Actions

Work Header

Take Two

Work Text:

Colonel Jack O'Neill groaned and opened his eyes. The first thing to slide into focus was his own face, hovering above him with a bizarre mix of concern and distaste creasing his brow.

With another groan, Jack shut his eyes, and said, "You're still here."

The other O'Neill snorted. "No, and neither are you."

"Huh?" He snapped open his eyes again, realized he was lying on his back on a smooth slab, staring up at a ceiling composed of a tangle of pipes and wires. Definitely not the temple where he had closed his eyes, for the last time, he had thought.

Moreover, it was a familiar ceiling. The cacophony of electronic equipment and heavy machinery rattling in the background he recognized as well; they had been the sounds of home—so to speak—for three years.

"Okay, what the hell happened?" he asked.

His counterpart leaned back into the corner of his peripheral vision. Jack turned his head to track the motion, was mildly surprised when his neck servos obeyed. Last he remembered, even his voice box had been nonfunctional...

"You're back on PX3-989," O'Neill informed him. "Comtraya, or whatever."

"How—"

"On Juna, before you completely...shut off, Carter—my Carter—jury-rigged a reserve battery. Was enough to keep your brain circuits going until we could get you back here—"

A new voice cut in. "And then I made you better!"

Jack watched the flicker of irritation cross his other's countenance, and felt like he was looking into a peculiar mirror. "Don't you get tired of that?" O'Neill asked.

Jack grimaced. "You got no idea. Harlan, I told you never to follow us on missions."

"But I was concerned—and I think now I had reason to be! You're in a severe state of disrepair, most severe—"

"But you can fix it?" Huh, if he didn't know better he'd have sworn the other O'Neill sounded concerned.

"I can, I could, should be possible," Harlan affirmed, bouncing and bobbing as always, ducking in and out of Jack's line of sight. If he said it was possible it probably was—the man might act the idiot, but Jack had learned he was fairly competent in what he did, and terribly sincere. No General Hammond, but not a bad guy, really.

"What about the others?" Jack asked.

And knew the answer instantly, from the way O'Neill's face closed off, as if he were the one with a short circuit. "They're beyond help."

"Both Carter and Teal'c?"

O'Neill nodded. "I'm sorry." He meant it.

It could have been worse. Jack shut his eyes. "Good."

"Good?" Amazing how cold his voice could get—is that really what he sounded like to everyone else?

He didn't know why it mattered to him, what this other O'Neill thought of him, but he explained anyway. "Carter and Teal'c—neither one of them would want to be here if the other didn't make it."

"Wha..." He opened his eyes to see his flesh and blood counterpart rocked back on his heels. "No...you mean...they..."

"It didn't affect their performance any, and it made them happy. I sure as hell wasn't going to stop it—I was happy for them." He sighed through clenched teeth. "Wish they could've had longer..."

"Carter and Teal'c," he heard O'Neill mutter disbelievingly.

"Hey, it takes all kinds." Jack searched his double's mirror-image face. "There's no chance of repairing them?"

"Harlan says no." His own dark eyes were returning his regard with all its intensity. "It's up to you, you know."

With one hand Jack rubbed his forehead, wishing he had a headache. Three years and he still wasn't used to how easily his pain sensors deactivated, as soon as they provided necessary warning. Sometimes he would have liked to feel a little pain. He could use the distraction. "What's up to me?"

"Whether you want to be fixed."

He brought down his hand, looked his double in the face and found his expression dead serious. "Harlan says he can repair you, good as new, or...better." O'Neill grimaced again. "But it's your choice. He wants you back to help maintain this place—it's a real fixer-upper, I know—but he'll only make repairs if that's what you want."

"What repairs are we talking?"

"Your main power cell was damaged somehow. It's not taking in energy efficiently enough, even when you're right by the generator. That's why you're not up to snuff now. If he doesn't replace it, within a few days you'll shut down. Permanently."

"I'll die."

O'Neill's expression twisted, but for some reason Jack couldn't read what emotions were behind it. "Yeah."

"Harlan can fix it, though."

"Only if that's what you want."

Before Jack could respond, he became aware of his audio receptors picking up nearby voices in conversation. Harlan was the nervous one; the other two—

"And you have the complete matrixes stored? They'll upload without any problems?"

Carter, that was Carter—yes, but not his Carter. The original.

