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The Return of the Gray-haired Avengers
Casey eyed the plane that sat waiting on the tarmac. "We're taking a regular plane?"
Jack shook his head. "C22B. The boys and girls of the Air National Guard use it to transport troops. They've been kind enough to offer us a ride to and from DC tonight."
"Offered?" Daniel asked incredulously.
"Sure," Jack replied. "General Hammond called the local ANG unit, told them we had a group that needed to make an immediate flight to DC, and they were more than willing to provide the plane and the crew."
"He ordered them," Daniel insisted.
"He can't do that. He's an Air Force general, not Air National Guard," Jack argued.
"Same difference," Daniel sighed.
"No, it's not. The Air National Guard is not the same as the Air Force," Jack retorted.
"Does it matter?" Casey asked, her hand on Daniel's arm.
"I guess not," he admitted.
Michelson and the three men with him…all 'regulars' among the group of those who were willing to break any laws as long as the money was good, and well-known to the politicians who sought out such individuals…were handcuffed, and had ankle chains as well. They shuffled silently onto the plane. Gary, Dancer, Lucky, and Jesse had offered to be 'seatmates' with the prisoners, to ascertain that none of them decided to do anything particularly stupid during the flight.
Sam and Jack sat across the aisle from Gary, who was sitting beside a very silent Michelson, and Teal'c sat in the aisle seat across from Dancer, who was seated with one of Michelson's henchmen. Jesse and Lucky and the other two prisoners were seated in the two rows between Gary and Dancer. Daniel and Casey chose seats several rows behind the prisoners.
"Think we should move up?" Casey asked, watching as her friends adjusted seatbelts in preparation for takeoff.
He glanced at the seating arrangement. He preferred to keep her as far from those assholes as possible, even if they were restrained. "Nah. This is fine."
Casey wrapped her hand around his, leaned against him, the warm and strength of his shoulder offering support and comfort. "I should have seen the danger sooner," she said softly.
"I knew yesterday that the NID was snooping around, I knew they were digging in Jack's military record. Or trying to," she amended, smiling slightly as she looked at the back of Jesse's dark head. Not only had he prevented the NID from successfully accessing Jack's military jacket, he'd been the one to sound the alarm about the illicit activity.
"You had a download yesterday, giving you details?" Daniel asked gently, understanding that she was going to hold herself singularly responsible for what had happened.
"No…but Daddy got that phone call-"
"Ah, right. So because he got a vague phone call about a hacker, you should have been able to pick up every detail of what was going on," he said.
"Well, I should have!" she insisted.
"So now you're getting details about every event that touches your life…let me rephrase that," he said immediately, placing the tip of his index finger on her lips to prevent her from voicing the protest he could see in her eyes, "you believe that you should get a download detailing any and every event that touches your life. Or mine…or Jack's…or Sam's…or Teal'c's…or-"
"I'm the SGC seer, Daniel," she said with exaggerated patience. "That guy…that Keller guy…had to have been in town before today, he had to have followed Johnny to the mall."
"I won't argue either point," Daniel admitted.
"I didn't get the download until Johnny was already in danger! What good is that? The warning came too late to help him!"
Daniel heaved a sigh. "Angel, you did help him."
"Yeah, helped him get caught."
He rolled his eyes. More often than not, trying to get through to her was an exercise in frustration. Or futility. Or both. "Because you were with him, Johnny was able to escape. If you hadn't been there, do you really think he could have gotten away from them?"
Casey frowned. She didn't think that Goons One, Two, or Three would have given a tinker's damn about tight ropes, no matter how much he complained, and certainly there wouldn't have been a reason…an excuse…for Goon Number One to have sent the other two out of the room…
"Sometimes, things happen the way they do because they're supposed to. Beautiful seer I know told me that," he continued gently.
She couldn't help but smile.
"Everything worked out the way it was supposed to. Because we have the bad guys in hand, and we're going to be able to take down their boss," Daniel explained, his voice filled with love.
"I guess so," Casey admitted after a moment.
"I won't say that I wasn't scared shitless for awhile," Daniel conceded. He had, he thought silently, been absolutely terrified to learn that his Wife had been in danger…he'd feared his heart would never beat normally again when her capture loomed imminent from what details he'd been given. "But everything worked out."
