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"After midnight, we're gonna let it all
After midnight, we're gonna chug-a-lug and shout
We're gonna stimulate some action
We're gonna get some satisfaction
We're gonna find out what it is all about
After midnight, we're gonna let it all hang down…"
by Eric Clapton
SG-1 was sitting in the conference room of the Phoenix. They had a list of seven names, given to them by former-Senator Kinsey…who now spent his time in a cell in Gamma, huddling on the cot, muttering to himself. The Goa'uld…Nefrim…had successfully been removed. Camulus had killed himself before the Tok'ra had arrived to perform the delicate procedure. So killing the parasite that had infested Kinsey had fallen to Teal'c. The former American politician was a broken man; terrified of his own shadow, haunted by the things he had watched Nefrim do…with his hands. The guards who watched him reported that the man washed his hands repeatedly. Jack had said that Kinsey had a Pontius Pilot complex. Which was rather fitting, he'd added, seeing as how the good Senator had always liked to proclaim that he was doing 'God's work' when he campaigned against something. Until whoever or whatever he was campaigning against made nice, large, untraceable contributions to his campaigns. Then suddenly Kinsey was blind as a bat to the evils of that particular person or group. His greed - his ambition - had left him with nothing. Not even his sanity.
Contact had been made with three of Methos' spies, and for a change, it seemed that things were going well. And the spies had informed them that in what was an unusual move for the NID leaders, all seven of them, who called themselves "The Committee", would be meeting in a small villa near the tiny village of San Maderia, near the Amazon jungles in Brazil.
Sam had spent three hours getting detailed images and scans of the villa. Four rooms were being protected by a force field; none of the team members were surprised by this discovery. Infrared scans had shown that security was tight, so far fifty-five heat images were being displayed, and the agents and their personal bodyguards had yet to arrive. Twenty of those red dots were in continual movement as they walked the perimeter of the villa grounds. NID paranoia was alive and rampant.
Jack and Teal'c had spent the past thirty minutes discussing the best way to get into the low, stone house, take out the NID agents, and get out again. The best idea, they agreed, was to beam in as close as possible to those four shielded rooms, where obviously the meeting would be held. The problem was the corridor that connected those rooms. There were ten guards in what appeared to be a twelve-foot long hallway. Obviously these agents were terrified for their safety. Add the numerous bodyguards that each agent would no doubt have in tow, and the odds of beaming in and doing the job without alarm or injury to the team became almost nil.
"What about beaming down a concussion grenade, and then following it?" Daniel suggested.
"The sound of the explosion would bring those other guards running," Jack replied. "They would be there about the time we beamed in."
The young archaeologist nodded. Another good idea shot to hell, as Casey would say, he thought glumly.
"We're just going to have to beam into the jungle outside of that villa, and work our way in," Jack said with a sigh. He tossed his pen onto the table.
"Sounds like a lot of work," Casey grumbled.
"Yeah, it will be," the older man admitted.
"Is it possible to take out a couple of the guards and replace them?" Sam asked.
"Nope. They're working in groups of four. Talk about paranoia!"
Casey giggled. "Well, come on, Jack, let's face it, they have a reason to be paranoid! Twelve of their colleagues just…vanished into thin air. That has to have them spooked."
That mission had been a cakewalk for the team. That particular group of men and women, who had referred to themselves as 'The Board', had decided that meeting in the forests of the Cascade Mountains would protect them from any and all observers or attackers. Thanks again to Methos' intricate spy network, word had arrived on Gamma of the impending meeting. The team had beamed down, surrounded the group as they sat around a campfire, and beamed the entire lot back to the Persephone. Seven of the NID agents had taken cyanide tablets as soon as they realized they had been captured. Three killed themselves in their cells. The other two had spent nine uncomfortable days on Alpha being interrogated, but neither offered any information. One was in prison on Terra, the other on Langara, both in solitary confinement, watched by specially trained guards. So far there was no sign of either of them breaking. The two men were special ops trained, and Jack had no hope of them ever offering any information in exchange for their freedom. Especially since neither were being tortured or deprived of food or sleep. No one was willing to change those particular facts. To do so would make the SGC of Gamma, and her allies, no better than the enemy they were fighting.
The older man grinned. "Yeah, probably had a few of these guys pissing their pants."
"So why would they risk being together like this?" Daniel queried.
"You don't think it's some sort of a set-up, do you?" Sam asked, a worried frown creasing her lovely face.
Daniel shrugged. "Who knows? I mean, the NID leaders are dropping like flies, their identities are known, and the people around them are more than willing to turn them over to the authorities. They don't have any hope of getting anyone back on the EDA, not with the stiff regulations and rules on who's eligible to run for those positions."
