Sam looked at her. “What’s wrong? Are you feeling sick?”
“I’m fine.” Samantha let out a rueful huff. “At least as fine as I can be under the circumstances.” She took a slow deep breath. “Sam, we need to talk.”
Bright blue eyes met equally blue eyes. “What about?”
“What about him.”
“You and he... aren’t...”
“No! No, no.”
“Have you thought about it?”
“No. Of course not.”
“It’s obvious he’s attracted to you.”
“I respect him, and trust him, but... No, I couldn’t possibly.”
Samantha nodded. “Alright. Then let me ask you this: What about Janet?”
“What do you mean?”
“Sam, she’s in love with you.”
Sam’s jaw dropped. “B-but she’s never... How do you know?”
“It's obvious if you know what to look for. And it’s why I know you’re in love with her, too.” She smiled gently and continued before Sam could object. “Don’t even try to deny it. I know you pretty well, maybe better than you know yourself.”
Sam dropped her eyes, unable to hold Samantha’s gaze.
“Sam, it just about killed me to lose my Janet.” She swallowed. “But I have to tell you, even if I knew ahead of time what was going to happen, I’d do it all over again. There’s no way I would give up the time we had together, no matter how short.” Samantha stood and moved to stand next to Sam. “Don’t miss out on the best thing in your life, Sam. Life’s too short.” She paused for a beat. “Talk to her – you won’t regret it.”
While the two astrophysicists worked to get the alien generator working again, Major Kawalsky taught Daniel how to work the controller for the quantum mirror.
“There. See? You probably turned it the wrong way. Since this device should be in a storage closet in my reality, dial it the other way.”
Daniel dialed until he came across a corridor with Jaffa in it.
“Change it! Change it! Change it!”
Daniel changed it to an empty hall.
“Okay. Closer. What you want to do is dial it in smaller increments.”
Finally Sam and Samantha got the generator to work. So, Samantha, Kawalsky, Jack, and Daniel gathered around the quantum mirror. Teal’c arrived wearing his Serpent Guard uniform.
Samantha gave him the once over. “Yep, that's right. Looks like him.
“I am not fond of wearing this uniform again,” Teal’c said with some distaste.
“Well, I'm not too fond of seeing you wear it,” Kawalsky agreed.
Daniel got everyone back on track. “I've searched through all the descriptions of realities close to ours and this has to be it. It's the only one matching your description.”
Kawalsky looked at the scene in the mirror and nodded. “Yeah.”
Sam entered. She and Samantha moved a few steps away for a little privacy and spoke quietly together.
“Wish I could go.”
“Same here. But you don't want to go through a cascade tremor, believe me. We made a good team, Major.”
“Yeah, we did, Doctor.”
“Plus your hair's kind of grown on me. Pardon the pun.” Samantha gave her twin a small smile, which Sam returned.
“You'd better go.”
“I lost her... but you still have her. Promise me you’ll talk to Janet.”
“I will... I promise.”
They both dabbed at their eyes as they parted.
Samantha rejoined the others.
“Okay, on three,” ordered O’Neill. “One... two... three...”
They all touched the mirror at the same time and were transported to the other side, into the other reality. Sam waited until the mirror went dark – turned off by Daniel – before she left. She turned and stepped into the corridor... and headed to the infirmary.
Janet was sitting at her desk trying to do some paperwork. The past two or three days had really knocked her off center. Though she wore her professional mask at work, her daughter knew immediately something was up. Cassie, showing a maturity beyond her years, simply let her mother know she was there and kept her company in the silence of Janet’s confusion. She even made breakfast for Janet both mornings after Janet restlessly tossed and turned each night.
What had thrown the doctor, was a conversation she’d had with Major Kawalsky.
“Major? Could I talk with you?”
“Sure, Doc,” he replied with a warm smile.
They went into her office.
“What can I do for you, Doc?”
“I have a question for you.”
“Have I done something to offend or upset Dr. Carter?”
He was clearly surprised by her question.
“I ask, because I haven’t been able to get two words more than necessary out of her, and she’s been avoiding me. She’s clearly uncomfortable by my presence.”
“Don’t take it personally, Doctor,” he said in a sympathetic tone. “I’m actually a little surprised no one told you...”
“Told me what?”
He took a deep breath. “In our reality, Samantha and... your counterpart were married – a year ago earlier this month.”
Janet’s eyebrows climbed to her hairline. “Married?”
“That was possible in your reality?”
“Actually, no. But Doc had saved the world a few times and parlayed that into a White House dispensation.” He paused. “Three days before we came here, O’Neill, Ferretti, Makepeace and countless others... including Doc, were killed when the Goa’uld attacked the mountain.”
Janet closed her eyes. “That explains a lot,” she said softly.
