Disclaimer: Still not mine - maybe it's better if I just say 'No ownership, no money, thus no problems' and leave it at that - ya think?
A/N before the A/N - so this is an Invisible A/N - like Invisible numbers (that's what comes from having a husband who is a math professor in real life) Please excuse this story taking so long to write - My beta reader kept saying 'I just don't buy it' causing me to rewrite this story something like TEN times!!!!!!!! Hopefully, her persistence in refusing to accept a mediocre story didn't cause you to pull your hair out in frustration. (There's already one General Hammond, after all...) Please accept my most humble apology.
Okay - enough scraping - on with the show!
A/N (the real one): A brief synopsis so far: The 'Threads' Communication Series:
story one - Mark and Carter have a conversation on the phone
story two - Mark and Jack have a conversation on the phone
story three - a Jack and Sam email conversation with very unusual consequences
story four - Carter receives a concussion when she interrupts meeting between Jack, the VP (Kinsey), et all. She then spends time in ICU while Jack anxiously waits for her to wake up. It's hard to have a face-to-face chat with an unconscious person
story five - Carter learns secrets - from Mark and Daniel, and from Jack - and on a side note, someone is trying to kill her - but who?
story six - codes, letters, and more secrets
story seven - What every man dreams of, but rarely gets - a cliché in the making
story eight - Sometimes it's what isn't said that's important
story nine - Earth is invaded? On the evening news?
story ten - The Aftermath: 'Public knowledge' is handled - SGC style
now on with the series:
Jack and Sam broke suddenly out of their hug when the
off-world activation alarm blared through the SGC. Not wasting a
second now, even on caresses in the dark of the lab, they gave in
to the tug of the alarm and jogged all the way to the 'Gate Room.
They both wondered what could possibly be happening now,
since they had seen the daily schedule, and noted that no SG team
was due back until later that afternoon. They briefly saw the
film crew run to keep up with Julia Donovan as she entered from
the other side of the room, but they only had time to note the
crew's nosy presence before they clearly heard Walter's dramatic
Repeat, this is not a drill! before the
Soldiers wearing vests and carrying wicked looking weapons bumped Julia and her film crew out of the way in their hurry to take their positions below the 'Gate, a typical reaction to any unknown 'Gate activation. They cocked their weapons, the sound cracking through the quiet room.
Close the Iris! Landry hollered in the next instant,
and the big slab of metal whirled closed at the same time that
Jack and Sam came to a halt near the blast door leading into the
room. They stood well back from the potential activity that
could erupt in the room at any moment. Sam noticed that Julia
Donovan was standing a little too close to the soldiers trying to
do their jobs, and was about to yell at her to get back when
Walter's second call set her much more at ease.
Jack's brow furrowed.
Teal'c? I didn't know that he was
coming through today, he said as he moved forward into a more
Neither did... Sam's speech was cut off as the Iris
crashed open so the visitor could come through the 'Gate. She
hurried forward beside Jack to take up her usual position next to
General Landry as he joined them. Now Julia Donovan and crew was
standing at a discreet distance behind General Landry, clearly
astonished by the fast motions of the SGC personnel, fear showing
on their faces at the unexpected activity.
No one had time to explain what was happening to the civilians before a slurping sound heralded the arrival of Teal'c, dressed in the desert robes of Dakara, followed closely by two more individuals whose visit was even more of a surprise than the former First Prime's.
Sam's features slid into a beaming smile as she said,
Rya'c! Kar'yn! What are you..? That was when she noticed
the bundle of cloth that Rya'c was carrying, as well as the wide
smiles that all three adults wore as they walked down the ramp.
Teal'c - smiling? Then this had to be important!
You have a
child with you, she inanely stated.
Teal'c bowed in agreement with her assessment of the
situation, then announced,
ColonolCarter, O'Neill, I wish you
to meet my granddaughter, Kar'rya.
Sam's smile grew to match Teal'c's.
A baby?! Rya'c
and Kar'yn had had a baby?
No one mentioned
anything! She turned to Jack, who was just as happy as she
was, even though his reactive grin seemed more tempered than
Did you know anything about this, Sir?
Jack threw his arm around Teal'c's shoulder - or as close to
the right height as he could get.
You know those
close-mouthed Jaffa... nary a word.
Sam barely heard him as she peaked into the blanket that
Rya'c was carrying, revealing the sleeping baby hidden under all
How adorable! she smiled. She had all but
forgotten the presence of the film crew behind them.
A grinning Kar'yn was the next to speak.
should hold her now, while she sleeps. Her cry is so loud that
you may not want to hold her when she wakes!
