"Daniel, the top of the mountain is not where you go to sort out your problems," Colonel Jack O'Neill muttered, tucking his hands into his jacket pockets as a gust of night wind tried to push him back inside the SGC. "Cold. Windy. No beer. Only an archaeologist would try to solve the mysteries of the universe up here."
Said archaeologist was huddled in the lee of a small boulder, coat on, glasses glinting in the light of a quarter moon, arms wrapped around jean-clad knees. Jack relaxed a hair; no matter how upset Dr. Jackson was, he still had enough presence of mind to stay out of the worst of Colorado's weather. "Daniel."
"Go away, Jack."
Given that go away wasn't accompanied by gunfire, Jack didn't feel that unwelcome. He reached into his dark leather jacket, took out a thermos full of peace offering. "Coffee."
And there wasn't a mug in sight. Not good. A Daniel without caffeine was a Daniel heading for a crash. "Look, Sergeant Courtland knew the risks-"
"Rebecca!" Daniel burst out. "Her name was Rebecca, Jack. And now she's dead, and no one cares. No one cares enough to tell the truth." The blond head leaned back against chill stone. "Just another 'training accident'. That's all her family will know. All they'll ever get told."
"Yeah," Jack said softly. "It is."
"And they'll never know how she fought it! How she-" Daniel buried his face in his hands. "Oh gods, Jack… she almost made it."
And that was the worst part, Jack knew. Seeing the sergeant slip away from them in the infirmary, despite all Janet and Sam could do, while the rest of SG-4 recounted her fate in hushed, shaken tones. When that snake had plunged into her neck, Courtland hadn't gone down without a fight. There'd been the expected flash of gold in possessed eyes, the sneering, contemptuous aim of an off-world submachine gun at her former team members-
Aim that suddenly shook, and wavered, and agonizingly turned back on itself. All as the Goa'uld swore, threatening its unwilling host with agony beyond belief.
SG-4 had jumped her, unwilling to risk zats when more than one person might fire. But Goa'uld strength threw them off, breaking multiple bones in the process-
And then Courtland had shot herself.
No one knew how the sergeant had held off the snake's mind-control. Though several scientists had been in there rummaging around almost as soon as Janet pronounced. Jack shuddered, shaking off the image of bits of Courtland scattered around a half-dozen labs. No telling if any of the ashes her family would get would actually be hers.
Something in him rebelled at that. Courtland had died for her planet and her people. The least they could do was give her an honorable burial.
But we can't. 'Cause if she could beat it, and we could figure out how - the Goa'uld would be sitting ducks.
And that was worth not telling her family the truth.
Reaching out to pat the archaeologist on the shoulder, Jack stopped. Listened, for a shred of - he wasn't sure what.
Odd. For a second there, when the wind gusted, he'd almost thought he'd heard a… howl.
Well, duh, Jack told himself dryly. Colorado. Coyote central. He shook off the itchy feeling between his shoulder blades. Great. Jumping at shadows. Relax. If it's so quiet you're not sure you heard it, it can't be anywhere near here.
A dark visor covered Stringfellow Hawke's eyes as he navigated by Starlight. Carefully. Colorado's peaks scratched the sky here, and he had no intention of getting into an argument with Cheyenne Mountain. "Thermal scan?"
"Got it, String." Dominic Santini's hands danced over his console, scanning the mountain complex they were currently hovering over. "Santa Maria! They got this place hollowed out like a chocolate bunny."
"That deep?" Caitlin O'Shannessy asked, fine-tuning some of Airwolf's more sensitive systems with a careful press of a finger.
"Ten, twenty stories at least, Red," Dom confirmed. "Might be more; gonna have to let the Lady crunch numbers on it when we get a minute." He shot a glance toward String. "Lots of buildings, kid. And it ain't exactly like we've ever been in any of 'em. How we gonna know what's supposed to be there and what's not?"
"Michael will know."
