Disclaimer: I don't own them. I made no money. I'm just a poor sci/fi geek with 'delusions of grandeur.'
A/N: 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 a 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
story eleven - Interviews... interviews... and more interviews...
now on with the series:
In a 'Gate Room reunion that was clearly being filmed for
posterity's sake, whether he liked it or not, Jack met Sam five
minutes later at the bottom of the Stargate ramp. He had felt
his stomach do unfamiliar somersaults at the first sounds of the
incoming wormhole sirens. Those twisting turns of his gut hadn't
quieted since, not even at the sight of his beaming fiancée as
she came bounding through the 'Gate. She was accompanied by the
three men of SG-1 and Colonel Reynolds still juggling his SGC
supplies as well as a heavy film camera that he had borrowed from
Julia Donovan's film crew. Jack watched as Sam's features went
from completely delighted at seeing him waiting for her at the
bottom of that ramp, to puzzled at his decidedly uninviting
stance beside her commanding General. In an eye-blink, her
serene features flipped to become anxiety-filled when he did
nothing more to greet her than to simply follow Landry's call of,
Welcome back, SG-1! with a raise of his eyebrows in her
direction. He did give a small smile, and his head a tilt
towards the 'Gate Room blast doors, but the only other move he
made was to silently bid her to come with him, as he had some
news - probably unpleasant news, given the look on his face.
Jack hadn't said a word, but had admirably communicated his need to speak to Sam ASAP, and speak in private. The fact that she had solved the puzzle of the black box on Dakara was now beside the point. Sam felt the excitement she always experienced after figuring out the hidden purpose of one of her 'doohickeys' leave her in a whoosh of deflated pride immediately after she'd caught sight of Jack's expression. Belatedly, she thought to nod once in General Landry's direction, then gestured with her head at Jack, indicating to both men that she had business to take care of before she could debrief with Landry.
General Landry noted the silent questions and answers
flowing between his superior and his subordinate, but only said a
We'll debrief in two hours. Colonel Carter, I remind
you that you only have until the debrief to get checked out in
the Infirmary, and have a shower, as well as do whatever it is
that General O'Neill obviously wants you to take care of... don't
be late. He gave the impression with his final words that
lateness would not be tolerated, even for those who were not
members of an SG team.
Sam got the message.
Understood, Sir, she said, then
followed her antsy fiancé out of the 'Gate Room.
The moment they were outside the room and alone, she asked,
Don't you want to hear about the..?
But Jack cut her off.
Not here, Carter, he hissed,
not looking at her, but forcing his steely, unrelenting gaze to
pierce the corridor ahead of them.
Your lab, was all he
Sam heard the slight hitch in his voice.
said with a twist of her engagement ring on her finger.
starting to get worried, she whispered to him out of the side
of her mouth.
Jack's heart continued to beat a tattoo on the inside of his
chest, but still all he would whisper was,
Chastised into silence, Sam could do nothing but meekly follow Jack as hundreds of scenarios, all more horrible than the last, filtered through her mind. He had been reassigned to Siberia, and didn't know how to tell her; he had been ordered to assassinate the head of the country of Uruguay (who was the head of Uruguay, anyway?); after everything they had done, they had both been ordered to take the fall for Kinsey's death, and the public wouldn't be happy with anything less than both their heads on pikes sitting on the White House lawn; he had been demoted to Major, and she was now a Captain for 'outing' the Program the day before. Several more thoughts wove through her mind, but she had to admit to herself that she had no idea what had caused that look of blank steel to invade his eyes, and he wasn't giving her any clues.
Warily, Sam plodded beside him up to level 19 and the relative privacy of her lab.
The minute they entered, and Sam had turned on the lights
and quietly closed the door behind them, she said,
know, I can read your mind. Tell me to confirm my suspicions as
to what happened before I go insane. The fact that she
couldn't quite read his mind in this instance was
Jack slowly turned towards her.
I doubt you will ever be
able to 'read' this, Sam, he breathed on a rush of
He looked the most haggard that she had ever seen him.
Gasping a little at the wan light in his eyes, her face fell.
What on Earth..?
Jack interrupted her.
Sam, before you completely lose
I didn't have breakfast this morning if you recall,
Sam sharply told him, unimpressed with the stall tactics that he
Out with it.
So Jack got right to business.
President Hayes called
and gave me new orders.
Anxiety continued to gnaw at her stomach. Yet, Sam refused
to jump to conclusions.
And? she hesitantly prompted.
Jack sighed a sad sound that tore through the quiet room.
When he spoke, it was like a Gao'uld was pulling out all his
teeth. He grunted,
My new orders have me filling the
position of the military liaison for the Stargate
Sam remained silent. Finally, when Jack didn't add anything
more, Sam let her brows lower over her eyes in confusion.
say that you're a new liaison. He nodded. She considered
this news, chewing it over in her mind.
I'm sorry, she
said at last.
I just don't get why you look so...
I'm to be stationed here, Jack said again,
emphasizing his last word.
What about Homeworld Security? she asked next.
Aren't you still assigned there, in Washington DC?
Hammond's been 'temporarily' reactivated, and he's going
to coordinate from that end, Jack told her.
