Title: A Warning Blaze
Fandom: SGA, SG1, NCIS
Relationships: Sheppard/McKay, O’Neill/Jackson, and more to come
Warnings: Canon-Typical Violence, Medical Bullshit
Summary: Jack and Daniel are heading out to Atlantis to find out what’s going on with AR-1. Whatever it is, it has the possibility to burn deeply. And while that’s happening, Jack is going to enjoy himself any way he can.
Author’s Note: Everyone knows I have little to no respect for actual canon anymore, right?
“This was not what I was expecting when we got the emergency comm from Atlantis,” Jack said as he watched the video of AR-1. The room they were in was too small for the four wolves, but they were abiding by the limits of the space and not tearing it apart. If they had actually been wolves, he would have expected everything that could be destroyed would have been destroyed. As it was, each member of AR-1 had eventually nudged their clothes out of the way before laying on their gurneys.
“I was expecting to hear that they were either overrun or there were Wraith ships heading their direction,” Daniel admitted. He was reading the report Lorne had written for the third time and making notes in the margins. “This, while possibly weirder, is still better than having the vampire version of Marilyn Manson attacking Atlantis.”
“Just about anything is better than dealing with those fuckers. Except for the Replicators,” Jack bitched as he reached for his copy of the documents they had been sent. He flipped over to the assessment that Heightmeyer had done and started matching wolves to their people.
“Replicators trump just about everyone for creepy and horrible,” Daniel agreed. “Even if the thought of being eaten is horrifying, Replicators are worse.”
“Not going to argue with you, Danny,” Jack said as he paused the video. “It looks like Sheppard is still in charge, even though the wolf id’d as Dex is bigger.”
“Bigger doesn’t mean stronger and you know it,” Daniel reminded him. He glanced up at the screen and cocked his head to the side as he took in the way the four wolves were acting. “I’m guessing that the wolf on the right shoulder of Sheppard is McKay?”
“So, it seems,” Jack murmured as he let the video restart. “Emmagan moves into that spot when they don’t know who’s at the door, with McKay moving into the protected rear position and Dex on Sheppard’s left. When it’s confirmed that the visitor is harmless, he slots back into place and Emmagan moves back.”
“I wonder if they do that off-world?” Daniel asked as he watched the action on the screen. “Looks like they are used to using Sheppard as the center they all pivot around. I’m betting in a situation where there’s tech to be assessed, McKay is in front, but Sheppard is glued to his side.”
“Makes sense,” Jack said as he continued to watch. “I’m going to guess that Sheppard and McKay are slowly, but surely making sure that their teammates have a good working knowledge of Ancient and Tau’ri technology in return for lessons on how to survive in Pegasus.”
“Why do you say that?” Daniel asked. He looked back and forth between the screen and Jack.
“It’s hard to see when they’re furry, but you can see a bit of it when Emmagan woke up and freaked out. She’s the only female on her team and I would have expected them to put her in the center position for the most protection, but they didn’t,” Jack said slowly. He was figuring things out as he watched the film and it was all information that he would need when they reached Atlantis. “Sheppard treats her like I treated Teal’c in the early years. A fully competent warrior who can hold up his end of whatever situation we found ourselves in. When she wigged, they went to her, reassured her, and stayed in contact until she was steady and then took her at her word that she was able to go on. They didn’t baby her or check behind her.”
“You did a lot of that with Sam and me,” Daniel said after several seconds of thought. “But only after a few years. We had to prove to be competent, right?”
“Small team combat is different than moving an army around or fighting in a plane,” Jack explained softly. “You’ve been able to handle a handgun since before I knew you, but you’d never been in a battle until our first mission. You did damn well, Danny, but you were and technically still are, a civilian.”
“Technically,” Daniel agreed.
“Hush, you, I’m explaining something,” Jack said with a smile. “At any rate, Carter had some air combat hours under her belt, but she’d never fought on the ground and it showed. I’ve been doing ground combat in small units for over two decades and Teal’c is somewhere north of seven decades, maybe eight. Between the two of us, keeping you two safe while you explored the galaxy was doable. While we were doing that, we were also teaching you how to survive just about anything.”
“True,” Daniel conceded. Jack watched as he thought things over and suppressed a smile as he straightened. “Is that why I have issues with Cam?”
“I don’t know, Danny. I’ve never been in the field with him, so I can’t say how our command styles differ, but I’m pretty sure you’ve got things that you like to do and when Mitchell does something different, you’re not all that happy.”
“Neither is Sam, but I’m the only one who complains.” Daniel slanted him a speaking glance. “I complain for Sam sometimes because she can’t due to being in the military and technically under Cam’s command.”
“Mm-hmm,” Jack hummed softly in agreement. “You did the same thing with me. I did my best to listen, even if I didn’t agree with you.”
“I know. I really appreciated the talks after the missions to go over what happened and why some things were done.”
“Making sure that you knew why things were done the way they were meant that when you really did ignore me, it was because you did it from a position of knowledge and weren’t doing it just to get my goat,” Jack explained. “I listened better on those occasions.”
“Most of the time, yes,” Daniel conceded. “Sometimes you ignored everything but your gut or your orders. Your gut has a better average for being right than your orders do, just so you know.”
“That’s always the way of it, Danny,” Jack said. He stopped the film as Sheppard started to groom McKay. “Do we have any information on typical wolf behaviors?”
“Only what I pulled off the internet before we left,” Daniel reminded him.
Jack leaned back in his chair and tapped his fingers against the table. “Right. We’ve already watched that stuff a few times.”
Daniel ignored him for several minutes while he read and Jack was grateful for the respite. He had a lot to think about and a number of decisions to make. He also needed to figure out what he was going to do with the IOA members aboard the Daedalus. Woolsey was an ass, but an honorable ass who did his best to obey his orders, no matter what they were, as long as they weren’t illegal. Shen Xiaoyi was more of an unknown and he had no idea why China had sent her with them.
“What’s got you concerned about that?” Daniel asked as he nodded at the screen.
