I want to extend a great big, huge thank you to Laramee for the wonderful picture she did for the story! And for keeping it on her computer after I learned that I had accidentally deleted it from my own.
ATF - SG1
The four men crept along the abandoned corridor, weapons in hand. The man in the lead raised a clenched fist and the other three froze, hardly even daring to breathe until the coast was clear. A moment later, a soft hiss alerted them to a door opening. The first man peeked around the door-facing before signaling that it was safe. He entered the cavernous room, staring in fascination at the array of equipment that seemed to fill every cubic foot of space except for a small area where two glowing, tubular shapes lay. The rest of his team crept into the room, spreading out until all four were staring down at the strange, glowing shapes. One man reached out and touched the one closest to him. The leader glared at him before all four sprang back when the tube opened. They could now see what had been concealed by the opaque lid . . . a small, dark haired child.
When the other tube was opened, they found another child, this one with fair hair. Both of the boys were so pale as to be almost translucent, their veins showing like lines on a map. Wires ran to pads on their chests, presumably recording their vitals to one of the machines surrounding them.
"SG 4, report!" a soft voice called imperatively.
"Sir! We found what appear to be two humanoid males. They were in some kind of stasis tubes," the team leader replied.
"Were?" another voice questioned.
"We touched them and they opened but the occupants have yet to awaken," the man quickly replied.
"What do you think?" Daniel asked as he turned to Samantha.
"It is an Asgard ship, maybe one of them was working on their cloning technology. Maybe we should take them back to Earth until we can contact Thor or one of his friends," she answered.
Nodding, Daniel keyed his radio again, "SG 4, stay with them and don't touch anything else. We'll be right there."
Within minutes, the room was crowded as the other SG team entered. Daniel, Samantha and Teal'c studied the stasis tubes and surrounding equipment. Cameron Mitchell remained at the door, guarding their escape route.
"We could ring them up but I don't know if the tubes are powered by themselves or if they are connected to the ship's internal power," Samantha explained. Just then, a gentle shudder wracked the ship and they stared around in concern.
"Another vessel has just appeared and is attempting to get through the shield," Teal'c announced as he read the view screen on one of the terminals. They had extended their ship's shields around the derelict vessel so they could investigate it.
"We have to get out of here. Now!" Mitchell said.
"Gather around the tubes, quick!" Samantha said as she began to punch buttons on the pad strapped to her wrist. A few seconds later, a bright light enveloped them. A series of large rings appeared, stacking one on top of the other. With a loud 'woosh' sound, everything within the circle disappeared.
As soon as the transport was finished, the eight adults stepped away from the stasis tubes. Teal'c and Mitchell headed for the control room. SG 4 split up, heading for weapon storage lockers. Sam and Daniel remained on the ring pad, waiting to see if moving the tubes had any affect on the children inside of them.
"Everyone hang on, we're going to blow this pop stand!" Cameron warned. Suddenly, there was a slight pressure on each of them as the inertial dampeners kicked on to keep them from slamming into the walls and bulkheads as the ship made a 180 degree turn.
A soft gasp sounded from the fair-haired child. His eyes opened and his hands closed by reflex on the soft material beneath his body. A blonde woman appeared, leaning over him with concern shining in her very blue eyes. His voice was a hoarse whisper as he spoke the word that went with the thought in his mind, "Mama?"
Shock was too mild a word for what Samantha felt when the boy's blue eyes opened and he called her 'Mama.' Instinctively, she reached out to brush his bangs away from his face as she smiled. "I'm sorry, I'm not your mother, my name is Sam. What's your name?" She saw the boy's eyes go unfocused as he tried to come up with a reply. "It's okay, you don't have to answer right now," she said.
"Hang on back there, we've got a bogy hot on our tail!" Cameron yelled over the intercoms just as the ship shuddered from some kind of weapon fire.
Samantha saw the fear in the boy's eyes and she reached out to steady him. Daniel stepped up behind her and handed her a blanket that he had pulled from storage. She covered the boy, taking care not to jar the wires attached to his chest. Another, harder, shudder hit the ship and the boy in the other tube stirred. Daniel leaned over the opening, waiting for the child to open his eyes. When he did, Daniel found himself staring down into emerald green irises. The boy's eyes quickly scanned the room before focusing on Daniel.
"It's going to be okay," Jackson said, "It's just a bumpy ride."
"Daniel?" Sam inquired.
"He's awake," was all Daniel could offer.
After a couple of minutes of careful, stomach churning maneuvers, the small ship settled. An instant later, Cameron's voice, sounding patently calm, informed them that they had lost the ship that was tailing them. Daniel grabbed another blanket from the storage locker for the dark-haired boy, who had yet to make a sound.
Teal'c entered the ring room and peered into the tubes. Both of the humanoids appeared to be awake. His teammates were leaning over them, speaking reassuringly to the children. "Have you had an opportunity to ascertain if they are indeed human?" he asked.
"Not the way you and Cam were flying this thing," Sam answered.
"We were attempting to avoid capture," Teal'c explained.
Any further discussion was forestalled by the announcement that they were landing. As soon as the ship touched down, Samantha made contact with the general to inform him of their 'visitors.'
The boys' eyes widened in fear when they were transferred to the isolation rooms. The blue-eyed boy grew agitated when Samantha was separated from him at the elevators. The green-eyed boy looked around, his expression wavering until it settled on one of determination. Doctors in protective suits quickly examined both of the boys before deciding that they could be disconnected from the stasis tubes. They were transferred to hospital beds.
"They're frightened!" Sam protested from the other side of the observation window.
"Until we know what we're dealing with, it can't be helped," the general said. He watched as the boys were scanned. Swabs were taken so their DNA could be checked for abnormality. Finally, after nearly two hours of examinations, the doctors had some news.
"Well?" General Landry asked as soon as they were all seated around the large table in the conference room that overlooked the gate room.
"They appear to be human clones. We are running their DNA through all databases to try to find out who the donor was. Subject one is in fair health, although he has some genetic abnormalities. Subject two is in poor health. If we don't find a suitable match for a bone marrow transplant, he will probably die within a few months," the doctor said.
"What about the Goa'uld healing device? Couldn't we try that on them?" Sam suggested.
"We could, but the boy's condition is such that I think a transplant would be the best solution. It's almost as if part of his DNA has been nullified. If we can find a compatible match for him, we can replace the missing material and then the healing device should be able to fix him up," the doctor replied.
"And the other boy, what do you mean by 'genetic abnormalities'?" Daniel asked.
"His brain shows some unusual development in the frontal lobe. The other boy has it too, but not to the same degree. We are running more tests on them even as we speak."
There was a knock on the door and a young woman darted into the room with a manila folder in her hand. She gave it to Landry, mumbling an apology for interrupting before rushing away. The general opened the folder and his eyebrows rose. He fingered the stack of papers to see that he had several copies of the reports, which he began to pass out amongst the people around the table.
"It would appear that the 'donors' have been found," he said in an ominous tone.
ATF - SG1
The elevator doors opened and the four men exited, still animatedly discussing the fishing trip they had gone on that weekend. The youngest man laughed as he imitated something he had seen. One of the other men elbowed him in the ribs, sporting a hurt expression, which only made the other two laugh harder. They entered the offices via the etched-glass doors and went directly to their desks.
