- Character Bashing
- Explicit Sex
- Hate Crimes
- Alternate Universe
- Science Fiction
John lay in his bunk and listened to the sounds in the dark. And in the cells, it was pitch black. The only breaks in the black came from the stabbing beam of the flashlights when the guards checked on him. They had broken out battery operated lanterns for some areas, and in a very few zones there was emergency lighting, but not in here.
Actually, John smiled every time they walked by with the lights. It was that much longer that Rodney was leading them around by the nose. It was wonderful to know his husband was out there trying to save him. And Rodney was a complete and utter genius. He had already heard the bitching in passing about the lack of hot water for showers.
He had to practically smother himself with the pillow to keep from cackling out loud when he heard that the power and gas flow to the mess was shut off and they were quickly feeding everyone the food before it could spoil. They would be reduced to MREs within a day. The funny thing about it was that it didn’t happen until after they tried to feed John with crappy left-overs and put an entire shaker of salt in the food in front of him.
John turned in the direction of the camera and blew another kiss at it even if he couldn’t see it. The hot water, the food, air circulation fans in the gateroom. All of those things corresponded to treatment John received after the power was cut. Rodney and his team were watching through the base video, and no one here was smart enough to figure that out.
The sounds of multiple boots echoed in the dark and John realized they were approaching. He shaded his eyes, and half turned toward where he knew there was a wall to save his eyesight when the lights appeared. He knew they were coming. The bright light of several lanterns flooded the room, and John grunted in pain while covering his entire face.
“Well, crap.” A voice he recognized called out. “Dim those down, guys.”
The light dimmed to a glow, and yet after hours in the dark, it was still painful. John felt his eyes watering as he forced himself to adjust to the change. He held still, his face stony as he tried to glare at the latest General to make his life a misery.
“Sir, I have orders that no one is to see the prisoner.” His guard informed O’Neill.
“Well, Corporal, I’m giving you orders to open the door and let me talk with the prisoner.” O’Neill glanced at the guard and then dismissed him, he focused on John instead.
“Yes, sir, but, Sir, Colonel Sumner has ordered that no one have contact with the prisoner. So I’m afraid I can’t let you pass.”
This time O’Neill turned and looked at the guard. “Son, I happen to know for a fact that they teach you in basic that an Air Force General ranks a Marine Colonel every time. And in this command, the food chain goes God, The President, and then Me. No one else’s opinions or orders matter. So, you will open that cell, you will allow Major Sheppard to exit, and then I think you will enter that cell and consider the consequences of refusing the direct order of your commanding officer.”
“But, Col. Sumner ordered…” Three of the men accompanying O’Neill raised their weapons. Less than a minute later one marine was in a cell and John was following O’Neill and his escorts to an office littered with books and artifacts. It looked more like a museum curator’s office.
O’Neill motioned John toward a chair and started rummaging around in a file cabinet. He came out with a jug of bottled water, a bag of coffee, and a Makita rechargeable coffee maker. John watched amused as he quickly set up the unit and put on a cup to brew. “No milk. Sugar?”
“Black,” John replied thinking his life was surreal. John took the cup and leaned back, watching the General brew one of his own with maybe half a bag of sugar. “Handy.”
“Not the first time, and trust me, you don’t want to have to deal with an uncaffeinated Daniel when there’s no power and a problem to solve.” He leaned back in his chair and stared at John while sipping his coffee. John pretended to ignore him while he enjoyed the first coffee he’s had in days. In fact, it’s a pretty damn good cup of coffee, and he decided to find out the blend so he can get Rodney a case. Rodney and his team deserved a case.
“So, I went on vacation for a week and returned to find my mountain has a bit of a mess. It was a nice week. Cabin in Montana, fishing, relaxing. You know, just a few of the fun things in life. Then I run a little low on beer and decide to run into town to pick up a few. Funny thing was, my credit cards were canceled. Then I hit up the ATM for cash and first it ate my card, then the screen gave me a message.”
John slouched slightly in the chair, “Oh, what was the message?”
“Give me what I want, and I’ll give it back.”
“Seems to be a pretty common message around here.” John gave a little smirk and took another drink of the coffee.
“Took me a while to reach my command. Seems my government issued phone was disconnected. But, when I reach my admin, I find out that the SGC has been offline for almost twenty-four hours now and no one knows if it’s a foothold situation because there are no communications in or out.”
John kept quiet and took another drink. It wasn’t like he’d been asked a question yet. As far as he was concerned, this might just be the good cop phase.
