Word Count: 8,553
Rating: PG13.
Category: AU. Angst. Crossover with SG1.
Story Status: Complete.
Summary: Rodney is kidnapped by bad guys...from another reality.

Author's Notes: Set during SG1 season  7, after Jonas has gone home. Redemption doesn’t occur in my AU – or if it does, Rodney’s not in it.

Beta: Thank you to Jayne Perry for the beta-reading.

A Stolen Scientist

By Leesa Perrie

A town close to Area 51, Nevada

He looked out of the window of his rented apartment, lost in thought.  It was good to be back in the US again, having finally been allowed to leave Russia and its naquadah programme in the hands of someone else after two years of running it.  He really hadn’t wanted to go to Russia in the first place, but Carter had laid it on thick; the prestige of being in charge of something that important, the honour of being asked to head the programme in the first place etc, etc.  It wasn’t exile, she had insisted, knowing that was what it felt like to him, and then going on to ask who else could she send, as she was too involved with SG-1 to go herself, and there was no one better to go in her place.

Oh yes, she had laid it on thick, and he had agreed, albeit reluctantly.  And it hadn’t been as bad as he had feared.  He had quite enjoyed the work, if not the people he worked with, or the food, or the cold, or the country... 

He was back now, but not where he wanted to be.

Area 51 was good, it had lots of exciting technology, lots of exciting research going on, but it wasn’t where he wanted to be.  Something had changed; a feeling had grown within him, of wanting more, of wanting to work at the SGC itself, to be part of a team even.  That had surprised him, as teams were often heading into danger, but they also got to see technology up close and personal, technology that often couldn’t be brought back to Earth.

He couldn’t explain it, this…restlessness.  It wasn’t anything to do with being in Russia, he was sure he would still be feeling like this if he had never gone there.  In fact, he suspected that agreeing to go to Russia was partly a way of trying to deal with this growing feeling of wanting more.  Perhaps he had hoped that going to another country would scratch that itch. 

It hadn’t. 

Carter didn’t want him working at the SGC.  Although she had more patience with him than most people he had ever met, he knew he annoyed her.  They were like two pieces of sandpaper, rubbing against each other and causing friction.  They could work together for short periods of time, but long term…it just wouldn’t work.    

He wished Aunt Grace was still alive, but she had been dead three years or so now.  Killed by a drunk driver, and it wasn’t much consolation that the idiot had killed himself in the accident as well.  Aunt Grace could always help him to work things out whenever he felt confused or unsure.  So could John, but he was in Afghanistan, which was something he tried not to think about much; the thought of his cousin being in a combat zone was just too scary.

There was little point in calling his Uncle.  They got on okay, but the now General James Sheppard had never really understood his nephew, never really got what went on in his head. 

Which meant he was on his own with this.  There was little point in wanting what he couldn’t have, so he’d just have to ignore these feelings until they went away and be satisfied with what he did had in the meantime.  It was as simple as that, really, when he got down to it.

He stretched and turned away from the view.  Wandering into the kitchen, the almost empty fridge reminded him that he was supposed to have stopped by a shop on the way home.

Great, just great.  He grabbed his car keys and headed back out.

He was halfway to his car when he was approached by stranger.

“Hey, long time no see,” the guy said cheerfully, throwing an arm around his shoulders before he had time to react. “The gang’s waiting for us round the corner, you coming or not?”

He was about to snap a response when he felt something jab into his side.  Looking down, he saw a gun, hidden from the view of any passers-by.  He closed his mouth, took a breath, and nodded.

“Come on, then,” the guy said, subtlety moving him around the corner and into a waiting van.

Once inside, two other man grabbed him, securing his hands in front of him with duct tape, and securing his ankles as well.

“What the hell…who are you, what do you want?” he snapped at them.

The guy who’d ‘persuaded’ him to join them smiled.

“You’ll find out in good time, Dr McKay.”

“I demand that you tell me what is going on…”

“Stevens, shut him up,” the guy said, moving to the front of the van and into the driving seat.

“Sure,” Stevens answered, grabbing a piece of duct tape and slapping it over Rodney’s mouth, causing him to glare daggers at his kidnappers, not that any of them seemed to care.

The van moved off and he desperately tried to keep himself calm.  Whatever these guys wanted, they seemed to want him alive.  They probably wanted his knowledge or expertise, or both.  Rogue NID, maybe?  He just had to try and keep his cool and look for a chance to escape, or at the very least, call for help somehow.

Keep calm?  How was he supposed to do that?  Visions of Newman and his not so gentle persuasion filled his mind, but he pushed the panic down, covering it with irritation.

Twenty minutes or so later, the van pulled to a stop.

“Johnson.” The driver looked into the back of the van. “Time for our guest to go to sleep.”

Johnson grinned, pulling a syringe from his jacket pocket and preparing it.  Stevens grabbed Rodney’s arm, pushing his shirt sleeve up.  He struggled frantically, but Stevens was too strong for him.  Then Johnson gave him the injection, and everything faded away.


An hour or so later; an abandoned building, somewhere in Nevada

When he woke up, feeling groggy and slightly nauseous, he found himself in a cell, though not alone.  At least he had been untied, or un-taped, perhaps he should say. 

“Take it easy, the nausea will fade soon,” the other occupant of the cell reassured him.

