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In spite of President Hayes' assurances that he didn't need an 'official' investigation into the events of the previous day…even though Cam Balinsky had been killed, and for that fact alone at least an unofficial investigation wouldn't have been unexpected…the director of the NID, an Army colonel by the name of Marshall, was demanding that such an investigation be undertaken. Colonel Marshall was also demanding that his department control the proceedings. The current head of the NID was a bit of an enigma it seemed; no one knew much about the man, only that he'd been 'hand picked' by the former Colonel Simmons. Marshall had voiced his demands to the president, only to be ignored. So, in retaliation, the colonel had 'voiced his concern' to several members of the Senate Oversight Committee. Four of those politicians were less-than-fond of the SGC, and viewed the investigation as a way to learn more about the program and its operation than they were technically cleared for. They in turn were putting political pressure on the president, which the president couldn't ignore.
At least, Hammond thought almost amusedly, he'd had a head's up about what was happening. Casey Jackson had come to him before he'd even had his first cup of coffee for the day, livid by what she'd 'seen'. She'd also informed him that everyone involved in the mission that had gone so wrong needed to remain on the base. She was certain it was going to be a long day for all concerned.
So, rather than allow the surviving members of SG-13 to take the day off, as he'd planned, he had them spending time talking to Doctor Fraiser and Doctor Mackenzie. It was standard procedure for any team who lost a member to speak with the psychiatrist. Doing so now would negate the need for him to order it later, Hammond thought.
Casey had insisted that he confront the president about the impending investigation. Hayes confirmed the 'visit', not at all surprised that Hammond knew about the arrival before official notice had been given. The general suspected that Hayes had been relieved about that fact. The president had also apologized for what was about to occur, something that would no doubt come in handy as leverage in the future. It had been reassuring that both he and Hayes suspected Marshall's intentions, particularly when considering the connection to the now convicted traitor Frank Simmons. It seemed that certain members of the NID wouldn't stop their attempts at gaining control of the SGC for their own purposes. As Casey had so colorfully put it, the leadership of the NID apparently consisted of idiots and morons who were determined to prove that they could take on the SGC, SG-1, and win.
Casey had also been confident that Doctor Weir would be most interested in what the NID was up to. She'd even expressed the belief that the new head of Homeworld Security might have sources in DC that would help them discover just who the man being sent to conduct 'interviews' really was.
"Sir," Walter tapped on the door. "Mr. Woolsey is here."
"Show him in," Hammond sighed.
Woolsey pushed his way past the sergeant, a stern expression on his face. He wasn’t intimidated by rank. It was an attitude that had served him well in the Pentagon. He handed a folder to the general. "General."
Hammond put the folder on his desk, but didn't bother to open it. "I already know these orders originated with the NID. Colonel Marshall has been busy, it seems."
Woolsey adjusted his glasses, a self-conscious reaction to the fact that this general seemed much better informed than he'd been led to believe. He didn't believe for one moment that Colonel Marshall had called the CO of the Stargate Command complex regarding his visit. Certainly none of the senators involved would want anyone within the SGC to be forewarned about the investigation. Which left only one source…the White House itself. He made a mental note to add that bit of information to his report. At least to the copies going to Colonel Marshall and the senators.
"Why don't you just tell me the rest," Hammond said coolly.
"Several Senators on the Oversight Committee agree with Colonel Marshall that an investigation be done concerning your command decision regarding the recent attempted rescue of SG-13, given the less than…satisfying…results. Colonel Marshall requested that I conduct this investigation," Woolsey said calmly.
"Attempted rescue?" Hammond's eyes narrowed.
"As I understand it," Woolsey said, "there were several casualties, sir. I'd hardly call it a success."
"My command decisions are reviewed by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force and the President of the United States. As of yet, I haven't even filed a preliminary mission report. When I do, you're welcome to read it," Hammond said darkly. He'd given a brief recitation of the events of the afternoon during a call to the Oval Office and followed it up with a more detailed email. But he'd not even started his official report. Which meant there was a leak somewhere within the White House. Casey had 'outed' every NID agent who had been sent to the SGC, and two who had been lurking in NORAD.
"I have been authorized to begin a full investigation into the matter, as part of a larger examination of SGC strategic policy that the Committee is preparing for the President," Woolsey said stiffly. "I've enclosed a list of interviews I will be conducting, and materials I will require. We expect your full cooperation."
Hammond watched as Woolsey turned on his heel and left the office. He could hear the man demanding a 'secure' room for the 'interviews'. He couldn't hear Walter's reply. He picked up the phone. It seemed that there were those in DC who either didn't know, had forgotten, or didn't care that he had his own resources. Woolsey was one among that number…although which category he fell into had yet to be determined. If he had to guess, the general thought, Woolsey was among the 'didn't care' variety.
