Having to do paperwork renewed Jack’s appreciation for General Hammond. In fact, at this moment, he would accept any excuse to escape this task.
“Sir? We have a bit of an emergency,” Walter said, coming to the door.
An emergency, Jack would take that, as long as it wasn’t the kind where someone got hurt. “What is it?”
“Well, the president is here.”
That got Jack’s attention. “Excuse me?”
“The President’s helicopter just arrived. We need you in the briefing room.”
“And what does Kinsey want with me?” If there was one thing he hated more than paperwork, it was Kinsey.
“Not Kinsey.. The VP didn’t resign, President Allen was sworn in last night, and she was being briefed over the night about the Stargate Program. From what I was told, they wanted to wait for you to go to Washington, but she demanded to know what was costing so much of the military budget.”
“Why don’t anyone ever tell me anything?”
Jack knew that President Henry Hayes had recently passed away after a fulminating heart attack, but the last information he had was that Mackenzie Allen would resign, and as such wouldn’t even be informed of the Stargate program. He had always said that the VP should know about the program, but since the beginning no one thought she would ever take office. Funny, he always did think she would be a better president than Kinsey.
Mackenzie sat back, trying to absorb everything she was being shown. She first heard about the Stargate, the existence of alien lifeforms, and the war Earth was facing, only hours before. Her first thought when hearing about it was that it was some sort of prank, tell the new president that aliens are real, but now she could see how serious this was.
“I want to see it.”
“Madam President?” one of the suits she had brought with her asked. Jack wasn’t sure who they were, but she did came with a huge comitive.
“This Stargate, I want to see it. If you are asking me to believe that traveling across the universe is possible, I want to see this device with my own eyes.”
“Actually, only across this galaxy. We have an expedition in the Pegasus galaxy, but we haven’t heard from them yet,” Jack said. “But if you want to see it, SG-4 is due to make contact at 0800.”
Mackenzie considered the offer, flipping through her briefing folder. “This Alpha Site you mentioned, is it secure?”
Jack raised an eyebrow, hoping this wasn’t going where he thought this was going. “As secure as a place can be when it’s in another planet. None of our current allies or enemies know about its location.”
“Then I would like for a visit to be arranged.”
Looks were traded all around the room. “I’m not sure that’s wise.”
“General, I was just told that we are part of an interplanetary war, I want to know as much as possible about this situation.”
Maybe if this was a different president, Jack would have thought that this was just someone new trying to impose without knowing what they were getting themselves into, but he had heard a lot about Allen when she was still the VP, and that didn’t fit her profile.
“The Secret Service doesn’t offer offworld training, if you go, you’ll need us to provide security.”
“The president doesn’t go anywhere without the Secret Service.”
“The president can speak for herself. I accept your terms, General. When can we go?”
“SG-1 is offworld at the moment, but I would like to wait for them to return. That’s our best team.”
The man next to her, whose name Jack forgot, said, “Is that the one with the alien?”
“I fought alongside with Teal’c for seven years, and in this time he saved Earth more times than I can count, and that’s not even mentioning all the times he saved my life.”
“Choose a different team, the president won’t go offworld with an alien as security.”
“I’m sure we can trust the General’s judgment in this situation,” Mackenzie said.
“Still, Madam President, I don’t think this is wise.”
Jack raised his hands in the air. “If you prefer, I can get SG-12, 13, and 14.”
When Sam, Teal’c, and Daniel arrived, the gate room was in chaos.
“What happened?” Sam yelled to the control room, noticing all the movement around the gate.
“General O’Neill and President Allen were kidnapped offworld. We sent a team, but couldn’t locate them in the Alpha Site,” Walter said.
Daniel felt like being punched in the stomach, and was too astonished to even say anything.
“President Allen?” was Sam’s first question. “What happened with President Hayes?” They had been on the planet for nearly a week, unaware of what was happening on Earth.
Walter didn’t know what to do, without the General to brief SG-1. “I’ll explain everything in the briefing room.”
Sometime during the briefing, Daniel managed to stop his hands from shaking. This was far from the first time Jack’s life was in danger, but it came so unexpectedly that he couldn’t help but be affected, and Daniel could barely believe he was out on a routine mission while Jack was being kidnapped. It was funny how the death of the president, his substitution by the first female president of the United States, and her subsequent kidnapping paled in comparison to Jack’s capture.
“Any casualties?” Sam asked, rubbing her eyes.
“None, but some severe injuries. Only the president and the general are unaccounted for, but everything indicates they were taken prisoner, not killed,” Walter said.
“But why them?” Daniel finally asked, speaking for the first time during the briefing.
“Daniel is right, all the survivors said they saw a Goa’uld mothership, and I would understand if they had taken only General O’Neill, but they had no reason to know who President Allen is,” Sam agreed.
“Unless they had an informant here,” Daniel interrupted.
“And one who was here when the president decided to visit the Alpha Site,” Sam concluded.
At least then they had something to concentrate in. They were all at their best like this, when instead of worrying they could do something.
“Daniel, how are you doing?” Sam asked, sitting by his side while they were getting their gear ready.
He felt like he was in a trance since the briefing. He was operating mostly on automatic pilot, focusing only on each step of his tasks to the point that he couldn’t even remember where the information about that the Goa’uld base they were going to invade came from.
“I was just… you know what the last thing I said to him was? ‘We’re out of coffee,’” he laughed bitterly. “And he said, ‘I’ll pick up some on my way back.’ Those were our last words to each other, and now…” Of course there had been a proper goodbye the night before, as they both knew Daniel’s mission would be long, but Jack usually left a lot earlier in the morning, when Daniel’s mood wasn’t at its best, and it was to that last interaction that his mind kept returning.
Sam reached out to squeeze his hand. “We’ll get him back.”
Teal’c approached from his other side. “Jack O’Neill has faced worse odds and survived.”
Daniel couldn’t help but smile at his friends’ attempts to cheer him up. “Let’s go get them back.”
Jack woke up with his name being called urgently, and not so gentle slaps across his face. His eyes came to focus slowly. “Daniel?”
“Jack, we have to get out of here, now,” Daniel said, urging him to stand.
“Teal’c has her, but Sam is setting up explosives all around the base, we need to get out of here now.”
Jack stood, fighting against the dizziness. He didn’t know what was happening, but ‘explosives’ and ‘get out of here now’ were enough. The explanations could wait until after they were back at the SGC. He had taken quite a beating, but nothing that would keep him from walking, even if he did need a bit of help.
Jack refused to stay in the infirmary, agreeing instead to a couple days off duty as long as that meant he could spend them at home. Between the infirmary and the time Sam and Teal’c spent at Jack’s, for the team’s traditional post near deadly mission beer, it was late at night when Jack and Daniel were finally alone, left with a mess to clean in the living room.
“You know, I still think that Kinsey had something to do with it. He was trying to convince President Allen to resign while President Hayes was still in the hospital,” Jack said while gathering the empty beer bottles.
“You don’t think that he would have the president killed just to take her place?”
“It’s Kinsey we are talking about, I wouldn’t put it past him.”
Daniel dropped a couple beer bottles on the trash, and hugged Jack from behind. “Can we talk about this tomorrow?” he asked, resting his chin on Jack’s shoulder. “I’m tired.”
Jack placed a hand over Daniel’s, as if to say he understood what he was feeling, even though they wouldn’t talk about it. Jack wanted to say something, like ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘thank you’, but they never talked about this type of thing, seeking comfort in a more physical manner, which already was an advancement from their previous refusal to seek comfort at all. “Did you miss sleeping on a real bed?”
Daniel laughed, his laugh muffled by Jack’s shoulder. “I missed the company more.”