Title: Chronicles of Wanderer - WingGate
West Wing and all characters owned by NBC.
Stargate and all characters owned by MGM.
Stargate: Up past season three episode "Point of View." The team still believes Apohis is dead. There are also hints of the flashback segments of the fifth season episode "Threshold."
West Wing: This is actually set before the first episode, as you'll see.
For the purposes of avoiding confusion, Samantha Carter will be referred to as Carter and Sam Seaborn will be called Sam.
Just clearing it up. A little "backstory" here to explain a few things in the Wanderverse high levels. Thanks to Steve and Tim Knight for some story help.
Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado
April 9th, 1997
1026 hours, MDT
There were days General George Hammond wished, with almost everything he had, that he had never requested the "easy" assignment of protecting an seemingly defunct artifact hidden in a mountain. Hammond had been told he was just going to be overseeing the site being "phased out" and then he could finish his job at a desk.
Two years later, Hammond was in the difficult position of being the head of the only line of defense between Earth and a multitude of extraterrestrial threats. He had to live with the immense pressure of his job, combined with the fact he couldn't tell his own family about what he did. Making sure the Stargate Command Center got the funding it needed, balancing the duties of a dozen off world teams, researchers, scientists and other assorted personnel, combined with a faction within the military who wanted things handled their way, was enough to drive anyone to drink.
Frankly, Hammond could handle aliens, creatures, viruses, robots and rogue military units without a problem. It was handling his prime SGC team that was driving him crazy.
"So, the Asgard wiped out the Goa'uld on that world, brought me back to life and are helping rebuild that Earth?" he asked, gazing at the four people at his table.
"That is correct, General," Teal'c said. The powerfully built black man sat, his face, as always, impassive, the gold plating on his forehead shining almost as much as his bald head.
"They use those disintegration beams again?" Captain Samantha Carter asked. As with the others, she wore a green fatigue uniform, and subconsciously brushed at her short blond hair, to the amusement of the man seated next to her.
"Well, actually, I've never been sure if that is disintegration or if they've just teleported them somewhere," Daniel Jackson said. The only civilian in the room, the dark-haired man's uniform was looser than the others, a green jacket with a dark shirt, his hands nervously pushing his glasses up his nose as he spoke. "Either way, of course, that Goa'uld on that world are no longer a threat, thanks to the Asgard."
"Gotta love those guys," Colonel Jack O'Neill smiled. The gray-haired veteran was apparently in high spirits, much to Hammond's annoyance.
Even for the main team of the SGC, the last mission had been unusual: The arrival of a Samantha Carter from another reality the day before. This Carter, a civilian scientist, had come from an Earth where the Goa'uld had taken over and was desperate for help. Adding to the difficulty was that she had come with her world's version of a friend of O'Neill's, Colonel Kawalsky, who in the reality the SGC knew was dead, and that Carter and her world's O'Neill had been married. Journeying to her Earth, SG-1 had managed to help contact the Asgard, a powerful alien civilization and gotten them to defeat the Goa'uld.
"I'm sorry we couldn't have met them," Daniel remarked. "It would have been interesting to see if they had the same appearances and names and such." Daniel had taken this mission as a sort of vindication. He had gone to another reality himself on an earlier mission and, despite coming back with information that stopped an invasion of Earth, his teammates had remained unconvinced he hadn't just experienced a massive hallucination. Even Carter was doubtful, those doubts blown away when she came face to face with a longer-haired, civilian version of herself.
Hammond looked over to the team's strongest member. "Teal'c, I have to clarify a point. You actually killed your counterpart?"
"I offered him a choice to help us," the alien spoke in his deep voice. "He did not take it. I had to assume his identity in any case to help our mission. And since he was my counterpart, I felt it was my duty alone to dispose of him."
Hammond sighed. In many ways, Teal'c was the most put together and dependable member of the team. However, his blunt manner and all-or-nothing approach in battle could often lead to more headaches. Hammond shook his head and then asked the question that had been bothering him. "I do have to ask.....Did you see me in that other reality?"
"Yes, sir," O'Neill nodded. "You were a general, in charge of the SGC."
"Well, at least one thing was the same," Hammond muttered, remembering Daniel telling him that in the previous alternate reality he had encountered, O'Neill was the general in charge of the Stargate and Hammond was a colonel. The idea of him reporting to O'Neill just rubbed Hammond the wrong way. "Was I....the same?"
"In every way," Daniel replied. "Why?"
"No reason," Hammond quickly said. Privately, he had hoped that in the other reality, he might at least have hair. Then again, if his double had to put up with a Carter and O'Neill who were married to each other, no wonder he went bald.
"General?" Hammond started as he realized he'd been smiling and faced O'Neill. "Well, I've decided that the mirror is simply too viotale an item to remain on Earth and have decided to have it moved."
"Is that necessary, sir?" Daniel frowned. "I mean, this is a great wealth of opportunity here. We can look at Earths more advanced than ours, where history has changed, maybe Earths that have cures for diseases like cancer and AIDS and------"
"And perhaps Earths where the Nazis won World War II and where plaques have killed off humanity and let's not forget the multitude of worlds where the Goa'uld control Earth," Hammond replied crisply. "I'm sorry, Doctor Jackson, but that mirror is simply too dangerous to have here."
"I concur, General," Teal'c stated. "Should a System Lord of one of these other realities discover their version of the mirror and get it to work, they will have a great advantage over us."
"We can't do anything about the mirrors in other realities," Hammond continued. "But we can handle ours. I've had SG-4 make contact with the Tok'ra to explain the situation. Hopefully, they can find a safe place to store it."
"Hope it's Martouf we give it to," O'Neill muttered.
"Why?" Carter frowned.
O'Neill smirked. "You want your dad to be able to look over a thousand versions of you?"
"Pass," Carter said, with a shiver.
Before Hammond could speak, the telephone on the large table rang. Reaching over, the general answered. "Yes? What is it, Sergeant? No. No, Sergeant, no one is allowed in without authorization, I don't care if he's the President."
There was a long moment of silence as Hammond's eyes widened. "Son, please tell me you're joking," he said softly. He listened more and closed his eyes. "All right. Hold him there. Yes. Yes. Yes, I know he's our superior, Sergeant, just.....hold him until someone can come get him." Hammond lowered the phone onto the receiver, sighing in seemingly pain.
"Problem, sir?" O'Neill asked, raising an eyebrow.
Hammond brought himself up as he spoke. "Apparently, the President is at the front gate."
Everyone stared at him in surprise. "The President?" O'Neill repeated. "As in, *our* President, sir?" Hammond nodded. "I take it this isn't something we were planning on?"
"No, it wasn't," Hammond replied. "I can't imagine what would cause him to just come by without any warning whatsoever."
"Seven billion dollars."
Jed Bartlett, President of the United States, impatiently paced on the cold ground, his eyes never leaving the soldiers with the rifles standing on the other side of the large gate standing before the mountain. The soldiers stared back, showing little emotion at the sight of the President and his staff standing in the cool morning air.
"Seven billion dollars," Bartlett repeated. "You know what that is?"
"An awful lot of money, sir," Sam Seaborn, Deputy Communications Director, replied, rubbing at the bridge of his nose.
"It is indeed," Bartlett nodded. "It is indeed so you can imagine how I felt going over some reports and finding that we are spending that amount of money on a base devoted to deep space radar telemetry. What does that tell you?"
"That it's quite a lot of money for radar, sir," Josh Lyman, the Deputy Chief Of Staff, replied.
"Yes, it is," Bartlett said, halting his pacing. "A lot and I want to see how that's being spent."
