By: Andalite Girl
(Authors note: If you haven't seen Stargate SG1 or read Animorphs then never fear! It all explains it's self later in the story. )
Hmmm.... With peanuts or without peanuts? Marco wondered as he gazed at the M&M's before him. He quickly made his decision. Without. He grabbed a package and tossed it into the cart before his dad noticed.
Marco and his dad were shopping, not the most entertaining thing for a normal, fun loving, sugar-crazed teenager to do... but Marco wasn't a normal teen. (However sugar crazed.)
Through his sarcastic eyes he had witnessed more wrongs and violence then most people did in their whole lifetime. In his mind he held the scars of a hundred battles with things that would like to kill him...or worse. And in his conscience Marco felt all the senseless killings, all the blood that had been spilled, just so he and his friends can live long enough to fight a secret war.
No, Marco was not a normal teen, not even close to normal, but very, very far from it.
His father, an older man just reaching his 60's, spoke to him. " Hey, isn't that one of your friends down the isle?"
Marco looked up and repressed a groan. The boy his father was talking about was named Erek King. He was a spy, a secret informer that tracked the Yeerks activities and movements and told Marco and his friends when something big was about to happen.
"Yeah, he is." He walked over to Erek and pulled him out of his father's hearing range. " Why is it that every single time I see you I get the feeling that I should run away screaming Oh no!?"
Erek smiled a little at that, but his eyes were filled with urgency. " Something's up. I just got word of a big sharing meeting tonight at the retirement home at five. There are roomers-" He stopped and looked around to make sure no one else could hear. "There are roomers floating around that the Yeerks are going to join forces with another species."
"Say what? Who would be stupid enough to do that?"
Erek nodded, " My friends and I think that it's a trick, you know? The Yeerks promise to merge with a race and then.... Infest them."
" Great, now we don't just have to worry about humans getting infested we have to worry about idiot aliens that probably doesn't know crap getting infested too?" Marco paused, catching his breath. " What are these idiots called anyway?"
"Goa'uld. They call themselves Goa'uld."
" I'm telling you Jack, that I can't go on this mission!" Daniel Jackson said firmly.
Coronal Jack O'Neilll gave the younger man a look that would kill. " You'd better have a damn good reason Jackson."
Daniel gestured at his incredibly large burden of hieroglyphs and scrolls that he had collected from a hundred various worlds. " This..." He pointed at the pile and began to say something but quickly thought better of it. "is my reason... I haven't even had time to catalogue all of these artifacts much less decipher them... I just need time to get it done."
Jack wasn't buying it. " Yeah right." He turned to the office door to leave. "We're going though at 20 hundred hours and you're coming with us weather you like it or not." He slammed the door on his way out.
Daniel sighed, or rather the Yeerk controlling his every movement forced air out of his host's lungs to make a sighing sound. This mission was too long. SG-1 was to stay on the planet PTX805 for three weeks when he had only three days before he starved of Kandrona rays.
He walked over to a heavy oak desk and opened the top drawer. Inside, wrapped in a soft white cloth, was a hand held dracon beam weapon.
Just one shot, that's all it would take. Once they got on the planet he could kill O'Neilll and blame it on the local natives. The rest of the team would have no choice but to cut the mission short and come back.
No! His host whispered silently, You can't! I won't let you. You can't....
The Yeerk chucked, " Just watch me," He said as he placed the dracon beam carefully in his fatigue jacket for safe keeping.
Jake smiled to himself as he and the other animorphs gazed at the lavish building on the edge of the forest.
When Marco, Jake's best friend, had called an emergency meeting earlier in the day and given the others that Erek had passed along, they had decided to spy out the sharing meeting to find more, hopefully much more.
If, they thought, these Goa'uld people could be shown the truth about the Yeerks before it was too late the Animorphs would score a major victory against the Yeerks. There was even the possibility that the Goa'uld would alley themselves with them. At least Jake hoped so, they needed all the help they could get.
Marco punched his best friend in the arm and said somewhat sarcastically, "Hey snap out of it oh fearless leader." Then, noticing that he hadn't completely caught Jake's attention he rolled his eyes and repeated the punch a little bit harder. " Come on man, the meeting starts in 5 minutes.
Jake came back from his daydreaming (He had been doing more and more of that recently and it was starting to annoy the hell out of him.) and signaled the others to gather around the back of the building. They would all need a private place to morph and the woods in back provided the perfect cover.
When Marco, Rachel, Cassie, Tobias and Ax gathered behind the building Jake spoke again. " You know all know the plan: Morph flys and spy out the meeting. This is just a simple mission. Don't do anything stupid like land on Chapman's bald spot or bug the bad guys. That comes in later." As he spoke Jake pinned his cousin, Rachel down with a glare.
In the beginning of the fight Rachel was just a slightly-ditzy-sharp-tongued girl. Now, after months of fighting she had become so blood thirsty that she had begun to crave action and battles like an alcoholic craved beer.
Rachel smiled her slightly evil smile, " Hey I didn't get caught the last time."
"But not tonight got it? Let's morph." With that Jake closed his eyes and focused on his least favorite morph of all. The housefly.
There was a definite reason for Jake to close his eyes. The first thing that happened was his face literally melted and the skin stretched and hardened to become the gross mouth parts of the fly.
He started shrinking very rapidly, from the size of a tall teen to a foot within 45 seconds. His organs and skeleton withered away into nothingness. His eyes ballooned out and split into thousands of tiny pieces. Finally he grew gossamer wings between where his shoulder blades used to be.
This was the gift of the andalite, the curse of the andalite, the power to morph. Jake and his friends got this power one night when they all decided to walk through an abandoned construction site.
A seemingly harmless trip was about to turn into a nightmare.
Out of the sky came a ship, a ship carrying one of the last surviving alien warriors of a doomed battle. The andalite told them of the threat to earth. He told them about another race of alien called Yeerks who crawled into a host's ear and took over the brain. Literally.
And, before the alien was eaten by his greatest enemy, he gave the kids a weapon unlike any other seen on Earth. But like all great weapons there was always a major drawback. If you stay in morph for more then 2 hours you stay forever.
Since then the kids who called themselves Animorphs have been doing well against the alien invasion they were up against. They had managed to slow the tide but not stop it. For that they would need a miracle.
Everybody ready? Jake asked in thought speak, the kind of strange telepathy the Animorphs use when they are in morph.
One by one his friends answered.
Yes Prince Jake.
Let's do it!
I hate these stupid fly eyes! Tobias muttered darkly.
Don't call me Prince Jake, Ax. Jake said as he snapped into what Marco called "his leader mode." Lets fly in--
Something hit him like a sludge hammer, paralyzing his wings and making him fall to the ground. Ahhh! He yelped in shock.
It felt like he was being torn apart from the inside.
Jake, what's wrong?! Cassie called.
Jake tried to answer but couldn't... the pain... the tearing... Ahhhhhhh!
DEMORPH! Rachel cried.
Demorph? Yes! Human! Oh God just let me be human! Was he changing? It was hard, so hard to concentrate.... He was feeling more disconnected now, like it was all happening to someone else.
He was being pulled without being pulled...moving from his own body...
Human! I need to be human!
Suddenly another thought pushed it's way into his mind..
Never happened before.... The Gate...
With a final rip there was only darkness.
"Chevron 3 locked in!"
The Stargate clicked and whirled as the symbols were fed into its ancient super processors by the more primitive, yet newer human equipment.
"Chevron 4 locked in!"
As Jack O'Neilll waited for the Stargate to open he glanced casually around at his team. SG teams were typically small, no more then five or six people and SG-1, with only 4 people was no exception.
Caption Samantha Carter (or Sam as people called her.) was still studying the last minute probe readouts with intense interest. Sam, the only female on the team, was also the astrophysicist and usually handled all the technical stuff. Despite this she was invaluable as a fighter and could shoot the eye out of a crow from 200 feet away.
" Chevron 5 locked in!"
Teal'c was watching the Stargate patently if not boredly. He was a Jaffa. Not human, or at least not human anymore. In his stomach his carried with him a Goa'uld larvae since he was a boy. In exchange he received perfect health and long life. Teal'c too, was an excellent fighter but more importantly he knew the ways of the Goa'uld. In fact he served in their elite military until he rebelled and joined the humans against them.
"Chevron 6 locked in!"
Finally O'Neilll glanced at his best friend Daniel. Normally the young Anthropologist would be bubbling over with excitement at getting to possibly meet and/or study a new race. But today he was unusually somber. That added to the fast that he didn't want to come on a mission made O'Neilll's skin crawl... They all needed him to be part of the team.
Daniel, the only civilian working on the Stargate project, was an expert in a dozen dead languages. The man could actually read hieroglyphs fluently and although he couldn't fight worth shit he had a knack of talking his way out of tight situations.
"Chevron 7 locked in!"
With a whoosh the Stargate opened, looking a lot like a shimmering circle filled with blue water. It was insanely beautiful and scary at the same time.
" Let's go kids!" Jack called as he stepped into the circle of water that was actually an event-horizon for a wormhole. Jack felt the familiar tug as the Stargate pushed him into a twisty, curvy tunnel of light.
