STORY NOTES: Some of the events that have occurred in Season Eight canon have been incorporated in this story, and some have not. The reader will have to use their intelligence to determine which parts I have kept and which parts I have left, and which parts I have saved for the sequel. As a brief rundown: Jack and Sam have not yet received their promotions, the SGC is still headed by General Hammond, but the events of 'Atlantis: Rising' have already taken place and will be referenced.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I wrote this in seven days, and then spent the next seven adjusting it. As a result, it may be a little fragmented. Since I haven't actually seen anything after 'Heroes' and have been minimally spoiled for the remainder of Season Seven and Season Eight, not everything that is canon in the show is canon in this story and I have largely relied on the betas to help squidge the story into something with a jump-off point that resembles the show.
Supreme thanks go to the betas: Denise for providing hours of suggestions and discussions about the story while driving up the Gatecon, Amy for reading through and leaving lots and lots of little encouraging comments in the beta, and Abby for correcting Jack's language!
Sam saw the surprise in the faces of the officers of the Denver Police Department as SG-1 climbed out of the helicopter. It was only a brief glimpse, but, looking back, it was a portent of things to come.
"Colonel O'Neill." The man who stepped out to greet them peered beyond them as the helicopter lifted away into the bright morning sky. "Uh... Is this all? I thought you were bringing your team with you..."
Behind Sam, Daniel coughed. Deliberately. She could just imagine the expression on his face as he did so, although she couldn't see him as the Colonel answered, "This is my team. And you are?"
"Um... Senior Detective Steve Wallace."
The Colonel nodded once. "Major Sam Carter, Dr. Daniel Jackson, Murray Tilk," he waved a hand at the three people standing behind him, and Sam gave the man a brief nod before the Colonel took his attention again. "I understand that Stambaugh has the building locked up tight?"
If the Senior Detective was surprised at Colonel O'Neill's directness, it was only for a moment, as he indicated the waiting police cars that would take them to the scene. "Yeah. So far, he's handled each of the standard operating procedures that we use for negotiations like these..."
"Including the SWAT team you sent in to deal with him?" