Title: Gathering the Troops
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: Cavalry is all well and good. But sometimes you need boots on the ground when you mount a rescue.
Related Posts: #1: Orders, #2: Cavalry
Jack ended his call with Daniel and started organizing his finds. “Davis!”
“Yes, sir?” his XO called from his office next door.
“I need an appointment with the President, an honest to Thor investigator who has the clearance to deal with the SGC, and a better bulletproof vest,” Jack said as he dropped the last file into place on his secure server. Then he started removing the evidence of his presence from the SGC’s mainframe. Be damned if he wanted Balock to have any warning.
“Yes, sir. What should I say is the reason you’re asking for a meeting with the President?” Davis asked as he jotted notes down on his clipboard.
“Illegal human experimentation, possible colluding with foreign powers. Maybe even treason,” Jack hissed. Very little truly pissed him off anymore, but treason always made him see red.
Davis nodded once before he turned on his heel and headed back to his office. “I’ll reach out to Director Morrow from Homeland for the investigator. He’s been read in on the Program.”
“And he used to be the head of NCIS too,” Jack observed. He started printing off some of the more egregious examples of the shit Balock was pulling. The names included in the email strings were deeply familiar from his work with the IOA.
He had so many documents to print that he needed to refill his paper tray. “It’s been four months. How the fuck did the rot set in this fast?”
Obeying a hunch, Jack dived back into the SGC’s mainframe. Area51 opened for him like a poisoned flower. “For fuck’s sake!” Jack bitched. “Davis, add Area 51 to the mess.”
“Yes, sir,” Davis called back. He walked in with his clipboard held at the ready. “Director Morrow has an investigator for us. A Special Agent Tony DiNozzo. Apparently, he’s got iron ethics, an encyclopedic knowledge of the law, and the ability to blend in everywhere.”
“Iron ethics are awesome,” Jack agreed. His were more than a bit bent in areas. Black Ops didn’t exactly allow one to hold true to certain parts of an ethical code. Well, unless the code was to stay true to his oaths and stand by the men and women under his command. Those he stood by, come hell, or high water.
“Yes, sir. Do you want me to put together a security detachment?” Davis questioned.
“Yeah, that sounds good. Check with Caldwell to see if he can spare any of the crew designated as ship’s security for this. Did you get hold of the President’s secretary for an appointment?” Jack asked. He was aware of who held the real power in Washington, and it wasn’t the politicians.
Davis nodded once. “You have an appointment in five hours, sir. I would suggest that you bring copies of the documents you’ve been printing. I’ve entered the appointment in your Outlook.”
“Thanks. Did you ask DiNozzo to show up?”
“Yes, sir. He says to tell you that he likes tea, hates the Pentagon and that we need to slap as many classified notices on whatever he’s being called in for as possible,” Davis reported.
“Did he say why we need that precaution?” Jack asked. He was going to ignore the rest. Smart people hated the Pentagon and he was sure Davis had the tea situation under control.
Davis grimaced and waved a hand. “He works with hackers who don’t have a problem accessing his file.”
“Fucking fantastic,” Jack muttered. “Sic whatever program Carter came up with to deal with the people trying to hack the SGC on them. I need DiNozzo ready to hit the ground running.” He paused as a thought hit. “If he’s dealing with hackers on the regular, get him one of the phones we use for the SGC. He can use it for this assignment. Program it with my number, yours, Daniel’s, and Walter’s.”
“Not General Landry, sir?” Davis asked.
“Not until DiNozzo clears him,” Jack said after thinking things through. He nodded towards Davis’ office. “Best get started gathering the troops.”
“Yes, sir,” Davis confirmed as he turned on his heel and headed out.
Jack sat down at his desk and started putting together his report for the President. Just what he didn’t want to do on a Wednesday. He’d honestly been looking forward to finding a wing joint and indulging in a splurge of wings, fries, and beer. Instead, he got greed, possible torture, and potential treason. It wasn’t a fair trade.
Forty-five minutes later, Davis stuck his head into his office and cleared his throat. “Sir, Agent DiNozzo is here.”