"Well, it sounds like you all had a nice trip," Nathan commented as he watched his teammates entering the bullpen.
"Yeah, wait until you hear about the one that got away," JD said. "It was thi-i-i-s big!" he said, his hands starting out as far apart as he could make them and coming closer and closer as he stretched out the word.
"It was the dreaded 'old shoe' fish!" Josiah added.
"Laugh it up!" Buck said with a scowl.
"At least you didn't have to eat it," Josiah said as he sat down with his coffee cup.
Chris powered up his computer and began to sift through the plethora of E-mail that had accumulated since Friday. He kept an ear tuned to the bullpen, in case things got out of hand. It had been a great weekend, a much needed break after a long stint of tedious investigation. He couldn't wait to hear how the other two members of his team had done at their conference with Homeland Security.
Vin hadn't wanted to go and tried to beg off but Travis was adamant that he attend the conference. They'd had the fishing trip planned and the cabin rented before the memo arrived. Tanner was bitterly disappointed, he loved to fish in the lake up in the mountains. Chris assured him that there would be another opportunity for them to go before the season was over. Ezra, on the other hand, was thrilled to get out of a weekend in a 'shack with all the amenities of Gilligan's Island.' There had been a lot of teasing over the fact that Ezra even knew the show.
They were due back in two days. Chris had been a little concerned at not being able to reach them over the weekend but Buck had said that Ezra probably took the batteries out of their cell phones. It wasn't often that the ATF had a conference in Las Vegas and Ezra intended to make the most of it. Around ten in the morning, he got an angry call from the head of Homeland Security, neither of his agents showed up for the training session. The hotel confirmed that they checked in on time but no one had seen them since.
ATF - SG1
The dark-haired boy lay bathed in sweat as the doctors worked to reduce his temperature. Sam ran from the secure holding area, where all of the alien technology was kept, her hand clenched around the Goa'uld healing device. When she got to the boy's side, he looked up at her. His eyes were glassy with the fever that raged in his body. Sam closed her eyes and concentrated on activating the device. She felt her skin begin to tingle and knew that it was working. She moved the glowing stone closer to the boy and opened her eyes. His skeleton seemed to almost glow as she passed the device over him. She started at his head and worked her way to his toes. By the time she finished, she was feeling oddly drained.
"His temperature is coming down," the doctor announced, "Good job!"
In the other bed, the fair-haired child knelt, his hands clenched on the bed rails as he stared at the other boy. Only when the light from the healing device faded did he settle back on his heels. Except for when he had spoken when he first awakened, he hadn't made a sound. They had brought him a tray, which he picked at. He watched the blonde woman as she spoke with the others.
'Will he be all right?' Samantha heard a soft voice say. She didn't recognize the voice and looked around to see who had spoken. When her eyes settled on the other boy, she looked puzzled.
"Sam?" the doctor asked, concerned that she didn't appear to be listening to him.
"Say something else," Sam urged.
'What was that thing you used on him?' the soft voice asked.
She heard the words but the boy's lips never moved. "It is you, isn't it? You're talking to me," she said as she moved around the bed.
"What are you talking about? He hasn't made a sound since he got here," the doctor said.
'Can you hear my thoughts?' Sam wondered silently.
'Yes. Will he be all right?' the boy repeated.
"We're doing everything we can for him," she said aloud.
With the discovery that the boy could communicate with his mind came another series of tests. They found that the boy could 'talk' to Samantha and to Daniel, but not to the doctors. They brought in a couple of soldiers who had the 'Ancient' gene and discovered that he could 'speak' to them but couldn't 'hear' their thoughts. The boy didn't know where he had come from, or how long he had been in the stasis chamber, but he did know a couple of valuable bits of information . . . he was cloned from a man named Vin and the other boy was cloned from a man named Ezra.
ATF - SG1
Chris slammed the phone down with a muttered curse.
"Did you find them?" Buck asked.
"They were picked up by the military!" Larabee replied, anger dripping heavily from every syllable. "And no one can tell me where they are or why they were taken."
"I can see them taking Vin for some kind of special op but Ezra?" Buck wondered.
"They're sending someone to talk to us, he should be here in a couple of hours," Chris said as he kneaded the bridge of his nose. All the lighthearted antics in the bullpen had stopped as soon as they got the call that Vin and Ezra were missing. JD was on the computer, trying to run down any activity on their credit cards or their cell phones. Nathan and Josiah were both calling in markers, trying to find anyone who could tell them what was happening.
ATF - SG1
Vin Tanner paced in the confines of the large room where he was being held. They had been there for over 72 hours and still had not been told why. Ezra sat at the small table, playing solitaire with a deck of cards that they had given him. Stopping in front of the door, Vin slammed his palm against the mesh that protected the observation window. To his credit, the guard standing on the other side of the steel door didn't even flinch.
"You are wasting your time. They will tell us what they want, when they want," Ezra said as he gathered the cards and began to shuffle them. "Injuring yourself in a fit of pique will not benefit either of us."
"I don't understand how you can just sit there!" Vin shouted at the camera in the corner of the room. "We're American citizens! We have a right to know why we're being held!"It had started with a knock on their hotel room door early in the morning after they arrived. Vin opened the door, thinking that it was his room service orders. He blinked at the Air Force uniform that greeted him on the other side of the door.
"Vin Tanner?" the man asked.
"Yeah?" Vin replied hesitantly.
"Is Ezra Standish here with you?" the man countered.
"Yeah? What's this about?" Vin asked.
"Both of you will have to come with me," the man said.
The hair on the back of his neck stood up and Vin shifted his weight in preparation for a fight. A tall, heavily muscled black man stepped up behind the shorter man, clearly intending to intimidate him into coming along quietly.
"Ezra!" Vin shouted as he threw a punch at the dark-haired man. He heard a peculiar sound just before he was hit by something. His body was enveloped in a shimmering, electrical field. His muscles tensed as Vin cried out in pain before everything went dark.
When they awoke, they were in the room. Vin immediately discovered the small, round band aide on the bend of his arm where he had either been drugged or had blood drawn. All of his weapons were gone. He had rolled over, groaning as aching muscles protested, to find Ezra unconscious on the next bed. Since then, they'd had no contact with anyone. Their meals were carried in by armed guards like they were in prison. Ezra, ever practical, had spoken to the camera, knowing they were being watched, and requested some cards to help pass the time.
Vin searched every inch of the room and found nothing they could use as a weapon. They had their own bathroom, complete with the toiletries from their hotel room. Their clothes were in the drawers and closet, just like they had put them there themselves. Vin glared at the camera, hating the little red light more and more with each passing hour. Finally, he stormed over to the trays from lunch. He dipped his finger in the chocolate pudding and crossed the room to grab the empty chair.
"What are you doing?" Ezra asked as Vin stood on the chair and smeared the pudding on the lens.
"Now they can't see us," he answered.
"And that helps us to get out of here how?" Ezra wanted to know.
Less than an hour later, the door opened. Four armed men entered the room, followed by a blonde woman and man with sandy brown hair. It was the woman who spoke, "Mr. Standish, if you'll come with us, please?"