She snuggled closer to the warmth of his body, shifting only long enough for him to raise the armrest that had been between them. "I wish Johnny didn't have to deal with the memories he has. But they certainly came in handy today."
"I'm sure they did," he murmured.
"I did learn one thing," she smiled.
"Never play 'chicken' with Jack."
He chuckled. "No doubt." When she yawned, proof that the day had been exhausting, he kissed her temple. "Sleep, Angel. It's a four hour flight. There's no telling how long we'll be in DC."
"I hope Grandma is okay," she said, yawning again.
"I'm sure she is," Daniel replied.
Muriel was, at that moment, watching television with Emma and Janelle. She and Gary's aunt would spend the night with Daniel and Casey's neighbor. The three had agreed that after the day's events, none of them were eager to be alone. Comfortable with one another's company, the three spent as much time discussing and complaining about the shows they watched, as actually watching them. Which suited them just fine.
A A A A A A
Michelson had been most forthcoming with information pertaining to his 'mission'. Just what Marshall wanted, and where the 'drop-off' was to be held. Gary and Jack had already worked out details for the night. SG-1 would contact Agent Ed Hutchins of the FBI. Past events had created a rapport between the agent and the team. Gary and his 'crew', would approach Marshall, with Michelson in tow. The ultimatum would be delivered, and then the scar-faced man and his minions would be handed over to the FBI. The two former ops soldiers were both betting that the criminals would sing long and loud about their previous endeavors. Certain politicians in the city would probably find their 'modus operandi' changed quite drastically as a result.
Two military vans were required, and as soon as the plane had landed, the two groups headed off in separate directions.
"I called Agent Hutchins about an hour ago," Jack said, watching the lights of DC passing by the window.
"And we're meeting…where?" Daniel asked.
"Parking garage of the Watergate Hotel."
"Hey, it just seemed fitting," Jack grinned.
Daniel shook his head, although he couldn't hide his own grin. "I suppose, in a way, what we're about to tell him is going to blow the lid off things around here. Again."
"Well, maybe the politicos will take notice," Sam grinned. "Mess with SG-1, and we will expose every and all dirty little secrets."
Casey snorted. "They should have figured that out when Kinsey went down. Didn't do a bit of good then. I'm betting it won't matter now."
"Indeed. Criminals rarely learn from the experience of others," Teal'c said.
"Hmm…I hadn't realized it, but 'politician' has become synonymous with 'criminal'," Casey acknowledged.
"Very true," Jack nodded. "Also, very sad."
"I'd like to think that at most of the elected officials are honest in wanting to represent their constituents," Sam said.
"Too few of them," Casey grumped. "And once they get here," she pointed toward the lights of Washington, DC, "they're sucked into a system so completely out-of-whack that they can't accomplish anything meaningful."
"Politics is a game," Daniel said. "Played by those who have the money and lust for the power it offers."
"Also true," Jack sighed. "For now, it's the system we have. It's up to the voters to demand change."
"Do you really think that can happen?" Casey asked.
"Yep. Probably sooner than later."
"As long as any changes don't happen while we're off-" Sam stopped, glanced at the duty driver, "off on a mission somewhere." She could tell by their expressions that her teammates knew exactly what she was talking about.
"As long as it doesn't happen in six or seven days, I think we'll be okay," Jack assured her.
"Here we are," the duty driver called over his shoulder.
Ed Hutchins was standing in the middle of the driving lane - waiting patiently.
A A A A A A
"Why do they always pick a freaking pier to meet on?" Lucky drawled. "That's so freaking clichéd!"
Gary chuckled softly. "Guess these guys watch too many movies." He turned to the van driver. "Son, you don't see anything, you don't hear anything, you don't know anything."
His orders had been very explicit: take this particular group of civilians wherever they needed to go, including a return trip to the airport. He'd also been advised to ask no questions. The young Airman nodded, swallowing hard. "Got it, sir."
"Might be best to take the van on around to the other side of the building," Dancer suggested.
Again the driver nodded. The van moved away slowly, leaving the group of men standing on the aging dock, near the water's edge. Shadows created by the two lights that shone from above closed warehouse doors were perfect for hiding in, waiting for the arrival of the final player in the events that had filled the day.