Rodney sat up carefully, very carefully, and tried to focus on his cell mate.

“Who…” he coughed, his throat feeling dry and scratchy.

“Dr Carson Beckett,” the man replied, grabbing a bottle of water from a corner of the cell and passing it to him.  “And you are?”

“Dr Rodney McKay,” he replied after taking a drink.  “Astrophysicist.”

“Ah, I’m a medical doctor.”


Rodney surveyed the cell.  Sturdy bars flanked three sides, with a solid wall on the fourth.  The cell was set inside what looked like a basement, or maybe part of a warehouse.

“Great,” he muttered.  “Any idea who these bozos are and what they want?”

“They claim to be from an alternate universe, as if I’m supposed to believe that.  Apparently, in their universe, I’m dead.  And they’re not happy about it.” The doctor sounded highly sceptical. “Seems my alternate self was busy with some important research when he died, and they have been searching other universes looking for a suitable me to replace him with.  They did mention trying to replace someone else as well, which I’m guessing is you.”

“Well, either they’re a bunch of lunatics, or…”

“You don’t really believe they could be telling the truth, do you?” the Scot asked in surprise.

“Well…” Rodney hedged, not sure how much to tell him, before sighing. “I shouldn’t tell you this, it’s classified, but yes, it is possible they are telling the truth.  It wouldn’t be the first time someone from another universe came to ours, or even vice versa.”

“Ach, maybe you’re crazy too.”

“I am not crazy.  I work for the US Air Force on some of their top secret projects.  Believe me, alternate universes exist and travel between them has been known,” he snapped, unhappy about the crazy remark.  He leaned his head back against the wall he was leaning on. “Of course, my bosses won’t be pleased I’ve told you that.”

“So why did you?”

“Because if they aren’t crackpots, then you need to know.  If they are, well, who’s going to believe you if you tell anyone about it, especially after being in the hands of some crazies?”

“Right.” The guy nodded, looking worried but still unconvinced. “So now that you’re here, if they really are telling the truth…”

“…then they’ll be getting ready to take us back with them.  Wonderful, just… wonderful.”

“They did say something about some technology they want to take back with them as well.”

“Any idea what?”


He rubbed his eyes, willing the remains of the groggy feeling away.  He needed to think, to work out an escape.  The medical doctor settled against the wall near to him, much to his disgust.  What, did the guy think they were buddies or something just because they were in the same cell?  Ignoring this…Car-whatever’s presence, he concentrated on how to get out of here.


A few hours later; an abandoned building, Nevada

Two of the guys from the van, the one who had duct taped his mouth, Stuarts, Stevens or something, and the man that had injected him, Jones, Johns or whatever, collected Rodney from the cell.  Ignoring his protests and demands for answers, he was guided roughly up some stairs and into a room that was apparently being used as a makeshift science lab.  He was pushed down into a chair, and the guy who had driven the van, plus a woman he hadn’t seen before, entered the room.

“Look, just what do you want?” He was getting totally fed up with all of this, and the frustration was clear in his voice.  It didn’t help that he’d come up with a blank on how to get away, and that the Beckwell guy seemed to want to be friends, which was pissing him off as well.  Couldn’t he get the hints that he wasn’t looking for a friend?

“We’re sure Dr Beckett has told you about us being from a different reality, and that we want to take you back with us.” 

The woman said, her voice hard and unyielding.

“He thinks you’re crazy.”

“But do you?” she asked.

“Maybe, but probably not, no.  How did you get here?” Inquisitiveness getting the better of him.

“We found two devices that allows us to move between realities, even to program them to find specific people or places, so long as they exist in that reality, of course.  We came here for Dr Beckett; we believe the one from this reality is capable of finishing the work of our own, who died a few months back.  As for you, well, our Dr McKay, along with his team mates, are a problem for us.  And judging from what we have found out about you, you happen to be smarter than him anyway.  So, an exchange seems like a good idea.”

“Right.  Thing is, I’d rather stay in my own reality, thank you very much.”

“We’re not giving you a choice,” the van driver said. 

“Of course you’re not,” he muttered sullenly.  “So why aren’t we back in your reality yet?  Even if, as Beckham said, you wanted to take something else back with you, why haven’t we been sent through?  You’re obviously able to move back and forth, so why take the risk of us escaping in this universe?”

“The device was damaged,” the woman admitted unhappily. “But you’re going to fix it for us.”

“No, I think not.”

He crossed his arms over his chest and tilted his chin defiantly.

“You will.  If you don’t, then people are going to die.  All four of us are black ops.  It will be easy for us to find and arrange ‘accidents’ for people, such as your uncle… or maybe we’ll go after Samantha Carter…” she threatened.

Rodney was quiet while he considered if they could do what they threatened; looking into the eyes of the van driver and the woman in front of him, he could tell they were confident in their abilities.  And there was a ruthlessness in them that scared him.

“Fine.  I’ll try.”

“You’ll do more than try,” the  van driver snarled.

“I said I’ll try.  If I can fix it, I will.  I may be a genius, but I’m not a miracle worker.”