Ezra gathered the cards and put them back in the box before he rose from the table. Vin moved to stand in front of him. "He's not going anywhere with you until we get some answers," Tanner said in a menacing voice.
"And I'm going to try to give you those answers, Mr. Tanner," the unarmed man replied.
Moving closer to Vin, Ezra whispered, "First rule of being a good hostage."
They both knew the rules, they had memorized them as part of their training. Observe and cooperate, those were the things to do when in a hostage situation. Observe the hostage-takers and look for an exploitable weakness. Cooperate, get them to let their guard down by going along with whatever they were doing. Vin nodded as he stepped aside. Ezra strode over to the woman and gestured for her to go ahead. He fell into position behind her, closely flanked by two of the armed soldiers.
"Please, sit down," Daniel urged. The ATF agent remained standing. "You won't mind if I sit, will you?" He pulled out the chair the other man had recently left and sat down. "I'm sure you must have questions," he began.
Ezra followed the woman to an elevator. He was puzzled when she pushed a higher number and the car began to descend. "We're going down?" he asked.
"Yes, the infirmary is three floors below us," she answered. "I'm Samantha Carter, by the way," she said as she offered her hand. He shook it but made no introduction of his own. "I'm sorry that you haven't been given any explanation for all of this."
From the elevator, he was taken to the infirmary. Ezra's keen eyes swept the room, noting the placement of doors and possible weapons. The guards, seeming to almost read his mind, moved to block the exits.
"Mr. Standish, I'm Doctor Marcus Kline," another man said as he crossed the room. Ezra nodded in acknowledgement of the name and title. "I have some questions for you," the doctor said without pause.
ATF - SG1
Chris rose as the two Air Force officers entered the bullpen. The older man's jacket was adorned with ribbons indicating a long time in active duty. The younger man's jacket was not so heavily decorated.
"Gentlemen, I am General Hank Landry, this is Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell," the older man said as he offered his hand to shake. It wasn't lost on him that none of them returned the introduction, or the handshake.
"We can use the conference room," Chris said as he strode past the two men. Once the ATF agents were seated, Landry and Mitchell took seats at the opposite end of the table. "Now, where are my men and what's going on?" Chris asked.
Landry shifted in his chair and directed his comment to Mitchell, "Coming straight to the point. Very well, your friends are at Cheyenne Mountain Military Base."
"Why?" Chris asked.
"Because we needed to ask them some questions," the general replied.
ATF - SG1
Vin stared in disbelief at the man seated across the room from him. They had found a child that had the same DNA as he did. But that didn't explain why they had been taken from their hotel rooms and it didn't explain the weapon that had been used on them. It didn't make any sense.
"The boy is in fair condition. Our doctors are working to correct a problem he has and that's where you come in. We would like to give the boy some of your blood, to see if it corrects the . . . condition he has," Daniel explained.
"You still didn't have to tazer us and bring us here. You could have asked," Vin replied angrily.
"There's more, Mr. Tanner. Do you know of any instance where you may have experienced . . . lost time?" Daniel asked.
"Lost time? What in the hell are you talking about?"
"Just think about it. Can you remember any time that you felt like something strange had happened, perhaps when it was just you and Mr. Standish?"
"Me and Ezra? No," Vin answered.
"Are you sure?"
There was that time when he and Ezra had been kidnapped and dumped in the woods during the Randall case. He still had dreams about the gray skinned, alien-looking thing leaning over him. He hadn't even spoken to Ezra about it, thinking his teammate might wonder about his sanity.
ATF - SG1
"Mr. Standish, have you ever experienced a loss of time that you couldn't explain?" the doctor asked as he consulted the chart he had made for the ATF agent.
Ezra's mind immediately went to the Randall case. He and Vin had been 'taken for a ride' and dumped in the woods, after Randall's goons worked them over. Everyone had commented on what a miracle it was that they hadn't suffered frostbite or died from the frigid temperatures. Ezra wasn't about to tell them that they hadn't been on the mountain the whole time, he valued his freedom and his job too much. Even now, his head ached with the constant 'white noise' he had lived with since waking in the hospital after they had been rescued.
"Mr. Standish?" the blonde woman prompted.
"No, nothing comes to mind," he said.
Dr. Kline looked over his glasses at the man before he sighed. He put the chart on the table and cast a meaningful glance at Samantha.
"Mr. Standish, do you have any children?" Sam asked.
"Me? No," Ezra replied, "Not that I know of. Why do you ask?"
Sam explained that they had found a boy with Ezra's DNA. Naturally, he asked about the child's mother and she said that the child had only his DNA.
"But that's not possible. I know from my high school biology classes that a child gets half of its DNA from the mother and half from the father," Ezra said.
"Unless the child is a clone," Sam said.
"Cloning is illegal," Ezra said. "Besides, wouldn't they have to have my DNA to do it?"
By the time she finished, Ezra was sliding off of the exam table. The child was genetically his clone! Not his child but a duplicate of him! Then she told him that the boy was ill and needed a bone marrow transplant. Ezra remembered the pain of broken ribs, cracked pelvis and dislocated shoulder that he had suffered from at the hands of Randall's henchmen and wondered abstractly if that might be the reason that the child was in such bad shape. He didn't know that much about cloning.
"Would you be willing to allow us to harvest some of your bone marrow to give the child?" Sam asked.
"Of - of course. Can I . . . see him?" Ezra asked.
"Not right now, he's very weak. I'll send someone in to get you ready for the harvest procedure," Sam said as she smiled at the dazed man.
"What will happen to him?" Ezra asked.
"I don't know."
ATF - SG1
"Special Agent Larabee, can you think of any time when one or both of your agents may have 'disappeared' for any length of time? Have either of them ever mentioned feeling like they've lost time or had any strange dreams?" General Landry asked.
"Disappeared?" Chris repeated. "No, why do you ask?"
"Special Agent . . ."
"How about we drop the titles, my name is Chris."
"Chris, this is very important. Has either of your agents ever mentioned feeling like they've lost time? Have they ever talked about strange memories?" Cameron asked.
"You still haven't answered my question," Chris replied.
"Have either of them ever had a UFO experience?" Cameron asked.
"UFO's?" JD echoed in disbelief. "Vin and Ezra? What? Are you going to tell us that they're actually aliens? Should we start looking for large pods?"
"JD," Chris said as he glared the younger man back into his chair.
"If either of them mentioned a UFO experience, they would have lost their badges," Nathan said.
"Ezra may have seen something," Josiah offered.
"What?" Chris and JD asked simultaneously.
"I was with him, in the hospital after the Randall case, and he kept begging me to make them stop. He said they were gray and had big eyes. When I asked him about it afterwards, he said it was a dream mixed with some movie he had watched with Vin," Josiah explained. He cast an apologetic glance at the team leader before he continued, "But he had dreams about it for months afterward."
ATF - SG1
Vin followed Daniel to the infirmary. He lay back on the exam table while they prepped his arm to take a pint of blood. The female doctor was gentle as she slipped the large-bore needle into his vein. He closed his eyes to avoid seeing the blood. As he lay there, he heard someone whispering. Opening his eyes, he looked around curiously.
"Are you feeling dizzy?" the doctor asked.
"No," he answered. Closing his eyes again, he tried to locate the sound again. He could hear it, but the words didn't make any sense. As he concentrated on the voice and the strange words, he sank deeper into an unconscious state.
