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 * * * * * *
Syla leaned back, rinsing the conditioner out of her hair.
The hot water streamed over her and she let out a sigh of bliss as the stiff muscles began to relax.
They'd clenched up after being stuck in a rather awkward position on top of the Stargate.
She would forever bless the day Sgt. Siler was born.
The man was ingenius.

* * * * * *

Kaden's body was still too weak to take her over, but he had a feeling Harli's glare was properly conveying his anger and disgust.
Her words, however, were not half as cutting as his would have been.
His former host's pathetic arguments were sorely taxing his patience.

"Bill, you idiot. You knew this was a possibility when we first joined the Shifters as hosts."

"I need Kaden to finish this term without..."

"They won't impeach you. Everything is circumstantial without live witnesses and evidence that doesn't go missing as soon as it's found. We have been too careful for you to screw it up now."

"George will know something's wrong. He's just too involved in things not to notice I don't think as fast."

"Actually, we have a plan to cover that."

Bill stepped back, instinctively knowing he was not gonna like what his wife and his...her symbiote wanted to do to him.

* * * * * *

The ambulance pulled up outside the hospital, depositing the officers with ease.
A smiling wave at the courteous driver going off shift and a brisk walk later, Janet led the way through the hospital.
Her body relaxed with each step she took in the familiar, clean surroundings.

"Janet, I still think that..."

Janet took another deep lungful of sterile, hospital air, enjoying the mixed scents for a moment before replying.

"If you don't shush, people will think I'm going insane the way I keep talking to myself."

Sam grinned, and resumed her efforts to free herself from her friend.
As long as she concentrated with all her mind, she was able to keep from sinking back in when she pushed on Janet and each push was worth an inch.
She'd be forever grateful to the Colonel for not making any comments on just how far out her rear went with each shove.
Another ten minutes and she might get free.
Then, it would simply be a matter of sticking only with her teammates, though...having a body had been really nice.

"There you are. We were beginning to wonder if the guy hadn't found you."

Arlin smiled slightly, but stayed behind Janet as she accepted a uniform and coat from Amber, who'd also already changed clothes.

**Is he even in Arlin anymore? Of course he is. Janet would've said something if he...**


Amber's eyes went wide and Jack took over, catching her as her foot slid out from under her.

"Jonathan? You can hear me?"


The grin on Jack's face didn't dim for a moment as he turned Amber so no one else could see the shaking in her hand as she rapidly wiped away the small tears gathered in the corner of her eye.

*She's so gorgeous.*


**Anyway, why couldn't I hear you before? How long have you been able to hear me? Were you deliberately blocking me? Oh! Are you hurt?**

Jack snickered at Arlin's mental confusion as Amber pulled back and visually examined him, looking for outward evidence of injury.

**We're fine. As soon as we walked into the corridor, I could hear you.**

*That's when he yelled...loudly.*

Amber rolled her eyes and then blanked her face after another swipe of her sleeve across her face.
A tissue appeared in front of her and she blinked a moment before murmuring a thank you to Janet and turning to blow her nose.
Jack waved a hand, lowering his voice so the echo wouldn't be as easily heard.

"We can hear each other. As soon as we got close..."

"So it's got a distance parameter to take into consideration from now on."

"Uh...yeah. You okay?"

Janet raised a slight eyebrow, turning so Sam wasn't shoving herself into the Colonel while pondering his question.

"You mean about your link reestablishing?"

" you trust me at all, now...or has that changed again?"

"Jack, we're fine. We're not friends, we're not enemies...we're in limbo and while we're there, just be yourself and I'll be myself and we'll see where we come out at the end."

Amber wadded up the tissue, her brow furrowed when she faced Jonathan and Janet again.

"You two sound like a bad movie. I don't see where the confusion is. Lovers' spat. Punishment. Make up. Done."

Jonathan rolled his eyes and Amber smiled a bit before addressing Janet.

"Daniel's already in a gown and ready for preliminary exminations. I assume you'll allow me to assist you."

Jack ducked their head and as soon as the moment of relaxation spread through their body, Arlin took over.

"Umm...aren't you both suspended?"


"Not really."

The women glared at Arlin and he shrunk back a step until they turned and quickly walked in the direction of Janet's office where Daniel was impatiently waiting.

