Season 3.5: Episode 1
“All I am saying is that you have been in a bad mood since you returned from this last mission.”
“I have not!” Rodney glared at Radek across the room for a moment before turning back to the screens in front of him.
“He’s right you know.” John commented, shifting slightly.
“I have just been a little distracted, that’s all.” Rodney amended, throwing a sour look in John’s direction. “Could you stop fidgeting?”
“Only if you say please.” John responded.
Rodney sighed, arms dropping down to his sides for a moment. “Please.” He waited for a moment, watching the other man before sniffing faintly. “Thank you.”
“I still can not find anything,” Radek sighed, waved a hand at the readouts in front of him, “there does not seem to be anything wrong with any of the city’s power systems.”
Rodney’s eyes widened, and he held up a hand. “No, but there are a few inconsistencies.”
“Inconsistencies?” John questioned, eyebrows raised.
“Alone they are not enough.” Radek shook his head sighing. “Perhaps it is possible that somehow we have been looking in the wrong place?”
Rodney scoffed, turning, data pad balanced on one arm. “Can you think of somewhere else we should look?”
Radek shrugged, releasing a soft defeated sigh. “There are a great many other places, less likely then these, but I could not say which one would be most helpful.”
“And how many of those has anything to do with the city’s power distribution?” Rodney challenged, eyebrow raised.
Radek glared at the other man. “It is possible.”
“There is a remote possibility yes.” Rodney allowed, “but I think we should rule out everything that is likely before we start making random guesses, don’t you?”
Radek glared at Rodney before turning away, muttering in Czech under his breath.
John blinked, deciding to remain silent, knowing only too well that asking questions would just set them off again. It was better to leave them to aggravate each other.
“Doctor McKay, Doctor Zelenka, Colonel Sheppard.” John turned his head, searching for the source of the voice and finally spotting the two women in the doorway.
“We have found something.” The smaller of the two, a Japanese woman who John vaguely recognised, spoke up hesitantly, reaching up to push her large glasses further up her nose.
“You found something.” Rodney turned, frowning at the two women. “Would you care to be more specific?”
The other woman, glanced at her companion before quickly answering, pushing her dark hair back behind her ear. “We were checking some of the work that was done yesterday and we found something that might explain the blackouts.”
“Might?” Rodney threw the word back at her, eyes narrowed.
“Well, actually it would be easier to just show you.” She motioned towards the door.
Rodney exchanged a look with Radek before sighing. “Fine, but if this turns out to be a waste of our time, you are so fired.”
Elizabeth swung around startled by Ronon question. “Yes. Why wouldn’t I be?”
“You stopped.” Ronon shrugged.
Elizabeth sighed, glancing towards the door a few meters in front of them, before pushing her hair back. “I’m just a little uncomfortable with this whole situation I guess.”
“I could always go question her for you.”
Elizabeth hesitated smiling faintly before shaking her head. “While I appreciate the offer, I think it’s better if I do this myself.”
“Okay.” Ronon shrugged.
“Okay.” She nodded, taking a deep breath before turning and making her way to the door and stepping through, nodding to the two guards before making her way to the bed, conscious of Ronon’s presence a few feet behind. She calmed settled herself into the chair that someone had left next to the bed before turning her full attention to their guest.
The head of the bed had been raised to allow the woman to sit up comfortably, with a small tray of food balanced on her lap, which she was poking with the plastic fork not really seeming interested. Long brown hair hung loose around her pale face and the covers were tucked under her armpits, covering as much of her body as was possible while still allowing her arms free movement. She dropped the fork after a moment, placing the tray carefully on the end of the bed and throwing an uneasy look at Ronon, before turning to face Elizabeth blue eyes widening faintly in surprise.
Elizabeth stiffened faintly, suddenly struck by just how much the woman reminded her of the person that she was claiming to be and she had to force her self to relax. She met the woman’s gaze, waiting a moment before speaking. “I would introduce myself, but I have a feeling you already know who I am.”
“Doctor Elizabeth Weir.” The woman replied nodding, not breaking eye contact.
Elizabeth smiled. “Good, now I’ve been told that you seen to be quite sure that you’re Doctor Daniel Jackson.”
A faint blush touched the woman’s cheeks before she ducked her head, nodding slowly. “But you don’t believe me.” She raised her head slightly to meet Elizabeth’s gaze once more.
“And there probably isn’t much that I can say that would convince you either, considering.”
“Considering?” Elizabeth pressed.
The woman hesitated a long moment, gaze locking onto a spot on the floor as she shifted her weight. “Considering the fact that to all intents and purposes I’m now a woman.” She winced faintly as she finished her sentence, biting her bottom lip.
