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Fanfiction: A Record to Stand By

Fandom: Stargate SG1
Series: Aftershocks
TAG to Episode: S5 The Fifth Man
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Team friendship.  Mild Sam/Jack UST.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.  Written for entertainment purposes only.

 

A Record To Stand By


Jack O’Neill watched the wormhole blink out with an inward sigh of relief. He liked Tyler, he did. As weird aliens went, Tyler was a stand-up guy – if Jack ignored the whole initial ‘let me trick you into thinking I’m a member of your team’ business – but hunkered down with Tyler and surrounded by a hostile enemy wasn’t his first choice of how to spend a night.

He was tired; he was hungry. All he wanted was a hot shower, a hot toddy and…his brown eyes slid to Samantha Carter and he cut that thought off in its infancy. He was supposed to be moving on, he reminded himself; professional thoughts only. ‘Let’s go home.’ He said sharply.

Carter nodded and headed back toward the DHD. She began competently pressing the symbols and Jack turned back to the Stargate impatiently.

Daniel Jackson walked over to him and cleared his throat. ‘Jack, before we head back, I think there’s something you should know.’

Jack raised a scarred eyebrow. Daniel wore his earnest face which meant trouble. ‘Oh?’

‘Daniel.’ Sam cut in, drawing both their attention. ‘I thought we agreed we’d wait until we get home before we told the Colonel.’ Her blue eyes were on the archaeologist.

‘I didn’t agree.’ Daniel retorted.

‘Agree what?’ Jack asked, looking between the two fascinated. It wasn’t often they disagreed on something. Well, something real; God knew the two could carry on a debate about theoretical scientific mumbo-jumbo crap for years if left to their own devices.

‘Indeed, you did agree, Daniel Jackson.’ Teal’c interrupted. He moved to stand alongside the archaeologist as the wormhole blossomed in front of them.

‘What?’ Jack repeated. ‘Tell me what?’

‘OK, so I may have agreed back then,’ Daniel argued quickly, waving a hand wildly, ‘but that was when we thought we would be running through the Stargate chased by a platoon of Jaffa. Don’t you think we should tell him now?’

Sam glanced at Teal’c who raised an eyebrow.

‘Daniel Jackson is correct.’ Teal’c said firmly. ‘It may be best to tell O’Neill now.’ He looked around at the empty clearing as though to emphasise their secure position.

‘OK,’ Jack said loudly, ‘I’m only going to say this once,’ he waited until they were all looking at him, ‘tell me what?’

‘Sir, I’ve sent the IDC and…’

He could see more arguments against telling him lined up in her blue eyes. ‘Carter, just tell me; that’s an order!’ He felt a momentary pang of guilt as she flinched at the anger in his voice but, damn it, he was cold, he was tired and he wanted to get the hell off the rock he’d been stuck on for the best part of two days.

Carter snapped to an almost military ‘at attention’ position. ‘Colonel Simmons was brought into investigate why we claimed Tyler was a member of the SGC and nobody else had heard of him.’

‘That’s why we were delayed coming back.’ Daniel added. He folded his arms around his torso. ‘Simmons questioned us.’

Jack looked back at Carter who nodded.

‘I would say he’s been investigating us for a while, sir.’ She raised a hand from her weapon. ‘He’s been into our personnel files, our mission reports, everything.’

Jack raised a finger. ‘Let me get this straight,’ his brown eyes hardened with anger, ‘I almost died out here because Simmons was investigating my team?’ He was yelling, he realised dimly.

His three team-mates looked at each other.

Jack ignored the waiting wormhole. ‘What the hell happened?’

Teal’c and Daniel exchanged a look and both turned simultaneously to Carter. She glared at them.

‘Carter?’ Jack prompted pointedly.

Sam cleared her throat. ‘Well, sir, General Hammond restricted us to the infirmary when we arrived because we mentioned Lieutenant Tyler and, obviously, there is no Tyler, I mean at the SGC.’

‘General Hammond was concerned we had been compromised.’ Teal’c added.

