Janet (le Fey) Fraiser _____ Sam has a new
              friend!


There are fairies at the bottom of our
              astrophysics lab!


A WORK OF STARGÅTE SG-1 FAN-FICTIONby Van ©2010

Chapter 8

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ



OUR STORY CONTINUES


Colonel O'Neill, Teal'c,and Doctor Keller stood as General Hammond entered the conference room.

"Sit," the General muttered as he pulled out his customary chair at the head of the table and followed his own order.  "They've recovered the gate address dialed by the, uh, fairies," he announced.

"I thought the dialing computer's buffer was wiped," O'Neill said.

"It was," Hammond confirmed, "but they were able to reconstruct the sequence from the surveillance video, speaking of which..."  He lifted the touch-screen remote on the table and began tapping its tiny screen.  The large TV monitor across the room flashed to life.  Random bands of color rippled across the screen.  "This is a slow-motion, computer-enhanced closeup of the outgoing event horizon," he explained.  A time reference was flickering in one corner of the screen, and as they watched, circular rings began forming and spreading across the image, like ripples on a still pond caused by tossed pebbles.  "Note the lavender flashes," the General said.  There were, indeed, tendrils of pinkish light emanating from the center of the disturbance.

Hammond tapped the remote, again, and the screen changed.  Now, it depicted a somewhat crude image of a fairy in flight, clutching a bundle of some sort.  "This was reconstructed from a couple of hundred video-frames," Hammond explained, "by isolating the lavender flashes at the plane of the event horizon and stacking them together."

"How many fairies passed through the gate?" O'Neill asked.  "Could they get a count?"

"They're still processing the imagery," Hammond answered, "but so far they've isolated more than twenty fairies, all carrying what may be bundles of supplies, including one large bundle that may have been Major Carter."  He waved a hand at the screen.  "I'm afraid they're all as indistinct as this one."

"The two we captured say they took Sam," O'Neill muttered.  "And so far, we have no reason not to believe them."

"Yes, our prisoners," Hammond said, and tapped the remote, again.  The image of the astrophysics lab filled the large screen.  Daniel Jackson and Lieutenant Hailey were sitting on stools around the lab table with the specially shielded Faraday cage confining the SGC's two fairy prisoners.  "How's the interrogation going?" the General asked.

"It's going, General," O'Neill muttered.  "They're not exactly cooperative, but they are talking.  Daniel's good at this sort of thing."

"Indeed," Teal'c agreed.

Hammond turned to Doctor Keller.  "Your patients?"

"I've already released Doctor Felger, MSgt. Harriman, and the others," Keller responded, "and I expect to release Freya/Anise later today.  Some of the lab results are still pending, but I don't expect to find anything."

Hammond nodded, then focused on O'Neill.  "Colonel," he said, "I know this is frustrating, but you're going to have to wait.  I'm not going to authorize a rescue mission until we have more information."

"I understand, General," O'Neill sighed, "and I agree.  These... fairies—I still can't get used to saying that—these fairies have the ability to make themselves invisible, pull us in and out of phase and make us big and small, or something, and...  We're probably going to need more than T.E.R. flashlights and zats to go after them."

"We also don't know if all the fairies passed through the gate," Hammond noted.  "We need to continue fabricating more of Lieutenant Hailey's barriers and use them to secure the SGC, starting with the stargate, power, and communications systems, as well as all entrances and exits to the mountain.  You and your team should concentrate on the interrogation."  The General stood, and the others followed suit.  "Dismissed," he said and returned to his office.

O'Neill turned to Keller.  "Doc, we really could use the Tok'ra's help, especially Hailey.  The Lieutenant's trying to figure out the physics of all this, but... you know.  Don't get me wrong.  I think Hailey could give a panel of Nobel laureates a run for their money.  There are none better—except for Sam—but she could use some off-world help."

Keller nodded.  "I'll release the Tok'ra as soon as I get back to the clinic."  She turned and left the conference room.

"Your desire to be with your girlfriend is most understandable, O'Neill," Teal'c purred.