Elizabeth frowned, watching her for a moment longer before responding, “That would be part of the problem.”
“The other being that I died, on another planet, in another galaxy?” The woman’s voice was soft, but she managed to meet Elizabeth’s gaze, her expression pained.
Elizabeth schooled her features carefully before nodding. “Doctor Jackson did, yes.”
The woman sighed. “I have no idea how I got here, or how this,” she made a vague gesture at herself, “happened, but I do remember dying, with amazing clarity in fact.” She shuddered faintly.
Elizabeth’s eyebrows rose. “I can imagine that would be, disturbing.”
“More than a little.” She agreed, meeting Elizabeth’s gaze. “But me saying that doesn’t really prove anything.”
“No it doesn’t.” Elizabeth agreed. “Are you sure that you can’t remember anything that might help us understand how you got here?”
The woman shook her head regretfully. “I have a vague memory of being in a very dark place, alone, but other than that, nothing. I wish I did, I want to understand this as much as you do.”
Elizabeth nodded her understanding. “I can understand that, though…”
“You can’t completely trust me, I might be deceiving you and as I’m pretty sure that the whole of my last visit to Atlantis and it’s events are common knowledge among the Ancients, there’s nothing that was said that only you, me and Vala would know, or at least you can’t be sure. So I can’t quote anything to you that would prove what I’ve said.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “No, there isn’t.”
A slight smile crossed the woman’s face as she watched Elizabeth. “I’m guessing you’ve had a lot of practice over the last few years.”
Elizabeth frowned, confused. “I’m sorry.”
“Bluffing,” the woman answered gaze intense, “and not always beating big when you do?” Elizabeth opened her mouth before shaking her head silently, unsure of how to respond as the woman continued. “I mean, you’ve had to deal with a lot of situations where the truth hasn’t really been an option, or at least according to the reports I read you have.”
Elizabeth lent forward, studying the other woman. “And I suppose you can tell me what the one thing I remembered was?”
“The smoke making your eyes water.” She supplied easily.
Elizabeth stared at the woman for a moment, taking it in, only to be saved from having to think of a response as her headset came to life. “If you’ll excuse me.” She nodded politely to the woman before hurrying out into the corridor. “Go ahead Rodney.” She listening patiently before nodding, meeting Ronon gaze as he stepped out into the corridor himself, eyebrows raised. “I’ll be right there.” She lowered her hand, slowly casting a last look at the door before answering Ronon’s silent question. “Rodney thinks he’s found out what was causing the blackouts.”
“Ah Elizabeth, finally.” Rodney motioned her in impatiently.
“Rodney.” Elizabeth met the gazes of each of the rooms other occupants in turn, ignoring the dirty look Rodney threw her.
“We found the cause of the blackouts and as it turns out, it’s amazingly simple.”
“Yes, Doctors Kusanagi and Hewston were going through some of our more recent finds and they found a record that suggested that someone had recently activated one of the city’s systems that was previously dormant.” Radek explained, smiling at the two women.
Rodney nodded along with Radek’s explanation impatiently before quickly taking over as he finished, gesturing with his hands as he spoke. “As you know we have a number of fail safes in place to prevent the ZPM from ever overloading, which means that there is a limit to how much power is available at anytime, even with the naquadah generators.”
“Okay, I’m following you so far,” Elizabeth affirmed, shifting her weight slightly, “though I’m not quite sure how all of that relates to the current situation.”
“Ah, well, this is where it gets interesting.” Rodney grinned, gesturing excitedly as he continued his explanation. “The newly activated system is city wide and we’re not completely sure what it does yet, but we do know that it seems to draw a large amount of power whenever it’s active. The problem is, this system needs so much power that it’s setting off the fail safes, meaning that all of the power has been directed to this system instead of the others. There’s also the fact that it seems to have been damaged at some point, which is why we have only been having a few sporadic blackouts in varying areas of the city.”
“Which means our guest had nothing to do with the blackouts,” John supplied, shrugging, “and we’re no closer to understanding how she got here.”
Elizabeth met his gaze for a moment nodding before turning back to Rodney. “Who turned this system on?”
Rodney exchanged a look with Radek. “Exactly who you would expect.”
Elizabeth frowned, glancing at Radek who sighed, shaking his head wearily. “Apparently Doctor Kavanagh did so while he and Doctor Simpson were running some tests a few days ago, though we have yet to ask why.”
Elizabeth winced. “You’re certain?”
Rodney nodded. “They were the only ones in the labs at the time.”
She sighed, rubbing her forehead wearily. “Why am I not surprised?”
“To be honest, I’ve never really understood why he stayed.” John commented, frowning.
“He believes that we will need him.” Radek responded, shaking his head.
