack asked as he followed her out of the office.
"I had to sign in at the security desk when I came in. If I just vanished, taking a Major General with me…" Jackie didn't need to finish the thought, Jack understood.
Moments later they were walking down the street away from the Pentagon. As they neared a park, Jack gave Jackie a funny look.
"What better place to hide than out in the open?" Jackie smiled. Jack rolled his eyes.
"Considering that we are in downtown D.C. you don't think that philosophy is a little dangerous?" It was Jackie's turn to roll her eyes. "Especially considering that it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for me to have a tail?" Jackie just smiled.
Once they entered the park, Jackie led them straight across the open field to a small clump of trees. As they got closer to the trees, she pulled a small remote out of her pocket and hit a button. Moving into the trees she turned around and there before them was the interior of the jumper.
"I've made a few modifications over the years."
"But what about those two guys tailing us?"
"Not a problem, they think that we've walked into the trees." Jack raised an eyebrow. "They can't hear us Dad. There is a dampening field that creates interference within a ten yard radius of the jumper. So come on, am I flying or are you?"
Jackie couldn't help but smile at the boyish excitement that permanently attached itself to Jack's eyes and face at her suggestion.
"Control this is jumper 2 do you copy?"
"Jumper 2 this is control, we copy."
"Control be advised ETA…10 minutes."
"Copy that jumper 2. You're ahead of schedule."
"The flight didn't take as long as anticipated."
"Very well, transmitting coordinates for landing location."
"Receiving. Thanks control."
"Not a problem jumper 2. We'll have a car ready and waiting for you at said coordinates."
"Roger that control, jumper 2 out."
Jackie followed the coordinates relayed to them by the control tower at the Cheyenne Mountain airstrip. As she hovered before landing she saw an airman sitting in a standard SUV waiting for them. Feeling mischievous, she disengaged the cloak before landing. The shock and surprise on the airman's face was instant. Jackie couldn't help but chuckle.
"I hope that airman has clearance or we're going to have one hell of a time explaining this."
Jackie glared at her father for ruining her moment.
"I'm not stupid Dad. When I informed the control tower of our arrival I spoke to the only person at the tower who has clearance and explained the situation. He promised to send one of the airmen from the SGC."
Jack nodded. He had thought the airman's reaction was funny also, but this whole situation was weird and he found himself constantly second guessing everything.
"Shall I call General Landry and let him know that you are here, sir." The airman asked as Jack signed in before heading down the 20-some-odd floors.
"No Airman, I think we'll surprise him."
Jackie could sense the excitement growing in her companion the further down they went in the elevator. She allowed her smile to show as he drummed his fingers against his leg, willing the elevator to move faster.
Jack caught the change in Jackie's face out of the corner of his eye. Turning he saw a broad grin spreading across her features as she watched him. She didn't look away or get embarrassed when he caught her watching him. He smiled in return. He'd only known Jackie for about 38 hours, yet he could already feel the father-daughter bond. This was crazy – she hadn't even officially been born yet and already he was attached. Of course, he'd never thought that he would be a father again.
The thoughts of the two occupants of the elevator were broken as the door opened. Standing in front of the doors was a young airman. She dropped the equipment she'd been carrying and jumped to attention, saluting nervously.
"At ease, Airman." Jack chuckled, returning her salute. "Is General Landry in his office?"
"I believe so, yes sir."
"Unscheduled off-world activation!"
The announcement that blared in all the halls of the SGC stopped Jack as his hand posed about to knock on Landry's door. He turned and looked through the open door into the briefing room just as Landry rushed through to head down to the control room, not once glancing to the side. Jack walked into the briefing room once he was sure that Landry had made it down the stairs. Resolutely he walked over to the window that overlooked the gate room and watched to see what would happen. Landry's voice could be heard drifting up the stairs from the control room.
"What is it Sergeant? What teams do we have off-world?"
"SG teams 1, 5, 12, and 17, sir."
"Not yet, sir." The technician responded. A moment later, "Receiving signal now, sir. It's SG1, sir."
"Damn. They're not due back until tomorrow. Open the iris sergeant."
"Good ol' SG1, always getting their asses in trouble."
Suddenly he whirled and headed down to the control room. Several of the technicians dropped what they were doing and saluted him. Jackie stifled a laugh as she followed Jack down the stairs.
"At ease." Jack sighed, throwing them a sloppy salute. He watched for a second while SG1 tumbled through the stargate. Turning to Jackie she couldn't help smiling at the mischief filled grin on his face. "Shall we?" She nodded.
The two headed out of the control room. Stopping at the blast doors Jack nodded at a marine posted at the door. The marine turned and slid his card through the reader and stepped back as the door opened.
"Indirectly, sir." Sam responded. "Before we ever got to the planet, the Prior convinced the people that we were evil and they should – at the least – run us off the planet, although their ultimate goal seemed to be our deaths."
"Indeed it did."
"And this is the gate room. That is SG1. Looks like they have once again barely escaped with their lives." Every eye in the gate room turned towards the blast doors where Jack and Jackie stood. The looks on everyone's faces was perfect. Jack couldn't hide the huge grin that covered his face.
"General O'Neill." Cameron said, as he and Sam snapped to attention and saluted.
"At ease, Colonels." Jack said, after returning their salute. Turning, he winked at Jackie and said conspiratorially, "Told you they'd be shocked." Jackie just smiled in return.
"Jack!" Landry exclaimed, finally finding his voice. Walking over he shook Jack's hand, "Wasn't expecting you until this afternoon." The looks on SG1's faces betrayed their surprise at not being told of O'Neill's visit to the SGC.
"It's good to see you Hank." Jack smiled broadly. "When Dr. Nielson here offered to fly me out early, I couldn't pass up the chance to see the surprise on your face too."
Hank just chuckled and shook his head, he knew all too well. He turned to the young woman standing beside Jack.
"Dr. Nielson, I'm General Landry." Hank said, extending his hand to the young woman. He noticed SG1 coming up behind him and decided, since Jack was being so lax in introductions he would handle it. "And this is…"
"SG1." Jackie smiled, interrupting. She extended her hand to each as she stated their names, "Dr. Daniel Jackson, Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter, Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell, and Teal'c. I'm Dr. Jacquelyn Nielson." The glint of humor at everyone's surprise was noticed by all standing in the immediate vicinity.