“Sheppard and McKay are close. Have been for the whole time they’ve been out on Atlantis,” Jack said slowly, watching the careful grooming Sheppard did to McKay. When McKay returned the gesture and Sheppard allowed it, he sighed. “Something tells me that this change is going to push them in a direction that’s going to cause me to talk to the President.”
The look Daniel flashed him was peeved and Jack laughed softly. It wasn’t that the younger man disliked Hayes, he just wasn’t thrilled when Jack went to DC without him. “If you get called to the White House, make sure to swing by and say hello to Tony. Freak out his coworkers.”
“That almost makes going to DC worth it,” Jack said with a smile. “Even if I still want to steal him away from NCIS and put him to work for us.”
“Ask him again when we get back,” Daniel advised. “He was looking irritated when I saw him last.”
“Can do,” Jack said. He let the film continue and raised an eyebrow at how easygoing AR-1 was being with the medical personnel. “We got a report from the CMO that states that AR-1 was being,” Jack paused the film and flipped his report pages until he got to the relevant part. “Stroppy with medical personnel and attempted to snap at them. I’m not seeing anything like that with Biro or Heightmeyer.”
“Hmm,” Daniel hummed as he paged through his copy of the report. “Says here that the CMO walked into the isolation room and immediately wanted to start taking samples from the team and had called for one of his nurses to come and restrain his chosen patient without clearing it with them first.”
“That’s a level of bullshit that’s unacceptable,” Jack said before he picked up the fidget spinner Daniel had bought for him to save his precious artifacts. He wasn’t going to tell him that it worked. From the small grin Daniel flashed him as he played with the small toy, he already knew. Damn it.
When a knock on the metal of the door interrupted his thoughts, Jack raised an eyebrow. The only one who knew where they were holed up was Caldwell and the colonel had promised to keep the secret. “Standard bet that’s Woolsey?”
“Woolsey and Shen,” Daniel countered. He got up and sighed. “I bet you wish this was Atlantis and the doors opened when you thought at them.”
“It is helpful,” Jack admitted as he watched the two IOA members walk into his office away from home. “What can I do for the two of you?”
“I see you are studying the material Atlantis has provided us on the changes to AR-1,” Woolsey said as he settled into a chair across from him.
Shen pulled a chair out next to Woolsey and sat down, face cool and remote. “Do we have any information on if this is transmissible?”
“It’s not,” Daniel confirmed. He picked up a report and handed it over the table to her. “Major Lorne, Sheppard’s XO reports that Dr. Biro confirmed there is no transmission at this time. Since his team was the one who recovered AR-1, they were exposed to the same site as Sheppard’s team. When AR-1 changed, AR-2 went in and started a round of supervised testing to confirm that there is nothing there.”
“Interesting,” Shen said as she started reading the report.
“Isn’t it?” Jack said.
“Do we know if they’ve changed back?” Woolsey asked. He nodded his thanks as Daniel passed him a stack of reports.
“No,” Jack admitted. He wasn’t happy that there was no way to confirm the status of his men while they were traveling between galaxies, but punching a signal strong enough to reach Atlantis from the void between the Milky Way and Pegasus would attract the attention of things they didn’t want. The Wraith were only one of the possible races that might have an issue with humans from Earth making it outside their galaxy. “The current plan is to drop out of hyper at the first planet with a gate that we can use and call the city to see if we can just step through. Daedalus will continue to travel to the city at normal speed because Caldwell has supplies for them and they need to be delivered. Doing that will cut almost five days off our journey.”
“Do you think it’s wise?” Shen asked. She looked up from her reading and waved a hand at the document. “While it seems that AR-1 are wolves, they aren’t attacking anyone, despite displaying aggression at the CMO.”
Jack stared at her and wondered what her game was. She wasn’t normally agreeable. “I don’t know, ma’am. But I will be finding out as soon as I can.”
“Strip and lay down on the bed,” Jack directed Daniel as they walked into his stateroom.
When the Daedalus had been built, they had borrowed a number of concepts from the Navy. One of them had been how they had housed the crew and that had led to just enough room to put a stateroom in for any senior officers that might be traveling aboard her. That meant that instead of him having to bunk in a room the size of a small closet, he got something closer to the size of his office at the SGC. And his bed was closer to a full-sized bed than the standard twin.
All of which meant that when Daniel had decided to invite himself along on the trip out to Atlantis, he had plenty of room for his lover to stretch out on.
“We could have waited until we got to Atlantis,” Daniel offered as he quickly stripped down.
“Not like anyone is going to say anything, Daniel,” Jack reminded him as he stripped the bed down to bare sheets. “DADT hasn’t been a going concern for the SGC since about ten minutes after Hammond took command and every single president has been informed of that fact with the briefing they get on us. Not one of them has put up a fuss. And the IOA mandated that the international troops we send out aren’t going to be under that thing. Stop freaking out.”
“As you reminded me, I’m a civilian and thus I’m safe from the bullshit. Pardon for wanting to make sure you’re okay when we have assholes around us,” Daniel said before he laid down. Tucking his hands behind his head, his lover looked him over. “Gonna get naked for me, flyboy?”
“Smartass,” Jack muttered fondly as he got undressed and carefully placed his uniform over the only chair in the room. “Standard bet?”
“Yup,” Daniel agreed. He palmed his cock as he eyed Jack and licked his lips as he spread his legs. “Come suck my cock.”
“Bets are much more fun now that we’re wagering blowjobs versus money,” Jack said as he knee-walked up the bed to settle between Daniel’s thighs. Leaning down, he licked a stripe up his lover’s cock before he settled in to seriously work on blowing his mind.
“Jesus, Vishnu, and Herne,” Daniel breathed as his hips tried to move.
Jack hummed once in amusement before pressing down on the hips under his hands. He didn’t want to gag while he was blowing his lover. From the jerk of motion that his action caused, Daniel wasn’t against being manhandled. Jack took a deep breath and pressed forward and took his cock deep into his mouth. A bit of suction, a careful hand jacking the base of Daniel’s cock, and…
“Fuck! Jack, you bastard,” Daniel panted as he came in long spurts over Jack’s tongue.
Feeling smug, he carefully let slip the spent cock out of his mouth and rested his chin on Daniel’s hip, and watched as his lover pulled himself back together. “Looking good, Danny.”