*You know, for someone who's scared of them, you're sure pushing the right buttons.*

*You're right and I'm hungry. They went that way. There's a vending machine...umm...that other way...*


*At least I'll live.*

*I dunno...they looked like they might hunt you down and eat your ear or something...*

*You're not funny.*

Jack's chuckles only made Arlin's cheeks burn brighter as the young man made his way into the snack room to see what he could buy.

* * * * * *

"Sir, Dr. Fraiser is on the phone."

George set down the dragon, motioning SG-13 to stay in their seats while he took the call.
They were all rather curious what was to be done with the creatures and he still hadn't completely made up his mind.
Maybe with the formal alliance, the Tok'ra and the United States would be able to get some decent work done.
The President would need to be here, though, for that to happen.
Well, at least he had SG-1 one form or another.
Terry leaned back in his chair as soon as his CO closed his office door.
Mason, obviously feeling much better and in a fresh uniform, continually shifted in her chair to watch as GoldenBird circled the Gate room.

"He's getting really crowded. There's just not enough room in there."

"Well, I still think we oughta send him back to his world. He can't live here."

Syla glared at Harris, knowing that unless they came up with an alternative, that was exactly what the General was going to do.

"That won't solve the problem of the baby dragon, though. He deserves to grow up with more of his kind."

"Mason, unless you're suggesting we bring some of them, here..."

Her guilty flush answered the question and Terry grimaced.

"Find a way it could work or else GoldenBird's going back and I have a feeling the General may send the kid with him."

Greg bit his lip, picking up the shivering dragon.
He held it close and couldn't help trying to imagine what it would look like when it had longer gray, sleek and ready to slice the sky as it flew.

* * * * * *

"Yes, sir. Really...I'm fine. We're all fine. It was just a shock, but we think we may have some solid theories on...of course...sir, I'd rather..."

Janet sighed as another set of results crossed her desk.
The General was making this call much longer and less exciting than she'd hoped for when she took a break to fill him in.
Daniel's metabolism, brain chemistry, and nervous system were perfectly in synch, now.
His organs had literally transformed and she mentally kicked the Colonel again for staying so adamant.
She might have been able to learn more about what was happening if she'd been able to monitor him throughout the change.
It made no sense.
There was literally nothing physical that would explain Jolinar's growing control and she was seriously leaning toward the explanation Amber supported.
Jolinar was probably gaining tactile control over her environment the same way Sam and Jack had.
She slid the phone to her other ear, ignoring Sam's grunts of exertion, trying to listen to the General's updates and subsequent orders while sorting the papers she'd need as soon as Amber was finished checking Teal'c to see if any abbherations had begun to appear in him, too.
Then, the General's information became grim and Janet choked, quickly putting her coffee on the floor so it wouldn't spill on her papers while she listened.

"Sir, I need to be reinstated. I'm the most qualified to be working on this."

"What about Dr. Corvores?"

"She needs me to examine her, too. As soon as I'm certain they're not going to explode or anything else, I'll bring everyone over to the base, but until we know what caused the implant to..."

"It's Asgard."

Arlin's voice cut in and Janet stared at the nervous man as he stood on the other side of her desk.

"Sir, I think I may have more information for you. Can I call you back?"

"Certainly. Just...hurry. There's a lot going on and I have a bad feeling we're on a time limit and we don't even know it."

"Yes, sir. I certainly understand that feeling."

"I'm sure you do. Good bye, Doctor."

"Bye, sir."

Janet hung up the phone, her eyes never leaving Arlin's.

"Explain. What's Asgard?"

"Aliens landed in Roswell and were...disappeared as Mish likes to say. I don't know everything cuz Peri hated even talking about it, but I do know that the aliens were Asgards, we found that out after Dr. Jackson's sketches of them came through and perfectly matched the aliens being held..."

"Are you saying we've had prisoners this entire time?"

Janet held up her hand when Arlin started to speak, rummaging around in her Whatsit drawer.
Finding it, she set the small tape recorder on the desk and pushed record after motioning the positively white Arlin to talk.