"Mr. Tanner? Mr. Tanner, can you hear me?" the doctor asked as she gently shook him. Curling her fingers, she rubbed her knuckles against his breastbone and got no reaction. Seeing that the bag was nearly full, she clamped it off and grabbed a stack of gauze squares, pressing them over the needle as she withdrew it from his arm. Holding his arm in a bent position, she stretched to hit the alarm button.
Drifting pleasantly under the light anesthetic, Ezra heard the alarm klaxon. The nurse's hand flinched before settling on his neck again. He felt pressure, then a dull pain in his hip. The doctor had explained the procedure to him before giving him the form to sign. They were in a hurry. Subliminally, he began to pick up words in the soft 'white noise' that he could only barely hear. Someone was telling him that it was okay, not to be afraid. But it wasn't him they were talking to . . . it was someone else, someone who didn't understand.
Dr. Kline finished the extraction and sent the bag of marrow to be checked before it could be given to the green-eyed boy. It had been a little disconcerting to look into Mr. Standish's eyes when he explained the harvest procedure, the resemblance between him and the boy was uncanny. As soon as he had bandaged the extraction sites, he began to wean the anesthetic out of the needle in the patient's spine. They had given him something to calm him but the spinal block was the best way to control the pain of the procedure. He carefully removed the needle and cautioned the nurse to keep an eye on the site in case he should begin to lose spinal fluid. As he was making his notes in the chart, Mr. Standish began to mumble softly.
In the observation room above the operating theater, Teal'c narrowed his eyes as he focused on what the man was saying. After a few moments, he reached out for a button on the panel in front of him, "Daniel Jackson, please report to OR 4." He turned up the microphone and spoke to Dr. Kline and the nurse, "You must leave the room at once."
Several minutes later, Teal'c, Daniel and a group of armed guards stood over the drugged man on the operating table. "He was speaking Goa'uld?" Daniel asked.
"He was. The words were an ancient dialect but I understood some of them," Teal'c replied.
"What was he saying?" Samantha asked.
"It sounded like the stories I used to tell my son when he was very small."
Vin stirred, looking around in confusion. The beeping of the monitor was soothing but the dark walls and ceiling were not. He tried to move his arms and found that he was in restraints. "What in the hell is going on here?" he said. "Doctor? Nurse?"
'Just relax, they won't hurt you,' a voice soothed.
"Where are you?" Vin called out.
'I am close. They won't let me come to you yet but I am learning,' the voice answered.
"Learning what?" Vin asked.
'Everything,' the voice replied.
The dark-haired child flinched when the doctor slipped the small needle into his vein. The blonde woman was there, talking to him in the words he was only beginning to understand. They had separated him from the other like him. He could still hear him in his mind but they were now separated by several rooms. The other one was comforting someone else, telling him that he was learning. He had been learning too, more quickly over the past few days. He now had access to more words and was learning to pair them with his own.
Ezra opened his eyes to the soothing sound of a monitor. His lower back ached and he knew not to move too quickly. He groped along the rails until he found the controls to raise his head a few inches.
"Mr. Standish, how are you feeling?" a voice asked.
"Parched," he replied. Immediately, he heard water being poured and waited for the blessed moisture to touch his lips. The straw beckoned and he took it into his mouth, drawing a refreshing swallow. "Thank you," he said as he released the straw.
"Where did you learn to speak Goa'uld, Mr. Standish?" Daniel asked.
"Speak what?" Ezra asked, straining to raise his head to see the man.
ATF - SG1
"I want to speak to them, to know they're all right," Chris said.
"I'm afraid that's not possible," General Landry replied.
"This is the United States for God's sake! They have rights!" Buck yelled as he came to his feet.
The ringing of a cell phone had all of them reaching for their belts. General Landry opened his phone and spoke to whoever was calling. After a few seconds, he glanced around the room at the five men, his gaze staying the longest on Larabee. When he closed the phone, he addressed all of them.
"Well, it appears that you are going to get your wish, I have been advised to bring all of you to Cheyenne Mountain," Landry said.
"We aren't going anywhere until we speak to our friends!" Chris said.
"That wasn't a request, Mr. Larabee. Now, if you will kindly leave your weapons and cell phones here, we will be on our way."
The conference room door opened and several armed soldiers filed in. Knowing that they were out manned and out gunned, they reluctantly began to lay their weapons on the table.
"How long are you planning to hold us?" Chris asked.
"As long as necessary," Landry answered.
"Then I need to make a phone call. I've got livestock that needs looking after." Chris waited until the man nodded before he picked up the land line and called his neighbor to say that he might be out of touch for a few days. Yosemite said that he would take care of things while he was away. By the time he hung up the phone, the soldiers had finished patting the others down and approached him. He placed his palms on the table and stood patiently to allow the young man to check him for weapons.
They created quite a stir when they came into the lobby. A military transport truck was parked in front of the building. Chris was separated from the others and taken to the dark sedan parked in front of the transport.
ATF - SG1
The dark-haired child opened his eyes and looked around the room. The IV was gone and he felt stronger. He reached out with his mind and touched the other like him. They had done something to him so that he was also growing stronger. Slipping out of bed, he moved to the door. He turned the knob and pulled, smiling when it opened in his hand. He had already touched the mind of the guard so that he wouldn't see anything. The other like him was in another room and the dark-haired child told him that it was safe to come out. A moment later, another door opened and the other boy stepped into the hall. They moved quickly to the end of the hall and reached out with their minds.
Vin had given up on fighting the restraints. He had answered all of their questions but they wouldn't release him. They also wouldn't tell him where Ezra was or what had happened to him. He tried to block the soft whispers that filled his mind. After a while, the whispers got louder. When the door opened, he drew a breath to yell at whoever was there but he ended the breath on a gasp of shock. Standing in the doorway was a boy who looked exactly like he had when his mother died.
The pain diminished until Ezra could finally begin to fumble with the instrument he had lifted from the doctor's pocket. He managed to pick the lock on the restraint on his left side. It took only a few seconds to free his other hand. Soon, he was rooting in the small closet for something to wear. The one-piece khaki jumpsuit was a little big but it covered everything. Edging closer to the door, he concentrated on the whispers in his head. He drew a quick breath at the wave of shock that washed over him. Opening the door, he quickly stepped into the hall. He didn't know how he knew but he knew that Vin was in the room at the other end of the short, secure corridor. The guards appeared to be asleep, not noticing when he darted past them.
Two pairs of hands worked the buckles on the restraints. Vin concentrated on remaining still so that they could work. He hoped that they could release him before the guards returned from rounds. When the door opened, he tensed, then sighed in relief at the familiar face that peered in at him.
"Ezra! Get in here and help them get me loose!" Vin said.
Managing only barely to contain his shock, Ezra stared at the green-eyed boy on the other side of the bed. His mother had pictures in her wallet of him from kindergarten and the child looked exactly as he had except for the longer, untamed curly hair. He fumbled with the buckles until the leather tongue slipped free of the metal and Vin's hand was free. While Vin and the children worked on the other buckles, Ezra opened the closet and pulled out another khaki jumper, similar to the one he was wearing. In no time, Vin was dressed and they were ready to make a break for it.
