Title: Bigger Worlds
Author: Jedi Buttercup
Summary: SG-1, CSI. Greg Sanders makes a discovery that will decide the course of his future. 1000 words.
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the world is not. I claim nothing but the plot.
Spoilers: Vaguely post-season 5 for CSI and post-season 8 for SG-1. References CSI 1.18 "$35K O.B.O." and 3.18 "Precious Metal".
Notes: For izhilzha, who requested "CSI/SG-1: Greg Sanders, Sam Carter. Keeping secrets." Not much actual Carter in it, but it acquired a mind of its own. Also a follow-up to "Collateral Damage
Greg peeked through the open doorway into Grissom's office, hesitant to interrupt the boss-man if he was busy with something important. It looked like Gris was just doing paperwork, though, and not very interesting paperwork at that, given the annoyed frown he wore as he bent over his desk.
Good. He knocked on the doorframe and strode in, perplexing lab results clutched in one hand. "Hey, Grissom. Trivia question for you. What stable element has an atomic weight of over three hundred?"
The pen in Grissom's hand stopped moving, and he frowned, glancing up at Greg. "Over three hundred? None. I don't think they've even created any elements that heavy in a laboratory yet, and the ones that come closest are highly unstable; they decay within fractions of a second. Why do you ask?"
"That's what I thought," Greg replied, frowning down at the computer printout again. "I must have calibrated something wrong-- I was checking a DNA sample and found traces of an unidentified metal in the subject's cells."
"And it tested with an atomic weight of *over three hundred*?" Grissom raised an eyebrow. "Better double-check the equipment settings. Twice." Then he pursed his lips, glancing away in deep thought. "And if it produces the same results again--"
Briefly, Greg imagined the accolades that might come his way as the co-discoverer of a brand-new element. Then his eyes fell on the name attached to his DNA sample, and he imagined instead being locked away somewhere in a deep, dark cell without a key. From what little he knew of Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter and the project she was involved in, top secret wouldn't even begin to cover some of the science associated with it. He'd barely made it past the second interview stage, and they hadn't done much more than give him a non-disclosure form and hint around the existence of aliens and extraplanetary travel; he was supposed to give her boss a yea or nay sometime in the next two weeks.
"I'm sure it's just a mistake," he said, giving Grissom a rueful smile. Then he shook his head and headed back toward Wendy's lab, feeling the boss-man's eyes on him the whole way.
Or maybe someone else's. He jumped half-out of his skin as Nick suddenly appeared at his side, lifting the printed sheets out of his hand.
"What are you doing in the DNA lab, anyway?" Nick asked, scanning the page. "That's Wendy's job these days, not yours. Unless--" He paused, and shot an amused grin at Greg. "Still checking the DNA of all your dates?"
Greg snatched the pages back, feeling aggrieved. "And what's wrong with that? I told you before, what I need to know isn't what they look like or how smart they are, it's what's on the inside. Not that I'm actually dating this one, but--"
Nick rolled his eyes. "You know, when most people say that, they mean someone's personality, what's in their heart, what they're like without all the social masks they usually put up between themselves and other people. *Not* their DNA."
Greg rolled his eyes right back. "You'd be surprised. Besides, it's kind of got to be a habit, and I've found out some pretty interesting things over the years. This one, though-- *not* actually my girlfriend. She's part of that military project that wants to borrow me for awhile, you know, the one I was interviewing for last week?"
"Aw, man. You're actually thinking about it?" Nick stopped in the hallway outside Wendy's door, giving him a discontented expression. "We just got you trained up right, and you're going to let some government goons take advantage of that?"
"That remains to be seen, my friend," Greg said, and swatted him awkwardly on the arm with the results. Nick had become one of his best friends over the last few years, and one of the reasons he'd made the effort to stick with the night shift when he'd made the transfer from lab tech to CSI. Greg would hate to leave him, and Sara, and Gris, and all the others behind. On the other hand, his experience in both field and laboratory settings was exactly why the Air Force seemed to want him so much-- and pressed close to the very reason he'd taken the pay cut to get out of the lab in the first place. Every time he'd made a DNA match, his world had become a little smaller; while out in the field everything had felt-- larger. Taking his scientific expertise *off-planet* would be even bigger yet.
"Yeah, well," Nick said, equally awkward. "Just let us know in time to plan the going-away party, okay? If we're going to get rid of you, we're going to have to do it in style."
Greg watched him walk away, feeling conflicted, then went into the lab and began recalibrating the equipment. Once that was complete, he ran the tests a second time, and then a third. Both tests came up with the same results as the first: impossible, but true.
He couldn't tell Grissom, if it really was something top-secret. But he couldn't just ignore the results, either. He weighed the printouts in his hands for a moment, thoughtfully, then deliberately fed them through the shredder and flipped open his cell phone to dial the number Carter had left him.
He knew that dialing that number would more or less make his choice for him; he knew that it would be only the first of many secrets that would require him to lie to Grissom and all of his other friends and co-workers, even after he came back from his jaunt among the stars. But the trade-offs! Greg Sanders, age thirty-two, was going to be an *intergalactic* explorer, on the cutting-edge of research no one else would get to see for *decades*.
"Hello, Colonel Carter?" he asked, as the woman in question picked up the phone. "There's something I think we need to discuss..."