jalabert (jalabert) wrote,

FIC: The Other, Part 2

Title: The Other - Part 2
Author: Jalabert
Rating: PG-13
Pairings: Ford/McKay
Category: First time
Summary: Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery?

"What's going to happen to me?" Aiden asked softly. He was still staring at the wall and Rodney took up a position just inside the room that afforded him a good view of his face.

"I can't answer that, Aiden," he said. "May I call you Aiden?"

"Yeah. I don't know why you always call me 'lieutenant,' or 'Ford,' anyway. It's not as though you're in the military."

"Well, we've never really--."

"We're friends, Doc, right?" Aiden asked. Rodney shifted uncomfortably.

"Yes, yes...I suppose we are."

"You suppose?" Aiden squinted up at him warily.

"To answer your question--Aiden--for the time being, at least, you're going to be confined to this suite while Dr. Beckett conducts his analysis."

"But you already know the outcome," Aiden replied. "You've already determined that I'm not Aiden Ford." Rodney gazed at him with new interest and moved a bit further into the room.

"Wait; are you conceding that you're the impostor?"

"No!" Aiden replied hastily. "But you seem pretty sure of your conclusions and no one's going to be able to disprove what you say. They never do. Your word tends to be law around here." Rodney smiled wryly and took a seat on the edge of the bed.

"You certainly seem to know me well enough," he replied. "Why don't you tell me who you really are?"

"I'm Aiden Ford!" Aiden insisted, leaping off the bed to pace agitatedly. "Honest! I know you'll never be convinced otherwise but I'm telling you the God's honest truth! You have to believe me, Doc! I am Aiden Carter Thomas Ford. I was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on December 3rd, 1979 to Mia and Terrence Ford, both of whom were killed in an automobile accident when I was six."


"I was raised by my grandparents after that. They wanted me to become a teacher, but I joined the ROTC program when I entered college and decided on a career in the military. I had a dog named Buster when I was ten, but he ran away while I was at summer camp. My Aunt Judy taught me to knit when I was laid up with a broken leg. I made a scarf that I wore for years but I never told anyone I made it because I was afraid of being laughed at. I ran track in high school and was the champion long jumper in 1997. My Social Security number is--."

"Aiden!" Rodney said sharply, rising to grab his hands. Aiden froze for a moment and then dropped his head. He sighed heavily and looked up at Rodney. "I believe you."

Across the hall, the other Aiden stared incredulously as Rodney released his twin's wrists and urged him to sit down.

"I know you're Aiden Ford," Rodney said softly. "I also know that you're not the Aiden Ford who left Atlantis with his away team this morning."


"I can't explain it," Rodney said, shaking his head. "Everything about you is almost an identical copy of that Aiden Ford." He emphasized the statement by pointing at the other man. He didn't dare to glance across the hall but without even looking he knew that he was being watched closely. "But you aren't him."

"How do you know?"

"Aiden--. Just trust me. I know."

"So what's going to happen to me?" Aiden asked, nervously picking at a stray thread on his red shirt. "You can't send me back to that planet. I don't belong there."

"I know that," Rodney said wearily.

"You won't let them send me back, will you?" he asked softly. Rodney sighed heavily, weighing his next words carefully. He looked across the hall and saw that the other Aiden was curled up on the bed with his back to the doorway. Rodney turned back to the worried man before him.

"You're going to have to trust us," he said.

"I trust you," Aiden replied. Rodney nodded.

"No harm will come to you, I promise."

Aiden looked at him and then at his twin in the room opposite. Rodney reached out and patted his shoulder. He left the room and crossed the hall. He paused in the doorway, but the Aiden in blue scrubs gave no indication that he was aware of Rodney's presence. After a few seconds, Rodney turned to go but the other Aiden called him back.

"Dr. McKay?" he said softly. "Why are you so sure I'm not the real Aiden?" Rodney stole another look at the Aiden in blue before he attempted an answer.

"I know Aiden Ford," he began.

"But I am Aiden Ford!"

"You're not that one," Rodney said confidently.

"What difference does it make? I mean, you say you know him. I'm him, right? We're the same person. Right?" Aiden asked, confused and frustrated. Rodney tried to find the words to explain what he knew instinctively, but for once, words failed him.

"I can't explain it, Aiden. I agree with you--at least on some level--but on the other hand, I know that you aren't him. Somehow, that makes a difference," he said with an apologetic shrug. "I'm--. I'm sorry."