"Couldn't you just request a status report from them?" CJ Cregg, White House Press Secretary asked, unable to stop her shivering and wishing the President had told them just where they were going so she could wear something besides a power suit with a short skirt and coat.
"He could," Toby Ziegler, White House Communications Director replied. "But then, that would make sense and you should know by now that he doesn't do that." The heavyset and bearded man's usually gloomy mood had become darker after a suddenly announced morning flight, a long drive and now standing out in the cold in front of a bunch of soldiers who held very nasty-looking guns and looked like they knew how to use them.
"It just doesn't add up," Bartlett said. "And I should know about adding things up. I have a Nobel Prize in economics, you know that?"
"Mr. President, thanks to us, I don't think there's a man, woman or child in this country who doesn't know that," Josh said.
"But thank you for reminding us of it at least five times a week," Sam added.
"He especially goes overboard on Wednesdays," Josh added.
Leo McGarry, the Chief of Staff, came forward to talk to his old friend and boss. "Mr. President, why are we here?"
"We're trying to figure out just what this facility is," Bartlett replied.
"No, that's why you're here," Leo stated. "Why are *we* here?"
Bartlett smiled. "Well, I can't go anywhere without my loyal, energetic and intelligent staff."
"Then why is CJ here?" Toby asked.
Bartlett fixed his Press Secretary with a hard gaze. "Because she made fun of Notre Dame when they were in a bowl game."
CJ rubbed at her face. "You're a petty, petty man, sir."
"So, what's the word?" O'Neill asked. He, Carter, Daniel and Teal'c were standing outside of Hammond's office. "We just going to leave him standing out there all day?"
"The General is checking to see why we weren't told about this," Daniel said. "I guess there must be an important reason, I don't see why we wouldn't be informed the President was coming."
"WHAT DO YOU MEAN HE HASN'T BEEN BRIEFED ON THE STARGATE?!" Hammond's voice blasted out from the room, causing everyone but Teal'c to jump back a bit. "Well, that would explain it," Daniel muttered. He and the others stood and listened to the long and rather violent yelling that Hammond was giving out.
"Amazing," Carter remarked. "I never thought it was actually possible for someone to yell for three straight minutes and not use the same swear word twice."
A loud banging announced the slamming down of the phone and the door burst open to have Hammond come out, his face still red. "You're not going to believe this," he said, shaking his head.
"Let me guess," Daniel said, in a rare burst of dry wit. "President Bartlett was never briefed on the Stargate, was he?"
Hammond looked at him. "You heard that?"
"I'm reasonably sure the people on Chulak heard that, General."
"General Hammond, I am curious," Teal'c announced. "How did you become so fluent in such language as you just used?"
"I'm from Texas," Hammond announced.
"That explains a lot," O'Neill nodded.
"It doesn't explain your language," Carter said.
"I'm from Chicago," O'Neill smiled.
"That explains even more," Daniel nodded.
"Getting back to business," O'Neill stated. "Sir, you're saying that basically we've been working without Presidential approval the last few months?"
"Colonel, believe me," Hammond started. "Until two minutes ago, I was under the impression that the President knew everything about us. The fact is, it's been a while since a crisis occurred vital enough to merit a personal talk with the President. I had been told that his predecessor would brief him before he left office but it appears that wasn't the case."
"Then how does he know where to come now?" Daniel asked.
"It seems he was going over some budget reports and found a mention of the mountain and the budget going to it. He evidently found it worth investigating and so canceled all his appointments and took Air Force One here as fast as possible."
"He just goes off on trips like that without any second thoughts?" Carter said, raising an eyebrow. "That doesn't bode well for us."
"So, just who have you been calling on for advice from on high?" O'Neill asked.
"The Head of the Joint Chiefs, it appears," Hammond said, his face tightening. "And believe me, Colonel, as soon as the President is finished here, I am going to make sure he knows how the Joint Chiefs seem to be making policy for him."
"That's assuming he doesn't shut us all down himself," Daniel muttered.
"Hey, let me be the voice of gloom," O'Neill stated.
Hammond rubbed his face and quickly spoke. "Teal'c, I hate to say it, but I think your presence so soon might upset them so early."
The alien nodded, not sounding at all upset about it. "I understand, General Hammond. I shall keep myself out of sight when they arrive."
"Nodding, Hammond turned to the others. "Colonel, Captain, the two of you are to set a world record for ironing and putting on dress uniforms, then go to the outer gate and lead the Presidential party in."
"Sir?" O'Neill asked. "Diplomacy is Daniel's department. Well, not that he's that good at it but......"
"Dr. Jackson is a civilian," Hammond said. "I think a military presence is needed for the greeting. But, if it makes you feel any better, Dr. Jackson gets the honor of briefing the President on the SGC and what we do."
O'Neill raised an eyebrow. "The fate of this entire facility is in Daniel's speech making?" He turned and stuck a hand out to Carter. "Well, Carter, it's been great working with you. Look me up if you ever want to go fishing."
"These people do know this is the President, right?" Josh muttered to Sam. "They know who they're keeping out."
"They do," Sam shrugged. "They're just trying to figure out what to do first, put on a big production or just pretend no one's home."
A shuffling of footsteps got the attention of the group who looked up to see a man and a woman in full dress uniform come up to them. "Mr. President," the man said, professionally saluting as did the woman. "Colonel Jack O'Neill, this is Captain Samantha Carter."
"Are you the jackass who won't let me in?" Jed Bartlett was well known for being blunt and outspoken, a political tactic that had helped him win a Presidential election. It came as a surprise, though, to hear someone respond in the same manner.
"No, sir," O'Neill said, his face impassive. "I'm the jackass who's going to let you in."
Bartlett was taken aback but then smiled. "Okay, I think I like you," he nodded. "So, we can go in?"
"Sure," O'Neill nodded. "Just as soon as I see some ID."
At the shocked looks, Carter closed her eyes and tried to figure out just how big a court- martial insulting the Commander-in-Chief would require.
"ID?" Bartlett got out.
"Yeah," O'Neill said. "You know, driver's license, credit card, bus pass, that sort of thing."
"Well, I would love to help you out with that, Colonel," Bartlett began. "Except that all of my personal effects are currently in a safety deposit box in Massachusetts right now so the best I can do is to point at the very large men standing behind me." He let O'Neill get a look at the two well-built men in suits and dark glasses standing behind the President. "They have guns."
"Well, sir, I have twenty large men behind me," O'Neill said, hiking a thumb behind him. "And they all have much bigger guns."
Bartlett stared at him. "Just where are you from, Colonel?"
"Chicago, sir," O'Neill said with a trace of pride.
Bartlett sighed and looked at Leo. "What is it about Chicago that makes people from it so happy to say they're from Chicago? I've met so many people who boast that they're from Chicago but when I finally meet them, they're living anywhere but Chicago."
"Be grateful, Mr. President," Leo answered. "You live there all your life, no telling what kind of a weirdo you can become."
Carter groaned inside. This was not getting off to a good start. And that was before O'Neill announced where their first stop was going to be.
"You sent them where?" Hammond asked, the veins in his neck standing out.
"Medical, sir," O'Neill answered.
"Why?!" Hammond demanded, his eyes wide.
"Standard procedure, sir," O'Neill answered. "All newcomers go through a medical check from Dr. Fraiser before being let into sensitive areas, including the command center of the facility. Your orders."
Hammond groaned, brushing loosely at his dress jacket. "Colonel, in the space of under half an hour, you have insulted, threatened and now badgered into a medical treatment our Commander in Chief? Colonel, I do want to be able to draw a pension when I finally retire."
"You could always write a book, sir," O'Neill pointed out. "Inside story of SG-1, it'd make a fortune."
