Switching it Up

Author: Orrymain
ategory: Slash, Drama, Romance, Missing Scene/Epilogue, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating: PG-13
Season: S2 - May 4, 1999
Spoilers: Holiday
Written: February 25-26,28, March 4, 2021
Summary: SG-1 switches it up, physically, after meeting Ma'chello, inventor of devices to fight the Goa'uld.
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
Notes:
1) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically. Their “silent” words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~

Switching it Up
by Orrymain

SG-1 gated to a planet designated as P3W-924 and found themselves inside a room that featured multiple columns and an abundance of drapery. No lifeforms were visible.

"Looks like somebody's closed up for the winter, hmm?" Jack observed as he moved forward to investigate, cautiously pulling aside one of the sheer drapes.

Sam noticed some odd type of equipment or machinery and asked, "Teal'c, is this Goa'uld technology?"

"These devices are unfamiliar to me."

The captain picked up a tablet-like device and activated it. It displayed Egyptian-looking symbols that were curious to her.

"Ah, this is interesting," Sam stated as she moved away, still holding the device.

"I wonder what's in there," Daniel stated about an area closed off by more drapes. ~Looks like a separate room.~

"I am in there," came a reply from a man. who slowly emerged from behind the curtain. He appeared to be very old and had white hair with a long white beard. He walked slowly. "I am unarmed," he pointed out as he saw the weaponry of SG-1 aimed at him.

"Who are you?" Jack asked.

Teal'c, intrigued and with something familiar stirring within him, approached the stranger, stared at him pointedly, and then said, "You are the one called Ma'chello, are you not?"

"Do I know you?"

Teal'c answered, "You do not, but I have seen images of you. Though your face had not seen as many years, it was you." The Jaffa spoke to his teammates, saying, "Since before I was born, this man has been a fugitive from the System Lords. One of my first assignments as First Prime of Apophis was to hunt this man."

"What did he do?" the archaeologist queried.

"He was developing advanced technology to battle the Goa'uld. He was captured and tortured. The System Lords marked him to become a Goa'uld hos, so his knowledge could be retained. Before the ceremony of implantation, he killed several Jaffa and escaped."

Pointing at the old man, Jack asked incredulously, "He did that?"

"I am not this person you speak of. You are mistaken."

Daniel assured, "Um, you don't have to be afraid. We're not Goa'ulds."

"We're not? Of course, we are not, but if we are not Goa'ulds, who are we?" Ma'chello inquired.

"Well, I'm ... I'm Daniel Jackson, from the planet Earth."

"Yes. Yes, that's right! I am Daniel Jackson from the planet Earth. Pleased to meet you.

Daniel was taken aback by the statement, but then he corrected, "No, I'm, I'm, I'm Daniel Jackson."

"No, I'm Daniel Jackson," the old man maintained.

Sam interjected, "Uh, these are very interesting machines. Are they inventions to fight the Goa'uld?"

"Yes, inventions to fight the Goa'uld!"

"Well, do you, do you ... do you think you could ... show us how they work?" Daniel asked.

"Are we sure we are not Goa'uld?" There was no verbal response, but Daniel nodded, and once he did, Ma'chello called out, "You, you, you ... here, quickly." As he removed a drape over a larger device that featured a swivel piece on top with wide handles on both sides, he announced, "Inventions to fight the Goa'uld."

Ma'chello grabbed one side and motioned for Daniel to take the other, which he did. As soon as both men had their hands on the device, a sound was heard and a noticeable jolt occurred. When it was done, Ma'chello's body fell to the ground, unconscious, and Daniel's body was still standing, but was slightly stunned. He said he was fine when Sam asked about him.

Jack ordered, "Carter, why don't you dial us out of here? Teal'c, grab the gentleman. Let's take him back to the base."

====

Back at Stargate Command, Janet conducted her examinations and determined Daniel to be fine, though he admitted to being tired. She instructed him not to drive for a couple of days and to let her know if he was still tired later on. She wasn't alarmed as she believed exhaustion to be normal for anyone who just received a high-voltage electric shock as he had on the planet.

Her evaluation of Ma'chello was much more bleak, and Janet told Daniel, "He has severe scar tissue all over his body. Looks like he was burned or electrocuted. My guess is he was tortured."

Sadly, the prognosis was that Ma'chello would die soon.

====

Jack, who changed into his blue BDUs upon return to the SGC, entered the briefing room and was quickly joined by Sam and Teal'c. They sat down and waited for the major general to enter.

"Let's continue without Doctor Jackson," General Hammond announced when he sat down at the head of the conference table. "Captain Carter, you were about to brief us about the device?"

"Yes, Sir. I believe it's some sort of database for all of Ma'chello's inventions. These symbols are like icons on a computer. When I press one of them, a schematic diagram appears with notes on the side."

Hammond inquired, "Any idea what any of it is?"

"Well, Sir, that's the problem. It's not in any dialect that I understand. I was hoping that Daniel or maybe Teal'c could shed some light on these symbols."

Teal'c took possession of the device, reviewed the symbols, and stated, "I do not recognize them."

