Resignation Denied

Author: Orrymain
Category: Slash, Romance, Missing Scene/Epilogue, POV, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating: PG-13
Season: 4 - November 18-27, 2000
Spoilers: Chain Reaction, Children of the Gods
Written: July 20, 2009, March 27-29, 2021
Summary: After General Hammond steps down from command, SG-1 is dismantled by his replacement. Jack investigates, sensing something fishy is going on.
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
Notes:
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~

Resignation Denied
by Orrymain

Without warning, Jack leaned over and kissed his soulmate as the two washed and dried their breakfast dishes.

"What was that for?" Daniel asked with a sweet smile.

"I just felt like it."

"Oh!"

"Less than a week until gobble day, and this year, I'm feeling very grateful."

"Any special reason?" Daniel inquired.

"Hey, I have a great job, a good boss, and I have you. What more can a man ask for?" Jack leaned in for another kiss. "I'm so glad you moved in, Angel. It makes everyday better."

"Babe, I moved in, uh, seventeen months ago."

"And time with you is eternal, beyond the limits of time and dates."

"Gawd, you pick the funniest times to be romantic."

"Why is this a funny time?"

"Because we're late, and we have a mission to go on in less than ninety minutes."

"There's always time for romance," Jack insisted, kissing Daniel yet again. "But you're right. We're late. Let's finish this up tonight."

JACK:

This isn't going well. The whole mission is a bust. Dang Goa'uld must have been hiding. We never saw them, just these so-called innocents. We may not get out of this one.

"Daniel, duck!"

Close call. Carter's closest to the DHD.

"Dial it up. No detours."

Ah, the voice of the general. We could use a little patience. Geez, that was close. You want to know our status, General? Bad and getting worse.

"We're pinned down. Carter was able to dial the Gate. We're trying to get clear to come through."

Holy crap! Look out, SGC. We can't stop their fire.

"We have to go! We're sitting ducks here. Choiceless. Daniel, move!"

Good, he's safe. Move it, Carter. Let's go, Big Guy. Whew! Back home, safe and sound.

DANIEL:

Okay, that was close. I wasn't sure we'd get out of that one. We were freakin' ambushed on the way back to the Gate. I knew they didn't like us, but that's taking dislike overboard.

Time for the briefing.

What did the general just say?

JACK:

I must be losing my hearing. Hammond just said he was stepping down. That is ridiculous. We just talked about the future of the Program the other day. There's a lot to be done. Overnight, he changes his mind? Nope, I'm not buying it.

"Danny, it's the craziest thing I've ever heard of," Jack told his lover at their home that night. "We just talked about the new teams being formed. There wasn't one hint, not one iota, nothing, zip, zilch, nada ... nothing that indicated Hammond was even contemplating retirement."

"Maybe he just wants to relax," Daniel suggested as he took a couple of sips of coffee at the table in the kitchen nook.

"Hey, I know this was originally supposed to be a temp gig for Hammond. He was going to retire and live a happy life with his wife. She died, so he stayed. In all these years, he's never given any sign that he wanted out."

"Maybe it was enough, having the gate room shot up like that. We're really lucky no one was injured."

"No, Hammond's career Air Force. He's been through combat. He's seen a heck of lot worse at SGC. He's never even winced."

"Okay, so, why is he retiring?"

"I have no friggin' idea, but tomorrow, I'm going to do my best to find out."

JACK:

Hello, BDUs. Time to get to the truth. No one around here knows what to think, including me.

"I'm going to talk to Hammond."

Not surprised the team wants to tag along, but I don't think it's a good idea.

"Sure, but wait outside in the corridor. He won't open up if we gang up on him."

Here we go. I don't think so. He's too glib about this. I'm missing something here.

"... you could throw me a bone?"

Just a little bone, General, something to point me in the right direction.

Telling me this was supposed to be a quick and easy assignment is old news, Sir. You were hooked the day you walked in the door. Yeah, there was that thing about your wife dying. I wish I'd known her. She must have been a wonderful woman, but this is the Stargate Program, General. You love it as much as I do.

"Some things are worth changing your plans for."

Go ahead. Say goodbye to the team, but, I'm *so* not accepting that you've suddenly had enough.

Enough of what?

DANIEL:

I guess Jack didn't have any luck. Looks like he's leaving.

"It won't be the same without you, Sir."

There he goes. I enjoyed working for him. We've clashed, but mostly over direction. I had to advocate for my department. The Joint Chiefs have never been on board with the need to study ancient cultures and those new cultures we run into on missions. General Hammond understood, but his hands were tied for a long time. I respect that man.

TEAL'C:

"On Chulak, when a great warrior retires from the field of battle it is custom to sing a song of lament. Fortunately, we are not on Chulak."

JACK:

Nice one, Teal'c. You've come a long way since you asked, "What is an Oprah?" I only wish it was under more authentic circumstances. Well, O'Neill, we're going to have to do this another way.

"He didn't tell you anything?" Daniel questioned on the ride home.

"Nope. He actually ended the conversation pretty quickly and walked out the door. Something's fishy, Danny. I'm not sure what, but none of this is making any sense.

