Entropy | SkoosiePants
It's not like Frank doesn't know what it is, but it's sort of like picking a scab, or pushing a big red button (Frank almost, sort of, sank the entire west pier once), or poking a shark or those bear-like animals on PX5-344. Frank knows he shouldn't touch/taunt/bother some things, but he's never been very good at curbing his impulses – and, honestly, it made for good TV, so he's spent a large part of his adult life getting praise for giving in, for being the crazy shark diving man, or the guy who sneaks up close to raging elephant seal bulls with a steady-cam strapped to his shoulder.
So he knows it's a quantum mirror. It's a gorgeous quantum mirror, bigger than the one packed away at the SGC; frame flat, lacking any sort of ornamentation other than the Atlantis-blue glass. His fingers itch, and the way they brush against the cool surface is a third reflex, a third accident, and a third pure perverse curiosity.
The reasoning behind his actions doesn't actually matter, though, because the next second he's. He's not on Atlantis anymore. Fuck.
It isn't as disorienting as he thought it'd be, though he stumbles a little, the placement of his feet awkward between boxes. He recognizes the dull, bare walls, the florescent lighting, the bunker-like quality of the SGC, and then he recognizes Dr. Lee's back, curved over a keyboard.
"Wait, wait, third paragraph of code," Dr. Lee says suddenly, and Frank freezes. He's not exactly hiding, but he's kind of hoping he can just turn right around and go back.
There's a grunt. Then a soft, "Oh, shit, that's"
"Overly simple," Lee says, and Frank watches his head bob, watches the shift of his shoulder as Lee reaches up to. He doesn't know. Pick his nose or adjust his glasses or something.
But the other voice. The other guy is Gee, which means he hasn't gone to Atlantis in this world, and Frank is really fucking curious. He knocks a box over with his foot, half a mistake, a wrong step as he shifts closer to the mirror again, half some sort of spastic knee-jerk response to Gee's voice.
Dr. Lee tenses.
Frank clears his throat, says, "Hey," and belatedly realizes he's in the far back corner of this lab, the door clear on the opposite side, so, really, so much for being all casual visitor, stopped by to say hello, what's up?
"Alien, vegetable or mineral?" Gerard asks, and then he's peering out over the other side of the table, set up directly across from Lee, their huge computer monitors blocking most of his head.
"Uh. None of the above?" Frank keeps his hands up and out, just in case. In case they don't recognize him or think he's a Goa'uld or something. He kind of doesn't want to get shot.
Gerard's eyebrows climb up his forehead, and then Dr. Lee twists in his seat, looking more fascinated than anything else now.
"I know your face," Lee says, then snaps his finger and points at him, jabbing the air to the beat of, "You're, you're, wait, I know this, don't tell me"
"Dr. Iero," Gerard says, and Frank can hear the smile in his voice, even if he can't see the curl of his mouth.
"Crazy shark diving man," Lee says, triumphant. "Yes." He kind of looks like he wants to ask Frank for his autograph, and that's so very hilarious. He's not very famous, at least not to anyone who isn't a nature geek. Then again, different dimension, different lives
"Hang on, where's your hook?"
"Your prosthetic, sorry, wow, they've really perfected the robotic arm, haven't they?" Dr. Lee says, staring down towards Frank's left hand, and then Gee's eyebrows do the swooping down thing they do and he gets to his feet, frown mirroring the v of his brow.
Frank's still kind of stuck on his hook, though.
Gerard's expression gradually melts into bewildered, gaze darting from Frank to over Frank's shoulder to Frank again, and Frank can see the exact moment when it all clicks in Gee's brain.
Gee says, "Well, Fuck."
Twenty minutes later, Frank's pouring over a press release posted on the web by National Geographic outlining Frank's injury inactually, not enough graphic detail for him to appreciate at all. It says his wrist got bitten in half by a great white – and how cool is that? – but not much else. The date puts the accident right around the time Gee'd shown up at his door in his own world, wide grin and stories of alien whales on his lips, so it makes sense, kind of, that Frank's still out there now, apparently still making rocking documentaries, even with just one hand.
"I'm ignoring the part where you think this is cool," Gerard says, and it's fun, because this Gerard's never met this world's Frank, and Gerard's Gerard no matter where he'll go, Frank thinks, so there isn't any, like, weird vibes between them.
"A hook, Gee," Frank says, and Dr. Lee shouts from across the lab, "I hear it's got interchangeable parts!" while Gerard just gives Frank a funny look.
"Gee?" Gerard asks, and Frank just grins, says, "Well, yeah. I mean, Gerard's just so long, and I'm kinda lazy."
"Gee and Lee," Dr. Lee says, walking over, and Frank thinks on Pete's crows of, "Wentz and Way, super geniuses!" and is hit by an unexpected wave of homesickness, and wow. Christ, he's been gone, like, a half hour?
He shakes his head, asks, "So how's the mirror?" and Lee's face scrunches up uncomfortably.
"Logically," he says, "we should be able to send you straight back through."
"Logically," Frank echoes. He's sensing a pretty big but here, ignores the roiling in his gut and keeps his smile plastered fast on his face.
"Right. It's powered down, though, so there's a fifty-fifty chance it's changed channels, reset itself."
Frank does not like those odds. "Any way we can tip that a little bit more in my favor?"
Lee brightens. "I've got a remote."
"Okay, right, this one looks fine, so." Frank is getting antsy and sick of waiting. This world has lost its shiny new coating, and even the novelty of I've-never-met-Frank-and-Pete Gerard is waning. Frank really misses his Gee. And, okay, maybe Pete. A little.
"You can't just jump into this blindly," Dr. Lee warns. "The farther you get away from your base point, the easier it is to get lost."
"This looks right," Frank stresses. There's no way to be sure unless he steps through already. Gets it fucking over with.
Gerard's behind Lee, wringing his hands, and looking sort of adorably worried. "Maybe you should"
"I'll be fine," Frank says, cutting him off. Frank's hardcore, shit, he lost a limb and kept on kicking. Quantum mirror shenanigans aren't going to get him down. "And hey, look me up, okay? I've got a fucking hook, Gee. That is"
"So cool, right," Gerard says, rolling his eyes, but he's smiling again.
Frank bounces up to him, pulls him into a quick hug and says, "Dude, bring me an eye patch and I'll be yours forever."
When he peals back, Gerard's blushing, red blooming up from his neck, but he says, "Okay," and shakes his hair out of his face, grins wider.
"Right," Frank says. "Let's do this."
Dr. Lee shoves his glasses up his nose. "I'd just like to stress, Dr. Iero, that the delicate calibrations of the mirror set by the"
"I know." Frank knows all this, he does, but he's eager, impulsive and it feels right. Kind of. He doesn't let himself think about this being wrong.
He just closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, and presses his palm flat against the glass.
Notes: Please to be reading Supersaturation, Solvation and Enthalpy first. This sort of falls before Enthalpy, but I think it works better if you read that one first. Frank is in radically different moods, understandably. Also, before this popped into my head, I wrote this bit of background on Frank and Gerard and the SGC. You don't have to really read it to understand this, but it has some insight on their SGC beginnings that tie in with this.