By Lorraine J. Anderson
Neill stared at General Hammond. "You have got to be kidding."
"I'm afraid not, Jack. When the Air Force enrolled your... clone into High School, they listed you as the closest living relative."
Which means somebody has a nasty sense of humor. He got up from the chair the General had insisted he sit in and paced around the office.
"Jack - you are your clone's nearest living relation. You have no other relatives, do you?"
"Um... just a couple of cousins I won't admit to." Jack looked at the floor in front of the General's desk. Somebody really needed to sweep right there. "But he creeps me out."
"Couldn't you talk to him?" He looked at Hammond. "Please, sir? Pretty please?"
Hammond barked a laugh. "Colonel O'Neill, he is not under my chain of command any more. I have a hard enough time with you, much less you with raging hormones."
"Yeah, but I'm not his father."
"Nor is he your son. Technically, he's your twin... your double... which means you have the best chance to figure out what's going on in his head." He sighed. "He's also... and I hate to say this... a security risk. He has all of your knowledge. If he's deciding to go rogue, you'll need to deal with that, also."
"You think I have the best chance to figure him out. Are you kidding, sir? He's already made one decision I would never make. I never wanted to go back to high school."
"You never had the opportunity to make that decision." Hammond fixed him with a steely gaze. "Do I need to made this an order?"
O'Neill sighed and sat down. "No, sir. It's just that I hadn't planned to see him again." He looked to the sky. "And I hope this is the last time."
After a few minutes with the principal of his clone's school, O'Neill decided that it was easier to get a straight answer out of Apophis. Not that he expected to like this very obviously well-paid principal with his designer suit. This was an enormous office. He must have a salary to match.
"... our school psychiatrist feels that the loss of his parents at such a young age... " O'Neill dragged his attention back to the bald man... "...combined with the lack of a permanent parental figure has caused him to distrust all authority figures. We feel that professional counseling is indicated..."
O'Neill shook his head. "Bullshit."
The principal looked shocked. "But our teachers and psychiatrists..."
"You know nothing about him. And I'm 99% sure he's not giving you straight answers." O'Neill sighed.
"But, Mr. O'Neill..."
"Colonel O'Neill," Mr. Smithson.
"Hmmm?" Smithson had gotten over being shocked, and he looked up from his papers. No wonder Jack didn't like this guy; he wouldn't give you his full attention. "Oh. Colonel. Why wouldn't he give us straight answers?"
O'Neill bit back the first answer C because you're a jackass? "Because the real answers are classified."
Smithson chuckled and leaned back, hands behind his head. "Now what could a fifteen-year-old boy do that would be classified?"
O'Neill kept his face blank. "You would be surprised C and that would be classified."
Smithson's smile faded. "Be that as it may, we are concerned over his lack of adult guidance. I have it on good authority that there is beer in his refrigerator and we've had to warn him about bringing a knife to school. We've given him a bit of latitude in both cases, but this school system does have a zero-tolerance policy..."
O'Neill felt his mind go blank. What was he talking about? "Zero tolerance?"
"One misdemeanor - such as the knife incident - and the child gets an automatic suspension."
"Oh, for crying out..."
"It is our fervent belief that discipline now will prevent..."
O'Neill dropped his head in his hands. "Look C I just want to talk to my... nephew... not to be analyzed by an amateur shrink."
"I assure you..."
O'Neill stood up, leaned over the desk, and grabbed the principal's lapels. "Where in the hell is he?"
Unruffled, Smithson looked down at his desk at some papers on his desk, making O'Neill wonder how many parents had done that same thing. "He's absent today. I presumed you knew."
O'Neill released the lapels. "Oh, for crying out loud!" He stood and straight and moved away from the desk. "I'm getting out of here before..."
The scene in front of him changed abruptly. "... I slap you silly." He glanced at the ceiling, but didn't see any rings. His eyebrows raised as he looked around. Bad Egyptian architecture... looked like a Goa'uld ship. But that transport wasn't Goa'uld... or was it now, after they took Thor's transport technology? "Hello? You took me at a bad moment!"