"Peri thinks the...Roswell aliens...were test subjects...experiments...anyway, they were in a small ship and there was technology that was confiscated. The implants were mostly Asgard with...additions...they were mostly experimental, still, and long-term use would more than likely cause brain damage. Amber's was removed when it was discovered that it had already begun leaking...stuff...into her body. Jack's...was left in more out of hope that it would make him easier to interrogate. When they found out that the mind link was still there, they made plans to extract the information from Amber, but all of you kind of...messed those plans up by leaving and since Peri and I were last with them, we don't know what all they're doing. Mish was gonna get in and get Tesaf out of there, but I don't know how that..."


"Yeah, he was in Angela, but when it became clear that Capt. Carter could sense other Goa'uld while she was so ill in the infirmary from the Naquadah poisoning after working in the...uh...mine, the risk was too high so he had to leave her while the plan moved forward to..."


"Yeah, she's been Tesaf's host for...forever, even though I didn't know it until I joined Peri."

"Okay, and the plan was to?"

"Find out where Neris was."


"Kaden's queen."


"Yeah, he's..."

Arlin's head ducked and a rather impatient voice was heard a second later.

"For cryin' out loud! The two of you are making my brain freeze."

Janet's stern look barely slowed Jack down.

"Just listen. We have Asgards in chains, essentially, in the SGC. We have a family of "Shifters" who are up in arms, lookin' for the Queen Bee herself who apparently is the one who rescued me in Iraq. They know that so they think I can help them find her so they've made this huge elaborate scheme to try and drag the information out of me instead of just asking for it."

He smiled a bit when Janet rolled her eyes, but continued,

"One of 'em's in a vamp and since they were already getting blood and stuff for the Asgards for unknown reasons, getting more for the vamp shouldn't have been a problem except, of course, that we noticed when we had like...fifty blood tests every hour."

Janet winced, remembering when Jack had first started in about it.
She leaned around, noticing Teal'c and Martouf there for the first time.

"So we need to decide what to do."

Martouf stepped forward, fear edging his voice.

"You do not realize just how far-reaching these actions will be. When the Asgard find out you have mistreated their people, they will rise against you and we will not be able to protect your world."

"Hey! We didn't do anything. The Goolds left on our world did it and that's not our fault."

"They may not make the distinction. Asgard are peaceful, preferring treaties and alliances to war, but they are not above destroying entire solar systems if they deem it to be a danger that cannot be stopped any other way."

"Well this one can be stopped another way. They can take our buddies and toss 'em into the sun. There. Done."

Janet sighed, knowing the results of her conversation with Hammond wouldn't go over well.

"The General told me some things you might be able to make sense of."

Jack flipped a fold-out seat around, straddling it as the actual patient chairs were then filled with Martouf and Teal'c.


Janet grimaced, hating the implications her mind was conjuring.
Before she began, a tremor ran through her body and she coughed repeatedly as something ripped in her side.

"I'm out."



"Janet? Are you okay?"

"DoctorFraiser, what is wrong?"

"I think Sam's out of me."

"Yeah, she just yanked out. Is that what did that to you? You look like you're about to die. Here."

Jack handed over the coke, but yanked it back when Janet cried out, her fist banging the desk.

"Oh of all the...!"

He was up and around the desk, his eyebrow raised at Janet's exclamation, noticing Sam's frown and the tipped coffee mug at the same time.
The steam was gone, now, but Janet had pulled off her sandals and was directing Teal'c to get a bowl with cold water since her washroom had been fixed in her absence.
Sam gently threaded her fingers through Janet's hair, sorry her action had caused a chain effect, but very happy she was out and that she had gained a lot of control, even if only some of Janet's hair moved.

"I'll be fine. Both of you can back off now."

Teal'c was back only moments later with a filled sterile basin and washcloth and Sam quickly attached herself to him.
Janet bit her lip as he knelt down before her, lifting her foot and gently dripping cold water across it until he was able to completely submerge the burned toes in the liquid to circumvent swelling.
Jack shoved his hands in his pockets, annoyed, and able to understand that Janet was still putting space between them, but unable to stop glaring at Teal'c.