Kawalsky waited until Janet opened her eyes again. “So tell me... why haven’t you told Major Carter how you feel about her?” he asked gently. He chuckled at her deer in the headlights expression.
“Don’t worry, you’re not obvious. But I’ve watched Samantha and Doc together for over three years. I recognized the look in your eyes whenever Major Carter is around.”
She was distinctly uncomfortable, but for some reason answered. “That kind of relationship could mean a court martial. And even if I did say something, it doesn’t mean she–”
“She does, Doc. Trust me, she does,” he said.
Since that conversation, Janet had been pensive and unable to sleep.
On the other side of the mirror, the team quickly laid a trap for that universe’s Teal’c. Teal’c gave his counterpart exactly one chance to change sides before calmly killing him.
“The idea was to zat him!” Jack exclaimed.
“As I said, O’Neill, ours is the only reality of consequence,” Teal’c responded in a no nonsense tone that revealed his unquestioning belief of what was right.
With the First Prime out of the way, Teal’c was able to take his place and enact their plan.
“Okay. Daniel, it’s going to take some time to dial in the right reality in the mirror, so go ahead and get started. Kawalsky and I will get the generator in place. Teal’c, get Dr. Carter to the gate.”
“I can be of help getting you guys to the gate room,” Kawalsky insisted.
Jack smacked him in the arm. “Come on. Carter couldn’t be safer than with Teal’c. Let’s go.” They left.
Taking Samantha ‘prisoner,’ Teal’c led her from the room. When they arrived in the control room Apophis and a couple of Jaffa were torturing General Hammond. He was trying to obtain the address of the Beta site from the general.
He turned toward them.
“Teal’c. Who do we have here?”
“They were captured attempting to escape, my lord.”
“This one will not tell us the glyphs for the planet where they’ve sent their leaders. Get it out of him. Or get it out of her.”
“Yes, my lord.”
Apophis left with two of his Serpent Guards. That left two other Jaffa in attendance for Teal’c to take care of.
“Attend to our lord. I will take care of these. Kree, Jaffa!”
They bowed and left.
“You might as well kill me,” the general spat out defiantly, though a bit weakly.
“I would never do such a thing, General Hammond.”
The general looked at Teal’c in shock.
“It’s okay. You’re not hallucinating. He’s from an alternate reality.”
“So that mirror thing worked?”
“Yeah. But don’t worry; I won’t say ‘I told you so.’”
“We should have tried it a long time ago, Doctor.”
As Dr. Carter untied the general, Teal’c noticed a monitor showing a Goa’uld pyramid ship descending over the mountain. “They have landed on the mountain.”
“There’s still a chance we can stop them, General. We’re going to attempt to contact a race of aliens that they have in their reality. Enemies of the Goa’uld.”
Janet’s head came up at the knock on her office door.
Sam entered. “Hey, Janet.”
“Hey, Sam.” Janet couldn’t help but smile. “Is the team on its way?”
Sam nodded. “Yeah.” She paused for a couple of beats. “Can we talk?”
“Sure.” She indicated Sam should have a seat.
Nervous, Sam sat on the couch. She’d promised Samantha she’d talk to Janet, but sitting there, actually faced with Janet... She wasn’t sure how to start.
Janet watched her best friend sit on the couch, concern beginning to creep into her as she took in the blonde’s demeanor. Sam was clearly nervous, but why would she be so uncomfortable talking to her? They confided in each other all the time and could talk about anything. They had no secrets... well, just the one. Janet got up from her chair and moved to sit next to Sam on the couch.
“What is it, Sam?” she asked warmly.
Sam took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “It’s been strange... meeting myself from another reality.”
Janet relaxed a little. She’d wondered how long it was going to take Sam to talk about it. Anytime Sam had been asked about ‘her twin’ she’d brushed off any and all concerns. Janet was glad she was finally willing to talk about it.
“I can only imagine. It’s been a little strange to see another you walking around here...” Janet smiled, “especially with that long hair.”
Sam chuckled. “Yeah. I never would have pictured myself with long hair.”
Janet reached up and brushed her fingers through the blonde’s bangs. “I prefer it short.”
Sam smiled. “Yeah?”
“Janet, did you get much of a chance to talk to her?”
“You mean Dr. Carter?”
“Not really. Since there wasn’t anything I could do to treat her...”
Sam heard the frustration in Janet’s voice. She reached over and put her hand on the doctor’s hand. “It’s okay, Janet. She’ll be fine now that she’s back in her own universe.”
“If she isn’t killed.”
“I have faith in SG-1,” she said with confidence. “Anyway, working with Samantha I had a couple of interesting conversations with her. Did you know she was married?”
“I’d heard that.”
“Did you hear who she was married to?”
Janet silently nodded.
Sam didn’t know what to say. She could leave it alone... or push forward and see if Samantha had been right. She took a settling breath and looked away from her best friend. “According to Samantha, they were very happy together.” She chickened out and said nothing further.