“This is the device,” the woman said, pointing to a circular ring like object with a handgrip set in the middle, about the size of a dinner plate.  “We’ll be keeping an eye on you.  I suggest you don’t try anything stupid…”

“I won’t,” he snapped, getting up and moving over to the device.  Grabbing a tool kit on the bench beside it, he started work.  He wouldn’t do anything stupid, but he would do his damned best to stall the process.


Four days later; an abandoned building, Nevada. 

McKay finally felt he was beginning to understand how the device – the ‘AR Ring’ as his captors were calling it – worked, but not how to fix it.  It was a fascinating piece of technology and he was sure he could figure out how to fix it eventually, maybe even sometime within the next few days, but had no intention of doing so.  He needed to stall, even though he knew he wasn’t good at lying.  His cousin said he had a terrible poker face and he knew it was true.  Still, he would do what he could and just hope for the best. 

Something else he apparently wasn’t good at either.

His cell mate was annoying him a lot.  Well, maybe not annoying as such, but the guy was just too damn friendly towards him, despite his sarcasm, snide remarks and general slander of the medical profession and all things Scottish.  It was frustrating, and also kind of refreshing, in a scary way, that this Beck guy wasn’t put off by his personality, unlike most people.  He hated to admit it to himself, but the doctor was beginning to get to him.  He could see this guy as a friend, a good one, and that scared the crap out of him.  He didn’t do friends.  It was too risky.  The only people he let his guard down around were his cousin, and to a lesser extent, his uncle.  But this person, he was pushing Rodney’s barriers down as if they didn’t exist and it had to stop.

Maybe it was just the whole being in a bad situation together thing.  A false friendship born out of being prisoners, or something.  All he knew was that he hoped to get out of this situation soon, and get as far away from the man as he could, which wouldn’t be that difficult.  It’s not like any friendship would last once they got out of here.  In fact, he’d probably never see the Scottish pain in the neck again once they were safe.  Which suited him just fine.

There was a noise in the corridor, followed by raised voices.  Sounded like Harrison, the one who’d driven the van, and Sanchez, the woman in charge.  He’d been able to remember Harrison’s name due to a certain Han Solo actor, and as for Sanchez, well, he’d been rather hopelessly smitten with a Jennifer Sanchez in college; not this reality’s version of the older embittered Sanchez who was this sad little group’s leader.  Though having said that, Jennifer had slapped him in front of their entire class for no reason he could determine at the time; or even now, for that matter. 

Stevens or Stuarts, he still couldn’t remember which was his right name, opened the door and put his head out.  There was a whispered conversation, and Stevens returned.  Judging from the silence, the argument had been taken elsewhere.

But he’d managed to catch enough to know that his alternate self, from their universe, had disappeared along with his team just before they’d come here and that Harrison believed they should get rid of him as soon as he fixed the device, whereas Sanchez believed that their government would capture their McKay soon and it was worth the risk of keeping him, as in himself, alive.  Apparently, Harrison was afraid of his intelligence and thought he’d be able to spoil their plans despite their threats to harm the people he cared about.  Nice to know he could inspire fear even when captured by the bad guys, though he hope this Sanchez woman could keep her people in line, or else Harrison was going to kill him as soon as he’d fixed the AR Ring.

As for his counterpart, well, good for him that he’d been able to escape.  They couldn’t do an exchange if they couldn’t find him, what with that problem of entropic cascade failure - apparently the AR Ring worked the same way as Quantum Mirrors did in that respect, meaning that they couldn’t have two Rodneys in the same universe for very long.  So even if he fixed this right now, they couldn’t risk taking him through until the other him was found.  Not that that would help his cell mate much.

Well, seeing as he hadn’t worked out how to fix it yet, it was all a moot point really, and he fully intended to be gone before he fixed it. 

If only he could work out how.


Two days later; briefing room, Cheyenne Mountain Complex

SG1 were in the conference room, debriefing with General Hammond from their latest mission-gone-bad, when there was a bright green light in the corner of the room.  When it faded, one Dr McKay was standing there.

“Oh, it worked.  Good.  Not that I really doubted it would, but…” McKay stopped, and then smiled. “Hey.”

“Dr McKay, just what do you think you are doing?” Hammond asked, less than pleased.

“Oh, just thought I should warn you about a little problem with alternate realities.  I’m not ‘your’ Dr McKay.  I’m from another universe altogether.”  The alternate McKay tilted his head slightly. “After all, from the reports I’ve read, your McKay doesn’t have a scar down his right cheek.  And if you were to do a blood test, you would find markers from an unfortunate but temporary Goa’uld infestation.  Something else your McKay has never experienced.  Lucky him.”

“Okay, this is weird,” Jack said.

“He certainly isn’t acting like the McKay I know,” Sam looked at the alternate version. “He’s too…friendly, for a start.”

“Hmm, yes, they did report my alternate self to have a somewhat difficult and abrasive personality.  Anyway, I came here to warn you that, in my universe, we have a military that has, shall we say, less than ethical methods of defeating its foes.  The Goa’uld have been defeated, but at the cost of the lives of most of the Jaffa in our galaxy.” McKay looked truly pained by this. “Not to mention the destruction of the Tok’ra.”

“What did they do?” Daniel looked appalled.

“Used a symbiote poison and released it on every world with a stargate that they could, along with some that didn’t have gates.  Fortunately, our SG1 managed to get Teal’c and about three hundred Jaffa to a safe haven.  More recently, my team and I joined them there.”

