Jack stopped at his front door long enough to pull his weapon before going in. The intruder was lounging on his couch, leafing through one of his magazines. He didn't look up. Jack cocked the hammer, just to make the unmistakable noise of a pistol ready to fire at a moment's notice, even if it was a double action and no such cocking was necessary. "You got a reason for breaking in my house?"
"It's easier than breaking into the SGC."
The fine hairs on the back of Jack's neck stood up. Trust or NID? The guy smelled military, Army or Marines. No self-respecting airman or Navy squid had no neck. Well, maybe a squid, but this guy had military bearing stamped on his forehead and probably his ass, and squids had the military bearing of pink anchors. "You gonna get to the point or am I just going to shoot you?"
The guy flashed his pearly whites. He looked like a toothpaste commercial. Probably not NID, not ugly enough. "You and your buddy Dr. Jackson have been looking for a freaky British girl that's associated with someone named Miss Edith and someone named Spike. You are also looking for her Daddy, but that's not as relevant. Disappeared from your roof five months ago."
Jack revised the NID opinion. There was Barrett. Sam though he was kind of pretty. Jack made exaggerated gagging noises the one time she brought it up to discourage any discussion on the topic of pretty boys. "Who the hell are you? Who are you with?"
"Name's Miller. You don't have clearance for that. We want to know what you want with her."
Jack smirked. "You don't have clearance for that."
"We have all of Dr. Jackson's notes. On how she predicted Anubis' attack, your use of the Ancient's chair to take his ha'tak out, what did she call it? The icicle torch? Jackson is particularly concerned about how she differentiates between the snake jackal, which is the goa'uld Anubis and the real jackal that he believes is her reference to the actual Egyptian god Anubis. She also mentioned the ostrich, which is Isis, and the Ram, which is Osiris. He's theorizing that these aren't the goa'uld versions, but her references to the real ones." The guy leaned back against the couch cushions. "Now, we know all that you know. What we don't know is what you want with her."
Jack frowned. "You know who she is."
Miller didn't so much as twitch, had the perfect poker face. It was as good as a confirmation.
Jack grinned. "Well? Who is she? Where is she? We need to talk to her."
"You've read Daniel's report."
"We want the glowy star girl."
Miller snorted. "Dr. Jackson is convinced it's Oma Desala."
Jack frowned. So, he was, too.
Miller leaned forward. "The truth, Colonel O'Neill. What do you want with Miss Burger Shy of a Happy Meal?" Miller smiled a bit, probably at Jack's expression. "I've read the transcripts of your session with a Tok'ra memory recall device."
"It's on the best seller list these days."
Miller said nothing.
Jack shifted his weight and didn't want to admit that his weapon was getting a little heavy. He was getting old. "Just want to ask her a few questions. She's nuttier than Howlin' Mad Murdock, but she was right on the money. You have her?"
Miller shrugged. "We know her general location." He looked at his hands. "You won't get what you want out of her."
"Why don't you let us be the judge of that. We're experts at dealing with weirdo cultures. Plain old weirdoes shouldn't be a problem."
Miller laughed, then.
"I will shoot you."
"Sorry, Colonel," Miller said. "My superiors won't authorize a meet and greet. Our source says it wouldn't do any good anyway. If she had any further information she'd have to share, she'd already be here to share it. Showing up and bothering her, especially if you haven't taken care of the snake jackal yet, would just get her angry and she'd either attack you or try to hurt herself."
"You can't stop us from looking."
Miller gave him this earnest, little boy look. "No, sir, I can't. I would advise you to. You won't find anything that will help you. If you find anything at all, it'll only interfere with your mission."
"That's it? No threats?"
"You're the one pointing the gun, Colonel."
"No, stop looking or we'll put sugar in your gas tank?"
Miller stood up and brushed his trousers into order. "Nope. You won't find anything, so if you want to run around in circles chasing Happy Meals without burgers, then it's the SGC's time to waste. I would hope that you'd rather spend your time saving the world from extraterrestrial threats, but that's just me. Have a nice night, Colonel. I'll see myself out."
