Sam and the Threat
A/N: See chapter 1 for disclaimer, spoilers, notes on AU, and why Xander has his eye back.
Sam scooped the phone up off the floor, making sure she kept out of Teal’c’s line of fire and she didn’t point her automatic at anyone she wasn’t prepared to shoot if she had to. She held the phone at arm’s length so she could estimate how effective the phone’s microphone system really was. Then she said in a calm, polite, extremely quiet
tone of voice, “This is Colonel Samantha Carter of the U.S. Air Force. Could you please identify yourself?”
A voice came back. It sounded like a young woman. “This is Rona, at the NSAWC call center. We know you have Xander, and we know exactly where you are. If you don’t release him unharmed within 24 hours, we will be forced to take executive action against your entire operation.” Okay, an over-confident young woman who wasn’t afraid to face off against the entire U.S. Air Force.
Well, he could easily have a GPS chip in the phone. And it was painfully likely that they had listened in on everything Anise had spilled about the SGC. But what did they really know? Sam casually said, “Like you even know about our program.”
Rona insisted, “We know all about you, Colonel Carter. And your Deep Space Radar Telemetry program, which we also know is a big cover for your real agenda.”
Sam couldn’t keep from smiling. Until Xander spoke from the bed and said, “Rona, she’s baiting you. Don’t tell her what else we know.”
Anise was standing there stark naked and holding a towel in two hands as if she was trying to figure out how to wrap it around her bare torso. She said, “If Xander knew that the Chappa’ai was your ‘stargate’, then I imagine your security leaks go much farther back than last night.”
Sam managed not to wince. She asked Xander, “When did you first hear the word Chappa’ai?” Not that she actually expected him to tell her the truth, but it was worth keeping Anise involved in the conversation, because Anise had obviously been spilling her guts, and when the secrets weren’t hers she apparently had all the discretion of a drunk sorority girl.
Xander said, “Last night. Anise mentioned that you were the one who was smart enough to get the Chappa’ai working for the U.S. government, and I just sort of realized what the phrase would mean.”
Daniel perked up at that. “And you just happened to know enough ancient Egyptian to know this, and somehow knew how this would be sounded out, because…”
Xander just smiled. “I have several really smart friends who have been interested in ancient languages since we were in high school, and some of that stuff just rubbed off.”
Sam was still holding the phone. “What do you think, Rona?”
This time Sam could hear a man’s voice. If she had to guess, she would say young, Californian, nerdy, and very gay. Not that she had anything against gays. She had a couple people under her command who she was very carefully keeping from getting booted out of the SGC, even though she knew they weren’t straight. The man said, “Xander isn’t as dumb as he looks.”
“Oh thanks so much, Andrew,” Xander complained from the bed. Sam could hear more than one girl laughing out loud, back in that ‘call center’. It really concerned her that no one at this call center seemed to think Xander was in any real danger, even though he had stated that people were pointing guns at him. The SGC might act that way, but who else would?
Daniel suddenly said, “Sam, watch him. He might have something under the pillow.”
Sam moved slightly and adjusted her stance as she trained the automatic on Xander. She didn’t glance to the side as she asked, “What is it?”
Daniel said, “He’s carrying. Not a gun, but he has a knife in a hidden pocket inside his left boot, and two… throwing knives, I think, in the other boot. Plus a wooden slat carved like a letter opener. The knife looks like it’s… the blade is hand-forged iron with maybe silver for an inlay, and it’s antique. I’d say Roman, probably second century A.D.”
Sam blinked in surprise. She didn’t know non-Egyptian archaeology that well, but she knew enough to know that a knife like that would be worth a small fortune. And this guy was carrying it around in his boot as a weapon? There was clearly something going on there. A memory surfaced. Jack, throwing a combat knife through the forcefield of Apophis and destroying the Gou’a’uld’s hand device. Could Xander be dealing with something like the Gou’a’uld here on earth? Were there foothold situations that some other organization, like this NSAWC, was facing without any support from the Stargate program? And did those bastards at the NID know about this but just conveniently ‘forgot’ to alert the SGC? She just said, “Anything else?”
“Yes, Dr. Jackson, what else?” Xander asked.
Oh great, and on top of everything else, Xander had figured out who Daniel was.
Xander said, “By the way, excellent scholarship there. That knife was forged by an early Christian order in what today is called Florence sometime between 202 and 214 A.D., and then later personally blessed by Pope Leo the First in 452 A.D.”
Daniel stared in horror and gasped, “And you carry it around in your boot
? If you’re right, this is an Italian national treasure! It belongs in a museum!”
The phone suddenly flipped over to speakerphone without Sam doing anything. It was the nerdy guy again. “Xander! We’ve got it. Doctor Daniel M. Jackson. Ph.D’s in both linguistics and archaeology. Reads and/or speaks maybe thirty to fifty languages, most of them dead. Boy, you gotta introduce him to Dawn and Giles. He figured out the pyramids are a lot older than previously thought, and he guessed it was aliens, not demons. He got laughed out of his field. He was thought to be dead, but now he’s working in Colorado apparently…”
Xander said, “Yeah Andrew, I got that. He’s right here. So he’s working on their ‘Stargate’ program. Probably as an interpreter or translator.”
Sam refused to react, but she was worried. This guy was good. Way too good. He had a knowledge base that let him translate phrases like “Chappa’ai” and “Tok’ra.” There was no way a mere construction worker could know enough of ancient languages to just accidentally be able to get that. Or ‘astria porta’. He was carrying around weapons. A weird assortment of weapons. At least one of his ‘weapons’ was probably worth several hundred thousand dollars. What else was going on with Xander Harris? And why did this Andrew character say what he said about ‘demons’? Wait, Harris had said ‘demon’ too.
Sam gulped as she realized that this NSAWC might be fighting Gou’a’uld, or other extraterrestrial threats, or even maybe some offshoots of The Trust, and be unaware of their true origin; they were obviously not terrestrial, so if you didn’t know about the extraterrestrial issue, why not guess they were demons? She had to bring Harris in, if only to find a way to get him briefed on the truth about the threats he was apparently facing, because if he really was dealing with extraterrestrial threats like the Gou’a’uld, the SGC needed to be brought in. Immediately, if not sooner.
Daniel said, “More gear. Swiss Army knife in a pants pocket. Small squirt gun in jacket pocket. Plus two wooden stakes.”
Sam quickly said, “Daniel, don’t check the liquid in the squirt gun. It could be anything.”
She knew that any construction worker could be expected to carry around a knife like that for work. And construction crews used wooden stakes for a variety of… She glanced at the stakes Daniel was holding. Those weren’t the kind of stakes construction workers used. They weren’t cheap pine slats to be driven into the ground for markers. They were some sort of hardwood. They were carefully carved. They had detailed points and expertly carved handgrips, like the stakes in Harris’ gymbag. She took a guess. “How are they balanced?”
Daniel rolled one in his hand and tossed it a couple times. “Seems like they’re carved so they’re pretty balanced.”
Teal’c said, “DanielJackson, toss one to me.”
Daniel flipped it over the bed to Teal’c, who snatched it out of the air without moving his weapon off Xander. Teal’c felt it carefully and then said, “ColonelCarter, this is also a throwing weapon, perhaps suitable for… purposes we have previously discussed.”
Sam knew exactly what purpose that was. The same purpose she’d thought about only moments earlier with those throwing knives. Penetrating a Gou’a’uld forcefield with a weapon with a low enough kinetic energy to breach the forcefield, but still capable of inflicting damage on a Gou’a’uld. As for the squirt gun… “Xander? What’s in the squirt gun?”