- Character Bashing
- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
- Episode Related
Daniel was the first to admit he didn’t pay much attention to what was happening around him. Okay, he wouldn’t actually admit it, but he knew it was true. And if someone had informed him Captain Samantha Carter was due back in Stargate Command that day, he was pretty sure he’d’ve remembered it. Which meant he didn’t know and therefore hadn’t been told. Which also meant Jack was going to get a piece of his mind later, and he damn well deserved it. With brass knobs on.
‘So, Sam. How are you…how are you keeping?’
She scowled at him and looked around at the busy corridor they were in just outside the main lift on level 18. ‘I’ve been better. As you would know if you replied to any of my emails. Can we go somewhere a little less public?’
‘Mess?’ Daniel suggested, keen to keep this meeting in public.
‘I was thinking more along the lines of your lab. Or mine,’ she added, not shifting her gaze from his face.
She knows, Daniel thought to himself. She knows it isn’t hers anymore.
‘Jonas is busy in my lab, and I need to get a coffee in any case,’ Daniel hedged. ‘Let’s go to the Mess.’
‘You’d never drink Mess coffee before. Has it improved while I’ve been away?’
I’m gonna kill Jack, and salt his body, Daniel promised himself. ‘Not much, but I forgot to set my coffee machine up this morning.’ He could tell she didn’t believe a word he said and wondered if she’d call him on it. Instead, she shrugged her shoulders.
‘If we have to.’
They returned to the lift, and Daniel realised, as he pressed the button for level 22, that, as a visitor, Carter should have had an escort, and the only reason she could have had to linger on level 18 was to waylay himself. His lips tightened as he considered this but the doors opened before he could decide what to say.
They walked side by side towards the main Mess hall, but when Carter veered off towards the officers’ Mess, Daniel cleared his throat.
‘Erm, Sam? Main Mess hall.’
‘The Officer’s Mess will be quieter.’
‘Perhaps, but you can’t go in there.’
She looked startled. ‘What do you mean?’
Daniel sighed. Salted and burned. ‘Officers at or above the rank of Major? Remember?’
‘Or Gate team members.’
Salted and burned, and then I’ll dance on the remains.
‘You’re not on a Gate team anymore.’
She stared at him for a beat. ‘Not at present, but I will be by tonight.’
‘Are you sure of that?’ he asked quietly. ‘Where’s your escort, by the way?’ In for a penny in for a pound.
Carter outright laughed at him. “I don’t need an escort. I’ve been here since the place opened. In fact, if it weren’t for me, it never would have opened.’
Daniel stared at her. Salted, burned, and danced on. Then I’ll set fire to his fishing rods. ‘Not quite, several others had quite a bit to do with it.’ Including Jack and me. ‘But things have changed around here, Sam.’
‘What do you mean?’
He sighed again. ‘Let’s go to the main Mess hall.’ He strode ahead of her, forcing her to follow him until they were finally seated opposite each other at a corner table.
‘You should be having this conversation with General O’Neill,’ he began. ‘I’m not quite sure what’s happened, and why you haven’t got an escort, and it’s not my place to tell you what’s going to happen to you, but you’ve been gone for two years, Sam. The SGC has moved on, and it isn’t the same place you left.’
‘I’m not stupid,’ she responded tartly. ‘I know Jack’s in charge now. I came back for my father’s funeral last September if you remember.’
‘And if you remember, I was in Honduras and didn’t see you,’ Daniel returned. ‘And it’s not just that General O’Neill is in charge now. We have a new head of Sciences and a new SG-1.’
‘Lindsey Novak?’ Carter sneered. ‘You think Jack would rather have that wet rag than me?’
‘Dr Novak has done a great job. We’re all pleased with her. The scientists are much more productive than they were under you for a start.’
As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Daniel could have hit himself. Carter recoiled as though slapped.
