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He'd waited for nearly an hour, holding the protective case that held a DVD of the documentary. The original reel-to-reel film was in a box. There were also three cassette copies, and half a dozen DVDs. And all tucked safely into one of the storage safes at the SGC.
"Mr. Bregman! Sorry to keep you waiting," Hayes said, hurrying into the room.
"It's all right, sir, no problem," Bregman replied.
"So, it's finished?"
"Here ya go, Mr. President. I hope you enjoy it. I'm pleased to report that General Hammond gave it his full approval," Emmett said, handing the case to Hayes.
Hayes smiled as he accepted the film. "So he did. He also said it's a shame that it won't be seen."
Emmett studied the toes of his shoes for a moment. "Never?"
"Well, never say never," the president replied cautiously.
The reporter's head came up, and he studied the politician. There was no way to sit on a secret like the Stargate Program. Not forever. And apparently Hayes realized that fact.
"So, what did you personally think of the SGC?" Hayes asked.
Bregman's brow creased as his gaze met the president's. "I went in there, thinking I knew it all…that the secrecy of military operations was the biggest problem we faced. I thought that the regular people of this country had the right to know what their tax dollars were paying for. That everything should be open to public scrutiny."
"And now?" Hayes asked gently.
"I'm a different person than I was on that first day," Bregman confessed. "I walked out of the SGC a changed man."
"We all do," Hayes replied. "You can't walk into that place, see what's there, meet those people…" He paused and shook his head. "It mostly definitely changes a man."
"For the better," Bregman said softly. "I'm a better man, I think. Because I've seen the truth. Because I've met real heroes. I know they exist. And I know that I want to be like them. I still believe that the people of this planet deserve to know what's going on…they need to know, to understand…that a group of incredible men and women are laying their lives on the line every day to protect all of us. The people of this planet need to know about those heroes." He paused, slightly embarrassed by his emotional response. "I guess I’m not so objective about them any more. I admire them too much."
The president smiled. "We all do, Mr. Bregman."
Emmett smiled for the first time since arriving in the office. "They inspire that, don't they?"
"Yes, they do."
"So…you'll let me know if that every comes out of the safe?" Emmett asked, nodding at the case in the president's hand.
"Absolutely," Hayes promised. If you're still around, he thought. If not, your children…or grandchildren…will know about your contribution.
With a nod, the reporter looked around the Oval Office for what he realized was probably the last time. "Thank you for the honor of doing this job."
"You're welcome, Mr. Bregman. Thank you for doing such a phenomenal job."
"That's the word George Hammond used," Hayes replied with a smile.
The praise was heady, coming from a man he'd learned to respect. "Wow. Phenomenal. Wow."
Hayes chuckled. "Have a good day, Mr. Bregman."
Realizing he was being dismissed, Emmett nodded and held out his hand. "You too, sir."
A A A A A A
"This is the address," Casey said, pointing to the blue with white trim, Craftsman-style home.
Daniel parked the Jeep in front of the house. "Thanks for coming with me."
She smiled. "Like I'd let you do this alone?"
"I just…I just want to make sure he's okay. He took Cam's death pretty hard."
"They were teammates, Daniel," Casey said softly. "That makes them family."
"True." He reached for the white, fluffy teddy bear. "You're sure this is okay? What if someone else has already given them a stuffed bear?"
"Daniel, no baby can have too many stuffed animals," Casey assured him. "Let's go, before someone around here thinks we're scoping out the neighborhood."
He smiled. "Right." He took comfort from the warmth of her hand has they walked up the stone path to the porch, then up the steps. He tapped his knuckle lightly against the glass of the front door window.
Wells opened the door, stood for just a second in total surprise to see Daniel and Casey Jackson standing there.
Daniel smiled, held up the teddy bear, and waved one of the paws at Wells.
The Airman gave a broad grin. "Hey! Come in! Come in!" He switched the cane he was using to the other hand, and opened the door wider.
Daniel stood back to allow Casey to enter first, then followed. Wells, limping heavily, led them through a foyer and into a charmingly decorated living room.
"Daniel, this is my wife, Marci," Wells said, beaming proudly at the lovely young woman sitting on the sofa. In her arms was their new baby. "Marci, this is Daniel Jackson and his wife Casey."
"Hi," Daniel smiled.
"Hello," Casey said, offering a smile as well.
"Hello," Marci smiled. She looked up at Daniel. Simon had told her about this man. About his willingness to tape what her husband had believed to be his last words. "I'd love to give you a hug, but…" She nodded at the sleeping infant.
"No, please, don't get up." Daniel crouched down next to the sofa, and studied the baby. He gave an embarrassed smile to Marci, put the teddy bear on the sofa, and then stood up, moving back to Casey's side.
"This is my son," Wells said, proudly.
"He's beautiful," Daniel said.
"He's absolutely adorable," Casey added.
Marci glowed with pride. "Thank you."
"So, what are you calling him?" Daniel asked.
Marci and Wells exchanged a look. "Cameron," Wells said quietly.
"That's nice," Daniel said softly.
"Can I offer you something to drink?" Wells asked.
"That would be lovely," Casey said.
"Yeah, that would be nice," Daniel said. "Let me help you."
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