Engaging the Rules

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Romance, Missing Scene/Epilogue, POV - Partial, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  3 - October 20-21, 1999
Spoilers:  Rules of Engagement
Size:  45kb
Written:  November 15-16,19,21, December 26, 2009, January 4-5, 2010
Summary:  SG-1 come upon a youthful group of SG teams, only their boss is Apophis and not General Hammond.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically.  Their “silent” words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Ali, Navi, Irina, Mama Bear!

Engaging the Rules
by Orrymain

With a strong purpose and determination not to be interrupted, Colonel Jack O'Neill made his way to the corner office on Level 18.  Saying nothing to the archaeologist, and, in fact, not even looking at him, Jack shut both doors to the room, locking them.  Without remorse or fear of punishment, he turned off the camera, essentially stopping all of the routine surveillance to the lab.

With the office secured, Jack turned around and looked at Doctor Daniel Jackson, who to Jack was the most beautiful, albeit sometimes exasperating, person in the entire universe.  He took a moment to take in the sensuality of the cerulean blue eyes that were looking wantonly in his direction.  He paused to enjoy the way a few bangs of hair hung in front of his Love's crinkled forehead.

“Perfection,” Jack applauded as he walked over to the bookshelf where Daniel was standing and removed the tome from his hands.  With a smile, he put his arms around the younger man and kissed him, long, hard, and full of passion.  “I think I might explode.”

“You're not the only one,” Daniel bemoaned as he pressed his lips against his lover's, his tongue eagerly mingling with Jack's a second later.

“I missed you.”

“Missed you, too,” Daniel replied, leaning his head against Jack's shoulder.  “Do you think we'll ever get to ... you know again?”

“I'd say now, except we have a briefing in about three minutes,” Jack groused, even as his hands began to probe places that they shouldn't, considering there was no time for follow through.  “How's your car?”

“Hanging on by a lug nut,” Daniel lamented about his vehicle that had broken down again the day before.  “How was Washington?”

“Full of idiots in suits who think they know how to run the Air Force.”

“I wish ...”

“Yeah, me, too,” Jack sighed, looking into his lover's eyes for a few seconds before kissing him once again.  “I love you.”

“I love you, too, but ...”

“Duty calls,” Jack said with regret.  “When we get back ...”

“Promise?”

“Big time,” Jack vowed, wanting to make love with his soulmate so much that his whole body ached.  It had been over a week since the two had been together intimately, a fact that was about to drive both men insane.  “Briefing.”

Daniel nodded and started for the door when he stopped and said, “Uh, Jack,” while motioning to the camera.

“Got it,” the colonel responded as he proceeded to return Daniel's office to normal monitoring status.  ~Someday, I'm gonna find an easier way of doing this.~

====

> --Jack's Point of View--

Carter and her doohickeys are about to drive me insane.  It's bad enough that I have to listen to her technobabble, but here we are, walking through the woods, up and down mountains, here a dale, there a dale, looking for the UAV which has, once again, gone kaput.  Maybe we need better batteries, or a plane.  Maybe they should try a paper one.  It couldn't be any worse.

Okay, this is unexpected.  Crouch down and listen.  Weapons' fire, Carter says.  Teal'c thinks it's a staff blast.  Whatever it is, it's time to find out who is responsible.  Let's get up that hill; crawl to the top.

Whoa!  That's an SG-unit and a bunch of armored Jaffa.  What the heck is going on around here?  A little look through the binoculars might help.  All I can tell is that we have a unit here under pinned down and under fire.  By the book, we assist.

Daniel's right.  Their patches say SG-11, but  SG-11 never came back from their mission on P89-354.  That means we don't know who we're really dealing with, but they're wearing the uniform, so we go from there.

“Unidentified Sierra Gulf Unit, this is Sierra Gulf One.  We're on your six.  Standing by to offer fire support.  Over.”

Radio static?  Hey, I'm offering help here.  Say something; anything.  Even a D'oh would suffice.

“Sierra Gulf Unit, your position is about to be overrun.  Over.”

No answer.  No brainer.  It's an SG team, and they need help.  At least there aren't any damsels in distress here for Daniel to rescue.  That's one less thing for me to worry about right now.

Plan A -- RV at the tree line; then call out verbally to the team and let them know we're here to assist.

Hey there, Daniel.  Imagine rolling into you.  You're just how I like you, flat on your back and looking up at me.  Too bad we're surrounded by the wrong kind of action.

--Daniel's Point of View--

Okay, point of order.  This is definitely *not* SG-11.  SG-11 is an archaeological team.  They don't do gun battles.  For that matter, and to be honest, SG-11 isn't even very good at firing at the enemy, which is why this is even weirder.

Hey!  They are still firing at us, and Jack thinks I'm crazy.  That SG team is acting like we're the bad guys.  Uh, excuse me, but we're trying to save your sixes here.  What about those guys in the armor shooting at you?  You know, the Jaffa?

Huh?  What's that guy asking?  Why does it matter what quadrant we're from?  Quadrant?  We don't even work in quadrants.  Jack is as confused as I am.