‘I see,’ she said, coldly. ‘I thought five years of shared experiences going through the Stargate together meant something. That you were on my side over the injustices metered out to me for purely political reasons. I was made the scapegoat of the whole McKay affair while he got off scot-free. I did nothing wrong and was punished unjustly. I had hoped my friends would stick up for me, but I guess the unanswered emails tell their own story.’ She got to her feet, cheeks flushed and her eyes blazing. ‘I’m sorry to have taken up your time, Dr Jackson.’ She spun on her heel and marched out of the Mess hall while Daniel buried his head in his hands. That could have gone a little better.
The clearing of a throat had him looking up. Major Evan Lorne, leader of the new SG-1, slid into the seat Carter had just vacated, a sympathetic look on his face. ‘Don’t stress out over this, Daniel,’ he said quietly. ‘You might have worded the stuff about Lindsey slightly better, but what Carter said was untrue. She might see herself as a scapegoat, but pretty much everyone here and at Area 51 hated her and were glad to see the back of her. She bullied and belittled anyone who got even the slightest bit in her way and the SGC has been a much happier place since she left.’
‘Did you hear the whole conversation?’ Daniel asked in horror.
Lorne looked surprised. ‘I thought that was why you sat at the table next to mine. So you had back up if you needed it.’
Daniel rubbed his eyes and sighed. ‘No. No, I didn’t even see you there. I’m sorry. I was so shocked to see her at all. No one told me she was due back today.’
A small frown appeared on Lorne’s face. ‘Didn’t you get the email from General O’Neill? I did wonder why she was alone with you. He said for us all to make sure she had an escort with her at all times. I thought you must have made some arrangement with him.’
Daniel looked surprised. ‘I didn’t see an email. I’m pretty sure there was no email. Was it sent to the whole base?’
‘No, just SG-1 and a couple of others. The ones she was most likely to seek out.’ Lorne tilted his head on one side. ‘I suppose it’s possible you were missed off the list.’
Daniel nodded. ‘I think I must have, especially as I don’t belong to any particular gate team any more. Jack probably forgot me.’ And will pay for it later. He sighed and rubbed his eyes again while Lorne’s eyes narrowed.
‘If you didn’t have an arrangement with the General about being her escort, where is it?’
‘She must have ditched it before she came to level 18. I suspected she might have been looking for me and they probably wouldn’t have let her.’
‘Okay, well, I have to warn the General she’s loose and on her own. Back in a couple of minutes.’ Lorne jogged over to the base telephone in the corner and Daniel watched as he turned towards the wall as he spoke, presumably to Jack, while he worked out how much salt he was going to need for Jack’s body. Maybe Lorne would help me. Why have I never realised before what long eyelashes he has? He shook his head to clear it from such thoughts. Nope. Mustn’t go there.
Lorne was back within a couple of minutes looking grim. ‘She’s in trouble when she finally sees him, as is her escort. They’ll probably find themselves iced for a while.’
Daniel grinned at the phrase heard more and more frequently around the SGC. Jack’s novel solution in recent months for the Marines and Airmen who misbehaved was to have them posted to Antarctica for a couple of weeks under the leadership of Dr Elizabeth Weir. The few men who’d returned thus far from such cruel and unusual punishment detail were very careful not to repeat their transgression, and the tales they told of the conditions down there was becoming an active deterrent to misbehaviour. Dr Weir had made herself almost as unpopular as Captain Carter in the few weeks she was in charge of the SGC, not least for not allowing SG-1 to seek the aid of the Asgard to retrieve and treat a frozen Jack O’Neill. They’d managed to force her hand in the end through what amounted to a work to rule: only performing the duties they had to and not volunteering anything more, as was their usual habit.
This had rapidly spread to the rest of the base and, as Weir had almost no experience of actual organisation but thought she knew everything and, thus, refused to listen to anyone trying to advise her, had led to periods when the Mountain was all but empty with no one to work even the most basic of jobs. As Master Sergeants Harriman and Siler had been among those doing only their jobs and nothing more, very little was done until the Chiefs of Staff inserted themselves into the situation, and all was settled. Daniel would deny to his – next – dying day any personal involvement in the notification of the Chiefs, and Elizabeth Weir never once considered why she’d been shifted to the Antarctic Outpost to prepare for a mission to the fabled City of Atlantis which was about as likely to happen as the Goa’uld taking vows of poverty and service to the whole Galaxy.