"Watch it!" Jack growled, raising a fist in warning.  "Let's get some food.  I can't remember the last time I ate."

"We should bring some nourishment to the others, as well," Teal'c suggested.

O'Neill nodded in agreement as they headed for the door.  "I wonder what fairies eat?" he muttered.

There are fairies at the bottom of our astrophysics lab
Chapter 8

ON "THE FEY WORLD"

Rain began falling a few minutes after the dark clouds covered the entire sky.  Sam considered trying to inch-worm her way to shelter, but there was nothing that qualified anywhere nearby.  The first drops began to fall... then slowly built to a drenching downpour.  The good news: the rain was more or less warm.  The bad news: while Sam was a tiny, bound, gagged, and naked captive, the raindrops were very much full-sized.  It was like being pelted with water balloons—like being continuously pelted with hundreds of water balloons.  Curled up on her side, Sam turned her face to the wet rock, and persevered.

She heard giggling laughter and lifted her dripping, gagged head to watch four Janet-fairies, two pale and two tan, scamper across the clearing.

"She's sooo pretty all wet and shiny," one of the tan fairies sighed.

"She's sooo pretty as the rain punishes her skin," one of the pale fairies added.

They laughed, picked Sam up, and headed back the way they'd come.  Sam didn't try to resist.  She wanted to be out of the rain.

The fairies deposited Sam at the base of the tree, then stood apart and began to shiver and shake, shedding droplets of water from their wings, bodies, and hair in all directions.  The shivering increased in intensity, and they began to glow with lavender energy.  Steam rose from their bodies, then, one by one, they went still.

"It feels good when I do that," one of them sighed.

"It makes me hungry," another muttered.  "Let's hope our Sisters are preparing the feast, as promised."

Sam's stomach rumbled.  She was also hungry... stressed, wet, helpless—at least a little afraid—and hungry.

"Ready?" one of the fairies asked, and the others giggled and nodded.  They grabbed Sam and picked her up, then beat their wings and fluttered up among the branches of the tree.

Sam was carried to what amounted to a covered nest made from twigs, leaves, and handfuls of green moss.  It was in the crook of a large branch, and several smaller branches overhead had been pulled together and lashed with twisted grass to form a living canopy.  What little rain was making it this close to the bole of the tree was shed by the overlapping leaves.

Sam was deposited in the nest.  Three of the fairies, two tan and one pale, vibrated and made themselves glow, again... then joined Sam in the soft moss.  Their skin was flushed and warm against Sam's body as they snuggled close.  Two lay against her sides and the third, one of the Lightlings, cradled Sam's head in her lap and began untying her gag.

Sam stared up into the Janet-fairy's brown eyes as the smiling fey unwrapped the outer layers of silk, then the cleaving bands, and then pulled the sodden silk stuffing from her mouth.  "Thank you," she croaked, working her jaw and licking her lips.

"You're welcome, Zam," the fairy responded, smiling down at her with Janet's dimpled, incredibly cute smile.

Just then, another of the pale, raven-haired fairies fluttered to the nest, closely followed by a Lightling and yet another Darkling.  Each of the newcomers was carrying a small flower of a different variety—small to a Bigling, that is.  In fairy hands the blossoms were the size of mixing bowls.  Two of the flowers were carefully tipped and Sam could see tiny drops of clear fluid roll down their petals and collect in the third.

"A nectar cocktail," the fairy holding the flower explained.  She knelt and held it to Sam's mouth, while the kneeling fairy supported the back of her head.

Sam drank.  The "cocktail" was delicious, syrupy but without being oppressively sweet.

"A pity there's no booze to go with it," one of the pale fairies purred.  "After we use the Temple to make our slaves, constructing a still will be a high priority."

Sam drank, again, draining the flower.  "Thank you," she whispered.  'Use the Temple to make slaves'? she wondered, but was too tired to really worry about what it all meant.

All three flowers were tossed away and the fairies in the nest with Sam snuggled even closer.

"Rest, Zam," one of them whispered, and closed her eyes.

"We'll keep you safe, Zam," one of the standing fairies added.

"We won't let anything eat you," another said.

