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Dead Men Tell No Tales
The room that the hearing was being held in was near the center of the building. There were no windows in the small room, something that could be an asset or a liability, depending on the circumstances. Jack glanced around as he followed General Hammond's broad back. The Committee members, six of them, were seated at an ornate collection of desks in the front of the room. One long table with six empty chairs, microphones on the table in front of each chair, sat about ten feet in front of the committee. Major Paul Davis, representing the Pentagon, was already seated at the table, waiting for them. There was a single row of chairs for 'observers'. Of which there was one. Senator Robert Kinsey.
Each of the team members glanced at the senator, displaying nothing more than obvious dislike for the man. The senator himself was taken aback that they seemed to have expected to see him sitting there. Disappointing, to say the least. It was possible that his presence wouldn't have the desired affect. A thought that had the man frowning deeply. Just how had General Hammond learned that he was going to attend? Kinsey's eyes narrowed as they focused on Senator John Shepperd. That bastard was one of the hymn-singing horn blowers for the SGC, always pointing out that the facility was Earth's frontline defense against alien threats, praising Hammond and SG-1 in particular at every turn. Reminding the committee of each instance when SG-1 had literally saved the world. Which the members were far too willing to remember.
Senator Shepperd smiled at the team as they settled themselves. "I want to start this hearing by thanking each of you for agreeing to be here to answer our questions. What we discuss here today will have an impact on the funding and further operations of the Stargate Program."
General Hammond managed a nod and a smile. Jack merely stared at the politician. Sam and Janet both pretended to be pleased at the comment. Teal'c's face remained impassive. Daniel studied the Senator, trying to decide if he was sincere. Casey was watching the man's eyes. Decided that this man, in spite of being a politician, might be the only real friend that the SGC had on Capitol Hill.
"Before we begin with our questions, I would like for each of you to introduce yourself, and give your rank and/or affiliation with the SGC, as we have two new members on the Committee this year."
The four men of the SGC were more than happy to find that one of those new members had replaced Senator Chuck Maxwelton on the Committee. And that Shepperd had taken the position of Chairman. Things were already looking better, General Hammond thought fleetingly.
Casey cocked her head sideways. So how many people now knew about the SGC? She wondered briefly just how much of a secret the operation truly was.
"Major Paul Davis. Pentagon. Stargate Command operations liaison to the Joint Chiefs of Staff."
"General George Hammond, Officer In Charge of the Stargate Command facility."
"Colonel Jack O'Neill. Second In Command of the Stargate Command facility, commander of SG-1."
"Major Samantha Carter. Astrophysicist, Second in Command of SG-1."
"Doctor Janet Fraiser, Chief Medical Officer for Stargate Command."
"I am Teal'c of Chulak. I battle against the Goa'uld with SG-1."
"Doctor Daniel Jackson, head archaeologist, also in charge of the linguistics department of Stargate Command, and part of SG-1."
Casey took a deep breath. "Casey Jackson. SG-1 team member. And resident seer," she said softly, using the 'title' that Jack had given her.
Two of the Committee members looked more than a little surprised. Senator Shepperd smiled. "Uh, yes…we have read the reports of your…work."
"You don't believe it," Casey replied.
Shepperd jumped slightly. He had never believed in psychics. Until now.
"Show 'em, Radar," Jack said quietly.
She smiled at her boss and friend. Then studied each of the people who watched her closely. She focused on the one woman on the Committee. "Yes, I'm a real blonde. So is Sam. And neither of us can be considered 'dumb blondes'."
The woman gasped, colored slightly, hastily looked down at the information folder in front of her.
"Not one of you actually believe the reports that come from the SGC," Casey continued, fixing each of the politicians in turn with a hard stare. "Which is why you want a little 'one on one' chat with each of the team members. You want to trip us up, coerce us into admitting that it's all a hoax of some sort, or that the threat that we fight everyday isn't as bad as we claim. Trust me, it is. I've seen Goa'uld, up close and personal, if you get my drift. If they show up on our front door, you'd better hope like hell that SG-1 is here to save your butts…again."
General Hammond cleared his throat. Major Davis found his own notes of more interest than the shocked faces of the people sitting in front of them. Jack coughed, an attempt to cover his snicker. Sam and Janet both carefully studied their hands, chewing their lips to keep from smiling. Teal'c nodded his head regally, and Daniel openly grinned at the politicians.
Casey turned in her chair, looked at Kinsey. "And, it's really none of your business, but…pink."
Senator Shepperd was distraught to find his voice shaking audibly. "Pink? I don't understand, Mrs. Jackson."
The young blonde shrugged. "He was thinking…well, wondering…what color my underwear is."
Only her soft hand on his kept Daniel in his chair. He was more than ready to pound that bastard to a pulp, and the senators watching were well aware of that fact.
