All publicly recognisable characters and places are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognised characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
This story has spoilers for the Broca Divide and Enigma, and takes place soon after Enigma.
Rated PG13 for language, violence
Extract from Daniel's Diary
There have been times since returning from Abydos that I have hated been constantly labelled as 'the civilian advisor'. It's not that the military guys deliberately try to make me feel like an outsider, but there is this constant sense that out on a mission they're watching my back because they don't think I'm capable of doing so myself. Even Jack has a tendancy to 'baby' me. Not that he hasn't had to pull me out of a few scrapes in my time. Still, it was good for once to be able to play the civilian card to advantage. And even better to get one up on that sleeze ball Maybourn...
Daniel was still smiling to himself as he came out the rest room and headed down the corridor to join the rest of SG1 in the briefing room. The Tollans were safe with the Nox, and he was feeling good about things. A tricky situation neatly resolved.
He had nearly reach the far end of the corridor when round the corner came Colonel Maybourn. As they approached each other, Maybourn glanced behind himself, and realising they were alone saw his chance. Although he was smaller than Daniel, the colonel was still a trained airman. In one swift move he grabbed Daniel's lapel, slammed the anthropologist hard up against the steel wall, and placed his forearm against Daniel's windpipe, allowing the young man just enough air for him not to pass out.
"You and O'Neill think you're so clever, don't you?" Maybourn hissed. "Well listen up, Jackson. That was no idle threat I made back there. Your days on this project are numbered. I'm personally going to see to that. And your big buddy needs to watch his back too. Remember that when you're back in the gutter where you belong."
As abruptly as he had launched his attack, Maybourn released Jackson and walked away. As Daniel drew in a painful breath, he watched the retreating back of the colonel in stunned silence.
"Maybourn threatened you!" Jack was incensed.
"It was nothing." Daniel tried to make light of the incident as he joined the rest of SG1 in the briefing table. In fact, he'd tried to act normal when he arrived in the room but Jack had immediately picked up on the fact that something was bothering him. There wasn't much Daniel could hide from Jack these days.
"Sounds like he assaulted you," Sam commented, her blue eyes flashing with anger.
"It was nothing," Daniel repeated. "He was just mad 'cos we got one up on him." Jack responded with his familiar raised eyebrow expression, the words, Ya think? clearly about to follow.
"Can we just got on with this briefing?" Daniel asked. "Maybourn's gone. The Tollans have a new home. It really isn't worth getting riled up over."
A week later in the early evening, two men met in a remote part of a local park. "What news?" asked the taller of the two.
"The lab results are everything we hoped they would be," replied the smaller man.
"There is just one thing. We don't know how it would work on a human subject."
The tall man smiled, his lips shaping themselves into a cruel line. "Then I suggest you try it out."
"Are you sure?" The smaller man seemed uncomfortable.
"Positive. Find yourself a... 'volunteer'. I'll expect the results within the month."
The tall man became impatient. "If you can't handle this..."
"No, it's fine. I know just the person."
As the two men separated, the shorter man pulled the collar of his overcoat higher, suddenly aware that the stars on his uniform were showing.
Jack O'Neill was tired when he reached home. The three-day trip through the Stargate had been a physical nightmare - driving rain had poured down on him and his team the entire time, chilling them to the bone, and they had little to show for their efforts except a few wet soil samples. He was getting too old for this, he thought wearily. He should really be sitting up on the roof gazing at the stars, not leaping between them. He pulled a beer from the fridge, twisted the top off and tossed it into the sink. He intended to rattle off his obligatory report for General Hammond, then head for a long hot shower and bed.
The first mouthful of beer made him shudder. He peered at the bottle suspiciously. Daniel had taken to buying him weird brands from strange places like India. Variety is the spice of life, he'd say, as he arrived at Jack's house with yet another six pack of unpalatable liquids. Jack smiled at the thought. Sometimes Daniel was like an unruly puppy - always full of energy and eager to try new things.
However, this was his usual beer. Jack sighed. Gate travel did weird things to the system sometimes. He'd have to check it with Doctor Frasier, see if anyone else was complaining about their taste buds.
Still, once he'd filed his report, he had three days leave and there was a major ice hockey tournament running. He intended to spend some serious time in front of his TV and to get through a few bottles of decent beer, if he could just keep Daniel in check. He took another swallow of the one in his hand. Hopefully his taste buds would be back to normal by the morning.