"Huh! I bet. You keeping us silent, Cait?"
"Everything we got in the way of quiet ECM," the former Texan nodded. "We're just a hole in the sky."
"Oh, and let's hope we stay that way," Dominic said dryly. "Snooping around top-secret bases. In our own country, yet! Couldn't Archangel have found anybody else?"
"Not for a short-term op. Too much security." String frowned. "Whatever Rebecca Courtland was assigned to, it's not worth losing an operative. Yet."
"So he sends us?" Dark eyes rolled. "Case you two hadn't noticed, that's NORAD down there. They don't like us, String."
String let a grim smile tug at his lips. "We don't like them, either."
"All right, you two, stop beating your manly chests." Caitlin shook a wisp of red hair out of her eyes. "We're gonna snoop, and poke, and leave. And that's all."
Eluded NORAD before. Undesirable to repeat phenomenon.
String felt a true smile soften his face at those hesitant, feathery thoughts. Airwolf had tangled with the United States' air defense system years before, diving into the teeth of Washington's defenders against all her will and programmed common sense, helpless to fight Moffet's logic bomb in her AI. She knew exactly how close she'd come to being wiped out of existence.
Yet she was here. Because they asked her to be.
"Won't let them hurt you, Angel," he murmured. "Promise."
Michael, Archangel requested surveillance data.
"He also said, don't get caught," Caitlin pointed out. "If Rebecca's okay, we got time to do this right. If she's not…." Her voice caught. "Then we damn well better do this right."
Airwolf's cabin fell silent, the three human occupants remembering Penelope Courtland's bleak, reddened eyes. Eyes that had leaked a slow trickle of tears for hours, according to Marella, since the moment that bright Californian morning the young data analyst had stiffened in her chair, turned toward the east, and gasped that her elder sister was-
"Dead," Penelope had whispered when Archangel brought her to Hawke's cabin on Eagle Lake. The fragile blonde barely registered Tet's nose snuffling up her white dress, or the dusty paw-prints as the blue-tick coonhound abandoned his usual pursuits to try to get into her lap, offering comfort to yet another broken soul. "She's dead." Teary eyes blinked, trying to summon clarity. "There was… light. And cold. And - something hungry, in the dark. She - I felt her go. She was so scared…."
"Ordinarily I wouldn't risk bringing a clairvoyant near any of you, no matter how unreliable her flashes are." Archangel's rosewood cane thumped as he paced the main room, limping off impatient energy as he briefed Airwolf's three main pilots. "But in her current state Penelope's too vulnerable to leave within Zeus' reach. And the Lady assures me she can conceal herself from psychic location. For a while."
String studied him. "You don't think Rebecca's death was sanctioned." Even in the blackest of ops, someone had to take responsibility for sending a soldier to die.
"If it was, my customary channels have uncovered a distinct lack of information." Half-dark glasses caught the flickering light from the fireplace, and Archangel's white suit jacket hung discarded on a coat rack, abandoned for a pale, white-and-tan diamond-patterned sweater. String knew the signs; Michael was about to ask for something more personal than the usual Firm assignment. "We've suspected for some time that something unusual was going on under Cheyenne Mountain-"
"The amount and type of personnel that go in the front gates far exceeds that necessary to run NORAD, for one," Marella interjected, rifling through her file folder. Archangel's dusky second in command leaned against Hawke's bar, still, white-silk counterpoint to her boss' impatient stalking.
"-But this is the first occasion on which I've had a thorough picture of the extent of the information blackout," Archangel went on. "Sergeant Courtland has, or had, a valid e-mail address, no restrictions on her phone calls besides the usual, and a habit of calling her sister weekly. A call she's missed by several hours." More angry thumps. "Penelope's left messages. What inquiries my office can make points to nothing out of the ordinary at NORAD. Security or no security, we should have heard something."
"Only you got nothing." Dominic crossed wary arms.