Ut oh.  That's not good.  What did that guy just order his team to do, to take *us* out?  What the heck is going on here?

Okay, well, now the ground is opening up.  Okay, so it's not the ground, but someone is rising up out of the ground.  I guess they were hidden all along, and we walked right into it.  I don't think the peaceful explorer speech is going to work here.  Nope.

What is that they're firing at us?  It's ...

Am I dead ... again?

====

In an unexpected turn of events, while trying to assist the strange SG-11 or whoever they were, SG-1 was taken out by unknown SG-11's weapons, which discharged red, laser-like energy bolts.  The order had been given by the leader of the SG-11 unit and even more shockingly, more personnel had popped up from covered holes in the ground.  SG-1 never had a chance.  Fortunately, the weapons only stunned the team to unconsciousness.  Still out, SG-1 was transported to the strange SG team's encampment and placed in the medical tent.

Finally, the team began to rouse.  On the left side of the tent, Sam and Teal'c had been placed on cots, with Jack and Daniel on the right.  Jack crunched his face as he awoke.  Outside, the sounds of men partaking in activities could be heard.

“Everybody okay?” Jack asked as he sat up part way, leaning on his elbows.

Daniel looked to his left and saw his lover moving.  Relief flowed through him.  He'd seen Jack get hit before him, and he wasn't sure at that point if they'd ever have another moment together.

Responding to the colonel's question, Daniel answered, “Headache; bad headache,” and began to sit up.  ~Major ouch; not good.~

“I thought I got shot,” Sam stated a moment later after she, too, sat up.

“So it would seem,” Teal'c agreed.

“Must be some kind of stun weapons,” Sam surmised.

“Looked like MP-5's to me,” Jack noted.  “Well, all I can say is ...” he began, starting to sit all the way up.  He paused, seeing a soldier outfitted in an SG BDU enter the tent.  “... hello,” he completed.

The soldier was young, maybe just eighteen or nineteen years old.  He had a baby face and boyish quality about him, in spite of the fact that he held a gun up at his side, the weapon even with his face.

“Boy, are you guys gonna get it,” the soldier stated smugly.

“Get what?  From whom?” Jack asked innocently, not feeling threatened in any way by the soldier.  ~He reminds me of Bra'tac comparing Daniel to a twig once upon a time.~

“Hey, you can't talk!”

~That's what Jack usually tells me,~ Daniel thought as he listened to the ridiculous conversation.

“Why not?” the colonel questioned curiously.  ~Telling Daniel not to talk never works, so why should it work on me?~

“Because you're dead,” the young SG pretender advised.

“Dead?” Jack questioned.  ~That's Daniel's gig.~

~No, no, I'm sure I'm not dead ... this time,~ Daniel thought to himself, doing a mental assessment of his body.  ~At least, I don't think so.~

“Pretending not to be dead will just get you into more trouble,” the soldier argued.

“More trouble than dead?” Jack asked dryly.  ~Now how can that be?  Dead is dead.  There's nothing worse than dead.  Is there?  Maybe I should ask Daniel.~

“Come on, Colonel, you know better.  Stop breaking the rules,” the soldier ordered, clearly frustrated at having the situation out of control.

~I have *no* clue what this little laddie is talking about,~ Jack thought.  “Sorry.  Who's in charge here?”

“Casualties don't ask questions,” the soldier responded.

“Uh, what rules are we talking about exactly?” Sam inquired, jumping into the fray.

The soldier's ire increased.  Gritting his teeth, he walked a couple of steps towards Sam and powered up his weapon.

“I said,” the soldier began, dropping the weapon to his waist and aiming right at Sam's chest, “stop it.”

~Okay, now he's getting an attitude,~ Jack observed, deciding on what move to make next.

“We're just trying to understand,” Daniel interjected.  “If we're supposed to be dead, how are you supposed to kill us again?”

Perturbed by the inquiry, the soldier turned towards Daniel, walked a few steps, and snapped, “You want to find out, Four-Eyes, huh?” after which he pointed his still-powered gun at the archaeologist.

“Four-eyes?” Daniel asked unhappily.  ~Not that one again.  Seriously, can't people think of better lines after all these years?~

Looking at his lover, Jack calmed, “Easy, Big Fella.”  He could tell Daniel wasn't happy about the phrase that had just been tossed at him.  ~Okay, buddy, hurt my archaeologist and you are toast.  I don't care if I'm 'dead' or not.~

Daniel glanced at Jack for a second, not sure how to take his comment.

“Just ... play dead,” the colonel suggested.

“Indeed,” Teal'c agreed from across the room.

The archaeologist questioned, ~Play dead?  What does he think I'm going to do?  I know what I'd like to do, but that's his style, not mine.~

The worst thing for Daniel was the flood of emotions from his childhood and adolescence when unkind nicknames were tossed his way in abundance.  Like Jack, he didn't feel threatened at all by the young soldier, not even with the gun aimed at him.  In fact, outside of leaning back a little, his seated stance was pretty relaxed.