"In the briefing, he talked about the risk, uh, closing the iris."

"In which case, we'd probably be dead. Yes, I know, but every time that Stargate opens, it's risky. Hammond knows that. One little ambush isn't going to scare him."

"I guess there's nothing we can do."

"We keep digging. That's what we can do."

JACK:

Another new day. What, Walter? Oh, the new guy is arriving and wants us assembled. Sure, round 'em up.

Guess we'd better get to the gate room.

I don't know squat about Hammond's replacement. I'm with Danny. We don't need a spit and polish hard case in here.

There he is.

"Ten-hut!" We're all lined up, nice and neat. Enjoy it while it lasts, Bucko. Oh, geez, well, hello to you, too. That was very informative. You're General Bauer, our new CO, and you look forward to working with us. Well, swell. "Squadron at ease. Always leave 'em wanting more, I guess."

"Jack, is that normal? I mean, the 'hello, let's be good co-workers, and see ya later' greeting," Daniel remarked as he leaned back against his desk.

"For some, but considering where we are, I would have thought there would have been more." Jack shook his head as he retrieved an object from a shelf. "Something's off, Danny. My gut is screaming."

"Uh, I wouldn't play with that, if I were you."

"Why?"

"You really don't want to know." Daniel raised his eyebrows as he gave his life partner a pointed look. "Anyway, I was expecting someone a little more inspiring." Putting down a pen he was toying with, the archaeologist said, "I'm supposed to meet Sam."

"Have fun prattling."

"Gawd, you're incorrigible."

"I took lessons," Jack quipped as he watched Daniel leave the office.

DANIEL:

There's Sam. Yeah, I was looking for a bit more inspiration from Hammond's replacement. Bureaucrat? Just because he's been at the Pentagon doesn't mean he should be a bureaucrat. You worked at the Pentagon, Sam.

Oops. There's Bauer. I wonder why he's in Sam's lab. Okay, he's getting up to speed by checking out Sam's research on naquadah reactors? That seems a little ... odd.

Okay, so Sam's talking about alternative power sources, and Bauer brings up nuclear ordinance. I don't like where this is headed.

Speaking to Sam, Bauer advised, "The Pentagon feels that the Stargate project, while exposing Earth to considerable danger, has yet to produce any practical returns. Now, we've been working on a device designed specifically to take advantage of this naquadah-enhancing effect. I'd like you to take part in the operation."
"What about my duties with SG-1?"

"You've been reassigned."

"What?" Daniel questioned in disbelief.

"As have you, Doctor Jackson. An archaeologist has no place on a front line unit. From now on, you'll work as a consultant, going off-world only as required."

DANIEL:

He's out of his mind. A consultant? Where the heck is Jack?

"See you later, Sam."

"Jack!" Daniel called out, seeing the colonel exiting the gym. "You won't believe it!"

"You've been downgraded to a consultant and Sam's working on nukes," Jack sighed.

"You've heard."

"Carter called me just now."

"Well, what are we going to do?"

"*We* can't do anything, yet, but I'm going to find out what's going on. This guy can't just walk in here and tear the Program apart."

"Let me know how it goes."

Jack nodded and headed for Level 28.

JACK:

This feels oh so wrong, seeing Bauer's name on this door. Even worse, there's his nameplate on Hammond's desk.

Great. He's reviewing mission reports and his biggest concern is my lack of using bullet-point summaries? Who is this nut?

"General, I realize the format of my reports is of vital importance and if you'd like, some day we can get together and talk about fonts and margins, but right now, I'd like to discuss the fact you're dismantling my team without discussion."

Latitude? You don't like my tone? Gee, I'm hurt.

"You know, General Hammond kept us together for a reason. The fact is if it wasn't for SG-1, right now you'd be sitting there with a snake in your head instead of your head up your butt!"

Oh, you don't like hearing the truth? Well, I don't like listening to you. You think this is insubordination? You haven't seen anything yet!

Decide if I still want to be part of SGC? General, if it weren't for my team, there'd be no SGC. Okay, that's enough. I'm out of here, and you will be soon.

"Danny, can you bum a ride with Carter or something?"

"Why?"

"I'm going to pay a little visit to Hammond and drag the truth out of him, if I have to. Bauer's a moron. He thinks I was insubordinate."

"Were you?"

"Sure, but he deserved it."

Daniel paused and queried, "Jack, I've been thinking."

"Dangerous, but often helpful."

"If General Hammond spontaneously decided to retire the day before yesterday after we were ambushed, how is it that General Bauer has already been permanently assigned here. I mean, isn't there usually an interim leader? They just ... picked someone in less than forty-eight hours to take over?"

"Someone ... who wants Carter working on naquadah nuclear bombs," Jack sighed. "You may have something there, Danny."

"And someone who almost instantly decides the best beginning to his command is taking apart the flagship team? Us!" Daniel added, "Jack, he walked in the door two days after Hammond left and on his first day, SG-1 is ... gone? Who does that?"

"Fishy. It's very fishy."

"I'll find my way home."

Jack nodded in acknowledgment and turned to leave.

"Jack?"