Sam held out her arms to take the child, and without
thinking about what she was doing, slid across to stand next to
Jack, making him hold half the girl baby with her while she held
the other half in the process.
How old is she? Sam's
following question rang through the suddenly silent room, and
only then did she belatedly think that perhaps handing even half
a baby to Jack to hold might not have been such a good idea.
But Jack acted like he didn't have a care in the world as he shared the holding of the bundled baby with Sam. Only by the slight tension in his body did she know that this unexpected requirement of him was emotionally difficult for him to handle.
Teal'c's answer to Sam's question covered up some of the
She is three weeks of age,
Sam held her breath for a second.
So young! Then
she asked the baby's parents,
What were you doing on Dakara so
that you could all come here?
Kar'yn's smile split her young face.
We were visiting
the new Grandfather after the baby's birth, as Teal'c could not
leave his duties on Dakara to be there when Kar'rya was born. So
we went to visit him when the baby was old enough to withstand
'Gate travel. When DanielJackson contacted Teal'c a few minutes
ago, asking him to return to Earth for a short visit, we couldn't
resist coming along to see everyone.
Jack's head popped up as puzzlement clouded his eyes.
Daniel contacted you? he asked Teal'c.
As if on cue, Daniel jogged into the room to come to a stop
Teal'c! he said.
You made it! Then
he noticed the others standing with Teal'c on the ramp.
Kar'yn! Rya'c! What..?
DanielJackson, came Teal'c's sonorous tones.
here - what did you wish to see me about?
Distracted from asking his own question, Daniel's face
bloomed into sudden comprehension.
Oh! he said,
General Landry let me call you on the radio...
Yes, Teal'c said, as if to stop his friend from
getting sidetracked, as if he had a lot of experience with
Daniel's tangents, and felt one coming on right now.
on, he instructed.
Daniel then grabbed Sam's left hand and held it out to Teal'c so that he could see. Her hold on the baby fell away as Daniel jerked her aside with his impetuous action, and it was only luck that kept her from dropping the baby altogether. Jack's hold on the child grew tighter as she let go of Kar'rya.
Look! Daniel yelled up to Teal'c in an excited tone.
A second silence greeted this movement.
The hush heralded Teal'c's flat statement of,
indeed a ring, DanielJackson. He then cocked his head more
to the side as he continued to gaze intently at Sam's finger, and
Sam began to intently blush. Teal'c said as he gazed at the blue
I fail to grasp the significance of...
It's an engagement ring! He was
so excited that he was dancing in place now as he continued,
As in, Jack and Sam are getting married!
Sam's blush raged across her face at Daniel's words, but when she looked at Jack, it was to simply find him grinning from ear to ear, as if now that he could finally display his feelings for Sam through such an open medium as an engagement ring, he didn't mind that display being for the benefit of those currently present in the 'Gate Room. At the sight of Jack's infectious grin, Sam's blush cooled, and she couldn't help grinning as well. Oh, she admitted to herself, she had it baaaad!
Teal'c's reaction to Daniel's news was his typical reaction
to any news: his eyebrow rose.
Indeed, he said,
but there was so much astonishment and delight in that one word
that it perfectly illustrated his feelings on the matter.
congratulations, O'Neill, ColonelCarter, he intoned, now
sporting his rarely-seen Jaffa smile.
This is indeed a time
It was as if Daniel suddenly became aware of the cloth in
What's that? he asked in a childlike voice
of curiosity just as Master Bra'tac swept into the room.
DanielJackson, the Jaffa master chastised in a loud
tone. All eyes in the room swung to meet his.
You ran so
quickly out of... Then he spied the visitors.
Kar'yn! It has been too long!
Sam was busy wondering how it could have been very long
since the three must have seen each other when they had all just
been on Dakara, when Walter suddenly appeared at their elbows.
Excuse me... Then he turned to Jack.
O'Neill, General Hammond wishes to speak with you on the
Jack quickly handed over the baby in his arms to Sam, all
the while glancing at Landry.
Can I use the phone in your
At the exact same moment that General Landry was saying a
Of course, Sam's eyes abruptly widened just as a
realization struck her.
Holy Hannah! she blurted in
All eyes turned towards her.
What? Jack asked, his
voice a confused tone of anxiety, as if he was expecting her to
tell them where it hurt after her sudden announcement.
But Sam only blinked. Then she unceremoniously thrust the
sleeping baby into Daniel's arms. In the same movement, she
shoved her hand into her trouser pocket and drew out the little
black box with a sense of reverence.
I think I know what this
does! she declared.