“Now, I can understand a bit of retribution. I understand that McKay has been in a snit for a while now over some misunderstanding…”
Oh, Hell no! John’s not standing for that, “Misunderstanding? Is that what you’ve decided to call it? You sold the man to Russia. I don’t think there was a misunderstanding in there. Unless you count the one where McKay thought he had free will to chose who he worked for and then learned that he didn’t.”
O’Neill leaned forward sharply, “Exaggerating a bit there, aren’t you? I don’t know what he told you, but he was willing to let a friend of mine die. We saved him anyway, and when we had to uphold our end of the deal with Russia over the naquadah generator project, we sent McKay to teach them. He was supposed to be there for six months but agreed to extend his assignment when they asked. We were told later that he accepted a job offer from the Russians.”
John just stared at him coldly before bursting his bubble. “Let me introduce you to the real world. The one where he served his six months in Siberia and then when it was over, he asked for transport home. He received an email with instructions that his assignment was extended another six months and his access to Stargate data would be restricted until his return. When he complained, he found himself incarcerated in the quarters he was assigned. He had an escort at all times when he was allowed to leave it.”
“Two years later, they hauled the man to Moscow because some device they were demonstrating broke down and McKay was the only one that could figure out how to fix it. The first chance he got, he ran. Rodney tried to run to the Canadian Embassy, but they were looking for him everywhere. So he stupidly tried the American Embassy for help and learned that Russia had reported a change in his citizenship status, so the U.S. considered him a security risk. If he hadn’t stumbled across me while he was hiding from a sweep, he would probably still be there.”
O’Neill looked a little gutted by that. “That’s not in the reports.”
“Why am I not surprised?”
“OK, so someone screwed up there and didn’t demand to…”
“I know for a fact you’re not that stupid. Someone was playing games with Russia and used McKay to pay for whatever they were getting. It’s the only thing that explains why there was so much push-back from the U.S. when we tried to straighten everything out. It’s why Sheppard R&D relocated to Canada because the US was dragging its feet.” John shook his head and took in the general’s body language. “You’re still hung up on the friend you almost lost.”
“Yeah, Teal’c. He’s one of my best friends, and McKay had already written him off as lost.”
“I don’t know the situation. But I do know Rodney. He has absolutely lousy people skills. He rarely feels like explaining anything to anyone who can’t keep up with him, and let’s face it, not many people can. But he cares deeply, and it eats him alive when people get hurt. He had a meltdown over his niece scraping a knee. If he was walking away, then I guarantee you he thought he was right. Every scrap of data he had said the man was already gone. Whatever your plan to save him, I’m betting there was a good chance a lot more people could die doing it.” John shook his head, “I won’t try to make you change your mind, and like I said, I don’t know the details. But I’m willing to bet the data said he was right, and it was the data that was wrong.”
The frozen face neither accepted or denied the explanation, but John didn’t care. He would trust what he knew.
O’Neill waved it off, neither accepting or denying John’s claim, “Whatever, that’s the past. But right now, I have six teams off-world that don’t have a way home. They could be in serious trouble right now. Hurt, dying, I don’t know. But, it’s been made painfully clear to me that McKay is to blame for the lock-down. If I put you on the phone, are you willing to talk some sense into him?”
“He didn’t overreact. In my opinion, he saved my life. I’m not willing to stop him until we receive assurance that we’re free to go and there will be no repeat performances or retribution. I want my people to have full amnesty.” John put down the cup and leaned back in the chair.
“Well, there is the little matter of breaking your NDAs.”
“You created a ZPM. Now that’s impressive, and we actually appreciate it, but you did have to share classified data to get there.” O’Neill tapped his fingers on the desk with each point.
“Funny you say that. I’ve never seen a ZPM. Not even sure what it stands for. What Rodney created is the first Ground State Energy Module. Now, I’m not stupid, and I figure we stumbled on something that has been created before by races that came before us. Maybe the ancients, who knows. But the fact is, Elizabeth Weir admitted to me that she looked at our records. I sat in the chair in Antarctica, but no one there could tell me how it worked. I was working so hard to play catchup with the program when I was recruited I never got around to asking about power sources.”
“And, as for Rodney, he was stuck in Siberia when the outpost was discovered. I doubt he even knows it exists. He was too busy trying to survive and escape. The man still has nightmares about it. When I pushed him, he said that the Program never had anything like it. That all you had were hopped up generators. Just generators. He worked out how to solve GSE in his head in captivity as a way to stay sane, and I won’t let any of you take that away from him.”
