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Casey, Sam, and Janet exchanged glances. They knew that they'd never know the details, never know exactly what had happened for the hour and five minutes that the men in their lives had been...busy. No doubt they were better off not knowing those details.
Everyone at the large table, strewn with plates and mostly empty pans of pizza, jumped slightly when Jack’s cell phone rang. He checked the caller id, frowned slightly, and excused himself from the table.
Five minutes later he returned, a wide grin on his face. "That was General Hammond. Seems that an anonymous tip just exposed a drug ring over at Peterson."
"Well, imagine that," Gary said quietly.
"Yep. All parties involved are being arrested as we speak. How cooperative they’ll be is anyone’s guess. And the FBI took Harold Maser. Seems they’re very interested in that information, and his skills."
Casey began to giggle. "Better to have him where they can keep an eye on him."
"That would be to their advantage."
"I wonder just what he has on that guy," Sam mused.
"Enough to keep him on the payroll, and alive," Jack replied.
"I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m stuffed. And tired," Janet said, tossing her napkin onto the table beside her plate.
"Me, too," Casey agreed.
Daniel studied his Wife for a few moments. "Was there anything you wanted to say?"
Casey gave him a sharp look. "Like what?"
"Oh, I don’t know. Maybe something to your Dad, and Janet?"
She huffed a sigh. Toyed with her beer bottle, her eyes never leaving the label. "It feels weird as hell, having my best friend and my dad...dating. But...you looked so happy together. I won’t say I’m crazy about the idea. But I’ll get used to it. I just don’t want either of you to think that you have to...break up...because of me."
Janet smiled. Reached over and took Casey’s hand. "Thank you."
She looked at her friend. "For what?"
"Giving us, and all of...this...a chance."
"Yeah, well, it is a bit of a pisser," Casey grumped.
The petite woman frowned. "Why?"
"Because now we’ll never get to hear about your sex life!" she blurted.
Janet blushed. Sam frowned as the implications of the situation finally occurred to her, and the men at the table gaped at the slender blonde.
"Say what?" Jack said. He shook his head. "I knew it! I knew that the three of you were talking about more than just your favorite recipes and book reviews!"
Sam burst into giggles. "Well, duh! Although I have to admit, Casey does have a legitimate point."
"How?" Gary asked, not certain he wanted to know the answer.
"Janet can’t tell us about her sex life because...well..." Casey waved a hand in her father’s direction, then shuddered slightly. "Eww!"
Daniel was no more able to hold back his laughter at that moment than he had been earlier that morning. Teal’c was smiling as well, his dark eyes focused on Casey.
Gary snorted. "Well, I certainly don’t want to hear anything about yours, either. Secondhand," he said, looking at Janet.
"What happens in our respective bedrooms is no one else’s business anyway," Daniel said, grinning broadly at Jack.
"Hmmph!" the older man snorted. He was still going to get the goods about that special Christmas present Daniel had hinted about if it took another year to do so!
When Casey broke into a sudden yawn, Daniel slid his arm around her shoulders. "Let’s call it a night," he said softly. She was tired, he knew, because she'd lain awake most of the previous night, struggling with her conflicting emotions regarding Gary and Janet’s relationship. While she was far from overjoyed, she was taking the right steps...was doing her best to come to terms with the situation. Knowing how happy the couple was could only ease her discomfort. And theirs.
Goodbyes and hugs were exchanged all around, and the group dispersed into the night, heading toward their homes. It had been an unusual day. But one that had ended very well.
A A A A A A
The room was dark; the small light he carried barely enough to illuminate a path for his feet. The weight of the case was surprising, and the bag over his shoulder didn’t add to his stability.
He approached the device slowly. Remembered exactly which symbols needed to be pressed, the order in which to press them. He dug through the bag of personal items, found what he was looking for.
The past days had been difficult for him, watching Ambassador Dreylock as she continued to stand by the story that the visitors had led Commander Hale astray. The Tau’ri were being demonized in the news reports. And even though the Commander had ‘admirably’ left his post, stating that his ease at being deceived had shaken his faith in his own judgment, he was still an honorary member of the Council. His opinions would still carry far too much weight.
The leaders of Andari and Terania were on their way to Kelowna for a monumental meeting, everyone agreeing that allowing ‘outside influences’ to jeopardize the stability of the people of the planet was unacceptable. There was even talk of reburying the Chappa’ai. Ambassador Dreylock was encouraging this line of thinking, to his great dismay.
If no one else on the Council believed what the Tau’ri had told them, Jonas Quinn did. He knew instinctively that the people of the planet called Earth were good. He also knew that if the Goa’uld were out there, those same people might be the only hope his home world would have. Given the circumstances, there would no doubt be little if any help coming from that quarter now.