“Oh, thank Thor,” Jack muttered as he saved and closed his word processing program. “Send him in.”
“I’ll bring your lunch in too, sir,” Davis said over his shoulder as he headed out.
“Damn, Danny,” Jack muttered as he stacked his reports and dropped them into a locking drawer in his desk. He managed to get his desk cleared of all sensitive material before Davis walked in with DiNozzo. Jack leaned back and looked at the agent Morrow had recommended. Tall, good looking with classically handsome features, DiNozzo moved more like a predator than the model he resembled. Interesting.
Jack stood up and held out a hand to the agent. “Agent DiNozzo, good of you to come see me.” DiNozzo’s handshake was firm without being crushing and Jack appreciated the courtesy.
DiNozzo raised an eyebrow at him as he dropped a messenger bag beside his chair. “Director Morrow spoke highly of you, General. He told me that your offer would both blow my mind and make me so pissed off I might spontaneously combust.”
“That’s actually a fair assessment of my program,” Jack agreed after several seconds thought. “You need to sign the NDA first, but yeah. We’ll be getting to why I called you in.”
“I take it Colonel Davis will be coming in with the NDA?” DiNozzo asked as he leaned back in his chair.
“Yeah,” Jack confirmed. He watched as the younger man take in the clues available to him. He was aware of what his office looked like. Like most senior officers he had a wall of pictures showing his various accomplishments. Unlike most of his contemporaries, his wall wasn’t filled with celebrities or politicians, but the teams he had led over his years in the Air Force. The only thing he’d done to his pictures was to make sure there was no classified material to be seen.
DiNozzo turned his gaze back on Jack and looked at him closely. Jack was tempted to toss out a few jokes to see if he could push the younger man off-kilter but refrained. He needed DiNozzo to ferret out the shit that was infesting his command and he didn’t need the man peeved at him before he had to be.
“What do you want from me?” DiNozzo asked. “Why me?”
“I asked for someone who could handle my program. Tom apparently talked you up to Davis,” Jack admitted. He kept an eye on where DiNozzo’s gaze hit and suppressed a smile when the younger man frowned slightly at the pair of swords hanging unsheathed over his shoulder. While they looked like a set of movie props to the untrained eye, they were the real deal. “There was a mention of iron ethics.”
“Right,” DiNozzo murmured before he looked back at Jack. “How thick is this NDA?”
“About two inches deep,” Jack said with a small smile.
“That’s almost two-hundred pages long,” DiNozzo said as he tilted his head to see something tucked into a corner of one of his bookshelves. “Is that an Egyptian tablet?”
“It’s a modern version of one,” Jack confirmed. It was actually the record of Daniel’s wedding from Abydos, but he wasn’t going to tell DiNozzo that.
“Right,” DiNozzo said. He shook his head slightly and focused on Jack. “This is going to fuck with my world view, isn’t it?”
“Utterly,” Jack agreed with a shrug. “I can’t say that I’m sorry, because I’m not, but I am grateful that Tom had a name for us and you were available today.”
“Right,” DiNozzo repeated. He looked over his shoulder as Davis walked in with a small tea set, the NDA, and Jack’s lunch. “Time to get started then. Do you want me to look things over with you here? Or should I go elsewhere so you can finish what you were doing when I came in?”
“I’m as finished as I can be at this time,” Jack admitted. He waved a hand at this computer. “If you don’t mind me eating while I work, I can do the run of the mill paperwork while you go over the NDA.”
DiNozzo nodded once and then thanked Davis for the tea. After pouring a cup, he uncapped a pen he pulled out of his jacket pocket and started reading. Jack smiled once and pulled his laptop closer. He had some personnel requests to review while he munched.
Almost three hours later, DiNozzo signed the last spot on the NDA and flipped the document closed. He cleared his throat and Jack raised an eyebrow at his expression. “You people are insane.”
“Define insane?” Jack asked. He smirked as he got up and grabbed the NDA. He quickly flipped through the pages and confirmed each of the necessary signatures were in place. DiNozzo had been through and signed every spot he needed to.