**Four-Eyes?** Daniel bemoaned to his lover.  **I really hate that nickname, Jack.**

**Relax, Danny.  He's just a punk kid,** Jack soothed.  **Besides, I love ya the way you are.**

**What's that supposed to mean?**

Jack didn't have time to answer.  The youthful soldier had demanded that the team follow him to see the captain.  When the soldier was outside the tent, the team acknowledged that the patch, SGX, on the soldier's uniform was unknown to them and definitely wasn't part of their Stargate program.  In a huff over the team's failure to follow his order, the soldier returned, demanding that SG-1 follow him immediately.

====

--Jack's Point of View--

Hmm.  Looks very military; they even have Old Glory flying high.  This is right out of a training handbook -- rope climbing, exercises, running: lots and lots of running.

“Hey, guys.”

Yeah, keep it up.  Stay in formation.  Focus.  You need some cadence: Jog, two, three, four.  Better you than me.  It's the knees, you know; they aren't what they use to be.  Good thing Fraiser's on my side.

Teal'c's right.  These ... soldiers are babies, and they're playing war games, or something.  Good point, Carter.  Maybourne would do something like this and could very well be responsible.  He's crazy enough.

“I wouldn't put it past him.”

Ah, here we go, inside the tent of Babyface's captain.

“You are all casualties until 1400 hours,” the captain stated as he wrote at his desk, his back to SG-1.

“Would that be Daylight Savings or Standard?” Jack quipped.  ~These wannabes are too easy to rile up.~

“You may not speak, except to answer a direct question by the evaluating officer,” the captain reminded.  He stood and faced Jack.  “Is that *clear?*”

~Loud.  He's very loud.  I suppose he saves money by not needing a megaphone.  I would like to give him my loud bark and compare volume,~ Jack opined silently, grimacing from the shout that had just been delivered to his face.

“Is this the way you behave in your quadrant, mister?” the youthful commander questioned.

~Ah: an upstart.~  Smugly, Jack returned, “I think *Colonel* is the proper way of addressing me ... *Captain*.”

“No rank is above strict adherence to the Rules of Engagement -- Rule 2, Article 4: unauthorized forces shall be shot, on sight.  You were unauthorized.  In fact, you ruined our ambush.  Nearly half the enemy team got away,” the captain returned in annoyance.

~Oh, geez.  He's a rules stickler,~ Jack groused.  “Carter, I've never been real big on regs.  Is this familiar to you?”

“No, Sir,” Sam answered.

--Daniel's Point of View--

Jack didn't like being yelled at.  I'm sure he made a face.  I'm actually impressed he didn't yell back.  He's changing, which is a good thing.

We need to find out what's really going on here.  Why are these soldiers training at what looks like a boot camp?

Oh, this is different.  Neither Jack nor Sam know the rules being quoted, but Teal'c does.  Jaffa regulations?  I hope they're better than Jaffa jokes; those need a lot of work.

“The Chaapa'ai?”

Did you catch that?  The captain just said 'Chaapa'ai', not Stargate.  I have a funny feeling about this.

“Oy,” Jack says in response.  Well, at least I know he gets it.

The captain's demeanor has changed completely.  He sounds like he's been caught doing something terribly wrong.  Even the name caller is looking remorseful.  Now there is that universal 'hand in the cookie jar' look.

And now the captain is confessing to ... Master Jaffa?  Jack's gonna have a problem with this.  He's kowtowing to Teal'c.  Don't laugh, Jackson.  Jack doesn't do well when someone else gets the leader credit.  That's why I like having Bra'tac or Sel'mak around.  They keep Jack on his toes.

Okay, this is good.  I can't laugh, or Jack will kill me, but it's so funny.  I know I should be thinking about other things, but this was too good.  I mean, uh, here are these soldiers, handing over their weapons to Teal'c, and asking to be executed.

My Love, the colonel, suggests that we spare them, just this one time, of course, and then Teal'c ... well, he responds by saying, “Very well ... underling.”  Underling?  I felt Jack's blood pressure rise just now.

**Easy, Big Fella.  Master Teal'c has it under control.**

Oops.  He's not happy with me now, but I just couldn't resist teasing him a little.

Well, now we know who this soldier is -- Captain Kyle Rogers, Acting Quadrant A Commander.  Sounds very official and military.

Very impressive standing orders, too.  Let's see if I can repeat this.  His standing orders are to practice the exercises of battle according to the Rules of Engagement, until the return of their lord, Apophis.

Apophis?  Gawd, why?  I should have known as soon as he started talking about the Chaapa'ai.  Sha're.  I promised I'd save her, but she's still out there.  I've failed.

Okay, Jackson, focus at the job at hand.  You'll have plenty of time to wallow in your failures and shortcomings later.

--Teal'c's Point of View--

This scenario is most interesting.  If only Master Bra'tac could see this, he would be amused.  These kal'ma believe that I am here under Apophis' orders.  For once, I am not the shol'va.

O'Neill looks displeased when they called me, 'Master'.  I shall have some fun with this.  His feathers are so easily ruffled.  I do not fully understand that expression.  O'Neill does not have feathers on his body.  I know this to be a fact.

