Chronicles of the Wishverse
Snakes Among the Stars
by Michael Weyer

Part two: In which new meetings are made and revelations brought to life.

Colonel Nick Fury blew out a cloud of smoke as he glared at Jansen. "'d better have one damn good explanation for this."

The man swallowed as he rose from his seat. "Colonel Fury...what are...why are you...?"

"Funny story behind that," Fury said as he carefully paced around. "Seems I got a call from the President who got a call from a General Hammond who got a call from a teenager who was talking about her mother being kidnapped by two people who took her away in a flying car."

Fury glared at the agents. "Now, I know none of my agents would possibly be stupid enough to do something like that in broad daylight where any yahoo on a jog can see them." He looked at Jansen. "Then again, my people also wouldn't go around assaulting and abducting military personell without my permission."

"Wait, you never signed off on this?" the brown-haired woman said before stopping herself.

Fury glared at her, then at Jansen. "Oh, this just gets better and better," he muttered. He stepped forward to glare at Jansen. "This general was really pissed. That made the president pissed. When the President ain't happy, Jansen, I ain't happy. When the President is pissed, I'm pissed. And when the President is pissed at me...oh, I'm gonna be pissed at somebody." He leaned in, forcing Jansen to lean back. "And guess who comes to mind."

Jansen swallowed and tried to keep calm. " put me in charge of this investigation and told me I should take any actions I felt proper for-----"

"And in what world does abduction of United States soldiers strike ya as proper, Jansen?" Fury demanded, his eye flaring with anger. "Not to mention doing so without even consulting me about it?"

"Well, this seemed better," Jansen explained. "If there's one thing I learned in fifteen years with the CIA, Colonel, it's that it's always important to give your superiors-----"

Fury bit down on his cigar as he snapped. "Jansen, if the words 'plausible deniability' exit yer mouth, I'm gonna break yer neck." He yanked the cigar out and jabbed the lit tip inches from Jansen's face. "I did not spend four fun-filled years fighting the Axis, go through the Cold War, win the Cold War and try to keep this world from going over the edge just to let my own people act like there's no such thing as legal rights!"

Jansen swallowed in fear at the ire Fury was directing at him. "Colonel...I..."

Fury lifted a finger to cut him off. "Normally, right about now, I'd have the urge to throw you off this ship. But for some unfathomable reason, I'm feeling kinda good-natured right now. So instead, you are restricted to quarters until I can figure out just what to court-martial you for.  Personally, I think you'd be wanting to rethink your career plans." His sole eye flared as Jansen scurried away as fast as he could.  Fury turned to stare at everyone else, taking a long drag on his cigar. He swept over the captives and rolled his eye. "I don't know who thought up those jail outfits..." He took out the
cigar and pointed it at the black-clad agents. "Get them outta there, get them some decent clothes and then I wanna see all of you in upper conference room C." He turned on his heel and marched out, calling over his shoulder. "And make it fast!"

There was a pause as the two sides stared at one another. "This is going to be a fun afternoon," Daniel muttered under his breath.

The locker room area was large even though O'Neill got the feeling it wasn't the only one in whatever complex this was. He was lacing up a pair of dark boots, now wearing a pair of dark pants and shirt, the same generic style that Teal'c and Daniel were now wearing. He looked up at the three men who had accompined them. "So, you guys have names?"

The youngest of the group looked at his companions before speaking. "Michael Vaughn."

He nodded at the older man with the slicked hair. "This is Sam Fisher and that's Clint Barton."

"Hawkeye to my friends," the blonde-haired man said with pride.

"So who are you guys?" Daniel asked. "CIA? NSA? NID? Some other secret group we've never heard of?"

"The latter," Fisher said in a hard voice. He had the look and bearing of a professional soldier and glared at the trio through slitted eyes.
O'Neill sighed as he stood up. "So what did we do to piss you guys off, anyway?"

"It's a complicated situation," Vaughn said in a careful voice. "It involves a lot of classified material and I'm not sure what kind of clearance you might have for that sort of thing."

O'Neill smiled. "Trust me, kid, we've got plenty of clearance." He glared at the three. "So which one of you got me and Janet?"

Barton raised his hand. "Where'd you come from?" O'Neill demanded. "We never got a hint of you coming."

The man shrugged. "I was by the backyard fence with Natasha."