In a few seconds it would be over. In a few seconds the tunnel would end and he would step out onto the ground of a new world.
Suddenly something loomed in front of him, blocking his path. Jack got a brief glimpse of what looked like a bag of flesh and guts before he hit full force. It felt like getting hit with a brick wall... but what was worse was the tearing he started to feel inside his head.
It felt like his brain was being ripped apart!
Ahhhhhh! He screamed silently.
This never happened before! God, where was the gate?
Then, unbidden a thought that was not his own pushed into his mind.
Human! Let me be human!
Jack O'Neilll passed out.
Carter was the first to step out of the gate followed by Jackson and Teal'c. " Where's the Coronal?" Sam asked looking around.
" That's strange... he was the first to go in." Daniel said.
Behind them, the Stargate erupted in sparks as O'Neilll's body was thrown out. His unconscience form hit the ground and rolled down the ramp. Daniel was the first to reach him. " He has a pulse!"
The Coronal groaned, opened his eyes for a moment and muttered something to Daniel before closing his eyes again. Sam put a reassuring hand on O'Neilll's shoulder, "Sir if you can hear me you have to wake up. " She looked up at Daniel who had a most confused expression on his face. " What?"
" He just called me Tobias."
O'Neilll had a four-alarm hangover... or at least that's what he thought when he first woke up. His head throbbed, his throat was sore and all the bones of his body seemed to have conspired together to ache at the same time. Worse, someone was shaking him. "C'mon man, you gotta git up."
He opened his eyes to meet those of young boy, around 15 or 16 years of age with dark short hair and dark, sarcastic eyes. The boy smiled at him, " How you feeling?"
Jack shot strait up and reached for his fire-arm. But it wasn't there. " Where's my gun?" He demanded, glaring at the kid.
The boy just looked confused.
Then the Coronal remembered where he was and what happened. This had to be the planet PX87H5 and these were obviously the natives. They didn't look hotile, in fact they were just all kids and probably posed no threat. Jack heaved himself onto his feet, ignoring the offers of assistance. " Where's the rest of my team?"
" Your... team?" A kid that looked disturbingly like a young Daniel repeated.
" Yes my team!" Jack snapped. " We all came though the Stargate together. What happened to them?" He looked at the kids but they all had puzzled expressions on their faces. " You know, the Stargate! Big stone circle with lots of pictures on it, about 20 feet high... you can't miss it."
The kids were silent for a few moments " Jake are you all right?" a short black girl finally asked.
" My name is Jack." The Coronal said, " Can I talk to your parents something?"
The tall blond turned to the others. " What is this? Some kind of a breakdown?"
" No," said a tallish guy who hadn't spoken before, " Prince Jake is a controller."
That was it. These kids couldn't help him. Jack turned to leave but he only took a few steps before the tall blond snagged his shoulder. " Where do you think you're going?"
Jack brushed her hand away, " Look, it's been real fun and all but I have to go now."
The other kids surrounded him. " We don't think so Jake." The Daniel look alike said, "See we know exactly who and what you are."
The dark haired kid continued, " The real Jake wouldn't play dumb like this. Then again you're not the real Jake. Are you?"
Jack didn't really like the way this was going. Gone were the friendly looks and innocent faces, now their eyes spoke only of hostility. These kids were acting tough, like they had a concealed weapon and they were not afraid to use it. " Whoa, whoa, whoa," He held up his hands in a gesture of piece. " You're right, I'm not this Jake guy you keep talking about. My name is Jack O'Neilll and-"
" Yeerk scum!" The tallish boy sneered, " You can't trick us with your lies."
" Um, Ok." Then the Coronal did the only thing he could think of at that moment. He pushed the shorter boy a side and ran though the woods, ignoring the fact that he didn't have shoes on for some reason or another.
The kids gave chase but soon they gave up and Jack couldn't hear them anymore. He finally was forced to slow down a bit to catch his breath. Man, he was getting out of shape. He used to be able to run for miles.... He was really getting too old for this crap.
After a while he came to a mountain stream. Jack bent down to take a drink but stopped short. There was a boy looking back at him through the water. A boy with a slightly handsome face, deep brown trustworthy eyes and hair that really needed to be cut.
It was only when Jack let his jaw drop in surprise and the boy repeated the movement did he realize that he was indeed at a looking at a refection of himself.
" Well this is certainly new..."
" He just called me Tobias."
"You heard wrong Daniel." Sam said, standing up to look at the place they had gated too. It was an ugly little planet with bright red desert-like sand and a sky of puke green with flashes of lightning playing in the distance. Luckily it also seemed to be abondoned.
" Lovely." She muttered. " Teal'c, have you ever been to this place?"
" I have not." The Jaffa admitted, " Although I believe I have heard of it."
"This is not... A safe place to be. Many ships and death gliders have been lost for unknown reasons."
" Sam we have to get Jack some help!" Daniel said suddenly. " We should go back."
Carter took a deep breath. "Yeah, Teal'c could you dial us home?"
"Yes." He walked over to the DHD (or Dial Home Device) and started punching in the seven corrodentents for earth. The Stargate twisted and turned in response but then, as Teal'c rested his hand on the red button, it sputtered and died.
Teal'c raised an eyebrow, " Captain Carter, the Stargate appears to be malfunctioning."
" What?!" Daniel exclaimed. He left his friend and ran over to the DHD to dial in himself. This time the Stargate didn't even bother to sputter, it just glowed for a few seconds before shutting off.
Sam went over and poked around in the inside of the DHD for a few seconds, "Shit," she muttered, "Looks like the power supply has been overloaded. Probably why the Colonel was thrown out like that."
"So how long will it take to fix it?" The younger man asked tersely.
" Probably four or five days... if I'm lucky."
The anthropologist paled.
"Daniel Jackson are you well?" Teal'c wondered.
At that moment the Colonel groaned and Daniel, grateful for the distraction, walked over and bent down next to him. " Jack? You ok?"
Voices. That's what Jake heard when he first woke up. Strange. Foreign. Not his friends. Where was he? He was so tried...But something was wrong. What was it? God, why couldn't he think?
His hurt, it felt like it was going to explode.... His head. Yeah that was it! His head...
He was in fly morph...
A tunnel of light...
He was thrown....
Oh no. Was he... was he captured? Already infested?
Jake forced his eyes open but the world was lurching around him. He shut his eyes again with a groan. And a moment later he heard someone next to him.
" Jack? You ok?"
Was he ok? Well he was alive....so far.
Jake forced himself to nod, " Yeah." His voice was faint, he could barely even hear himself.
" Sam he's awake." The voice said.
Once again Jake opened his eyes. Luckily the world seemed to have stopped spinning. His gaze met those of a young guy who was staring at him intensely with ice blue eyes framed by glasses.
Suddenly a woman with blond, short cropped hair and a really large guy with a strange tattoo on his forehead stepped into view. "Colonel? Are you all right? You took a nasty spill." The woman said.
Colonel? That wasn't right. And that other guy had called him Jack...
" Who are you?" Jake wondered.
The three exchanged worried glances, " You don't remember us, sir?" Sam asked.
" No, why should I?" Jake struggled to sit up. " Who are you?" He repeated.
"Uh oh," Daniel said, " Um, I'm Daniel Jackson, this is Caption Samantha Carter-"
"Sam." Carter interrupted.
" -And this is Teal'c."
"I'm Jake." Jake looked around. The sky was a disgusting green contrasted by red sand. There was a huge circle with what looked like hieroglyphs carved on the perimeter sitting not ten feet away. A finger of fear slid into his heart. This wasn't Earth... " Where am I?" He demanded, "Why am I here?" He tried to stand up Sam held him down.
" Colonel sit down!" She said more sharply then she intended too. "Your on the planet PX87H5, we came here on a mission. Remember sir?"
" Jack, what is the last thing you remember?" Daniel asked.
Jake said nothing, he was to busy trying to figure out how he got here in the first place... where ever here was. God, he wished Cassie were here. She could tell him what the hell was going on.
"Jack?" Daniel repeated but he still didn't get an answer.
Jake kept on thinking: one thing for sure, he needed to get away from these people fast. The first chance he got he was going to make a run for a hiding place, do a quick falcon morph and try to find his friends.
All he had to do now is wait.
"Yeerk scum!" Ax sneered, "You can't trick us with your lies!"
"Um... Ok." 'Jake' said, and to Rachel's surprise he pushed Marco down and ran into the forest. They all gave chase but some how Jake pulled ahead of them and disappeared into the forest.
Finally Rachel called for a stop. "All right, new plan. Ax and Tobias, demorph the rest of us will go wolf." She waited tersely to see if anyone would follow her orders. She wasn't the leader, the one to give out directions and orders. That was Jake's job, but now that he's gone nuts... well someone had to be the leader. But would the other follow her? Fortunately no one said a word and instead focused on morphing.
For Rachel, Cassie, and Marco they were changing into a completely different body but Tobias and Ax were actually returning into their natural form. Tobias was, well, a hawk. He was born as a human but he overstepped the two hour time limit and now he lives and breathes as a red-tail hawk only returning to human form for a few hours a week.