Again it was Jack who barked a,
But by then, Sam had regained her natural hesitancy in a
basically untested scientific situation.
I'm not certain. I
need to run some more tests... off world. She then turned
from studying the box, pushing the two buttons, seemingly at
random, and stared at Landry.
Permission to perform tests on
Jack screwed up his eyes before Landry could answer her.
Wait a minute! he exclaimed.
You want to
But Sam went on, still staring at Landry.
tests on Dakara are no threat to anyone - it's perfectly safe for
me to go there... Sir, she said as an added persuasion for
him to let her go through the 'Gate, even though she wasn't on an
SG team any longer.
Julia broke in from her position near the door, reminding,
Sir, she said to Jack,
I discussed with General Landry
the idea of the crew and I tagging along on a mission off
world... A scientific mission would be the perfect
Things were moving too quickly for Jack. He instantly had a
bad feeling about sending civilians offworld, even on a
Wait a minute! I..!
And that was when Walter again interrupted him to gently
Sir? The General?
Right! Jack whirled to go out the blast door on his
way to Landry's office, but he stopped for a second to murmur to
We'll discuss your request at a later time. Then
he was gone.
Jack grabbed at the receiver to the black phone on Landry's
desk. Trying to ignore the jab of eerie familiarity that ran
through his frame at this action, he settled into the leather
desk chair and greeted,
General, Jack O'...
Before Jack was able to finish, George Hammond's voice
boomed out of the receiver,
Jack! Long time no see... or
Actually, it was only yesterday after you
got 'reactivated' that we spoke about 'the Kinsey Object,' he
said, referring to the official name given to 'the little black
box' that Carter was currently studying.
And how do you feel
about being yanked out of retirement? Did they interrupt a nice
fishing spree, Sir?
Hammond sighed a sad sigh.
Now I have a lot more
sympathy for when I did it to you, Jack, he admitted.
Weeeell... Jack said in a casual tone, as if his own
reactivation hadn't mattered to him. And it hadn't... the first
time. Nothing had mattered then. But the second time, the one
that Hammond was talking about... that one had been a bit more
Anyway, Jack said in order to interrupt his
I hear that you wanted to speak to me?
The 'little black box' is the reason I'm calling,
Hammond told him.
Have you shown that box to Colonel Carter
Jack leaned more comfortably into the leather chair.
Does she know what it does? Hammond anxiously
Jack grunted a laugh again.
She's had it a whole fifteen
minutes, and she already has a theory. But you know how
scientists are... She wants to test her ideas off world. She
just now mentioned something about wanting to go to
Hammond didn't comment on her fast assessment of the device.
Instead, he asked,
Did she say anything more
Jack happily gusted a breath - he loved talking about
Carter, even in such a professional capacity, but even he didn't
fully understand that scientific mind of hers. Thus he was
forced to concede,
No, but you know how she is... always
wanting to be sure of something before telling anyone about
Hammond's next question surprised Jack.
And there's no
way that you can speed her along in this investigation?
Speed her along? Wasn't she already working fast enough for
the Washington goons... eh, people? Jack's brows lowered.
Um... He hesitated, doing his best not to lose his
temper, and found that he needed to swallow his emotion...
hard. But swallow it he did. When he had cleared his
throat of any residual emotion, he was able to casually inquire,
What's the rush, if you don't mind my asking, Sir?
Hammond's sigh of repressed aggravation easily transferred
over the phone line.
I've got half the country, the Joint
Chiefs, and the President breathing down my neck, wanting answers
about the Goa'uld, what they were doing on our planet, questions
of how can we tell them apart from 'regular' humans... He
Frankly, they all keep asking why the hell the
Colonel could 'feel' Kinsey's Goa'uld, why they couldn't, and
should they be worried about a future attack from her because of
An attack - from Carter? Jack yelped.
she's... she... He was unable to formulate into words the
thoughts he was having. The idea of Carter having
'delusions of grandeur' about a Goa'uld takeover was simply too
ludicrous to even mention!
There's nothing to worry about,
I know, Jack, General Hammond placated.
preposterous to me, too, but you and I know the Colonel well.
The rest of the country doesn't know her from Adam. You have to
Jack interrupted the man for the first time in his life.
I don't 'have to understand' anything! That's my
Jack, calm down! Hammond ordered in a half angry and
half amused tone.
Jack tried to remember who he was speaking to, and to take the man's advice before he got court-martialed. Carter would kill him if he did!
That's why I granted Miss Donovan's
request when she asked to do several interviews about how the SGC
works, what happens there on a daily basis - if we don't want
this entire 'going public' situation to blow up in our faces, we
need to be as open and honest about the Program as we can be.