The black limousine arrived noiselessly, the engine purring softly when it came to a halt just a matter of feet from where the men waited.
Marshall looked around, annoyed that Michelson wasn't anywhere to be seen. He stepped out of the car. Another man, dressed in a black suit, did the same. That man stood just behind the colonel.
It was the sounds of multiple guns being cocked that had Marshall wheeling around, trying to see into the shadows. "Who's there?" he clamored. "Michelson?"
Gary pushed Michelson forward.
Marshall gasped at the sight of the battered and bruised man. His eyes widened when a tall blond man...a total stranger to him...stepped behind his hired henchman, aiming a gun straight as his chest. "Do you have any idea who I am?" he demanded, not accustomed to being threatened with weapons.
"I know exactly who you are, Colonel Marshall. I know everything about you. By the way, how's Rosie? You had coffee with her yesterday. Have you talked to her today?"
Even in the dim light cast from the bulbs behind him, it was possible to see the color drain from Marshall's face. "What do you want?"
"Well, I want you to know that Casey Jackson is my daughter," Gary said coldly. "So you tell your friends that if they ever target her again, it will be the last thing on this Earth they do."
"My friends are…untouchable," Marshall retorted with disdain.
"Really? Sorta like you?"
Again the man's face went pale.
"Now, Michelson here has been just a gold-mine of information. I'm certain the FBI will find what he has to say to be quite interesting."
"He'll never speak to the FBI," Marshall hissed.
Concealed in the shadows, hidden behind a stack of wooden shipping crates, Lucky checked the limo via the computer, using the link to one of the government satellites above them. He had no idea how The Kid had managed to get the link. Probably didn't want to know. But it afforded him an infrared view of the car. He alerted Gary to the presence of more than just the driver.
Gary cocked his head sideways, listening to Lucky's whispers in the ear-piece of the carefully concealed radio. "Wanna bet? Tell your driver, the passenger beside him, and the other guy in the back of the limo to get out, and to keep their hands where we can see them."
Marshall remained motionless. Waiting for his men to respond to the threat, unaware that the fact that they'd been 'made' had spooked them.
Dancer stepped forward and opened fire, spraying the limo with bullets. The glass might have been bulletproof, and the limo itself heavily armored, but enough of the armor-piercing bullets would make a bit of a dent - as well as considerable noise.
It wasn't until Jesse stepped forward, a rocket launcher in hand, that the men piled out of the vehicle, tripping over themselves and each other to do so. "Yeah, thought that might make a difference," he drawled softly.
"Here's what's going to happen, Marshall. You're going back to your office as soon as we finish our business here. You're going to write out a letter of resignation. And you're going to hand-deliver it to the president first thing in the morning. Don't worry, he's already cleared an appointment for you."
Marshall began to shake.
"In this letter, you're going to suggest that General Bauer take your place."
"And if I refuse?"
"Then you and your boys die right here, right now."
"You can't just kill me! The investigation will have you buried and forgotten by the end of the week."
"You wish," Gary retorted. "By the time the media gets finished with you, there will be thousands of people pissed as hell that they didn't get a chance to beat the shit out of you before you died. Particularly the families of the soldiers from three particular units in Iraq."
The shaking became visible.
"Your men are going to turn around, and start walking. I don't give a shit where they go, just as long as they're not anywhere near this town by noon. And if they try to come back, I'll know. And they'll be dead."
"You can't threaten us like this!" Marshall declared, although his voice was shaking as badly as his body.
"Sure I can. What's the matter? You don't like being treated the same as you treat people you consider to be 'in your way'?"
It was all he could do to remain on his feet. Every statement…every threat…convinced him that the blond man staring at him knew every secret he'd held for years.
"Now, do we have an agreement?"
Marshall raised his chin slightly. When a black man stepped out of the shadows, a sniper's rifle in hand, he slumped in defeat. "It seems that we do."
"Good. Be warned, I'll know within the hour if you're not in your office, typing out that letter," Gary said. Hoping that Agent Barrett was smart enough to keep his own office dark as he waited.
"And if I'm not?"
Gary nodded at the gun in his hand. "I'll find you within the following hour, and use this."
