The Anatomy of Trust
The urgency of her tone snapped him back to his harsh reality.
“I need to know that you understand what I’ve told you.”
What’s to understand?
It’s over. I’m done. Finished.
Not brought down by a staff weapon or Goa’uld device but a weapon
with a design forged in the past. But with sophistication enough to
have pierced the bulletproof glass of the embarkation room and his right arm.
He recalled the conversation from moments before.
“I thought you said everything would be okay.”
Dr. Fraiser had responded carefully, her hazel eyes focused on his.
“Initially, that’s what I thought. Outwardly the wound appeared to
be healing well. But when you started to complain about pain I
pulled some previous x-rays from your medical file.” She turned to
the films on the light board behind her. “This one on the right was
taken last year.” Using her finger she traced the length of the upper
bone of the arm. “There are no abnormalities noted. But on the x-rays
that were taken yesterday, there’s this…” She pointed to a darkened
area below the shoulder. “This is the impact point of the arrow. At first
I thought it was just a spot on the radiograph but in every series
of pictures we took, it appears in the same place. I believe that
the tip of the arrow penetrated the bone. It’s possible you’re having
an immunological reaction to the trinium.” She moved to the third film.
“These are from today. The area is larger and I wish I could tell you I
knew how to stop the spread. I've contacted several specialists and
they've no experience with any metal or element that had caused this
type of damage outside of radioactive isotopes. We haven't detected
any radioactivity, at least with the types of which we're familiar.
Since the Gate on Tonane’s planet was disabled, I can’t contact them
or Xe’ls to see if they could help or offer some insight."
“So, worst case scenario I die, best case scenario I live but lose the arm?”
“The best case scenario is that you’re returned to health. I’ll do
everything in my power to see that you do. I’ll recommend to General
Hammond that this be my priority. You’ll have my best sir.”
“Of that I have no doubt. I trust you, Doc,” he had answered.
For a moment something unreadable had crossed her face. “You realize I have
to declare you unfit for active duty…”
“And potential medical discharge.” He had finished the sentence for her and
immediately had hoped that this had been all just a bad dream or drug
induced hallucination. It had been neither.
* * *
He sat at his desk, his
left hand absentmindedly tracing small circles on its
surface. His right arm was cradled in a sling with the ever present feet of
burning pain stomping up and down it. He should have sucked it up and not reported
it to Fraiser, but he guessed that he wouldn’t have been able to hide the growing
discomfort of the injury for much longer. It was hard to believe that the week
before he had been rehabbing the arm and seeing improvement each day.
By now Hammond would be reading Fraiser’s report and soon he would be
officially removed from active duty. But before that happened he needed to do one
more thing. He picked up the phone.
Fifteen minutes later he looked at the expectant faces of the rest of SG1,
now seated in his office. His arm drew notice.
“What’s up, Jack?” Daniel asked.
O’Neill cleared his throat before speaking, “I’m going to be out of circulation
for a while.”
“Please clarify O’Neill,” Teal’c said.
“Having a little problem with the arm here. Doc says I can’t be on active duty.”
“For how long, sir?”
His gaze shifted to his 2IC. “I don’t know. Fraiser thinks it’s some sort of
reaction to the trinium arrow. At any rate, I can’t be out in the field and if
I can’t do that, there’s no point in me staying on here.” He raised his left
hand to quiet the immediate protestations of his team.
“So that’s it, Jack?”
“I’m facing facts, Daniel. My strengths lie in tactical command. There
are plenty of others around here who get paid to think and do it a hell
of a lot better than I do. Take you and Carter for example.”
“What aren’t you telling us, sir?”
Carter and her damn intuition and straightforwardness!
The phone rang, a timely and welcome interruption. O’Neill answered it
knowing who it would be.
“I need to see you in my office, Colonel.”
“Yes General. I’ll be right there.” He replaced the receiver and stood in
the same motion. “I have to go see Hammond.” He skirted the half circle of
chairs his team occupied and opened his office door. Teal’c rose and placed
his large hand on the door frame.
“We will continue this discussion after your conversation with the General.”
O’Neill nodded and carefully avoided looking up into the Jaffa’s eyes. He
slipped out into the hallway and made his way to Hammond’s office. His rap
on the door was answered with the General’s customary “Come.”
Hammond looked up from the paperwork he held in his hands. “Have a
“I prefer to stand, sir.”
“Please sit down… son.”
He acquiesced and took the proffered chair.
Hammond emitted a deep sigh and then said, “You know why I
asked to come here.”
“Dr. Fraiser is recommending immediate removal of you from field duty based on
the injury you received two weeks ago. Your PULHES rating is 442111,
indicating you have below functional levels in two areas, physical capacity
and upper extremities. According to Air Force Instruction 148-123, a Medical
Evaluation Board of physicians will be convened to review your medical record.”
“I’ll waive the MEB, sir.”
Hammond blinked. “You’re sure you want to do that, Jack? This is just Dr.
“What’s the point, General? Who’s the resident expert out there when it
comes to alien diseases and their ramifications? Over the past two years,
Fraiser’s given me the benefit of the doubt after all the injuries
I’ve received. If I don’t get drummed out for this, they’ll find something
else in my record to focus on. I trust her judgment.”
“You realize that if she can’t find a cure, the next step is
“Maybe it would just be better to resign…again.”
“Let’s not jump the gun, Jack. I intend on using all the resources at the SGC’s
disposal to help you.”
“Thank you General. I appreciate anything you can do.”
“Unless Dr. Fraiser needs to have you stay here, I’d like to see you take a
couple of days off.”
O’Neill shifted in the chair. “If it’s all the same to you, sir, I’d like
to stay and start tying up some loose ends, just in case this thing moves
quick. If SG1 needs a new commanding officer the least I can do is leave
everything in order.”
“Very well, Colonel. But I am placing you at Dr. Fraiser’s disposal.”
“Yes, sir.” Jack stood and scarcely managed to keep from saluting.
“Never mind, Jack.”
O’Neill nodded and made his way out of Hammond’s office. He was barely
ten paces away from the door before he was engulfed by the wave that was SG1.
“We’re not letting you give up, Jack.”
“Sir, I’ll need your permission to do access your medical record so I can help Janet.”
“I shall endeavor to assist in any way possible, O’Neill.”
“First of all, I’m not giving up, I’m facing reality,” he countered.
“And while I have all the confidence in the world in Dr. Fraiser,
she doesn’t have much to work with.”
“We have the arrow tip that injured you, Colonel and we have you. There has
to be a way to figure why you’re being affected like this,” Carter said.
“I’ll contact the metallurgists who did the original analysis on the
trinium and get a complete report on the properties of the
compound,” Daniel contributed.
“We should find out if anyone else sustained injury while handling trinium.”
“Good idea, Teal’c,” Daniel said. “You’re with me.” The archeologist
spun with Teal’c already on his heels.
“Your medical record, sir?”
“Go ahead, Carter.”
“Yes,sir. I’ll start running simulations in my lab as soon as possible.”