But he's just
a temporary fix, until this whole 'outing' thing runs its course.
Then I guess that I'll be sent back to Washington.... or I'll be
assigned here on a permanent basis.
Again Sam's brow furrowed.
If you're going back to
Washington... then why the long face? she echoed her earlier
Again Jack broke her off.
I'm to be here,
formally assigned or not... as in, at the SGC... as in, at the
same base where you're stationed.
Jack went on,
We're at least stationed, if not assigned,
to the same base...
Sam's face grew blank.
What..? She had to swallow
her sudden fear enough so she could clearly speak.
of command are you..?
Jack winced a tiny wince.
Actually, the President and
I never had time to discuss chain of command... Finally Jack
sighed in aggravation.
It doesn't really matter anyway,
If you think the Air Force is going to overlook
the fact that one of its top Stargate experts and one of its most
controversial Generals is engaged to marry while being stationed
at the same base, and possibly in the same chain of command, then
you don't know the military as well as I think you do.
Oh, Sam said, her fears clearly confirmed with his
words. She looked Jack straight in his brown eyes as her own
Crap, she softly intoned as she sank down
to the stool that she used for her computer work. Her gaze
shifted to her blue eternity engagement ring, and she fingered it
in silence. Suddenly she fisted her left hand, and a fierceness
that she only displayed when she was in a fire fight with Jaffa
invaded her expression.
They can do what they want to me, I'm
not giving it up! she barked.
Sam, there's more, Jack gently told her, cutting into
her tirade, effectively stopping her from saying anything unwise
and regrettable. Though he liked what he was hearing her say, he
didn't want to be the reason behind any regrettable comments of
hers, either. He had never hurt her career or her job, or
her, and he wasn't planning to start now.
Sam's eyes widened once again.
More? What could
possibly be worse than..?
Looking down, Jack interrupted her to softly report,
said 'no' to Presidential orders about this PR gig. Because of
the base thing. He gave another look that became a grimace.
I disobeyed a direct order... from the President himself.
He took in a deep breath, and then let it hiss out as a sorrowful
He has to react accordingly to such a decision.
Jack grimaced again.
I expect there to be SFs pounding on
your lab door to arrest me at any moment for disobeying orders.
Then there will certainly be a court-martial, which I will lose,
and then I'll probably be thrown out of the military as a jackass
who refuses to obey a direct order from his commander in chief.
But I thought then and I still think that you're worth any
punishment that they give me.
But I don't think that! Sam raged in a sudden fury.
Putting our engagement on hold for a time is better for you in
the long run than...
Sam, Jack broke in, using a calm voice compared to
Sam's furious tones.
If one of us doesn't say 'no' right now,
then there will always be a reason for us to 'put our
engagement on hold.' He shrugged, and thrust his hands into
I just am not willing to give you up any longer,
not willing to put my feelings for you on the back burner any
more. He gave a wan grin that lifted the corners of his
mouth for just a moment.
I love you Sam, and I'm not ashamed
to admit that, and I refuse to behave like I'm doing something
wrong when my feelings aren't wrong, just inconvenient.
Already the sound of pounding washed through the closed door
and into the lab, making it impossible for Sam to respond to this
speech. Annoyed at the interruption, yet knowing what it was
for, Sam opened the lab door, and two SFs carrying handguns and
zats entered without waiting for permission.
We have orders
to apprehend General O'Neill for 'failure to comply with
orders.' The SF's head snapped towards Jack. His voice
softened as he gazed at the man, who looked like the SF had just
interrupted his favorite TV show.
General, I apologize, but
you'll have to come with us.
No apologies necessary, Jack negated. He crossed to
the two soldiers, who immediately prepared to march the prisoner
towards the holding cells where he would await his trial.
But Jack paused at the door. He turned back to face Sam.
I love you Sam, he said, and his voice only grew stronger
the more he said that, as if he needed practice at vocalizing the
words that he had bottled up inside for so long.
And I have
since I met you... well, almost since I met you. Don't
forget... And then he was gone, led out the door by the
Sam huffed a breath at the imperiousness of the SFs. Her
fury abated as quickly as it had come. Thinking that the two
soldiers could have at least shown more deference to a General,
she called after the departing figures of the three men,
love you too, Jack. And this isn't the end of things - you won't
get left behind. Her voice trailed into the quiet around her
as she finished her vow,
* * *
They even confiscated Jack's Asgard talking/communication stone/rock/thing before introducing him to cell #3, a typical holding cell. It had a bed, a table, two chairs... and one securely locked door. Jack had checked the door the minute he was introduced to his new 'home.'
Prowling the confines of the cell, he appeared agitated on the security camera, but in actuality, he was just bored in moments with the gray walls, the gray furniture, the gray blanket on the bed, the gray door... too much gray and nothing to do encouraged a person to think too much. And Jack was thinking... thinking that Sam was sooooo worth this... and more!
Several hour after his incarceration had begun, the door
opened wide to allow three visitors into the room. Jack stared
at his former team members as they entered, a sense of amused
resignation in his eyes. He shrugged as he stared at them,
trying to set them all at ease.
What can I say, he said
when they glanced around.