First, we must deal with these kal'ma.  Something must be done about their last orders.  Invading the Tau'ri -- indeed.

--Sam's Point of View--

In some ways, this is pretty amusing.  I'm not the least bit threatened by these kids.  They're typical cadets who think they know everything, but don't.  I was there once, so I know.  The colonel hates being secondary to Teal'c, but I think he'll go along with it.  We'll get further with Teal'c in the lead.

I saw Daniel wince a little a second ago.  I really feel sorry for him. He's tried so hard to find Sha're, but even when he has seen her, we haven't been able to bring her back.  I know what's going on between him and the colonel. Gee whiz, Samantha, don't think about that.  I don't get it, and I don't think I want to.  The point is, I don't like seeing Daniel hurt.

Final challenge?  Holy Hannah.  These kids have been learning to live like us so they can infiltrate Earth.  They've been waiting for some last big challenge before following through with the invasion.  We never had a clue that Apophis was planning anything like that.  It's a good thing he's dead.

At least we know what's been going on here now -- war games in preparation of invading Earth.

--Jack's Point of View--

These kids are good.  They took out my team by surprise.  Good thing Apophis is dead.  He is dead, like a doornail.

**Danny, Apophis is dead, right?  Tell me he's dead.**

Boy, do I need some reassurance.  I don't want that pain in the butt to be resurrected again and unleashed on the poor universe, especially on *my* poor universe.

--Daniel's Point of View--

**Yes, Jack, Apophis is dead.  Well, we think he's dead.  I mean, uh, he was dead when we sent him through the Stargate to Sokar.  Of course, the problem is that Martouf indicated that Sokar had a sarcophagus and would probably bring Apophis back to life, before killing him again.  He's dead, repeatedly, I'd imagine.**

Why does he ask me things like that?  He was there.  He knows what I know.  That was a difficult time.  I wanted to kill Apophis.  I was close, so close, until Sam walked in.  I think I would have done it, maybe.

Okay, I'm not really sure, but in that moment, I hated Apophis more than I've ever hated anyone in my life.  He took Sha're.  She was taken because of me and my failure to protect her.

Crap!  Jackson, get a grip.  Focus on this mission and save your pity party for when you're back on Earth.

Yes, let's go get our weapons.  What are we without our firepower?

Sam pointed out that the recruits here don't have symbiote pouches.  I think they're just humans from around the galaxy that Apophis recruited somehow.  They aren't Jaffa.  Oh, two points for the archaeologist.

'Two points for the archaeologist'?  I'm hanging around Jack too much.

But I was right.  Teal'c just explained that it was common for the Goa'uld to use humans during battle, especially when facing defeat.  That's a good sign, I suppose.

====

In the armory tent, SG-1 retrieved their GDOs and radios which had been taken from them earlier, but they couldn't locate their MP-5 submachine gun or Teal'c's staff weapon.  They also found some of the guns which had been used on them, weapons which Teal'c called intar.  Essentially, the sole purpose of the alien weapon was to stun during training exercises.

While Daniel and Sam continued to look for the team's missing weapons, Jack and Teal'c assembled the personnel using a Goa'uld vo'cume, a small sphere on legs that projected a giant image into the air of Apophis ordering the men to gather for inspection.

Teal'c followed through on the inspection, with Jack trailing after him, observing the men and their weaponry, especially the intar weapons.  The Tau'ri were then introduced to Rogers' second-in-command, Captain Nelson, who was in charge of the second encampment.  His team fought Rogers' team in the war games.

Jack tried to convince the young soldiers that Apophis had called off the Tau'ri invasion and that they were free to go home.  However, the recruits were stubborn, believing it was just another test, even after Teal'c informed them that Apophis had died in battle.

Unfortunately, led by Nelson, the soldiers were undeterred and planned on continuing their scheduled battle for the day.

~What does it take to get through to these kids?~

Returning to the armory, Jack learned that one MP-5, Teal'c's staff weapon, and two nine-millimeter Berettas were still missing.

~They are gonna kill themselves.~

All too soon, a horn sounded which indicated the continuation of the war games.  Down on weaponry and not wanting to kill any of the young men if he didn't have to, Jack ordered each member of his team to take possession of an intar before they went into the thick of the games.

Almost as soon as the battle had begun, one of the soldiers was killed by a staff blast.  The shooter then fired at SG-1 and Rogers, all of whom immediately took cover.  As the exchange played out, Rogers defied Jack's order not to try to draw the fire of the enemy and was hit by a staff blast.  The colonel was not a happy camper.

--Jack's Point of View--

“Secure that weapon!”

What the heck is friggin' going on here?  Kids playing war, believing in some dead false god?  The universe has gone to pot.

All Rogers is worried about is if he's displeased Apophis and ... huh?  What's Rogers saying about this being the final challenge?  What day has come?  Blood's been shed so that means what?

Oh, yeah, great, Teal'c.  Thanks for the explanation.  Because some idiot stole your staff weapon and used it on Rogers, that means the games are real now.  Great.  How many of these kids are gonna die in this farce?