"Yeah?"

"Good luck. This place isn't going to be the same if you can't get the general back."

"That's the truth," Jack agreed, nodding and walking to the locker room where he changed into his civvies. ~Ah, this is better,~ he thought about his faded baggy jeans and basic white tee-shirt that he wore. Grabbing his jacket, he tightened his determination. ~Okay, General Hammond. This place is going to fall apart if I don't get some answers I can believe.~

JACK:

Let's make this friendly. I'll go around the back.

Hey, the grandkids are here. Tessa! Kayla!

"Bambinas!"

It's good to see them again. Ah, there's Hammond, sitting at the kitchen table. What a view. Sip on coffee, read the paper, and enjoy the beauty of the lake. This place must have cost him a pretty penny. I might even be envious. Nah, love the lake, but my little house works just fine. Okay, let's give him a little kiss on the glass. Hello, window."

In I go. Why am I here?

"Ah, little vacation."

And it's not my choice, and that's more to the point as to why I'm here. Listen to me, General, SG-1 is doomed. Daniel's consulting, Carter's creating a doomsday device, Teal'c's with the Marines. Hey, but we're good ... not.

Get to know Bauer. That's *so* not going to happen. I know him well enough already.

Here we go, the it's enough line again. No way did you suddenly get fed up. Danny's right. So, am I.

"I'll never buy that." Uh, wait one. What did you just say? It's out of your hands? Ooookay. That's an in. "What's that mean?"

Hammond replied, "I can't discuss it."

"General?"

"You don't understand."

"I won't, unless you explain it to me."

Hammond contemplated whether or not to be truthful with his former 2IC and ultimately decided to tell him about the situation, as he knew it.

"Two weeks ago, I was contacted by a representative of the NID. He suggested I should become more aggressive in my policy."

"They have no jurisdiction over you."

Hammond continued, "They wanted me to help them gain access to off-world technology, which they're unable to do since we shut down their little side operation."

"You told them to go to hell?" Jack presumed in question.

"Of course. Then he told me if I didn't cooperate, there would be consequences. The next day, two men in plain clothes, driving a black unmarked car, picked up my granddaughters from school."

"I don't believe it."

"They took them for a little ride; then brought them home. The girls were fine, but I got the message. We're talking about an organization as powerful as the CIA. These people are above the law. I can't protect my family twenty-four hours a day. I had no choice."

"Of course not."

"Don't get yourself into trouble over this, Jack," the major general warned.

"You know me, Sir." Jack looked out the window at the two girls playing innocently, unaware of the danger they were recently placed in. He stood and stated, "Thanks for filling me in."

"Jack, this is way above your pay grade."

"Maybe, but the Program needs you, General, and if we don't get things straightened out, I'll be back to watching the stars on my roof deck, Daniel will probably be teaching in some college, and Carter? She'll be doing paperwork somewhere. You know Teal'c won't take this for long, either. He'll go back to Chulak."

"I'm aware of that, Jack. Just ... stay out of trouble and ... be careful."

"Yes, Sir," Jack replied before leaving the lakeside house.

Jack went to his truck and sat for a moment before driving away. He needed gas, so stopped at a station nearby. He put the gas nozzle into the tank and then saw the payphone. He walked over and placed a call.

"Hello," a crisp voice answered.

"Danny, we were right. I'll explain later, but watch out for Bauer. I have a sneaking hunch he's part of this."

"So, don't make a stink?"

"Just ... be a good little consultant. Be one with your desk chair."

"Okay. Where are going now?"

"I'm going to pay a little visit to Harry."

"Maybourne?" the stunned archaeologist questioned.

"Yep. He's in still in federal prison. I think he's going to know what this is about, or he can find out."

"Why would he help us?"

"I'll answer that later." The colonel paused and added, "I'll drop by the house and pack a duffel. I'll hitch a ride at Peterson. Make sure you eat a good dinner."

"You aren't sure when you'll be back?"

"No. It's getting late. By the time I get there, I won't be able to get in to see Harry until tomorrow." Jack's own words caused him to check his watch. "Sorry, Danny. I need to make a phone call, our direct line to Air Force One."

"Okay."

"I swear. This better not interfere with Thanksgiving. I was looking forward to taking in the big parade with you. There's a new version of Mickey this year; and new floats. Gotta see the Three Little Pigs one," Jack asserted strongly.

"Jack ..."

"And there's the big game, Patriots and Lions. That's gotta be worth watching. If not, we change the channel and watch the Vikings and Cowboys go at it."

"Jack ..."

"And dinner. Danny, I really want to enjoy all of the dinner fixin's this year."

"Jack, it's still a couple of days away. I'm sure you'll be back by then."

"I hope so," Jack sighed, thinking the current situation could be more time consuming than he wanted. "Later."

"Bye, Jack."

JACK:

Another new day and what a way to start it off: visiting a federal pen.

Hello there, Harry. I'm not sure you're surprised to see me at all. Let's make a deal.

Lonely, Harry? Your former associates have left you high and dry? Well, good, because, I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I need your help. Crap. Of course, you already know about Hammond. Good, then I don't have to waste my breath on expository information. Daniel and Carter are both much better at that than I am.