"Not even us," the pale fairy lying against Sam's left side purred, and all the fairies giggled.

The standing fairies fluttered away, and the fairies in the nest began gently running their warm hands over Sam's body.

"Sleep, Zam," the fairy cradling Sam's head whispered.  Then, the smiling fey began to quietly sing.

Sleep, Zam, sleep;
Close your pretty eyes;
Tomorrow is a new day;
Sleep, Zam, sleep.

Tomorrow we will play;
Golden slumber kiss your eyes;
Smiles await you when you rise;
Sleep, pretty baby Zam, sleep.

Sam remembered Janet singing like this to Cassie, her adopted daughter, especially when Cassie was little.  Sam used to visit them often, teaching Cassie how to play chess, helping her learn to read English, teaching her to play frisbee, soccer, and softball... and just... hanging out.

Sam let herself relax... and let all thoughts of her captivity and uncertain future drift away.  She knew herself to be severely conflicted.  She certainly didn't want to be tied up and repeatedly treated like a sex toy—not even by Janet—not even by beings this much like Janet, she corrected herself.  But... they are like Janet, she mused, and its not like I can do anything to stop them.  I'll sort it all out later... if they give me a chance.

There are fairies at the bottom of our astrophysics lab
Chapter 8

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE SGC

Jack entered the astrophysics lab to find Daniel and Freya/Anise still interrogating the captured fairies.  Hailey was busy at the computer, apparently still working on the portable "fairy-shield" she was trying to design.  Teal'c was standing off to one side, arms crossed over his chest.  Jack noted with approval that Hailey had taken the time to go to the armory and draw a zat of her own, as he'd ordered.

The group noted his arrival, and at his gesture moved to join him in the hallway.

"Hello, Jack!" the tan fairy shouted across the lab.

"Want me to give you an examination?" the pale fairy asked, and the fey pair giggled.

Teal'c stood in the doorway, facing the lab, but he was still able to participate in the debriefing.  "I believe they are becoming more like Doctor Fraiser," the towering Jaffa said quietly.

"In what way?" O'Neill inquired.

"I haven't done a formal constrastive semiotic analysis," Daniel explained, "but I have noticed convergence in their discourse."

Jack favored Daniel with a mildly annoyed expression.

Hailey smiled.  "They're talking less like refugees from A Midsummer Night's Dream and more like the Janet Fraiser we all remember."

"Oh."  Jack turned to the Tok'ra.  "Making any progress with the physics?"

"These life-forms appear to have the native ability to alter their super-symmetry in space-time and harmonic subspace," Anise answered, "and to include any bio-electric entity in tactile contact in the field reference.  This is not without precedent."

Jack sighed.  "What?"

Hailey smiled, again.  "They can make themselves invisible by pulling themselves out of phase, so to speak.  And their touch can pull others into the same state."

Anise nodded.  "There are specific action-principle oscillations of boson loops that can lead to—"

"Ah!" Jack objected, raising a hand and shaking his head.  "So, they can be invisible when they want, and can zap you and make you tiny, like them."

"And zap you back," Daniel confirmed, "whenever they want."

"All of which we already knew," Jack observed,  "Where did they come from?" he asked.  "Any progress on that front?"

"Our working theory is they were made by the diagnostic device we were trying to make," Hailey explained, nodding at the experimental prototype still on a table in the lab.  "Apparently, there's some sort of program etched into one or more of the sub-space crystals.  We surmise it overrode our program, found a way to communicate with the stargate, drawing power and possibly piggybacking on wormholes and out to the gate network... and made itself some fairies."

O'Neill gazed at the Lieutenant.  "And made itself some fairies?"

"Details aside," Daniel said, "Janet Fraiser's DNA and engrammatic matrix were on file and registered in the prototype machine, and an entire library of research material on fairies was registered in a nearby Tok'ra computer.  Sam reported seeing the machine glowing, eggs appearing and possibly hatching into fairies, and at the same time the gate started acting funny, inexplicably drawing extra power.  Maybe 'theory' is a little generous.  Let's just say we're starting to see how all of this might have come together."