Elizabeth raised an eyebrow. “Of course.” She paused for a moment. “Why did it take you so long to work this out?”
“There were a few signs, but when you consider that fact that most of the other systems that would cause something like this are things that we would notice turning on, it really didn’t seem likely.” Rodney answered.
“There was still some power being distributed to the other systems and the fail safes mean that many of the systems did not register the loss of power.” Radek shook his head hopelessly.
“They’ve been kicking themselves for hours and apparently,” John threw a meaningful glance in Rodney’s direction, “one of the changes that Rodney made while he was ‘advanced’ wasn’t actually good.”
Elizabeth fought a smile, turning to give Rodney a disapproving stare instead.
“I said I’d fix it didn’t I?!”
Elizabeth smiled, turning to the two women. “Very good work, both of you.”
Doctor Hewston smiled brightly in return while Doctor Kusanagi included her head, a tiny smile touching her lips.
Elizabeth nodded, turning to Radek. “How long will it take you to fix the problem?”
“Once we have turned off the damaged system and corrected the faults, the blackouts should cease.” Radek answered quickly.
“Which we should be able to do in a few hours.” Rodney provided, ignoring Radek’s quiet protest.
Elizabeth nodded slowly, giving Radek a sympathetic smile. “That’s good news.”
“Well, we’d best leave you to it then.” John gently led Ronon and Elizabeth towards the door, giving Elizabeth a meaningful look as he did so. She smiled, nodding politely to the others before following him out. He waited until they had gotten out of earshot before speaking again. “So I’m guessing the questioning didn’t go so well?”
Elizabeth sighed, shaking her head. “She seems to know a lot, more than any impostor would.”
“Maybe that’s the point.” Ronon suggested.
John frowned at him. “Yeah but if she knows that much, it seems like an awful lot of effort to waste, considering the fact that with an entrance like that we were hardly going to welcome her with open arms.”
“I’m just saying.”
John sighed, “There’s a lot of things that are odd abut this whole situation and it really doesn’t make sense to me.”
Elizabeth nodded, “All we can do is wait for Carson to get the results of his tests.”
“We seem to have been doing that for a while now.”
Carson stared at his computer screen, for a moment, shaking his head in mute disbelief, gaze drifting in the direction of their guest’s room for a moment before he reached for his
radio, taking a careful breath before activating it.
“Elizabeth?” He waited patiently for her to respond, gaze idly tracking the lines of text on his screen.
“Go ahead Carson.”
“I just got the results back from the lab, and you are not going to believe this.”
“She’s been telling the truth?” Elizabeth asked, her disbelief clear even over the radio.
“According to the tests, not only is she not a clone, but asides from having two X chromosomes, she is genetically identical to Doctor Jackson, though how, I couldn’t even begin to explain.” He waited for a response for a moment, worried when he didn’t receive one. “Elizabeth?”
“Sorry Carson, it’s just, a shock.” Carson nodded sympathetically in agreement.
“Aye I know, but I’ve doubled checked it twice already and there’s no doubt.”
“Thank you for letting me know, Carson”
“Elizabeth?” Teyla stepped hesitantly into the other woman’s office. “John informed me of the news and I thought, perhaps you would wish to talk?”
Elizabeth smiled weakly at her friend nodding, before lowering her gaze to the pocket watch on her desk once more.
Teyla lowered herself into one of the chairs in front of the desk, watching her friend carefully and waiting for her to start speaking.
“I never expected to be dealing with a situation like this.” Elizabeth admitted finally, meeting Teyla’s gaze for a moment before looking away. “Even after everything that we’ve been through in the last few years, I never expected this.”
Teyla smiled sympathetically. “It is a most unusual situation.”
Elizabeth nodded. “To be honest I’m not sure if it bothers me more because even now, I can’t completely believe it, whether it’s because it’s such an alien concept, or because of who it is.”
Teyla hesitated, searching for the right thing to say. “It must be very difficult, but I believe it must be much worse for Doctor Jackson,” she shook her head, “I can not imagine what it would be like to have such a thing happen.”
“And to have everyone questioning you.” Elizabeth added softly, before sighing. “I’m going to have to let the SGC know.”
“Will you be relieved, if they request that…she be sent back to Earth?”
Elizabeth froze for a moment before meeting Teyla’s gaze. “No, I won’t, I think I’ll feel worse. As hard as today must have been for Daniel, I can not even begin to imagine how terrible it would be to have to repeat that experience, to prove myself to my closest friends.”
Teyla frowned. “You do not think they will believe that she is Doctor Jackson?”
Elizabeth shook her head regretfully. “There’s a difference between proving and accepting, and I think it would be a very long time before they accepted it.”