Ah, yes. Here comes the deal from the man in jail for treason. Yes, I know we cut off the NID's access to alien tech. You then decided Uncle Sam wasn't so hot and went to work for the Russians. Okay, talk, Harry, but it had better go somewhere useful.

Maybourne advised, "The Pentagon forced the Russians to deep-six their Gate in exchange for continued sharing of information and technology."

"We have the only operational Gate," Jack returned.

"Exactly. The NID thinks Hammond and the policies that govern the Stargate program are too soft."

~Here we go,~ Jack thought. "So, this Bauer guy is part of it?"

Maybourne responded, "Truth is, I don't know. I've been out of the loop for a little while, but it's possible he's just a patsy, unwittingly maneuvered into position because he's got the right mentality."

"All sounds so cloak and daggery."

"You're a Special Ops colonel, Jack. Why do you always pretend to smell like roses?"

"Hey! I never threatened a two-star general by kidnapping his grandkids," Jack spat angrily.

"Don't pretend to be so naive either," the prisoner countered.

"How do I get 'em to back off?"

"You really want to play in my sandbox, Jack?"

~Okay, Harry. Time for the deal. Hit me,~ the colonel silently demanded. "Tell me what I have to do."

"Quid pro quo, Jack."

"You're facing the death penalty. The best I can do is put in a good word, maybe recommend they commute your sentence to life."

"You'll have to do a lot more than that. I can get you the information you need, names, proof of certain influential people's involvement with the NID."

"Keep talking."

"My word is useless. You want hard evidence, you're going to have to get me out of here for a few days."

"Are you nuts? Do you know how many strings I'd have to pull to make that happen?"

"One big one. I know you're prepared to do it, Jack, you wouldn't be here otherwise. I won't bother to say you can trust me."

Jack sighed. He'd already anticipated Maybourne's request and needed only to make one phone call to a home on Pennsylvania Avenue in the nation's capitol to proceed.

"I'll be back."

"I'm not going anywhere, Jack; at least, not yet."

Jack let out a frustrated grunt and then made his call. Harry Maybourne would be released in the colonel's custody within an hour.

In the meantime, Jack again checked in with his lover.

"What's happening there?"

"Jack, it's not good. SG-3 encountered resistance on their mission to get more naquadah."

"More naquadah?"

"Yes. Major Waite was killed."

"Oh, for crying out loud," Jack spoke in sorrow.

"Jack, General Bauer seemed to care more about the naquadah Teal'c brought back than the major's death."

"Not surprised," Jack sighed. "Maybourne thinks Bauer could be a patsy."

"A bomb-loving patsy?" Daniel suggested dryly. He took a breath and added, "Sam isn't happy. She's being forced to work on a project she disagrees with."

"That's part of doing your duty."

"Like ... detonating a bomb to destroy an entire planet resulting in ... collateral damage of an entire race?"

"I hear ya, Danny. I'm workin' on it."

"What about Maybourne?"

"He'll be in my custody in a few minutes. All we can hope for is that he's able to make contact with his former associates." Jack glanced at his watch. "I'll check in again when I can."

"Okay. Jack?"

"Yeah?"

"Don't get any holes added to your body."

"Are you worried about me?"

"No. I just don't want to have to sew up holes in your shirt."

Jack laughed out loud and hung up the phone.

JACK:

Okay, back in D.C. It's very yellow. I wonder if there's a yellow brick road around this very yellow apartment building.

Geez, limited decor. Harry must not be aware of Ikea. Hey, he has beer, though.

"No, thanks."

I'll have beer later; right now, this colonel needs his wits about him. You aren't just here to help me out, Harry. Don't think I don't know that.

Good. He's trying to access NID files on the computer. Geez, they have cells and they keep in touch via bulletin boards? Okay, right, firewalls, yadda, yadda. Tell it to Carter. Just tell me what I want to know.

Doesn't surprise me that they've locked you out. Just find a way in, Harry.

What am I going to do with the info? Wouldn't you like to know. Hmm. Take the info to the Pentagon and trust them to fix this mess? I'm thinkin' about it.

What are you babbling about now? The NID will try to kill me. Well, there's something new ... not. You're saying hold the incriminating evidence over their devilish heads. Blackmail them, to get Hammond back where he should be.

Oops! Company. Time to hit the road.

Meanwhile, Sam went to Daniel's office, closing the door behind her. She paced around the lab full of artifacts and rubbed her hands together anxiously.

"Sam?"

"Daniel, General Bauer won't let me conduct any tests."

"What's wrong?"

"I incorporated the naquadah Teal'c brought back from P3S-452 into the device."

"The bomb?"

"Yes, and the planet he wants me to test it on supports plant and animal life. He claimed there was no sign of habitation within a fifty-mile radius of the Gate."

"How far will the blast go?"

"That's just it, Daniel. I don't know. I need to run some simulations, but he denied my request."

"Just say 'no'?"

"I can't. He's my superior officer."

"You've said no to Jack before."

"Not really, Daniel. The colonel lets me speak my mind without repercussions, but when he gives an order, I follow it," Sam responded.