Daniel remained in the Mess hall for a while, chatting to Lorne enjoying both his company and his sense of humour which was as dry as his own, not having spent much time socially with the man. He didn’t go out with SG-1 very often these days, preferring to join other teams for one-off missions which were more suited to his specialities. It allowed Jonas Quinn to stay on SG-1 – which he loved – but meant they could cover for each other if the need arose. Daniel had been unsure about working closely with the man who had, essentially, caused his death, but found they worked well together, now sharing both a lab and an apartment. Since they tended to use both at different times, it meant the times they were together were relaxing and entertaining for each of them.
‘I was wondering,’ Lorne began, then paused and looked away from Daniel.
‘You were wondering what?’ Daniel prompted.
Lorne cleared his throat. ‘I was wondering, you can say no if you like, and I know you are technically still barred, but if you were with me, they might not notice you since you wouldn’t be with the others and…’ His voice died away.
‘That made no sense at all, Evan,’ Daniel complained, a hint of mirth in his eyes. ‘What are you trying to say?’
‘Wouldyouliketohavedinnerwithme?’ Lorne managed to get out all at once.
‘Say that again, and slower,’ Daniel told him.
‘Would you like to have dinner with me? No? That’s fine. See you later.’ Lorne stood up and began to move away at speed, but Daniel managed to grasp his arm.
‘I’d love to have dinner with you. Were you trying to suggest O’Malley’s?’
Lorne nodded, his voice betraying him.
‘What time? Your room’s on level 25 as well, isn’t it?’
‘Yes. I was moved into Maj—Captain Carter’s old rooms.’
‘Then you’re just a few doors down from me. Want to knock on my door at, say, 1830 hours?’
‘Perfect.’ Lorne laughed. ‘I mean, that’ll be great.’ He gave Daniel a big grin. ‘See you later, then.’
Daniel watched him leave, a grin on his own face. He hadn’t had a date since…He couldn’t even remember the last time he had a date. This is going to be fun.
Jack sighed as there was a further knock at his door. ‘Come in!’
Walter appeared around the door looking worried, and Jack cursed under his breath.
‘What is it, Walter?’
‘Major Lorne just phoned up from the main Mess hall, sir. Captain Carter’s lost her escort and is wandering around on her own.’
Jack cursed under his breath even louder. ‘Have you—’ he began just as Walter spoke.
‘I’ve sent Stackhouse and Markham to look for her. Stacks has worked with her a lot and might be able to sniff her out but, just in case, I’ve two other groups out looking for. I’ve also told the two PFCs to look out their cold weather gear.’
Jack grinned at him. ‘I love you like my own, Walter. You’re the son I never had.’
Walter grinned back at him then tipped his head to one side. ‘Stacks has found her and is bringing her in. Down. Bringing her down.’
‘Have you ever—’
‘Yes sir, several times. I’m neither a Sentinel nor a Guide.’
‘Has anyone ever thought you might be…both?’
‘I—’ Walter stopped and stared at him. ‘No, sir. They haven’t.’
‘Huh. Just a thought.’
Walter nodded to him and closed the door, leaving Jack to his own thoughts. He’d argued against Carter being brought to the SGC today, but General Hammond had over-ruled him. Jack suspected it was guilt over the whole McKay fiasco although, in the end, George Hammond had got what he’d been after for a while – retirement from the SGC and a straightforward nine ’til five job at the Pentagon, no one wanting him to leave the programme entirely. Jack, on the other hand, had got what he didn’t want – a bump up to being The Man. It went against everything he believed in, flying a desk, but after a few weeks of almost pain-free knees and almost full nights of sleep, he began to look more favourably on his new job. The stars on his shoulders were pretty great as well.
The entire SGC ran much more smoothly without Carter around, something he didn’t believe at first, but as more and more instances of bullying – and worse – were uncovered, he realised both he and General Hammond were guilty of ignoring a problem that was right under their noses. Neither of them had wanted to see that their golden girl was fallible, and arrogant to boot. SG-1 got locked up off-world far less frequently too, though Jack was reluctant to look too closely at that since his departure from the premier Gate team coincided with Carter’s, and the couple of times he’d joined them on a mission, it had ended badly for all of them, including a spell in a stasis pod for himself.