O'Neill stared at him. "You made that shot from that far?"

"Yeah, it was pretty easy." The blonde man smiled at the look O'Neill was giving him.

Sam adujusted the shoulder straps on the muscle shirt she had put on before moving to grab a short jacket. Janet had finished pulling on a bra and was slipping into a pair of pants next to her. The two women both shot glares at the three female agents standing nearby. "I guess privacy
isn't an issue with you," Janet snapped as slipped into a pair of boots.

"We were told to keep an eye on you," the redhead said in a voice that carried traces of a Russian accent. "Our boss is not someone you want to disobey."

"I got that," Carter said. She looked at the trio. "I assume you know who we are. Don't suppose we could get your names?"

The three women glanced at one another before the young brown-haired one spoke. "I'm Sydney." She motioned to the blonde. "That's Nikita and she's Natasha."

Fraiser raised an eyebrow as she pulled a shirt on. "Any last names?"

"Mine's Bristow," Sydney said. "Natasha is Romanov. Nikita..." She frowned. "Actually, your guess is as good as ours."

Natasha glared at her. "Sydney..."

"We might as well try to be civil," the woman defended herself.

Carter sniffed. "A bit late for that."

Janet rose up to face the three women. "I'm letting you all know right now that if I don't get to see my daughter soon, someone's going to be in a lot of trouble."

"That ship has long sailed," Nikita remarked.

Despite all the wonders they'd seen in their travels across the universe, SG-1 was still taken aback at the size of the Heli-Carrier.  They'd been following the agents as they marched across a catwalk that cut across a massive hanger and realized just where they were. They had all stopped and stared at the huge opening at one end of the chamber that showed the cloudy sky. "Holy shit," O'Neill remarked.

"How far up are we?"

"About 20,000 feet," Fisher had said as if it was perfectly natural. "We can go higher if the cloud cover fades away."

Carter looked around. "How do you keep this thing afloat?"

"A power source so advanced it doesn't have a name," Nikita answered. "And don't bother asking me to explain how it works."

The rest of the walk was mostly silent as the group went up an elevator and down a few hallways before coming to a conference room. A large oval table was set in the middle with viewscreens placed about the room. Fury was sitting at the head of the table, a cigar back in his mouth. Seated beside him was a lanky man with a short blonde crewcut and horn-rimmed glasses wearing an immaculate suit while shuffling some papers before him. "Sit down," Fury ordered as soon as the group entered.  He took notice of how the two groups sat facing one another. Taking another drag on his cigar, he turned to SG-1 and began. "All right, let's get to it. I'm Nick Fury and I head up an organization that has a fancy name but we just call it SHIELD."

"Never heard of it," O'Neill stated.

"Well, that's cause we're secret," Fury patiently explained as if to a child. "We keep behind the scenes most of the time but trust me, if need be, we've got more pull than every agency in this country combined and a few international ones too."

"So why did your people kidnap us?" Carter demanded.

Fury shook his head. "Jansen wasn't supposed to do that. He was supposed to just observe and investigate, not take such a drastic step." His face clouded. "Trust me, he's gonna have a long time to regret that."

"Why were you investigating us?" Teal'c asked.

Fury blew out a cloud of smoke. "Couple of weeks ago, we intercepted transmissions from a group we've been keeping our eye on called the Sons of the Serpent."

Daniel frowned. "Wait a minute. That crazy white supremicist group? I thought they were just some troublesome nuts but not dangerous."

"Actually," the blonde-haired man spoke up in a dry voice. "The Sons are merely a front for a much larger and much more dangerous organization. One that poses a serious threat to the safety of the free world."

O'Neill snorted before composing himself. "Sorry. I just can't believe you said that with a straight face."

"All Sitwell has is a straight face," Fisher cracked.

Sitwell pushed his glasses up on his face as he went on. "The organization is named Hydra. They are an international organization who are involved in various criminal enterprises, from extortion to drug smuggling to more, all the time working toward their ultimate goal of world domination."

It was Carter's turn to let out a snort. "Wait a domination? Are you kidding me? Who's their leader, Dr. No?"

"They actually call him the Supreme Hydra," Sitwell stated. "You must understand, this group has a fanaticism that is borderline insane. They are also utterly ruthless and willing to kill anyone who gets in the way of their goal."

"What does that have to do with us?" O'Neill snapped, tired of the run-around.