He heard Harlan respond in the affirmative, and then another voice said, "I think we should do it. They helped us—it's only fair. I'm willing."

Jack sat up—wasn't as easy as it should be; his motors whined protest and nearly failed, and he wouldn't have stayed upright if O'Neill hadn't slid an arm around his shoulders to support him. At another time he would have been surprised by the willingness of the contact; now he only blinked, astonished, at the voices he heard beyond the doorway. The voice. "Daniel?"

"My Daniel," O'Neill said, both possessive and oddly sympathetic. "The real—I mean, the human one. Yours kind of, uh, blew up."

"You mean—he's still alive?" He couldn't stop blinking, as if he were reflexively fighting tears that could not come. "When he didn't come with you, I'd assumed he was..."

"He was on another assignment at the time, or he would've been with us."

"So he's still on SG-1?"

"Oh yeah."

"I didn't want to ask what'd happened...didn't want to hear it. I'd just seen him die."

"Know the feeling," O'Neill remarked. "Seen it myself a couple times. Fortunately my Daniel's damn near impossible to actually kill."

"I thought mine was resilient. But Chronos ordered the guy to fire...the staff blew his head off."

"Ouch."

"Doubted Harlan could fix that one...he knew, too. Daniel knew it'd happen—seeing he was a robot shocked the snakehead so much he didn't even try to take out his anger on the villagers, and it kept Carter and Teal'c alive. I could've saved him, maybe, but Daniel saw me, told me to keep my cover."

"Told you?"

"Over the radio—our internal ones." Why couldn't he just shut up? He barely had the power to sit up, but the words kept streaming from his speaker in spite of himself. "He said it'd work out, and then...he said it'd been fun, and wish he'd had a couple more centuries—told me to enjoy mine...and then the staff fired..."

"Sounds like Daniel," O'Neill said, barely whispering, more of subvocalizing, and Jack knew he hadn't been intended to hear it.

His servos must have been strained beyond capacity, because they had an odd whir, and were shaking minutely. "So they set off his self-destruct, I take it." At least his voice wasn't vibrating like the rest of him.

"That's what your Carter told us, before she...yeah. The explosion took out a Goa'uld, too."

"That's something."

"We couldn't have done it without you guys. I'm sorry how it turned out."

"Yeah. Me too."

"So what's it going to be?"

Jack met his counterpart's eyes, grasping instantly what he was asking. "I...know Harlan needs help with this place, but if he had to, he'd let it go. He could work out another power source for himself elsewhere. And me...I don't want...I can't. Not without them."

"Yeah."

"And you know it."

"I know what I'd do." O'Neill rubbed his forehead. Vaguely Jack wondered if he was feeling a real headache, couldn't help a flash of searing envy at everything this O'Neill had still—everyone he had. Even if he was the original, even if he had a right...dammit, it still hurt.

"I wish I was you," he said, before he could help it.

O'Neill didn't look surprised, but nor did he look angry. There was only understanding in his answer. "I'd never want to be you."

"Neither would I." He laughed, hoarse and pained, even if he could feel nothing physical. O'Neill echoed the chuckle with the same dry ache. When it was over, Jack asked, "You think you could do it for me?"

"What?"

Jack smirked, slightly satisfied to have taken his other off-guard. Difficult when the man literally knew him inside and out. "Could you pull the plug? I don't want to just fade. I'd rather go out quick."

An expression crossed his counterpart's face, and Jack almost swore it was guilt, though for what he didn't have any idea. Pity, yeah, irritation at being put in that position, understanding—he could imagine feeling any of that. But guilt?

"Listen," O'Neill said, and damned if it wasn't in his voice, too, a little embarrassed, ashamed catch. "Why don't you sleep on it. Or whatever you do. Conserve power. Go on standby. Meditate."

"Meditate?" Jack raised his eyebrows. "Can you see us meditating? I'm a robot, Colonel, not Teal'c."

He winced as soon as his teammate's name left his mouth, saw the other O'Neill do the same. "Still," the human said. "Think it over. Don't be hasty."

"I'm not. And you know it." Jack regarded his counterpart through narrowed lids. "What aren't you telling me?"

At least O'Neill had the brains not to deny it. "I'll get back to you about that. I need to discuss—" He hesitated, only a second, but the sympathy was touching even as it burned. "I need to discuss some things with my team. And you look wiped. Get some rest—or whatever."