A moment later he was left standing alone in the hall.
* * *
O’Neill stretched at his desk. It had been a long three days. His attempts to
finish outstanding reports were punctuated with interruptions from
Fraiser or SG1 or sometimes both. He had donated blood, skin, and bone
samples, the latter from his hip. Fraiser explained that the procedure
used was the same as used by patients who suffered from diseases of the
bone marrow. Both Carter and the medical scientists were conducting tests.
But so far there had been no breakthrough, no miraculous cure on the
horizon, just a steady spread of the dark spot on the x-ray. While he
appreciated everything that was being done, he knew pretty much how
this was going to end. Throughout his military career, the possibility
of death was never far from reality, but he had never considered a
disabling injury. The thought of amputation shook him to the core.
He sorted through the files once more on his desk, putting Makepeace’s
on the top. The marine colonel was qualified by rank and experience to
become the leader of SG1. What O’Neill wasn’t sure of was how receptive
his team would be to him. He sighed and pushed himself away from the desk.
He made his way to Carter’s lab. She was hunched over a microscope
and seeing her face etched with fatigue and frustration, he didn’t
have to ask how it was going.
She shook her head. “I’m sorry, sir. So far I haven’t be able to
replicate what’s happening in your arm with the samples of bone and
trinium that I have in the lab. Trinium is an inert, stable metal.
I can’t detect any signs of radioactive decay that would destroy tissue.
If only we hadn’t advised PXY-887 to bury their Gate! Maybe they would have
had some experience with a situation like this. Maybe there’s a native
cure.” She yanked the glass slide she had been studying from the
microscope stage and threw it on the counter.
“You’re tired .Take a break.” He held up his left hand before she
even had a chance to protest. “That was not a request, Carter.”
“Yes, sir.” She slipped off the lab stool. “Maybe I’ll get something
to eat. How about you?”
“I’m going to check on Daniel and Teal’c.”
He found both of them in Daniel’s lair of books and artifacts.
Daniel pulled his nose out of a thick file. “Jack, hi.”
Teal’c acknowledged his arrival with his slight head nod.
“Did you get your reports finished?” Daniel asked.
“Working on it. You know me and keyboards. At best I hunt
and peck. Now I’m down to just peck.”
“Sorry, Jack.” The archeologist shuffled through his stacks of paper.
“So far, we can’t find records of any significant injuries sustained
by SGC personnel while handling trinium.”
“We have examined reports of all those who handled either raw or
refined trinium,” Teal’c added.
Daniel spoke, “I’ve contacted Area 51 and asked them to review all the
items they have housed there to ensure none of them have even the
smallest portion of trinium . This could have been easily overlooked
since we wouldn’t have known what to look for before. If there’s
another planet that has trinium or similar metal, maybe we could
gate there and ask for help. In the meantime, we’re going through
previous mission reports looking for any mention of unidentified metals.”
“I told Carter to take a break. Maybe you two should do the same.”
“I do not have to Kel-nor-reem for another day. I will continue until
“I caught a couple hours of sleep. I’ll be fine, Jack.”
A sharp pain lanced through O’Neill’s right shoulder and reflexively
he grabbed it with his left hand.
Daniel immediately sprang to his feet. “When’s the last time you saw Janet?”
“Maybe you should…”
“I will, Daniel.” Resolutely he turned and started toward the infirmary.
He knew Fraiser would insist on another x-ray. Pretty soon he’d be
throwing off enough “glow” to illuminate the hallways on his own.
Maybe he could submit that as a cost-saving measure. Hell, at least
he’d be useful for something.
His arrival brought immediate response from the nurses. One ushered him
to a bed, the other whisked away, he assumed, to find the Doc. Damn,
how he hated all of this.
Fraiser gave him a cursory exam and ordered an x-ray. It didn’t take
long for her to return with the results.
“There aren’t any changes, sir.”
“So, that’s good news.”
“Yes. If the damage remains restricted to the area we see now,
I don’t believe any drastic action is needed.”
“No amputation,” he said, just to make sure he understood what she was saying.
“Correct, if the disease process continues to be self-limiting. But it
doesn’t change the prognosis unless we can find a way to reverse it.”
“I’d still be medically discharged.”
“I’m afraid so, Colonel.” She took a seat in the chair next to
the bed. “I was hoping to give you better news. At this point, your
arm is weakened to a degree that prohibits you from remaining
on duty.” Her face was grim and the frown above her eyes deepened.
“Thanks for being straight with me, Doc.” He interpreted the look that
passed across her face. “None of this is your fault,” he consoled.
Fraiser studied her hands. “When the virus from the Land of Light
affected the SGC, you asked me to use you as the guinea pig in the
hopes of finding a cure.”
“As I recall, you weren’t too crazy about the idea.”
Her head came up. “I took an oath to do no harm.”
“Worked out in the end, though.”
“You saved a lot of lives, both here and on the planet.
I never told you how much I respect you for putting yourself
on the line like that. It was incredibly brave and unselfish.”
Now it was time for O’Neill to look down. “Anyone would have done it.”
“But you were the only one who was willing to volunteer.”
“And you were the one who designed the cure. You’re one hell
of a doctor. And one hell of a mother too. Speaking of that,
shouldn’t you be going home? It seems like you’ve been here
for days. Cassie has to be missing you.”
“Cassie’s fine. She’s being taken care of."
“Well, maybe I should check on her. I can’t do much, but I
could take her out for pizza.”
Fraiser’s response was an immediate, “No!” Then she quickly
followed with, “I need you to stay here, Colonel. At least
until all the possibilities for treatment have been exhausted.”
“At the current rate of success, that won’t take long.”
“Please, Colonel. Just stay in the SGC.”
“Can I go back to my office?”
“I’d like you to get some rest. Do you need more pain
medication? Have you taken any of what I’ve prescribed so far?”
“No, I’m good,” he answered, deliberately skirting the last question.
“I thought as much.”
“I’ll be in my quarters.” He made a hasty retreat before
she could insist that he stay in the infirmary.
* * * *
Sleep refused to come.
Even reading budgetary reports failed to
bore him into slumber. His watch read 0300. He thought about the pain
pills Fraiser had given him. The pain was tolerable, but what he really
needed was sleep. Maybe if he had something to help him to relax.
Although the facility ran 24/7, there was an attempt to mimic
circadian rhythm. The lighting was dimmed and he met no one on his
way to the infirmary. It was deserted with no patients or
caregivers present. As he walked past Fraiser’s office, a flicker of
light caught his notice. The door was open a crack and he saw she was
seated at her desk, her back towards the door. Her concentration was
on the glowing computer monitor in front of her. He tapped lightly
on the door, not wanting to startle her. When she didn’t respond,
he rapped louder and pushed the door open wider.
She spun out of her chair, her eyes huge. Her voice broke.
He entered the office. “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you. I did knock.”
“No, no, it’s all right, Colonel.”
“I just wanted to know if I could get something for sleep. There
was no one in the infirmary.”
“Sure. I’ll get my keys for the med cabinet. You can wait in the hall.”
