This is the story of how Clark Kent and SG-1 died. Again.
It was part of a much larger crisis, one that involved multiple universes.
Even though everything turned out all right in the end, a lot of things went wrong along the way.
Captain Kirk, Spock, and Doctor McCoy ended up trapped in Earth's past where they lived in the Smallville/Metropolis area.
Only one of them survived to help restore the timeline to normal. .
Let me begin in the middle of the story. Like this.
RED ALERT! RED ALERT!
ALTERED TIMELINE ON PRIME EARTH
BREACH OF TARGET ZERO
ALL MONITORS REPORT
JUST OUTSIDE METROPOLIS IN THE ALTERED TIMELINE
October 7, 1939
It was a strange situation.
“Help me,” someone said weakly.
It was just a few minutes after Doctor Marcus Welby stepped outside his facility to have a smoke. Az he puffed on cool menthol, he wondered when business would finally pick up.
“Help me!” someone shouted.
Welby started. A young man staggered toward him. But just a moment ago, no one was there. And how did he even get inside the barbed wire fence? It was like he appeared out of nowhere.
“Help me,” the mystery man groaned.
The tall dark-haired young man, drenched in sweat, fell into the doctor's arms. As he did, Welby had a strange vision of a shirtless man with a red “S” painted on his chest. He was out in the middle of a cornfield strung up on a pole. Just like some sort of scarecrow.
The vision was intense but brief. When Welby snapped out of it, he saw the young man's sweaty arms were covered with splotches of green and gray. Had someone thrown paint on him?
With his head bobbing slightly, the young man looked up at Welby with watery, pleading, half-open eyes.
“The Joker,” he gasped. “The Joker tried to turn me into the Hulk, the Green Goblin.” He looked off to the side, clutching the doctor's shirt as he did. “Tried to turn me into... some beast.....called Doomsday.”
His eyes closed, and the young man collapsed into the doctor, green-and-gray arms hanging limp at his side. Welby struggled to hold up the impossibly gigantic man. .
“I need some help here!” he shouted.
As he placed the young man down as gently as he could, Welby smiled.
Belle Reve Sanitarium had its first patient. And he promised to be quite an interesting subject.
SMALLVILLE IN THE ALTERED TIMELINE
October 7, 2001
“Ladies and gentlemen, although today is a tragic anniversary, we are lovingly gathered here at this mandatory assembly for a very happy event.”
As people in the audience murmured, the man at the podium responded with a slight frown then his attempt at a smile.
“It is my great honor and high privilege to present the Humanitarian of the Millennium Award to someone we all know very well: Coach Jim Kirk.”
As the man spoke, Smallville High's resident cynic, Chloe Sullivan, thought how Principal Kwan was doing a good imitation of someone who could actually smile and sound pleasant. Some of the time anyway.
Like most people in the packed gymnasium, Chloe fanned herself with a program. And like most in the audience Chloe scowled. She was still miffed Kwan had given her detention for talking about “meteor freaks.” Again.
It was regulation, Kwan told her. He didn't make the rules. He just had to abide by them. The U-N required it..
The U-N, Chloe thought with disgust. Those tin-plated dictators.
Oh, well, Chloe thought. Just have to sit here and listen to Kwan drone on and on, I guess.
“If there's one thing Coach Kirk knows it's all about being a captain. Captain Kirk was once in the service. He took part in the Last War, helping to secure an everlasting peace that has prevailed for decades. All over the globe.”
Yeah, maybe even all over the universe, Chloe thought as she rolled her eyes..
“As a health instructor, Captain Kirk always encouraged students to reach for the stars. As a football coach, he's trained generations of team captains in the fine art of being a captain. And in honor of his wife Edie Keeler Kirk, Jim continues to give back to the community, organizing food drives with Martha Kent and helping out with Mobile Meals.”
Wow, who writes this stuff? Chloe shook her head as she looked down at some papers. When he was handing in articles for the Torch, Greg Arkin didn't wax so poetic about insects.
As Principal Kwan went on with details of Captain Kirk's life, Chloe drifted off. She already knew all about Captain Kirk.
When she was in eighth grade and had just moved here from Metropolis, her first story for the Torch was an interview with Captain Kirk. So as Kwan droned on, as only he could, Chloe consulted an H.C., of a Ledger article from P.C. (A Hard Copy from the Pre-Computer era. When disco, and not the U-N, ruled the earth.)
“No one thought much of it when Jim and Edith Kirk moved to Smallville,” the editorial read. “Captain Kirk was friends with Doctor McCoy at the new Smallville Medical Center and Mister Spock, a factory worker from Metropolis, was occasionally seen with the two in the Beanery.”
Of course Chloe was well aware of the town legends that surrounded Doctor McCoy and Mister Spock.
“Even though 'Edie' Kirk was a famous author along with our very own Cassandra “Cassie” Carver and although Captain Kirk fought in the Big War, we in Smallville take such things in stride, just as we do in being recently named the Corn Capital of the World.
“But Captain Kirk and Edie have become such a vital part of our community we offer them both a belated warm welcome.”
Chloe knew there was much more to the story than that. When Captain Kirk first arrived at
Smallville High, the United Nations insisted anyone in authority be called “Captain.” Which included even a low-level football coach at Smallville High apparently.
But Coach Kirk told his students that although they could call him “Captain,” the respect would be mutual: he in turn would call them “Mister” and “Miss.”
Some tin-plated dictators in Smallville didn't like that. They felt young people should respect their elders. Probably that Harry Bolston fellow strangled that piano teacher's son because he had no respect for others.
So young people should show respect. But there was no need for respect to be mutual. Jim Kirk, they felt, was a maverick.
Nice, Chloe thought. So they just wanted to keep some people under their thumbs. Just like now.
But things changed in the town. When they saw Captain Kirk's results with the football team and with young people in general, they stopped complaining about “the maverick.”