Jack wanted to protest, wanted to demand he end it now—rather that than to wake and recall all over again who was gone who should be there. But he was entering the blankness he recognized from the occasional maintenance scans, the nihilist cessation of his systems, every part of him shutting down one by one. It wasn't sleep as he remembered it; there was no lassitude, no gentle transition to dreams. But it was as close as he could come.

Before his vision quit, he caught a glimpse of his counterpart, and was amazed to see a smile on his lips—not the tight, sarcastic grin of suppressed trauma; but a genuine smile. Happiness at another's pain? Even if that other was a robot clone—that wasn't him. Something was wrong here...or he was missing something crucial...

Before he could deduce anything further, he was off.

 


One thing about being a robot, the return to consciousness was a snap. He always thought he could get up fast—Black Ops missions necessitated quick rising in all kinds of situations, from shrugging off catnaps to rude awakenings in the dead of night. But it was different now. Once his failing power cell had absorbed enough energy to keep him going, he clicked on, fully alert, without any disorientation or residual fatigue. In fact he barely remembered what it felt like to be sleepy.

Harlan must have been timing his regeneration, because no sooner had his eyes opened when the door to the room slid aside and the other Colonel O'Neill entered. "So," he said. "Sleep well?"

"It's not really sleep. But I'm recharged, at least."

"Good for you. Decided yet?"

Jack shook his head bleakly. "You know I already did. Nothing's changed." He sat up, relieved he had enough energy stored for simple activity, though the levels were nowhere near what they should be. Not tired, no, but anything more taxing than a walk across the room would strain his capacity.

O'Neill was watching him. Jack looked at him in return, tried to stem the raging jealousy. His body might be low on power but his emotions ran high as ever. Circuitry instead of neurons didn't change how he felt. Ironic, that. The only pain he still could experience was that which had always hurt the worse.

Knowing his own compassion, he knew his counterpart would be feeling an echo of that anguish. A perverse hatred of the unwanted—on both sides—empathy drove him to speak. "Do you think we have souls?"

"What?"

"Do you think robots have souls?"

O'Neill shifted uncomfortably where he stood, his hands deep in his pockets. "Hell, I don't know if I have a soul."

"I know. I was just wondering..." Jack sighed, the anger draining away. Maybe he had blown a circuit after all. The deficit left him empty. Actually feeling like the robot he was in fact. "I was hoping maybe in the past few years you'd come up with something. Seen something."

"Not yet. Sorry."

"It's not about me, you know. I really couldn't give a damn. But Daniel...Carter and Teal'c. It really was them. Even if they were robots. It was them. Their minds, their hearts, were real. They deserved better."

"Yeah..." Jack looked up at his other's tone, and caught the merest edge of an expression before he clamped down on it—another smile?

The anger returned. "Okay, what the hell's going on?"

O'Neill's mouth twisted, and Jack knew he was biting his tongue, literally, that little gnawing on the tip he did during an internal debate.

He didn't have time for this. Jack marched toward the door, hoping he appeared determined and as inhumanly strong as he usually was, because if O'Neill did try to stop him at the moment he would have an all too easy time of it.

But O'Neill stepped aside. "Well, they're not ready yet, but I think you should see." And he was smiling outright now.

Before Jack could confront him about that, the door slid aside, and he found himself gazing across the wide reconstruction room, at Harlan and the three standing next to him. Teal'c, looking identical to his Teal'c; Carter; and Daniel, head intact and with much shorter hair—Carter seemed to be competing with him on that front. They all were looking at him with some surprise, Daniel's mouth open in that achingly familiar gape, Teal'c so calm he was almost smug, Carter apparently caught mid-explanation, her hands raised in a gesture interrupted by his appearance.

He took in all that in a single flash, and then had no more time for it, because all his attention was caught up in what lay behind them—the three tanks, the three bodies behind foggy glass, blurred but instantly recognizable.

"Wh—what?" he gasped. "The damage—you said—couldn't repair—"

His power levels fluctuated, faltered, and he would have fallen if O'Neill behind him hadn't lunged and grabbed him, bodily holding him upright. "They weren't reparable," the human said, "but Harlan could make new ones."

