Prologue

"Henry, remember Groom Lake?"

"Yeah, but this time we're sober."

- Eureka, Pilot episode

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1978, Groom Lake, Nevada

The two men sat on the hill in the darkness, looking down at the infamous Area 51. A six-pack of beer sat between them, and the remnants of another were strewn across the nearby landscape. One of the two, a young black man, yawned, belched, and let out a contented sigh.

"Shut up, Henry!" hissed his companion. "If they find us here..."

Henry laughed, a warm, rich baritone. "Relax, Warren. No one knows where we are."

Warren wasn't convinced. "How do you know? I bet they have all sorts of sensing equipment, some of which you probably developed!"

"Exactly!" Henry grinned. He held up a small, black box. "And what I developed, I can outsmart."

"Oh."

"Uh-huh." Henry finished his beer and reached for another. "So, you feeling any better?"

Warren stared morosely at his own beer. "Not really," he muttered.

Henry reached over and shook his friend playfully. "Why the hell not? We just snuck into Area 51. Do you know how long people have tried to do this? Maybe we'll even see a UFO tonight."

"I guess..."

Henry's smile disappeared. "Warren, man, you've got to let go of this. It's eating you up inside."

"I have wanted to study physics at MIT ever since I knew what physics was! And I have a 4.0 GPA at Harvard. It isn't fair; they should have accepted me." To Warren's disgust, he could feel tears welling up. He slammed back the remnants of his drink and grabbed another can of beer.

"No, it isn't fair," Henry agreed. "But that won't change anything. If you don't get over it, you're never going to get anywhere." Static electricity suddenly crackled over a nearby cactus. What the hell?

Warren didn't notice it. "What am I supposed to do now?" he whined.

Henry looked sharply at the cactus, but the display wasn't repeated. He shrugged. "You could come to Cal Tech with me. It's not exactly a second rate school."

Before Warren could reply, a bolt of electricity rippled out of nowhere and split a nearby bolder. "Holy shit!" both men yelped in unison. As they watched, additional energy flares appeared in the night and coalesced into something that looked liked a giant pool of water. Weird noises emanated from it, some almost sounding like wordless screams. Then, as suddenly as it appeared, the apparition vanished again and the night was once again quiet.

"My God," Warren breathed.

"What the hell?"

"Looked almost like a wormhole," Warren said, his melancholy forgotten.

"There aren't any stable wormholes!"

"That we know of. Yet."

"True." Henry looked thoughtful. "Transtemporal?"

"Maybe. But..."

"FREEZE!" Henry Deacon and Warren King turned to face a two-man Special Forces patrol.

"Oh, boy," Warren whispered as one pointed a gun at them.

Henry tried to put on a confident smile, but it came out looking a little sickly. "I know this looks bad, but we..."

"Shut up!" snapped one of the SFs. He sighed and turned to his partner. "Captain Hammond will need to be notified about this."

"Yeah. In the meantime, what do we do with these guys?"

"Nothing. We just wait here; that's the protocol." The soldier gestured with his weapon. "You two sit on the ground and don't move."

Warren and Henry obeyed. As they waited, Henry went over the events in his mind. One thing in particular intrigued him. Just before whatever-it-was had disappeared, he could have sworn he heard a voice that said, "McKay, what the hell did you do?!"

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Chapter One

2005, Eureka, Location classified

Jack Carter was bored. His desk was literally groaning under the weight of his paperwork (at least, he hoped the noise was the paperwork and not some weird new project of Fargo's), and he would rather shoot himself in the foot than fill out any of it. He looked hopefully at the phone on his desk, silently begging it to ring, then glanced out the window to watch a couple of kids assembling... something. With his luck, it would turn out to be something that exploded or tried to shoot people, and he'd wind up with a few dozen more forms to complete. In triplicate.

He heard a muffled snicker coming from across the room, and turned to see Jo trying to hide a smirk. "Problems, Carter?" she asked innocently.

Jack made a face at her. "You're so funny... oh wait, you're not."

She grinned. "I won, fair and square. You have to do everything I say for 24 hours."

"Doing all of your paperwork on top of my own wasn't what I had in mind!" Jack whined.

Jo shrugged. "You're the sheriff. You should know better than to bet on what might happen during a full moon." He gave an inarticulate growl, but her grin just grew wider.

A single, sharp bark suddenly echoed from the entryway, followed by the sound of padding paws. "Uh-oh," said Jo.

"Hide the food," Jack agreed. He swept a wrapped-up sandwich off the top of his desk and into a drawer. As he watched, a shaggy head stuck itself through the doorway and whined at him.

"LoJack," Jo sighed. He walked over to her and nudged her hand with his nose, then walked back to the door and barked again.

"Hey, pup," Jack said amiably. LoJack was a large, furry dog of indeterminate origins who had been the town's spirit animal and unofficial guardian for as long as anyone could remember. He was usually very easygoing but was fiercely protective of the townspeople, particularly the children. He was also very loyal to Jack, who had helped save his life after he was hit by a car.

In answer to the former marshal's greeting, LoJack padded over and licked his hand. "Sorry, buddy, you're not getting my lunch today." LoJack snorted and shook himself. He stared at the door again with what Jack could swear was a look of impatience. "Well!" Jack said, standing up with unseemly haste. "I'd better go investigate!"

Jo cleared her throat. "Carter! Aren't you forgetting something?" She picked up a pencil and shook it at him.