Jack could imagine Hammond’s reaction. They’d only just got past Carter being followed home by an invisible alien. Hammond must have had a conniption fit at the idea that all of SG1 suddenly had an imaginary friend.

‘We, uh, accessed the mainframe to verify Tyler’s existence and realised someone had been spying on us.’ Sam completed. ‘When Simmons turned up and started questioning us, we put the rest together.’

‘He thinks we’re a liability.’ Daniel said bitterly. His arms were tightly crossed over his chest. His blue eyes shone with suppressed hurt behind the panes of glass. ‘Apparently, because my wife and my ex-girlfriend have both been taken as hosts, I love the Goa’uld.’ He nodded at Teal’c. ‘He thinks Teal’c is a traitor and Sam,’ his lips twisted, ‘well, she harbours the wrong kind of illegal alien.’

Jack refused to look at Carter. He had managed in the weeks since they had helped her repair the damage done to her house following the incident with said illegal alien to push the whole thing to the back of his mind. Carter had broken protocol to hide the alien in her home; had cared for the alien and, even though she’d had good reason not to come forward given everybody’s belief, including Jack’s, that she was simply suffering some kind of break-down from exhaustion, the whole thing had left them with some trust issues Jack still wasn’t certain they had fixed.

They’d put it behind them, he reminded himself. Carter had tacitly forgiven them all and recognised her own mistakes and he’d tried to forgive himself and recognise his. Still, there was no denying the fact that she had been nothing but completely professional with him since and he had responded in kind. There was no sign of their previous inappropriate feelings and he was more convinced than ever she had moved on. He had known given the opportunity she would; Carter was young, beautiful and intelligent. She could do a lot better than a beaten-up old soldier like himself. If the incident with the computer entity had started them putting distance between them, he was certain the incident with the house alien had added a rift the size of the Grand Canyon. He was even beginning to wonder if their friendship had been destroyed in the whole debacle along with the rest of Carter’s personal feelings for him; it seemed a miracle their professional relationship had survived.

‘We were all questioned, sir.’ Sam said evenly. ‘If it hadn’t been for Doctor Fraiser working out that Tyler was only a suggestion created by the effects of the chemical substance she found on Teal’c’s jacket, we wouldn’t have made it back in time.’

He could remember the moment they had made it back to pull his ass out of the fire with clarity. He’d been a second away from a staff blast that would have killed him. His jaw tensed as he considered what to say to them. What could he say to them?

‘General Hammond believed Doctor Fraiser’s analysis in spite of Colonel Simmons’s scepticism.’ Sam said quietly.

Jack nodded jerkily. He was angry at his CO; angry that Hammond had allowed the investigation, angry that he’d allowed SG1 to be questioned by Simmons, even though he knew Hammond had probably done all he could to prevent both.

‘Sir,’ Sam gestured at the open wormhole, ‘we should…’

‘Carter.’ He cut her off and grimaced apologetically. He looked at the shimmering blue puddle and sighed heavily. ‘Move out.’ He gestured at Carter and Teal’c. They moved forward and disappeared.

Daniel fell into step beside him. ‘What are you going to do?’

‘I don’t know, Daniel.’ Jack admitted tightly. ‘I don’t know.’ He stepped into the wormhole.

The first few seconds on the other side were always disorienting; cold replaced by warmth, sensory deprivation by sensory assault. Jack regained his balance. His hand went up to sweep the black woollen hat from his head as he stomped down the metal ramp towards his waiting CO. The wormhole disappeared behind him and the iris closed with a snick of metal against metal.

Hammond smiled at him with relief. ‘It’s good to see you, Colonel.’

The General’s warmth and sincerity killed the reply that Jack had readied. ‘It’s good to be back.’ Jack answered evenly instead. He held Hammond’s pale blue eyes. ‘I’d like a word, General. In private.’ There was a hint of anger in the carefully worded request.

The other man nodded understandingly as though he had expected as much. He stepped back and gestured at the open door. ‘My office, Colonel.’