Chloe went through other items. One was a picture of a young Jim Kirk. Whoa, she thought. Was there a way to travel back in time and meet that guy? She grinned. If so, what would people call that? Chlirk? Or Kloe?
She moved on to another item, an editorial from October 7, 1975.
“Although 'All in the Family” is a popular TV series, in which Archie Bunker calls his wife Edith a 'dingbat,' to our knowledge Captain Kirk has never called his Edith a 'dingbat.' For this we salute him.
“We are also amused that Captain Kirk says the new TV series 'Star Trek,' based on the books by Edie Kirk and Cassie Carver, is 'realistic' and 'true-to-life.' We are quite sure Captain Kirk has never been out in space so we would ask him to, as Archie Bunker would say, 'stifle himself.'
“We at the Ledger found the first episode of 'Star Trek,' about a giant space probe, slow-moving and dull. And even nonsensical. Captain Carter may be a fine leader, but why do we need people with pointed ears and silver eyes while we're being bored to death?'”
What's next? Chloe wondered. Censoring a commencement speech? She worked to stifle a yawn. They could certainly censor this one by Kwan.
Fortunately, Kwan's volume rose, indicating his droning was drawing to a close.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great honor and privilege to present the Humanitarian of the Millennium Award to Captain James T. Kirk.”
As Chloe joined the audience in a standing ovation amidst thunderous applause, she watched as one of Smallville's leading citizens strode toward the stage. Dressed in a gold sweater and black pants, Captain Kirk walked briskly, arms hanging loosely at his side.
As the applause died to a few claps, followed by the light rumbling of hundreds sitting, Chloe thought how except for the white hair and lines under his eyes, Captain Kirk was like a young man. Even though he was nearly a hundred years old. Literally.
Yeah, he's like a young guy. Still. How was that possible?
And when he talked, he was the same Captain Kirk Chloe knew from the interview. Without hesitation or trembling, he spoke in a strong commanding voice.
“Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Distinguished faculty. Alumni. Honored guests. I'd like to talk to you about the future. What does the future hold for us in Smallville? Everywhere really.”
Yeah, Chloe thought. The future is important. To the future!
But---and maybe this was just her reporter's instinct----she couldn't help wondering: How did Captain Kirk end up in Smallville?
WARNING! FRAGMENTED ALTERED UNIVERSE.
ALTERED UNIVERSE DESIGNATION: UNAVAILABLE AT THIS TIME
TEMPORARY DESIGNATION: ALTERED UNIVERSE 1,037
“Well, this is fun,” Colonel Jack O'Neill said as he fired his weapon.
“It could be worse,” Daniel Jackson said next to him as he fired his own weapon.
“Yeah?” O'Neill said. “Who are you? Han Solo?”
“Actually,” Samantha Carter said and then paused as she fired away. “Princess Leia said that line in 'Star Wars.'”
“Which I have seen seven times,” Teal'c said as he casually took aim.
“Carter, how would you know that?” O'Neill said.
“Sir,” Carter said. “I know stuff. I'm not some nerd like those guys on Team MacGyver.”
O'Neill wore his usual slightly petulant look. The “O'Neill look,” some might call it.
“Carter, knowing about 'Star Wars” is the very definition of being a nerd.” He waved his hand. “No offense there, Teal'c.” The large warrior bowed slightly. “I mean, isn't it bad enough we've had every episode of 'Star Trek' downloaded into our brains? And for what? We were supposed to avoid Captain Kirk and his crew. The Download didn't help.”
“Bigger problems, Jack,” Daniel said.
“Yeah, yeah.” Sighing, O'Neill looked out at their battlefield in space.
He didn't like the situation one bit.
Along with his team members, he was on an asteroid hurtling through space. In that sector of space, fragments of Mos Eisley and Metropolis kept appearing and disappearing while Federation starships (from an alternate universe, of course) fired away at Cylon ships and Imperial Star Destroyers.
Fortunately, O'Neill was protected inside a Green Lantern dome, as were many of his allies on this battlefield in space.
“Man,” O'Neill said. “Makes me wish I was back in Belle Reve.”
“You and me both,” Daniel said.
“In fact,” O'Neill said, “now that I think of it, how do I know I'm not still in Belle Reve?”
As he gave O'Neill a puzzled look, Daniel started to speak then said nothing.
After the brief pause, the two men fired what looked like silver rifles, each one connected to a glowing- gold dome-shaped hard drive. White beams shot out of the silver weapons and passed through the green dome, blasting translucent doughy creatures. (Think the slimy green ghosts in “Ghostbusters,” only white instead of green.) The white beams also sealed up holes, rifts, and tears in space.
“Adios, Time-Blasters,” O'Neill said.
“And goodbye, rips in the fabric of space-time,” Daniel said with his usual calm aloofness. The universe could be disintegrating and Daniel would offer only a calm “told you so.”
Of course in an alternate timeline Daniel offered President Henry Hayes an angry “I told you so.” If people were in danger or someone was being mistreated, Daniel quickly lost his cool Vulcan-like demeanor.
“Thanks, time-healer gun,” Carter said as she aimed her own silver rifle.
The device, created by Doctor Who and the Vulcans (a band name in one quadrant of this galaxy) with some assistance from Hank McCoy and Sam Beckett (not a rock band or rock duo name), was designed to counter the effects of the Time-Blasters and seal up disruptions in the fabric of space-time.
O' Neill referred to the massive disruption as “the Big Honkin' Breakdown in Reality” or “a bunch of universes just going nuts.”
Thanks to their enemy who would manipulate anyone or anything. .
“Hey, guys.” Clark Kent suddenly appeared next to them. The tall dark-haired man sported a big cheerful white smile.