Eyes blurry with pleasure opened and stared down his body to mock glare at him. Jack grinned, cheerfully and pressed a kiss to the skin of his lover’s hip. “Why the fuck do I like you again?”
“Hell if I know, some days,” Jack said with a shrug. He pressed another kiss against Daniel’s skin and blew warm air over his cock. When it twitched, he hummed in satisfaction. “Wanna get fucked?”
“Yes,” Daniel hissed. He pulled one hand from behind his head and dropped the lube they kept under the pillow by his hip.
“So pushy,” Jack said with a smile as he sat up. Slicking up his fingers took only moments and he slowly, carefully started playing with Daniel’s asshole. With each pass of his fingers, the muscles relaxed and softened, allowing him to dip further and further in. “Want me to open you up with my cock? Slowly slide into you until I can’t move any further forward and then do it again and again until you come all over yourself?”
“God, you fucker,” Daniel moaned as he moved his hips, chasing the teasing that Jack was doing with his fingers. “Why do you have to use words against me?”
“Because you love it,” Jack reminded him. He slicked up his cock and rested the head against the soft furls of Daniel’s asshole. “Well?”
“Yes,” Daniel hissed as he pulled his legs back so he was fully exposed. “Fuck me.”
“Oh, Danny, it is utterly my pleasure,” Jack promised as he slowly, carefully pushed into his lover. The hot clutch of his lover’s body surrounded him and Jack moaned. “Fuck.”
“You had better,” Daniel bitched before he wrapped his legs high around Jack’s waist.
Jack leaned forward and kissed Daniel, soft and sweet before he started fucking him in earnest. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” Daniel panted.
Jack kept his eyes open and watched as Daniel shook apart in his second orgasm before he followed him over the edge of pleasure. Panting softly, he rested his head against Daniel’s shoulder and pressed a soft kiss against the skin under his lips. “I’m glad you came with me.”
“Danny? Have I been around Caldwell at all in the last two months?” Jack asked as he watched Caldwell stop and then turn around and leave the officer’s mess.
Daniel looked up from the tablet computer he was pouring over and frowned. “No, you haven’t. And he welcomed you aboard by radio. Why?”
“My Spidey sense just went off,” Jack admitted.
“You don’t have a Spidey sense,” Daniel reminded him.
The look Jack gave Daniel was peeved and he knew it. “No, I have a Kanan sense.”
“Oh,” Daniel said before he twitched slightly as if he wanted to turn around to stare at the doorway and had stopped himself. “Really?”
“Yup,” Jack said grimly. “There’s an LSD on this ship. I think it’s with Hermiod.”
“No one will think twice if I go visit him,” Daniel suggested. “I’ve done it every day since we got aboard.”
“Right. So, you go get the damn thing and I’ll scan Caldwell. If he has a passenger, we’ll ask Hermiod to beam the damn thing out.”
“There’s no way he could have gotten exposed to a Tok’ra, is there?” Daniel asked softly as he started cleaning up the last of his breakfast.
“No,” Jack said after several seconds of thought. “We haven’t had face-to-face contact with the Tok’ra since not long after Jacob and Selmak died.”
“Do we know if they are still out there?” Daniel asked.
“No idea,” Jack admitted. He didn’t honestly care since in his opinion the remaining Tok’ra had all been raging assholes that put Kinsey to shame for sheer arrogance, but he didn’t want them dead. He just wasn’t too sure if he cared if they were still alive. Mentally shrugging, he made his peace with his feelings towards the Tok’ra. If they ever called back up, he’d offer help, but he wasn’t going to beat the bushes looking for them.
Daniel was staring at him as if he could read his thoughts and Jack raised an eyebrow and thought of something wicked and sexy to test that idea. From the way Daniel’s eyes dilated, something had gotten through. Grinning smugly, Jack chuckled. “Let’s revisit that later?”
Huffing slightly in temper, Daniel picked up his tray and glared down at him. “You are such a shit.”
“You betcha, Danny boy!”
When Woolsey sat down in front of him as he finished the last of his breakfast, Jack raised an eyebrow at him in question as he chewed. Swallowing deliberately, he placed his knife and fork down. “What can I do for you, Mr. Woolsey?”
“I’ve been reading the reports and I came across something concerning,” Woolsey started. He folded his hands together on the table and stared down at them for a moment before looking back up at Jack. “Dr. Beckett seems to have been doing a number of experiments that fall outside of most conventional ethical boundaries. Given his behavior towards AR-1, I am hesitant at leaving him in charge of the medical and life sciences departments on the city.”
“And you want me to do what?” Jack asked. He had his own issues with the doctor and his penchant for medical experimentation. Finding out Woolsey had issues with it as well was interesting because he wasn’t sure Shen was upset over it at all.
“I was hoping you had an alternative available that we could put in his place,” Woolsey admitted. “I know the SGC has a robust medical department and there’s been some hiring recently.”
“Hiring because we lost two docs to retirement and while we replaced Fraiser, we’ve been working short for years,” Jack explained. “Just because medical and life sciences have a lot of doctors in it, doesn’t mean they have any MD’s to spare. Most of the doctors in that department rarely if ever deal with people. Mostly they deal with samples that we bring back.”
“Oh,” Woolsey said before he leaned back in his chair and pressed his hands flat on the table. “So what? None of them are able to treat people?”
Jack shook his head. “Every single medical doctor who is authorized to treat people is working under Lam. The rest are people like our two virologists, the biologist, and xenobiologists who study the changes that living on different planets have caused to people, and the geneticists who are picking apart the genome of the Goa’uld, Unas, and Serrakin to name a few. There’s a lot more to the department, but not one of those people could be trusted to take the blood pressure of a mannequin, let alone a human.”
“That’s not good,” Woolsey said after thinking things over.
Gesturing with his coffee cup, Jack tried to lay things out for the bureaucrat. “Our budget isn’t limitless. We’re a line item under Blue Book and the budget tied to that number hasn’t changed in years. We’re being asked to do more on less and something had to give. Staffing was one area where we can’t really cut any more than we are. We need guns, ammo, armor, and other assorted things so we can go out and do our job. The power bill has to be paid. So does payroll. All of that means that we don’t recruit the numbers of people we really, truly need and we get by on enough supplies, with no excess. And if that means that we cut things? Well, we find somewhere to cut that won’t get us dead.”