"Yes! And these are better!" Harlan caroled, his face radiant. "Stronger and faster and sturdier, too, and easier to repair! Even better! They should be able to run a week on reserve power, and perform 682 million—"

Jack heard the words, recorded them for processing later in case they were important; right now they were just noise. He took a stumbling step forward, and O'Neill half-pushed, half-dragged him the rest of the way across the room, until he was standing by the tanks, one hand splayed against the glass for balance. Through his spread fingers he could see the face behind the transparency, eyes closed as if in deep repose, the artificial skin slick and smooth, not quite yet the consistency of real flesh. But Daniel's face, unmistakably.

He looked over and there was the real Daniel, the original, with the glasses he hardly remembered and that unexpectedly short hair. Gazing him with an open compassion he would have thought would be reserved only for his Jack O'Neill—but this was Daniel, and he would be seeing a man, not a robot. He wouldn't care that the emotion came from a heart that didn't beat, or even exist; and he wouldn't care that this wasn't exactly his friend. The details, the semantics wouldn't matter, he knew how Daniel's mind worked...he knew Daniel. Even if the man he knew wasn't in truth a man at all.

"How?" Jack asked.

"Oh come on, you think it'd be hard?" O'Neill said acerbically. "Harlan made you before in like, what, half a day? He just needed the templates to do it again. And Carter, Teal'c, and Daniel volunteered."

Jack stared at his counterpart. "I...I don't..."

"Don't thank me," O'Neill grunted. "I wouldn't have done it. It was all their decision."

"We owed you," Daniel said earnestly. "It wasn't a big deal."

"Harlan let me observe the process," Carter put in. "The technology is incredible!"

"Indeed," Teal'c agreed, "it was no burden."

"Selling your soul never is," O'Neill muttered, softly enough not to be overheard.

But Daniel did anyway. "Not selling, Jack," he said in a tone of not-so-mild reproach. "Sharing, perhaps—no, not even that. They only needed our bodies. It doesn't cost us anything."

"Actually, sir," Carter said, "I kind of like the thought that I have a...twin. In some ways it's like a taste of immortality. And I always wanted a sister."

"Besides," Daniel pointed out, "after everything they did for us, it was only right."

Jack finally regained enough power to work his voice box. "Thank you," he said, and hoped it sounded more firm and confident in their ears than it did in his audio receptors. The three teammates, suddenly quieted, nodded acknowledgment to him.

Harlan was still bouncing on his toes in a manner Jack finally recognized to be more nerves than cheerfulness. "What's the matter?" he demanded of the little man, and was pleased to have it emerge in a decently commanding tone.

Certainly it was enough to shake up Harlan. "It's—not everything—they are not quite the same as before...."

"Well, you mentioned the improvements already. And there's some cosmetic differences, I'm guessing, since the originals have changed some?" His gaze went unbidden to Daniel's cropped hair.

"Not only that," Harlan dithered. "There is a matter of mind, of memories. These people have a different history than your own, over the past three years."

Jack felt a chill, which was strange because he couldn't perceive cold any more than pain; temperature was only a matter of environmental variations registering on his sensors. And yet he shivered. Probably strained servos. "So they're duplicates again. Of this SG-1, not mine." They would have to be convinced to go along with this all over again, wouldn't that be a pain in the ass...

Then it occurred to him that they would be strangers, as much as these three standing before him were. His friends, and yet not. God, maybe it would have been better if he had died, even if O'Neill would have refused to have another clone made...

But Carter—not the one mostly formed in the tank but the biological Carter—was speaking. "No, sir—uh, no, Colonel. I've been working with Harlan, and we've developed a way to upload the memory patterns of your team into these bodies—copy all their stored data into the new brains, so that they'll have the same minds as the, um, first versions."

"That'll work?" He couldn't feel cold, so how could he possibly feel warm again?

Before he could collect the energy for a smile, Harlan replied, "We believe it could, it should. Enough remained of Samantha and Teal'c's circuitry that we were able to reconstruct most of their mental engrams. There may be some gaps in recent memory, but these should be overcome with a recounting of current events."

"What about Daniel?"

Harlan's face fell like a lead weight off a pier. "Daniel's body was destroyed—exploded. And we could not locate his head. So we will not be able to reproduce his memories."

"So we'll have to go with the original's." Jack felt his nonexistent heart plummet to join Harlan's expression on the ocean floor. He reeled it up forcibly. Okay, not great, but still better—much better. A Daniel without memories of the past three years was infinitely preferable to no Daniel at all.