When I became aware of how many people are worried about Colonel
Carter's 'Goa'uld radar,' I decided that we needed honesty more
than more secrets.
Jack was still not quite able to completely keep his enmity
at bay, but he was finally able to respond to Hammond's comments.
But what about me? the General in Jack next forced him to
inquire in a harder voice.
These people don't know me,
either, yet no one has insinuated anything about a 'Goa'uld
radar' in me.
But that's just it, Hammond argued.
You didn't announce that you can 'feel' an alien
on National television, Hammond gently noted.
awful lot of suspicion about the Colonel right now, not to
mention the entire Program, if I can judge by the amount of
emails that I've been getting over the last day.
This announcement surprised Jack anew, though he reflected
that it shouldn't have.
Have you really gotten a lot of
Hammond gave another tired sigh.
We had to hire a whole
slew of new people just to read all the mails. He paused.
We even got some emails that mentioned you in particular.
Hammond paused again, then spoke with amusement coloring his
There are several women around the world who think
that you're mighty good l...
Jack quickly interrupted him.
They've been brain-wiped,
I'm sure. Jack was feeling the beginning of the twists of
embarrassment shoot through his stomach - it wasn't the General's
responsibility to take personal emails about his subordinates.
Of course, his 'subordinates' was practically everybody in the
entire country... except for the President...
Hammond's grin wormed it's way over the line.
he gently chided.
I can't keep track of you and all your
It was a reply that made Jack smile.
And speaking of
women... Carter still wants...
Tests off world, Hammond summed up.
And that film crew wants to join her on
Dakara. Then he wrinkled his forehead.
But I don't know
if I'm comfortable with that. His voice trailed off.
Hammond filled in the following silence,
an idea, however. He continued in the same pensive tone,
Just think of the PR possibilities. SG-1 could go with
Colonel Carter as backup, and they could take a camera with them
off world, and then we can show the public what it really looks
like on another planet.
Jack halted the General's growing enthusiasm before it 'ran
away with him.'
But I remind you that the last time Carter
got together with Julia Donovan, they were kidnapped by her film
crew and held at gunpoint while a slimy political wannabee flew
the flagship of the US to parts unknown. He reminded,
it hadn't been for the Asgard...
But General Hammond wasn't deterred from the possibilities
of this suggestion.
Jack, when did you become so
cautious? he jibed in his best 'let's go save the world
anyway' tone of voice.
It comes with the stars on my collar, Jack quipped
I still don't think this is a good idea...
Okay, okay, Hammond sighed.
right... I must be thinking like a politician again. Then he
Would you give in a little if one of the SGC people
carry the camera through the 'Gate?
What - like shoot a home movie? Jack asked. A home
movie of Free Jaffa - how interesting! He hadn't considered that
idea. He now puffed out his lips, thinking.
I'll suggest that Reynolds go with Carter
and SG-1... but only if Carter has Mitchell, Daniel, and Teal'c
along with her as backup. It's not that I don't trust Miss
Donovan's film crew... but I don't trust her film crew.
We did background checks on all of them, Jack,
Hammond gently reminded.
They checked out.
So did the last crew, Jack immediately riposted.
And this is Carter's life we're talking about...
Jack, give me some credit, will you? Hammond laughed
into the phone.
The Colonel will be perfectly safe.
Jack immediately felt chastened, but couldn't quite banish his misgivings about this mission, either, not even for the General.
Jack was about to give a reminder of his reluctant consent
when Hammond spoke first.
Alright, I'll make a deal with
You intimated that you're turning into a
politician, Sir... All politicians are good at making deals -
I've yet to meet one who is good at keeping
I'll ignore that comment, Hammond said as if Jack
hadn't spoken. Then he went on,
The President has been
getting some heat from CNN to have you interviewed...
I hate interviews, Jack instantly said, almost
overriding his old friend.
I know. It was obvious that Hammond was remembering
the last time Jack had been forced to be interviewed for a
Jack groaned again at the thought of what else Hammond might
have remembered about that time. Now General Hammond went on
while Jack was lost in his thoughts.
Send Colonel Reynolds
through with Colonel Carter... and as a concession, you do an
interview for Inside Access at the same time, as a way to
sort of ease the public into knowing about the SGC.
An Interview? Jack instantly protested,
But Hammond was adamant.
Take it or leave it,
Jack winced. This whole 'outing' of the Stargate Program
was asking more of him than he had first realized that it would.