He left the room and saw the other Aiden, sitting up and looking at him from across the hall. His expression was unreadable and Rodney paused, uncertain as to whether or not to approach him. After a few seconds, Aiden moistened his lips as if he was about to speak, but instead he laid back and closed his eyes. Rodney sighed and left the suite.


The following morning, Rodney rose early. He'd spent a restless night mulling over everything he'd seen and heard the previous day, trying to figure out how to solve the mystery of the two Aidens. He'd lain awake for hours wracking his brains in an effort to come up with explanations for the twin's appearance. Carson's examination had revealed that the duplicate wasn't a robot. It was definitely organic and humanoid, possibly an alien trying to pass himself off as Aiden. Rodney recalled a case where SG-1 had encountered an alien who'd done just that as a means of escaping the Goa'uld. But in that case, the alien hadn't replicated one of the team and in any event, Rodney doubted that the second Aiden was a Reole attempting to hide out among the Atlanteans.

Rodney got dressed and took a long shower to wash the weariness out of his bones. He was still haunted by the duplicate Aiden's question. What would become of him? If they couldn't resolve the mystery, Atlantis might very well be permanently stuck with two Aiden Fords.

"Would that be such a bad thing?" Rodney said aloud as he strode into Carson's lab.

"Excuse me?" he replied, looking up from his bench.

"Having two Aiden Fords in Atlantis," Rodney explained. "What harm could it do?"

"Assuming that the second Aiden Ford is a benign presence, you mean?" Elizabeth said as she entered the lab with John and Radek.

"And assuming that we can determine conclusively which one is the second Aiden Ford," John said.

"We can't," Carson declared. "They're identical, down to the tiniest mole and scar. I scanned every inch of both men and they are completely identical on the outside."

"What about the DNA comparison?" Rodney asked, slightly alarmed.

"They're identical on the inside as well. Their DNA is the same. Absolutely indistinguishable," Carson sighed. "It's impossible, and yet..."

"Why impossible?" Radek replied. "We all know that it is as possible to clone humans as easily as sheep."

"Cloning is one thing," Carson said. "That would produce a second Aiden Ford, but he'd be an infant, not a full grown adult. This is different. This is replication."

"So you're suggesting that there's someone or something out there capable of replicating us molecule for molecule," Elizabeth said.

"Not suggesting," John replied. "We've got living proof that someone's done just that!"

"How?" she wondered aloud.

"There's another, possibly far more important matter to consider," Rodney said soberly. Everyone turned to him and he looked up. "Why replicate Aiden Ford?"

"Good question," John agreed. "What could anyone possibly hope to gain by replicating Ford?" He winked at Rodney, but the other man refused to acknowledge the tease.

"To observe us, perhaps," Radek volunteered.

"Maybe they intended to substitute their Aiden for ours," Carson suggested.

"To what end?" Radek asked. "And if that was the plan, why didn't they follow through on it?"

"Perhaps their Aiden Ford blew his assignment," Elizabeth proposed.

"No," John said, shaking his head. "If what the doc says is true, their Ford is our Ford. He did not blow his assignment."

"How can you be so sure?" she asked. Both John and Rodney were adamant in Aiden's defense.

"I know my second in command," John insisted. "I've seen him in the field. He wouldn't have blown his assignment."

"No," Rodney agreed. "If he'd been assigned to take out his twin, we would never have known there were two of them. It's far more likely that the replication was spontaneous--maybe even accidental."

"Well, something happened out there. Maybe it wasn't a mistake. Maybe they wanted us to find the second Ford. Regardless of why or how it happened, I'd still like to know which Lieutenant Ford is the original," Elizabeth said. "Rodney, you continue working on the why. The rest of you concentrate on the who."

"I've already told you which one is which," Rodney said defensively.

"Maybe you're convinced, but the rest of us need independent confirmation," Elizabeth replied. Rodney nodded sheepishly. He turned and left the lab, headed for the suite where the twin Aidens were being held.

"For what it's worth, I believe you." Rodney stopped and turned to see John approaching him. "I admit I had my doubts at first," he continued as he walked with Rodney. "But if anyone around here knows Aiden Ford, it's you."

"I can do without the teasing today, major," Rodney said testily. He started to move away, but John grabbed him by the arm and spoke softly.

"None was intended," John replied. "It's a statement of fact. Look, I know how you feel about the kid and I always thought--. Well, it's not my place to speak for--."

"I've got work to do," Rodney said in a tone that was clearly a warning. John released his arm.