Jack turned to his team-mates. ‘Head to the infirmary and get checked out.’ He held up a finger when Daniel opened his mouth to protest.

‘Yes, sir.’ Sam’s agreement reassured him and he followed Hammond out of the gate room without another look at his team. He trusted Carter to see that Daniel and Teal’c followed his order as much as they might want to disagree with it.

Jack took the stairs swiftly, ignoring how his bad knees protested. He and Hammond didn’t speak until the office door was closed behind them.

‘Have a seat, Colonel.’ Hammond invited as he sat down in the leather chair behind his desk.

‘With all due respect, sir,’ Jack said tersely, refusing the offer to sit and standing with his hands behind his back, black beanie hat clutched in his angry grip, ‘you want to tell me what the hell is going on and why my team was questioned without my knowledge and in my absence?’ His eyes flashed with the anger he had been keeping at bay.

Hammond sighed. ‘Colonel…’

‘And while we’re at it, you want to explain to me why my team’s loyalties are getting questioned after everything they’ve done? After all the sacrifices they’ve made?’ Each word was coated with his rage at Simmons daring to question his team. ‘Or does the fact that they’ve been responsible for saving the world on more than one occasion no longer count for anything?’

‘Sit down, Colonel.’

‘I will not have my team…’

‘Colonel!’ Hammond snapped out angrily stopping Jack mid-tirade. The General’s pale blue eyes met Jack’s forcefully. ‘Sit down.’

Jack thought about disobeying the command; could see Hammond register that he had thought about disobeying the command. He wrestled with the very real urge to disobey the command before he dropped into a visitor’s chair with the air of a sulking teenager.

Hammond leaned forward. He clasped his hands together and rested them on top of the folder on his desk. ‘You think I’m not angry about this?’ There was enough heat in the pale blue eyes to convince Jack that Hammond was as pissed off as he was. ‘You think I enjoy having the Pentagon send someone like Simmons to investigate my people?’ His face was red and his finger stabbed the desk with each question. ‘You think I liked leaving an officer without reinforcements? Or like having the integrity of my people questioned?’

Jack shifted position in the chair and fidgeted with the beanie hat. ‘No, sir.’

‘You’re damned right, ‘no, sir!’’ Hammond shot back. He took a breath and seemed to collect himself.

There was a moment of silence.

‘He’s not after your team specifically, Jack.’ Hammond said finally. ‘He’s after the SGC.’ He gave a wry, humourless smile. ‘Your team are just a handy target.’

‘You’ll forgive me if I don’t consider that comforting.’ Jack retorted.

Hammond nodded in agreement and leaned back. ‘I made some calls.’

‘And?’ Jack asked, taking in Hammond’s unhappy expression. ‘I take it, it wasn’t good news?’

Hammond nodded. He folded his hands over his stomach, creasing the shirt he wore. ‘I got stonewalled by most of my contacts.’

Jack’s heart plummeted. Stonewalled wasn’t good. It suggested that something was going on; some political plot that threatened the safety of the SGC.

‘The President wouldn’t take my call.’ Hammond continued. His eyes drifted to the red phone. ‘He was unavailable the whole time Simmons was here.’

‘You think he gave the order?’ Jack questioned. The President was usually supportive of the SGC. If he had begun to question their methods and operation then they were seriously in trouble.

‘Unknown.’ Hammond admitted. He looked across his desk, his expression troubled. ‘He may not have given the order but given the tone of some of the conversations I’ve had with my other contacts, I suspect that he agreed to be unavailable.’

Jack made a face at the distinction. Politicians. They were all the same; looking out for number one. The General looked as tired as Jack felt, he realised with a twinge of conscience for yelling at the older man. It occurred to him that he and Hammond had been in similar positions during the past twenty-four hours; under siege. His voice was devoid with anger when he spoke again. ‘Anyone give you anything?’

‘Not much.’ Hammond sighed heavily. ‘We may suspect where Simmons is getting his orders but proving it?’ He shook his head. He tapped the desk lightly.