"Which will do me a lot of good when I'm on death row for violating a top secret security clamp."
"Come on, sir, no one's going to believe any of this anyway. And if anything happens to you, that will just make your word more convincing."
Hammond didn't know what worried him more: That the Colonel was making this suggestion or that he was actually giving it serious thought. Shaking it off, he looked over to where the blast doors hid the Gate. "Colonel, I don't think you know how critical this situation is. We don't know what Bartlett's reaction to all of this will be. We know some politicians feel the Gate is too much a drain and should be shut down no matter its purpose. If we can't convince Bartlett of its importance, we're all in trouble."
"Then, it's all in Daniel's hands," O'Neill nodded. "God help us."
"Thank you so much for that, Jack," Daniel said as he came in, fiddling with his tie, feeling out of place in his suit, Carter behind him. "Like I'm not nervous enough."
"They're on their way, sir," Carter said.
"What's their mood?" Hammond asked.
"Ever see an angry Jaffa, sir?"
Before O'Neill could ask if they had ever seen a happy Jaffa, the sound of footsteps got their attention and the group looked up to see a decidedly unhappy President and staff come in, clothing a little less perfect than it had been when they first came in.
"Well, that was exceptionally humiliating," Josh said
"I am bringing legal action into this!" Sam announced, glaring at them. "Aren't we citizens? Don't we have rights?"
"Since when does that matter to the military?" Leo shrugged.
"Mr. President," Hammond said politely. "General George Hammond, commander of this facility. I wanted to say that------"
"Save it, General," Bartlett said. "I've just had a brief, but intrusive, examination of myself and my people and am not in mood for any bullshit. I want to know what in the hell you do here that requires seven billion dollars."
"For starters, it takes about a billion dollars just to turn on the lights."
Bartlett sighed. "General, if you don't give me some answers, I'm shutting this place down by calling a press conference."
"Okay, let's conference. I can press about 150 pounds. How about you, Carter?"
"Well, sir, I can press pants, or press a point, or press an attack------"
"If you can't beat them, sir......"
Sighing, Hammond motioned to some chairs. "Mr. President, if you'll have a seat, Dr. Daniel Jackson here will explain all of this. Doctor?"
"Ah, yes, all right," Daniel said, pushing up his glasses. "I suppose I should start with an artifact that was found in the Giza in 1928......."
In the time since she had been assigned to the chief medical officer of the SGC, Dr. Janet Fraiser had seen and done quite a bit. Still, little could have prepared her for overseeing the medical checks on the President of the United States and his staff with only five minutes of warning. It had been a quick check, just enough to make sure none of them were carrying any diseases or signs of alien influences before they were cleared.
That left Fraiser with the quiet but still necessary task of going over the medical scans for all the people, making sure everything was okay. She was perusing one when saw Teal'c enter. "Teal'c?" she asked in surprise. "I thought you were at the briefing."
"General Hammond felt my presence should not be introduced so quickly," the Jaffa said.
"Not sure if that's a good idea," Fraiser said. "They may need you."
"For what reason?" Teal'c asked in honest curiosity."
"They may need something to prove to the President about the Goa'uld," she stated.
"Would they not believe the explanations? Or the Stargate itself?"
Fraiser sighed. "Teal'c, you know about the Holocaust?"
"Yes, the attempt by the man you call Hitler to obliterate an entire race of people," Teal'c nodded. "I have been studying your history for such moments. Sadly, there are many that remind me of acts committed by the Goa'uld."
"We're not happy about it either," Fraiser stated. "The fact is, Teal'c, that there are bright, intelligent, normal people, some even teachers and history majors, who say that the Holocaust never occurred."
Teal'c raised an eyebrow in what Fraiser interpreted as a sign of confusion. "I fail to see how they can argue with such evidence."
"So do I," Fraiser admitted. "The best I can come up with is that they just don't want to believe the human race can ever sink to a point like that. The fact is, Teal'c, is that it takes a great deal of evidence that can be seen and felt to convince some people."
Teal'c cocked his head to the side, thinking about her words. Without a word, he turned and walked out. Fraiser watched him, then shook her head and went back to the chart in her hands. Something was bugging her about this. She knew what it was, she just couldn't get it click right. Maybe it had been going over so much alien influences, she'd forgotten what it was like to check over a normal human for anything like diseases or------
Fraiser's eyes widened as she realized what she was looking at. "Oh my God." She broke open a medical book and tried to look this up, hoping she was wrong.
"And that brings us to the present day," Daniel said. "Any questions?"
As he faced his audience, Daniel was struck with a rather disturbing feeling of deja vu. The President and his staff had the exact same looks of disbelief that had been on the symposium of archaeologists he had lectured the day he had been offered the chance to look at the Stargate. The result had been Daniel being bankrupted, blackballed, considered a laughing stock and eventually leaving the planet. He hoped the outcome here would be slightly better.
"Let me see if I've got this completely straight," Leo said. "Tens of thousands of years ago, a bunch of alien worms who possess the bodies of humans and set themselves up as gods, came to Earth, kidnaped humans from various cultures, took them to other planets to be their slaves and that," he threw a thumb at the open window of the conference room which had been raised to show the Gate, "is a gate that transports them light years across the solar system?"
"And, I may add," Sam said. "These aliens can move from body to body and use....let's see," he checked over some notes he had jotted down, "a sarcophagus, to come back to life if killed?"
"And each of these aliens is grown inside the body of a slave race who believe them to be gods and fight to the death for them?" Toby said in a flat tone.
"And the Previous President, who thought this whole thing up and decided to keep it secret from every other world leader not to mention the public, allowed us to make contact with several alien races, one of which is a group of aliens who have rebelled?" CJ said, her eyes skeptical behind her glasses.
"And a race that has energy weapons, personal shields and spaceships can't even get some decent bullet-proof armor together?" Josh threw in.
"And, should I cut funding," Bartlett said. "Earth will lose its major defense should these things try to attack us with giant pyramids?"
"Well, sure, when you put it that way, it all sounds ridiculous," O'Neill shrugged.
"Okay, let's make the supreme jump in logic and say we believe this," Sam said. "Just where are all these amazing things we're supposed to have gotten from other races?"
"Well, since you're new to the SGC, I guess you might not have heard about Area 51," O'Neill answered.
"Area 51?" Sam repeated. "Where they're supposed to keep the Roswell aliens?"
"Well, interesting you should bring that up......"
"The Asgard, that powerful ally we told you about, greatly resemble the descriptions of the gray aliens who were said to have come to Roswell and Thor has hinted they've visited Earth before."
"Thor?" Sam asked.
"Yes, the Asgard evidently were the basis for the legends of the Norse gods, in this case, the God of Thunder."
Sam looked at him and shook his head. "Now I know you're just making this all up."
Bartlett fixed a glare on Hammond. "General, I have to hand it to you. Of all the bullshit stories I have heard to excuse massive overspending, this really takes the cake."
"Perhaps I can convince you of the truth of these words." Everyone turned to see Teal'c standing in the doorway of the conference room, stepping inside. "I believe I have evidence that what you are hearing is the truth."
"I don't see how that can be since you're not in the military, you're not a scientist and what the hell is that thing on your head?" Bartlett said, staring at Teal'c.
The man glanced to Hammond. "General. May I have permission to, as Colonel O'Neill puts it, let Junior out for some air?"
Hammond looked at him, then picked up the phone. "Dr. Fraiser, report to the briefing room immediately."
"Why do you want Fraiser here?" Carter frowned.
"Because at the least, someone here is going to faint," Hammond explained. "At the most, we're going to be giving the Commander in Chief a coronary."