Jack could take the guy. Sure, No-Neck Miller had about 50 pounds on him, but Jack had a few years of training on him that Miller had spent wallowing around in his dirty diapers. Jack could probably drag him back to the SGC and do some interrogation. They had a Tok'ra memory device that Sam, with the magic of Jolinar markers, could make work on him. Jack uncocked the hammer on his pistol and holstered it. Miller walked through his front door and out into the night.
Jack looked down at the magazine the glove-free Miller had been leafing through and grinned. "Thanks for stopping by, Mr. Miller."
About six hours later, Jack was sitting in the conference room with his team and Hammond. On the big screen was a picture of Mr. No-Neck, aka Lieutenant Graham Miller of the US Army, currently assigned to Project Salt the Earth, which is to remove and cover any traces of Project Initiative, in Sunnydale California. His team lead was Captain Riley Finn, also US Army. A captain was kind of low on the totem pole to be leading a major project, so they must not have a lot of people there. Sam had had to hack her little fingers to the bone to get the unredacted version of the file. Miller and company had been in Sunnydale for well over a year.
"The Initiative is supposed to deal with sub-terrestrials?" Jack said. "What's a sub-terrestrial?"
"Salt the Earth?" Daniel said in that annoying musing tone he had when he was fitting pieces of a puzzle together in a way that was sure to make someone's hair fall out. Especially when he was right.
"A sub terrestrial is, a, um, jeez," Sam said. "This can't be right."
Hammond opened his files up and flipped through them. "Vampires? Wracklaw Demons?"
"Vampires?" Daniel's glasses came off, then went back on.
Sam shook her head. "Um. No, sir, no Dracula. It says that the Initiative captured these vampires and demons and conducted experiments. The objective was to create a super soldier. First, they used behavior modification technology, such as microchips implanted in human looking subterrestrials, such as vampires, and then they began using chemical and technological experiments on the soldiers. There's a mention of 314, but I couldn't get more information on it without alerting anyone to my presence."
Daniel flipped through his own pages.
"Vampires," Jack said.
"Colonel," Hammond said in his knock it off before I make you warning tone.
"The microchips!" Daniel squealed like a little kid finding out he was going to a pro hockey game for the first time. "Here! They put them in the vampires' heads. If they acted or thought against the chip's programming, the chip delivered a shock directly to the thalamus!"
"And for the rest of the class, Daniel, why does this excite us?" Jack said.
Daniel gave him a disgusted look. "You were there, Jack. Your new girlfriend said the moldy army men from the Initiative would take them and put their thoughts into their heads that would give them pain. She was probably talking about getting a microchip implanted in her if she went with you. She's either a vampire, or some other humanoid subterrestrial."
"Are you telling me that I had a vampire on my roof telling me how we'd beat Anubis months before we did it?"
"Well, it does seem ridiculous when you put it like that," Daniel said.
Hammond glowered. "Gentlemen! Major Carter, how sure of this information are you?"
She looked down at her pile of papers. "It's straight out of the Pentagon, sir."
"I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that." Hammond sighed. "Do we keep trying to find her?"
"She seems to be some kind of, well, seer," Daniel said. "She hasn't been wrong so far, and all that's left to verify is what she said about Oma Desala being the key to defeating Anubis once and for all. If that is true, then we have some concerns on our plate about a new set of Egyptian gods. She did say that the Jackal, that would be Anubis, would be angry if the snake jackal, that would be the goa'uld Anubis, wasn't defeated. He would put a stick up her nose, mash up her brains, and then give her to the Ram, that would be Osiris, and that we'd all be dust. Anubis was historically the god of embalming. Putting a rod through the nose and using it to mash the brains to pour them out was part of the process. Osiris was god of the dead, where the embalmed person would go once Anubis was finished with them." Daniel adjusted his glasses. "I'm confused about the we, is that her and the people she mentioned, or is that everyone on Earth? I want to know if these creatures she mentioned are real threats or if she imagined them. Seers, well, not everything they say is always credible."
Hammond leaned back in his chair. "Major Carter?"
