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Seek and Ye Shall Find
General Hammond pulled on his jacket, buttoned it carefully, inspected himself in the mirror. Flicked a bit of imaginary lint from one of his ribbons. He still didn't understand the reason for the visit. Oh, sure, the man had said he'd like to 'drop by'. But he hadn't thought it would happen. At least, not so soon. And certainly not with all of the secrecy, nor the firm, unyielding insistence on such secrecy. He sighed. How had Jack put that? 'Ours is not to wonder why, ours is just to do and die.' How true, he thought, with a silent sigh.
"Sir, the call just came through. The president will be here shortly. Apparently there will only be two Secret Service agents with him," Walter said, as soon as the general reappeared in his office.
"Thank you, Walter. You're certain that no one knows? There haven't been any security leaks?"
"As far as I know, General, the only personnel aware of this visit are yourself, me, and the MP's."
"Very good." There was a risk in having the President of the United States visit the SGC unannounced. And it had nothing to do with security. He checked the top drawer of his desk. Good, it was there. He'd have to load it, but that wouldn't take long. He could only pray he wouldn't have to use it. To do so would require...explanations. He wasn't sure he'd be able to adequately do so.
A A A A A A
Casey glared up at Teal'c. "You'll so pay for that, Jaffa!"
The large man smirked. Those words from anyone but her would have caused one of two reactions: anger...or pain. "So you say. On your feet. We will attempt the move once more."
She took his outstretched hand, rose to her feet. "I don't understand. What am I doing wrong?"
Teal'c frowned. "Perhaps we should go through the stance again, slowly, and step through the move."
With a nod, she took her place at his side. Watched carefully, mimicking each movement of his body.
Teal'c watched her as well. "Stop!"
She froze in place. Felt him move behind her. "What?"
"You are shifting back on your right foot."
"No I'm not."
"You are." He kicked her foot.
"Once again," he said. He began to call out the movements, continued to watch her. Shook his head. "Must I tie your right leg so that you cannot use it at all?"
She spun the basha'ak...held the tip under his nose. "Listen, buster! I'm doing pretty damned good for someone who hasn't practiced in almost three months!"
He casually pushed the wooden staff away. "You are moving like a fat old woman."
"I have witnessed grandmothers with babes in arms fight better."
Casey glared again. Spun the basha'ak once again, then walked across the room, carefully hung it on the pegs that held it to the wall. As she always did, she ran her fingers lovingly over the wood before she walked away.
Teal'c watched her. She treated his gift as if it were the most precious thing she owned. Certainly better than any of the chal'ti he'd ever taught treated their training weapons. And that simple, unconscious action on her part never failed to make his heart swell with pride...and happiness.
"I'm finished for the day," she announced as she brushed by him on the way to the door. "Oh, and Teal'c?"
He turned to look at her.
"Watch your back."
He waited until she was in the corridor before chuckling. He put his basha'ak on the wall beside hers, and hurried toward the men's locker room. He had to prepare. He wouldn't allow the slender blonde to 'get the drop' on him, as O'Neill would say.
A A A A A A
"...so, I was wondering if you had any suggestions," Daniel said, leaning his arms on the table where Sam was busy working.
She smiled. "This is so sweet of you, Daniel."
"Yeah, well, so far we're two for two. I wanted to throw a surprise party for her this year."
"Payback?" Sam asked with a grin.
"Yep," he replied, grinning as well. "I know she's never had a party, of any kind. Well, with the exception of our engagement party. With being gone all of next week, I have no idea when I'd have time to plan, or even when to schedule it."
"Let me think about it, and talk to Janet. I'll let you know what we come up with later this afternoon," Sam said.
"Thanks." He stood up. "I can't let it just pass, not without doing something. It's her birthday, and she deserves to celebrate."
"I agree. I promise, we'll do something special...even if it is spur-of-the-moment."
"Thanks, Sam. I appreciate it." He glanced at his watch. "I'd better get back to my office. She should be finished soon."