"Someone's getting an overrated opinion of themselves," Bartlett sniffed as Fraiser entered the room, glancing at one person on the President's side of the table closely before stepping back. Hammond looked at her, then looked up at Teal'c and nodded. "You might want to prepare yourself," he addressed the President's party. "This can be....unsettling."
Bartlett rolled his eyes. "What have you got now, General? It'd better be a lot more convincing than that cheap piece of metal you've got-------"
Without a word, Teal'c reached down, lifting his shirt to reveal the opening in his stomach. Parting one side, he allowed his symbiont to briefly emerge and be seen by all.
The reaction was immediate, with every single person leaping back several feet, Josh letting out a yell as his chair tipped backward with him in it. Bartlett stared, trying to accept what he was seeing, almost unmindful of how his Secret Service agents held him back, guns out but not pointed at Teal'c, seeing as how the other humans in the room didn't make any hostile movements. Toby's usually impassive face actually registered pure shock, Leo's jaw hung open, Sam's glasses flew off his nose as he leaped back and CJ's scream filled the room. "JESUS CHRIST!"
As he lowered his shirt, Teal'c looked towards Daniel. "Daniel Jackson, why does the sight of my symbiont cause people to invoke the name of a major religious figure of your world?"
Before anyone could say anything else, a loud klaxon blared throughout the facility, red lights coming on around the hallways. Jumping to his feet, Hammond hit an intercom by the wall. "Control, seal the Iris!"
The White House staff looked out the window where they saw a large metal sheath closing like a steel eye over the hole in the middle of the Gate. "Multiple titanium shielding," Hammond explained offhand to the stares he was getting. "Helps protect against intruders."
"From what?" Leo weakly got out. A rush of boots on concrete got their attention and they looked down to see a dozen soldiers rush into the large hanger, taking up positions at the bottom of the ramp, rifles aimed at the Stargate.
"General, incoming signal!" the technician called on the intercom. "Sir, it's the Tok'ra!"
"Open the Iris," Hammond commanded.
O'Neill couldn't help grinning as he saw the sheath unwind itself. "Oh, this is gonna be good," he muttered.
Tearing his eyes away from the ring of the Gate spinning like mad, stopping to show off a different insignia, Bartlett had to ask. "General, what is the-----"
He cut off as the final insignia slammed into place and the Gate came alive, what appeared to be a burst of water blasting forward as if shot out of a cannon, then yanking back, forming what looked to be a pool standing on its end, light emitting from it and covering the room.
CJ hadn't crossed herself with such feeling since Sunday school. Sam's glasses slowly slid off his nose as he slumped against the glass. For the first time in years, Toby found himself uttering a prayer in flawless Hebrew. Josh's jaw worked up and down with no sound except a soft moan. The President stared, frozen in absolute wonder at the sight before him, even the Secret Service agents were thrown by it.
"Oh my God," Leo whispered, taking in the sight, the White House staff pressed against the window like kids looking at a Christmas display. Behind them, Carter leaned towards O'Neill. "Sir, is it wrong to get a kick out of rendering the leader of the free world and his staff completely speechless?"
"Not as long as I'm joining you," O'Neill replied.
"Colonel!" Hammond barked.
"Oh, come on, General!" O'Neill shrugged. "At least now you don't have to listen to him brag about how great New England is. Being from Texas, I thought you'd appreciate that."
Bartlett was still staring when the water seemed to part slightly, three human figures in tan clothing emerging from it and calmly walking down the ramp. Behind them, the "water" let out a large flash, then vanished as if nothing had happened.
"Holy shit," Josh got out, leaning against the window as he took in what was happening. Behind him, Carter glanced at the group and her eyes widened. "Dad?" Without a word, she moved off and headed downstairs.
Sam and Josh watched her leave and looked at each other. "Dad?" Sam repeated. "I thought this was an....alien."
"It is," Daniel said. "But it's also her father."
"Her father's an alien?" Josh asked, looking back at Daniel.
"No, he's her father with an alien inside his stomach and his head as well," Daniel answered.
"I'm lost," Josh confessed.
"Don't look at me," CJ said weakly, rubbing at her head. "I'm zip codes from lost at this point."
Bartlett swallowed, then turned and walked off, his bodyguards hurrying after them. "Mr. President, where are you going?" Hammond frowned.
"About to become the first President to say hello to an alien," Bartlett announced as he moved off.
Daniel looked at O'Neill. "Think we should tell him he'd be the second?"
"Let him have his moment," O'Neill answered as the group filed out to follow.
"Dad!" Carter said, coming over to hug the lead figure of the three Tok'ra.
"Hi, sweetie," Jacob Carter said, holding her in a quick embrace. "Got the message the General sent and thought I'd come by to pick this mirror up."
"Mirror? Oh, oh, yeah, the mirror," Carter nodded. "Sorry, we've been a bit busy."
"So I see," Jacob said, watching as Bartlett entered, Hammond and his staff trailing behind him. Jacob looked at Bartlett and then at Hammond. "Well, George, I see you're scraping the bottom of the barrel. I thought only the most important political figures knew about this place, not the third raters."
Carter closed her eyes and groaned, just knowing O'Neill was grinning from ear to ear about this. Hammond coughed slightly as he came up. "Jacob...."
"Please," Bartlett said, holding up a hand. "Allow me." Adjusting his tie, he moved up to Jacob, finally feeling a bit more in control as he stuck out a hand. "Hi. Jacob Carter, right?"
"Yes," Jacob said. "You could say I'm retired from the military now."
"Pleased to meet you. Jed Bartlett."
"Governor of....Massachusetts, right?" Jacob said, shaking Bartlett's hand.
"Not anymore," Bartlett smiled.
"Why, they finally vote you out?" Jacob smiled.
"Yes," Bartlett said, answering the smile back. "And into the White House."
Although she knew it was wrong, Carter still got a little kick seeing her father's face fall and his hand freeze in midshake. Suppressing his own smile, Hammond came forward. "Jacob, I guess the Tok'ra measure time differently, otherwise you'd know that elections were some months ago." He nodded to Bartlett. "Say hello to the President of the United States."
Jacob swallowed and rolled his eyes. "Selmak? Buddy? Now would be a good time to speak up." His eyes closed, then opened and whatever advantage Bartlett had was ended when Jacob spoke in a deep and booming voice. <President Bartlett. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. My apologies for Jacob, he has been....out of the loop is the phrase I believe you have.> "Jacob" smiled and his eyes briefly flashed with a bright glow as Bartlett stepped back.
"What the hell is this?"
"That is Selmak, sir," Carter announced. "The Tok'ra in my father's body. His previous host was dying, my father was dying of cancer so it made sense to hook them together as the symbiont can heal most diseases."
"Why didn't you use one of these sarcophagus things?" Josh asked.
"Well, as I know from personal experience, the sarcophagus has a rather nasty side effect," Daniel sighed. "Constant and prolonged use can eat away at a person's.....goodness, for lack of a better term. Which explains quite a bit about the ill temperaments the Goa'uld have."
<We Tok'ra do not use such things> Selmak went on. <Unfortunately, this means our hosts do eventually age and die and we must find volunteers.>
"Volunteers?" Bartlett asked. "Or abductees?"
<We do not steal innocents to use as hosts> Selmak said with anger. <That is the way of the Goa'uld, not of us. That is what sets us apart.>
Hammond took a breath. "Selmak, we asked you here for the mirror but I think right now a far more important opportunity for talk has arisen. If we can all go to the briefing room------"
The klaxons blasted out again, the soldiers in the bay immediately pointing their rifles back at the Stargate as the ring started to spin again. "I should set up a concession stand," O'Neill muttered as he and Carter quickly moved to push the President back.
