The sun was shining brightly as Jeannie stepped off the transport with the rest of the people attending the seminar. She was actually excited about today, it had been a while since she’d been excited about anything after Caleb’s death and then her mother’s not long after, but this had her attention.
“Good morning,” a voice made everyone turn to where a woman was standing; she had long dark hair and wore a lab coat over her smart suit, “I’m Dr Mary Gregory and I’m in charge of the seminar today. You were each given a welcome pack before you entered the transport, and in it you will find your group number. As you can see,” she pointed to several signs, “There are placards here with the different group numbers, can you please all go there and your group leaders will take you to the first event of today. And one of the most important – breakfast.”
An amused laugh and small cheer went up amongst the group before they all checked their cards and headed to their designated group. Jeannie was surprised to see she was with a much smaller group than the others, only four of them while the rest had approximately seven or more.
She watched as the groups started to wander away and soon only the four of them were standing there. The other three were people she’d never met before and Jeannie was quite a shy person so stood in silence waiting.
“Well,” Gregory moved to stand with them, “Our final group. You may be wondering why there are only four of you. The truth is you four are the most promising scientists this year. Your seminar is going to be slightly different from the others, because we want you and this is a sales pitch,” she laughed, “Please follow me.”
A little stunned, Jeannie followed on behind the two men and other woman into the University complex.
“Good morning, Miss McKay.”
Jeannie spun towards the door of the office she’d been asked to wait in and stared in astonishment at the woman standing there.
“Dr Carter?” she gasped, feeling totally awestruck as the woman who had led them into this peaceful age stood before her, “Oh my God...I mean it’s a pleasure to meet you,” she laughed, “It’s an honour to meet you, Dr Carter.”
“Sam,” she corrected, “Please, call me Sam. I feel like I’m an old woman every time I’m called Dr Carter.”
Jeannie nodded, still completely overwhelmed.
“Please,” Sam motioned her to sit down, “I bet you’re wondering why you’re here and not with the others.”
Jennie nodded, “Just a little.”
Sam smiled warmly at her again, “When I was browsing through the lists of graduates, I was struck by the similarity of your name to another scientist I briefly worked with recently.”
“My brother,” Jeannie sighed, annoyance seeping into her voice.
Sam laughed, “Yes. It’s been some time since he worked with us, and it was only because I noticed the name did I look at your work. You are brilliant, Miss McKay.”
“Jeannie, please,” she smiled.
Sam nodded, “Of course, anyway because of the name I became interested and I read over several of your papers. Leading me to the conclusion, I want you to work with us.”
Jeannie let out an astonished half-laugh, “Seriously?”
Sam nodded, “Jeannie, ever since we became allied with the Andurians we have had a huge leap in our technology and need for people to study it, to work on making sure we reach our potential. Now, I know there have been incidents involving people who say they’re trying to free us from alien oppression but I was a member of the SGC, I was out there when the Goa’uld were trying to annihilate this world and I know that the Andurians are our friends.”
“I know,” Jeannie whispered, “Those...terrorists killed my fiancé when they took several people hostage during the inauguration.”
Sam reached out and squeezed the younger woman’s hand, “I am so sorry. I knew several of the people lost then as well,” she pulled back and smiled again, “Jeannie, I don’t expect an answer from you straight away. I know this is such a huge decision so I want you to enjoy your day. Look around the complex and see the wonders that the Andurians have given us.”
“When do you want me to...”
“Whenever you’re ready,” Sam assured her, “Though the moment you have an answer for me, please,” she handed Jeannie a business card, “This is my direct line here and cell number.”
“Damn,” he breathed, standing still in the corner and waiting until the two women left the office.
He waited for a ten count before walking forward slowly, being careful not to disturb anything in the office. He waited until Carter came back into her office and slipped out the open door into the halls. As quickly as he could under the shield, he walked until he was outside the complex away from anything that could distort communications. Finally he managed to get somewhere safe.
“This is Sheppard,” he called, “We’ve got problems.”
“When don’t we?” the sarcastic reply came back, “Be a little more specific.”
“Jack,” John sighed, “I was in Carter’s office looking for the files when she brought in a new recruit.”