Why did he feel like he was already being nibbled to death by
piranhas? This was a political move, Jack just knew it.
possible chance of a last minute negotiation? he asked in a
General Hammond gently reminded him,
Without the money
that Kinsey was promising...
Jack gusted a huge sigh. Blackmail - every Washington
type's coup de grÉce.
Alright.... I'll do it, Jack
But you owe me for this. Yet... How did one
convince someone on the President of the United States staff that
he 'owed one?'
As a final incentive, Hammond added,
Will coming to the
wedding be payment enough?
Jack gave an irritated growl.
I feel like a manipulated
All in the name of public SGC approval, and world
peace, Hammond cheerfully reminded.
Hammond knew just what to say... Jack actually growled into
the phone. At last he... sort of... conceded.
President officiate at the wedding? he next asked, just
throwing that idea out into consideration. He didn't even know
if the President of the US could marry anyone...
And he never did find out, either. At that moment, Walter
entered the office and politely informed in a low voice,
Forgive the intrusion, Sir - Miss Donovan is ready for
you. He took one look at Jack's glowering face, and added,
Sir, just for good measure.
Jack narrowed his eyes.
Why do I smell a rat here?
Yeah, one with the name 'George Hammond' clearly stamped on
It's for the sake of the Stargate Program, Jack,
Hammond persuasively added.
Jack just growled in response.
It's for a good cause, Hammond next reminded him.
Jack sighed, irritated that he'd been so easily manipulated.
And all because of Carter! It was infuriating... if in a nice
Alright... but... I'll spill my guts because of
It's a deal, Hammond quickly replied.
the President. It sounded like he knew which buttons
to successfully push on Jack O'Neill!
Jack sighed - he really hated TV interviews. But he hated
the idea of sending an unknown film crew with Carter even more.
He didn't need to practically invite something bad to happen to
her, not now. With SG-1's luck, something bad was sure to happen
to them even if he sent Reynolds along with them instead of a
dubious film crew!
Alright, you got me. I'll give them their
Hammond laughed outright once more.
You won't regret
this - you'll be a hero.
I don't want to be a hero, Jack grumbled.
the pay is lousy.
Hammond's laugh carried over the phone line.
regret this, Jack.
Yes I will, Jack thought, but was smart enough to
keep his mouth shut... for a change. He sighed.
me see Carter off, then I'm all theirs, he gave in.
Jack slowly hung up the phone, putting off his interview for as long as possible.
Just when had he become such a Carter sap?
Jack moved from Landry's office and into the Briefing Room, where Julia Donovan and her film crew were seated around the large Briefing Room table. They were here already? Jack looked at them in suspicion. It was as if they had known about his and Hammond's deal... all along.
Sudden realization stormed through Jack's mind. He really had been set up! Oh, Hammond would pay double for this!
General, Julia said in greeting.
Jack cut her off with a finger held up to indicate that he
wished a moment, then hurried down the stairs to the Gate Room,
where SG-1, along with Colonel Carter, was already geared up and
ready to go, as if they could also read his mind. The problem
was that Reynolds seemed able to read his mind as well - he was
geared up, too, juggling a large TV camera on his shoulder. Jack
did his best to ignore the knowing smiles they all sent his way
as he eyed Reynolds. Then he seemed to recall that he had a team
- a very special team - waiting.
Landry and I will
keep the lights on for ya, he said, though he knew that it
was basically unnecessary. He again gave Colonel Reynolds the
'evil eye' when he glanced up at a grinning General Landry
standing in the Control Room. Even the General looked as if he
had known what was about to happen - how infuriating! Jack gave
another mental growl.
The team hadn't been gone thirty seconds before Julia was beside him - pestering.
Yes, yes... He fancied that
Julia Donovan gave him her own version of the 'evil eye.'
Jack purposely strode out of the 'Gate Room, and back up to
the Briefing Room, where he fell into one of the chairs around
the Briefing table, and Julia didn't waste any time once he was
there. She sat across from him, then immediately said,
Why did he get the feeling that this was going to be a long
Call me 'Jack,' Jack instructed.
shorter. Might as well make this interview as painless and
short as possible.
Undeterred, Julia continued,
Jack... Tell us what you
really think about what's been happening these last few
Jack heaved a long suffering sigh. It was only because he'd been asked as a 'personal favor' by Hammond that he was even in front of the camera now. Jack sent one glare in the camera's general direction, then sighed again. He was caught - might as well make the best of a bad situation. He pondered that idea, and couldn't help but to mentally liken the situation with Miss Donovan and her crew to the many times that he had been held prisoner by the Goa'uld, and been forced to make the best of a poor situation. But he didn't think he'd mention it just now!
