Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters from Buffy, Angel or Stargate depicted herein.
[Challenge 1109 - SG1/BtVS ] Set 2 years post S7 of BTVS, 1 year post S5 of Angel (just a note though, in my mind "The Girl in Question" never happened - except for the 'Ciao' scene … don’t know if that will come up later, but just in case) Set right at the beginning of S9 of Stargate SG1 (i.e. General O’Neill is no longer in charge of SGC) but goes AU from there. No warnings yet, just a language warning. Rating is possibly for later chapters And Now For Something Completely Different
“General O’Neill.” It wasn’t a question the grey-haired man heard in the suited man’s voice, but certainty. The first few days he’d been here things had been a little different, but some of the staff had started to get used to him hovering around. Which was more than Jack could say about himself. Much as he would usually love to have nothing to do, when in a place like the Pentagon, sitting around and not having anything to do was a little nerve-wracking.
He recognised the overly-tall blond man. “Agent Fuller,” he greeted, standing up behind the desk in the large office they’d given him. “You’ve come to collect me then?”
“Yes, sir.” The man, like most of the staff he’d met here didn’t crack a smile or groan at anything he said – no matter how lame – and so he’d given up. As much of an opportunity this was for him, he was really starting to miss the SGC.
General Hammond had called him up only a few weeks ago with the news that he was retiring – for real, this time, no NID plots involved. Jack had been a little sad, but he knew that George deserved a quiet retirement and the extra time to spend with his family. It had been inevitable once he’d retired from the ‘frontlines’ at the SGC. What he had told Jack after that had been a little more unexpected.
George had recommended him as a replacement. Again.
As Jack walked down the sterile and generic hallways behind Agent Fuller, he found that he’d accepted again. And he was as lost as to why he’d made such a decision as the last time. More so. This was completely unfamiliar territory for him, at least the SGC had been a home to him for seven years before he took charge.
Jack stopped when Fuller did. They were outside what would soon become his immediate superior officer’s office. “Thank you, Agent Fuller.” He knocked on the door.
This office was larger than his, which was only to be expected, and was furnished in a more comforting manner. Again, to be expected as General Reynolds had been working with the Pentagon for quite a while. There was a fern in the corner – and why was it always a fern anyway? – and a few photographs and commendations hanging on the wall. His desk was tidy, though held paperwork that Jack knew was light for his position. Today must have been an easy day for his pen.
Reynolds himself smiled professionally as Jack entered. Despite being older than Jack by a fair few years – with the hair to prove it – he looked almost as good as he had over thirty years ago, when Jack had first met him. Heavier around the middle and with more lines framing his eyes, his presence was as imposing as ever and Jack responded to the familiar authority easily.
“General, sir.” Jack saluted.
The smile deepened. “At ease, Jack.” He reached out and Jack shook his hand firmly across the desk. “Good to see you again.”
“You too Bill. How’s the family?” Jack took a seat in one of the rather comfortable chairs opposite Reynolds.
“Good. Rachel just started junior high. I think she enjoyed the celebratory party more than school.” They shared a chuckled over that. “But look at you Jack. Brigadier General. Never thought I’d see the day.” He didn’t mention the main reason why he’d never think of Jack ascending so high. Even after almost ten years Jack’s first retirement was still a sore issue.
“What can I say,” Jack shrugged. “I found something worthwhile in my life.”
“So I see. And the world agrees with you.” Reynolds pulled a folder towards him from atop the small stack to his right. “I’ve been keeping an eye on you – have done ever since you joined special ops. I’m sure you’re aware of that.”
“A lot of people have been watching,” Jack admitted quietly. “Not all of them as friendly as you I have to admit.”
“I know. You’re a credit to the air force and this country Jack, I don’t think anyone around here would say otherwise and not be lying. There’s not an officer I know who I’d rather have in this position.”
Jack shifted uncomfortable. “Bill —”
“I know what you’re going to say,” Reynolds cut him off, “and I agree: Hammond was a fine officer who loved his work and did it well. But he knew as well as everyone here that any position he held would be temporary. You know how much he loved his family and none of us would begrudge him his earned retirement.”
“I’m starting to get a bad feeling about all this, you’re buttering me up way too much for this job to be nothing but paperwork.”
Reynolds smiled. “You wouldn’t be entirely wrong there, Jack.” Jack scowled. “Just hear me out. You’ll understand why you were the only one truly capable of taking on this position once you know everything it entails.”
“Now I’m really getting a bad feeling,” Jack muttered. “Sir.” Reynolds regarded Jack warily; he only used titles when absolutely serious, and that tone of voice was nothing to be scoffed at. “I would prefer it if you just laid everything out on the table. I understand this is important and it’s obviously highly classified. You chose me not just because of my rank, but because of my history both in black ops and the SGC. All of this seems to be leading to a place that does not look entirely welcome.”