Sitwell pulled out one sheet of paper. "The intercepted communique was to a section of the Sons in Colorado. It was telling them to keep an eye out for any and all information regarding something called Project Stargate."

The SG-1 members immediately shared glances, all sober at this revelation. Fury was studying them as he tapped ash off his cigar. "So...any of you wanna tell me why Hydra would want something in a Colorado mountain?"

Before anyone could reply, the door to the room burst open and a small man with slicked dark hair and a goofy smile entered. He was clad in a suit that looked far too rumpled and held a case in his hands. "Oh, Colonel! They told me you were in here."

"Oh, God," Fury groaned, placing a hand over his face. The man walked over to put the case on the table and opened it. "Marshall, what the hell are you doing here?"

"Oh, you wanted me to show you some of my new stuff," the man was saying. "Marshall, I'm in the middle of something..."

"Oh, ok, this won't take long." The man held up a small box containing what looked like some tiny darts. "Okay, this just became new in the field. Latest in knockout darts. One shot and they wake up hours later with a hangover." He chuckled brightly.

Teal'c gazed at the darts and raised an eyebrow. "I believe I was struck with three of those."

The smile left Marshall's face. "Oh...well, that was...well, you're quite big and...musclely and bald and please don't kill me."

Sydney had a tiny smile as Marshall tried to compose himself. "Uh, ok, so this one is a new thing for undercover work" He pulled out a small square device. "Okay, ordinay run-of-the-mill camera, right? Uh-huh." He flipped it over to show them a small opening on one side.  "Instant modem access, you can send data over the Net, course, you'd have to avoid posting it on the Drudge Report, whew, trust me on that, and there's also satelite access so you can broadcast it direct to us if need be. And hey, things get spicy..." He began to twist the camera, interlocking and separating parts then holding it up to show it now resembled a gun. "Three shots just in case.  That's, I mean, shots like bullet shots not camera shots, cause, you know, those you get unlimited of. Well, not unlimited but, um..."

The SHIELD agents were wearing weary expressions indicating this was all familiar to them. The SG-1 members were exchanging glances that basically asked "what the HELL is this guy on?!"

Marshall pulled out what looked like a small tube of lipstick. "Okay, ladies will love this.  New style of lipstick container I got. Inside's hollow for just about anything. Lockpick, powder container, microfilm, stuff like that but hey, just in case!" He twirled the lower half to allow a stick of red lipstick to emerge. "Right here, it's real it's...well, I won't show you cause that'd be weird but-----"

"Marshall!" Fury finally erupted. The techie jumped and stared at the man. Fury glared and pointed to the outside of the room. Marshall looked behind him, looked at Fury, looked behind again, looked back at Fury and finally seemed to understand. "Oh. Oh, I'll be...ok..." He quickly put his case back together and nervously darted out of the room. Fury rubbed at his temples and muttered under his breath, "I can hear ya laughing, Happy Sam."

"Well," O'Neill remarked. "At least that wasn't too weird."

Fury sighed as he looked at them. "Getting back ta my questions...just what is it you people are involved in?"

Daniel coughed. "Well, it's sort of classified, sir."

Fury snorted. "Buddy, I've got an ear to the President."

"So do we," O'Neill fired back. "Nice guy."

Sitwell cleared his throat as he leafed through some papers. "Ah, there is also the matter of your physcial reports," he said as he lifted some pages up. "We did a brief check-up while you were unconscious and it appears that Colonel O'Neill and Dr. Fraiser have some sort of unidentified element in their bloodstreams." The two exchanged a glance, each knowing those were the traces of the symboites they'd once had. "And for Mr....Teal'c..." Sitwell stared at the report and frowned. "Well, frankly, they don't know what to make of him or the...blockage in his stomach."

All eyes turned to Teal'c, who simply raised an eyebrow. "I am...from abroad."

Fury blinked at that and shook his head. "Listen, I ain't letting this go until I get some answers, ok?"

O'Neill sat back and crossed his arms. "You want have to ask the right people."

Fury frowned deeply as he took a drag on his cigar. "Who's the right people?"