He couldn’t help but notice she hadn’t moved from her position
directly in front of the computer screen or the fact that the
woman seemed frightened at being discovered. Obviously there was
something she didn’t want him to see. He could guess what it was
and it probably wasn’t good.
“I thought you were going to be straight with me,” he said.
“I have been,” she said but her voice caught.
“So whatever’s on that screen has nothing to do with me?”
He took a step closer to her and she almost flattened herself
against the monitor.
“Colonel, I’ve asked you wait in the hall. I’m viewing a patient
record that is not yours. This is confidential information.”
She reached behind herself and O’Neill heard the click of the monitor switch.
There was little he could do but retreat. She joined him in the
hall and they walked to the infirmary in silence. Fraiser unlocked
the drug cabinet, produced two tablets and pressed them into his
left hand. “Please Colonel, just get some sleep.”
By now his suspicions were running rampant. “Not going to happen until
you tell me what’s going on.”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“I don’t believe that looking at anyone's chart would get you
so rattled. Tell me the truth. Consider that an order, Captain.”
Her hazel eyes threatened to fill with tears. “Please, sir. I can’t.”
Now he knew Fraiser to be an incredibly strong woman. To see her
near tears was unsettling. “Are you refusing to obey a direct order?” he pressed.
She cleared her throat and pulled herself to her full height
of 5 foot two. “Yes, sir.”
“Fine, consider yourself confined to quarters with no computer access.”
“No! You can’t do that!”
“Then tell me what the hell is going on.” He saw the array of
emotions play across her face in a manner of seconds. Fear
displaced defiance, fear was replaced by resignation. She put
her index finger to her lips in a gesture of silence, reached for
his left arm and ushered him back to her office. Once inside, she
flipped on the computer monitor. It took several seconds for the
picture to appear.
The grainy black and white picture revealed a twin size bed. In the lower
left hand corner was a 24 hour clock with the current date and time.
On the opposite side of the screen were the legs and feet of someone
whose body was outside of the web cam range. The individual asleep
on the bed was small, small enough to be a child. Someone with
long wavy hair. O’Neill felt the heat of anger rise up within him
as he recognized the pale face of the girl. Cassie…
* * *
He ripped his eyes away
from the screen and directed them back to
Fraiser. Again she put her finger to her lips and then motioned
that they should leave the office. He choked back his demand for
answers and followed her. A few steps down the hallway, Fraiser
produced her ID and ran it through the card reader outside of
medical storage room. O’Neill slipped into the room behind her.
By now he was done being quiet. “Christ, Doc!”
“Keep your voice down. They told me I was being watched. I can't be
sure that my office isn't bugged or if there’s someone on the inside.
They can’t know I’ve shown you anything.” Fear had returned to the
doctor’s eyes. “I have to keep her safe, Colonel.”
O’Neill ran his hand through his hair in frustration. “What in the
hell is this all about?”
“What do you mean me?”
“Someone wants you out of the SGC.”
Now he had stepped on his share of toes since his return to duty.
But his priority now was making sure no harm came to an innocent
child because of him. He quickly put it together.
“They kidnapped Cassie to pressure you to medically discharge me.”
Fraiser nodded. “I’m sorry, sir. I felt I didn’t have any other choice.”
“You could have told me up front. You could have trusted me.”
“All I could think of was Cassie and what they might do to her if
I didn’t follow through.”
He lifted his right arm. “So how bad is this, really?”
“You have some healing to do but it’s not a career ending injury.
The x-rays were altered. I think the pain you have been experiencing
may due to some minor nerve damage and the fact that you were
too aggressive in your rehab sessions. It will heal.” Her head
dropped. “I’m so sorry sir.”
How could he blame her for what she had done? Her child had been
taken from her and her life threatened. He cupped his left hand under
her chin and brought her head up. “We need to focus on getting Cassie
back. We’ll deal with everything else after that. First, we need help with this.”
“They warned me to tell no one. If they find out, they
swore they’d hurt her.”
“I wasn’t planning to tell the whole SGC, just some key players.
Any idea who might be on the inside?” It made him sick that SGC had
been compromised by people who would kidnap a child to attain their goals.
She shook her head. “The only contact is through the website. I never
see or hear anyone besides Cassie. I’m not even certain that there is
anyone in the SGC working with them. I just can’t take the chance
that someone might be.”
He had already started to formulate a plan. “We need to get SG1
and Hammond on board as soon as possible."
* * *
Twenty minutes later SG1 was sequestered in Daniel’s lab with Hammond on
speaker phone. O’Neill quickly brought them up to speed on the few sketchy
details Fraiser could provide. The doctor was not in attendance, he didn’t
want to raise any speculation by having her part of the meeting. Or for her
to hear everything that might be discussed. Cassie had been taken from
school the week before, ostensibly because her mother was out of the
country due to military obligations. Fraiser had come home to an empty
house and a letter instructing her to log on to a website. For the past
five days the doctor had been allowed to monitor Cassie at designated
times. It was strictly a one-way video/audio feed; Fraiser could see
and hear her daughter but not communicate directly with her.
O’Neill saw his team put aside their obvious anger and disbelief to
begin to digest the sparse information presented. From the phone
came Hammond’s full support for whatever plan they might advance.
He didn’t need to see the General to know that the man was furious.
O’Neill began, "There’s no guarantee they’ll release Cassie
even if their demands are met."
“If something were to happen to Cassie, Janet would reveal the deception
and you’d be right back at the SGC," Daniel said.
"Think about it Daniel. Cassie's a bargaining chip. Fraiser has
top security clearance. This could be just the start of what they
could force her to do in the interest of keeping Cassie safe."
“Those who use children to forward their cause have no honor and
deserve no mercy." Teal'c's large hands clenched into fists as he spoke.
O'Neill knew the Jaffa was recalling Apophis' recent plan of
attempting to use Ry'ac to destroy the SGC. "As long as it appears
that my discharge is proceeding, we should have enough time to find Cassie."
Hammond’s voice came from the phone. “I can make sure the paperwork
doesn’t break any speed records, Colonel.”
Carter spoke. “We need to strike a delicate balance here. If we drag
this out too long, they may just assume their plan has failed and …
O'Neill caught her off. "That's not going to happen, Captain. We're
going to find her. Right now the only thing we have to work with is
the website that Fraiser has access to."
"So we get the address from Janet?" Daniel asked.
"Some websites have counters on them. If the kidnappers are
monitoring the number of hits, they could detect that we've
logged on," Carter answered.
O"Neill could see his 2IC's thought processes kick into high gear.
"If we set up a LAN with Janet's computer, we could monitor
remotely with another computer. I could hack into the website
and access files for information."
Hammond's voice came from the speaker. "The SGC is due for an
unscheduled computer security sweep. I’ll initiate that tomorrow.
That should give you some latitude, Captain. I’d like to be
able to order a global search for listening devices, but I’m
afraid that would raise suspicion to an unsafe level. The
most I’d be willing to do is secure a few selective areas.”
