Four years ago
"Who did he call?"
"A Jonathan O'Neill in Washington."
That was unexpected. Peter was sure that next call would be placed to Caffrey's lawyer, not to some general to whom he didn't even have a connection. He crinkled his eyebrows, after three years of chasing the man he knew as much as possible about him. Who he met, where and how, his shoe size, even what was his favorite breakfast dish. But this was unexpected, which actually should be quite normal by now. As soon as Burke caught up with Caffrey after one of his miraculous disappearing acts, he did something unexpected – he so should be used to it now.
"Jones, bring me Caffrey's file."
Eight years ago...
Jack O'Neill was still, very still, obviously deeply in thought looking at the young man sleeping peacefully inside the Asgard healing pod. Thor had agreed to heal mini-him after lots of pleading from both of them and additional rapid arguments about the value of life from Daniel and Carter. He sighed. He was tired, hungry and full of worry. The kid, him, a copy ... it boggled his mind, in a very disturbing way; after spending the last seven years going through the stone portal to different planets and fighting evil snake-like aliens it shouldn't bother him so much. But still. A copy. What do you call a copy of yourself, not only blood and bone, but also mind?
He considered again Thor's explanation – they couldn't fix the kid's genetic makeup without altering his DNA, so he wouldn't be his exact copy anymore. He would still share his genes, but an additional mix had been added and reconfigured to ensure stability that the copy had been lacking before. So not a copy anymore, a part of him only, a son perhaps? Jack closed his eyes and traveled to another time when he was happily married with a beautiful boy at his side. Charlie.
When he woke up the pod was empty, and the only sounds around him were typical for the Asgard ship, full of the slight buzzing of machinery. His neck cracked with a painful jolt; he wasn't as young as he wanted to be... The kid had a whole new future before him, it was time to decide about that.
Moving slowly in the direction of the ship's bridge, he considered another of Thor's propositions – to clean the clone's ... kid's - memory and plant some other ones. Create a new "fool-proof" identity complete with a paper trail put into various agencies. Everything that would make the new life passable without strings attached – photos, certificates, paperwork, all of what you accumulate through life. Jack could do that through the Air Force or many of his black ops contacts, but that would bring questions that he didn't want to answer, or a paper trail that he didn't want to be found.
Hammond had already put in a report to the Pentagon that claimed the death of the unstable copy, and Thor produced a shell that had exactly the same genetic markers – a copy of a copy. Which was cremated right away to ensure that no one ever put the facts together. So now all they had to do was to decide about the future.
What he saw and heard upon entering the bridge stopped him in surprise – soft notes of his favorite opera were filling the room, lights were dimmed and on a virtual canvas the kid was painting Picasso's Starry Night. Very accurately painting...
"What are you doing, kid?"
The youngster flinched in surprise and guilt as he quickly pivoted to face him. That was next surprise of the day – he didn't look like him anymore, not at all. The big smile that greeted him, clear blue eyes, much darker hair, and he had at least 15 more centimeters of height than before.
"Jack!" The smile grew even bigger. "Look what Uncle Gray gave me!" He showed himself off. "New nice body, no pains or aches," he tapped his head, "and a few new skills essential for my new career."
"Thor! What did you do to him? He doesn't look like me at all."
The gray alien looked between both men, slightly moving his big head to one side, almost displaying curiosity. "Wasn't that the point, O'Neill?"
"Well, yes ... but..."
The kid smiled again. "It's okay, old man, that was the point; now each of us can go different ways and forget about this."
"No way I'm letting you loose on an unsuspecting population alone; you are an O'Neill, so better behave yourself, kid. What will your name be anyway? And Thor, what the hell did he mean by 'giving him a few new skills'?"