Still, that everything they gone through, all they had shared, would be erased, like that...he could rebuild with the new Daniel, but it wouldn't be the same. He would be a different man, a different soul inhabiting the body of a friend now lost. Gone for good. "So he won't remember anything—"

"Of the last one hundred hours, no."

"...What?"

Harlan blinked, astonished, as Jack took hold of his arms, hunching down to stare at the shorter man eye-to-eye. "Colonel—"

"What'd you say, a hundred hours? What about the last three years?"

"Oh, I have those memories," Harlan said off-handedly. "Every time I give you the diagnostic scan before you go through the stargate, I make backups of all your engrams."

"You...you never told us—"

"I did not see the point—even if something happened to you, I couldn't do anything unless I had the originals to reconstruct your bodies." Harlan gestured frenetically. "Samantha and I have been working on a method of producing them from a stored template, but we have not refined—"

"So let me get this straight," Jack said. "You can upload the engrams recorded before our last mission, right before we went to Juna, into this new Daniel's brain, and he'll remember—"

"Nothing of your mission at all."

"But everything else? Everything up until then, that'll be the same?"

"Yes."

Jack felt the sensor net in his cheeks stretch as his mouth curved in an enormous grin. "Harlan, I could kiss you!"

"Oh, dear, please, Colonel!"

Fortunately for the little man, Jack's overburdened power cell failed then. He dropped unceremoniously to the floor. The remaining reserve was enough that he still had a minute of cognitive and perception functions; though he couldn't so much as blink he could watch everyone gather around him, chattering worriedly.

O'Neill's voice cut over the others. "Think it's time you replaced that battery, Harlan."

"Is that what he decided?" the android engineer asked nervously.

"I think so," O'Neill said. "No, I know so. You can get him to corroborate when he's charged up again. But trust me on it."

Then he crouched, and Jack saw his hand extend toward his shoulder, though he couldn't feel the grip. "You just take it easy, Colonel," the other O'Neill said. "We'll have you fixed in time to be standing here when your team wakes up."

It was a pity he couldn't dream, because he would have liked to go to sleep with that thought, Jack began to think to himself, though it would be an even better one to awak—

And he was off.

 


And he was on again. Another advantage of shutting down instead of merely sleeping; time flies when one is deactivated.

He felt much better—annoying how useful that word was—strong again, one hundred percent capable, and he could if asked rattle off the numbers to prove it. Jack wasted no time rising, and was almost out of the room before he realized the other O'Neill had been sitting beside him, waiting. In the time it had taken him to animate and reach the door, the human colonel had barely managed to stand up. He was now regarding his double with some irritation, which gave way to wry admiration. "Damn, you're fast."

"Remember, we're better," Jack informed him with a devilish grin, and was through the door before his counterpart could spit out a suitably scathing rejoinder.

The three of his team, now out of the glass coffins, were laid out on the metal slabs, sleeping peacefully as far as could be told, down to their simulated breathing. They would awaken as their final systems activated. The other three members of the biological SG-1 were still there with Harlan, standing around the primary monitor. They turned at his entrance, and Carter gave him a welcoming smile. "Just in time, Colonel O'Neill."

"How'd you know it's me?" Jack asked, curious, as his human counterpart emerged from the other room behind him.

Carter became unexpectedly coy, but Daniel stepped in. "It's not hard. The, uh, hair gives it away."

Jack looked back at his other, who was self-consciously running his hand through his gray pate, and grinned wider. "Told ya—better!"

"I'll show you better," O'Neill muttered.

"How, Jack?" Daniel inquired, the soul of innocent reason, spoiled by the conspiring wink he gave Jack, out of O'Neill's sight.

"Actually, sir, I think the silver looks distinguished," Carter offered.

"It is a sign of wisdom, I am to understand," Teal'c gravely stated.

"Like you'd know," growled O'Neill, "you don't even have hair!"

"That option is also open to you, O'Neill."

Jack could have happily listened to them all day, knowing that very shortly he too would be subject to the same torment courtesy of his own team. But before it went any further they were interrupted by Harlan's anxious squeaking, "Oh! Oh! She is awakening!"

Jack turned to see Carter, the one lying on the slab, his Carter, blink rapidly, then jerk upright. No one spoke as she sat utterly still for a moment, not even breathing, her eyes unfocused as she processed whatever memories had been successfully inserted into her head.

Then she gave a little gasp, twisted around and saw Teal'c, standing beside her identical counterpart—but it was obvious Carter didn't notice that detail as she launched herself into his arms.

