WHAT'S IN THE ATTIC?
Lorraine J. Anderson
Jack stepped out of the gate, his gun up. He didn't care what Daniel had said, anything through the gate that looked like his grandmother's attic had to be a tiny bit treacherous. Hell, his grandmother's attic was a lot treacherous. The photographs alone—one time, he snuck upstairs and was looking at the pictures when he dropped an antique photo. The glass broke, and Grandma came after him. He never went up there again, even after Grandma passed.
Desert Storm was a breeze, compared to dealing with Grandma.
He looked around. The place seemed benign. And endless. Chairs after chairs and beds and Roman statues and Egyptian plinths and a piano and one recorder set on a side table.
Carter stepped up beside him. "Wow."
Jack glanced at her. "All you can say is 'wow'?"
Daniel stepped up to his other side. "Wow." Jack could see the gleam of undiscovered treasures in his eyes.
"Indeed," said Teal'c, standing to the back of him. Jack looked around and noticed that he didn't drop his watchful stance. This place apparently felt wrong to him, too.
"Carter," Jack said. "You did see a DHD around here, right?"
"Of course, sir." She pointed at a familiar looking device over to the side. It seemed to have bed sheets piled on top of it.
"And," he said, "we're sure it works?"
"It looked intact," Sam said, confidently.
Jack started to the DHD to sweep the debris off the top, when the floor tipped sideways. Jack flew into an end table, just managing to avoid hitting his head. He thought he saw something bright yellow fly past him, then it was gone in the junk. As he popped up, he could see Teal'c coming up from a roll, Sam slowly raising herself up, and Daniel—
Daniel seemed to be hunched around his wrist. He looked up quickly, pale. "I think it's just a little strained," he said, tightly, and Jack breathed a small sign of relief. "Let's put a field dressing on that. You think you want to go back?"
"No," Daniel said. He shook his wrist. The color came back to his face. "I can handle it." He glanced around. "I've worked in worse conditions than this." He seemed eager.
"You look around, Sam. I'll get this …" Jack suddenly heard a metallic rotor like sound. Around the pile of junk came …
… a dog.
No, it was a robot. A low slung robot that had two radar antennas for ears and a red strip for eyes and a tail and a dangerous looking nose.
"Intruders, mistress," it said loudly.
A woman in a leather outfit—a beautiful woman who filled the leather outfit very capably, Jack thought—came around a pile of cartons. She immediately went into a crouch, pulling out a dangerous looking knife. "Good dog, K-9," she murmured. She looked them up and down. "Who are you?"
Jack nudged Daniel. "We're friends. We came through the Chappa'ai to meet your people and ask for friendship."
The woman laughed. "I come from the Sevateem, but I haven't seen them in the longest time. Chappi?"
Daniel blinked. "The stone circle?"
"What … oh, that thing?" The woman pointed.
K-9 looked at the Stargate and whirred, then spoke in a metallic voice. "Chappa'ai, commonly known as the Stargate among the residents of the Dimension Earth 10,000 through 11,000. Used by various peoples to travel the galaxies."
"Galaxies?" Carter said.
"Inference is that these people came from Dimension Earth 10,000," K-9 continued.
The woman glanced at the dog, apparently puzzled, then focused her attention back on SG-1. "They are carrying weapons."
"For defensive purposes only," Daniel said. "Are we among friends?"
"Master shall have to decide," K-9 said. "If you fetch the Master, I will guard the room."
Leela nodded, then left. Jack was left facing the "dog." "You don't look so dangerous," Jack said, cautiously.
"I am armed with a laser in what you would call my nose."
Jack looked at Carter. She shrugged. "Well, without investigating, it looks like a laser gun."
"Here, now," came a voice. "K-9, if they say they are friends, then they are friends."
"Master, they carry weapons."
The owner of the voice came around the boxes. He was a tall man with curly brown hair, a long brown coat, a vest, and an immensely long scarf. He also wore a large smile.
"Leela said that they said they carry them for defensive purposes," he said, dismissively. "I'm sure they will put them down for me." He held out his hand. "I'm called the Doctor," he said in a British accent.