"I agree with Daniel to an extent, sir. We've got a potential threat that we should verify. This girl, however she came by her information, has been entirely too accurate. We have to know where she got it. However, we don't have any way of finding her outside of channels and this Initiative group has shut them down for us. Searching for her is going to take time and resources that we don't have away from our mission."
Hammond nodded. "Colonel?"
"Well, I say we talk to Captain Finn and Lieutenant Miller. Subterrestrials are their specialty. They can tell us about the girl and whether or not we should follow up on the threat." Jack grinned. "Whattya think, sir?"
Hammond frowned up at the screen and Miller's thousand-mile stare for several minutes. Finally, he said, "After your mission to P9C-392 to locate Oma Desala, I will authorize a trip to California, pending no other problems. I consider this back burner issue until Anubis is no longer a threat."
"Sounds like a plan, sir." Jack slapped his file shut.
"It's a frat house," Daniel said. "I'm going to break out in hives."
"I promise not to let them give you a wedgie. You're my geek."
"You're giving my brain a wedgie as we speak."
Jack grinned and walked into the massive foyer of the frat house. Daniel sneered in his Daniel-y way and followed. He followed the sound of a TV to a huge room with a big screen in it. Some kid was watching Judge Judy. "Hey, I'm looking for Graham Miller or Riley Finn."
The kid blinked. "Finn's with his girl. Dunno where Miller is. Who are you?"
"Jack Miller, his father. Thought I'd see the boy and his buddies before we hit Disneyland."
"Oh. Well, you can wait in his room. Upstairs, third door on the left."
Jack grinned, ignoring the pinch Daniel was giving him. "Thanks!"
Miller's room was neat as a recruit's, bless his no-necked little heart. There wasn't anything incriminating in it, either, or so Jack found when he casually tossed it. Daniel stood in the doorway as a miserable looking lookout. "Get this, he's majoring in psychology," Jack said. "What kind of goober majors in psychology?"
"The kind that's coming down the hallway right now?" Daniel said sweetly. Geeks.
"Cool beans," Jack said, holding a text book by each cover and casually shaking it over the floor to see what dropped out.
"Dr. Jackson," Miller's voice said. "I take it that Colonel O'Neill is inside?"
"Hey, Miller!" Jack called out cheerfully. "Thought we'd drop in and say hi!"
Daniel groaned, stepped in the room, and pulled his little I'm not with him face. Miller followed him into the room and shook his head. "Sloppy. You work like an amateur."
"I just like making messes." Jack flopped onto the bed and crossed his feet at the ankles. Not bad for a dorm room bed.
Miller shut the door. "So what brings you to my neck of the woods?"
"See, we've still got this itty bitty problem to clear up and since you've been so helpful, we thought we'd have a little chat."
"We're not setting up a meeting."
Daniel quit hiding in the corner. "We thought we'd talk with you and your people first."
Miller frowned. "Us? We don't know anything about your AO."
Daniel tilted his head, lines forming between his eyebrows. "AO?"
Miller rolled his eyes and muttered, "Air Force. AO, Area of Operations."
"Oh! No, we aren't interested in that. We're interested in something that's in your AO," Daniel said. "She's a vampire seer, right? Right. That's your area. Well, we want to talk about some things she said before we decide if it's a threat or something to ignore."
Miller frowned. "You think she's a bigger threat?"
"Nope, not her," Jack said. "Some of the things she said. This place secure?"
Miller shook his head. "No. Wait here and I'll check in with my chain of command."
"I'll go with you," Jack said. "Dr. Jackson can trash your room some more."
Miller looked amused. "No."
"We can do this the easy way, Colonel, where I go clear it with my people," Miller said. "Or we can do it the hard way where I kick you out and your people can fight with my people for a few years about release of information."
"I can break you," Jack said.
"I'm sure you can, but you won't have the time or the place to do it."
Bastard. Jack crossed his arms over his chest and gave his best you're the new SGC recruit at orientation and I'm the bad ass on base glare. "You got thirty minutes."
Miller nodded, though Jack figured they both knew it was any empty order.