"The, uh, chain of command, an order is an order thing."

"Daniel, I know you don't understand military mentality, but chain of command is central to any organized structure. The very nature of the military requires orders to be carried out without hesitation."

"You're not allowed to think."

"Most of the time, subordinates don't even know what's happening or why. We get an order and we carry it out."

"You're right, Sam, I don't understand it, and I never will."

"General Bauer has made it very clear what he wants. I have to follow his orders."

"Do you want me to try and get through to him?"

"Daniel, he thinks the only thing you're good for is sitting behind a desk."

"Yes, and my butt is getting sore."

"Thanks for letting me vent, but I'd better make the preparations. I don't like it, Daniel, but I don't have a choice."

Daniel nodded as Sam left his office.

~I hope you're making progress, Jack.~

====

Only minutes after Sam spoke with the archaeologist, Jack phoned.

"Yeah, Daniel. How are things at camp?"

"Um, not good. General Bauer's testing his new naquadah bomb. He's taking shortcuts which Sam thinks could be disastrous."

"Well, Maybourne claims he doesn't know whether Bauer's in with NID or just a gung-ho patsy."

"Yeah, well, either way he's dangerous."

"Well, hang in there; do what you can. I'll check back."

~This is going to get bad, very bad,~ Daniel opined to himself.

====

The archaeologist barely hung up the phone from his conversation with Jack and returned to his work when he was interrupted again.

"DanielJackson," Teal'c called out. Wearing his normal black tee-shirt and green BDU pants, the Jaffa entered and approached his friend at the desk. His hands were clasped together behind his back. "I wish to tell you of my decision."

"What decision?"

"I cannot remain at the SGC," Teal'c stated. "General Bauer sent SG-3 on a suicide mission. I am not opposed to honorable battles, but there was nothing honorable about his need for naquadah. I came here to join O'Neill in the fight for freedom for my people. SG-1 is no more, so ..."

"No, Teal'c," Daniel interrupted. He stood up and walked around the desk. "Look, I know things aren't exactly ... optimal at the moment, but Jack believes something's not right, as do I, and he's working on it."

"General Bauer said O'Neill was considering retirement ... again."

"No, he was ordered into taking time off for being, uh, well, insubordinate to General Bauer."

"He was himself then."

With a small smile, Daniel affirmed, "More or less. Uh, Teal'c, just hang in there, okay. I just spoke with Jack. Give him some time."

"As you wish," Teal'c replied, bowing his head and leaving the room.

~Come on, Jack, or SG-1 won't be anymore.~

JACK:

No, Harry, I don't want a hot dog. The very thought of you and food together turn my stomach.

What the ... You've read my file. Big deal. Probably bored you to sleep. Will I see this through? Dumb question, Harry. You'd still be rotting in that prison cell if I didn't intend to follow through. Next question.

Oh, so if I want to help Hammond get his job back, you say I'll have to get my hands dirty. Maybourne ... never mind. I'm not going there with you.

We need to what? Connect with someone who has significant influence to the NID websites? Great. Who do you have in mind, Harry?

Him? I can't help but laugh, but if he's the high profile moron we need to settle this mess, let's go.

DANIEL:

I feel so useless sitting here. Jack's having to play games with Maybourne and Sam is violating her own sense of right and wrong. There has to be a way out of this.

Okay, okay. Sam mentioned an aerial map. It's probably in her lab.

She's much neater than I am. Where would she leave it? Of course, Jackson, it's spread out on the table. Let's see if there's anything unusual I can detect.

Ut oh. Out of time. The klaxons are blaring. Okay, fo...cus. Oh gawd!

Run, Jackson, run. You're fast when you set your mind to it.

Made it.

"We have to stop the test."

Why?

Because we shouldn't be doing it in the first place. Okay, here's why.

"The aerial survey shows evidence of an old Goa'uld mining operation. Now even though it's probably been shut down for several thousand years, there could still be significant amounts of naquadah present on that planet."

Why aren't we stopping the test? Sam just said the geological survey she read said there were no traces of naquadah, but Bauer says there are only minute traces. Something stinks, as Jack would say.

Go Sam! Accuse away! He definitely knew all along. That's exactly what this is about. Bauer was hoping for a chain reaction.

So, that is what this about: using the bomb to destroy the Goa'uld. Listen, no one wants them gone more than me. I mean, uh, Sha're, but this guy doesn't care about the side effects, about ... collateral damage. Destroy the Stargate and cause who knows what to happen to the rest of us?

It's not our concern who gave you the Intel. I think Jack would argue that point.

A risk assessment has been done and deemed acceptable? End of discussion?

We have to do something. I'm just not sure what, if anything, we can do. Gawd, if Jack were here, Bauer would be out cold on the floor, and then Jack would be in the brig. That's not an answer.

Oops. Detonation and now no camera feed. We've lost transmission, not surprising when you set off a bomb.

The wormhole is still active, and here comes one of those side effects: radiation levels in the gate room are increasing. Sam says they're ultra high frequency gamma rays. What now, big shot?

Good, closing the iris has decreased the levels. Maybe we'll live after all.