“These ships?” Woolsey asked, waving a hand around.
“Line items shared between the Air Force, the Marines, and the Navy while they were being built,” Jack explained. “We needed a lot of the skills the Navy has in building subs to help make these ships livable. Thankfully, we were able to hide some of the day-to-day costs in the Marine Corps budget.”
Woolsey sat silent for a while, thinking things over and Jack poured himself a new cup of coffee while he ruminated. “That doesn’t sound doable, long term.”
“It’s not,” Jack confirmed. He gestured at the bow of the ship with his coffee cup. “One of the things I’ve been hoping Atlantis would find would be a spare ZPM or two that we can ship back to Earth. One for the Ancient Outpost in Antarctica and one for the SGC. It would mean we have a planetary defense that was actually worth something and have enough power to get supplies to Atlantis on the regular.”
“And in the case of invasion like we had with Anubis, we could actually send people through to Atlantis as an evacuation point,” Woolsey finished the thought.
“Yes,” Jack said. “If I had a spare ZPM, the power bill would be non-existent and I could use those monies somewhere else. As it is, I have a bunch of naquadah generators hooked into the system at Cheyenne Mountain, supporting some labs that take more power than we can bring in. Any tech that we use that’s of alien origin is also on a generator.”
“Which also means that you’re not using more power from an Earthside supplier and having to pay for it.”
“Exactly,” Jack said, tilting his coffee cup in acknowledgment. “We trade what we can for the naquadah and for the most part, stay ahead of the bills.”
“I believe I need to review the budget for the SGC and talk to the President about that when we get back. In addition to the stuff from Atlantis,” Woolsey murmured.
“Good idea. Check out Atlantis’s budget as well. They’re critically short-staffed too and could use a better supply line than they’ve currently got,” Jack suggested. He was doing what he could on that front, but he had limits. Then again, Woolsey and Shen would be on Atlantis soon and enjoying the hospitality of the city.
At that point, Daniel walked back into the officer’s mess and tapped the thigh pocket of his BDUs. Reaching out with the part of him that operated Ancient tech, he could feel the small buzz of the LSD. Excellent.
“Think it over, Woolsey. I’m going to be looking over the men and women in the medical department on Atlantis to see if they have anyone who can step up,” Jack promised. “I don’t know that I’ll be able to do it right away, but it will be taken care of.”
“What? Daniel asked. He leaned over and stared at the display on the LSD. “Huh. Two life signs, one right on top of the other and where the captain’s chair is on the bridge. Suspicious.”
“Sure is, since I doubt Caldwell has someone sitting in his lap,” Jack muttered. “For fuck’s sake, this is not good.”
“Nope, not good at all,” Daniel agreed. “Do you think that Hermiod will be able to help? Or should we wait to try until we can get him to Cimmeria?”
“Someone put a Goa’uld in one of my colonel’s Daniel. I need to know what happened and the only way to do that is going to be removing the damn thing from him. Which means it needs to be removed as soon as possible,” Jack explained.
“Right. So, how are we going about this?” Daniel asked. He reached around Jack and poked the LSD.
Jack pressed the little machine to increase the resolution of its scan. “I’ve got a zat. I figured I’d go in and zat him once. Then while he’s unconscious, move him to the brig so we can get the Goa’uld out or medical so if Hermiod can’t do it or fucks up the removal.”
“Better prime it in here then,” Daniel suggested. “It makes a distinct noise when you get it ready to be fired.”
“True,” Jack said. He pulled the small weapon from the holster at the small of his back and primed it. “Let’s get this done.”
“Give me the LSD,” Daniel said, holding out his hand and wriggling his fingers.
Jack handed the little device and wasn’t surprised that it stopped working as soon as it left his hands. “It doesn’t work for you.”
“I’m too human,” Daniel reminded him. “While I’ve been ascended, I didn’t come back with the ATA gene, so I can’t use most of their tech.”
“Point,” Jack said with a nod. He turned towards the door leading from the captain’s ready room to the bridge and hit the release. As soon as the door was open enough to allow him to slip through, he did, zat raised and firing at the figure sitting in the captain’s chair. His aim was exact and he hit Caldwell in the chest with the zat’s beam.
“Sir! What the hell?” the pilot, Marks yelped. He pushed away from his station and slapped his hand against the console, locking it.
“As you were, Marks,” Jack snapped. He held the zat out to Daniel and pulled out the pair of flex cuffs he’d stuffed in a pocket. When Marks stepped forward as if to get in his way, Jack jerked his chin at him and Daniel shot him once with the zat as well. “Let’s just all keep calm, shall we?”
“Sir, what’s going on?” Stuart, the comms officer asked him his station. He had his hands up in the air and Jack was faintly amused at the sight.
“Well, Stuart, we seem to be having a moment here where there be assholes among us,” Jack announced cheerfully as he rolled Caldwell over to quickly bind his hands behind his back. He kept his attention on the nape of the man’s neck and sighed as he watched the skin ripple as he placed his colonel in the recovery position. “God, damn it.”
“Whoever is in charge of internal sensors, scan the area right around me,” Jack directed. “You should still have access. There should be five life signs here. Four human and one Goa’uld.”
“Oh, Jesus,” Stuart muttered before he twisted to look behind him. “Hutchinson? Do it.”
“Already scanning, sir. And we have three humans, one Ancient, and a Goa’uld,” Hutchinson called from his post in the back of the bridge. “The Ancient is General O’Neill and he’s been scanning that way since he came back from his second exposure to the head grabber thing! It’s in his records.”
“Great,” Stuart called. He lowered his hands and got up, moving to stand in front of Caldwell. “How are we going to transport him, sir?”
“Does the transporter work inside the ship?” Daniel asked as he tucked the zat away. “If he wakes up too soon, I say we tase him. It won’t kill him, but it will mess up the symbiote’s day. A second shot with the zat now would be fatal.”