‘Kinsey.’ Jack stated. His jaw clenched. He should have just shot the bastard when he’d had the chance.

‘We’re almost half way through the President’s second term in office, Jack. You and I both know it’s not likely he’s going to get another one. He’s entering his lame duck phase and he needs Senate support. Kinsey has that.’ Hammond gave a huff of annoyance. ‘Not to mention that Kinsey looks like he’ll secure his party’s candidacy for President in the next election.’ He pulled a face. ‘Simmons mentioned that governments change; I don’t believe it was an idle comment.’

Jack sighed. ‘Kinsey’s building a case to gain control of the SGC.’

‘Sooner or later, he’ll make his move,’ Hammond agreed, ‘but he’s good, Jack. This investigation, and the one into Major Carter a few weeks ago? We can’t trace them back to him.’

‘And because of that we can’t use the evidence we have against him to discredit him.’ Jack frowned and gestured with his hat. ‘So, what do we do?’

‘We continue as usual.’ Hammond said authoratively. ‘I’ll stand by the record of this command.’

Jack nodded. He cleared his throat awkwardly. ‘General, about my yelling before…’

Hammond’s pale eyebrows rose and his face took on an amused expectant look.

‘I just want to, uh,’ Jack raised his hat, ‘just, well, apologise. For…’ he gestured, ‘that.’

‘Apology accepted.’ Hammond said wryly. ‘You’ve had a difficult couple of days. I take it the alien situation was contained?’

‘Actually, sir, Tyler revealed he was an alien to me before the team showed up and then he tried to save our lives. His race, the Reole, could be a valuable ally given their abilities. He said he would discuss it with them.’

Hammond motioned at the door. ‘Very well. Get yourself to the infirmary. SG1 is dismissed for the rest of the day. We’ll have a full debrief in the morning; oh-seven-hundred.’

Jack accepted the dismissal with relief. ‘Thank you, sir.’ Jack pushed himself out of the chair and left the General’s office.

He made his way to the infirmary. His team were waiting for him in the corridor and he pushed his tiredness away. They were owed an explanation but the SGC wasn’t the place.

‘You all checked out?’ He asked briskly.

‘Yes, sir.’ Carter answered.

‘Debrief is tomorrow morning and we’re dismissed for the rest of the day. We’ll meet in the park outside Carter’s in two hours.’ Jack ordered.

They nodded at his order. He watched them walk away before he turned into the examination room and made his way to a spare bed. He slumped on it and rubbed his hands over his face. He resisted the urge to curl up on top of the covers and sleep. Three hours and he had a hot date with his bed, he promised himself.

The sharp click of heels on the linoleum had him raising his head to smile wearily at the approaching CMO.

‘Doc.’

‘Colonel.’ Janet snapped on latex gloves and reached for his neck.

He waited until she was done with the exam before he spoke. ‘I hear I owe you a thank you.’ Jack said as she made a note on the clipboard and absently instructed the nurse with her to take blood.

Janet looked up from her scribbles. ‘Actually, sir,’ her hands tightened on her clipboard, ‘you have Major Carter to thank.’

Jack’s eyes widened. ‘Carter?’

‘She was the one who convinced me to work out why I suddenly knew Tyler before I informed General Hammond that I had been exposed.’ Janet explained, turning away and placing the clipboard on a side table. ‘She really went to bat for you, sir.’

Jack looked down at the floor to hide how much that meant to him. No doubt Carter’s concern had been professional, Jack reminded himself briskly; they never left a man behind. That was probably the reason why she had convinced Fraiser.

Janet readied an injection and Jack slid off the bed and loosened his pants so she could jab it into his hip. He flinched as the needle pierced him.

‘How’s Cassie?’ Jack asked as he fastened his clothing. Fraiser’s adopted alien daughter had been causing her some trouble – usual teenage rebellion stuff as far as he could make out.

‘Grounded again.’ Janet said as she made another notation on the ubiquitous clipboard. She looked up with rueful brown eyes. ‘Teenagers.’