“Clark,” O'Neill said. “Good to see you again, buddy.” As the two men patted each other on the shoulder, O'Neill tilted his head slightly. “You've got a few more gray hairs.”
Smiling, Clark nodded. “Yeah, the Guardian's got me spending a few decades near Prime Earth Two. I just call it 'Earth Two.'”
“More like 'Earth Twenty-Thousand,'” Daniel griped.
Clark made a face. “That sounded like it had a little edge to it, Daniel. You all right there, bud?”
“It's the beard,” O'Neill explained. “Ever since he grew a beard he's been more on edge than usual Sometimes we can't tell the difference between him and Hawkman.”
Clark smiled and nodded. “He sure does like that Galactica jacket, though. Don't you, Daniel?”
“Anything to get through this madness, Clark,” Daniel said as he fired his weapon.
Shaking his head slightly, O'Neill lifted his eyebrows. “So, Clark. Old buddy. Literally old buddy. It's been decades. We need to catch up. How you been? What you been doing? What you been up to?”
He moved his hand in a small circle. “What's going on with Clark?”
Another smile and a nod from Clark. Even with the gray around his temples, he was still that teen from Smallville. “The Guardian's got me saving people on my home planet.”
“You mean Prime Earth. Not Krypton.”
“Right.” Clark made a face. “Do you know a lot of people down there wear Starfleet uniforms now?”
“We heard,” Daniel said and fired again.
“Plus I'm saving people on other worlds. You know. The alternate worlds.”
O'Neill shrugged slightly. “So that's it? Just out saving people? Didn't go to college. No white house with a picket fence. No kids for you and Lana?”
“Not yet,” Clark said. “I'm still recovering.”
“Yeah,” O”Neill said. “So are we.”
A flicker of Clark's eyebrows indicated concern for his friend. “You all right, Jack? What's been going on?”
“Just a little tired.” O'Neill blinked as he sighed. “It's been a long battle. The Big Honkin' Battle for Reality.”
“Is that what we're calling this?” Carter asked. As she fired off a series of white beams, fragments of Mos Eisley and Metropolis vanished, including the cantina and the Daily Planet building.
“Yeah, Carter. If the Guardians of Oa are writing another history book, that's what they can call this. But right now....” Turning back to Clark, O”Neill gestured with his thumb. He pointed to all the white beams flying around in space. “The more of these beams we can get out there the more this craziness all ends,” he shouted over the increased weapons fire.
“Right on, sir,” Carter said. O'Neill responded by silently mouthing the question “right on?”
“There go some more rips and tears in the fabric of space-time.” Carter cocked her weapon. She was wearing a white evening gown with sparkling gold trim.
As he tilted his head toward Carter, Clark gave O'Neill a puzzled look. .
“Jabba the Hutt insisted she wear it,” O'Neill offered as an explanation. Sporting a quizzical look, Clark started to speak but O'Neill shook his head. “She doesn't like to talk about it.” He gestured to another part of the asteroid. “Hey, I think you might know this guy. Bruce Wayne?”
“Uh, sort of,” Clark said, still looking a little quizzical.
“Hey,” said a dark-haired young man. He was a slightly shorter and less bulky version of Clark.
“Hey,” Clark said. “Good to see you again. You seem much better.”
Bruce frowned. “What do you mean?”
“Nothing,” Clark said.
Making a face, O'Neill waved his hand. “Mistaken identity.”
Bruce also made a face. “You a friend of Alfred's?” he asked Clark.
O'Neill shook his head. “Clark here is a lot younger than he looks.”
“Yeah,” Clark said. “Alfred and I probably don't hang out in the same circles.”
“Huh,” Bruce said.
With his thumb, O'Neill gestured to someone else. “You remember Fred.”
“Real name Surnak,” Daniel said with slight peevishness.
A Vulcan, not much older than Bruce, stopped firing his weapon long enough to nod toward Clark. Then he turned away and fired some more.
“He's fine,” O'Neill said. “Still doesn't talk much. But he's fine. Both of him.”
Clark looked out beyond the green dome. “So what's the situation?”
“Glad you asked,” O'Neill said, holding up a weapon. “This is a time-healer gun.”
“TASER,” Daniel said in quiet sing-song.
“Long story,” O'Neill said.
What Jack called a time-healer gun was actually known as a TASER.:Time And Space Equilibrium Rectifier. True, this created some confusion for people from the twentieth century. But people from other times and places were fine with it.
Given how many times their minds had been rebooted while altering timelines, SG-1 could be forgiven if they sometimes forgot the names for things.
Whatever the weapons were called, Fred/Surnak, Bruce, Daniel, and Carter fired them.
Clark and O'Neill looked out at the battlefield. It looked like the battle at the second Death Star in “Return of the Jedi,” only a hundred times cooler with way more flashing lights.
“We've got Beckett out there leaping into Jaffa, Klingons, and stormtroopers. He grabs whatever time-healer gun---”
“---he can get his hands on and sends them all back where they belong. 'Star Wars' galaxy. Prime Earth Two Wherever.” O'Neill gestured with an open hand, sweeping it across the battlefield. “Guardian just sent Teal'c to help out the Justice Society.”
“Justice Society,” Clark said. “Who are they again?”
“What?” O'Neill said. “You don't read comic books?”
Clark grinned. “I think you asked me that before.”
“Yeah,” O”Neill said. “We've been through a lot of weird things, Clark.”
“And it could get a lot worse. Colonel.”
“Come on. Make up your mind finally what you're going to call me. Colonel. Jack. Fred. Murray.” O'Neill made a slight face. “Fred McMurray?”
“I'll do my best. Sir.”
“Yeah. At least you stopped calling me 'sir.'” Reacting to a distant flash of light, O'Neill looked away for a moment. When he looked back, Clark was gone.
As he looked out on the battlefield again, he glimpsed Clark passing through a series of portals and rifts, appearing and disappearing and reappearing all over the battlefield.