Her bump down to Captain was unfortunate as she’d earned her promotion to Major with blood, sweat and tears – and not just her own. The Pentagon, however, was insistent on being seen to reprimand her, probably more due to the involvement of the Canadian Government, and the Alpha Prime Sentinel and Guide pair of North America, than anything else, but when the news reached them the previous October that Drs Rodney McKay and Radek Zelenka had been jointly nominated for a Nobel prize, Jack thought Carter might hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth in the Pentagon in Siberia. He wasn’t particularly happy, himself, that they’d lost two of the finest Physicists on the planet to Sheppard Industries, especially when Patrick Sheppard told the President-elect about the ‘Nobel bonus’ he intended to give the pair when they didn’t win. He gave each of them, so the scuttlebutt went, a million dollars to give to the charities of their choice which undoubtedly made new sets of teeth necessary for every person with a star on their shoulder in DC. Jack made sure to stay well away from Washington after that news broke.
The door opened, and he raised an eyebrow at the distinct lack of knock and salute.
‘Have you hurt your right hand, Captain Carter?’
Carter looked down at her hand and frowned. ‘No. Why?’
‘Because I didn’t hear you knock and I sure as hell haven’t seen a salute!’ he told her, the volume of his voice increasing as he spoke.
Carter snapped to attention and saluted him. Jack leaned back in his chair and deliberately didn’t invite her to sit.
‘I understand you…mislaid your escort after you arrived at the SGC this morning.’
She looked at him blankly. ‘I don’t need an escort. I know my way around perfectly well.’
‘All visitors to this facility require an escort, Captain Carter. Thanks to you, two of my men are going to be facing reprimands. After your own experience, I should have thought you’d be more careful.’
‘But…I’m not a visitor. Sir,’ she added quickly as his eyes narrowed.
‘Why would you think that?’
‘I…Because I work here.’ She gave him a puzzled look. ‘Sir,’ she added again.
‘You haven’t worked here for one year, eleven months, and two days.’
Her look of puzzlement continued. ‘I…I don’t understand. I was sent away at the insistence of the Canadian Government and the Sentinel and Guide Council. They made various ridiculous threats if I wasn’t punished and the Pentagon chose not to fight them on it. Both General Hammond and I were made scapegoats because Rodney McKay wasn’t man enough to fight his own battles. They should have been grateful I got rid of such a cry baby but I’m back now, and everything can go back to normal.’
Jack stared at her, not quite believing how dense she was being. ‘Carter, you caused two of the most brilliant men on earth to leave the Stargate Programme. They were both nominated for a Nobel Prize last year, for Christ’s sake. Patrick Sheppard refused even to consider working with us on building the Daedalus because of you and your behaviour, and the Pentagon has had to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars to the men and women you abused while you worked for the SGC. Paul Davis uncovered over two hundred patents you stole from scientists here and at Area 51.’
Carter flushed. ‘I didn’t steal them. Those scientists were under contract to the SGC, so anything they produced was owned by us outright. Taking something you already own isn’t stealing, and the DOD was extremely pleased with me.’
‘Then what about the men and women you refused to work with because they weren’t American citizens? That’s called xenophobia if you were unsure.’
She flushed an even darker red which made her look almost ugly. ‘I employed McKay and Zelenka and look how that turned out!’
Jack gripped the edge of his desk. ‘You didn’t employ them, and they didn’t work for you. I’m not sure what stories you’ve been telling yourself in Russia, but you were a mid-level officer who happened to have a doctorate in Astrophysics which, really, are ten a penny in this programme.’
She jutted out her chin. ‘I headed up the science programme at the SGC, sir.’
‘No you didn’t!‘ Jack took a deep breath and tried to calm himself down. Eventually, he trusted himself to continue in a level tone. ‘You won’t be working at the SGC ever again, Captain Carter. I don’t want you in my facility. You’re being transferred to Area 51 to work under the direction of the Chief Scientific Officer of the Groom Lake facility, Dr Christopher McKenzie. You are to report to him at 0900 tomorrow morning. You have been allocated a place in shared quarters there and will be given full instructions when you arrive.’
