Thanks to TAE for her wonderful Beta work. My stories wouldn't be half as good without her. Also thanks to my Sister who is one of the few people who understands my own craziness and who shared a room with me in the "psych ward" of our lives.

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, either from The Sentinel or Stargate SG1. I make no money.

How Life Turns Out
What Do You Mean You Found Him in the Psych Ward?
Lila R. Kulp

How the hell did my life end up like this? I'm sitting here in the damned psych ward of a military hospital listening to some doctor spout on about post traumatic stress disorder. Yeah, I just spent a year and a half living with a primitive tribe in the Peruvian jungle. Yeah, I had to adjust to a completely different way of living. Yeah, I had to bury not only my own team, but the helicopter pilots who also died in the crash. Yes, I was betrayed by my commanding officer and now have no idea who I can trust. That doesn't mean I'm crazy and can't do my job.

No, the crazy part came when I opened my big mouth and, like an idiot recruit, volunteered information. I had heard the doctors talking about my reactions to the latest medication and when they came back into the room I asked about the one they'd been talking about to try next. It hadn't dawned on me that the reason why they had left my room was to keep me from hearing their conversation. They had been at the other end of the hall at the time.

Crazy was when one minute some visitor's perfume was making me gag and the next I couldn't even smell the roast beef they were serving for dinner.

Crazy was when I read the sports section from across the room and the lights were off.

Crazy was when I started to get a rash everywhere my clothes touched.

So here I am, sitting in the damned psych ward listening to some shrink explain how PTSD means I'm not crazy and wondering if he really knows what he's talking about.


Can you believe how my life is turning out? A year ago I was just a grad student begging for grants, now I'm a doctor of anthropology who gets to travel to different worlds and study living cultures while others are stuck digging in old ruins. I even got to go to a world with Sentinels, real Sentinels!

The only problem is these damned headaches. Ever since we got back from PX3-992, the planet with the Sentinels, I've gotten some of the worst headaches I've ever had. They are worse than migraines. They never really go away, either. They just vary with the degree of pain. Simply taking two aspirin and praying to die in a dark quiet room doesn't help. Sometimes they get so bad Dr. Janet Fraser has to just knock me out.

So here I am, at some Army hospital, with Jack and Daniel escorting me, going to see a friend of Janet's who specializes in pain and headaches. My hippie mother would be mortified if she knew what I was doing with my life.


Just when I thought things were starting to get better, life turns around and knocks me back down. The rash was going away, lights and noises were much more bearable, and I hadn't blacked out for a couple of days. Then, for no reason, it all came back with a vengeance. I was just taking a walk outside, enjoying the fall weather and fresh air. I remember nodding to the Air Force colonel, and being glad that most of the hospital is a no salute zone, as he and his group walked by and then, BAM, everything spiked. The overcast sun was too bright, the breeze had a noxious odor, and I was swamped by a cacophony of noises.

The next thing I know I'm waking up in my room. I don't think I blacked out. Normally everything spikes after a blackout, not before. One of the nurses or orderlies must have sedated me because I can feel a new injection site on my hip and I've got that same fuzzy feeling that always lingers after their damn drugs.

The noises and lights are better now, but they are still above normal. Though, I'm not sure I really know what normal is, anymore. To make things worse, now I'm hearing voices. OK, so it's just one voice, but it just won't stop. It just keeps going on and on, rambling, like someone nervously talking to themselves.

I thought the voices in your head were really just your subconscious or something, but the stuff this voice is saying is just nuts. I don't know a thing about ancient Aztecs or Polynesian peoples or whatever tribe this voice is talking about. Some of the words it says have got to be in a foreign language, but the only languages I speak are English, Quechua, and enough Spanish to order a beer and curse. Maybe it's just my imagination making things up. Nah, I'm not that creative.


Well, our day trip has now turned into an overnight visit. The doctors here want to be able to examine me while I'm having one of my killer headaches and the way things are going they are going to get their wish. The flight out wasn't too bad. It was just Jack, Daniel, myself, and the pilots. The waiting to see the doctor is what started things down hill. I've noticed that the more I'm around people the worse my headaches are. I used to love meeting new people, getting to know all about them and their culture. Now, I'm dreading having to spend the night around so many strangers.

At least Jack and Daniel have volunteered to stay with me. I think they feel responsible since I went to PX3-992 with SG1 while Daniel was helping another team with some negotiations. Jack feels responsible because he was the commander of the mission and Daniel because I went instead of him.

Instead of curling up in my room and waiting for my head to explode, I decided to walk Jack and Daniel out to the parking lot. They were going to get supplies for our unexpected stay. That quickly became a bad idea. It's a good thing I'm getting my head examined.