O'Neill was gazing over Teal'c's shoulder at the distant feys in their cage.  "Why haven't they tried to escape?  If they can make themselves invisible..."

Hailey leaned to the side and shouted into the lab.  "Hey, Janet!"

"What?" the Janet-fairies shouted back in unison.

"Show the Colonel your phase-shift trick!"

"Again?" the pale fairy huffed.  "It tickles."

"I'll do it," the tan fairy giggled, "for Jack."  Suddenly, the tan fey disappeared—but not completely.  Even from out in the hallway they could see a pinkish aura in the shape of her tiny body, and tendrils of lavender energy traveled from the copper mesh of the Faraday cage to wrap around the "invisible" fairy.  After a few seconds, she snapped back to normal and the aura disappeared.  "That does tickle," she giggled, shivering her tiny body.  She then struck a graceful pose.  "Taa-dah!"

"Thank you!" Hailey shouted.  "The confinement field prevents them from fully shifting," she explained to O'Neill, in her normal voice.

"You're welcome!"  The tan fairy shouted back.

"Eat me!" the pale fairy added.

"Be nice," the tan fairy scolded, and they both giggled.

"Fairies," Jack muttered under his breath.  "Whatcha gonna do?"  He turned back to the others.  "So, where do we stand on the tactical level?  Are we any closer to understanding what the deal is with Sam?"

"Those two," Hailey nodded towards the fairies, "keep referring to the Major as their 'Queen', and claim she's the prey in their 'Great Hunt'."

"It seems to be an adaptation of the Celtic resurrection/regeneration myth," Daniel lectured.  "Sam is the royal prey that must be hunted down and sacrificed to complete the cycle of the year and trigger the onset of spring."

Jack's eyebrows shot up in alarm.  "Sacrificed?"

"They swear they'd never hurt her," Haily said, "and I believe them."

"There's more," Daniel continued.  "Their 'Hunt' also seems to be a contest between the two kinds of fairies—the 'Darklings', the pale-skinned, black-haired, violet-eyed fairies—and the 'Lightlings', the ones that look more like our Janet.  Whichever side wins the contest will be dominant for the next year."

"And they're just volunteering all this intel?" Jack demanded.

"Not exactly," Daniel admitted.  "They don't always answer direct questions, but they don't mind chatting.  We're piecing it all together."

"He's piecing it all together," Hailey said, grinning at Daniel.  "He's the one that knows the mythology and can ask the right follow-on questions."

"Indeed," Teal'c agreed.

"Doctor Jackson is a formidable interrogator," Anise intoned.

"And devilishly handsome," Jack muttered, eliciting a disgusted scowl from Daniel and a delicate blush from Anise.  Teal'c and Hailey exchanged a knowing smile.

"Well... continue what you're doing," Jack ordered.  "I'm helping the General secure the mountain... and thinking about how we're going to put together a rescue plan that has some chance of success."

The group nodded and returned to the lab, with the exception of Freya/Anise.  She remained in the hallway with O'Neill.

"Uh... I wish to apologize for my behavior," Freya said, staring at the floor.

"No problem," O'Neill responded.  "You were under the influence... of fairies."

Freya blinked, and spoke with the voice of the symbiont.  "I also wish to apologize," Anise intoned.  "I have already spoken to Doctor Jackson."

"I accept both your apologies," O'Neill responded.

"Lieutenant Hailey's theory that the naquata in our bloodstream exacerbated the inebriatory effect of the fairy phase-shifting is consistent with Tok'ra research," Anise added.  "Attempts to develop an effective phase-cloak have sometimes met with similar side-effects.  The critical factor is the sub-space frequencies involved in the transition."

"Uh... okay," O'Neill muttered.  "Anyway, I forgive you."

"Thank you," Anise said, then blinked.  "Thank you, Jack," Freya said, as well, then turned and reentered the lab.

Jack focused on the fairies, who were engaged in conversation (and at the same time shamelessly flirting) with Daniel.  He shook his head and headed for the General's office.  Hang in there, Sam, he mused.  We're coming for you... somehow.