To that end, he would make a sacrifice. He would take naquadria to the Tau’ri, only what had been promised. And he would offer to work for...work with...the Tau’ri in their battle against the Goa’uld. Perhaps his actions would make amends. Or at least soften their hearts, should the unthinkable happen to Kelowna.
The great horizontal column of water ‘whooshed’ into the room. He took a deep breath. Turned on the radio, and spoke softly, repeating the words he had repeated to himself for days.
"I am Jonas Quinn of Kelowna. I seek asylum among the Tau’ri."
Time seemed to stand still as he waited for a reply. He could feel sweat bead up along his back. He shifted from one foot to the other.
"Please come through, Mr. Quinn. The SGC welcomes you," a disembodied voice replied after what seemed an eternity.
He shoved the radio back into its hiding place, hefted the strap of the bag over his shoulder. Grunted slightly as he lifted the case. Walked up the steps, and into an uncertain future.
A A A A A A
Daniel squinted at the clock when the strains of music continued to play. Cell phone. It was just after two a.m. "Hullo?"
"Doctor Jackson, I need you and Casey here as soon as possible," General Hammond said bluntly.
"Um...yeah. Okay. Why?"
"There’s someone here who would like to speak to you," was the crisp reply.
"Right. On our way," Daniel said, suddenly wide awake. He closed his phone. Gently shook Casey’s shoulder. "Come on, Angel. Shower. We have to get to the base."
"Just five more minutes," she grumbled, her face half buried in her pillow.
She opened her eyes slowly. "It’s still dark."
"Not quite two."
"Daniel Jackson, I don’t care what it is, the translation can wait until tomorrow. Or later, whichever," she complained, trying to roll away from him.
"General Hammond just called. It seems there’s a visitor at the SGC who wants to talk to us."
"Take a message. I’ll get back to him."
He perked up slightly at the comment. "Him?"
"Him. Or her. Or it. Whatever."
He grinned. Kissed her bare shoulder. "Shower, now."
"Goddess, you’re bossy!"
Daniel hated mornings. Hated being awakened in the middle of the night for some crisis or another at the SGC. He knew he could be a tad grumpy without his first cup of coffee. His Wife, however, was downright unsociable when she was still half asleep. "Love you."
"I am not getting up."
Forcing one arm beneath her warm body, he managed to get her into a sitting position. "Help me out here, will ya?" He grinned when two soft arms wound their way around his neck. Shivered when warm lips pressed against his throat. "No time, Case," he growled. "General Hammond is waiting."
"Oh, yeah. Something about him calling."
It took less than fifteen minutes for the couple to be out the door. Daniel wondered if Jack had had as much trouble waking Sam. He suspected that his Wife and her friends had done a bit of drinking before he, Jack, Teal’c, and Gary had joined them at O’Malley’s.
A A A A A A
Still yawning, coffee mug in hand, filled with the strong brew from the commissary, Casey followed her husband into the briefing room. Teal’c was already sitting at the conference table.
"So what’s going on?"
"Jonas Quinn arrived not quite an hour ago," was the calm reply.
Casey’s head shot up. "Jonas? Here?"
"Where is he?"
"For the moment, he is speaking to General Hammond in one of the holding rooms."
"Number three, I believe-"
She was on her feet in a flash, flying out the door before either Daniel or Teal’c could react. Jack and Sam were strolling down the corridor, jumped back and pressed themselves against the wall as she flew by them with a barely intelligible ‘excuse me’. When Daniel and Teal’c appeared in the doorway, obviously in pursuit, Sam looked at her lover, shrugged, and fell in behind them.
"What the hell is going on?" Jack asked as they ran for the elevator, just barely missing it.
"Beats me," Daniel replied. "Jonas Quinn is here. As soon as Casey heard that, she was off and running."
Daniel looked at Jack, then at Sam. "Didn’t I just say ‘beats me’ when he asked what was going on?"
Sam ducked her head and grinned.
Casey flashed her badge at the two Marines who were standing guard. Throwing open the door, she raced into the room, came to an abrupt halt when she saw Jonas sitting comfortably on the cot, and the general on the chair beside him.
General Hammond looked up, frowned slightly. "Casey?"
Her green eyes focused on Jonas. He looked a bit scared, but otherwise all right. No visible bruises or wounds. "Hi, Jonas," she said softly.
"Hello, Casey," he replied, smiling warmly.
She turned to the general. "I’m sorry for interrupting, sir. Jonas just left everything, everyone, to help us. He’s not a threat."
The Texan smiled. "I know that, Casey. Mr. Quinn has been giving me a rundown of everything that has been happening on his world since SG-1...escaped."
"Oh." She felt her cheeks grow warm.
"Mr. Quinn, if you’re ready to brief SG-1, I believe they’re ready to be briefed," General Hammond said, nodding toward the door where the other members of the team stood.
The briefing hadn’t lasted long. Nor had Jonas’ report been much of a surprise. Daniel had already surmised what would happen, and had written his suspicions in his report. He was unaware that his thoughts had closely echoed those of his teammates. He had, however, gone into more detail about possible outcomes of such deception.