Jack blinked, but dropped his weapon to his side. "I am Colonel Jack O'Neill, this is Major Samantha Carter, Doctor Daniel Jackson, and this is Teal'c." He took the Doctor's hand."
"Doctor … what?" Daniel said.
"Just the Doctor. Welcome to my ship."
"Your …" Jack said.
The floor tilted to one side again. "I think I had better go back to the control room," the Doctor said. "We seem to be traveling through some turbulent Time eddies."
"Time … ?" Carter said
"If you will follow me …?" The Doctor turned and went back the way he came.
The woman looked cautiously at them. "I am Leela of the Sevateem," she said. "K-9 and I will follow you."
Jack nodded. "I understand." He knew what she was thinking—it was better to have them in front of her, where she could kill them if they tried something. "But," he said as he turned to follow the rapidly disappearing Doctor. "Daniel spoke the truth. We can be friends."
She shrugged him onward.
"Or not," he muttered. "Where are we, anyway?" he said louder.
"You're in the Tardis."
"The 'Tardis,' " Daniel said. "What kind of ship is it?"
"It's a time ship."
They caught up with the Doctor. "Or, to put it more precisely, it's a Time And Relative Dimension In Space vehicle," he told them.
"You named your ship after an acronym?"
The Doctor opened a door into a control room. "Oh, I didn't name it. My granddaughter did." He stood still for a moment. "As a matter of fact, the Tardis doesn't really have a name, does she?" He went up and touched the controls of a round dais in the middle of the room. "But you don't care, do you girl?" he said, matter-of-factly.
The grounding noise of the dais got louder, as if in response. "Hang on," the Doctor said.
"To what?" Carter said, looking around. There were no handrails.
"Yes," the Doctor said, musing. "I really need to get handrails in here, one of these days."
Leela pointed to the controls. "I hang on to this."
Jack looked at the controls. There were buttons over levers and screens and more levers. "Carter?"
"Not a clue, sir," she said, grabbing onto an edge.
There was a thump, and the central column stopped working. Jack could see Carter staring intently at the column. "Sir, they look like control crystals."
"Well, of course, they're control crystals." The curly headed Doctor smiled widely at Sam. "Good girl."
Jack and Daniel raised their eyebrows, and Teal'c raised one eyebrow. But the explosion didn't come. Carter just looked back at him. "Thank you."
"You must have some experience in Time and Space." The Doctor glanced at them sharply. "Unlike most humans in this universe. Curious." He studied the control panel. "Or—perhaps—." He appeared fascinated by a readout.
"We've dabbled in it," Carter said, diplomatically.
"Are you a Furling?" Jack asked.
"Jack," Daniel said.
"Daniel? It's a fair question."
The Doctor raised his eyebrows. "A Furling? Fascinating. Never heard of them. Sounds like a big Teddy Bear." He glanced at them sharply. "Have you ever heard of a Goa'uld?" They tensed up. "I see you have. I've been in your dimension." He shook his head. "Nasty business, those Goa'ulds." He looked at the symbol on Teal'c's forehead. "And you have a Jaffa." He blinked. "I actually kind of like Jaffa cakes."
"It's a British cookie," Daniel said.
"Yes," the Doctor agreed cheerfully. He reached into his pocket. Jack tensed. He pulled out a bag. "Jelly Babies?"
"How do you know that we're not Goa'ulds?"
"As I said, nasty pieces of business." He shook his head. "You didn't come in, demanding to take over the Tardis, like Ra."
"Ra's dead," Jack said.
"And his host?"
"A shame. About the host."
"I suppose," Jack said.
Leela had been pacing in front of the door. K-9 was attentive at her. "Doctor. Aren't you going to look and see where we've landed?"
"I already know," the Doctor said. "Earth. He twirled a control. But the Tardis doesn't seem to want to tell me a time. Well, one way to find out." He strode over and opened the door and poked his head out. Jack saw a gas lamp. It seemed to be night outside, and the air felt damp. "Victorian someplace," the Doctor said. "Hey, you, boy! What year is it?"
Distinctively British curses followed his announcement, during which Jack made out an 1885. The Doctor closed the door. "England. 1885."
"I got that," Jack said. He stared at Carter. "How is that possible?"
"Doctor," Carter said. "You said something about universes?"