"It's safe to say that they know we're behind the disappearance of their buddies," Jack mused. "Nothing can be proven, and sure as hell nothing is being said officially about these missing people. But they have to know that if we get word of another meeting, we're going to show up."
"Wait them out," Casey said quietly.
"What?" Jack looked at her, a slight frown on his face.
"Let them have their meeting. They aren't going to be comfortable staying in one place for very long. So we wait. We nail them when they try to leave."
Daniel grinned. "If they have this meeting with no interruptions, they'll think that we either don't know about it, or can't get to them."
Jack pulled the latest photos of the area, taken from the Phoenix not more than an hour earlier, closer to him, examined them carefully. "Looks like one road."
"There is a chance that these men will choose to leave by means other than the main road," Teal'c said.
"Jungle?" Jack asked.
"It would be more advantageous to separate and go different directions into the rugged terrain. There are several areas that would offer access to helicopters," the large man replied.
"Yeah, and if they split up, we'll have problems," Jack groused. "We'll have to pick which one to follow."
"Not necessarily," Casey said softly.
Daniel groaned. "Don't even say it!"
She looked at him. "Hey, we'll all be in radio contact. We just pick the five most likely escape routes, set up, and wait. We take out the main target, and beam back to the ship before the bodyguards have time to react."
Jack was frowning. "It could work."
"If they have their meeting uninterrupted, they might not be as paranoid leaving," Sam mused. "It's possible that they'll only have a small group with them, maybe even as few as one or two."
Daniel was frowning now as well. The plan did have merit. He didn't like it, though. It meant that he and Casey wouldn't be working together. Bad, bad things always happened when they were separated during missions.
Jack spread the color photographs out. "Okay, if you were a power-hungry bat-shit crazy paranoid cesspool born weasel, which way would you go?"
Casey was overcome by a fit of giggles. "Give me a second, that's a lot to try and wrap my mind around." Her teammates chuckled around her. "From the profiles we have of these people, they're all city dwellers. I'm thinking they're going to want the easiest, fastest way to get to a waiting helo."
"Good point," Jack nodded.
Sam was studying the profile list. "You don't suppose some of them might travel together, do you?"
"That would help us," the general said. "So it won't happen."
"Any lovers in the group?" Casey asked.
"Not that we're aware of," Sam replied.
"Maybe we should watch and see if any of them seem friendly enough to leave together," Daniel suggested. "We know that they only have two days of meetings planned. So they'll arrive on day one, meet for days two and three. Then sometime during the night between day three and day four, we beam down and get settled in."
"That will give us two and a half days to watch them," Sam nodded.
"Anyway to pick up what they're talking about?" Jack asked his wife.
She shook her head. "Not in those shielded rooms, and you know that's where they're going to meet.
"If our faces weren't so well known, we could try and get in as part of the domestic staff," Daniel said. He pushed the list toward the middle of the table. "Two cooks, four wait staff and four maids."
"You can bet they've all been carefully screened," Jack said. "It's even possible that this domestic staff is comprised of low level NID agents."
Casey giggled. "Well, we're definitely the entertainment committee, and I guarantee that they're going to have the time of their lives. Running through the jungle can be so much fun, and great exercise, too."
Daniel snickered. "No fair wounding them and giving them hope. That's not nice."
She tried to look contrite, failed miserably, making Jack chuckle. "It’s not nice, but it's darned entertaining. And I'll be in the mood for entertainment after sitting all cramped up in the jungle for hours waiting on their dumb asses." She looked over at Jack. "If they were going to have helicopters waiting, when would they arrive, and from where?"
"Damned good question," Jack said. He frowned. The large maps of the area were unfolded. "Looks like they're going to be close to the Amazon River."
"Boats?" Casey asked.
Jack shook his head. "I wouldn't think so. That's at least a twenty-mile hike, through dense jungle. I don't see any of these folks being up to a jaunt like that. Teal'c is right, there are six nice clearings," he said, pointing to each of them in turn.
"So it's possible two will go in one direction," Sam said.
"Or six will disappear into the jungle, and one will take the main road out."
Casey cocked her head to one side.
"Incoming," Jack murmured.
"We need to find out who is running Cheyenne Mountain right now," she said softly.
"Because…" Jack prompted.
"Because these people are planning on heading straight from this meeting to the Stargate, and to another planet," Casey replied. "Their…lieutenants will be in charge of disseminating the information from the meeting. Which means there are still active NID cells on Earth."
"Oh, hell!" Jack grumped.
"Can you see where they'll go, Angel?" Daniel asked softly.