A moment later, another form materialized beside him. The young man looked at O'Neill, then rolled his eyes. "If you wanted to see me, you could have just called."
O'Neill plucked the fishing pole out of Jack's hands. "Skipping school?"
Jack shrugged. "School was a really bad idea. Been there, done that."
"I could have told you that."
They were silent for a moment. "You know, I didn't bring you here."
Jack looked around. "Yeah. I know. Any idea what's going on?"
O'Neill shrugged. "Not a clue."
"Thor? Jack looked around. "No... not Thor, I think."
"Stay here while I look around."
Jack flashed a look at O'Neill. "Look, let's not play Alpha male' here. You're taller, and you're the lucky scum that's still at SG-1, you have the active rank..."
O'Neill pulled out his pistol. "I also have a gun. You?"
Jack frowned. "Oh. No."
"So I'm going to look around. Stay here."
"I wish the rest of the team were here."
Jackson appeared, then Carter, then Hammond. Good thing Teal'c wasn't on planet, O'Neill thought, or else he'd probably be here, too. They looked around, startled.
"How'd you do that?"
Jack rolled his eyes. "My magic decoder ring?" He looked at them. "I didn't do that, and you know it."
"Jack," General Hammond said, "what the devil is going on here?"
"I don't know, sir," both O'Neills answered, then looked at each other. Jack nodded at O'Neill. "I was transported first, he was brought a moment later. We had a charming little talk, you guys came...and you know the rest of the story."
"Where are we"? Hammond said.
Carter looked around. "We're on a Goa'uld transport pod. I think."
"You are," came a deep voice. "And you are orbiting Earth." A young man came into view. O'Neill looked him over. Dark hair, blue eyes, fair skin, scar on chin, dressed in Goa'uld slave garb. He had never seen this man before. Why did he look so familiar?
The slave's eyes flashed white, and O'Neill felt a chill. He had something to do with Ba'al. Ba'al, the snakehead who had killed him and brought him back to life, all because of the Tok'ra...
"Kanan," he breathed. Jack looked at him, startled, then nodded his head and narrowed his eyes.
The man bowed his head. "I apologize for contacting you so... abruptly. I had planned to talk to O'Neill, alone, but the readings confused me. And now I see why." He glanced at the two O'Neills. "First, I wish to apologize." Both O'Neill's were glaring daggers. "Second, I wish to ask for asylum."
"But who are you?" Hammond asked.
"O'Neill knows. I am Kanan."
"And what makes you think that you'll get asylum here?" O'Neill growled.
"Again, I apologize deeply to O'Neill. But I do also know that Samantha Carter has forgiven Jolinar, who did much the same thing."
"Yeah, but you kidnapped me and left me to be killed by Ba'al. Multiple times."
"If I had not left, you would be permanently dead. He would not have brought you back to life. I knew you had a better chance without me."
"He's got a point," Jack said.
"Yeah? What do you know about it?"
Jack punched O'Neill's arm. "I was there, dummy, remember?"
"Ok, that explains who you are and why you're here, Hammond said. "But I fail to understand why you came to us."
Kanan bowed his head. "For one thing, I do not know where the Tok'ra are. And I have reason to believe I would not be welcomed back to the Tok'ra..."
"Jacob said that by kidnapping me, you broke one of their highest laws," O'Neill said.
"I did, Kanan said. "And I'm breaking that law right now. He looked up at O'Neill. "But C after blending with you, I came to realize that there is a higher law C "
"Never leave a comrade behind," Jack said.
"Particularly one you love," Kanan said quietly. "Most Tok'ra are somewhat cold in this area. Many humans on occupied worlds have become accepting of losses. The Tauri have not."
The group stood silent for a moment. O'Neill felt himself blushing.
Daniel raised his hand. "Excuse me. Sorry to break up the warm fuzzies here, but why are we here?" He waved his hand to include Carter, Hammond, and himself.
Kanan looked puzzled. "Is it not true that the Tauri is run by committee? O'Neill seems to think so."
