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"Are you all right, Doctor Jackson?" Bregman asked, puzzled by the way the archeologist's expression had gone blank for a moment.

"Um . . . yes.  Yes, I'm fine.  I . . . just realized that I have to do something."

"Ah.  Well, I'll let you get back to work.  I appreciate. . . ."  The man's voice came to an abrupt halt, his eyes fixed upon an artifact on Daniel's desk.  "Did you see that?"

"See what?" Daniel asked, turning around to look at his desk.

"That statue moved."


"Yes, moved."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure.  I know what I saw."

"Ah."  Daniel shrugged.  "That was probably just Casper.  Don't worry about it."

Bregman looked at him in bewilderment.  "Casper?"

"Uh huh.  Our resident poltergeist."


"Just ignore it, and it'll go away eventually."

The journalist stared at Daniel as if he was insane.  "You're joking, right?"

"No, not at all.  It's been around here for a long time.  At first, we thought that it was some kind of alien entity that managed to sneak through the gate, but then we found out that there had been reports of odd occurrences happening here long before the SGC came into existence.  As you probably know, this place was originally a missile silo, and people who worked here back then reported seeing objects moving by themselves and other things like that.  General Hammond worked here during the late sixties, but he didn't know anything about the haunting, so Casper must have showed up after he was transferred out.  Interestingly, NORAD, which, as you know, is right above us, doesn't have this problem."  Daniel smiled.  "I guess we're the lucky ones."

"You can't be serious!  A ghost?  There's no such thing!"

Daniel shook his head.  "I wouldn't say that, if I were you.  Casper might not like it."

Any further exclamations dried up inside Bregman's mouth as a book lying on the table abruptly lifted into the air and sailed straight at his head.  He ducked, just barely managing to avoid getting hit.

"See?  What did I tell you?" Daniel said.

The journalist gaped at him, unable to believe that the archeologist could so calmly stand there and tell him that the SGC was haunted.  Then a thought occurred to him.  "This is some kind of trick, isn't it," he said.  "Is it revenge for me trying to discover your secret or was this little thing cooked up because none of you like the idea that I'm here?  What are you using, some kind of alien device?"

"I'm not using any kind of device, Mister Bregman," Daniel insisted, "and neither is anyone else.  If you don't want to believe what I'm telling you, that's your choice, but I'd keep that opinion to myself, if I were you.  You might not be able to avoid the next thing that's thrown at you."

As if responding to his statement, another book flew off the table.  Unfortunately, Bregman didn't see this one in time to duck.  Fortunately, it was only a small book.  Holding the spot on his head where he was struck, the journalist looked down as the huge tome that was still on the desk quivered as if in preparation of flight.  He backed up a couple of paces, hands held out before him to ward the thing off, eyes still glued to it – which is why he failed to see the other book that shot off the shelf to his right.  This one, also a small book, struck him in the shoulder.

"Casper, stop it," Daniel commanded.

The big book on the table jerked upward, then stilled.  Daniel turned to Bregman.

"Sorry about that.  Casper doesn't seem to like you very much.  But, hey, look on the bright side.  At least you're not Harry Maybourne.  You don't want to know what Casper did to him.  And then there was that incident with Senator Kinsey."  Daniel gave a mock shudder.  "Oh, yeah, and Colonel Simmons, too.  Not pretty.  Casper wasn't really very fond of Makepeace either.  Actually, thinking about it, it's a pretty good judge of character."  Daniel paused and looked at Bregman as if suddenly realizing what he was saying.  "Um . . . usually, that is.  Most of us have been the victims of its pranks at one time or another, and you being new here, I'm afraid that it's going to target you the most."

Still certain that this was some kind of trick, Bregman said, "I may have an open mind, Doctor Jackson, but do you honestly think that I'd believe this?  I—"

Half a dozen pencils pelting his head halted Bregman's statement rather abruptly.  In horror, he saw a ceremonial spear on the wall jerk against the hooks holding it in place.  He took another hasty step backwards and nearly tripped over the chair that had suddenly rolled behind him.

At that moment, the two men noticed Doctor Bill Lee, who was standing, open-mouthed, in the doorway.

"Oh, hi, Bill," Daniel greeted cheerfully.  "I was just telling Mister Bregman here about Casper."

"C-C-Casper?" Bill stuttered.

"You know.  The ghost that's been hanging around here all these years, playing jokes, moving things about."

Bill Lee was not a stupid man and caught on almost immediately.  "Oh, uh . . . right.  Casper."

"Unfortunately, Casper is picking on Mister Bregman because he doesn't believe in ghosts."