Twenty minutes later, Miller returned and handed Jack a sheet of paper. "Meet me at this address just before sunset. Drive and park right in front of the door. The meter maids don't give tickets after five. We'll provide an escort to your hotel. Stay in your room after dark. You'll be safe enough in town during the day. You have a transcript of your conversation with the girl on your roof?"
"Do I look like an idiot that carries top secret stuff around?"
Miller shrugged. "No problem. We'll provide a copy."
Jack shot to his feet. "What?"
"It'll be redacted. You want answers? I'm setting up a meeting with the people that'll give you answers. Don't tell them anything about your work or your enemies."
Miller shrugged. "You've got the address. They're experts in the field of weird stuff. I wouldn't go in demanding answers without an introduction because they don't trust the military. Now get out of my room or help me clean it up."
Jack looked at the paper. The Magic Box. "You're making this up."
"Nope. And be nice to the little blonde."
Jack frowned. "Fine. We'll be there, but this is the last run around we'll put up with, Miller."
Miller gave him a look, like it was an empty threat and they all knew it, even the squirrels knew it. But Jack had a few thoughts that said that Miller and his buddy Finn wouldn't be playing any more games. Whether they wanted to or not.
The Magic Box was an unprepossessing shop. He expected something where David Copperfield's line of credit would be good, whatever that would be, but got a regular small town store with candles in the window. He stepped inside and found more candles, plants (dried and potted), crystals, rocks, and books piled around. No black hats or brooms anywhere. Or cards, wands, and saw the lady in half boxes. He was disappointed. Daniel's face lit up when he saw the books, so one happy camper out of two wasn't bad. Teal'c followed and Sam brought up the rear, closing the door quietly behind her.
Miller was there, along with Finn's unhappy mug. So were some civilians and they looked less happy than Finn, if that were possible.
Jack didn't let the distaste show on his face. He, of all people, knew the value of civilian experts; he'd been hanging around Daniel Jackson for years. But some of these people were kids! A Cheerleader Barbie, complete with dinky blondeness, a brown haired boy that looked like Flopsy or Mopsy or one of Peter Rabbit's bunch, and a red-headed, teenaged version of Shirley MacClaine that couldn't decide between blushing and curiosity. One of the adults, or almost adults, looked like he'd just come from a Sex Pistols reunion tour, and unless Jack wanted either drugs or a backstage pass, he wasn't getting anything from that guy. The only one of them that had anything to offer was eyeing Jack as if he was something to be scraped off the bottom of a shoe after a long walk through a short dog pound.
Jack knew how to deal with annoying civilians. He smiled expansively. "Howdy, campers."
The useful civvie glared at Finn, as if Jack was personally all his fault.
Finn's hands went up. "Hey, you agreed with Graham."
"Well, we reserve the right to kick them out at any time," Cheerleader Barbie said. She even wrinkled her nose. God save them all from cute kids.
"No problem," Miller said.
"I'd like to see the complete copy of this." The adult civvie waved a piece of paper with a few words and a lot of thick black lines through the paragraphs. A Brit, with one of those Margaret Thatcher type accents that people like Kinsey kow-towed to.
"Nope," Jack said. He shoved his hands in his pockets and tried on a little boy smile. "Can't do it. You know how it goes."
"Then I'm afraid we can't help you," Mr. Maggie said.
"You know how it goes," Cheerleader Barbie added.
The punk lounging against the wall snickered.
Daniel held out his hand. "May I? I haven't seen it."
The Brit surrendered it. Daniel pushed his glasses up his nose and peered at it. Jack rolled his eyes and Finn huffed. Miller just sat there like a hulk of brooding no-neckness.
"Huh. The only thing they didn't redact was the fact that there was a girl on your roof. A dog couldn't help us with this."
Jack ripped the paper out of Daniel's hands. "Well, shit."
"Oh!" The redheaded girl turned the color of a tomato and the punk leered at her.
"A girl showed up about five months ago and spoke with Jack," Daniel said. "She spoke of two sets of Egyptian gods, a false set and a set she believed to be real."
"Daniel," Jack hissed.
"Fine." Jack balled up the piece of paper and threw it at Finn. Cheerleader Barbie caught it before he could score a hit on the man's face.