"Sir," the technician called down to Hammond. "The signal is SG-1."
"Hi, how are you all?" O'Neill said to the room.
Hammond bit his lip, trying to think of what to do. Acting on instinct, he called up. "Keep the Iris open." He glanced at the soldiers. "Stay on guard but hold fire until you see hostile intent."
Despite having seen it only moment before, the White House personnel were still astounded to see the Gate come to life again, ducking instinctively as the burst of energy came out. There was a pause, then a figure strode through the Gate. He was dressed in armor, with a combination of cape and sash draped around him, a long staff held in his hands. His face was lined with age and a few scars, a short beard and a skullcap, an emblem on his forehead, the same as Teal'c's. He calmly strode to the edge of the ramp like he owned the place, taking in everyone, his eyes falling on one person. He spoke up, his voice, though aged, still carrying power and authority as well as a dry humor. "Hammond of Texas. May I have leave to enter your compound?"
"Permission granted," Hammond announced. "Stand down," he told the soldiers as the newcomer strode down the ramp.
"Who the hell is this?" Bartlett asked.
"Oh, that's Bra'tac," O'Neill smiled. "You'll like him."
Smiling, Teal'c moved to greet his old friend and mentor, the two clasping hands. "Master Bra'tac," Teal'c said, bowing his head. "Why have you come here?"
"I had some important news to share, old friend," Bra'tac answered. He glanced around to see the others around him. "I seem to be interrupting something."
"Master Bra'tac, this is Jed Bartlett," Hammond said. "The President of the United States."
"I thought you already had one," Bra'tac frowned.
"Humans of this nation elect a new leader every four to eight of their years," Teal'c explained. "This is his first visit to the SGC."
Nodding, Bra'tac moved forward and shook Bartlett's hand. "What area do you hail from?"
"Massachusetts," Bartlett said, staring at the alien's forehead.
"It is a pleasure to meet you, Bartlett of Massachusetts," the aged Jaffa stated. He glanced over to Hammond. "Hammond of Texas, I believe this news is of importance to you as well."
Nodding, Hammond motioned towards the briefing room. "We'd best talk upstairs."
"I'll make sure we get some more chairs, sir," O'Neill said. "And a high chair too."
"High chair?" Hammond frowned.
"Well, sir, at this rate, Thor will be popping by any minute now."
Hammond groaned and hoped to hell O'Neill was wrong for once.
The briefing room was somewhat crowded by the time everyone was inside it: The four members of SG-1, Hammond, Fraiser, Colonel Makepeace, leader of SG-3, who Hammond had asked to attend, Bra'tac, Bartlett, Josh, Sam, Leo, Toby, CJ, the two Secret Service agents, Jacob and the two Tok'ra who had accompanied him. All were looking at Bra'tac, who was pacing before them, preparing to speak.
"I come with some rather disturbing news," Bra'tac began. "While making contact with some Jaffa on another world, I heard tales of humans in the uniforms of this unit using the Stargate to steal from various alien races."
"Here we go again," O'Neill muttered.
"You people do petty theft?" Bartlett said, glaring at Hammond, who sighed and answered.
"We're not sure why or who but there seems to be a group in the political and military structure who believe that we should gain all technology for the defense of Earth, no matter what we do to alien cultures along the way."
"I think they're just jealous we get all the cool toys," O'Neill smiled.
"Nevertheless, I have heard of these accusations," Bra'tac went on. "I knew Teal'c would not be a part of a unit who would perform such acts so I decided to investigate and learn more about these thieves."
"And have you?" Jacob said, having gone to his regular voice, much to Bartlett's peace of mind.
"Sadly, yes," Bra'tac nodded. "These are indeed humans and bear the same military markings as your teams do, Hammond. They use the Stargate quite well. They are quick and efficient, using it to come in, find the items they wish and leave before they attract attention."
"They probably have a base off world," Carter remarked. "They'd have to use a system to relay themselves around but it makes sense they'd find a way to get around without our knowing about it."
"Yes, but they'd still need to get such items to Earth itself," Daniel pointed out. "The only Gates are this one and the one sealed up so how can they do that?"
"You carry much equipment with you," Bra'tac stated. "I have seen some of your supply carriers. It would not be difficult to smuggle small items in those belongings and find a way to hide them before reporting to your doctor for a medical check."
"That's crazy," Makepeace stated from the corner. "They'd have to have someone inside here to do that and who'd be working for them inside the SGC?"
"You should know, human," Bra'tac said, fixing him with a hard gaze. "You happen to be one of them."
It was a pretty good way to get a big reaction. Everyone stared at Bra'tac with varying degrees of surprise, Makepeace's jaw moving up and down before he could speak again. "I...I don't know what you're------"
"I knew such actions were those of desperate people," Bra'tac went on. "And I knew that such people would often go for the right bait. So, with the cooperation of the Tollan, I set a little trap." He glanced over at Hammond. "The Tollan told you some time ago they had a new system of detecting the Goa'uld?"
"Yeah, and as always refused to share it," O'Neill muttered darkly.
"In this case, they could not have," Bra'tac said. "For it does not exist. But by announcing it to you, we were sure any spy would hear of it. I personally hid by the Tollan Stargate and watched as a team of humans came in, snuck to the 'secret lab' that had been set up and then left with several pieces of equipment." A smile came onto Bra'tac's face. "I wonder how your comrades are feeling right about now when they discover all they have are some worthless pieces of metal that have since melted into slag."
Makepeace shook his head, letting out a nervous laugh. "Teal'c, I'm sorry, but your friend is------"
"He has been my teacher and my mentor since before you were born, Colonel," Teal'c said, his eyes knitted in suspicion. "Do not ask me who I would trust more right now."
"I don't see why Bra'tac would lie," Daniel added.
"And we have suspected Mayborne of having someone on the inside for a while," O'Neill said, his face tight as he took in Makepeace's suspicious behavior.
"General, this is completely------"
"An interesting note, I should add," Bra'tac cut in. "The destruction was by a chemical which is harmless on skin but leaves a slight mark under it, visible under certain spectrums of light. Not even gloves could keep such a chemical from leaving a stain." He raised an eyebrow as he saw Makepeace unconsciously look at his hands. "Shall we see what your hands look like, Colonel?"
Makepeace licked his lips, then turned and moved to the door. With a speed that belied his size, Teal'c was on him, grabbing him and slamming him face first on the table, his arms yanked behind his back, Makepeace letting out a yell of pain at the treatment.
"Guards!" Hammond called out, two servicemen in fatigues immediately coming in, guns drawn. "Have the Colonel here restrained and taken to his quarters."
O'Neill was on his feet, shaking his head in disgust. "Makepeace. Dammit, man, why? We trusted you!"
"Come on, Colonel," Makepeace said, showing off a hard side they had never seen. "You've seen the kind of things the Tollan alone have. That stuff can really help us, if they just let us use them! The Tollan, the Asgard, the Tok'ra, they've all got stuff we need for us!"
"We don't need their stuff, Mayborne, we need them!" O'Neill spat out.
Makepeace glanced towards Carter. "Carter, you're a scientist, you've seen that power!"
"Yes, I have," Carter nodded grimly. "But it's not ours to use unless they say it is."
"We don't just go and take what we can," Daniel added. "If we do, we're no better than the Goa'uld."
"Master Bra'tac," Teal'c announced, rubbing his fingers. "I feel no substance on Colonel Makepeace's hands."
"That may be because it did not exist." Everyone stared at him in surprise. "Oh, the chemical did self-destruct the devices. But it left no traces. I simply thought that my word alone may not be enough to convince you of the Colonel's guilt."