When Colonel Reynolds poked his head into the room a few minutes later, the general waved him in. "You wanted to see me, sir?"
"Did Walter comply with Woolsey's demands?" Hammond asked.
"Yes, sir. He's using one of the prisoner interrogation rooms. He specifically requested that," Reynolds added. "So the bastard-" He broke off. "Sorry, sir."
"No apology needed, Colonel. Continue."
"Woolsey has a full working knowledge of the layout of the SGC."
Hammond frowned. While it wasn't unusual for those coming to the SGC to seek out as much information as possible about the facility, it seemed that Woolsey had access to far more than was usual, or even necessary, considering the reason for his presence.
"I was able to contact Doctor Weir, as you requested," Reynolds said, putting a folder on the table. "She sent a full report, it arrived just about the same time as Woolsey." Reynolds handed over the folder. "Apparently Doctor Weir contacted Senator Shepperd…my guess is that his over-sight reports were in with all of the mission reports. Her note said that the Senator was unaware of the investigation, and that he was madder than hell about it being authorized in the name of the Committee without his knowledge or consent."
"I see," Hammond said, opening the folder, but not reading it.
"According to Doctor Weir, Mrs. J sent her a list of people who could be trusted in DC. The Senator's name was on that list. And the senator has a contact that he can get information from," Reynolds continued.
"Does this contact have a name?"
Reynolds grinned. "Yes, sir. Agent Malcolm Barrett. NID."
Hammond's eyes went wide. "Is Doctor Weir aware of his…connection…to the NID?"
"I assume so, sir. She said that Senator Shepperd told her about the closed door meetings he'd had with Agent Barrett had after Simmon's fall from grace," Reynolds replied. "Apparently this Barrett was very unhappy with the way Simmons was running things. He believes that the NID can be a useful organization, but he doesn't want to see it being used like it had been when Maybourne, Kinsey, and then Simmons were running it."
"So…we might have our own source inside the NID," Hammond mused.
"It looks that way, sir," Reynolds nodded. "From what Doctor Weir has said, Senator Shepperd is going to set up a meeting between her and this Agent Barrett."
Biting back the smile that the comment raised, Hammond could only surmise that Doctor Weir's time at the SGC had imprinted on her the need for operations to continue unhindered by political posturing. From anywhere such posturing might occur…including and especially the NID. "What did Agent Barrett have to say about Woolsey?"
"He said as far as he knows, Woolsey is clean," Reynolds said, checking his notes. "But he did say he's as sharp as they come. He's got an MBA and an LLB from Harvard. He was lead counsel for the Army Corps of Engineers for ten years and later sat on the Defense Policy Board. He was asked to resign last year when it was disclosed that he had financial ties to a large corporation that had been awarded over $800 million in private sector defense contracts by the Pentagon. He's been with the NID since then. Barrett faxed Senator Shepperd an internal NID memo Woolsey recently wrote and sent to the president. He passed it to Doctor Weir, who passed it on to us. I think you should read it."
Hammond looked down at the folder in his hand, glanced at the contents. There were half a dozen highlighted paragraphs. He quickly read two of them. He would lay odds that Doctor Weir had added the yellow marks to the sheets of information before faxing them. "Very interesting. Thank you, Colonel."
"Uh, sir…if I may…how are you holding up?" Reynolds asked quietly. Losing someone under one's command was a difficult burden to bear. Only someone with a similar experience could understand.
Hammond cleared his throat, struggled to contain his emotions. With all that had been happening in the hours since the mission, he'd been too busy to stop and consider his own feelings. In that moment, they came rushing forward. "You try to tell yourself that every man and woman under your command means the same to you. Each has to be equally valuable if you're gonna make the kinds of decisions that affect their lives in the way I have to. But you can't help it. You get closer to some people than others. You never want to lose anyone. But when you do, and it's someone you didn't know well…" he shook his head. "You feel guilty for not having known that person as well as you should have."
"Sir, you can't know everyone at the SGC on a first name basis," Reynolds replied.
"I suppose not," Hammond said sadly.
"Should I alert the teams of this investigation?" Reynolds asked. Everything had happened so quickly that not even the SGC rumor-mill had been able to keep up.
"By all means," Hammond nodded. "Tell them to answer any questions honestly, but that they are not to tolerate any attempts at intimidation."
"Is Bregman still on the base?"
"I believe that he left last night. Colonel Rundell said something about a hotel room at the Best Western down the road," Reynolds replied. "Rundell said that Bregman is confident that the president will intercede and that he'll be back on base soon."
"See to it that Mr. Bregman remains unaware of Mr. Woolsey's visit."
"I think I should thank Doctor Weir for her help," Hammond mused. The information that she had sent along would no doubt come in very handy.