The digs were too good to pass
Daniel stared at him in abject sympathy.
must be bored to death.
With those words, Carter pulled something out of her BDU
I've been saving this for you, Sir. She
handed him a brand new yo-yo.
Jack's eyes lit up at the sight of the toy.
This makes things a lot better!
Teal'c spoke then, his sonorous tones flowing over them.
Perhaps now you will not spend so much time in thoughts of
regret for your decision that has placed you in this predicament,
Jack gave a start, and stopped examining his yo-yo in order
to give the Jaffa his full attention.
I don't regret this,
Teal'c, Jack contradicted. His eyes darted to Sam.
guys are smarter than to think that.
Daniel rubbed at the floor with the toe of his boot, and
gave a twist to his lips.
You're right, he said with a
We've suspected something like this for...
Sam sighed once, and took Jack's hand in hers.
We know -
we have an email proposal from you to prove it, she noted.
To Jack she insisted,
We're doing everything we can think of
to get you out of this. We just need time...
Her voice trailed off, but the sudden knocking on the door
interrupted their musings. The door swung open, and a female
soldier stepped right up to Jack. She held out an envelope.
General O'Neill, she saluted.
I have orders from
General Hammond to deliver this to you personally, whatever the
situation. She gave a brisk nod of her head.
she said, then gave another smart salute, and turned to
Thank you, Lieutenant, Jack said as he let go of
Sam's fingers in order to take the message in his own hand. The
soldier disappeared into the hall, and he fingered the message,
righting it so that he could read 'For General Jack O'Neill's
Eyes Only - Classified.'
Wonder what Hammond wants, Jack
muttered, then tore the envelope open.
Inside was one piece of paper with six words written on it
in a foreign language. Jack squinted at the strange letters that
abruptly looked very familiar to him.
I know this! he
softly exclaimed. He instantly turned his back to the security
camera so that his mouth wouldn't show him forming any words that
could potentially be lip read as he said aloud,
Sam filled in the next phrase.
Brainwashed SGC humans
Jack finished the coded message,
Beware. He lowered
his hand holding the message to wrinkle his forehead in
Surprisingly, Daniel immediately placed his own back to the
security camera, then piped up,
Yeah... You know. Like when
I was a Lo'taur... those people had to be brainwashed, or else
how would they be so loyal to a Goa'uld System Lord as to
actually want to become a host. He wrinkled his nose.
They thought it was some kind of reward, or something.
Jack gazed at him in confusion.
And how do you know
that? he asked.
That slave of Ba'al - Shyla - who I had
to try to rescue because of Kanan... She was a Lo'taur, and
she certainly wasn't brainwashed.
I think she was the personal case that
encouraged System Lords to start brainwashing their Lo'taurs.
The ones that I met a year later all seemed brainwashed to
Wait a minute. Jack wrinkled his nose in confusion.
When were you a Lo'taur?
Daniel glibly replied,
When I went undercover as the
Lo'taur to Lord Yu.
Jack's forehead was wrinkled now as well as his nose.
Really? he asked in astonishment.
I don't remember
I do, Sam responded.
As do I, Teal'c confirmed.
Oh, so this is you guys saying that my
memory's going, is that it? I'm not that old! he
No, Teal'c dryly informed.
mentioned his adventures with Lord Yu several times after it had
occurred. His complaints made me remember with ease.
Sam looked almost guilty as she said,
And it was my Dad
who saved Daniel's ass when things got too hot.
Hey! Daniel expostulated.
I didn't need saving
that badly! Sam merely glared at him until he changed
Okay, so I did. But that doesn't explain why
both of you can read this message written in a language that I've
never seen before, but you obviously have.
Sam said at once,
The better question is, why does
Hammond know this code when we're the only two who ever had the
Jack tilted his head in concession.
That is a
good question, he said.
Wait a minute, Daniel broke in to say, making them
You made this up? he then inquired of Sam and
Jack, sounding amazed. Sam nodded as Jack winced anew as a
sudden suspicion settled over him.
I bet that Hammond found my code key that I
had left in my closet before I came to Colorado.
Sam gaped in some surprise, distracted from her previous
question by his comment.
You left it in your closet?!
Jack nodded. Sam's facial features swooped.
Please tell me
that you hid our letters better than just putting them in your
Jack lifted placating hands towards Sam, while Daniel looked
Don't worry - I have them stored in a locker at
the bus terminal nearest my house in DC, Jack informed.
The bus terminal? Daniel then asked.
storing coded letters that Sam and you wrote to each other at a
DC bus terminal?!
It's a cliché, I know, but who would ever
suspect me of fulfilling a cliché?
Teal'c gave a nod in approval of Jack's tactic of reverse
That is most wise of you, O'Neill.
Daniel snarked at Jack,
Well, next time you're being
cliché, Jack, include the key in the locker while you're hiding
your letters! He grumbled some more under his breath, but
had to concede that it was fortuitous that Jack had left the key
to his and Sam's code in his bedroom so that Hammond could find
it (for whatever, so far, unknown reason the General had had to
search Jack's DC house). It was clear that Hammond must have
somehow known that only Jack and Sam would be able to instantly
translate a message to them written in their own code.