Carter was staring at him like he’d killed her puppy, but as he watched, her expressions changed, grew harder, almost as though she realised tears wouldn’t help her on this occasion, which they certainly wouldn’t. He and Daniel had shared long discussions about how she’d manipulated both of them for some considerable time. Their shared history, however, did make him give her one final piece of advice.
‘You’re being given a second chance, Carter. Don’t waste it. McKenzie is a good guy and has no preconceptions as he’s stayed well away from any gossip about you. He’s willing to give you an opportunity to redeem yourself. Take it.’ He watched her to see if this sank in but feared it hadn’t. He sighed. ‘Dismissed, Captain Carter. Your escort is waiting outside my office for you. Your flight leaves in about an hour. Walter’s arranged for someone to drive you to Peterson to catch it.’
He stood up, making it clear their discussion was at an end. Given no other option, she gave him something approaching a salute and left without another word. Jack sank back into his chair and put his head in his hands. I just know this isn’t the last I’ll see or hear of her. I just know it.
Carter followed her escort up to the main entrance to the SGC without saying a word. Both Stackhouse and Markham saluted her as they left her at the security point but didn’t speak either. She was aware they were a Sentinel and Guide pair although she’d had few dealings with them when she was based at the SGC before. The whole concept of Sentinel and Guide pairs made her uncomfortable, not understanding how anyone could be happy being forced to be reliant on someone else.
‘This way, Captain Carter,’ one of the SFs told her as she stepped out into the spring sunshine. ‘There’s a car waiting to take you to Peterson AFB.’
Carter ignored him having spotted someone outside the main parking area. She narrowed her eyes then turned to the SF. ‘Open the main gate; there’s someone I need to speak to.’
The Corporal hesitated. ‘General O’Neill said you were to be driven directly to Peterson, Ma’am.’
‘And they can drive me. After I’ve spoken to an old friend I haven’t seen in a couple of years. I’m sure Jack—General O’Neill wouldn’t mind.’
Her apparent slip convinced the Corporal, and he waved for the gate to be opened.
She hurried over to the man waiting outside to see her. ‘Felger?’ She thought quickly. ‘Jay? Did you come to see me? What are you doing on that side of the gate?’
Felger coloured slightly. ‘General O’Neill fired me not long after you left but I still have friends at the SGC, and they told me you were arriving home today. I hoped to have a word with you.’ He gave her what he probably thought was an adoring smile but which just made him look like an idiot.
She forced herself to smile back at him. ‘Jack fired you? He was probably forced to by the same people who made me go to Russia. It’s no secret he’s under pressure from people in high places to do things he’d rather not do.’ Sudden inspiration hit her. ‘We should work together, you and I, and try to uncover what the plot is. Find out who’s trying to exert influence on the head of the SGC. He may be being blackmailed – or worse.’
Felger fell for it, hook, line, and sinker, and his eyes widened. ‘I’d love to help you, Maj—Captain Carter.’
She nodded. ‘They even made him drop me down a rank due to jealousy. I suspect Rodney McKay is behind it all. I’ve suspected him all along.’
‘And you were trying to get him into a position where he couldn’t do anything further to hurt the SGC. Of course. It all makes sense now.’
‘And, obviously, I couldn’t help you when Jack was forced to fire you. I’m sure he’d have you back in a flash if he could be sure you and I weren’t in any further danger. It’s obvious he pretended to fire you just to protect you.’
Felger nodded vigorously. ‘Yes, yes. It all makes sense. It’s just part of a much wider plot. He probably sent me away so I could be in a good position to rescue SG-1 again.’
She smirked at him and hurriedly changed it into a soft smile. ‘Exactly. And I’m being sent to Area 51 to begin preparations to free them all from whoever is blackmailing them. Obviously, Jack has to be very careful. Did you say you still had friends inside the SGC?’