"Oh."  Deciding to get in on the fun, Bill then said, "Actually, there have been some in-depth studies made on ghosts that present some pretty startling evidence on their existence."  Another pencil bounced off Bregman's head.  "And then there's Casper, of course," Bill added.

Deciding that he didn't want to get hit by anything else, the journalist made a hasty retreat.  After watching him leave, Bill turned back to Daniel.


Daniel told the scientist about what had been going on with Bregman, including the vision he'd had.

"And this is your way of distracting him from you?" Bill asked.

"Can you think of a more effective way of getting his attention off me than to make him believe that he's being haunted?"

Bill thought about that.  "No, I can't say that I can."

"Besides, this might be fun," Daniel added with a smile.

Bill stared at him.  "This is a whole new side of you that I'm seeing here, Daniel."

"Well, it's not a side that I show very often.  There was that time when Jack. . . .  Um . . . on second thought, I probably shouldn't tell you about that.  Suffice it to say that I'm not the practical joker kind, but, when I'm pushed too far, I will do something about it."

"Remind me never to get on your bad side," Bill said with a slight smile.  "So, what's next?"

"I think that Mister Bregman is going to become a believer," Daniel replied with a mischievous glint in his eyes.

For the next half-hour, Daniel 'stalked' Emmett Bregman, using his ability to sense the presence of individuals to track the man through the SGC.  He stayed out of sight, remaining hidden behind the corner of a corridor or whatever else was available.  At every opportunity, namely, whenever the journalist was alone, Daniel made "Casper's" presence known to him in little ways: untying the man's shoes, pulling his wallet or pen out of his pocket, jerking on his suit jacket, little things like that.  A couple of times, someone saw what Daniel was doing and asked about it.  The archeologist's hasty explanation made them smile.

A somewhat skittish and frazzled Bregman finally escaped to the room that had been set up to be his editing room.  His camera crew was there.

"Sir, are you all right?" Wickenhouse asked, seeing the way that Bregman was acting.

"Have you two heard any stories about this place being haunted?" the journalist questioned.

"Haunted, sir?" James repeated in surprise.

"Yes, haunted."

Wickenhouse stared at him, his face a picture of confusion.  "Uhhh . . . no, sir."

"Then you haven't seen anything . . . weird going on?"

"Weird in what way, sir?"

Bregman shook his head.  "Forget it."

The two younger men exchanged a glance.

"Have you got all the recent footage downloaded?" the journalist asked, choosing to put everything else out of his mind.

"Yes, sir," James answered, "including Doctor Jackson's last statement."

"Well, needless to say, we won't be using all of that."

"Sir, did you try to get that restricted information?" Wickenhouse asked.

"That's none of your concern."

"With all due respect, sir, yes, it is," James responded.  "If anyone suspects that we were involved in some way or even if we just had prior knowledge of it, we could get into a lot of trouble."

A loud thump startled everyone.  They turned to see that a picture that had been hanging on the wall was now on the floor.

"What made it fall?" Wickenhouse wondered.

Bregman let out a loud groan and looked toward the ceiling.  "Will you leave me alone?!"

James and Wickenhouse stared at him as if they were beginning to doubt his sanity.

"Just shut up and do your job," the journalist snapped.

After a pause, the two men said, "Yes, sir."

In another demonstration of how fast news traveled on base, by the time that Bregman left the editing room forty-five minutes later, word of what Daniel was doing to the man had become known to at least a third of the personnel.  Virtually everyone who found out loved the idea and wholeheartedly joined in on the 'spirit' of the prank.  Thus it was that when Bregman entered the commissary, the people there who knew what was going on were eagerly waiting to see what would happen next.  They weren't disappointed.  As the journalist reached for his fork, it slid over a few inches.  He tried again, which resulted in the utensil moving in the opposite direction.  A third attempt ended with the fork sliding clear across the table.  It was stopped by Ferretti, who slapped his hand down upon it.  He picked it up and carried it back to Bregman, a grin on his face.

"Lose something?" he asked as he handed the fork to the man.

Bregman almost growled.  "Thank you," he ground out.

"Boy, you must have really pissed it off."

"What?  What do you mean?"

"Casper doesn't pick on someone like this very often.  What did you do?"

"Nothing!" Bregman insisted.

"Well, I guess it's possible that he simply doesn't like you.  Come to think of it, though, the last time something like this happened, the guy had insulted Daniel.  The time before that was when Felger's screw-up stranded Daniel on a planet that was flooding.  Casper was not happy with poor Felger."  Ferretti stared at him searchingly.  "You . . . didn't say or do anything . . . untoward to Daniel, did you?  If you did, you're in deep shit.  Casper has developed quite an affection for our favorite archeologist.  Some of the guys think that it's got a crush on him.  Of course, we don't know if it's male or female, but I guess that doesn't make much of a difference these days, if you know what I mean."