Jack arrived in the SGC briefing room knowing he looked hung-over. He knew he hadn't drunk that much - perhaps no more than six or seven bottles over the past three days, but he had a serious headache. He really was getting too old for this. He peered over at Jackson, who looked totally refreshed and raring to go. The younger man's hair hung teasingly over his eyes in the way that Jack knew had Sam sitting on her hands most meetings. Right now, Jackson and Carter were laughing together - something about the rain getting right through SGC issue clothing. Jack felt irritation rise as he watched them. No, not them - as he watched Jackson. His thoughts darkened. It was time somebody took the archaeologist down a peg or two.
"Can we start?" O'Neill snapped.
Daniel looked up in surprise at the Colonel's tone. "General Hammond isn't here yet," he pointed out mildly.
Jack glared at him. "I can see that!"
Daniel looked at him with that 'so it's obvious' look that he used when his mind was three steps ahead of his mouth. "So we can't start yet."
Jack's look was pure hostility now. He glanced at Hammond's empty seat and then back at Jackson. He opened his mouth to speak, but before he could the door of the briefing room opened. Hammond entered the room closely followed by Colonel Maybourn.
Jack pulled a face and groaned audibly. "What's he doing here?"
"Colonel Maybourn has some serious news for us." General Hammond said
"How you doing, Colonel O'Neill?" Maybourn's tone almost sounded genuine.
"Oh, I'm real peachy," Jack responded, the sarcasm dripping off his tongue.
Hammond quickly took his seat, his expression was dark. As everyone concentrated their attention on him, he said "It seems that SGC has a leak."
"A leak?" O'Neill cocked his head to one side. "What sort of leak?"
"That's classified," Maybourn said quickly. "I'm here to make sure that everyone, including civilians," Maybourn gave Daniel a cold look, "Adhere strictly to protocols, and I have a team of investigators with me to track down whoever it is that is leaking information."
"That's comforting," Jack said, with a wry smile.
Maybourn turned his cold blue eyes on the Colonel. "SGC has a traitor in its midst, Colonel. I intend to find out who it is."
Jack shifted uncomfortably under Maybourn's scrutiny. "Well it ain't me!" He glanced round the table and his eyes fell on Jackson who was absent-mindedly swirling his coffee in the mug. A bizarre idea formed in Jack's mind.
Traitor. The word bounced around Jack's head like a pinball, reminding him how much his skull was throbbing. Traitor. An icy feeling ran down his spine. He had a hunch. No - it was more than a hunch. He knew who the traitor was. He just needed evidence.
Jack hurried down one of the far corridors to a small office. He pushed opened the door, pleased to find it empty. The office was crowded with artifacts, old books, sheets of paper, and computer screens. Jack frowned - he didn't know what he was looking for, but he'd know when he found it. He turned to the computer - decided that was too obvious. Besides hunting for computer files wasn't his forte. A filing cabinet caught his attention. Much better. Yanking the first drawer open he began to pull out papers, tossing them on to the floor as soon as he'd scanned them.
"Jack?" Daniel stood in the door, his face a picture of astonishment. "What are you looking for?"
Jack spun round. His head was really hurting now. He peered at Jackson through the fog of pain. "Evidence!"
"Evidence?" Innocently Daniel stepped into the office, setting his coffee mug on his desk. "Evidence of what?" He looked at the papers that Jack had thrown to the floor. The idea that something very weird was happening began to form in his mind.
Jack also looked at the papers and then round at the crowded office. The task was impossible, he thought. Jackson could hide the evidence anywhere. A new thought formed in his mind. Stepping quickly across the office, he closed the door and locked it, pocketing the key.
"Um, Jack..." Daniel began uncertainly.
"I know it's you," Jack snarled.
"R...rrr....right." Daniel's mind was spinning. Something was seriously wrong with his friend.
"Don't r...rrr..right me." Jack's expression was menacing now. "I know you're the traitor. And I know there is evidence to prove it in this office. So why don't you just hand it over to me."
"Jack, I have no idea what you're talking about." Daniel protested.
Jack smiled. "Have it your way." Daniel began to smile too as Jack half turned away. But then the older man swung round and back-handed Daniel across the face. The force of the blow knocked Daniel across his desk, papers flying everywhere. Jack leaned over the desk and looked down on his shocked colleague. "Beating it out of you suits me just fine."