‘You want me to have a word.’ Jack offered. He shrugged at her questioning look. ‘Hammond’s given us the rest of the day.’

‘Thank you.’ Janet smiled. ‘But I think Cassie and I need to work it out.’ She gestured. ‘And you need to rest. If you head down for your MRI, I’ll get the results ready so you can leave asap.’

‘Thanks, Doc.’ Jack picked up his jacket and made his way out.

An hour later, he was cleared to leave. He showered, changed and headed out, checking briefly with security to confirm that the others were out of the mountain. He was grateful for the time alone in his truck. He had no real idea what he was going to say to them. If he was honest he had spent a large amount of the time on the planet wondering why the hell they hadn’t returned, alternating between anger and worry. He had been incredibly relieved when they’d turned up. He couldn’t pretend that he didn’t understand why Hammond had confined them to the infirmary when they’d reported a non-existent team-mate. He would have done the same. He was just relieved Carter had talked Fraiser into determining the truth and that Hammond had taken the leap of faith required to send SG1 back to the planet.

He pulled into the parking area by the park’s entrance and got out unhurriedly. He strode confidently into the park. It was cold and he was grateful for the heavy leather jacket he wore and the thick denim jeans. He was so having that hot toddy when he got home.

He spotted the rest of his team easily enough. They were huddled on a park bench in the centre of the park. He walked over to join them, ignoring the wide expanse of green grass and trees. Teal’c sported a bright yellow puff parka and sweat pants that stood out a mile; a matching woolly hat completed the ensemble. The others seemed conservative in comparison; Daniel had opted for a blue winter jacket with his jeans and Sam’s outfit was a feminine version of his own; leather jacket over denim jeans.

They all clutched polystyrene cups that were steaming with some hot liquid. Jack had barely reached them when Daniel bundled one into his hands. Jack opened the plastic lid and took a cautious sip; coffee – or something purporting to be coffee. He pulled a face but took another sip. He gestured at them and they silently shuffled into new positions; Teal’c moved to anchor the right side of the bench, Daniel moved to the left, shifting to sit on the arm of the bench with his feet up on the seat. Sam climbed up to sit on the back of the bench with her feet resting on the seat. Jack hesitated and stepped up onto the bench to sit beside her.

‘Well?’ Daniel asked impatiently.

Jack scratched a line into the polystyrene he held and looked into the distance at the empty swings. ‘Hammond thinks the investigation was politically motivated.’

‘We worked that much out for ourselves.’ Daniel muttered.

Jack glared at him. ‘They’re not after us, specifically.’

‘The SGC.’ Sam said calmly.

Jack nodded. ‘I think we can all guess who’s behind this.’

‘Senator Kinsey.’ Teal’c murmured.

‘There’s no way to prove it though.’ Jack sipped his drink. He glanced at Carter. ‘Unless you found something in the computer?’

She shook her blonde head regretfully. ‘Nothing. I might be able to trace Simmons’s access but trying to establish a link between him and Kinsey or any remaining rogue element within the NID would be difficult.’

‘So where does this leave us?’ Daniel asked bluntly.

‘Watching our six and being careful.’ Jack shot back. He looked around the three of them. ‘Look, this isn’t personal…’

‘It felt personal to me.’ Daniel responded hotly.

‘And to me.’ Teal’c agreed with the archaeologist. His furious glower spoke of how angry the Jaffa was at the memory of his interrogation.

‘We’re just the most visible target.’ Jack argued. ‘That’s it.’

‘Really?’ Daniel drawled tightly. ‘I take it you haven’t considered that they chose this particular situation to investigate,’ he raised his free hand and mimed quotation marks, ‘because it allowed them to effectively kill you without firing a bullet?’

Jack swallowed the angry retort he’d been about to make; he hadn’t considered it but it made perfect sense.

‘They knew you were off-world in a hostile situation, sir.’ Sam said quietly. ‘All they had to do was delay your rescue.’

