“Jack, we need to talk to you about something.”
No! Really? Gee, he never would have realised if Daniel hadn’t pointed that out to him. He thought they were here just for a visit, maybe dinner, then forget about him for another twelve months.
Um, ok, he was a little bitter.
But Jack challenged anyone who was in his position to react differently.
Seeing SG-1 was like a punch to the gut.
It really, really was.
Seeing Daniel, Teal’c, and Carter was rough. Seeing himself was TEN time worse. Jack couldn’t count how many time he had wished the face he saw in the mirror was the one he was staring at right now. Sometimes when he woke, Jack would forget he was a kid and for a few blissful minutes he forgot the hell he was living and was normal again.
Now he had to sit in the same room with the man he was supposed to be.
Wasn’t this the perfect end to a perfect day?
The only thing that would make it more complete would be an invasion by the Goa’uld.
Jack really hadn’t expected it to be this hard or for him to be so bitter. He had thought about this moment for a LONG time. Part of him knew this day would come and he had been dreading it. Not seeing his friends so much, but seeing O’Neill WITH his friends.
Hard to forget you were the Xerox copy when the original was right there.
It was a stark reminder that he didn’t belong with them anymore.
SG-1 looked as good as he remembered. Dr Daniel Jackson; archaeologist, anthropologist, linguist, former ascended being, and general pain in the ass. Major Samantha Carter; astrophysicist, second in command of SG-1, freaking genius and egghead. Teal’c; Jaffa, former First Prime of Apophis, the alien contingent of SG-1. All three of them, with O’Neill, formed the premier team of the Stargate Command.
His former life.
Jack would just about do ANYTHING to get out of this situation. Didn’t matter what it was, he’d do it. Anything to end this hell. They were as awkward about this as he was. The ride back to his apartment had been full of small talk that made both Jack and O’Neill cringe. Did they feel guilty for not staying in touch? Jack and O’Neill had come to an agreement not to stay in touch, but he hadn’t had any agreement with the rest of SG-1.
He didn’t really expect them to come and visit him, maybe a call now and then, but he really wasn’t all that surprised when they didn’t. They were busy and they had the real deal with them. Besides, SG-1 didn’t know how to act around him.
God he hated this.
It was painful.
Both emotionally and physically.
Carter was wearing REALLY tight jeans and he had the hormones of a god damn teenager.
Oh the joys of adolescence.
“So, what did you want to talk about?” Jack asked finally. The sooner they talked, the sooner they would leave, then he could take a cold shower and NOT drink himself into a stupor.
Carter hesitated at his question and looked quizzically at Daniel.
They were going to tell him everything, right? Um, when he thought about it, they probably wouldn’t. They’d tell him what he needed to know and not an inch more. He didn’t have the same level of classification now that he was a civilian.
That alone didn’t bother him. Jack always knew there would be a day when he would no longer be privy to the secrets of the SGC, he just figured he’d be retired instead of sixteen.
Having them here was bringing back FAR too many memories.
Jack REALLY wanted them gone. Why did they want to talk to him, anyway? They had O’Neill, there wasn’t anything he knew that O’Neill didn’t. He was curious about whatever brought them here but he suddenly realised he didn’t want this. He didn’t want to have a taste of his life and watch it walk out the door. He wanted this over.
Would it be rude of him to ask Carter to spit it out?
“Carter, spit it out,” O’Neill ordered.
“Yes, Sir,” she gave him a slight smile. “We need your help with a small situation that has come up at the SGC.”
They needed HIS help? What? They needed someone to fit through a really tiny hole?
“A few months ago we came across some vague information that caught our attention,” Sam continued.
“Vague information?” Jack repeated.
She nodded. “Extremely vague, Jack. At first, we didn’t know what we should do about it or if it was even true. The intel was about something that happened some time ago and it came from an unreliable source.”
Oh for crying out loud! “What was the information?”
“The intel stated that three years ago there was a god in California.”
HELLO! “A god?”
A Goa’uld was on Earth? Another one? Christ, how many of those damn snakes were roaming around here? The Goa’uld were an alien parasitic race that posed as gods. They were the biggest threat to come out of opening the Stargate. They were powerful aliens who had been around for thousands of years and had the technology to blow Earth to kingdom come.
Jack hated the damn snakes. The thought of one on Earth made his blood run cold.
“That was all we were told,” Carter told him. “But like I said, Jack, the information came from an unreliable source.”
“But you guys decided to check it out, right?”
O’Neill made a face. “We tried to.”
“Once we informed Hammond about the information, he agreed that we should go to California. We went through all the right channels. The President was informed as well as the Joint Chiefs. We were cleared to go.”
It was O’Neill who answered. “We were just about to leave when the NID stepped in.”
NID? This was getting better by the minute!
The NID was an organization, financed by the government and private sector, to overlook top-secret military projects. That’s what the NID did in theory, but in real life, they were slimy sons of bitches who didn’t give a damn who died as long as they got what they wanted.
They ran both ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ missions but Jack could never really tell the difference between the two. No one really knew who they answered to, or where their main funding came from. They had their hands in a LOT of pies.
Jack had had several encounters with them, the most memorable one was when he went undercover and joined the bastards. Back when he had been, well, himself, the NID had been stealing alien technology under the guise ‘to help protect the world against the Goa’uld’. That was the SG teams main objective whenever they went through the gate but the black ops NID teams didn’t go about it the diplomatic way.