Ax was an alien. Before Rachel became an Animorph she used to think if there were such things as aliens then they would look like something from Star Trek. Mostly human with a few slight changes like green blood and such. But Ax is not like that. He mostly looks like a harmless Centaur, like that kind on the cartoon Fantasia. Except he doesn't have a mouth, and he had extra eyes stalks on top of his head, and his tail looks like a scorpion's with a blade on the end, and he's blue. But other then that.....
With a start Rachel realized that she was done morphing. She was fully a wolf now. She took one sniff in the air and realized that they were on the right track, Jake had passed by here a few minutes ago. He was getting tired but not frightened... Interesting... The Yeerk in his head must think he has a way out... That is, if Jake's a controller.
Let's go. She said and they set out at an easy run across the forest floor with Tobias flying overhead.
Rachel? Cassie asked as they ran. What do we do if we find him?
I guess we take him back to that old shack and try to starve the Yeerk like we did last time.
Something about this whole set up stinks. Marco grumbled. If Jake is really a controller then why would he act strange? He would have all of Jake's memories from the last time he was infested right? So why didn't he learn from the other's mistakes?
Rachel slowed to a stop and faced Marco. She hadn't thought about that before, she just kind of assumed that he was Yeerk controlled. So your saying he might really be ill? She asked, phrasing my words carefully.
Yeah, I was thinking about it and it really doesn't add up does it? Maybe he finally snapped but that seems unlikely too. I mean, no offense Rachel, but I thought you would be the first to go insane.
Gee thanks Marco. I'll remember that next time you need my help.
Or maybe that's what he wants us to think. Cassie said, The yeerk knows that acting normal didn't work last time so he made Jake act strange so we would pass it off as temporary insanity or too much stress.
I think my head is going to explode. Marco muttered.
Ax stepped into the middle of the group. I propose that we assume Prince Jake is a controller. Either way if he is or isn't Yeerk infested then we hold him. If three days pass and he still has not undergone the fugue then, He shrugged, an expression he learned from humans as a sign of ignorance. But at any rate we cannot afford to let him loose in a house with his brother.
I think I like that idea. Rachel said, glad that some one finally had something sensible to say.
Suddenly Tobias in his red-tail hawk body, swooped down. I found him. He's right by a river and will be easy to corner if we come in from the south.
Buoyed by this information, the animorphs quickly headed in the direction. It turns out that finding their leader was simple. He was still in human morph, squatting next to the river and peering into its deaths
Ax-man, stay out of sight, we don't want to alarm him any more then necessary.
The three wolfs advanced, trying to circle Jack and cut off his line of escape. Cassie stepped on a branch and it snapped. Instantly Jack turned around and glared at them with wild eyes.
Easy Jake. Cassie said, We're not here to hurt you.
He blinked and stared at them, "What have you done to me?" He wondered, then he grabbed his throat. "What are you!?"
Rachel stepped forward. I'm Rachel, your cousin. That's Cassie and Marco and up above you is Tobias.
Jack shook his head and sneered "No...No, I don't know you and you don't know me." He took a deep breath and spoke slowly. " Now I'm only going to say this one more time. Where the hell is the rest of my team?"
We've found your team. Cassie blurted. They're in the woods and waiting for you. We'll take you to them.
The Colonel relaxed and a sarcastic smile appeared on his face. "Now that's more like it." He said and gestured with a wave. "Led the way."
Cassie, is that such a good idea? Marco wondered in private thought speck.. You know since WE HAVE NO CLUE WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT!
Just trust me. Cassie had a plan. A plan she hoped would work. Follow me, she told Jack.
He stepped right behind her as she started walking back into the woods. Rachel and Marco automatically closed in to the right and left of him. Talk to him, Cassie suggested to the others, Try to get him to remember something. To Jack she said, So Jake, I ran into our friend, Eric and he told me to tell you hi.
" I have no idea what you're talking about kid. And stop calling me Jake. My name is Jack. And while we're on that subject... Well, lets say I don't exactly look like my charming self anymore. Have any idea on how that happened?"
You've always looked this way, er, when you're not in morph that is. Rachel answered.
" How would you know what I look like?" He snapped.
Because we've known you for years Jake. Marco said, Can't you remember anything? Anything at all?
"Oh for cry'n out loud! Stop calling me Jake! For the hundredth time my name is Jack. Jack O'Neilll."
Yeah right. Give it up already! Marco yelled back.
Suddenly Jack stopped, his brown eyes darted from one wolf to another. "You're not taking me to my team, are you?" He asked.
Ax, who had been staying out of sight, stepped out of the bushes behind him and pressed his deadly tail blade to his throat. No my Prince. We are not.
Jake looked for a chance to break free. Daniel had given up hope on getting him to talk an hour ago and now he was hanging around Sam as she worked on the DHD... Whatever that was.. His only deterrent was Teal'c who kept a weary eye on him as he unpacked the supplies. Finally the big guy walked over to Sam and Daniel to ask a question. This was his chance to escape!
Jake leapt up and started sprinting at full speed for the nearest sand dune. Just get behind it. He told himself. He heard shoats behind him and he dared to look back. They were all chasing after him and except for Teal'c they posed no danger of catching up any time soon.
He hit the bottom of the nearest and highest sand dune and started climbing up it for all he was worth. Every second counted now, he couldn't afford to be caught helpless in midmorph on the other side. Jake reached the top, closed and threw himself down the other side. During his plunge he focused on his peregrine falcon morph. He expected to feel the creepy feeling of his bones melting and of feathers popping out of his skin. But he felt nothing. Finally he reached the bottom and forced his eyes open.
He wasn't changing.
"Oh shit. Come on! Come on!" He growled as he redoubled his efforts to concentrate. But nothing happened. Nothing. Now Jake was getting desperate. He tried to concentrate on the form of a fly. Nothing. A horse. Nothing. His dog, Homer. Nothing.
Suddenly he felt very exposed and just a little frightened. Everyday for the past three years he had been almost secure in the knowledge that normal life didn't threaten him anymore, that he could get out of almost each and every situation without a scratch. But now the morphing power wasn't working. His armor was gone, he was suddenly very alone.
Jake watched helpless as Teal'c reached the top of the crest and pointed a very threatening black stick at him. "O'Neilll, I insist that you accompany me back to the Stargate."
He shook his head and backed away, not really sure what to do at this point. "No way."
Just then Sam and Daniel also came into view at the top of the dune. "Sir?" asked Sam.
"Oh I was just looking for a place to pee." Jake said, his voice dripped with sarcasm with out even meaning too. Man, he had spent way too much time with Marco. The three on the dune gave each other glances and started to come down slowly. They didn't want to fall head over heels as Jake did before. Well, they could come down if they wanted but he wasn't going back with them. No way in hell.
Suddenly something caught Jake's eye, it was shiny and it was sticking out of the dune. "What's this?" He muttered as he picked it up. It was a piece of medal unlike any kind he had seen before.
"What's that?" Daniel asked, still halfway up the dune.
Jake didn't bother to answer him. He was feeling uneasy, like he was missing something important. He flipped over the piece and was startled to discover writing on the back. He had seen this writing once before... On Elfangor's ship when he had been sent to get the morphing cube he had seen this kind of writing. Jake's heartbeats quickened, this was a piece of an andalite ship!
He tried to look more closely. But something was obscuring his view. He tried to wipe it off but it didn't work. Then Jake realized what it was. It was his refection...But it was changed.
The person looking back at him wasn't him. It was some other guy, in his forties with silver hair and sarcastic eyes framed by a weary face that seemed to have already seen it all and were impressed by none of it.
Jake yelped and dropped the medal. He felt a hand on his shoulder, but it was only Sam, "Are you-"
Jake finally snapped. He shoved her backwards. "Get away!" He shrieked, "What have you done to me?!" He tried to run again, but his legs were like jelly. He couldn't think, he couldn't breathe. Then a thought became crystal clear in his head.
He was trapped. Trapped like Tobias, like David... Oh God...
Teal'c finally caught him and grabbed his shoulder. "Colonel-"
"Stay away from me!" Things were starting to blur around the edges of Jake's vision. A wave of nausea hit him and he threw up right before he sank into blessed unconscienceness.
Jack sighed, he wanted to get up and pace around but ropes that tied his legs together and his arms behind his back kind of prevented that for awhile. After he had been recaptured he had been led to this run down shack and tied up by one of the kids named Cassie. She hadn't done a very good job of it, O'Neilll already had the rope around his hands loosened up. He could try to make another break for it but what would be the point? The kids could just shift or morph or mutate or whatever and come and get him again. And Jack didn't really think he could out run a wolf.
The person guarding him, called Rachel (Funny how they had earthy names) coughed into her hand. Jack looked up and glared at her and she glared right back with cool blue eyes. The Colonel was the first to break eye contact and he went back to staring at the floor.
Damn, how he missed his firearm. He could get up and just shoot his way out. Or maybe if he had a staff weapon. Yeah, a staff weapon would be sweet. Can you dodge bullets wolf-girl? Or an energy blast? I'd like to see you try.
The door opened and the young Daniel look alike stepped in. "My turn Rachel."
The girl got up, " Have fun." Then she left.
Young Daniel seemed to sigh then found a place to sit and leaned against the wall. His fierce blue eyes studied Jack for a moment or two. "How are you feeling?" He asked.
