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A Vacation of Sorts

Chapter Five

Annika waited until she was sure the woman had returned to her seat before whispering, "She’s looking for the same thing we are."

"What?" Jack’s eyes sprang open, however he kept his tone low. He nudged Sam awake.

"How do you know?" Sam asked groggily.

"When Daniel shook her hand I had a vision."

"What did you see?" None of them had moved and to the casual observer it looked like they were having an ordinary conversation, but Daniel could feel the immediate tension course through his friends.

"Only that she and her partner are searching for the Goa… person… whose been killing those girls. They don’t know exactly what ‘it’ is but they know it’s not normal."

"By partner do you mean husband or cop?" Daniel asked into her hair like he was murmuring sweet nothings.

Annika frowned trying to find the right words. "They are with law enforcement, but they’re not the police. Their relationship is…." she broke off.

"Their relationship is what?" Jack hissed when she fell silent.

A sly grin lit up Annika’s face. "It’s exactly like you and Sam."

Daniel burst out laughing, drawing stares from the other passengers. He tried to stop but couldn’t. "I’m sorry," he gasped really trying to control himself. One look at Sam’s bright red face and at Jack’s incoherent spluttering had him cracking up again. "This vacation is just getting better and better."

"I fail to see what’s so funny," Jack harrumphed.

Annika’s lips twitched before she lost her battle to keep a straight face. Even Sam had gotten over her embarrassment and was grinning like a Cheshire cat. "You have to admit that’s taking Murphy’s Law to the extreme."

"Can we please stay on track?" Jack demanded in a strangled voice. "Annika, in between your fits of hysterics, can you tell me what else you saw about this woman and her partner?"

"Only that they are expecting something supernatural." Annika managed to stop laughing though a smile still turned up the edges of her mouth. "I get the impression that it’s their job to explain the unexplainable. I don’t think they would be too surprised if they learnt the truth."

"Are they a threat to security?"

"I don’t know. Possibly." She turned serious. "But, Jack, they can help us. They may not have dealt with the snakeheads before, but they have experience tracking unusual beings on Earth. More experience than all of us put together."

"What do you mean?" Sam asked.

"I don’t know."

"You don’t know?" Jack was incredulous.

"No, Jack, my gift isn’t an exact science," Annika sighed. "I just know they have seen ‘things’."

"So what do we do?" Daniel asked the team leader.

Jack pondered their options. "Let’s treat it like a first contact situation. Lord knows we’ve done enough of those. Daniel you…"

"Nine o’clock." Sam’s quiet hiss had him breaking off.

The men automatically looked up to their left at the military term. Annika swiveled her head to see a tall slim man hesitantly stop in front of them.

"Can we help you?" Jack tried to keep the sarcasm from his voice.

The man didn’t seem to notice, his attention was focused on Daniel. "I’m sorry to interrupt, but are you Doctor Daniel Jackson?"

Daniel flashed a quick look at Jack who gave a barely perceptible shrug. "Ah…yes I am."

"The archaeologist?"

"Yes," he confirmed warily.

"I’m Fox Mulder."

He held out his hand and Daniel reluctantly shook it. Annika tensed slightly and he knew she was having another vision. "Pleased to meet you?" He made the greeting a question.

"Oh, the honor’s all mine." The man perched himself on the arm of an empty seat beside them.

"You seem to have me at a disadvantage." Daniel was trying to get the man to come to the point. "How do you know me?"

"I read your thesis about the pyramids being landing platforms for alien ships. There was a picture of you on the university website where the paper was published."

Daniel let himself relax. "You must have a very good memory. As I recall that paper was removed about nine years ago by order of the university chancellor and before that it was only on there for about a week."

"He didn’t like your theory, huh?"

His mouth twitched. "That’s one way of putting it." Daniel had long ago come to terms with being the laughing stock of the archaeological community. He no longer had to validate himself to anyone. The Stargate had proven his theories correct, even if only a select few knew about it.

"I found your idea intriguing," the man continued. "I was wondering if you’d be willing to talk about it?"

Annika laid her head on Daniel’s shoulder, pretending to snuggle. "He’s Dana’s partner," she whispered in his ear. His arms tightened around her letting her know he’d heard.

"Sure. Just give me a few minutes."

