"Oh for cryiní out loud, Jacob, you told a teenager?!"
Dumbfounded, Jack OíNeill gaped at the Tokíra standing in the
briefing room. "A *teenager*. There is a teenager running
around Kansas with full knowledge of the Gate and
"Donít forget Selmak." Jacob Carter responded with
a grin, entirely unruffled by the other manís reaction.
"Relax, Jack. Chloeís not just any teenager. Trust me, she
can handle this. She figured a good chunk of it out on her own
anyway and then kept after me until we told her. Selmak and I
agreed on it, Jack. She can handle the knowledge. Knows better
than to tell anybody."
From her position at her fatherís side, Sam nodded.
"Dadís right, Colonel. Chloe would never go or say anything
that would endanger Dad."
"Not a chance. Kidís too smart for that. Sheís my baby
sisterís kid, Jack...sheís trustworthy. Hell," Jacob
grinned, "Selmakís trying to convince me to let her recruit
Chloe. We turn her loose on the Goaíuld, theyíll be begging
for mercy inside of ten minutes."
His reaction settling, Jack grimaced, still quite unhappy with
the idea. "You shouldíve warned us first, Jacob. Given us
time to figure something out. Hammondís gonna have kittens over
"Nah, Iíll handle George." The former General
reassured. "Heís met Chloe a few times, knows the type of
kid she is. Relax, Jack, Iíve got it covered."
Jack gave him a look. "Oh yeah, reassured now after
hearing that which is known as the universal telltale precursor to
huge disasters. Just remember, when the worldís ending, I
warned you it was a bad idea."
"So, did your friend completely lose it when you told
him?" Opening her laptop, Chloe sat down on her cousinís
couch and put her feet up on the coffee table.
"A little." Jacob grinned, sitting down in one of the
arm chairs. "He settled down pretty quick though and when
George backed me up, he was fine. Well...still a little grouchy
about it. Jack hates surprises."
"But I can cancel the witness relocation right?" His
niece joked, opening a file on her computer.
"Yeah, sure. Save it for when you decide to take on some
"Got any in mind?" She asked, looking over with a
"No, Ďfraid not. Well...Not any youíd find on earth
anyway. Ask Sam when she gets back from the Mountain. Iíd say
sheís got a list a mile long." Getting up, Jacob moved to
the couch, leaning over to see the computer screen. "Whatcha
workiní on? New story for the paper?"
"Not exactly." She hedged, apprehensive.
"Actually, Uncle Jacob, I brought something and I was hoping
Selmak take a look at it for me."
"Oh yeah?" Surprised, he looked closer.
"Whatíve you got?"
Sucking in a quick breath, Chloe pulled up the picture sheíd
taken of the strange symbol which had appeared on the Kentsí
barn. "This. Does this look familiar?"
Beside her, Jacobís head dipped as seceded control of his
body to his symbiote. Selmak took a moment to examine the
photograph before nodding. "It does. It is Kryptonian."
The Tokíra sounded surprised, taking the laptop from the young
woman and surveying the picture. "How did this symbol come to
"The owners of the barn said there was some kind of fire
and when they put it out, thatís the shape the burn pattern
formed. They didnít know much more than that. They never saw how
the fire started apparently....Selmak, whatís Kryptonian?"
Chloe watched as the Tokíra in her uncleís body began to use
the computer, clicking through the rest of the images in the file.
"They were a very advanced race...their planet was
destroyed several decades ago, we had thought them all lost.
However, the appearance of this symbol would seem to dispute that
belief." Jacob emerged, turning his head to regard his niece
with some suspicion. "Thereís more to this, isnít there
Chloe? What arenít you telling us?"
She hesitated, pulling back a little. "Thereís nothing
else, Uncle Jacob, I promise...."
He frowned. "Youíre holding something back, Chloí... I
can tell. Care to share what it is?"
Chloe looked torn, she clearly wanted to tell him but she
reluctantly shook her head "Iím sorry, Uncle Jacob, I
canít do that." She shrugged a little. "I want to,
believe me, I do...but...I only have suspicions and half-formed
theories. I canít betray a confidence based on that." With
a wry smile, she couldnít resist adding, "Even if itís a
confidence I havenít officially been let in on yet."
"Chloe, if youíre protecting someone, you have to
understand. If theyíre Kryptonian, then they may very well be
the last survivor of their race...the only one who can possibly
tell us what happened...The Kryptonians were strong allies of the
Tokíra. It was a great loss to us when the planet was
destroyed." He leaned forward, meeting her apprehensive gaze.