"Yes. He gave them a sharp look. "I am in your universe. Your dimension, so to speak."
"It's like the Quantum Mirror, sir," Carter said. "Somehow, he's gotten into our dimension."
"Just for fun?"
"Oh, no," the Doctor said, reopening the door. "I'm here for a reason. I just don't know what it is yet." He stared into the distance. "That's the fun of traveling in the Tardis."
"Why are you carrying around a Stargate?" Daniel wondered.
"Ah, is that what you call it?" the Doctor said. "Ra called it a Chappa'ai."
Jack spread his hands. "Why do you have it?"
"Because I stole it from Ra, the last time I was in your universe," the Doctor explained. He started to walk out of the door.
"You intrude in our universe often?" Jack said, frowning.
The Doctor stopped. "Only when the Tardis leads me." He looked impatient. "Are you coming?" He turned, then turned back. "Oh," he said. "Do please leave those." He pointed at the P-90s. "They're rather an anachronism in 1885 England, not to mention alarming and a bit distasteful."
Carter cocked her head. "He does have a point, sir."
Jack lifted his gun. "Distasteful?"
"They're an anachronism. We don't want to change time."
"And I don't want to let him out of my sight," Jack said. He glanced over at Daniel. Daniel seemed bemused and incredibly interested. Jack didn't think he could stop him if he tried. Daniel, placing his P-90 against the wall inside the Tardis, followed him. "Carter, leave your P-90, but not your handgun or the zat," Jack said. He turned to Teal'c. "Teal'c, you stay here. I'm not sure Victorian London is ready for you."
"Indeed." Teal'c inclined his head.
"I shall stay here, also," Leela said. "K-9, you too."
"Yes, mistress." He went up to the door. "Mistress, there is an anomaly out there."
"There are four in here," Carter muttered, as she followed Jack's lead in placing her P-90 on the floor of the Tardis."
They walked fast, and caught up with Daniel just before he got out of sight. "I just thought of something," Daniel said.
"Really?" Jack said.
"Why didn't anybody notice that a spaceship has landed in Victorian England?" He turned around. "Oh."
Jack turned around, as well. A few strides away was an English police call box, the door just closing. The box was tall, dark blue, and nowhere tall enough to hold a Stargate. He pushed at the closed door. "Carter?"
Jack saw the mathematics go on behind her eyes. Finally, she shook her head. "No clue, sir. It's possible that the mathematics don't exist in our universe."
"So how can it be here?" Jack said.
"Are you coming?" the Doctor yelled.
Daniel shrugged and followed after him.
The Doctor stopped, sniffed, stuck up his finger, then walked onward. "I shouldn't be in your universe," he muttered. "Bad things happen." They rounded a corner, and Daniel stopped dead.
"That's the BritishMuseum." His voice was full of awe. "Do you know what that means?"
"No, Daniel, I don't know what that means."
"Samuel Birch is still alive."
Jack rolled his eyes. "Okay, I'll bite. Who's Samuel Birch and how do you know him?"
Daniel blinked at him. "Samuel Birch is one of the first Egyptologists. He worked with the Book of the Dead." He looked a bit pensive. "He died late in 1885."
"And you want to go in and introduce yourself? 'Hi, I'm Doctor Daniel Jackson from the future and you rock?' "
Daniel ignored him. "And Wallis Budge is here, too."
"Now Budge I've heard about. You have some of his books, right?"
"Yes. Of course. They're a bit out-dated …"
That got Daniel's attention. He flushed. "You're right, of course." He looked longingly at the museum. "We should walk on."
The Doctor watched the interchange, then walked through the gates to the museum doors. "Are you coming?"
Jack stared at him. "We can't go in there."
Carter walked up to the Doctor. "Surely you see why we can't go in. We might change history."
"Posh. I'm a Time Lord. I change history every day." He pushed the door and went in.
"Then why did you call our P-90s 'anachronisms?'" Jack muttered.
Sam grinned, then followed the Doctor into a large room.
An elderly man with a long white beard was staring at him. "Who are you?" he said, an unreadable expression on his face.
Jack glanced at Daniel, who was controlling his expression with great care. "We've come to see the museum," the Doctor said. He smiled at Birch widely. "Are you the caretaker?"