ATF - SG1
At gunpoint, the four men got out of the transport. Darkness had fallen while they were on their way to wherever Vin and Ezra were being detained. Chris had already gotten out of the sedan and was glaring at the General and Lt. Colonel. They were herded past the huge, thick, reinforced blast door and into an elevator. They descended to the 14th floor before they stopped. Just as they started down the corridor, an alarm klaxon began to wail and red lights strobed at the intersection of another corridor. A man's voice calmly announced 'an unscheduled off-world activation' and ordered all hands to their stations. The soldiers escorting them ushered Chris and his team up against the wall as others jogged past them. As soon as the corridor grew quiet, the team was herded on toward the 'guest quarters.'
General Landry made it to the embarkation room just as the computer deciphered the code being sent by whoever opened the wormhole. "It's the Tok'ra, Sir," Walter announced.
"Open the iris," Landry ordered.
The large metal iris opened to reveal a shimmering surface like a rippling lake. Seconds later, a beautiful woman stepped out of the device. She descended the ramp, looking around in distaste at the weapons pointed in her direction.
"Stand down," Landry called over the loudspeaker. He watched only long enough to see the soldiers complying, then turned to hurry down to the gate room. As the large, metal door opened, he found himself face to face with the woman. "Anise, it was good of you to respond so quickly to our request for help," he said.
"I must admit to a certain curiosity. Clones on an Asgard ship who speak Goa'uld are a most interesting find," the woman replied. "May we see them?"
"Of course, I'm sure Dr. Jackson will be along in a moment-" the general began to say, stopping when Daniel rounded the corner with Samantha Carter in tow.
"Anise! It's good to see you again!" Daniel said.
"Daniel, Samantha, I was intrigued by your message. I have brought some Tok'ra devices that might tell us how these clones were engineered."
"For now, I just want you to have a look at them," Samantha interrupted. She still had not gotten over the whole 'armband' incident. Before any of Anise's 'devices' touched the children, they would have to be thoroughly investigated. The Tok'ra dipped her chin and her voice changed.
"Will Jack be here?" Freya asked.
"No, he's got a lot of work in Washington," Daniel replied. "I know he'll be disappointed at having missed you."
ATF - SG1
Buck paced within the confines of the room. The fact that both of the bedrooms held two pairs of bunk beds didn't bode well for them leaving any time soon. Chris and Josiah checked all three of the rooms for hidden bugs until Nathan pointed out the cameras. Out of spite, JD pulled a pack of gum from his pants pocket and began chewing it. Several minutes later, he dragged a chair over and covered the lens with the pink, sticky wad. Buck pried the liquid soap dispenser off of the bathroom wall and used the contents to thoroughly soak the microphones.
"Remind me not to let either of you around any delicate electronics," Nathan teased.
"Did they tell you anything on the drive up?" Buck asked of Chris.
"No, just that they have a very good reason for what they're doing. I got the feeling that the younger guy wanted to tell me more but the other guy kept him quiet.
"Where are we?" JD asked.
"It looks like an old missile silo. I didn't even know there was an active base up here," Josiah said. "I talked to several people and they didn't know anything either."
The door opened and a guard rolled a cart with a TV and DVD player into the room. The bottom of the cart was filled with an assortment of movies. Another soldier carried a fruit basket in and put it on the table. They backed out of the room and locked the door behind them. JD launched himself at the cart and began reading through the titles on the DVD's.
ATF - SG1
Daniel and Sam escorted Anise to the secure corridor of the infirmary. The guard standing outside of the door swiped his electronic key card and stepped aside to let the trio pass. As soon as they stepped into the corridor, they knew something was wrong.
"Corporal Danverse? Corporal Wong?" Daniel said as he approached the men. Samantha went directly to the room one of the children had been in and punched the access code.
"He's gone!" she cried after a brief search of the room.
The guard blinked several times before he jerked away from the hand gently chaffing his face. He started to stand, then swayed as he almost fell on top of Daniel. Anise scanned him with something from her bag of tricks.
"His brainwaves have been disrupted," she explained.
Samantha moved to the next room and opened the door. "Mr. Standish is missing, too!"
Daniel moved to the other guard and tried to rouse him from the hypnotic state he was in. The man toppled off of the chair. "Sam!" Daniel shouted as he eased the man to his back. "He's not breathing!" Anise leapt out of the way as Samantha rushed to help. Before she could actually begin doing CPR, the soldier gasped and started to struggle.
Leaving Daniel to watch the guard, Sam rose and went to check the other room. Like the others, it was empty. She turned toward the fourth and final room. Punching in the code, she turned the knob. The door didn't open, so she pushed on it. After a few seconds, she figured that they had barricaded the door with the bed.
"Come on, we have to get to the control room before they sabotage the camera in there," Sam said as she helped the semiconscious soldier to his feet. Anise helped Daniel with the other soldier.
Vin and Ezra exchanged a glance when the door stopped pressing against the bed. The boys were in the corner behind the credenza that the adults had moved. They were peering nervously at the door. Neither of them had made a sound.
Sam flipped the switches and brought up the camera in Vin Tanner's isolation room. The screen came to life, showing the interior of the room. She was right, they had pushed the bed up against the door. Using the joystick, she panned the camera until she saw the boys. The dark-haired child looked up as the camera moved. Less than a minute later, a sock was threaded over the camera, blocking her view. Daniel flipped a switch and spoke into the microphone.
"You've managed to barricade yourselves into a room in the middle of a military complex, fourteen stories underground. How long do you think the four of you can hold out?"
"As long as we need to," Vin answered.
"And you plan on keeping those boys in there with you?" Samantha asked.
"They came to me, I didn't go get them," Vin replied.
Daniel turned off the mic and sighed in irritation.
"Why don't you simply introduce a sedative into their air supply?" Anise suggested.
"Because those children in there might have an adverse reaction," Samantha answered.
"What are we going to do?" Ezra asked softly.
"I don't know. But you can bet that they aren't going to let us just walk out of here," Vin answered as he looked around the room for anything that he could use as a weapon.
'I can help you,' a voice in his head offered. Vin's eyes went to the children, who were peering at him from the corner. The one with the blue eyes, your clone, his reasonable side reminded, was staring at him intently.
'How?' Vin countered.
'We can block them from being able to see us,' the child's voice replied, though his lips didn't move at all.
"Let's do it, then, I want to get out of here," Vin said aloud. Both of the boys scurried out from behind the credenza and waited for the men to move the bed away from the door. Vin peeked around the door carefully before he opened it fully. There was no one in the corridor, so they moved to the door that connected with the infirmary. The children stared at the door, concentrating on the minds of the people beyond it. One by one, they 'convinced' them that whatever they were looking at did not change.
'It is safe now,' the blue-eyed boy told Vin.
Opening the door, Vin flinched at the cluster of heavily armed men standing guard at the door. When none of them reacted to the door opening, he let it swing wider so he could step through. None of the soldiers moved. Motioning for the others to move, Vin crept closer to one of the guards. Boldly, he reached out and slipped the man's sidearm from the holster. Tucking it into his belt, he lifted another one for Ezra.
"Come on!" Ezra hissed.
In the control room, Teal'c caught sight of the small group on one of the monitors. "They have escaped the infirmary and are headed for the elevators," he announced.