"We're not concerned with the fake set, but she spoke about the real set of these gods as if they were a threat."
Mr. Margaret Thatcher took his glasses off. "And you wish to know what?"
Miller leaned in and whispered something to Mr. Maggie that Jack didn't catch. Teal'c didn't either, if the single, minute shake of the head was anything to go by, and it was. Mr. Maggie's eyes widened and the punk growled like a Doberman.
Mr. Maggie ignored the punk, and stared at Jack. "What did she say, exactly?"
"She didn't mention any by name, but she said that the jackal would be cross. He would stick a rod up our nose, though she wasn't clear about who our referred to, and mash up our brains and give us all over to the ram when we turned to dust. A little later, she said the jackal would be very cross with us if we didn't comply with instructions. We have fully complied with the instructions." Daniel wasn't watching the punk shift from foot to foot, but Jack was. And so was Teal'c, he'd bet money.
"What is it you'd like to know?" Maggie asked.
Jack tilted his head, and pretended to look at Maggie. He kept his attention on the punk. "Are these jackals and rams a threat to humanity? And if so, how do we deal with it?"
"Ah." Maggie carefully took out a hanky and polished his glasses.
Miller leaned over and whispered again. Maggie frowned. Miller whispered some more. The punk started laughing.
"Awright," Jack said. "Cut the crap. Do you know anything or not?"
"We know plenty, Colonel Old Fart," Cheerleader Barbie said. "The question is, do we tell you about it?"
"Enough, Buffy," Maggie said. He glared at the punk. "You are not helping."
"We know you haven't had good experiences with the military," Daniel said, "and we're not giving you a lot of reason to trust us. The fact is that we can't."
"You would never believe us," Maggie said.
Daniel did his aw shucks, nice guy routine, with the smiling and eye-floor contact. Jack just smirked. Hey, you played your strengths.
Sam cleared her throat. "We know the girl was a vampire and a seer."
The punk growled again. Loudly.
Jack and Teal'c reached for their weapons and Sam backed up a step. Daniel put his hands up. "We're not after her at all. We'd actually rather not see her again. Vampires? We'd rather not meet any."
"Best keep it that way, book boy," the punk said. Another Brit, this one more Johnny Rotten than Queen Elizabeth.
Daniel let his hands lower a bit, but kept them in plain sight, well away from any weapons. He kept up the placating tone. "We will. We want to know about the Egyptian gods she was afraid of. Are they a threat to her and to us? What can we do about them? Do we need to do anything about them?"
The punk grinned. "Worse things than old gods out there, book boy."
"Spike, enough," Maggie snapped. Spike? Well, well, well. "The Old Gods are quiet. On occasion, they will meddle in this world, but their power here is diminished as to be non-existent. Many cannot access it all without human interference. They are no more threat now than they were a thousand years ago. Unless some idiot enacts a ritual to bring one back, then there are no worries. The gods this girl was referring to would not be problematic for humanity in any event. They may cause trouble for the vampiric races, as they are the gods of death and the walking dead may offend them in some ways. How—"
"She said that the jackal put her insides back in after her Daddy had sucked 'em all out. Kinda gross if you ask me," Jack said.
Maggie perked up. "She did?"
"Down, G-Man." That came from Flopsy Mopsy, who apparently couldn't decide who to be more suspicious of, the punk or Teal'c.
"Said that about her dollies, too, Rupe." The punk sneered. "You lot realize soldier boy is never going to let this go. I should eat him."
"Fanged Wonder is right, and check for apocalypses now, please," Flopsy Mopsy said. "Captain Classified will never just walk away from us helpless townies."
Finn frowned. "He won't have that choice."
Jack curled his fingers around his Beretta. "He always has a choice. Leave the world saving to the professionals, kiddies."
"Oh, we do," Cheerleader Barbie said with complete disdain. "And that's not you."
"Did you get what you wanted?" Miller asked Jack.
"I'm not sure that we did," Jack said. He waved his hand around. "How do we know you didn't make this all up to throw us off the scent? Fake candles, fake books—"
Daniel looked dismayed.
