Jack left the elevator on his way to see Hammond, then Daniel, but ran into Fraiser before he could see the General.
“Colonel, I was just on my way to find you.”
“Forgive the phrase, but what’s up, Doc?”
She gave him a brief smile. “Yes, like I’ve never heard that one before.” She paused for a two-count, then said, “Daniel’s in Isolation room three. We don’t have private rooms, so an Iso room is the best we can do.”
“What’s happened?” Jack asked, humor evaporated.
“The lifeboat situation, sir. The headache caused a cascade of migraines, one after another. You can go see him, but you have to keep your voice low and talk to him in the dark. I’ve increased his medication but I’m waiting on authorization for a new one.”
Jack nodded. “Okay. I can go see him now?”
She nodded. “Was just on my way there.”
He followed her back to the elevator and up to Level 21 where the medical Iso wards section of Stargate Command were now housed.
“Why not Peterson’s hospital?” Jack asked, referring to the ground-level airbase.
“Because it’s less painful to stay here. Traveling there would only cause undue pain and stress. We’re almost finished with the renovations and additions. Right now, we’re better equipped than a hospital. We’re better able to cope with the unexpected, never mind that we technically don’t exist. It’s always been a delicate dance, having our people treated there. Now we don’t have to worry about it. But we still don’t have private rooms, which is why he’s in the Iso room.”
“Why not his VIP room?” Jack asked as the elevator doors opened.
“He needs monitoring,” Fraiser said as they left the car, but Jack stopped walking and touched her arm.
“Explain that please?”
“The migraines he suffers from can easily cause an aneurysm. He has to be close to the medical equipment and the ORs.”
“Got it,” Jack said.
They walked in silence to the Iso room and Jack left his phone in a dish outside Daniel’s room, just in case he got a call. In a quiet environment, the cellphone might trigger a pain spike.
“I’ll give you a minute then I’ll come in,” she told him.
He gave her a grim smile. “Thanks, Doc.”
He opened the door and entered, making sure to keep the door open only enough to slide past. At least the lights were off in the corridor outside, but the residual light from the down the hall might pose a problem so it was better to err on the side of caution.
“Hey,” he whispered.
“Hey,” Daniel whispered back as he covered his eyes. “Sorry to spoil our plans.”
“Whatever, man,” Jack said.
Daniel wanted to sit up but his neck muscles were sore from spasms that had finally abated. He didn’t want to risk activating another round. A low-wattage blue light at the foot of his bed gave them all the illumination they were going to get. Jack rolled a stool over and sat down beside the bed.
“On the upside, the cameras can’t see shit. On the downside, the audio still works.”
“You worried about a little tête-à-tête getting recorded?” Daniel sighed as his forehead twinged. “Dammit.”
Jack raised a brow. “A, no. B, what’s dammit?”
“Talking. Can’t do it long.” He paused. “Short spurts. Few . . . syllables.”
Jack sighed. “So much for asking questions. Well, no. Scratch that. I can ask. But if I wait for the optimum time for an answer, will you even remember the answer.”
“Do you remember anything while you were possessed?”
Daniel cracked a smile. “Yes. Possessed?”
Jack shrugged. “If the personality fits, Daniel.”
Daniel smiled wider. “Funny. Cue surprised.”
“Bite me,” Jack mock-scowled.
“In. Due. Time.”
It was Jack’s turn to smile widely. “Promise?”
Daniel only nodded.
There was a beep at the door and Fraiser came in.
“I have a new medicine.”
The light from the hall made Daniel wince and he put an arm over his face. She nodded as she walked over to Daniel. “Sorry about that, Daniel.” He grunted a discontented reply. She pulled an alcohol packet out of her pocket, tore it open, and rubbed it over the spot of shoulder Daniel wasn’t using to cover his eyes. She then withdrew a hypodermic needle filled with three millimeters of amber liquid.
“A shot?” Jack asked.
“Newest medicine on the market.”
Daniel held up his free hand to block the shot. “Trials?”
“Yes, I made sure the trials and protocols were legit. The typical side effects are a sore arm, like you get with a vaccine shot. There may be nausea and drowsiness. Less often side-effects are blurred vision, halo effects, mild hallucinations. Unusual side-effects are an irregular heartbeat, sweating, vomiting, and—”
“Diarrhea,” they all said together.
She nodded. “But this shot can’t be administered twice in three days. It puts a strain on the liver.”
“Not the kidneys?” Jack asked.
“No, surprisingly. Okay?” she asked Daniel.
“Okay,” he said, dropping his arm to relax the deltoid.
“It’ll sting, then burn for about twenty seconds,” she warned. “Pain should begin to fade within sixty seconds. Full effect in ten. I want you to keep your eyes closed, but unhindered.” Daniel only nodded as he complied. “You see the light through your eyelids?” He nodded. “Pain?” He held up his thumb and forefinger a quarter of an inch apart. “This is a fairly quick monitoring process. Open your eyes only when you notice the pain fading.” He gave her a thumbs-up. His neck was aching at the base of his skull.
“It does?” she asked, surprised. “Do you have a heating pad in here?”
Janet went to the intercom and flipped a switch, then punched in four numbers.
“Nurse Campbell,” came the reply.
“Shawna, it’s Fraiser. Send a heat pack to Iso room 4 for Doctor Jackson. ASAP.”
“Yes, ma’am. On the way.”
Janet nodded and flipped the switch back in its system-wide position. “Be about two minutes.”
“You’re not giving him the shot ‘til then?” Jack asked.
“No. Pain issues unrelated to the migraine need to be corrected before administering the shot.”