She closed her eyes, waited for his comforting presence, held tightly to him in that sunny meadow. She searched, listened. There, that woman, the Co-Chairman of this particular group. She had the coordinates. Casey moved slowly, gently, not wanting to alert the woman to her presence. "Got 'em," she said softly. She guided Daniel to the information that she could never quite interpret.
"Have it," he said, grabbing a pad and quickly drawing out the symbols.
"Okay, Sam, run these through the computer, I want to know where they're going," Jack said.
"Might be easier to take them out wherever it is they're heading," Daniel said quietly.
"Might be," Jack agreed. "I'll talk to General Hammond. He still has contacts on Earth who can find out the line up at the SGC in Cheyenne Mountain, and anybody who would be willing to help these creeps."
"It might not be willingly," Casey said. "There might be threats involved."
"We know that Earth's SGC is running on mostly a skeleton crew. They have two 'gate security teams and three shifts of three working the control room. The rest are nothing more than glorified security guards," Sam said. "With military members from the Big Five who have known about the 'gate the longest."
"And we know that the Russian government was the second most corrupt with NID," Daniel added.
"So you're saying it has to be Russians?" Jack asked.
Daniel shook his head. "I'm not saying that at all. If anything, I would think the Russian contingent would be the most immune to any threats or coercion by the NID. That country is still suffering from the results of that governmental shake-up."
"I’m thinking the Chinese," Casey said softly.
"Why them?" Jack wanted to know.
"Because of all the countries who knew about the Stargate Program before it went public, the Chinese were the ones who received the least amount of information. They would like nothing better than to be able to completely control a US military installation on US soil, even if it was covertly."
"Think we should warn the President?"
She shrugged. "Probably wouldn't hurt. The Stargate Program on Earth has been shut down. The only thing the 'gate is used for is commerce. This might give the President the incentive, and the means within the US government, to send the 'advisors' and 'observers' from other countries home. Put the whole thing in the hands of a civilian company."
"And he could make sure that it's an American owned company," Jack said. "I'll get a message to him. Let me go talk to Gen. Hammond, see what he has to say about the people in the Mountain right now. Then I'll alert the President. In the meantime, come up with a way to get rid of these creeps," he said, tossing the photographs of the NID agents back onto the table.
Sam was staring at the wall behind Daniel's head. "Sam?" Casey asked.
The blonde colonel shook herself slightly. "Sorry, what?"
"Are you all right?"
She nodded, gave a small smile. "I was just thinking about the day I arrived at the SGC for the first time. God, it was so exciting, even though we were looking for a Goa'uld who had waltzed in and shot the place up, killed several airmen and had taken one of our people. Then when I met Daniel, and he showed me the Abydos Cartouche…"
"So many possibilities," Daniel said softly. "So many worlds to explore, so many people to meet." He had known what his discovery was, he just hadn't realized it would be…useful…until Captain Dr. Samantha Carter had arrived. He could still feel the tingle of excitement that had filled him when he realized the implications of what he'd found. Dialing several of the coordinate groups while still on Abydos had been futile. It hadn't been until Sam had looked at that temple room, as starry eyed as he knew he had been, and her theory of the Doppler affect had made them both realize that with adjustment, those addresses could be reached.
"We had no idea that we would be throwing Earth into a war against the Goa'uld," Sam said. She shook her head. "I have to admit, I've loved every minute of it. Even the scary ones."
Daniel grinned. "Me, too."
"As have I," Teal'c said, nodding. "I was honored to join with such noble warriors, and most pleased to be able to stand up and say out loud what I had felt, had believed for so long…that Apophis was a false god; that all Goa'uld were false gods."
"The worst thing that ever happened was watching you die…well, Ascend," Sam said to Daniel. "I missed you so much."
"Samantha Carter and I meditated together a great deal that year, in an attempt to ease the pain of your loss," Teal'c said softly.
"I remember being so sure that being Ascended would give me the opportunity to do more to help fight against the Goa'uld," Daniel said. "I don't remember the exact circumstances surrounding my descension. I do remember the feeling of…disappointment. One of the only real memories I have of that time was when I went to Jack, when he was being held by Ba'al. I thought that helping him Ascend was the reason I had felt him…call me. He refused, telling me that he wasn't good enough, and that he wasn't finished fighting. I remember that when it was over, because I had…nudged…you and Sam in the right direction, that Oma was very upset with me. That was the first time I questioned what I was actually doing as an Ascended being. I think I questioned again. Probably often, before I woke up naked and without my memories on Vis Uban, convinced that I had done something horrible."
Sam smiled. "Do you remember talking to Jack about the 'Eye of Ra', and how we had to keep Anubis from finding it?"