“Which doesn’t explain why you’re here,” Hammond pointed out.

“Yes, well, in my reality a good friend of mine, Dr Carson Beckett, was working on a way to deal with a new threat we’ve come against recently, but unfortunately, Carson died a few months ago,” he stated calmly, though there was a haunted look in his eyes. “No one has been able to move his research on since then, and they have been searching alternate realities, looking for a Carson that could be capable of taking over from ours.  We want to stop them from doing this.”

“And they think they’ve found him in our reality?” Sam asked.

“Yes.  Look, we know that the government would use Carson’s work to eradicate this new enemy, even though the serum would turn them into harmless beings.  Our Carson found this out and falsified a lot of his results before he…well, basically, he went on a suicide mission against orders and got himself killed,” he paused as his voice broke slightly and he looked away from them. “He was a brave man.”

“This group, how many are there and how do they, and you for that matter, travel between realities?” Hammond asked.

Hammond and co

“This.” He pointed the circular device he was holding. “We found two of them sometime ago.  They allow a group of people to travel between universes.  They are designed to return the people to their point of origin when they press this button,” he said, pointing to one of the buttons on the surface.  “They can be programmed to look for a specific person or place and take the users to the intended target.  Any universes where the target doesn’t exist, for whatever reason, are ignored.  Once you find a particular universe of interest, it can be programmed so that you can move back and forth from it and your own reality as often as you like.  We call it an AR Ring.”

Sam had moved over to examine it, careful not to touch any of the buttons.

“They give out a frequency, even when in rest mode.  A frequency you should be able to trace.”

“It should be easy enough to find the frequency of this one and then the Prometheus could scan for it,” Sam agreed.

“There are four black ops operatives.” He plucked four photographs from his jacket pocket.  “Colonel Mary Sanchez, Major Lee Harrison, and Corporals Stuart Stevens and Bill Johnson.  Apparently the government decided that the McKay in this universe would be easier to control than myself and wanted to do an exchange.  The Rings work along the lines of the Quantum Mirrors and so are susceptible to entropic cascade failure.  My disappearance upset their plans, though I believe they were still going to grab him and hope they could find me quickly and do the swap later.”

“Do they know you have the second AR Ring?” Jack asked.

“No, they don’t even know that I hacked their computers and found out what they were planning, as well as accessing their reports on this reality.  Anyway, once you have the frequency, I’ll return to my own reality to check that that is still the case.  Then return here.  I’d like to be in on the rescue if you wouldn’t mind,” he said hopefully.

“Why?” Hammond asked suspiciously.

“Because I intend to take Colonel Sanchez and her team back to my point of origin, along with their AR Ring.  Don’t worry, they won’t be harmed.  In fact, we’ll even let them return to Earth.  The AR Rings, however, will be destroyed.  They’re just too dangerous, even in the right hands.”

“How do we know he is speaking the truth?” Teal’c asked the others seriously.

“I’m willing to take a lie detector test,” McKay offered.

The General nodded.

“Very well.”

An escort was organised for the alternate McKay to take him for a lie detector test, while Sam took the AR Ring so that she could determine the frequency it was emitting.  

When the test confirmed their visitor’s tale, he rejoined them for the planning of the rescue mission.


Several hours earlier; an abandoned building, Nevada. 

Another couple of days had passed since the argument he’d partly overheard, and he’d made some more progress with the AR Ring.  He was trying to slow things down, but at the same time he had to appear to be making progress or else his captors would get suspicious, which really wouldn’t be a good thing.

It was evening now and he was unceremoniously pushed back into the cell, stumbling, but managing not to fall.

“Neanderthal,” he muttered under his breath.

“Be glad he didn’t hear that,” his cell mate said, a little too cheerfully for his liking.

Rodney settled on his mattress and leaned back against the wall before replying grumpily, “You’d think they’d at least provide a bed each.  Sleeping on a thin mattress on the floor isn’t doing my back any good.”

“Aye, but at least you get out of this cell for more than just ‘restroom’ visits.”

“Oh, and having to work with these…freaks isn’t punishment enough for you?”

“How is that coming?  You’ve not fixed their machine yet?”  Beckett cast worried eyes in his direction.

“No, not yet.  I’ve worked out that there’s not enough power getting through to fully activate it.  I’ve managed to push enough power through for it to enter a form of stand-by mode, but no more.” He rubbed his eyes tiredly.  “It won’t take long to fix it completely now and I can only stall for so long.  I’m really not very good at that sort of thing.  Lousy poker face.”

“There’s not much chance anyone is going to find us, is there?  And escape doesn’t look possible either.  I feel like we’re just putting off the inevitable.”

“No, I think we’re pretty well screwed.  Well, you are, at least.  Apparently my alternate self has pulled a disappearing act and I can’t live in their universe for more than a few days if another version of me is still around.  Until they find him they can’t swap us for each other.”

“Well, that’s nice for you,” the physician said sourly.

“There’s still a small chance someone might find us and get us out of here, but I wouldn’t hold out much hope.”

“Perhaps you could take out your guard…”

“What?  Are you serious?  Have you seen these guys?  Even that woman looks capable of breaking me in half like a twig!  They’re black ops!  I wouldn’t stand a chance and I have no wish to get pummelled for anyone.  Why don’t you try it?”