Thought too soon. Sam says if the iris succumbs to the heat, we won't be able to stop the radiation.

Oh, you were positive the other Gate would be destroyed. Doesn't look like it was to me.

Great. Now he shows some humanity. It's a little late, General. Sam's doing your job, ordering the evacuation of the base. Glad to meet you, General Bauer. Thanks for dropping in and leaving such a lasting memory.

"Guess your risk assessment didn't cover this."

Sam said we should go to a security room on 16 to observe. I'm not sure that will help much in the long term, but let's go.

"Bringing the Gate room online," Sam announced from the controls in the security room. "The iris is still holding, but it's starting to heat up."

Bauer asked, "How long before it loses integrity?"

"I'm not sure. It's possible that we turned that planet into a giant ball of super-heated plasma. It could power the Gate for months."

"We'll have to set the auto destruct," Bauer stated.

"The Gate on the other side survived the explosion. Would not ours as well?" Teal'c questioned skeptically.

"But at least it would be buried under a million tons of rock," Bauer replied.

Sam interjected, "That wouldn't stop it from pumping out radiation. Eventually, the heat is going to melt through that iris."

"Then what do we do, Major?"

"There is a chance that the Gate will shut down on its own."

Bauer pointed out, "The thirty-eight-minute window."

"There's no way to know for sure, Sir. These are untested circumstances."

"How long has the Gate been open?"

"Coming up on twenty-one minutes."

Unfortunately, thirty-eight minutes elapsed, but the Gate did not shut down as anticipated. This prompted Bauer to want out of the Mountain now.

"Well, there's no point staying here. I'll inform the President from the surface."

As Bauer left the room, Sam responded almost to herself, "Yes, Sir, I'm sure it'll be much safer up there."

As Sam left the room and Daniel followed, Teal'c called out to them, reporting that the Stargate shut down. Bauer returned to the security room with Daniel and Sam.

"It's over," Sam said in a huge sigh of relief.

"For what it's worth, Major, I'm sorry," Bauer apologized.

Sam said nothing in reply and simply stood up and left the room. Daniel and Teal'c remained.

"It's not worth much, General," Daniel stated. "Fire me for insubordination, even though I'm a civilian, but all you've done since you've been here is tear this base apart in some insane notion of sending bombs through Stargates without any regard for plant or animal life. Your surveys lied, and you coerced Sam into doing something she strongly believed against. You ignored her recommendation to conduct tests, and when the going got tough, General, you you just ... got going."

Bauer stared at Daniel for a moment and then returned, "Perhaps you are better suited for being on the front lines after all, Doctor Jackson."

The general left the security room to return to his office.

"Would that be insubordination, DanielJackson?" Teal'c questioned.

"Probably," the archaeologist admitted. "Someone had to tell him."

"Indeed," Teal'c agreed.

====

Meanwhile, Jack and Maybourne drove up to the home of Senator Robert Kinsey, the high profile contact Maybourne mentioned. A lively party was going on with several people inside the home.

A maid answered the door, but Kinsey soon interrupted, unhappy to see the two men on his doorstep. Seconds later, Kinsey's wife joined him, curious to see who their new guests were. Naturally, the senator lied and claimed Jack and Maybourne were old friends.

Still wearing his sunglasses, Jack did the introductions, saying, "Afternoon, Ma'am. I'm Mister Starsky and this is ... Hutch."

Clueless, the woman invited the strangers inside where Jack enjoyed the highlight of his day when Kinsey's dog ran over to him excitedly.

"Oscar, down," Kinsey's wife ordered the Australian shepherd.

"It's all right," Jack spoke as he kneeled down went nose-to-nose with the friendly canine. ~I'd rather spend time with him than you, but business is business.~

"He seems to like you, Mister Starsky," the senator's wife observed.

"Birds of feather, Ma'am."

Kinsey took the visitors to his study to talk in private. Oscar started to follow, apparently wanting to spend more time with Jack, but was shooed away.

"Gentlemen, I have the undersecretary of state, the governor of Maryland, and half the United States Congress waiting for me in my living room, so let's make this quick. What in Heaven's name can I possibly do for you?"

Jack answered, "We need some information on the NID."

"The NID?"

"Snaky government agency involved in all sorts of illegal covert operations, like blackmailing Air Force generals."

Maybourne reminded Kinsey that the NID funneled lots of money into his re-election campaign, to which the senator retorted they should take their complaints to the Federal Elections Commission.

Ultimately, Jack and Maybourne simply refused to leave the house until they got what they came for. To bring home the point, Jack pulled out a gun and aimed it at Kinsey, claiming he was thinking about shooting him. Harry appeared surprised at the move.

~That'll teach you to read my file. I thought you were smart enough to know that only half of the truth is in that thing,~ Jack thought. "Getting a little dirty for you, Maybourne?"

"Colonel, have you completely taken leave of your senses?"

"I've been hanging around Maybourne. What does that say?"

Jack forced Kinsey to sit as he continued to aim his weapon at him, while Maybourne sat down at the computer and hacked his way in.

Kinsey asserted Jack was making the biggest mistake of his life and would regret the day he'd met the senator.