I was just about to tell the guys that I was going to go back to my room and wait for them there when another patient who had just walked past us, going the other way, screamed in pain and all but collapsed.

Of course Jack and Daniel rushed over to help him. Jack was yelling for a medic and Daniel was trying to ask the guy what was wrong. I just tried to stay out of the way, instead of adding to the problem. Everything happened so fast. The instant Jack and Daniel touched him; this guy started kicking and screaming trying to get everybody away from him. He was yelling in a language that I didn't recognize and the more he fought, the more people joined in trying to restrain him. Somehow the dog pile ended up over by where I was trying to stay out of the way and whoever this guy is, he reaches out and grabs my arm with a death grip and won't let go. Thankfully someone brought a sedative and tranquilized the guy or he'd still have a hold of my arm. I remember telling him to just relax and calm down, that everything would be alright as the drug took effect. The rest is kind of a blur, but I'm certain of one thing, when he grabbed onto my arm, my headache disappeared, completely. It's a good thing everyone was so focused on him, because I couldn't speak, my mind was racing so fast with all the possibilities.


This voice is really starting to get on my nerves. First I couldn't sleep because it wouldn't shut up. Now the silence is just as unbearable. My pacing isn't helping anything either. My doctor says I should get some rest, but instead I'm wearing a hole in the floor wondering what happened to the voice. Why did it stop? Will it come back? Why do I want it to come back?

This is ridiculous! I shouldn't be letting some blasted imaginary voice shake me like this, especially now that it's gone.

I tried lying down on my bed as if that would help, but I just tossed and turned as I tried to listen for the voice. So, now I'm back to pacing.

Just my luck, one of the nurses came in and found me wide awake. He mentioned the doctor prescribing something to help me sleep and went to get it.

I ended up pacing again once the nurse left and then the voice came back. I must really be crazy, because now my imaginary voice is talking to its imaginary friends, telling them that it would like to be alone. Well, if I'm going to be crazy, I might as well do it right. I check to see that the nurse isn't on his way back and head out to see if my imaginary voice is real after all.


I admit that the nap did me some good, but now Jack and Daniel are hovering. Yes, they are hovering. Before it was nice to have friends around, but now they won't give me a break. To make things worse, the recently MIA headache has started to come back.

I finally have to just tell them to give me some space. Amazingly, someone had the forethought to put in a rock garden. I guess when dealing with a lot of stressed out soldiers any way to find peace is a good idea. It's also a good idea when dealing with stressed out anthropologists.

So, now I sit here looking at the waves in the sand and of course talking to myself. For some reason I end up trying to sort out what language that guy was speaking earlier today. Something about it was familiar, but without a recording of what he said, there was almost no way I would be able to identify the language, let alone translate it. Maybe tomorrow I can try and talk with him and get him to repeat what he said.

As if conjured by magic, the guy from this afternoon steps up behind me in the rock garden. Working with the Stargate Project must have affected me more than I realize because before I have a chance to think, and I can think fast, I'm on the other side of the rock garden. My back is against the wall, and I get the feeling this guy doesn't want me to leave.

However, instead of following me across the rocks and sand, he stands there and looks at me in confusion. It's like he can't understand why I reacted the way I did. He moves towards the opposite corner of the small garden as if he wants to give me space and to not trap me.

I have no idea how long we stand there looking at each other like that. It could have been an hour or it could have been minutes. Suddenly his head snaps towards the door as if he heard a sound. Moments later he's standing between me and one of the Army nurses.

The nurse tries to convince Captain Ellison, so that's his name, that he should go back to his room and takes a step towards my self-appointed protector. Ellison just takes a step back towards me. His posture is clearly that of a very dangerous person ready to fight. Trust me, I've seen enough dangerous people, lately. The nurse tries again, only to get the same result.

As if the situation isn't tense enough, Jack and Daniel choose this moment to show up. Now Ellison is presented with three potential enemies, not a good way to calm him down.

Jack, of course, sizes up the situation immediately. He didn't get to be a colonel the easy way, after all. With one of his more formal commanding tones he tells the nurse to stand down. I can barely contain my excitement as I wonder if Jack is starting to suspect the same thing I am. Have I mentioned that he didn't get to be a colonel the easy way?

I have to give the nurse credit. As an Army Lt. he should have jumped at the command, but he holds his ground and reminds Jack that Captain Ellison is his patient and his responsibility. Colonel O'Neil just assures him that he and Dr. Jackson can take care of the situation. I don't think Daniel is too thrilled at the way Jack left out the fact that he was a doctor of archeology and not a medical doctor.

The nurse apparently realizes that he isn't going to win because he says he'll be waiting outside in the hall if we need him. The first part he says to Ellison, but the sarcastic "Sir" is obviously directed at Jack. Yep, have to give the nurse credit.