“Calm down, for goodness sake.”

“Well, don’t make stupid suggestions and I just might consider it.”

“It was just a thought.”

“Yes, well, can you keep those kind of thoughts to yourself?”

“I’ll consider it.”

“Do that.”

They lapsed into silence, each lost in their own thoughts.  After a few minutes, McKay sighed deeply.

“Look, there might be a way.  It’s a long shot.  A really, really long shot.”

“Better than nothing.”


“Going to share or do I have to guess?”

“Hmm.  Well, if I can figure out how to program the AR Ring, I might be able to use it to our advantage.  But it depends on whether I can override its current programming, and I don’t even know if that’s possible.  Still, if anyone can figure it out, it’ll be me,” he said smugly.

“Of course,” his fellow prisoner said wryly, clearly amused rather than annoyed by his ego, damn him.


Present, an hour after the mission planning began; briefing room, Cheyenne Mountain Complex. 

Once a plan had been devised, Hammond dismissed everyone but SG1 and their visitor, having further questions for him.    

“You mention another threat that your Dr Beckett was working to defeat.  Can you tell us more about that?” Hammond asked.

“From what I have read of your reality, ours appears to be a few years ahead of yours.  It may be that the Rings have caused the time difference in some way, I don’t know.  But I can’t tell you something that could alter your timeline.  What if something I tell causes you to make a decision that ends up with Earth being destroyed?” McKay shook his head.  “You can see the dilemma.”

“I can understand your reluctance,” Hammond said reasonably.  “But you must see our side of it too.  Forewarned could be the difference between life or death.”

“Or it could stop you doing something that would later on end up saving Earth.  I can’t risk that, please don’t ask me to.  It’s bad enough we have people from our Earth trying to take people from yours, bad enough that I have to be here, without adding to that problem.”

“Very well.” Hammond wasn’t entirely happy, but decided to move the conversation in another direction after seeing McKay’s stubborn stance on this.  “What can you tell me about your people?”


“Call it curiosity if you will, but anything you are willing to tell us could be of potential use to us.”

“Well, as I’ve already said, we have some Jaffa with us.  We also have about eighty military deserters and about a hundred civilians, mainly scientists.  Oh, and a group of non-Earth humans who are a mix of warriors and farmers.  We’re hoping that the Asgard will be willing to help us with a problem we have.  They love O’Neill, after all,” he paused, smiling at the present O’Neill and ignoring the eye roll that elicited.  “They cut ties with Earth after the genocide, but we think they’ll be willing to help us.  We hope so, for the sake of the Jaffa.  They have limited time left; once the symbiotes mature…well, there won’t be any to replace them so they’ll die.  The children will survive, but not the adults.  We’re trying to gather as many Jaffa children from the poisoned worlds as we can, but it’s slow going and dangerous.  Is that the sort of thing you want to know?  I can’t see that it is of much help to you.”

“What about names?” Sam asked.  “It would help if we knew who was on your side and who was on the government’s side.”

“Would it?  Just because someone is morally corrupt in my reality doesn’t mean they are here, or vice versa.  I can tell you that our General Hammond, for instance, is working with the government, and yet you,” he said, looking at Hammond directly, “Don’t seem the type to sanction genocide.”

“No.  I see your point,” Hammond agreed.

“Sir, maybe we could help their Jaffa,” Carter asked.


“How?” McKay looked surprised.

“I take a drug called tretonin that allows me to live without a symbiote,” Teal’c put in.

“Would you be willing to let us have some?  That would…it would save a lot of lives.”

“You won’t give us information on a potential threat but expect us to share the tretonin with you?” Jack asked.

“Jack.” Daniel was clearly unhappy with his statement, but O’Neill ignored him.

“Colonel, you would seriously consider holding back help?” Hammond asked.

“No, sir, it just seems a little…hypocritical, that’s all.”

“You’re right, it is hypocritical.” McKay surprised them by agreeing. “I’ll mention it to my fellow leaders when I go back, see if there’s anything we can tell you that won’t be too dangerous, but I can’t see us changing our minds on most of it.” He shrugged.  “It’s up to you whether or not you still wish to give us the tretonin.”

“I’ll authorise a supply for you to take back after we have rescued our people,” Hammond stated, having decided it was the right thing to do. 

“Thank you.” McKay looked relieved.  “I should go back now, check that the government don’t know we have the second Ring, or at least, that they haven’t been able to warn their people here.”

“We move out in five hours.  I hope you will be back before then.”

“No problem.”

The meeting adjourned and Carter led McKay to where the AR Ring was being kept.

“You know, when we rescue our McKay tomorrow, it’s going to be awkward to call you both by the same name…”

He gave a short laugh, grinning widely.

“Yes.  Apparently your McKay goes by his middle name, Rodney.  I, ah, guess it’s not considered feminine here, like back home.”

“Feminine?  No, no, it’s definitely a male name here.”

“Apparently it did use to be masculine, but not anymore.  Technically it’s both, but most think of girls when they hear it.” He snorted.  “No idea why my parents insisted on it.  Still, I just don’t tell people, and that’s usually enough.  Well, except when a certain annoying cousin isn’t spilling the beans, that is.”