There are fairies at the bottom of our astrophysics lab
Chapter 8

ON "THE FEY WORLD"

Sam snapped awake.  She was still in the "fairy nest" and was still tied up.  The fairies were wrapping her in the transport net.  Obviously, she was about to be moved.  "What—nrrfh!"

A pale fairy was stuffing the silk stuffing back in her mouth and retying the rest of her gag.  The others continued wrapping the net and hitching the carrying ropes through its loops.  When her gag was in place, they closed the net over her head and secured the final ropes.

"To the Great Temple!" one of the fairies cried, and the others brandished their sticks and lifted into the air.

The ropes snapped taut—"Mrrpfh!"—and Sam was airborne, as well.

The rain had stopped and the sun was out.  The fairies carried her up near the tops of the trees, dodging in and out of the dappled shade of the tallest branches.  Now and then, Sam could see the same snowy mountains ringing the horizon and the much smaller, much nearer mountain of moss-covered boulders that was beyond the stargate.  Directly ahead, she began catching glimpses of what had to be the "Great Temple" that was their declared destination.  At first, she'd taken it to be a grassy hill strewn with boulders, but as they came closer she could see the boulders were cupolas, small towers, and chimneys scattered across the dome of a huge, stadium-sized building.  Either the colossal edifice was of earth-sheltered design, or was so ancient it had accumulated enough wind-blown debris to form a soil layer that could support grass and moss.

They zoomed in through an open cupola and down into a vast space.  Sam gazed through the mesh of the net in wonder.  It was magnificent!

Mosaic patterns swirled across the tiled floor and up the inner wall of the dome.  Spiral staircases led to balconies and galleries of enclosed rooms, and a stream was running across the floor, emptying into a large, clear pool.  The details and the overall design, itself, had a natural, chaotic aspect and a regular geometry, like plants growing through an array of mineral crystals.  All the colors of the rainbow were present.  It was like nothing Sam had ever seen, and it was beautiful.

"The Great Temple!" one of Sam's fairy handlers cried, and the others cheered.

They spiraled down to a large group of fairies near the pool, and Sam realized the scale of the "Temple".  It had been built by or for "Biglings", for beings of "normal" size.  To Sam, the countless steps of the many staircases were each ten or twelve feet in height.  No big deal, of course, if you happened to have a nice, functioning pair of fairy wings—which Sam did not.  Even if her captors untied her and offered no interference, exploring the city-sized structure (and finding a way to escape from it) would require a great deal of strenuous climbing.

The fairies by the pool all cheered and helped Sam's guards unwrap the net.  She squirmed and mewled complaints as their hands slid over her helpless body, but at this point it was pro forma resistance.  They carried her to a pile of flat, over-sized cushions and placed her on a silky, round pillow the size of a large fairy bed.  One of them knelt beside her head and began untying her gag.

"Thank you," Sam croaked as the stuffing was pulled from her mouth.  She gazed into the fairy's eyes.  They were brown.  She was one of the Lightlings.  "Please," Sam begged.  "My arms and shoulders are sore.  Do I have to be tied up like this?"

One of the nearby Darklings giggled.  "No, Zam, we can tie you much tighter."

"Don't be mean," the fairy cradling Sam's head chided, then leaned close and kissed Sam's lips.  "Do you promise to be a good Queen, Zam?" she cooed.

Sam gazed into her eyes and blinked, uncertainly.  "Uh... I'm not sure what being a 'good Queen' means," she admitted.

All the Janet-fairies giggled and several knelt on the cushion.  Their tan and pale hands began untying Sam's bonds.

"You can't help being a good Queen, Zam," one of the Lightlings said.

"The Queen must be helpless," one of the Darklings objected.  "It is The Great Hunt."  She began wrapping loops of rope around Sam's just untied right wrist.  Another fey held Sam's forearm, so she couldn't resist.

"The Queen must be helpless," all the fairies chanted in agreement.  In short order, Sam's wrists and ankles were confined in elegantly tied rope cuffs, with long, slack, free ends dangling in four directions.