“Aliens?” DiNozzo asked. He tapped his teacup several times and sighed as he got up and took a closer look at Jack’s pictures. “Not all of these were taken on Earth, were they?”
“No,” Jack confirmed. He shrugged as DiNozzo turned to look back at him. The kid had signed the NDA’s, he could actually talk about where the pictures had been taken.
“So, what do you want me to investigate?” DiNozzo asked. “It can’t be if there are actually aliens on Earth because you know that answer.”
“No,” Jack shook his head with a smile. “We know where they come from. What I need from you is to find the people who have betrayed their oaths, violated their contracts, and broken the laws of the US. I have a hunch that there are several people who have gone so far as to commit treason. I need you to turn over every rock to find anyone who’s breaking the law.”
“When do you want me to start?” DiNozzo asked. He leaned down and pulled a notepad out of his bag. “I’m going to need the rules and regulations for the SGC and what is and isn’t appropriate for each facility and even each project.”
“How fast do you read?” Jack asked. He tapped out a quick order to Davis for a tablet computer loaded with the information he was requesting.
“Fast enough,” DiNozzo promised.
Jack checked his watch and winced. “Right, Davis is going to have a tablet for you. I’ve got to go meet the President over this. Read through the tablet and we’ll hash out what I’ll need you to start first.”
“Yes, sir,” DiNozzo said. He looked a bit shell shocked and overwhelmed as he stood up. “Davis can answer my questions?”
“Yeah, he can,” Jack confirmed. He watched as DiNozzo headed out to talk to Davis. He was rather impressed that DiNozzo hadn’t lost his shit. He’d done a lot better than the President at least.
Checking his watch again, he winced. He didn’t have time to drive over to the White House for his meeting, so he was going to have to beam in. Wasn’t the Secret Service going to be thrilled with him?
“This is not what I wanted to hear, General O’Neill,” President Hayes muttered as he shuffled the papers Jack had handed him.
“It wasn’t what I wanted either, Sir,” Jack admitted. He had his work tablet out and Davis was updating him with everything that DiNozzo was doing. The Navy cop was having a great time losing his mind as he read over the project files Davis had given him.
Hayes stared at him with hard eyes. “What are you planning on doing about this?”
“Fixing this and cleaning house,” Jack said with a sigh. “I can deal with the SGC, Area 51, and Atlantis, but I don’t have the pull to really deal with the IOA. If we don’t deal with them, it’s all for nothing. But I didn’t expect the process to be easy.”
“Easy is what got us into this mess,” SecDef muttered as he flipped through his own packet. “Damn, but there are parts of the IOA are up to their eyeballs in this. Apparently, some people found it damn easy to sell their honor for money. What in the hell was Balock thinking?”
“No idea, Sir, but I’ll be asking,” Jack promised. “I asked Director Morrow out of Homeland for a topnotch investigator and he came through for me. Currently, my new investigator is getting up to speed on everything concerning Colonel Sheppard. Colonel Davis reports that he’s been making a large number of notes.”
“All well and good, but who did he recommend?” SecDef asked. He waved his sheaf of papers and growled at them.
“Morrow suggested Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo from NCIS’s DC MCRT,” Jack informed the room.
“DiNozzo’s a good choice,” SecDef hummed. “He keeps up with Gibbs and no one else can get that man to behave like he can. And from everything I’ve heard, he’s a damn good investigator.”
“Okay?” Jack paused and when SecDef just shook his head, he pushed the questions he had aside. He’d ask DiNozzo what the fuck later. “I figure I’m going to drop him off at Area 51 and let him start investigating everything there.”
“This’ll be interesting,” SecDef muttered before he leaned back in his chair. “And what do you want to do with Balock?”
“Ideally I want him out of the Mountain and charged with everything he’s guilty of,” Jack snapped. He took a deep breath and reminded himself that he couldn’t shoot everyone who annoyed him. If he could, Daniel would have a few more scars and there would be a lot more dead Goa’uld. “Realistically, he needs to be dealt with because having an Air Force general advocating for human experimentation would not be good if it got out. And the IOA needs to learn a lesson as well.”