Sam grinned, knowing full well how annoying cousins could be at times.

“So what’s your first name?  Our McKay has kept it a secret for some reason.”


It was her turn to laugh briefly, before looking contrite.

“Sorry.  It’s just that, well, it seems your Rodney is our Meredith.  That is,” she clarified, “Meredith is considered by most to be more feminine than masculine here.”

“Ah, whereas from my reality it is one hundred percent masculine.  So, if I was to ask you to call me Meredith, you and most everyone else here would find it amusing?”

“I…It probably wouldn’t be a good idea.”

“Hmm.  Well, that pain in the ass cousin I mentioned calls me Mer sometimes.  But let’s go with…Ingram.  That was the maiden name for my aunt. She, and my uncle, brought me up since my parents…since I was nine.”

“What happened to your parents?” Sam asked.  “If you don’t mind telling me, that is.”

“They…” he paused, looking uncomfortable, before deciding to continue.  “They were arrested for drug running.  Actually, all things considered, that was probably one of the best things to happen to me.  Your McKay ended up on the run with his parents until he was fourteen and they neglected him badly.  Eventually they became addicted to cocaine and were killed in a drug deal that went bad, and he went to live with his uncle and aunt.  Those few years made the differences between us.”

“I had no idea,” she said, shocked by what Ingram had told her.

Reaching the lab Sam gave him the AR Ring.

“Okay, I’ll go talk to my people.  I’ll be back later,” he said, activating the Ring with a jaunty wave.

There was a green light and he was gone.


A little while  later; an abandoned building, Nevada. 

It was morning, again, and he was still stuck working for these idiots, but at least he had a plan now.  Not a good plan, but better than sitting around waiting to either become a slave in their reality or die at their hands in this one.

Every morning he and the Scottish guy were taken in turns to get cleaned up, shaved and into clean clothes.  Clothes that had been taken from their respective homes, and that really pissed him off; that these people had been into his apartment without his consent.  Not that it surprised him that they had, of course.

Still, at least it meant he could wear his own clothes.  He was glad of his long-sleeved t-shirts, not wanting that doctor to see the scars on his arm and the inevitable questions and pity they were bound to cause.  He really was getting fed up of the attempts to befriend him; couldn’t the idiot get the message, that he wasn’t interested?

This morning, his cell mate had cleaned up first and was now waiting for breakfast, which would be served in their cell once he returned.  With that in mind, he finished shaving and reached for the clean t-shirt that had been left for him, only to discover it was one of his very few short-sleeved ones; that he only ever wore when the temperature soared beyond even his ability to tolerate.  Well, wasn’t that just great.

“Hey, you,” he poked his head out of the bathroom and spoke to one of the guards, hmm, Harrison, the one who wanted to kill him.  Hmm, well, it wasn’t like he was allowed to. “Look, get me one of my t-shirt with the long sleeves.  I refuse to wear a short-sleeved one.  This place can get chilly at times.”

Harrison just sneered at him before replying, “Shut up and get dressed.”

“Oh charming,” he muttered, but one look at the guy’s face was enough to convince him to let it go.  He slipped back into the room and put the t-shirt on.  “Just wonderful.”  The Scottish pain in his neck was going to love this.

He was led back to the cell and sure enough he saw Beckham, Becking whatever’s eyes glance at his arm in surprise, swiftly followed by pity.  Ignoring him, Rodney sat on his mattress and awaited food, and coffee.


“So,” his fellow prisoner said casually, “What happened to your arm?”

He rolled his eyes before snapping, “It’s none of your business.”

“Aye, I suppose not.  I was just asking.”

“Well don’t.”

“Must have been bad though.”

Damn it, the guy just didn’t know when to give up, did he?  He scowled at Beck-whatever, but looked away quickly, surprised by the apparently genuine concern he saw there.

“Let’s just say that I’ve been in a situation not unlike this before.  With the stalling and being held prisoner and all that.  At least this lot haven’t hurt me…yet,” he muttered darkly.


Their food arrived and so conversation dwindled as they ate.  They were then left alone for a short while as his captors saw to whatever they saw to before coming to drag him down to the lab.

“You manage to reprogram that Ring thing yet?”

“I can’t, it isn’t set up like that,” he replied testily, frustrated by the device’s narrow parameters and his inability to widen them. 

“So what now?”

“I finish fixing the AR Ring, use it to go their point of origin and hope that I can activate it before being captured by anyone who might be there.  I’m hoping that no one is around, but failing that I just need to flick the dial and move to another universe.  I should be able to return here, though it might take a few attempts.  If I can, then I’ll materialise in this cell and get you out of here.”

“Sounds risky.  Very risky, you sure you can do this?  That you could find your way back to this reality?”

“Yes, well, I’m pretty sure I can.  I hope so.” Rodney leaned his head against the wall of the cell.  “I know it’s a lousy plan that could go terribly, horribly and disastrously wrong, but it’s all I can think of.  Well, other than letting them do what they want.”

“Then I guess I’d better wish you luck.”

“If you feel you must.”

Silence descended between them for several minutes, each considering their desperate situation, before Harrison returned to take Rodney to the lab.


Present time; briefing room, Cheyenne Mountain Complex

SG1 and Hammond had just finished going over a few last minute changes and the team were about to leave on the mission when ‘Ingram’ McKay popped back into their reality in a flash of green light.