"Sir, might I suggest a nice floral arrangement?" Reynolds offered.
Hammond smiled. "I think that's just the thing. Have it sent to her office in the Pentagon."
"Yes, sir." Accepting the nod Hammond gave at his response as dismissal, Reynolds hurried back to his own office. The NID was sneaky. But between Casey Jackson here at the SGC, and Doctor Weir, Senator Shepperd and their contacts in DC, the SGC wasn't at its mercy!
Each of the members of SG-1 had been contacted. They were to appear for their interviews alone. None of the other members of the team were to be allowed on the same level at the same time. According to Casey, when the group met for coffee to discuss the matter, the other teams were given the same 'instructions'. The fact that Woolsey had ordered, Walter refused to consider the demand a request, the presence of MPs to make certain that all of the teams complied, only served to make each team member more nervous. And angry. Definitely angry.
A A A A A A
The interrogation room was painted dark gray. Although one of the larger rooms on level sixteen, it felt much smaller. The starkness of the room added to the cold, impersonal setting. A rectangular table sat in the middle of the room. There were two chairs, one at either end of the table.
Woolsey was standing in one corner of the room, holding a report in his hands when Sam walked in. She glanced at the table, where a tape recorder sat conspicuously, a corded, flat microphone set up near the chair closest to the door. A video camera on a tripod was sitting in the corner of the room, aimed at the same chair. The two devices completed the room's furnishings.
"Have a seat, Colonel. Let me explain why I'm here," Woolsey said. He was neither friendly, nor antagonistic.
"I know why you're here," Sam replied caustically.
"I believe classified military operations require oversight," Woolsey huffed self-righteously.
"This isn't the first time we've been scrutinized by the NID. Of course, it's the first time since Kinsey was made a pet by a Goa'uld, and then turned into a host," Sam retorted.
Woolsey started slightly. He'd not been aware of former Senator Kinsey's actual condition…he'd only known that he wasn't dead. With a look of grim determination, he set about regaining control of the conversation. "I'm here to investigate the incident yesterday. I know the stakes around here are always high. But there were serious casualties in this instance. It was only a small miracle that General O'Neill wasn't killed. As it was, a highly valued civilian member of the SGC was lost."
"I know that!" Sam replied heatedly. "And don't you dare think anyone is taking it lightly."
"You're a seasoned combat officer, and this isn't the first time you've lost a colleague," Woolsey said. "Nor do I expect it will be the last. I just want to make sure that it wasn't avoidable in this case. Despite what you might think, the only reason I am here is to get the truth.
"Did you have a question?" Sam asked irritably. She already knew that the 'truth' was the last thing Woolsey wanted.
"Indeed, I do," Woolsey said, his eyes narrowing. "Several of them as a matter of fact."
Sam glared at the nearly bald man. "Then let's get on with it."
"Very well." He settled at the opposite end of the table from Sam. Took out a notepad, and wrote for several seconds. Silence hung heavy in the room as he did so. When he finally looked up at her, Woolsey was surprised to see that her expression hadn't changed. She was angry…not worried or nervous. Certainly not intimidated. "The commander of SG-13 contacted the SGC after being attacked by the alien device, is this correct?"
"It is," Sam replied.
"And…it was Doctors Cameron Balinsky and Daniel Jackson who convinced General Hammond that in spite of that attack, the area should be examined further?"
"The ruins are Ancient," Sam said. "There was the chance of finding Ancient technology there. The drone itself was made by the Ancients, but had been reprogrammed by the Goa'uld."
"I see," Woolsey said. "And what did that programming include?"
"From what we could tell, it was being used the way we use MALPs," Sam said. "When it encountered Doctor Balinsky, or he encountered it, whichever happened, the device was activated. As soon as that occurred, Doctor Balinsky ran back to his team to warn them."
"And it fired on SG-13."
"They fired back, destroying the drone, is that correct?" Woolsey asked, looking up as soon as he'd finished jotting down more notes.
"Not completely. The device was damaged, but not so much so that we couldn't examine it," Sam said. "It took awhile to get a proper interface, and the memory crystal contained an enormous amount of information. Plus the text was in Ancient, so Daniel had to translate-"
"Is this when you realized the threat?"
"We realized there was a threat when Daniel discovered that a message had been sent out. We knew which Goa'uld it had been sent to. We had no idea if she'd received it or not, or if she was acting on the contents of that message. Because we had no way of knowing for certain, we knew that SG-13 needed to be brought home."
"But the enemy had already arrived on the planet by this time, hadn't they?"
Sam's gaze grew icy. "We didn't know that when we were informing General Hammond of our findings. Neither did SG-13."