They stole technology regardless of the consequences to the worlds in question.
Jack really enjoyed bringing them down but unfortunately, it didn’t stop there. They also forced Hammond out of his job at the SGC, tried to frame Jack for murder… and THAT was just the tip of the iceberg.
If the NID stopped SG-1 from going to California, it meant they knew something or they were up to something.
“We didn’t get any explanations,” O’Neill went on. “The President did a complete back flip, our orders to go to Sunnydale were cancelled. All we were told was that it had been checked out already and that the god wasn’t a Goa’uld, just some nut with a god complex.”
“Any and all communications ceased after that. The General couldn’t get in touch with the President and every time we tried to get answers we hit a brick wall. That’s when I started to do a little digging,” Sam stated. “When I started coming up against more brick walls, we realised something was up. I wasn’t able to find out anything that confirmed or denied the presence of a Goa’uld. The most I managed to discovered was that the NID have been funding some projects within the state of California for the past six years and they have had black operatives within the vicinity as recently as eighteen months ago. Which is why they can confirm there are no Goa’uld in the area. There is also a military base in Sunnydale, they’ve reported no unusual activity. Between them and the NID, the President had no choice to accept it especially considering that the intel is over three years old.”
Oh yeah, if the NID said there were no Goa’uld, there were no Goa’uld. “So what did you do after that?”
O’Neill rolled his eyes. “We couldn’t do anything. When Hammond finally got in touch with the President, he refused to give us permission to go. He said it had been cleared and that SG-1 had no reason to go to Sunnydale. Hammond went to the President in person, he got the impression that the big guy wanted to send us there, but his hands were tied. Hammond is pretty sure he doesn’t know what the NID are up to, if he did, he’s keeping it close to his chest. Major Davis even tried to talk the Joint Chief’s around but the NID shut him down too. The Air Force has been told to keep out of it.”
Jack was silent for a moment while he processed everything. “So where do I come into this?”
He already had a feeling.
Daniel leaned forward in his seat. “Since we can’t officially send anyone to Sunnydale to check things out, we were kind of hoping to send someone in unofficially.”
It was a curse being right all the time.
“The NID has been keeping a pretty close eye on us,” Sam told him. “That’s why we waited so long before coming here. We can’t go to Sunnydale, Jack, but you can. We want you to go to Sunnydale and find out what’s going on. ”
Were they serious?
Jack stared at them in shock. They were serious.
They wanted him to go on a mission? He couldn’t believe it. THIS was a dream. It had to be. Jack had had more dreams than he could count about this very thing. SG-1 showing up, telling him that they needed -
Hang on! “Carter, are you insane? The NID would know what I’m up to the second I didn’t show up for school, so would the Air Force. I’d be busted, it wouldn’t work.” School. He winced at the memory. He hadn’t told them he had been kicked out and he really didn’t want to.
O’Neill would lecture him, Daniel would be disappointed, Carter would just look at him with her beautiful blue eyes, and Teal’c would raise one mean eyebrow.
“Actually, Jack, they wouldn’t,” Carter informed him. “Your true identity is only known to the SGC, my father, Thor, and the President. The General was careful when he set up your identity outside of the SGC. As far as the most of the Air Force, the public, and the NID are concerned, you’re Jack Peters. Any scientists that were called in to help when you were cloned have been told Thor was unable to save you and all reports in relation to your existence have been withheld from anyone outside the SGC. We didn’t want the NID finding out about you. No one knows what you are or that you have any connection with the SGC. To the world, you’re just a kid.”
Gee, thanks for the reminder.
“The President knows,” he pointed out.
“It’s unofficial, Jack,” Daniel reminded him. “And we’re not entirely sure he would stop this. Like Jack, um, the Colonel said, the General thinks that he wanted us to go there, he just couldn’t send us without the NID breathing down his neck. Besides, the President won’t be alerted if you move schools. If he was, it would set off alarms that you weren’t exactly who you said you were.”
He had a point.
“Indeed,” Teal’c agreed. “If the NID were aware you were not what you claimed, they would have already made attempts to apprehend you.”
Sweet. “So, what’s the plan?”
“Like here, you’ll be set up with emancipated minor status. To make it easier, we’re going to stick to the same background that you use now. Your father, Colonel Mike Peters is away for an indefinite period of time on a classified mission. Your mother, Laura Peters, died at birth. We’ve already set up an apartment for you and enrolled you in Sunnydale High School.”
Carter smiled at the expression on his face. “We were fairly certain you would say yes, Jack. You’re our only hope of finding out what the NID are doing and if the god in Sunnydale is a Goa’uld or something else. We could be wrong, there might be nothing going on and they are telling the truth, but it’s not a risk the General wants to take. You have the full backing of the SGC even though this mission is unofficial. Your objective is to gather intelligence and determine if there is any threat in Sunnydale and once we know what’s happening, we’ll decide what we should do.”
It wasn’t going through the Stargate but it was enough for Jack.
Man, it was more than enough.
“All we have to do is inform your school of your transfer and…” Carter’s voice trailed off as she noticed the look on his face. “What’s wrong?”
Shit! “Actually, that’s not going to be a problem.”
Daniel frowned in confusion. “Jack?”
“Well, I was… I kind of got expelled today,” Jack was looking at O’Neill when he said the words.
The Colonel looked like he was about to explode.