As a member of Stargate Command, Daniel Jackson had been forced to do far worse jobs than this one. He was sure of it. He just could not think of one off the top of his head. Of course, that did not mean that Daniel did not intend to eventually wreak an appropriate vengeance upon Jack and Teal'c for getting him stuck with this crappy job. He knew quite well who was responsible for his current position.
Since it had been two members of SG-1 who had brought in the self-proclaimed Dark Lord of the Sith Andrew Wells, General Hammond had decided that their team could also bear the responsibility for investigating the young man who had totaled large parts of Denver. This was an obvious bit of revenge perpetrated by the General in return for him having to go before the joint chiefs and the president with Jack and Teal'c's 'explanation.'
Sam had, as one might have expected, been given the job of searching government databases for any information on the young man. This task had not proven difficult, as her first cursory search had turned up that Andrew Wells was a former escaped convict who had very recently received a pardon. He apparently had lived in Sunnydale, California for a number of years before the town collapsed mysteriously a few months ago, and was currently employed by a firm which specialized in procuring and selling the rarest of antiquities.
None of that information explained how Andrew could summon hordes of flying monkeys with a gesture, although Sam suspected alien technology was at work. Daniel certainly had to admit that was a possibility as well, but none of the SGC's scientists had found any technology on Andrew which could have opened up a spatial or dimensional rift. In fact, all he really had on him when he was captured was a cell phone with his employer's number programmed into the device.
The SGC had even less luck in understanding Andrew's abilities through direct interrogation. The young man had insisted that his power came from his mastery over the Force, an energy field which surrounded him. While Teal'c had apparently bought into this explanation, not understanding the rest of his team's skepticism, Daniel, Jack and Sam had persisted in trying to find a more realistic explanation. For example, Andrew Wells might be some sort of hok'taur.
Unfortunately, none of the avenues they had pursued yielded any leads. Each day, they interrogated Andrew and received more or less the same responses. Today was little different.
“You won't get anything out of me, copper!”
“I've already told you. I'm not a copper. My name is Daniel Jackson, and I'm an archaeologist working with the air force.”
“Yeah right! That's the most obvious lie I've ever heard! Why would an archaeologist be interrogating prisoners for the air force? Why am I still a prisoner here, anyway? Shouldn't I get my six phone calls or something? What kind of unconstitutional, evil, gestapo, secret police are you guys?”
Daniel sighed again, rubbing the bridge of his nose in exasperation.
“That's one phone call, and we'll let you make it as soon as you tell us what sort of technology you used in order to bring those flying monkeys to Colorado.”
The young, blonde man simply glared at Daniel petulantly.
“I already told you. I'm a Sith Lord, and this is religious discrimination. You can't just stick people in Guantanomo Bay or wherever this place is for their religious beliefs!”
SG-1's linguist raised an eyebrow.
“You're here because you destroyed a large part of Denver, Colorado. That's a serious crime. If you don't tell us what we need to know, you'll probably be brought up on terrorism charges. Then you might really end up in Guantanomo Bay.”
“Oh yeah!” the blonde challenged Daniel in a whiny tone. “Well, if you don't let me out, then I'll, I'll, well whatever I'll do, it'll be bad. You're totally going to regret this, man.”
Daniel sighed once again at the threat, and decided that he might as well end this interview. Considering what Andrew had done to Denver, his threats had initially been taken seriously. The SGC did not need a foothold situation in the heart of Cheyenne mountain. However, Teal'c had advised immobilizing the young man's arms, claiming that he had needed to use them in order to summon his minions in Denver.
Daniel was not sure whether it was Teal'c's suggestion, the fact that Sam had taken away everything Andrew owned which even remotely resembled technology, or simply that the self-proclaimed Sith was biding his time, but, for one reason or another, no flying monsters had yet descended upon the SGC. Consequently, after nearly two weeks, the threats were beginning to feel more than a little trite.
As Daniel closed the door to Andrew's cell behind him, the archaeologist wondered if Andrew might prove more cooperative tomorrow. Somehow, he doubted it. * * *
Jack O'Neill was watching Teal'c. So far as he could tell, the Jaffa had not yet noticed him, although with the former First Prime of Apophis, it was always difficult to tell for sure. The big guy had been meditating in his Mace Windu costume for three hours now, and while Jack liked meditating as much as the next guy – okay, maybe he didn't, but he could at least show some cultural sensitivity towards Teal'c – the SGC colonel was starting to think that this particular session was getting a bit excessive. What exactly was the point of sitting still for hours on end again? Also, what was with the Jedi costume?
“O'Neill, do you need something?”
Jack jumped for a second at the Jaffa's sudden interruption of his thoughts.
“Uh, no, no, I was just passing by. You know,” Jack waved his right hand around in a gesture meant to convey the notion of passing by.
“You have been watching me for ten minutes now, O'Neill.”
Huh. So maybe Teal'c had realized he was there after all.
“So, uh, why didn't you say anything?”
Teal'c simply stared at his commanding officer impassively.
“Right, right. I guess you wouldn't. Anyways, don't you think that you've done enough of this stuff for today. I mean, I know you always try to mix some meditation in with your PT, but don't you think three hours is a bit excessive?”
The Jaffa warrior appeared contemplative for a moment before adopting his usual, inscrutable expression.
“As you know, O'Neill, since we came into contact with the Sith Lord Andrew Wells, I have been attempting to feel the Force around us in order to learn how to counter the powers of dark side users.”
“Er, yeah,” Jack replied, wincing slightly. He really doubted that Teal'c was going to find the Force through meditation. Jack was still betting on Carter deciphering some secret gizmo hidden in Andrew's belongings.
“My meditations have begun to bear fruit in recent days.”
“Oh, sorry, T, that's too bad,” Jack began to reassure his friend, before realizing what Teal'c had just said. “Wait. What?”