"So, you bluffed him out with a trick out of a second-rate mystery show?" Carter said in amazement.
Bra'tac let out a sly grin. "Not bad for an old man of 137, eh?"
"You were right, Colonel, I do like him," Bartlett announced.
Makepeace swallowed. "This isn't over, O'Neill."
"Watch it, Makepeace," O'Neill said. "You know I hate clichés. Then again, I never knew you at all so I guess it works both ways."
"This isn't me or Mayborne," Makepeace continued. "These are powerful people."
"Son," Bartlett said, his voice with an edge. "You do know who I am, right?"
Makepeace actually sniffed at him. "Presidents come and go. Sometimes they make that happen. And frankly, the people I know aren't going to listen to a President who never even spent time in the military. You try to stop them, you're gone in an eyeblink, all of you. You don't know how far up this goes."
"Oh, really?" O'Neill said sarcastically. "High as the Tollan? The Asgard? I don't think so."
<Hear me, human> Selmak interrupted, his eyes glowing. < The universe is far greater than you know and there is much danger, more than you could comprehend. These humans are our allies and those who work against them shall be our enemies, even if they are of the same species.> He closed his eyes and shook his head, then opened his eyes again. "And on a personal note," Jacob stated, his voice cold. "Considering how you've been playing my daughter and her friends for fools and how you've betrayed an oath I still hold dear, you should be glad Selmak is holding me back."
"You can't touch me and you know it," Makepeace snorted. "You do, and they'll strike back at you, all of you. Even you, Bartlett, you and your family."
A long silence covered the table as Bartlett slowly stood up and fixed Makepeace with a glare of pure malevolence that would have done Bra'tac and Teal'c proud. "General Hammond," he said in a voice that sent shivers up the spines of his staff. "On direct orders of the Commander in Chief of the United States Military, which I am," he added to Makepeace. "Past service or no, I am the highest military commander in this nation, Colonel so you will damn well listen to me, Colonel Makepeace is hereby relieved of his rank and is ordered to be placed under arrest, with recommendation for court martial for espionage and treason. I am willing to give leniency, provided he turn evidence as to anyone else involved in his little group."
He glared at Makepeace. "You've got a choice, son. Let your bosses take the heat...or have me on your ass for threatening my family. I don't think that's a hard choice to make. Think about it fast." He looked to Hammond who jerked his head to let the soldiers know to take Makepeace to the brig.
"Now that...." Bra'tac said. "Is a human worthy of respect."
Hammond sighed and rubbed his head. "I'm sorry, Mr. President. I didn't expect that to happen."
"Well, at least it does save us that stupid plan you came up."
"Aw, come on, sir. Me pretending to snap and steal technology from the Tollan or someone, get bounced from the SGC for it and infiltrate these guys wouldn't have fooled a ten year old for five minutes, let alone Mayborne."
"Be that as it may," Hammond said. "I suppose this does show the President how some elements want to misuse the Stargate."
Bartlett sighed as he sat back down. "I always knew there were going to be some things that were going to be kept secret even from me when I took the oath of office. I just don't see how this could be kept secret from me."
"Well, if it makes you feel better, sir, it's not just you," O'Neill said. "No other world leader knows about this."
Bartlett's eyes widened. "No one? Russia, China, NATO, no one else knows?"
"Sir, this was all set up by your predecessor and I have to agree with much of his thinking," Hammond stated. "There are only two Gates and should hostile nations and terrorist groups learn of this, they will do anything and I mean anything to try and use it. Even our allies will demand we spread knowledge and resources out and you want to imagine how many counterparts of Mayborne's group there must be in other countries. Sir, I'm sorry, but there is not a government on this planet that wouldn't wipe out most of Colorado just to get their hands on that thing. Besides, the more people who know, the greater the danger that this gets out to the public."
"And that'd be a bad thing?" CJ asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Well, let's see," O'Neill said sarcastically. "The sudden revelation that there's thousands of alien worlds and races, most descended from Earth and that the planet has come under attack several times from some races, oh, and let's not forget the fact that the Goa'uld can take over bodies and thus can be anyone you see on the street, you don't think that'll cause just a wee bit of panic?"
"I have a little more faith in people," CJ said.
<Your race has proven incapable of working in peace with yourselves> Selmak announced. <Revealing the existence of other worlds, other cultures, many far in advance of your own, many attempting to destroy you, will throw chaos into your world. All aliens you meet will be treated with suspicion, hostility and violence, your race unable to accept what is different. Or worse, they could be treated as Gods, which would only give the Goa'uld more followers, a situation that cannot be allowed. Your race is simply incapable of handling such knowledge.>
Selmak closed his eyes, then opened them, allowing Jacob to give a light smile. "Sorry," he shrugged. "One trait the Goa'uld and the Tok'ra share is a great arrogance and sense of superiority."
"I live in Washington," Bartlett said. "I'm used to it."
Leo coughed and looked over at Jacob. "I'm curious. You give us information and some aid. What do you get in return?"
Jacob swallowed, knowing the answer wasn't going to please the President. "Hosts."
Bartlett's eyes went wide. "Hosts?" he demanded. "You're giving humans over to these aliens? That is it, that is too much, I will not stand for-----"
"Not give, sir," Hammond stressed. "They volunteer for it."
"We don't take them over," Jacob added. "That's the Goa'uld's way, not ours. We don't want to do that so we give them the choice, which several take."
"A choice?" Toby said in disbelief. "You're telling me someone would actually choose to have an alien slug put inside them? Why?"
"Because otherwise, they're dead anyway," Jacob said, looking at him. "I should know, Mr. Ziegler. I was dying. Terminal cancer, inoperable, I was literally on my deathbed when my daughter realized the symbolize could cure my cancer. It did and the blending also has given my the chance to see the stars, to have knowledge of races that were ancient back when we were still in caves."
"The Tok'ra have given us permission to make inquiries to interested parties," Hammond continued. "We mainly choose those with inoperable conditions and mostly those with no family, no one to miss them or ask questions. They're given the choice, sir. Die or live as a joined being."
"And people agree?"
"What would you do, Mr. President?" Jacob asked. "Die in bed a waste or live for centuries and be able to travel to other planets?"
Bartlett fixed him with a gaze. "I'll get back to you on that." For some odd reason, Jacob felt a little unsettled at the way that was phrased.
Toby shook his head and turned to Carter. "Is it weird to know that your father has a snake living inside him?"
"Not that weird," Carter shook her had. "I know what it feels like."
"Excuse me?" Toby asked in confusion.
Carter sighed. "We found out about the Tok'ra when one of them possessed me for a while. She told them about the Tok'ra and later gave up her life to save mine when a Goa'uld assassin tried to kill us both. Since then, I've found I have some memories of her and even the ability to use some Goa'uld devices."
"More than I got," O'Neill said. "Course, I only had one of those snakes in me for an hour and I was frozen for most of it."
Toby looked at him for a long minute, then around. "Will anyone here who has not at any point had an alien snake inside of them please raise your hand?"
Fraiser, Daniel and Hammond all raised their hands.
"Thank you," Toby sighed.
"Of course, my wife was taken as a host," Daniel said. "And I was killed a couple of times and had to be brought back to life with a sarcophagus."
Toby looked at him and rubbed his face. "Mr. President, I believe I speak for everyone when I say I am so grateful you dragged us on this trip."
"I need a drink," Leo moaned.
"Leo, you're an alcoholic," Josh said with alarm.
"There lies my problem," Leo shrugged.
Bartlett rubbed his face. "General, if I get what you're saying, and the fact that I do is quite terrifying, the only thing that's kept these Goa'uld from wiping us out completely is the fact that they're too busy fighting themselves?"