Sam watched as four fairies, two Dark and two Light, took the ends of each of the ropes and tied them around their waists.  Technically, she was bound in a spread-eagle, with a fairy attached to each of her limbs.  For the moment she was being allowed near total freedom of motion—but Sam was under no delusion that her captors couldn't instantly exert complete control of her naked body.

Sam looked around and noticed that off to one side, near the edge of the pool, six large eggs were grouped together on the tiled floor.  All were a pale, pinkish ivory, and were mottled with sepia streaks and dots.  As she watched, a pair of fairies fluttered into view from a side corridor, carrying a seventh egg between them in a rope net.  They deposited it with the others, then withdrew the way they had come.

"The Machine of Life can work with much greater efficiency when it doesn't have to reach through the portal," one of the fairies stated.

"You're making more of yourselves?" Sam asked, and the fairies giggled.

"No, Zilly Zam," a Darkling answered.  "We are making slaves."

"Servants," one of the Lightlings corrected her pale Sister.

"Tomayto, tomahto," the Darkling giggled.

"Look," a tan fairy gasped, pointing to the eggs.  "The first hatching is nigh!"

One of the eggs was rocking back and forth, and as they watched, a crack appeared in the shell.  The crack widened, clear fluid began leaking—and then—a tiny, wet, pale hand appeared in the gap.

The shell split, and a female figure was revealed.  It was a fairy, but, unlike any of the Janet-fairies, it had blond hair, apparent even though it was dripping wet.  The newborn fey had fair skin, like the Darklings, although with more of a pinkish tint, but it had pointed, elongated ears, like both varieties of Janets.  Its dragonfly wings were visibly inflating and growing stiff as the fairy unfolded itself from a fetal tuck.  She lifted her head and turned her face to Sam and the Janet-fairies.  Her brown eyes blinked as she tried to focus, and she was—

"Hailey!" Sam gasped.  The newborn fairy was, indeed, the spitting (and slime drenched) image of Jennifer Hailey.

"Sam!" the Hailey-fairy gasped, and began to crawl towards the cushion.

"We should clean her," one of the Lightlings suggested.

"We should bind her," a Darkling growled.

"Training can wait," a Lightling huffed.  She climbed to her feet and hurried to the Hailey-fairy.  Others of her Sisters joined her, Light and Dark.

The Janet-fairies used soft cloths and water from the pool to clean the Hailey-fairy.  All the while, the little blond fey weakly struggled—and she was little, proportionally shorter than the Janet-fairies, as the real Hailey had been shorter than the real Janet.  She didn't seem to be trying to escape, but to reach Sam.  She kept chanting "Sam, Sam, Sam..." over and over, like a toddler calling her mother.

Finally, the Hailey-fey was as clean and dry as the Janets could make her, and they let her make her wobbly, uncertain way to the pillow-bed.  She crawled across the soft surface to Sam's right foot... and gave it a delicate kiss.  Her tiny form shivered with delight, and she gazed at Sam with worshipful eyes.

Sam felt a rush of what she could only think of as maternal love.  She opened her arms, and the Hailey-fairy giggled with delight and crawled into her warm embrace.

"Ahhhh..." the Janet-fairies cooed, both varieties.

"She loves you, Zam," a Lightling whispered.

"Just like we love you," a Darkling added.  Her pale Sisters gazed at her with expressions of mild disapproval, and she blushed.  "Well, we do," she said, defensively.

"We do," several Lightlings agreed, and they all giggled.

Meanwhile, the Hailey-fey was snuggled against Sam's left side, with her face resting against the side of Sam's breast.  Her eyes were closed and she appeared to be asleep.

This is insane, Sam mused.  Kidnapped by Janet-fairies, worshiped by a Hailey-fairy... insane.  She leaned down and kissed the Hailey's damp hair.

"Ahhh..." the Janets cooed, again.

"Shuddup," Sam muttered, and her stomach grumbled.  "Where's that feast you guys promised?" she demanded (whispering, so as not to disturb her new friend).

The Janet-fairies giggled (also being carefully quiet).

"Soon," one of the Lightlings whispered.  "Very soon."