Janet watched the blonde for a few moments in silence. Then she finally made a decision. She spoke softly but clearly. “I have no doubt my counterpart considered herself a very lucky woman.” She waited until Sam looked at her again. “I know I would.”
“Yes, I would.”
They held each other’s gaze, seeing, for the first time, their feelings reflected in the other’s eyes. They were drawn towards each other until their lips met in a soft kiss. Arms came up and wrapped around each other as their kiss deepened. Tongues dances, breath was shared, and sighs exchanged.
They both jumped when there was a knock on Janet’s office door. Janet placed a hand over her pounding heart and drew in a couple of quick breaths. Sam, suddenly on the far opposite end of couch, also took a couple of breaths to slow her own pounding heart. Their eyes met and both broke out in laughter.
There was another knock.
“Come in,” Janet called.
Samantha was sitting at the computer and quickly typing in commands. “Okay, now.”
Teal’c inserted the hard drive they’d brought with them.
“I hope your Jack is good enough to get the transformer on line.”
Only a few moments later, the gate started to dial from the program they’d loaded.
“It appears that he is,” Teal’c replied. “You must prepare to go through the gate, Dr. Carter.”
Samantha stood up and kissed Teal'c on the cheek. “Thank you, Teal'c.”
The eighth chevron lock and the gate activated. The activation of course alerted Jaffa in the area and they came rushing in. General Hammond was already on his knees with his hands behind his head so as not give away the charade.
“Jaffa! Kree hol mel! Hol mel, Jaffa!” Teal’c called out, in order to stop them from shooting Dr. Carter.
She took advantage of their momentary confusion and ran for the gate. She dove through, ducking staff weapon fire. The wormhole disengaged as soon as she was through.
Apophis entered just in time to see her escape. “Teal’c, why do you betray me?”
Teal’c remained silent.
After Jack and Kawalsky had gotten the generator hooked up, they headed back to the storage room where the mirror and Daniel were. Unfortunately, there were also half a dozen Jaffa lying in wait for them. The men, taken prisoner, were led back to the control room where Apophis had them placed on their knees next to the general. They were lined up shoulder to shoulder.
Apophis pinned Jack with a glare. “My First Prime killed you before my very eyes.”
“I’m feeling much better, thanks.”
He glared at Teal’c. “What magic is this?”
Teal’c remained silent, refusing to answer him.
Daniel spoke up, “You should know better than anyone, there's no such thing as magic.”
“Trey lan tonik.”
A Jaffa stood directly behind Hammond and raised his zat, aiming at the back of his head.
“I will ask you one more time. How could you have risen from the dead without a sarcophagus?”
When Jack uncharacteristically remained silent, Apophis nodded at the Jaffa, who shot Hammond with the zat. Hammond crumbled to the floor unconscious.
“I'm guessing the second shot kills in this world too, huh?” Jack muttered to Kawalsky.
“Tell me what I want to know!”
“Hey, I'd love to. But I don't understand it myself.” Jack pointed at Daniel. “He does.”
Daniel’s eyes widened. “Okay, I'll, uh... I'll give it a try. Um, you see, at every point in time, there are infinite possibilities. A parallel reality exists for each possibility, so there are literally infinite branches.”
Apophis gave a nod and the Jaffa shot Hammond a second time with the zat – killing him.
“NO!” Kawalsky yelled. “You–” He’d started to get up but a Jaffa behind him grabbed him and kept him in place.
“Tell me where you come from.”
Daniel sighed. “From an alternate reality.”
Jack couldn’t resist adding, “One in which, by the way, you're dead.”
The Jaffa that had killed Hammond, shot Daniel with a zat.
“He told you everything he knows!” Kawalsky yelled.
The Jaffa raised his zat again, ready to give Daniel the second shot, when another Jaffa came running in.
“My lord. Tel kol, Apophis. Kree no tel, Reenlokia!” He pointed at the monitor above their heads. The inner ring of the gate started to spin and a blip was seen heading towards the mountain on the screen of the monitor.
“Mel tok nee!” ordered Apophis. Most of the Jaffa immediately left except for a couple of Serpent Guards. Apophis raised his hand, activating the ribbon device. Before he could use it on anyone he disappeared in an Asgard transporter beam.
“Okay, I'm guessing–” Kawalsky started.
“Asgard,” O’Neill answered him as he helped a barely conscious Daniel up from the floor.
The gate activated and many of the Jaffa ran through it. The gate deactivated before they all could escape.
In the control room, the men watched the Goa’uld ship take off from the top of the mountain on the monitor screen. They also saw an Asgard ship descending. The entire mountain shook and the body of that reality’s Hammond was beamed away.
“It appears Dr. Carter was successful,” Teal’c observed, breaking his silence.