"That's basically correct, sir," Hammond nodded. "The Goa'uld exist on a feudal principal."
"Emphasis on 'feud,'" O'Neill remarked. "It's sort of like a bunch of Mafia families, sir, they're all jockeying for position, none of them trusts the others, and if one guy goes down, the rest start fighting over his territory, soldiers and resources for their own advantage."
He finished and looked around to see the other SGC members staring at him. "What?"
"Nothing," Daniel said, shaking his head. "It's just that I think that's the first time you've really come up with an actually accurate metaphor."
"I try to surprise you," O'Neill smirked.
"The advantage of that," Jacob said. "Is that it keeps them from noticing Earth too much."
"That may change," Bra'tac said. "There is something else I needed to warn you of. The System Lords have sent messages to various mercenaries and bounty hunters, offering a sizeable reward for all of you. Double if you are alive."
"Always nice to be wanted," O'Neill had to say.
"How much are they worth?" Sam asked.
"Sam," The President said with warning.
"I'm just curious," Sam replied quietly.
"It is all right, Bartlett of Massachusetts," Bra'tac said. "Teal'c is naturally worth the most, since he is the sholvah."
"The what?" Josh asked.
"The sholvah," Daniel translated. "That means traitor. He turned on Apohis to bust us out of a prison."
"All of the System Lords wish to have him," Bra'tac said. "To make an example of him to any Jaffa who think of turning on their Lords. Major Carter is next, for she not only carries the memories of Jolinar but also is related to the current host of a Tok'ra, and therefore has a wealth of information stored in her brain. O'Neill of the Windy City is next, for he has become...." Bra'tac paused, trying to think of the right way to say it. "A royal pain in the nikta."
O'Neill raised his eyes in curiosity. "Neck?"
"No," Bra'tac, Teal'c and Daniel all replied.
"And, what about me?" Daniel asked, genuinely curious.
"You are worth much as well, Daniel Jackson," Bra'tac stated. "The System Lords blame you for revealing the potential of the Stargate system to various worlds and you too they would make an example of."
"Well, that's.....good to know," Daniel swallowed.
"So, all these.....Goa'uld are together on this?" Bartlett asked.
"If only to get them," Jacob shrugged. "The Tok'ra's greatest weapon has been pitting the Goa'uld against each other. Our biggest fear is that they might forge an alliance and come at us full scale."
Bartlett tapped his fingers on the table, then fixed a gaze on Hammond. "What do they want?"
"Sir?" Hammond frowned.
"These Goa'uld. Just what is it they want?"
"New territory to add to their own," Daniel stated. "New technology they can use on their enemies. New slaves to either become hosts or be put into labor."
"There's also being worshiped as gods," O'Neill dryly put in. "That's very high on their 'to-do' list."
"That doesn't help me figure out a way to deal with them," Bartlett said. Hammond glanced at O'Neill, then leaned forward. "Mr. President, with all due respect......"
"You know," Bartlett interrupted. "It's been my experience that when someone starts off saying 'with all due respect,' it means they're about to be disrespectful."
"Don't worry, sir. He wouldn't dream of taking my job."
"Where are you from again, Colonel?"
"How could I forget?" Bartlett muttered. "You serve your country by traveling to alien worlds but never going back to Chicago?"
"What can I say, sir?" O'Neill shrugged. "I'm Irish."
Bartlett rolled his eyes. "I'm trying to figure out a position we can negotiate from----"
<There can be no negotiation with the Goa'uld, human> Selmak broke in, eyes blazing, voice tight. <They are much like the human Jacob Carter remembers, the one you call Hitler. Any treaties they make, they will break them when it serves their purposes. They are loyal to no one but themselves and even that is doubtful. And your planet has absolutely nothing it can use to bargain with those on so much a higher plane of advancement.>
Bartlett returned the alien's gaze. "Can you turn it over to the other guy? He's a bit easier to talk to."
Jacob's eyes closed, then opened. "Actually, sir, Selmak and I are of the same mind on this."
"I was under the impression you were of the same mind anyway," Sam remarked, earning an elbow from CJ.
Ignoring him, Jacob leaned forward. "Mr. President, I have learned a lot of things the last few months since I joined the Tok'ra. Now, at the risk of sounding more like one of them, the fact is, the human race really is behind when it comes to both technology and the ability to handle it. More importantly, not only have I seen what these bastards can do up close, I've got the memories Selmak has of their actions in the past and trust me, it ain't pretty. You cannot deal with these things, sir. You can only fight them."
"Indeed," Teal'c nodded. "Apophis will never listen to such an offer."
"You sound like you know him," Leo observed.
Teal'c looked at him evenly. "I was his First Prime."
"His what?" Leo frowned.
"A station close to what you would term a head General or bodyguard."
"Um, Teal'c, maybe this isn't the time....." Daniel started nervously.
"As President, he can acquire this information anyway, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c remarked. "I merely save him time."
"Thank you, I can use that."
"You are welcome, sir."
"So, top military guy," Josh remarked. "So, you bought into this whole thing about him being a god?"
"In truth, that belief was never what drove me," Teal'c answered. "My father was First Prime to a Goa'uld named Cronus. My father was ordered to attack a much more powerful foe and was defeated. Despite the fact such a defeat was not his fault, my father was executed by Cronus who then exiled my mother and myself to Chulak. When I came of age, I swore allegiance to Apophis, Cronus' sworn enemy. I promised myself I would do whatever it took to become Apophis' First Prime so that I may one day gain vengeance upon Cronus."
"You know, Teal'c, I've always wondered," O'Neill said in total seriousness. "Just why didn't you buy into the whole party line about the god thing?"
"In my case, I had Master Bra'tac teaching me," Teal'c said, nodding to the aged Jaffa. "He was Apophis' First Prime at the time and he had seen and done much to convince himself of the truth and attempted to teach it to me. He told me that the Goa'uld were not gods and were not perfect either. Without him, I would probably have become a believer in the false gods."
"That might explain what's been bugging me since those alternate reality trips," Daniel said with some excitement. "How the versions of you there were serving Apophis so well. Maybe, in those realities, Bra'tac wasn't First Prime or had been killed or you just didn't listen to----"
"What is he talking about?" Bartlett asked.
"Don't start, sir," O'Neill pleaded. "Get started on the alternate reality thing and we'll be here all day."
Teal'c continued. "I still had some beliefs in their godhood, despite Bra'tac's words and wished for a way to test them. It soon came. A fellow Jaffa, Va'lar, had failed in battle and Apophis ordered me to take him back to the battlefield and kill him. To his credit, he accepted his punishment and was most surprised when I broke his bonds, told him to go to a nearby village and never show his face again. I returned to the ship and told Apophis Va'lar was dead, presenting him with a symbiont I had taken from another dead Jaffa. He smiled and told me I had promise. As he walked away, I knew then and there this was no god or he would have known of my deceit before I had thought of it."
"And that convinced you?" CJ asked. "You never looked back?"
Teal'c was silent, his face dark. "Once," he said softly. "Years later, I was sent to destroy a village of Ra's followers. Va'lar was there and to keep my earlier action secret, I was forced to kill him. I had given him his life only to eventually take it. My wife, Drey'ac, a believer in Apophis, told me that this was a sign that he had always known and knew I would one day kill Va'lar anyway. And for a time, I believed it as well. But it soon faded."
"So....you helped save people?" CJ said gently.
"I managed to.....reinterpret some orders as well as I could to allow people to survive. But...there have been times I have been forced to do things I wish I had not. Things that haunt me to this day." He looked to Bartlett, letting the President see the fire in his eyes. "This task I take to fight for your world is as much for the soothing of my soul as it is to aid those I believe in."