"Good," Sam huffed.  "I'm starving."

"Sam," the Hailey-fairy whispered, and she wiggled against Sam's side.

Down by the pool, the pair of net-toting Janet-fairies (or another pair) had returned with another Hailey-egg, and were depositing it next to the others.  They giggled and pointed at the slumbering Hailey-fey, then fluttered away.

Sam noticed that two more of the clutch of Hailey-eggs were beginning to shake and rock.  Clearly, she would soon have more fairy friends.  A third egg began to move.  Probably a lot more, she thought.

There are fairies at the bottom of our astrophysics lab
Chapter 8

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE SGC... AGAIN

The interrogation of the "First-Hatched Janet-fairies" continued.

It turned out "fairies" liked a balanced diet, but their favorite dessert was—

"Cupcakes!" the Lightling and Darkling said together, quivering with glee as Hailey opened the cage and handed them a small plate of mini-cupcakes covered with white frosting and multi-colored sprinkles.  It was safe to open the cage door as Teal'c had the feys covered with his zat.  It was increasingly difficult to think of the feys as terrible threats, but SG-1 wasn't taking any chances.

"The cooks took it as a challenge to make 'micro-cupcakes'," Hailey said to Colonel O'Neill with a grin.  "They had to send somebody out to 'Bed Bath & Beyond' for mini-muffin tins."

"Fascinating," O'Neill said, dryly.  He watched as the Janet-fairies each devoured a cupcake.

The Darkling noticed Jack staring at her.  "What?" she demanded, hands on hips.

Jack touched the right corner of his upper lip, "Uh... you have a little..."

"I'll get it," the Lightling giggled, and licked her Sister's mouth.

"Stop it," the Darkling huffed, and wiped her mouth.  She looked at the smudge of icing now on the back of her hand, and licked it clean.

Just then, Daniel returned to the lab.  "Got 'em," he said, waving a thumb-drive.

Hailey took the drive from Daniel, plugged it into the nearby computer, then began tapping the keyboard.  "There they are," she said, and turned the screen to face the cage.

"Ooooh, more pictures!" the Lightling cooed.  A slide-show had begun, image following image, and all featuring the late Janet Fraiser going about her duties as CMO.

"I'm sleepy," the Darkling huffed, munching on another cupcake.

"You are not," the Lightling chided, and pointed to the screen.  "Look!  I remember that one!"

"How many photos did Admin have on file?" O'Neill asked Daniel in a whisper.

"More than two-hundred," Daniel whispered back.  He'd had the idea that showing the fairies photos of Janet Fraiser might trigger more buried memories.  "For some reason," he grinned, "the unit photographers snapped a lot of pictures of Janet."

"Yeah," Jack huffed, "a real mystery, and I bet they have hardly any shots of Sam."

"It seems to be working," Daniel whispered.Cassie, Janet, and Sam

The Lightling was smiling at the screen, but the Darkling continued to scowl.  Suddenly, both fairies gave a startled gasp!

The latest photo showed Sam playing chess with Janet's foster daughter, Cassandra, with Janet watching from the background.  They were in the SGC clinic, about two years in the past, at a time when residual effects of the Goa'uld Nirrti's genetic engineering had threatened Cassie's life.  Now eighteen and a college coed, present-day Cassandra seemed to be completely healthy, indistinguishable from any native of earth.  However, shortly before this photo was taken, she'd nearly died because of Nirrti's callous manipulations.

"Cassandra!" the fairies said, in unison.  For the Lightling, it was a happy cry, but for the Darkling, a horrified wail.

"Now I remember!" the Lightling laughed.  "Cassandra!"

"No, take it away!" the pale fairy sobbed.

Instead, Hailey tapped a key and paused the slide-show.

The Lightling embraced her Sister.  "She's our daughter!" she cried, and focused on Hailey.  "Cassie's okay?"

Hailey smiled, nodded, and wiped a tear from her right eye.  "She's fine."

"I talked to her last month," Jack said.  "She's fine."

Daniel whispered in Hailey's ear, and the Lieutenant nodded and went to the phone.

