Fandom: SG1, SGA, NCIS
Warnings: Canon Typical
Prompt: “John Sheppard is contemplating retiring and going back to Earth, but McKay has quite a bit to say about that stupid idea.”
Summary: Jack gets called in to ride to the rescue. It’s his turn to be the cavalry for a change.
Related Post: #1: Orders. #3: Gathering the Troops
“Jack do you have any idea why McKay is writing to me?” Daniel asked when he answered his phone.
“I have no idea,” Jack said. Then again he had gotten his own email from McKay and was currently working his way through a number of interesting sources to confirm what the fuck was going on.
“Try again O’Neill,” Daniel muttered. He could hear computer keys being hit as his archeologist did something with the loudest keyboard known to man. “I’m forwarding you a copy. Something fucked up is going on and we’re apparently being told to deal with it.”
Jack huffed once and opened the email as soon as it popped into his box. The missive was short and utterly to the point.
You need to get with O’Neill. It seems the new General in charge of the SGC has decided to move Shepard back to the Mountain. Apparently, he’s to be available for the chair in Antarctica and any research in area 51. Given that I know for a fact that Shepard signed the Expedition Charter, there has to be some interesting maneuvering happening behind the scenes.
Also, let O’Neill know that Sheppard said something about retirement when pressed. I’m sure that if he does, whoever is behind this will snap him up with little issue. Civilians are easier to disappear than active duty Colonel’s after all.
Can you find out if there’s been any movement on declaring the charter null and void? Sheppard isn’t the only person who has an interesting medical history after our years here and I want to know if I have to guard any of my people that covers. Including myself.
Be on guard. This is too weird, too overt. Since you’re still working out of the Mountain you’re just as vulnerable as any of the rest of us but you don’t have the protection of the Charter.
“Jesus, fuck,” Jack cursed as he stared at the email.
“Pretty much what I said,” Daniel muttered in his ear. “I’m looking into things here and things have gotten a bit weird lately.”
“Define weird,” Jack demanded.
“We’ve had larger than needed blood draws when we come back from missions. Requests for additional non-invasive testing like CAT scans or MRIs. People being pulled in for scans. For mental health reviews,” Daniel drew in a breath and Jack could hear him drinking. Likely coffee given the time of day it was in Colorado. “I got asked to provide a sperm sample. I declined. That’s led to some interesting emails from the new CMO.”
“Where’s Lam?” Jack asked as he minimized his email and got back into the guts of the SGC’s computer systems. He had been the XO and the CO for the place for years and no one had ever bothered to remove his access. Then again he was the head of Homeworld so his access overrode everyones.
“She’s been moved to Area 51 to serve as their CMO. The new one we have seems to be very happy to get samples,” Daniel admitted. He sounded upset.
Jack couldn’t blame him. “Danny something’s fishy in Denmark. Can you get your team off world?”
“I don’t think so, Jack. We’ve been grounded for the last week and Vala mentioned something about having a well woman’s exam scheduled,” Daniel admitted.
“And Carter?” Jack asked. He had a very bad feeling about the whole thing.
“She hasn’t said anything about her annual,” Daniel said. Being team meant that everyone knew each other’s health issues because the information had been germane.
“Right. Tell her to delay it if they schedule it. And get Vala out of the Mountain,” Jack directed.
“How am I going to do that? Jack, we’re safer in here if things go pear-shaped,” Daniel reminded him.
“Okay, point,” Jack muttered. “Can you hold one of those drills you do? The ones that get your whole department going?”
“No,” Daniel drew the word out as he thought the idea over. “But I can have a meeting where we do the post mortem of the last one of those we did. I’ve been putting it off for the last two weeks. I can get Vala in as a subject expert because of all of us she’s the best at determining resources on any given world.”
“Good idea,” Jack agreed. “Make sure the whole thing last at least two days and get Carter in there too.”
“Why?” Daniel asked. He sounded suspicious and Jack snorted.
“She won’t bite you,” Jack said amused.
“She doesn’t bite you because you’re her CO. She’s bitten me plenty of times,” Daniel muttered as he clacked away on his keyboard.
“She’s a hard scientist Danny. You know she looked dislikes the squishy ones that are your specialty,” Jack snarked back as he moved through the command-level server for senior officers. He was reviewing all the e-mails Balock had gotten for the last two months. The man had been placed in charge of the SGC when Landry had to be medically retired due to injuries he sustained in a foothold situation.