'Oh, God,' was the thought that went through Bregman's mind.  'I'm doomed.'

The glob of mashed potatoes that splattered across his tie just then backed up that mental statement.

Ferretti chuckled.  "Good luck, Bregman.  You're going to need it."

Keeping an eye out for Emmett Bregman, Jack made his way to the commissary for a piece of pie.  So far, he'd managed to mostly avoid the man, and he wanted to keep it that way.  He was glad that Hammond was on his side in that regard.

Jack's confrontation with Kinsey had left a bad taste in his mouth, hence the need for something sweet.  He knew that if that man became vice president, there would be big trouble.  That two-faced, self-righteous ass wouldn't give up until he was in control of the Stargate Program.

Thoughts of Kinsey left Jack's mind as he saw Daniel at the door of the commissary.  The archeologist appeared to be hiding behind the wall to the right of the door, only part of his head peeking in through the doorway.  What was going on?

Jack was just about to say something when he caught sight of Bregman, who had just sat down at one of the tables.  A moment later, Jack witnessed something that had his jaw dropping.  The journalist's fork had apparently decided that it didn't want to be used and was sliding back and forth across the table.  As Jack continued to watch, it slid clear to the other side and was caught by Lou Ferretti.

"Hey, Jack.  Have you come to watch the show?" Daniel asked, not turning around.

"Daniel, what the hell are you doing?"

The archeologist looked over his shoulder at him.  "Oh, haven't you heard yet?  I'm haunting Bregman."

"You're what?"

"Mister Bregman was a bit too curious about why a period of three months had been omitted from my file with a note saying it had been removed for reasons of national security."

"Crap.  Someone actually put that in the file?"

"Yeah.  It might not have been so bad if the file was simply incomplete, but that statement about national security piqued his interest.  He asked me about it, and, of course, I wouldn't tell him.  I told him to drop it, but he didn't listen.  He started asking around, trying to get the information from others."

"We need to go to Hammond about this, Daniel.  He'll toss Bregman out on his ass."

Daniel shook his head.  "I'm taking care of it, Jack.  I'll explain everything to you later, after Casper's finished ruining Emmett's lunch."

"Uh . . . Casper?"

"The SGC's friendly neighborhood poltergeist.  It was you who named it that, by the way, just in case anyone asks you about it."

"I did?  I don't remember naming any poltergeists lately."

"Like I said, I'll explain everything later."

Jack turned his attention back to Bregman, who was in a conversation with Ferretti.  He guessed that, for some reason, Daniel was using his abilities to make the journalist believe that a ghost was haunting him.  A little smile curved the colonel's lips.

"You know, Daniel, that tie of Bregman's looks entirely too clean," he remarked.

Daniel smiled.  "I think you're right, Jack."

The mashed potatoes fixed the 'problem' a moment later.

"Sweet," Jack murmured, grinning broadly.  He slapped his friend on the shoulder.  "Daniel, you sneaky devil you.  I never knew you had it in you.  I've never seen you do anything like this be. . . ."  Jack's voice faded as he suddenly realized something.  "It was you!" he almost yelled.

Daniel glanced at him.  He knew what the colonel had just figured out.  "Shh.  Not so loud.  I don't want Bregman to know I'm here.  We'll talk about it later."

"Oh, I don't think so, buddy boy.  We're going to talk about it right now.  Do you have any idea how long it took for everyone to stop snickering behind my back?  I cannot believe that you painted my office pink!  And the hearts all over the place were just plain cruel, Daniel."

Daniel turned to him fully.  "Jack, you know why I did it.  I told you to stop teasing me about my secret admirer.  You knew how embarrassing it already was for me to find all those roses and candy in my office.  But you wouldn't leave it alone, had to tell the whole base about it.  I knew that if the shoe was on the other foot, you wouldn't find it quite so funny."

"Pink, Daniel.  Cotton candy pink, with big red hearts.  It took two days for my requisition for paint to go through, and I had to stare at those walls all that time.  I nearly went blind."

"Oh, get off it, Jack.  You're hardly ever in your office.  It was pink for an entire day before you finally saw it."  Daniel smiled.  "Though I bet the janitor got a laugh out of it."

"Mark my words, Daniel.  One of these days. . . ."

Bregman rising from his chair put a halt to the conversation.  Daniel and Jack made a hasty retreat, ducking out of sight.  The journalist left the commissary and walked away down the hall, repeatedly glancing over his shoulder as if fearful that someone or something was following him.