"That's a lie!" Kinsey shouted, jumping to his feet. "She's making all of this up! Ask her to read your minds!"
"Sit down, senator," Shepperd said calmly. "It was agreed that you could observe. That means you don't say anything."
"I agree with Senator Kinsey," the man to the right of Shepperd said. "If she's so good, let her read our minds!"
"It doesn't work like that," Casey sighed.
"Of course not," Kinsey sneered loudly. He could feel the color in his cheeks. He actually had been thinking about having the young woman, something he planned to do when she was his…guest …on the ranch in Wyoming, and yes, wondering what color the underwear that he would pull from her body would be.
Casey took a deep breath. "Okay, he's wanting to know just why the hell we're here, he thinks the SGC is just a waste of time and money, he's got an important meeting with the Speaker of the House about a bill he wants passed, one that would benefit the communities he represents, at the expense of the rest of the taxpayers of this country," she said, pointing to the man at the far right of the table. She looked at the next man. "He wants proof that we're finding military advances, which by the way, we are, but unfortunately civilizations more advanced than our own aren't too eager to share weapons technology with a race like ours, especially with our very bloody history. And the fact that we don't seem to be learning from any of the conflicts. He's also thinking about calling his mistress during the break."
Gasps filled the air. Faces flushed with color.
"He's just a puppet for Kinsey, and he's probably just as deeply involved in illegal activities as Kinsey is," she continued, nodding toward the man sitting next to Shepperd. This comment brought another outburst from that senator. Once again Shepperd told the man to sit down and remain quiet. She actually smiled at the chairman. "You, sir, are hoping to prove that the SGC is a valuable asset, perhaps the most valuable asset the US has…"
Senator Shepperd smiled.
"She thinks I'm just a blonde bimbo, and she's trying to figure out how to hide several very sizable 'contributions' she received from teamsters for killing a freedom to work bill," she said, pointing to the woman. She then pointed to the man beside the lady senator. "He thinks this is has all been planned…no, not planned…staged…he thinks that you, Senator Shepperd, have arranged all of this, and he'd rather be boffing his new secretary…again."
The senator in question jumped to his feet. "This is an outrage!"
"And also true," said the man sitting beside him. "You should learn to lock your office door, Greg."
Casey paused. Uneasy silence filled the room. "Shall I continue?"
"No, we've heard enough." This from the senator who sat on the far left, who had seen his colleague in that very compromising aforementioned position. He had several skeletons in his own closet, none of which he wanted revealed in this room, to these people.
"These proceedings are…um…confidential, right?" Casey asked.
"Yes, they are," Senator Shepperd replied.
"So everybody's torrid little secrets are safe. Well, as safe as they can be in a room of politicians. Especially him," she said, pointing to Kinsey. "He'll use everything he can against you. Just so you know. I'd suggest you all do a little digging into his financial history. Ask him about those three accounts in the Cayman Islands."
Kinsey had the appearance of a man on the verge of a complete breakdown. How in the hell did that little bitch know about those? Forget fucking her, as much as he had wanted to! He was going to kill her, with his own hands!
General Hammond cleared his throat once again. "I believe that Mrs. Jackson has more than…proven…her abilities."
"Yes, I agree, general," Senator Shepperd replied. He couldn’t help but chuckle. There would be at least a dozen backroom deals struck before the day was out, an attempt to thwart any attempts to use the…information… revealed. "Shall we begin with the first question?"
For several minutes it seemed that none of the politicians were willing to speak. All of them continued to cast nervous glances at the slender seer who sat in front of them. Senator Shepperd asked the first question, breaking the silence that had fallen in the room. For the first time in their careers, the five men and one woman asked honest questions, listened carefully to each answer.
Robert Kinsey seethed silently as he listened. Without a doubt the fools on the Committee were about to give George Hammond everything he wanted, and a long term commitment to the program. Shepperd wouldn't be re-elected, he'd see to that! And as for that damned little witch…she was going to pay. Oh, yes indeed! In fact, she had just supplanted Colonel Jack O'Neill as his primary target of vengeance.
A A A A A A
Jack wiped the tears from his eyes when he was finally able to stop laughing. "I have never seen politicians so close to melt down before. Priceless, absolutely priceless!"
"You can be sure that they'll leave you off of the invite list for the next scheduled hearings," Sam told Casey, grinning broadly at the young seer.
"Don't be so sure, major," General Hammond chuckled. "I think they're afraid of her. They'd rather not make her angry."
Daniel was laughing as well. "Did you see the look in Senator Brighton's eyes when Case told her that she and Sam are real blondes?"
Janet giggled hysterically. "What I want to know is why she cared!"