“Hey.  I’m not too late, am I?” he asked a little anxiously.

“We were just about to leave without you,” Jack drawled.


“Oh, well, I’m here now,” he said with a pleasant smile, looking eager to get on with the rescue.

“Anything to add?” Hammond asked.

“The government know the second AR Ring is missing, but don’t know who has it.  Anyway, they’ve lost contact with Sanchez and her group.  Either something bad has happened to them or their Ring has malfunctioned.” Ingram shrugged.  “They’re rushing around trying to find who stole this Ring, but by the time they figure it out it’ll be too late.”

“Okay, so at least we know that Sanchez and her men won’t be expecting us,” Jack commented.  “Always good to have surprise on our side.”

The meeting broke up and they left, joining up with a team of marines before being beamed to an Air Base near to where the Prometheus had located the other AR Ring signature.  There they collected the gear prepared for them and headed out in a couple of vans.  The rescue operation was a go.


An hour or two later, an abandoned building, Nevada. 

The Ring was almost fixed, but Rodney was stalling because he really didn’t want to have to put his desperate and hare-brained plan into action.  What he was hoping for though he didn’t know; it wasn’t like anyone knew where he was, so no one was coming to his rescue.  However, he just couldn’t handle the thought of going to these idiots’ universe and potentially being captured and… well, who knew what would happen to him then.  He figured it wouldn’t be good, whatever it was, unless he did what they asked… and what he’d seen of their tactics so far didn’t give him much hope that the people waiting for him on the other side were good guys which meant he probably wouldn’t want do whatever they asked of him.

There was just one guard in here with him, and that was Harrison, which really wasn’t very comforting knowing the guy’s opinion on keeping him alive.  He couldn’t get over the feeling that one false move, no matter how small, would be all the excuse the guy would need to shoot him, so he was trying to look harmless and as if he wasn’t stalling or planning anything. 

The sound of gunfire close by made him jump and look at Harrison in alarm.  To his dismay, the goon was pointing the gun straight at him, the finger on the trigger tense and ready to fire.  He stilled in shock and fear for a moment, only to duck behind the table as the door to the room blew open, distracting Harrison for a second.

Even so, the bullet only just missed his head as he dropped to the floor. 

There was another shot followed by the sounds of people rushing into the room and he peeked over the table to see two marines scanning the room for further danger, with a very dead Harrison on the floor.

“Oh crap,” he muttered, rising very slowly with his hands in the surrender position, flinching as his movement caused the marines to train their weapons in him.  “Oh crap,” he repeated as he was assessed by the marines as not a threat and the guns were lowered, “You could have got me killed!” he accused them, his voice somewhat shriller than he liked.

“You’re welcome,” a voice drawled from the doorway as O’Neill entered the room.

“What? Oh, right, right, thanks for the rescue, even if you nearly got me killed!”

“Yeah, but you’re not dead.”  O’Neill said dismissively as turned his attention back to the rescue, radioing in that they had found McKay.

“Um, there’s a guy in a cell…”

“A Dr Beckett, yes, we know.  Carter’s just confirmed that they have him.”

“Oh, good, good.  Er, I may have told him more than I should have…” he faltered for a moment at the look O’Neill sent his way before defending himself.  “Look, the guy deserved to know what was going on…”

“Whatever.  I’ll let Hammond sort that out with you.”

“Um, okay…  You know that there were four kidnappers…”

“Yes, we know.  Is that their Ring thing?”

“What?  Oh yes, it’s not working.  Well, not at the moment, but I was close to fixing it.  I’ve been stalling…”

“Grab it and come with me,” Jack interrupted him curtly before giving orders to the marines about the transport of the prisoners and dead kidnappers to the main area of the warehouse.

“Okay, how did you know about this and why aren’t we getting out of here?”

“Someone told us about the plot and he’s going to take the kidnappers back to their universe along with that,” O’Neill said, pointing to the AR Ring in Rodney’s hand.  “Once back, he’s going to send the bad guys back to Earth and destroy both of the Rings.”

“Oh.  And you trust him?”

Jack shrugged.

“He’s seems okay, like a nicer version of you.”

“A what?” Rodney paused, running the information through his head.  “Oh crap, not my alternate self?”

“Yep, and he’s much easier to deal with.  Maybe we could persuade him to stay instead of you.”  The colonel smirked at Rodney, causing him to huff in annoyance and glare.

“Oh ha-ha.”

“I thought it was funny.”

“Well it wasn’t,” he muttered darkly.


A few minutes later; an abandoned building, Nevada. 

Coming face to face with his own doppelganger was more of a shock that he could ever have imagined it to be.

“Hey, Rodney, good to see you’re in one piece,” his other self told him happily.

“Oh crap, it’s me but on crack,” he muttered, apparently loudly enough for this counterpart to hear.

“Right,” Ingram drawled.  “And you’re me with an amazing lack of social skills.”

He scowled at that, but was cut off before he could respond.

“We’ve got the second AR Ring,” Jack said, indicating the item in Rodney’s hand.

“That’s good. Pity about Harrison and Stevens,” Ingram said, looking at the kidnappers placed nearby. 

“They had no intention of being taken alive,” O’Neill responded.