“Yeah, they’re not too fond of tasers,” Jack remembered. “Do it if he twitches. We don’t want the damn thing to blow its way out of him.”
“Got it,” Daniel agreed. He pulled a small taser out of a pocket and held it, aimed at Caldwell. At Jack’s confused look, he tilted the small device once. “Tony gave it to me. He said that as good as I was with guns, having a small taser wouldn’t hurt and honestly might help.”
“Is this like his damn rule about knives?” Jack asked.
“Pretty sure it is,” Daniel agreed. “Stuart? Call down to Hermiod and request he beam the colonel into one of the holding cells we have aboard. And make damn sure the containment field is on.”
“Yes, sir,” Stuart confirmed. He sat down at his station and frowned. “Sir, I’m locked out. It looks like Marks was able to get the override into place.”
“For fuck’s sake,” Jack bitched. He walked over to Marks’ station and confirmed that the whole thing was indeed locked down. Only secondary systems were still working independently of the lockdown. Comms was considered a primary system so it was as locked as navigation. “As much as I think it’s great he reacted as he should have, this is really fucking annoying.”
Reaching down, he started typing in his override. He doubted the Goa’uld would have removed the overrides while it was trying to lie low. To do so would have been too suspicious. When his code was taken and the whole system unlocked, he breathed out a slow sigh of relief. “Try it now.”
Stuart nodded once and quickly called down to Engineering. Jack couldn’t hear Hermiod’s side of the conversation, but apparently, the little Asgard took the orders seriously and beamed Caldwell away. Jack slanted a look at the back of the bridge. “Hutchinson?”
“He’s in the brig, sir. And I made sure everything was up and running,” the security officer confirmed.
“Okay, then,” Jack said. He clapped his hands together and turned to Stuart. “Get your XO up here. He’s got command until we get Caldwell Goa’uld free, counseled, and cleared. Also, send down a medical team in case there are any issues with the removal. I don’t want to hurt your CO after all.”
“Yes, sir,” Stuart confirmed.
“Let’s go, Daniel,” Jack called as he started for the exit.
Jack stood in front of the containment field and rocked on his heels as he stared at Caldwell.
Jack slanted Daniel a look before turning back to eye Caldwell. Reaching out, he tapped the internal comm system. “Hermiod? Can you scan Caldwell and see if you can beam the damn symbiote out?”
“I do not know if the transporter on this ship is tuned to a fine enough to allow me to remove the whole organism,” Hermiod informed him, voice even. “He will need to stay still for at least another 60 seconds.”
“He got zatted ten minutes ago. He’s not likely to be able to recover for another ten minutes,” Jack offered. Caldwell was in the same position as he had been on the bridge and was stretched out on the floor. Jack approved of his placement since putting him in his bunk could have led to him suffocating in the bedding. The medical team was standing to the side, waiting to get at their patient. He appreciated that they already had everything out that they would need to use to make sure Caldwell stayed alive once the removal took place.
When Bishop, Caldwell’s XO stepped up beside him, Jack eyed him carefully. The man didn’t feel like he had a symbiote. “Colonel.”
“General,” Bishop returned. He eyed the form of his CO and turned to look at Jack. “How?”
“No damn idea, but we’re going to find out,” Jack promised. “Do we know if Woolsey or Shen have any idea what is going on?”
“Neither of them has been informed of this and won’t be if you make it an order, sir,” Bishop confirmed.
“Excellent. I am so ordering,” Jack said grimly. He leaned forward slightly as the feeling of Goa’uld disappeared. “Hermiod?”
“I have the whole thing in a containment vessel, O’Neill. Nothing was left behind of the Goa’uld and we didn’t take any of Colonel Caldwell’s brain matter. He should start recovering from the stun shortly,” Hermiod reported.
“Good,” Jack grunted. He slapped the control for the containment field to the off position and got out of the way of the medical team. “Get him down to medical as soon as you can, Doc. This is totally SGC business only, until you are informed otherwise by me or by Dr. Jackson. If the IOA reps wander into your sickbay and wonder what’s happening, tell them any lie you like. Just keep track of them.”
“Yes, sir,” the ship’s CMO called as he worked on getting Caldwell ready to be moved. He had the flex cuffs removed and was strapping a blood pressure cuff around one arm. “Should I restrain him, sir?”
“Yes, until we can be sure he’s going to wake up sane,” Jack agreed. It burned something in him to order that, but he above all knew what it was like to be a prisoner in his own head. Caldwell would need time to get everything straight. “If you have anything close to a private room?”
“Got one that we can use unless we need to do a surgery, sir,” one of the medics called.
The noise surrounding Caldwell rose and he was quickly moved onto a gurney and hustled out of the brig. Jack rubbed his hands over his face and blew out a slow breath as he tried to get his head in order. “How long until we’re close to a planet in Pegasus that we can gate to Atlantis from?”
“Ten days, sir,” Bishop said promptly.
“Fuck me,” Jack said on a sigh.
“It’s been seventeen days since we got the report the AR-1 changed into wolves,” Woolsey announced as he walked into Jack’s conference room. “Do we know if they’ve changed again?”
“We’re running comms dark, Mr. Woolsey,” Jack reminded him. He leaned back in his chair and eyed the man. “I can’t answer that question at this time. We’re getting ready to find a planet with a stargate that we can use to travel to Atlantis to get an answer. Are you packed?”
“We have to go down to the planet?” Woolsey asked. He swallowed nervously and Jack suppressed the urge to smirk. The man had a perfectly legit reason for being scared to step foot on a planet other than Earth. Too bad he had too anyway.
“Yes, Woolsey, you do,” Jack said after a beat of silence. He waved a hand at him. “If you don’t want to pull luggage through the gate, bring a backpack of your most important things. Enough to last about four days. If you don’t have a backpack, talk to one of the crew, they’ll get you one.”
“Right,” Woolsey muttered.
“Colonel Bishop? Do we have an ETA on a stargate?” Jack asked as he hit his line to the bridge.
“We got an updated list of planets with gates when we were last in Pegasus, sir. We’re working to find one that’s abandoned and not a space gate,” Bishop explained. “I’ll call you as soon as I find a safe one, sir.”