“Will that not also hold true if she remains here?” Teyla pressed gently.
Elizabeth hesitated. “It’ll still take a while, but there are a lot less people here who never actually met the infamous Doctor Jackson.”
Teyla smiled faintly nodding. “That is true.” She hesitated for a moment. “Perhaps, helping Doctor Jackson come to terms with his, transformation, will help you accept it also?”
“Maybe.” Elizabeth smiled, nodding.
Elizabeth smiled at Carson as he past, patting her gently on the arm, before approaching the bed and the room’s sole occupant, the guards having been dismissed not long after Carson had confirmed their guest’s identity. Surprised blue eyes met her own hazel ones as ‘she’ looked up.
“Doctor Jackson.” She answered, surprised when it didn’t seem wrong.
“So it’s true?” Daniel’s asked, an eyebrow rising. “I wasn’t sure what to think when Doctor Beckett told me that he confirmed that I’m me, apart from a few, changes.”
Elizabeth winced slightly, ducking her head, unsure of how to respond.
“That’s good to know.” Daniel continued, nodding slowly, hesitating. “I understand through, really, I mean, a dead man appears, in a way that I have to admit, I really wouldn’t have chosen, given a choice, but has somehow become a woman and travelled to another galaxy…” Daniel stopped wincing, before trying again, “If I’d been you, I’d have not believed me either.”
Elizabeth looked up, watching Daniel for a moment before reaching out to squeeze ‘her’ arm gently, “I’m sorry.”
Daniel looked up at her, chewing ‘her’ bottom lip for a moment before smiling softly. “Thanks, and for what its worth? I have this sneaking suspicion that the Ancients are responsible for this whole big mess.” ‘She hesitated, pulling a face. “They really don’t like me.”
Elizabeth smiled. “That would explain a few things.” She agreed, before taking a deep breath. “If there’s anything you need…”
Daniel shook ‘her’ head. “As I doubt you can make me a man again, there isn’t really, besides maybe, avoiding using feminine distinctions for a while.”
Elizabeth smiled sadly, nodding as she hesitated before deciding to just get it over with. “I’ll be informing the SGC of your arrival tomorrow, but no matter what they decide, I want you to talk to Doctor Heightmeyer, at least while you’re here. As unusual as your situation might be, she can help you deal with this.”
Daniel winced, before nodding reluctantly. “I will.”
Elizabeth smiled gratefully. “Thank you.” She nodded, satisfied. “I’ll leave you to rest then.” She gave Daniel’s arm one last squeeze before taking her leave.
Daniel looked up startled as Rodney stepped into the room, a cup of coffee in one hand. “Doctor McKay.”
Rodney offered him a weak smile, stopping a few metres into the room. “Hi.” His gaze drifted around the room as he remained where he was looking as uncomfortable with the
situation as Daniel himself felt. “Oh, ah, I brought this for you, here,” Rodney crossed the room hurriedly holding out the coffee cup, “it’s Samatra Mandheling, two sugars, one cream, your favourite.”
Daniel blinked startled, hesitating a moment before taking the offered cup, frowning up at Rodney. “I have a feeling I don’t want to know how you know that.”
“Oh Sam told me.”
Daniel stopped, speechless for a moment. “Sam…”
“Oh, no, I didn’t,” Rodney coloured slightly falling over his words, “she mentioned it in passing, once.”
“Okay.” Daniel ducked his head, examining the cup self-consciously.
“So, I figured I should…” Rodney gestured at the room vaguely.
Daniel smiled faintly, lifting his head for a moment. “Take your place in the visitation sequence?” He provided, telling himself that he didn’t sound bitter as he took a hesitant sip of his coffee.
Rodney frowned. “No, why, who else has been…” he stopped himself waving a hand dismissively before continuing, “I just thought you might appreciate having someone visit and not spend the whole time walking on eggshells.”
Daniel’s eyebrows rose. “Because this hasn’t been at all awkward.”
Rodney glared. “I brought you coffee.”
Daniel smiled despite himself. “I appreciate that.”
“Good.” Rodney frowned, fixing his gaze on the sheet. “There was something, I figured might,” he hesitated a moment before looking up, “you shouldn’t let something you can’t change bother you.” Daniel blinked, startled, unsure of what to say. “Ronon told me that.” Rodney nodded a satisfied smile touching his features, before he started backing away from the bed. “Well, I have work to get back to…”
Daniel smiled nodding. “Of course.” Daniel hesitated, glancing down at the cup in his hands for a moment. “And thank you, for the coffee.”
Rodney, stilled, hovering in the doorway for a moment before nodding stiffly. “You’re welcome.”
Current Mood: nervous