Mr. Margaret looked offended as a wet Daniel Jackson holding a really old, wet book. "I assure—"
Jack put on his best good ol' boy smile. "No offense, but we don't know who the hell you are. How do we know your word is any good?"
The man's mouth flopped open, then shut. Flopsy Mopsy grinned. "Got ya there, G-man."
Miller shook his head. "Colonel. You can find your way back here. You can harass these people. You can even find Spike now."
"My plum mentioned me to you army gits, then?" The punk shifted his weight again, looking an odd mixture of pleased, unnerved, pissed off, and toothy. The fine hairs on the back of Jack's neck stood at attention. "Have to thank her next time I run across her."
"We're Air Force," Jack said pleasantly. No way he was giving some Johnny Rotten fanboy the satisfaction.
Punk boy shrugged, an almost yellow tinge in his eyes fading. "A tosser's still a wanker."
Miller cleared his throat. "The point is, Colonel, that these are our civilian experts. You wanted to know. Now you know. You don't want to trust the intel, then why did you ask me?"
Well. Daniel always had to check at least five books first. That's how competent civilian contractors worked. They didn't just take off their glasses and act like the Queen Elizabeth II had sailed up their butt.
"He's trying to tell us that there is a race of beings, of these creatures with god like powers that we shouldn't consider a threat because they haven't bothered us in thousands of years, unless someone does something stupid." Sam said. God bless Carter. "It's like telling us not to worry about a pack of wolves because they haven't eaten humans in years, but they could if someone did something stupid." She made a sharp gesture with her hands. "People do stupid things all the time."
Margaret smiled at Sam. "Quite so. However, as yon Dr. Jackson can attest, Anubis and Osiris are gods over embalming and the land of the dead. Should they ever return from where they are, by some stretch of human idiocy, their power to affect trouble upon the world would be minimal at best, should they even desire to."
"But others, like Set?" Daniel said.
Jack frowned. Who the hell was Set? "Set? You mean Seth?"
Daniel ignored him. So did Mags. "Should they return, there are ways for even we humans to return gods like Set to where they are now."
"And you know how," Jack said. "We wanna set of instructions. For backup, you know."
"I'm afraid you'll have to petition the Egyptian government, Colonel. Or you could always visit the museum and take some of the postcards of the hieroglyphs. You won't get the full ritual, but a small bit of it is interesting," Maggie said. "I don't have the specific rituals. I could get them quickly, if Set were to return, but I'd have to show cause."
Jack's eyes narrowed. "From who?"
"The Egyptian Museum, of course." Maggie smirked. "They are responsible for their old gods. Who else would do you think should do it?"
Jack frowned. "No need to get snippy."
The punk growled in the back of his throat.
Finn was starting to look annoyed and glaring at Miller. Someone looked like he was in for a little ass chewing later on.
"Who at the Egyptian Museum?" Daniel asked. "Al-Sayed? Lufti?"
Mr. Margaret wiped his smirk off his face and turned to study Daniel intently. Bad things happened when Daniel got that kind of scrutiny. Jack rocked on his heels and tilted his head. "So when ol' Set shows up ready to deep fat fry all of our funnel cakes, what happens?"
"It's covered, Colonel," Finn snapped. "These old gods, Set, or any others crop up, and we'll handle them. If your help is needed, we'll call."
"But—" Daniel started.
"No buts," Barbie said. "A god shows up, we put the smack down."
"Quite," added Maggie.
"What, exactly, are you looking for here, Colonel?" Miller asked. "Proof these old gods aren't dangerous anymore?"
Flopsy Mopsy snorted and shifted in his seat. "Can't even prove they exist until they take over something and start sucking in worshippers."
Jack opened his mouth, then shut it.
"We can't work with nothing," Daniel said. "We have to have some kind of assurances."
"Like what?" Barbie asked.
Daniel shrugged helplessly and looked at Jack.
"That these gods are not a threat, and if they become so, that you'll take care of them," Teal'c said flatly. "If you cannot do it, then we must."
Cheerleader Barbie wrinkled her nose. "I don't get what you army people think you can do about it anyway. It's not like you can shoot them with tanks or anything, right, Giles?"