“Works for me. We don’t have a jumper on this thing. Make a note to see if we can take one from Atlantis for events like this?” Jack ordered.
“Got it, sir.”
Jack let the comm channel close and raised an eyebrow at Woolsey. “Better get packing.”
Daniel looked up from his tablet as Woolsey headed back out of the room. “As much as the man’s honorable and uptight when it comes to his job, he’s taking a while to grow into his spine for the off-world stuff.”
“To be fair, his first real trip off-world had a bunch of insects that wanted to eat him alive,” Jack reminded his lover mildly. “You just had a Goa’uld who flirted badly and wanted in your pants.” The look Daniel flashed him was dry and Jack laughed softly. “Right. They all want in your pants.”
“Gross,” Daniel muttered as he started reading again. “I brought our backpacks in and picked up my weapons. I was told that you will need to pick up your own, I can’t do it for you, even if everyone knows that I’m picking them up for you.”
“Same as with the SGC,” Jack said softly. “My gut is starting to twinge, Danny.”
“So, you think they changed as well?” Daniel asked. He cocked his head to the side and Jack could almost see him rearranging the datasets they had into different theories. “It’s not nanites. That was checked for first.”
“Honestly? I think it was something along the lines of what Nirrti had. An Ancient machine that changes people on a genetic level,” Jack offered. “One that was out of juice once it hit AR-1.”
“That was one of the things Biro was planning on checking for,” Daniel reminded him. “And no one had authorized a return trip back to the planet with a naquadah generator to see if we can pump the facility for information when we left.”
“Something to do when we get there then,” Jack agreed. “If Lorne hasn’t done it on the sly. He was very on the ball while we were in contact.”
Daniel nodded once. “He’s always been competent.”
“General O’Neill, Dr. Jackson,” Shen said as she entered the room. She had a backpack in her hand and set it beside the chair she had been using in any meeting they had. “Do we have a time we will be heading down?”
“Not yet,” Daniel informed her. “It shouldn’t be too much longer.”
“You are wearing BDU’s? Should I get a set?” Shen asked. She looked down at her outfit and plucked at the jeans she was wearing. “I thought we might be going somewhere that would require me to be out of office clothes.”
“Very smart,” Jack said. He blatantly checked under the table and smiled at the shoes she was wearing. Hiking boots. “Good call on the boots too.”
“I wasn’t sure about requesting BDUs. I felt better wearing this,” Shen admitted. She glanced at Daniel again. “But you, Dr. Jackson, seem to be very comfortable in them.”
“I wear BDU’s more than I wear anything else,” Daniel admitted. “I don’t go off-world in jeans, I need the extra pockets too much.”
“And you are going armed?” Shen asked.
“I’m part of SG-1, Dr. Shen. If I wasn’t armed when I left my base of operation, my CO would have words with me,” Daniel reminded her.
“We’re not asking you to go armed, ma’am. If you are qualified to shoot a gun, then yes, we would like you to have one since we never know when things are going to get weird,” Jack cut in. “But the goal of this little excursion is to beam down right in front of the stargate, dial Atlantis, send our code through so the shield is down, and walk on through. Total time should be less than five minutes and the Daedalus will be overhead the whole time.”
“Thank you for explaining that,” Shen said. She smiled and Jack tried not to wonder what was behind it. The woman was not this wimpy normally. She’d held it together when confronted with carnivorous insects…
“Sir? We have a planet for you,” Bishop’s call broke over the loudspeaker.
Jack straightened up from his slouch as he worked on his paperwork and reached for the comm unit in the middle of the conference room table. “Colonel Bishop, how soon will be at the planet, and is there anything special we need to do to get ready?”
“Five minutes, sir and it looks like the gate is in a temperate zone, current temp is around 75F and there seems to be a light breeze, no rain,” Bishop reported. “We’re moving into place to be able to hover over you when you head through to Atlantis.”
“Good to know, colonel. We’ll be ready in five,” Jack confirmed. He started shutting down his computer after saving his last document. “If you have to hit the facilities, best do it now,” he warned.
“I’ve got the GDO and our code for Atlantis that Lorne gave us,” Daniel informed him as Shen and Woolsey left the table.
“This is going to be such a clusterfuck,” Jack bitched. He slid his laptop into his backpack and grabbed his tac vest. Shrugging it on, he quickly got it zipped closed before he picked up the backpack. It was the same ruck he had used when he was leading SG1 and he had packed it full of everything he expected to need on the trip, meaning it had some weight to it. Grunting slightly as it settled onto his back, he shifted slightly, getting the bulk in place before he clipped his P-90 to his vest.
Daniel had been doing much the same, only his load was even heavier than Jack’s. Eyeing it, he slanted a speaking glance at his lover. “It has a copy of the paper file, my clothes, computer, tablet, meds, some coffee for me, and some for McKay. You know, the normal stuff when I go off-world and I’m not expecting to get shot at.”
“How often did that happen?” Jack asked in morbid curiosity.
“Not often enough,” Daniel admitted. “I need to ask Sam if she’s got any idea how often we made it through a mission without shooting something.”
“She’ll have fun messing with our records to figure that out if she hasn’t got the answer already,” Jack said with a smile. Walking over to his lover, he started checking him over, making sure nothing was twisted or rubbing wrong. He ignored it as Daniel returned the favor and even went so far as to tighten one of the straps on his vest. “I’m losing weight again. I need to get away from Washington more often.”
“Given that you hate it there, I don’t blame you for wanting to leave it behind,” Daniel murmured. He waved the arm with the GDO strapped to it. “We can have one delivered for you if you want one?”
“I’m good,” Jack promised.
When Shen and Woolsey came back, Jack directed both the put their backpacks on and moved them to the open area in front of the conference room table. Opening the comms, let Bishop know they were ready to be beamed down.
“Yes, sir,” Bishop said. “In five. Four. Three. Two. One.”
Jack closed his eyes and winced as the flash of light denoting transportation lit the insides of his eyelids. “I hate that,” he said as he opened his eyes to take in their position on the planet. Hermiod had placed them right in front of the stargate and by the DHD.
“It’s fast,” Daniel reminded him as he went to inspect the DHD.