"Great." Mulder’s face lit up. "Come on down whenever you’re ready." The tall man practically bounced back to his seat.

"Okay, Daniel, do your wide eyed innocent thing and get as much information about him as you can," Jack ordered. "Suggest to…Dana is it?" The archaeologist nodded. "That she’s more than welcome to come down here to escape you UFO nuts."

Annika climbed off Daniel’s lap and sat in her assigned seat. "Jack, we might get more information from Dana if it were only Sam and I."

"Annika’s right," Sam agreed. "It’s a woman thing."

"And just pray tell, where am I supposed to go?" the colonel demanded. "Maybe take a stroll out on the wing?"

"You don’t have to go anywhere." Sam fiddled with the seat’s armrest and revealed the flat miniature TV lying flush against it, then pulled out the earphones attaching them to the socket. "You can pretend to watch a movie."

"Sweet." Jack began scrolling down the screen. "Wonder if they’ve got any episodes of ‘The Simpsons’."

The two women exchanged eye rolls as Daniel headed down the isle to join Mulder and the two officers swapped places. A few minutes later the petite agent appeared at their side.

"It seems I’ve been kicked out of my seat," she said with a wry grin.

"Pull up a pew." Annika patted Daniel’s vacated spot. "Knowing Daniel it’ll be a couple of hours at least before he comes up for air. It’s not often he gets to discuss his theories with, how shall I put it?…like minded people."

"Mulder is certainly a captive audience."

Introductions were made, and Jack smiled hello before returning his ‘focus’ to the TV screen. Scully made herself comfortable.

"I take it you don’t share his belief in UFOs?" Sam asked.

The agent paused before answering. "Over the years he’s convinced me they do exist. However Daniel’s theory that they were here thousands of years ago seems a bit far fetched to me."

"Oh? How come?" Annika asked curiously.

Scully gave a snort of derision. "It’s been my experience that any proof of extraterrestrial life whether new or old, has been either covered up or destroyed. If the pyramids are landing platforms for alien ships they’re a pretty big piece of evidence to leave lying around."

From the far seat, Annika saw Jack frown at the TV screen. Clearly that point of view had never occurred to him. If one of the System Lords decided to attack Earth again they still had functioning landing pads in a country that was unprepared for such an attack. He’d have to remember to discuss the tactical problem with Hammond when they got back.

"So are you on holidays?" Annika kept Scully’s attention on her.

She nodded. "Going to a friend’s wedding." Then she thought about Mulder and his X-file. "Among other things. How about you?"

"We’re on a well deserved break," Sam sighed. "I can’t remember the last time we took a real vacation. I’m looking forward to hitting those beaches."

"I hear that," the agent grinned. "It seems whenever I mention the word ‘vacation’ the cosmos conspire against me. I’m surprised we even made it off the ground. I was half expecting one of us to be called back to work." Scully wouldn’t have put it passed Kirsch to cancel their leave for some trumped up ‘emergency’. She surmised that having the two agents out of his hair for a couple of weeks overrode his vindictive nature to make their lives a living hell.

Scully missed the ironic smile that played on Sam and Jack’s lips. They knew precisely what that was like.

"What do you do?" Annika casually enquired.

"We’re agents with the FBI."

"Sounds exciting. Which department?"

The redhead grimaced. "At the moment we’re not assigned to any one department. There was a fire that destroyed our office. Hopefully it’s just a temporary arrangement. And you?"

"Mostly I’m a cake decorator."

She seemed surprised. "If you don’t mind me saying so, you seem an odd mix of friends. A cake decorator, an archaeologist, a colonel and a major."

At Sam’s questioning look she shrugged. "I heard you in the transit lounge."

"I suppose we are a strange group," Sam conceded, glancing at the computer magazine and Mad comic poking out of her bag. She absently laid a hand over Jack’s. "I guess opposites attract."

Scully followed her gaze and couldn’t help smiling. "Scientifically proven."

"Are you and Mulder in that category?" Annika prodded.

"Oh, absolutely. I’m guided by science, Mulder’s guided by…" She struggled for the right word. "Belief."

"So how long have you been together?"

"I’ve worked with him for six years." She skirted the question.

"Oh, sorry, I just assumed since you were holidaying together that you were a couple."