So, he continued, letting himself get sidetracked by the
more important topic that had lately been mentioned.
It's going to be hard to identify brainwashed humans,
Sam noted in a soft voice.
SGC humans, Jack interjected.
Sam corrected herself,
Those SGC humans - if they're
members of SG teams - they could have been captured while on
missions, brainwashed, then returned to the SGC with instructions
to carry out some kind of Goa'uld mission at a later date, and we
would never know about it unless they told us.
Which any brainwashed human is unlikely to
Jack added more,
And a System Lord as slimy as Ba'al can
have more than one brainwashed SGC human at a time.
Sam went on, mulling,
Ba'al - or any System Lord still
alive - would then be able to spread a large number of
military brainwashed victims out among the populace, and
no one would be the wiser. She shrugged, admiring the
simplicity of that plan even as she was horrified at the thought.
There is no way that I know of to detect a person who has been
brainwashed and ordered to keep that brainwashing a
Sure there is, Daniel instantly replied to Sam's
theorizing. Then he glanced in bemusement at the other three.
Don't we just have to ask them, 'Who do you serve?' and any
brainwashed person will instantly supply the name of a System
Lord? They wouldn't be able to help themselves. He
We could catch just such a person right here, in
the SGC, before they can even leave the base. He thought
again for a minute, then added.
That is, if Ba'al was going
to use this 'Kinsey invasion plan,' first, and in case that
failed, the mission of the brainwashed SGC people would start on
some prearranged signal. He glanced insecurely at them
Aren't I right - isn't that how you find out if
someone is brainwashed?
All eyes in the room turned automatically to Teal'c, the SGC expert on all things Goa'uld. Teal'c said nothing, but did nod his head once.
Jack grimaced at that nod.
So, every conversation that
we have from here on out is going to start with 'Who do you
serve?' He glared at Daniel.
I'll feel like an idiot
saying something so dumb!
Daniel gave a shrug.
It's better than having someone
stab you in the back while you throw an SGC barbecue! he
Sam had to concede,
There is that. Then she grew
more pensive yet.
I wonder who the intended victim is?
She slipped into thought, but blinked and 'woke' again to peer at
Well, what would be the point of
brainwashing humans if there wasn't a particular target that
Ba'al had in mind?
And is there just one target? Or
Distressed at that idea, the four simply gazed at one
another in horror at the insinuations of that kind of a plan.
But before anyone could give another hypotheses about that issue,
the cell door suddenly opened, and a guard stuck his head into
the room to inform,
I'm sorry, but your ten minutes of
visiting time is up.
As one, the four original members of SG-1 sighed.
Jack quickly asked,
Sam, did you discover what the black
box does while on your mission to Dakara?
Sam nodded, her hand reaching into her pocket to reflexively
draw out the device Jack referred to.
It suppresses naquedah
in a person's blood, basically rendering any 'Goa'uld pinpointer'
as useless. See, push this button, and I experience no feelings
of a symbiote nearby. But push this left button here, and the
box is 'turned off,' and I can feel symbiotes again. She
gave a nonchalant shrug.
We tested it on 200 or so Jaffa...
It worked every time, so I'm fairly certain of its
Kinsey must have had one all along, Jack mused. Then
he gave a shrewd look to Sam.
Can you reverse engineer
it? he inquired as the guard stood nearby and glared the fact
that they weren't hurrying enough for his taste.
Sam did give a grin at this question.
Already on it,
Jack wagged a finger under her nose.
No 'Sir' ever, Sam.
She gave an impish grin.
I just wanted to see if you
would say anything. She kissed him on his cheek.
patient, Jack. We're doing what we can to clear up this
court-martial thing. You won't get left behind again, you
Yeah, Jack whispered with a grin of his own aimed at
With a sad heart, Jack watched his best friends in the galaxy depart his cell in silence.
* * *
Next to visit Jack in his cell was Julia Donovan, accompanied by a single camera man who wore the BDUs and patch showing him to be an SGC member, a portable camera resting on his shoulder. Jack instantly assumed upon seeing him that General Landry only trusted Julia Donovan, a known Earth based human, and members of his own command to be in the same room with General O'Neill, thus explaining her use of an SGC member to be her camera man.
But Jack was quickly on guard - General Hammond had warned against possible brainwashed human SGC victims: this might be one of them. Even if Jack himself wasn't the intended target, he still didn't want to be surprised by the sudden uncovering of a brainwashed individual bent on his demise by the man abruptly trying to kill him. So he focused his attention on the camera man. But despite Jack's caution, the man made no overtly suspicious moves of any kind.
But true to form, the reporter in Julia made her ignore her
own camera man to instead instantly begin beseeching Jack,
General, our earlier interview was interrupted... Mind if we
Here? Jack blurted. He gave Julia Donovan an acerbic
look while still keeping one eye trained on her camera man.
This is hardly where the public wants to see its chosen
'hero.' Then he asked a question of his own to Julia.