"Air Force," Jack said. "We're Air Force." He spread his arms with his best roguish grin. "C'mon, do I look like a ground pounder to you?"
Finn stiffened in outrage, but didn't say anything. Miller didn't so much as twitch. Flopsy Mopsy grinned, showing some teeth. "Of course not, Wingnut. You look like someone who has the army wear your combat boots for you, just so they know what actual dirt feels like." Flopsy looked suddenly surprised. "Woah. Where did that come from?"
Jack ground his teeth. "I—"
Daniel put his hand on Jack's arm and squeezed. "We all seem to be interested in the same outcome, the safety of the world. The seer was terrifyingly accurate with her predictions. You can see how the other details she let slip might make us want to assess any threats and put protocols in place to deal with them, should they arise."
Miller stood up and put himself between Jack and the others. "Look. You can't tell them about your mission, sir. We can't tell you about ours."
Jack eyed Miller for a moment, then looked at Finn, who watched them silently.
Miller flashed the toothpaste commercial smile. "I brought you here, sir. You're my responsibility."
Maggie Thatcher lifted his chin. "Despite your choice of esteemed companion," Maggie paused long enough to sneer at Jack in a Margaret Thatcher ain't putting up with ol' Muammar Gaddafi's crap today kind of way, "who no doubt should not handle anything more dangerous than a plastic cup of lukewarm coffee with a lid, you are not entirely without judgment, Dr. Jackson. Speak with Ahmad Nasser. He should allay your fears quite nicely."
"Nasser?" Daniel gaped. "But, Nasser?"
Jack glared at Maggie. "Hey! I can handle more than a coffee cup!"
"Daniel?" Sam didn't move from her post, but her voice was like a nice warm hug.
Daniel shook his head. "This explains so much." He stepped quickly around both Jack and Miller. He held his hand out to Mags, who took it and shook it. "Thank you, Mr. Giles. This will certainly help."
Maggie smiled at Daniel. "You're most welcome, Dr. Jackson."
"Wait a minute. Why are we all hand shakey now?" Cheerleader Barbie demanded. "We're not supposed to be hand shakey. We're supposed to be snarky and suspicious!"
"Exactly!" Jack said. "Stop shaking hands, Daniel. We're not satisfied here."
"We are, Jack." Daniel smiled at Maggie. "If you ever have any questions, I specialize in Egypt, please call. Here's my card."
Jack tried to snatch the card, but Daniel deflected it. "Daniel!"
"Thank you, Dr. Jackson. Should the need ever arise, your help would be most appreciated." Maggie looked at Jack.
Miller cleared his throat and stepped between them. "I'll just, uh, see them out to their car."
Jack squared his shoulders. "I'm not—"
Daniel grabbed his biceps and tugged. "We're done here, Jack."
Miller started to discreetly herd them out.
"No, Jack. We're finished."
Jack exploded. "For cryin' out loud, you get one name out of Margaret Thatcher over there and you cave?"
Daniel narrowed his eyes. "Margaret Thatcher?"
Jack waved his hand in Maggie's direction. "Him! British guy you just bonded with over Nasser Arafat."
"Ahmed Nasser. And his name is Giles." Daniel shook his head and took a step toward the door. Jack knew when he was being managed. He knew it. He planted his feet and didn't move.
"Margaret Thatcher," Johnny Rotten hooted. "He's got you pegged, Rupes."
Maggie didn't respond.
"Who's Margaret Thatcher?" Flopsy Mopsy stage whispered to the redhead.
Red's eyes got big. "She was the British Prime Minister during the 80s. Kind of like the president. She was, like, a really powerful woman. She and Ronald Reagan were all, we're tough and you don't mess with us and stuff. Giles isn't a woman. Or a Prime Minister."
Flopsy Mopsy tilted his head and grinned at Cheerleader Barbie. "So would that make Buffy Ronald Reagan?"
Barbie sniffed. "I have better fashion sense than anyone named Ronald. So does Xander." She looked at Flopsy and twisted her lips to the side. "Okay, maybe not Xander."