Scully could feel her face heat up. "No, we haven’t explored that sort of relationship."

The psychic hesitated. Well, she’d already played matchmaker once today, she was on a roll… "I know you don’t know me from a bar of soap, but if you’d like some friendly advice…You need to do what makes you happy." Annika directed her comment to include the major. "Life’s too short to be governed by what other people think or rules and regulations."

She saw Sam unconsciously squeeze Jack’s hand and the FBI agent became thoughtful.

The conversation moved on to less personal topics. By the time Daniel returned, the female members of SG-1 had managed to ferret out quite a bit of information about the woman, although it shed more light on her mindset rather than information about the Goa’uld. In the process Annika found that she truly enjoyed the woman’s company. When Scully left, Annika noticed that Sam’s parting smile was just as genuine as hers.

"I like her."

"Me too," the major admitted, swapping back to her assigned seat. "Kinda made me feel like a heel for doing our job."

Annika agreed.

"That makes three of us," Daniel added, sitting down. "That man is more passionate in his belief in extraterrestrial life than I was when I wrote that paper."

"Right, when you’ve all finished your joy rides of guilt, can we get down to business?" the colonel drawled.

Daniel launched into a brief summary. "Mulder and Scully used to work on cases regarding the paranormal but have been shut down. He’s got some strange theories regarding government alien conspiracies, pretty scary if they’re true…"

"Scarier than the snakeheads?" Annika couldn’t think of anything worse than enslavement by the Goa’uld.

He nodded. "Something about an agreement for colonization of the planet. They don’t know about the Goa’uld. Although he may have had some experience with the Asgard. He calls them the ‘little grays’. He claims to have witnessed experiments with human and alien DNA, as well as clones."

"You mean another Loki?" Sam asked surprised.

Daniel mused. "Possibly. It stands to reason that if there’s one dissident Asgard, there would be more. Earth doesn’t have the monopoly on rogue groups."

"We’ll mention it to Thor next time he’s in the neighborhood. But it has nothing to do with our little trip." Jack wanted to keep clear of the subject of his teenage clone. It was just too weird to think of his ‘mini me’ walking the streets.

"All he knows is what’s been in the papers."

"How did you get him to open up?" Annika asked. Daniel had managed to get more specifics than either Sam or her.

He gave an embarrassed cough. "Sometimes it’s useful to be publicly humiliated. It’s amazing what people will say when they know my theories are just as ‘crazy’ as theirs."

"We’ll play their involvement by ear," Jack decided. "Run it by Hammond when we check in. I’d prefer to get the job done without them, but if they get too close we’ll have to work out exactly what we can tell them."

The rest of the flight was spent catching up on some sleep. They all figured that once they touched down resting wouldn’t be a big part of their agenda. Passing through customs was uneventful and within an hour of landing they set off in their hired car, heading for the coast. Since Annika was already familiar with the area she drove, pointing out local highlights such as the deliberately crooked Ettamogah Pub and the hinterlands.

Halfway there, Jack gave a shudder and averted his eyes from the road. "This is just wrong!"

"What is?" Daniel asked with a slight frown thinking the colonel was talking about the mission.

"We’re driving on the wrong side," he grumbled. "It’s not right."

"That’s right, Jack, it’s left." Annika couldn’t resist teasing.

"But it’s not right, right?"

Daniel’s mouth twitched. "No, it’s left, right?"

"Arrrgh!" Jack rolled his eyes. "Sam, help me out here."

"Certainly…" The major pretended to think about her reply. "How about… it’s right on left?"

"For cryin’ out loud!"

Her big eyes were innocent. "Left on right?"

"Just forget it!" the colonel griped. "For people with such high IQs your sense of humor is pathetic."

"Must be the company we keep." Daniel pointedly looked at Jack.

The colonel scowled when the others erupted into laughter.

They arrived at the hotel and had just finished checking in when they heard newly familiar voices.

"Small world." Jack smirked at the FBI agents.

"So it would seem." Mulder grinned back. "I guess we’ll be seeing you around."

Grabbing their luggage SG-1 headed for the lift.

"Did you ‘see’ this?" Jack asked in a low whisper.

Annika shook her head. "I knew they’d be close by. Didn’t know just how close."

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