"Chloe, if there is a Kryptonian on this planet, he or she is
unprotected. No one knows for sure what happened to Krypton but we
do know it must have happened very quickly if they didnít have
time to respond. They didnít even try to use the Stargate to
escape. Thereís always a chance that whatever happened was not
natural. The System Lords were pretty mad that the Kryptonians
were helping us, sometimes even sheltering us. If they were behind
the destruction of the planet and they find out thereís a
survivor...your friend could be in danger. Even here."
Chloe dropped her gaze, shaking her head again. "Iím
sorry...I canít." She pulled her legs up, hugging her knees
to her chest, resting her chin on one. "Uncle Jacob...do you
think Sam and your friends in Cheyenne Mountain can get us access
to a historical site in Smallville? There are some caves...Itís
tribal land and itís currently under the supervision of
LuthorCorp. But there are symbols in that cave that look like the
one that appeared on the Kentsí barn. If we could get in there
and you could take a look at them..."
Nodding, Jacob looked back to the computer. "I think we
could definitely swing that. Shouldnít be that hard."
His niece frowned a little. "It might not be as easy as
you think, Uncle Jacob...Lionel Luthorís a very dangerous man
and seriously lacking in a conscience. If he doesnít want to
give up those caves...heís not going to without a very messy
"Oh, donít you worry about that, Iíve handled
worse." Jacob frowned, watching Chloe carefully. "Is he
who youíre protecting our apparent Kryptonian refugee
from?" The guilty expression on her face answered that
question with crystal clarity. "I see."
"All Iím saying is...be careful." She insisted,
avoiding the issue. "I like Selmak...the idea of him ending
up his next lab experiment makes me sick." She hugged her
knees tighter, smiling faintly. "If your friend could do
something about him too....thatíd be great."
Jacob leaned over, pulling his niece into a hug. "Donít
you worry about him, Pumpkin....Iíll see to it Mr. Luthorís
taken care of. Iíll see to it everything is."
With her head resting against her uncleís shoulder, Chloe
didnít see the telltale movement that signaled Selmakís
emergence but she wasnít surprised by the Tokíraís voice as
he agreed, "Have no fear, Chloe. I can assure you that Lionel
Luthor has never before dealt with anything like us."
The teenager couldnít help the wicked little grin on her face
as she nodded. "Now that I believe."
"You ready for this?" Sam looked down at her cousin
as they emerged from the elevator onto Level 28.
"In theory...No." Chloe responded with a shaky smile.
"But, itís not what you think. I mean, the whole Stargate
thing? Hello, Sam, remind me to show you the Wall of Weird
sometime. Itís just..." She looked around. "This
is...Does George...I mean, General Hammond, really have a direct
line to the President?"
"Bah, the Generalís not so bad when you get to know
The two blondes turned to find Jack OíNeill walking down the
corridor toward them.
"Sir." Sam greeted with a nod, not missing Chloeís
"Carter." The Colonel inclined his head in the
apprehensive teenagerís direction. "This the cause for all
"So I hear." Chloe forced herself to say brightly,
holding out a hand. "Chloe Sullivan, Instigator
"Jack OíNeill." He responded, shaking the offered
hand firmly. "Instigator huh?"
"Oh yeah," Sam nodded. "Chloeís caused more
than a few fusses in her day. Frankly, Sir, Iím not sure itís
a good idea to let you two come within a hundred miles of each
other. Who knows what might happen."
"Nothing good Iím sure." Daniel Jackson observed,
emerging from a room behind them. "Jack causes enough trouble
on his own."
"Chloe, this is Daniel and thatís Tealíc. Guys, this
is my cousin, Chloe Sullivan."
Both men smiled, at least thatís what Chloe thought the big
guy was trying to do, as Sam said their names. Daniel, who was as
cute as Sam had told her, reached out to shake her hand while
Tealíc inclined his head in greeting.
"It is a pleasure to meet you, ChloeSullivan."
Tealíc spoke, his deep voice surprisingly welcoming.
"Oh yeah, definitely." Daniel agreed, holding up the
glossy photographs he held in his hand. "Iíve been looking
at the pictures the team sent back from that cave you told us
about. Itís incredible...you were really inside?"
"Uh huh." Chloe blushed a little. "Long enough
to pick up...well," She looked over at Sam. "Did Uncle
Jacob tell you about that?"
"The whole parasite thing?" The elder woman nodded.
"Yeah...Our CMO had a fit about that. In fact, I wouldnít
be surprised if Janet wants to take a look at you."
"You were possessed by a being such as the Goaíuld?"