"I'm just saying--. Look; if you say you know which one of them is ours, then that's good enough for me. I'm far more concerned about who the other guy is and why he's here." John said earnestly. "I'd like to help, if you can use an extra hand." Rodney eyed him for a moment and then nodded.

"According to Carson, the other guy is Aiden Ford." Rodney shook his head. "If my theory of spontaneous replication is correct we've got to figure out what triggered it. If his creation was intentional, then we've got to figure out who created him and for what purpose. I strongly suspect that it's the former and in that case, we have to find out where Ford was and what he did on that planet so we can establish some sort of time frame. There has to be a reason why this happened."

"And he couldn't tell you anything last night?" John asked. Once again Rodney shook his head and the two men continued on their way down the corridor.

"I don't think either one knows. The interesting thing is that the red herring seems to understand that he's not the original but he still knows he's Aiden Ford."

"What about the other one?"

"Our Aiden in blue hasn't been in a very talkative mood," Rodney said ruefully.

"Not everyone tries to bluster his way through an uncomfortable situation," John said with a smirk. "Or maybe he just knows that we've got his back."

"Well, if I were in his shoes I wouldn't be so complacent," Rodney confessed. "We've--I've been wrong before. Much as I hate to admit it, I think that Elizabeth may be right. We need to test them."


"Every way we can; the more ways, the better. I suspect that it will not only tell us the who, but maybe the why as well."

When they arrived at the suite they saw Bates speaking with one of the security detail. John and Rodney waited until the discussion broke up before approaching the suite. Bates saw them and stepped forward to give them an update.

"Morning," he said curtly. Rodney nodded, uninterested in small talk, but Bates was all business. "They spent a quiet night; neither of them gave my men any trouble. But neither of them slept much and neither of them seemed inclined to eat this morning." Bates turned and frowned at the door to the suite as he considered and apparently discarded a question.

"What is it, sergeant?" John asked.

"I was just wondering; do you think that he's not sleeping or eating because the other one isn't?" he asked. Rodney stared at the door as if he, like Bates, expected to find the answer there. After a moment, he sighed and shook his head.

"Aiden Ford isn't sleeping or eating because Aiden Ford isn't sleepy or hungry," he replied.

"No, I meant the fake one."

"There is no 'fake' one, sergeant," John replied. "Turns out, they're both Aiden Ford and therefore they're reacting identically to identical stimuli." Bates frowned at him quizzically and turned to Rodney.

"Last night you said--."

"Last night I said that I'd identified a fake," Rodney said, somewhat impatiently. "We now know that they're both real. One is a perfect duplicate of the other."

"How is that possible?" Bates asked. "And which one is the original?" Rodney rolled his eyes and walked past him into the suite, leaving John to answer the question.

The suite was fairly quiet. Stackhouse sat in the lounge reading a book, while the two Aidens remained in their respective rooms. The Aiden assigned the blue scrubs had stripped down to his boxers and was on the floor doing push-ups with an ease that made Rodney envious. The other Aiden was also shirtless and pulling on his pants. Rodney frowned curiously, but his attention was drawn back to the man on the floor.

"We can't let them go to the gym," Stackhouse explained, rising to join Rodney in his observation.

"They both worked out?"

"Yeah. They both just got up all of a sudden, stripped down and stared doing calisthenics. It was really weird. When they were done, this one headed for the shower," he said, nodding toward the Aiden in red. "Then the other one complained that he was about to take one; the suite only has the one bathroom." Stackhouse sighed, the strain of dealing with the twins obvious in his features. "They started a pushing match, but this one backed off first and started working out again while the other one showered."

"They were both like that?" Rodney asked, slightly alarmed. John entered the suite as he spoke.

"What do you mean?" Stackhouse replied.

"I mean were they both in their skivvies? Are you sure that Aiden Ford is the one who should be in that room?"

"Yeah! I mean I think so. Shit! I never even thought about that," Stackhouse admitted sheepishly.

"Why would I want to switch places with him?" Aiden asked, rising from the floor and gesturing at the other Aiden with his chin. "He's the fake." Rodney forced himself to keep his eyes on Aiden's face, but he bristled when Stackhouse gave Aiden a blatant head to toe look. John glared at Stackhouse, who backed away and returned to the lounge.

"He's not a fake," Rodney said. "He's you."

"Say what?" Aiden spat.

"We got some preliminary results from the Doc," John explained. "Your tests all came back the same. The two of you are identical in every way."