He paused, and finally said,
I don't want to... But
he couldn't say that... he might get someone in trouble.
think... But he couldn't say that, either.
Look, he said at last.
I know that there's a lot going
on here that you don't understand, and it must seem like no one
Julia shrugged and using a light voice, invited,
people would love to know.
I bet they would, Jack injudiciously thought. But
all he said aloud was,
Okay... The SGC in a nutshell: Goa'uld
equals 'bad.' Our allies equals 'good.' He smiled a bright
Julia gave him a hard stare at his attempt at a sarcastic
General, you might as well tell us about the Program,
as I'll just get my information from someone else if you
don't. She gazed at him in a more cajoling manner.
what I understand, you've been at the SGC the longest. You have
the most experience of any person on base, including General
Landry. But if you want someone else to...
What was he - a kid to be 'persuaded?'
alright... Someone else 'talking' would just screw up all
that information for sure, Jack realized. Julia Donovan was good
at what she did, Jack also reluctantly realized. Giving in to
her 'request' would be a lot easier in the long run than dodging
So... what did he really think? Jack pondered the recent
events for a moment, and when he spoke, his voice was very
hesitant. But he opted for honesty... this time.
that... this is... part of the plan? he hesitantly guessed.
Turn the Stargate Program from 'secret' to 'public...' Sort
of subtle, but nothing is too good for the Goa'uld.
The Goa'uld... the alien race that the SGC is fighting,
isn't that right? Julia ascertained.
The Goa'uld... as in Ba'al, Jack said to her, hiding
his shiver of revulsion at his own mention of the alien's
Julia wrinkled her nose.
Ba'al? I thought we were
dealing with the Goa'uld?
Ba'al is a Goa'uld, Jack corrected.
managed to defeat the Goa'uld... for the most part. Ba'al is one
of the few System Lords left. So we figured this governmental
takeover must have been his idea from the beginning.
Crap. They didn't even understand that simple
reference? He was too busy for this! He may owe General Hammond
for his 'new lease on life,' when he had been reactivated all
those years ago, but even expressing his gratitude was not worth
Get the basics down first, then call me, he
suggested as politely as he could. He rose from his chair prior
to leaving the Briefing Room.
In desperation at the threat of the General leaving her
without an interview, Julia pulled out her one trump card that
she had obviously heard would work to freeze General O'Neill in
I understand that you once had a son? she
went on to hurriedly inquire.
Why don't you tell us about
Jack froze all right. The words fell flat in the Briefing Room as Jack momentarily rocked on the balls of his feet. How had she found out about Charlie so quickly? He didn't breathe.
Then Julia looked guilty as she made a confession to Jack's
unasked question regarding Charlie.
I admit to doing some
research on you... then on your wife... ex-wife... on the
Internet this morning before coming here. Jack glared at
her, the silence shrouding the room in an evil pall. Julia
I had the feeling that you would be hard to pin
down on camera... and when your own military files say little
besides 'classified'... I knew that I needed to take another
angle with you. Her expression of guilt, mixed with her
pride in the knowledge she'd been able to utilize in digging up
useful information on him, clearly warred with each other on her
I noticed, however, that your file did indicate
that you had once been married to a 'Sara Peterson...'
What was this - Jack's past come back to haunt him?
After another quiet moment fraught with tension as Jack
tangled with his memories of his last moments with Charlie, he
turned a dark face to Julia.
Don't make me mad, he
quietly suggested, giving the indication that he was much more
dangerous than he had so far appeared when angered... and he was
on the verge of growing more and more livid now.
Julia tried her best to defuse the situation that she had
Purposely making you angry isn't my
intention, she now said to him in a gentle voice, and added,
Slowly, Jack did as he was bid, remembering that he was now on camera, and he had no control over what Miss Donovan chose to use in her 'finished interview' that she planned to show on National television later that day. How she presented him - as a bitter, aging General best ignored, or as the 'reluctant hero' that Hammond had already tried to create when they had met in DC to discuss the recent events depended on how he behaved now.
But as always, good behavior was difficult for Jack. His head swam with his effort to keep a lid on his temper. Thinking about Carter, and the ring she even now wore on her finger, helped to calm his tight nerves. But even the thought of Carter had its limits.
Julia stared at him for a moment, looking as though she were sizing him up, but actually giving him the time he needed to collect himself.
When she was certain that he would be able to remain calm
and coherent, she began,
Okay.... General.... just so you
know, we can edit that last part out, or not, depending on what
Above all, Jack did not want his private past to be paraded
over national air waves.