Jackie could see Daniel's mind working overtime as he took in all the information he had just been given. Going into this she had known that Daniel would likely be her biggest problem. He was good friends with both of her parents and had been a big part of her life growing up. If anyone was going to figure out what was going on before she was done, it would be Daniel.
"Parlez vous français?" Daniel's words broke Jackie out of her thoughts.
"Oui." Jackie answered, smiling.
"My office Jack?"
Jack nodded and turned to follow Landry. SG1 turned and headed back across the gate room to exit through the opposite doors. Jackie wavered for a moment, should she follow the two generals, or…
"General," Jackie began, not talking to either general in particular. Both turned to her, mid-step. "Permission to accompany SG1, sirs." Seeing the look of uncertainty in Landry's eyes, she continued quickly – maybe too quickly – "I'm sure the two of you want to catch up, I'd only be in the way and I'd rather not be babysat by an airman."
Jack's eyes betrayed the concealed smile. It was natural for Jackie to gravitate towards SG1. They were, after all, his family, and would have been an integral part of her young life – would be? Oh this time travel stuff was going to give him a headache. Although he had been surprised at her ability to spout off in more languages than Daniel, it had made sense once she explained that his best friend – i.e. Daniel – had taught her.
"As long as SG1 doesn't mind, sir, I could just kind of tag along and catch up with General O'Neill after the debriefing." Jackie's words broke into Jack's musings.
"SG1!" Landry barked, breaking the deafening silence. All four team members turned in response. "How do you feel about having a shadow until the debriefing?"
Daniel looked at each of the faces of his team. Seeing no disagreement, his face lit up and he nodded back at the General, who turned and nodded at Jackie.
"Thank you, sir!" She smiled. Heading across the gate room to join SG1, she barely kept her excitement under reign. She felt like a kid again – one who has just met and been granted time with her heros. Heros? Had she really just thought that? Sheesh. They were family, not heros – okay, maybe heros, but that was simply because Jackie had been raised on the stories of how they had repeatedly saved the world – but most importantly they were family. Jackie mentally shook her head, sometimes she wondered if she shouldn't have taken more time to be a kid.
Two days later –
"Am I going to have to start dragging you away from your work now too?"
Jackie looked up from her work, jumping slightly at the unexpected voice in the doorway. Seeing Jack standing there with a silly grin on his face, she couldn't help but return the smile.
"Since I have a limited amount of time here at the SGC I wanted to do as much as I can to help."
"Considering that you saved the lives of a few hundred people, not to mention the foremost scientist and operative here at the SGC, I'd say you've done quite a bit already to help."
"Well, if you put it that way…" Jackie looked down at her work, a slight blush tingeing her cheeks – an effect of both her embarrassment and her pleasure at the compliment.
"Unfortunately for you, times up." Jack said brusquely.
"Up?" Jackie looked up incredulously. "What do you mean up? You're supposed to get…" She bit her lower lip. "Time's not up until this is resolved."
"I mean it's Friday afternoon, everyone believes we are leaving on Sunday, and I'm not going to have you spending your whole time in Colorado Springs cooped up in this damn laboratory – especially since I can't get…since your mission can't get under way while we're here at the base. So go change into civilian clothes. We're going out with SG1 tonight. So come on already, let's go."
Jackie sighed, he was right of course. She knew that she had been kind of hiding away, not really ready for this whole fiasco to begin.
"Right. I'll come by your quarters in 15." Jack looked surprised. "I don't know when this is going to happen remember? So every time we leave this base we have to be ready."
"Come in." Jack called out when he heard the tentative knock.
The door opened slowly and Jackie stuck her head around the door. Jack's face broke out into a grin, he didn't know what it was about Jackie that made him grin like a fool – yeah he did, it was being a father again. Jackie returned the smile and stepped fully into the room, closing the door behind her.
"Ready?" Jackie asked as she laid a small bag on the one table.
"Ready to get ready to get shot, or ready to get shot?" Jack asked. Jackie glared at him. "Sorry kiddo, guess old habits die hard."
"Mm-hmm." Jackie muttered peevishly. "Alright, shirt off." Jack gave her a strange look, she just rolled her eyes. "Dad, I'm 24, I've seen you with your shirt off a few times. Now I need to be able to put this…" she was holding up a 3x3' square of something he didn't recognize. "…where you're going to get shot so that you don't actually get shot and die." She grumbled.
Jack unbuttoned his shirt and Jackie immediately stepped forward and placed the square over his heart.
"Hold." She ordered as she reached back into her bag. She pulled out a small plastic bag filled with a red liquid and placed that over the square. "Hold."
Over the next ten minutes Jackie kept pulling all kinds of stuff out of her bag. By the time she stepped back to look at her handiwork, Jack could barely tell that something was on his chest. She had managed to camouflage her little piece of bulletproof material and the fake blood quite well.
"Now we're ready." She smiled.
"What about when I actually get shot?"
"That's what this is for." Jackie held up a piece of what could have been skin, but Jack recognized it as more of the stuff she'd been using a moment ago – already fashioned to look like a gunshot wound. "One more thing Dad." Jack looked up at her as he buttoned his shirt. "No alcohol, it'll interact weird with the drugs."
"I'll be right back guys." Jackie smiled as she stood up and headed towards the restrooms. On the way she ran into their waiter as he went to grab their drinks. "Excuse me?"
"Yes ma'am?" The young man asked, his gaze quickly taking in the leggy brunette before him.
"I need you to do me a favor."
"The gentleman at my table…the one with the gray hair." The young man nodded that he knew who she was talking about. "I need you to fill his beer bottle with water instead of beer."
"What?" The waiter was incredulous. He'd been asked a lot of weird things over the years, but this?
"His doctor has told him to lay off the beer for health reasons. But he is too proud to let his friends know that he has a problem."
"So he knows about this?"
"I think someone has a bit of a crush on you." Jack teased.
"Whatever." Jackie retorted, smacking Jack on the arm. "Besides I haven't been born yet."
"Good point. Poor Cameron, that'll be a shocker."