“OK, so that’s easy enough to verify. No harm, no foul. Get McKay to release the Mountain, and we’ll get this cleared up.”
“You really think it’s going to be that easy? I was kidnapped off a D.C. street by way of recall to active duty. I’m married to a man, so it’s universally stupid to recall me. But it was clear from the first moment that I was only recalled to get your hands on the GSEM. When that didn’t work, I was threatened, beaten, and then brought here to be shipped off-world to some private prison Sumner and his team run. It was made clear to me that a chance to prove my innocence was not on the table. I would be there already if it weren’t for Rodney.”
“Ok, that’s clear. Obviously, I have a problem. Let’s get this cleared up so I can solve mine.”
“You have a bigger problem than you know. Sumner answers to Weir only. His men are the same. I overheard Landry telling him that Weir wasn’t paying him enough to let McKay screw with his command. Just look at that guard. Show me a single marine that doesn’t hop to when a general says jump, but he blindly followed Sumner’s commands. All of the others are just like him. The only one they obey faster is Weir. Frankly, I’m a little freaked out how they all seem to spout the same party line. If I didn’t know better, I would say they were all brainwashed.”
O’Neill leaned back hard and just stared at John, “Well, crap.”
– – – –
Rodney took several deep, meditative breaths to calm himself. He couldn’t afford to show a moment of nerves when he walked into the viper’s nest. Marguerite was already in the chambers, playing her role. The Prime Minister of Canada asked to speak to the IOA Council, and she only knows it’s something to do with the mess McKay’s made in Vancouver. She’s keeping them interested with non-information. Rodney remembers it’s a skill she’s honed her entire life.
Antoine was currently in session with the U.S. President. He was officially meeting to provide details showing that Rodney and John were innocent of any NDA breach, and how to talk them into returning to the program with their new toys.
He heard the slight creak of the chair opposite him and opened his eyes to see Patrick watching him. “How are you?” Patrick asked.
“Nervous as hell, just knowing what we’re walking into…”
“You’ll be fine. Just do what I do.” Rodney raised an eyebrow in question, and Patrick smiled, “remember that you are the most powerful person in that room. I have money to remind me of that, but you, Rodney, are the smartest person in that room. Don’t let them talk down to you. Don’t let them try to manipulate you. Don’t give up your power to them. They will try to take it. They will try to get you angry, to show you’re unstable. They will remind you of the worst things in your life or cater to your ego. They will do whatever they have to in order to get what they want out of you. We aren’t going to let that happen.”
“I’m not going to let that happen,” Rodney agreed.
And he wasn’t going to lose control in there. He was going to be an arrogant pain in the ass. Patrick, on the other hand, was going to exude barely controlled rage. Rodney could see in his eyes that Patrick wasn’t even acting that role. He had burned like the sun when he was read into the program and learned that John had left the service rather than be forced onto a suicide mission to another galaxy.
They had arrived in the early morning hours and started planning their response. Their morning session was interrupted by the arrival of Jack O’Neill in Colorado. Rodney had almost hit his knees when Miko had patched through a call to Daniel Jackson’s office. John’s voice was stressed but still just John, and it had been the sweetest thing he had ever heard. Once John had convinced them to bring O’Neill in on their operation, Rodney had sent the data and the master list to the computer in that office only.
O’Neill had taken the information and set about cleaning up his shit. Radek was monitoring the situation and would release the Mountain as soon as O’Neill gave the signal. John was with him, and he had O’Neill’s word for what it’s worth that he would bring John to D.C. as soon as he had someone he could trust in control at the Mountain.
He was kinda pissed that John just joined right in on the cleanup, but that was John, never sending someone else to do the dirty work. He wanted to keep his eyes on it, but there was too much planning. A Major Davis had been sent by O’Neill to assist and coordinate security for today, but Rodney still worried that they had missed someone.
He was just glad they had Lou. She had taken one look at Davis’ troops and quietly warned him that the first person to touch either Patrick or Rodney would lose the hand that touched them. The fact that she stared him down and never cracked a smile unnerved the man to Rodney’s immense satisfaction.
There was a knock on the door, and it opened a crack to have a message passed through. Patrick accepted it when security handed it over, “the session has started. Antoine and Hayes are about to enter.”
Rodney stood up to get a glass of water. “I should check in.”
