The Atlantis greeting committee was all smiles as SG-1 disembarked from Odyssey, some genuine, some strained, but all visibly determined to put their best face forward while the VIPs from Earth trespassed in their city. Daniel, stumbling slightly behind the other three and Emerson as he stifled another yawn, hoped none of them had any genuine grievances with SG-1's presence; they couldn't afford to delay their mission, but neither did he want to step on any toes while they were here.
Dr. Weir stepped forward, her hand outstretched for shaking as Mitchell approached her-- and then she froze, completely ignoring the colonel, as Daniel stepped out from behind him. "Dr. Jackson?" she blurted, eyebrows raised in disbelief. "But I thought you--" She shook her head. "When did you beam up to the Odyssey?"
"Beam up?" he replied, completely thrown by the question. "Uh, on Earth, three weeks ago. Is there some kind of problem?"
Elizabeth pulled back, glancing at her command staff warily and then back at Daniel. She raised a hand to the side of her throat, touching a white square bandage that had been taped there, and swallowed. "I don't understand," she replied.
Mitchell frowned and stepped forward, placing himself slightly between Daniel and the Atlantis team again. "Ma'am, half our reason for coming here is so Jackson can access the Atlantis database directly," he said, warily. "I understood you had been notified?"
"Well, yes," she blurted, still rubbing at the bandage on her neck, "but I thought the only reason that information had been included with the data on your other mission was to cover for the fact that he was already here," she said, glancing back and forth between Mitchell and Daniel.
"Already here?" Daniel blurted, still confused. "And how exactly was I supposed to have gotten here?" In the background, he noticed Colonel Sheppard raise a hand to his ear and issue several commands quietly into his radio headset; the posture of the Atlantis party changed into a more defensive one, and Sam and Vala both stepped up to flank him.
"Oh, great," Dr. McKay said. "An imposter? I guess we should have been suspicious when he showed up with yet another Ancient tart and said to keep our mouths shut so the Trust wouldn't find out he could still travel that way, but given that half the SGC practically believes he walks on water as it is... Or is this one the imposter? Doesn't one of those Goa'uld still running around know how to clone?"
"Rodney," Elizabeth said, warningly, taking a step back.
"What ancient tart?" Vala objected. "What did she look like?"
"I really don't think that matters," Mitchell put in, cautiously. "Actually, I think we should call the other Dr. Jackson down here and..."
A burst of white light filled the space between the two groups, cutting him off. It wasn't the same as the flash that accompanied an Asgard beam; it filled the room, blotting out sight for several seconds, and brought with it a faint breeze and the scent of grass.
Both groups froze in surprise as the light faded, revealing several people that hadn't been there before. Daniel blinked at the three women and two men that were revealed-- a short blonde, a redhead, and a brunette accompanied by a young dark-haired man and an older gentleman with glasses-- but barely had time to get more than a surface impression before one of the young women gasped and hurled something toward his face.
Mitchell was still mostly in the way, but he couldn't block all of the whatever-it-was. "What the hell?" he sputtered as Daniel raised his arms in reflex to protect himself; the archaeologist winced as several drops of liquid struck them.
Silence fell again as Daniel lowered his arms, staring at them in puzzlement as the clear liquid failed to react at all to either sleeves or skin. He glanced at Mitchell, finding him equally puzzled and unharmed, then back at the intruders, wondering why no-one else had acted to stop or react to what they'd done.
A red beam flashed from the Atlantis side of the room, fired by the big native with the dreadlocks-- Ronon?-- that Sheppard had added to his team, and splattered harmlessly off some kind of invisible shield, answering that question. Behind the shield, the young women exchanged looks, and then the red-haired one sighed. "Drat, we got the wrong universe again. I really thought we had it this time."
"I wouldn't speak too soon," the older gentleman said in a British accent; he had faced the other direction upon arrival, and was watching Elizabeth. "Willow, I think they recognize you."
Willow turned to peer around him at Elizabeth, who was indeed watching her warily rather than with the complete confusion SG-1 was displaying. "Oh! Have you met me already? I mean, another one of me?"
Elizabeth gestured toward Ronon, who looked as though he was about to fire his weapon again, and he lowered it with a grumble. Several more members of Atlantis' military clattered into the room at about the same time, undoubtedly summoned by Sheppard's earlier radio call; Daniel recognized Major Lorne among them as they immediately assumed defensive positions, taking further orders from Sheppard. Daniel didn't listen to what the Colonel said, however; he was far more interested in what Elizabeth's reply was going to be.
Atlantis' civilian leader spoke cautiously. "Is there an explanation for your arrival?" she asked, neither confirming nor denying the intruders' suspicions.
"I mean, an evil one of me, obviously," the one called Willow continued to talk, hurriedly. "'Cause this could still be the wrong universe, I mean, the me here might not be a witch; she might be a programmer or a physicist or something, you never know. This place is like the black hole of scientists back home, and..."
"Babbling," the younger man said, grinning, and Willow closed her mouth, looking sheepish.