"And just what kind of visitors are you?" he asked imperiously
Carter's eyes opened wide. "Colonel—he's a Goa'uld!"
Birch glanced at her, then he took off running—far faster than any old geezer should run. Jack sprinted after him, tackling him. He went down hard and rolled over, glaring up at him. His eyes glowed. "How dare you touch your God!"
"Yeah, yeah," Jack said. "Like I haven't heard that before. Who are you?"
"I am Anuket, and I am your Goddess," he said, the Goa'uld voice predominating.
"Goddess of the Nile," Daniel mused. "Birch must have stumbled onto a canopic jar with a Goa'uld inside of it."
"Well," the Doctor said brightly. "We can't allow that." He whipped out a long instrument, then pointed it at the back of Birch's head. Jack could hear a high-pitched whine. "I would suggest that you get away from Mr. Birch."
Jack got up and backed away. "What are you doing?"
Birch's back arched up. Out of his mouth emerged the Goa'uld, rolling over and over in agony. Carter pulled her knife and cut its head off.
"Damn," Jack said.
Daniel rushed over to Birch, who had collapsed back onto the floor. He opened his eyes and looked up at Daniel. "How … extraordinary," he said weakly.
"Are you all right, sir?" Daniel said.
He sat up and shook his head. "I'm not sure. I was just looking at a canopic jar when something leapt out at me. Then I remember only a small amount. It was like my actions were controlled by something else."
"Really?" Daniel said. He helped Birch to the nearest chair.
Another person had run across the hall to join them. "What are you doing!"
"I'm fine, Mr. Budge," Birch said weakly. Daniel's head whipped around so fast that Jack was certain he had seen the same thing in The Exorcist.
Budge looked over at the Goa'uld lying on the floor. "What is that thing?"
"I'm not certain …" Birch said.
"We'll take care of that for you," Sam said smoothly. "I believe it's just some sort of Egyptian snake that came in with the latest shipment."
Birch glanced at her. "Thank you, my dear." Then he looked closer at her. "What an extraordinary outfit."
"I—" Sam seemed at a loss.
"We just got back from Egypt," Daniel said. "We had an accident, and lost all of our clothing."
The Doctor looked around. "This is all very well, but we must be going." He strode out of the great hall and back outside.
Daniel looked torn.
"Daniel?" Jack said. "He's our ride home."
"It was a pleasure to meet you both," Daniel said quickly. "I'm sorry it was under these circumstances." He strode after the Doctor."
Jack felt the two Egyptologists stare after him. He shrugged and left.
"Why are you in such a hurry, Doctor?" Jack said, finally catching up.
"There's something else wrong."
"How can you tell?" Sam said.
They stopped and listened. "I just hear a low-grade hum," Jack said.
"Exactly," the Doctor said. "A hum that shouldn't be heard …"
"… in Victorian England," Daniel finished his sentence.
"I think something might have come in our wake." The Doctor started walking quickly back toward the Tardis, opened the door, and strode in. They followed him.
"Master," K-9 said. "I have detected Daleks."
"Daleks?" Jack blinked. "I once knew a Captain Dalek."
"O'Neill," Teal'c said. "K-9 has said that these Daleks are a fierce opponent of the Doctor. They are mechanical beings, their outer shell repels bullets, and they shoot an energy beam." He hesitated. "I do not believe they belong here."
"That would be the source of our hum, sir," Carter said.
"I wished to go out after them, but was convinced to wait for you," Teal'c said.
Leela smiled. Now that Jack looked closer, both of them were sporting bruises.
"Kids, what have you been doing?" he said.
Teal'c remained stoic. Leela grinned. "K-9 broke it up, or I would have …"
Teal'c looked away.
The Doctor rolled his eyes. "K-9, how many do you sense?"
"Only two, Master." He stopped for a moment. "Three. Four. Five, six seven eight nine …"
"That's enough." The Doctor looked at Teal'c's staff weapon. He sighed. "Let's go," he said. "All of us. Bring that," he said, pointing at the weapon, "and those," he said, looking disgusted at the P-90's.
"How will we find them?" Daniel said.
"Oh, I don't think we'll have a hard time," the Doctor said. "We just need to get there before they hurt somebody."