At that point, Daniel entered, apologized for his lateness, and reported that he was tired, but that, "Doctor Fraiser says it'll wear off in a few days. I'll be fine."

When Sam handed Daniel the device and asked about the symbols, she observed something odd in her friend, though she couldn't put her finger on what exactly it was that disturbed her. His reaction just seemed strange to her, especially when his answer came with a single word: "no."

"Keep trying, people. This could be some valuable technology. Dismissed," Hammond stated.

"General. Doctor Fraiser thought I should go home, get some rest," the voice of Daniel stated.

Hammond acknowledged the remark and responded, "Take a day."

Nodding, the reply was a polite, "Thank you."

Jack looked over at the man who was supposedly his lover and queried mentally, **Danny, are you sure you're okay.**

There wasn't any noticeable response, not in his mind and not in the demeanor of the scientist.

~Odd,~ Jack thought. ~Nah, don't go nuts, O'Neill. He had a heavy shock. He'll be okay. Rest will do it.~

====

A bit later, Sam met up with Janet for a quick break in the mess hall. As was natural, their conversation quickly turned to the elderly scientist and Daniel.

"Sam, if you can, check on Daniel now and then."

"General Hammond let him go home."

"Oh. Well, I guess that makes sense."

"Is something bothering you, Janet?"

"It's probably just the shock from that machine, but Daniel seemed a little off to me."

"To you, too?"

"Sam, what do you mean, me, too?"

"Well, it's just in our briefing, I asked Daniel if he recognized the language on this tablet of Ma'chello's."

"Did he?"

"He said he didn't, but it's not that he didn't recognize the symbols exactly, but he wasn't curious about it. He just stared and said he didn't know what it was. Janet, that's odd for Daniel. Plus, even I recognized some of the similarity to the Egyptian language. It felt so strange at the time, but I let it go."

"Well, keep an eye on him tomorrow. If he acts too much out of character, let me know," Janet stated.

Sam nodded and took another sip of her coffee.

====

Jack dialed the familiar number and frowned. Daniel supposedly went home, but he wasn't answering his phone.

~Maybe he's following doctor's orders and resting,~ the colonel told himself. **Danny? Just checking in. Are you okay?**

There was no response to the couple's unique method of nonverbal communication, one that seemed to be growing with every passing day. Still, they weren't sure of the distance, or more specifically, how close they needed to be in proximity to each other for their communication to work.

**Danny?**

Jack wasn't happy about the lack of reply, but perhaps his lover was asleep and if that was the case, he certainly didn't want to disturb him.

Aloud to himself as he left his office, Jack groused, "I never should have let him touch that thing."

====

The old man awoke and looked around, recognizing the infirmary. He saw the redhead reviewing the output of various monitors.

"Janet."

The physician turned to face her patient and responded, "Yes, that's my name. How did you know that?"

"Janet, it's me: Daniel."

Janet smiled somewhat doubtfully as she replied, "I think you're confused. I was told that on the planet you said you were Daniel."

"I am Daniel Jackson," Daniel sighed, taking a deep, anxious breath and becoming visibly disturbed.

The doctor moved closer and began to take the man's pulse as she spoke, "Easy. Calm down."

"You're Doctor Janet Fraiser. You took over for Doctor Warner. This is Stargate Command. SG-1 is the flagship team, lead by Colonel Jack O'Neill, known for his sarcastic wit. I'm the pesky archaeologist, from New York."

Janet's eyes grew wide and she questioned, "How are your knees? I've been worried about them."

"That's Jack. I'm the one with the allergies. You've helped me a lot with a prescription so I don't wheeze and sneeze all the time. You have the same condition."

"Tell me about your parents," Janet inquired.

"They're dead, killed by a cover stone at the New York Museum of Art. I grew up in foster care. Cath...Catherine Langford came after me to open the Stargate, which I did. My wife, Sha're, has been taken by the Goa'uld as a host."

"Okay, Daniel. Hold on." Janet looked over at one of her nurses and instructed, "Ask General Hammond to come to the infirmary ... stat."

====

Fifteen minutes later, General Hammond and Janet were awaiting the arrival of SG-1 as they stood at the bedside of the old man.

"You called, Sir?" Jack asked.

"Jack, Sam, Teal'c. Finally," the voice of the stranger spoke weakly.

"How does this gentleman know our names?" the colonel questioned. ~Crap, I might know the answer to that, but I don't understand it. No, O'Neill, you're just being paranoid.~

"As I've been trying to tell the general and the good doctor here, I am not Ma'chello, I am Daniel Jackson."

"Oh, here we go," Jack groaned. ~No way.~

"I realize what I look like, but I'm telling you, that machine somehow switched us."

Janet interjected, "He, uh, knows a lot about Daniel."

"Ask me anything, something only Daniel would know," the patient requested.

Sam piped up quickly, "Okay. Who's Cassandra?"

"She's a twelve-year-old girl we found abandoned on P8X-987."

Jack began, "P8X ..."

Sam completed, "... 987, yeah."

Jack claimed, "All right, lucky guess."

Hammond questioned, "Where was the Stargate found?"