He looked away back to the swings. They had almost succeeded in killing him too, he thought angrily. If his team had turned up even a second later…he took a deep breath and took a gulp of his coffee. Kinsey didn’t like him so no real surprise. ‘OK,’ he said, making a face, ‘maybe it’s a little personal.’

‘But we can’t let it be.’ Sam said softly.

His eyes snapped to her; she was staring at the contents of her polystyrene cup. ‘That’s right.’ He agreed gruffly. He shifted his gaze to Daniel. ‘This is politics. If we let them get to us, they’ve won.’

‘Yeah, well.’ Daniel pushed his glasses up his nose. ‘You have to admit, Jack, it’s not easy. I mean, we’re out there risking our lives and trying to make a difference and for what? For some petty-minded bureaucrat to try and kill us to win points in some political power-game?’

‘I’m not saying it’s fair, Daniel.’ Jack said trying to comfort the other man. Teal’c was used to Goa’uld politics never mind human and Jack was confident that he’d get past it – so would Carter. He figured she’d already gone through it with the whole alien in her house business. But Daniel was the most sensitive and Simmons had evidently hit him where it most hurt. ‘It’s just the way it is.’

The yawn caught him off-guard and he raised a fist to cover his mouth. He shook himself a little and found the others looking back at him with varying looks of concern.

Sam bit her lip. ‘You should go home and rest, sir.’

‘Sam’s right.’ Daniel gestured at him. ‘You look exhausted.’

Jack looked around his team and nodded slowly. ‘Debrief’s at oh-seven-hundred tomorrow.’

They stood up. Daniel jumped down and held his hand out for Sam who took it with a grateful smile as she stepped off the bench. Jack winced as his knees took the impact as he did the same. He said goodbye to them in the parking area.

He drove home and all but stumbled into his house. He threw the locks and headed straight for the bedroom. He kicked off his boots and shrugged out of the leather jacket, throwing it haphazardly onto a nearby chair. He didn’t bother undressing as he crawled onto the coverlet and closed his eyes.

o-O-o

Hammond wasn’t surprised that Jack was the last one of his team to the briefing room table the next morning. He watched through the internal window as Jack slid into a seat next to Major Carter and gave a nod of acknowledgement to his team. The Colonel still looked exhausted. Hammond felt another pang of guilt at having let the man without back-up for so long. It had been the right decision; he knew that. They’d had no idea what Tyler was, whether he was a threat. He couldn’t have sent anyone under those circumstances. At least, his head knew it but his heart was another matter altogether.

He pushed the thought away and made his way into the briefing room. As he expected Major Carter sprang to her feet immediately and a beat later, the Colonel followed her. Hammond took his seat and gestured for them to sit back down.

‘Colonel,’ Hammond turned to Jack first, ‘the rest of SG1 have already given their reports of the events leading to their return, perhaps you could start there and once we’re caught up, we’ll cover the rescue yesterday.’

‘Yes, sir.’ Jack cleared his throat. ‘Well, as you know, the MALP showed no sign of any Jaffa when we gated to the planet the day before yesterday…’

Sirens cut across his words, blaring through the base.

‘Unscheduled off-world authorisation.’

Hammond was out of his chair and down the stairs immediately, SG1 at his heels. He absently noted how one of the technicians moved promptly to allow Sam to sit down.

‘We’re not receiving IDC, sir, but we are receiving some kind of radio transmission.’ Sam frowned.

An instant later, crackling static came out of the speakers.

‘Sounds like my cable.’ Jack quipped as he stuffed his hands in his pockets.

‘Trying to clean it up now, sir.’ Sam said calmly. Her finger flew over the keyboard.

‘Colonel O’Neill?’ The voice came through loud and clear.

Jack stepped up to the mike, a smile starting on his face. ‘Tyler? Good to hear from you.’

‘I have told my people of how you saved my life. We would like to visit and discuss the possibility of an alliance.’

Jack switched the mike off and turned back to Hammond for permission.

‘Do they pose a threat?’ Hammond asked briskly.