“Let's get back to the camp; Rogers needs medical attention, and we need to find the rest of our weapons.”

--

“Daniel, stay with Rogers.  Carter, Teal'c: you two get back to that armory and find the rest of our arms.  I'm going to take a walk around the area for when this ... war starts for real.”

If we get stuck in the middle of this thing tomorrow, I want and need to know the surroundings better.

--

That was a nice jaunt.  Lots of places for ambushes.  This isn't going to be easy.

Look at those kids, still working out like all they care about is muscle tone and abs.  This camp could charge admission.

Ah!  A message from Carter; they've found our weapons, or rather, took possession of them after these kids turned them at the conclusion of today's war games.  About time.  Now let's not lose them again.

“Roger that.  Keep them secure.”

====

--Daniel's Point of View--

So, Jack tricked Captain Rogers into returning to Earth with us.  Okay, well, I guess I tricked Captain Rogers into returning.  All Jack did was suggest we bring him back for medical treatment, but Captain Nelson started quoting those Jaffa rules again.  I had to do it.  I didn't have a choice.  Rogers might have internal injuries.

“Well, what if I told you we were bringing you to see Apophis personally, to show him that blood has been shed and that your quadrant is truly ready for his return?”
 
They weren't convinced.  Typical.

“If we don't bring you back with us, then Apophis will know you've failed our challenge and never return.”

I didn't really lie, sort of.  I mean, uh, I did say, *what if*.

General Hammond wants to debrief right away.  I'm not surprised, but, uh, well, I need to go to the bathroom.  Give me a minute.

Okay, I'm smiling.  Jack is following me.  Lately, we haven't had time to do anything, and I'm not exaggerating.  I know sometimes I can exaggerate, but I'm not this time.  The truth is, I'm tired, and I think he is, too.  This schedule has been grueling.  Well, frustrating anyway; and I'm really tired of my car breaking down.  I'm even more tired of Jack's little covert missions for the Air Force.  I worry about him, and when he's gone, I have too much time to think ... about what could happen to him, about ... Sha're, about ... my failures.

“Hey ...”

Kiss.  Gawd, I love it when he kisses me like that.  I can't think when he ...

Huh?  What's my name?  What's a name?

“Hi, Jack.”

Look at him, so suave and sexy.  He thinks his silver hair is a turn off, but it makes my blood boil with want.  It's not gray all the way yet; soon, I hope.  I like the sophistication it gives My Jack.  Oh, those eyes.  I love chocolate, and his eyes are the deepest brown chocolate in color, like the perfect Godiva truffle.  His smile makes me weak at the knees, especially when he turns on that Irish charm.  His eyes twinkle when he does that.  My Jack -- the depiction of sex appeal.  Gawd, don't say 'sex'.  I mean, don't think 'sex'.  We don't have time, and it's been so freakin' long since we've had sex, and, yes, I'm saying it.  That's how long it's been.  I don't even care that I'm saying the word 'sex'.  Do you hear me?  Sex, *sex* ...

“Sex!”

Ut oh.  I said that out loud.  Jack is stunned, but now he's laughing. He understands.  Of course, he won't let me forget it, either.

“Kiss me,” I request eagerly, needing and wanting anything I can have at this moment.

I need one more kiss before we go back and finish out this craziness with Apophis' youth camp warriors.

Oh, yes.  Thank you, Babe.

--

Now we're heading to the locker room to change before the briefing. I have no idea where Sam and Teal'c are, but my lover is by my side and that feels good, until he opens his mouth and inserts his foot; at least, that's how I feel about it.

“Daniel, you devil, you fibbed.”

“No, Jack, I'm not the devil and I didn't fib.  I specifically prefaced my question with, 'what if I told you' ... yadda, yadda.”

Jack breaks out into a grin because I've used one of his pet phrases.  He loves to 'yadda, yadda' and thinks everyone else should, too.

“You spoke two sentences.  The second didn't have a qualifier,” My Jack points out, making me consider the possibility of forever removing the 'My' in front of 'My Jack'.

“Jack, it was the only way we were going to get Captain Rogers here, and you know it.”

“Hey, I'm not complaining.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing, but I wasn't complaining; not me.”

“Perry Mason,” I have to explain with a sigh, though I don't know why.

“Perry?”

Gawd, look at his face.  It just lit up.  Anytime I admit to using one of his infamous TV shows or movies, he struts around for hours, like he's won the Nobel TV Prize or something.

“He always tricks the villains with 'what if' questions, and you're always making me watch him.”

“Works for me, Daniel.  I'm educating you, street style.”

“You're educating me?” I asked.

I don't think so, Jack.  It's a nice try, but it's still only a TV show.  Just because I ... crap!

“Absolutely,” Jack insists.  “Remember that the next time we watch Homer and Bart.”

I stop walking and let the colonel continue on, which he does.  My Jack, the juvenile.

====

--Sam's Point of View--

This is horrible.  According to Teal'c, the final challenge is how the Jaffa prove themselves.  This is when only the strongest of them are given their staff weapons, but to earn them, they defeat their classmates, killing them.  That's not the kind of Academy I'd want to graduate from, or attend.