O'Neill hung his head. Daniel and Sam snickered. Hammond smiled slightly. "I do take suggestions from my junior officers and my staff, but the ultimate decision-making regarding the Stargate teams resides with me." He straightened. "However, the ultimate decision with your asylum is not my decision. I will have to consult with my su..."
The lights went out.
"What the hell?" Jack said.
"What's going on here, son?"
"Ba'al has found us," Kanan said.
"And he's such a good host," O'Neill muttered.
As if the confirm Kanan's laconic statement, the rings started working.
"Hide!" said Kanan. "They're after me, not you."
They scattered, just as the lights came on and the rings deposited Jaffa warriors. Kanan had ended up on his hands and knees besides a pillar. Jack couldn't see the rest.
"Zetha," the Jaffa said mildly. "What is going on here?"
Kanan stayed on his knees. "I... don't know, my Lord. I was in the ship, doing a task for my Lord Ba'al, when I accidentally pushed something."
"And you ended up here?"
"Where... am I?" O'Neill had to give it to Kanan. He did sound convincing.
The head Jaffa smiled slightly. "You're at the world of the Ta'uri."
Kanan... Zetha shrank. "How... how did I get here?"
"That's what I'd like to know", muttered a second Jaffa.
"Zetha is always doing things like this. I have never understood Ba'al's partiality to this slave."
"But - he smells like a Jaffa." Zetha was on the floor now, as if trying to push himself underneath it.
"He's always smelled like a Jaffa. He was one of Lord Ba'al's experiments."
O'Neill cringed in sympathy. He could almost feel for the slave. And then to be taken over by Kanan...
"It was my honor, m'Lord." Gads, do you suppose the slave believed it? Or was that Kanan?
"Come, slave. Back to the ship. We'll sort things out there." The Jaffa opened a panel on the wall, and removed something. "Bring us back now," he said into his communications device. They ringed away.
The group emerged slowly. "Shit, O'Neil said slowly. "I don't give a damn about Kanan, but I hate to see anybody go back to those guys."
"Um... Pops," Jack said. O'Neill looked over to Jack. He looked white and sick. "Kanan didn't leave."
O'Neill felt as pale as Jack was. "Holy Hannah. You're kidding, right?"
Jack's eyes glowed. "I am sorry. But the clone was closest."
"Is that all you can do? You think that makes it right if you apologize every time you do something wrong? Dammit, Kanan..."
"Jack." Hammond said. "I'm not any happier about this than you are. But do you think we should have this argument here?"
"Um - no, sir. Kanan, did you happen to keep Thor's nifty little transport technology?"
"How do you think I brought you up? Ba'al had it installed on all of his ships," Kanan's deep voice reassured them sardonically. He headed to a side panel. Carter followed him to the panel, looking over his shoulder..
"Carter, Jack said. "I'm not a snake. Kanan is granting me control."
"And, pardon me, sir, but you do remember you didn't realize that Jolinar was in me right away."
"Carter, O'Neill said. "I have a headache. Let's get out of here."
"It's not working.
"Carter, is he doing it right?"
"Yes, sir. He's right. It's not working."
"What about the rings?"
"Where would we land?"
Sam shrugged. "Area 51."
Hammond, Jack and O'Neill stepped inside the ring. Jack closed his eyes and sighed. Daniel positioned himself between Jack and O'Neill, leaving room for Sam.
"Carter, we have enough room?" O'Neill said.
"As long as you don't breathe in too much."
"We're going to Area 51?" O'Neill said. "Don't you think we should call ahead?"
"The other ship would detect that."
"And they're not going to detect this?"
"Son, I'd rather defend myself down there than up here," Hammond said.
Carter pressed a couple of buttons and squeezed in. The rings rose.
"But what if we..."
The rings fell. They were still on the ship. "... land on somebody?" Jack looked around at the ship. "Guess we don't have to worry about that."
Daniel grinned wryly. "Wanna bet everything is locked?"
"You find this amusing?"
"What else would you do with a geek who trips over his own feet?" He motioned around the chamber. "You take away the keys to the car."
O'Neill stared at Daniel. "Come on, you're way beyond that."
"Why do you think I thought about it?"