“It fucks up my eyesight if I have my eyes open,” Jack sniped. Reaching up to his ear, he toggled the comm unit Atlantis used and hit the channel for the Daedalus. “Bishop, we’re getting ready to dial out. So far, everything is looking good.”
“Understood, sir. As soon as you’re through, we’ll get back on course for Atlantis and under radio silence,” Bishop said.
“Got it,” Jack said. He was silent as Daniel dialed Atlantis and sent their code. Given the intent way Daniel was staring at the GDO, he was waiting on the authorization code to come through.
“We’re green to go, Jack,” Daniel called. He walked over to the gate and waved at Shen and Woolsey. “I’m going to go through first and you two will follow me. General O’Neill will bring up the rear.”
“Right,” Woolsey muttered before rubbing his hands against his thighs and walking forward to stand behind Daniel. “After you.”
“We’re heading through now,” Jack informed Bishop before he turned his comm off to follow Shen through the gate. The rush of travel moved through him and he was smiling as he stepped out the other side into Atlantis.
“General O’Neill, we weren’t expecting you so early,” Weir called from her office door.
“My Colonel is having issues, Dr. Weir. I’m going to do my best to assist when I can and doing it this way lets me get started faster,” Jack called back. He could feel the hum of the stargate shutting down and took in the personnel assigned to the Gateroom in a glance. Each entry had two marines on it and there were several standing by in the command center. Whatever else was going on, Sheppard and his men were still doing their jobs it seemed. Walking down the stairs was a surprise though. “Major Lorne? I take it Colonel Sheppard is walking with you?”
“Yes, sir,” Lorne confirmed, glancing down at the wolf at his side. “As soon as we got the notice that you were coming through, he made it plain he wanted to meet you.”
“He should be in the isolation ward,” Weir protested from her spot on the catwalk.
“He’s my officer, Dr. Weir. And he’s doing exactly as he ought,” Jack snapped. He dropped to one knee so he was eye level with the wolf. “Looking good Sheppard. Daniel and I have some ideas on what might have happened. We’ll be discussing them with you when you switch back.”
“Good to know, sir,” Lorne said. He checked his watch and nodded once. “AR-1 should be switching back in about three hours.”
“Arrange a meeting, Major, and let’s get our other guests some rooms,” Jack directed quietly.
“General O’Neill, I don’t appreciate you coming here and attempting to take over. Atlantis is not under your control,” Weir snapped as she walked down the stairs.
“I’ll get the IOA members to their rooms, sir. We do have some set aside by Cooper for any visiting dignitaries,” Lorne informed him, voice pitched so only Jack and Sheppard heard him. “The rest of AR-1 is still in the isolation room and we have a lot of information to pass on to you.”
“We have some theories on what happened, Major. Let’s see how things shake out,” Jack agreed with a nod.
“Yes, sir. I’ll get the information we’ve put together over the last few weeks to you and then find us a conference room,” Lorne said.
“I don’t appreciate being ignored, General,” Weir cut in. She tried to insert herself between them and Jack glared at her, his displeasure at her actions showing on his face. From the face Sheppard was pulling, he wasn’t thrilled either.
“I will be getting with you in a moment, Dr. Weir. But you are not military and not under my command. Major Lorne is both and there are things we need to discuss that do not concern you,” Jack snapped.
“Sir, did you want to talk to the troops as well?” Lorne asked, face expressionless as he ignored the city administrator trying to shove him out of the way.
“Sure. We can totally do that. I have some rank raises and the like that need to be given out as well,” Jack remembered. He glanced down at the wolf standing in front of him and nodded. “We can do it once Sheppard is back on two legs, not four.”
“General O’Neill,” Weir interrupted.
“Sheppard, you and Lorne are dismissed. I’ll meet you in the isolation room as soon as I can,” Jack said after several seconds. “Please make sure that our IOA reps are taken to medical for their intake physicals and then to their rooms so they can drop their stuff off.”
Jack stared at Weir and held his silence as Woolsey and Shen were escorted out of the Gateroom. Daniel stood at his back, hands crossed on the stock of his P-90, standing guard over him for a change. If he couldn’t have Teal’c at his back, Daniel was a damn good substitute and likely better in the situation they were in. With Sheppard gone he hoped he could get to the bottom of her behavior without him losing his shit over her attitude. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Jack asked, voice even and low.
“You’re here to deal with Sheppard,” Weir snapped. “You’re not here to do anything else!”
The eyebrow that went up was mostly involuntary as Jack processed that. “Is that why you think we came out? And why do you think Woolsey and Shen are here?”
“To deal with McKay,” Weir answered. “I can deal with Emmagan and Dex.”
“Do I want to know what ‘deal with them’ means?” Daniel asked.
Weir threw a poisonous look over Jack’s shoulder and he could feel the irritation that Daniel was hiding ramp up. “They’ll go back to the mainland.”
“And the treaty we have with the Athosians? What will sending them back do to that?” Jack asked.
“We can get someone who is human to be on a team,” Weir sneered.
“Wow,” Jack said, marveling at her moxie. “You are so damn dumb.” He looked around the room and smiled. “Captain Cadman, please escort Dr. Weir to her quarters. Make sure you have someone else with you when you do. Once she’s there, I need you to appropriate all her electronics and any storage media she might have in her rooms. She’s currently under house arrest for being an asshat until we get around to sending her back to Earth.”
“You can’t do that, General,” Weir crowed. She pulled her arm out of Cadman’s grip as the captain tried to take it. “I was appointed by the IOA and they’re the only ones who can.”
“Aren’t you glad we’ve got two members of the IOA here so they can review my decision?” Jack asked sweetly. “Seriously, you’re off your rocker and the SGC doesn’t have human-only hiring practices. We can’t. Too many of the people on our payrolls either aren’t or are only partially human. The fact that you think that you’ll be able to enforce that policy out here, where there’s a non-discrimination clause built into the charter you signed, says a lot about the kind of person you are.”
“They aren’t human,” Weir said again. “They turn into wolves every seventeen days and eat raw meat. They can’t talk. They can’t function that way. We can’t support someone who doesn’t pull their weight!”