"Oh just peachy." Jack replied. "What's your name?"
There was a pointed silence then the Colonel spoke up again. He wasn't feeling especially talkative but something about the way this kid looked automatically more likable then the others whom hadn't even tried to make conversation with him. "So how long are you planning to keep me here?"
"As long as it takes."
"As long as it takes." Jack repeated. "Great. Just great. Could you at least give me an estimate on how long that would be?"
"No more then three days."
"Then we'll know for sure if your a controller or not."
"And may I ask what the hell a controller is?"
Tobias didn't even flinch at the sarcastic tone. His face remained impassive and blank as always. "A controller is someone who's mind has been taken over by a Yeerk slug."
Jack tensed up. "Whoa, your saying these Yeerks things take over your mind? Like a Goa'uld?"
"You know about Goa'uld's?" Tobias demanded, his blue eyes flashing with concern and barely concealed energy.
Now they were getting somewhere! "Yeah I know of them. We fight them, the people of my planet. That's what we come here for-"
He was interrupted by sounds in his head. Tobias! Get out now! About twenty Hork-Bajir are headed right for you.
Tobias was up in an instant and untying Jack. "Now listen to me very closely." He said, "Do exactly what I say Jake. Do it or we both end up dead."
"Wait a second. What's Hork-Beer?"
"Hork-Bajir," He corrected, "Are seven foot tall bladed aliens that are controlled by the Yeerks." He finished untying the last knot. And the door swung open to reveal Cassie.
"Let's go! Marco says we have less then five minutes before they get here."
Tobias turned to Jack. "Do you trust me?"
"Well your going to have too. We need to get far away. Jake you gotta morph man. Can you do it?"
Jake came back to the land of the conscious with only one thought in his head.
What smells? Something did smell, it smelled very, very badly in fact. He opened his eyes and tried to get away from the reek.
"Easy there." A female voice murmured.
His vision cleared and Jake got an eye full of Captain Carter. She was holding an ammonia capsule under his nose. "Get that thing away from me." He said grouchily.
Sam almost smiled and removed the capsule. Now *that* sounded like the Colonel she knew. Daniel grunted to her right, "You really got to stop passing out on us Jack. That's usually my role."
Jake sat up. He was feeling much calmer now. So calm that he didn't even bother to correct the young anthropologist. He felt like he could look at the situation clearly and without prejudice.
He was changed, that much was clear, but as to how and why was a whole other story. He needed to know more and they only was to get some information from these people. He would have to tell them the truth... well, most of the truth that is.
He took a deep breath, "Ok people listen up. I'm going to tell you something and I don't want any of you to interrupt. Ok?"
"What is it O'Neilll?" Teal'c asked with a raised eyebrow.
"First off my name is Jake. Just Jake, no last name-"
"Why?" Daniel asked.
" Didn't I just say I didn't want anyone to interrupt me, Danny? Anyway, I never was nor ever will be this Colonel O'Neill person. Got that? I really look well... different. I don't know who this is." He pointed to his body. "And I never knew any of you."
"Pardon me Sir, but you aren't making any sense." Sam said. "Are you ok?"
Jake tried to put it in simpler terms. "Have any of you seen that movie Freaky Friday? You know when the mother and the daughter switch minds? Well it's like that... No, it's exactly like that! I've switched minds with this O'Neill person and..." The realization was just beginning to dawn on him. "And he must be in my body..." Jake looked up, everyone had really confused expression on their faces. They didn't believe him. Of course he wouldn't believe him either, if he were in their positions.
Sam turned to the others. "Lets just get him back to the gate."
"O'Neill," Said Teal'c in what could only be called a concerned voice. "Look!" He pointed his staff weapon at a dune a quarter mile away. One top of this dune was a figure perfectly silhouetted in the stetting sun.
"Andalite." Jake and Daniel breathed at the same time. Then they turned and glared at each other. Jake felt a chill crawl up his spine. Only a controller would know what an Andalite was. He thought. This guy has a Yeerk...
"You guys know what that is?" Asked Sam, sensing the tension in air but not knowing why it was there.
"Yeah," Replied Daniel. "Its a figure in ancient Egypt Mythology. How do you know about it, Jack?"
Jake forced his face to remain calm and indifferent. He got up and dusted himself off, buying time before answering the controller like it was no big deal. "Ok, you caught me." He said, "I took a semester on Mythology in high school. I just remembered that monster because it was so weird looking." Daniel's face gave an almost invisible twitch. He knows I know something. Jake thought. He cast another look at the figure on the dune, there were now four Andalites up there, all seemed to be staring at him. "Well go you guys want to go say hi or something?" He asked. " I mean these aren't the first alien's you've met right?"
"No." Teal'c said, "We have encountered many races across hundreds of worlds."
"Great, then lets move out." Jake started walking toward the distant dune. He could clearly see that the others didn't really trust him but decided to go with him anyway. I must out rank them. Being a Colonel and all.
There were now six andalites on top of the dune. And the number kept growing every minute. Jake desperately needed to make contact with them, maybe they could come to Earth and fight against the Yeerks there. Maybe they could also get him out of this place and back into his own body. That thought increased his speed a little more. The only thing that worried him right now was Daniel, but the controller didn't seem to realize who and what Jake was... Yet.
"You know, I would but I'm allergic to shape shifting." Jack said.
Tobias grabbed his shoulder and looked him in the eye. "If you don't do it they will kill you." He said simply.
"After you've been tortured by Visser 3 of course." Cassie said.
The Colonel looked at both of them, they seemed to be speaking the truth as far as he could tell. "That sounds like real fun and all but the other choice doesn't look good either. What even makes you think I can do... What ever the hell that is you do?"
"You've done it before and you have to do it again." Cassie walked up to him and took his hands. "Concentrate on the image of a tiger. Think about what color it is, the size of it. Think about what it represents."
Jack wanted to yank his hands back. He wanted to tell these kids to get bent. He wanted to be back in his own body, listening to Daniel drone on and on about some stupid rock he found. But he wasn't an idiot, he could see the fear on the kid's faces, they were afraid. So Jack decided to humor them.
He closed his eyes and thought of a tiger. He'd seen one once in a zoo and it gave him the creeps. The tiger didn't do much, it kind of laid on a rock in the sun. Then it turned and stared at him with yellow eyes and Jack was never more grateful for the fence that separated him from that animal. That cat who he knew could and would eat him if he had the least chance.
The Colonel felt a joint pop in his spine. He opened his eyes to see that he was much closer to the ground then he used to be. He opened his mouth to say, "What the-" but all that came out was a strangled yowl. Jack looked at his arms, but they weren't arms anymore... They were covered in orange and black fur while still retaining the same human shape. His palms were covered with thick pads yet he still had fingers.
It took all of O'Neill's will power to bite back the scream that was building in his throat. He would not be hysterical. He would not lose it. He-
You've stopped the morph Jake. Cassie said, she was changing into a wolf. Try to concentrate again. You can do it.
Jack nodded, or nodded the best he could with a neck and head that was half tiger and half human. Better be all tiger or all human. Not both. Then he shut his eyes and concentrated again. Soon he heard Cassie's voice. Your almost there Jake. Now the animal mind is going to surface.
But Jack wasn't listening anymore. Something was happening, deep in his mind. A new consciousness was sweeping forward, overriding his own. With a growl he turned and looked at the two animals before him. One was a bird, the other was a wolf. Both were smaller then him and trapped in the same room.
Jack crept forward taking his time. Yes, he could kill the bird with a singal blow then save the other for later. He could already feel his teeth sinking into the flesh. The blood dribbling down his throat... He took another step, ready to spring.
Cassie, he's looking at me like I'm lunch.
Uh, Jake? You have control of the mind. Right?
Snap out of it man! We don't have time for this!
Jack flicked his ears. He was hearing sounds in his head. Meaningless.
Jack sprung and hit the bird with a lightening strike of his paw. The bird flew throat the air and hit the other wall, stunned and helpless. Now was the time to feed...
Sam was worried, they had reached the bottom of the dune and now there were a dozen " Andalites" staring at them. To make matters worse the Colonel was acting.... well he was acting like Daniel. The way he was all gung-ho to meet a new race was disturbing. Daniel wasn't himself either. He was moody and kept giving the Colonel suspicious looks as if he expected him to do something. Only Teal'c was normal... if you could call him that. He was plowing though the sand like the rest of them, acting like the strange behavior of his friends wasn't bothering him. She knew it was, but he just wasn't showing it. Sometimes Sam envied him.
The Andalites on the dune were staring at them and they stared right back. "Well go on Daniel." Sam finally whispered. He was the linguist of the team, after all. It was his job to make first contact.
But Daniel shook his head. "No." He said, "I refuse to talk to that... that filth!"
"Filth!?" Sam whirled around, "Filth?" She repeated like she couldn't believe what she was hearing. She didn't. "Are you ok?"
Sam watched as something seemed to snap within her friend. His face relaxed and the near sneer he was holding was replaced by a sheepish grin. "Sorry." He said, "I... I guess the sun's gotten to me." He turned to the Andalites. "Hi! Um, hello we are peaceful explores from another planet."
