Three days later, I was ready to crack. Mr. Gray came only long enough every day to ask if I were ready to answer questions, and when I told him I wasn't, he left again. The only other people I ever saw were the orderlies who brought me my meals. I had nothing to do, and I was bored, bored, bored. I had never gone this long without reading or otherwise exercising my mind. I ate, did exercises every day, meditated when I could, washed, and I slept. There was nothing else to do. Sometimes I showered more than once during the day just to kill time. It seemed that the only occupation I had was to wait.

There was one good thing that reassured me. Mr. Gray had not made good on his threat to use sodium pentathol on me or any other sort of "truth drug." I began to get a feeling that he was allowed to threaten me with it, but he wasn't allowed to actually use it. So, that meant that someone else was in charge of Mr. Gray. That was heartening.

It did nothing to alleviate my boredom, though. I couldn't help contrasting my surroundings with a possible house by a lake, and I was sure that I was meant to do so. After all, they wanted me to be bored and perhaps motivated to answer their questions so I could gain some change in scenery. The only worry in my mind was how long I could hold out. I had to stay sane until the SGC found me, for I was certain that they were looking for me. After all, their unspoken motto was "We don't leave our people behind." Unbidden came the thought that I wasn't one of their "people." Whenever that thought came to torment me I pushed it away ruthlessly and ignored it. It would do me no good to torture myself with "might-bes" and "maybes."

One other break I had in my daily monotony was the visit of the masseuse, Julia. She told me that I needed several massages to ensure that the good she had done with the first massage would last, so once a day I entrusted myself to her hands that worked magic on my muscles. Usually she came in the evening, about an hour or two before I headed to bed, and I was certain that those massages helped me relax enough to sleep. We didn't really talk much beyond "Let me know if anything hurts" or "Do you feel stiff or loose?" I was mindful of the cameras they had on me.

I had spent about six or seven days there waiting before I was certain I was going to lose my mind if I didn't talk to someone soon. It was in the afternoon and I was trying to meditate, but my mind kept jumping around and I couldn't focus or calm myself enough to even get into the right frame of mind. I had to talk to someone, and something had to change, or the solitude would drive me crazy. Worse yet, my stomach and my head were hurting from stress, and those symptoms meant that it wouldn't be long before I stopped thinking clearly and just started reacting. No, I had to keep my head clear, and I made my decision. If they asked me a question that I couldn't answer, I would go silent until they realized that there were some things that I wouldn't answer. True, they could leave me alone until I started to go crazy again, but I was certain that they would prefer me sane to crazy. They would change the situation themselves if they wanted me mentally sound.

"Mr. Gray," I said, rising from my spot on the floor. "I'm ready to talk if you are, but I would like to ask you questions, too."

A minute later my door opened. He came in carrying a manila folder and a few sheets and photos. "High time," he said, closing the door behind him and heading toward the table. "You had me worried, Mr. Quinn."

"I did?"

"Yes," he said, waving me to a seat. "We'll start with questions about you, shall we?"

"Why not?" I muttered. At least he hadn't wanted to know the inner workings of the Kelownan government or the SGC!

By this time we were both sitting at the table, and he opened the folder. "Okay, first question. What is your full name?"

"Jonas Quinn," I told him. "I have no other name."

"How old are you in Earth years?"

"Uh, I asked Sam about that almost a week after I came, and she gave me the information and I did the calculations, and it appears that I am twenty-seven and some odd months."

He nodded. "All right. What about your family? Your parents?"

For the next three hours, he asked questions and I answered. I told him that my parents had both died a few years back, about six months apart from one another. My childhood had been fairly normal, with no great trauma, illnesses, or injuries. While I'd been a child my parents had paid to have me attend the best school in our district. I had no siblings and no other relatives since both sets of parents had been only children and their parents had died before I was born. I had made top grades in school and entered the university two years ahead of schedule. My father had been a teacher and my mother had been an artist, specializing in pottery. When asked what I'd studied in elementary school, I replied that I had studied grammar, literature, history, arithmetic, science, art, and self-defense. In secondary school (that came after elementary) I studied the same subjects in more detail, and had elective courses in the social sciences, political science, diplomacy, and etiquette. I remarked that the courses in etiquette were not always useful on Earth since it was Kelownan etiquette. However, certain aspects of the classes were useful when meeting people and establishing diplomatic relations.

No, I had not had many friends growing up since I was always busy studying or helping the professors at school. I did have a few friends my age, but overall I preferred the company of my teachers. As for significant relationships, suffice to say that I'd had a few, and I was not going to go any deeper than that. That was strictly my business, and I was not going to elucidate on them.

"We may ask you to do just that later on, Mr. Quinn," Mr. Gray said, jotting down my answer into the folder.

"Then you people will just have to get used to disappointment," I answered.