Isn't that what you Inside Access people want me to be
for you? At Julia's conceding nod, he added,
I doubt that
viewers want to see me in a holding cell, waiting for
Julia bobbed her head once in concession that he had again
made a point, but then she protested,
It doesn't seem to
matter where you are, though. The public wants to know more
about you any way they can get the information. Then she
gave a sort of guilty blush.
I mean, my producers say they
do. The ratings of an interview of you would be through the
roof. Then her blushing face cooled a bit.
being stuck in here just means that you can't run away
Jack realized that she had also made a point, even if he
didn't care about what she'd said concerning Inside Access
True, I can't just leave, he agreed. Then he
shuffled a bit, feeling slightly guilty now himself.
ducking out on you earlier...
I've heard all about it, Julia interrupted him.
And might I say that your experience with the President has to
be the most romantic thing that I've ever heard about.
Jack grimaced when she called his recent choices 'romantic.'
I was just doing what I thought I had to do, Miss Donovan. I
didn't do it just to be romantic in par...
Still, Julia interrupted. But she didn't go on with
her protest. She merely indicated the camera with a wave of her
May we interview you now?
Jack gave a sigh, then put his new yo-yo gift from Sam away
in his pocket.
I did promise Hammond... might as well get
this over with.
Good. She gestured towards the
Shall we sit and get comfortable?
Remembering the warning that General Hammond had just sent
not fifteen minutes before, Jack said,
I've been sitting ever
since I got here - mind if I stand and stretch my legs while we
interview? By standing, he would be in a much better
position of preparedness at handling a struggling brainwashed
victim if he had to.
Sure, we can do that. She adjusted
the microphone that she held in her hand up to a higher level,
then faced the camera. The camera person switched his camera to
the 'record' position, and nodded at Julia. She spoke into her
We're here with the SGC's General Jack
Actually, I'm based at the Pentagon,
and just visiting here, but don't let that bother you.
Julia looked as if she didn't quite know what to do with
this information, but to her credit, she didn't pause as she
With the Pentagon's General Jack O'Neill,
who has agreed to speak to us while he waits for military
bureaucracy to catch up to him and put him on trial for simply
Jack resisted the urge to roll his eyes at that comment. His resistance was easier than he'd expected... and he suddenly caught sight of the tiniest of smiles curve the camera person's lips. What in that comment would cause someone to smile? As Jack watched, the camera man's smile curved just a bit higher. Which indicated that this person was reacting with pleasure to what Julia had just said. As she had spoken about Jack's impending court martial, and this person was reacting as if it was a long-awaited promise for a fun day spent at the park, Jack's eyes narrowed, and in a perfectly expected reaction (that is to say, without first thinking about it too hard) Jack's paranoia activated, and he instantly decided to do something concerning the man's expression.
Jack first reached over to remove the camera from the
unsuspecting person's grasp.
Excuse me. He took the
camera's weight into his own hands, and handed the delicate piece
of equipment to Julia.
Hold this a minute, he gently
commanded, then turned back to the befuddled camera man. He
didn't waste any time to ask,
Who do you serve? even
though he felt like a dork as he said the corny wards.
And without thought, the camera man's befuddled expression
fell away, to be instantly replaced by a much blanker expression,
and he unhesitatingly said,
I serve Lord Ba'al.
You're looking at the only man who ever
escaped Ba'al's 'secret' fortress that didn't turn out to be so
'secret.' His own expression grew sarcastically thoughtful.
I hear that old Lord Yu was really pissed off about having the
wool pulled over his eyes for so many years. Then he
casually gave a tilt of his head.
That is, he was pissed
after we EXPOSED the damn 'secret' for what it really was - a
poor excuse of a mediocre holding facility. Jack was
purposefully goading the man into losing his temper... actually
into even seeing if a brainwashed victim had a temper in
the first place to lose. Jack added one last goaded insult.
I would have killed good old Ba'alsie in the escape process if
he hadn't been a coward and run away at the first available
Apparently brainwashed victims didn't have tempers to lose.
The man took Jack's words at face value. He simply shook his
head, looking as blank as ever.
You cannot kill a God... or
his servant, he nonchalantly argued, then reached back into
his trouser waistband in a totally nonchalant action to brandish
a knife pointed in Jack's direction. The entire move came off as
if he didn't truly know what he was doing. He slipped into a
more balanced fighting crouch, again seemingly without
Jack immediately pushed Julia Donovan back against the far wall, then kicked out with his booted foot, catching the crouching man off guard, effortlessly kicking the knife aside.
Surprised beyond her years and experience as a reporter, and clearly never having been in a fight before, according to the bemused expression in her eyes, Julia Donovan obviously didn't know how to react. It was all she could do to remember to hold the camera up, and to leave it in the 'filming' mode. She fell back into the corner that Jack had thrust her into, her hair falling over her eyes, the camera jiggling against her shoulder.
She tried her best to stay out of the way as the man who was only seconds ago relegated as her back up camera man, SGC style, struck out at Jack with punches and flying arms in an attack that was blurrily fast as much as it was intense.