"Sorry," Jack said, giving her that little-boy grin she hated so much. "Duty calls. Like you said, I am the sheriff."

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2005, Atlantis, Pegasus galaxy

John had to hold back a smile as Rodney bounded into the conference room in his usual energetic fashion. Some things were constant. Teyla was always going to kick his ass during their training sessions. Kavanaugh was always going to find something to bitch about. And Rodney was always going to arrive at the daily staff meeting looking like a cross between Einstein and the Energizer bunny on crack. "How many cups today?" John drawled.

The physicist scowled. "Don't you have anything better to do than to nag me about how much coffee I drink?"

John pretended to think it over. "Nope!" he said cheerfully.

Rodney sniffed. "If you must know, I just finished my ninth cup."

"Not bad! Yesterday you had twelve. Congratulations on cutting back."

"Maybe now the rest of us will have a fighting chance," Peter Grodin mumbled from his seat next to John.

Before Rodney could figure out a snappy comeback, the door slid open to admit Carson and Teyla. She was grinning broadly, obviously responding to something the doctor had said outside. She whispered something back to him as they sat down, and he playfully cuffed her on the shoulder. John raised an eyebrow. Were Carson and Teyla an item now? None of his business, he supposed, but he was curious.

Elizabeth was the last to enter the conference room. "I apologize for being late," she said. "I had to mediate a dispute between anthropology and botany."

"Get rid of them both," Rodney muttered under his breath. Everyone else chuckled; they all knew the physicist's opinion of the "soft" sciences.

Elizabeth opened the meeting. The first item on the agenda was power generation. They now had two fewer naquadah generators than they'd arrived with. Rodney had thrown one through the gate, and John had just blown up the second one high above the planet. "Will the remaining generators be sufficient to power the city?" Elizabeth asked. Rodney sighed.

"It depends on what you mean by 'sufficient.' If you mean 'capable of repelling a full-on Wraith invasion,' then no. If you mean 'enough to run day to day operations and keep us from dying horrible deaths before the Wraith attack,' then yes. We'll have to ration usage a bit, but it shouldn't pose too much of a hardship."

She nodded. "Please work with Peter to come up with a schedule for rotating power limitations. We don't want to have any more departments at each others' throats."

John spoke next. He didn't have much to say. Some of his men, including Ford, were still a little spooked from the nanovirus incident, but he didn't think it was going to be a long term problem. From across the conference room table, concerned blue eyes locked on his. John sighed. "I'm fine, Carson. No symptoms of radiation poisoning. I'm not throwing up, my hair hasn't started falling out..."

"God forbid," Rodney snickered.

John successfully resisted the urge to smack him. "... and no symptoms of a nature unsuitable for public discussion."

The blue eyes turned reproachful. "And I'm sure you would be entirely forthcoming with me if you were having problems."

"Gimme a break, will you?" John wasn't quite sure how he'd acquired the reputation of being closemouthed about his health. A few concealed broken ribs and you were branded for life!

Carson looked at him for another minute and then nodded, dropping the subject for now. The physician gave a brief report on their medical supply inventory – holding up for now, but they were starting to run low on some of the synthetic antibiotics and painkillers. "If I could go back to Earth for even one day, I could restock for several years," he said wistfully.

Rodney looked smug. "Funny you should say that."

"What?!" Everyone was pretty much in unison.

"I have two words for you," the physicist said. "Artificial wormhole generation."

John couldn't resist this time. "That's three words, McKay."

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Eureka

When they got to the parking lot, the dog ran to the driver's side of Carter's cruiser and whined. Jack shook his head. "I don't care if you have a higher IQ than I do. You're not driving!" LoJack just panted, but Jack could swear he was laughing at him.

Jack opened the door on the driver's side and gestured with a flourish. The dog jumped in and moved across to the passenger's side. He sat there, tail wagging, as Jack followed a little more slowly.

Jack started the car and began to back out of his parking spot. He stopped when LoJack barked at him, though, and sheepishly put on his seatbelt. "If you're so smart, why don't you put on yours, too?" he muttered under his breath. LoJack barked again.

"Wiseass."

Jack drove down the main street of Eureka, waving to Vincent as he passed Café Diem. "I'm going to assumed that whatever you want me to see is at Global Dynamics, since that's where most of the weird shit happens. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, though." The dog didn't respond, so Jack continued on his way.

He stopped the car as they approached the main gate of Global Dynamics. "I'm going to need a reason to take you in with me." Jack tapped his fingers against the steering wheel. "I guess I can always say that Taggart wants to make sure all those nano-thingies are deactivated."

LoJack growled, and Jack held up his hands. "Easy, buddy! I won't let him keep you there! I'll make him promise to let you go again, 'Scout's honor'. Aw, come on, don't give me those puppy-dog eyes!" LoJack whimpered pitifully and put his head down on his paws. "Besides," Jack said conspiratorially, "Deep down, I don't think he really wants to catch you. It would be like... oh, I don't know... the Coyote catching the Road Runner! What could he possibly have to look forward to after that?"

The dog twisted so that his back was to the sheriff. Jack sighed. "Would you feel better if I told you there was a sandwich in the glove compartment?"

LoJack perked up and hit the glove compartment release with a paw. As he happily munched on his treat, Jack muttered, "I can't believe I just spent the last five minutes arguing with a dog."

TBC