“No, trust your people to stay on task.”
“I trust my people, it’s the ones in the Mountain I don’t give a fuck about.”
“I agree, in general. John’s a little too close to that stargate device for my comfort right now. I can’t believe they tried to force John.” Patrick took a deep cleansing breath. “Let’s focus. Our plan by the numbers. Major Davis is already inside, and his men are in position. Lou and James will be with us. I received confirmation that David is in lockdown at the estate and pissed.”
Rodney grinned because David pissed off was a mini Patrick, but he had this moment when he was getting there that he looked like a little kid throwing a tantrum. “David will get over it and then bitch about it for a week. We should have sent him to the shield so he could moon over Miko and pretend he was in charge of something.”
Patrick just stared at Rodney a moment then barked a laugh, “He would. I’ll never repeat it to him, but he would.”
“I’ll repeat it to his face.” Rodney saw Patrick relax the slightest bit.
Patrick smiled slightly then quirked an eyebrow at Rodney before nodding his head once, “Thank you, I needed that.”
They sat in silence for a moment before another knock at the door drew their attention. There were whispers before Lou threw the door wide open and allowed entrance.
Rodney was up and moving before he realized he had practically shoved Patrick aside. He had no time to think as John drew him into a deep, desperate kiss. His world, his universe aligned and Rodney felt his heart begin to beat again. Hands touching, exploring, feeling every inch of skin he could reach. John was here. John was here, and alive, and real.
“Hey kids, maybe we can get you a room later?”
Rodney broke the kiss and turned to glare at Jack O’Neill. He pulled back to punch him in that smug face, but John grabbed hold and swung him back around. “That’s not the way to make friends, Rodney.”
The sound of fist hitting flesh and a “What the Hell?” Had Rodney swinging around just in time to see O’Neill holding up a hand in surrender and Patrick cursing lightly while holding onto his right hand.
“Dad, you can’t just hit my CO.” John was torn between holding onto Rodney and grabbing his father. Rodney solved his dilemma by pulling John back. Let Patrick have his fun.
“I disa-fucking-agree, John. I can beat him into a pulp.” Patrick continued to glare.
“Excuse me, but I kinda thought people would be happy for the reunion.” Jack rubbed his jaw and then put his hands back up when Patrick moved.
“You tried to force my son to go on a one-way suicide mission! He would have disappeared, and all I would have gotten is a regret to inform you letter.” Patrick’s eyes blazed.
Jack shook his head. “Hold on there. Just hold on a damn minute. That was completely a volunteer mission. Every single person on it had a choice. And, the moment Major Sheppard changed his mind, he was off the mission. No questions asked.”
“Hey!” Jack turned to look at John. “The moment you said no, I took you off the mission. Then you wanted to transfer out of the mountain, fine. I gave you three weeks leave to consider your options, and instead of a transfer, you applied for an early discharge. I figured you weren’t the first who couldn’t handle the truth about the Project. Not everyone can.”
“This is more of that revisionist BS. Respectfully, sir, you need to stop believing every report you receive. At first, I said why not. I mean not everyone can say they were the first to go to a new galaxy. And, everyone was excited because you’re building a spaceship for backup. It’s like every kid’s dream. Then I started reading reports and talking to people. So, when I figured out that the scientists on the mission had no clue how the tech really works, I said no. When my new mission CO, explained that he hated me and I was not to consider myself in the chain of command but should take orders from a green lieutenant just out of Annapolis, I said no. And when I realized that our expedition leader was obsessed with dying in order to live forever, I said Hell No. So, you gave me time to think about it, and while I did, I had Weir trying to seduce me into going. When I turned her down, I received notice that the IOA was rethinking the mission because of some of the questions I was asking. Then I receive some damn notice that I’m ordered to go because I’m to consider myself a mission-essential piece of equipment. So I pulled every string I could, and when you wouldn’t change the orders, I got myself out of the service.”
Jack was shaking his head no and looked angry. Good, Rodney thought, they could use a few more angry people in the meeting.
– – – –
John entered the room one step behind O’Neill as befitted his rank. Letting go of Rodney at that moment was one of the most difficult things he had ever been forced to do. After almost a week of wondering if he would ever see him again, the separation was like a physical blow. The look in Rodney’s eyes showed the same for a moment before Rodney had dragged him back for a kiss and then let him go.
“Well, it looks like most of the gang is here. Started without me?” O’Neill strolled over to a seat and pulled it out before sitting relaxed in the chair. “Take a load off, Major.”
