"Fellas…?" I gestured for the guards to leave and approached Daniel cautiously, studying him. Okay, so he was creeping me out. The tattoos, the over-all whiteness… The eyes were wacky too. Like he was blind in the left eye.
"This is new."
"Yeah, it's always something, isn't it?" Daniel said pleasantly. I grimaced. The boy was learning my tricks. Damn him.
"Gotta tell ya, though. Not your look." A mime's look, maybe.
"Oh, it's just temporary."
I perked up. "Really?"
"Yeah! Yeah, see when, um, Merlin programmed the Ancient device to download his consciousness into my brain, he gave it a time limit. See, he knew I could only survive so long with the knowledge…" Yadda, yadda, yadda. I grabbed a stool and rolled it over to him.
"And when he goes?" I prodded when he finished.
"He's genetically programmed my body and mind to revert back to the state it was in before he was downloaded."
Downloaded. Usually I only downloaded things onto my mp3 player. Merlin on an iPod…now that would be interesting.
"He can do that?" I asked, sitting down.
"Yeah, I'm hoping so," Daniel said after a breath. He looked uneasy. "I won't look like this anymore. I won't have any of the Prior's special abilities. Unfortunately, I'll just be li'l ol' me again."
Unfortunately? I bit back a wince.
"But that's good news," I pointed out, desperately hoping he'd agree with me.
"Yeah, except I won't be able to fly an Ori ship. It will be too late to execute the plan and Adria will have Merlin's weapon."
Details, details…whoa, waitaminnit…
"I thought that wasn't finished yet."
"It's very close," he explained. "All the pieces are there. It just needs to be assembled. Adria will figure it out."
"And just when does your 'chariot' turn back into a 'pumpkin?'" I grumbled bitterly. I wasn't exactly keen on the idea of waiting for something else to happen before I got my favorite archeologist back. Daniel sighed.
"I don't have much time… A day or so."
"A day?" I exclaimed. "Kinda risky leaving it this late in the game!"
"Well, I didn't have much choice, and it took you guys a little longer to capture me than I planned, so…"
"Right…" What? "Why did we have to do that again?"
"Well, I couldn't exactly just come to you. I think Adria might have suspected something." Oh, how I hated it when he treated me like a student. He was supposed to be the kid!
"Yes, I see," I seethed, hiding my annoyance behind sarcasm.
"Jack, you have to believe me!"
"Why?" I demanded, my anger slipping under my defenses.
"Why?" Daniel echoed incredulously. "Well, because, oh, I don't know, the fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance?" He was learning. Damn.
"You know," I said slowly, shaking my head, "that old chestnut's gettin' a little…old." Ew. Bad wording. Not that Daniel noticed.
"No, no, that part never gets old," he argued, voice rising. "Now, you have to shut down that Supergate, and you have to let me go!"
"You know how much I hate being told what to do," I growled, trying to sound as equable as possible.
"Jack! It's ME!"
He sounded frustrated. Fancy that. So was I!
"What, that's supposed to convince me? Look at you!" Mime! Mimes always did creep me out. Like clowns. Ugh.
"Have I ever let you down?"
"No!" he said hurriedly before my thoughts could form into words. "Don't answer that. Have I ever let you down when it really mattered?"
As I racked my memory for a reply, I threw a curve ball at him.
"I don't even know who I'm really talking to right now!"
"Not when you were being tortured by Ba'al, killed, brought back to life, over and over again? I stood by you the whole time…"
Damn him! Damn him and all his relations to hell where they belonged!
"All right, just stop!" I ordered. "I don't need to be reminded of that! I've been around this barbecue a few times. Just because you know the stuff Daniel knows doesn't mean you're him, doesn't mean you're telling the truth. I mean, come on, you've got to know what you're asking me to do!" Pathetic. Just pathetic. Sure, it was legitimate, but I wanted so badly this whole situation not to be true, I was accusing the man of not being Daniel.
"I do!" he insisted earnestly.
"You know, there's a bottom line here. Carter doesn't think it can be done." That much I had understood from all her techno-babble.
"Yes, it can," he interrupted, shaking his head. "A Mark IX beamed directly behind the 'gate in the Pegasus Galaxy will destroy that 'gate. The wormhole connection will be broken!"
"How do you know that?" I asked incredulously. Daniel fidgeted in the chair and tossed his head.
I rolled my eyes. "Oh yes. 'Merlin!'" I waited for a laugh at the absolute ridiculousness of my tone.
"Jack, I wish I had proof," he sighed with the slightest growl. That wasn't a laugh. Idiot.
"I wish I had a way to convince you, but I don't. Now, this was the only choice I had, and I took it. It's a good plan. I-it just happens to hinge on you guys believing in me, having a little faith. Now, I thought you of all people might!"
"WHY?" I yelled. "You of all people should know that I don't believe anything anybody says, even if I understand what they're talking about!" I frowned, re-playing that in my head. Speaking of not understanding…
"Jack, it's me!" he pleaded.
"Yeah?" I demanded, losing steam. Daniel fidgeted in his chair again, eyebrows raised, expression desperate and hopeful. I waved a hand at him dismissively.
I turned and left, mind reeling. Leave him without me and what does the man do? Brings in new baddies, becomes a baddie himself…
Probably was too wrapped up in this new frontier to realize how much it hurts people…like me.
A/N: I love reviewers and live for constructive criticism!