"I won't lose my freedom!" the Darkling cried, trying to push her tan Sister away.

"She's our daughter," the Lightling said, and kissed the Darkling's cheek.  "Don't be afraid.  Remember.  She needed us.  We loved her, and she loved us.  Remember."

"Nooooo," the Darkling wailed.  "I won't be tied down!"

"What's happening?" Jack whispered to Daniel.

"I'm not sure," Daniel whispered back.  "Some sort of emotional crisis."

Cassie FraiserHailey hung up the phone and whispered to Daniel.  "They found one, and they're e-mailing it now."  She turned the computer screen away, tapped the keyboard for several seconds, then turned the screen back.  A new photo had appeared, one showing only Cassandra Fraiser.

"Nooooo!" the Darkling screamed.

"Yesssss!" the Lightling laughed.

"I'm afraid," the pale fairy sobbed, shivering in her Sister's arms.

"I know, I know," the tan fairy cooed.  "It's scary, but it was worth it, wasn't it?"

"I... she's so brave, and smart," the Darkling sobbed, "and...  I'm afraid!"

"Helping her grow helped us grow," the Lightling said, "I mean her... I mean Janet... and Cassie."  She focused on Jack.  "Cassie's really okay?"

Jack sighed.  "She was devastated when you were killed," he said, "I mean when Janet was killed.  We all were, but Cassie got through it, with Sam's help.  Janet would be very proud of her, and whatever of Janet is inside you should be proud, as well."

"I am," the Lightling said, her eyes brimming.

"I am, too," the Darkling whispered, then returned her Sister's embrace with all her strength.  "I am, too!" she cried.

Suddenly, there was a crackling snap and lavender tendrils of energy enveloped the fairies.  Their tightly hugging forms took on a rippling aura of pinkish flame, and bolts of energy began leaping from the cage and flickering around the lab.

"What the hell?" O'Neill cried.

"Do not block my line of fire," Teal'c said, pointing his zat at the fairies.  Whether he intended to fire or not became instantly moot as a tendril of energy enveloped the weapon and it flew from his hand.  Other bolts fried the computer and the overhead light fixture.  The fluorescent tubes exploded and sparks flew.  There was a blinding violet flash from the lab table—then all was dark.

Ozone and acrid smoke filled the air.  The blue-white emergency lighting flickered on, and O'Neill, Teal'c, and Hailey frantically looked around the lab.

The lab table was a complete wreck.  The Faraday cage and electronic components of Hailey's "fairy jail" were a twisted, smoking ruin, as if a small bomb had gone off inside.

"Where's Daniel?" Jack demanded.

"Where are the prisoners?" Teal'c added.

"Help me!" a tiny voice cried.

They scrambled around the table to find Daniel sprawled on the floor.  A Janet-Fairy—a single Janet-fairy—was attempting to hold a gash on Daniel's scalp closed with her tiny hands.

"He was hit by part of the cage," the fairy said.  "Possible concussion.  Get a medical team down here," she told Hailey, then focused on Teal'c.  "First aid kit," she ordered.  "And you," she told O'Neill, "help me hold the wound closed."

The three blinked and exchanged startled expressions.

"Let's move it, people!" the Janet-fairy ordered.

Jack nodded, Hailey grabbed the phone, and Teal'c went for the medical kit mounted on the wall near the door.  Jack knelt at Daniel's side and pinched the sides of the cut together.  It continued to ooze blood, but was no longer bleeding freely.

Daniel groaned and opened his eyes.

"Don't move!" the Janet-fairy ordered.

Daniel blinked and lay still.  "Uh, okay," he muttered.

"Where's the Goth?" Jack demanded.  The single fairy before him—still holding the margins of Daniel's gash closed with her tiny, bloody hands—was tan, with auburn hair and brown eyes, and she wasn't wearing a collar.  "Where's the other one?"

The tiny Janet-fairy stared up at O'Neill's giant face.  "There is no other," she answered.  "The two have become one.  There is no Darkling or Lighting, there is only Janet—and I am Janet."

There are fairies at the bottom of our astrophysics lab
Chapter 8

THE
END



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