1532 Hours CMT

Hammond let out a deep sigh as he tapped his fingers on the desk. "Mr. President, I hope you can understand why I don't feel comfortable with this."
"I do understand, General," President Palmer said over the line. "But I feel this is the best course of action for all parties concerned."  Hammond shook his head. "Sir, the fact that there is apparantly some sort of super-spy agency I am not aware of does not sit well with me. That they decided to abduct some of my people is something that doesn't please me. And now to invite that very agency to know about something as important as the Stargate, I just don't see this as very wise."

"First, General, I am sorry that something like this occured. I can assure you that I knew nothing about it and the man who instigated the abductions will be dealt with. However, General, SHIELD's mandate is to protect democracies from any possible threats, which means they have to investigate certain thing that may be suspicious. Frankly, something like this was probably inevitable given the massive secrecy around the project. You should be glad that SHIELD is a bit easier to talk to than some other agencies."

Hammond let out a breath. "Mr. President, I still have reservations."

"I know, General. But I think this will turn out for the best."

Hammond closed his eyes. "We can only hope."

The double-bladed helicopter roared through the Colorado skies with speed that beiled its size. The design was meant to accomdate an entire commando team and was enough to hold SG-1, Fury, Bristow, Vaughn, Nikita, Fisher, Barton and Romanov with a rather nervous Marshall
frantically checking his belt.

"First time in one of these?" Daniel asked the nebbish technician.

"Oh, um, yeah, I don't, you know, fly, all that often." Marshall swallowed. "But, I, I, I'm feeling good, you know? I've got a special parachute under my clothes. Even has a harness so you, you, could tag on as well."

Daniel blinked at him. "I'll keep that in mind."

Fisher glanced at Marshall, then at Fury. "Colonel, why are we bringing him along? He's not a field guy."

Fury shrugged. "From what the President said, this is some fancy hi-tech shit we're about to get into. I figure having Marshall along to translate might be a good idea."

"Yeah but who's going to translate Marshall?" Clint retorted.

The pilot's voice cut through the intercom. "Making final approach to Cheynee Mountain." The group settled back in their seats to wait the landing. Marshall tightened his belt and gripped his armrests hard as he took a deep breath.

The helicopter slowly landed, the rotors still whirling as the doors opened wide. Fury hopped out and strode forward, his coat flapping behind him in the wind. The SHIELD agents were right behind him with SG-1 following. Marshall hit the ground, tripped, caught himself and tried to maintain some dignity. Facing the group was a small squad of uniformed soldiers with rifles, Hammond standing at the head, with arms crossed. As he watched the group approach, Hammond's eyes widened as he saw their leader. "I don't believe it..."

Fury let out a cocky grin. "Hey, Georgie, boy. Been a long time."

"Fury," Hammond said. "How the hell are you mixed up in this?"

"Long story," Fury remarked with a wave of his hand. He looked at the stars on Hammond's soldier. "Nice to see you've gone up in the world. Long way from the wet-nosed punk I met in '71."

Sydney leaned in toward Vaughn. "Vaughn, I've been wondering. If Fury fought in Vietnam, Korea and World War II, how come he still looks so young?"

Vaughn shrugs. "No one knows. We just chalked it up to clean living."

Hammond nodded toward SG-1. "Good to see you all back. I believe we have a major debriefing to attend to." He looked toward the SHIELD group. "As for all of you, we do have some procedures for new arrivals to our facility." He nodded to Fraiser. "Doctor, I believe you'll
want to get started on that?"

An uncharacteristic wicked smile came onto Janet's face. "Oh, yes, sir. I think I will." Daniel, Jack and Sam also smiled as the SHIELD group exchanged worried glances.

An hour later, a rather dishelved and irritated group of SHIELD agents tromped into the main briefing room for the SGC. SG-1 was there, now in regular uniforms with Fraiser in her lab coat, a blissful expression on her face. Natasha gave her an ugly look. "That was deliberate," she hissed.

Fraiser looked up with an innocent expression. "I don't know what you mean."

Fury grunted as the group took seats around the table. He put a cigar into his mouth and lit it. "Ah, this is a non-smoking facility," Daniel piped up.
Fury stared at him and blew a cloud of smoke toward his face. He turned his gaze toward Hammond. "Okay, George. We've gone through yer little hoop games. Now, I want some answers. Just what is this place?"

Hammond looked at the table. " much do any of you believe about life on other planets?"

Fury snorted. "Far as I'm concerned, the fact that alien life has never contacted us is certain proof they're intelligent."