Tealíc interjected, a frown on his face.
"Well, I donít think it was sentient or anything."
The teenager responded, looking nervous again. "But yeah...A
friend...he helped get me to a doctor."
"The same friend whose barn the Kryptonian writing showed
up on, if I remember what you were telling me correctly." Sam
didnít miss the flash of fear in her cousinís eyes and made a
note of it while deciding to back off the subject. "Come on,
the briefing roomís in here and I think Danielís itching to
hear what else you can tell him about the cave."
"Well, I wasnít going to pry..." The
archaeologist said as demurely as possible. "But...I did have
a few questions..."
"By a few," Jack interjected with a grin, "he
means *a lot*. Prepared for an interrogation thatíd put the
Spanish Inquisition to shame?"
"Not really, no." Chloe responded with a nervous
"Jack..." Daniel rolled his eyes at his friend.
"I am not going to grill her."
"Much." The Colonel finished for him with an amused
glint in his eye.
In an aside to Sam, Chloe couldnít resist asking, "Are
they always like this?"
It was with a massive grin that the taller woman nodded and
said, "Oh yeah...usually? Worse. This is them on their best behavior."
The teenager looked up at her cousin and blinked. "And I
thought Pete and Clark were bad..."
"Hey, Chloí, howís Colorado?"
Adjusting the phone against her ear, Chloe opened the tab on
her coffee and blew on the hot liquid. "Itís great. Iím
having a blast. Howís things back on the homestead?"
"Youíre not going to believe this one. Lexís father is
having a huge fit." Her friend confided with more than a
"Dare I ask why?" She queried, trying to keep her
tone as neutral as possible. Didnít want Clark catching on that
she already knew the answer to the question.
"The caves. He lost the contract. Something to do with
accounting irregularities. Heís furious. You should see
him. Speaking of...any idea when youíre coming back?"
"Umm...Iím not sure. Uncle Jacobís going to be in town
for a little while longer so he, Sam and I might take a trip for a
few days. Have one last blast before he leaves, yíknow? Itís
been too long since I got to hang out with them and I donít know
when weíll get to do it again." Chloe took a careful sip of
her coffee before adding. "Iíll probably be back next week
but...it could be a couple of weeks. Depends on how things
"So, when do you leave for that trip?"
"In a few minutes, actually, Iím waiting them to say
itís time to go. Thought Iíd call and see how things were back
home before I left." She smiled, hearing the sound of a
fridge door opening and bottles rattling as Clark searched for
something to drink. "I miss you guys."
"We miss you too." Clark responded belatedly, his
voice strangely hesitant.
The sound of Samís voice drew the teen away from her
conversation and she turned to look. "Yeah?"
"Be right there!" Turning back, Chloe brought the
phone to hear ear again. "Did you..."
"Youíve got to go?"
"Yeah..." She fell silent for a long moment. Long
enough for Clark to wonder.
"Chloe? You okay?"
"Yeah...yeah, Iím fine. I..." She laughed a little.
"Like I said...I miss you guys...and home."
"You almost sound like youíre never going to come
back." Clark noted with a laugh of his own. "Youíre in
Colorado, Chloí, youíre not on another planet."
"It sort of feels like it." Chloe said softly,
grabbing her bag. "Like itís going to be a lifetime before
I see home again."
"Youíre homesick." He observed unnecessarily.
"Just a little." She admitted. "Listen...Clark,
I really have to go but..." She smiled. "Iíll see you
later. When I get home. We can go by the caves, see whoís set up
shop there this week."
"Sounds like a plan to me." He agreed. "Bye,
"Bye, Clark." Chloe murmured quietly, hanging up the
phone. She stared at it for a moment, at the picture of herself,
Pete and Clark that decorated one of her folders.
She turned to find Sam standing in the doorway, securing her
radio in her uniform. "Are you ready?"
"No." The teen replied honestly, putting the folder
in her bag. "But...no turning back now, right?" She
hesitated, her thoughts on the friend sheíd been speaking to.
About everything she owed him and everything he deserved. He
hadnít told her but, she was a part of it, she was responsible
for much of the interest Lionel had in him. "This is the
right choice, Sam." Squaring her shoulders, she started out
the door. "Letís go."
There was admiration in her gaze as Sam fell into step behind
her cousin. "Okay...if youíre sure..."
"Iím sure." She answered without turning.
"Believe me, Sam...Iím sure."
Sometime later, lying on the crystal slab, looking into the
eyes of the dying woman before her, Chloe softly murmured the
fateful words again, "Iím sure..."
And her choice was made.