There were an infinite number of alternate realities. Carter had told him that. He couldn't help but feel a pang of pride for remembering it and smiled fondly as the memory replayed itself in his mind.
"Sir! It's fascinating, really!" Sam told him, gesturing at a whiteboard filled with scribbled equations. "You see, there are an infinite number of alternate realities out there." She grinned at the confused look on his face...
His astrophysicist had been so enthusiastic and willing to explain. He'd never admit it, but he found her excitement insanely adorable.
His thoughts wandered on to the possibilities and variations those other realities had. He and Sam had been engaged to be married in one of them and they had been married for an entire year in another. In both of those realities, one or both of them had died.
There were countless more realities – theoretically, of course – but those were the ones he knew of and it made sense that they were the ones that had Jack feeling conflicted.
On one hand, those other alternate Jack O'Neill's, the lucky bastards, had been in a relationship with Samantha Carter that he could only ever dream of. On the other, they had lost each other forevermore. He discounted the regs, in both cases. In his current situation, they didn't mean a damn thing.
Back to the alternate Jack's and their Carter's, had it been worth it for them? To have loved and lost like that…would the good times have outweighed the pain of having that one, fragile connection ripped to shreds? Would it have been worth it? Maybe. Maybe not. Jack didn't know.
Sam continued her explanation. "According to quantum theory, for every possible universe, there are an infinite number of variations, diverging at every choice we make like forks in a road."
As Carter had also told him, there was all that 'fork in the road' stuff – various turns in time and space, spiralling off into different directions at every choice made, which resulted in the differences between realities.
Realistically, that meant that no matter what, there would never be a reality in which the same circumstances existed and judging by the percentage of realities that they'd learnt of so far, in which they had come to a bloody end, it was about time for a happy ending.
Maybe in this reality, they were meant to be.
Or then again, maybe once they gave in to their desires and finally got together, the last thread of hope that they would last would be pulled from underneath them and leave them teetering over the sheer edge of a cliff to eventually fall to their gruesome deaths. It was a toss-up chance that it would go either way.
Or maybe he was thinking about it all wrong. He wasn't the astrophysicist of the team, after all, and had a much more limited understanding of the scientific reasoning. He wasn't up with all the techno-babble.
It sounded very convincing though, so Jack readied himself to confront his second in command about his feelings for her. He kept the possibilities in mind and hoped his somewhat guessed calculations were somewhere in the vicinity of correct.
If he was wrong and the laws of the universe, as seen through the other realities, came after them, they were royally screwed. He wasn't so scared of losing something he'd never had to try to have it though.
They had gone up against unbeatable odds before and come through relatively unscathed – and he disregarded those times that one of them almost ended up dead – so this? This was going against the infinite possibilities of the universe and it was a big risk. It was a risk he was willing to take.
He hoped as he left his quarters that the odds were on their side.