Sam wiggled her fingers in a wave as Daniel hurried out the door. She gave a sigh of satisfaction. Jack had spent the night, and they'd made up for lost time; lost during the two and a half months of hell the team had just endured...again. Daniel was smiling and his eyes were twinkling; Casey was back...completely; and Teal'c...he didn't look as if he'd lost his best friend...or best friends. She wasn't even aware that she was humming as she focused on the scanner in front of her. Now, if she could reprogram the basic function bios...
A A A A A A
General Hammond waited at the last of the security checkpoints. The MPs had called to let him know that the president was on his way down. The Master-at-Arms had informed him that it seemed that most people didn't recognize the visitor.
When the three men approached the checkpoint, the general could understand why no one seemed to notice that the President of the United States was among them. That man was dressed casually in jeans and a plaid shirt, his cowboy boots echoing off of the tile floor. The Secret Service agents, one of whom happened to be Agent Leigh, wore khaki pants, polo shirts and windbreakers. The latter of which were large enough to hide the bulge of shoulder holsters.
"Mr. President," General Hammond said, coming to attention. The guards beside him were as stiff as boards as they saluted.
The president smiled and returned the salutes. "At ease, gentlemen. General Hammond, it's a pleasure as always.
"Thank you, sir. Right this way."
"You're sure that no one knows I'm going to be here? I want a chance to get to see the SGC on an average day."
"No one has been informed of your visit," the general replied. "And I'm not so certain that an average day is something you'd care to witness."
"That bad?" The president asked softly.
"It certainly seems that way," Hammond replied. "Some days worse than others, of course."
"Well, here's hoping that it's just a boring, quiet day for the SGC."
"We could certainly use that, sir."
The president looked at the general. "Yes, I suppose you could. You say that Mrs. Jackson has made a full recovery?"
"Yes, sir. In fact, she's scheduled to go over several MALP reports with me later this afternoon."
"Good, good! I'd like to see her 'in action'."
"Where would you like to start, sir?" General Hammond asked.
"I think I'd like to see that Stargate of yours," President Miller grinned. "If that's all right."
"Of course, sir. SG-11 is scheduled to leave this morning. I have a briefing with them in about thirty minutes."
"I'd like to sit in on that, if I might. See how things really work."
The general punched the button for level twenty-eight.
A A A A A A
Casey pumped the weapon in her hand. Peeked around the corner. The corridor was empty. She ran to the next intersection of hallways. Heard his voice. Gotcha, she thought, grinning broadly. In a move that would have brought tears of pride to Jack's eyes, she launched for the opposite side of the corridor, firing the entire time, then rolling to safety in the doorway of one of the labs.
Teal'c looked down at his shirt. "You have started a battle that you cannot win!" he declared.
She rolled to her back, aiming the gun midway between the floor and the ceiling. "Yeah? I'm feeling lucky today!"
When his head appeared, she fired again. Took the opportunity to race past him as he wiped water from face. Squealed when her back became drenched.
"What have I told you about turning your back on enemies not dead?"
She whirled and fired again, then began to run. She needed to refill her gun. And set up for her next attack.
Teal'c had ducked into one of the labs as well. Checked his weapon. He could fire once more before he had to make a refill. He was grinning from ear to ear. It had been far too long since he and Casey had indulged in a bit of...'training'. Listening carefully for movement in the corridor, he lowered himself to the floor. The footsteps were light...and halted just a few feet from where he hid. He counted slowly to five, then rolled into the hallway, firing as he did so.
"Holy shit!" Cathy Masterson yelped, tossing what was left of her coffee, which she'd just stopped to take a sip of, halfway up the wall.
"My apologies, Captain," Teal'c said, jumping to his feet.
Cathy watched the Jaffa race down the hallway. She shook her head, and couldn't help but grin. It'd been like a tomb around here while Casey had been missing...everyone worried sick about her...all of them missing her...all of them longing for her 'gift' to continue to protect them. She headed toward the nearest janitorial closet to grab paper towels. Realized she was whistling as she cleaned up the mess that she'd made, thanks to the sudden and totally unexpected 'attack'.