You seem to have done your homework,
Miss Donovan, Jack finally conceded.
You want an
interview... let's interview.
Julia sighed once, as if she was used to dealing with
reluctant interviewees, but still glad that the tactic that she
had chosen to use to convince General O'Neill of her sincerity
with this interview hadn't backfired to bite her in the butt.
General... Jack, she said, changing his name as he'd
What can you tell us that is a bit more
detailed than simply 'Goa'uld equals bad, and Allies equals
By repeating his words, she let him know that she intended to cut out their entire conversation about Charlie... as long as he delivered what she wanted, which was the interview of hero of the 'Goa'uld sidewalk incident.' And the entire nation had clearly decided that he had been chosen to be that hero, if he understood Julia's silent signals correctly.
Jack sighed, but it was a gesture of acceptance more than of annoyance. If he was going to be 'hero of the SGC,' then he might as well put the SGC in the best light possible.
Knowing that he was selling the Stargate Program to the
public as much as giving basic information, Jack tried to choose
his words with care.
Um.... Jack paused. Such a start
wasn't particularly auspicious.
But before he could either gather his thoughts, or let his mouth run away with those thoughts, Walter suddenly crept hesitantly into the room. Fifteen Walter-less minutes had gone by - Jack figured that it was time for a Walter-interruption.
Excuse me, the aid politely coughed. Then he turned
to Jack and said,
Sir, the President is on the phone and
asking to speak with you.
Jack automatically rose at the sergeant's words. It was as if those magic words could draw him away from anything.
Jack gave a sudden grin, remembering what he and Carter had been doing only that morning, and wondered if he would allow even that to be interrupted by a Presidential call or not.
But Jack had one final comment to make to Julia before
disappearing with Walter out of the room. He stared at Julia and
Had Kinsey managed to do what he planned, the System
Lord Ba'al would seem like a walk in the park by comparison.
He grinned a charming smile.
Now... Can't keep the President
waiting... And he walked out of the Briefing Room without a
Thank you! to his one-time aid, who
simply smiled a secret little smile, and nodded, then indicated
The General offers the use of his
Thank you, Walter, Jack said, aloud this time, then
entered Landry's office from the corridor. He ignored the eerie
sense of familiarity that again washed over him as he crossed to
the desk scattered with papers (some things don't change, he
noted) and grabbed the receiver to the red phone.
President, Sir, General O'Neill here... you called? he
jovially greeted as he again sat down in Landry's leather
Jack! the familiar tones of Henry Hayes flowed over
I have new orders for you, he announced.
New orders? Already? Jack was peripherally aware of seeing
a member of the film crew moving to the drinks table in the
Briefing Room to get a drink, probably to stave off the boredom
of waiting for him... again... but Jack was far more focused on
what the President was saying than on what a piddly film crew
member did with his free time.
Do you want me back in
Washington? Jack naively asked. As he asked, he was also
aware of the squeezing in his chest that meant he didn't want to
be reassigned, that he had only just arrived in Colorado! Carter
wasn't even back yet from her jaunt to Dakara. Jack groaned, but
softly, so that the President would never hear him.
No, not quite in Washington, Hayes told him.
IOA and the Joint Chiefs met with me this morning, and we all
agreed that it would be to the country's benefit if the
government has a representative at the SGC to coordinate things
from that end, what with the Program public knowledge now - sort
of a PR person. And that representative would be...
You mean me? Jack blurted. When the President didn't
say anything to negate his fast assumption, Jack sat back in
Landry's chair, stunned.
But I'm hardly the right person for
representing... And what would happen to Homeworld
Hayes cut him off, anticipating his question.
disagree with you, General, and have already made arrangements
for General Hammond to temporarily head Homeworld, not to replace
you, he emphasized,
but to free up your time. We're aware
that in this situation, we need someone like Hammond at
Homeworld, someone who knows what dealing with Stargate
disclosure, and with the public, is like. And don't sell
yourself short, either. We also need someone who intimately
knows the workings of the SGC there, in Colorado. We need
someone who understands this war with the Goa'uld, who has been
there from the beginning, who has personally dealt with the
Stargate on a planetary scale... and that's not Landry. They
want you. Hayes paused, and in what sounded like a cheerful
voice, especially for a man who had just had the most classified
secret in the entire country uncovered the day before on public
television, made another addition,
And according to our recent
influx of emails, the public wants you, too. This couldn't be a
better solution than if I had ordered it myself!
Jack frowned. If he accepted reassignment to the SGC... that meant... he and Sam would be, not exactly in a direct chain of command, but assigned to the same extended chain of command as well as assigned to the same base. A typical engagement between two people in that kind of a situation was definitely more than the military could or would overlook, Jack knew.