"How is that possible?"

"That's what we intend to find out," John said gently. "And we're just a little concerned that the two of you might accidentally be switched in the meantime."

"If we got switched, it wouldn't be an accident," Aiden replied with a glare for his twin across the hall. "Now it you don't mind, I need a shower." He started to move past Rodney, but stopped when John blocked his path. "Sir?"

"Hold on, lieutenant," John said. "Stackhouse, go to the infirmary and get more scrubs for these two."

"Yes, sir," Stackhouse replied crisply. Aiden sighed and folded his arms as he left the suite. Rodney turned to John in order to remove temptation of Aiden's nearly naked form from his sight.

"We're going to need a better system than this," he said. "Colored scrubs aren't going to cut it, long term."

"Why would I switch with him?" the Aiden in the other room spoke for the first time. "You claim you know which of us is which, anyway," he told Rodney. "It wouldn't get me anywhere to try to pretend I'm him."

"True," Rodney said, entering his room. "Not that anyone else really believes me."

"I do."

"You do?" Rodney was surprised by his revelation. "You believe that I can tell the two of you apart or that you aren't the original Aiden?"

"Don't start that again," Aiden sighed. "I am Aiden Ford, not the original, not the copy. Just Aiden Ford. And nothing you say is going to make me say or think otherwise. But I do believe that you can tell us apart."

"How so?" Rodney asked curiously. Aiden flicked a glance at John, who was leaning against the door frame. Then he shrugged and smiled.

"He knows, too."

Rodney looked over his shoulder at John, who in turn looked at the other Aiden, who was still standing in his room with his arms folded.

"Him?" John asked.

"He knows what I know, right?" the Aiden in red said cryptically. "I dated a twin once," he said as he sat on the edge of the bed.

"And?" John prompted when he said no more. Aiden looked at Rodney.

"You can tell them apart," he said simply. Rodney averted his eyes and Aiden looked to John, who didn't need him to elaborate. "So what do we do now, sir?"

"We've got to figure this thing out," John replied. The Aiden across the hall made a derisive grunt and John turned to look at him.

"With all due respect, sir, am I just supposed to sit here and wait for someone to figure this out?" he asked. "Why can't I go back to work? If you know he's the fake--or whatever he is, why do I have to be locked up?"

"Because I'm not completely convinced that--." Elizabeth replied as she entered the suite. But she paused when she noted Aiden's attire. "You're out of uniform, lieutenant," she said wryly.

"Sorry, ma'am, but I don't seem to have any clothes," Aiden replied with a glance at John. "I was just asking for my uniform."

"Not so fast, Ford," Elizabeth said as she, too, gave Aiden's body an appraising look. "I'm afraid you're going to have to be patient while we run a few more tests."

"Great," he said, rolling his eyes as he turned away.

"Why don't you go and take your shower," John said as Stackhouse returned with fresh scrubs.

"Sir," Aiden said curtly. He excused himself and went into the bathroom while Elizabeth turned her attention to the other Aiden.

"Good morning," she said affably. Aiden rose and took the red scrubs Stackhouse handed him.

"Ma'am." He immediately unfolded and pulled on the red shirt.

"How are they doing?" she asked John.

"I think they're going to go stir-crazy if they're in here for long. Ford's a man of action. He's not taking well to confinement--either one of him. We may need to give them more space."

"I'll take that under advisement should it come to that. I was rather hoping that they wouldn't need to be here that long," she replied, turning to Rodney.

"Oh. Right. Spontaneous appearances of new personnel," he said sarcastically. "I ought to have that figured out by lunch time. Major Sheppard, if you get in on the betting pool, I'd pick early afternoon. I'm having a slow morning." He turned and strode out of the suite, leaving Elizabeth slightly confused.

"I think he's a little worried about Ford," John said.


Rodney went to the lab, where he resumed his analysis. He carefully opened and examined every inch of both of the uniforms, taking samples of the pale yellow ash-like substance on them. Rodney quickly determined two things. First, the original Aiden, now wearing blue scrubs, was the one who'd been covered in fallout. The second Aiden only appeared to have traces of the substance on his uniform, which he probably picked up during the scuffle with his twin. The second thing Rodney determined was that the substance might provide him with a timeline. Aiden's twin probably appeared at some point after the seismic event but before Dr. McClaren spotted him fighting with the original Aiden.

