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Adjustment Phase

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Scoobies & Stargates". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: When Willow joins the SGC, you might think they'd ease her in a little. But no, she's pushed into the deep end with an Atanik bracelet. And it's not until after that that things start getting really strange.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Stargate > Willow-CenteredEnergyBeingFR133964,81428444,4752 Sep 123 Feb 13Yes

Chapter Eleven

Kinsey had been very reluctant to talk about what happened - understandably enough, considering he had seemed to have some kind of nervous breakdown - but Hammond had managed, after a handful of minutes, to coax the details out of him. It wasn't pleasant listening to Kinsey at the best of times, but when he was being sedated he was even worse.

Now Hammond was worried. Willow, or the creature that was inhabiting her (he wasn't sure - wasn't it possible that Willow could do that kind of illusion?) had made Kinsey see and hear precisely what she had wanted him to see and hear. Of course, Kinsey had menaced her first, and Willow hadn't actually hurt him, but still...

It occurred to him that they knew next to nothing about Willow, even from before putting on the armband. He'd rushed her into making the decision (not that he'd had to try very hard to convince her) before Janet had had a chance to examine how magic worked. Hammond regretted that now.

And they knew rather less about the creature inhabiting her now, other than the little it had told them - and they had no way of knowing if it was true.

~*~

Daniel, however, did know more - or at least, after questioning not-Willow for nearly a quarter of an hour, he felt as though he did. He was sure that his questions were being answered truthfully, although, again, it could just be because she looked like Willow. And spoke like Willow. And moved like Willow. And was, in fact, physically identical to Willow.

They'd talked for some time about the nature of her - their home dimension, but Daniel hadn't really understood it. A dimension in which anything can be formed with a thought, unimaginable distances crossed in no time - in fact, a realm where time didn't exist in the same fashion as here. He couldn't contemplate what it would be like there - and he wondered how not-Willow hadn't been driven insane by the change.

He'd eventually gotten her around to talking about what she had done to Kinsey. Not-Willow said that, in a place where everything could be moulded by a thought, it had been an instinct to try that here. But she could only move small things, nothing larger than the atomic scale.

And she could open wormholes. To anywhere, seemingly. The entire time Daniel had been talking to her, not-Willow had been opening and closing tiny wormholes in the wall of her prison cell, the minute gashes they formed eventually resolving into an etching of a young man, one whom Daniel had never seen. It had been somewhat unnerving to watch, especially as she was talking to him the entire time - but then, Daniel supposed, a being composed of countless minds acting in unison could multitask pretty much anything.

Wormholes and the etching were the only things not-Willow hadn't been communicative about. Beyond saying that the wormholes cut through her home dimension, yet didn't exist inside it (although, Daniel thought, there'd be no need of them) she had said nothing. About the etching, she had said absolutely nothing, and every time he asked her about it (Daniel tried several times), not-Willow would clam up until he changed the subject. When the etching had been finished, she started a new one on the next wall.

Then they'd started talking about what she wanted, besides escaping the Darkness. And Daniel had been horrified when he found out.

"We do not understand your concept of time very well, but we believe that a period of ten thousand years to be sufficient before returning home. Willow will be returned to you at the conclusion of that time." said not-Willow, as though it was a perfectly reasonable request.

Daniel didn't blow up about that - he'd heard many ludicrous proposals during treaties with other planets - but instead tried to change her mind. "Humans don't live that long. Your body - Willow's body - will die of old age long before then."

"We have memories of such things, from Willow, but we do not understand. In any case, that does not apply to us. We are holding Willow's body in stasis - it will remain exactly as it is, until we leave it."

"How?" Daniel asked, then braced himself for an answer that probably only Sam would be qualified to understand.

"We do not know."

Daniel let that pass - although he wasn't going to be taking not-Willow's word for it, he'd ask Janet to check on her later - but it was understandable that the being wouldn't know how everything works in this dimension.

Daniel changed tack. "Wouldn't it be possible for you to transfer yourself to another body?" Daniel asked, thinking of Jacob Carter. There must be numerous people in similar situations who would seize this chance.

"Only a magic user can host us. We would burn up any normal body. And we would not subject our friends to this." not-Willow replied.

"Why not?" Daniel asked, thinking he might be getting through. If the being thought that transferring to one of Willow's friends was wrong, it might be convinced that staying in Willow was wrong too.

"Because Willow wouldn't wish us to." not-Willow replied, and wouldn't say anything more, merely sitting there whittling away at the second etching.

Well, Hammond ought to know about this. As Daniel left the cell to find the General and tell him what he'd just found out, two things hit him. Firstly not-Willow didn't have to negotiate with them - she could open a wormhole and leave at any time. So why was she still here? Secondly, and related to the first idea, he thought he might know a way to get Willow back.

~*~

"We need to get Willow back as quickly as possible." said Hammond, having just heard what Daniel had found out. Although not-Willow may be an asylum-seeker, the potential security risk of having an illusionist like that around - and one that'll be around for ten thousand years - was simply too great.

"Yeah, before Kinsey presses charges." said Jack drily.

"Anyway, that leads to how I think we can get Willow back - well, kind of." said Daniel.

"How?" asked Sam, having not heard anything in what Daniel had told them that sounded like a way of retrieving Willow. She could see that the others were just as clueless as she was on the matter.

"We know that the being could just open a wormhole and leave. We know that Willow is being held in the being's home dimension. And we know that we pass through that dimension every time we 'gate anywhere." said Daniel, ticking off the points on his fingers as he went.

Teal'c, who'd been watching the security footage from not-Willow's cell since he'd heard that she could escape at any time, said, without looking away, "You believe that if you put Willow's body through the Stargate, then Willow's mind will swap with that of the being inhabiting it currently."

"Would that work?" asked Hammond.

"Sir, I have no idea. This is well beyond any of our fields of expertise." Daniel answered frankly.

"But how would we get her through the 'gate? Once she realises what we're doing, she'll do to us what she did to Kinsey." pointed out Jack.

"I thought of that. Which is why I think that someone else needs to go through the 'gate, and come back, sharing a mind with Willow. And no, sir, I haven't got any idea if that's possible or if it would work, but it seems like the only chance we have." Daniel said.

"I'll go." Jack volunteered.

"Wait, what? I was going to. It's my idea, Jack." Daniel responded.

"Daniel, just how much weight do you think that argument has? Both Willow and I have the Ancient gene, and I've had experience having other stuff in my head from the Ancient repository. I think I'm the best choice." Jack said, categorically.

Before Daniel could come up with a no doubt flawed argument, Teal'c said "I believe Daniel Jackson should be the one to go." before swivelling the laptop with the security footage showing on it around to face everyone.

The second etching was complete. It showed, in great detail, the face of one Daniel Jackson.

"Doctor Jackson, you have a go." said Hammond.
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