“Archeology isn’t squishy,” Daniel bitched. “If it’s squishy it’s because something’s wet. Normally it’s damp or mostly dry.”
Jack snorted at that. “Don’t even, Dr. Jackson. You know exactly what I mean.”
“Fine,” Daniel said. “Why isn’t Sheppard fighting this? He’s got the seniority to actually have some pull regarding his orders. Why isn’t he using it?”
“No real idea, Danny,” Jack admitted. He was wondering the same thing. “Best guess though? He doesn’t think he’s worth the fight. His promotion to lieutenant colonel was rammed home over Landry’s objections and he only got the position as the CO of Atlantis because Weir played hardball with the IOA. When Atlantis was in the hands of the crew of the Tria, Hank made it clear he couldn’t stand him. Which I gave him massive amounts of shit for after I heard about it.”
“It was pretty much the same with all the people from Atlantis. Landry treated them like shit and so did some of the line troops,” Daniel reported.
“Why am I not surprised?” Jack asked the universe. Balock had gotten emails from the IOA? Jack opened them without a blush. “Son of a bitch.”
“What did you find?” Daniel asked. “I’ve got the meeting scheduled and it’s going to cover two days. I hope you know Walter is going to give me shit because I’m grabbing the main auditorium.”
“He and Siler like you too much to be evil to you,” Jack retorted absently. Most of his attention was on the memo he was reading. It was directing Balock to get Sheppard back to the SGC so he could be on hand for the in-depth research needed. Jack sat back and thought that over. Sheppard had been exposed to a great deal of weird alien stuff it over the years and some of it had stuck. Jack was aware that there had been changes to his genetics that weren’t recorded anywhere on Earth.
Acting on a hunch Jack looked through Balock’s emails for anything going to Keller. As the CMO of Atlantis, she had easy access to Sheppard and everything about him. Less than three hours after the directive from the IOA Balock had emailed Keller directions to forward on Shepard’s medical records and arrange to get enough blood for full genetic work up. Follow up emails confirmed that she had indeed done as ordered.
“So it looks like someone in the IOA wants to make themselves super soldiers,” Jack informed his friend. “And they want to use Sheppard as the starter model.”
“They do remember that he turned blue, had scales and was non-verbal while he was all super and shit right?” Daniel asked as he stopped whatever he was doing. “Also I seem to remember that he was more interested in stalking his team then obeying orders during that time period.”
“Yup. I remember the same thing,” Jack agreed. “But he’s stronger, more aggressive and has better stamina than men 10 years younger than him. So the idea is alluring.”
“I almost want to let them,” Daniel admitted. “I think the IOA needs to see up close and personal why that’s a bad idea.”
“If seeing an actual Wraith didn’t fix their insanity, I can’t see how Sheppard being blue and bitchy would work,” Jack admitted. “But I’m totally willing to ruin them in every way possible to get this fixed. How would you like it if I take the SGC back over?”
“Who would take Homeworld,” Daniel asked curiously.
“Hank could cover the Washington part,” Jack offered.
“Yeah no,” Daniel said. “Landry is even less of a politician than you are. I want the program to stay in business. What about kicking Mitchell up to Brigadier? I know he’s senior to Sam by about a year or so and he’s been a full bird Colonel for a while now.”
Jack tried to think that over as he poked through the emails detailing how Balock was willing to use one of his men for experimentation. He was saving everything down to his own personal server where the emails wouldn’t get lost. “I think I can get him on as an interim CO while we talk to President into approving the promotion. But he’s going to be pissed off since it will take him out of the field.”
“He’s been bitching about his back hurting every time we camp,” Daniel reminded him.
Jack could hear the keyboard going again and he winced. Opening a new window, Jack got into Google to find a nice quiet keyboard for his archeologist. Be damned if he was going to listen to that thing for the next year. As soon as he found the keyboard with the best reviews for how quiet it was, he bought it and had it overnighted to his house. He would be going to the Mountain within the next couple days and he was going to replace that damn thing if it was the last thing he did.