Taking the stairs, sliding on her ass down the hand rail as much as possible, Casey dropped down two levels. Raced through the door and headed toward the officer's lounge. There was a kitchen there, and she'd be able to fill the gun to the top. Senses alert to every sound, every movement, she whirled and fired again when whoever it was entered behind her not more than three minutes later.
"Sorry, Ferretti," Casey giggled. She topped off the water gun. Pumped it at least a dozen times.
The older man grinned, pulled his dripping wet shirt away from his skin. "Training day, huh?"
"Good. I'll alert my team."
"Hey, if the two of you are going to drench everyone in sight, turn about is fair play!"
"Cool!" She waited until he'd moved away from the door, then darted around him. Things had just become more...interesting. She ran for the armory. Grabbed two radios and the headsets that went with them. If she knew Teal'c, and she did, he'd be on this level by now.
Keeping low, eyes moving constantly, watching for any possible attackers, she made it to the main artery for the level. "Teal'c?"
He grinned, crouched a bit lower in his hiding place. "What?"
"We're about to be ambushed. I suggest a truce...we should team up. Show them how the game is played."
"Okay, I'm coming out. If you shoot me, so help me I'll make your life miserable!"
The Jaffa chuckled. "I have given my word."
Following the sound of his voice to the storage closet near the elevator, Casey ran toward the door, then dove inside when Teal'c opened it all the way. "Thanks," she said, breathing hard. She held up the radios. "Ferretti is alerting his team. I figure they'll probably pass the word. At this point, everyone is the enemy."
"I understand." He clipped one of the radios to his tee shirt, put the combination ear piece/mouthpiece into place.
"You're much better at the strategy stuff than I am, so you plan, I'll follow."
"Very well. Where is Major Ferretti?"
"We shall take the ladder to level twenty one. We can use the computer in Doctor Fraiser's office to tap into the monitoring system."
"Oh, you're good!" she said admiringly.
"I have had many years of experience," he replied. "Are you prepared to move forward?"
"I will lead."
"Got your back, big guy," she grinned.
He slowly opened the door. Stuck his head out far enough to glance around before pulling back quickly. "The way is clear."
She nodded her understanding. She put one hand on his back. She would follow, but her attention would be focused behind them. "Lead on, oh Fearless Leader."
With a wide grin, Teal'c threw open the door. Ferretti was just walking past, his own water gun in hand. Teal'c fired, and continued to race for the hatch that hid the emergency ladder exist.
"Son-of-a-bitch!" Ferretti groaned. He dropped down onto the floor. Well wasn't that just downright embarrassing! Maybe he'd just slip back into the lounge...he examined his shirt. Which wasn't going to dry quickly. Damn it to hell! His boys had better do a damned good job of avenging his 'death'!
A A A A A A
Sam sipped at her coffee. "I was going to suggest that he get her a strand of pearls. There are always those boring banquets we have to attend when we have VIP visitors, and they'd look nice with her black dress. Classy, like her."
Janet smiled at the description. "I agree. Everyone in the mountain is going to want to be at any party we have."
"Three and a half days isn't a lot of time to pull anything together," Sam replied.
"I have an idea. We can make it a pot luck. Spread the word. I know Major Whitmore will make the cake. SG-1 has been running non-stop. The colonel could insist that you all have to qualify on your weapons before Daniel and Casey leave Sunday afternoon," Janet suggested.
She nodded. "That's good, that's really good! And it makes sense, too, because all of the other teams have their qualifications up-to-date. I don't know that we have time to do any sort of a theme, though."
"I really don't think Casey's going to mind that," Janet said.
"True. Okay, I'll call Daniel and tell him what we've come up with."
"Lunch at eleven thirty?"
"As always," Sam said, smiling as she stood to her feet. "God, it feels good to be back in our routine again...everybody home safe and sound."
"Yes it does. I was really afraid for him," Janet confided softly.
The diminutive doctor shook herself mentally, rolled her shoulders. "It's all over, and it's time to move on and celebrate the fact that once again, SG-1 has prevailed."
Sam grinned from ear to ear. "That SG-1 magic."
"Thank God for it," Janet murmured.
"Amen. See you later."
The tall blonde major was stepping onto the elevator when two forms slipped as silently as shadows into the infirmary.