"She likes blonde women," Casey shrugged nonchalantly, then took a bite of her steak. Then grinned mischievously. "And that was not lost on Senator Tobin."
"You know that those people are scrambling to make deals with each other," Paul Davis laughed. He draped his arm around the back of Janet's chair. Winked at Cassie when the young woman giggled at the movement.
"I'm afraid, however," General Hammond said, all traces of laughter gone from his eyes, "that Casey has made an enemy of Senator Kinsey."
Once again slender shoulders moved up and down. "He's been after-" she stopped, her eyes going wide. "Um…about that…"
"He's the one?" Jack asked quietly.
General Hammond frowned. "Is there something that I should be aware of?"
"Casey sensed that something was…uh…is…going to happen to her and Cassie," Daniel said softly.
The Texan frowned. "Do you know how this threat is to be carried out?"
"No. At least, not yet," Casey replied. "I only know that we can't be alone together, and that we have to stay away from the Lincoln Memorial."
The older man nodded. "Tomorrow we have our individual 'interviews'. I also have a meeting with the president and the Joint Chiefs. I suggest that you all stay together as much as possible. Major Davis, would it be possible for you to remain with Cassie tomorrow?"
"I can make arrangements, sir, not a problem," Paul replied.
"Good. Do so. I don't want her left alone." General Hammond looked at Casey. "I don't want you far from Colonel O'Neill or Teal'c if you can't be with Doctor Jackson."
"Understood, sir," Casey replied.
When the group had finished dinner, tacit agreement had them all returning to their rooms. None of them would be sleeping easily. Not as long as the threat of danger was hanging over them.
A A A A A A
Casey was wearing sweats when she ran down to the lobby to grab two cups of coffee and muffins. Janet was there, getting coffee and muffins for Cassie and herself. "Should you be alone like this?" the diminutive doctor asked softly.
"Daniel's in the shower, and I've got to have some coffee," Casey replied noncommittally. "I don't think we'll be hurt…not here. Too many witnesses."
Janet nodded. "I…thank you for warning me…us."
The slender blonde shrugged. "I'm just doing what I do," she replied. "I wish I could see more."
"What you've…'seen'…is better than nothing. At least we know to be alert. Paul is going be here soon. I need to get dressed."
"He's seen you in your sweats before," Casey teased.
The dark haired woman blushed. "Yeah, but not in front of my daughter."
"Good point. See you in a bit."
"I'll be here."
She hurried back to the room. She and Daniel had made love for nearly three hours the night before, taking one another to the stars and beyond. Thoughts about what they'd done brought a smile to her lips. She heaved a sigh when she realized she'd forgotten her pass key. Which became moot when the door flew open.
"Get in here!" Daniel hissed, his blue eyes flashing with anger…and fear.
Eyes wide, she obeyed. She put the small tray that held two large cups of coffee and two banana muffins on the table near the window, turned to face him. In all of the time she had been with him, Casey had never seen Daniel angry at her.
Daniel waited until her hands were empty, then grabbed her, held her tightly. "Don't you ever do that again!"
"I'm sorry," she whispered. "I told you I was going to get coffee."
"I didn't hear you," he said softly. "I called for you…Jesus, Case, I thought that sonuvabitch had managed to get someone in here to grab you!"
She held tightly to him, felt the shivers that moved over his muscular frame. "I'm sorry," she repeated.
He buried his face against her soft neck. "I can't lose you, Angel."
"You won't, not as long as I have anything to say about it. I'd better take my shower," she said softly.
He pulled away slightly, pushed a lock of blonde hair over her shoulder. "Yeah, you probably should."
"I won't be long." She stripped off her sweats and disappeared into the bathroom.
Daniel shook his head as he watched her. That was an image that was bound to torment him all day! He sipped his coffee, ate the muffin, watched the news. Thought about how that enticing, slender body had felt in his arms the night before. Yep. All day. Torment. Definitely.
Paul took Cassie for breakfast, and had promised her a trip to the nearby shopping mall. Janet joined the rest of the team and returned to the Capitol Building. The Committee wanted to meet with each one of them, individually. Janet, Jack, Daniel, and Sam also had other meetings scheduled, dealing with their own specialties. Teal'c and Casey would be free to do as they pleased as soon as their 'interview' was completed. They would join Paul and Cassie for lunch, and a bit of sightseeing.
A A A A A A
They waited in the antechamber, talking quietly, the team sharing looks and comments that no 'outsider' would ever understand. Even Janet was left wondering what several of Jack's statements had meant.
It seemed that the Committee was anxious to have Teal'c and Casey out of the building as soon as possible. The Jaffa was the first to be called into the hearing room. He didn't miss the looks of disapproval that flittered over several of the faces that stared at him. He'd been through this before. It was always…unpleasant. But not completely unbearable.