“No, it wouldn’t be something we want to get out,” Hayes agreed. He tapped a finger against the top of his desk. “Okay. I want to talk to him,” he looked at Jack and waved a hand at the red phone. “And then I’ll deal with the IOA.”
“I’ll make sure he’s at his phone,” Jack promised.
“Good,” the president looked down at the documents on his desk and sighed. “If this carries over into Area 51, we’re not going to be able to bring Landry back into the SGC. Who do you suggest we put in Balock’s place?”
“I’m glad you brought that up, sir,” Jack said. He pulled a new sheaf of paper out of his bag and handed them to SecDef. “I’m suggesting that Colonel Mitchell be bumped up to Brigadier General. He’s got the time in rank and enough experience with everything that he’ll be able to adapt when things go sideways.”
“Does he know you’re putting him up for this?” SecDef asked as he looked over the written recommendation.
“Nope,” Jack shook his head. “This actually comes by way of Dr. Jackson. He thinks that Mitchell will do well in the hot seat.”
“Uh-huh,” Hayes made grabby hands at SecDef and read over the paperwork. “Dr. Jackson is a very nice man. With a very large pragmatic streak.”
“As you say, sir,” Jack said after blinking once. Daniel wasn’t just pragmatic, he was idealistic, caustic, and realistic along with a few dozen more things besides. He was also damn evil, but very few people lived to tell the tale after seeing that side of him. Most everyone else was snowed into thinking Daniel was a very nice man by the fact that he was soft-spoken and polite. Putting Mitchell up for the big chair in the SGC was Daniel being mean.
“Is there anything else?” Hayes asked after several seconds.
“No, sir,” Jack confirmed. He started packing his bag up quickly. As soon as he was dismissed, he made his way back to the same closet he’d beamed into to head back to his office in the Pentagon.
“You people are insane,” DiNozzo informed him again as he walked back into his office.
“No shit. Do you want me to protest and say we’re not?” Jack asked as he took a tablet from Davis and read over the updates to the latest insanity coming out of Bluebook. “Figure out a way to tell Lee that he can’t play with the dimensional slipping device the Reetou invented. Then CC Carter and she can reinforce the directive,” he snapped.
“Yes, sir. Colonel Carter is on line 2 and wants to talk to you,” Davis said.
“Right,” Jack muttered. He held up a hand to DiNozzo and smiled when the man huffed at him. At least he didn’t follow him back into his office. Dealing with Carter was going to be fun; he didn’t need an audience. Picking up his phone, he opened the line and sat back. “Carter.”
“Sir,” Carter’s voice sounded very dry to Jack’s ear and he winced slightly. Carter was deeply attached to the rules, but when she wanted to, she could use the rules to strangle people. He’d been ‘sir’d’ in various tones over the years and not all of them had been good for his ego.
“Daniel invite you to his meeting?” Jack asked.
“Yes, sir, he did,” Carter confirmed. “And told me that it was your suggestion. Thank you, sir, for thinking of me in this instance.”
“Carter, did you get an email from McKay?” Jack asked as he logged into his desk computer.
“I did.” Carter followed his topic jump without a hiccup. She was quiet for several seconds before taking a deep breath. “Which is why I’m not protesting the new meeting on my schedule. The new CMO took almost a pint of blood the last time I had to go in for a check-up. And my last MRI took twice as long as standard. I went through the full scan for a Goa’uld at least twice from what I could work out.”
Jack sat up at that. Daniel had mentioned that their scans were taking more time than normal, but that was very unusual. “Do you think they are trying to determine what the after-effects of hosting one are?”
“No idea, sir,” Carter murmured. It was a question the two of them had discussed years before. Carter due to Jolinar and him with the unknown Goa’uld from Hathor and then Kanan. If there were any long-term issues that were going to crop up, they needed to know. Thankfully, nothing had appeared.
“And I haven’t been pulled in to see if they need new images of my head,” Jack mused.