"At a dig in Giza."

~Okay, see how you do with this one.~ Jack challenged, "All right, describe for me the dress your sister wore last week when I took her out."

With some sarcasm, as best as the weakened voice could do, the man answered, "I don't have a sister, Jack, and if I did, I wouldn't let you near her." He stared at the colonel. **and if I did have a sister, and you did date her, it had better be part of this game we're playing.**

**Danny?**

**Yeah, it's me, in this bed. Didn't you already know that?**

**Kinda, but I also thought I was just ... hallucinating.**

Hammond asked, "Okay, let's assume for a moment that you are Daniel Jackson. Then who did we just send home?"

"Ma'chello," Teal'c stated succinctly.

"The old man from the planet?" the general asked.

"Yes, Sir, that would be the one," Jack affirmed.

"Briefing room: ten minutes," Hammond ordered. He looked at the physician and added, "You, too, Doctor."

"Yes, Sir," the petite redhead acknowledged.

====

The general entered the briefing room after receiving an update on Daniel in Ma'chello's body and prodded as he sat down, "Doctor Fraiser?"

"Well, Sir, medically speaking, he is an elderly gentleman suffering from acute pulmonary damage with the conscious awareness and memory of Doctor Daniel Jackson."

"How?"

Janet answered, "Well, I can't tell you the method used to do it, General, but I can tell you that our personality, our memory, our conscious selves are derived from unique networks of neurons in the cerebral cortex. Somehow, Daniel's networks were remapped onto the old man's by that alien device."

"So, this could be a one-way deal, right?" Jack asked. ~Tell me I'm right, someone.~

Janet responded, "I'm not following, Sir."

"We don't know that it went both ways. Daniel could still be Daniel."

Hammond informed, "His doorman said he never came into the building after he was dropped off."

"There you go. Let's find him," Jack suggested eagerly. ~Just give the 'go' and I'm out of here.~

"And what if he isn't Daniel?" Sam asked.

"We're going to have to prepare for that possibility."

Sam heard the words, but she didn't like them, bowing her head as she thought, ~I don't want to prepare for that.~

"Doctor Fraiser?" Hammond prompted to continue the discussion.

"Sir, this, uh, problem is beyond my expertise. I'm going to have to consult with some neural specialists, Sir."

"Do it."

"General, wouldn't it be a little easier if we just went back, got this machine, tried to slam it into reverse?" Jack put forth.

"All right, Colonel, retrieve it, but consider that device hazardous material. Prepare yourself accordingly."

"Yes, Sir."

====

In short order, the three SG-1 teammates still in their own bodies returned to the planet and the draped chambers of Ma'chello. This time, they wore hazmat outfits, complete with artificial breathing apparatus.

Sam stated, "I want to check out Ma'chello's room. Maybe he has some electronic notebooks that I can actually read."

"All right. Uh, Captain? Maybe you shouldn't touch anything in there," Jack suggested.

"I'll be careful, Sir."

Eventually, Jack and Teal'c prepared to take hold of the device with the two handles, only to be interrupted by Sam first.

"Sorry. Uh, I think I know how Ma'chello has lived so long. I think this is some sort of medical device. There's all sorts of tubes and thermal units that look like they're for life support."

Teal'c reminded, "But Ma'chello was conscious when we found him."

"Well, maybe it's triggered to automatically deactivate when someone comes through the Gate," Sam proffered.

"Then we can place DanielJackson in the hibernation chamber so his body can be maintained," the Jaffa surmised.

"Yeah, possibly, if I can figure out how to get it to work again."

Sam didn't know how long that might take, so Jack and Teal'c finally took hold of the handles to transfer the device, only there was a little problem once they did so. The same sound and jolt that occurred when Daniel and Ma'chello touched the machine happened again. It didn't take long to realize that Jack was now in Teal'c's body, and Teal'c was now in the colonel's body.

The team returned to Earth, revealing what transpired to the general. It wasn't easy for either man to suddenly not be in their own physiques. Jack had a harder time, suddenly having to deal with the presence of a symbiote in his belly.

====

Just after 1 p.m., Sam entered the lab where the unusual device was being kept. Other computers and technical equipment were in the room. Also there were the colonel and the Jaffa. She advised them that personnel were still looking for Daniel in Ma'chello's body.

The captain also added, "The good news is I found the switching device on Ma'chello's computer. The problem is all of the notations are in that strange dialect. You know, when you think about it, it's actually kind of a good think that this happened. I mean, I can experiment with the two of you, and then when we find Daniel, Ma'chello, we can, uh, reverse the process, assuming of course that it's reversible." She also noted, "... I couldn't find any buttons or switches, so unless I've missed something, it must be triggered by the handles themselves. I think that we should try different ways of grasping the handles. First, let's just try grasping it normally, the same way you did before."

Sam's attempts to have Jack and Teal'c return to their right bodies were frustrating, since nothing worked. The trio made several attempts before the captain decided to return to the drawing board and see what other possible answers she could find. She didn't leave the two alone, but simply paused to think about it all, taking a seat at a table while her brain tried to solve the puzzle.