John sat at attention next to him, copying the Major on O’Neill’s other side. He took a moment to gauge the attitude of the people in the room. There was a lot of underlying tension in the room that had John searching for danger. Most only appeared mildly interested in O’Neill’s entrance. But, a few were giving him the side-eye which told John that they were aware of his identity. President Hayes seemed happy to see him, and the Canadian PM gave John a small smile and nod, barely perceptible. Vice President Kinsey, however, looked like he was sucking on a lemon.
Hayes smiled that big politician smile of his, “Jack, glad you could join us. Prime Minister Lemoine here was just bringing us up to speed on the issues with the Shield in Canada.”
“Oh? I was given an update on the plane here, looks like the main problem is getting Sheppard Industries to play ball.” Jack leaned back like he didn’t have a worry in the world.
“There is nothing to negotiate. We need that shield and the ZPM powering it. Dr. Weir has already explained the importance of the discovery.” The U.K. rep stated. John took a quick look at him, judging how deep he was in it.
“Yeah, about that, just where is Dr. Weir now?” Jack looked around at the group innocently. John was wondering that as well.
Davis stepped in, “Sir, I have it on good authority that she is on her way here. Her attorney’s just handled a miscommunication that led to her incarceration.”
Jack’s eyebrows both climbed up his forehead. “I think that’s a story I want to hear, Major.”
Vice President Kinsey jumped in, “I see no reason to waste the time of this committee delving into rumor and innuendo. Dr. Weir is a lady and deserves her privacy.”
Marguerite Lemoine leaned her head forward onto her fist. “I don’t consider this rumor or gossip. How can we allow her to represent this body if her reputation has been called into question?” She cocked her head toward Major Davis’ direction, “So what were the charges against the good doctor?”
“Ahem, prostitution ma’am.”
She sighed, then leaned back yawning, “Oh, I thought you were going to tell us something we didn’t know about her.”
“Marguerite!” Antione chastised her, “You should not propagate rumor until it can be verified.”
The door opened, and the person in question entered. Her hair was pulled back severely and just slightly fuzzed and off-center as if she had been attempting to braid it back quickly in the car without benefit of a brush. She had the look of someone who had dressed hurriedly to catch the meeting, and there were little finishing touches missing. It wasn’t the normal polished appearance John remembered so well.
Marguerite gave a little mischievous grin before speaking, “Elizabeth, dear. So happy you made it. Can you clear up a question for us? You see we were told you were arrested for being a whore and I wanted to know if the report was accurate.”
Weir’s face flushed angrily, but before she could reply Hayes stepped in. “That is a very crude term. I would prefer you focus on the titles prostitute or sex worker. We try not to blame people for the situations they find themselves in.”
“Of course, Henry. I am sorry if I upset you, sir.”
John silently choked and had to grab the glass of water in front of him. That brought his presence to her attention. John could see her surprise and then anger. She lightly glanced around the guards inside the room, from both the U.S. and Canada, before rigidly taking a seat at the table.
“I would like to know why we’re here today.” Elizabeth started.
“I would like to know why you’re here today, too, Elizabeth dear. We all appreciate the work you do for us, but you don’t actually have a place at this table, now do you? If you’re bored, I’m sure we can find something for you to do. But you should leave the speaking to the people who work for a living. ” Marguerite replied cattily.
Elizabeth stiffened further, and John noted that most of the men in the room were becoming a bit upset at the continued attack on Weir’s character. O’Neill was watching closely as well, and he caught John’s eye on a sweep.
“Ms. Lemoine, you would do well to treat me with the respect I deserve.”
“I do, sweetheart.”
“The Lady Elizabeth has earned her place here, and I must insist you speak to her with honor and respect.” And there goes Spain into the mix.
“Gentlemen, and Ladies, why don’t we just calm everything down and get back to our purpose today. Antoine here would like to bring Mr. Patrick Sheppard, CEO of Sheppard Industries, and Dr. Rodney McKay into the meeting to discuss his latest discoveries and see if we can reach an understanding for the Stargate Program.” The President smiled big and motioned toward the assistant in the room.
The woman was already moving and out the door when voices were raised in complaint. A loud whistle pierced through the noise and John sat back surprised by O’Neill’s range.
“Hey, can we have a touch of quiet in here?” One of the IOA reps started to open his mouth, and O’Neill used his fingers snapping shut to motion, “Uh-uh. Quiet. Ahh, yes.”