Hammond sighed. "Okay, here we go. This facility houses an ancient device that we call the Stargate. It creates a wormhole that allows us to travel to other planets."

Fury puffed on his cigar, his sole eye fixed on Hammond. The rest of the SHIELD group appeared utterly baffled by what he was saying. "Other planets?" Vaughn asked. "You mean...actual...alien worlds?"

"With little green men?" Barton added.

"Actually, the Asgard are grey," O'Neill interjected.

Natasha blinked. "Asgard? As in the Norse myths?"

Daniel coughed. "Um, yes, well, that sort of becomes complicated now..."

For the next half hour, the SHIELD group was riveted by the explanation of the Goa'uld, the Tok'ra, the symboites, the Stargates and the entire program. SG-1 simply sat back and awaited the inevitable reactions.

"Are you kidding us?" Fisher growled. "We've gone to all this trouble for this bullshit project?"

Carter smiled. "You really think the Pentagon would spend seven billion dollars a year on this facility if it wasn't important?"

Fury snorted. "I"ve been military, lady. I've seen the waste the Pentagon creates."

Hammond sighed. "Colonel, this is for real. All of it. This facility is our link to the stars and especially the threat of the Goa'uld. And SG-1 here are the top team in handling that threat."

"Thank you, sir."

"Quiet, Colonel." Hammond glanced at his watch. "I figured a little more proof might be necessary for this, so.." He rose to his feet and walked toward the windows of the room, which had shielding over them. Pushing a button, the shield rose up to show the Gate room. The SHIELD group was surprised at the sight of the Gate itself. An alarm began to ring out and lights flashed as the inner circle of the Gate began to spin. "What the hell?" Clint asked as he rose from his seat.

Soon, the entire group was standing at the window, watching as each chevron locked into place. Marshall's brow furrowed as he saw what was happening, his mind making the jumps necessary to its conclusion. "Um, is what I think gonna happen about to happen?"

"What's that?" Sydney asked.

Before Marshall could reply, the final chevron locked in and the Gate opened. The SHIELD agents jumped back as the energy of the Gate blasted forward, then pulled back and the Gate shone brightly. "Holy shit," Clint whispered as Natasha swore a Russian curse. Marshall's eyes shot wide open and a goofy smile came onto his face. "Oh, wow," he whispered. "Where does it go?"

Carter glanced at Hammond, who stated "It's SG-8."

Nodding, Carter turned to Marshall. "A planet roughly two hundred light years away."

Marshall's smile broadened. "Oh, man....that" He nodded towards the ramp. "So, um, hope you haven't had anyone standing in front of that thing when it goes off. Cause, you know, the first backlash of energy there would, ah, cause any matter to destabilize on a molecular level and turn you into, um, well, space dust."

O'Neill smiled at Carter. "Carter, I think we've found you a new friend."

Hammond chuckled as well but it ended when figures emerged from the Gate. One man was holding his arm, with blood staining the uniform. Behind him, two other soldiers were carrying a litter with a blanket pulled over a body. Fraiser immediately took off with Hammond behind her. Still gazing at the Gate, Fury chased after them.

"What happened?" Hammond demanded as he entered the gate room.

The leader of the group sighed, wincing as he rubbed his arm. "It was Styles, sir. I don't know what happened, he just seemed to flip out."

The litter had been lowered to the ramp as Fraiser moved toward it. She pulled back the blanket to show a handsome soldier with dark hair and some froth around his blue lips. She frowned as she opened the jaw and smelled something. "Cyinide?"

The leader took a breath. "We were checking out the ruins on the planet like you wanted us to. I went to check on Styles and found him trying to shove some tablet into his bag. When I asked him what he was doing, he pulled a gun and fired at me." He nodded to the two soldiers. "Ramos and Caspian were nearby, they showed up to back me up. Styles seemed to know he was caught, bit down and then collapsed."

Hammond's confusion was evident on his face. "Did he say anything? Any clue as to why he did it?"

The soldier frowned. "He said something...but it didn't make much sense. Something about cutting off one arm...."

"And two more will take its place," Fury intoned. His face was dark and serious as Hammond turned to face him.

"What's going on here, Nick?" the General demanded.

Fury took out his cigar and twirled it between thumb and forefinger. "We've got problems, George." He gave Hammond a hard look. "Hydra knows about the Gate."