The trainees only have intars to use down on the planet, but as Teal'c pointed out just now, these soldiers are both resourceful and determined.  Daniel's right, too.

“Well, let's face it.  If they really wanted to kill each other they don't need guns to do it,” my friend just pointed out.

He's not military, but Daniel has learned a lot.  He's a good strategist.  More than that, he has a great heart.

“We have to go back there, Sir, and try to prevent this from happening,” I tell General Hammond.

Daniel supports me.  Well, the truth is, it's that compassionate heart of his.  He puts the moral right first, even when it involves those who have tried to hurt us. Don't ever change, Daniel.

“General, we're indirectly responsible for all this.  They think that we were sent through to start this,” Daniel reminds us all.

He's right.  It was Teal'c's staff weapon that was the cause of the first blood being shed.

The colonel doesn't want us getting killed.  He's not so anxious for us to go back, but he's willing to talk to Rogers and see what he can find out.

====

“Daniel,” Jack called out to his lover, who was in his office, catching up on translating some images he'd been trying to finish for a week now.  Out of character, he didn't pick up an artifact to bandy around.  Instead, he pulled up a stool, sat down, and folded his arms across his chest.  “I just talked to Rogers.”

“And?”

“He's stubborn.  He won't believe me when I say Apophis is dead.”

“That's not a big surprise,” Daniel responded, making another note on his paper.

“But I have an idea.”

“Okay,” Daniel acknowledged, giving Jack his full attention.  He had the sense that there was something unusual in the plan.  “What is your idea?”

“I want to show him the security camera footage of the big death scene.”

Daniel blinked a few times before returning, “When Apophis died ... here, at the SGC.”

“That's the idea.”

“Oh.”

Leaning forward, Jack sighed, “Danny, I know that wasn't an easy time for you.  I know thinking about it now isn't easy, either.”

“He's dead, Jack.  You should ... show him the footage.”

“You need to be there,” Jack added a tad reluctantly.

“I can handle it,” Daniel insisted confidently.

“I wish you didn't have to, but I can't think of anything else that is gonna convince this kid.”

“It's okay.”

“Is it?” Jack questioned, unconvinced.

“Jack, it's a piece of tape,” Daniel replied calmly.

“Yeah,” the colonel acknowledged as he stood.  “I'll give you a call when we locate the tape.  We'll need to review it first and isolate the portions we want to show.”

Daniel nodded, watching his lover exit his lab.  He wasn't looking forward to seeing the tape, but it's not like Apophis was alive.

~Sha're, I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever be able to keep my promise to you and take you home to Kasuf.~

====

“That's the spot, Sam,” Daniel stated a little while later, after the security tape of Apophis' death had been retrieved from the archives.

“If this doesn't do it, I don't know how we're going to convince those kids,” Jack remarked.

“Janet called a few minutes ago and said the monitor and VCR had been set up, so we're good to go,” Sam advised her teammates.  “Teal'c's there, too.”

Sam ejected the tape and was surprised when the archaeologist removed it before she could reach it.

“I can handle it,” Daniel asserted and then left Sam's lab before the other occupants could say a word.

Jack and Sam shared a concerned look before following Daniel and heading for the infirmary.

====

“Captain Rogers, listen up,” Jack ordered upon entering the infirmary.

“This tape is from earlier this year,” Sam stated.

Daniel inserted the tape and stated, “When Apophis came to us, he'd already been tortured.”

Rogers was certain it was a lie, even as the tape finally began.  He was stunned to hear the masterful Goa'uld admit that he was afraid and wanted help from the Tau'ri.  The recruit finally had to admit that everything SG-1 had been telling him was the truth.  Though told he was free to return to his home, the captain insisted that he wanted to go back to the planet to stop his men from participating in the final challenge.

====

“I have to give him credit for caring about his men,” Jack stated as the team headed for General Hammond's office to see if he was available for a briefing now.

“Maybe they learned something more by acting like us than Apophis anticipated,” Daniel suggested.

“He has guts,” Jack replied, not certain where the young man gained his courage and determination from.  “So do a lot of them.”

“Guts are not brains, O'Neill,” Teal'c pointed out, worried the young men would not listen to Rogers.

“No, they're not, but if we can't get through to them, some good kids might die, and that's unacceptable.”

====

It was late at night when the briefing was finally held, and it was quite the meeting.  Early into the session, the captain revealed that the recruits were brought to the planet five cycles ago from several different worlds.  Many Jaffa had been left there to train them.  Their uniforms and weapons had come from SG-11, who had been captured early on and forced to help teach the young soldiers.  However, the team quickly refused to comply and were apparently killed, their bodies put on display in the encampment.  After that, the Jaffa left, one by one, supposedly to assist in winning a great battle for Apophis.

--Jack's Point of View--

Holy crap!  Kid, I don't like surprises, especially one like this.  Here I am, complimenting you for caring about your men and appreciating all the intel you've provided about SG-11, and *now* you tell us that there are real weapons, MP-5's yet, hidden in a cave on the planet.  A little cooperation earlier would have been appreciated.

