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White Lace and Promises
General Hammond stood to his feet when Casey hesitantly knocked on his office door the following morning. "Ms. Webster, come in," he said, smiling at her.
"Thanks," she said, stepping into the room. "I want to apologize for my behavior yesterday. I was totally out of line. I'm sorry."
"I must confess that being yelled by SG team members isn't something that I'm accustomed to. Nor do I allow such behavior from the people who work for me," the general replied.
"Yes, sir," she said. She wouldn't have to quit. She was going to be fired.
"However, considering the circumstances, you were well within your rights to…react…as you did. Ms. Webster, I apologize to you for ignoring the warning that you gave. I want to assure you that there will never be a repeat of that," Hammond said. "Now, I need to know if we can move past this…incident, and that you will continue to protect the teams under my command."
"I think we've already moved past it, sir," she smiled. "I do have one request, though. Well, two actually."
The older man smiled. "And those requests would be?"
"That you call me Casey. And then consider escorting me down the aisle when I get married on the twenty-second."
Blue eyes went wide. "Ms. Webster…er…Casey…are you sure?"
"You've been so kind to me, even before I arrived here, and…well…I'd really like for you to be a part of our day. You've been a father figure to Daniel, and he really respects you, sir. He cares a great deal about you."
Moved more than he cared to admit, the Texan turned his head, not wanting the young woman to see the emotions that played over his face. "I'd be honored, Casey." The smile that she bestowed upon him lit his entire office.
"Thank you! We'll have rehearsal on Thursday night, and then dinner at O'Malley's afterwards," she said.
"I'll be there," the general promised. He also determined that until after the wedding, SG-1 would not be going on any missions that might possibly keep them out longer than necessary. While every mission had the potential to go to hell, there were those that were easy enough for even people without Casey's special gift to predict would go well.
With a nod, Casey turned and left the office.
A A A A A A
Daniel was working on one of the translations, frowning slightly. He was deep in thought, and didn’t hear her enter the room.
Rather than disturb him, she sat down at the desk and began to sort through the stack of paperwork that covered it. It took nearly an hour just to sort the mess out.
When he 'surfaced' from his work, he heard the quiet sounds of papers being rustled. He turned his face toward the sounds, to see Casey seated at his desk, one foot tucked beneath her, a look of concentration on her face. His breath caught in his throat and his entire body went hard watching her.
It was the weight of his steady gaze that brought her head up. The look on his face made her shiver; one of need…lust…pure love. She smiled.
Oh, yeah. Sunshine filled that simple movement. His return smile was automatic. "Did you talk to General Hammond?"
"Yep. He agreed to walk me down the aisle," she said. "You know what else he did?"
His smile widened. He could hear the awe in her voice. "What?"
"He apologized to me for not listening to my warning!"
Daniel could tell that she'd never expected that. It never would have crossed her mind that the general might feel remorse for what had happened. "Yeah, well, he was pretty upset yesterday during the briefing. He truly regretted not listening, and I think if things had been any worse, it would have torn him up."
She thought about that for a moment. "He really cares for the people who work here. It must make sending teams out excruciating at times. I understand that there are times when it's necessary to go into a bad situation to try and change it. I just hope that I'll be able to 'see' enough to protect whatever team is unlucky enough to pull a mission like that," she said softly.
"All you can do is your best, Case. No one expects anything else," Daniel said.
"I just hope my best is good enough," she replied.
He smiled. "I have no doubt that it will be." He glanced at his watch. "Hungry?"
"I could eat," she smiled.
"Let's sneak out of here and go have lunch."
"Sonic? I love their onion rings!"
Daniel laughed. She'd never seen a Sonic Drive-In until moving to Silver Springs. It was now her favorite fast-food restaurant. "Let's go, before all the good parking places are taken."
They were on their way to the elevator when Jack caught up with them. "Hey, you two. Going somewhere?" he asked, nodding at the heavy coats they were clutching.
"Sonic," Casey replied with a grin. "Want to come along?"
"Sure! We should get Teal'c and Sam, they'll complain if they have to eat in the commissary and we don’t," he grinned in return. "We'll take my truck, more room."
Twenty minutes later, snuggled between Daniel and Teal'c in the backseat, Sam beside Jack in the front, the team was on their way to eat.
Burgers, onion rings, and shakes seemed to be the favorites of the day, and the waitress needed help to carry two trays laden with food to the F250 truck.
"You know, working here in the winter has got to really suck," Casey said, munching on an onion ring.
"They have heaters and fans in the overhead," Sam pointed out.
"Yeah, and that really stops the gale force winds straight from the frozen north," Casey countered.