Jackie glared at her father as they walked to Cameron's car – of course that only made him laugh harder. When they arrived at the vehicle Jackie unlocked the door and then turned to face Jack, a huge grin on her face. She knew just what to say to get back at him for teasing her about Cameron. But the words never left her mouth. The look on Jack's face stopped the words immediately. Looking down she saw a growing pool of red on his t-shirt, and then he was falling towards her.
Jackie caught Jack and slowly lowered him to the ground. She was thankful for the shadows that the car created, she had a gut feeling that the sniper might still be watching, waiting for her screams.
"Dammit that hurts." Jack growled.
"Sorry Dad." Jackie whispered as she undid his shirt. 'Perfect.' She thought as she saw that the bullet had hit dead center of her little make shift 'vest'. Carefully she pulled it off, not unaware of Jack's wincing. Quickly she pulled the 'wound' out of her purse and applied it before grabbing a syringe and uncapping the needle.
"You know I detest needles." Jack grunted as he eyed the needle.
"I know Dad, but this one will save your life."
"That's what Doc used to say."
Jackie smiled. She found the vein in his arm and injected the liquid from the syringe. Replacing the cap and slipping the needle back into her purse she reached up and checked his pulse, it was slowing down.
"Here goes nothing." Jackie said quietly, she saw a faint smile on Jack's face. "JACK!"
"Thank you Colonel, I'll let you know when we find anything."
Jackie could hear the detective leave. It had been a long evening. She glanced at her watch. Midnight. She had three more hours.
Teal'c and Daniel were still there. She was glad. Sam had not taken the whole thing well. She had swiftly slipped into what Jack called 'soldier mode' when she had arrived next to Jack and Jackie. Never in her life had Jackie been so glad that her father had insisted on those damn acting lessons – of course, now she understood why he had insisted. She was fairly certain that she had convinced everybody at the scene. Of course, not all of it had been acting – she had been genuinely terrified as she had set up the ruse. She still wasn't sure how she hadn't completely missed his vein.
Jackie glanced at her watch again – she was just as impatient as her father – 0030. Damn. Why wouldn't Daniel and Teal'c just leave? She couldn't wait any longer; she was going to have to go now. Slipping out of her room, she was glad that her father had had the foresight to teach her some of his Black Ops skills.
The front door was a mere five feet away when Jackie felt a large, gentle but strong, hand on her shoulder. Damn. She may be good, but Teal'c was still better.
"Let me go Teal'c!" Jackie said, trying to pull away. With a soft grunt she landed on the couch. Trying to stand up and get away, she was stopped by Teal'c's hand, heavy on her shoulder. Realizing that fighting was futile she crossed her arms and sulked, making her look much younger than her 24 years.
"What's going on?" Daniel asked, surprise written across his face at the struggle between Jackie and Teal'c.
"Jacqueline Nielson was sneaking out the front door."
"I wasn't sneaking Teal'c!" Jackie snapped.
"Indeed you were." He responded firmly.
"I was going out for a walk. Just needed some fresh air and I really didn't feel like socializing. So yes, I was trying to be quiet in getting outside, but I wasn't sneaking!" Jackie's glare would have made anyone else cower, but not Teal'c. "Forget it. I'm going back to bed."
Teal'c was reluctant to let Jackie stand up, but finally loosed his grip on her shoulder. However, he did not trust that she would not again attempt to go outside, so he walked her to the stairs and stood there until he heard her door shut.
"Come Daniel Jackson." Teal'c said, turning to look at Daniel. "We have overstayed our welcome."
Jackie sat sulking on the edge of her bed, waiting for the house to get quiet. She kept glancing at her watch; she was going to be cutting it close. Of course she hadn't actually expected to not be able to get out undetected. Damn jaffa.
Finally Jackie heard Sam enter her room. She waited a few minutes before sneaking back down the stairs and out the front door. Once she had cleared the porch, Jackie broke into a jog, rounded the corner and headed down the street. She smiled when she saw the vehicle that the airman had left for her. Poor kid, he had no idea what he was getting into when he had picked her and Jack up at the airstrip a couple days earlier.
Climbing into the car, Jackie started the engine. She glanced at the clock and silently cursed, 0230, she had half an hour.
The morgue was usually quiet this time of night – unless of course some big accident or murder happened, then things could get busy. But tonight the young security guard was restless. An ambulance had brought in some Air Force general about five hours ago, but nothing had come in since. Yawning, the security guard decided to go grab some coffee; it wasn't like anyone would notice that he was gone.
Jackie had been sitting in the car for about five minutes – five minutes that she really couldn't afford. Finally she saw what she wanted – the security guard was leaving the room. Quickly she climbed out of the car, slipped the keys into the pocket of her leather jacket and hurried into the morgue. She didn't know how much time she would have before the security guard returned, so she hurried down towards the nearest set of double doors.
Glancing at her watch, Jackie grimaced, she had less than 10 minutes and she still had to locate her dad. She was so caught up in her thoughts that she didn't see the young doctor until she almost ran over him.
"Sorry." Jackie mumbled as she hurried past him.
"Hey! You're not supposed to be back here." The doctor yelled after the young woman who had almost knocked him down. She didn't hear; she was in too much of a hurry. He was about to go get the security guard when he realized that the woman wouldn't have gotten past him if he was actually there. Making a quick decision, the doctor ran after the young woman himself.
By the time that the doctor caught up to Jackie, she was opening and closing the doors along the wall – glancing at tags on toes before slamming the door and moving on.
"Ma'am you're not supposed to be back here, this area is restricted."
"I've got to find him – got to find him before it's too late."
The doctor's heart went out to the young woman. It was always hard to lose a loved one – this wouldn't be the first time that he had dealt with hysterical family members that just refused to believe that their loved one was dead.
"Just shut-up and leave me alone." Jackie interrupted, still searching.
The doctor could have been offended by that, but he knew her pain. Suddenly he realized that the young woman wasn't searching anymore, instead she had pulled out one of the tables and was looking down at – the doctor gasped – the Air Force general that had been shot that evening. He watched dumbfounded as she pulled the sheet back exposing the already slightly gray-tinged chest. Reaching over to the chest she gently touched the wound. Slowly her finger traced about an inch to the left and started picking at something with her fingernail.
Jackie was surprised when the doctor was suddenly standing between her and her father – she hadn't realized he could move that fast.
"I'm sorry for your loss miss, but you have to let him go."