Hayes and Antoine just traded looks and laughed silently at Jack’s antics. John just marveled that these are the people making world-altering decisions.
The door soon opened to allow Patrick Sheppard to sweep in as if he owned the universe. Rodney followed, chin stuck out in that stubbornly bored expression he frequently employed when they were forced into an executive meeting that Rodney was convinced was a waste of his time because he could not bother himself to dumb down to the level of those he was forced to share air with. It was an expression John adored because it was frequently followed with something utterly scathing and inappropriate.
John forced himself to avoid eye contact with Lou and her entire security detail. He noted that several of O’Neill and Davis’s teams had been interspersed. Dad and Rodney, however, demanded so much attention that no one seemed to notice the extra security.
“Thank you for coming today, Mr. Sheppard, Dr. McKay.” The Chairman of the Committee, a little twit from France that was practically simpering at Weir started. “We have much to discuss in order to fit your company into its proper place in our operation.”
“Excuse me,” Dad said, and it was that tone of voice that John had called his holy retribution voice as a child.
The Chairman just paused with his mouth open.
“I was invited here today so that you people can attempt to explain why you believe you have the right to interfere in my business.” He powered on through the negative noises that poured forth at his statement. “Do not waste my time. Myself, my company, and especially my son and son-in-law deserve your formal apologies for your recent actions.”
“Now wait just one moment. Your son and Dr. McKay completely ignored their NDAs and worked on a classified project without authorization. Work on the ZPM project is classified to the highest levels. Your company needs to turn over all the work and the ZPM prototype to this council for further study,” the Chinese rep demanded.
“I don’t think so,” Rodney stated, before reaching over and taking the water bottle from in front of John. “I’m bored, and frankly you people are wasting what little patience I have. I’m going to bill each of your governments my standard rate for taking up my time today.”
Patrick nodded, “I will draw up the billing and have it processed for you, Rodney. You shouldn’t have to waste time with the legal issues.”
Rodney motioned agreement then took a drink from the bottle before he slowly screwed on the lid. “So, let’s just get a few items straight. Since I’ve never seen this ZedPM you are talking about, I think it’s blatantly ridiculous to say I’ve broken an NDA. I have never shared or worked on Stargate information, in fact, I think I’m confident stating that I prefer not to share air with any of you. So supposition one is proven incorrect.”
“Second, John did not have any input into the GSEM project beyond the occasional math. We made a firm agreement the day we met and realized we were both read into the program that we would never speak about it since there was no way to determine if we were both read in at the same level. Why? Because I’m a genius and frankly he’s smarter than all of you,” Rodney gestured around the room with the water bottle, “so we weren’t stupid enough to take that risk.”
“Third, since I am smarter than all of you, it’s clear that letting any of you idiots see any data related to my proprietary projects is a ludicrous idea. So, access is off the table.”
Elizabeth leaned in, “Doctor McKay, I think you need to learn your place here. I understand that you were beginning to understand that you are not quite as smart as you think you are in Russia.”
John shifted, and O’Neill gripped his arm under the table and gave a negative movement of the head. John made a fist but kept his expression the same. His father did not feel so inclined.
“I believe it is you who needs to learn your place. What exactly are you doing here? I was under the impression that I was meeting with the people who have the power to make decisions. Instead, I find some minor annoyance interjecting her vapid thoughts into my business. Why don’t you get your little fanny in gear and put it to use serving your betters.” Patrick said in the most condescending attitude he could muster.
Weir pushed up from the chair before standing up into her full height, while seeming to look down her nose at everyone. “Betters? You believe you are my betters. I am a queen, I am a goddess, you should fall to your knees and worship me.” Her eyes glowed briefly, and it wasn’t in madness alone. “Before I finish you will crawl at my feet and beg for my attention.”
She moved toward Patrick as he stood his ground before her and reached out to grab his lapel. Moving so fast she was barely visible, Lou kicked out and knocked Weir across the table. “No one touches my protectee.”
Men around the table jumped up to help Weir, but all were met with weapons as the security brought into the room by O’Neill and Patrick began zatting everyone who resisted. The President and Prime Minister were pulled into a protective placement, while John grabbed Rodney and pulled him to the exit side of the room and placing himself directly in front of his husband for protection.
Lou was not so inclined to halt her actions. She moved forward, continuing to fight as the goa’uld tried to use superior strength and ordered her “worshippers” to defend her. When it was clear that Lou had won the battle and they were surrounded, the goa’uld spoke in that odd voice. “You have proven worthy of my attention. You shall serve me well as a new host.”