"How?" Daniel asked, "There were at least a dozen men guarding that corridor!"
"We'll figure that out later!" Sam said as she hit the red plunger. Immediately, the alarm klaxon began to sound.
ATF - SG1
"You sure you know what to do?" Nathan asked.
"Yeah, let's do it!" JD said as he lay on the floor. Buck and Chris hugged the wall behind the door and waited.
Josiah struck the door with his fist, shouting for the men beyond it, "We need help in here! He's having a seizure!" Moving to kneel beside JD's prone body, Josiah looked back at the door with a panicked expression on his face. "Get help! Please!" he shouted.
It worked like a charm. The two young, inexperienced soldiers opened the door and rushed in to offer help. Chris and Buck slugged them, catching the sagging bodies as they folded toward the floor. Josiah plucked the guns from their limp hands as JD rolled over and pushed up to his hands and knees. Within seconds, Buck passed his young friend a weapon while Chris handed Josiah the other handgun. The five men crept to the door and looked out into the corridor.
"It's clear, let's go!" Chris said as he and Buck slipped out of the room. Nathan hung back and searched the unconscious men for the key cards before pulling the door closed behind him, locking them inside. He had to jog to catch up to the others. As they approached the elevator, Chris motioned for them to duck. A group of four soldiers ran across the intersection of the corridors without even a glance in their direction. Buck edged along the wall to peer around the corner. Even as he raised his hand to signal an 'all clear,' the alarm klaxon began to sound and red lights strobed overhead. Chris looked down as Nathan pressed something into his hand. He looked at the keycard, then at the access panel across the hall. It was a chance they would have to take. Trusting the others to watch his back, he swiped the card.
ATF - SG1
With the alarms sounding, Vin and Ezra knew that they had run out of options. Ezra swiped the keycard he had lifted from a passing guard and they waited. Neither of them knew how the boys were controlling the others, they just hoped that their luck held until they made their escape. The elevator doors opened and they leapt into the empty car, pushing the boys into the corner so they would be out of sight when the doors opened again. Vin punched the button for the 'ground' level. Both of the men chewed on their lips as they waited for the doors to close and the car to move. Finally, it began to rise.
"Shut down the elevators!" Sam yelled. Daniel stared at the control panel until he found the correct button. On the monitor, they could see the determination on the ATF agents' faces.
"They're armed!" Daniel advised. "Zats only!"
Behind Daniel and Sam, Anise shook her head in disbelief. She was rapidly developing a theory about the children, one that would not make her popular with her Tauri friends. She only hoped she would get a chance to verify it before one of the Asgard arrived.
The elevator jerked to a stop. Vin and Ezra exchanged glances. Evidently, the children's power didn't extend to inanimate objects. Almost reading each other's mind, they attacked the doors, trying to force them open. Ezra jammed the barrel of his gun into the opening so that it didn't crush their fingers. Then he took hold of one door as Vin pulled on the other one. Gradually, the doors parted enough for Vin to risk a peek.
Chris' eyes widened in surprise as the familiar face appeared in the opening of the elevator doors. "Buck, let's give them a hand!" he hissed. The two of them pushed away from the wall and stuck their hands into the opening between the doors, lending their strength to their teammates. Finally, the opening was large enough to permit them to squeeze through.
Ezra reached down and picked up the gun before urging the boys out of the elevator. He squeezed out behind them, guiding the children toward his friends. Seconds later, Vin and the others joined them.
"They've cut the power to the elevators, how are we going to get out of here?" JD asked.
"I don't know but we need to find a defendable place to hole up for now," Nathan answered.
"Back the way we came," Chris ordered. "They won't think to look for us in there."
As a group, they returned to the 'guest quarters' and let themselves in. The guards sprang to their feet but quickly surrendered when they saw the weapons pointed in their direction. Buck and Josiah moved their 'prisoners' into one of the bedrooms, warning them not to open the door if they valued their lives. While they were doing that, Chris and the others moved the couch to block the door and smeared more of the liquid soap on the glass to make it harder for anyone outside to see in. With their stronghold as fortified as it could be, the team leader turned his attention to his team.
It didn't take long for General Landry's people to figure out where the ATF agents had gone. Cameron and the other members of SG-1 were gathered at the connecting corridor, discussing their options. It was possible for them to storm the room but they didn't want to start a bloodbath, as was sure to happen with trapped, armed, angry men who saw themselves as hostages. And then there was the matter of the clone children.
A bullhorn was passed from the back of the group. Daniel and Cam looked at it, each reluctant to take it. Finally, Daniel accepted it and brought it to his mouth, pausing to consider what he was going to say.
"Mr. Tanner, we know that you're in there. Why don't you come out and talk about this?" he said. When there was no response, he tried again, "We know you have the children in there. Surely you don't want anything to happen to them. We don't want to hurt you or them; we just want you to come out." Daniel waited.
Chris looked around the room and mentally calculated the odds. They were trapped, more than ten floors below the ground in a metal room with no windows and only one door. They had water but very little in the way of food. They had guns but a limited amount of ammunition. And then there was the little matter of the children. Then he thought about the soldiers in the other room, they had hostages.
"We want out of here! We want to go to the surface!" Chris called out, knowing that they could hear him, somehow. "We have hostages!"
"You don't want to use the children as hostages!" General Landry said over the speakers in the ceiling.
"I'm not talking about the children! We haven't done anything wrong . . . yet. We just want to take our friends and get out of here," Chris called back.
"Send the children out," Samantha said, earning her a glare from the general.
"Can't do that. We want you to activate the elevators and let us go!" Chris said.
"We'll get back to you!" Daniel said over the bullhorn.
Chris moved away from the door and turned to face his team. "Okay, why don't the two of you bring us up to speed," he said to Vin and Ezra.
As soon as the word 'clone' left Ezra's lips, Nathan scoffed. "Human cloning is illegal! Besides, no one has ever managed to obtain a viable zygote for implantation. Do you know how many times those scientists failed before they got a successful pregnancy?"
"I am only repeating what they told me," Ezra stated. "She said that the child was a clone of me and that he needed a bone marrow transplant in order to survive."
"How on Earth did they obtain your DNA?" Nathan asked.
"I was in the military, it's part of their routine now," Vin answered.
"And all of us have given blood at one time or another," Ezra added.
"What about the UFO thing?" Josiah asked.
"What UFO thing?" Vin and Ezra asked simultaneously.
"General Landry asked if either of you had ever had a UFO experience. The only thing I could think of was the Randall case. You remember, you two were missing for three days. Ezra, I was there when you were out of your mind. You were begging them to stop," Josiah said.
"I had just taken a horrendous beating at the hands of Randall's cronies; of course I was out of my mind!" Ezra defended angrily.
"But when I asked who was hurting you, it wasn't Randall's men you were begging. You said it was a 'gray man with big eyes' who was causing you pain," Josiah said. "Later, you tried to pass it off as some movie on Sci-Fi but . . ."
"Aliens?" JD asked, his voice ringing with disbelief. "You think they were snatched by aliens?"
"Come on now, Josiah isn't saying that he believes that. Are you?" Nathan asked.
"He used a glowing light. I was hurting so bad," Vin interrupted. "He made it stop hurting."