"Mister…um…Teal'c, we'd like to ask you a few questions concerning the missions you've recently been on with SG-1," Senator Shepperd said, smiling at the giant man.
Teal'c inclined his head.
"Have you at any time observed Colonel O'Neill taking any actions or displaying any behavior that would call into question his ability to lead an SG team?"
"I have not."
"Has Colonel O'Neill ever ordered you, or any of your teammates into a dangerous situation without regard to your safety, or the safety of your teammates?"
"He has not."
"Has he ever ordered you into a dangerous situation?" another senator asked.
"But you just said he hadn't," Senator Tobin argued.
"I did not. The question was whether or not O'Neill has ever ordered myself or my teammates into a dangerous situation without regard to our safety. He has not. He has been forced to order us into dangerous, or potentially dangerous situations. Not, however, without first exhausting every other possible course of action," Teal'c replied firmly.
Tobin shifted uncomfortably. Every word was being recorded. And it would be impossible to alter the transcripts…not without a high risk of discovery. No matter what Kinsey threatened, there were some things that couldn't be done. Things he wouldn't risk doing. Not now that these people were aware of Caitlin!
"Teal'c, can you tell us how Casey Jackson came to the SGC?"
"SG-1 was sent on a mission to meet with the Tok'ra at their base on Ravanna. Due to an unusually powerful solar flare, the wormhole through which we traveled was shifted, and we were thrown into an alternate, future reality. We met the SG-1 team of that particular reality. And the Casey Jackson there informed Daniel Jackson of her existence. That is, the Casey Jackson of this reality. At the time, she was still Casey Webster," Teal'c said.
"I take it that Doctor Jackson began to search for her?"
"He did not."
Senator Shepperd frowned. "Then how did he find her?"
"The alternate Casey Jackson gave him the location of this reality's Casey Webster. She also gave Daniel Jackson a letter for Casey Webster. Daniel Jackson flew to Tacoma to speak with her."
"I see. I understand that she flew to Denver just a few days later? This was, ah, the tenth of January?"
"That is correct."
"And they were married on…let me see…February twenty-second?"
"That is correct."
"Seems to me that this happened rather quickly. Isn't it possible that Doctor Jackson knew this woman before he left for that mission?"
"It is not."
"What makes you so sure?"
"He would have told me."
"I see. Does Doctor Jackson tell you everything that goes on in his life?"
"I do not know."
"I don't understand, either he does, or he doesn't," Senator Tobin huffed.
"How am I to know if what Daniel Jackson tells me is everything that goes on in his life? I know only what he tells me."
"So it's possible that he might not have told you about Mrs. Jackson."
"It is not."
The senator sighed with frustration. "How do you know he would have told you about her?"
"Because we are friends. Had he found the woman who was his Destiny, he would not have hesitated to tell me. As he did not hesitate to tell me about her when he returned with her."
"I see. What did he tell you about her?"
"That she had banished the darkness that filled his heart and soul, and filled it with her sunshine."
The senators exchanged glances.
"I understand that Mrs. Jackson has saved the lives of several SG teams with her…gift, is this true?"
"Has she ever saved your life?" Senator Brighton asked
"Would you care to tell us about it?"
"I would not."
Senator Shepperd covered his mouth with his hand as Senator Brighton struggled to rein in her temper. The woman was dangerously close to screaming at the man who sat alone before them, hands folded calmly on the table.
"Mr. Teal'c, you are under obligation to answer our questions."
"I have been answering your questions."
Shepperd snickered, unable to hold the sound back. "Teal'c, would you tell us how Mrs. Jackson saved your life?"
"While on a mission to R7Y 531, I had taken point. Casey Jackson became…aware…that there was a group of Jaffa waiting not far up the road. Had she not stopped us, I would have been killed in the ambush. As would the others of SG-1." Had that happened, Teal'c thought, it was highly likely that their Immortality would have been discovered by the Goa'uld.
The senators were rifling through the numerous folders in front of them, searching for that particular mission report. Senator Brighton waved her hand in a dismissive gesture when Senator Shepperd asked her if she had any further questions.
Senator Tobin glared at the man…the alien…who sat so serenely before them. "How can you assure us that you are not an agent for a Goa'uld?"
"I cannot. If my record since becoming a member of SG-1 cannot convince you that I have joined your world in the battle against the false gods, nothing I can say will make a difference."
Senator Hartley grinned. "Touché," he said softly.
"I have no further questions for this man," Tobin growled.
"Teal'c, thank you for speaking with us today," Senator Shepperd said.
Once again the Jaffa inclined his head. He stood, and left the room. Knowing full well that the only person in the room who wasn't afraid of him, who believed him, had been the chairman.
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