Jackie glanced up at the clock in the room. She cursed silently she had two minutes.
"Move!" The doctor grimaced at her tone, but stood his ground. "You're killing him dammit!"
"He's already dead."
Suddenly Jackie started cursing up a blue streak; of course the doctor didn't know that since she was speaking in Goa'uld. She didn't usually care for the language, but it had the perfect sound for cursing someone out. She saw the doctor grimace again, she didn't care, she needed him to move. The young doctor was tough though – he didn't budge.
At a loss as to how to get the doctor to move, Jackie decided it was time for desperate measures. Reaching behind her and under her coat, she pulled her 9mm from her waistband and aimed it at the shocked doctor.
"Move out of my way NOW!"
Slowly the doctor did what she said. He noticed that she glanced at the clock again before reaching back and grabbing at a loose piece of skin. In a swift movement she ripped the piece of skin off his chest, the doctor grimaced – it didn't matter that the guy was dead and couldn't feel anything. When he finally made himself open his eyes he saw what appeared to be a prosthesis still stuck to the general's chest by a corner. His eyes wide, the doctor glanced at the young woman to see her reach into her jacket pocket and pull out a syringe. Still pointing the gun at him, she pulled the cap off the needle with her teeth and centered the needle directly above his heart. In one swift motion, she stuck the dead general with the needle and injected the fluid.
Jackie, still pointing the gun at the doctor, threw the syringe to the floor and immediately checked for a pulse – nothing. She glanced up at the clock. Dammit! She hadn't made it, she was too late.
"I'm sorry dad." She choked as tears filled her eyes – real ones this time. She gently leaned her head against his bare chest and let the tears fall silently. She had screwed up – she hadn't made it in time.
"Damn that hurts!"
Jackie's head shot up. It couldn't be, but it was.
Jack looked around the room, he was in a morgue. Finally his eyes rested on the face of the young woman standing next to him.
"Hey kiddo." Suddenly Jack saw them – tears. She'd been crying. "Hey what's wrong?" He asked sitting up.
"I…I thought…" Jackie stammered, yet another tear slipping down her face.
"C'mere." He said quietly and wrapped his daughter in a big hug. Glancing up he caught sight of the clock. "Cutting it a little close don't you think?"
Jackie pulled back and smacked Jack on the arm, a small smile playing at her lips.
"That's your own fault…and Teal'c's." Jackie griped.
"My fault? I've been unofficially dead for the last six hours."
"You didn't do a very good job of teaching me stealth. Teal'c still caught me."
"Hey that's not my fault; I can't even get past T." Just then, Jack noticed the young doctor slumped on the floor, leaning against the wall. "We have an audience?"
"Yeah, quite determined for such a small guy. Wouldn't move out of my way when I was trying to revive you. Had to use a little extra incentive."
For the first time, Jack noticed the 9mm lying on the table next to him, Jackie's hand resting on top of it. He looked up at her face, surprise followed by pain shadowing his eyes. Guilt flooded through Jackie – she knew instinctively where Jack's mind had gone – to Charlie. It hadn't been until she was twelve that she finally understood why her dad overreacted every time something happened to her. He had been concerned about being a father again – even knowing that she survived to go back in time he had been worried that he would screw up.
Jackie reached over and squeezed his hand.
"You taught me well Dad."
Dad? The young doctor didn't think that he could be any more shocked than he already was. He shuddered as he watched the two continue to interact – seeing the general "resurrect" had nearly given him a heart attack. He feared that it would be a long time before he could perform an autopsy without thinking of the general coming back to life.
"Doc? Earth to Doc."
The gruff voice brought the doctor back to his senses.
"I don't suppose my clothes are around here anywhere."
The young doctor nodded, not yet trusting his voice. Slowly he stood and moved to a low cabinet on the other side of the room and started rummaging around. While he did so the two behind him continued to talk. He listened, hoping to keep his mind off the mental image of the general coming back to life.
"Jackie, why don't you take the Doc here to his office and explain what is going on while I get dressed?"
"You gonna be okay?"
"Yeah, just coming down off the adrenaline rush. I'll be fine."
"Great." Jack reached a hand out and placed it over Jackie's, which had moved to pick up the 9mm. "I'll hang on to that." Jackie nodded, knowing better than to argue with him. Looking up both saw the doctor moving towards them. "Thanks Doc." Jack smiled and took the clothes from the man's shaking hands. "Jackie here is going to explain things."
The doctor simply nodded and headed out of the room, Jackie close on his heals. Jack smiled at the doctor's reaction – under other circumstances this would be a terrific practical joke. He winced as he swung his legs over the side of the table – even when the bullet didn't break the skin, getting shot still hurt like hell.
"So you can understand how important it is that this stays quiet."
"Morning campers!" Jack said, walking into the doctor's office. "How ya doin' Doc?" He turned a compassionate look on the young mortician.
"Still a little in shock…but I think I'll be okay." The doctor muttered.
Jackie shook her head. For a guy who had been declared dead for the last six hours he was awfully chipper. She stood to go. It had taken awhile, but she had finally convinced the doctor she was telling the truth. He had finally – albeit grudgingly – agreed to fill out an autopsy and cremation reports.
"Oh!" Jackie turned back to the doctor, pulling a ziploc baggy out of her jacket pocket. "You'll need to give this to the police."
The doctor nodded, staring at the bullet inside the baggy that he now held. So much for a quiet night at work.
"How are they doing?" Jack's quiet voice broke the silence in the car. He was staring across the street at Sam's dark house.
"As well as can be expected. Although I don't think that the full realization has hit Sam yet. She switched so quickly into 'soldier mode' that she hasn't had a chance to process everything yet."
Jack nodded sadly.
"And there's no way that we can tell her what's going on?" Jackie gave him a look. "Right – could change the future."
"I rented a cabin for you so you can spend your time relaxing and fishing." Jackie handed him a key. "I told the manager that you were not to be disturbed. He decided that he really didn't want to mess with an old general who was forced to retire." She laughed at Jack's raised eyebrow. "I had to come up with something that would keep people away." She sobered. "We can't afford for someone to find out that your death was staged. I need time…" her voice trailed off.
Jack reached over and squeezed her hand. She was quite the young woman: smart, strong, able to think on her feet – but she was still a child in so many ways. She squeezed his hand back then looked up with a mischievous smile.