Felger nodded again. ‘Simon Coombs and Dave Meyers’
‘Then we have our inside men just as Jack planned. Here.’ She delved into her jacket pocket, pulled out a scrap of paper and handed it to him. ‘Make a note of my private cell phone number. We’ll need to be in close contact at all times.’ She rattled off the number of a cell phone she’d managed to pick up after she landed back in the US, then glanced behind her. ‘They’ll be keeping an eye on us, so we need to be discreet, but you can let me have a cell phone number and an email address so that I can contact you, can’t you? Don’t use anything the SGC can trace.’
‘No, of course not, Captain Carter.’
‘I think you should make it Sam, don’t you, Jay?’
The look of bliss on Felger’s face almost made her burst out laughing, but she managed to keep her face straight. ‘In the meantime, you need to find out everything you can about Rodney McKay. Where he is, where he lives, what he’s doing. Everything. He’s key to us bringing down the bad guys.’
‘Of course, Sam. I’ll get right on it.’
She leaned forward and pressed a gentle kiss to his cheek. ‘I have to go, Jay, but we’ll speak soon, okay?’ she told him in a low, seductive voice, then turned away and hurried back to the waiting car, scrubbing at her lips as soon as she was out of his sight.
Sharing accommodation with two other women was possibly the worst thing to have ever happened to her. Even in Siberia, she’d had her own room, albeit a tiny one. For a moment she wondered if she was being unfair to the two Lieutenants she was sharing with, but that thought quickly vanished. Ten days after she arrived at Area 51 she had a triple room all to herself.
Christopher McKenzie wasn’t as easy to get around. A dour Scot, he was impervious to flirtation and flattery, and, since he was married, she suspected he wouldn’t be open to casual sex, but at least she found out before she paid him a late-night visit on one of the few occasions he stayed at Area 51 overnight. Nor was he particularly impressed with her having been the most critical member of SG-1 and having saved the world several times. It was, in fact, difficult to think of anything that might impress him.
At the moment he had her searching through boxes and boxes of broken alien technology to find anything that might prove useful. Given that she was the one who’d sent most of the boxes of rubbish to Area 51 – and made sure nothing useful was in amongst it – it was a pointless task, but at least it gave her time to plan out her next move. Felger phoned her almost every night, and after the first couple of days, she’d turned her cell phone onto voice mail, telling him via email she was being watched so unable to take his calls or return them. Instead, she asked him to send a written report – carefully encrypted – on what progress he made on McKay and Zelenka, having extended the parameters of her revenge on the basis that Zelenka was a foreign spy. She expected him to come up with very little but at least it made him feel like he was contributing and some half decent intel might come of it. His real worth was going to be in his friends still with the SGC.
She didn’t mention her first 48-hour pass in mid-April, a week after Easter, as she knew he’d suggest they meet. Instead, she booked herself into a luxury hotel in Las Vegas and arranged a seat on one of the daily commuter-flights offered to civilians who lived in Las Vegas which were also open to military members if there were any spare seats. Unfortunately, military members had to live within a 30-minute drive of their base which meant none of the military at Area 51 could live off-base as she had done in Colorado Springs. And, because of her lowly rank, she had almost no opportunity to arrange special privileges with Dillon Everett, the Colonel in charge of Area 51 who now answered to Jack O’Neill under the changes made after George Hammond was relieved of command of the SGC.
Since she had, at least, received hazard pay for being in Siberia, and with what her father left her, she had a very healthy bank account although she was careful not to spend too much since she knew the day might come when she had to leave the Air Force. At one time she had fully expected to be made a General before her forty-fifth birthday, becoming the first woman to reach such an exalted rank at such a young age, but she knew her promotion prospects would be much slimmer outside of the SGC. In fact, if it weren’t for the technology which still thrilled her scientific side, she’d walk away from the Air Force right now, but…that part of her wanted to stay in the Programme for as long as she could.
For now, though, Las Vegas beckoned along with a couple of Spa treatments and some decent coffee. Daniel’s exacting standards had made her into a real coffee snob, and Area 51’s coffee was almost as bad as Folgers and the crap she’d had to drink in Siberia.