"Oh, that day has come and gone, Senator," the colonel quipped.

Kinsey then threatened Daniel and the rest of the team.

"You mess with me, Doctor Jackson will be out of the SGC permanently, and Major Carter will be scrubbing toilets in some Air Force weather station in Alaska; and as for the alien, Teal'c, well, let's just say I know some bioengineers in the Department of Defense who would love to get their hands on his symbiote."

JACK:

Oh, you'll be dead before you can do any of that. Hurry it up, Harry. Hack the computer. We can't stay here all day.

Password? Hmm. Ah, yes, of course.

"Try Oscar."

He has a photo with his wife and the dog hanging on the wall That's a man who loves, as much as he can, his dog.

There you go. It worked. Boy, Kinsey, you've been involved in a lot of bad stuff.

"You're a piece of work, Kinsey. Try to shut down the SGC. You make this big speech about how much you hate secret organizations and then you jump in bed with the NID. What is that?"

Geez, can't you be original? Yadda, yadda, the Gate is a Pandora's box. Sorry, it's up and running. and we're not about to bury it. You're paranoid.

"Oh, blow the rhetoric up somebody else's nose. You're nothing but a power-hungry hypocrite."

Go ahead, accuse me of playing with fate. All I'm doing is saving the planet.

"I'm doing the job I was asked to do. I doubt very much your constituents could say the same about you."

Are you finished yet, Harry? I'm tired of sparring with this arrogant SOB. Good. No, you can't have the disk, Harry. Give it to me.

"Here's the deal. Get them to reinstate Hammond or this disk goes to the press," the colonel threatened as he slipped the disk into his pocket.

Think about it, hot shot. You're the one who won't see the light of day when your secret friends find out how this disk was obtained. Hey, that makes you the weakest link in the chain, doesn't it?

Tension. You think you have us, don't you, Kinsey? Your goons are downstairs, just waiting for us. Well, guess what? I have another idea. A quick phone call should do it. Done. Now we'll wait.

Well, we had a moment of concern, but looky here, the press have arrived. See what a phone call can do. Let's go make ourselves known, or maybe we'll just leave. You've received our message loud and clear.

Crap! You as the next President. I hope not. Heaven help America if you're elected.

Good boy, Senator. Wave off the goons, and we'll be going. Nice job.

Bye, bye, Kinsey. Don't forget the deal.

"Babe, you're home," Daniel greeted late that evening, following up his words with a kiss of great pleasure.

The clock was approaching 11 p.m. as the lovers continued to kiss and embrace.

"What a day," Jack sighed. "You're still here, so I guess nothing blew up."

"Just one planet."

"Well, fill me in after I get a beer," Jack said as he headed for the refrigerator in the kitchen.

"What happened with you?"

"Had a chat with Kinsey."

"Kinsey?"

"Oh, yeah. He's part of the NID mess, but he's going to get Hammond his job back."

"How'd you do that?"

"I had a little help from Oscar," Jack said with a grin. "His dog. He was very helpful."

"I'll take your word for it."

"Ah, that tastes good," Jack said, feeling refreshed from a long swig of the brew he held in his hands.

"What happened to Harry? Is he back in prison?"

"Yep. He's back in his cozy cell."

"I thought he might try to get away. I mean, his future is ... bleak."

"I thought he'd make a go of it, too, but he didn't. He came along peacefully." Jack chuckled, "He thought he'd get a few days of freedom, but we got it done in less than twenty-four hours."

"I'm glad you did."

"I was motivated. I wanted to get home to you."

After sharing a few kisses, Daniel asked, "Would you have let him go, Jack, if he did try to ... escape?"

"That's a good question, Danny, and it's one I'm glad I didn't have to think about." Jack shook his upper body, as if shaking out a demon. "There's something about Maybourne that really gets to me."

"You like him," Daniel asserted.

"He's a traitor."

"True, but you like him anyway." Daniel drew a breath and left the topic to move on to something else. "Well, whatever you did to get Kinsey's help, General Bauer was already packing up his things when I left the base."

"Fast. I guess Kinsey really does want to President."

"What?"

"He's running for office."

"That's ... not exactly something I ever wanted to hear."

"Let's hope the voters see through him."

Since both men had eaten dinner, the lovers sat on the sofa in the living room and nestled into each other as they discussed the events of the day. Daniel told Jack all about the conflict with Sam, the face-off with Bauer, and how the major general's cowardice shone through before the Stargate finally deactivated. Then Jack brought Daniel up to speed on the NID's website network and the disk Maybourne made that was full of incriminating evidence that would take down Kinsey. He told him about Oscar and the Starsky and Hutch joke regarding their identities.

"Do you think General Hammond has received word yet?" Daniel inquired.

"If Bauer's already out the door, probably."

"I guess the good news, if there is good news, is that Bauer was a patsy for the NID."

"Yep. With his beliefs, the NID moved him into position when the time was right." Jack cocked his head slightly and added, "He must have really believed in that bomb."

"At least we know he's not part of the NID."

"And I suspect Bauer will be on permanent downtime soon."