"If you even think about sneaking into the memorial service…"
Jack laughed. Jackie leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.
"Don't call me, I'll call you." Jackie saw worry flash across her dad's face. "I'll be fine Dad, you and the rest of SG1 have trained me well."
Jack silently nodded, watching as Jackie walked up the front steps and slipped into Sam's house.
The ticking of the clock in the front hall could be heard throughout the still house. Jackie was very glad that her dad had taught her how to move stealthily. Quietly closing the front door behind her she slipped through the front hall and up the stairs. Careful to miss the squeaky step, she made it to the top of the stairs in silence. As she moved down the hall to her room, Jackie paused at Sam's bedroom door. The only sound coming through the door was the deep breathing of sleep. Without further hesitation Jackie moved to her room and quickly fell asleep.
Sunday (after the memorial service) –
Jackie looked up at the bald man standing in front of her. Surprise crossed her face as the identity of the man standing before her registered in her mind.
"General Hammond?" it was Hammond's turn to be surprised. "What are you doing here?" Jackie realized how rude that sounded. "I mean…"
"It's okay Doctor, I know what you meant. You weren't expecting me to make it." Jackie nodded silently. "May I?" Hammond asked, motioning to the chair next to Jackie.
"Of course. And please, call me Jackie."
"I talked to Jack the other day." Jackie looked shocked. Hammond smiled and continued. "He called me right after you offered him an earlier ride out here." Jackie's shock turned to concern, but only for a brief second before her face was unreadable. "The call was made on a secure line that only Jack and I knew about." Hammond paused. "Maybe we should take a walk."
Jackie nodded cautiously and followed the retired general out the front door and across the street into the park. They walked silently for a couple minutes both lost in their own thoughts. When they were a short distance from Sam's house, Hammond hit a small button on his watch and looked up at Jackie.
"We have two minutes to talk before the EM pulse dies and any surveillance equipment will be able to work again." Jackie smiled; Hammond was still on top of the game. "Jack told me that he had been offered the opportunity to aid in a mission of a delicate nature. He said that he would be working with a civilian and that he might not be coming back from this one. He asked that if something did happen to him, that I help you in any way possible."
"Thank you George." Jackie said slowly. "Right now I'm waiting for my next signal to move, but when the time comes I may need you on my side to convince some people that what I'm doing is sanctioned."
Hammond opened his mouth to respond, but was stopped by the beeping of his watch.
"We should probably return." Hammond said, turning Jackie back towards Sam's house. "I'm glad that you are here Jackie…you seem to be good for Colonel Carter."
Jackie simply smiled at the older man. This mission had just gotten a little more interesting.
The Next Day –
After talking to Daniel, Sam went out for a run. As the door closed behind her Jackie sunk into the couch and sighed. Sam had taken the alarm bit better than she expected, of course Daniel had helped calm her down a bit. A couple minutes later Jackie picked up her cell phone and dialed a number.
"Hey Dad, how's the fishing?"
"Pretty good. How was the memorial?"
"Not bad, some nice things were said. Over all it was pretty moving."
"Sorry I missed it."
"I bet you are." Jackie couldn't help but chuckle.
A couple minutes into the conversation, Sam's home phone rang. Jackie really didn't want to pick it up, but checked the caller ID anyway. She sighed.
"Dad, Detective Roberts is calling; I need to take this call."
"Okay Jackie, take care of yourself."
"I will Dad." Jackie smiled and hung up. "Dr. Nielson." She said picking up the other phone.
"Dr. Nielson this is Detective Roberts."
"What can I do for you Detective?"
"I have some news for you Doctor." Roberts paused on the other end, wondering if he should tell her or ask for Colonel Carter. "I've managed to trace the bullet that we received from the morgue. It is sold in only one place…a small weapons shop in Prague."
"You're leaving?" A stunned Sam asked as Jackie ran down the stairs.
Jackie stopped mid-stride and looked at Sam. She'd been in such a hurry to gather everything together for her trip to Prague that she had lost track of time. She debated whether or not to tell Sam what was going on. The look in Sam's eyes convinced her, she couldn't leave Sam behind. This was as much Sam's business as it was hers, besides she could use some backup on this one.
"Detective Roberts called…"
While Sam hurried to pack whatever items she might need in Prague, Jackie was busy downstairs. Quietly she pulled two identical aspirin bottles out of her overnight bag. Turning them over, she glanced at the bottom. She threw one back into the main part of her bag, and then slipped the other one into a side pocket.
Jackie sighed, she wasn't sure if she was going to need them – and really didn't want to, but in case things got a little rough, she would be prepared. Glancing at the side pocket she thought how fortunate it was that she had had an extra aspirin bottle on hand when her prescription bottle fell out of the medicine cabinet, spilling her prescription sleeping pills all over the counter.
6 Hours later (In Prague) –
Jackie circled the room and was about to head back to where Sam was when something caught her eye. Walking towards the far wall, she tried to keep her pace steady and the owner unaware of what she was doing. As she neared the wall she came face to face with shelves. Most of the shelves contained some of the coolest knives she'd ever seen, ones that she knew Daniel would love to get his hands on. But it wasn't the knives that had caught her attention. Dead center in the columns and rows of shelves was what appeared to be a holy shrine.
"My god." She whispered. It couldn't be, yet it was. There before her were artifacts that to anyone else would be just artifacts – but to her, and anyone else at the SGC, they held a lot more meaning. Instantly she recognized that the silver sphere was a Goa'uld communication device. Goa'uld here? That thought sent a shiver down her spine. Surrounding the communication device were other artifacts – knives and other religious articles – all bearing the same mark: the mark of Ba'al. Instinctively she realized why she had been a part of the mission that finally defeated Ba'al – he had something to do with the hit on her father.
"Sam, come here." She called across the room, never once taking her eyes off the shelf before her.
"Let's see it then." Sam said, letting go of Serge.
The short man scrambled away quickly, trying to get out of Sam's reach. Jackie smirked, if only the man knew that there really was no safe distance from the pissed off woman. She quickly hid the smirk though as she followed the other two into a back room.