“And?” Jack O’Neill asked, “That’s not unusual, she’s always recruiting.”
“It’s the name that caught me,” John replied, “Jeannie McKay.”
“Crap,” Jack snapped, “She’s trying to find him, use his sister and bring Rodney out from hiding.”
There was silence for several minutes before John asked the question he had wanted to ask since he started this conversation, “Do I grab her?”
Silence continued on the other end of the radio.
“Can you do it?” Jack demanded.
John scrubbed a hand across his face, “I think so but she’s no love for us. From what I heard her fiancé was killed during their staged hostage taking.”
“John,” the soft accented voice of Sha’re Jackson took over, “If you have the opportunity, do it and take her to site five. Siler will meet you there.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” he said, switching off the radio and sighing, “Grab the girl and get her out of one of the most secure installations in the world. No problem.”
Jeannie took a seat on the bench under one of the trees in the gardens; she was astonished that she was being offered a job that she never would have imagined. It was typical her brother had got her this job offer. She frowned, wondering where he was and she hated that she gave a damn. He hadn’t been there when Caleb was murdered; he wasn’t there at their mother’s funeral and Jeannie just wanted to know what could be so important that he hadn’t come to be with her.
“I hope you’re thinking good thoughts,” Sam noted, coming over to join her.
“Dr Car...Sam,” Jeannie smiled, “Just musing over what you told me this morning. Do you mind if I ask you something?”
Sam sat on the bench beside her, “Of course not.”
“When was the last time you saw my brother?” Jeannie asked.
“Several months ago,” Sam sighed sadly, “One day he just didn’t show up in the lab and when I had someone to go over to his apartment to make sure he was alright, it was cleaned out.”
Jeannie shook her head, “I can’t believe that.”
“Why?” Sam demanded, managing to soften her voice.
“Cause he had no clue how to tidy up,” Jeannie replied, smiling as Sam laughed.
Sam stood up, “I have to go prepare for my talk this afternoon. I hope you’ll be there.”
“I’m looking forward to it,” Jeannie told her sincerely, “After hearing Tridon’s talk before lunch, I can’t wait for yours.”
“Well, any questions you have we can talk after,” Sam told her, “Excuse me, I have to go.”
Jeannie nodded and watched the woman walk away, smiling as she made her decision for her future. She stood up and brushed crumbs off her skirt before starting towards the lecture hall to hear Dr Carter’s talk. Jeannie didn’t get a chance to scream as a hand clamped over her mouth and she was dragged behind the nearest building.
She saw a man with dark messy hair and blue-green eyes for a second before she felt a pinch on her arm, the world spun and she fell into unconsciousness.
Jeannie forced her eyes open; she swallowed several times trying to soothe her rough dry throat as she focussed on her new surroundings. The man who had abducted her stood leaning against the wall, a glass of what appeared to be water in his hand.
Seeing she was awake, he stepped forward, “Here,” he handed her the glass, “The stuff I gave you will have made you thirsty.”
Jeannie glanced warily at the glass, her eyes flicking back up to her abductor.
“There’s nothing in it,” he promised her, “Want me to drink some first?”
Jeannie nodded, shifting slightly as she realised she was covered by a blanket. She watched closely as the man took a gulp of water before she accepted the glass and slowly sipped the cool water, relieved as it soothed her throat.
“Who are you?” she whispered, setting the glass down once she’d finished.
He smiled at her, a mischievous grin that made him look very handsome and charming but Jeannie wasn’t going to be charmed.
“I’m John,” he told her, “Anything else would be dumb, in case something happens and you end up back in Carter’s clutches.”
Jeannie glared at him, “You’re one of those...people.”
“People?” John asked; amusement in his voice.
Jeannie glared at him, “You’re trying to destroy the peace the whole world enjoys. You’re trying to throw the world into chaos again.”
“We’re trying to free everyone from aliens who are going to destroy every one of us,” John told her harshly, “If you think Carter is the saviour of us all then you’re about to get a rude awakening.”
“What do you want with me?” Jeannie snapped, she managed to pull herself to her feet and edged away from the man.
