Particles and Particulars
Chapter 35 - Particles and Particulars
Disclaimer: I own neither, nor Roswell, nor SG-1. The characters and worlds of these are the property of their respective owners. I have created only the plot.
"Wow," said Dawn. "You look like a blonde version of me at twelve." she said, walking around Lori's body. She had been beamed up to the moon base near the end of the discussion, and was flabbergasted at finding the unconventional Asgard in a human body. [i]Her[/i] human body. "Why twelve? I look babelicious now that my body's nineteen."
"Yeah, you do..." Michael said, which caused Dawn to preen while Maria elbowed him in the belly, knocking the wind out of him. "Ow!" the boy wheezed, doubled over. A few seconds passed seeming like hours, and the pain seemed to subside to a dull ache as he gasped for breath.
"You should know better than to say things like that out loud, Michael... no matter what you think." Max counseled. The only response to his chiding was a halfhearted grunt from the other boy.
"Serves you right," Liz said, showing Maria her solidarity.
"Unfair," Michael said. "That's entrapment!"
Dawn just giggled. "Sorry. Still getting used to it. The hotness. It's new."
"Yeah, and totally unfair that a squirt like you gets goodies like those," Maria said, having been staring a little bit herself.
"It's mostly Willow's fault, and I'm afraid guys, that it's all for her." Michael's eyes glazed over thinking about the newly statuesque Dawn making out with the fiery redhead, but he wisely said nothing about it.
Maria elbowed him again for good measure anyway.
Dawn took pity on him. "Maria, would you mind helping me? I need somebody to help me with Xander. Some of the potentials have kind of... broken him."
"What?" she asked incredulously.
"He's catatonic and rocking back and forth in Willow's room talking about bad girls and naughty thoughts. Apparently every single one of the potentials was doing their best this afternoon to get him to sleep with her... or at least get him good and worked up. He took one look at me and shrieked, but I thought maybe a girl his own age..."
"Isabel will be home really soon. I came up here straight from our shopping trip," Maria explained, "since Michael and I have our rooms up here. But Isabel drove home. She might even be home already. And there may be Potentials with designer shoes wedged up their butts. I wouldn't worry about it, though... she'll take care of him."
"I hope so," Dawn supplied.
Xander had fallen asleep in the corner after rocking aqnd worrying his nervous energy off. Isabel found him there, curled up in a ball when she went to put a couple new things she had gotten for him in his closet. Unconsciously, he started to sniff when she entered the room. Without opening his eyes, he seemed to follow his nose to her, put his arms around her, and cuddled up into her, falling with her onto the bed. A little taken aback, she didn't know what was going on, but she didn't mind cuddling with him while he slept. Kicking off her shoes, she curled up against him into a more comfortable position. He responded, the tension seeming to go out of him once she was settled into his embrace.Well,
she thought, I guess it's safe to say he even loves me in his sleep.
At that point, she smiled to herself and let herself doze off to sleep with him.
"I don't understand, Lord Ba'al." Nerys said to him. "You pulled me away from the best feast I've had in days for this?"
"Is that a problem?" Buffy/The First asked.
"This is an insult to my intelligence!" he exclaimed. Ba'al made a gesture and the Jaffa guards in the room stepped closer to surround Nerys with their imposing size and presence. These were the elite of Ba'al's warriors. His personal bodyguards, incredibly skilled and completely loyal. Plus, Nerys didn't think the First Prime liked him very much as he was sharpening that knife with which he had so coolly threatened to remove his tongue before. "I mean, that is to say, er... I should be able to do as you require, Lord Ba'al."
"That is better, Nerys. Do not forget your place. You are very useful to me because of your unique combination of intelligence, cowardice, and predictability. But do not take liberties. I am your superior, and you are not... irreplacible, by any stretch of the imagination." the System Lord reminded.
"Right, yes, of course. Cowardly and predictable!" he half-asked, half objected. "I suppose that does sound like me." he acceded. "OK, let's see these ancient writings." he said. Faith in his authority reassured now that he was on the job, he looked at one of the Jaffa. "And get me something to eat!"
"Unscheduled Off-world Activation!" Walter cried, hitting the button for the general alarm, level 1, as was protocol. The lights around the base began to glow and a low-level siren sounded a couple of times.
General Hammond stepped out of his office. "Any transmissions?"