Hammond interrupted. "People, this is getting us nowhere. If it's true that the key is gone, is there a way to hot-wire the car? Kanan? Major?"
Kanan looked down, then up. "I'm a Tok'ra, not an engineer. Hammond looked at him. "But I'll do what I can."
"Am I rubbing off on you?" O'Neill muttered.
"Oh, shut up," Jack said.
"The easiest way," Daniel said, "would be to steal back the key."
"From armed Jaffa?" Jack said. "Are you nuts?"
"And you can help. Or, rather, Kanan can."
"And I repeat," Kanan said. "Are you nuts?"
O'Neill cocked his head. "I'm definitely rubbing off on somebody." He smiled. "Daniel, you're not usually the one with the sneaky plan. What do you have in mind?"
"I feel ridiculous." Jack looked down at himself. The transport was empty, but well equipped for a rapid escape (O'Neill supposed); the team had had no trouble finding extra clothing, including the gold robe that Jack was now wearing. It hung loosely on his still adolescent frame. O'Neill reflected that he hadn't gotten his full growth until he was 19, and young Jack was still short of that physical age.
"You look ridiculous," O'Neill said.
"Of course, that skirt you're wearing isn't much better."
O'Neill looked down. "I prefer to think of it as a... covered jock strap."
Carter giggled. O'Neill raised his eyebrows. "Sorry, sir," Carter said.
Hammond smiled as he pulled up the hood of his robe. "Dr. Jackson, how do you propose to explain our presence on this supposedly empty ship?"
Daniel shrugged as he adjusted his outfit. "We transported in. The key is meant to keep somebody from transporting out of the ship, not for somebody to come in."
"You know," O'Neill said. "I always wondered why they didn't have a lock on the door."
"Arrogance," Kanan said.
"Um," O'Neill said. "True." He looked at Hammond. "Sir?"
"It's show time, people," Hammond said. "Let's do it."
They walked to the control room. Kanan activated the viewer. His eyes flashed as a Jaffa appeared on the screen. "I demand transport over to your ship."
The Jaffa blinked. "Where did you...?"
"You did not detect our transport from the world of the Tau'ri?" Careless. He let his eyes flash again. "I have been on that miserable planet too long a time. Who is your God?"
"Umm..." O'Neill watched, fascinated. He had never seen a Jaffa stutter. "Ba'al is our God," the Jaffa finally said, regaining his arrogant composure.
"I see. I shall report your conduct to your lord, our brother Ba'al."
"Forgive me, Lord, for my impertinence, but may I ask your name?
"I am... Seth."
The Jaffa looked puzzled. "We heard you were destroyed. By the Tau'ri."
"You heard wrong. I escaped into the body of this boy." O'Neill was trying not to let his admiration show in his face. He didn't remember Kanan - Kanan had made sure of that when O'Neill had hosted Kanan - but this was great. He wondered whether Kanan had learned this BS from him or whether it was naturally grown. Both, he supposed. The Tok'ra were naturals at this.
"My Lord, what do you desire?" the Jaffa said. He looked vaguely confused.
"I wish transport for myself and my followers aboard your ship. As you can tell, I have turned SG-1 to my service."
Hey, this wasn't part of the plan. Was it? Well, they were pretty recognizable. Their faces were in every Goa'uld post office these days. O'Neill wondered how Jack was taking this.
Jack tried to take control of the mouth. Hey, what gives? he thought at the Goa'uld.
Trust me, thought Kanan back. Your clone brother and the rest of his team are too recognizable among the Goauld. The Tokra know this. The best thing is to acknowledge their presence.
Well, okay, Jack thought. I guess I should be glad you arent suppressing me again.
Jack felt shame from the Tok'ra. Never again. I am so sorry, but I knew you wouldnt agree to rescue Shayla.
Durn tootin, Jack thought. Then thought, Well, if you had asked, maybe...
The Jaffa was speaking. "Immediately, my Lord. If you will please go to the transport rings?"
Kanan nodded. "Satisfactory."
The Jaffa disappeared from the screen.
And what do you plan when we get there? Jack thought.
Find the key. Like Daniel said. Or else we punt.