"What we have is a collection of reports and buried files relating to something called either 'Project Blue Book' or 'Area 52', that together indicate the government's dug a lot further into the mountain than even NORAD's highest-ranking personnel know," Marella said tartly. "Supply inventories that hint there's enough medical supplies being routed through there to handle a small war. And a slew of 'training accidents' and 'in the line of duty' deaths among personnel assigned to the base's lower levels."
"Under a mountain?" Caitlin leaned back skeptically.
Archangel thumped his cane down, braced both hands on it. "Put together, it smacks of an ongoing, small-scale covert military operation. In the middle of North America!"
"And they didn't tell you about it?" Dominic raised graying brows. "Imagine that."
"They didn't tell anybody about it." String narrowed blue eyes, studying the white-clad spy. "Isn't that right, Michael?"
"So far as I can determine, yes," Archangel admitted. "Not the NSA, not the Company, not a slew of other agencies I could name. No one knows what's going on down there."
"And you want to change that." String held the spy's gaze. "What about need-to-know?"
"The available information leads us to one of two possible conclusions," Marella shrugged. "First, that the various branches of the military, supported by high-ranking Pentagon personnel, are engaging in illicit live-fire exercises. In which case someone ought to know about it."
"And second?" Caitlin asked.
"We're fighting an actual enemy," Archangel said coldly. "An enemy none of our intelligence agencies know exists." His gaze swept the room. "And if there are people in that five-sided maze who believe they have the right to send American soldiers into the field without the best intelligence we can provide, I want to know."
So you can do something about it, String finished silently, noting how Michael's glance carefully skipped by Penelope. What that something might be, String had no intention of asking. There were some things he didn't want to know. For all his gentility, Michael had a dark streak to match String's own darkness; and the spy's well-hidden sense of honor would not let one of his people sit mourning without answers.
Vendetta, some might call it.
To Archangel, it was only common sense. Allow one of your people to be harmed and soon none of them would be safe.
So here they were, whispering over Cheyenne Mountain, searching for Archangel's answers. For the Firm…and for the heartbroken woman they'd left at Eagle Lake.
"Poor kid," Dominic said softly. "She seemed pretty sure."
"Yeah." Sure as he'd been, all those years he'd been convinced St. John was alive. Though Penelope might have more reason to be certain. According to Archangel's more esoteric files, both of the Courtland sisters had a slight, measurable trace of clairvoyance, enough to work in the Company's Remote Viewer project.
When the CIA had abandoned that project - or claimed they had, Michael had shared a few of his suspicions on that subject - Penelope had gone to work for Archangel. Her sister had joined the Air Force.
Had, String felt coldly certain, being the operative word.
Analysis of psychic scan of subject Penelope complete.
Files on projected PKE frequencies from ruptured empathic bond/secondary link speculative only. No hard data.
Scan consistent with predicted PKE readings from rupture of minor secondary link.
High likelihood subject Rebecca has ceased to exist.
For a moment String let himself share Airwolf's wordless grief. The AI would strike without mercy to defend herself or her pilots, but there was no malice in her. When Airwolf killed, she killed cleanly.
A cleansing breath, and he shut it away. String glanced back, noting the sorrow vanished from his partners' faces, swept aside by cold, crystalline anger. A pilot's fury, kept leashed by training and will.
They'd have Michael's answers. One way or another.
High likelihood subject Rebecca has ceased to exist.
Michael Coldsmith Briggs III, Deputy Director of the Firm's Special Projects Division, known throughout the shadows of various nations as Archangel, kept his face schooled to casual interest as his sweating Air Force escort watched him watching NORAD's world map. Inwardly he started calculating the best place to drop a few Hellfires.
"…And so - er - we really haven't changed that much since the last time you were in here, Director…."
My, my. You could actually see the little beads of sweat dripping down the lieutenant's hairline. Calm. Stay calm. Mayhem later. "Not in any way you can tell me about, of course."