I, of course, have to watch all of this from behind Captain Ellison. Now that the nurse is gone, I can't wait to try and see if my theory is right.

I desperately fight back my excitement as I cautiously put my hand on his arm and start to explain that Jack and Daniel are my friends. They won't hurt either of us. Ellison turns towards me, but still tries to keep an eye on the other people in the now well trodden Zen garden. When neither Jack nor Daniel moves towards us, Ellison turns his entire attention on me.

He takes a deep breath and visibly calms. After a few more deep breaths he tilts his head to one side as if he's listening to something. It's a posture that I got to witness quite a bit on my last excursion through the gate. I very quietly ask him what he hears. His only answer is to reach out and put his hand over my heart as he looks at me as if he's asking permission.

Before I realize what I'm doing, I'm reaching up and touching his face. Ellison grabs my hand with his own and rubs my palm with his cheek like a big cat claiming its owner. I think he even purred. He then gives my wrist a small tentative lick while watching me closely. I think he's afraid I'll get upset and pull away or something. When I don't show any signs of discomfort, Ellison gives my wrist a more determined taste and backs it up with a sniff.

We both jump as Daniel takes a step towards us, but Jack stops him. I reassure my friends that Ellison is just scenting me and that I'm alright.

I turn back to the man who, I am all but certain, is a Sentinel, as he moves his hand from over my heart to my shoulder. The next thing I know my mind is flashing on scenes of a helicopter crash, jungle battles, and a large black cat.


The first thing that I notice is the man standing in front of me. He has one of the biggest kid-who-got-exactly-what-he-wanted-for-Christmas grins that I've ever seen. I can tell that he can barely keep himself from jumping up and down with joy. It's infectious and I feel myself start to grin too.

Then someone clears their throat and my grin disappears. Without thinking, I step between this new threat and my Guide. Guide? Where did that come from? How could I have let a threat sneak up on us like that? I look around for additional threats and realize that we're in the rock garden. How did I end up here?

I recognize the same Air Force colonel from earlier this afternoon and I ask what's going on. I'm just praying that he doesn't give me an order that I'm going to have to disobey.

The colonel just smiles for a moment. It's kind of unnerving. He has this mischievous predatory look on his face that makes me feel like I'm in the middle of a really bad joke, and I'm the only one that doesn't know the punch line. The bouncing behind me isn't helping any either.

He introduces himself as Colonel Jack O'Neil. The guy next to him turns out to be Dr. Daniel Jackson and he gives the colonel a defiant look as he adds that he's a doctor of archeology. Apparently, I am the only one that finds it odd that an archeologist is so familiar with an Air Force colonel.

The human pogo stick bounces out from behind me and I realize that he's the owner of the Voice. At least I wasn't going completely nuts. The only question is how was I hearing him all the way across the hospital? Somehow I'm able to extract from his excited ramblings that he is Dr. Blair Sandburg, an anthropologist, and that he thinks I'm something called a Sentinel. That bad joke feeling gets just a bit stronger.

O'Neil sighs as Blair keeps talking and pacing through the sand. Apparently, this is normal and the colonel has learned to just put up with it. It takes him several attempts to get my guide to quiet down. I'm still not sure why I'm thinking of him that way, but when he stops talking I once again find that I miss hearing his voice.

Silence reigns for several moments and then I realize that they are all looking at me expectantly. I simply identify myself as Captain James Ellison with the Army Rangers. Once again O'Neil looks at me with that same smile and says "Welcome to the Stargate Program, Captain Ellison."

I really hope that wasn't the punch line.


I just can't believe how my life is turning out. This morning I was suffering from a constant headache that at times made me want to die and threatened to end my work with the Stargate program. Now, the headache is gone and I am a Guide to my very own Sentinel. I can't wait to take him through the gate and see just what he can do.

Jack keeps telling me to stay calm and quit bouncing. He says the doctors are looking at me like they are sizing me up for a white jacket with extra long sleeves. He just doesn't understand what it means to have your life's dream come true.


A Sentinel? Heightened senses? Wormholes? Stargates? I feel like my life has just gone from the psych ward to the funny farm. Colonel O'Neil assures me that General Hammond can cut through the red tape and get me assigned to the Stargate Project within the next couple of days. I guess having a red phone on your desk gives you enough pull to get things done quickly, even when dealing with the Army. Then once we get to Cheyenne Mountain things will make more sense and feel more real.

The doctors and shrinks here aren't all that happy that I'm leaving so soon. They are still attributing my reactions to PTSD and say that I need more time to work through my issues. If only the doctors knew the stories that O'Neil, Jackson, and Sandburg have been telling me, we'd all be permanent members of the psych ward then.

I guess you just never know how your life will turn out.

The End

The story continues in What The Heck?

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