Daniel shook his head. "No, I don't."
"It wasn't but a few months after we had gone to Abydos, after it was totally destroyed, discovered that Abydonians ascended…en masse, that we found you," she replied. "I’m guessing that your attempts to thwart Anubis then were what caused you to leave the company of the Ascended. I just don't know if it was your idea or theirs." Her smile was teasing.
"Probably theirs," he grinned.
Casey cocked her head to one side. "You confronted them. Oma…and The Others. You were furious that she had stopped you from destroying Anubis. You told them that they had become so damned full of themselves that they were useless, and didn't deserve to have the respect and worship of the peoples who thought they were gods. You told them that they were like spoiled children, demanding that the game be played their way, even when they knew that they were wrong."
"That sounds like Daniel," Sam giggled.
"You shook them up," Casey said, smiling at her husband. "They debated a long time over what you'd said. Which is how you all wound up Immortal. Oma has no clue why she sent us back in time. She said that the only thing she can remember is a sense of panic. She thinks that because of the laws…rules…whatever, of non-interference, something went horribly wrong, something that wasn't supposed to happen. She thinks that sending us back in time, making you all Immortal, was sort of a last-ditch attempt to correct the mistake. Mom told me that she remembers hearing rumors to the effect that there was only one chance to change the timeline, and if it wasn't done properly, all that was known would cease to exist."
Sam shivered. "No pressure there," she mumbled.
"Okay, back to our current problem," Daniel said. "Do we wait and catch these guys after they leave Earth, or try to stop them before hand?"
"Casey, are all of these people going to try to leave Earth?" Sam asked.
"As far as I know, that's the plan, yes," the young Immortal replied. "Personally, I'd rather not have to go tromping around in the jungle. Too many rebel groups who would love to kidnap the great SG-1. They'd sell us to the highest bidder in a heartbeat, and being a medical or scientific experiment isn't high on my list of fun things to do." She shivered involuntarily. She'd played that game once, and hadn't liked it at all. That particular mission had been nine years ago…and it still occasionally haunted her nightmares.
"Good point," Sam agreed. She could still remember what Daniel had looked like when Jack had brought him back from Honduras. Dr. Lee hadn't looked any better. The idea of torture was never one that she liked to dwell upon; she and her teammates had endured too much of it over the years. It wasn't something to take lightly, and was certainly worth avoiding whenever possible.
"How sure are you that they can get to the 'gate?" Daniel asked.
"On a scale of one to ten, about an eight."
"Good enough for me," Daniel replied.
"I believe we should make preparations to meet these people at their destination," Teal'c said.
"I think Teal'c is right," Sam said. "We need to get to where they're going to be, and stop them there."
Jack walked back into the room. "General Hammond says that right now, he's fairly sure that the general they have running the SGC is on the make. He'll let anybody with enough money go through the 'gate, no questions asked. Whether or not he's sharing the wealth, the general didn't know. He also said that at this point in time there's only a token presence from any of the other countries involved. Basically one officer for each country. At least according to his sources."
"Which would make it damned simple for seven NID agents to walk into the complex and go through the 'gate," Daniel groaned.
"What did the president say?" Casey asked.
"That he thought you had a good idea about letting a civilian company take care of the 'gate, and that it would be taken out of the mountain to do so. There are still enough religious fanatics running loose who would like to see the 'gate destroyed, but if a civilian company 'owns' it, they can 'hire' the military to help protect it."
"Takes control out of the hands of the military, and the US government," Daniel noted. "But keeps them in the loop."
"Yep. So what did you discuss while I was gone?"
"Took a little trip down memory lane," Sam said, her sapphire eyes sparkling.
"Discussed the possible reasons we were sent back in time," Casey added.
"We have determined that it would be the most efficient to wait for the arrival of these NID agents at the coordinates to which they will use the Chappa'ai to arrive," Teal'c said.
Jack grinned, and pointed at the Jaffa. "There is a man who knows how to answer a question!"
Teal'c's eyebrow went up. "I was merely stating what we had determined. We also discussed those things that Samantha Carter and Casey Jackson mentioned."
Casey tittered, bit back her giggle when Jack gave her 'the look'.
"Okay, let's find out where those coordinates will send us, and get there," Jack said.
Daniel heaved a silent sigh of relief. The thought of not working with Casey at his side always left him damned scared of what could happen. He wasn't too crazy about going into any jungles on a mission, either. At least not on Earth. It had been years ago, but a mission to Honduras still haunted him at times. The thought that Casey could be put into that type of situation made his blood run cold. Yes, it was a much better idea to stop these NID agents somewhere besides planet Earth!
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