"But because the general listened to the advice of two civilians, one of those civilians is now dead, and several military members of the SGC were wounded," Woolsey insisted.
"General Hammond listens to all of us. He takes all of the facts as we know them, and makes his decisions," Sam countered. She didn't like the tone of the questions. Are they going to blame Daniel for this?
"Did the leader of SG-13 suggest returning to the SGC before the request to remain was made?"
"No, he didn't," Sam ground out. "He was as willing to stay to allow Doctor Balinsky to do further work as Daniel…er…Doctor Jackson and Doctor Balinsky were anxious to examine more of the ruins."
"I see," Woolsey replied.
"There was the chance that there might have been an Ancient weapon in the ruins, or at least clues about where one might be," Sam admitted.
"Isn't it risky to have civilians on SG teams? Shouldn't these archaeologists and anthropologists do their work here at the SGC, rather than risking their lives, and those of military SG team members, on dangerous missions?"
"I don't believe it's a risk. In the case of SG-1, often Daniel's knowledge of languages or cultural customs has prevented us from encountering trouble when we meet new groups of people," Sam countered.
"I believe he's also led SG-1 into several situations you almost didn't walk away from, due to his…enthusiasm…for examining ruins of one sort or another."
"If not for Daniel Jackson, the SGC wouldn't even exist, and Apophis would have succeeded in conquering Earth. If not for Daniel, you'd either be dead, or a slave right now." Sam forced herself to take a deep breath. "There was the chance that we might have located an Ancient weapon."
"If, in fact, there had been powerful weapons in those ruins, they would now be in the hands of the Goa'uld. The fact is that this mission was botched from the beginning to the end," Woolsey declared, his voice accusing. "Two SG teams were caught unawares by Jaffa. Three more teams were sent in to rescue those teams when a man went down. Five teams, for one man."
Sam ran a hand through her hair. "We don't just leave people behind! You can't ask airmen, soldiers, human beings to risk their lives without backup, without knowing that we would be there for them."
"You, yourself, have been asked to go into combat where you knew there was no backup. That is always a possibility on any mission through the Stargate, is it not? And please, Colonel, none of us likes to admit it, but we all know that there are military situations in which the life of one human being has to be considered an acceptable loss.
"That wasn't the case here," Sam insisted.
"No, in this case, it was just dumb luck that there weren't many more lives lost." Woolsey spat.
She was barely keeping her temper under control. She forced herself to speak calmly, quietly. "I would say it was skill, training, and fortitude."
"This mission was a disaster…which wouldn't have happened had Doctor Jackson not insisted on SG-13 staying for an aerial reconnaissance, isn't that true?" Woolsey persisted hotly. "If SG-13 had returned as soon as they'd been attacked, none of this would have happened. You can't deny that."
Sam frowned slightly. She hadn't started her mission report as of yet. In fact, as far as she knew, no one - not even General Hammond, had done so. She was aware of the fact that the general had given a preliminary report to the president during a phone conversation to inform the CIC of the death of an SGC member. Still… "How is it that you have so much information on a mission that just happened…one that hasn't had any official mission reports filed yet?" she demanded.
"We're finished, Colonel. You may leave," Woolsey replied immediately.
"Must mean the NID has a spy in the White House," Sam murmured. Unaware the base CO had already surmised the same thing. "Guess we'll have to take Casey to visit the president," she added, smirking slightly.
Woolsey looked up sharply. He'd heard rumors about the talents of Mrs. Daniel Jackson. Had even been told that it was because of the seer that there weren't any agents in the SGC.
"You know, we've taken the NID on before…and won. This time won't be any different."
"Don't be so sure," Woolsey scoffed. "You may have the full backing of President Hayes, but if he doesn't have the full backing of the Senate Oversight Committee, his influence will be greatly reduced."
"You just keep telling yourself that," Sam retorted, rising to her feet. She left the room, slamming the door behind her.
A A A A A A
Daniel entered the interrogation room warily. When he'd seen Sam on the elevator, she'd avoided looking at him. Odd behavior, even under the stressful circumstances. Before he'd been able to ask her what was wrong, prepared to ask if perhaps he'd done something, or maybe said something to upset her, two MPs had shown up, informing him that Mr. Woolsey was ready to speak to him. 'Speak', my ass, Daniel grumped. He shivered slightly as he looked around. Yep, definitely going to be an interrogation.
"Please have a seat, Doctor Jackson," Woolsey said. Hoping that by using the man's name without an introduction would keep him off balance.
He lowered himself into the chair. "So, you have a few questions?"
Woolsey turned on the tape recorder. He began to pace the room. Looked over at Daniel, who was calmly watching him. "Oh yes, a few. I understand that Doctor Balinsky was at Stargate Command due to your recommendation."