Marshall barely managed to nod.
"The fact that we're letting you retire is more mercy than you deserve."
"There are others…men not associated with the Pentagon…men who want your daughter, because of her…talent. Men who will have what she protects."
"Ah. Access to the Stargate."
Once again the colonel managed to nod his head. "They will have it."
"They'll try," Gary countered. "And we'll stop them, too."
"You don't work at the SGC," Marshall challenged.
"Well, yes and no," Gary replied, smiling coldly. "General Hammond has access to certain…assets…that he doesn't go bragging about. He keeps his cards close to his chest. Knows who and where his friends are. Knows who and where his enemies are, too."
"You won't stop them," Marshall warned.
"Yes, we will. Now, as much as I'd love to stand here and debate the issue with you, I need to get Michelson to his new home, you have a resignation to write, and your…associates…have planes to catch," Gary said.
Without a word, the driver and the three bodyguards began walking…quickly…back toward the street.
"How am I to get to the Pentagon?" Marshall demanded.
Gary nodded at the limo. "There's a car. Drive it."
Still shaking, knowing that to argue could get him killed, Marshall scurried to the driver's door. Jesse closed the back passenger door, then patted the roof. With one last look at the man who had brought him to his knees, the colonel started the engine, and slowly drove away.
"Well, shit," Gary swore. He'd suspected that there were others that were interested in the SGC - and Casey. To have it confirmed was both satisfying…and frightening.
"Yeah, I'm on it," Jesse replied.
"Don't know that you'll find much," Dancer sighed.
"Shouldn't be too hard. I've already hacked into Marshall's computer. Agent Barrett was helpful," Jesse smiled. "I figure the contacts are there. We just have to find them."
"The Trust," Michelson whispered. "I overheard him talking to someone…I don't know who. All I could hear was something about businessmen…international businessmen. And that they call themselves 'The Trust'."
Jesse nodded. "It's a start."
"Let's go, asshole," Gary said, grabbing Michelson by the back of the collar, propelling him forward.
"Where to?" the duty driver asked, as soon as the men were settled back in the van.
"Parking garage of the Watergate Hotel. Level Three," Gary instructed.
A A A A A A
Jack sauntered to where the FBI agent stood waiting. "How ya doin'?" he asked amiably.
The agent gave a tense smile. "You flew all the way from Colorado, set up this…private…meeting, just to ask me that?"
"Well, not exactly," Jack replied.
"What can I do for you, General O'Neill?" Hutchins asked cautiously.
"It's not so much what you can do for me, as what I can do for you," Jack responded.
"I see. And what is it that you can do for me?"
"I can give you someone from your…um…'private'…most wanted list."
The agent started. "I'm surprised that you know about that list."
"Oh, I'll bet you'd be surprised about a lot of the things I know," Jack countered.
"There's just one little, teensy-weensy favor I have to ask."
"And that is?"
"No questions about this guy's…uh…condition. Just believe me when I tell you that what he's guilty of makes him deserve a hell of a lot more than what he got," Jack said quietly.
"And just who is this 'guy'?" Hutchins asked.
"Scumbag with a scar on one cheek. Name of Michelson."
"You managed to catch that bastard? Abducting Casey Jackson and Cassie Fraiser are just two of the FBI charges against him," Hutchins said.
"Yeah, well, he's stupid as hell, because he showed up in Colorado Springs. Abducted Casey again." Jack deliberately left out the fact that the 'target' had been his clone. Certain details just weren't necessary.
"Is she all right?"
"Fine and dandy. Waiting in the van over there, if you'd like to say hello," Jack replied.
"Actually, I would like to say hello," the agent said, giving a genuine smile.
Jack turned partially toward the van. "Yo! Radar!"
The slender blonde stuck her head out of the open side door. "What?"
"Agent Hutchins would like to say hello."
Casey bounded out of the van, realizing for the first time that she was still in the jeans and tee-shirt she'd been wearing all day. She'd done a considerable amount of running, too. "Please, forgive the way I look. It's been one of those days," she said immediately, offering her hand.
The agent grinned from ear-to-ear as he shook her hand. "Mrs. Jackson, you're as beautiful as ever."