====

As time passed, Jack in Teal'c's body began to feel ill. Teal'c in Jack's body advised his body must have some illness inside it that the symbiote needed to repair. To do so, Jack in Teal'c's body would have to enter a state of kelno'reem, described as a deeper version of meditation. This was something unknown to Jack, but was a state in which Teal'c achieved with regularity.

The male teammates went to Teal'c's quarters where the Jaffa instructed the colonel on how to achieve kelno'reem after lighting a slew of candles. If he failed, Teal'c's body would be without an immune system.

Teal'c in Jack's body instructed calmly, "Relax. Concentrate. You must imagine the center of your mind and focus. Allow it to take you into a waking sleep. There you will dream. When you do so, it will be in harmony with the symbiote. Your subconscious minds will be as one. At that moment, you will have achieved kelno'reem. Here the symbiote will receive information necessary to repair your sickness."

Jack in Teal'c's body leaned his head back slightly while thinking, ~The center of my mind? Hmmm: Lincoln Logs, big honkin' guns, donuts: lots of donuts.~ Inwardly, he groaned. ~Get serious, O'Neill: think harder. Me? Think? Now that's asking a lot.~ He tried to do as Teal'c requested. ~Okay, ah ... Mom. Dad. Charlie. My sweet boy. Yeah, that's my center: Charlie.~

Suddenly, Jack in Teal'c's body felt calmer. His mind began to dream in a waking sleep. His eyes were shut as his subconscious mind joined with the symbiote, something he worked hard not to think about.

~Charlie: baseball, nighttime stories, hugs, telling jokes, following me around all the time. Yeah, Charlie. Love you, Sport.~

====

Meanwhile, Sam was in the infirmary, sitting at the head of the hospital bed as she worked with the frail Daniel in Ma'chello's body. He, however, felt defeated, and Sam knew it.

"You've already figured out that it's a mixture of ancient Latin and Greek. We're getting closer," Sam encouraged.

"That's obvious because of the forms. The alphabets may be the same, but it's an entirely original language," Daniel in Ma'chello's spoke in agitation. "There's no sentence structure, there's no ..."

Suddenly, one of the monitors began to beep.

Sam put her hand on her friend's shoulder and soothed, "Take it easy," but the patient went unconscious.

Sam stood up as Janet entered and went to work on the body.

In the ended, Janet reported, "He's non-responsive. He's in a coma."

====

Elsewhere in Colorado Springs, it was around eleven in the morning when Ma'chello in Daniel's body was dropped off in front of his apartment building by an airman. Naturally, he was now wearing civilian clothes: plaid shirt, khaki pants, and a dark gray zip-up jacket. Instead of going inside, he walked down the street. He attempted to talk to people, but it wasn't very successful.

"Hello, friend. I am new to this area. I would like to learn about your culture and customs. Will you teach me? Do you not understand me?"

A down-on-his-luck man held out a cup and asked, "Spare any change, please?"

The African-American appeared to be about forty-five years and stood at roughly five-feet, ten-inches tall. He had short, but thick somewhat curly hair that was graying at the temples.

"Why does no one answer me?" Ma'chello in Daniel's body asked.

The man, whose name was Fred, told Ma'chello in Daniel's body that he was strange for talking as he was, even though he had to admit he was doing the same thing.

"Then you must be strange as well," Ma'chello in Daniel's body said.

"I been called worse. Sure, I'm strange, too," Fred agreed.

Ultimately, the two decided to go to a diner, where they would enjoy a meal on Ma'chello in Daniel's body in celebration of their new friendship.

In the entryway of a diner, Ma'chello in Daniel's body informed the waitress, "We wish to feast on me." With a raised voice, he looked around at the other patrons and announced, "In fact, let everyone here feast on me." When she asked for a credit card, he asked, "Where would I find such a card?"

"Usually, in your wallet," the waitress answered, gesturing towards the man's wallet.

Ma'chello in Daniel's body discovered the velcro-enclosed wallet, pulled it out, opened it, showed it to the woman, and asked, "Will one of these cards do?"

Selecting a gold credit card, the smiling waitress affirmed, "Absolutely."

With some lust, Ma'chello in Daniel's body observed, "You are one of the most enchanting women I have seen in my lifetime. I would be honored by a kiss."

Unimpressed, the still-smiling waitress turned and walked away as she replied, "Yeah, I bet you would."

Ma'chello in Daniel's body and Fred enjoyed their meal and then were eager for dessert, hot fudge sundaes. They continued to talk and Fred figured his new friend was probably suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) from serving in the Gulf War.

Ma'chello in Daniel's body said he was not in that war, but that he was a soldier who "fought many battles. I was captured and tortured."

"That explains a lot."

"I continued to fight and lost all that I loved and cared for, but I knew I could not surrender. For you. If it were not for me, you would all be conquered by now."

Disbelieving such a wild claim, Fred mocked, "By who, Saddam?"

"He is not a System Lord I am familiar with, but several others would have wiped you out."

"Whatever you say, man."

"But I do not wish to fight any longer. From now on. I only want to eat hamburgers and french fries and ice cream sundaes, and I want to be with good people like you, Fred."