"Well, he did get a little .. upset at the end; guilt, maybe."

"He showed cowardice, and I know odds are you, Carter, and Teal'c won't say anything in your reports, but that kind of thing has a way of getting out. Someone heard it; saw it, but you didn't see them. He'll be retiring any day now," Jack speculated. "You know, this thing may not be over."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, that planet Bauer picked was controlled by the Goa'uld, right?"

"There's a good chance, yes."

"The Goa'uld might not be too happy we destroyed the place. They might want more revenge. You know how much they love revenge."

"Jack, Sam feels pretty bad about the whole thing."

"She was following orders, Danny. She didn't have a choice."

"We always have a choice," Daniel refuted. "I know, chain of command and the military's belief that when you get an order, you follow that order regardless of the implications. It was wrong on Abydos, Jack, and it was wrong here. I know it, and you know it, and Sam does, too."

"Carter will be fine."

"Yes, but one day, Jack, the military is going to have to wake up and allow a system for concerns to be expressed."

"So, Carter files a report after the fact, and it does what? Nothing. Danny, I get it, and you were right to stop me on Abydos, but the military has to retain discipline."

"Doing what you're told, when you're told, without thinking about morality, ethics, or humanity."

"Sometimes."

This discussion wasn't new to the lovers. Indeed, the very beginning of their relationship centered around the topic. Jack was sent on a suicide mission to destroy Abydos. Daniel managed to change the colonel's mind and help him to find another option. As a result, the Abydonians were saved. That was several years ago now, and the ongoing debate never found a common answer both men could live with. As happened many times in the past, the subject was eventually dropped in favor of more pleasant topics.

Taking another swig of beer, Jack bemoaned, "Didn't even have time to buy a bird."

"I did."

"What?"

"Okay, so I'm not so big on holidays, at least not the way you are, but I managed to get a turkey, a small one, but it's in the refrigerator."

"You didn't think to get all the fixings, did ya?"

"Stuffing, rolls, cranberries, potatoes: everything I could think of."

"Way to go, Danny! Thank you, Love."

"I guess maybe with all that happened this week, I thought we should be thankful."

"I like that idea, Doctor Jackson."

"I like you, Colonel O'Neill."

"Just like?"

"And ... something more."

"Like what?"

"Put down that beer, and I'll show you."

"Well, this has been my week for making deals, so I'll make another one with you."

"Such as?"

"I leave the beer. You leave your clothes."

"What a hard bargain."

"It's all about being hard, Danny."

The lovers smiled and let their inhibitions run rampant as they made love and left behind all thoughts of crazy generals, naquadah bombs, crooked senators, and scheming traitors. Tonight was a night of hot passion and tender love, and tomorrow, they'd have a small but festive Thanksgiving celebration, including watching the Macy's Day parade in the morning and the football game of their choice on TV in the afternoon. After that, the lovers planned to simply relax. With all the transitioning, SG-1 was on downtime until Monday, giving the soulmates four full days to kick back and enjoy being in love.

====

Early Monday morning, SG-1 reported in for duty, delighted to see the team was once again whole and assigned to explore new worlds. They were also thrilled to see General Hammond back in his office. It was Jack who naturally went to see the base commander first.

"Jack, come in," Hammond invited upon hearing the tap on his door.

"General, it's good to have you back."

"Thank you. I hear I missed quite a bit of excitement while I was gone."

"You'll have to ask Carter about that, Sir."

"I'm looking forward to the debriefing."

Jack agreed, "As am I."

"Jack, what do I owe you for this?"

With some thought, the colonel answered, "Continued latitude, patience and understanding. So, just be yourself, Sir."

Just then, a call came in on Hammond's phone for Jack. It was Harry Maybourne, a fugitive from federal justice, calling him from an unknown tropical island full of beautiful women. Harry advised Jack that he had copy of the evidence disk and that for some reason, Kinsey felt obliged to have him transferred to a nicer facility.

"Why didn't you try to escape when you were with me?" Jack asked.

"Oh, come on, Jack. You trusted me. I didn't want you to look bad for the President. Besides, you're too good to have let it happen."

"What are you going to do now?"

"Well, short term, I think I'll have a few margaritas. After that, who knows?"

"Yeah. Right."

"Thanks for all your help," Maybourne said cheerfully, disconnecting the call

"General, about what you owe me?" Jack asked as he hung up the red phone.

"Anything I can do."

Jack replied, "Well, nothing right now, but one day I may ask you to ... buy back my soul."

"Jack, what does Harry Maybourne have to do with this?" Hammond inquired.

"Well, Sir, all I can say is it's going to be one heck of a debriefing."

Jack grinned and left the office. All was right in the world, even if Maybourne was sipping margaritas on a beach in the tropics somewhere. The colonel had better things to do than think about it. He moved eagerly and confidently towards the office/lab of his soulmate. Daniel, after all, made everything in Jack's world right.

The last several days at Cheyenne Mountain and in Washington D.C. were full of uncertainty, but the fog lifted, and now it was sunshine all the way. For Jack and Daniel, their love continued to grow, and life in Colorado Springs became even more colorful.

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

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