"He's-" Daniel broke off, turned his head for a moment. Took a deep breath. "He was one of the leading experts on the Sumerian civilization."
"Yes, so I've read. It's a shame that a man with his particular skill sets was put into a position where he was in mortal danger."
"He was part of an SG team. He'd been given the best military training, short of actually going through boot camp."
Woolsey rolled his eyes. "Of course he was. A basic course in hand-to-hand combat, and fundamental training with a P90 and a pistol. I'm not at all sure that Doctor Balinsky was prepared to enter battle as he was forced to do yesterday."
"He was part of SG-13," Daniel growled. "You have no idea of the bonds that are formed on an SG team. Precisely because of the dangers we face together."
"Is it true that Doctor Balinsky returned to the SGC to give a report concerning the attack that SG-13 was under?"
"Then he returned to the planet with SG-1, SG-5, and SG-7, did he not?"
"I repeat, Cam was a member of SG-13. He might have been an archaeologist, a civilian, but he was every bit a member of that team as I am of SG-1. There was no way in hell he wouldn't be there for his teammates!"
Woolsey made a note on the pad in front of him. "Let's return to the crucial moment, where and when the first mistake was made. What made you think it was safe for SG-13 to remain on the planet?"
"It's not really my call," Daniel responded flatly.
"But you thought it was worth risking the lives of an SG team to get an aerial survey of these ruins?" Woolsey pushed.
"It's a risk every time we walk through the 'gate," Daniel replied, his voice low. Deceptively unemotional. "We accept those risks every time we go on a mission."
"So, you would have me believe that this was an acceptable risk?" Woolsey demanded coolly.
"This is what we do," Daniel replied, his voice just as cool, enunciating every syllable carefully.
"Make bad decisions?" Woolsey snipped.
"Yeah, it's easier to predict the score when the game's over," Daniel scoffed. "And if we had found powerful weapons in those ruins capable of defending the planet against the Goa'uld, we wouldn't be having this conversation, would we?"
Woolsey adjusted his glasses. "But you didn't, and we are."
Daniel sighed, and looked toward the wall, hoping that the camera wouldn't pick up his irritation. He'd just lost a good friend. His Wife was blaming herself for that death. She might not be as hysterical as she'd been, but he knew Casey. She would cling to this 'failure' for a long time to come. Dealing with an NID inquisitor wasn't high on his list of priorities at the moment.
"Now, what was so important about these ruins that you ignored the obvious danger?" Woolsey demanded. "SG-13 had already been attacked by a drone. Yet you insisted that they stay. Why?"
"They destroyed the drone," Daniel replied. "Or mostly destroyed it. And I didn't 'insist'. Cam was eager to investigate further, and as the ruins were Ancient, I agreed that it was worth further study. Colonel Dixon didn't offer any objections, nor did General O'Neill or General Hammond find anything unusual in the request. When we do find something of interest, it's quite common to call the SGC to request permission to stay longer."
"So it wasn't until you'd examined the drone that you realized your mistake, is that correct?" Woolsey asked.
"Sam…Colonel Carter…found the information stored on the drone. The text was in Ancient. One of the older dialects, as a matter of fact," Daniel retorted. "There was also a smattering of Goa'uld in some of the protocols. That was the first indication that the Goa'uld were involved."
"Yes, Colonel Carter testified that she was able to access the memory of the drone," Woolsey said. "And learned, too late it seems, that a message had been relayed to the Goa'uld."
Daniel crossed his arms over his chest. He was beginning to get a bad feeling about the investigation. If he was right, the NID was going to try to lay the blame for the entire mess at his feet. They'd been unable to touch Jack and General Hammond with their dirty tricks, so now they'd try to discredit him. He barely held back his snort of derision. It wasn't like he'd never lived through that before! As Casey was fond of saying, what could they do, take away his birthday?
"According to reports, it was your…request…that SG-13 remain on the planet that put that team in danger."
Okay, asshole, if you're going to accuse me, do it. Daniel sat silently, staring at Woolsey.
"You're under orders to cooperate with this investigation," Woolsey sighed. "You may not be military, but your contract stipulates that you're as bound by General Hammond's orders as any of the military personnel under his command."
"I was only told to answer any questions that pertained to the events of yesterday." He glanced at his watch. Not quite two-thirty. Almost time for the team's afternoon break. With luck, he and Casey could call it an early day, and be home before four. He gathered his wandering thoughts, looked up at the man who watched him so carefully. "You've been speculating and inferring what you want from the facts available."
"So, tell me what happened, Doctor Jackson."
"SG-13 reported in after the drone attacked. Cam…Doctor Balinsky reported finding Ancient ruins…a sizable city, he theorized. We've had experience in locating clues to hidden Ancient weapons in many ruins, so examining them as closely as possible was imperative-"
"To you," Woolsey interjected.