"I’ll need a copy of the software so I can add a program or two
to Janet’s computer.” Carter said as she stood. "I'll have to
get some things ready and we'll need to decide where we want
to set up the equipment. My lab seems a little obvious."
"I’ll have the disc available in a few hours, Captain. In the
meantime connect with Sergeant Siler," Hammond said. "Have him
find a secure out-of- the way place."
O'Neill turned to Daniel and Teal'c. "You two will probably end up
doing the leg work for this mission. Carter will be tied up with
the computer and there’s a chance I might be under surveillance.
This is strictly a "need to know" mission".
Teal'c gave his customary nod and then said, "I must kel-nor-reem."
"Go ahead. Until Carter can hack into that website,
there's not much we can do."
"You said there was a letter from the kidnappers?" Daniel asked.
O"Neill nodded, reached for the piece of paper, now enclosed in
plastic sheeting and passed it to the archeologist.
"I’ll check for watermarks and see if there’s any thing intuitive
about the language or syntax.”
"I'm sure it's been sanitized but go ahead."
Daniel accepted it.
Within a few moments, O'Neill was alone in the lab. He sank down
heavily into a chair. Right now there was nothing for him to do
but wait, something he wasn’t very good at.
"Jack?" Hammond’s voice came from the phone.
He immediately stood back up. "Sorry, General. I didn't really
forget about you."
"That's okay, Colonel. Sit back down."
“Any idea who might be behind this?” Hammond asked.
“Besides the ones I pissed off by not exactly telling the truth
about the initial Stargate mission, Maybourne, the NID or Kinsey?”
“Not exactly a short list, Jack. Have you considered that
Goa’uld might be involved?”
He had considered that. “My gut tells me that the Goa’uld wouldn’t
be content just having me out of the SGC. They’d make sure I’d be
“You’re probably right.”
“Cassie’s the important one here. We can go after the
bastards after she’s safe.”
“That’s true; however we need to send a strong message to these
people. If we allow this kidnapping to set a precedent…”
O’Neill finished grimly, “It’ll be open season on anyone’s family.”
* * *
O’Neill sat on the edge of the bed and allowed Fraiser to manipulate his arm.
Their conversation was held in hushed tones as he briefed her
on the meeting and the initial plan.
“When’s the last time you saw Cassie?”
“About 08:00. She was eating breakfast.”
“Think she knows what’s going on?”
The doctor’s lips tightened. “She’s a bright girl. She probably
thinks that something happened to me. It’s not fair she’s
going through this again.”
“O’Neill felt her grip on his arm increase to the
point of pain. “Ahh…Doc?”
She released the arm immediately. “Sorry, Colonel, it’s just when
I think about what they’re doing to her.”
“We’ll find her. Carter will get into the website and figure
it out. Right now, you need to give me some really bad news.”
The look on her face told him she knew exactly what to do.
Her voice was louder now. “I’m sorry, Colonel O’Neill,
there’s nothing more I can do.”
“What do you mean?” He matched her volume.
“Your arm is irreparably damaged. I have no choice but to
recommend your immediate discharge for medical reasons.”
“So that’s it?”
“You can continue to receive treatment at the Air Force hospital, sir.”
“Thanks a lot, Doc,” he was sure to use his best sarcastic tone.
He kicked aside the metal table that was at the bedside.
It made a very satisfying clatter as he stormed out of the
curtained cubicle. He hoped the little scene would be the
start of the operation that would bring Cassie home.
* * *
Six hours later, Carter
was sequestered in a little used storage room
on Sub level 17. The computer security sweep upgrade had gone without a
hitch with Fraiser’s hard drive receiving “special software”. O’Neill
sat behind the captain as she concentrated on the screen in front of her.
He had lost her somewhere between pinging, Linux, and UNIX code. He
chose to pass the time flexing the muscles in his injured arm.
Hefting a wrench that approximated the weight of a 9mm pistol in
his right hand, he was gratified to find he could hold it comfortably.
His focus was broken by, “Sir?”
He glanced up to find Carter rotated in her chair and looking directly at him.
“This could take a while.”
Translation: Get lost. He rose to his feet and placed the tool on a shelf.
“I’ll call you as soon as I have something,” she promised.
He looked at her. “How are you holding up?” he asked.
For a moment her carefully neutral façade faded. “Janet’s the
one we need to support.” Then her determined look returned.
“I’ll be fine. If we can save the world, we can get Cassie back.”
O’Neill left the storage room, and was careful about making sure
the hallway was clear before entering it. He went to his office
and was there for just minutes before there was a tap at his door.
He acknowledged it with “It’s open.”
Fraiser stepped in and closed the door behind her.
“Nothing yet.” He answered the question her eyes asked. He knew he
could speak freely since his office had been secured.
She barely nodded. “I gave the General your discharge papers.
He needs your signature.”
“Sure.” He made a move toward the door.
The normally reserved captain blurted out the words, “What if I
waited too long to tell anyone about this? What if I’ve put
Cassie in even more danger? I can’t lose her, Colonel.” And
then she buried her face in her hands.
O’Neill placed his left hand on her shoulder and gently squeezed it.
“You did what you thought was best for your child. No one is going
to judge you for that.”
She brought her hands away from her face and looked up at him.
“I will. Especially if something happens to her.
I’d never forgive myself.”
The words cut deep and instinctively he dropped his arm.
Her eyes widened. “Oh God, sir, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…”
“It’s all right, Doc. I know what you meant.” He assessed her
face and saw the tight lines of worry and fatigue etched into it.
“When’s the last time you slept or ate anything?”
She tried to brush him off with a wave of her hand.
“When’s the next time you’re supposed to connect with the site?”
“Use the time to take care of yourself. Carter will have
something for us soon.”
“Yes,sir. Hope so, sir.”
“I’ll go down and sign those discharge papers. We have to make it
look like it is moving forward.”
“Thank you, Colonel. For everything. I almost ended your military
career. After this is all over I’ll understand if you want to
“The only ones I’m interested in punishing are the SOBs that took Cassie.”
She flashed him a grateful smile.
* * *
O’Neill signed the
discharge papers with his usual scribble and slid
them back to Hammond.
“You realize you’ll have to clear out your office and your effects, Colonel.”
“I can start on that right away, sir.”
“Your choice for your replacement?”
For a moment O’Neill was taken aback. “Sir?” he asked.
“If we have to play this hand out till the end, you’ll have to
leave the SGC. We also need to consider your actual physical
condition. While you don’t have a debilitating injury, you’re still
not at a 100%. If an operation is mounted to rescue Cassie, I need
to be certain that every measure is taken to ensure success. And if
that means you taking a back seat, so be it.”
His protest couldn’t come fast enough. “With all due respect sir.”
Hammond held up his hand. “That’s final, Colonel. Your status is
questionable and I won’t risk the little girl or your team. You
need to have someone prepared to participate when the time comes.
Now who will it be?”
He realized he was in a no-win situation. “Makepeace, sir.”