There was an unholy scream as the snake suddenly left her body and shot forward toward Lou. Shouts from O’Neill and others were inconsequential as Lou reached out in mid-air, grabbed the goa’uld, and then drew her weapon and fired it at the head of the snake. She held it steady until the quivering stopped, then dropped it to the ground.
“How dare you kill a queen!” Kinsey’s eyes glowed, and his voice reverberated.
“Well, fuck,” O’Neill responded just before he discharged the zat at Kinsey. “Now I have to figure out which was the ass, Kinsey or the snake.”
– – – –
John greeted General O’Neill at the front door of the Sheppard family home in Virginia and led him back to the study. The IOA meeting had concluded with a bang five days ago, and the man looked like he hadn’t slept since. Not surprising when you find out the Vice President had been taken over by a goa’uld.
John had spent the time wrapped around Rodney. Especially after he woke with nightmares, the first night and John learned of the kidnapping attempt. Rodney was currently communicating with their team in Canada as they tracked down information with wild abandon for the SGC.
“General, how is your cleanup of the SGC going?
O’Neill shrugged, “It’s a mess. Everyone is undergoing a full background on an extremely uncomfortable level. The organization they found is called the Trust. It’s a shadow agency of the NID, but they are willing to get what they want by any means. Thought they were gone, but apparently the goa’uld found them and decided to take over. By the way, thank your people for all the data. Carter and Daniel were impressed.”
John nodded and was silent a moment, considering, “Have you been able to get the snakes out of people?”
The general pursed his lips while taking a deep breath and then blew it out in a single huff. “We’re still working our way through it. Of the six snakes we’ve identified so far, we’ve been able to extract two. I have some friends coming to help with the rest. Kinsey is a problem. Seems when you take the snake out of the man he’s a bigger asshole than with one. He’s been deep in the Trust since it’s inception. They had a plan to assassinate Henry so they could get a goa’uld in office. We haven’t decided yet what we’re doing about that mess.”
“And Dr. Weir?”
“Well, it seems the only thing keeping her sane was the snake. You were right, she was completely round the bend. She talks fanatically about ascension to anyone that will speak to her. She let loose with all of her plans to use you. She wanted your gene in more ways than one.” He grimaced, “The snake was planning on using you and your gene to create breed goa’uld with the gene once you reached Pegasus.”
“Yeah, queens can take a, ahem, genetic sample to breed. I know she wasn’t snaked when you all had the pre-mission physical, but they got to her sometime after that. The snake was the one trying to seduce you, but you didn’t react to the nish’ta.”
John was kinda reeling here, but there was a lot he didn’t understand. “Nish’ta?”
“It’s a chemical the goa’uld queens can secrete that acts like a mind control drug. That’s why so many of the men were acting brainwashed. Three-quarters of the IOA Committee were infected. She’s been building her little fiefdom, and we didn’t see it.” O’Neill was silent a moment before shaking it off. “Anywho, we are methodically clearing that up and separating the simply infected from the complicit.”
“Have you been able to locate Col. Sumner yet, sir?”
“No, he and his main team are in the wind. I have SG-2&6 going over each prisoner in their base to verify if they belong there. So that’s another mess, but one I can deal with. I would appreciate it if you would keep an eye open. According to those in the Mountain that are fit to report, he had a serious hate-on for you and McKay. But, I would prefer to get him back alive. I need to determine if he was under the influence or acting of his own volition.”
“I’ll talk to Lou, but no promises.” John knew it wouldn’t matter to Lou. She would take whatever action she determined necessary and to hell with anyone else’s wishes. O’Neill seemed to get it and shook his head.
“Is that all you wanted, sir? To give me an update?”
“No, we still have a giant mess to clean up. Sheppard Industries PR has been doing a great job of explaining the shield and the power source. There is a daily “shield report” running that documents how many days the shield has been up. We would like to keep that going for a little while to give people something to focus on. In fact, I would like your help in this as well.”
“I would like you to consider staying in the service. I need officers I can trust, and right now I’m overwhelmed with digging the corruption out of my command.”
“You do realize I’m gay?” John shook his head, “What about DADT?”
“I can get a presidential waiver for you on that.”
“I’m not sure I would feel comfortable knowing that I had a waiver while everyone else doesn’t. I would be taking serious chances with safety when some homophobic jarhead decides to teach me the error of my ways.”