Jack moved round the desk as Daniel scrambled to his feet. The anthropologist couldn't seem to think straight. It was as though he'd stepped into some kind of nightmare. "Jack..."
Too late. The Colonel grabbed the lapels of Jackson's jacket with one hand and lashed out with the other. Daniel felt his mouth fill with blood as he hit the floor for a second time.
Carter turned into the corridor humming quietly to herself. She was feeling more than a bit pleased with herself. Daniel had left a strange artifact with her earlier that morning and she'd suddenly figured out what it could be used for. She smiled at the thought of getting one up on Daniel - it didn't happen that often.
She reached Daniel's door and frowned when she saw it was shut. Daniel never closed his door when he was working, and she knew that he'd headed this way straight after lunch. She lifted her hand to knock when the sound of crashing furniture inside the office froze her to the spot. "Daniel!" she shouted. Her hand went to the door handle. Locked! She leaned closer to the door. "Daniel!"
Jackson backed away from O'Neill, wiping the blood from his lips with the sleeve of his jacket. He tried to smile, trying to think of some way to humour his commanding officer. Memories of P3X797 came tumbling back. Maybe Jack had picked up a new type of virus. "Listen, Jack. Why don't we sit down? I'll tell you all you want to know." Behind O'Neill's back Jackson could see the panic button on the wall. All the offices in the SGC complex had them in case of enemy attack.
"Why'd you do it, Jackson?" O'Neill snarled. "Don't we pay you enough? Thought you'd run to the press and make a few extra bucks." O'Neill picked up one of Daniel's artifacts - a heavy stone statuette covered in gold leaf. "Or was it that you wanted your name on a few of your precious science journals? Must be tough for you knowing so much and not being able to tell anyone."
"Yeh," Jackson agreed, trying to keep O'Neill distracted. "That's it. They all laughed at me you know. They all thought..." Jackson launched himself across the room, but O'Neill was too fast for him. A flying tackle brought both men crashing to the floor. Jackson squirmed from under the Colonel, desperately reaching up the wall towards the button. But again O'Neill was on him. He pinned Jackson with his face to the wall, and then realised he was still holding the stone statue. "Trying to reach the alarm, Danny boy?" he sneered, and brought the statue down with full force on Jackson's outstretched fingers. Before Jackson could even react to the pain, O'Neill wrenched the anthropologist's arm back, smiling as he heard the sharp snap of breaking bone.
Sam heard the scream through the door. She hammered on the door. "Daniel!" Throwing her full weight against the wood, she swore. There was no way she was strong enough to break the door down. She'd have to get help. Turning about she spotted an alarm half way down the corridor, and pelted at full speed for it.
Jackson fell to his knees, clutching his broken arm. He looked up at Jack, blood from a deep scrape across his forehead making his hair cling to his pain-ridden face. "All right," he whispered. "Whatever you want, Jack. Just don't hurt me any more."
Daniel felt his blood run cold as he looked up at one of the few people he trusted with his life. O'Neill's face was set into a mask of violence. Outside the door they heard Sam yelling, and then the alarm went off. A flicker of relief crossed Daniel's face, but it vanished as the Colonel reached out and grabbed him by the hair.
Clearly enjoying the control, O'Neill pulled Daniel viciously to his feet. With his free hand, he tossed the statue into the air and caught it again. The action one of sheer malevolence His eyes bored into Daniel with open hatred. "Believe me, Jackson. You haven't even begun to hurt."
"Hurry," Carter screamed as an armed guard rounded the corner. "Dr Jackson's office."
Six large security guards raced past her, closely followed by General Hammond and Colonel Maybourn. Sounds of violence emanated from the room. "On three," commanded the sergeant, drawing his gun. "One, two, THREE!"
The office door cracked loudly as four burly bodies threw their weight against it. There was a sound of scuffling and then the satisfying noise of handcuffs being applied. Carter followed the last guard into the room, and took in a sharp intake of breath as she saw who was handcuffed. "Colonel O'Neill?"
She glanced round the wrecked office and then spotted a crumpled figure in a blue uniform lying beneath a shattered chair. "Daniel!" She was at his side in an instant, desperately feeling for a pulse. "Daniel!" she repeated urgently. Without looking up she yelled for medical assistance.
As Maybourn stepped through the door, O'Neill turned to him with a look of triumph. "There's your traitor, Maybourn." He nodded his head at the unconscious body.