"It's a planet called Earth." The Colonel said, "Have you heard of it?"
The andalites looked at one another. How did you get to this planet? One asked in their minds.
" We came though the Stargate." Sam said, pointing to the general area.
Stargate? I do not know of this word.
"Look, can we come up there?" Jake asked. " Its kind of awkward for us down here."
"Sir, is that a wise decision?" Sam wondered.
Yes. The Andalite said, Although we are puzzled on how you can stay upright without usage of a proper tail.
Jake chuckled. Oh yeah, these were definitely Andalites. He motioned for the others to start climbing. Daniel hesitated for a moment, then joined the group. When Jake reached the top he had to restist the urge to gasp. From that vantage point he had perfect view of the whole area for miles. It looked like a miniature valley, with lush grass, a small lake and even the occasional tree growing right in the middle of the desert without rime or reason. It was like a giant oasis.
" This is very impressive." Teal'c observed.
"Very, very, very impressive." Sam said, looking at the andalite who had spoken to them. " How did you find a stable enough water supply for this?"
The andalite turned one stalk eye to the valley and the other three eyes to them. We capture the water from the air. It gets very humid at night
Jake suddenly realized that the andalite sounded very young. "Where is your leader?"
The andalite looked down and dug a hoof in the sand. He is... no more. He said simply, We are all that is left out of hundreds.
"Why?" Daniel asked suddenly. "What killed you off?"
"Daniel!" Sam snapped, appalled at his tactlessness.
The andalite didn't seem to notice, however. We are not meant to survive in such harsh conditions in the sun. I myself am reaching the limit were I should go indoors. Come. He started to walk down the other side of the dune, which was supported with growing grass. The humans shrugged and followed him, not really knowing what else they should do. My name is Scropienu-Ouccoti-Tyrainion. What is yours?
" Well I'm Jake, this is Sam, Teal'c and Daniel."
"Actually his name is really Jack, but the sun has gotten to him today too." Daniel said.
Jake ignored his remark and focused on getting information from Scropienu. "How long have you guys been here?"
Many andalite years. I was born here. Scorpienu said sadly. Suddenly a group of six or so andalites came rushing up to them with their deadly tails raised. Sam upholstered her gun and Teal'c leveled his staff weapon. The group of andalites stopped short and started making angry gestures to the group and Scorpienu gestured back. Jake knew what was going on. They were talking, probably arguing about them. But they were keeping their thought speak from their minds. Finally the group turned and walked resentfully away,
"What was that about?" Daniel asked.
They do not approve of strangers and wished to kill you. Scorpienu said this like it was no big deal. I told them you were from another planet and may have the capabilities to send us home again. They decided to let you live... For now.
Jake! Cassie screamed. But it was no use, the tiger hit Tobias with a front paw, flinging him against an opposing wall. He was out of control! Jake advanced on Tobias again and in desperation Cassie flew forward and bit him on the tail.
Jake whipped around and slashed at her, leaving bloody marks on her side. He didn't turn around to Tobias again, now the tiger in him knew that the other animal also wanted *his* meal. He would have to kill this animal to eat safely.
Cassie was nearing desperation now. She had never seen a morph take over like this. Jake, you are a human! Remember me? Remember the others? The tiger advanced a few steps and Cassie backed up until she hit the opposing wall. Jake? She wondered. Then it hit her. What was Jake calling himself? Oh yeah, Jack! She yelled, Jack O'Neill! The tiger paused for a second, as if confused then crept forward again, Remember the... the Stargate Jack? Cassie asked. Now she was just spurting things off, there was no way she could go against a tiger and win. Do you remember your team?
My... Team? Jack finally stopped. It was if the whole world had been turned around. He suddenly remembered who and what he was. I... Hey! What happened?!
You lost control of your morph. Cassie ran to Tobias and picked him up in her mouth. She could feel that he was still breathing but she didn't know how hurt he was. Now shut up and listen to me. See that window there? Jump out of it. I will be right behind you.
Why should I- Jack began then the door exploded inward revealing a Hork-Bajir. Jack changed his mind and leapt out of the window with Cassie right behind him. Using his tiger's senses he could tell that there were many surrounding the area but he could avoid them if he were careful. What was he thinking?! Using his tiger's senses? This couldn't be real. He couldn't really be a tiger... Could he?
Run straight ahead. Cassie said, We should get past them in no time.
Tell you what. I don't feel like playing this game anymore. Jack peeled off to the right. He was going to get to the stupid Stargate then get back into his own body then find a nice Earthly bar and try to forget that this nightmare ever occurred.
That's the wrong way! Cassie yelled, then she cursed and took after him. When Jake returned to the normal Jake that she knew and loved he was going to get yelled at. Oh yes.
Jack ran for a few minutes then he realized his mistake. Tigers are not long distance runners, not like wolfs. He quickly ran out of breath and had to slow down. Cassie caught up to him easily. So do you have a plan or something? She asked smugly.
Yeah, it was to get the hell away from you. Suddenly he stopped, his round ears pricked forward. Did you hear something?
At that moment booming thought speak exploded in their heads. Do not worry. I will have them soon enough.
It's Visser 3. Cassie whispered. We have to get out of here!
But Jack didn't listen to her, he crept forward and looked though some of the bushes. What he saw startled him. Isn't that a... what do you call it? An andalite?
Cassie crept beside him, between the branches she saw the unmistakable blue form of an andalite. Yes. He is the only andalite controller ever. The only one to be taken by a Yeerk. Then she paused as she heard another voice. It was different in some way, it sounded like something unnatural.
" That is if you can catch them Visser. I heard that these bandits have caused you much distress in the council of thirteen."
Well, well, well. Jack said, If it isn't my old friend Apophis.
"Surrender or die!" Someone said behind them. Cassie whirled around to see the oddest thing in her life.
It's called a scoop. Scorpienu A place that provides shelter from the suns. He led the humans under the open air building that looked as if it was "Scooped" out of the ground. Now, He said, Please explain what you are and how you came to this planet.
"It's um... Kind of a long story." Daniel said, looking down like he couldn't bear the sight of the Andalite.
Scorpienu waved a hand in a very human like gesture. I have lots of time before the suns set and it is safe to go out and feed again. And I am very interested in your story.
" Yeah, so am I." Jake said, crossing his arms and staring at Daniel with a challenging look.
The controller relented and sighed. "Fine. I guess I should start from the begging. I first found out about the Stargate project a week after I held a rather abortive lecture...."
So he talked about the first trip though the Stargate to Abydos where he, Colonel O'Neill and a team killed a sadistic false God who called himself Ra. Then of when Sha're was captured. ( His voice cracked a little and Jake thought it was a great performance on the Yeerks part.) He continued by talking about the missions of Sg-1, to explore new worlds by use of the Stargate with the intention of finding allies to fight against the Goa'old, a parasitic race that take's over a host's mind and body. Finally he finished by describing what had happened when they came to this planet and how strange Jack was feeling. When he ended the suns had long since gone down and a night chill was seeping into the air.
Scorpienu blinked in astonished wonder. This is amazing. He said at last. If we could get that... What do you call it... Stargate open and functional again... He hopped up onto all four hooves and was about to rush out of the scoop, but at the last moment he turned a stalk eye towards them. I must talk to my friends about this. Feel free to eat any grass you want, we have many flavors. Oh and don't worry about your friend. It sounds like he has the sickness of the suns. Then he ran out.
Sam turned to Jake, "Sickness of the suns?" She repeated. "Does he mean heat stroke?"
"Huh? What?" Jake was jerked out of his thoughts by her voice, "Yeah.. No! I mean, I'm not sick. I was telling the truth about myself. You have to believe me."
"Believe you?!" Daniel yelled. "Jack, what you're saying... is nuts!"
"I agree with Daniel Jackson." Teal'c said. "O'Neill, has it ever crossed your mind that perhaps we are the ones telling the truth? That you are not this Jake person you believe yourself to be?"
Jake thought about that for a tenth of a second then shoved it away. "No, you guys aren't listening to-"
"I've had enough of this Jack!" Daniel exploded, his eyes suddenly got a wide, frenzied look to them. " You are sick and demented and... and you," He pointed a very threatening finger in Jake's face, "Have led us in the middle of these andalites! They will kill us! Do you know that?! And it will all be your fault!"
" Daniel!" Sam yelled, "Cut it out!" She was about to say more but Jake signaled her to stop. He had a feeling he knew what was about to happen.
Daniel continued. " You can't be leader anymore! I'm the new leader and I say we get out of this place before that filth!" Now he pointed outside. " Infects us with their arrogance and their self righteousness."
That was it. Jake was now 100% sure that this guy was a controller. " Funny," He said, trying to egg him on. " I don't seem to remember you ever using the word filth to describe a race before, Danny. Are you hungry or something?" Jake knew he was shooting blanks. He was waiting for a reaction... and he definitely got one.
Daniel suddenly reached inside his fatigue jacket and pulled out a hand held dracon beam and pointed it at Jake. "This is all your fault O'Neill!" He screamed. "I'll take you down with me!" Sam tried to stop him but he warded her off with the Dracon beam. " I'll kill you, Humans!" His blue eyes flickered and then the hand that wasn't holding the dracon beam reached up and tried to choke his own neck.