Sam laughed. "I take it you're not fond of the cold weather."
"Not particularly, no," Casey admitted. "You do get warm weather around here, right?"
Daniel laughed. "Yep. In August when it's a hundred and two in the shade you'll be wishing for a little cold weather."
"Bet I won't. If it's that hot, I'll put on my bikini, find a pool and sip on a pina colada!"
"Sounds good, girlfriend," Sam agreed.
"There are couple of really nice lakes around here," Jack told her. "We'll all take a day off and spend it at the lake this summer."
"It's a date," Casey agreed enthusiastically.
Jack looked at his watch. "Okay, campers. Time to get back to work."
Trash was carefully piled on the trays, which the waitress was quick to pick up. The conversation during the drive back to the mountain was full of planning for the summer months.
A A A A A A
When SG-1 returned to the mountain, it was to find that Jacob Carter had arrived. Sam hastily explained to Casey that her father was joined with a Tok'ra symbiote, and that he lived and worked with the Tok'ra; who, she was told, were in war against the Goa'uld as well. Which slightly confused Casey, since the creatures were identical. Only their philosophy was different.
Because SG-1 was the team that was normally chosen to work with the Tok'ra, they were present at the meeting in the conference room.
"We are positive that the information we seek can be found in the computers on this base," Selmak said. "All that is required is a team to go in and copy the hard drives."
Casey listened carefully. Jack had told her a bit about the Tok'ra. Just enough to know that he didn't trust them. Not even General Carter. She cocked her head sideways.
"Heads up," Jack said quietly.
"If this mission is so easy, why aren't the Tok'ra doing it? You don't want the Tau'ri to have any of the information that they'll find, that's why you want the mission to originate and end from your base," Casey said softly.
All eyes went to Jacob/Selmak. The symbiote chuckled. "I see, General Hammond, that you have procured a seer to work for you."
"She's saved half a dozen teams so far," the general replied easily. "We've learned to trust her…instincts…implicitly."
She ducked her head, a pleased smile on her lips, her cheeks slightly pink.
"If I send my people on this mission, I want all of the details, and full copies of the information. Which we will be able to get when they return. Here," General Hammond continued.
"The Tok'ra Council will be most displeased at this change in plans," Selmak replied.
"Tough," Jack said. "They want us to do their dirty work, then we call the shots."
"What information do you have?" Hammond asked.
Selmak produced a data crystal, which she/he handed to Sam. The major plugged the crystal into the specially modified computer in the corner of the room.
"Casey, I want you to take a look at what's there," the general said quietly.
With a nod, the young blonde joined her friend. "Um…this is in Goa'uld. I can only read a few of the words," she admitted.
Daniel joined her, carefully read the entire message to her.
Once again she cocked her head to the side. "This base isn't deserted. It just hasn't been occupied for the past few months. There are a few Jaffa guarding it," she said softly.
Jacob Carter's eyes went wide. "We didn't know that! Our agent said the base had been deserted!"
Case turned to face the man. "Better have a long talk with that agent. He's working for…I can see a name, I think," she said.
Daniel grabbed a piece of paper, handed her his pen. "Show me."
She drew out the symbols that she was seeing.
"Ba'al," he said flatly.
Selmak gasped. "Pryrone is one of our best agents!"
"Then he…no, she…is a double agent," Casey replied.
"I don't believe it," Selmak declared.
"You'd better," Hammond said. "Casey hasn't been wrong yet!"
"I need to check into this. Until you hear back from me, put this mission on hold," Jacob said, rising abruptly from the table. He looked over at Casey. "Young lady, I certainly hope you're wrong!" He hurried from the room.
"If this agent is working for Ba'al, every bit of information she has passed on needs to be viewed with suspicion," Jack said.
"I agree," Hammond said. "We need to know how much of the information that the Tok'ra have shared with us has come from this agent."
Jack snorted. "That should take all of about five minutes to figure out!"
Casey smiled. The colonel had complained long and loud to her about the fact that the Tok'ra demanded to know all that the Tau'ri knew, and discovered, but were less than forthcoming with information that they had.
"Major, any luck with that power source?" Hammond asked Sam.
"We've been able to determine that it will provide almost limitless power. I'm still working on trying to find a way to implement it into our power grid."
Hammond nodded. "Good. Keep on it. Since there doesn't seem to be anything else, dismissed."
Jack and Sam stood at attention until the general was out of the room. By now the klaxons and lights were off once again…Jacob had left the SGC to confer with the Tok'ra about what Casey had revealed.
The team drifted in separate directions, to work on the various projects, or paperwork, that needed their attention.
Casey was quiet on the elevator ride back to level 18.