Hammond nodded. “A good choice, Jack”
“I have to be involved, sir.”
“I know, Colonel. I’ll leave it up to your discretion as to when
you inform Makepeace. He’s not scheduled to be off world with his
team for two weeks. I hope this all be resolved way before then.”
O’Neill left the office. As much as he wanted to disagree with Hammond,
he knew the general was right. Makepeace wasn’t hard to find. The marine
didn’t seem surprised when O’Neill told him of his new leadership
role with SG1. Apparently his impending discharge had already been picked
up by the SGC grapevine.
“Damn shame, O’Neill,” was the other colonel’s response. “You’ll be a tough
act to follow but I’m up to the challenge.”
“That’s why I recommended you. We’ll set aside some time in the next
day or so for briefings.” O’Neill stopped short of explaining the
real reason for the change. That would happen when the rescue mission was a go.
* * *
O’Neill reached for the phone on the second ring, completely alert
after being roused from a dead sleep.
“Be right there, Carter.” He replaced the receiver and glanced at his
watch. 01:15. The Captain had been hard at it for over ten hours. He
arrived to find Teal’c and Fraiser already in attendance. Daniel
joined them minutes later.
O’Neill looked at the picture on Carter’s screen. It was the same poor
quality picture he had seen previously. Again, Cassie was asleep but
this time the legs and feet of her captor were absent from the scene.
“I’ve hacked into the website,” Carter explained. “I’ve taken control
of the camera. I’m hoping the camera either isn’t equipped with light
that indicates it’s functioning or that they simply haven’t noticed
that it’s on. We need to be careful not to overuse this. We also have
to make sure we’re not monitoring during the scheduled viewing times.”
“Good work, Captain,” he said. “Have we seen anything that helps
us with finding her?”
“I just got this up and running before I called. I wanted everyone
here because each pair of eyes and viewpoint is important. I’m going
to try to pull background items into view.”
The image of the sleeping child grew fuzzy as the focal point of the
camera changed. Some modest furnishings appeared including a table,
a chair and bookcase. Above the bookcase was a window.
Inwardly O’Neill cursed the darkness. A view through the window could
give a clue to the location. Having to wait for daylight angered him.
Abruptly, the scene disappeared, replaced with the blurred visage of
someone seating themselves in the range of the camera.
“Sam!” Fraiser’s voice was just short of panic.
“There’s nothing I can do, Janet. If the camera does have a light on it,
they’ll probably notice if I shut it down right now.”
“See if you can get a look at the bastard,” O’Neill ordered.
Slowly the face came into focus. It was a man, between the ages of
twenty and thirty whose image bore no distinguishing characteristics.
Certainly it was no one O’Neill recognized from the SGC and
gathering from the lack of response from the others in the room,
no one else found him familiar either.
“Capturing a video file for identity search,” Carter reported.
The man stayed in position for just a minute or two before
disappearing from view.
There was a collective sigh of relief around the storage room.
Carter again had the camera focus on the interior of the room.
There was a single door which was open to a hallway. There was
nothing else visible beyond that.
“I’m going to shut the camera down,” Carter said.
“Just a few minutes more Sam,” Fraiser pleaded.
O’Neill hated to deny the doctor’s request but knew it was necessary.
“Do what you need to do, Carter.”
“To deliver the virus that will give us access to files and emails,
I need to relinquish control of the webcam. If the kidnappers are
communicating via the internet I’ll be able to intercept those messages.
Or there may be files that will help us.”
“Do it.” He turned to Daniel and Teal’c. “What did you see?”
“I did not see weapons,” contributed the Jaffa.
“There was only one other person in the room besides Cassie.
But it’s unlikely he’s working alone since they would have to provide
round the clock monitoring,” Daniel said.
As always, O’Neill was grateful for his team’s observational abilities.
“So, a minimum of two kidnappers, possibly more. Judging by
the ceiling height, window placement, and furnishings, it looked
like residential construction,” he added himself.
“Sending the virus now Colonel,” Carter said. She turned to address
Fraiser. “Your next scheduled viewing time is 03:00, right Janet?”
“I’ll have to log off soon.” She pulled a floppy from the computer.
“We need to run the video capture through the SGC database.”
“I’ll contact General Hammond. He should be able to arrange access.”
Daniel said as he grabbed it and disappeared in a moment.
Fraiser had moved behind Carter and had leaned forward to get a closer
look at the screen. The doctor’s face was a mixture of relief at
seeing her child and anguish of not being able to help her. As Carter
exited the program in preparation to log off, Fraiser’s eyes closed
and her head dropped.
O’Neill placed a hand on her shoulder and her head snapped back up.
“Doc, why don’t you head back to your office? Let us know as soon as
your feed stops so we can get back online. Make sure you don’t call
us from your office. I know it’s going to be rough, but you’re going to
have to limit your trips down here.”
“Yes, sir.” She made her way to the door but before she opened it she
turned. “I need to tell you how much it means to me that you’re working
so hard to find Cassie. I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to repay
you.” By the time she reached the end of the sentence, her voice had cracked.
“Seeing you and your daughter Cassandra together again would be
payment enough,” Teal’c intoned.
She managed just a hint of her usual brilliant smile and then left.
Carter pushed herself away from the computer and stretched. “I’m going to
try and catch a nap.” She indicated the cot in the corner of the storeroom.
“I’ll be right there. The screen should remain dark, if it doesn’t, wake
me up right away.”
Teal’c lowered his large frame into the chair as soon as Carter
vacated it. He folded his arms and stared resolutely at the blank
screen. O’Neill knew there was no reason for him to remain.
Back in his quarters, he started to work out a plan using the few concrete
details they had gleaned from the video feed. At 0500 Teal’c informed
him that Carter had hacked into the site again. This time she was
focusing on files and programs. O’Neill elected to stay put since
as the base came “awake” his comings and goings would be more noticeable.
At 0630 he swung by Daniel’s lab. A shake of the archeologist’s head
told him that the database search for the kidnapper had been unsuccessful.
At 0830 he went to the storeroom. He joined the rest of SG1 clustered
around the computer screen, pulling up a chair next to Teal’c.
“We just got back online after the 0800 feed to Janet. There were minimal
files on the computer and no email programs sir,” Carter said. “Nothing
that helps us pinpoint Cassie’s location.”
O’Neill quickly scanned the screen.
Cassie was seated to the right of the camera, her shoulders hunched. “I
want to talk to my mom!” she demanded.
A male voice came from the far side of the room. “We’ve been over that.
“I could have stayed with Sam.”
“She’s with your mom along with the rest of SG1. Your mother asked us to
keep you safe. Now, is it really so bad to be here? You’ve got books, a
TV and video games. What more could you want?”
“The truth would be nice,” Cassie muttered. And she hunkered down more.
O’Neill studied her face. Cassie knew something was going on. He hoped
that this would be an advantage when the time came. At the same time he
worried that she might do something that would put herself into even
Carter moved the focus of the camera around the room. Daylight showed
boughs of a Colorado blue spruce outside of the solitary window. The
morning rays of the sun that illuminated the tree indicated it was growing
either north or south of the structure. Second story at minimum, Jack
noted, and possibly somewhere geographically close.