‘No, sir.’ Jack responded quickly. ‘Their ability is purely defensive.’

Hammond nodded and gestured at Jack to answer the request.

‘Sure. We’d be pleased to have you visit.’ Jack replied cheerfully. ‘We’re opening our iris.’

The iris opened and Hammond gestured for the Colonel to precede him down the stairs and into the gate room. The rest of SG1 followed. They were all waiting at the end of the ramp when three aliens walked through the blue puddle.

Hammond blanched at the odd looking aliens looking back at him. They were almost skeletal in appearance; grey, thin; dreadlock-like hair. He shivered and let Jack take the lead. The Colonel took a confident step forward. Hammond didn’t know what surprised him more; that the lead alien saluted or that the Colonel returned the salute before breaking into a huge smile.

‘Colonel O’Neill.’ The alien grinned at the Colonel and Hammond clamped down on the urge to recoil.

‘Tyler.’ Jack gestured at Hammond. ‘Let me introduce you to the leader of this base, General Hammond.’

‘Pleased to meet you.’ Hammond bowed his head a fraction and Tyler responded in kind.

‘I am pleased to meet you, General.’ Tyler indicated the two other aliens with him. ‘Our representatives, Kay-yah-ee and Kya-aha-ea.’

Hammond bowed his head. ‘Welcome to Earth.’

‘The one you know as Tyler has spoken most highly of you and your people, General.’ Kay-yah-ee said bowing deeply.

Hammond ignored his instinctive abhorrence and nodded sharply. ‘I believe Tyler has also impressed my people. We’re very happy to discuss the possibility of an alliance with you.’ He swept his arm toward the door. ‘Please. Come this way.’

The next couple of hours flew by. The discussions with the Reole progressed well. Once he got past their strange appearances, Hammond had enjoyed their company. They were a peaceful, friendly race. Their appreciation for how the Colonel and SG1 had come through for Tyler even once the truth of Tyler’s nature had been known was very evident. A deal was struck quite quickly and Hammond was smiling as he returned to his office and picked up the red phone.

Ten minutes later, he waved Jack into the room as the call with the President concluded.

‘Yes, Mister President.’ Hammond agreed as Jack moved to hover in front of him. ‘We’ll need to fully research the practical applications for the substance more fully but if we can get it to work, well, I don’t need to tell you how valuable being able to convince someone you’re actually someone else will be to our covert work.’ He pursed his lips. ‘Yes, sir. I agree; we’ll need to contact the Tok’ra on this one.’

He ignored the disgust that crept across Jack’s face.

‘Thank you, sir. I’ll be sure to let them know. Goodbye, sir.’ Hammond placed the receiver in the cradle and sat down in his chair.

‘Good call, sir?’ Jack asked tentatively.

‘Very good call.’ Hammond smiled. ‘The agreement with the Reole has managed to swing things back in our favour.’

‘Excellent news.’ Jack remarked. He couldn’t quite hide the sceptical note in his voice and Hammond’s smile widened.

‘At least for now.’ Hammond qualified. ‘It’s a good, solid success, Jack.’ He leaned back. ‘It means Simmons’s findings won’t be taken seriously at this point.’ He gestured at Jack. ‘Get Major Carter to send a message to the Tok’ra. We need to bring them up to date.’

‘Do we have to?’ Jack asked with a sigh.

Hammond shot him a reproachful look.

‘Right.’ Jack made towards the door.

‘Oh, and Colonel?’ Hammond smiled at him as Jack paused in the doorway. ‘Good job.’

Jack’s eyes warmed with the praise. ‘Thank you, sir.’

Hammond turned back to the stack of work on his desk that had accumulated with the unexpected meeting with the Reole. It was worth it though. As he had said to Jack, the alliance with the Reole would mean Simmons’s investigation would be dismissed and the SGC would be back in favour. And it was thanks to SG1 doing what they always did. Hammond reached for the first folder confidently. He’d stand by the record of his people: he’d stand by the record of SG1.

fin.

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