"General Hammond made the final call, after Colonel Dixon reported that he didn't think there was any immediate danger. The general sent SG-6 as backup, just in case."
"But the Jaffa were already there, weren't they?" Woolsey pressed.
"Not at that time, no. When Sam…er…Colonel Carter and I realized what had happened, after examining the drone, we let General Hammond know. He recalled SG-13 and SG-6."
"But they were already under attack."
"It happened at about the same time," Daniel admitted, although reluctantly. Part of that reluctance was because of his own guilt. If only he'd considered the possibilities of the drone having the ability to send out reports…
"This mission was botched from the beginning," Woolsey declared. "As soon as SG-13 had come under attack from that drone, they should have returned to the SGC."
Daniel stared at the man who was nothing more than an expensively-dressed, well-educated accountant.
"But you insisted that the team remain, and that Doctor Balinsky continue to examine those ruins."
There hadn't been any questions, and he had no doubt that Woolsey had already made up his mind about the matter. He remained silent.
"Does Hammond grant every request you make? Do you have something on the general, something that gives you leverage to get your way?"
He refused to answer. He wasn't about to say anything that would incriminate himself or General Hammond. It was easy to surmise that anything he'd try to say at this point would be twisted, misconstrued…taken completely out of context and put in the report the bastard was writing for the NID.
Woolsey leaned forward, his intention to intimidate Daniel. Who had become annoyingly uncooperative. "If you fail to testify here today, I will have you jailed until such time that you do."
With a sneer, Daniel rose to his feet, picked up the microphone and spoke directly into the device, his eyes throwing daggers at his interrogator. "You fire me; you can throw me in jail; you do what you want," he said disgustedly. He tossed the microphone down, and walked out of the room.
A A A A A A
Teal'c sat silently at the table, his hands curled into loose fists on the top of the table.
"I only have a few questions for you, Mr…ah…Teal'c," Woolsey said, glancing up from his notes to study the alien for a moment. "You were with Doctor Jackson and Colonel Carter when they discovered the Goa'uld had tampered with the Ancient drone, is this correct?"
The large Jaffa made no response.
"Based on your expertise in Goa'uld tactics, was it not reasonable to conclude that this was an ambush?" Woolsey asked.
Teal'c stared impassively, not looking at the man who asked questions, nor the camera that was recording his responses. He stared at the wall opposite of where he sat, silently meditating until he was able to make good his escape.
"While you are not an official member of our military and not eligible for court martial, I shouldn't have to remind you that you are expected to follow the orders of your superiors," Woolsey reminded the Jaffa.
"As I was doing during the events in question." Teal'c replied.
Woolsey smiled, although the action lacked warmth. "What were your orders, Teal'c?"
"SG-1 and two other teams, along with medical personnel, were ordered to P3X 666 in order to offer support to the teams under fire from Jaffa. One of the members of SG-13 had been gravely wounded, and needed to be retrieved."
"And in doing so, three other military men were wounded, and a civilian was killed," Woolsey sneered.
Teal'c frowned slightly.
"The entire situation could have been avoided if SG-13 had returned to base as soon as they'd been attacked by that drone," Woolsey continued.
The Jaffa remained silent. He refused to answer any of the questions the man posed, in spite of the threats issued.
"I can order you arrested!" Woolsey threatened.
Teal'c rose to his feet, towering over the NID puppet. "Then do so." He turned on his heel and left the room.
Woolsey sputtered for several moments. He had reached for his phone, determined to have the Jaffa brought up on charges of insubordination, when his gaze drifted over the notes he'd taken. If the senators he was working for were forced into a confrontation with the president, and having the Jaffa arrested could very well lead to that very thing, no doubt the president would survive any political fallout. After the posthumous trial of Senator Robert Kinsey, he doubted that the dissenting members of the Oversight Committee would be as lucky if any of their personal and political secrets were to see the light of day. He put the phone on the desk. He didn't need the Jaffa's testimony anyway.
A A A A A A
Casey hesitated before entering the interrogation room. She'd seen Sam…who had only said that if Woolsey was doing what she thought he was trying to do, things could become difficult for SG-1. Daniel had been so angry he hadn't wanted to talk…instead opting to go to the gym. It wasn't often that her husband beat the heavy punching bag that hung in the far corner because of his ire. When he did, she'd learned to let him work out whatever was troubling him. Before he'd returned, so that they could discuss whatever was bothering him…she knew that as soon as he'd calmed down, he would want to talk to her…two MPs had shown up in the office to escort her to her 'meeting' with Mr. Woolsey. She reached out her hand, and touched the door. She was assailed by images…snippets of the conversations that had been taking place in the room.