Caught on film for the sake of Earth's public, Jack met each of the man's thrusts with blocks that were equally as fast, making such defensive hand fighting look easy. He blocked punches, kicks, and slaps like he was swatting at particularly annoying mosquitoes. He stabbed at the air several times with his own hands, punching back, kicking, and knifing with the edge of his fingers. Very soon he succeeded in distracting the man with another punching block to his facial area, only to take him down a heartbeat later with a well aimed sweep of his foot. The man crashed to the floor, felling one of the room's two chairs and cracking his head on the floor in the process. As Jack reached down to check the unconscious man's pulse, the two guards, aroused by the noise of a chair falling over, burst into the room.
Ba'al needs to train his human servants a bit better in
self defense, Jack was muttering as the two rushed through
the door. The guards had drawn their weapons as they entered,
but didn't know who to fire them at.
This man needs medical
attention, Jack informed them, still kneeling.
Goa'uld agent, so he should be placed under guard, even in the
Then Jack took hold of one of the guard's zat guns and fired once, catching the brainwashed man in his midsection, where the blue arcing energy zipped into all his extremities, making his blonde hair light up to blue for a brief second before that light, too, faded away.
Jack gave a disarming shrug as he deactivated the zat.
Only way I know of to 'cure' Goa'uld brainwashing.
Harsh breathing was the only sound in the otherwise silent
cell. The second guard now had his handgun out of its holster
and aimed at the unmoving man, his eyes wide, a gurgling sound of
terror beginning to well up from his gut. Julia Donovan still
knelt in a corner of the room, her hair over her eyes, visibly
shaking as the camera that she held bobbed back and forth. She
looked green, as if she might throw up at any moment.
shit, she whispered into the quiet of the cell as she finally
thought to pan the camera across the carnage that had been an
organized room only moments before. Not only the chair was
overturned, but so was the table. When had that happened? The
mattress was half of the bed, and the one blanket from the bed
lay in a puddle on the floor. Even the extra set of BDUs that
had lain in a neat bundle on the pillow were now scattered
throughout the tiny room. Julia stared with wide eyes, and
valiantly tried to catch her breath.
Jack gave a slight smile at Julia's use of a curse word in
her previous comment, and idly wondered if that would be edited
out of the final recorded footage before that footage was aired,
or not. But he had little time to comfort the trembling
newswoman. Instead, he reached over to gently remove the
handguns from both guards fingers, released both magazines, which
he pocketed, before making certain that the weapons were
completely unloaded before sliding them under the bed. They were
still in sight, but reaching them would be difficult. Then he
pulled both knives from vest holsters, then slid both those
items, as well as his own zat gun under the bed. Then he reached
over and slid the radio out of the the second guard's vest. He
toggled the 'talk' button, and said into it,
Whoever can hear
this message, we need immediate medical assistance in Holding
Cell #3, and send Colonel Carter here ASAP.
Then, looking straight into the camera that still hadn't
been shut off by the heaving Julia Donovan, Jack calmly admitted,
Sam Carter, I trust. Daniel and Teal'c, I trust. Some of
these others... they could be System Lord slaves for all I know.
I don't know them from Adam.
* * *
Five minutes later, Carter entered Holding Cell #3 at a run.
When she saw the sight a body lying on the floor, she actually
hiccuped a sob, and called,
Jack! That was when her gaze
finally centered on the silver haired man kneeling on the floor,
feeling the pulse of the one prostrate man.
The silver haired man's head rose up with a jerk, and a
shudder ran through Jack at his first sight of her.
Are you? she asked, quickly slipping to her
knees in order to sit beside him on the floor. She gave him a
I was in the Control Room when I heard the call
for a medical team to go to the Holding Cells... I ran here as
fast as I could...
Jack suddenly gave a grin.
You beat the medical
But Sam wasn't amused at the humor in the situation.
Jack! she practically sobbed in distress.
For all I
knew, you were injured or dead or..! Then she paused, and
her eyes lit onto the carnage in the room, as well as its single
Brainwashed slaves, just like General Hammond warned
us about? she inquired with a chin jerk to indicate the
I didn't know that we had to be concerned
about them as a potential enemy connected with you while in a
Jack calmly pushed into the unconscious man still lying on
the floor with the toe of his boot.
This sure is a Goa'uld
servant/slave, he said absentmindedly.
But I can't guess
as to what he's doing here. Then for the benefit of the
still filming camera, he explained in more detail,
System Lord human slave slipped past our radar like this is...
unknown. We even vouched for this fellow, as he was one of our
own members to help Miss Donovan and her film crew. I never even
saw this coming. He tried hard to suppress the shudder that
coursed through him.
If Daniel hadn't made that comment about
asking people, 'Who do you serve?' I wouldn't have known what to
do to make him reveal himself without harming anyone.
For cryin out loud! Sam exclaimed, oblivious of what
she was saying, according to the irritated look on her face.
How are we supposed to fight against slaves that could have
been staying in hiding here for years? She breathed
through her nose, trying to remain calm. Though calmness was
difficult just then.
Jack sighed, regretting the need to scare her so badly, but
knowing that lack of information was as bad as misinformation,
and he refused not to tell her something just to spare her
I don't understand this any better than you do,
Sam. But I do think that we should try to think of a way
of handling this problem before any more brainwashed guys attack
one of us here at the SGC.
Suddenly deflating, Sam plunked down on the cold concrete
floor where she and Jack had been kneeling.