"Colonel O'Neill, what are you talking about?" Hammond demanded.
"Daniel Jackson is the traitor at SGC." O'Neill's voice was full of confidence. "Now will you order this bonzo to uncuff me."
"You're telling me Dr Jackson..." Hammond shook his head. "Captain Carter, how is he?"
"There's a very faint pulse, Sir." Sam shot an ugly look at O'Neill. "He's been beaten pretty bad."
Hammond took a deep breath. Jackson a traitor? And O'Neill - what was with the man? This was the guy who was ordinarily so protective of the young anthropologist, yet here he stood with a smug smile on his face, clearly pleased with his handiwork. A medical team careened around the corner. "In here," Hammond barked. He glanced at O'Neill. "Colonel O'Neill. You're under arrest until I find out what went on here."
"Arrest? Are you nuts?" O'Neill stepped forward, but two of the guards caught him neatly by the arms.
"Sergeant, please," Hammond added hastily. "Escort the colonel to one of the holding cells."
As O'Neill was led away shouting that the world had clearly gone mad, Hammond failed to see the satisfied expression that flitted briefly over Maybourn's face.
Janet Frasier squeezed Sam's shoulder as she passed her on the way out of the infirmary. Sam shot her a grateful smile before returning her gaze to the bruised and bloodied face of Daniel Jackson. She'd been by his bed all night, but he still hadn't regained consciousness. Teal'c had positioned himself on the other side of the bed. Sam envied the way the Jaffa could stand for hours, not moving a muscle, every bit of his concentration on his unconscious team-mate.
"I've got to report to General Hammond," Janet said. "If he wakes call me?"
Sam nodded, gently picking up Daniel's good hand. The three broken fingers on his left hand were taped together and a plaster cast covered his arm from hand to elbow.
Frasier walked down the corridor towards Hammond's office reading her notes as she went. It wasn't good. In addition to his arm and fingers, Daniel had four broken ribs and a punctured lung. It had taken her three hours of surgery to stop the internal bleeding he had suffered, and she was worried there might be permanent damage to his kidneys. She had no doubt that O'Neill could've killed the young man quickly and cleanly, but this attack seemed designed to inflict as much pain as possible. She shook her head in disbelief. What had the colonel been thinking?
She turned into Hammond's office, took a seat, and delivered her clinical assessment on Daniel without showing any of the emotion she felt. Hammond accepted her report without comment, although Frasier could tell from the tension in his shoulders that the head of SGC could barely contain his urge to pace the room.
"I want to run some tests on Colonel O'Neill," Frasier said. Hammond's expression indicated she should continue. "We all know this attack on Daniel is totally out of character. Something must have triggered it."
"I'd certainly like to think so doctor," Hammond responded. "But you gave SG1 medical clearance when they returned from their last trip."
Frasier nodded. "Yes, but I may have missed something. We've gained a lot of experience over the past few months, but we can never be sure that our tests screen for every possibility. I think..."
She was cut off by the telephone. Hammond picked up the receiver. Listened for a few seconds and then looked at Frasier. "It's O'Neill. You're needed..."
Janet was already on her feet.
O'Neill was in shock. He looked up at Frasier with glassy eyes as she entered his cell. "Colonel?" She laid her hand against his skin, feeling how cold and clammy it was. His face was an unhealthy grey.
Listlessly he raised a hand indicting the cell. "What's going on Janet?" His voice sounded tired. "Why am I here?"
"Long story, Colonel." Frasier turned to the guards. "I want the colonel moved to the infirmary."
Frasier shot the guard a cold look. "Your orders have just changed. I don't have time to move all the equipment here. Besides, you needn't worry about him hurting anybody in this state."
The guard looked back at O'Neill who was now shivering. The colonel certainly didn't look like a threat. "I need to cuff him."
"Whatever," Janet replied. "Just do it quickly."
Jack looked in confusion at the cuffs. "Am I under arrest?" he asked, his voice very quiet.
"Don't worry about it, colonel," Janet replied helping him to his feet. "You're going to be just fine."
As Jack entered the infirmary, he spotted Daniel, still unconscious and surrounded by wires and machinery. "Danny?" He moved towards the archaeologist, but the guard caught his arm. Sam was on her feet immediately. "That's far enough, Sir." She planted herself firmly between Jack and Daniel's bed. Behind her she sensed the big Jaffa had moved to form a double barricade
"Sam?" Jack seemed to be having trouble focusing. "Teal'c? What happened to Daniel?"