The lieutenant's laugh was forced. "Of course, sir." A subtle flicker of his eyes to upper levels of the room; Archangel heard more than saw the extra airmen heading in to back the lieutenant up. The general in charge might have changed, but NORAD apparently remembered all too well the havoc Archangel's "stealth aircraft" had once caused in their systems.
Good, Archangel thought, bracing both hands on his cane as he stood at casual ease. Eyeing the map for any signs Airwolf had been detected. And finding none. Be nervous. Wonder what I'm up to.
When in fact, I'm not up to anything.
Except distracting you.
Timing is everything. Marella Duval, currently clad as an Air Force captain, returned another salute from a passing airman as she walked out of the NORAD elevator. One elegant hand carried a briefcase, along with the orders that cleared her presence on this level to pass along various sensitive documents. Legitimate orders; though "Captain Renfred" had no existence outside the Firm's cover files, the documents were quite real. Sublevel nine.
It might have doubled for Fort Knox. A slow trickle of officers, noncoms, and various civilians moved through the fortified floor, navigating through enough sheet steel, anti-personnel weapons and hardpoints to stop an invading army cold. All built to cover the elevator she'd found in her research; the one which began on this level, and led down who knew how far. They really don't want people getting in here.
Just as well she didn't intend to try.
"Renfred" stopped at the security desk, returned another salute. "My CO said you people are expecting these."
"Same old, same old," the airman sighed, gesturing to a clipboard for her to sign. Eyed her, evidently appreciating her figure; and just as evidently checking her against a mental list of people he let go through here. "Not going down with them, Ma'am?" The question was a little too casual.
"Please. Do I look like I'm cleared for whatever it is you do down there?" She opened her case to extract the documents before setting black leather on the floor. Ten feet from her target. And there was a weary band of guys in forest cammo tromping through with mass scowls, heading for the down elevator. Good enough.
Out of sight, a small panel in the briefcase opened, disgorging a tiny horde of six-legged spies. Mottled the gray-and-white of urban and military-industrial camouflage, the firefly-sized robots scurried and leaped, clinging to leather boots to catch a free ride through the elevator doors.
And time to scram. "Have a nice night, Sergeant."
"Yeah, right. Ma'am."
Striding back into NORAD's elevator, Marella was careful to walk as if her suitcase had lost no more weight than the paperwork would account for. Though the little spy-bots didn't weigh much, being mostly made of lightweight plastic; their tiny circuit boards strategically soaked in C-4 to disintegrate if tampered with.
Right now they'd be following their simple programming; seek shadows, find the electromagnetic emissions of the main computer systems, nestle up against them and transmit.
Gives whole new meaning to the term 'bugged', Marella thought wryly. Someday, I've got to thank Dr. Craven for the design.
Her elevator doors closed; she stifled a sigh of relief. She still had to get clear of NORAD. Archangel could only loiter up there so long before someone would muster enough nerve to check what on earth the ostentatious man in white was doing here.
Doing what he does best, his second in command thought with a smile. Scamming you all.
"Hello." Caitlin leaned forward, peering into her readouts. Flux in the ground-penetrating radar… there. "Think I got something."
They'd scanned as much as they could from the air, circling the complex in careful silence. Multiple hollows neared the surface, probably parts of NORAD, but this tunnel was another matter entirely. This one was a straight shaft down, sixteen levels at least.
And it breached the surface.
The redhead grinned. "Guys, I think we found the back door."
"Sure looks like," Dominic agreed. "Would it make any difference if I told you two it's got alarms?"
"Yeah." String lifted his visor, aimed a wry smile Dom's way. "Means we have to use a few more of Marella's toys."
"Ah, you're gonna go no matter what I think… Come on, Angel, let's try an' keep 'em in one piece." Strong hands tapped a few keys. "Okay, I think we can set down. Most of the sensors look like they're aimed in, an' we foxed the others."