O'Neill gaped as Clark hurled Jaffa, Klingons, stormtroopers, and assorted super-villains through the air. That is, whatever pocket of air existed on the asteroid, meteor, or other chunk of flying rock he happened to be on.
Each figure Clark tossed up in the air was caught up in a TASER blast and sent back to the universe he/she/it belonged in. Each forcible return was accompanied by a squealing-whirring almost screaming noise. Along with the scream of the invader. Or “displaced person.”
O”Neill started slightly as Clark suddenly appeared next to him once again.
“Guardian told me when and where we should meet again later,” Clark said. “I sent you a text.”
“That was fast,” O'Neill said.
Clark shrug-grinned. “I'm fast.”
As Clark spoke, a Gremlin and a giant tribble suddenly appeared behind him. Turning swiftly, Clark grabbed the creatures and hurled them into Carter's line of fire. They promptly vanished with a great “pop” as well as the scream-whir-squeal commotion.
As Carter grinned and nodded, Clark grinned in return. Just before he vanished. Noiselessly.
“No 'whoosh' that time,” O'Neill noted.
“No, sir,” Carter said with a smile. “No 'whoosh.'”
“Are we done yet?” Daniel asked.
“Getting there,” Bruce said. With bat-shaped boomerangs at his side, each one bearing a small glowing-gold dome, Bruce fired his own TASER.
“A gun that does some good,” he said grimly. “Ironic.”
“It is that,” Daniel agreed.
As Carter and O'Neill simultaneously fired their weapons, Bruce had to shout to be heard over the sudden increased noise. “Here's an experience I'll never forget.”
“You'd be surprised,” Daniel said.
“Let's get this done,” O'Neill shouted.
“Right with you, sir,” Carter shouted back.
“As am I once again.”
“Teal'c,” O'Neill said. “Didn't see you there.” Hands behind his back, Teal'c bowed slightly at the waist. Then he picked up a weapon.. “Lock and load!” O”Neill yelled.
“Indeed,” from Teal'c.
As he fired his TASER, O'Neill thought how his team, SG-1, had been in many battles before. But this time they were not only trying to save multiple universes: they were in a battle for all of reality itself.
Heavy stuff. Like O'Neill had asked before: Was it really fair for the Q and the ascended Ancients to put all this on their shoulders?
A SMALLVILLE/STARGATE/STAR TREK ADVENTURE
HOW TO ATTACK CLARK KENT AND SG-1
A dark portal opened in the loft of the Kent barn. Or at least what looked like the loft in the Kent barn.
Two figures stepped out. As the portal closed with a quiet sucking-whooshing noise, the tall bearded man, pulsating with black energy, looked around.
He turned to the silver android with the glowing red eyes.
“Find them,” he said.
“That's just how I feel,” Daniel Jackson said as he squinted slightly and held two hands parallel to each other. “What do you think?”
“I don't know, Daniel,” Colonel Jack O'Neill said casually as he munched on oatmeal. “I wasn't listening the first time.”
As Daniel looked around uncertainly at the others, they all ate in silence.
Clark Kent and members of SG-1 all sat at a large table in the kitchen of the Kent farm. Or at least a room designed to look like the kitchen from the home of Jonathan, Martha, and Clark Kent.
“Why did the Q and the Ancients make this place anyway?” O'Neill grumbled.
“Jack, we've been through this,” Daniel said. “We may have been given the stamina of cosmic beings. But we still need rest and relaxation.”
“That's another thing,” O'Neill said. “If I'm a cosmic being, why don't I have silver skin and a surfboard?”
“You're not a cosmic being,” Daniel said with slight impatience. “You're just like a cosmic being.”
O'Neill's look was almost that of a hurt child. “I still want silver skin and a surfboard. Otherwise, what's the point in being a cosmic being? Where's the fun in that?”
Inwardly, Daniel sighed. Jack was definitely suffering time-sickness from too many time-jumps. The best thing to do was just try to talk to him, even if it meant explaining things he already knew.
“So why did the Q and the Ancients make this place?” O'Neill asked.
“I believe the Ancients and the Q understand we have a need for the familiar,” Teal'c said.
“Just like the Guardian does,” Sam Beckett said.
“I like it,” Clark Kent said quietly. Though a very large young man, Clark had a voice that was slightly high-pitched.
O'Neill made a face. “Yeah, of course you do, Clark. You've got a room that looks like your room back home. I get to stay in my quarters at Cheyenne Mountain.” Looking slightly disgusted, he let his spoon fall and clatter. “I mean, is it too much to ask that if you're out saving the universe---”
“Multiple universes, really, sir,” Samantha Carter said as she spooned her scrambled eggs. .
“Yes. Exactly, Carter. We're out saving multiple universes. Like we have been for a while now. Would it be too much to ask to come home to something other than this?” He waved his hand around the room. “No offense to you or your wonderful family, Clark.”
“None taken,” Clark said. “I get it. I'd like to go home for real, too.”
“We all would,” Daniel said.
Teal'c spoke without looking up. “I would point out that unlike most of you I have been away from my home world Chulak for quite some time.” The Jaffa warrior carefully cut his steak.
“And I've been leaping around into other people's lives for I don't know how long,” Beckett said.
“That's different, Beckett,” O'Neill said. “You choose to do that. You can leap home any time. You weren't drafted by some talking time-machine from 'Star Trek.'”
“Actually, I was,” Beckett said.
For a moment, O'Neill looked uncertain. Then: “Okay. Bad example.” He pointed to the devices sitting on the table. “And why this?” Scowling slightly, he held up a phaser. “If this if technology from the Q and the Ancients, why does it look like stuff from 'Star Trek?'”