"I know whereof he speaks," Bra'tac nodded. "As First Prime, I too had to perform atrocities. Although I knew they were not gods, I thought the Goa'uld unbeatable and that saving some was all I could do. But Teal'c and his friends have shown me they can be beaten. But to do so will require battle, not appeasement, Bartlett of Massachusetts. For I can assure you, if there is one word of your language the Goa'uld do not have, it is surrender. Particularly to those they consider lower beings."
"What about death?" Bartlett asked in the same tone.
A slight smile came over Bra'tac's face. "That they have become quite familiar with the last few years."
Bartlett was silent for a moment, looking at the Stargate. "If it was up to me, I'd give you every cent of funding you need," he finally stated. "Especially after all I've just heard. "But seven billion dollars a year is a bit much on the economy and it's not easy to hide, either."
"Have you considered boosting your moneys with minerals from planets?" Bra'tac asked.
Everyone seemed surprised to hear him make such a suggestion, Hammond recovering first. "It's not that easy. Most world won't let us mine there and some items are very dangerous to----"
"Tell me," Bra'tac interrupted. "Do you still base much of your economy on that strange yellow metal?"
It took a moment for it to hit them what he was talking about. "You mean gold?" Josh asked.
"There are worlds where this gold is so common, any residents will gladly let you have it," Bra'tac announced. "I can give you coordinates if you like. It will probably be difficult to hide but it can be used to cover the costs of this facility and let you continue your fight."
There was a long moment of silence before Bartlett turned to Leo. "Leo, see if I have a Cabinet opening for this man. If not, make one."
"How do we explain his fashion sense?" Josh asked.
"That's why I have press aides," Bartlett said without hesitation.
Carter turned to her father. "Dad, why haven't you suggested this before?"
Jacob sighed. "Hon, frankly, the Tok'ra High Council have a lot more on their minds than the economy of a single country of a single planet."
Bartlett looked at O'Neill. "I'm betting I'd rather deal with the Christian Right and entire Republican House before I meet with these people."
"You'd win that bet, sir."
"I'm curious, Colonel. Did you vote for me?"
"Actually, sir, no. We were held prisoner on an alien planet on Election Day."
"Now *that* is a viable excuse!" Bartlett smiled. He was starting to really like this guy. He glanced over at Hammond and nodded. "General, get these planet's locations, make a deal to get the gold and this place has my full approval. That includes fighting off any Congressional wolves or other assholes who want to shut it down or use it for themselves."
Letting out the large breath he'd been holding in, Hammond rose and saluted the President, who returned it.
"Think we should hit him up for a raise?" O'Neill muttered to Carter. "OW!"
"Well, I think this wraps up the day," Josh said as the Presidential party finished their tour of the SGC, heading to the exits. "All that's left is to fly back to Washington, go home, take a shower and then get very, very drunk until I fall asleep."
"Don't talk to me about sleep," CJ groaned. "I have to come up with an excuse to the press corp as to where the President has been all day."
"Maybe you should have gone with the Tok'ra and that Bra'tac guy through the Gate," Josh remarked.
"Oh, no. No, there is no way in hell you're ever getting me through that thing."
"At least it's not Atlanta."
"Sam, I don't get it, what is this thing with you and Atlanta?"
"I can't explain it. I just don't feel....comfortable staying in Atlanta for some reason."
"Does anyone know how we're going to go to work tomorrow, same as always, knowing what we now know?" Josh asked, shaking his head.
"Try to keep in mind that if we breathe a word of this, we're liable to be shot," Leo remarked.
"I woke up this morning the master of all I surveyed," Toby stated. "I went to bed knowing I am just one small voice in the choir of the universe. But it was a good day."
"Wow," Josh said, looking at his friend. "That was good. What is that, Dickens?"
"No, Star Trek." Toby saw everyone staring at him. "What? Is it my fault I have a Trekkie for a secretary?"
"All right, what is it?" Bartlett wasn't exactly pleased to have been told that he was to report to the medical wing sans everyone, including his bodyguards. He watched as Fraiser slowly paced, taking a deep breath.
"Mr. President," she started. "I was going over your exams and I happened to notice something....." Inwardly, Bartlett groaned, knowing what she was talking about. Not noticing, Fraiser went on. "I checked and double-checked to make sure before I called you in here. I was hoping I'd made a mistake but I didn't. Sir, I really hate to be the one to tell you this but------"
Fraiser stopped and looked at him in confusion. "Sir?"
"That's when I was diagnosed," he answered calmly.
Fraiser stared at him in surprise as his words took hold. "You know."
Bartlett nodded. "Me, my wife, our daughters, my brothers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, a few other doctors." He fixed a hard gaze on Fraiser. "And that's it."
Fraiser licked her lips as she processed that information, trying to think of a response. "Well, sir, you'll have to be careful. If you're hurt or something and it gets out....."
"I can handle that," Bartlett said with a dismissive wave. "The question is...can you?"
Janet took a deep breath. "I am a doctor, Mr. President. You're my patient. From what I can see, this poses no immediate threat to this facility, of this planet or of this country." A wry smiled came onto her face. "And it's not as if I don't know about keeping secrets to protect people. So, as far as I'm concerned, this doesn't leave this room."
"And the fact that I can directly order you to keep your mouth shut under threat of imprisonment doesn't enter into it?" Bartlett asked.
"How about I have you shot? I can do that, you know."
"I know, sir. And I know that in that case, you'd have to deal with every single soldier on this base along with a very large alien with an energy staff who'll stand up to anything you have to offer."
Bartlett looked at her, bending his head. "You know....I'm really starting to like you people."
"Let's go," Bartlett announced as he walked out, adjusting his coat.
"What was going on in there, sir?" Leo asked as the group fell in behind him.
"Just sharing some information," Bartlett shrugged. "Amazing how much alien biology she's learned, should make fascinating reading."
Everyone stared at him. "Reading, sir?" Josh asked with a trace of fear.
"Yes," Bartlett nodded. "I've asked them to turn over all files on the facility to us, mission logs, alien life-forms encountered, analysis of weapons, that sort of thing."
"Sir," CJ asked, hoping to hell the answer would be no. "We're not actually going to have to read them, are we?"
"Every single one," Bartlett replied as they entered the elevator. "If I have to put up with knowing about this place, I'm sure as hell not going to do it alone."
"Mr. President, you are one sadistic bastard," Leo announced as the guard on duty hit the button to send the elevator up.
"Leo, somehow, I think I'm still a babe in the woods compared to the people we've met today," Bartlett remarked as the doors sealed shut before them.
"Janet?" Carter asked, poking her head into the medical wing. She saw Fraiser, slipping a file through a shredder, trails of paper coming out of it. "Whoa. Hope that's not important."
"No, just some scrap paper I had to get rid of," Fraiser replied as she threw the shredded paper away. "What's up?"
"Well, about to go off-duty," Carter replied. "Colonel O'Neill wants us to gather at the diner in town, sort have a little celebration at still having a job. Teal'c is coming, that should provide plenty of entertainment there."
"Why not?" Fraiser smiled. "Give me a few minutes to change and I'll be right with you." She watched Carter leave, then sighed, glancing back at the garbage can carrying the paper shreds that had contained the follow-up to the President's medical report. The regular report was still in her desk and hopefully, no one would look through it closely enough to order some tests done. It was strange. Janet Fraiser had been to other worlds, performed medical scans on extra-terrestrial life forms and counted an alien among her good friends. But somehow, that just didn't compare to the knowledge she now carried that the President of the United States had multiple sclerosis.