Sam studied his face, wondering if this was some sick joke. The colonel had been right when he'd been led from Daniel's office. The world was going mad. She glanced back at Daniel and then looked O'Neill straight in the eye. "You did, Sir."
As Janet caught his arm and led him to a bed at the far end of the infirmary, O'Neill rubbed at his eyes. He wished this damned headache would go so he could think straight. "What did she mean? You did, Sir?"
Janet gently pushed him onto the bed and shone a light into his eyes. "Do you remember anything from yesterday, colonel?"
"Yesterday?" O'Neill tried to concentrate and failed. "Urr... Do you think I could get some aspirin?"
O'Neill was sleeping, the concoction of painkillers Dr Frasier had given him rendering him almost comatose. Frasier checked him over, secretly glad he was out of things. The last thing she needed was O'Neill running riot. Two guards stood by, surreptitiously watching her.
"Janet!" Dr Frasier turned at the sound of her name. Sam Carter was on her feet leaning over Daniel. The young captain hadn't left his bedside since he had come out of surgery and the lack of sleep was clearly etched on her face. "I think he's coming to."
Frasier hurried over. Sam was right. Daniel was beginning to stir. One eye flickered open. Closed again. He groaned softly.
"It's OK, Daniel." San whispered gently stroking his hair from his forehead.
Very slowly full consciousness returned to Daniel, and with it the pain of his injuries. He breathed shallowly aware only of a deep ache in his chest. As his mind began to work sluggishly, he began to register facts. That damn ceiling, he thought. Back in the infirmary. Pain across his chest - that'd be broken ribs. He forced his eyes open. Slowly Dr Frasier came into focus. He realised she was talking to him, but the sounds didn't seem to make any sense. He tried to concentrate on her lips. Her? Hurt? Does it hurt? Dumb question, Daniel thought. He tried to speak, but eventually settled for a nod.
He felt something being pressed into his hand. Realisation dawned. Dr Frasier was giving him the control to the intravenous painkillers - allowing him to dose himself. Of course the safety features meant that he couldn't overdose himself. He clicked the button once, and closed his eyes. He'd been here before, knew the drill, knew it took a few minutes for the drug to hit his system.
Relief. Frasier was talking again. Now though the words were forming sentences. "Do you remember what happened, Daniel?"
An image of Jack's face distorted with rage flashed into Daniel's mind. He remembered escaping from the colonel's grasp for the briefest of moments. Remembered a sharp pain in his back as Jack had caught him again. A knife? No - a fist. Hard sharp blows to his lower back followed by excruciating pain.
Frasier was waiting. Daniel looked her in the eye. "Nothing," he whispered. "I remember nothing."
Before Frasier could question him further the infirmary door opened. She turned, expecting General Hammond, but it was Maybourn. The colonel walked over to the bed and peered down at Daniel. "How is he?"
"Conscious, just." Frasier moved away from the bed so that Daniel couldn't hear her. "He's lucky to be alive."
Frasier studied the colonel, wondering what that response meant. Was it her imagination or was there just a tone of disappointment in his voice? Maybourn indicated O'Neill's bed. "And the colonel?"
"Sleeping." Something was bothering Frasier. She couldn't quite put her finger on it. Was it just that she disliked this weasly little man, or was it...
"And you ran tests?" Maybourn asked. Frasier nodded. "And found...?" Maybourn prompted.
"That's classified to SGC, Sir."
An oily smile crossed Maybourn's face. He pulled a white envelope from his pocket. "Special orders, doctor. As long as Colonel O'Neill is under your care, you report everything about him to me. Not that he'll be under your care for much longer."
Janet tore the envelope open in disbelief. The order to co-operate with Maybourn was clear enough - that she could've lived with. But the order to transfer Colonel O'Neill to Maybourn's command over at Area 51? Janet frowned. "What's this all about?"
"That's classified to my unit, doctor."
"Does General Hammond know about this?" Janet demanded.
"Oh yes," Maybourn continued to smile. "And judging from his reaction you could well have another patient down here pretty soon. All that shouting and yelling can't be good for him."
Sam had been watching the exchange from Daniel's beside. Seeing that Janet was clearly agitated, she moved to the doctor's side. "What's going on?"
Janet shoved the orders back in the envelope. "Seems Colonel Maybourn has developed an interest in Colonel O'Neill's health." Sam raised an eyebrow. "What's this about, Maybourn?"