“I said that I have had success in touching the Force, O'Neill.”
Jack simply stared at Teal'c in disbelief, mouth hanging open.
“While my early attempts were unsuccessful, I was able to trick Andrew Wells into revealing that the Force on this planet can most strongly be felt by focusing upon the Tau'ri home world's innate energy. By concentrating on trying to feel this energy, I believe that I have made progress.”
Jack's expression shifted from outright disbelief into the resigned expression of a man heading towards the gallows. He did not want to burst Teal'c's bubble here, but someone really needed to explain to the big guy that Star Wars was just fiction. It was not some sort of user's guide to obtaining magical powers.
“Teal'c,” Jack began, his right hand absently combing through his hair. “You need to understand that Star Wars and the Force is just make believe. It's like the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus: just a story.”
“Do the Tau'ri also not believe that extra-terrestrial beings and the ancient Egyptian Gods are merely stories, O'Neill? It has been my experience that the Tau'ri hide many truths from themselves for which they feel unprepared. By contrast, the Jaffa are taught from infancy to always study all information available with care. In this way, we always possess all available information before entering battle.”
Jack winced at Teal'c's line of reasoning, recognizing that the Jaffa made a good point, even if Jack was certain that point should not be applied to Star Wars.
“Right, T. I see what you're saying, but you gotta understand. With us humans, there are stories, and then there are stories
,” Jack declared, placing special emphasis upon his second use of the word 'stories.'
Teal'c merely appeared confused.
“I do not understand your purpose in repeating the same phrase twice in succession, O'Neill. Do the Tau'ri not say that it is three times which is a conjuration?”
“Huh? Wait, no. That's three times' the charm, Teal'c, not the conjuration,” Jack replied, placing air quotes around the word 'conjuration.'
“And that's not what I was talking about anyway. What I mean is that us human beings have legends and myths and stuff like that. That sort of thing sometimes turns out to have a grain of truth in it. But then we've also got tv, movies and storybooks, which are just make believe. Star Wars, well, it's just make believe. It's not real.”
Teal'c appeared mildly distressed at this pronouncement.
“But, is it not the case that Andrew Wells used the Force, O'Neill?”
“Nah. It was probably just some alien gizmo, or maybe even some sort of inborn power like the hok'taur are supposed to have.”
“I see. What of this then, Colonel O'Neill? How is this occurring if not by the power of the Force?”
Then Teal'c began to concentrate on a pencil which he had placed upon the ground in front of him. Closing his eyes, the Jaffa nonetheless seemed to stare at the pencil placidly from behind closed eyelids as his brow furrowed in concentration.
For a few moments, nothing seemed to happen and Jack wondered just what his friend was trying to pull here.
“Teal'c, what're you doing? I mean, I know that-”
Then Jack's words cut off, as he watched Teal'c's pencil levitate off the floor.
After a few seconds, Teal'c seemed to lose control of the pencil, and it clattered to floor again, but he had already made his point.
“My control is still lacking, O'Neill, but I believe that I have deciphered some of Andrew Wells' abilities through my contemplation of the Force.”
Jack simply stared, dumbfounded. With anyone else, he would be looking for invisible strings or wires, or another sort of trick, but this was Teal'c. He would not do this sort of think as a joke.
“Perhaps it would be wise to ask Samantha Carter to devise a test of Andrew Wells' midichlorian count, O'Neill.”
Jack was still in shock. The Force? Midichlorian count? Asking Sam to test a midichlorian count? Oh, that would definitely go over well. Yeah sure, you betcha.
The colonel considered his options.
He could do as Teal'c asked, even bringing the big guy along to demonstrate his supposed Force powers. Sam's reaction would at least be amusing, even if Jack was still half-hoping that the whole floating pencil thing might be an elaborate ruse somehow. Maybe Teal'c was a hok'taur too. No. That stretched the bounds of credulity too far. There had to be another explanation.
Jack could also leave the mountain and go get a beer, or two, or, you know, a brewery's worth. He could try to imbibe some liquid forgetfulness in hopes of forgetting that this day had ever happened. A part of him, which really was not up to having his world turned upside down again so soon after the clone thing a couple of weeks ago, was really fond of this plan.
Then there was option three. He could stand still, staring blankly at Teal'c, and hope for some sort of alarm or emergency to appear and distract them both. Yeah right. As if he would ever be so lucky. Emergencies never seemed to happen when he needed them. They always waited for the worst possible moment.
Suddenly, the alarm on the wall right beside he and Teal'c began to blare, practically deafening the pair. A loud, automated voice then cut through the alarm at an even higher volume.
“Emergency. Trespassers have breached Cheyenne Mountain's outer perimeter. Emergency. Trespassers have breached Cheyenne Mountain's outer perimeter.”
Hey, Jack thought to himself. So, maybe distractions did occasionally come when he needed them. Besides, as far as emergencies went, this was not much of one. No Goa'uld ha'taks, no unauthorized gate activations, and, as this was the command center of NORAD, only an idiot would attack the front gate.
Yep. This was just the sort of distraction he needed to keep his mind off Teal'c's supposed Force powers. Dealing with them would just have to take a back seat. Maybe he would be able to deal with the existence of the Force better if he had a few drinks first. That sounded like a plan.
“Alright, big guy. We'll have to shelve the Force stuff for now, and get to Hammond, see if he needs anything.”
“I agree, O'Neill. Defending the mountain must take priority.”
Then the two members of SG-1 began quickly making their way towards the SGC's operations room. From there, they should at least be able to tell what was going on and could contact the general. Most likely, this was either a false alarm or not a very big deal, but just in case they were underestimating the threat, it would be best if as much of the SGC's premier team as possible was fully apprised of the situation. They had a job to do.