"All good things come to an end, Ma'chello."

"Oh no, my friend. Only evil things must come to an end. For good things, such as ourselves, it is possible to go on forever."

"Cool."

====

Back at the Mountain, Jack in Teal'c's body came out of the kelno'reem just in time to see Teal'c in Jack's body about to cut off his hair.

"What are you doing?" Jack in Teal'c's body asked.

"If I am to remain in this body, I must shave my head."

That wasn't going to happen and Jack in Teal'c's body urged his friend to be patient and insisted the transference was only temporary.

"Just give 'em a chance to find Daniel, okay? Teal'c, I'm going to see General Hammond. Promise me you won't touch the head until I get back," Jack in Teal'c's body requested, getting only a raised eyebrow in response.

====

Jack in Teal'c's body asked the general to aid in the search for Daniel in Ma'chello's body, but Hammond refused.

"Denied. You'll remain here until they bring him in. Be patient, Colonel," Hammond urged.

"I can't be patient, Sir. Daniel is dying, and I'd rather we get to Ma'chello than risk some yahoo civvy officer shooting him and blowing any chance we have of saving him."

Hammond responded, "Much as I'd like to, you're not exactly yourself." He stood and gave his second-in-command a stern but somewhat amusing stare. "Request denied."

====

The paycheck at the diner paid, Daniel in Ma'chello's body and Fred walked down the street again. The inventor of machines to kill the Goa'uld suddenly wanted to court a wife, but the quest was over before it began when two policemen approached them from behind and called out.

Daniel in Ma'chello's body told the cops it was impossible for him to go back, but they really didn't know what he was talking about. They ordered him to put his hands behind his back, but Daniel in Ma'chello's body attempted to flee instead. The police gave chase as Fred called out, begging them not to hurt his friend. It was a short chase as Daniel in Ma'chello's body was caught and handcuffed when an officer in a patrol car pulled out in front of the running man.

"You were right, Fred. All good things do come to an end," Daniel in Ma'chello's body said before being placed into the back of the police car.

====

In the infirmary, the captain was full of worry. Daniel's mind was trapped in the dying body in front of her.

~Geez, I remember when we met on Abydos. You had the brightest smile and you understood me when I talked. That was energizing,~ the woman thought, smiling at the body on the hospital bed. ~I liked you, you know. I used to wonder what kind of couple we might make.~

Sam thought about the reality of Daniel's romantic relationship with Jack. She was going along with it, keeping their secret, and even helping them out with what they termed the game wherein she and Jack flirted with each other from time to time as a way to throw off the gossips who might suspect the two men of a relationship beyond that of teammates. Sam still wasn't really sure how she felt about the coupling. It made her a little uneasy, but she considered both men friends and was strong on her promise to assist them in the cover-up of their true relationship.

~What might have been, but I don't really have that kind of luck in my own relationships.~ Sam sighed, ~Daniel, we can all get through this. You just have to fight.~

Sam stood at the foot of the hospital bed, her hands gripping each of the posts and her body hunched over as she looked forward and pleaded verbally, "Come on, Daniel. They've found the guy, they're bringing him in. You have to wake up." She walked to the side of the bed and took her friend's hand in hers. She leaned over. "Daniel. You can't die on me now."

Daniel in Ma'chello's body responded, "It's nice to know you don't just like me for my looks."

With a happy smile, Sam called out, "Hey." She heard footsteps and looked up to see Janet. "Janet."

"Well, it is good to have you back, Doctor Jackson," Janet began. "You have impeccable timing. Sam, they're on their way in. We should get that machine of his in here."

Sam kissed her friend on the temple before leaving to retrieve the machine and tell the others that Daniel in Ma'chello's body was awake.

====

It was just minutes later when the entire team was back together in the infirmary where Janet and General Hammond were present as well. Two SFs were also on guard in the area.

"Reverse what you've done to my people," Hammond ordered Ma'chello in Daniel's body.

"I cannot do what is impossible."

"Then you won't cooperate?"

Ma'chello in Daniel's body responded, "On the contrary, I am telling you the truth. It is not possible."

Sam queried harshly, "Why not?"

"In simplest terms, the device retains a memory of every transference. For the very reason you are asking me, I designed it so that it encrypts the transference, blocking any reversal."

Hammond countered, "Then reprogram it so it will unblock it."

"You do not have the necessary technology. Even if I wanted to change it, I could not."

"Take him to the brig. I want two SFs guarding him at all times," Hammond ordered, watching as Ma'chello in Daniel's body was led away by force.

"Any ideas?"

Blank stares were the general's answers.

====

"Sir," Sergeant Walter Davis said as he tapped on the office door.

"What is it, Sergeant?"

"That ... Doctor Jackson ... whoever we're holding wants to see you as soon as possible."

"Ask Major Carter to come to my office," Hammond requested.

--

"You wanted to see me, General?" the blonde asked as she stood at the door.

Standing, Hammond approached the woman as he informed, "Ma'chello wants to see me. I'd like you to come along."

"Actually, Sir, that's what I was about to come talk to you about."