"Need to know, ladies." Maybourn was clearly enjoying himself. "I'll be back at 09.00 to collect Colonel O'Neill. But I'll take his medical notes now if you don't mind. And don't run any further tests, doctor. We'll take care of everything from now on."
"So what's going on, Janet?" Sam had watched in disbelief as Janet had handed over O'Neill's medical records to Maybourn. With one last glance at Daniel, the colonel had quickly left.
"Something very fishy," Frasier replied. She picked up the telephone and dialled the lab. "King? Are the latest test results back on Colonel O'Neill? Good, get them to me straight away. Oh and King, if you bump into Colonel Maybourn, don't tell him what you're carrying."
"Janet?" Sam was almost beside herself with suspense.
The doctor took a deep breath. "Just bear with me, Sam."
Moments later, Nurse King walked in the door with a brown file.
Janet all but snatched the papers out of her hand. Flicking the file open, she scanned down the figures.
Sam could stand it no longer. "Well."
"I think it's time we did some investigative work, Sam." Frasier looked up from the file. "Here's what I know. Yesterday Colonel O'Neill behaved completely out of character."
"Well that's an understatement," Sam retorted glancing back at Daniel.
"And today Maybourn pretty much confiscated his medical records and has orders to move him to a secure unit out at Area 51. And..." Janet took a deep breath. "I now have medical evidence that just might suggest that the Colonel has been the victim of some sort of brainwashing. His whole system is out of wack."
"Brainwashing?" Sam's jaw dropped. "But he's special services. Black ops. He's trained to deal with that type of stuff."
Janet looked Sam straight in the eye. "He's trained to deal with brainwashing techniques from earth, Sam."
Sam stared at her, gradually grasping what Janet was suggesting. "You think, Maybourn..."
"That's what his unit does, isn't it. Examines the stuff you guys bring back to see what military use it would have."
"Yes," Sam agreed. "But surely he wouldn't try it out on any of us."
"Wouldn't he? He's had a grudge against O'Neill as long as I've known him. And Daniel thoroughly pissed him off over that Tollan affair."
"So what do we do?" Sam asked.
"We play a hunch. Let's drive over to O'Neill's apartment."
Janet shrugged. "I'm not sure. But when we find what we're looking for, we'll know it."
Sam drew up across the street from O'Neill's home. "That's the one," she said to Janet, indicating one of O'Neill's neighbours. "Mrs Rogers. She keeps a spare key. Watches over Jack's place when he's gone. Does a bit of cleaning for him. Wait here."
Same leapt from the car and walked up the tidy driveway to Mrs Rogers' door. She knocked. Inside she heard hoovering, and then a shadow moved towards the door.
As the door opened, Sam smiled warmly. "Mrs Rogers? You don't know me. I work with Jack O'Neill."
The elderly woman returned Sam's smile cautiously, but didn't speak.
"Jack asked me to drop by and pick up a few of his things. He's had to go out of town for a couple of days at short notice. He said you held a key to his apartment."
The woman frowned. "He didn't give you his key then?"
Sam continued to smile. "No. Like I said, he went out of town at short notice. Took his key with him." Sam thrust her hand into a pocket and pulled out her military ID. Flipping it open, she held it up so that Mrs Rogers could see it.
The elderly woman took it from her and scrutinised it carefully before handing it back. "Well," she said handing it back and giving Sam an appraising glance. "I suppose it will be alright. I'd be happier if the Colonel had let me know you were coming..."
"As I said..."
"Yes, out of town at short notice." Mrs Rogers' tone clearly said she didn't believe that. However, she moved into the interior of her home, calling over her shoulder as she did so. "He's a lovely man, the Colonel. Always helps me with the garden in the summer."
Sam smiled in surprise at the image of Jack working in the old lady's garden. Mrs Rogers reappeared with the key attached to keyring shaped like a onion. She held it out to Sam proudly. "I brought him that," she said proudly indicating the onion. "Two years back we grew a prize winner."
"Wow!" Sam was lost for words at this unknown side to Jack. She took the key, but before she could go the old lady caught her arm.
"You might want to check out the Colonel's new cable TV," she said. As Sam looked puzzled, Mrs Rogers continued. "It was the strangest thing. Normally the Colonel mentions to me if he's expecting deliveries. But out of the blue, this van turns up to install a new cable. They weren't at all pleased when I asked them what they were up to either."
