You have been warned. I will hear no whining from the peanut gallery.


Carson Beckett shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

It's not that the seat itself was uncomfortable. The seats in first class are often touted to be the most comfortable available, and these were particularly nice, with soft upholstery and firm, but soft cushions. So in that regard, he was comfortable.

However, he was emotionally unsettled, and shifting in his seat was just a physical manifestation of his upset. For starters, he couldn't remember exactly how he'd gotten to his current location, and if that wasn't enough to unsettle anyone, he didn't know what was.

The last thing he remembered was…Atlantis? Surgery. Yes. He'd just performed a surgery on Atlantis and had done his doctor-saves-the-day thing.

That still didn't answer the question of how he got on a plane to God-knows-where.

"Excuse me---" Carson tried to garner the flight attendant's attention, clearing his throat softly so as to get her attention without irritating any of the passengers around him. "Miss? Pardon me--"

She passed Carson by without acknowledging him, though he was positive she'd seen him.

His forehead wrinkled in thought. "Odd."

Carson tried to turn in his seat to follow the flight attendant's movements, but the fact that the man seated next to him was looking at him with an unfathomable look.

He was an ordinary looking guy, aside from the unusual streaks of white in his hair and his slightly overlarge nose. He looked kind enough and the corners of his eyes crinkled in a friendly way when he smiled at Carson and nodded at the window past the Scotsman.

"It's a lovely view, isn't it?"

"I'm sure it is," Carson replied distractedly. The flight attendant was coming down the aisle once more. "Excuse me, miss?"

"She won't talk to you, you know," Carson's fellow passenger said carelessly.

"I'd say she'd better, she is in the customer service industry, after all."

The man next to Carson sighed heavily. "Shall we try this again? I said 'It's a lovely view, isn't it?'."

"Aye, and I said 'I'm sure it is'. My memory's not failing, lad…if you don't count the huge chunk of my life leading up to this event that seems to be missing."

"But you didn't look."

"I don't see why I'd need to," the Scottish doctor answered, somewhat shortly.

"Trust me, look. If you still want the flight attendant after you do, I'll flag her down for you, if I have to set myself on fire to get her attention."

"Fine." Carson shifted in his seat, turning towards the window. "Clouds, sky, yes, yes, very lovely."

"Look down."

Feeling somewhat put-upon by the mystery man's demand, Carson cast his gaze downwards and froze before he pressed his face and hands to the glass, eyes wide.

The city of the Ancients, surrounded by the almost unnaturally blue ocean that he'd awakened to the sound of for almost four years, was nestled somewhere beneath the plane.

Carson jerked back from the window and turned on his companion. "That's…that's--"

The kind, almost sympathetic look that graced the features of the other man didn't go very far towards reassuring Carson. "Impossible?"

"Well, quite frankly, yes."

"That all depends on your perspective, Carson."

It felt like someone had dumped ice on his neck suddenly, as quickly as the realization hit him.

The doctor gulped. "I…I'm dead, aren't I?"

The half-smile on his companion's face didn't waver. "Not in the conventional sense."

"Where am I?" Carson demanded. "Is this heaven? Hell? Purgatory?"

"You ascended, Carson."

Carson blinked dumbly for several seconds before he found his voice at last. "I…what?"

"Ascended. You have heard of the process, haven't you?"

"Of course I've bloody well heard of it! But I am not Daniel Jackson!"

Good, because I'm not Oma Desala."

"You seem to approve of her methods well enough! I want out of this--this--THIS!"

The man sighed again, shaking his head. "If you don't take this opportunity, you will die, completely, and I assure you the process is permanent."

"And this isn't?" The man didn't answer, but the twinkling of his eyes made Carson suspicious. "Who are you?"

"I'm your personal liaison, I suppose you could call me. I did sponsor you for this, after all."

"That doesn't tell me who you are."

"Well, if you really need a name: Doctor Sam Beckett, and before you ask--I'm not an Ancient. I'm like you…I ascended in modern times. Sort of."

Carson's patience was starting to wear dangerously thin. "Sort of. Sort of. There is no sort of! You either ascended or you didn't."

"I didn't realize I was agreeing to it when I did it. My liaison wasn't quite as straight with me as I'm being with you. I made the case for allowing you to ascend the same way he did for me--but I'm being honest with you about what you'll be getting into if you decide to stay."

"Why? Why me?"

"You're a good man, Carson. I…I've found a kind of affinity between us. You're quite a bit like I am. Or rather, was."

Sam cleared his throat noisily and straightened up a little. "Now, you know the facts, I don't really see any point in delaying this any longer…you have two choices: you can remain ascended or you can--"

"Die. That's no choice at all," Carson replied, almost sourly. "That's arm twisting, that's what it is. Fine, lesser of two evils. I'll stay in this…wherever we are. For now."

The other Beckett chuckled lightly. "So, Carson, what do you want to do for all of eternity?"

Carson's brow furrowed again and he looked at Sam with his eyes slightly narrowed. "Well you obviously know all about me…what's your story?"

Sam smiled wistfully for about a half a second before shifting in his seat, "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."


A/N: If you didn't already figure it out, this was a little Quantum Leap/SGA crossover. Ahem. The beginning of this story has been on my hard drive literally since July 2006, and I just got off my duff to finish it, with an eye cast towards the events of 'Sunday' because it just fit so perfectly with the original plan that it hurt. I think this might be the longest I've ever spent with an unfinished one-shot, and I'm glad I'm done with it finally.