"What do you mean?"

"General, I think we should force Ma'chello to talk to Daniel, to see whose life he's stealing."

"And you think Doctor Jackson has the strength to talk himself out of this predicament?"

"I'm hoping so, Sir. Daniel has a ... knack for changing people's minds. Maybe he can hone into Ma'chello somehow and get him to tell us how to change them back."

"You have my permission," Hammond granted. "Let's see what the mastermind wants."

====

Ma'chello in Daniel's body paced inside the cell, which felt worse to him than living in his bare chamber. He felt hopeful when General Hammond and Sam entered the cold, dingy prison cell. The door remained open with one SF standing inside the brig and two others in the corridor.

"Thank you for coming," Ma'chello in Daniel's body spoke.

"Hope you're enjoying the scenery. It's the only view you'll have for the rest of your life," Sam promised.

"Yes, that is why I called you. I thought perhaps I might be able to negotiate for better accommodations."

"We're listening," Hammond advised.

Ma'chello in Daniel's body sat down on the lower bunk and stated, "First, let me apologize for the unfortunate transference of your colonel and the Jaffa."

"Just get to the point," Hammond stated.

"The symbols you've no doubt tried to decipher are unique. In form, they're similar to my native language, but they're actually an original code I devised, in case my work came into enemy hands."

Hammond responded, "We're not your enemy. If anything, we're allies."

"That is why I will teach Captain Carter that code. With my knowledge, I guarantee you not only will you be able to effectively defend yourselves against the Goa'uld, you will in fact be able to defeat them."

"And our cost for this knowledge?" Sam inquired.

"My freedom, of course."

"And Doctor Jackson?" the general queried.

"He is not an issue."

"Not an issue?" Sam spat in response. "We're talking about a friend's life."

"Your friend was my solution to hiding my face permanently. Consider him a casualty of war. I am offering you the salvation of your planet. Is this not worth more than the life of one archaeologist?"

In disgust, Hammond replied, "I don't know about the customs of your planet, but here on Earth, the value of a life is priceless."

The general left the room, after which Sam stated, "I want you to get to know your casualty."

"It is not necessary."

"I think it is," Sam stated, motioning at the two SFs to make sure Ma'chello in Daniel's body accompanied her to the infirmary. "He's a good man," she said as they walked down one of the corridors.

"There are many good men."

"He helps people, races all across the galaxy."

"As have I with my inventions to destroy the Goa'uld."

"He has a right to live," Sam put forth.

"So do I."

Sam stopped trying to convince Ma'chello in Daniel's body that Daniel's life was worth saving, but she vowed to try again if her current idea didn't pan out. A minute later, they arrived at the infirmary where she forced him to sit in a chair next to dying man's bed.

"I believe you two have met," Sam said and then walked to stand at the foot of the bed.

"Well, from what I can see, you're looking good," Daniel in Ma'chello's body observed.

With a factitious tone, Ma'chello in Daniel's body responded, "What would you like me to say? I am sorry? That I wish I could undo it? I do not."

"Why?"

"Why? Because I earned it. That is why. I earned it because I sacrificed my life for you and your people. The least you could do was compensate me with another."

Daniel in Ma'chello's body challenged, "What right do you have to judge the value of my life?"

"I have suffered more than anyone should suffer in a lifetime. For fifty years I fought against the Goa'uld. Then I was betrayed by my wife, whom they secretly turned into a host."

"So was mine. She is still with them."

"At least you still have a planet ... and friends. Two billion of my people died rather than surrender me to the Goa'uld," Ma'chello in Daniel's body lamented.

"You have made great sacrifices. We owe you gratitude, but still it does not give you the right to take another's life."

"If you had the technology, you would do the same."

Daniel in Ma'chello's body refuted, "No, I wouldn't, because then I would become no better than the Goa'uld."

"I am not a Goa'uld. I hate the Goa'uld," Ma'chello in Daniel's body negated angrily.

"The Goa'uld use hosts because they think they are better than humans, because they believe they deserve it. You're a Goa'uld, Ma'chello. I am nothing but a host to you."

"I am not a Goa'uld."

"My wife is still alive. There is a chance I can still save her. You are stealing that chance."

"Even if you still had this body, you will never find her," Ma'chello in Daniel's body claimed.

Weakly, the dying man insisted, "I will find her. I will find her," and then shed a tear from his right eye.

At that moment, Daniel in Ma'chello's body went into V-Fib and Janet struggled to save his life. She began doing CPR and finally, a heartbeat was heard, though Janet had no confidence it would remain beating for long.

"If I could trade places with him again, I would, but, unfortunately, I am the only one who cannot," Ma'chello in Daniel's body, who had gotten up from his chair and walked to the astrophysicist's side once Janet moved into save her patient, admitted. ~I am not a Goa'uld. I make inventions to defeat the Goa'uld. I am not a Goa'uld.~

"Wait a minute. You're the only one who can't?" Sam sought to verify as the solution began to dawn in her brain.

"Yes."

That was all Sam needed. Her genius just solved the puzzle, thanks to Ma'chello's admission. She ordered an SF to get Jack and Teal'c.