Geez.  Kids these days.

Carter, no more games.  You know I don't have a friggin' clue what idea it is that you think I've got in my head because I *don't* have an idea in my head.

“Haven't a clue.”

Okay, so maybe that's a good idea, Carter, to use that sphere to display a huge, honkin' Apophis for everyone to see, but I don't need the credit.  You take it.

Carter can do her thing and prepare the vo'cume with Apophis' big death scene and we have the intars to keep those kids alive.

“We could shoot first and ask questions later.”

That's the plan; let's hope it works.

Good going, Rogers.  Sure, you can come along, but you'd better follow orders, *my* orders.

====

Walking out of the conference room after the meeting with Hammond had ended, Jack ordered, “Rogers, get back to the infirmary and ...”

“But you said I could go with you.”

“You are, but we're not going back for a few hours.  We all need to catch some zzz's.”

“Zzz's?” Rogers questioned.  He blinked and admitted, “I'm afraid that term wasn't a part of our training.”

“He means sleep,” Daniel translated for his colonel.

“We'll wake you for breakfast,” Jack stated.  “You do know what breakfast is?”

“Yes, Sir,” Rogers acknowledged.  “Bacon, eggs, sausage, toast, and a glass of orange juice.”

“That's one option,” the colonel concurred.  “Go.”

Rogers nodded and then headed back for the infirmary, an SF accompanying him as a precaution.

Jack sighed, “We go in six hours, so everyone get some sleep.”

“Yes, Sir,” Sam acknowledged.  “Goodnight,” she stated and then walked towards the elevator.

Teal'c nodded and headed down the corridor and ultimately to his room on the base.

Jack and Daniel stared into each other's eyes and admitted a sad truth.  Neither of them had the strength to resist physical contact right now, and they were both too tired to end up staying up for the next few hours.

“They need us to be sharp,” Jack put forth regretfully.

“We need to be sharp,” Daniel corrected.  **I need you to be sharp.**

**I love you, Danny.**

**I love you, too.**

Daniel started to walk away; then turned back and gave his Love a warm smile.

Jack cursed the fates which were keeping him from his life partner.  It just wasn't right.

~To heck with it.  We can resist.~  Sprinting forward, Jack called out, “Daniel.”

Just in time, Daniel's hand reached forward, stopping the elevator door from closing.  With a smile, Jack joined his archaeologist.

“We can do this,” Jack insisted.

Daniel smiled.  He wanted Jack's warmth by him, even if all they did was sleep.

“Yes, we can.”

====

A few minutes later, with the doors to Daniel's office locked and the security equipment dealt with, the lovers took their places on the cot-like bed.  Jack spooned up to his lover, his arm like a blanket to the younger man.

“Jack, about SG-11 ...”

“Brave men, Daniel.  I'll make sure all the families know that.”

“It's just ... they're an archaeological team,” Daniel spoke in a whisper.

“Rogers said they refused to cooperate; they probably figured out what was happening and then they gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Jack stated quietly.  “They'll get their due, Daniel.  I promise.”

“Thank you.”

**Love you, Angel.**

**I love you, too, Jack.**

Their hands clasped together, the teammates, friends, and lovers fell into a sound and much-needed sleep.

====

With the final challenge set to begin at first light on the planet, the team and Rogers gathered before sunup for a light breakfast, after which they went to the gear-up room to prepare for their mission.  Having confirmed their embarkation time, they put on their camouflage BDUs and blackened their faces before making their way towards the gate room.

Stepping out of the elevator and into the corridor with his team, Jack ordered, “Final challenge scenario.  Let's hear it one more time.”

“My elite SG squad is to defend the encampment from the invading force of other SG teams, led by Captain Nelson.  The attackers are greater in number, but the defenders have greater firepower,” Rogers stated.

“But everyone on both sides will be in SG uniforms,” Sam stated, seeking verification.

“As it would have been when we infiltrated Earth, yes,” Rogers confirmed.

The group entered the gate room, where the Stargate had already been engaged.

“All right, once we take the encampment, we become the defenders to buy Carter time.  Is everyone clear on that?  Daniel?” Jack asked.

“What?” the archaeologist questioned, not having been listening to his lover.

“Good,” Jack acknowledged.  He looked at the captain and ordered, “You, stay with Carter, who will *watch* you like a hawk.”

“Yes, Sir,” the blonde affirmed.

“SG-1, you have a go,” Hammond called out over the tannoy in the control room.

**Daniel, please tell me you heard my orders,** Jack requested as he began up the ramp.

**What do you think?**

**That's what I'm afraid of.  I love you, Space Monkey.**

**I love you, too, Fly Boy.**

There was no more time for discussion, mental or otherwise, as SG-1 and Rogers stepped through the Stargate and continued on their mission.

====

--Sam's Point of View--

“Get the vacuum,” Colonel O'Neill just ordered.

Vo'cume, not vacuum.  Captain Rogers corrected him, saving me from having to do it instead.  The colonel will never change.  Mixing up words is part of his charm.