“After Daniel briefed me, I checked the medical computers,” Carter started speaking softly and filled him in on what she’d found. She’d managed to make a better dent on the medical than Daniel had. From her report, there were already several groups who had been authorized to start their studies of Sheppard. All of them were out of Area 51 and none of them were hiding the fact that they wanted to dissect the man to see what made him tick. Two of them had been signed off on by Balock and one had been authorized by Balock and Landry.
“Hang on,” Jack directed. He hit the mute button and went to drop a word in Davis’s ear.
“I found those, sir,” Davis admitted softly. “Agent DiNozzo has the briefs and is reading them over.”
“Right,” Jack glanced over at DiNozzo and saw that the younger man looked perturbed by whatever he was reading. Good. “Make arrangements with Caldwell to beam us over to Area 51 bright and early. You’ll be heading over too. We’re going to shut the base down and make damn sure no one calls out.”
Davis nodded once and then grimaced. “I’ll do my best on that last front, sir, but you know the SGC and Area 51 talk all the time. Cutting off all contact is a pipedream.”
“I just need a few hours and then we’ll deal with Balock,” Jack said. He headed back to his office and picked the call back up. “Carter, I’ll be heading to Area 51 in the morning. Can you tighten the electronic perimeter at the Mountain? See if we can keep a lid on this?”
“I think so, sir,” Carter said slowly before he heard her fingers hitting the keys of her keyboard. At least hers was quiet. Taking the opportunity, Jack checked his shipping and confirmed that Amazon was sending the keyboard to the house. He’d make sure to install it after he dealt with Balock. “I can’t pull the General’s authorization, but I can make sure that everything interesting is under lock and key.”
“Do it and if he has an issue, he can call me,” Jack ordered.
“Yes, sir,” Carter confirmed. There were several firm keystrokes and she sighed. “Done.”
“Okay,” Jack leaned back in his chair and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I’ll be over there midmorning tomorrow or so if you are very lucky, you’ll only have to deal with Danny’s geeks for a few hours.”
“He better have the good coffee for me, sir,” Carter muttered. “And chocolate.”
“You know he has both,” Jack reminded her. The chances of Daniel having shit coffee were slim to none and none had left the building. As soon as Daniel had been able to afford good coffee, he’d bought a supply and never, ever gone back to Folgers. As a consequence, all of SG1 were coffee snobs who hated what the mess had in its pots.
“I know,” Carter agreed. “Okay, I’ll keep an eye on things over here and guard Daniel and his people in the morning. See you when you get here, sir.”
Dropping the phone back into place, Jack ran his hands over his face. What a clusterfuck. “DiNozzo!”
His office door opened and the younger man stuck his head in. “You bellowed?”
“Get in here,” Jack directed. When DiNozzo sat down, he raised an eyebrow at him and nodded at the papers he was clutching. “Well?”
“You have a bunch of Mengele’s,” DiNozzo informed him, voice hard and even. “If they get a hold of Colonel Sheppard, he’s going to wish he was dead, but that’s not the end result this group wants. They seem to think he holds the secret to super soldiers. As if popular entertainment hasn’t shown us why that’s a bad idea. From what little I got out of the file information on the man, he was uncontrollable while he had whatever it is that’s making him madman catnip.”
Jack started laughing at that. “The nicest thing I can say about that time is that Sheppard was damn strong and aggressive. But yeah, he wasn’t controllable by any means that we have, or can reproduce wholescale.”
“Which means, no super soldiers,” DiNozzo noted. “Okay. So, what’s the plan?”
“We’re going to Area 51 bright and early tomorrow morning and you’re going to start kicking anthills. I’m going to head to the SGC and corner Balock. Once I have him on ice, I want you to tear everything apart and get to the bottom of this mess here. The international mess will be something to deal with as we can.”
“I hate treason,” DiNozzo bitched. “And people violating medical ethics are a hard no as well. This isn’t going to be bloodless; you know. I’ll look at everything, investigate it all and god help anyone I see stepping over the line. Because I will nail them to the wall if it’s justified.”
Jack smiled slowly. If he was going to be the calvary in the rescue of Sheppard, having DiNozzo standing behind him was reassuring. “Good. I’m counting on it.”