“I saw what you did.”
Teyla did not really understand the reason for her attendance at this function which, while called a party, did not seem very festive. John had tried to explain it as part of politics - she being the leader of her people, even if most of the planet did not know of them, made her an important person. Not for the first time, or the last, she wished Elizabeth was here with them. Elizabeth had been far better at explaining the intricacies of Earth customs better than any other she had known. Colonel Carter tried but often expressed a wish for her friend Dr Jackson, who was apparently better at it.
She had watched the young, blond woman, a server, subtly but expertly remove something from the Senator that Colonel Carter and General O’Neill had introduced to her earlier. She had noticed that General O’Neill, during the introduction, had had that same face he made when he was explaining to John how government changes were better for Atlantis.
She had followed the young woman under a staircase behind the big party room. The billfold was open - it looked like the one John carried around while they were in this Washington place - and the woman was taking pictures of them with what appeared to be a small computer device. Upon closer inspection, the woman wasn’t quite as young as Teyla had first thought.
“Have you got that, Hardison?” said the woman, into the air.
Communication units like the ones on Atlantis, only much smaller, Teyla thought.
“OK. I’ll go return it, then.” Again, the woman spoke at nobody.
“I saw what you did,” Teyla repeated. “You took something from that Senator person. It is in your hand.”
“Huh,” said the woman. “Oh! Look over there!” she cried, suddenly, pointing over Teyla’s shoulder.
“I do not think so,” Teyla said, still staring directly at the other woman.
“Dammit! That always works on tv!” The woman scrunched up her face, clearly thinking. The voice in her ear must have spoken up again because she suddenly said, “Shh, I’m taking care of it.” Taking a deep breath, she continued at Teyla. “Look, that Senator is a bad man. We’re trying to prove that he-”
Sudden shouts from the big room made them both peer out from their hiding spot. The Senator, whose back was to them, was yelling loudly, waving a pointed finger around the small group gathered around him. Behind her, she felt the other woman tense as she prepared to go back out to the party.
“Give me the thing you took,” Teyla told her. The woman looked at her skeptically, but Teyla said, “I will take care of it. In return you will tell me more of what you know of this Senator.”
The blonde woman’s eyes narrowed. “Why?”
“My... colleagues have told me that this Senator is not a trustworthy person and may be causing problems for our organization.” What John had said was that the Senator was one of the people who controlled the budget of the SGC and regularly voted against money increases or positive changes.
The woman thought for a moment, then handed over the item, saying, “Deal. Meet me in the coffee shop across the street in 10 minutes.”
Teyla looked down at the item - a leather parcel that was used to carry currency and identification - and walked back into the party. Coming up quietly behind the Senator, she held the parcel out to him, saying, “Senator, I believe I saw you drop this.”
“You took this!” the Senator yelled accusingly. “You th-”
“Senator!” Colonel Carter said loudly, coming up next to Teyla from the crowd. “Surely you aren’t accusing one of our honored guests of anything improper?”
The Senator appeared to look at Teyla more closely, clearly not remembering meeting her earlier. Probably because he had been too busy looking below my chin, she thought, dryly. Then he excused himself and stalked away.
Colonel Carter muttered to herself, at which Teyla’s eyebrow raised. “He thinks the SGC and Atlantis are wastes of money,” Carter said out loud.
Teyla nodded. “I recognized his name. John told me that he regularly votes to deny money to the Stargate programs.”
“That’s definitely one problem with him,” Colonel Carter said. “But there’s also evidence that he’s helping himself to some of the technology and products that we’re both discovering and getting through trade. He may even be linked to the Trust.”
“Then he is not to be trusted at all,” Teyla commented.
“Just where did you get that wallet?” Carter asked.
Teyla smiled. “Please excuse me, Colonel,” she said. “I need to talk to someone about that.”
Entering the coffeehouse she saw the blonde woman beckon to her and sat down at a table that also had another woman. “Sophie,” said the other woman, holding her hand out, which Teyla shook in the custom she’d learned. “And this is Parker.”
“I am called Teyla,” she said. “Tell me more of what you know of this Senator.”
Sophie explained, “We believe he’s running a company that makes electronic products. He’s building devices for the military, and they’re of a technology nobody we know can recognize. We believe he’s embezzling from the company as well as using inferior materials when he can, for his own profit.”
“And worse,” Parker added, with a barely restrained fury. “His factories are sweatshops staffed mostly by children!”
“Ladies,” Teyla said. “I think we have a common enemy.”