John folded his arms, “Personally, I don’t. But my superiors feel you might be able to help.”
“I would never help murderers,” Jeannie snarled at him.
“Look,” John said, nodding to two men who arrived from along the corridor beside them, “You’re coming with us, you can scream and yell as much as you want but I’ll sedate you if you do. All we want is for you to listen to what we have to say, Miss McKay.”
“Well I guess I have no choice,” Jeannie snapped, making John hide his smile at how similar she sounded to her brother, “Which way?”
John sighed in relief as they finally reached the base. As useful as they were, the tunnels sent a shiver down his spine as he wandered through them. He’d been told that they had been given to O’Neill by the Tok’ra before they’d been wiped out, O’Neill would get a strange look anytime someone asked and ignore the question.
At his side, Jeannie McKay walked warily while Siler and Evans walked behind them in case she tried to escape.
“Well, Miss McKay,” the sarcastic voice made John sigh in relief, “Welcome.”
“Who the hell are you?” Jeannie snapped, folding her arms across her chest; the tilt of her head made her look as arrogant as her brother used to appear.
“My name is Colonel Jack O’Neill,” he introduced himself; “I was the leader of SG1.”
Jeannie let out a harsh laugh, “How gullible do you think I am? I know the story of the Stargate, I know it all backwards – every school child in the world knows it.”
“And every one of them has been lied to,” Jack replied, calmer than John expected.
Jeannie stared at him, “What?”
“Let me show you around, Miss McKay,” Jack motioned her forward, deeper into the base.
Jeannie took a step forward before hesitating, “Aren’t you worried about showing me your secret base?”
A small amused smile touched his lips, “Don’t worry about it. We’re moving soon, come on.”
Jeannie noticed her guards changed as she walked through the strange crystalline tunnels, John disappeared and Jeannie felt a little annoyed that he had left her alone. She watched people mill around, from what she could see they were working on devices but she was kept far back enough so that she couldn’t make out what exactly they were.
“Not that I don’t trust you,” Jack told her, noting the way she was looking around, “But I don’t.”
Jeannie closed her eyes, “What is the point of this, Colonel?”
Her deliberate use of his title and sharp tone only made Jack smile, “I thought you might want to say hi to someone.”
Jeannie rolled her eyes but followed him, stopping as she saw a man sitting working at a computer, a strawberry-blonde woman sitting at his side arguing with him.
“Meredith,” she breathed in astonishment, turning to the man at her side who was mouthing the name in surprise, “What happened to him? Why is he in a wheelchair?”
“Let’s go ask him.”
“Cadman, I am not stopping working on this,” he snapped at the woman at his side.
Laura Cadman’s eyes narrowed and she stood up; grabbing the handles of his wheelchair and pulling him back away from the computer.
Laura leaned into his ear, “You are going to eat and then you are going to get some sleep, otherwise I’m going to see Janet and Carson and rat you out.”
“I doubt I’ll sleep,” He folded his arms and pouted, “But it’s not like I can get away from you.”
Laura rested her hand on his arm, “You’ll sleep. Sha’re has told me about a few techniques she uses on Daniel.”
“I doubt it’ll work on me,” he told her, “Things aren’t like that between us.”
Laura smacked his shoulder, “Get your mind out the gutter, Rodney. It’s like a massage and it should work.” He looked up at her, giving her a quick look that made her blush slightly but she just caught the handles of his wheelchair again, “Don’t get your hopes up.”
“McKay,” Jack O’Neill’s voice stopped the conversation going any further, “Got a visitor for you.”
Rodney tried to turn the chair; swearing in frustration when it stuck and sighed, allowing Laura to turn him. Seeing his baby sister standing staring at him made him want to run away but of course he couldn’t.
“What the hell is she doing here?” Rodney demanded to Jack, “You promised me you’d keep her out of this.”
“Mer, what happened?” Jeannie breathed, moving to him.
Rodney continued to glare at Jack, “What the hell is she doing here?” he repeated.
“Carter found her,” Jack told him, “I had Sheppard bring her in.”
Rodney nodded with a sigh, “Alright,” he looked at his sister finally, “Hi.”