"Thank you," she smiled, blushing slightly.
"I hear you and Michelson met up again."
"Gotta give him credit for being persistent," she said.
"I suppose so. The general tells me that he's managed to capture Michelson."
"Yep. Well, he and my dad and Daniel." She glanced nervously at Jack. Then squared her shoulders. "I should warn you that I split his lip when I slapped him. I won't apologize for that."
"I don't think anyone would dream of asking you to," Hutchins replied honestly. He peered toward the van. "Do you have him there?"
Jack rubbed the back of his neck. "Um…not exactly."
"So where 'exactly' is he?"
"Well, a friend of mine took him to 'Show and Tell'," Jack explained. "My friend should be here any time now."
"You trust this friend?" Hutchins asked.
"With my life," Jack said firmly.
The agent gave a nod of his head. Crossed his arms over his chest. "I guess we wait, then."
"If you're alone, you might want to get a bit of backup," Jack suggested. "Michelson had three clowns with him. Not too talkative, but they haven't been any trouble, either."
"Well, that's interesting," Hutchins allowed. "I'm parked right over there," he said, pointing to a new, black Crown Victoria, the model choice of government law enforcement agencies countrywide. "I'll call a couple of my friends to come help me out."
"Works for me. We'd be willing to transport these guys straight to you door, too, if you'd rather," Jack offered.
Hutchins hesitated. "You have your…uh…team…there?"
Jack grinned. "Guess you know a bit more about me than I realized."
The agent chuckled. "I don't know shit, General O'Neill. Only what's available in the military computer. There's mention of you being the commanding officer of a special unit. That's all I know."
"Good. The less you know, the safer you are," Jack said, all traces of mirth gone.
"Kinda figured as much."
"To answer your question, yeah, my team is here. They're keeping Michelson's minions in line right now."
"And your friend has Michelson."
"Same type of vehicle?"
He turned to look at the white van, which was the same Ford van that every base in the country used for transporting people to various destinations. "Yep," Jack replied.
Hutchins considered his options. On such short notice he'd be lucky to get two other agents. For four prisoners? Too damned risky. He knew that from personal experience. "General, I think I'll just take you up on that generous offer. Let me tell the boys at the J. Edgar Hoover building that we're going to have company."
"You do that," Jack said, shoving his hands into his pockets. "Radar…er…Casey and I will just wander back over there," he said, nodding toward the van.
"Fine. And general?"
"Thanks. We've wanted this guy for a very long time," Hutchins said quietly. "For very personal reasons."
The bastard must have done something to an FBI agent. Jack wondered briefly if the slimeball would make it to trial. Or he'd be the victim of an 'accident'…or even an 'assisted' suicide. He looked at Casey, remembering what Michelson had planned for her, and Cassie as well. Felt his blood run cold. Might be better to get that asshole into FBI hands before I lose control and kill him, Jack thought darkly.
A A A A A A
Twenty minutes later, the second white Air Force van drove slowly through the garage. Jack stepped into the driving lane, pointing to an available spot nearby. The driver nodded, and parked the van.
Gary stepped out. "Where's your friend from the FBI?" he asked.
"Making a call. We're going to haul these assholes right to their front door," Jack replied.
"Works for me."
"How was the…conversation…with Marshall?"
"Went like we thought. It was a bit enlightening, too. Confirmed what we already suspected."
Jack raised an eyebrow. "How so?"
"Ever hear of a group called 'The Trust'?"
"Not ringing a bell," Jack said.
"Group made up of 'international businessmen', according to Michelson. He overheard Marshall talking to someone about it. Marshall is convinced we'll never be able to stop this group. And they want the same thing the NID did…access to the Stargate, and my daughter." Gary shook his head. "She's right, ya know."
"Who's right? Right about what?"
He smiled at Jack's typical response. "Casey. No matter who we knock down, there's always another snake, or group, to take their place."
"She also calls it 'job security'," Jack responded.
"I guess it is at that. Just pisses me off," Gary admitted.
"You and me both. Won't even go into how pissy this will make Daniel."
Gary sighed. "Yeah, I hate to have to tell him that Casey is still in danger, and this time, from persons unknown."
"I'll have Carter and Danny see what they can dig up."