“I just got into the medical server,” Daniel reported. “And the tests being run seem to be supporting your theory of super soldier stuff. The samples we got off of the Kull warriors that Anubis put together are being reexamined and reevaluated. They confirmed that we don’t have the tech to produce one of those things, but Atlantis might.”
“I can’t see McKay letting anyone try to make a Kull Warrior on Atlantis,” Jack muttered as he read the latest IOA memo. The same person who had pushed to get Sheppard back to Earth was also asking for samples from Teyla Emmagan. They wanted to see how the blending of human and Wraith worked in a living being.
“Me either,” Daniel confirmed. “Rodney has very little use for genetic engineering. And he’s had even less since the Michael incident.”
“I’ve had a lot less use for it since then too. Then again, I’ve hated anyone tinkering with how my body works since Anise got us into those damn bracelets,” Jack muttered. “I’m missing the steaks from O’Malley’s Danny. She cost me my favorite steak place.”
“They deliver now,” Daniel informed him absently. “When you get out here we can order some.”
“Good,” Jack agreed with satisfaction. “Okay, I have my evidence, so I’ll be going to make an appointment with the President to get this settled.”
“Be careful, Jack,” Daniel cautioned. “For Balock to have been this blatant, he has to have a great deal of support. Overt or not.”
“I know,” Jack confirmed. “But the names listed here aren’t from the US.”
“Why is an Air Force General taking directions from someone from another country?” Daniel asked.
“No idea,” Jack admitted. “But it’s something that I will be asking him when I get a hold of him. Because China and France shouldn’t be dictating what we do with Atlantis.”
“No, they really shouldn’t,” Daniel confirmed. “As I recall, we don’t have any troops from France or China in the international group out there. And their scientists are few and far between.”
“Right. I need to talk to Woolsey,” Jack muttered. “He’s back on Earth reporting to the IOA.”
“Have fun,” Daniel told him. “I need to get the data together for my post mortem. Since you suggested I do it.”
“It’s good for you,” Jack reminded him. “After all, you’re the number one civilian in the Mountain and this is your job.”
“Fuck you,” Daniel told him, voice pleasant. “I hate you so damn much.”
“You love me, Danny. You know you do,” Jack teased.
“And I have no idea why,” Daniel muttered. “Okay, get going. I’ll do my best to keep everyone safe over here and you do your part over there.”
Jack made his way into the SGC and waved at the security forces manning the check-in points. Each and every one of them had been told to keep his visit quiet and he was certain they would. The stars on his collar were a help in that, but what was the deciding factor was they knew him.
As he checked in with the last station he looked at the Sergeant in charge. “Is Dr. Jackson still in the Mountain, Williamson?”
Sergeant Williamson looked over the entry and exiting log and nodded. “Unless he’s gone out in the field in the last hour, he’s still in the Mountain, sir. Along with his whole department.”
“Good to know,” Jack said with a smile. “And Colonel Carter?”
“Rumor mill states that she got pulled into whatever archeo-linguistics has going, sir. But I don’t have an update on that and the rumor is about three hours old,” Williamson admitted.
“That’s better than what I had. I got a text asking me to save her from the soft sciences trying to infect her at 0800,” Jack admitted with a laugh.
“Good luck, sir,” Williamson told him with a smile. “I suggest ransoming her with coffee.”
“I may have to!” Jack agreed before heading down into the bowels of the SGC.
The elevator was deserted and Jack rocked back and forth on his heels as he watched the numbers get bigger. He was going deeper into the mountain and things were going to get very interesting. Daniel and his geeks were safe enough with Carter riding herd over them and she had Vala as backup.
When the doors to the elevator opened, he sighed. “Walter or Daniel?”
Colonel Mitchell shrugged. “Both of them, sir. It’s freaky when they get together like that.”
“Word, Colonel. So much word,” Jack muttered as he started towards his old office. “Did Daniel give you any indication of why I would be arriving?”
“No, sir,” Mitchell admitted. “But he did suggest that I meet you fully kitted out.”
Jack had noticed the flack vest and guns. He had also noticed that there was no one getting in their way. “Seriously, does anyone have a book open on Walter Ascending if he ever dies?”
“Siler, sir,” Mitchell said. “And Walter has one on Siler and they both have ones on Daniel.”
“Right. Put me down for twenty on him Ascending while in his chair in the control room,” Jack directed before stopping to pull his wallet out and hand over the money. Bets in the SGC were serious business after all.