"Basing any treaty between the three warring factions on what amount to a pack of lies will only cause greater conflict when the truth becomes known. It won’t be a matter of if, but when, any of the surviving soldiers tell what they saw and heard that night," he had written. "The results will be the catastrophic war that we had hoped to help deter completely. As long as we, the Tau’ri, are used as the ‘bogeymen’ who caused the fall of Kelowna’s military leader, any attempts to make further contact will only exacerbate the problem."
General Hammond had heard from Jonas that there were already whispers that what had happened, and what the people were being told, wasn’t the same. He held little hope that any meeting between the leaders would do more than hold off any type of conflict using bombs made with naquadria. He feared tensions would continue to rise, however, until the powder keg of accusations, counter-accusations, and political posturing exploded into a war that would see thousands of people dead on all sides.
As a result, Jonas’ action was viewed as a desperate attempt to prevent any of the naquadria from falling into the hands of those who would use it to make bombs. He had brought with him every bit of naquadria he could locate, searching several labs, and the hidden bunker where Hale had his scientists working on bombs. Even if Hale’s men had been stopped, their work was undoubtedly still untouched, ready to resume at a moment’s notice. Any of the countries could begin mining for more, but it was apparently a costly and dangerous prospect, one that warring factions would not quickly turn to.
"Mr. Quinn, you’ll be assigned to quarters here at the SGC for the time being. I’ll see to it that you’re given work-"
"If I might, sir, I’d like to work with Doctor Jackson and Casey," Jonas said, interrupting with a smile. "I could learn about Earth, and your myths. Possibly even compare what you’ve learned about the Goa’uld to myths from Kelowna."
The general studied the young man for a moment. Then nodded. "If Doctor Jackson has no objections, I see no problem with setting you up to work in the Archaeology Department."
"Thank you, sir!" Jonas beamed.
"Doctor Jackson?" General Hammond looked at the head of the department.
"No objections, sir," Daniel replied easily.
"Then it’s settled. SG-1, since you’re already here, we’ll have your briefing in an hour. Get some breakfast, then report back here at oh-three-thirty."
"Yes, sir," Jack said. With luck, the mission really would be the cake-walk Casey had sensed. Yep, that would be nice. An easy mission, home early enough for happy hour at O’Malley’s, and then...He yawned. And then bed, he admitted.
Casey led the way to the VIP quarters. For now, Jonas would stay in one of the small rooms used for visiting alien guests. She was certain that the general would have him assigned to the larger officer’s quarters in just a matter of days.
Daniel couldn’t help but smile as she chattered, telling their new co-worker about the other levels, the people he would be working with, glowing descriptions of those she knew as friends.
For his part, Jonas was slightly overwhelmed. He had been greeted by the sight of a dozen heavily armed men. He had put the case of naquadria on the metal ramp, mostly because it was so heavy. He had opened it, after explaining what it was.
Two armed men had escorted him to a room with a cot, a table, a chair, and two familiar, yet not familiar objects. He'd been told that the commander of the base had been notified of his arrival. He'd requested to speak to the members of SG-1, certain that they would help him convince their superiors that his intentions were honest.
Now, Casey was talking to him as if they were old friends. He recalled what she had told him, her experiences in an alternate reality. He couldn’t help but smile. He felt more comfortable in the midst of these strangers than he had in his own home. A realization that left him homesick and angry at the same time.
"If you’re hungry, you can join us for breakfast," Casey offered.
Jonas shook his head slightly. "If you don’t mind, I think I’d just like to sleep. I haven’t had much in the past week."
"Of course," she said, giving him a warm smile. "When you’re ready, just grab the first person you see, they’ll get you to the commissary. I promise, just as soon as we can, we’ll take you topside for real food."
"You aren’t served real food here? Is it fabricated in some way? Has it been specially formulated for the nutritional needs of the people who work here?"
Casey burst into giggles.
Daniel grinned. "It’s sort of tradition to complain about the food in the commissary. It’s real food. And most of the time it’s not too bad."
"Oh," Jonas said, filing that little tidbit of information away with all the others he had already collected in the short amount of time he’d actually been in the SGC.
"Sleep well, and I promise to check in on you as soon as we get back. I’m glad you’re here, Jonas," she said softly.
"I am too," he replied. He waved in return when the blonde wiggled her fingers. He watched the archaeologist and his wife return the way they had just come. Opened the door to the room, found that his bag was sitting on the floor beside the bed.
Nearly exhausted, he dropped onto that comfortable looking piece of furniture. The tension he had been living with for so long was conspicuous in its absence. He had no doubt he had done the right thing.
It was the strangest thing...but...it felt as if he had come home. Jonas Quinn fell asleep with that very pleasant feeling wrapping around him completely.
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