A A A A A A
"Any word on where they're at?"
"Nope." Major Newsome tightened his grip on his weapon. "They've teamed up, Ferretti said that happened just before they got him."
"Shit, if they're working together..." Deke Anderson shook his head. "We're going to have to get everyone involved in this, or we're all going to wind up 'dead'."
"Let's start with the labs. Let the lab rats know what's up. They can at least give us warning if they hit those levels."
Walter shook his head. Of all of the days for Mrs. J and Teal'c to decide to have a 'training session'! He needed to warn the general. Just as soon as his own water pistol was filled and ready.
A A A A A A
"It is impressive, isn't it?" President Miller asked, staring at the Stargate that stood silently at the end of the room.
"Yes, sir, it is."
"I don't understand how it works, only that going through it takes a hell of a lot of courage."
"The trip through the wormhole itself isn't dangerous," the general replied. Unless, of course, something happened to change the destination. Like solar flares. He didn't point that out, however.
"So Major Carter once tried to explain," the president smiled.
"With Mrs. Jackson's gift at our disposal, the risks once the teams arrive on the other side have been greatly reduced."
"I understand. I couldn't allow this place...these people, to remain idle, George. We still need intelligence on the Goa'uld, reliable sources of naquadah, still need the allies that we're finding out there."
"I know that, sir."
"You did a very good job of keeping everyone safe until she was returned."
He fought back his smile. "Thank you, sir."
"General West wanted me to have you charged with insubordination," the president confided.
General West had been in command of the SGC during its first days, and saw the facility ready to be mothballed. West had been promoted; Hammond found himself in charge of the silo, an easy assignment until he retired. One horrible night had changed that forever; and started him, and the men and women around him, on a journey that none of them had been prepared for. Even taking into account the heartbreaking, nerve-shattering situations, of which there seemed to be far too many, it had been an adventure he wouldn't have missed for the world. "I appreciate your leniency."
President Miller grinned. "Seems that I couldn't take you out of that office if I wanted to."
The smile broke free. "So I understand."
"The Joint Chiefs may have discovered a way to bypass the Senate Oversight Committee as far as the Stargate Program is concerned. There are several old laws, enacted during the second world war. That top secret operations would remain under the complete jurisdiction of the military, with funding being granted based on reports that contain no information that could possibly be leaked to the enemy. Of course, as we continue to obtain trade agreements, the Pentagon finds itself with funds that haven't come from the taxpayers' pockets. Which gives them complete control of that money. And which scares me to death. There are reasons for the checks and balances in our system," the president said.
"I agree, sir. It's too possible for a small group to take complete control. Such as the NID."
"The NID has been rendered toothless."
"For now. It's always possible that the next president, or the one after, will listen to the whispers from that section of the Pentagon."
"I know that. Which is why I want you to come up with a plan. We already have a secondary base set up, ready should we need it. I want you to create a place where the men and women of this facility, and their families, can...disappear to...if the need should ever arise. Earth's first and best defense is right here. And I'd prefer to keep the SGC operational on Earth. However, it would be better to have a secondary facility protecting our planet, than to allow those with...less than honorable intentions...to gain control of the Stargate."
Thirty-seven years in the military had instilled in him the ability to remain expressionless. And so he did...although his thoughts were racing, his heart was pounding. Certain documents in a top secret file guaranteed that he, Doctor Fraiser, and SG-1 would remain in place at the SGC permanently...or until that time that the facility was no longer needed. By giving him this order, knowing that there was no chance of another commanding officer with loyalties elsewhere to 're-interpret' the meaning, the president was making certain that Earth would be protected as long as the Goa'uld were a threat...or any other threat to the planet remained. "I'll see to it right away."
"Good. This will be my final order concerning the SGC," the president said. He glanced at his watch. "I believe you have a briefing?"
"Yes, sir. This way." General Hammond led the men back to the corridor, up the stairs to the briefing room. He'd always liked Tim Miller. The president had always been a true gentleman, and had always had a deep, abiding love of his country, one that he'd never apologized for, nor tried to hide or temper in order to please those around him. The responsibility he felt for his country had widened to encompass the entire planet. The most powerful man in the world was also the most heavily burdened. The weight he bore must be staggering.