“Because Starfleet, especially Starfleet in the time of Captain Kirk, is central to the Prime Universe,” Daniel said. “Just like the Prime Universe is central to the multiple universes. So the phasers and the tricorders pay tribute to Starfleet and Captain Kirk.”
“Besides, sir, I find the tricorders very helpful,” Carter said.
Amidst the clatter of silverware, O'Neill sulked in silence. But not for long.
“The whole thing is stupid,” he said.
As the tall bearded man strode through the facility known as “Home Base,” he noted there were rooms that .looked like parts of the Kent farm and the Talon. The infirmary looked like Sick Bay aboard the U.S..S. Enterprise from the time of James T. Kirk. No Doctor McCoy, however.
Parts of the facility looked like the inside of Cheyenne Mountain, especially the Gate Room. Unlike the base for Stargate Command, however, this Cheyenne Mountain had no guards.
Silly humans. What were they thinking? For the matter, what were the Q and the ascended Ancients thinking?
They were thinking no one would ever find this place, that's what. But their lord, his lord, had become powerful enough to do almost anything. Unlike those on the other side who only grew weaker.
Now where had his robot friend run off to? What was he up to?
With any luck he had already taken out SG-1 and that Beckett character.
I'll take out Clark Kent myself, the bearded man thought as his eyes glowed black. I'll destroy the one who brings the Light.
“Oh, here we go again,” Daniel said.
“Seriously,” O'Neill said. “Where do the Q and the Ancients get off putting all this on our shoulders anyway?”
“Jack, can we not do this again?”
“No, Daniel, we can't. Because after helping the Sliders fend off an invasion of Time-Blasters on their world , I'm pretty tired of all this.”
“I thought meeting Jack Bauer was pretty cool,” Clark said quietly.
O'Neill ignored the comment. “The whole situation is crazy. The rogue Q have an all-powerful insane Joker on their side.”
“He's not all-powerful,” Daniel said quietly. “He just has Q-like powers and abilities.”
“The guy can alter entire universes, for crying out loud.”
“Actually, sir, just parts of universes,” Carter said.
“Around Target Zero,” Daniel said.
“The critical focal point of a universe,” Beckett said.
“It is still most disturbing,” Teal'c said and munched on steak. .
“Oh, yeah, Teal'c. It's disturbing. It is that.” O'Neill shook his head. “So they've got this insane powerful Joker. And what have we got on our side? A talking time-machine.” O'Neill waved a hand at his head. “And he talks inside our heads now.”
“Jack, if you know anything about the Guardian, you know it normally doesn't do stuff like this. It's basically a portal that shows images from the past and allows people to pass through into other times.”
“Yes, Daniel. I know that. I've had every episode of 'Star Trek' downloaded into my brain. Remember? I know about the Guardian of Forever and Kirk and Spock and Edith Keeler and Abraham Lincoln and Surak and the 'kal-if-fee.' I know more than I want to know about 'Star Trek.' More than anyone should know. Even a Trekkie. ”
“Trekker,” Daniel said. “My point is the Guardian is doing things like this because the Q and the Ancients empowered it to.”
O'Neill put his hands up and rolled his eyes toward the ceiling. “And so we've got all these teams running around trying to save the universe.”
“Whatever. My point is: if they can hold entire universes together and stop time until we go home, why can't they take care of this themselves? Why do they need all these teams?”
“They're doing all the heavy lifting, Jack. Keeping the Joker from changing a bunch of universes all at once. It's because they're so busy doing that they need human agents to act through and with. That's why they've got all these teams running around trying to save multiple universes. Team MacGyver, for example. Headed up by Angus MacGyver, the team consists of Leonard Hofstadter, Sheldon Cooper, Howard Wolowitz, Raj Koothrappali, Archie Andrews, Frank Castle, and two Cosmic Men in Black who keep watch while the team connects space-time tunnels so we can go anywhere any time to fix altered timelines.”
O'Neill knew many shades of looking annoyed. This was one of them. “Daniel, I know all that.”
Dropping his spoon, Daniel took a deep breath. “And you also know that I've been downloaded with the Background.” Daniel spoke in a tone that was both bored and annoyed. “When you mention a subject like oh say the Guardian or the altered-timeline/altered-universe-protection-teams it's much like calling up a search engine. Basically I'm a human search engine now. Verbally I download all the information related to the subject you ask about while still remaining essentially myself much as I'm doing now. So on Team MacGyver Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, and Raj are from the TV series on another world called 'The Big Bang Theory'---”
As Daniel went on, Clark leaned in toward O'Neill. “You know, sir---” O'Neill made a face. “Sorry. Colonel. Mister O'Neill? Uh, Jack. My dad always says when things are tough, you just gotta try to hang in there.”
“Yeah?” O'Neill said. “Well, I bet Jonathan Kent never had to go up against an insane all-powerful Joker, did he?”
“Q-like abilities,” Daniel said loudly. “And I'm done talking about Team MacGyver.” He went back to eating.
Briefly O'Neill gave Daniel a look then focused again on Clark. “And your dad never had to put up with Q. Or Trelayne. Or that other fellow. Mister Mixed-up-puddle-lick.”
“Mxyzptlk, sir,” Carter said.
O'Neill gave her a look. “No one likes a show-off, Carter. “
“Yeah, Sam,” Beckett said with a grin. “You don't always have to be the smartest know-it-all teacher's pet in the room.”
Carter made a face. “What does that mean?”
Beckett shrugged. “Just something I remember from when I leaped into Davis Bloome.”
Carter rose. “I'm going to get an espresso.”
As Carter left the room, the others continued to eat. O”Neill turned back to Clark. “The thing is, Clark, your dad may be very wise. But he hasn't had to go up against some of these guys.”
Clark grinned. “Maybe not. But recently he was given powers by someone. And he had to go up against....someone else.”
In the next room, Carter headed for the espresso machine at the center of the Talon Room, holding out her cup as she did.