Rodney was excited by the discovery and he eagerly studied the substance, convinced that it would tell him something about what had happened to Aiden. After a few hours, however, he was stumped. He took a break and went to the dining hall in search of something to eat. He spotted Carson at a table and, after grabbing a sandwich and some coffee, went over to join him.

"Just the man I'm looking for," he said as he took a seat.

"Have you found something?" Carson replied, setting down his cup to listen.

"Yes," Rodney said as he stirred sugar into his coffee. "I've been doing an analysis of the ashy residue I found on Ford's uniform. It gives us a probable timeline of his replication--at least it narrows it down considerably. I'll have to speak with Ford in order to be sure. The problem is, I can't identify all the elements in the residue."

"What can you identify?"

"Well," Rodney said, peering at the meat in his sandwich and trying to determine what it was. "They're organic compounds; as far as I can tell, anyway. Hey--has anyone fed the twins? Ford loves mystery meat." He looked up sheepishly and met Carson's strange expression. "Sorry, where was I?"

"Organic compounds," Carson replied, returning the smile. Like John, Carson was aware of Rodney's infatuation with Aiden. He quickly schooled his features so as not to cause his friend any embarrassment.

"Yes," Rodney said, recovering his train of thought. "Odd stuff; and you know, it seems familiar, somehow. Anyway, my analysis couldn't identify all the elements in the residue. I'd like to pass it off to your people in Life Sciences."

"Send it along and we'll take a look," Carson replied. "Was that it?"

"Was that it?" Rodney asked incredulously. "I just gave you the first--. Wait a minute! Of course!" he rose to his feet, stuffing the rest of the sandwich half into his mouth.

"Where are you going?"

"I just thought of something," Rodney said, picking up his tray and carrying it to the counter. Carson rushed to follow him, but Rodney quickly refilled his cup and was already on the way to the exit. "I've got to go, Carson. When you get the results, call me."

He practically ran out of the dining hall and back to the science wing. He located Durst and Forrester and obtained copies of all the geological data as well as the samples collected by Werner before returning to his lab. He quickly realized that none of the samples showed any sign of the fallout. Rodney didn't know whether to laugh or cry. No one had bothered to take any samples in the area where the twin Aidens had been discovered.

"Great," Rodney muttered as he gave up and decided to wait for the other results. In the meantime, he decided to go and have a word with Aiden--his Aiden, as he thought of the man in blue scrubs. But when he reached the suite, he found only his twin.

"Dr. Zelenka came for him a little while ago," Stackhouse explained. "Something about some tests."

"Terrific," Rodney muttered as he doubled back to the science wing. He went to the engineering lab, where he found no sign of Radek or Aiden. He went from lab to lab and eventually found them in a room that had been set up for stress testing. Aiden was on the Atlantean equivalent of a treadmill, running at a fast pace as Radek and Carson studied the readouts. "What's going on?"

"We're testing him," Radek replied absently.

"You're testing his cardiovascular fitness? Why?" Rodney demanded. Radek and Carson looked up.

"We've got a sizable database on Aiden Ford," Carson explained. "Physical, psychological, even some record of his social behavior. We're testing everything."

"To what end?" Rodney persisted, staring at Aiden's physique.

"We're doing a comparative analysis of the two Aidens," Radek said, as if the answer were obvious.

"But if they're perfect duplicates, they're going to have the same results," Rodney reasoned.

"Aye," Carson acknowledged.

"Then what's the point?"

"We're trying to determine how perfect the duplication is," Radek said with a smile.

"Ah," Rodney said, unconvinced.

"So far, this Aiden tests exactly like our baseline data," Radek revealed.

"Of course it does," Rodney sighed. "You're testing the 'baseline' Aiden."

"Oh," Radek frowned.

"When you're done trying to give him a heart attack, may I have a word with him?"

Radek nodded and began to slow the machine. Rodney returned to his lab and his analysis. Elizabeth called him up to the command center early in the afternoon for an update, but he didn't have much to tell her.

"Without any samples from the affected area I really don't have much to go on," he said. "I can't believe no one thought to collect any."

"At the time we were more concerned with the problem of having two Lieutenant Fords," Teyla replied.

"What did you expect the sample to tell you?" John asked.

"Well, for one thing, the fallout seems to have been very small and localized," Rodney said. "The rest of you had barely any residue on you yesterday and that might have come from handling Ford rather than having been been exposed to the fallout. That means that only Ford was directly exposed to it and that has to be significant. The more I look at this, the more it seems to me that what you experienced was not a seismic event at all, but some sort of...something."