“Isn’t his neck ache part of the migraine?” Jack asked.
“Happens every time,” Daniel said.
“It does?” Janet asked. “Hmm. I’d guess that it’s the excitement of the muscles. You tense up when the pain starts. It’s not directly a side effect.”
“It isn’t?” Daniel asked, surprised. “I’ve always gotten them.”
“Understandable, Daniel, but think back. Do you remember getting spasms or an ache the first time you had a migraine?”
Daniel frowned. “Can’t remember. Pain blocking it.”
“Blocking your ability to focus?” Thumbs-up. “That’s to be expected. We’ll go with standard monitoring procedure.”
“Doc,” Jack began. “Do you think he’ll retain memories of the others?”
Her eyebrows rose. “He isn’t supposed to retain anything. His consciousness was blocked off to protect itself. Do you remember?” she asked Daniel.
“Not . . .” He held up his hand and waggled it.
“We’ll do the Q & A later then.”
They waited. After an interminable three minutes, a nurse, presumably Shawna, arrived with a flat white box. She handed it to Fraiser and left. The doctor opened the box and withdrew a flat pack, ripped it open, and unpeeled the backing. “Turn on your side,” she told Daniel and pressed the heat pack to the back of his neck below the hairline. “The only way to apply this to the muscles above this spot is to shave your head.”
Daniel turned to lay on his back as he rubbed the heat pack. “I’ll use my heating pad when I get home.”
“I can give you muscle relaxers,” she offered.
“No, they’ll mess with my thinking.”
She nodded and held up the syringe. “Ready?” He nodded and she gave him the shot.
Daniel hissed at the burning, which dissipated after several seconds but his arm was sore. He didn’t feel anything else but the head pain and the heat pack.
“Side Effects?” she asked.
“Not yet,” he said and realized that talking no longer hurt. “It’s working.”
“What do you feel?”
“It’s not hurting me to talk.”
“Open your eyes.”
He did, and with no pain accompanying the light from the door, he gingerly sat up.
“Easy now. Blurred vision? Halos?” she asked.
Daniel shook his head, but then a reddish-orange light began to form around objects in the room. Around Jack and Janet, the light was blue. “Heh. I see your auras.”
“Halos?” Janet asked. He nodded, then reached out to pass his hand over her and found that it too was surrounded by a blue halo. “Weird,” he said, staring at his hand. “Blue halo. Same for you guys. Objects have orange halos.”
Janet began frowning as he spoke, but it disappeared with a widening of her eyes. Whenever she did that, Daniel thought of deer and headlights. “What?”
Her eyelids returned to normal and her expression was thoughtful. “Maybe it’s a side-effect from the mind scanner.”
“What?” Daniel asked echoing Jack.
“What you’re seeing is not normal, even among the abnormal side-effects.
“Dangerous?” Jack asked, worried.
“Not that I’m aware. The halo side-effect that I mentioned is a state where everything has a brightness around the edges. There are no recordings for the type of halos Daniel’s describing.”
Daniel stared at his hand, palm facing him. “So it could be the mind scanner causing this?”
“That’s my supposition,” Janet said. To Jack, she added, “Colonel, I’d like you to be at his side for the next twelve hours, sleep-depending. Record any additional side-effects not listed. You’ll find those online. The name of the medicine is Endesoprin.” She touched Daniel’s elbow. “Your arm’ll be sore for about an hour. I’m glad it’s working.” She left.
“Endesoprin,” Jack sounded out. “Sounds like it has aspirin in it.”
“Maybe,” Daniel said, staring at him. A slow smile spread over his face as he imagined that blue halo on other parts of the anatomy. “You know. I’m thinking maybe I can have the first-ever glowing blow job.”
Jack grinned. “Nice. Giving or receiving?” he asked as he grabbed Daniel’s jacket.
“Go for broke,” Daniel said, not seeing the light in Jack’s eyes. When he turned around after putting on the jacket, he did. “Both?”
“A man after my own heart.”
“Man, you’re easy.”
“Bring it,” Jack said. He suddenly took Daniel in his arms and hugged him.
“Not that I mind,” Daniel said against his neck, “but what’s this for?”
“Not dying. Again.”
Daniel squeezed him, then stepped out of the embrace. “Yeah, me too. And if I could give you this halo business without the process that came with it, I would.” He paused, then added, “unless you’d like to go old-school criminal and hunt down some acid.”
Jack made a face. “Are you insane? I’d end up seeing you as a giant birthday cake. Not a good idea. Eating you would become a problem.”
Daniel sniggered. “Pot then? It’s legal.”
“Not for federal employees.”
Daniel growled. “Always a catch.”
“Always a catch. Now let’s stop talking and get to doing.”
“Bring it,” Daniel said, smiling.
“Is there an echo in here?” Jack asked they left the office.
Daniel smacked him on the ass just as a couple of airmen walked by. Their surprise turned into smirks.
“One word and those performance reviews will be negative,” Jack growled. The airmen hurried down the corridor, eyes front.
“You’re horrible,” Daniel said as they walked toward the elevator.
“Yeah? Then take my mind off it.”
In the elevator, Daniel grabbed him and kissed him, despite the cameras. Jack was going to push him away but a huge part of him that was more concerned with Daniel being okay whispered, “Fuck it. Best way to re-retire.” He kissed Daniel back with gusto, including sliding both hands down his back to grab his tight derriere. The response from Daniel was worth it.
When the expected punishment didn’t arrive days later, Jack was almost disappointed. But it gave him wonderful ideas.