====

"What's going on, Captain?" Jack in Teal'c's body questioned as he walked inside the infirmary.

Sam explained she had the solution to the situation, but that it was, "a little complicated, so I need you to do exactly as I say. We're going to have to play a little musical chairs with your bodies. First, Colonel, you and Ma'chello will switch."

This put Jack in Daniel's body and Ma'chello in Teal'c's body.

~Geez, he's young and ... healthy. I can't remember the last time I felt this good. Crap. Stay in shape, O'Neill. Can't lose him. Coffee. Why do I want coffee? And chocolate. Oh boy, do I want some chocolate,~ Jack in Daniel's body thought.

“How do you feel, physically?” Sam asked.

“Peachy.” In Daniel's body, Jack looked over at his own body and suddenly felt something react, for lack of a better word. He looked down at the body he currently possessed. ~Oh crap!~ Then he smiled. ~Danny! You want me!~ Then he panicked. ~Goa'uld. Kinsey.~ That did it. ~Whew!~

At the same time Jack was realizing how Daniel's body reacted to Jack's body, and then panicking from the result, Sam had Teal'c in Jack's body switch with Daniel in Ma'chello's body. She wheeled the device closer to the hospital bed and assisted her friend by putting his hands on the handles.

"Whoa! Whoa, what a dream. What happened?" Daniel in Jack's body said as he crossed his arms across his chest.

"I don't have time to explain right now, Daniel. Just bear with me," Sam replied.

"Okay."

From behind him, Daniel heard his own voice, which was really Jack, now inhabiting Daniel's body.

Surprised and a bit confused, Daniel turned and asked, “Jack?”

**Come on, Danny. I know this is weird, but Carter's fixing it,** Jack communicated in a fairly good-natured beat.

**Very weird. Very ... very weird.**

Jack used his finger to motion Daniel towards him, so Daniel went to stand at his side.

Both felt better now that they were side-by-side, though Daniel was still very confused by it all. It had felt like a dream when he was in Ma'chello's dying body, and now, it seemed surreal to be in his lover's body.

~Ow. Weird. Gawd, Jack, that knee aches. Janet had you on medication after the accident last month. You'd better talk to her again. You might have jarred it more than you thought,~ Daniel theorized.

Ma'chello in Teal'c's body earnestly told the blonde, "I wish I had time to teach you the symbols. In your hands, my inventions could go on fighting the Goa'uld."

"It's all right, I'll figure it out. Please," Sam beckoned at the device.

The semi-final transfer resulted in Teal'c returning to his body and Ma'chello to his.

The last switch had Jack in Daniel's body and Daniel in Jack's body grabbing onto the handles and changing back into their own bodies.

Seeing Sam's motion towards the device, Jack in Daniel's body put his arm around Daniel in Jack's body and said, “Our turn.” When the transfer was complete, Jack clinched his fists upwards exclaimed excitedly, "Yes, Yes!" He approached the Jaffa and questioned, "Shave my head?" as he also patted the Jaffa's face and belly. He focused back on himself and the difference in his body and Daniel's. ~I may be older, but at least this body is mine. I love my body; fits like a glove.~

"I'm back," a pleased Daniel announced. ~Glad that's over,~ he admitted. Then he made himself a mental note. ~Don't forget to ask Jack about his knee.~

Janet interjected, "He's conscious again."

Daniel walked over to the side of the bed and looked at the man responsible for one of his craziest days ever.

"Thank you, for my holiday," Ma'chello uttered.

The elderly scientist took his last breath with Daniel nodding in understanding as he looked down at Ma'chello.

Janet carefully shut the dead man's eyelids and then the various beeping monitors were turned off.

It was a sad ending to an insane time, and no one really know what to say.

“Welcome back, SG-1,” the major general said somewhat solemnly a moment later.

====

As Hammond and SG-1 left the infirmary, the major general said quietly, "Tomorrow, SG-2 will return to the planet and retrieve whatever of Ma'chello's devices they can."

"That's great, Sir," Sam responded. "While I couldn't backward engineer this device, we might be able to learn something about the other items, maybe even that life support chamber that kept him hibernated."

"I wonder how long he'd been in there," Daniel said as the group continued to walk the corridors.

"It could have been decades, or longer," Sam offered.

When they reached a point of departure, Hammond ceased walking and instructed, "Go home, people. Relax. Mission reports on my desk by Friday morning."

"Yes, Sir," all four acknowledged in scattered responses.

Jack smiled at his team and uttered, "Let's go home."

The colonel, Sam, and Daniel headed for the locker room, while Teal'c went to his quarters. Though filled with lots of anxiety and worry, the day was one of fascination for the group, especially the three who actually changed bodies. They would need time to process their experiences.

====

Before leaving SGC, Daniel went to Sam for a short conversation. She was seated on a bench, changing her shoes. The archaeologist sat down beside her and gently nudged her shoulder.

"Sam."

"Hey," the blonde replied with a beautiful grin.

"I remember you smiling down at me like that," Daniel stated, somewhat embarrassing his friend. "Sam, I just want you to know that I'm grateful you were there for me, especially since Jack couldn't be."