Walter hurried to the general's side, whispered in his ear.
It was all he could do to keep from moaning. If he tried to stop the 'exercise', those involved would want...and deserve...an explanation. He'd always thought that it did serve to keep the men and women in the mountain on their toes. That it was indeed training...practice...that could one day be valuable. He frowned slightly. An explanation was forming...if he needed it.
The men of SG-11 filed into the room, surprise registering on their faces to find the president and two Secret Service agents already sitting at the table.
"Mr. President, may I present SG-11. Gentlemen, the President of the United States," General Hammond said calmly.
Tim Miller had always been a 'down home' type of man. He rose to his feet and shook the hands of the team members. "Please, pretend I'm not here."
A A A A A A
The two moved into the infirmary. There were no patients, and the medical staff on duty seemed to be absent from the room. Casey closed and locked the door, Teal'c slipped into Janet's office.
"Do not move, or I will be forced to fire."
Janet grinned, held her hands up. "I heard that you two had teamed up."
Casey shook her head. "I swear if I sneezed now, every damned person on this base would call out 'god bless you'!"
"Fastest rumor mill in the west," Janet giggled. "So, am I your prisoner, or do I get to join forces with you?"
"It would be most advantageous to have you on our side," Teal'c replied.
"I agree," Casey nodded.
"So, what do I do?"
"We must locate the position of our enemies. Your computer is linked to the monitoring system," the Jaffa explained.
She dropped down into her chair. "Gotcha. Let's see, what should I check first?"
"Elevators," was the immediate response.
They watched the monitor, taking note of the elevator doors on each level. "They're moving up," Casey said quietly.
"We shall move down. They are leaving only a few guards on the lower levels," Teal'c said.
"They think we're moving up...they're going to ambush us!"
"So they believe," the dark man smiled.
"Okay, Janet, if anyone comes in here, you keep them heading up, right T?"
"And if they suspect that you are collaborating with us, shoot them." Teal'c pulled a small water pistol from his pocket, handed it to the diminutive doctor.
"We could leave one of the radios here, grab another on the way down," Casey suggested. "Then Janet can give us a heads up if anything changes."
"A very wise idea."
Casey handed her radio to her friend. "Keep it hidden, just in case."
Grinning from ear to ear, Janet stowed the radio beneath a stack of papers. "You'll have to fill your water guns...can't they catch you doing that?
Teal'c and Casey exchanged a glance. "They can," the Jaffa nodded.
Her brown eyes dancing with laughter, she wiggled her finger. "Come with me. I have something that might help." Once the two were armed with supplies, Janet gave them a thumbs up. "Okay, go get 'em!"
A A A A A A
"Get somebody on every faucet in this place. If we can get them in a fire fight, they'll have to reload. That's when we'll take them," Major Parker whispered into his radio.
"We're on it," Willy Lopez's voice replied.
Daniel stepped out of his office, having heard voices whispering in the hallway, startling Tony Sabotti, who began to fire. He looked down at his dripping wet shirt. Well, that explained why his Wife had yet to return to the office. "Who's playing?" he asked.
"Whole base, sir," Tony replied.
He began to laugh. "Do they know?"
"Yep," 'Texas' Yates replied. "They've teamed up. Major thinks they might turn some of our people. So we gotta be careful."
"Right. Got an extra water gun?"
"Uh, sir, you're dead. Anybody that wet is considered dead. You're out of the game."
Daniel chuckled. "Gotcha. Okay, then I'll just go back to work then."
"Yes, sir," Tony grinned. He gave a sloppy salute, and turned his attention back to his CO.
"Texas, you and Murphy stay on this level. There's only one place to get water, and that's the washroom down the hall. One of you guard the elevator, the other keep an eye on the access shaft," Major Evans said quietly.
"Yes, sir," Texas replied.
"Got it, sir," Paul Murphy nodded. "Shaft or ladder?"
"You take the shaft. I'll watch the ladder." Texas jogged down the hall.