“Got it, sir,” Mitchell confirmed. “Do you want me inside with you or waiting outside?” he asked as he tucked the money into a pocket.
“Inside. It should freak Balock out,” Jack directed.
Mitchell bounced on his toes at that. “You have great plans, sir.”
“Suck up,” Jack said with a smile before he wiped the expression from his face and faced the door to his old office. Shoving open the door, he let it bounce against the wall and walked right on through. “Jimmy, what’s this I hear about you reassigning one of my Colonels to being a lab rat here on Earth?”
“General O’Neill, what do I owe this visit to?” Balock asked from his spot behind his desk.
“Oh, I’m pretty sure I was clear when I came in here,” Jack said as he settled into the chair across from the other general. Mitchell had taken up a spot by the door and had his hands casually crossed over the stock of his P-90. Balock hadn’t even looked at him and that was raising a red flag in Jack’s head. “I want to know why you’ve arranged for Sheppard to be rotated back to Earth when he hasn’t asked for it. And as an original Expedition member, he’s not subject to recall unless he asks for it. So. Gonna explain?”
Balock leaned back in his chair and shrugged. “There’s been a great deal of interest in him. I believed that it would be in the best interests of Earth if he was rotated back here. While he’s on Earth, he would be seconded to the various research departments that want to look into his unique genetics and what they can do for us.”
Well. Jack hadn’t expected the guy to admit it. Then again, he hadn’t fully disclosed who had the ‘interest’ in Sheppard. “So who are these parties that have an interest in my Colonel?”
“The IOA has expressed an interest in finding out what the blending of human and Wraith can offer a person,” Balock admitted with a smile. “They had been trying for several years to get the information out of Atlantis, but the old CMO declined to share when pressed. The new CMO has been very accommodating.”
“I bet,” Jack said grimly. He had plans to deal with her too. There were reasons for security clearances and she had blown hers right up. “And the fact that Sheppard is covered by the Expedition Charter against just this type of thing?”
“Is he really?” Balock asked with another smile. “He’s still an active duty member of the Air Force and thus subject to the same rules as any other member. And that means that he can get reassigned as needed.”
Jack sat back and stared at Balock in silence for several minutes. Only when the other man started to blink did he relent. “You know, I don’t know if you’re stupid or just so confident that your backers will support you that you don’t care that you broke an international Charter.”
“Sheppard isn’t going to cause a fuss,” Balock offered. He sounded smug, so Jack was going with confident.
“Sheppard might not, but you seem to forget that he’s not out there alone,” Jack reminded him. “And there are several people who are willing to make some major waves to fix what you fucked up.”
From the shrug Balock gave, he wasn’t worried. “Really? I can’t see anyone having that kind of pull.”
“You really needed to research things better,” Jack told him. “McKay has already arranged to get this reviewed. Your backers on the IOA have resigned in disgrace and the President would like a call. You need to explain why the whole of the science corps on Atlantis are planning a strike if Sheppard is removed as the head of the military out there.”
“McKay is a coward,” Balock observed. “He probably wants someone there to hold his hand while he’s out in the wider universe.”
Jack clenched his teeth together to keep his jaw in place. McKay? A coward? What? From the grunt Mitchell gave out, he was thinking much the same thing. McKay was so far from being a coward it was horrific that anyone thought he was one. But useful.
“The state of McKay’s nerves aren’t really the issue here,” Jack reminded the other man. “What is the issue is that as the senior-most civilian on base, and the CSO, he’s given us an ultimatum. Either we honor the Charter regarding Colonel Sheppard, or we’re going to face all the punitive clauses he can find to make us honor it. And given that Sheppard did indeed sign that Charter, McKay has a great deal of leverage.”
“Maybe he needs to be replaced then,” Balock offered.
Jack was surprised to find that he hadn’t blinked when told that his backers had resigned. Apparently, there was more to this mess than just the IAO. Joy. “The only way McKay is leaving Atlantis is in a box. And even then, the contrary bastard has stated that he would rather be buried at sea off her West pier than come home. So, no. He’s not going to be replaced.”
That finally seemed to crack Balock’s composure. “Why? What is it about him that lets him push us around?”