"Jesse's doing the same thing. Between the three of them, I figure we'll know everything there is to know about this 'Trust'," Gary said.
Agent Hutchins slowly approached the two men. "General? Boys are getting accommodations ready as we speak. This is your friend?"
Jack turned to Gary. "Agent Hutchins, my friend Gary Franklin. Gary, Agent Ed Hutchins. He was instrumental in helping get Casey and Cassie home safely after Kinsey went stupid."
Gary knew the story of the event, Casey had been surprisingly candid about her abduction, her escape, and the set-up to take Kinsey down. He stuck out his hand. "Glad to meet the man who helped my little girl."
"Cassie?" the agent asked immediately.
He smiled and shook his head. "Casey."
Hutchins examined the man for a moment. Then nodded slowly. He could see the slender blonde in the blue eyes of her father, the way he held his head. Definitely in the smile. "She's one hell of a woman."
"Yes, she is," Gary allowed.
"Let's get this show on the road, shall we?" Jack said, rubbing his hands together. "We still have a long flight home."
"Follow me. I'm going to take you into the garage. And if you don't mind, I'll have all of you help escort the prisoners to their cells," Hutchins said. "There's no way in hell I want to lose these guys, for any reason."
"Should we be worried?"
"If anyone here in DC knows Michelson has been caught, then yes, we should be worried," Hutchins replied.
Gary and Jack exchanged a nervous look. "Right," Jack said. "We'll keep them safe."
"Good." Hutchins turned and walked toward his car.
"We keep these assholes surrounded," Jack said, looking at the three silent men. "Gary will send a couple of his guys to help us."
"This is why you wanted us armed before we left," Daniel mused.
"We're dealing with scumbags who work for politicians. I figured there was the chance something might go wrong," Jack admitted.
"Michelson is more of a concern to them than these guys," Casey said, pointing her chin at the prisoners.
"Kinda figured that," Jack nodded. "These goons are his hired help."
"I'm not going to relax until they're in FBI custody," Daniel sighed.
Jack ducked his head.
"Or am I still going to be worried?" Daniel asked, noting the movement.
"Later. I promise."
Brown eyes held his in a steady gaze. He already knew that whatever Jack had to say, he wasn't going to like it. He also knew that pushing now would result in nothing more than Jack's annoyance. "Right."
Once past the guards at the entry of the parking garage, the subterranean levels were innocuous in appearance. The team realized that appearances could be very deceiving, however.
Jack, Daniel, and Teal'c each took one of the prisoners by the arm. Casey led the way, Beretta in hand. Sam followed behind, her own weapon at the ready.
Gary was already aware of how valuable Michelson was. He and his 'crew' surrounded the scar-faced man completely. Hutchins walked in front of the group, his gun in hand. Half a dozen agents were waiting, armed and ready for any trouble that might occur
It was the same sensation she felt when someone stared at her. The little hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. She couldn't help but look around. For a moment, didn't realize that it was her 'third eye' that was seeing the man who was sprawled on the level above, just low enough on the ramp to see what was happening below him. He eased a rifle into position…
When Casey whirled and opened fire, aiming for a high spot near one of the support columns, not one of her teammates hesitated to follow suit.
Shoved to the concrete, Michelson could only pray for a quick death. If he was actually taken inside that building, he'd be subjected to hours of grueling questioning. The disappearance of an agent - and the subsequent discovery of his body, guaranteed that there would be agents just as willing to 'pay a visit' to him as there had been on that base in Colorado Springs. They wouldn't let him die. But they'd make him wish he were dead.
Dancer was lying almost on top of Michelson on one side, Gary on the other. Lucky and Jesse had blocked any view of the man from anywhere other than directly in front of them.
"Where?" Jack asked, brown eyes scanning the shadows.
"Right where the next level is…in that spot where he can see down here," Casey replied, understanding in that moment that the others hadn't seen the man, merely reacted to her response.
"I see him," Teal'c said, firing again.
"He's running!" Sam called out, having seen him at the same time as the Jaffa.
Four agents had raced forward, guns drawn. "Can you still see him?"
"No," Teal'c replied.
"You take these jerks," Jack said, shoving one of the men forward. "We'll stop that would-be assassin."