Teal'c, seeing the moment of distraction, rammed into the younger man and knocked him down. The dracon beam went sailing across the floor. The big Jaffa grabbed Daniel off the ground with one hand, and firmly pulled Daniel's left hand away from his own neck with the other. " You are not acting normal Daniel Jackson." He said. And was rewarded by Daniel spitting in his face.
Jake felt that this was the time to take control of the situation. "Sam come here. Teal'c hold him still." He marched right up to Daniel and made sure Sam was in a position to see. He brushed some hair back from Daniel's ear. "Look."
It was right there for all to see. Something gray was coming from Daniel's ear. Jake tried to grab the tip of it, but his fingers lost hold and the gray slug slunk back into Daniel's ear canal and out of sight.
"Holly Hannah!" Sam gasped. "What is it!?"
It was human... Or at least the bottom half of it looked human... If you ignore that huge cross in the middle of it's stomach. It's head was medal and shaped like that of a hawk with glowing eyes. Oh yeah, and it was pointing a very threatening looking black staff at them.
On the count of three we rush him. Jack said, He can only get off one shot with the staff weapon at this range.
Cassie briefly wondered how Jack knew this then pushed the thought away. Ok, on three. One, two.. She was just bunching up her wolf mussels to spring upon the... the thing, but a huge gorilla fell out of a tree and on top of hawkhead.
It went down and stayed down. The gorilla looked at them and said, No need to thank me all at one people. Just doing my job. And Cassie, why do you have Tobias in your mouth? I knew you guys were close but...
Cassie breathed a sigh of relief, It's a long story, Marco. She cast a look at Jack. Let's get out of here before more Hawkheads show up. She started moving though the bushes.
Yes mam'm. Jack quipped, Oh yeah, their called Jaffa. He quickly trotted after her.
Marco went to catch up, but then paused for a second at the body of the "Jaffa". Curious he tapped the upper medal part, which obediently disappeared, leaving just a human head. The hawk head was really just a helmet. Well I'll be, He muttered, then he turned his back to walk away.
Without warning a white snake-like animal jumped from the stomach cross of it's dying host. The Goa'uld flew though the air, landed on a great furry gorilla neck and quickly burrowed into the flesh before it's new host could make a sound.
Marco staggered and clutched at his neck. Then the blinding pain was over as soon as it started. Hmm... must have been one hell of a bug. He gave a very human like shrug. His eyes flashed white very briefly before he set off to find Cassie and Jack.
Jake didn't answer her, instead he grabbed Daniel's head and made him look him in the eyes. " He's dying, Daniel and soon, very soon you will be free again."
" Who is he?" Teal'c wondered.
Jake abruptly turned away from Daniel and looked at Sam and Teal'c. Jake spoke in a very slow, controlled voice. "You told of a race you fight against. The Goa'uld who take over hosts as mindless slaves. I... Me and my friends also fight a war. Except it's not against Goa'uld, it's against a species called the Yeerks."
" You!" Daniel sputtered, "You're with them aren't you? You're one of the Andalite Bandits?!"
Jake nodded, " We have been called that, yes."
Sam looked deathly pale and even Teal'c had a shocked expression on his face. " How do we get it out? Is there a way?" Sam asked.
"Yes, we need to keep Daniel tied up for the next few days." Jake said. "You see the Yeerk needs a certain food. It's called Kandrona rays. They go down to an underground Yeerk pool, drain out of the host's ear and feed for a few hours."
"And what of the host?" Teal'c asked.
Jake shuttered, remembering his numerous trips down to that hellhole. "They are kept in cages until they are dragged out to the pier and reinvested. They-The Yeerks need to do this every three days or else they starve." He looked at Daniel. "How long has it been Yeerk? Two days? Almost three? You must be near your time to let your host take control like that."
Daniel turned pleading eyes upon Sam. " Sam... Please, don't believe him. It's not like that! My host and I are friends. He willingly gave his body to be rid of the pain of Sha're's loss." He saw the doubt in her eyes and continued. "You lost Jolinar because we didn't trust a Tok'ra. Don't make the same mistake again, I beg of you."
" What's he talking about Carter?" Jake demanded.
Sam ignored him and spoke to Daniel. "Let me hear him then. Let the real Daniel tell me himself."
"Sam, no! It's a trick!" Jake tried to say, but she wasn't listening anymore.
Daniel's body slumped down for a brief moment then he looked up again. " He's telling the truth. I... I couldn't take it any more. God, I'm sorry... So sorry. But I'm happier this way, don't you see? I don't have to feel anything anymore..." He slumped again and then stood up, strait and proud. " You see? Don't let this maniac kill me-"
"THAT'S ENOUGH!" Jake roared. " If you are so good then tell me why you pointed this," He picked up the dracon beam and wiggled it under Daniel, "at us?"
Daniel gave a mirthless laugh. "Pure panic I'm afraid. I'm going to starve and die and leave Danny alone... I just lost it for a few seconds."
Sam looked from Daniel to Jack and back again. She didn't know whom to believe. On one hand she had the Colonel who was calling himself by a totally different name and asking her to believe the impossible... And on the other hand there was Daniel who was infested by something. Weather good or bad she didn't know.
The memory of Jolinar's last moments flashed though her thoughts and she knew, just knew what she had to do. " Teal'c, let Daniel go."
You're almost there. Tobias reported. They are about 50 feet away.
Thanks Tobias. Cassie said, increasing her speed to a fast trot.
The four of them, Marco, Jack, Cassie and Tobias, had been on the run for the last hour and a half. Trying to avoid detection by the Hork-Bajir was hard work and even the wolf in her was getting tired. About an hour into their journey Tobias woke up and flew ahead to contact Rachel and Ax. Luckily they had gotten out un-scathed too.
Finally they came to the clearing where Rachel and Ax were.
Hey! Long time no see. Jack quipped wearily.
Rachel cocked her head and looked at the Tiger.
No, Cassie said, answering her unspoken question. He still thinks his name is Jack. She turned to him, You're going to have to demorph now. Just think of your human form.
Which one? Jack asked, but shut his eyes and focused anyway. Soon he was fully human again... Not the right human, but human none the less. " I think," He said, "its way past time I knew what the hell was going on and where the hell am I?"
"Earth." Marco kidded. He meant for it to be a joke... Just a joke... Really.
Jack swung around. " Don't give me that. I am not on Earth."
"Yes you are." Rachel said.
"No I'm not. I could not have gated to Earth." Jack shook his head. "Where am I, really?"
"Earth." Rachel insisted.
"Wait," Cassie, said, "What do you mean by gated?"
" The Stargate I was talking about. My team and I go to other worlds through it... Don't play dumb with me. I know you know of it."
"No Jake." Marco replied softly. "We didn't... Until now."
" Let me get this straight." Jack said, starting to pace " You are trying to tell me that I am in fact on Earth. And I suppose all these aliens running around are completely normal? Hey, maybe I just didn't notice them before now."
"Let's just finish telling our side of the story. Then you can believe what ever you want to believe." Rachel said firmly then she lunched into what had happened over the past three years. How they got their powers. How Tobias had stayed in morph for too long and was trapped, only to be given them back months later by a being called the ellimist. How they freed some Hork-Bajir controllers and then how they trusted a kid named David with the power to morph. Then she told him about the time when Cassie discovered that there was a Yeerk Peace Movement going on right under Visser 3's nose. Finally she told him of their last mission to find out who and what the Goa'uld were. "And, well you know what had happened from there." She concluded.
Jack stared at her for a few minutes before responding. "I'm not sure if I believe you... Hell, I've actually morphed and I'm not sure that I believe my own self on that point. But there isn't any other explanation, is there?"
No. Tobias said from his perch in a tree. You did all of this Jake. Don't you remember?
"That wasn't me... But I can help you on one point. I know practically all there is to know on the Goa'uld."
"Really?" Rachel's eyes glittered. " What?"
Jack shrugged, "They are basically the same as the... the Yeerks or whatever. Except they don't need a Yeerk pool. Oh yeah, and they think they are Gods."
"Say what? Gods?" Marco barked.
"Yup. Real arrogant bastards too." Jack then lunched into a rendition of the Stargate project and of what he knew about the Goa'uld. The Animorphs sat there, completely entranced until he finished. "Of course you can't tell anyone about this." He grinned. "Or I'll have to shoot you."
"Same for you." Marco countered. "Or we will *eat* you."
Prince Jake, do you believe we can go to this SGC... if it really exits? Perhaps we can gain information or join forces with them to overpower the Yeerks.
"Yeah!" Marco cried, "If we told the government then we could stop the invasion!... Er.. If you are telling the truth Jake."
Jack was annoyed. "Of course I am I-" He stopped. Things seemed to go out of focus for a moment then returned to normal.
"Jack?" Cassie asked.
Jack blinked a few times. " That was strange... Everything went out of focus for a second." As soon as he said that a blinding headache hit him with such force that he had to struggle from throwing up. Vaguely he heard someone screaming his name... Then only darkness.
" NO! It's a trick!" Jake cried. "Can't you see?"