“Samantha Carter?” a robotic voice said.
Whirling, Carter pointed her phaser.
Too late. Carter was down.
Its metal feet stomping loudly, the Terminator headed for the other room.
“What was that?” O'Neill said as he rose and grabbed the Restart Device.
That was when the Terminator walked into the room.
At that point everyone was already standing. But it didn't matter. The Terminator fired a Romulan disruptor.
O'Neill was the first to go down, the Restart Device clattering to the floor. Teal'c fired his staff weapon to no effect. Relentlessly, the Terminator fired the disruptor, and one by one, they all went down.
All except for Clark, of course. The Teen of Steel quickly rushed over and punched the Terminator, sending him into the next room. There Clark punched him some more then tore off his limbs, turning the silver android into scrap metal.
After he ripped the Terminator's head off, he stomped on it until the glowing red eyes went out. He then used his heat vision to turn the metal remains into slag.
As smoke rose from the floor, a glaring Clark gasped heavily. He didn't just heat-ray the Terminator to be safe. He did it because he was mad. His new friends were all dead.
Clark quickly rushed over to where O'Neill lay fallen and took the device from the floor.
He pressed “Restart.” In an instant, he was gone. Vanished.
He never saw the man who walked into the room. The bearded man who glowed black.
“Jack, can we not do this again?” Daniel said wearily.
“No, Daniel, We can't. Because after helping the Sliders fend off an invasion of Time-Blasters on their world---.””
Clark burst into the room. A second Clark.
“Guys?” he said. “You were all just killed by a Terminator.”
“A Terminator found its way in here?” O'Neill said.
Clark took off at super-speed. The other remaining Clark sat at the table.
“You know,” he said, “I never quite get used to that.”
“Me neither,” O'Neill said. “One minute you're eating. Next minute some other you runs in to warn you about the future.”
From outside the room came the sounds of a huge commotion, almost like a car being compacted in a junkyard. Only louder and more violent.
After the noise stopped, the other Clark walked back into the room.
“Hey, Clark,” O'Neill said. “Other Clark. How's that Terminator doing?”
“He's toast,” Clark said with a smile.
“I don't get it,” Carter said. “What was the Joker thinking? He could have armed the Terminator with a phaser set on kill and disintegrated the Restart Device.” ”
“It's like what the Joker usually does,” Daniel said. “Just tries to distract us, annoy us.”
“Throw us off balance,” Teal'c said.
With a big smile, Clark held out the device. “You want to do the honors, Jack?”
“With pleasure, my boy,” O'Neill said as he accepted the device.
He pressed “Wipe.”
Clark grinned. “Recently he was give powers by someone and had to take on....someone else.”
Clark suddenly gasped and clutched his head.
“Clark, what is it?” Carter asked.
“Altered timeline,” Clark said. “Small one. But I've got one of those headaches. From, you know, using the Restart Device.”
“Oh, man,” O'Neill said. “I hate those headaches. They're worse than an ice cream headache.”
“Well, whatever went wrong, it's taken care of now,” Beckett said.
“'It' may be taken care of,” someone said. “But that's not the end of your troubles.”
They all rose, Teal's with his staff weapon in hand. The bearded man standing in the kitchen entrance pulsated with black energy. He held out his hand, and all the devices on the table went flying.
“Lionel Luthor?” O'Neill said.
“He appears to be possessed by Darkseid,” Teal'c said. He fired his Jaffa weapon. No effect. Ir was like it was simply absorbed by the black energy that pulsated around the man.
If he felt anything from the staff weapon fire, Lionel-Darkseid showed no reaction.
“If it is Darkseid,” Daniel said, “this Clark is probably too young to take him on.”
“Oh, I am Darkseid,” the bearded one said in a raspy voice. “And I have come to destroy the one who brings the Light.”
He pointed his hands and black energy shot out, engulfing SG-1. . They fell to the floor writhing and groaning.
Only Clark remained standing. Lionel-Darkseid pointed a hand and Clark went flying. Through a wall. Right into the next room.
That room looked like the inside of the Talon.
There the two brawled, grunting and groaning, knocking over tables. Black energy firing, Clark crying out at one point.
“I will extinguish the Light!” Lionel-Darkseid shouted in an eerie vibrating voice
More gasping and groaning and crashing into walls.
Until finally Clark was fallen.
O'Neill looked through the hole in the wall.
“No, no, no!” he shouted.
As O'Neill held up the Restart Device, Lionel-Darkseid responded in Lionel's voice. “No, no, no, no, NO!”
O'Neill pressed “Restart.”
Clark grinned. “Recently someone gave him powers and he had to take on....someone else.”
O'Neill walked into the room. Another O'Neill.
“Okay, listen up,” the other O'Neill said. “We've got a Lionel Luthor possessed by Darkseid.”
“That doesn't sound good,” Daniel said as they all rose.
“We need to think of some strategy,” other-O'Neill said.
Past/original O'Neill held up a finger. “How about something from 'Scooby Doo?'” he suggested.
When Lionel-Darkseid entered the “Kent kitchen,” he found it empty. So he blasted a hole in the wall and stepped into the “Talon room.”
There he saw human figures darting to and fro. He fired black energy all around the room, missed each time. Someone yelped.
Someone popped up from behind the service counter.
O'Neill fired his phaser but Lionel-Darkseid sidestepped the beam...
Lionel-Darkseid snorted in Lionel's voice. “What are you thinking, Colonel O'Neill?”
O”Neill continued to fire while Lionel-Darkseid continued to dodge. “You're going to use a phaser on me?”
Clark and Teal'c grabbed him from behind and held him in place. “Even if your phaser is set on kill, it will be no more effective than this Jaffa's staff weapon would be.”
O'Neill fired the weapon, and Lionel-Darkseid vanished. Silently. Noiselessly.