"No, sir." Walter replied. "Hold on... incoming GDO code..." Walter pressed a few buttons and clicked his mouse on a window to minimize it, uncovering the one below it. "It's SG-1, sir?"
"What?" Hammond asked. It was about this point that Jack walked into the control room.
"What's going on?" Jack asked. Carter, Daniel, and Teal'c showed up immediately after him. "We were in the mess hall, having chow. Is this an alien invasion, or can we return to our pie?" he whined. After a moment, he appended, "Sir."
"Apparently, you are attempting to come through the wormhole right now, Jack."
"Man, I hate it when I have to abandon my pie." the Colonel complained.
"They had SG-1's GDO code." Hammond said. "Mind telling me who knows it besides you and our computer?"
"Well, it's not like any of us have given it out." Jack replied.
"We've only sent the newest code a few dozen times, max. Even if they intercepted the transmission every single time, there's too small a sample for them to have worked out our encryption protocols, even with computers as fast as the Asgard use." Carter supplied.
"So what do we do?" Daniel asked.
"Open the door and see who's really knocking, I guess," Hammond said. "Open the Iris and send the all-clear signal once the defense teams are in place."
Walter complied and a moment after the iris retracted and the all-clear signal passed through the wormhole, four people stepped out of the vertical watery plane of the event horizon.
Four very nervous people who had a squad full of marines pointing p90's at them, as well as two .50 cal machine guns and a couple of small laser-guided rockets.
"Umm...." Colonel O'Neill said to his team on the ramp, "What's with the warm welcome?"
"Jack," Daniel elbowed him in the ribs and pointed up to the control room, where SG-1 were standing with General Hammond.
"We appear to have arrived already, O'Neill." Teal'c said.
"But something's totally wrong, here," Daniel pointed out. "Where's the burying stone?"
"Sir?" Carter asked.
"Oh, for crying out loud," Jack said. His hands slid up, pulling off his sunglasses on the way to his 'OK, you got me' pose.
"Sir?" the Carter on the gate ramp asked. As usual, Carter's ability to make that particular word speak volumes about their current predicament was still in full effect. As far as Jack knew, only the real Carter could fill a whole book with that one word.
"Time loop?" Jack asked, raising an eyebrow.
"I'm betting alternate universe." Daniel said.
"You're on, Danny." Jack asked. "You in, Teal'c?"
"Indeed. I believe it is more likely to be a time loop as well, since we have never before experienced alternate universes hooking into the Stargate system, and the Quantum Mirror is safely away at Area 52."
Daniel frowned a bit at that. Jack would drag him fishing at this rate. Probably, Jack would make him dig up nightcrawlers as bait 'because I know how you love digging!' This had been a sucker bet.
"So what do we call them?" Jack asked.
"Well, we know we're real and we belong in this time, so let's call ourselves us 'Prime'." Carter suggested.
"And them?" Daniel asked Sam.
"Let's call them us '2'."
Hammond piped in, "Well, the you '2's need to be dealt with. Once they come through medical, you'll conduct interviews with them to see if they're you, or doubles of you."
Daniel added, "Maybe Willow would be able to help get some answers if they turn out to be us. She understands quirks of quantum physics that even Sam hasn't touched yet."
"Magic is just a really, really advanced form of science," Sam insisted. "She might help me understand what happened if some kind of vanishingly improbable occurrence happened with the gate."
"I'll put in a call." Hammond said.
Over the next 48 hours, all manner of tests and interviews were conducted on SG1 '2'. They all seemed to be who they claimed to be, but didn't experience anything strange that could explain their apparent duplication. They seemed to be from this universe, or as close a one as possible; they had memories of things that had happened complete up until as recently as yesterday when they'd left on a quick offworld hop to one of the established trade partners to bring back an important proposal. They didn't, however, know anything about the Scooby gang. When Willow scanned them, she said that there didn't seem to have been any tampering with their minds.
"I was right, Jack." Daniel said. "Alternate universe. Pay up."
"Now, that hasn't been proven," Jack insisted. "Just cause they've got strange memories doesn't mean they're not from a future where they've been erased or something."
"That is a possible scenario," Teal'c agreed, "However, it is an unlikely one."
"Has anybody seen Sam," Jack asked.
"Samantha Carter Prime and Samantha Carter 2 are both in 'her' lab, O'Neill. They are attempting to discern why there is no detectable cascade failure from our doubles, if they did indeed come from an alternate universe."