Oh, thought Jack. You know, Kanan, you're getting to be a little more like me.
Kanan was silent. And this is a good thing?
Jack chuckled inwardly.
"Mr. O'Neill?" Hammond said.
"Kanan's modified Daniel's plan," Jack lied.
Daniel looked suspiciously at Jack. "Are you sure it's Kanan modifying the plan?"
Kanan chuckled and didn't reply.
The rings dropped. "Your name," Kanan said.
"Um…" the Jaffa said.
"Must I repeat everything? Your name!"
"Jamaan, my Lord," the Jaffa mumbled.
"And are all your Jaffa so sloppy?"
"Yes… No, my Lord!"
"Ba'al is sending out his idiots?"
"No, my Lord."
"You're saying you're not an idiot? Are you contradicting me?"
O'Neill had never seen a Jaffa sweat. This one was definitely breaking out into a cold sweat. O'Neill was enjoying every moment. He glanced at Carter. Her eyes were dancing.
"No, my Lord." Jamaan looked down at his feet.
Kanan looked around. The other three Jaffa in the room looked anywhere but at him. "My brother Ba'al has definitely slipped in his old age. Is this your entire complement?"
"Yes, my Lord. We were just sent out to retrieve a wayward servant, sir, who had managed to launch a transport ship." He shook his head. "How he ever managed that…"
Kanan pulled out a Zat gun. "You idiots." He shot each of them. "He had my help."
O'Neill cocked his head and pursed his lips. "This was your plan?"
"Well," Kanan said. "I wasn't going to do it if there were more on the ship. That would have been a little awkward."
A voice came to the back of them. "B-but… t-there is me!" The group turned. Zetha was standing in back of them, a zat shaking in his hands.
Kanan sighed. "Zetha, you don't want to do that."
"I know you. You don't. You hate Ba'al."
"I-I do. But I don't know you."
"We're friends," Carter said.
"But… you're Ta'uri."
"That doesn't make us your enemies," O'Neill said.
Zetha considered that, the zat shaking in his hands. He lowered it. "I don't want to hurt anybody."
Daniel approached Zetha, reaching out his hand. Zetha hesitated, then dropped the zat into Daniel's hand.
"Do with me what you will," he said.
Hammond smiled. "I think we might find a nice friendly planet for you to stay on, son," he said. He looked at the others. "Shall we go home?"
Jack looked at Hammond. "Yes, General, but if you don't mind, Kanan has another idea," he said, grinning.
O'Neill grinned at Jack as the last of Ba'al's Jaffa were sent through the gate. "I hope Teal'c enjoys his present."
"Not as much as Ba'al is going to enjoy his," Jack grinned back.
"Transport ships filled with garbage and human waste and sent back to him on automatic," O'Neill shook his head. "I'm surprised you got General Hammond to go along with it."
Jack smiled. "I'm not in his command any more. He really does have a good sense of humor."
O'Neill looked at him. They went to the back of the command room. "You about ready to get that Tok'ra out of you?" He hesitated. "Sorry, Kanan, you're all right, but…"
Jack smiled. "No."
O'Neill raised his brows. "No?"
"I'm going to find Jacob and join the Tok'ra." He lowered his head. "If the Tok'ra will accept us," Kanan added.
O'Neill looked away, at the Stargate. "Huh."
Jack looked at the Stargate. "I'm not you any more."
"I guess not." He looked at Jack. "You sure? They can be…"
"… a bit insufferable? Yeah. Maybe I can get them to loosen up. Jacob isn't having much luck."
"Well," O'Neill reflected. "He was an officer, and most officers are a bit…"
"… insufferable. Yeah."
"When're you going?"
"Whenever we can contact Jacob."
"Well, don't be a stranger."
"I'll be calling for supplies of Fruit Loops."
O'Neill put his arm over Jack's shoulders.
"Don't do that," Jack said.
He removed his arm rapidly. "Yeah," he said. "Well."
O'Neill watched Jack go in front of him, then muttered, "Go forth, young man, go forth." He shook his head confusedly, then followed.
"Huh," he said to himself. "He really isn't me any more."
- End -