Teal'c caught her with his usual aplomb, but his brow furrowed in confusion. And Carter realized it right away—she wasn't looking at his face, her own being buried in his shoulder, but maybe she felt the uncertainty of his grip, or maybe the Goa'uld larva in this Teal'c moved against her stomach. At any rate she jumped back abruptly, surveyed the room and saw two O'Neills watching her, as well as a Daniel with a head and her own double.

Being Carter, she assimilated this in an instant, swallowed, shrugged and said, "Whoops. Wrong Teal'c. Sorry."

"I did not take offense, Captain Carter," Teal'c assured her.

"But then—where's my—sir?" She looked at the pair of colonels, picked out Jack—it must be the hair—and addressed him, "Colonel, the last thing I remember, we were on the ship. I was closing the doors and the forcefield was frying my circuitry. What happened? Did Teal'c—"

"Samantha Carter!" Suddenly Carter was again in Teal'c's arms—the right Teal'c, this time, and he was enfolding her in his embrace with as much ardor as she returned it.

The entire other SG-1, even Teal'c, stared with as much amazement as courtesy would allow—which in Daniel and Carter's cases meant quite a lot, and Jack knew the only reason O'Neill's jaw hadn't also dropped was because he had had previous warning. If Jack's Teal'c and Carter even noticed, they didn't care, releasing one another with evident reluctance to turn back to Jack.

The question was on both their faces, but Teal'c articulated it. "O'Neill, what of Daniel Jackson?"

"Our Daniel," Carter clarified, with an apologetic nod to the one standing before her. "Did you..."

"Right there," Jack said, and pointed. He couldn't help an anxious glance at Harlan. "You sure this memory thing will work out?"

"It seems to have worked with Teal'c and, um, Sam, Colonel," the other Carter reassured.

"Memory thing?" his Carter asked, inspiring her counterpart to launch into an involved explanation of the upload procedure.

This was mercifully cut short when the eyes of the Daniel on the slab popped open. They all went quiet, watching closely as Daniel said, "Uh, Harlan? What—" He sat up, looked around, and finished, "--happened?" before closing his mouth. Opened it again to remark, "Either I'm seeing double, or there's a long story behind this."

"Long story," Jack confirmed, leaning down to scrutinize him. "What's the last thing you remember, Daniel?"

Daniel's gaze, which had lighted on each person present and paused on his own counterpart, flew to Jack. "Last thing I knew," he said slowly, "I was stepping into the diagnostic unit right before we left for P3X-729. I take it that didn't happen..?"

"Actually it did," Jack said. "Didn't go too smoothly so we thought we'd try again." Could a robot be giddy? He felt like he was walking on air, couldn't stop himself from grinning. The only consolation was that the other O'Neill seemed to be having the same problem. Damned if he was going to break down in front of him.

"Try again..." Daniel repeated. His glance returned to his double, focused on the hair, and one hand went up to examine his own short locks. "Wait...how come..."

"Harlan had to duplicate me," the other Daniel supplied. "To remake your body. You were, um, damaged." He was gawking at his android duplicate, but that other didn't seem to mind, as he was staring back with identical fascination. Except for the glasses the two could have been a three-dimensional mirror, with no way to tell subject from reflection.

"So you...rebuilt me," Daniel said slowly, "from him..."

"You know, for a super-computer, your Daniel doesn't seem that quick on the uptake," O'Neill observed.

"Hmm, considering he's supposed to be a genius, neither does yours," Jack replied.

"Jack!" both Daniels immediately protested to their respective teammates, in perfect stereo.

Harlan jumped and winced. Both Carters gave muffled groans, and both Teal'cs raised an eyebrow. Jack turned from his Daniel's annoyed blue gaze, looked to O'Neill and saw his own humor mirrored in the other's dark eyes. The biological colonel beat him to it, just barely. "Two of them—I'm no Carter but I bet the universe can't take this for long."

"Ya think?"

"Funny," said one of the Daniels.

"We were going to say the same thing about you," the other one completed.

O'Neill just grinned at that, but to hell with him, they weren't the same man, after all, and Jack didn't try to stop himself, even with double the normal audience—to hell with appearances, to hell with being a robot, he might know pi to the thirtieth decimal place but he had no control over the force rising in his mechanical throat.

Colonel Jack O'Neill threw his arms around his team, threw back his head, and laughed out loud.