They didn't have to go far. The Doctor pointed down the street at a pair of electronic … things … that were lurching down the cobblestone street
"You must be kidding," Jack said. "They look like a cross between R2-D2 and my grandmother's salt and pepper shakers."
"But much more lethal," the Doctor said darkly. "We need to see what they're up to."
"Really?" Jack said. "I don't suppose that we can negotiate with them?"
"Unless your vocabulary consists of 'eliminate' or 'exterminate'—then no, negotiation is not possible," said the Doctor.
Leela considered them. "I think I can take them," she said, moving forward with her spear.
"Oh, for Pete's sake," Jack said. "Teal'c?"
With two rapid shots, Teal'c blasted them.
"That was why I had you bring the weapon," the Doctor said, "but your victory was way too easy."
"More Daleks, Master," K-9 said. "Approximately two blocks away."
"Okay," Jack said. "It's official. I want a K-9. Can you get me one, Carter?"
She grinned. "Sorry, sir."
"Come on," the Doctor said. He rounded the corner—
—and stopped. The street was filled with Daleks.
"Oh, shit," Jack said.
"Do you ever get the feeling," Daniel said, almost conversationally, "like you're Han Solo facing the Imperial Troopers?"
"They're looking the other direction," the Doctor said softly. "And do you notice something?"
They all looked at each other. "They're moving very slowly," Leela said. "What is happening?"
The Doctor smiled broadly. "They're running out of power!" He smiled at the group. "Your laws of physics are so much different than ours that they can't draw the power they need."
"Power is power," Carter said.
"So you think," the Doctor said.
"But," Daniel said, "we can't exactly leave them where they're at, either."
"No, of course not." Carter said. "We'd be leaving an anomaly in Victorian England."
"We can't take them in the Tardis, because she runs on the laws of physics in my universe and they would reactivate."
"Can we zat them?" Jack said.
"Yes, sir." Sam reached into her uniform. An odd look came on her face. "I don't seem to have my zat."
Teal'c had pointed his staff weapon. "O'Neill, my staff weapon will not work."
Daniel paled. "Everybody back to the Tardis. Fast!"
"Go," Jack said to Sam and Teal'c. He turned to run. "Daniel?"
"No time to explain. We especially need to get Teal'c back into the Tardis."
The Doctor loped along easily, looking thoughtful. "You're thinking it's a Time paradox."
The Doctor sprinted past them and opened the door. Teal'c slammed into the Tardis, followed by Leela. The Doctor then entered the door after K-9 had rolled in.
"I need an explanation, Daniel," Jack said.
"Doctor," Daniel said. "Didn't you say that you took the Stargate from Ra?"
"I did. I couldn't leave such a powerful thing with a megalomaniac …"
"But, Doctor," Daniel said. "What you don't realize is that we discovered Ra's Stargate in the desert, covered with a capstone."
The Doctor looked thoughtful. "So if the Stargate is never buried, then you can't discover it. I see."
Sam was nodding. Teal'c looked at Jack and raised his eyebrow, and Jack knew that he didn't understand it, either.
Sam started talking, but Daniel raised his hand to stop her. "It's the 'Marty McFly' effect," he said.
"Oh. Oh!" Jack said.
Teal'c still looked puzzled, and the Doctor wasn't far behind him. Leela shrugged.
K-9 raised his head. "Please explain the 'Marty McFly' effect," he said.
"Marty McFly was a character in a time travel movie who had to make sure that his parents would meet and fall in love. When it looked as if he had failed, he started to disappear."
"That's why our zats disappeared and Teal'c's staff weapon will no longer work?"
"Yes," the Doctor mused. "That makes sense."
Sam looked in her uniform, pulled out the zat, and stared at it. "Your vehicle runs on different rules, obviously."
"Of course," the Doctor said. "So we need to take the Stargate back to your Ancient Egypt and bury it."
"Oh, no," Daniel said. "Just some time before it was discovered." The group looked at him. "Well, we really don't need anyone else to find this before we do, do we?"
"But we still need a capstone."
"Oh," the Doctor said. "There's one there. The natives made one. I just took the functioning part." They stared at him. "There was no point to transporting an inactive object." He strode to the controls, flipped a few switches, and the central column started moving.