"Case?" Daniel asked. Her silence meant that she was thinking about something, or worried about something.
"I don't think Selmak is going to have an easy time convincing the Council that they have a spy in their midst," she said.
"At least not one that they don't know about. They're using a couple that they know are Goa'uld to spread misinformation," he said, in reply to the question in her eyes.
"I don't think that this Pryrone is the only one," she said softly.
Daniel frowned. The Tok'ra were small enough in number that even a handful of spies could be devastating. There had been no word from them concerning the reason they'd wanted to meet on Ravanna. When they'd been notified of the 'side trip', as Jack had called it, that SG-1 had taken, they'd seemed distressed, but had said nothing more than that the meeting would be rescheduled.
"Is something wrong?" Casey asked.
"I don't know, Angel," he replied truthfully. But he certainly suspected that it might be. He punched the button for level 19. "Let's go talk to Sam," he said softly.
She pulled her lip between her teeth. Something was bothering him. And she had the feeling that it was something big.
He knew he shouldn't have been surprised when Jack and Teal'c walked into the room immediately after he and Casey had, but Daniel still looked up when the two men walked in.
"Are you two feeling the same thing?" Sam asked.
"Confused and suspicious?" Jack said. Three blonde heads moved up and down in unison. "They never did tell us what was so damned important that we needed to get to Ravanna so quickly. I assume that they had some mission they wanted us...well, Daniel...to go on, and they wanted to control it completely." The message from the Tok'ra had specifically requested Daniel's arrival as quickly as possible. Nothing had actually been said about the remainder of the team, although Jack insisted that all of SG-1 go to the Tok'ra base. Given what had happened, he was glad he'd insisted the team remain together.
"I agree, sir," Sam said. "Dad didn't stick around long enough for me to talk to him this time, but he did mention that there was an opportunity approaching that could permanently turn the tide in the war against the Goa'uld."
"Daniel, you said that the Tok'ra are aware of a couple of spies in their ranks, and that they're using them," Casey said, a frown on her lovely face.
"That's right," he replied.
"It's possible that someone…in charge…isn't exactly whom he…or she…is pretending to be," Casey said. "I think Selmak already suspects that."
"And what you said about Pryrone confirmed it," Jack mused.
"Or Pryrone is reporting to the spy," Sam surmised.
"Whatever is happening, I think we're about to see a major shake-up among the Tok'ra," Daniel said.
"Which then leaves the question, what about that oh so important mission?" Jack asked.
"We need the Tok'ra," Daniel mused, not answering the question, "they do provide information, and certainly help us get around when the 'gate can't be used."
"Not to mention they've saved us a time or two," Sam added.
Jack snorted. "Yeah, and how many times have we helped them?"
"Until the Tok'ra wish to inform us, there is nothing we can do," Teal'c said.
The gray-haired colonel nodded. "Teal'c is right. Let's just do what we need to do. When they need us, the Tok'ra will be pounding down the door."
General Hammond stepped into the room. "Until the Tok'ra have dealt with their intelligence problems, I am not sending any SG teams on missions for them."
The team jumped slightly at his appearance, having been so involved in their conversation that they hadn't noticed his arrival.
"Sir, is that wise?" Sam asked. "Might that not strain diplomatic relations with them?"
The man smiled, although it was without mirth. "Diplomatic relations with the Tok'ra are strained in the best of times. If they're receiving erroneous information, that puts my teams at risk, and I refuse to do that. I don’t care how important they think it is."
"In the meantime, sir, did we get enough from Jacob that we could go take a little look-see on our own?" Jack asked.
"That, colonel, is what I have to think about." General Hammond turned to Casey. "You're getting married in three weeks. I think that we can put off any potentially dangerous missions until you and Doctor Jackson return from your honeymoon."
"Honeymoon, sir?" Daniel asked, a bit surprised.
The general flashed a genuine smile. "Yes, Doctor. Honeymoon. You are planning to take Casey on a honeymoon, aren't you?"
As a matter of fact, he'd been thinking a lot about it. Taking her somewhere nice and warm. Tropical. Private. "Well…I guess…well, yes sir," Daniel stammered.
"I'm afraid I can only authorize five days of leave for the two of you. There is just too much that needs to be done, and Doctor Jackson, your expertise is needed for most of the work," the general said.
"Five days is fine, sir," Daniel replied.
"Good. Carry on." The man turned and left the lab. If he could, he'd see to it that SG-1 was left off the roster until Daniel and Casey returned. If nothing else, they'd only go on the 'cakewalk' missions, as the teams called them. SG-1 had saved the planet, the universe and god only knew how many people. They deserved a break from the intensity.
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