Can maintain sensor patterns for approximately one hour, thirteen minutes, Airwolf agreed. Repeaters attached to alarms may detect interference beyond that timeframe.
Caitlin snorted as String brought them to a feather-light landing. "Guess they're not worried about someone landing in the middle of their backyard."
"Who'd be dumb enough to break into NORAD?" Dominic rolled his eyes, setting sensors to sweep the perimeter. "Do me a favor, hmm? Keep your heads down?"
"Sure." And String was out the door, crouched in the darkness of a mountain night.
Caitlin joined him a second later, black cap over the betraying gleam of her red hair, bracing herself against Airwolf's downwash as they picked their way toward the concrete pipe buried in the forested mountainside. The ex-cop felt her heart race, starlit night almost bright as day to her eyes. She could see the simple latches holding the metal cover down, the minute disturbances in rock and moss that spoke of sensors they had to sidestep. If she listened close, she could hear the roar of moving air in its concrete cage, tease out the echo that spoke of a very long way down. One good thing about working for the Firm, Caitlin thought with a hidden smile. It's not boring.
Twenty minutes to cover a hundred feet. Part of her wanted to rush in and be done with it. No. Be patient. Watch Hawke.
Always a pleasure. String moved like a gray panther, face painted black as her own, booted toes tentatively brushing the ground before they committed an ounce of weight. His breathing was quiet, unhurried. No reason it should be, Caitlin thought. He'd been sneaking into - and out of - hostile territory before she'd ever soloed a chopper.
And they were at the pipe, disabling more alarms before carefully lifting the lid-
Caitlin squeezed her eyes shut against the assault, biting her lip to blot out a blistering Texan curse. "Emergency lights," String murmured, too quiet for a jackrabbit to hear ten feet away. "They don't know we're here."
They hoped. But Caitlin dared to peer into that white blaze, letting her vision fade until the night was dark, and the tunnel lit. "Long way down." Soft as her voice was, she could still hear it echo off concrete.
"And we're not going." String's face was set and grim as he studied metal rungs leading down. "Nowhere to hide. No way to blend in if somebody pops into the shaft." He shook his head. "We take pictures. We set the bugs. We leave."
But we came this close- Another look into the depths killed her protest. They didn't have a map. They wouldn't have Airwolf's guns, or speed, or stealth. They'd be facing potential enemies on their own ground.
And every step in those concrete warrens would have Airwolf's drumbeat of panic behind it; the AI's sure knowledge that her pilots were at hazard and there was no way on earth she could get to them. Panic that would sweep all her pilots, no matter how the Lady tried to block it; catching not just them, but Dom and Michael as well.
Caitlin sighed, yielding to common sense. Just when it was getting interesting. "Looks like a fiber-optic cable." With enough dust on it to indicate it didn't get checked too often. Which might mean it didn't go to anything important at all. But you had to take what you could get.
"We can handle that." String handed over a subtle lump in patterned grays, gripped her waist as she prepared to lean in to set the cable tap. "Find a good shadow."
Wasn't as easy when the blood was rushing to your head. But she'd practiced this, under Marella's watchful eye, and gloved fingers slid the slim box of circuitry between the cable and the wall with barely a squeak on concrete. She held it there one-handed, reached back toward String.
He pressed a short tube of stick-to-anything glue into her palm; Caitlin curled her fingers around it, brought it down to the tap. Careful… just enough to hold it on, you don't want drips. Somebody might see 'em.
There. Caitlin held the tap against concrete for a long minute, gingerly released it. It stayed put. "Up."
String waited until her heartbeat settled down, helped her close the metal cover on concrete. "Now we have to reset the alarms." Blue eyes creased, wryly amused. "Without getting caught."
Caitlin gave him a tired grin. "Fun never stops around here, does it?"
Gods, what time is it?