"But-" one of the agents began.
Hutchins stepped forward. He didn't know exactly what General O'Neill and his 'team' did. He did know that they had a security level so high he'd never be able to access any information about them. His gut also told him that if anyone could catch the man who no doubt had orders to kill Michelson, it would be those five people. "Let them deal with that. Let's get the prisoners inside, and into holding cells."
Jack led the way, the team leap-frogging from one hiding place to the other. The sound of running feet echoed on the nearly empty parking level. "Is there any other way out of here?"
"I don't think so," Sam replied.
"Daniel, you and Casey stay here. If he gets past us, he's gonna try to make a break for it. Don't let anyone through here, I don't give a damn who they might claim to be," Jack said.
With a nod, Daniel positioned himself on one side of the driving path. Casey did the same on the opposite side. He nodded mentally with approval. She was wedged into a corner, there wasn't any chance of anyone sneaking up behind her. He put his shoulder to the wall, gun pointed at the ground, and peeked around the corner. He couldn't see anything, but he could hear the sounds of several people running. It wasn't possible to isolate the direction the sounds came from, nor was he able to discern Jack, Sam's, or Teal'c's footsteps.
A car-door slammed. An engine roared to life. Tires screeched, and the sound of a fast moving vehicle filled the air.
"Daniel, be careful!" Casey hissed, when her Husband stepped into the middle of the concrete expanse.
He lifted his arm, and braced his hand. Waited as patiently as the circumstances would allow. His goal was simple…to shatter the windshield, disorient the driver long enough for Jack or Teal'c to reach the car.
The blue Honda Accord came around the corner, tires squealing. The driver gunned the engine.
Daniel opened fire. The first two shots took out the windshield. He could see the driver well enough - and the gun aimed at him. He fired again. The man slumped over the steering wheel.
Now the car was out of control. Daniel jumped toward Casey as the Accord careened into the corner of the garage, horn screaming, the engine whining because the unconscious man's foot was still on the accelerator.
"Cover me," Daniel said.
Shaking slightly, Casey remained just behind him - far enough to one side to see if the man behind the wheel moved. If he did, she was shooting. There was no way she'd risk Daniel's life.
Jack and Teal'c ran up, both panting heavily. "Good move, Space Monkey," Jack gasped.
"You got him?" Sam asked, running up, also breathing heavily.
"Does anyone hear that funny whine?" Casey asked, her head tilted to one side.
"I do," Jack said.
Sam frowned. "That almost sounds like a-"
"Bomb!" Hutchins yelled, from his place just a few feet down the ramp.
The team ran toward the agent, all of them diving to the lower level as soon as they were close enough. They were barely behind the support pillar when the car exploded. Chunks of concrete dropped from the ceiling, loosened near the point of the explosion. Dust filled the air, then smoke billowed down toward them. Alarms shrieked, and more agents appeared.
Hutchins declared to SG-1 that the others had everything under control, and would deal with the police and fire departments. "Let's get inside."
"Don't you people ever go home?" Jack asked, coughing slightly, accepting help from one of the dark-suited men who had approached the team.
"Training courses. There were three classes tonight," Hutchins smiled.
"Lucky for us," Daniel wheezed.
"How in the hell did they find out so fast?" Jack asked, of no one in particular.
"Marshall had his meeting," Casey replied. "His 'friends' are watching him. They have someone inside the Pentagon."
"They do?" Sam asked, eyes wide.
"They who do what?" Casey asked, blinking slowly.
Daniel chuckled. "You just told us that whoever Marshall was working for, he was being watched from inside the Pentagon."
"Well whoop-dee-fucking-doo," Casey said drolly. She looked at the ceiling. "Just once? Can't I hear it at the same time, just once?"
Her teammates snickered.
"Uh…Casey sometimes gets…um…information…but she doesn't realize what she's said," Daniel said, trying to explain to the agents who were looking at his Wife as if she'd lost her mind.
"I've read that she's an impressive seer," Hutchins said.
"Anything that Casey Jackson speaks in such a manner is not to be doubted," Teal'c said solemnly.
"I'll take your word for it," Hutchins replied.
Gary raced up. "Is everyone okay?" His gaze stopped on Casey.