“Can I send an email to a friend?” Cassie asked.
“Computer’s off limits.”
There was a deep sigh from the girl.
Somewhere from beyond the camera range came a ring. The man who had been seen
previously stalked into view holding a cell phone to his ear. His agitation
was evident as he paced back and forth.
“What?!” There was a pause and then he exploded, “I don’t care; just get
your sorry ass over here. I need sleep.” In one motion he ended the call
and threw the phone on the table. It skittered across the surface, arced
off the end of the table and landed on the floor near Cassie.
She picked it up.
“Leave it!” the man commanded as he strode up the girl.
Instantly O’Neill tensed as he watched. “If you touch her, you son of
a bitch…” he warned.
Cassie dropped it back to the floor.
“Come on, let’s go watch TV,” the man said.
Cassie obeyed and they left the room together. They were gone less than
five minutes when the phone rang again.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Carter drew a bead on it with the camera.
Fortunately it had landed on its side with its screen toward the camera.
With a little effort the captain was able to focus on the screen.
It continued to ring for eight times before it stopped and the screen
displayed ‘Missed call 719-555-5546’ before it went dark.
“Everyone get that?” O’Neill asked.
There was affirmation from all of them.
Daniel was out of his chair in a moment. “I’ll get the number to the
General. It shouldn’t take long to get the phone records.”
“Get the general to authorize firearms for five of us and I want everyone
to have a zat.”
He instantly noted the response to the word “five” from his team.
“Hammond thinks we need a fifth considering my ‘condition’. Makepeace
will be in on this. But he’ll be included at the last possible moment.
Conventional weapons will be used only as a last resort. The last thing
I want is to have Cassie exposed to live fire. If there’s an errant zat
discharge, she should be able to survive that. We’re going to need a
surveillance vehicle too,” O’Neill said.
“Right Jack,” Daniel said.
“Teal’c, round up some street clothes. I want everything and everyone to be
ready to go at a moments notice.”
Daniel and the Jaffa left immediately to complete their tasks.
Carter spoke, “The next scheduled log on time for Janet is 1200.
I’ll monitor until 1145, unless we have a lead before then.”
O’Neill nodded. “I’ll go back to my office.”
“Aren’t you going to tell Janet what we’ve found out?”
“Not until we have something more concrete.”
“You know she’ll want to be part of this.”
He sighed. “I know Carter, I know.”
* * *
He sat at his desk. It
had been several hours since the phone number had flashed
up on the kidnapper’s cell phone. The 719 area code indicated a local
number, but that was no guarantee that Cassie was being held in the vicinity.
He palmed the pager that Daniel had given him along with the explanation
that when Hammond had a name or location he’d page them and they would meet
in his office. He glanced at it once more to make sure the batteries weren’t
dead. This all was taking longer than he had expected, but he could
appreciate the fact that Hammond had to be careful in pursuing the
information. And he wasn’t sure how the general would arrange getting
the vehicle or weapons, but he knew he would.
He looked around the office, his eyes falling on the picture of a smiling
Charlie. He’d be a little older than Cassie was now. A teenager. When some
of his fellow officers complained about their children’s antics and trials
they put their parents through, he could only wish that his son had lived
long enough to experience adolescence and growing up. He’d be damned if
another child died because of him. He’d be damned if he see another
mother lose her only child. He be damned if Fraiser ended up going through
the same hell as he had. The pager vibrated gently in his hand. It was time
to bring Cassie home.
SG1 gathered around Hammond’s desk.
“We have a name and last known address,” Hammond said as he passed a
manila folder to O’Neill.
O’Neill flipped it open with his left hand to reveal the picture
of a young man, a different one than was seen on video. A Colorado
Springs address was printed below it.
The general continued, “According to phone records, this is Erik
Madison. Interestingly enough, it seems he didn’t exist until a year ago.”
“NID?” O’Neill asked but it came out like a statement.
Hammond shrugged his shoulders. “It’s possible. They’ve made no secret
that they’re not pleased with how we’re handling the alien technology
“And since I was the one that shut down the gate to PXY-887 and
access to trinium, I guess that made me a target,” O’Neill said.
“If you hadn’t done that, Colonel, Xel’s and his people would not have
returned our personnel. I for one am thankful you did,” the general
The door to Hammond’s office burst open to reveal Dr. Fraiser. Her eyes
were wide and her movements were ripe with agitation. She stalked
up to O’Neill.
“What have you found out?” she demanded.
Teal’c closed the door behind her.
“Dr. Fraiser, I don’t remember calling you to this meeting,” Hammond said.
“How dare you not include me?” Her voice was louder now.
“Keep your voice down, Doctor. You’re dangerously close to insubordination.”
Hammonds’ focus switched to O’Neill and his team. “SG1, you have a go.
Your surveillance vehicle and weapons for the five of you are ready and waiting.”
At the last statement, Fraiser visibly calmed down. She began to turn.
“I can be ready in a few minutes.”
“You’re not going, Dr. Fraiser.” Hammond said.
She whirled back and planted her hands on Hammond’s desk. Her tone was
flat and even. “This is my daughter we’re talking about.”
“I understand that, Doctor. It doesn’t alter the fact that you are
Before she could react O’Neill stepped in. “General, I’d like to have a
few moments alone with Dr. Fraiser, if I may.”
Hammond looked back and forth between them and then pushed himself away
from the desk. “Very well.”
O’Neill addressed his team. “Everyone clear on the plan?"
"General, can you arrange to have Makepeace meet me
in the locker room in five? ”
“Consider it done, Colonel. I’ve been keeping close tabs on his
whereabouts since you designated him as your fifth.”
The office cleared, leaving O’Neill with one very angry doctor.
“We don’t have much time,” he began.
“I’ll be brief, Colonel. There’s no way in hell I’m sitting this out.”
“This is my operation and I’ve chosen my team.”
“I am a soldier.”
“I know that.”
“I’ve proven myself in the field…”
“I don’t doubt your abilities. You’d be part of the team you if I
thought it’s where you should be.”
She stepped close to him, the picture of Erik Madison crumpling slightly
between them. “I need be out there, helping rescue Cassie.”
“Stand down, Captain,” he warned.
“You can pull rank on me Colonel, all you want, after we get Cassie back.”
“This isn’t about rank,” he said quietly. “This is about you and
your daughter. About what you need to do to make sure she stays safe.
I can’t have you go off half-cocked and do something that could
jeopardize her, the team or yourself.”
“I’ll follow orders,” her tone was contrite as she lowered her head.
“Like you’re doing now?”
Her head snapped back up and fire returned to her eyes. “What if
something goes wrong and you need medical assistance out there?”
Unbidden the sight of Fraiser holding a dying Cassie flashed into his
mind. So like the image of Sara cradling Charlie as he slipped away.
He inwardly shuddered. His words were deliberately hard as he brushed
past her and said, “I’ve made my decision, Captain.”