Daniel trudged through the uppermost level of NORAD, heading for the down elevator, a mug of Jack's coffee clutched in a weary grip. Jack's hand was on his shoulder, steadying him when he wavered toward a wall.
They'd talked for almost an hour. Well, mostly he'd talked; Jack had made agreeable grunts here and there, along with a few well-placed and pithy curses on the Goa'uld in general and Hathor's brood in particular. It didn't feel like a bleeding gash inside anymore, knowing he'd walk back into the SGC and never see Sergeant Courtland again.
But it still hurt. It would for a long time.
Daniel stopped, realizing his support had frozen in place, fingers gripping his shoulder like steel. "Jack?" He craned his head up, followed the angry glare of brown eyes.
A tall blond in white limped out of the elevator, military escort following at a decent distance from his cane. Suit, hat, shoes - everything but the black patch over one lens of his glasses was pure white. What the heck?
Jack wasn't moving. Not one muscle.
But something had caught the white-suited man's eye. Daniel felt that blue gaze rake him, head to toe, cool and calm and calculating as Sam with a new bit of alien technology. The gaze switched to Jack, and Daniel saw the blond mustache bend in a wry smile.
Casually, the blond tipped his hat. And walked away.
"Ohhh, shit," Jack breathed.
Daniel gulped the last of his coffee as Jack bolted, wove around an unfamiliar dark Air Force Captain in skirt and heels as he followed in the colonel's wake. He knew that look. No need to risk running into a wall when he knew exactly where Jack was heading.
Elevator, security checkpoint, elevator…. Daniel yawned, following the sound of shouting. By this time he could make his way to General Hammond's office in his sleep.
"-Just who let him in here, sir!"
Daniel pushed through the door in time to catch the general's annoyed glare. "Director Briggs has clearance from the Pentagon to enter certain areas of NORAD when his duties require it," General George Hammond stated. "We can't keep him out, Colonel. Intelligence agent or not."
"Sir, with all due respect, Archangel is not an agent. Archangel is a catastrophe in a white suit!"
"Who's Archangel?" Daniel asked.
Hammond frowned, evidently considering how much to tell a civilian, high security clearance or no. "Deputy Director Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III," he said after a moment. "The man works for one of our more… esoteric intelligence agencies."
"He's a spook," Jack said bluntly, hands clenched in his jacket pockets. "Don't let the white suit fool you. I met him someplace… I don't want to think about. The man knows more about what's going on in this planet's hotspots than the President, and he is not afraid to get his hands dirty." The colonel shot a glare Hammond's way. "And he is never going to believe I'm down here doing deep-space radar telemetry. Sir."
"Be that as it may, Colonel, the man's pushing a desk now," the general said dryly. "NORAD's checked, every time he's come in. He hasn't been in the field in years."
"That they know about. Sir," Jack added belatedly.
"Jack." Hammond actually had a hint of a smile. "Briggs may have terrified the administration upstairs to the point that they called me direct, but he never went beyond their bottom level. He hasn't so much as set foot in the SGC."
Jack let out a long, slow breath. "All right. All right." He ruffled fingers through graying hair. "But you don't mind if we run an extra security sweep, do you, sir? Just to be sure."
"The graveyard shift's already started it." Hammond crossed his arms, looked at them askance. "Now, I believe you two have dates with certain horizontal surfaces? Dr. Frasier asked me to remind you they're called beds, in case you've forgotten." The general arched a faded red brow. "Dr. Jackson? If you'd be so kind as to escort the colonel to his quarters?"
"Absolutely." Almost against his will, Daniel found himself smiling as he led the snarling colonel off. Usually it was Jack putting him to sleep. "Want me to teach you how to count mastages?"
"Oh, for cryin' out loud…."
A week later.
"Well," Marella said softly, reviewing the high points of the files they'd collected so far. Turned a page, shaking her head; this Dr. Janet Frasier's description of exactly what had happened to Sergeant Rebecca Courtland was clinical, intelligent… and quite graphic. "Well, well, well."