"Really." Sam had the sneakiest suspicion that Mrs Rogers could be quite a curtain twitcher. "Well, if I have time I'll check it." She jangled the key. "I'll bring this right back."
Collecting Janet from the car, Sam led the way to Jack's home. "You know I can't believe he'd leave a key with an old lady," she commented, still trying to digest the onion story.
"Mrs Rogers?" Janet replied. "Well she isn't your usual 'old lady'. I believe she trained Jack in black ops a good few years ago."
"That sweet old thing." Sam laughed.
"Old, maybe. Sweet? Well only when you're on the right side of her." Janet commented.
Sam gave Janet an odd look as she unlocked Jack's door. A retired black ops trainer? Something began to tickle the back of Sam's mind. "So exactly what are we looking for?"
"I don't know," Janet replied. "Something that might suggest Colonel O'Neill has been subjected to outside influence."
Sam's eyes instantly fell on the TV. "Mrs Rogers! She said Jack had a new cable system delivered." She quickly moved to the large screen and began to trace the wires from the back. Within minutes she was up in the loft, fumbling about in the light of a flashlamp. "Janet!" Sam's fingers folded around a small black box. "I think I've found something."
Back in the lounge, she brushed the dust off her jacket. Janet picked up the box unimpressed. "And this is?"
Sam produced a penknife and prized off the covering. Peering inside at the electronics, she quickly figured out its aim. "It's a relay. Very sophisticated."
Janet raised her eyebrows in question.
"I can't be sure. But I think that this little box of tricks picks up high-speed video picture and relays them on..." she turned to the TV. Suddenly everything clicked into place. "..to the TV."
As Janet watched, Sam moved to the video. She smiled as she saw it contained a tape. Hitting play, Janet and Sam watched as the TV began to show a hockey match. Sam flicked to text, quickly noting the date. "This was recorded just before Jack went..." She paused, trying to come up with a suitable description for the Colonel's behaviour. Ejecting the tape, she turned to Janet. "Let's get back to SGC. Now I've got a hunch and if I'm right we'll find more on this tape than hockey."
Frasier, Carter, Teal'c and General Hammond were gathered around the video monitor in the General's office. General Hammond stared at the screen in disbelief. The image was of Daniel, and the word traitor was written in black across the bottom of the screen.
"You're telling me that somebody transmitted these images on to Colonel O'Neill's TV?"
"Yes, Sir." Sam nodded. "Subliminal messages."
"I am not familiar with this term," Teal'c said.
"Subliminal messages are pictures that are flashed up so fast the watcher isn't aware they are there, but the message reaches the subconscious. They were used by the advertising industry for a while." Sam caught Teal'c blank stare. "People who wanted to sell drinks in cinemas would flash up pictures of cold drinks."
"And this would make people buy the drinks." Teal'c was quick to catch on.
Sam nodded. "Until the technology was banned."
Hammond shook his head. "But surely this won't be enough to make the Colonel attack Dr Jackson in such a violent manner."
"No Sir," Dr Frasier agreed. "But I think the Colonel was also exposed to some sort of chemical, possibly orally. I've sent some technicians over to check out the contents of his kitchen. I haven't had time to fully test the blood sample I..." she paused, but then decided to come clean. "I kept back from Colonel Maybourn. But I'm very suspicious that we're looking at some sort of modification to that virus we brought back from P3X797."
"P3X797? The caveman virus?"
"Yes Sir. But I need at least 48 hours to confirm it."
Hammond sat down heavily. "Are you trying to tell me we're caught up in some sort of conspiracy theory, doctor? Because if so I'd like to know who at SGC is behind it? Maybourn said we had a traitor."
Sam and Janet exchanged looks, and then Janet spoke. "Actually Sir, we think that Colonel Maybourn is the one responsible. Or at least he is the one carrying out the orders?"
"Remember the second Stargate, Sir," Sam added. "Maybourn said he was taking orders from outside the military. That there was some other organisation taking an active interest in our work."
Hammond gazed up at the two women. Could it be true? It all seemed so far fetched, but it was just the type of thing Maybourn would get his grubby hands on. A virus he could use to manipulate behaviour. Hammond's mind was racing. If it could make O'Neill believe his best friend was a traitor, and believe it enough to almost kill him, what effect would it have a military force. Oh yes, it made perfect, if somewhat sick, sense. Hammond's face set into a grim line. "Maybourn! Well he's over-stepped the line this time if he thinks he can experiment on my people." Hammond picked up the telephone, but then put it down again. "But I need that proof, Dr Frasier. Then I'll have Maybourn's hide."