"You had internal bleeding. You were delirious with pain," Nathan said.
"Then how do you explain them?" Ezra asked as he directed their attention to the boys, who were sitting together in the overstuffed chair, watching everything around them.
'We were in the pods,' the blue eyed boy's voice said in Ezra's head. 'The blonde woman took us from the other place.'
Nathan's head whipped around so quickly that Buck feared he'd given himself a case of whiplash. The medic stared at the children as if seeing them for the first time. "How did you do that?" Nathan asked.
'What?' the boy asked.
"I heard him in my head!" Nathan exclaimed.
"We can all hear them," JD said.
The boys submitted to Nathan's cursory exam, smiling faintly at his perplexed expression. The blue-eyed boy had the same birthmark as Vin, a small clover shape at the base of his skull. The other boy could easily have been Ezra's son, as the resemblance between them was uncanny. While he was examining the boys, Nathan discovered that the green-eyed boy was running a temperature.
Several hours passed as the standoff continued. Cameron discovered that the boys' hypnotic ability had limits, which he stumbled into by mistake. When he came around, he was lying in the infirmary.
"What happened?" he asked the nurse.
"You were in a mild catatonic state for several minutes when they brought you in," she replied.
In the big conference room, Dr. Kline was explaining that he didn't know how teargas would affect the clones. He was opposed to anything that might harm the children. Anise was confident that her devices could repair any damage that might occur and the members of SG-1 were in the uncomfortable position of being in the middle. Just as the discussion was about to escalate, a bright flash appeared in the corner, leaving behind a familiar countenance.
"Thor!" Samantha greeted warmly.
"I hope that I have not arrived too late," the Asgard said as he approached the table.
"Not at all. We were just discussing our options," Daniel said.
Upon hearing what was happening, Thor suggested that he beam the clones out of the room to his ship and beam the hostages to another part of the base, leaving the ATF team in the room. General Landry agreed, especially after noticing the look of frustration on Anise's face.
"Uh, Thor, could you take me with you? I don't want the boys to be afraid," Sam said. In the blink of an eye, the Asgard and Carter disappeared.
Nathan checked the boy again before turning to the others, "I think we better give up so they can help him." The dark-haired, green-eyed boy's temperature had risen steadily in spite of the cool, wet cloths they kept wiping him down with. Ezra was distressed over the boy's condition as the memory of being ill at that age loomed large in his mind. He had gathered the child into his arms and held him, rocking him gently. The other boy was also distressed, pleading with them to do something. His mental projections were almost painful. Suddenly, there was a flash of light and both of the boys vanished. Ezra's eyes widened in fear, then tightened in anger.
"Bring him back!" he shouted as he came to his feet. "Bring him back immediately!"
Josiah leapt up and opened the door to the room where the 'hostages' were, only to see them disappear in a flash. "They took the soldiers, too," he reported.
Vin and Ezra grabbed the couch and heaved it out of the way before Buck and Chris got hold of them. They struggled, Vin nearly managing to break free before a voice called out to them over the speakers.
"We have the children and they're safe! Toss out your weapons and surrender!"
Ezra made use of the moment's distraction to break free of Buck's restraint, throwing himself at the door and wrenching it open. He was immediately stricken by a bolt of what looked like lightening and collapsed into the corridor, writhing in pain before going limp.
JD launched himself past the others, crying out, "Ezra! Look out!" An instant later, he was also lying in an ungainly sprawl on the floor. Several soldiers formed a semicircle around the fallen men, pointing weapons unlike any the ATF agents had ever seen. Chris glanced around at the rest of his team and they raised their hands in surrender.
ATF - SG1
Sam's hand twitched with the urge to reach out and stroke the sweaty curls from the boy's head. Thor had put him directly into a stasis chamber. He was across the room at the moment, studying the other boy. She could hear them, inside of her head, speaking in another language. She was too worried about the ill boy to wonder where the other child had learned to speak Asgard.
"Colonel Carter, if I may have a word with you?" Thor asked as he approached one of the view screens along the wall. She joined him, looking hungrily at the readings she didn't understand. "I can cure the boys of only some of their unique genetic differences," the diminutive alien explained.
"Some?" Samantha questioned.
"Some of the changes are too far along, to attempt to alter them at this stage would terminate the clones," Thor replied. "I regret that it was one of my own kind who created them."
"Why do you say that?"
"Because he was working for someone else. I couldn't help noticing that the Tok'ra Anise was present, has she examined the clones?"
"No, they escaped before she had the chance," Sam replied, feeling that awful betrayed sensation in the pit of her stomach.
"The clones were made to very specific genetic plans. I believe you are familiar with the Goa'uld word 'Hok'Taur.' Those clones are just that, the perfect host for a Goa'uld. Their brains were engineered to do more than a human brain," Thor answered as he brought up an image on the screen. "These are scans of your brain. See here and here? Now look at the scan I made of the clone's brain. See the difference? They will be able to use a larger percentage of their brain than an average human."
"Wow," Sam breathed. "And this is the part you can't change without killing them?"
"Yes, if I attempted to alter this it would damage them beyond the ability to sustain life. I have made the necessary changes in that one," Thor indicated the child in the stasis field. "I would say that the subject the DNA was taken from had been seriously damaged when the sample was taken. The other one had some minor skeletal deformity, which I have repaired. I would caution you not to allow the Tok'ra to examine them too closely."
"Thor, is there some reason why they can't talk? Out loud, that is."
"There is no reason for them not to attain vocal speech, they simply have not needed it," the Asgard replied. "What will happen to them?"
"That's the 64 dollar question," Sam replied. With a sigh, she drifted over to the stasis tube where the blue-eyed child stood watching the other boy.
ATF - SG1
Ezra groaned softly as he awoke. A hand immediately touched his shoulder and a familiar voice spoke. "He's coming around," Nathan said. Ezra opened his eyes and looked up in confusion.
"What hit me?" he asked.
"They used some kind of new-fangled weapon on you," the medic explained.
"It feels like a herd of buffalo trampled me," Ezra said.
"That'll pass," Daniel said.
Across the room, JD's eyelids fluttered. He groaned softly and tried to turn over. A firm hand on his shoulder kept him on his back and he opened his eyes. JD gasped at the sight of the muscular black man with the gold design on his forehead.
"Do not try to move, the pain will pass," Teal'c said.
"O-o-okay," JD stammered as he shrank back into the pillow. Nathan came to his side and he looked up at the medic with relief. "What happened?" he asked.
"You were shot with some kind of gun. How do you feel?" Nathan asked.
"Achy all over. Ezra?" JD asked.
"Like you, achy and out of sorts."
"What happened to the kids?"
"They won't say," Nathan said sadly.
ATF - SG1
"If he's carrying my DNA that makes him my concern!" Vin shouted at General Landry.
"Mr. Tanner, I understand how you feel but you must understand that if news of a successful cloning got out, there would be far-reaching implications. We will treat them very well, I assure you-" Landry said.
"Assure me my ass! Those are kids, not monkeys you can put in a cage and experiment on!" Vin yelled. "They have rights!"
"I'm afraid you are incorrect. Those clones don't have a birth certificate, a social security number or anyone outside of this facility who even know of their existence. They were created in a lab on the other side of the galaxy," Landry said.