"So, what now?" Jack asked Daniel.

"I think I'll give Emmett a little break.  Haunting someone is a lot of work."

Jack shook his head with a smile.  "I have to admit it, Daniel.  When you decide to play a practical joke on someone, you don't pull your punches.  Let's go get some pie, and you can explain the rest of this to me."

Bregman's respite only lasted as long as it took Daniel to eat his pie and explain to Jack what was going on.  Then the archeologist was back to 'haunting' the journalist.  As he did, he discovered that he had a rapt audience.  Virtually everyone who saw both Daniel and Bregman stopped to watch the show.  A few of the more imaginative shared with Bregman their own experiences and stories about "Casper."  It was during this time that Daniel found out that, thanks to Ferretti's big mouth, the most popular story was that Casper had a crush on him – and that there was a debate on whether the ghost was straight or gay.  That news made Daniel groan inwardly, vowing to have a little conversation with Ferretti at the earliest convenience.

"Doctor Jackson?"

Daniel turned to see an airman hurrying toward him.


"Major Carter needs you in her lab to translate something."

"Was I paged over the P.A.?  I didn't hear it."

"No, sir.  The major thought it best not to page you since it might have drawn . . . unwanted attention to you."  The airman jerked a head in the direction of Emmett Bregman.

"Ah.  Okay, thanks.  I'll head right over there."

"Yes, sir.  Oh, and don't worry about Mister Bregman, Doctor Jackson.  Quite a few of us have come up with stories that will keep the thought of Casper alive in his mind while you're busy with other things.  We're all behind you on this."  The young man grinned broadly.  "We think it's great."

Daniel smiled in surprise.  "Thanks, Airman . . ." he glanced at the name tag, "Marshall.  I appreciate that."

Knowing that Bregman was in good hands, Daniel headed over to Sam's lab.  He found her working on the Goa'uld probe that SG-13 had encountered in the Ancient ruins they were investigating.  Cameron Balinsky, the team's archeologist, had insisted that they needed to continue the exploration of the ruins, and Daniel had suggested that they send up a UAV to do an aerial overview.  Hammond agreed to let SG-13 stay on the planet and sent SG-3 as backup, telling the commander of SG-13 to leave the planet at the first sign of danger.

Daniel walked up to Sam.  "Hey."

"Hey.  One second."

"You, uh, you want me to translate something?"  Daniel leaned his arms on the worktable, watching Sam work.

"Yeah.  I'm just trying to get the interface connection more stable.  SG-13 really kicked the crap out of this thing.  Its system log seems to be isolated on a separate crystal from memory control."  Sam glanced at Daniel with a little smile.  "So, what have you been up to . . . Casper?"  Her smile expanded into a grin.

Daniel returned the smile.  "I figured that you'd probably have heard about that by now."

"I understand that he tried to find out about what's been going on these last three months."

The archeologist nodded.  "And he would have eventually succeeded, from what I saw in my vision.  I just hope that what I'm doing will prevent that from happening."

"Well, according to what I've been told, Bregman's afraid of his own shadow now.  I suspect that any thoughts about your little secret have gone right out of his head."

Sam turned her attention back to the probe and managed to get a connection.  A readout from the device's log came up on the computer screen.  Sam made some adjustments to clarify the image.  "There."

Daniel scanned the readout.  "This is mostly just technical stuff."

"Anything jump out at you?"

He pointed at a section of the readout.  "Well, here's where it encountered SG-13."  He continued reading some more.  "Uh oh."

"What?  What 'uh oh'?"

"Well, after it engaged shields and weapons, it activated a long range communicator."

"That means that the Goa'uld might be on their way to that planet as we speak."

"We've got to warn them."

Unfortunately, the warning came too late, and, now, it was up to SG-1, 5 and 7 to back up SG-13 and 3 and help rescue the injured Airman Wells.

Because of the reported severity of Wells' injury, Doctor Fraiser herself was going instead of one of her medical team.  It was not the first time Janet had gone off-world, but it would be the first time that she'd gone into a battle situation.  But the doctor didn't think about that.  All that was on her mind was her patient and doing everything in her power to save him.

The teams were now in the gate room, waiting as the Stargate dialed up.

"Daniel, you stick with Fraiser," Jack instructed.  "I can't spare all that many men to cover her, and, with your abilities, you're the best one to protect her."

Daniel nodded, not arguing.  Normally, he'd have pointed out that Jack and the others might need his abilities in the fighting, but a terrible feeling was building inside him, a feeling that told him he needed to stay with Janet no matter what.

The Stargate burst to life, and everyone hurried up the ramp, wondering what they'd encounter on the other side.

Next Chapter

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