**Okay, I can talk now. Tell Janet I'm finished with Daniel and he's getting dressed now. I'm telling him everything I know and heard so that we're both up to date when we get in there. You'd better tell her the President's a bad guy, you know.**

*He wants to use it to make her say...*

**I know what he wants to do. I never knew how many exasperating things guys do they actually planned in advance.**

**Hey! It takes brains to be as dumb as me.**

**Yeah, sure...anyway, Daniel's got some ideas, too, and he's promised Jolinar so he can't go back on joining the Tok'ra, but at least it might only be a visit instead of...**

**Say what? He is not joining those snakeheads!**

**It's his choice!**


**No, it isn't. He's a member of SG-1 and so long as he's under my command, he's...**

**Not under your command! You're dead! Or has that slipped your mind? You'll be listed as deceased, just like Carter, and we'll have a full military burial for both of you. Your orders don't mean squat!**

*I think...*

**For your Information, I'm not dead, merely without a body and that means that I can...**

**Can what? Stand in Arlin's body and try to order...who, Makepeace around? The whole team of combat Marines'll laugh in your face. And you know what you'll do? You'll have to prove to them you're still capable of command.**

*Jack, I'd really rather not...*

**Oh come on! Think, Amber. I'm in a nineteen year old body that with only a few weeks of straight gym work'll do better than the one I was in. With my mind and his body, I can...**

**Take him into dangerous situations against his will? Jonathan, the kid's scared stiff of Janet bonking him with her purse. How do you think his poor brain'll handle combat? From what I heard, Peri didn't exactly jump into battles so it's not like he's got her memories of them to go on.**

*She's right. I think Eloise worked during the war and the depression...there wasn't much fighting at all in Peri's memories. Yours are scary enough. I don't wanna...*

*Arlin, don't listen to her. I know what I'm doing.*

**So do I. You're trying to live again at the expense of someone else.**

**That's so not true.**

**Oh yeah? Then have Sam push Peri back into her body.**

**Excuse me?**

**You heard me. If you're really able to give up your need to be here and heard so that each soul can have their own body, then give Peri back her body.**

**I can't do that, yet.**


**Not because I don't want to! Do you have any idea how fragile and sickening Goolds really are? I do. I don't want to live as one. I'm staying in here until I'm sure we have all the information Arlin has and that we don't need him for covert...**

**Jonathan, I'm sure the General has already reported that you're in Arlin's body to the President. That's what happens with the chain of command. So if you're thinking of sneaking around, pretending to be him, it won't work. So what other reason, besides fear, is keeping you from giving Peri back her body?**

**We're not even sure Carter can push Peri in...**

**Cop out. We can always try and if it fails, think of something else.**

"Sir! Come back to us. What's wrong?"

Jack's eyes focused on Sam's and he realized his face was wet.
Annoyed that Teal'c had obviously decided he needed a bath, he started to glare until the taste on his tongue let him know they were tears, not just water and he slid to the floor to hide his face.

**How did she know something was wrong?**

*Jack's crying. He's been crying for the last few minutes. I tried to tell you, but...neither of you were listening to me. Sam's been trying to get our attention, but since Jack was in charge and was too emotional, I couldn't get past his mind.*

*Take control.*

*Jack, it's okay if you don't want...*

*Just do it!*

**You don't need to yell at Arlin. It's not his fault. Yell at me if you need to. I shouldn't have pushed.**

**It's okay.**

**No, it isn't. I'd die if I found out I was just standing there, crying. I'm sorry.**

**Amber. It's okay. Just...let it go. I didn't realize just how scared I was.**

**I did and I pushed anyway. We're out the door now and Jacob's with us.**


"Sir! Please..."

Arlin brushed his sleeve across, sniffling a bit.

"It's not Jack. It's me. He and Amber were arguing and I just couldn't handle it. I'm sorry."


Teal'c's frown indicated his disproval at such obvious weakness, but inside Arlin, a symbiote was starting to smile.

*You didn't have to do that. They'll think you're even more sickening than you already are.*

**Oh, that's a great way to thank him for taking the heat. Arlin, tell 'em Jack was crying cuz he wet himself.**

**Oh like they'll believe that.**

**Arlin, pee or something and blame it on Jack messing around with his tentacles. Say he stuck one into the wrong entry point or something.**

*I don't think I'll do any of those...Jack, aren't you glad Amber's not your host?*


Arlin's grin at the mental neon "Yes" flashing in his mind apparently set the room at ease since Sam backed off a bit, still careful to stay close enough to Teal'c she wouldn't go flying.

* * * * * *

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