"I'll always be there, Daniel. We're friends."

"Good friends," Daniel agreed. He put his arm around the woman and pulled her in for a short but sweet hug. Hugging wasn't something he did as a rule, and it felt a little strange while also being somewhat comforting at the same time. "Just ... thank you."

As Daniel stood up, Sam responded, "I don't need to be thanked. That happened when you opened your eyes and were you again. See you tomorrow, Daniel."

Daniel nodded and left Sam to continue her preparations for returning home.

====

“That was a trip,” Jack stated lightheartedly as he held Daniel in his arms in the middle of the living room of the archaeologist's apartment.

“Yeah. It was ... different,” Daniel agreed.

Cocking his head to the side a bit, Jack confided, “I'll admit I was a little scared there for a while. I kept hoping I was dreaming.”

“Jack, when I was in Ma'chello's body, why weren't ...” Daniel stopped, moving out of Jack's embrace. “I need to feed my fish,” he said in a strange non sequitur, moving to get the fish food.

Halfway to the fish tank, Daniel felt a light pressure on his arm, and then he was swung around to face Jack.

“Junior needed attention,” Jack explained, not needing to hear the full question. “I was in Teal'c's body, and he had to teach me how to do this kelno'reem thing. Danny, that's the only reason I wasn't there. Hammond and Fraiser both wanted us kept under watch.”

“Oh,” the archaeologist said softly, realizing his lover's response made sense.

“I love you, Danny.”

“I know.”

“Do you?” Jack challenged, his head giving a slight nod in his inquiry.

Bashfully, Daniel nodded and then found himself being ravished by his lover.

“Just in case you need proof,” Jack spoke before sending the younger man to a state of euphoria.

====

Later in the evening, the couple relaxed on the sofa while munching on various snacks and the leftovers of a pizza ordered earlier in the night.

"It must have been weird, lying there and knowing the body you were in was dying."

"Well, it was ... strange. I was me, but it wasn't me. Jack, I was choiceless. There was nothing I could do but ... go with it."

"How'd you do that?"

"Thought about you, and us, and ..."

When his Love's voice trailed off, Jack surmised, "Sha're."

"Yes. Ma'chello and I had something in common. Our wives were enslaved by the Goa'uld."

"Hers betrayed him, he said," Jack recalled. "Do we know if that was after she was taken as a host?"

"I don't know. He, uh, he didn't seem to have any emotion towards her except for anger."

"Danny, why did he change his mind?"

"What do you mean?"

"Carter said Ma'chello was pretty assertive about staying in your body. Something you said must have changed his mind, especially since he knew transferring back would cost him his life."

"I told him he was no better than a Goa'uld. That really upset him." Daniel sighed, "Jack, Ma'chello fought the Goa'uld for fifty years. He saved ... thousands? millions? billions? We don't really know for sure, but he was as much of a warrior as Teal'c in fighting the Goa'uld. He grew bitter upon being betrayed, but in his heart, he knew they were evil and I think the mere mention, the brief assertion that he was just like them, offended him and made him do the right thing."

"Carter said he knew what he was telling her."

"That he was the only one who couldn't directly change back into his own body," Daniel responded. "Yeah, Sam said his eyes changed. She said she saw compassion in him for the first time."

"She knew what to do," Jack agreed.

"I have a question."

"What's that?"

"Do we know what Ma'chello did while in my body?" Daniel inquired.

"Apparently, you treated a diner full of folks to free meals."

"I did?"

"Look out for your next credit card statement," Jack teased.

"Oh ... good."

"You can get it reversed."

"Sure, I'll just call up the credit card company and tell them I wasn't actually in my own body at the time the charges were made."

Jack chuckled, "Okay. Maybe we can charge it to Uncle Sam: unauthorized expenses while on a mission by an alien entity."

"That'll be a new one." Daniel sighed with a small smile. "It's okay. Maybe letting Ma'chello have that as a memory, I mean, treating those people, is something I shouldn't interfere with."

"It's up to you, Danny."

"Anything else?"

"Nope, you just walked the streets and had a nice big meal at the diner. Oh, I understand you propositioned the waitress."

"No way."

"Way."

"I did not."

"But Ma'chello did."

"Maybe I should go there and apologize."

"By saying you weren't in your own body?" Jack laughed, "I'd let that go, too, if I were you."

"Probably a good idea," Daniel agreed. "Well, tomorrow is another day."

"Next mission isn't until Saturday."

"Unless something comes up."

"Which it often does," Jack sighed. "However, speaking of up, are you ... up for ..."

"Oh, yeah, definitely ... up."

The couple returned to the bedroom where they made love yet again and then slept the wee hours away until a new sun demanded the start of a new day.

The experiences of the day would remain with them always as they each gained a new understanding of the other's physical being, not to mention how it felt simply to be in another person's body. It was surreal and would always be part of the lovers. For Jack and Daniel of Colorado Springs, the unexpected was always expected, but as long as their nights ended as this one did, their nation of two would grow and bring only happiness their way.

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~

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