"But how are the few of us supposed to bury something … so …" Jack started.
The Doctor grinned. "Oh, I think I have a trick or three up my sleeve."
Later, Jack watched the capstone settle in place on top of the Stargate. "I don't suppose we can have the DHD, too?"
"Sorry, Jack," Daniel said. "We can't bury the DHD. We never found it."
"By the way," he said, turning toward the Doctor. "I just thought of something," Just how are we supposed to get back to our own time?"
"Well," the Doctor said. "If you get rid of the Dalek infestation of London, I think I can manage to drop you off."
"That would be nice."
"Thank you for helping us," Daniel said.
"Daniel, he brought them to our universe in his wake."
"Where they became immobile. He still doesn't have to take us back to disintegrate them." Carter looked distant. "I do wonder how that paradox would have worked out."
"I really don't like leaving paradoxes," said the Doctor.
"Besides," the Doctor continued. "If you don't disintegrate them, then I will be forced to take them back to my universe with me."
"Doctor," Jack said. "You don't strike me as a man of violence."
The Doctor glared at him. "The Daleks are beings that have no emotions and no compassion. All they know any more is hate," he said lowly. "It's a mercy killing." He gazed into the distance, and, for the first time, Jack wondered just how old the Doctor was.
"Done," he suddenly said, brightly, as sand settled over the Stargate. "Now to London, then to drop you off." He looked at Leela, smiled, and pulled a yellow disk out of his pocket, glanced at it a second, then closed the door and set the controls. A few minutes later, he opened the door again. They were facing a row of Daleks. Almost casually, Teal'c and Sam started disintegrating the androids from the doorway.
"They are robots, aren't they?" Sam said.
"Androids, actually. Little green blobs controlling a robotic exterior," the Doctor said. "Beautiful, in their way."
Sam stopped. "They're not robots?"
"They're not exactly living beings, either. Any sort of humanity—so to speak—was taken out of them a long time ago," the Doctor said, sadly.
"Keep shooting," Jack said. "I'll take responsibility."
"Yes, sir," Sam said, without enthusiasm.
Finally, the street was clear of Daleks. A man in a nightcap peered out of a window. "You didn't see anything," Jack called out. He turned to the Doctor. "Do you think he believed me?"
"Humans are capable of all sorts of self-delusion."
Sam and Teal'c turned around and back into the control room. "Now," the Doctor said gently, "to take you home."
"You know where NORAD is?"
"I can follow your Stargate," the Doctor said. "It's a mechanism of time and space."
The dais lifted up and down. "Oh," Jack said. "By the way, be sure to land outside of NORAD."
The dais stopped. The Doctor smiled and strode to the door. "Why?"
Jack could hear guns click. "Oh," the Doctor said, looking out. "I don't think you'll need those."
Jack ran to the door and yelled out, "Stand down!" He found Hammond gaping down at him from the SGC control room.
"Colonel?" Hammond finally said. "What? How?"
"This is a friend!"
"How are you able to fit in …"
Jack went out the door, followed by Carter, Daniel and Teal'c. Leela and K-9 peered out, but stayed in the Tardis.
"Sorry to look like a clown car," Jack said, "Sam will explain it later."
Carter was stoic. "Like hell I will, sir," she said under her breath.
Jack pretended like he hadn't heard her.
"We'll have to question your friend," Hammond said.
"Oh, no," the Doctor yelled up at him, "Much as I would like to visit, I have times to visit, places to go, things to do. Thank you!"
"Thank you, Doctor," Daniel said. "For everything."
The Doctor gave him a grin and a two fingered salute, then closed the door. A second later, the Tardis groaned and disappeared.
"I can hardly wait for your debriefing, Colonel," Hammond said tightly.
Jack sighed. "Oh, it should be a good one, sir."
"What do we say?" Daniel said, sotto voce.
"The truth," Jack said. "Then we wait for the psychiatrists." He tried to smile but failed.
The next few days were going to be incredibly long. But was it worth it? As Jack remembered the awestruck look on Daniel's face as he met Samuel Birch and Budge, he thought, oh,hell, yeah. He shrugged. It was worth it. He smiled.