I don't know,
Sir, she said, falling back into her comfortable military
protocol to get her through this unexpected situation, as if she
didn't even realize what she was doing. The really scary part of
this 'Sir' scenario was that Jack didn't seem to comprehend what
she was doing, either. Sam continued,
I need to think for a
And just as she said that, the medical team burst through
the door. While Sam considered possible solutions to their
brainwashed servant problem, Jack helped the medical team with
the man he'd recently felled in hand battle. He brushed at the
servant with his boot.
This one hit his head as he went down.
He could be concussed. He was also brainwashed - when, I can't
tell you. He's not a Goa'uld, but he still swears that he serves
Lord Ba'al. Then he blinked, feigning calmness.
him a zat blast to cure him of the brainwashing thing.
Right, Sam said then from the corner that she had
retreated to in order to think.
If I'm remembering correctly,
we used a zat blast the one time that Teal'c's son Rya'c was
brainwashed by Apophis.
Jack groaned again.
Apophis, that damned filthy
snakehead! Then he seemed to remember that he was in front
of a filming camera, for he ran his hand through his hair, but
only agreed with her.
Um, yeah, I think a zat blast worked
with Rya'c. Or else I just gave this guy a zat blast for
Sam ignored his commentary to concentrate on his agreement
with her about using a zat blast to reverse the effects of the
Goa'uld brainwashing that Rya'c had undergone.
If we could
use zats on these servant/slave victims...
Jack turned to regard her, a scowl on his face.
you thinking of, Carter? Zatting everyone on Earth? 'Cause
that's billions of people! That's a lot of zat blasts! And the
SGC doesn't have the kind of manpower to take on a job like
Sam sent him an acerbic glare.
Then what do you
suggest? she sarcastically asked, her voice irritated again.
It was a way that she had never addressed her commanding officer
before, but one that she used now with her fiancé.
billions of individuals is better than having a brainwashed slave
stick a knife in your back while you're barbecuing in your yard,
just as Daniel said!
Jack had to concede that she had a point, just as Daniel had
done an hour earlier.
Okay, you're right, but that still
doesn't give us any extra manpower in order to handle this.
Sam shrugged her shoulders to show that she agreed with his
assessment, but didn't know what else to suggest. She sighed,
biting her lip as she continued to sit thoughtfully in her
After a quiet moment, she let her lip-chewing end so that
she could ask,
Does Thor know of a way to pinpoint brainwashed
victims? Kind of like the way his ships pinpoint the Goa'uld by
zeroing on the naquedah in their blood?
Jack's brows lowered in thought.
He's never said that he
could do something like that before, but that doesn't mean
anything. If I ask him, and he says yes, and then I ask him why
he never told us that choice bit of information, he'll only say,
'Because you did not ask, O'Neill.' Jack did a perfect
parody of Thor.
Did you practice doing that? she
inquired in a lighter tone.
You sounded just like him. You
know, the whole emotionless thing...
Jack smiled as she trailed off.
Yeah, I used to pretend
to sound like him all day during our downtime, he informed.
At her look of incredulousness, he defended,
Well, I had to
entertain myself somehow! Another silence settled on them
until at last Jack commented very quietly, in almost a whisper,
And it's good to hear you laugh like that. You didn't laugh
that way for almost a year.
Sam's forehead gave a minute pucker before it again smoothed
out. In a voice that matched his in volume, she softly stated,
You didn't even smile for a long time, to say nothing of
laughing. I worried that you never laughed.
Jack regarded her.
What did I have to laugh about?
he asked, making Sam wince.
Sorry, I shouldn't have said
that, he instantly noted in a sorrowful tone. They both fell
into another protracted silence.
No, Sam at last negated his protest.
should say that. It's the truth, and I deserve to hear
it, no matter how much it hurts.
They had both seemingly forgotten the fact that Julia Donovan and her camera were still in the far corner of the room, and the camera was still saving this entire scene on tape for future display on television. It was more like they thought they were alone, and let their memories pour forth because of that aloneness.
Jack quickly showed his grief by wincing.
I guess that
it doesn't really matter now what happened, he slowly stated.
You hurt me, but that was because I hurt you by sticking to
rules and regulations when I had never bothered to stick to them
before. And I knew that by doing so, I was causing hurt to you
Don't, Sam said in clipped tones.
We both knew
what we were doing, Sir. I was just so afraid of what Dad would
say to me if I ever actually defied regulations... uh,
that regulation... that I let it dictate how I treated
you... for years. She sighed, and thoughfully stared at her
I don't know how you can get over something
like that so easily.
Instead of stating that it hadn't been easy, Jack just
grinned an evil looking grin.
Oh, that's simple, he said
as he regarded her, waggling brows that let her know that he was
teasing her. He went on,
I just always daydreamed about
something like what happened last night...
Sam blushed a fiery red.
Jack! she hollered, but in
a laughing way. She darted a look at the camera, abruptly
recalling that it was recording everything she and Jack said or
You're impossible! she retorted at last.
I am, he agreed with her, chuckling as well.
it got you smiling again, and that's worth a bit of
Teal'c entered the room before Sam had the time to either
respond, or laugh some more.