Sounds like the guys are having a time out there, but I'm going as fast as I can.  Okay, Teal'c is done, and the vacuum ... oh, gee whiz ... the vo'cume is ready.

Oh, there's the colonel, on my case again with, “Anytime, Carter.”

Now Teal'c chimes in, questioning me, too:  “What is the delay?”

Why does everyone always think my job should only take three seconds?  This is complicated stuff here.  Maybe I should let them do this one day to see how they like it.  Then again, I wouldn't want my equipment to explode.

“You can't just combine Goa'uld technology with ours with a snap of a finger.  I have to match the frequency the vo'cume operates on before I can record and transmit.”

Dead silence.  Why am I surprised?  I'm trying; I'm trying.

Good.  Teal'c is going to assist the colonel and Daniel.

Mortars?  Captain Rogers didn't tell us they have mortars here.  The colonel must be furious.  I think I'm glad I'm in here and not out there.

Concentrate.

Oh!  He's swearing now.  It's getting serious out there.  One more second.

Done!

“Got it!”

Now run, Samantha!

====

--Jack's Point of View--

It's about friggin' time, Carter.  Turn it on!  On!

There he is, one giant false god.  Go ahead, Poppy Baby -- bellow like a good dead Goa'uld.

Here they come, the babes to their deceiver.

Nelson's being a jerk.  Okay, so he's been trained to be a jerk, but I've had enough of this.  Stop spouting off about the rules of engagement and start engaging the new rules, my rules.  Crap, he doesn't want to hear Apophis' words now.  Well, tough!

“Now, Nelson!  You will listen to him *now* before anybody else gets hurt.”

Ah, yeah, see.  Your false god was trembling like a leaf.  He was scared and begging us for help.  Now that's a fool for ya.  Gasp away, Apophis.  Your disciples here are about to see you for your true self.

There we go.  Much better, Nelson.  What will become of you?  You get to go home, just like Rogers said.

Okay, happy ending.  Now, where's my Space Monkey?

====

After checking on Daniel and verifying that his soulmate was okay, Jack looked around and realized that the young soldiers needed their help.

“Teal'c, make sure the kids get through the Stargate,” Jack ordered.

“Sir, shouldn't we question them first before we just ... let them go?” Sam queried.

Jack watched the defeated faces of the young men who were walking away, confused and unsure about their future.

“Carter, they have families out there.  Let's just let them go home and put their lives back together.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Jack thought about it some more and suggested, “Why don't you go with Teal'c. Have Hammond send a medical team through to assist with the wounded and the dead.  The dead are going to have to be identified and their bodies sent home to their families. Take the survivors' names and planets.  We can keep them on file; maybe go for a visit and make sure they're adjusting okay.”

“Yes, Sir,” the blonde acknowledged brightly and then hurried to catch up with the Jaffa.

“So, Four-Eyes,” Jack teased.

“So, Cowlick.”

“Ouch!” the colonel exclaimed as he grimaced.  “Are you okay?”

“Yeah.  You look okay.”

“Still in one piece,” Jack noted happily, looking himself up and down for a second.

“Jack, when we get back to the SGC ...”

“I'm gonna convince Hammond to postpone the debrief until tomorrow, or maybe the day after tomorrow.”

“I hope so,” Daniel responded in a bit of a whisper.

“Tired?”

“That, and I just ... you know.”

Jack arched his eyebrows and smiled seductively as he leaned forward, stealing a kiss from his soulmate.

“Angel, we're going to you know all night long and all morning, too.  You won't know what tired is until we're done.”

“Gawd, I hope so,” Daniel agreed.  Looking his Love up and down, he teased, “But take a bath first.”

“You aren't so charming right now yourself,” the older man joked.

Growing serious again, Jack looked around, shaking his head at the encampment.

“They'll be okay,” the archaeologist opined about the recruits.

“Apophis was such a snake,” Jack sighed.  “Those kids are still wet behind the ears.”

“They're safe now.”

“At least most of them are,” Jack whispered as he looked around and saw the bodies of kid soldiers lying all around the encampment.  He knew most of them were just unconscious after being hit by an intar by himself or one of his teammates, but he also knew some were actually injured or dead from the real weapons that had been used for the war games.  ~Blasted Apophis!~

Aware of what his colonel was thinking, Daniel reminded, “Jack, we saved as many as we could.  It would have been a lot worse if we had done nothing.”

“I know,” Jack acknowledged, realizing Daniel was right, though still having a hard time accepting the fact that even in death, Apophis could cause so much misery.

The lovers walked away from the encampment in silence, both coming to terms with the events of the past couple of days.

After walking for a few minutes, Jack grinned and suggested, “How about we pick up a couple of sandwiches from the mess to eat on the way home?”

“No pizza?”

“Takes too much time,” Jack responded, showing his smoldering face of love to his Heart.

“Works for me,” Daniel agreed.

Full of plans for a long and lustful night and perhaps even morrow, Jack and Daniel walked swiftly towards the Stargate.  Their needs were great, and they couldn't wait to celebrate surviving not just one more mission where they'd made it through safe, but also their unending love, something both counted on from the depths of their souls.

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~

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