“Not in my command.” Jack winced, and John was certain he was looking at the vestiges of his black eye. “Ok, then a waiver until Henry can change the law. I’ve told him before that I can’t hold to it in my command when we are out meeting with other races. Daniel is always harping on the fact that homophobic and xenophobic go hand in hand. Just, don’t worry about that, I can have it changed in three to six months.”
John didn’t think it was that simple, but it was O’Neill’s problem. “There’s also Rodney and Sheppard Industries to think about.”
“Yeah, so, I was hoping that if I could convince you to stick around, I might be able to contract them, too. See, Area 51 is a mess. I’ve lost over half the base to corruption. Landry has been taking bribes for years. The chief scientist out that way, Kavanagh, not only has been blackmailing several people, he’s been screwing up the science. A lot of people in our sciences have walked away instead of working with him. And the company that was building our first spaceship was owned by a goa’uld.”
O’Neill leaned back and looked at John, “I would like you to take over as CO and McKay as Chief of Science. Then I would like your help to talk your father into bringing Sheppard Industries on board to correct the issues and finish building the ship. In fact, Sheppard Industries is in a unique position to allow us to start introducing the science and technology we find out there to the general public.”
John stared a moment before turning his head to look out the window. Was it worth it? He had finally found happiness with Rodney and his family. Was it worth it to take the chance?
“This isn’t something I can just decide for everyone. You’re asking for a lot here.”
“I know, I would like to say take all the time in the world, but frankly…I need to take action here. I’ll give you three days. Then all in or not. I can’t give you all out, because we desperately need the toys McKay can produce. But I promise, no coercion.”
“And if I say no?”
“Recall rescinded, and the President will assure your file restricts you from future recall.” Jack looked at him then stood up. “Think on it, talk on it. Call me when you decide. I’ll show myself out.”
John watched him go while his mind was turning over every word.
– – – –
Rodney stumbled a little and John reached out to steady him before wrapping an arm around his shoulders. He leaned into John’s warmth the way he always did, and John felt himself relax. The dinner had been fantastic, with Dad and David leaving them alone for the first time since John got back. They had even left the house to give them a little privacy. John has to admit the candlelight was perfect.
Now they were taking a little nighttime stroll across the property. Rodney repeatedly stated that he hated the horses, but John found it endearing that he always brought them treats and they seemed to universally like Rodney. It was a little late to see them now, but they were taking one of the paths that led near the stables.
The sky was clear, and stars sparkled brightly above them as John directed them to the little hidden garden his mother had loved so well.
It was Rodney who broke the silence, of course. “Do you think your father will win his concessions with the IOA?”
“Do you really think there’s a chance he will lose?” John raised an eyebrow and looked at Rodney, “They need us more than we need them. You saw the reports on the mess out there. They’re desperate to get you and your team involved. But Dad is going to make sure your intellectual property rights are protected. Any scientist who is involved will need to be an employee of SI. As such, no single government can claim patent to their work.”
“I was always so wrapped up in the science, I know there were things at first they stole from me. I learned quickly, but some of these people are so indoctrinated into doing the right thing because of what’s out there that they don’t even realize they have rights.” Rodney shook his head and then started to laugh.
“If Jack O’Neill doesn’t watch out, Patrick is going to own the Program before he’s through.”
John smiled, “Did you see the way O’Neill was scoping out Dad’s ass? I don’t think he’ll care.”
“No, really? Why do I miss that stuff? Are you sure he’s…? What am I saying? Of course he is. All of those missions stuck off-world with Daniel Jackson? According to the mission reports, they never came back overly stressed from those. Damn, you are right.” Rodney thought about it, “Should we warn Patrick?”
“Rod-ney. Did you not see the tight fitting jeans Dad was wearing when he left? He was just headed to O’Neill’s so they could discuss a few points.” John smirked.
“Why are we talking about your father’s ass when we are finally alone for the first time in two weeks?” Rodney asked petulantly.
“You started it. I can think of better things to do with these lips than talk about my father and O’Neill.” John leaned in to nuzzle at Rodney’s neck.
“Yesss, much better idea.” Rodney melted into him, “No more talking about the choices. We’ve already made a promise that whatever we decide, we go together.”
“That’s a promise I think needs to be sealed with a kiss.” John murmured. Then he pushed Rodney back against the tree and let their lips do the speaking for the foreseeable future.
– – – –