“Then getting rid of you will free up enough room to allow AR-1 to get used to their new circumstances and adapt,” Daniel snapped. He stepped around Jack and leaned forward. “You’ve been trying to get rid of Sheppard and McKay since Atlantis got back in touch with Earth. But both of them are considered mission essential and you are not. So why don’t you go with Cadman? Because those of us who aren’t all that human would like to talk.”
“You’re human,” Weir protested as Cadman grabbed her arm and started pulling her away.
“That’s debatable,” Daniel allowed. He smirked, cruel and vicious. “You see, I ascended and deascended and that does change a body.”
“Oh, my God,” Weir whimpered before the door leading into the hallway shut behind her.
“Why Daniel, I didn’t know you wanted to come out to play,” Jack snarked. “Down. Bad archeologist, scaring the poor delusional lady.”
“Ha,” Daniel laughed without humor. “She deserved it.” He turned and headed for the office on the command level. “Chuck, when was the last data burst with the SGC?”
“Two days ago, sir,” Chuck reported promptly. “We’re scheduled to have another tonight after AR-1 changes back. General Landry has been very interested in what’s been happening with them.”
“Fucking fantastic,” Jack muttered as he followed behind Daniel. “Going to override her authorizations?”
“Yup,” Daniel said. He settled down in her chair and sighed. “I don’t have to. For fuck’s sake. She didn’t even lock her computer before she walked out of her office!”
“Really? Jack asked, leaning against the doorframe.
“Really. It’s stupid as fuck and Sam would take away all my cookies and coffee if I tried that shit,” Daniel groused. He was moving through the computer with ease and his eyebrows were climbing with every new document he was accessing.
“Is she Trust?” Jack asked. He had started getting suspicious of Weir when she tried to get two of the men directly responsible for the survival of the city replaced for no other reason than being ‘hard to work with’. If that had actually been something that worked with McKay, he’d never had stayed employed by the US at all. And Sheppard had been the CO of the military on Atlantis. He was never going to bow to her wishes 100% of the time, no matter how much she pushed.
“I can’t tell,” Daniel admitted. He stopped and read something and his face went white. “Well, she’s definitely an asshole. She’s supporting the bullshit Beckett has been pushing to suppress the iratus genetics in the Wraith as a way to manage them. She’s written a memo to Landry suggesting that if Sheppard and McKay leave, they’ll be able to get a test subject and start confirming proof of concept for his idea.”
“And?” Jack asked. He was holding himself still with an effort. The SGC did not condone experimentation on sentients and had held to that line since Anise and the stunt she had pulled. It hadn’t stopped members of the SGC from being victims of other people conducting experiments, but they hadn’t done any of their own. And he was going to hold that line forever if he could.
“The last memo back from Landry shows some cautious interest,” Daniel said. He leaned back and sighed. “I’ve hit the end of what I know how to do. I need some help to see if she’s got anything else on this thing.”
“Who are you thinking of?”
“Kusanagi,” Daniel said. He pulled a little memory stick out of a pocket and plugged it in. “I’m going to pull what I can, but I need her to be able to get down to the smallest detail on this thing. And to see if there’s anything pending that might be bad.”
“Chuck!” Jack called over his shoulder. When the gate technician looked up, he waved a hand toward the office. “We need Dr. Kusanagi up here as soon as possible.”
“Yes, sir,” Chuck called.
Turning back to his lover, Jack tilted his head to the side as he watched him search Weir’s office. “What are you doing?”
“She’s got a lot of stuff in here. Some of it’s native to Pegasus, but most of it is stuff she brought from Earth,” Daniel explained as he picked up and examined a small statue. “Ah-ha!” he exclaimed as a small drawer opened from the base. “Data cards.”
“For fuck’s sake. We should have brought Tony,” Jack bitched as he eyed the rest of the bobbles scattered around the room.
“We may yet want to get him on this,” Daniel agreed. “Neither of us are actually investigators and he does this stuff for a living. And he hates treason.”
Jack moaned softly before he nodded. “I’ll warn Davis he needs to prep the big NDA.”
“General O’Neill? You called for me?” a soft voice asked from behind him.
Daniel looked up and smiled. “Miko! Actually, I called for you. I need you to help me tear Weir’s computer apart and find all the stuff she’s been hiding. She’s been very, very bad.”
The snort Kusanagi let out was unimpressed as she walked around Jack to enter the office. “She’s been that way for a while. I will give you the rest of the information we’ve gathered.”
“Oh, goodie,” Jack muttered. “Get me some solid information people. I’ll need it to get the president to authorize the investigator I want.”
“Yes, General,” Kusanagi agreed. She settled into place in front of the computer and started typing rapidly “Kuso.”
“Right. I’m leaving this in your hands,” Jack said as he walked away from the door. He pressed at Atlantis and she was nice enough to close the office up and put the lock under Kusanagi’s control. The little Japanese doctor had the ATA gene and Daniel could keep her safe while she worked to get them the information they needed. “Chuck? I need an escort down to where AR-1 is holed up?”
“Major Lorne is on his way back, sir.”
“I’ll wait for him,” Jack decided. When the major showed back up, he twisted slightly from side to side as the weight of his backpack dragged. “Major. Can you take me down to see AR-1?”
“Yes, sir,” Lorne agreed. When he looked over Jack’s shoulder at what was happening in Weir’s office, he sighed. “That doesn’t look good.”
Jack shook his head. “It’s not. Let’s wait to go over it with AR-1.”
“Great. Well, they’ve changed back, sir. And are getting a final physical from Dr. Biro,” Lorne informed him.
Checking his watch, he tried to figure out how much time had passed. “Didn’t you say it would be a few hours?”
“We’re learning to control the shift, sir,” Sheppard said as he came to stand beside his XO. He took in the scene in the office and his face shifted to painfully neutral. “Sir?”
“Let’s have our meeting, Colonel,” Jack suggested. “Right after I drop this backpack off in my room and get my physical.”
“I’ll make sure there’s coffee and snacks, sir,” Lorne promised.
“I’ll take you down to your rooms and then medical, sir,” Sheppard offered. He waved a hand at the door. “Shall we?”
Kusu = Fuck!