"Yep. Well, I am a bit hungry. Didn't get to finish my dinner," she said.
"If you wouldn't mind helping us fill out some reports, and fill in a few blanks, we could order pizzas," Hutchins offered.
"You've got a deal," Jack said.
An on-sight paramedic examined each member of SG-1, noting that they hadn't even managed to scrape themselves when they'd jumped for cover. He told them they were all extremely lucky, tossed a smile at them, and disappeared.
Hutchins led the group into a large conference room. "Make yourselves comfortable. I'm having coffee and soft drinks brought up."
"Oh, coffee," Casey sighed. "I so want a cup of coffee."
Daniel grinned. "I thought you were hungry."
"I am. Needing coffee has nothing to do with being hungry," she told him, eliciting chuckles from everyone in the room.
"I should call General Hammond, and let him know what's going on," Jack said, a slight frown on his face.
"Probably should call the president, too," Casey said. She rolled her eyes when Jack looked at her, obviously expecting another download. "We know that the general has told the president what's going on. He told us that when we got to the base. Just seems like a good idea to keep the head guy in the loop."
"She's got a point," Daniel said.
"Yeah, she does," Jack agreed. He frowned at his cell phone when he pulled it from his pocket. The face was cracked, and the unit fell into two pieces in his hand. And given the circumstances, using a secure landline was probably a good idea, as well. "Agent Hutchins, if I could borrow a phone?"
"This way," the agent replied. "You can use the one in my office."
While the two were gone, the pizzas arrived, delivered by half a dozen agents. Who also brought laptops with them, ready to take down statements, and fill in the reports the incident in the garage had created.
The team learned of the death of an FBI agent, and how Michelson had been suspected. Proof had been gathered, and then that proof had vanished. It had taken two years to rebuild the file on the killer. But the agency had remained silent, looking for Michelson on the sly, never letting anyone know that they were keeping an eye out for him. They were well aware that those he worked for were capable of covering any tracks he might leave, or concealing his whereabouts completely. Now, they were hoping to get a confession out of him, and into a courtroom. An act that they hoped would send a message to those who believed they were above the law. The thought on every mind was that Michelson would never make it to trial. His 'employers', as many and varied as they were, would see to that.
Two hours later the pizza boxes were empty, and the FBI agents had a complete timeline for Michelson's time in Colorado Springs, thanks to Casey and a detailed 'info dump'. They were able to close the file on Keller, having learned of his death. And opened new files on the three 'goons' Casey had described. Two of which Teal'c admitted sounded very familiar, although he was hard pressed to know where or when he might have seen the men.
The duty drivers, who had been allowed to relax in the lounge - watching a movie and munching on microwave popcorn - were waiting in the vans when the team, Gary, and his crew were escorted back to the parking garage. The upper level had been sealed off, but the lower levels were still accessible.
"Thanks for everything," Hutchins said.
"You're welcome," Jack smiled, shaking the agent's hand.
"If you ever need anything, you have my number."
"We'll keep that in mind."
It was nearly four a.m. local time when the group climbed the stairs back into the plane. They were all asleep before the pilot had taxied to the runway. Casey was cuddled as close to Daniel as she could get. He snored quietly, her soft scent surrounding him completely, reassuring him that she was beside him, safe and sound.
A A A A A A
In Colorado Springs, Phil checked Johnny's room. The teenager was sound asleep, sprawled across the full-size bed that took up half the space in his room. With a tender smile, he stepped closer, pulled the blanket up over the sleeping form.
"I know…guard duty…" Johnny murmured in his sleep.
"I'll cover it for you," Phil whispered.
"Thanks…" The teen slipped deeper into sleep, his breathing slow and steady.
Phil stood for several minutes, watching the teenager…still a boy in many ways, yet a man in so many others. Cherished the memory of how Johnny had raced toward him, accepting the hug of relief, clinging from his own need. The two had held one another for long minutes, heedless of anything or anyone around him. Then the teen had assured him and Terri that he was just fine, although he was hungry.
It had been another bonding moment, Phil realized. Just one more moment…one more event…that had deepened the growing love between parents and teen. Johnny O'Neill was his son. And he'd fight anyone who said differently.
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