Jackie could feel Sam's tension rise as they watched the tape. There was a man standing in front of the shrine, talking and gesturing. Both women knew who he was talking to. They then watched as the man returned to the counter and picked up a box of bullets – bullets like the one that had shot Jack. In a swift movement Sam had ejected the tape, grabbed it and hurried out of the room. Jackie turned to follow, thought better of it, grabbed that day's security tape and then left, stopping only to snap a quick picture of the shrine with her digital camera.
"Where to?" The cabby asked as the two women settled in.
"American Embassy." Jackie responded as she dug through her bag. "Mind taking the scenic route?"
"Sure." The cabby responded.
Jackie knew that the cabby was watching her actions. She didn't care. Reaching into the side pocket she pulled out the aspirin bottle. Double checking, she looked at the bottom of the bottle and sighed at the 'S' scrawled on the bottom. Jackie handed Sam a bottle of water and two sleeping pills from the bottle, glad that they looked like a couple aspirin.
Barrett's office door was barely closed behind Jackie when he laid into her.
"What the hell is going on? Who are you and why did you bring Colonel Carter to Prague? Why were you seen entering and exiting Serge's shop? How the hell did you get into the Czech Republic without us knowing about it?" The questions continued to pour from Agent Barrett's mouth as he paced up and down his office. He stopped mid-step – and mid-sentence – when he turned and saw the ziploc baggy and bullet in Jackie's extended hand. Sitting down hard in his chair he asked, "Who?"
"General Jack O'Neill."
"Damn." Was the only reply that escaped from Agent Barrett's lips. After several long minutes he looked up at Jackie. "How's SG1 handling it? I know they were all close."
"They're handling it as well as can be expected." Jackie said softly, warming up to the agent across from her.
"How did you know O'Neill?" Barrett asked, once again looking up with suspicion in his eyes. He had suddenly realized that the woman sitting across from him still hadn't given him her name.
"I'm Doctor Jacquelyn Nielson." Jackie introduced herself, realizing the same thing Agent Barrett had. Agent Barrett took her proffered hand and shook it. "Jack O'Neill was good friends with my parents, he was family."
Barrett nodded his understanding. He observed the young lady who sat across the desk from him. There was something about her that just didn't sit well, but for Sam's sake he knew he needed to find out what she knew.
"I'm guessing you found Serge to be less than helpful." Barrett finally said, returning to the issue at hand.
"On the contrary." Jackie responded. Barrett looked at her surprised. She smiled. "When you've worked at – or at least known about – the SGC for as long as Colonel Carter and I have, you tend to pick up on things that other people might have missed."
"Such as what?" Barrett asked gruffly.
"This." Jackie said, handing Barrett her digital camera across his desk. The view screen showed the picture of the shrine Jackie and Sam had found in Serge's shop.
"It's a religious shrine. How was it helpful?"
"It pissed Sam off." Jackie said smiling. "It was all I could do to keep her from killing the man on the spot. Fortunately his life was enough incentive for him to hand over a very important surveillance tape." Jackie pulled the tape out of her bag.
"What's on here?"
"Your sniper…and his orders to kill General O'Neill."
"How do I know that you aren't the sniper and have set all this up to pull the attention away from yourself?" Agent Barrett wasn't certain, but he could have sworn that the young woman across from him had rolled her eyes.
"Do you know General George Hammond?" Barrett nodded in response. "Do you know how to contact him?" Again he nodded. "Then I suggest you do so."
Agent Barrett sighed as he hung up the phone. He had known General Hammond for several years – ever since that whole fiasco with the attempt on then Senator Kinsey's life. He knew that Hammond had a good sense about people and trusted his opinion on them. Hammond had stated that he trusted Jackie and that she was on a mission approved by O'Neill himself before he died. Barrett still didn't fully trust the young woman sitting across from him, but couldn't ignore the fact that two Major Generals of the Air Force did.
"Okay Dr. Nielson, what's the plan?"
"You and your team are going to continue with your orders to find and apprehend the sniper." Jackie held up her hand to stop Barrett's objections. "With the aid of the SGC, I will take care of the SOB who hired him to kill Jack."
Barrett nodded. He instinctively knew that this whole thing was bigger than him and that the only people that could bring justice to General O'Neill's death were his family at the SGC.
"Very well. When will you leave?"
"As soon as Colonel Carter wakes up we'll be on our way."
14 Hours later –
Jackie looked up from her book to once again check on the sleeping form in the bed she sat next to. After leaving Barrett's office she had headed to the room he had offered her to sleep. She had set her alarm for fifteen minutes before Sam should have woken up, knowing that she wasn't going to be a happy camper when she found out about the sleeping pills. That had been eight hours ago, and Sam still slept.
Worry creased Jackie's brow as she watched her friend sleep. Two sleeping pills should not have knocked anyone out for almost 16 hours. Closing her eyes, Jackie berated herself for her stupidity. As she did so she heard movement coming from the bed. Opening her eyes just a slit she saw Sam roll over and open her eyes. Fascinated, Jackie watched as Sam watched her.
"It's not polite to stare."
The look on Sam's face was well worth it.
"A puddle jumper?" Barrett asked in surprise as he stood on the edge of the clearing where Sam and Jackie had left the jumper. Jackie had just disengaged the cloak and there sat the jumper in all its glory. "No wonder we didn't know you were here."
"That is one of its many advantages." Jackie replied. "The other is that the flight is shorter."
"How much shorter?"
"It took us six hours to get here."
"Damn. I need to get one of those."
While laughing, Jackie noticed that Sam only smiled half-heartedly. It wasn't long before Sam excused herself, saying only a brief goodbye to Agent Barrett. Jackie was worried again; the effect of the sleeping pills must not have worn totally off.
"You're worried about Carter aren't you?"
Jackie looked up surprised. Had her thoughts been that transparent?
"She's already slept 16 hours because of those damn pills, something else is wrong."
"It's probably a lot of things. You know Carter, she runs herself ragged at the SGC, sometimes won't sleep for several days in a row." Jackie nodded at Barrett's accurate assessment. "You add on top of that her grief over losing a member of her team – which by the way has always been more of a family – and you've got a recipe for disaster. My guess is that after a little more sleep she'll be fine. The sleeping pills simply reminded her body of what they had been missing."
"Hope you're right." Jackie replied quietly.
"Speaking of SG1, do any of them know about this mission of yours?"
"You don't think that they have a right to know? This was O'Neill's last mission, one that he died during."