“Don’t do this.”
O’Neill forced himself not to turn and capitulate. He addressed
the door instead, “Confine yourself to your office and be ready to
update us on anything you might see during your logged in time.” With
that he reached for the doorknob and left Fraiser alone.
* * *
The nondescript van was crowded with the five of them and the surveillance
gear. O’Neill brushed elbows with Daniel as he adjusted his headset. Teal’c
sat with his legs pulled up to his chest. Carter was scrunched into a
corner with Makepeace next to her. O’Neill was encouraged that the
marine colonel had quickly accepted the mission and the fact that his
promotion to the leadership of SG1 had been a ruse. That convinced him
that his choice of Makepeace would have been the right one had he
actually been forced to leave the SGC.
They had been parked down the street from Madison’s apartment building for
several hours and soon the daylight would be gone. O’Neill could only hope
that there would be a “changing of the guard” soon and that eventually Madison
would return home. That would mean waiting until morning to follow him back to
where Cassie was being held, but he saw no other way of speeding up the
process. Until he saw someone exit the building and head for a compact
sedan. It was Mr. No-name from the video. Apparently the kidnappers were
sharing the apartment. With any luck he would lead them to Cassie and
they would be able to accomplish the rescue under the cover of darkness.
It was time they caught a break.
“Daniel, get up there and drive,” he ordered. “Make sure you stay far
enough behind him. Makepeace, ride shot gun”
The two men scrambled up to the front seats.
O’Neill trained the hidden dashboard camera on the car as it pulled away
from the curb. Although the vehicle was universally dirty it looked like the
license plates had been purposefully muddied, making the numbers unreadable.
Briefly he considered calling in a helicopter to track the car from
above, but dropped it after realizing how long it would take to mobilize
one. A UAV certainly would have done the job.
Daniel kept the car in visual range. If the driver had any notion
he knew he was being followed, he gave no indication. After following
for twenty minutes the vehicle slowed and turned onto a residential street
that was marked “No outlet”.
“Keeping going, Daniel. Go down to the next street and turn around.
As you drive back take note if he’s parked in front of any particular
house. Carter, get satellite photos of the area.” He quickly rewound
the video tape and froze the frame with the street name. “It’s Moran
As Daniel cruised by the street again, O’Neill saw both him and Makepeace
taking a long look.
“Looks like he’s near the end of the block,” Makepeace said.
“Got the maps, sir,” Carter said.
“Any house with a large pine tree close to either the north or
south side of it?”
“One sir, at the very end of the cul-de-sac. The tree is in the back.”
“What’s behind the property?”
“It’s an open area. Closest access would be the street to the east,
Sioux Circle South. We should be able to park there.”
“Give the directions to Daniel.”
She quickly outlined the turns to the archeologist and in a few minutes
they were positioned on the other street. Dusk was rapidly giving way
to the darkness of a moonless night. O’Neill had instructed Daniel to
park in front of a house with no lights on. The last thing they needed
was to be observed by anyone in the neighborhood and having someone
call the police.
“What was the timing of those feeds to Fraiser?” he asked.
“0800, 1400, 2000 and 0300,” Teal’c said.
O’Neill glanced at this watch. It was very close to the 2000 mark.
He wanted the latest computer reconnaissance before they proceeded.
He palmed his phone and dialed Fraiser’s office number. It rang eight
times without acknowledgement before he hung up and placed a call to Hammond.
Hammond’s angry tone said it all. “Dr. Fraiser is no longer at the SGC.”
O’Neill had a good idea where she might be. They had been so busy following
the kidnappers he hadn’t considered that they might being tailed too. Fraiser
was a good soldier. She had demonstrated that during Hathor’s occupation
of the SGC. For a moment he regretted not including her. But then he
remembered what he had sought to protect her from.
“Shit!” he exclaimed.
“My thoughts exactly, colonel,” the general responded.
Hammond continued. “I didn’t call you earlier since I didn’t want to take
the chance of compromising the mission. According to the infirmary staff,
she was last seen late this afternoon. Some medical supplies are unaccounted
for, including some potent sedatives.”
“Understood, sir. We’re in position. Can you monitor the video feed from
Fraiser’s computer? We need up to the minute information.”
“I’ll head there right away. Good luck, Colonel.”
“Thank you, sir.” He pocketed the phone and looked at his team. Each wore their
night vision goggles around their necks. “Fraiser left the SGC and might
be out here somewhere. This doesn’t change the plan. While it would be
great to grab these bastards, do some serious physical harm to them and then
pump them for information, Cassie is the prime objective. I want you in
and out as fast as possible. Carter, I want you to be the one to get to her
first. Hopefully she’ll recognize your voice over anyone else’s.
We can’t afford to have her panic when you bust in there. Hammond will
contact me when he sees the video feed. I’ll tell you when to go.”
“What about Janet?” Carter asked.
“We’re just going to have to trust that she’ll use her head, stay out of the
way and let us handle this.” He adjusted his headset. “Radio check.” When
he was satisfied that everything was in working order, he gave the signal
and one by one SG1 and Makepeace exited the van and disappeared into the darkness.
A few minutes later the team began to report in and their individual
infra-red camera feeds popped up on the surveillance monitors.
“Confirmation of target?” O’Neill asked.
Carter came on. “Just going by the tree and the placement of the second
story window, sir.”
Daniel contributed, “No visuals on the first floor.”
“There appears to be one entry point from the rear,” Teal’c said.
“There’s adequate cover in the back to advance,” Makepeace said.
“Only one vehicle on the street,” Carter reported.
O’Neill’s phone vibrated in his pocket. He immediately put it to his left ear.
“Colonel, the video feed shows two, I repeat two people with the child.”
Daniel’s voice came
over the radio headset. “Ahh there might be someone
else out here. There’s movement on the west side.” Daniel’s monitor showed
a ripple of motion in the bushes.
O’Neill spoke into his cell, “General, we need to move.”
“Good luck, Colonel.”
He yanked off the headset and grabbed his vest outfitted with a radio.
“Minimum three targets, I say again minimum three targets. The bogey
outside is mine. On my mark it’s a go,” he said as he shrugged the vest
on. Appropriating a zat and a 9mm he jumped out of the van. As he covered
the distance to the house, he kept in communication with his team.
All responses were negative.
He looped around the adjacent property and took up position on the northeast
corner of the other house. He risked a quick look and saw that there was
someone crouched in the bushes.
“I’ve got the bogey in sight. Go on my mark,” he told SG1 and Makepeace
“One, two, three…” As the word three left his lips he saw four shadowy
forms sprint across the yard. As his intended target raised his gun
against his team, O’Neill sprang forward, fired his zat and dispatched the man.
There was the sharp report of a handgun from behind him. Instinctively
he dropped, rolled to his right and came up firing. Pain coursed down
his arm and he struggled to control the aim of the weapon that felt
as if now weighed ten pounds. The blue arcs of energy from the zat
went wide of the man who was firing from the front corner of the house.