Reynolds’ smile was gone now though he didn’t seem to be annoyed with Jack’s borderline insubordination. His expression was serious and he sat straight in his chair as he looked Jack directly in the eye. “I should have known you wouldn’t be fooled by anything.” Reynolds grasped the rest of the files to his right and slid them across the table to Jack along with a non-disclosure statement.
Jack stared at the piece of paper in confusion. “Bill … how confidential is this position?” He still signed the form.
“The SGC is only one
of the highly classified operations sanctioned by the government.” Reynolds took the form from him and gestured to the folders. “Your new position will have you given direct access to and overriding authority over those which pertain to the security of the world.”
Jack froze at the proclamation. “Say what?” he blinked.
Reynolds chuckled. “What? I thought you’d be used to this saving the world deal. You’ve done it quite a few times after all.”
“But there were others? And you’re putting me, of all people, in charge of highly sensitive operations?”
“You’re not the CO of the operations, no officer could handle that, but you will be the one they call when things get bad. You have the authority to override any action taken by civilian government factions concerning these operations, within reason. Reports from the COs will be sent to you and you will be answerable to the President and myself only. In regards to some of these operations, you will have a government ranking that allows you full access to all information you require.”
Jack frowned and turned to the folders in his hands. The top one was very familiar to him: the Stargate Project. The second concerned Area 51. When he got to the third however, he understood this extra precaution.
“I’m in charge of an Army operation?”
“Supervising, and yes. The original operation was government based and employed special ops army soldiers in its operations. When you read that file properly, you’ll understand why things changed. The CO isn’t exactly happy about deferring to an air force officer, but considering the nature of the operation and your experience, he has accepted the decision.”
“He didn’t really have much choice.”
“I know, but Jack.” Jack looked up. “Try not to ruffle too many feathers when you start to integrate yourself with the operation.” Jack rolled his eyes but nodded. “In that case, I do believe that is all I need to tell you.” Reynold’s stood and held out his hand again. “Congratulations and welcome aboard General O’Neill.”
Jack accepted the handshake. “Thank you, sir. Your faith in my abilities won’t be misplaced.”
“I know it won’t, Jack.”
There was a message waiting for him once he got back to his office. Jack smiled as he heard Daniel’s voice come over the answering machine. “Hey Jack. Thought I’d ring to see how your new job’s going. Everyone’s fine and still
Jack smirked at the emphasis on the last word. Danny was still a little sore about missing the Daedalus
, though Jack was pleased he wasn’t losing his best friend to another galaxy. “Sam and Teal’c say ‘hi’ and so does Vala, but she’s not important.”
Jack chuckled. “Anyway, call me when you get back from … wherever. Bye.”
The answering machine clicked off and Jack was left in an overly silent office. As much as his new position was fantastic for his career, there was a huge downside that he had considered long and hard before even contemplating picking up the phone to say he accepted it. His friends and most of his life were in Colorado Springs. It seemed an exceptionally juvenile thing to say, but he had seen them all nearly every day for the past eight years. This friendless isolation would take getting used to.
Still, distractions would be nice …
After staring at the folders he’d put on his desk for a few minutes, Jack finally sat down and started going through them.
He flicked through the brief on the Stargate Project and spent a little more time on the Area 51 file before getting to the file that had him quite baffled – and he’d only read the cover sheet.
The Initiative. A debunked civilian-headed government project with a specialised army unit carrying out the objectives the original project had failed to accomplish. Taking down HSTs.
The more Jack read the less he liked. He would have been more sceptical about the ides of demons existing if he hadn’t spent the last eight years working with aliens. The demons he could deal with; in a strange way, they made sense, they fit in somewhere. They existed, there was proof and many studies were conducted on them. It was the ‘studies’ part that pissed him off. The entire operation stank of rogue NID. He was only surprised he hadn’t heard of it before. But then, Maybourne and his former associates had been much better at hiding their failures than their successes. Hostile
Sub-Terrestrials. Looked like someone finally got their act together and actually started paying attention to their opponents. Had Jack had to deal with the Initiative, the results weren’t likely to have been pretty. But this group, he could understand. Covert ops, taking out threats, saving the world. He could deal.
Having dealt with what should have been his most difficult duty, Jack put aside the folder and picked up the next one.
“Ambassador?” Jack had barely gotten through the first page before he realised that the Initiative folder was meant to soften him up. “Council … what … teenage girls?!” Trapped in a morbid duty to carry on reading, Jack soon found out that an army of teenage girls fighting the forces of ultimate evil was not the worst shock he could receive.
Trembling fingers let a profile page drop to the shiny tabletop and Jack stared at the tiny passport photograph that filled a corner of the paper.