My career as special advisor to the High Minister had been fairly normal, except that I had been a very young special advisor. My employer and I had the usual superior-subordinate relationship, and we'd never socialized outside of work. By the time SG-1 had arrived, I'd been promised a promotion to a position that had a bit of authority, with later promotions in the future if I continued to do well. No, I hadn't been sure if that was what I had really wanted, and I still wasn't sure. Had I wanted to become a politician? No, I really preferred being a scholar. That was much more fun that trying to satisfy everyone.

Mr. Gray noted that down, fighting a smile. I ignored it.

When he asked what I did at the SGC, I told him that I did mostly what Dr. Jackson had done: I did translations, briefed teams on cultures and languages, and gave presentations for needed background information, such as mythology and history. No, they did not plan on putting me on an SG team—at least, I did not think so—but I was happy to do the work. Why? It was something that I could do and was good at, why else? What did I think about the Ga'ould? They were slimy little snakes. What about the Replicators? From what I'd heard and read, they were better in pieces. What about the NID? I couldn't repeat what I'd heard about them, but I thought they were foul, evil little kidnappers. Mr. Gray understood why I felt that way, and I didn't need to elaborate.

It went on like that for what seemed like days. Sometimes he would repeat questions, as if to see if I would change my answers. Always, even if I could not remember what I'd said, I tried to make my responses as similar as possible. I needed to present a picture of consistency, because everything else was going merrily to hell. I began to lose track of time. Sometimes it would seem as if Mr. Gray had only been with me for a half-hour, and he'd get up as if he were very tired, saying that it had been about four or five hours that we'd been talking. Other times Julia would come and give me a massage, I would lay down to sleep, and an hour later I would be woken up by an orderly who would ask me what I wanted for lunch since I'd said that I hadn't wanted breakfast (of course, I didn't remember saying so). Sometimes meals would come very close together or very far apart (at least, they seemed to) and often Mr. Gray would leave me on my own for a while, usually what felt like an hour or two. Then, he would come back and wish me a good morning and ask me how I'd passed the night, but I could not remember sleeping or even being tired. How could it be a new day?

I did not confide any of my worries to anyone. The last thing I needed Mr. Gray to know was that I was losing track of time and questioning my own sanity. Since I was not allowed writing materials I could not divulge my suspicions to paper, and I had a feeling that doing so would have made a difference. I had no way to organize my thoughts beyond meditation, and I had no one to talk to and there was no one I dared trust. It wasn't long before my nerves began to feel as if someone had been at them with sandpaper. I knew I had to get out of there soon before I lost my mind, but how could I do that? I was watched too well.

Unexpectedly, I received a chance. Mr. Gray came in and stood in the doorway, talking over his shoulder to an orderly about something. I don't know what made me do it, but I rushed him and pushed past him, running down the hall with all of the speed I could muster. I could hear shouting behind me and people chasing me, but I kept going. Somehow, I found a staircase, and from what I could see from the windows I'd passed, I was up on one of the higher floors of the building. I headed down as fast as I could go, sometimes jumping whole flights, but as I reached the second or third floor, I was tackled by orderlies and dragged screaming and kicking and swearing back to my room. I was given something to make me sleep, and when I woke I was in bed and back in restraints. Mr. Gray was not happy, but my time outside my room had allowed me to see outside. The terrain I'd been able to see was like what I'd seen of Colorado, so it stood to reason that I was still reasonably near Cheyenne Mountain and reasonably near to rescue.

"What did you think you were doing?" Mr. Gray demanded, glaring at me.

"I was thinking of escaping," I said, perfectly willing to be honest. "You didn't think I would just sit here and let a chance pass by, did you?"

"Actually, I was hoping that you'd accepted being in NID custody."

I laughed. "You're fooling yourself, and all of the people who are in charge of you are fooling themselves."

He glared at me again. "You sound as if you wouldn't mind being kept here for the rest of your life, Mr. Quinn. Another stunt like that would ensure it."

"Would it, now?"

He nodded. "It would. You'd be too dangerous to keep in the mountains, and they may decide to keep you here or in a similar facility. Think about that."

He left, leaving me to think, but I did not think about his implied threat. No, I was thinking about what I'd seen outside. I had seen other buildings nearby, and in the distance I'd spotted mountains. They looked similar to the Rockies, and I'd seen what looked like two (or more?) rivers intersecting. Also, I'd seen a sign mentioning Colorado State University, telling drivers how to get there. I had to be somewhere still in Colorado. Quickly, I imagined the state map of Colorado I'd memorized, and I realized that there would only be one place like that in Colorado. I almost laughed when I realized how close I still was to Colorado Springs and Cheyenne Mountain. I was in a city called Pueblo, just south of the SGC.

Now, I just had to hope that the SGC would figure out where I was, or even better still, that I could get a message to them.