"What sort of 'something'?" John asked, beating Elizabeth to the question. "Do you think the fallout did this to him?"

"I don't know!" Rodney replied exasperatedly. "I need more information. I need to speak with Ford. Aren't you done with him yet?" he asked Radek.

"I am done with Ford. He was sent on to Dr. Heightmeyer for a pysch eval."

"Wonderful; by the time I get a hold of him he'll be too emotionally and physically drained to remember anything." Rodney sighed. "Look; we need to find out more about that fallout. It's got to be the key to what happened to him."

"How can a bunch of ash tell you anything about who duplicated Aiden?" John wondered aloud.

"We won't know until we've got some to study," Rodney replied.

"I agree," Dr. Anne Johnson said. "We need more samples for analysis."

"You've got to go back to that planet," Rodney declared.

"Whoa!" Elizabeth cried. "No one is going anywhere near that planet again until we can ascertain that it's safe to do so."

"What makes you think it's unsafe?" Rodney replied. "It duplicated Ford but there's nothing to indicate that he's dangerous."

"That's yet to be determined, Rodney," she insisted.

"All right, but we're not going to get any closer to finding out what happened to Ford from here. We need prima facie evidence and we can only get that on that planet."

"He's right, Liz," John said. "And you know it."

"I'm not putting anyone else at risk," she said.

"Well, what are our options?" John reasoned.

"Hazmat suits," Radek volunteered. All eyes turned to him.

"He's right," Rodney said, snapping his fingers. "Problem solved. Go back to the planet and collect more samples."

"All right," Elizabeth said. "But before anyone goes through the gate I want to make sure you aren't walking into some sort of trap."

"Fair enough," John said. "Teyla? Let's gear up." He rose and headed for the doors. Elizabeth followed, giving orders for a security detail as well as a team of scientists to accompany them. "You coming, McKay?" John asked.

"I'd rather stay here and continue to work with what we've got so far. Don't dawdle," Rodney said. "Collect samples of everything and anything that seems remotely relevant."

Elizabeth ordered the technician to open the gate to conduct a thorough scan of the area while John assembled his team. Rodney headed back to the lab and resumed his research, most of which would remain hypothetical until John's team could collect the data to prove or disprove it.

About fifteen minutes after he returned to the lab, Aiden appeared at his door. Rodney looked up, surprised to see him alone. He gestured for him to enter and Aiden did so, waiting for the doors to shut behind him before he sat down on a stool.

"Pineda's outside," Aiden said.

"Ah," Rodney said, setting aside his printout. "How are you holding up?"

"How do you think?" Aiden spat back. "Do you have any idea what kind of nightmare this is? How would you feel if someone with your face and your body and your mind just appeared out of the blue, insisting that he was you! And that's not the worst of it," Aiden said, rising and starting to pace. "The worst part of it is--."

"I know, Aiden, and I'm sorry," Rodney said softly.

"How much longer am I going to have to put up with this?"

"I don't know. Major Sheppard is organizing a team as we speak to go back to the planet to look for some answers."

"And if they don't find any? Then what?"

"Then I'll just have to get used to seeing you in stereo," Rodney said with a slight smile.

"You'd like that, wouldn't you? You seem to like the new 'me' better than the old one," Aiden said with a pout as Rodney rose and closed the distance between them. He reached out and caressed Aiden's face.

"I only need one Aiden Ford," he whispered, leaning in to kiss him. Their lips had barely met when Rodney was pinged on his com link.

"Rodney, come up to the command center. You have got to see this!" Elizabeth shouted. Rodney stepped back and answered her, even as his feet began to move toward the door.

“I'm on my way,” he said.

"What's happening?" Aiden demanded.

"I don't know," Rodney replied. He rushed out of the lab and Aiden tried to follow him, but Corporal Pineda insisted that he return to his suite. Aiden ignored him, however, and followed Rodney. When the three of them arrived at the command center, Bates immediately ordered Aiden to stand down and return to his suite. But he wasn't listening. He'd caught a glimpse at one of the technician's monitors and froze, utterly speechless.

"What's going on?" Rodney demanded.

"See for yourself," Elizabeth said, standing aside to give him a view of the nearest screen. "We opened the gate and sent a MALP through to do a scan and found something a bit unexpected on the other side."

Rodney took a look at the monitor and gasped. On the screen, a third Aiden Ford was peering into the MALP's camera lens.

Part 3
Tags: aiden ford, aiden/rodney, mckay/ford, rodney mckay, the other

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