Daniel opened one bleary eye to glare at his teammate and friend, Colonel Jack O'Neill. "What are you doing here, Jack?" Daniel muttered, glancing at his alarm clock. "It's two in the morning!"
"I know it is."
"Then what are you doing here?" Daniel demanded, sitting up as he fumbled for his glasses. "And how did you get in here? I always keep the door locked."
"You really gotta tell 'em to get better locks on your door, Danny boy," Jack teased. "I'm here because we got a special mission. C'mon, get dressed."
"Special mission? Couldn't General Hammond have called instead of asking you to come over and break into my apartment?" Daniel wanted to know as he got out of bed and pulled on a robe over his pajamas. "And couldn't it have waited until morning?"
"It's top secret, and no, it couldn't have waited until morning. Carter's already in the car and waiting for us," Jack answered him. "Hurry up. You've got five minutes."
Daniel muttered something, but he grabbed some clothes and disappeared into the bathroom, emerging a few minutes later, dressed in civvies and ready to go. "So, what's this mission?" he asked as he went into the living room and found Jack there.
"I don't know, but the General told me that we'd know once we got to the base."
"Oh, wonderful," Daniel grumbled as they left and headed downstairs. "I hope you guys have coffee waiting on me in the car, 'cause I really need it."
"No, but we've got some bottled water," Jack offered.
"Poor substitute, Jack," Daniel growled as they left the building and headed to the car waiting at the curb. Inside, Daniel could see Carter behind the wheel.
"Hey," Carter greeted him as Jack got into the front of the car and Daniel slid into the back.
"Hi," he answered, still not awake. "Did he wake you up, too, or was he nice enough to call you first?" Daniel was still in a bad mood.
"Actually, he knocked on my door," Sam told him, smiling at Daniel's grimace. "He said it'd be fun to see if he could get into your place without you waking up."
"You sleep like somebody dead, Daniel," Jack said, handing him the promised bottle of water.
Daniel unscrewed the cap and took a long drink. "Well, you might sleep like the dead too if you just got done with three days' worth of research and translations," he retorted once he'd swallowed. He took another long drink before coming up for air and began to sip at his water. On his third sip he stopped, running his tongue over his lips in puzzlement. "This tastes strange…" he said, confused.
"Does it?" Jack said, sounding too innocent for Daniel to be calm about it.
"Jack, what was in this?" Daniel demanded. "If this is one of your practical jokes, I can tell you that it's not funny!"
"Relax, Daniel," Carter snapped, glancing at him in the rearview mirror. "It won't hurt you. You should be getting sleepy right about now."
"Sleepy?" That didn't help because he was more confused than ever. "What?"
"It's something to make you go to sleep so we don't have to answer your questions, Jackson," Jack barked.
Daniel stared at him, fighting to focus his eyes as the drug took effect. "Since when have you called me 'Jackson'?"
If there was an answer, Daniel didn't hear it, for that was when he passed out. He came to a while later, feeling very odd. He was awake, but he couldn't move or speak and everything seemed to be very far away. Someone was carrying him flung over a shoulder in a fireman's carry, and they were hurrying through a building somewhere.
"Are we almost there, Sam?" he heard Jack say. "He's skinny, but he has more weight than you can see just by looking at him!"
"Almost, just down this hall and through the door."
Daniel wasn't sure what happened next: It felt like someone gave him an electric shock, and then he was seeing the familiar floors of the SGC pass under Jack's feet.
"Oh, Colonel O'Neill, here we go, put him on the stretcher," Daniel heard as a wheeled stretcher came into view. As he was lifted up and laid down, he fought to get his limbs moving. He managed to turn his head and found himself staring into an orderly's face.
The orderly stared back. "Sir, he's conscious. His eyes are open."
A doctor—not Janet Frasier—came into view. He was old, had gray hair, and he looked…mean. He looked kind of like a vicious dog hiding behind a normal face. "I'll take care of it while you take care of the straps. We don't want him flinging himself off."
Daniel felt as if he couldn't move, let along fling himself anywhere. What on earth had he been given? He felt as if he'd eaten a sack full of cement and someone was dancing a vicious two-step on his brain. "Wha's goin' on?" he managed to get out.
"Nothing to worry about," the doctor told him. "We're just taking you to the infirmary to check you out."
"Why?" Daniel asked, feeling restraints. "Wha' happened? Why'm I bein' strapped up?"
"It's to keep you in bed," the doctor said kindly, but he also sounded as if he were explaining to a very slow child. "We're going to the infirmary, you'll be given a physical, and then you'll be put somewhere so you can rest."
"But why?" Daniel persisted as they began to wheel him through the halls and toward the elevators. "Jack? Sam?"
"Now, it's all right," the doctor said, sounding falsely cheerful. "I don't believe we've met, Dr. Jackson. I'm Dr. Benton."