“No portal, no big noise, nothing,” O'Neill said.
“Indeed,” Teal'c said.
“It may look like a simple phaser,” Daniel said.
O'Neill briefly examined it. “But it actually sends---what do you call them?”
“Displaced persons,” Clark said.
“Or invaders,” Teal'c added.,
“Yeah, those,” O”Neill said. “Sends them back where they belong.” He looked around at the others. “Best to make the speeches and explanations after the villain is gone. In fact, he made a classic villain mistake. Talking when he should have been acting.”
“That's the thing about evil,” Daniel said. “It's not too bright. Think there were two Death Stars in the 'Star Wars' movies because writers have no imagination? It's because evil isn't good at thinking up new ideas. Just same old, same old.”
“Like the Joker borrowing people from alternate futures,” Teal'c said. “As he often does.”
“But that was close,” Beckett said. “I tried to leap into him but the black energy just repelled me.”
“It was clever, though,” Teal'c said.
“Actually, it wasn't,” Carter said. “The Joker could have armed the Terminator with a phaser set on 'kill.' That way he'd disintegrate the Restart Device.”
“Perhaps the Joker was trying to probe us for weaknesses,” Teal'c suggested.
“Guys?” other-O'Neill said. “You forgot about me.”
Original O'Neill pressed “Wipe.” Other-O'Neill was gone.
Crossing his arms, Daniel looked very serious. “In a way, though, it was a good move. Sending Darkseid after a young Clark Kent.”
“Yeah, see, that's what I mean,” O'Neill said. “Why couldn't the Guardian send us a full-fledged Superman?”
“Ixnay on the Superman, Jack,” Daniel muttered.
“Instead he sends us the teenybopper version. No offense there, Clark.”
“None taken,” Clark said with a confused twist of his eyebrows. “Who's Superman?”
“No one,” O'Neill said.
“O-kay.” Clark shrug-smiled. “My dad says even when you lose you learn important life lessons.”
“It is true that a warrior tested in battle becomes stronger,” Teal'c said.
“Maybe that's what this is all about,” Carter said.
“Could be, Sam,” Daniel said.
“Or maybe the Joker did this to think up some new strategy,” O'Neill said.
“If that's true, Jack I don't get it,” Beckett said. “It's like Daniel said, evil is stupid. And the Joker is really stupid. He's not exactly the kind of guy who thinks about strategy. I”m thinking he must be working with someone else. Besides the rogue Q.”
That was when Clark vanished.
Clark found himself in a great white glowing void.
Only he was not alone.
A man grabbed him by the shoulders. A dark-haired man with a wild-eyed look and lines under his eyes.
“Did he do this?” the man asked in a raspy frantic voice. “That Vulcan devil. That monster.”
Before Clark could respond, another man stepped into view. He had pointed ears.
Tall. Dark-haired. Grim-looking with sharp eyebrows.
And he held out a metal wand.
There was a bright red flash.
After that, for Clark, nothing.
Clark, surrounded by SG-1, shook his head.
“What happened?” he asked.
“You vanished,” Daniel said. “Where were you?”
“No idea,” Clark gasped. “Don't remember a thing.”
Carter held out a whirring tricorder. “Sir, according to my readings, Clark's been displaced.”
Daniel frowned. “So basically from time to time he'll disappear into alternate worlds, dimensions between worlds, alternate timelines.”
“That doesn't sound fun,” Clark said with a groan.
Daniel folded his arms. “There's no cure for displacement. But your disappearances will be brief.”
“Still not fun,” Clark said.
“So that's what the Joker was up to,” Beckett said. “Getting Clark displaced. One more problem for us.”
Daniel shook his head. “With the Joker, there's always another surprise. You have to constantly be on guard.”
Carter looked shocked. “There's a time ripple headed our way. The energy signature. It doesn't match the ones from the Guardian.”
“The Joker,” Beckett said.
In the next moment, it was like he world around them turned upside-down, and then they stood in a desert with large rock walls on the horizon and warm desert air all around them.
“So where are we?” Daniel asked.
Carter checked her tricorder. “It's the planet of the Guardian of Forever.”
“Ah, home sweet home,” O”Neill said.
Carter looked shocked again. “Daniel, look at the stardate.”
When Daniel looked, he frowned. “That's the exact time Kirk, Spock, and McCoy visit the planet.” As he spoke, two figures walked toward them. One dressed in a gold shirt, the other in blue. “Oh, this is not good.”
“What's the problem?” O”Neill said. “We're in the Prime Universe. Like you always say, Daniel, things don't have to play out there like they do on television.”
“Yeah, but we need to be very careful,” Daniel said. “Just in case.”
“I need to go,” Clark said and walked off.
“Couldn't we just hide behind these painted styrofoam rocks?” O'Neill asked. He made a face as he looked around. “Explain to me again why the rocks look like painted styrofoam? And why the colors are so bright.”
“Q did that,” Daniel said. “Now's not the time, Jack.”
“Q? Well, I'm pretty sick of him and that Trelayne and that other guy. Mister Mixed-up-puddle-lick.”
Daniel grimaced. It was obvious Jack was still suffering from time-sickness. That explained the irritation he showed at Home Base and the way he was repeating himself now. They just had to try to get through this.
As the two figures in gold and blue drew closer, O'Neill went on. “And let me make one thing clear:: I am not some character on a TV show. I'm real. I exist.”
“Of course you do, sir,” Carter said.
“The TV script writers simply received visions or impressions of you,” Daniel muttered. “Let's talk about this later, Jack.”
Kirk and Spock were very close now.
“Hello,” Kirk said. “I'm Captain James T. Kirk of the starship Enterprise.”
“So you are,” O”Neill said. Daniel wondered if he would have to gag him.
Kirk gestured with his thumb. “This is my science officer Mister Spock.”