Jackie sighed, if only she could tell him, but there were just too many variables.
"Agent Barrett if you learn nothing else from your years knowing about the SGC and what happens below that mountain, remember this…nothing is what it seems."
Agent Barrett gave Jackie a funny look. It was a mix of surprise, shock, confusion, and mistrust.
"Thanks for your help Agent Barrett. I look forward to hearing that you have captured the sniper."
As Jackie stepped into the jumper her eyes were immediately drawn to Sam's still form. It had only been a couple minutes since she had entered the jumper herself, but already she was asleep. Before Jackie lifted her bag to place it next to Sam's she pulled the digital camera out and slipped it into Sam's bag.
6 Hours later –
The flight had been uneventful, but Jackie knew that the same could not be said about the end. As she landed, she wondered how in the world she was going to tell Sam that she wasn't going with her. She'd been stewing about that for nearly the whole flight. Jackie carefully maneuvered the jumper to the coordinates where it had been 'parked' before and where Sam's car was waiting. Once the ship had landed Sam stood and moved towards the back. Jackie didn't move, deciding to handle this conversation by letting Sam start it. Sam was reaching over hear head to pull down her bag before she realized that the jumper hadn't powered down.
"Jackie?" Sam asked, turning.
"I have an errand to run. You head home; Daniel and Teal'c are waiting for you. I'll catch up later."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah." Jackie smiled. The conversation went a lot better than she had hoped it could. Apparently she had finally earned Sam's trust. Sam was halfway out the back hatch when Jackie remembered something and called out to her. "Hey Sam!"
"Don't hold dinner for me, I may be a little late."
Jackie waited until Sam was in her car before closing the hatch and taking off. She hovered for a moment, watching as Sam started her car and headed home. Without a second thought as to what she was about to do, or how she was going to do it, she turned the jumper towards space and headed off.
1 Week later –
Jackie stared intently at the computer display before her. Her informant had been correct; there was indeed a mothership in orbit around the planet that she was approaching. Turning from the display she slowed her engines and entered a standard orbit above the planet, not far from the mothership. Watching the mothership and trying to decide what to do next, Jackie thought back over the past week.
After leaving Earth, Jackie had hightailed it to the nearest planet with a stargate and 'gated to another planet – one that she knew was full of rogues and spies. That planet was to the universe what Tortuga was for the Caribbean back when pirates were at large. She had known better than to let any of the planet's inhabitants know that she was flying an Ancient shuttle, so she had landed with the cloak engaged and had not disengaged it while near the planet.
Having spent two years as a diplomat in London, Jackie had learned a lot about negotiating. Her 6 months at the SGC had taught her a lot about alien cultures. By putting both experiences together, she had managed to 'negotiate' the information she had needed out of several inhabitants. Granted, some of her 'negotiations' had required the use of her 9mm and zat, but she had left the planet with the required information.
After several days of planet hopping, Jackie had finally found out where Ba'al was hiding, and here she was. Now she just had to figure out how to get access to that damn mothership. All too suddenly she was hit with an idea – and several meteors. Her attention had been so focused on Ba'al's ship that she had missed the fact that a meteor shower was heading her way. Checking her sensors after the initial collision, Jackie managed to move out of the way of the incoming meteors – that was when the idea hit.
Moving back into the field of meteors, Jackie located one that was about the size of her jumper. Placing the jumper right in the path of this meteor she disengaged the cloak for three seconds, then simultaneously cloaked, moved, and shot a drone at the meteor – splitting it into hundreds of smaller pieces and creating quite the effective explosion.
As she suspected, three death gliders left the mothership to investigate the explosion. As another large meteor headed towards the three gliders, one moved ahead so as not to get hit by it. This left it separated from the other two for a few seconds, giving Jackie the window of opportunity that she needed to beam a transmitter just below the wing of the glider.
Once the transmitter was in place, Jackie took time to investigate the damage that the meteors had done to her ship. What she found was not promising: her cloak was about to fail as were several other mechanical parts of the ship. Immediately she changed course and headed to the surface and the stargate.
"I have only one charge left to place Jacquelyn Nielson."
Jackie smiled inwardly at Teal'c's words. Outwardly she was just too damn tired. It had been 20 minutes since she had given Ba'al her 'explanation' for being on his ship. In that time he had enjoyed himself immensely at her expense. Everything hurt. From her head to her feet there wasn't an inch of her that wasn't screaming.
"I'll ask you one more time." Ba'al smirked as he stood before her, holding yet another torture device. "What planet are you from and why are you here?"
Jackie looked up at Ba'al for the first time in several minutes. Her blue eyes were suddenly the color of the ocean during a storm – they flashed in anger and spite. A smirk rested on her lips.
"I travel around a lot, don't really stay in one place for too long." She paused, trying to catch her breath. Between the anger and the pain her breathing was not what it should be. "As for why I'm here? That's simple. I'm here to avenge the death of a man who was like a father to me."
"And to whom do I owe thanks for sending me such a fine specimen."
"General Jack O'Neill."
"I was wondering if anyone would figure it out." Ba'al's smirk had widened into a grin that covered his face. "I have to say I am quite surprised that SG1 isn't here to do this. But I guess I'll have to settle for you. But first, you'll need your strength." Reaching behind him Ba'al lowered the chains causing Jackie to slump to the floor. He was about to leave the room, when a soft voice stopped him in his tracks.
"Ba'al." Jackie watched as he turned around, curious as to what else she might say. "There is something you should know before you leave."
Ba'al moved back across the room to the limp body before him.
"Come closer." Jackie croaked.
Ba'al knelt down beside her and leaned his head towards her.
"O'Neill lives." Jackie whispered towards him. The look on his face changed from a smug smile to pure anger, but before he could move away, everything went to hell – at least for him.
2 Days later –
As Jackie's cab left the mountain she couldn't get the look on Daniel's face out of her mind. She smiled fondly at the memory. She had always had a special relationship with Daniel, and when she returned to her time she would instantly get to see him. But the Daniel here would have to wait a while for her to come along. Once the cab turned on to one of the country highways leaving Colorado Springs, Jackie let her mind wander.