"Just give me 48 hours, Sir."
Sam frowned "But Colonel Maybourn is coming to take Colonel O'Neill first thing tomorrow."
Hammond nodded, and then eyed Sam. "Indeed he is. And it has just occurred to me what a terrible thing it would be if Colonel O'Neill were to escape from the infirmary tonight."
Sam stifled a smile, immediately picking up the General's tone of voice.
"Indeed it would be, Sir."
It was 3.00am. Janet picked up Daniel's chart, and began a routine check of the anthropologist. She was surprised to find him awake.
"Are you still in pain?" she asked, noting down his blood pressure and temperature. Daniel shook his head. Janet leaned forward unable to resist brushing the young man's hair from his eyes. "You'll be back on your feet in no time."
Daniel didn't respond, instead his eyes moved towards the far corner of the infirmary. "What about O'Neill?"
Janet gazed down at the anthropologist uncertainly. Under normal circumstances she knew that the friendship between the two men was as strong as any she had ever come across. They had risked their lives for each other on numerous occasions. But now? The trust between them had been violated. "I'm still trying to figure out what happened," Janet finally said.
"Maybourn said he'd be court martialed." There was no emotion on Daniel's face to indicate whether he thought the idea was a good one or not. "He wanted me to act as a witness."
"Maybourn spoke to you?" Janet was livid. As far as she knew, Maybourn had left the base after delivering her orders to her. The idea that he had sneaked back into the infirmary to harass Daniel made her want to scream. She pulled her thoughts back to her patient. "What did you say?"
Daniel glanced at her and then looked away. "That I'd think about it."
Before Janet could respond, Sam entered the infirmary. Janet squeezed Daniel's arm sympathetically before joining the captain at a small work bench.
"Is Daniel OK?" Sam immediately asked.
Janet nodded. Now was not the time to worry about Daniel's mental state. "Is everything set?" It was Sam's turn to nod. "And Teal'c?"
"In position." Sam frowned. That was the one part of the plan she didn't like, but nothing was ever perfect. She patted Janet's shoulder reassuringly. "Let's do it." Trying to look casual Sam headed from the infirmary.
Janet moved to Colonel O'Neill's bed. She picked up his notes and pulled the curtains around the bed. Immediately one of the guards stepped inside the enclosed area. Janet turned sharply. "I need to examine the colonel in private," she snapped. Surprised by her tone, the guard apologised and stepped outside the curtain.
Quickly Janet put he hand over O'Neill's mouth to stop him speaking and then shook him. He woke sluggishly. As soon as Janet was sure he was with it, she lifted her hand from his mouth and put a finger to her lips. O'Neill nodded, indicating he understood the need for silence.
Janet pulled a sheet of blank paper from her pocket and quickly wrote on it. TRUST ME? She showed it to O'Neill who raised his eyebrows but nodded. Janet scribbled underneath. WE NEED TO GET YOU OUT OF HERE. Again O'Neill read the message and nodded. Janet folded the paper and shoved it into O'Neill's shirt pocket, then reached into own pocket and pulled out a syringe. Using sign language she indicated to O'Neill that there were two guards. Rolling up her own sleeve, she indicated that she intended to use the sedative on herself. O'Neill nodded, but then mimed driving a car. Janet mouthed four words. Sam. Parking lot. Waiting. Another nod.
Taking a deep breath, Janet pushed the syringe into her arm, and collapsed onto O'Neill's bed.
Instantly O'Neill jumped to his feet. He had no idea what was going on, but he'd been in enough strange situations to go with the roll. Through the curtain he could see the shadow of the two guards. Moving stealthily he positioned himself behind the first. One sharp blow, and the guard collapsed unconscious. The other guard was fast. His gun already coming up as O'Neill stepped through the curtain. But O'Neill was faster, despite the sedative that still hung about him like a fog. He hit the floor rolling, brought the guard down, and with one neat punch sent the man into temporary darkness.
O'Neill stood up, suddenly aware he was barefoot. He glanced at the unconscious guards and then stripped the boots from the taller of the two. As he turned to leave the infirmary, a figure in the far bed caught his eye. Daniel.
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