The shortest of the group, the blonde woman, rolled her eyes with a sigh. "Look, the reason we're here is to look for a guy that looks like him--" here, she pointed at Daniel "--traveling with a woman that looks like her." Here, she pointed at her friend. "They're very dangerous, and they've been on the run for about a month now; we've tracked them through three different universes already. We just want to take them off of your hands, and then we'll disappear again."
"Wait, wait, wait, dangerous?" Dr. McKay spoke up again. "What kind of dangerous are we talking about here? The kind of dangerous that means secrets getting stolen, or maybe sabotage? Or are we talking about the kind of dangerous that leads to people going missing? Because I couldn't find another one of my scientists this morning, and the last person he was seen talking to was Dr. Jackson."
The intruders exchanged glances. "Sounds like the right universe to me," the pretty brunette girl said, dryly.
"You're saying you're from an alternate universe?" Sam finally interjected, a mixture of curiosity and complete confusion coloring her tone. "But how did you get here? I didn't see a quantum mirror..."
"Perhaps this may answer some of your questions," a calm voice said, as another person entered the room. Daniel recognized her as Teyla, another of Atlantis' lead team; she'd been there when they arrived, but she must have left at some point during the confusion. She was dragging another Daniel by the collar; he was snarling and thrashing, displaying a strangely distorted face and superhuman strength, but she had him secured with unbreakable Ancient binders, and she was very fit. He wasn't getting away.
Yet another bright flash lit up the room, and a duplicate of the redhead, Willow, appeared next to Teyla, making arcane gestures with her hands. Teyla flew across the room, striking several of Atlantis's personnel as she went, and ended up in a heap atop Major Lorne; the Willow in the center of the room reacted quickly, making arcane gestures of her own, and the newcomer screamed in fury before turning to face her double.
The next few minutes went by very quickly, and would forever after be too tangled for Daniel to recall very clearly, as at some point he was struck heavily over the head by a golden-eyed copy of himself and went down heavily. There were a few gunshots, though not many as people were obviously trying not to hit friendlies; there was a lot of grunts and the smack of flesh striking flesh as the various intruders engaged each other and everyone around them in hand to hand action; there were a few screams; and it all ended with a pair of whooshing noises and the disappearance of the duplicates as the blonde woman and Teyla faced each other, something wooden outthrust before each of them.
The next couple of hours were filled with visits to the infirmary and other necessary duties, before all of the main participants in the action gathered together in the briefing room.
"I don't believe it," Mitchell muttered as the petite blonde, who went by the improbable name of Buffy Summers, finally finished her tale. It had spanned wishes, magically created alternate dimensions, and a pointy-toothed refugee from one such dimension who had been summoned back from 'dusting' by a witch who somehow used to be a rat and then managed to collect a Dr. Jackson of her very own as she fled from this Buffy and her friends, who for some reason felt responsible.
Daniel sighed, rubbing his temples. "Well, we've run into just about every other fringe theory over the last few years, between the Goa'uld, the Asgard, the Ancients, the--"
"But vampires?" Mitchell interrupted. "Atlantis got invaded by a pair of dimension jumping vampires? The kind that actually suck blood instead of doing some wacky energy transfer thing?"
"I'm afraid the evidence backs up their story," Elizabeth said, ruefully, clasping her hands together on the briefing room table. The bandage at her throat that she'd been rubbing earlier had been removed, and a pair of puncture marks were clearly visible above the collar of her shirt. "As soon as the other Dr. Jackson was, er, 'dusted', I started remembering-- well, he was apparently very talented with hypnosis. I don't think he actually killed very many people; several of the missing civilians have turned up in the last couple of hours with bandaged throats and confused memories."
"Not to mention naked," Colonel Sheppard put in, smirking in Daniel's direction. "And Rodney calls me Kirk."
Daniel winced. Was Sheppard implying what he thought he was? Then he noticed the redness creeping up Elizabeth's cheeks. Yeah, he probably was. He looked away in embarrassment as Elizabeth cleared her throat and continued. Just how much like the original personality were these vampires supposed to be? he wondered.
"The other Ms. Rosenberg, however, seems to have cut quite the swath among the marines; Major Lorne located a number of dead bodies in the room she had been assigned to. She was apparently keeping everyone from noticing their disappearance with her-- ah, abilities."
"This so-called 'magic'," Dr. McKay said sourly, visibly restraining himself from yet another tirade.
"Can we table that argument for another time?" Sam said, sounding tired. "Look, I appreciate the situation here, but our mission is getting no less urgent as we wait. Dr. Weir, we'd appreciate it if you'd let us borrow Rodney to deal with the-- issue-- we came for, and allow Daniel access to the archives. Then the rest of you can deal with this without us bogging you down; you can always give us a full report later."
Elizabeth nodded. "That's sounds reasonable."
Reasonable? Daniel thought with a snort. Nothing that had happened since SG-1's arrival had anything to do with reason-- but it was hardly the strangest thing they'd ever encountered.
Still, he was really looking forward to Jack's reaction to this mission report when they got back home.