A man bumped into her as she left the seafood restaurant in the hotel and she looked around, a frown on her face, ready to tell him off – until she felt the muzzle of a gun pressed into her side.
‘Smile at me and act nice, and take me up to your room,’ Robert Kinsey whispered in her ear.
‘And if I don’t?’
‘You’ll be dead, and I’ll be far away before they even start to look for me.’
Carter gritted her teeth and managed an approximation of a smile.
‘Good girl. Now, let’s go to your room and don’t try anything funny in the elevator. I have several people ready to stage a diversion to get me out of here if I have to kill you, but I’d rather not. We can be useful to each other.’
Barely five minutes later she was sitting on her bed with her hands tied behind her while Kinsey pottered about the room examining her belongings. He picked up a lacy bra and knicker set and raised his eyebrows.
‘Who did you intend to seduce with this little number?’
Carter shrugged her shoulders. ‘I’ve been wearing thermal underwear for two years. I decided I needed a treat. What do you want, Kinsey?’
‘A little politeness wouldn’t go amiss. You’re not the SGC’s Golden Girl any more and haven’t got Jack O’Neill to back you up.’
‘I can handle myself,’ she spat. ‘If you give me a chance.’ She struggled with the rope tying her hands for a moment.
‘Don’t bother. An expert taught me. You’ll not get them undone.’
‘What do you want Mr Kinsey.’
‘Quite a few things, but I’ll settle for a little partnership with you, for the moment.’
‘A partnership? What sort of partnership?’
‘One which might be beneficial to both of us. My…colleagues, shall we say, are interested in a few little trinkets and snippets of information you can provide us with.’
‘And what do I get out of it?’
Kinsey surveyed her, a smirk on his face. ‘A little revenge, perhaps?’
Carter stopped fighting her bonds. ‘Go on.’
‘My colleagues and I have quite a lot of influence in the business world. We’re willing to use a little of it to make Rodney McKay suffer if you give us the information and technology we want.’
‘I don’t have the access I used to have.’
‘Maybe not, but you know your way around most of the SGC systems and protocols. You wrote most of them.’
‘They’ll have changed since I…went away.’
Kinsey laughed. ‘A clever girl like you should have no problems getting around something written by Lindsay Novak. You’re much brighter than she is.’
Carter narrowed her eyes. ‘What kind of revenge are we talking about?’
Kinsey shrugged his shoulders. ‘A little misinformation here and a few rumours there. He’ll soon find a lot of doors are closed to him.’
‘Not enough. I want him to pay for what he did to me.’
‘We could probably come to some arrangement. See what you can get for me on this list, and we’ll talk again.’ He passed a slip of paper to her and cut the ropes around her wrists, then gave a cheery wave and slipped out of the room.
Carter examined the list and wondered who his partners were. She’d heard the rumours in Siberia about him being forced to step down as Vice President so doubted he was working with the NID. They’d have no use for him once outside of government. Whoever it was, the list of technology they wanted was long but not necessarily rare; not within the SGC at least. Staff weapons, Zat guns, a few minor technologies they’d picked up around the Galaxy. She frowned at the paper in her hands until she realised what they all had in common – they were all reasonably easy to reverse engineer. The SGC hadn’t bothered with reverse engineering either the Zats or the Staff weapons as they were pretty easy to acquire. Same with the other things on the list. They would, however, be reasonably easy to produce in mass quantities and pass off as new technology. Even if the SGC realised they were based on stolen alien tech, they couldn’t do anything without revealing the actual source. Which meant Kinsey’s partners were in industry, not government, although no doubt there’d be a few government people taking their cut to make sure everything was properly registered.
This was doable. She’d want her cut of the money, of course. That went without saying. Revenge on McKay was all well and good, but it wouldn’t keep her warm in her old age, or allow her to skip the country if necessary. Some cash and revenge? For that, she’d work hard. It would also let her to use Felger and his chums. It could easily be passed off as a special assignment for O’Neill, in fact, the more she thought about it, the better it seemed. It was just possible she could bring down Jack O’Neill with this plan.
Now that was worth doing.