Samantha suddenly appeared, in an Asgard transporter beam. She was bubbling over with excitement. “I met the Asgard.”
“We guessed that,” Jack quipped.
Another Asgard transported beam deposited General Hammond – alive and well. Samantha bounced into his arms, hugging him and kissing his cheek.
Jack smiled. “Love those guys.”
The door to Janet’s office opened and one of her nurses stuck her head in. “Sorry to bother you, but the general said he wanted a medical team stationed at the mirror, just in case.”
“Thank you, Lieutenant.”
The nurse closed the door and Janet looked at Sam. “To be continued later?” she asked with a mischievous smile.
Sam grinned. “Absolutely.”
General Hammond, Janet and Sam were waiting on the other side of the mirror while Daniel, Teal'c and Jack said their goodbyes to Dr. Carter and Major Kawalsky.
“Colonel, it's been a pleasure to serve with you... again.”
They saluted each other. Kawalsky then turned to salute Teal’c and Daniel and then left. O’Neill turned to Samantha. He opened his mouth to say something, but she spoke before he did.
“I can’t thank you all enough for what you’ve done.”
“We aim to please,” Jack replied.
“Your world is facing a difficult time – dealing with the losses. But with the Asgard on your side, you’re also at the brink of wondrous things,” Daniel said.
Samantha nodded. She then looked at Jack again. “After everything you’ve done, I’m hesitant to ask for anything more.”
Samantha glanced over the colonel’s shoulder and through the mirror. “Is there any way I could speak with Dr. Fraiser?”
Jack’s eyes widened, but it was Daniel that spoke. “You really shouldn’t go back to our reality, the quantum–”
“I know.” She sighed. “I know.”
“Is there a message I can give the doc?” Jack asked.
“It’s uh... it’s private, confidential.”
Daniel patted Jack’s shoulder. “Janet is a doctor, Jack.”
Jack was clearly torn but finally nodded. “I can’t order her to come over here, but I’ll let her know you want to talk to her.”
The three men of SG-1 turned, put their hands on the mirror, and were immediately back in their own reality. Jack looked at General Hammond. “Mission accomplished, sir.”
“Well done, Jack. Debrief in an hour.”
“Yes, sir.” He looked at Janet. “Dr. Carter requested the opportunity to speak with you, Doc. You’re under no obligation; it’s not an order.”
Janet was surprised. Dr. Carter hadn’t wanted to even be around her while she’d been at the SGC.
“She did say it was confidential, Janet,” Daniel said gently.
Janet nodded. “I’ll go talk to her.”
“You want us to wait?”
“No. Go on to the infirmary for physicals. Sam’s here.”
Daniel handed the controller to Sam and the three men left.
“I’ll be right here if you need anything, Janet.”
“I know. Thanks, Sam.” Janet placed her hand on the mirror was transported to the other reality.
“Thank you for coming. I appreciate it.”
Janet turned to face the blonde. “What did you want to talk about?”
Samantha dropped her gaze and shifted uneasily. “First off, to apologize. I was rude to you while I was in your reality.”
“I didn’t take it as rudeness. It just made me wonder why you were uncomfortable around me.”
“About that...” She looked up at the doctor. “It wasn’t you; it was her... my Janet.” She swallowed the lump that formed in her throat. “My wife,” she said softly.
Janet closed the small distance between them and gently wiped an errant tear away from Samantha’s cheek. “I know. It’s okay.”
Janet’s understanding and tenderness was all it took to break the dam. Samantha broke down crying. Janet didn’t hesitate to take her in her arms and comfort her. She pulled herself together after a couple of minutes and pulled back out of Janet’s embrace.
Wiping her face she looked at Janet. “Thank you. But that’s not why I asked you here.”
“It’s about your Sam. I’ve seen the way you two are with each other. I know you love her.”
Janet smiled. “Yes, I do.”
“You should tell her.”
“Actually, we’ve already talked about it... or least started to. We obviously need to talk some more.”
“Good. I’m glad.”
They shared a smile.
“Is there anything else you wanted to talk about?”
“No, that’s it. But...”
“It’s hard to say goodbye.” Samantha’s voice cracked.
Janet stepped up and hugged her. “It’s okay, Samantha. Take care of yourself... and thank you.” She kissed her cheek before letting her go.
“Stay safe, Janet – for her sake.”
With that, Janet turned and placed her hand on the mirror. Back in her own reality, she waved goodbye before Sam turned off the mirror.
“So, what did she have to say,” Sam asked as they walked down the corridor.
“She just wanted to make sure you and I talked.”
Sam nodded. “She made me promise to talk to you. I guess she was just making sure by talking to you.”
Janet looked at Sam. “Come home with me tonight, so we can continue our talk.”
Sam smiled. “I’ll be there.”