“Howdy,” O'Neill said with a sideways wave. “This is Beckett.” O”Neill gestured toward his team member dressed in white. “Have you met Beckett? Everyone, this is Beckett.”
“Our friend is a little sick,” Daniel explained.
“So is ours,” Kirk said. “Have you seen a dark-haired man, blue tunic?” He gestured to his own gold shirt.
“Doesn't sound familiar,” O'Neill said. “A lot of guys pass through here.”
“He would be acting most irrationally,” Spock said.
“Nope,” O'Neill said. “Nice meeting you, though.” He gave another sideways wave. “See ya.”
“The reason we didn't show up as life signs on your planet sensors,” Daniel said, “is we just got here. We're only passing through.”
“Understood,” Spock said.
“Love your work,” O'Neill said. “Both of you.”
As Kirk frowned, Spock gave a stone-cold stare. Then the two men nodded and turned away. They began moving in the opposite direction, with the Guardian of Forever visible in the distance.
Daniel breathed a sigh of relief.
“I wouldn't go over there if I were you,” O'Neill said loudly.
Kirk and Spock turned and looked back. Frowning, Daniel shook his head at Jack.
Making a face, the colonel waved his hand dismissively. “You know what? Never mind. Forget I said anything.”
The two men stared. That was when Clark returned.
“Clark,” O'Neill said with a slight backward tilt of his head, as if he were mildly surprised. “This is Captain Kirk and Mister Spock.”
“Hey, guys,” Clark said and lifted his hand in a frozen wave. But he also looked at Daniel and frowned a little.
“I'll explain later,” Daniel said.
Kirk and Spock stared for a moment then turned and walked away.
“Well,” O'Neill said. “That went well, I thought. Now when's the Guardian sending us a time ripple to get us out of here?”
Daniel watched as Kirk and Spock moved closer to the Guardian of Forever. “It's kind of a sad situation.”
“You mean Doctor McCoy hopped up on cordrazene?” O'Neill asked.
Daniel nodded. “He goes through the Guardian of Forever, ends up in the past, saves a woman named Edith Keeler.”
“Yeah,” Beckett said. “And then when Kirk and Spock go back to find him....”
“They discover a woman named Edith Keeler has to die,” Carter said sadly.
“Otherwise, Germany rules the world,” Teal'c said.
“Captain Kirk has to let her be hit by a truck,” O'Neill said quietly. “I wouldn't want to make a command decision like that.”
“No one would,” Daniel said. “Kirk almost left Starfleet because of it.”
A vision unfolded in their minds, a vision from the Download: In that vision, Edith Keeler, dressed in a white hat and long dark blue dress, held her hands up as a truck hit her.
“Let's have a moment of silence,” O'Neill said somberly.
They all bowed their heads. Clark kept his eyes open.
There was silence.
When the others lifted their heads, Clark smiled but when he talked he sounded a little defiant.
“If I was there,” he said, “I would have done something.”
Realizing Clark was suffering temporary shock from displacement, Daniel patted him on the shoulder. “It's the toughest part of our job, Clark. Not only do we have to let things happen sometimes we have to arrange for bad things to happen all over again.”
The world twisted around again, and they were back at Home Base.
“Pack your gear,” O'Neill said. “We're not staying here. At least not now.”
Wordlessly, three team members scrambled. Three remained in the Kent kitchen.
“It's our job, Clark,” Daniel said.
“It's what we do,” O'Neill said.
Clark gave O'Neill and Daniel a look then left without a word.
“There's possible trouble,” Daniel said.
“He'll get over it,” O'Neill said. “I did.”
“He's a teenager.”
“Just another reason we should have Superman,” O'Neill said. “The real-deal Superman. Not Superman-in-training.”
Together they headed for their quarters.
“I'm a little worried,” Daniel said. “The moment when Edith Keeler dies is Target Zero for the Prime Universe. The Joker will probably try to breach it again.”
“The Joker's always trying something,” O'Neill grumbled.
“I just hope our brief meeting with Kirk and Spock didn't change anything,” Daniel said.
“Relax, Daniel,” O'Neill said. “What could possibly go wrong?”
“And so in conclusion, I would assure you the future looks bright.”
As Jim Kirk concluded his speech in the gymnasium of Smallville High, the audience rose to applaud. Only to be interrupted by the sharp crack of rifle fire.
As Jim Kirk fell and audience members screamed, Principal Kwan and Chloe rushed to Kirk's side. In the commotion, no one saw or heard one gym door slam shut.
Outside that door, a dark-haired young man carrying a rifle ran only a short distance before he jumped into the back of a Daily Planet delivery truck.
The door slammed shut. The young man put his rifle on a counter. Inside the truck were monitors and control panels. At the center of it was a large black woman with an ominous smile. .
“Nice work, Agent McNulty,” she said.
The dark features of Van McNulty were, as usual, twisted up with anger and hate. He was thinking how Waller was just amazingly fat. But even as the truck began to move and Van had to grab on to the top of a control panel, he still managed to voice his hate.
“If there's one thing I hate worse than a freak-lover,” he said, “it's a war-lover.”
A figure stepped out of a dark corner. With his thin dark beard and thick dark eyebrows, he looked like a cartoon drawing of Satan brought to life.
“Amanda Waller,” he said in a cool voice. “Mister McNulty. You have done well.”
“Thank you, Lord Baal,” Waller said with a slight bow of her head. Van simply scowled.
Baal smirked. “My kingdom has been a long time in the making. It may take many more years still. But when it comes to fruition, you will both have places at my side. Even now you will have some power as members of Checkmate. Now that Jim Kirk is gone as a possible threat, I give you that power. But later you will be given even more power..”
Baal brought his hands up in a sweeping motion, the way someone would when encouraging someone else to breathe.
“I will lift you up high,” he assured them.