“Yeah.  Figures.”

“Rodney,” Sam came over to him.  “Better give the Ring to your alternate self.  The sooner he can get back to his people, the better for all of us.”

“Um, right.”  He moved over to his double and handed him the Ring, just as his erstwhile cell mate entered the room and came to an abrupt halt at the sight of them.

“Oh bloody hell.  Two of them!”

“Carson,” Ingram said, looking shaken before visibly pulling himself together.  “Sorry, I know you’re not my Carson…I just…I mean, I thought I was prepared for this…”

“Och, I’m sorry,” Carson said sadly.  “I’d heard I was to replace a deceased me, but I didn’t really believe it.”

“No, I can imagine not.” Ingram smiled wanly, still looking unsettled by Carson’s presence.  “Carson was one of my best friends,” he paused, throwing a quick glance at Rodney and then back to the Scot, “And I strongly suspect there’s potential in this reality for the same.  Okay, so my other self here isn’t as easy going as I am, but…”

“Oh crap,” Rodney interrupted quickly, crossing his arms in annoyance.  “Don’t encourage him, for goodness sake!”

Ingram and Carson exchanged a look full of pure scheming.

“Aye, he’s not the friendliest of people, but I’ll persevere.”

“Oh great, just what I need,” he said in annoyance, scowling at the two of them.

“And now I think it’s time I went back home,” Ingram said, making sure he was standing next to the two unconscious and two dead kidnappers, with the second AR Ring tucked up under the arm of the hand holding his own Ring.  “You know, you should probably offer Carson here a place in the Stargate Programme, seeing how the timeline’s pretty well messed up where that’s concerned anyway.  Just a thought.”

“I’ll let the appropriate people know,” Jack replied.  “You have the tretonin?”

“Yes, Sam gave it to me at the Air Base.  It will save a lot of lives back home, so thank you.” Ingram smiled brightly, before giving a quick wave and activating the Ring with a final, “Goodbye then,” and was gone.

“Bloody hell,” Carson said again in surprise.

“Dr Beckett, if you’ll come with us we’ll escort you to a nearby Air Base.  We have some non-disclosure papers we need you to sign,” Jack said.  “And possibly a job opportunity to consider.”

“Okay.  I’m thinking I haven’t much choice in the matter anyway.”

“They have some of our clothes here…” Rodney stated.

“Aye, they have.  It’d be good not to have to buy new clothes because the military left them here.”

“We’ll make sure they’re brought to the Air Base,” Jack reassured them, giving the marines orders to do as such.

As the filed out to the vans the strike team had arrived in, Sam moved closer to Rodney.

“You okay?” she asked.

“Better now that the bad guys are dealt with.”

“You did good.”

“Yeah, right.  No need to patronise me.”

“Actually, I wasn’t,” she retorted a little coolly.

He sighed, not having meant to piss her off.

“Sorry.  I’ll feel better once we’re out of here…and I can change into a long sleeved t-shirt,” he muttered the last bit, absently rubbing the scars on his arm.

“Yeah.  I wish I could have healed them completely.”

“What?  Oh, you did your best, and they’re better than they would be.  I wasn’t complaining…”

“I know, I know, sorry.  Look, there’s probably a spare jacket in one of the vans.  I’ll make sure you get one.”

“That would be good, thanks.”


One week later; McKay’s apartment in a town close to Area 51, Nevada.

It was good to be back home, though his apartment was a mess after being ransacked by the kidnappers.  Rodney surveyed the opened drawers and cupboards with irritation.  They could have at least been neat when stealing clothing and other items, instead of emptying everything out onto the floor.

He supposed he should be grateful they hadn’t been real thieves; his computers and other valuables had been pretty much left alone, and at least he’d be getting back everything that had been taken.  Small comfort when faced with this mess to clean up.

The debriefing had been amazingly quick, all things considered.  He was glad he hadn’t had to spend much time around his doppelganger; the guy had sounded far too friendly for his liking.  It had freaked him out, seeing an apparently nicer version of himself.  Made him think about how their lives must have diverged, which caused him to curse the unfairness of his own life, because surely his life must have been worse than Ingram’s.

Now, he just wanted to get back to his work.  Of course, he would have to have some sessions with the base psychiatrist, but he was used to all that rigmarole after his time with Newman and knew just how much and how little he could get away with saying.

The only real blot on his horizon was a certain Scottish doctor who had been offered a position in the medical research division at Area 51 and would be starting work there in a month or two’s time.  He really didn’t understand why the guy wasn’t put off like most normal people by his attitude.  During their imprisonment, he supposed it was a case of prisoners forming a bond, or not in his case, but afterwards?

It was Ingram’s fault, he was sure of it.  Just because in another reality this Carton person and himself were friends was no reason to expect it here; and surely the physician wasn’t that desperate for friends, anyway?

Rodney couldn’t help but suspect the man’s motives.

Not that it would matter as he never went near the medical research area, so all he had to do was make sure he wasn’t in a public place, like the canteen, when there was a chance Beckham might be there as well.  Surely it wouldn’t be that hard to avoid the man?

Anyway, he wasn’t going to worry himself about this.  The sooner he got his life back to normal, the better.

With that in mind, he started to sort out his apartment, putting everything back where it belonged.

The End

Part Four

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