" Colonel, we have to give him the benefit of the doubt." Sam said, her eyes flashing.
" Jack, you have to believe me." Daniel said. " I never meant to hurt any of you-"
"Bull." Jake interrupted turning to Teal'c. " You're on my side, right?"
Teal'c hesitated before answering. "Yes O'Neill." He cocked his head toward Sam. "I believe your memories of Jolinar have affected your judgment."
Sam opened her mouth to say something, but stopped and thought it over. Was Teal'c telling the truth? Was she just trying to rid her self of any lingering guilt by putting Daniel into jeopardy?
Daniel, seeing that Sam was finally thinking things over, tried one last ditch effort. " If I die I can't promise that I won't take him with me." He said with a touch of sadness. " We are so closely linked now that-"
"Shut up." Jake said, "That's not true and you know it Yeerk."
"How would you know Jack?"
Jake took a deep breath. "Because I was once infested." Instantly all eyes were upon him. Jake definitely had their attention now. " I was infested by a Yeerk called Tramrash. He took over my body and pried into my mind. Luckily my friends knew what was happening and starved the Yeerk out. He would have taken me down too if he could have... But he didn't. My life was given back to me that day and now I'm going to give back yours." He addressed Sam and Teal'c. " I know you have every reason to doubt me. I'm not... The same as I used to be. All I'm asking for is a little trust."
Carter sighed, "Yes sir, I can trust you... But if you are wrong..." She let it hang.
" I too will follow you, O'Neill."
Jake smiled. "Great! And just call me Jake. Now we need some wire or rope to tie Daniel up-" The whole world seemed to go out of focus for a few seconds right before his eyes.
"Sir?" Sam asked.
" Nothing.. Nothing.. What was I saying? Oh yeah-" Then a head ache unlike any other head ache took over his mind. The next thing Jake knew the ground was rushing up to say hi to him... And then blackness.
Jack felt himself being caught by a strong pair of arms. A worried "Sir?" entered his ears and he forced his eyes open. Carter was holding him. Carter? What? He jumped up to his feet. "Where am I?" Jack demanded. Then he saw Teal'c holding Daniel by the shoulder. Even more shocking was the fact that Daniel was screaming curses at him.
Jack looked down, It was his very own body. "I'm back!" He said.
" Of course you are." Carter sounded more annoyed then he had ever heard her. "Daniel shut up!" She yelled, before turning back to Jack. " This is probably a useless question but... are you ok?"
" I don't know." Now Jack was getting a little freaked out. "I was in someone else's body on Earth... they kept calling me Jake."
"That's what you told us to call you, O'Neill."
Jack shook his head. "That wasn't me."
Then another blinding headache hit him and the darkness swallowed him up.
"Jack!" Cassie screamed as he pitched forward. She caught him right before he hit the ground. Rachel and Marco rushed to help but before they got to him he opened his eyes.
"Jack?" Cassie wondered.
"Will everyone Stop. Calling. Me. Jack!" Jake said in a tight voice. Then he realized where he was. "Cassie? What?"
Marco and Rachel helped him to his feet. " And so now what should we call you Oh fearless leader? John maybe?"
Jake smiled a little shakily. " Jake please. I... I was somewhere else. Teal'c was there, and Sam and Daniel..."
"And the scarecrow and the tinman..." Marco joked.
What other place? Tobias asked.
" I don't know. Some other planet. They kept talking about a Stargate..."
"The team... God, I'm glad I'm back. Everything was going to hell..." That same blinding headache hit Jake again and he was rushing though the darkness before he could stop himself.
Cassie caught Jake as he passed out again. "This isn't good." She said in a worried voice. Suddenly she caught a glimpse of something change in Jake's face. For a brief second she thought she saw.... Someone else entirely and then his face went back to normal.
"Whoa!" Marco said, "Did anyone else catch that?"
"I did," Cassie said grimly.
At that moment Jake's eyes flew open. He looked around wildly for a second before sitting up and rubbing his head. "Oh I am getting so tired of this."
"Ok, who are we talking too?" Rachel demanded, "Jake or Jack?"
"Do you know what happened?"
Jack shook his head almost angrily, "I was back in my own body, but it only lasted a few seconds."
What did you see? Tobias asked.
"Um, Carter was talking to me, she was calling me Jake and looked really P.O.ed." He paused and narrowed his eyes as if he didn't trust his own memory. "Teal'c was hanging on to Daniel, and Daniel... Was struggling, screaming curses." He punched the ground angrily. Something had happened while he was over here and it wasn't good.
" Well Jake... I guess it was Jake, he told us that everything was going to hell." Rachel said.
Jack, what where you doing when you first switched bodies with Prince Jake? Ax demanded suddenly.
"I was traveling through the Stargate to PH88X5. Then something got in my way... Like a bag of flesh and guts. I ran right into it, couldn't stop myself. Then there was a tearing sensation."
How does this Stargate work?
Jack shrugged, "How am I supposed to know? I'm not some damned scientist."
You most try to remember, this is most vital.
"Look, all I remember is Carter sprouting off some nonsense about different dimensions and worm holes."
Ax's four eyes widened, I believe I may have a theory. He said, excitedly shifting from hoof to hoof. It is possible that this "Stargate" may use Z-space as a means of travel. I believe that the mass left behind from Prince Jake's morphing intersected with Jack as he was traveling though the wormhole.
"Like when we got pulled on bored the andalite ship?" Marco wondered.
Yes, although the odds are... very high of that happening again.
But it did happen though. Tobias finished.
Jack, who had no idea what the kids were talking about, jumped in the conversation. "So is that good or bad?"
Both. Using are own experiences with Z-space there are three possible outcomes. Image for a moment, if you will, that you are tied with a rubber band to your own body and Prince Jake is tied to his. The rubber band stretches until it's maximum and is forced to snap back. That is what happened to you a few minutes ago. You snapped back into your own body for a few seconds. Ax paused for a second and trained all four eyes onto Jack. This will most likely again, you may snap to your body then back again as you did before. Or next time you snap it may be permanent and you will stay in your correct body.
"Sounds good to me, what's choice number three?"
The more likely possibility is that you and Prince Jake may snap completely into Z-space all together.
Cassie took a sharp breath. " There's no air in Z-space."
What is going on here? Scorpieu demanded, walking in as Jack pitched forward again. Sam caught the Colonel just as he was about to hit the ground. She blinked, for a moment it almost looked like he had changed somehow... She must be seeing things.
"Our friends are sick." She said to the young andalite. "Daniel has lost his mind and Jake keeps on fainting."
Is there anything I can do? Our doctor is skilled but she only has worked with us andalites.
"Andalite scum!" Daniel screamed. "Filth of the universe-" He would have said more but Sam clapped her hand over his mouth. Then giving Scorpeuo her most winning smile she told him that they were capable of handling it.
If you are sure. He said doubtfully, with one eye staring at Daniel. I have more plans to arrange. I will be back shortly. Then he trotted off again.
At that moment Jake woke up, "Not again!"
" I assume that you are Jake?" Teal'c asked, mildly raising an eyebrow.
"Last time I checked." Jake got up again, "I was back in my own body, but then it was like I was pulled back here again."
Sam sighed, she hated to admit it but all this stuff was way over her head. She wished that she knew what exactly was going on but the soldier in her knew that she didn't have the time. They all had to deal with the here and now, and at this moment that meant dealing with their guests and not wasting time focusing on body switches.
"Colonel, um- I mean, Jake. We need to know where we stand with these andalites. Obviously you know a hell of a lot more then we do..."
"Andalites are very arrogant, self centered and brilliant at any sciences and technology." Jake said, "Their the "good guys" of the galaxy. Don't let that tail fool you, they were a mostly peaceful race until they met up with the Yeerks."
"Peaceful?!" Daniel exploded, "They massacred hundreds of thousands of us! Their dome ships still hover over our planet, waiting to blast us into oblivion. We Yeerks are fighting for our freedom from Andalite oppression."
"Wrong." Jake countered, "Ax told us all about how andalite's met yeerks. They came to your homeworld looking for peace. They gave you technology and the means for your race to survive, then you turned on them." Jake addressed Sam and Teal'c. " The andalites have been fighting this war for generations. The are now bred and raised to hate Yeerks. If anyone of those andalites found out that Daniel was infested..." He shook his head. "They would kill him and then us too."
This time Daniel didn't bother to argue. He just glared at Jake with rage, giving him a look that clearly said. "I'll kill you. Some way, some how... I'll kill you."
One Earth Day Later....
Never had Jack known such freedom, such power as this. Sure, he had logged hundreds of hours flying, but in a jet you were inside a medal cockpit.... He was flying with his own wings now. But the best thing about flying was that it make it easy to forget that any second he could just "snap back" to his own body again or to Z-Space... What ever that was.
He had been flying for the past six hours, stopping to demorph every two. He and the other Animorphs were heading to Colorado, to the SGC. The Animorphs had gotten some people called the Chee to take over their lives while they were gone. How they did that, Jack didn't know and he didn't really care either.
They had morphed flys first and gotten onboard an airplane. Then from the airport they were to fly to the SGC. But Jack didn't mind, he could do this forever.