An hour after leaving Cheyenne Mountain, the cabbie pulled off the highway onto a small dirt road that wound around the lake. At the end of the road there was a small cabin that the manager of the lake property used as his office. Unfortunately that was the only place to park for some of the cabins, including the one she had rented over two weeks ago.
Quickly jumping out of the car with overnight bag in hand, Jackie paid the driver and headed down the trail towards the cabin she had rented.
"Excuse me miss?"
The voice calling to her stopped Jackie in her tracks. Turning around Jackie saw an older gentleman hustling towards her.
"I'm sorry miss, but I was given explicit instructions that the occupant in cabin 12 was not to be disturbed."
Jackie smiled kindly.
"I know Mr. Jensen, I gave those instructions."
"Dr. Nielson?" Jackie nodded. "Oh I'm sorry ma'am; I didn't realize it was you. Does this mean that you will no longer need the cabin?"
"The General and I will be leaving tomorrow, I'll settle with you in the morning."
"Very well Dr. Nielson, thank you."
Jackie smiled as the funny little man hurried back to his office. Turning back around, she followed the path the quarter of a mile down to the cabin that sat close to the lake. As the path neared the cabin it turned slightly toward the left giving Jackie a great view of the lake. She stopped at the turn just to take in the view. As she turned to keep going down towards the cabin she caught a glimpse of a silver head at the dock.
Not wasting a moment, Jackie dropped her bag on the porch quietly and headed down towards the lake. As she got closer she could hear deep breathing from her father – he was asleep. Coming up behind Jack – quietly so as not to disturb him – she bent down and lifted the lid to the cooler that sat beside him. As she reached in to pull out a beer, Jackie found that she couldn't move because of the hand gripping her wrist.
"Don't you know that it's not polite to sneak up on people?"
"You're one to talk." Jackie scoffed.
"Aren't you a little young to be drinking beer?"
"Dad!" Jackie protested. "I'm 24!"
"Ah, but here you technically haven't been born yet."
Jack opened one eye and looked at her. Suddenly both eyes were open as he stared at her face, all laughter draining from his own.
Jackie had completely forgotten about the bruises and cuts on her face and arms. She must look like hell.
"It's nothing, Dad, really."
"Like hell it is! What...happened?"
"I had a little encounter with Ba'al while laying charges around his ship."
"I guess I should start at the beginning…"
The next morning: 0950 –
"Are you sure you're ready to do this?"
Jackie looked over at her dad and smiled.
"No time like the present."
"You know how I dislike clichés Jackie."
"That must be why you use them all the time."
Jack opened his mouth and then shut it again without saying anything. This girl knew him waaay to well.
"Are you ready? After all they've thought you were dead for two weeks now."
"Hmm. Has it been that long already? Well I guess it's time to remind them that you can't get rid of Jack O'Neill that easily."
Jackie laughed, but found herself sobering up quickly.
"Dad, you know I'm going to have to leave soon." Jackie bit her bottom lip as she waited for a response.
"And here I was just getting used to being a dad again."
Jackie smiled, a little sadness creeping in.
"Consider it good practice Dad, for the real thing in…the future." Jackie glanced at her watch. "Well, I better get going, don't want to be late." She leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
"Any idea why Jackie wanted to meet us out here?" Sam asked casually, also glancing at her watch.
"Probably wanted to say goodbye." Daniel responded.
"Could Jacquelyn Nielson not have said goodbye to us at Cheyenne Mountain?" Teal'c inquired.
"Yeah I could have, but I haven't been here in ages and wanted to see it before heading home."
All three turned as they heard Jackie behind them.
"I know you guys are all about to burst from the curiosity, so I'll get straight to the point. Daniel…three days ago I promised that I would explain once the mission was over." Daniel nodded, Sam looked confused, and Teal'c – well, Teal'c's expression didn't change. "However…" Daniel's face fell, thinking that she was going to fudge out of having to tell him. "However…it's not really my place to tell you…"
"If you can't tell us, than who can?" Daniel interrupted.
Jackie smiled mischievously.
"It's not my place Daniel, because he should be the one to tell you." With that Jackie pointed behind her three friends.
Sam, Daniel, and Teal'c all turned around to follow her gesture. They scanned the area for a second before all their eyes landed on the same person. Sam gasped audibly, Daniel's jaw dropped, and Teal'c let loose one of his rare smiles – a full faced smile.
It took a matter of seconds for all three to regain composure. Once they did, Sam and Daniel turned back around to question Jackie, but she wasn't there.
"Jackie?" Sam called.
That made Teal'c turn around.
"Where did she go?" Daniel wondered. Then he spotted something. Moving over to table that he, Sam, and Teal'c had just been sitting at, he picked up a white envelope and read the writing. "Sam…it's addressed to you."
"Come Daniel Jackson, Jacquelyn Nielson could not have gotten far."
While Daniel and Teal'c took off looking for Jackie, Sam opened the envelope that Daniel had handed to her.
I'm sorry that it was necessary to keep you in the dark about my mission. As I watched you grieve for Jack it became harder and harder to keep the truth from you. I hope that one day you understand why I did what I did – I did it for you and Jack. The 'reality' of Jack's death helped you come to some realizations about your life. Don't let the fact that he is alive rob you of those.
It will be some time before we meet again – but we will meet again.
Jack had been so intensely focused on the surprised looks on his friends' faces, that he had not seen Jackie slip away. Not until he saw Sam, Teal'c, and Daniel searching and calling her name did he realize what she had done. She had been saying goodbye in the car. As he walked closer he saw Daniel and Teal'c take off in search of her, but he knew they wouldn't find her. This was going to be one interesting story to tell them.
With interest, Jack watched as Sam opened an envelope that Daniel had handed her, pull out a single sheet of paper and read its contents. She was so absorbed in what she was reading that she didn't hear him come up next to her. Not until she finished reading and looked up, did she notice that he was standing beside her.
"Jack." Sam stated simply, a couple of tears sliding down her face.
Jack took a step closer and gently brushed away the tears with his thumb. As he did, Sam closed her eyes and reveled in the fact that he was indeed alive and standing before her. When she opened her eyes and looked directly into his, Jack inwardly gasped. In a brief instant he saw Jackie's face before him as she stood in his office that first day. He remembered looking at her and thinking that she looked familiar. Coming back to reality and gazing into Sam's blue eyes he knew why.
Jackie had Sam's eyes.