"Remember, stay in radio contact," Major Parker reminded the men. After receiving affirmation from them, he led Tony onto the elevator. "Going up," he grinned.
A A A A A A
"They're going to be guarding all access to each level," Casey said.
"Indeed. But they will not expect us to separate. You will take the elevator. Remember, you must fire as soon as the door opens, it will send the enemy into hiding long enough to get out of the car," Teal'c said.
"Right." She lifted the strap of the medical bag onto her shoulder. Inside were nearly a dozen expired saline IV drip bags. Janet had a box full scheduled to be destroyed. But using them in this manner made more sense, and would cut down the need to get to a source of water.
Teal'c grabbed his own bag. "I will meet you on level twenty-seven. We will secure that level and then move up."
She nodded. Scampered onto the elevator. Grinned at her 'partner in crime' as the doors closed. She let her head drop back, and the feeling of exhilaration wash over her. It seemed like forever since she'd felt this alive...this happy. Daniel had awakened her so gently, so sweetly; making love to her until she was crying out his name. They'd shared breakfast with the people she called family. And now...now she was going to wipe out anyone and everyone she could. Life just doesn't get any better, she thought, giggling.
As the elevator began to slow, she dropped to the floor. When the doors opened, she remained still.
"Oh, shit! Mrs. J? Are you all right?"
Rolly Baker was able to take two steps. And then Casey sat up and fired, aiming over his shoulder as well, sending a steady stream of water at Buford Dobson.
"Ma'am, that was just down-right mean," Buford complained. He and Rolly made themselves comfortable on the floor.
"All's fair in love and war, gentlemen," she giggled.
"Next time, it won't work."
"That's what training is all about," she said. She gave the men a wink. "You learned a valuable lesson. Never go near a body unless you're sure its down for the count." She ran to the corner of the corridor, where it turned to lead toward the briefing room. There were two people. No telling if they were playing or not...it seemed that everyone was today. She fired, giggling as squeals of protest filled the air.
President Miller sat upright in his chair. "What was that about?"
"I believe two people were just killed," General Hammond replied. He was biting the inside of his lip.
"Shouldn't you raise the alarm?" Agent Leigh asked nervously, his eyes glued to the door. His partner was already moving between the president and the open stairwell.
"I don't want to alert the intruders that we know they're here."
"General, the safety of the men and women of this facility is your prime concern at the moment," President Miller growled. "I suggest you do something!"
"Very well, sir." General Hammond stood to his feet, pulled the water gun from his pocket. "I'll be right back."
"What is going on?" The president demanded.
Major Miles Wilson shook his dark head, a slow smile spreading over his coffee-colored face. "Training day," he said simply.
"If the SGC should fall under attack, every man and woman in the mountain needs to be ready," General Hammond said, his cheek twitching. He only hoped this explanation would sound as plausible to the president as it had when he dreamed it up. "We have a limited number of intar powered training weapons. Having actual 'hits' is important, as much for the shooter as for the victim...thus the water guns."
"Very inventive," the President said. He grinned. He was fairly certain that the general was spouting off bullshit. But it sounded good, and it seemed that whatever was going on was something that had happened before. Considering the stress these people worked under, he thought, if running through the corridors with water pistols helped relieve it, he was all for it. "If we're in no danger, shall we continue with the briefing?"
"Yes, sir." He'd slip into his private restroom down the hall from his office as soon as the team was on their way to the 'gate room.
A A A A A A
Teal'c stayed low, glanced around the corner into the control room. Three techs. All of them occupied. He rolled into the doorway, firing directly at Walter. Before Gracie could turn around she was drenched as well. Lieutenant Sampson was down before he could register what was happening. "Casey Jackson, I have secured the control room," he said softly into his radio.
"On my way," her voice replied in a whisper.
No one in the corridor. She began running, watching each doorway for any potential enemy. Slid around the corner, caught sight Major Newsome and Sergeant Gibbs, and dove into the briefing room. She only had enough time to register the fact that there were bodies in the room...she rolled to her back and began firing.
She stopped, her eyes wide, her mouth gaping. "Oh, hell!"
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