Amen. Tobias laughed when Jack voiced this opinion out loud.
Rachel and Marco were bickering as usual. At first Jack had been annoyed, sure these- were kids but did they really have to act like it? Then after awhile he realized that they were actually playing a kind of a game, on the verge of flirting but not quite at that level yet.
Admit it Rachel! Marco complained, He's like forty years old!
What, are you jealous Marco? Rachel shot back. Just because Jerod off of the Pretender is better looking then you...
Does the three pounds of hair gel he uses turn you on? And Tobias, don't you have a say in the fact that a eighty year old actor is attractive to your girlfriend?
I thought you said he was fifty. Jack teased. And what's wrong with being old? I'm forty eight.
Actually I kinda like Ms. Parker. Tobias admitted then changed the subject, There's a strong thermal ahead guys. Let's ride it to the top, it will save us a lot of time.
Jack flapped his falcon wings harder, wanting to catch the thermal. Once he did he rode it like an elevator then adjusted his altitude and slid downward.
In his head the argument continued.
You know I once saw an X-men show about this once. Marco remarked. Two of the characters, switched bodies. A bad guy and a good guy.
Does your whole life revolve around television? Rachel sneered.
How is that possible? Ax wondered.
Oh like you never watched TV, Rachel?
Not X-men. I watched higher quality shows like Dawsons Creek and Pretender and Buffy.
And ditsy blondes R us.
Marco, do you *want* me to take you down? Because I can do it. Rachel flexed her bald eagle talons in demonstration.
Oh no! Rachel's about to go psychopath on us again. This is where she goes nuts next thing you know she'll... Marco went silent.
She'll what? Cassie wondered.
Suddenly Marco's flying became erratic, he started to thrash about like he was having a seizure. Marco dropped from the sky like a rock.
Marco! Cassie shrieked, diving after him followed by the others.
As he fell, Marco started screaming gibberish, Naturru ya ado ni neket! Neket! Neket! He was falling rapidly, just a bare hundred feet above some power lines when Cassie caught up to him. She sank her talons into his right wing and flapped madly. Ax and Jack caught him on the other wing and together they steered Marco away from the power lines and onto the ground.
The second his feet touched the dirt, Marco stopped thrashing. What the- He wondered.
Marco, demorph. Jack told him sternly. Then he spoke to the others. What the hell just happened?
I don't know. Cassie sounded shaken. That's never happened before.
Well this certainly is a week of firsts now isn't it? Jack spoke to Marco again, Are you ok?
Yeah I'm- Marco's thought speak was cut off as his beak melted into a mouth. "Yesh i'um fwin. I wash-was talking to Rachel and the next thing I knew." He shrugged with arms that were still half bird. "I was on the ground."
You blacked out? Tobias asked. I wonder if this has anything to do with Jake and Jack?
I do not see how. Ax said, There is no logical connection with the two events.
They were in morph both times. Rachel pointed out.
True, but we have morphed hundreds of time without any adverse affects. There is no reason why that can not be the case now.
Marco, I think you should morph back again. Jack was a man of action, all this sitting around and talking things over made him edgy. Besides, he was almost back, back to the SGC. Once there he was sure everything would sort itself out... It had too.
But something flashed in the back of his mind, a memory of the late Kalawsky. He had blacked out too, right before... No, it couldn't be. He was just getting a little to paranoid for his own good. But despite an effort to direct his thoughts else where Jack still felt a sinking sensation in the back of his mind, a feeling that never went away.
"How's it hanging, Scorpioue?" Jake asked, walking up to the young andalite. They were all back at the Stargate and a dozen different andalites' were swarming all over the thing, taking measurements, looking at the inside of the DHD and talking excitedly to one another.
Nothing is hanging. He replied, confused.
"Never mind, how is the Stargate coming?"
Oh that! Scorpioue smiled, using just his eyes. Very well indeed! We are well on our way to fixing the device and we have made quite a discovery.
Edrart-Iccolon-Mailigot, the oldest of us, remembers seeing a device like this on our homeworld in a museum. We've plotted the symbols... We will be able to go home again. The last sentence was spoken like a prayer. Home.
Jake smiled and clapped the andalite on the shoulder, "That's great news! I'll tell the others."
Then he walked off toward the human's side of the camp. Inside their one tent was a moody Daniel and Teal'c who was taking his turn guarding him. It turned out they had no rope in which to tie the controller up in so they had to guard him 24-7... Or in this case 34-8.
"Teal'c, I'm reliving you for a few minutes. Can you get Sam? I've got some news."
"Yes Jake." Teal'c said, grabbing his staff weapon and walking out of the tent.
Jake turned to Daniel. "How are you doing?"
" This tent is too cramped." He replied.
"I wasn't talking to you. I was talking to the real Daniel." Jake said coldly.
"When are you going to except that my host and I are friends?!" The controller practically yelled. "Has it ever occurred to you that we've forged a partnership? That he enjoys what we have?!"
"If he does then he is mentally sick and needs help."
Daniel laughed without humor, "He's not sick, just in pain. Shall I tell you of his life? He lost both of his parents, they were crushed to death right in front of him. He was shifted from foster home to foster home as a child. But he grew up, he made it into adulthood. Then he feel in love with a woman named Sha're... Then she was taken from him, made into a host by a Goa'uld.... My host is glad to have my presence. He's voluntary, I help him forget what he's gone though and he's glad for it."
Jake felt sick inside. He'd met a few voluntary controllers before... Could this be one of them?
"Ah, I see that you are finally starting to believe. Good, then perhaps you will spare me an awful death and my host a worse one by letting us go?"
Jake shook his head, "I'm sorry, you know to much about me and my friends. You have to die." At that moment Sam came in the tent followed by Teal'c. Jake quickly filled them in on what Scorpoue said.
"That's good." Sam said, "I don't think the General would have liked thirty centaur's running around the base." She was about to say more, but she cast one look at Daniel and stopped. He was paler then usual and seemed to be drooling. "Daniel?"
"So... So hungry..." He replied as if in a trance.
Jake went over to him. He knew what was happening inside Daniel's mind. He had been though it once himself and still carried the nightmares. "It's the Fugue. The Yeerk is dying."
This should be it. Jack said as he and the other scampered around the SGC in roach morph. I hope.
Gee, how reassuring. Marco sneered. Ever since his little blackout he had been back to normal... or at least as normal as Marco got. Privately he thought it was from too much stress, but ever since then Jack had been acting weird around him, like he didn't trust him or something. Marco had a feeling he was keeping something from the group and it was beginning to creep him out.
Lets... Uh... Unmorph. Jack ordered as he focused on his current body.
Demorph. Rachel corrected.
In a few minutes they were all back to their normal (Or abnormal!) selves again. Tobias and Ax quickly morphed from their natural bodies to their human morphs.
" Great, six kids in spandex." Marco muttered. "That ought to look good."
"Not even good looking spandex." Rachel sneered, looking over Cassie's rather colorful outfit. "Don't tell me that the stain on your top is goose poop."
Cassie just smiled at her best friend in response.
"Is this object edible? Ible. Edddd." Ax wondered, picking up a paperweight on Hammond's desk.
" Oh for cry'n out loud!" Jack groaned. "Do have to eat everything in sight?"
And that was when General Hammond decided to walk into his office. He saw the kids and stopped short his brow wrinkling. "What in Sam Hill?"
The Animorphs acted quickly. Rachel pulled him completely inside the office and Marco and Cassie shut the door. Jack quickly moved to block Hammond's path to the alarm button.
For once the sturdy General was shocked out of his self possession. "Who are you?" He demanded in a voice that had been known to make new recruits cower. "And what are you doing in my office?!"
"Redecorating." Jack drawled to get Hammond's attention his way. It worked, the General swung around to face what he thought as 'the tallest boy.' "You have better have a damn good reason for being in this installation, son!"
Jack twisted his lip's into that sarcastic/insolent smile that he was known for. "This may be somewhat of a shock, sir." He said. "But I am Colonel Jack O'Neill." He saw the look on his superior's face and continued. "There's a been a big problem with the Stargate... A really big problem."
To give Hammond credit, he didn't reach for the alarm button then and there. "I see." He said in a soft talking-to-lunatic's voice. "Listen son, I don't know of anything called a Stargate but-"
"Bull." Jack interrupted. "I know everything about this place, General because I work here. Should I start with the first mission? How Jackson decoded the Stargate and how I led a team to Abydos? How we learned of the Goa'uld and-"
"All right, that's enough." Hammond interrupted he turned to Rachel. "And I suppose you're Caption Carter?"
Rachel bristled, "No, I'm Rachel."
"Jack was the only one to be affected." Cassie put in. "He seems to have switched bodies with our friend, Jake."
Hammoned focused his attention on Jack again, "Let's say for a moment that you are who you say you are," He began, seriously doubting it. " Then why would you bring kids along with you?"
"Sir, they knew a lot of stuff already." Jack replied, crisply turning to Ax. "Do your thing." Ax got the hint and immediately began to demorph.
The General's face almost comically reflected Mr. Clean's face looking with horror at a dirty floor. "Holy-" He pushed Jack roughly aside and pressed the alarm button before any of the Animorphs could react.
To Be Continued...
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