"You can't keep them here!" Vin protested.
"General," Daniel interrupted, "What better study of their ability than to treat them like normal human beings? If Mr. Tanner would be willing to allow us access to the boy's medical and academic reports . . ."
"And how is he going to explain suddenly having custody of a four or five year old boy?" Dr. Kline asked.
"Kids are born all the time without their dads knowing about it. I'll just say that his ma died and they got in touch with me when they went through her stuff," Vin answered.
"What about the other one?" Cameron asked.
"I'm sure Ezra would take him," Josiah replied. "He is already attached." Knowing smiles went around the table at that statement.
"Well, all of this is fine for discussion but we don't even know if the boys will survive. The other clone the Asgard made nearly died of genetic problems," another doctor seated near Dr. Kline said. "We couldn't begin to fix all the things that were wrong with him."
"Other clone?" Buck repeated.
"The Asgard are unable to procreate. They clone themselves, then transfer their consciousness into the new body. They have been trying to perfect the cloning process. One of the other members of SG-1 was cloned several years ago," the doctor explained.
A brilliant flash lit the corner of the room and Samantha stood there with the blue-eyed boy's hand in hers. The boy glanced around the room before pulling away and running to Vin, who scooped him up. General Landry found himself on the receiving end of a matching blue-eyed glare.
"Well?" Landry asked of Carter.
"Thor beamed the other one directly to the infirmary, he's still recovering," she said.
"And what did Thor say about them?" Anise asked from where she had been sitting very quietly along the other side of the table.
"He's fixed them, they're human. The other little boy was having a reaction to the bone marrow. Thor said something about balancing the DNA . . . I didn't understand it all, but he should be fine," Sam said with a confident smile.
In the infirmary, a brief flash preceded the appearance of the dark-haired child in one of the empty hospital beds. Daniel turned expectantly and smiled at the gray alien who stood next to the bed. "Thor! Welcome back!" he greeted.
All of the recently gained color drained from Ezra's face as he saw who or what Daniel was speaking to. He began to tear the wires from the pads on his chest as he tried to climb over the raised bedrail. His bare feet touched the floor and he backed up until he reached the wall, all the while shaking his head and babbling nonsense.
"Greetings, Ezra Standish," Thor said as he stepped toward the terrified man.
Ezra lunged at the nearby soldier and ripped his sidearm from its holster. Daniel leapt in front of the alien, crying out in denial as the ATF agent squeezed the trigger. The sound of the discharge was strangely distorted to Daniel and Ezra's ears. The bullet left the barrel and hurtled toward the man, the alien and the child. Suddenly, it slowed until JD could track it with the naked eye. When the bullet touched Daniel's chest, it was with a tap. The lead slug dropped to the floor.
Teal'c ran into the infirmary at the sound of gunfire. Like JD, he watched in amazement as the bullet fell harmlessly to the floor. His hand shot out and snatched the gun from Ezra's hand before he could shoot again but he needn't have worried. The ATF agent slid down the wall, whimpering softly. Teal'c scooped him up and deposited him back on the bed before turning to his teammate.
"What just happened here, Daniel Jackson?" Teal'c asked.
Picking the bullet up from the floor, Daniel rolled it between his fingers. "I don't know," he answered breathlessly.
"I stopped it," the green-eyed child said, startling all of them.
"You?" Daniel asked. The boy nodded.
"Hey, you can talk!" JD exclaimed.
A couple of hours later, Team Seven was together in the conference room. Ezra had recovered from his fright and had been properly introduced to Thor, who apologized profusely for having startled him so badly. Anise had taken her leave as soon as she could after hearing that the Asgard had altered the clones so that they were human. She had hoped to gain access to them so that she could collect her own samples and try to duplicate them. A living Hok'Taur would make a perfect host for any Tok'ra. Disappointed at missing her chance, she had suddenly remembered some place that she had to be.
It was a shock for all of them, meeting a real, live, honest-to-goodness alien. Thor explained that a very few of his people were rogues, who did unorthodox things like cloning an unwilling subject. He also tried to explain that the boys' skills would continue to grow and change as they matured. Buck shuddered as images from the movie 'Carrie' flashed in his mind. Chris thought more along the lines of 'Phenomenon'. Teal'c asked how the children had learned to speak Goa'uld. Thor answered that he guessed that they had absorbed it from whatever Goa'uld had been working with the rogue Asgard. That was another thing, the children would absorb information like sponges and retain it better than normal human children. When Thor had imparted all the information he could, he took his leave.
General Landry hung up the red phone and pressed his palms to his forehead to try to push back the headache he felt coming on. He had just gotten an ear full from Jack O'Neill, who had gotten it from someone higher up. It seemed that Chris Larabee and his team were not people to be fooled with and Jack wanted them released as soon as possible. He also ordered that the boys be turned over to the men they were cloned from.
Instead of a troop transport, the team was returned to Denver in a chartered bus. Vin and Ezra had agreed to allow the Stargate doctors to examine the boys every few months. Ezra coordinated laying out the background stories and directed the newly-created paper trail. Both of the boys were fascinated with the scenery sweeping past the windows. Like typical children of kindergarten age, they also grew weary. Less than an hour outside of Denver, they were both sound asleep, curled together in one of the pairs of seats. Daniel produced a blanket from the supplies he had brought for his stay in Denver. He had asked to be allowed to go along to help get the clones set up in their new homes. Ezra took it from him and tucked it around the boys, still feeling too overprotective to allow anyone else to do anything for the child he had begun to think of as his son.
Chris gave Travis the cover story, that the boys' mothers had been in the military and were killed in action. He put Vin and Ezra in for Family/Medical Leave. Because it made the boys anxious to be separated, Vin agreed to stay with Ezra for a while until they figured out what to do in the long term.
The boys settled in quickly. As Thor had said, they were like sponges, soaking up information. They were quick to develop likes and dislikes. Ezra was mortified to find that his son preferred peanut butter and jelly to anything else he offered. Vin was also confounded that his child preferred to eat vegetables. The men also tried to expose the boys to as much 'normal' activity as possible. Ezra learned to eat at McDonalds. Vin learned to organize 'play dates' with the neighborhood kids. After a lot of soul searching and discussion, Vin agreed to give up his place in Purgatory. He and Ezra moved into a larger condo in his building so the boys could remain together.
When the registered mail envelope arrived, both Vin and Ezra were trembling in anticipation of its contents. Using the silver letter opener, Ezra sliced the end of the envelope. Tipping it up, he spilled the documents into Vin's hands. The birth certificates and social security cards made everything official and complete. Separating the documents, each man contemplated their sudden leap into fatherhood.
Tears blurred his vision as he stared at the neatly typed name on the wallet-sized card. 'Vincent Michael Tanner Jr'. Brushing the tears away, he looked over at Ezra who was staring at a similar card.
He had agonized over what to call the child who had looked up at him so trustingly when he was so ill. Ezra debated giving the boy his name, agonized over the decision. He knew that it might be his only chance to pass on his name. 'Ezra Paul Standish Jr.' was printed on the top of the birth certificate.
The doorbell rang and the boys ran happily to answer the door. "Uncle Chris!" They bellowed as the tall man swept them into his arms.