"See?" Jack said. "Time travel. Gotta be."
Isabel and Willow were at the SGC the next day when they had yet another emergency piled on top of the current mystery.
"Unscheduled Offworld Activation," Walter's voice came over the intercom.
SG-1 hurried to the gate room and found an active gate, and a closed iris that was quickly becoming red-hot.
"Didn't we already see this show?" O'Neill asked.
"Just because Sokar's not around doesn't mean nobody else can try the trick," Daniel supplied.
"Goa'uld are nothing if not scavengers; perhaps one of them recently came upon Sokar's notes about the process." Teal'c added.
Willow chimed in at this point. "What exactly is going on?"
"Somebody is using a particle accelerator to attempt to melt the iris covering our stargate." Walter explained.
"A particle accelerator?"
"The iris is situated approximately 3 micrometers from the event horizon. Once closed, any matter attempting to pass through the stargate is prevented from re-integrating after passing through the wormhole; essentially, nothing bigger than an atom can cross while it's open. This allows us to get radio signals, but won't allow matter to pass through."
"But it allows streams of pure energy because the particles involved are smaller than an atom?" Willow asked.
"That's the theory." Walter shot back.
The trinium alloy which currently comprised the Iris was able to withstand a great deal more punishment than the original Titanium one, but with repeated dialing, the iris would eventually be breached by the particle beam.
"It's a bit sad that there isn't a naquadah facing on it that would allow it to feed its excess energy into the stargate." Willow said.
"What?" O'Neill asked.
"Well, the metal's heating up because it's absorbing the excess energy from the particle beam. Naquadah, and especially the Stargate itself as a device which uses that property of naquadah, can absorb massive amounts of energy. Especially when a wormhole is active, it can bleed off any excess through the wormhole to stabilise the connection, but the particle beam isn't near strong enough to keep the wormhole open for more than a few seconds past the 38-minute window. It would allow the Iris to bleed off the excess energy rendering it pretty much impervious to this kind of attack..." she conjectured.
O'Neill goggled at her. "You sound like Sam. You haven't known about the Stargate that long, how do you know so much about how it works?"
"I cheat." was all that Willow supplied in answer.
At that moment, both Sams came into the room. "This again?" Sam Prime complained.
"I know." O'Neill said.
"We really should install some kind of system to bleed off extra energy. Maybe naquadah facings to help channel the heat back into the gate as usable energy," Sam Two said.
Daniel shook his head defeatedly while Willow beamed.
Daniel looked up again. "You know, last time, Sokar gave us an ultimatum. Goa'uld are fond of big, flashy gestures and such, so where's our ransom note? Where's the announcement that the great-and-powerful so-and-so will reduce our planet to ashes?"
Walter shrugged. "We've recieved no attempt at communication since the wormhole opened, just the particle beam melting at our Iris."
"What if it's not a weapon?" Isabel asked. She'd been so quiet the others had almost forgotten she was there.
"What do you mean not a weapon? It's a high-energy beam weapon shooting through a wormhole at us. What else would it be?"
Isabel shrugged. "Tight-beam transmission?"
"This is somebody's attempt to communicate using the particle beam as a carrier wave? Why not just use a radio?" Sam Two asked.
Sam Prime answered. "A radio transmission goes out in all directions, and even if it's encrypted, it can be decrypted, especially with fast enough computers. Maybe this is somebody's attempt at a private communication?"
"Well, if that's true, how do we 'read' it?" Daniel asked.
"Walter, can we detect any modulation in the beam?" Willow asked.
"I don't see how we could; we'd need to open the iris and put measuring equipment behind it to get readings accurate enough to attempt to decrypt. And if we tried to read it from the other side, we would only detect the wormhole's event horizon."
Willow piped in with an idea. "Is the beam stationary, fixed on one point at the iris, or is it moving back and forth?"
"Thermographic imaging shows that there's a wobble in the beam. You can see that the hottest part moves slightly over time, but the thermo camera's not going to be sensitive enough or fast enough to detect..."
"Hold on..." Isabel said. "Can you show me the thermographic image composited from over the last two minutes?"
"Give me a minute," Sam Prime said as she started attacking her computer terminal with astonishing dexterity. Two minutes later, she has a composited image, which makes Isabel go pale.
An image burned into her memory. A picture of five dots arranged in an uneven 'V' formation.
The Royal Seal of Antar.