Suddenly the man dropped to his knees. His gun discharged harmlessly
into the ground as he pitched face-first onto the lawn.
Janet Fraiser’s small form materialized from behind the fallen man.
She shoved something into the bag she wore around her waist and then
rushed toward O’Neill. He grabbed her and dragged her to the side of
the house. They flattened themselves against the siding and inched
along until he was able to take a quick look around the corner.
He saw four figures zigzagging across the yard. It was impossible
not to recognize Teal’c’s large form and the fact that he was
He threw a last glance over his shoulder and convinced that
they were clear, he commanded, “Follow me.” The doctor matched him
stride for stride. By the time they reached the van, the engine was
already running. Arms reached to yank them inside. The van door slammed
shut and they sped off.
Cassie crawled across the tangle of bodies to reach her mother. They
clung to each other and cried.
* * *
Captain Janet Fraiser stood at perfect attention.
“I’ve asked Colonel O’Neill to be part of this since you almost
ended his career,” Hammond said.
“Yes, sir. I made some mistakes.”
Hammond’s voice became louder. “These go well beyond making mistakes,
Captain.Do you realize the number and the severity of charges pending
against you? Falsifying a medical record, removing controlled substances
from the infirmary, leaving your post and last but not certainly
least,failure to obey a direct order.”
O’Neill noted that the doctor did not flinch during the reading of
the charges. She was ramrod straight with her eyes focused on the book case
behind Hammond’s desk. He hadn’t wanted to be included in this meeting. He
never got off on seeing anyone get disciplined. But he very well couldn’t
refuse the general’s order to attend.
“I waive the right to court martial, General Hammond. I plead guilty to
all the charges and accept any punishment you deem fit.”
The general’s voice softened a bit. “I can understand why you did
these things, but I can’t very well look the other way.”
“I wouldn’t expect you to, sir.”
O’Neill cleared his throat.
“You have something to say, Colonel O’Neill?”
He stepped forward to stand shoulder to shoulder with Fraiser. Actually
it was more like her shoulder to his mid-arm. “I’d just like to state for
the record that while Captain Fraiser did falsify my medical record, she
did so while under duress. As for disobeying orders, by so doing she saved
me from sustaining certain injury. And in the light of her experience as
the Chief Medical officer of the SGC, I see it as a distinct disadvantage
to have her do a stint in Leavenworth for any length of time.”
The sharp intake of air next to him told him that the good doctor hadn’t
considered the possibility of that disciplinary option.
Hammond shifted his gaze back and forth between the two officers.
“I’ll take your opinion under advisement, colonel. You’re dismissed.
Doctor Fraiser and I have some things to discuss.”
O’Neill gave the general a smart salute with an arm that felt remarkably
like new. Even though he had experienced a minor setback when he had
hit the dirt the night they rescued Cassie, he was expected to return
to active duty in the next few days. He waited down the hall from Hammond’s
office until he heard the click of Fraiser’s heels on the concrete floor.
He intercepted her.
“Thanks for your support in there, Colonel. By rights you could have nailed
me to the wall,” Fraiser said.
“I meant everything I said. And I never did thank you for saving my
butt that night.”
“And I never apologized for taking advantage of you in the general’s office
that day and reading kidnapper’s address from the paper you were holding.”
“So we’re even?” he asked.
She flashed her trademark smile. “If you say so, sir.”
“What’d you get?”
“Loss of one month’s pay, revocation of privileges to the med cabinet
for six months and the feeling I’ll be a Captain for a long time.”
“Nonsense,” he said. “You’ll find the cure for the next illness or injury that
befalls us and all will be forgiven and forgotten.”
“I’ll never forget what you did for my daughter and for me.” She paused.
“I know why you didn’t want me on the team. You were afraid of what
could have happened, of what I could have seen. I appreciate the fact
that you were trying to protect me. But I know you understood why I had
to be there."
He nodded. "Maybe I'll just add 'one hell of a soldier' to your list
She blushed a little. “Dinner at my place tonight? Teal’c, Sam and Daniel are coming.
Cassie is anxious to see you all.”
The prospect of being among friends and the additional draw of home cooking
caught his attention. “Sure, I’ll bring the beer,” he replied.
“See you at 7.” She brushed past him.
He had a sudden thought, “Hey you’re not making that eggplant
casserole, are you?”
She glanced back but kept walking. “Probably not.”
“Is that a guarantee?”
Her voice echoed back to him as she continued down the hall, “Just going to
have to trust me on that, Colonel.”
Colonel Robert Makepeace spoke vehemently into his phone. “I don’t know
who was responsible for that horseshit kidnapping plan, but they
should be shot.”
The voice on the other end replied dryly, “As I recall, all three were.
Two were zatted and the other one was drugged. What happened?
You were on the inside.”
“I wasn’t brought in until the last minute. I couldn’t jeopardize
my situation and risk a call to you. You should know you can’t use
strong arm tactics against a man like O’Neill. He'll strike back. But sooner or
later, he’ll figure out we’re being used by the Tok’ra. He’ll tire
of the bullshit from aliens like the Tollan and come over to our side.”
“Well, until the great Colonel Jack O’Neill deigns to join our ranks,
we keep moving forward with appropriating technology on our own.
When’s the next scheduled off world mission?”
“Next week. SG1 has a mission to a planet known as Medrona.”
“Keep your eyes and ears open for anything that might be of value.”
There was a click as the
phone line went dead. Makepeace sighed. He
had had no prior knowledge of the plan to kidnap Fraiser’s daughter.
That’s the way things worked, everyone operated in separate cells.The
less you knew, the less you could reveal. He also didn’t know the man,
who always answered the phone, but whoever he was, Makepeace was
convinced that he had the best
interests of Earth at heart.
Maybourne replaced the phone receiver. Maybe the kidnapping plot
had been ill-advised and maybe the wrong people had been sent to
do the job. But in the end it had served its purpose. The intended
message had been received by Hammond. Nothing was sacred when it
came to procuring technology and saving Earth. The next time just
a threat would suffice…
Takes place right after the season 2 episode, "Spirits", right after
they send Tonané home. Jack's arm starts to really bother him and Janet
realizes the injury is more serious than she originally thought it to
be. Cassie gets kidnapped. The kidnappers use her to get Janet to declare
Jack unfit for duty and to recommend him for a medical discharge.
Do include - Jack/Janet
friendship, the NID and/or Kinsey, a
conversation between Hammond and Janet at or towards the end where Janet faces
disciplinary action for disobeying an order.
Don't include - Jack/Sam ship or UST
SG-1 finds out where Cassie is being held
(on there on or by an anonymous tip). Jack's against Janet coming with
SG-1 on the mission to get Cassie back, and Hammond agrees, but Janet
insists. Jack denies her request. Janet gets angry, lashes out at Jack
(and Hammond if you want) verbally, then sneaks along with or follows
them anyway. Janet and Jack already respect each other after the events in
"The Broca Divide", I would like to see this as the beginnings of the
close bond of friendship and trust between them that we see in the