"It does put a rather fine edge on our timetable." Archangel was leaning back in his office chair, fingertips touching, sunset gilding his suit through Knightsbridge's windows, outwardly the picture of relaxation.
Marella knew better. The mind behind those glasses was racing at warp speed, juggling what they now knew with what they'd only suspected before, forming and discarding plans on the fly. "What do we tell them?"
"For now, nothing," Archangel said bluntly. "Given the agents Hawke knows I've moved into this part of the country, the amount of resources we put into the Lady's new Lair, the contacts we've made with the gargoyle clans and Roache's people, not to mention various other individuals… they've been in the business long enough to draw their own conclusions."
"Sir." Marella forced back a shiver of fear. She was an agent. She was experienced. She was… absolutely terrified. "How much good will a modern Maquis do against creatures who can wipe out planets?"
Silence stretched between them.
Michael sighed, stared out at the sunset. "During World War II," he said softly, "The British were preparing to lose the Suez Canal to German bombs. A horrendous loss, cutting off their supply of oil, a catastrophe that would mean the loss of their country - but there was nothing they could do. They knew it. The Germans knew it. It was only a matter of time." A wry blue glance found hers. "You do remember the rest of this story?"
She did; it was a classic of espionage and misdirection. "A magician came to them," Marella answered, puzzled. "He said he could - hide the canal…." She drew in a sharp breath. "Sir, do you think we can hide a whole planet?"
"I think we can damn well try."
"…And one more stitch should do it," Dr. Warner concluded, tying off the last knot. "Next!"
"Guy's bedside manner stinks," Jack groused, letting Teal'c help him down off the examining table. "Where's Napoleon when you need her?"
"Dr. Frasier is examining the contents of the infirmary computer," the dark Jaffa informed him, guiding him out of the line of fire as a swarm of nurses helped SG-3 out of various pieces of their uniforms. Lucky stiffs. The Marines had, for once, come out on the better end of the stick; while SG-1 had tangled with a sea-going reptilian with an attitude the size of Manhattan, SG-3 had wound up tangled in the underbrush.
Carnivorous, poison-thorned underbrush. Okay, so maybe they weren't that lucky.
Jack raised an eyebrow as Daniel got in on his other side. Teal'c could hold up three staggering Marines; he wasn't going to strain anything hauling around one tired Air Force colonel. But try convincing Daniel of that. A few feet away Major Sam Carter let out a quiet breath, finally reassured her CO wasn't about to fall over because of a measly almost-a-plesiosaur bite in his leg. Geez, wasn't more than seventeen stitches. "What's she need out of the medical files that can't wait?"
Teal'c gave him a level look. "Dr. Frasier is not examining the files."
Oh, the contents. Jack rolled his eyes. Sometimes he'd swear Teal'c did that on purpose; inject just enough confusion into English to get a person to really think about what he was saying.
Neat trick, if you could pull it off.
An electrical snap resounded from Janet's office, followed hard by a "Yow!"
"What the heck?" Sam headed for the office door.
The doc herself appeared in her doorway in a swirl of smoke, shaking her hand out. "Colonel. Major. I think you should take a look at this."
Sure. Why not. Never mind that his leg still felt like it'd tangled with a mad dentist, and he knew about as much about the insides of computers as Daniel did the passing rules in football.
Only when he looked over the tiny bits of wreckage in Janet's computer, he did know what it was. "We've been bugged," Jack announced, feeling something sink in his stomach. "Big time." He met Frasier's dark gaze. "Call security. We need a full-scale sweep, now."
Leaning in a corner as the SGC went quietly berserk, Jack ran down a list of suspects. The Tok'ra? Nah, that wreckage looked all Earth-native. Advanced, but native. The Russians? Possible, but he doubted one of their operatives could have gotten through security. NID? Not likely. This was a class job.