"I think he wore Armani," Red said, nodding her head sagely. "He was this famous actor before he became president. He had to be well dressed and good looking. Even if his name is Ronald."
"Enough!" Jack wanted to slam his fist on a table, but it was too far away. "This has nothing to do with anything."
"Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were very important civic and historical figures!" Red pushed herself to her feet. "Are, 'cause I don't think they're dead. They're, like, really old."
Jack glared at Red. "Historical! They're not historical! I voted for Ronald Reagan! Both times!" Red eeped and sunk into her seat.
"So you're old," Cheerleader Barbie put in. She smiled at Jack. "It's okay. We respect old people. As long as they're not stupid and don't make with the world endage."
"Buffy, enough," Maggie said quietly. Cheerleader Barbie flipped her hair over her shoulder. Probably would have popped her gum if she'd been chewing any. "Was there anything else we can answer for you, Dr. Jackson?"
Daniel opened his mouth.
Jack shoved himself into the breech before Daniel could ask for a book. "This Nasser Arafat guy is good enough for you, Daniel?"
Daniel didn't even bother to look annoyed. Huh. Jack would have to try harder. "Ahmed Nasser, and yes he is."
"Well, alrighty then, campers. We're good here. Thanks for the intel Maggie. Miller, you got point. We're at the Hotel 6, which is the best place you got in this burg. Fancy digs."
Maggie frowned. "Well, do be careful and don't invite strangers in. If they cannot enter on their own, they shouldn't be in your room."
"Thanks for the heads up, Mags."
"You're quite welcome, Colonel." Who knew stuck up Brits could roll their eyes like Cheerleader Barbie over there? Well score one for the visiting team.
Jack about faced and grinned at his kids. Time to trot off so Daniel could digest his information and spit something they could actually use in a report out of it. "Miller, hop to!"
Miller beat them to the hotel. Of course, Miller didn't have Daniel Jackson nagging him the entire way about being rude to fellow researchers that might be helpful in the future, either, before launching into a lengthy discussion with himself on what sort of information the heiro-whatsits of Nasser Arafat's might contain that he didn't already know about. The only real question on that front was whether or not the General would authorize a trip to Egypt or if Daniel would actually have to spend some of his accrued leave for it.
Jack went into the room first, followed by Daniel, then Miller, then Sam, then Teal'c. Satisfied with the arrangement—Miller would have to get through Sam and T, Jack took one of the chairs and kicked his feet on the bed. "Spit it out, Lieutenant."
Miller probably wanted to look annoyed, but kept his face bland. "Debrief, sir."
Jack grinned. "Not taking off my jammies for you."
"Simply put, sir, don't contact our civilian consultants again." Miller's eyes flicked to Daniel, then settled firmly on Jack. "No one at the SGC."
Daniel looked affronted and opened his mouth.
Jack shrugged and said. "Don't trust Johnny Rotten or Cheerleader Barbie. Too many screws loose in that group."
"What if I—"
"Daniel," Jack said.
Daniel gave his most fulminating glare, the one that topped even the no-coffee, no-books, you're busting my archeological site glare. His mouth opened, then shut. A second later he went into the bathroom and slammed the door.
Jack crossed his arms over his chest and arched his eyebrows. "Anything else, Miller?"
"Not a single word of this goes in a report. Nothing gets put on paper. Nothing is recorded. No one knows about our civilian consultants. They can't fight off the government and the things they have to fight at the same time. You have to keep them safe."
Daniel flung the door open. "What?"
Miller's face didn't move, but he'd probably be sneering if there wasn't a superior officer in the room. "What do you think people like the NID would do with them? The NSA? They have to be protected."
Daniel's face fell. "Oh."
"Deal," Jack said. "Anything else?"
Miller smirked. "Cheerleader Barbie? She's ahead of you on saving the world by two apocalypses. Sir."
Jack put on his bored face. "We've saved more than one world from certain destruction, Miller. But only the kiddies keep count. If there's nothing else, game's on."
Miller looked like he swallowed a bug. "No, nothing else, sir."
Miller took one step back and shut the door.
Jack smirked. "God, I love being a colonel."