One of the orderlies choked, trying hard not to laugh, which confused Daniel even more. By that point they had reached the infirmary and Daniel was wheeled into place. Dr. Benton examined him and spoke notes than an orderly took down on a clipboard. The straps were not released.
"All right, that's all we need, Dr. Jackson," Dr. Benton said at last, fiddling with something on a nearby table. "Now, I'm just going to give you a little something that'll help you rest, and you'll feel better when you wake up." When he turned around, Daniel saw that he held a syringe in his hands. Before he could protest he felt the prick of the needle, and he slid once more into unconsciousness.
SG-1 was gathered in the briefing room with General Hammond, who was beginning to look very impatient. Daniel was a half-hour late. While he'd been known to be late in the past while involved with a project or some kind of work, he shouldn't be late today. After all, he'd finished his latest project, so there was no reason for him to be late.
"What do you want to bet he picked up a book?" Jack said, filling his cup with coffee.
"It'd have to be one heck of an interesting book," Carter said, fiddling with a pen.
"Daniel Jackson is passionate about his work," Teal'c said, sitting quietly.
"Yeah, but there are times when the passion borders on insanity," Jack commented, heading back to his chair.
"We've called, but there's no answer," General Hammond said. "Not on his house phone or his cell. That's not like Dr. Jackson at all."
"Do you think we should run out to his apartment? See if he's asleep or engrossed in a book?" Jack asked.
"If you would, that would be a great help," General Hammond said, sounding thankful. "It may be he took something to help him sleep and he hasn't woken up yet. I don't know, but I would feel better if I knew what was going on."
SG-1 didn't need any more encouragement than that. Dressed in civvies (and with Teal'c wearing a hat), they headed to Daniel's apartment building. They questioned the doorman and the superintendent and they learned that Daniel had not been seen that morning, but that one of the cleaning staff had found the lock on his apartment had been broken and removed from the door. The police had been called, but other than a missing archeologist, there was nothing taken from the apartment.
"I wonder who it was that came to Daniel's last night," Jack said, standing in the doorway to the bedroom. The bed wasn't made, which told Jack that Daniel either hadn't had time to make it before he left (meaning the kidnapper had wanted to get him out of there quickly) or else he hadn't been given a chance to make it. Daniel was a neat freak and would not have left an unmade bed in his apartment.
"I don't know," Carter said, examining the bookshelf by the door where Daniel always put things he would need to take with him in the morning. His keys were gone, as were his wallet and base I.D.s. That meant that he had thought that he would be back, and that he was planning on going to the base or he thought that he would end up there eventually.
Once they gathered the police report, the superintendent's, and the cleaning person's report as well as the security tapes from the night before, they headed back to Cheyenne Mountain to share all that they'd found out with General Hammond. The General read the reports, listened to their impressions, and together they watched the tapes. When they saw Daniel leaving the building with Jack, all of them turned and looked at him.
"Not possible," Jack said immediately. "I didn't leave the house last night, and I came to the base first thing this morning."
"Then who was on the tapes?" the General asked.
"We've got Jack's holo device from when someone tried to assassinate Kinsey," Sam said. "Can't be one of those crystal creatures; they're all back on their planet."
"Could there be two of O'Neill?" Teal'c wondered.
"If there's a copy of me running around…" Jack grumbled, sounding ready to kick something.
"Sir?" Walter said, coming to the General's doorway. "I've got something here from Area 51 that I think you might want to see."
"What is it, Walter?"
"Um, it appears to be a recording of…well, maybe you should see it first. I don't quite believe it."
They gathered in the briefing room and watched the tape.
"Isn't that the quantum mirror?" Jack said, recognizing one of the objects in the room. "But I thought it was supposed to have been closed up or something?"
"Apparently someone took it out," Sam muttered.
"What could have been their purpose?" Teal'c wondered out loud.
They watched in amazement as the mirror activated and two people emerged: Jack and Carter. Carter knelt, turned on some device she held in her hand, and then she and Jack headed through the room and out.
"According to reports, that device turned off all security systems without anyone noticing they were off, and somehow, it hid them from view from the cameras while this was happening," Walter reported. "Someone was slacking off in his job when he didn't see them come through." He hit fast-forward until it showed them again. This time, Jack was carrying Daniel.
"So, that explains where the second Jack came from," Jack muttered, watching as his doppelganger carried Daniel through the mirror and Carter followed. "And that explains where Daniel went. All we have to do is go through the mirror and get him back."
"I don't think that's going to be so easy," Sam said, looking a little pale. "Don't you remember how many realities that's linked to? How will we find the right one?"
"What I want to know is, how did they know where to find Dr. Jackson?" General Hammond said, sounding confused. "The amount of time it took for them to find transportation, get to his apartment, take him, and get back is so small. They had to know where he was beforehand. How did that happen when they'd just arrived here?"
No one had any answers.