"Mrs. Jackson, please sit down," Woolsey said, pointing to the chair. He frowned when the young blonde continued to stand at the door, one hand on the surface, her head tilted slightly to one side.
Oh, that dirty rotten, son-of-a-bitch! Attempts to remove General Hammond from his position of command of the SGC had failed. The insubstantial attacks on Jack, done mostly by way of trying to besmirch his military reputation, had failed. He'd even managed to bring down Kinsey. Maybe not alone, but he was the first in the line of fire, so to speak. As a result of their failures, the NID was going after the one member of SG-1 they just might have a chance of destroying. Trembling with anger, unsure of how to proceed...she was fairly certain that walking over and punching that smirking bastard in the face wasn't the best idea she'd ever had - although at the moment it was her favorite...she slowly slid into the chair.
"I just have a few questions for you," Woolsey said. He didn't believe in psychics. The only reason this woman was even in the facility was because she was warming Doctor Jackson's bed. Or so he'd been told.
"I'm sure you do," Casey murmured.
"Mrs. Jackson, it's my understanding that you have no training, military or otherwise; no educational degrees that would warrant your presence at Stargate Command."
"I have a gift," she replied.
"A 'gift'?" Woolsey snickered. "A gift…of what?"
"I'm a seer."
"So, just what is it that you 'see'?" Woolsey asked.
"Whatever the God and Goddess want me to see," she replied softly.
"The 'god' and 'goddess'. They tell you what to do or not do," Woolsey mocked.
"Not exactly." She wasn't about to waste her time trying to explain her gift to this unbeliever. Particularly when he didn't care in the first place, and was just looking for something else to hold over Daniel in the second place. It wasn't the first time she'd been a liability to her husband. It was, however, the first time she'd become a political liability. Miss Eloise, a little help would be nice, she thought, with not a little desperation.
"Let me see if I have this correct…you examine mission reports, and give a 'reading' on any potential dangers."
"Something like that."
"And just where were the 'warnings' about this situation?" Woolsey demanded.
"I don't get the full itinerary for everyone, every day," Casey replied. The guilt she felt over the fact that she hadn't seen what had transpired squirmed mercilessly, wracking her with emotional pain. And she'd be damned if she'd let this bastard see her break down over Cam's death.
"Still, your presence in this secret, military facility is because of your so-called gift, isn't that correct?" Woolsey smirked. "And has nothing to do with the fact that you're Doctor Jackson's wife."
"Oh, it's not 'so-called'," Casey retorted. "And my…relationship…with Daniel is no one else's business, and has absolutely nothing to do with our work here at the SGC." She cocked her head sideways once again, listened to the whispers of her spirit guide. "You know, I think Colonel Marshall is going to find that we here at the SGC aren't as stupid as he'd like to think we are. Actually, if anyone is an idiot, it's him. Kinsey might not have been present when we brought him down, but we did manage to expose him for what he was, and brought the activities of a few of his buddies-"
Woolsey held up his hand. "I'm not interested-"
"I have a gift, Mr. Woolsey. I don't control it. I see what I see, when I see it. But trust me, if I need to find information, I can do so. I mean, seriously, where do you think that info about Kinsey came from?" Her eyes glittered with anger, while at the same time she silently begged Harry Maybourne's forgiveness. It had been mostly his work that had exposed Kinsey, although she'd been able to see more, and add to the list of crimes. "And then there was Simmons. That slimy bastard wasn't even NID director a year before we exposed his ass. Okay, we did have a little help," she said, offering an insincere smile. That keeps us even, Harry, she thought.
"As for Marshall, he has a few skeletons rattling around in his closet. Sort of like you, Mr. Woolsey. I mean, why else would the NID call on you for help, if there wasn't something they could blackmail you with?"
Woolsey's face went pale. "This interview is over."
"Fine by me." Casey rose to her feet. Her eyes filled with the fire of her anger. She calmly placed both hands flat on the surface of the table, and leaned forward slightly. "Let me make one thing perfectly clear. If you so much as whisper Daniel's name in connection with what happened yesterday, I'll see to it that you're dragged through so much mud you'll never come clean. And I'll start with the account you're building up in Switzerland, doing the nasty little jobs the NID has for you."
Shaking fingers grabbed at the microphone. "Get out of here."
"I wouldn't mention your little 'quest' to anyone around here. Daniel is well liked and respected. If you do, you'll find yourself among some very hostile company! And this is a secret facility, ya know. Accidents do happen." Throwing the door open so hard and fast it banged against the wall, Casey stormed from the room. If she didn't get away from that bastard, she'd beat him to a bloody pulp.
Woolsey watched her leave, shaking visibly. Her thinly-veiled threat didn't concern him nearly as much as her knowledge of his account in Switzerland. No one knew about that account but him, and the bank! And Swiss bankers were the epitome of discretion.