“You do get that he’s the CSO of Atlantis and he’s the number two civilian on the city after the administrator, right?” Jack asked. “He’s essentially the Lt. Governor of a colony of Earth. Messing with him has repercussions.”
“He’s Canadian,” Balock protested. “He doesn’t have any power over the SGC.”
“Jesus, you are dumb,” Jack snapped, patience suddenly gone. “Atlantis is an international organization. That means there are people from countries other than the US. And McKay is the head of that heap. He’s made his demands clear. Sheppard is going to be staying on, we’re going to be reviewing the newly revised directives you’ve issued on human experimentation and Keller is going to be replaced. While the review is happening, you are on administrative leave, effective immediately,” Jack looked at his watch and nodded when the red phone on Balock’s desk rang. “That would be the President. He wants an explanation of this cluster fuck.”
“Right,” Balock said, obviously disbelieving him. But he did pick the phone up. “SGC, General James Balock speaking.”
Jack sat back and watched as Hank’s replacement was raked over the proverbial coals. The President had not been amused at the shitstorm McKay had launched to get the mess with Sheppard cleaned up. And deal with the potential production of super soldiers. There were more than a dozen scientists in Area 51 cooling their heels answering the questions of the most tenacious NCIS agent he knew. The man was a genius at putting together puzzles and Jack was going to steal him, come hell or high water.
When Balock gently placed the receiver down on the phone cradle, Jack raised an eyebrow at him. “So? Got your marching orders? Or do I need to make sure that your escort is in the car with you instead of shadowing you?”
“You don’t know what you’re stopping, O’Neill,” Balock warned. “We’re going to need what Sheppard has locked up in his genes and we’ll get it one way or another.”
Mitchell grunted once and pulled out a zat before firing the alien device without hesitation. “I hate the Trust,” he muttered before walking over to push the unconscious body back from the desk. Reaching under it, he pulled out a handgun that had been strapped into the space where the center desk drawer had once been.
“Fucking fantastic,” Jack said before he took a deep breath. He had on a low profile vest that was supposed to stop up to a .45 caliber bullet, but he wasn’t fussed a missing out on proving that claim. “You really think he’s Trust?”
“Yeah, I do, sir. That all sounds like their level of bullshit,” Mitchell confirmed. He pulled out a set of plastic flexicuffs and trussed the general up in them, arms behind his back. “Who’s the NCIS agent I heard we’ve got?”
“DiNozzo,” Jack admitted. “He’s having a grand time. I keep getting bitchy text messages about how fucking obvious and stupid the whole group has been. I’m planning on letting him loose on the whole program to clean up our messes since we seem to keep missing them.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Mitchell said grunting as he lowered Balock to the floor. “Who’s going to run the SGC while we get that done?”
“So, the powers that be have decided that you need to have some practice in the big chair,” Jack told him with a smile. “You get this for the next few weeks until we can find a general that doesn’t have any connections to the Trust. Also, they can’t give me or DiNozzo heartburn. I’m delicate and he’s got issues. So have fun and remember not to send me any hate mail.”
“Gee,” Mitchell looked like he had swallowed a live eel. “Thanks so much, sir. I don’t know what to say.”
“Thank you works for me,” Jack admitted as he pulled a transporter sensor out of his pocket and dropped it on Balock’s body. Tapping the discrete comms device he was wearing, he connected with Daedalus. “Colonel Caldwell, please beam the sensor and the body under it to the location Agent DiNozzo has set up.”
“Got it, sir,” Caldwell reported. There was a beat of silence and then the transporter effect surrounded Balock and took him away. “Package delivered.”
“Thank you, Colonel. Have a good evening,” Jack signed off and looked at Mitchell. “Now I need to save Carter from the soft sciences and distract Daniel. Have fun.”
“You’re all heart, sir,” Mitchell said, voice dry. “I’ll get this place prepped for DiNozzo to come through and investigate. Since I’m sure he wants to get his hands on everything the general tried to do.”
“Yeah, he’ll be here in about an hour,” Jack confirmed. He started walking for the door. “Think I should get Walter to deliver a coffee service to the geeks?”
“I’m sure he has already,” Mitchell sighed. “Have a good evening.”
“I plan on it,” Jack confirmed. Whistling, he walked down the hall towards the main auditorium. Sometimes being the cavalry was fun, sometimes it was just damn satisfying. This time? It had been both.