O'Neill, he urgently voiced.
Are you unharmed? I was in the Infirmary with Rya'c and
Kar'yn when the brainwashed slave arrived. I heard that some
form of battle occurred... Then Teal'c noticed Sam sitting
in the corner.
ColonelCarter, he formally announced,
sounding surprised, and not surprised, to see her there.
Teal'c, Jack greeted as he rubbed at his fist,
reminded that his fingers and arms hurt from the battle that he
had just lived through. He suspected that he would have bruises
on his forearms by morning. But he continued,
What can you
tell us about Goa'uld brainwashing? Is there any way that we can
counteract it? Besides using a zat blast?
Teal'c seemed a bit taken aback by the direct question, but
Some kind of electrical discharge, like a
zat'nik'tel, will counter brainwashing. Suddenly, Teal'c
stopped talking as he was struck with a new thought.
Jack recognized the look of a Jaffa with a new and startling
What is it, Teal'c? he hurriedly asked.
But Teal'c turned instead towards Sam.
there a way to remotely suppress the possible Goa'uld suppressors
that are in use on planet Earth?
What do you mean, Teal'c? Sam asked, sounding tired
now, but taken with this new subject.
Do you think that it
would do any good if we take on all the 'Kinsey Objects' that
might be in use at any time by blasting them all at once?
Teal'c nodded his head.
But how do you hit them all at once? His
question interrupting Sam's musing. A moment later, he answered
his own question with a suggestion,
What about using the
satellites that we have in orbit right now?
Sam's brow wrinkled.
Sir? she asked, for more detail
by saying just that one word.
Jack secretly marveled at the way she could get that one
word to mean so many things. He glibly replied,
somehow rig one of Earth satellites to send some kind of
'planetary pulse,' or something, hit the possible 'Kinsey
Objects' all at once? And can't we also do the same thing with
some kind of electrical discharge? He watched as Sam began
to instantly chew over that idea.
Well, we have those
satellites... we might as well use them for something. Hey, we
could use those Star Wars satellites... Then he turned to
'Star Wars' as in planetary defense system, not 'Star
Wars' as in the movie. Then he grimaced.
You know, that
always confused the Hell out of me. Whose idea was it to name
that satellite thingy the same as the movie, anyway? He
asked it as if the person who had named the defense system had
used that name on purpose to confuse him in particular.
Sam had to smile at Jack's petulant tone.
I also always
get confused between the two. Then she turned her inner
problem solving skills to the suggestion that Jack had made.
I don't know if we can use the satellite system to project an
electrical pulse the way you suggest, Sir, she said.
might need the Asgard to help with something like that, both to
suppress possible 'Kinsey Objects,' and with a pulse. She
considered some more.
Maybe I should talk to General Landry
about this idea... Her voice trailed off just as Daniel ran
into the room.
Jack! he yelped. His head swung wildly around for a
Teal'c! Sam! His gaze alighted on the still
filming Julia Donovan. His eyes narrowed as he looked around
I heard that there was some kind of fight... but what
is she doing filming all this? He regarded them again.
And what are you doing in here, anyway?
Jack was the first to respond to Daniel's question. He gave
an ironic chuckle.
Here we are, trying to save the galaxy,
and you're worried about why we're all here? He snorted.
Why are any of us here, truly Daniel - you tell me. And
that's really the least of my worries right now!
Daniel balked at Jack's tone.
Um... Why is he so
cranky? He looked around at the others as they laughed: Jack
had just lived through a hand battle, after all - he had reason
to be a little cranky.
Teal'c? Daniel fianlly asked,
turning to the one among them who always seemed in control of any
Why is everyone laughing? Did I miss
When still no one answered him, and Teal'c simply walked quietly out of the room, Daniel gave a start.
Uh... Teal'c? Daniel asked as he moved to follow his
Am I missing something now? he repeated. He and
Sam and Jack laughed again. Jack spoke first when he had
It's scary to think that the fate of the galaxy is in
the hands of that archaeologist!
An archaeologist and an alien! Sam corrected.
Jack smiled in affection at her, and at the concept of SG-1.
Yeah, he said, but looked more comfortable than he had
looked in a long time.
Great, isn't it?
* * *
But Jack didn't think things were so great when, two hours later, after Sam had disappeared to her lab, and things had been set to rights in Holding Cell #3 so that it didn't even look as if a fight had recently taken place there, and Julia Donovan had disappeared with her camera, muttering about taping and footage and ratings... After all that, and once quiet had again settled onto the holding room, the calm was shattered. All hell broke loose once more when a blinding white light flashed into the shadowed quarters. When it had vanished, President Hayes stared balefully down at Jack sitting in a chair, his feet propped up on the second chair, his new yo-yo swinging wildly from hands now drooping in surprise.
Hello, Jack, the President nonchalantly greeted as if
he beamed into holding cells all the time.
I've got a lot to
tell you. And he unceremoniously grabbed the cell's second
chair, dumping Jack's propped feet off in the process, and
plopped down with a sigh, as if he'd been standing for a long
Continued in Invasion 'Threads' - Presidential Favors
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