A A A A A A
Daniel was pacing furiously around the work table, one arm around his waist, the fingers of the other hand tapping against his lip. If that son-of-a-bitch upset Casey…if Woolsey insinuated that what had happened was her fault, he'd rip the slimy bastard apart with his bare hands. She was just starting to calm down…no doubt the chat with Oakey had helped. Still…
He watched her walk into the room. She was upset…her eyes, her entire face…telegraphed that fact. He opened his arms, pulled her close when she raced into them, pressed her face against his shoulder. "Casey?"
"That rat bastard! As soon as I can see all of the numbers clearly, I have to give them to General Hammond," she said, her voice muffled.
"For an account in Switzerland. Woolsey's account. He's building up a nice little nest egg doing some damned detestable work. There's no way in hell I’m going to let him try to pin this thing on you!"
"He said that?"
She pulled away, shook her head. "I…when I walked into the room…I felt it. Heard it. Saw it. He's asking everyone if General Hammond always gives in to what you want when it comes to missions."
And that explains why Sam was so upset. They'd been ordered not to discuss the interviews until Woolsey had talked to everyone on his list. "I thought he was just trying to piss me off," he said softly.
"Don't worry, Stud Muffin. When President Hayes gets his copy of the report, and then all of the official mission reports, he's going to hand them over to Senator Shepperd."
When she tilted her head sideways, Daniel didn't know whether to be annoyed or amused.
"Well, I'll be damned!" she exclaimed, carefully examining the tidbits that had just been dropped into her head.
"Between Doctor Weir, Agent Barrett, and Senator Shepperd, I don't think we're going to be hearing from Colonel Marshall, Director of the NID for quite awhile. Those three have been busy digging around in the backgrounds of every agent working on this 'investigation', including Woolsey."
"How many people does he have working on it?"
"Several…Woolsey is the only one here. But there's a plant at the White House, who's feeding Marshall information, and trying to discredit us at the same time," Casey said, her eyes still slightly unfocused. She shook her head slightly. "We should probably tell General Hammond about this."
A A A A A A
Woolsey was just beginning to pull himself together after his confrontation with Casey Jackson when General Hammond walked into the room. "General?"
Hammond slapped a folder down on the table directly in front of Woolsey. "I've prepared a written testimony."
Woolsey opened the file, glanced at the first page. "This is your mission report."
"I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone," Hammond replied.
"Well, then I suppose I'm done," Woolsey said dryly.
"Then you'll be leaving."
"The president will have my preliminary report by the end of the week."
"And Marshall and the Senators on the Oversight Committee?" Hammond asked.
"They'll be given summaries," Woolsey replied shrewdly.
"Of course they will," Hammond snorted. "I'm sure your report to the president will be every bit as interesting as your memo on the economics of the SGC."
His eyes went wide. "I won't bother asking how you got that," Woolsey said woodenly.
"What was the dollar value you attributed to an SG team member?"
"You know damn well I wasn't pegging the value of a person's life!" Woolsey protested. "It is a cold, hard fact that it costs millions of dollars to train these men and women, and that is a fraction of the funds being subverted by the Pentagon for this operation." He stood to his feet. "I think it is reprehensible that the taxpayers of this country are paying enormous sums of money to wage a war they know nothing about, and are getting little, if anything, in return. If the Stargate's existence were public knowledge, and your actions were being judged in the court of public opinion-"
"You're the one suggesting that sending a rescue team worth $27 million to save the life of one man is a bad business decision," Hammond snapped in return.
"You're putting words in my mouth," Woolsey said, obviously annoyed.
"You said it in black and white, and I don't think you would dare do such a thing if this wasn't a classified operation. The President has asked a documentary team to get to the truth of what's going on around here. Why don't we just go down and give them the whole truth as you see it? Right now." Hammond glared at Woolsey as the agent gathered his files.
When he was finished, Woolsey stared coldly at Hammond. "That memo is classified. This investigation is classified. If you so much as utter even a hint of either, I'll see you are put away in a cold, dark place for the rest of time."
Hammond watched the bureaucrat walk away. He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. He'd had his doubts before. Luck had seen Bregman completely off base for the duration of Woolsey's visit; which, a glance at his watch confirmed, had been just over four hours. The visit from Mr. Woolsey had made it abundantly clear that a record of the SGC, and what it stood for, the men and women who put their lives on the line for their home, needed to be made. The sooner, the better.
Twenty minutes later, after a brief chat with the Jacksons, the general was even more convinced that his instincts were correct. He sent word to Colonel Rundell. Emmett Bregman had a job to do. He'd been hired by President Hayes himself. And it was most assuredly the best way to stop men like Marshall and Woolsey in their tracks.
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