Jeannie stared at him completely confused, “Meredith?”
He caught her hand and pulled her down to him, hugging her tightly as she clung to him. Jack touched Laura’s shoulder and moved her away from the siblings.
“How is he?” Jack asked.
Laura sighed, “It’s that time of the week; he’s been awake almost fifty hours now. Sha’re taught me a few techniques she uses to get Daniel to sleep even for a few hours. I’m going to try that once I get him to lie down which is what I was doing when you arrived.”
Jack nodded, “I’ll take her to talk to the people who know everything. Let him sleep for, what’s the usual?”
“Three hours if I’m lucky,” Laura replied.
“Okay,” Jack turned back to the McKay’s, “Miss McKay, there’s a few people I want you to meet. McKay, Cadman’s going to take you to get some rest. Do it or I’ll get Beckett to sedate your ass for the next three days.”
Rodney scowled but he released his hold on Jeannie, “I’ll see you in a few hours,” he promised.
“Where is she?”
Sam slammed her hand on the desk, making the Andurian standing there jump. Anger flared in her blue eyes and she stalked over to the door and slammed it.
“She was our best chance of finding McKay,” Sam reminded him, “Artu, you were supposed to be keeping an eye on here. What the hell happened?”
“Please forgive me,” Artu dipped his head, “One of the others we brought here started asking questions. You ordered us to be polite to them, to make them feel welcome.”
She dropped her head in her hands, “Fine. Leave.”
He dipped his head in a bow before he turned and left her alone. Sam leaned back in her chair and sighed, a human trait she had which annoyed her. After a few minutes, she stood and walked to the wall behind her desk. Raising her hand, she activated the controls and waited until the door had formed completely before she entered the complex below the University building. The hum of the corridor made her relax and she smiled, taking a sharp turn into a darker corridor that no one used unless specifically ordered to.
Sam smiled as she arrived at the cell; she opened the door and walked in. She walked over to the table and slipped onto it, crossing her legs as she leaned back slightly.
“Your friends are beginning to get very annoying,” Sam said, watching her prisoner sit and stare at her, “Could you give me something, a smile or anything.”
At the silence, Sam slipped off the table and she walked closer to the man chained to the wall. She drew her hand across his bare chest before grabbing his face, “Teal’c, tell me where they are.”
The former Jaffa glared at her, refusing to speak just like he had for the past few years. Sam leaned down to his ear.
“All I want is a little bit of information, Teal’c,” she breathed in his ear, “And things will become much, much more comfortable for you.”
Teal’c didn’t move, barely wincing as she slid the dagger across his chest.
“I will find them,” Sam told him, “And when I do, you’ll have a front row seat at their execution.”
He looked up at her for a moment, undisguised hatred in his eyes before he dropped them once more.
“I’ll see you later,” Sam told him, heading out of the cell. Stopping outside she stood and watched the monitor for a few minutes, laughing as he strained against the shackles holding him to the cell.
Sam returned to her office, she alerted the others that there may be a leak within the humans. She’d been ecstatic when she realised that McKay had a sister and on reading the woman’s work that she had a perfectly valid reason to bring her to the university. It irritated her; Rodney had been the seemingly perfect choice for the project, smart, egocentric and obviously interested in her. So Sam had not worried too much about the information he had access to because she was sure she had him wrapped around her little finger. She argued with him, pushed him and occasionally gave him little signs that she might just feel something for him, a little praise, a hug and every so often a kiss on the cheek when he made a huge breakthrough.
Then he did something exceedingly stupid – he started noticing things outside his lab. Sam leaned back; she brought up Rodney McKay’s file and browsed it for what had to be the hundredth time. He had noticed some scientists missing and started looking into things, then he had discovered the installation beneath the university and Sam knew that she had no choice but to invite him to become a permanent resident.
Three months later, someone got him out and Sam was forced to conclude that her security might not have been as good as she thought it was. Rodney McKay held part of the key to finding great power that would ensure that the Andurians were unstoppable, the other part was held by Daniel. Sam had had both of them in her grasp only to lose them and she knew that she had to find them soon, before they worked out what secrets their minds held. And she would, no matter who she had to kill to do so.