He felt that he should point this tiny hitch in the
President's plan out to him.
With all due respect, Sir, that
leaves me and Colonel Carter...
Hayes's tone moved from jovial to resigned the minute that
I know, and I understand your frustration, he
I don't think you do, Sir, Jack said, feeling that
frustration that the President had mentioned rising to the
boiling point in a second, making him speak more plainly than he
otherwise would have.
Sam and I... We've been waiting for
over eight years to do something about our personal
situation, he argued.
We did our duty, we...
It's out of my hands, Jack, Hayes sadly told him,
interrupting his protests, as if he didn't want to hear them...
or was afraid to hear them.
The IOA, the Joint Chiefs, and
even the American public has already made the decision. His
shrug of defeat was loud over the phone.
All I could do was
point out this problem of yours, but they wouldn't be swayed from
this recommendation. And this year is a party election year...
For the sake of congressional elections, I had to
But, Jack protested.
But, he said again.
'But...' In reality, this was his commander in chief giving him a direct order. What could he say?
He could say a deadened, 'Yes Sir.'
Or... He could say...
No, Jack softly intoned over the phone, a move that
made his heart pound, and bands of nervous sweat to bead on his
This reaction took President Hayes by surprise, according to
his incredulous questioning response,
Jack felt his his heart flutter again at the idea of declining his new orders. He gripped the receiver a fraction tighter in his hand to stop his fingers from quivering.
But with his firmer resolve came a firmer voice.
Jack said again.
Hayes paused for a telling moment that was tight with
tension. When he spoke, it was slowly and distinctly, yet
admirably displayed his angry disbelief.
Care to explain your
Jack took a deep breath, but it only made a dent in his nervous quaking. It wasn't the first time that he had considered breaking orders, but this was the first time that he was doing it for himself, and not for an exalted belief that he could make the country a bit better place to live in if he disobeyed orders. The differences in how he felt while he was actually doing that disobeying wasn't something that he was prepared for.
Shaking like a leaf buffeted by a typhoon, Jack knew that there was no hiding his feelings anymore, and that scared him to death.
Yet... no hiding meant no hiding.
Jack swallowed his nervousness, and in that same firm but
soft voice, started to explain,
Be... Being stationed at the
SGC means that... that by being engaged to be married to
Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter - having a true relationship
with her - we would, in effect, be breaking the military's
Fraternization Regulations. According to the Frat Regs, an
officer cannot engage in a... There, Jack paused. How was
he supposed to say this to the President of the United States?
He didn't know what Hayes's opinions were about these types of
But Jack finally threw full caution to the wind - he was
already implying that he planned to defy direct orders... What
did it matter how diplomatic he was as he did it? So he brokenly
The Frat Regs warn... warn against a possible...
sexual... sexual relationship... one between an officer and a
subordinate... you already know that. And as I have every
intention of having... a... sexual relationship with Sam -
any kind of relations with Sam - especially if we get
married - hopefully sooner rather than later - then with all due
respect, Mr. President, I... Here Jack paused again, asking
himself if he truly understood what he was doing.
The President's quiet yet forceful inquiry bit like an
enraged Jaffa across the phone line.
Do you really know what
Jack breathed once, twice, then firmly said,
Yes Sir, I
do. It means court-martial... it means dishonorable discharge
for a soldier unwilling to follow orders... it means...
Jack paused again to allow himself to fleetingly think of Sam,
for just once split second. That nanosecond was all it took to
make him remember how they'd gotten engaged, and for an answering
grin to crease his lips. In a stronger voice than he'd used
before, he added,
It means that I'm finally getting my head
out of my butt and putting Sam first. He sighed.
is important to me, and fighting the Goa'uld is always a great
thing to do, and I'll miss that feeling of giving it to the bad
guys where it counts, but Sam is... Jack hesitated, then
Waaaaay worth it! He grinned a grimace after
finishing his words - there was definitely no hiding his
Jack sighed once more, a sound full of determined regret.
Do what you feel you have to do, Sir, he continued.
won't pretend that this puts you in anything but an awkward
position, but I won't ask Sam to give up a relationship that
we've waited over eight years to start. I can't follow orders
this time, Sir, so I'm going to have to say 'no.'
Orders aren't a negotiation, Jack, he chastised himself as he finished speaking. You've really done it this time.
Yet, even as he was having these rambling, tortuous thoughts, he quietly, softly, hung up the phone.
To Be Continued in:
Invasion 'Threads' - Cleanup
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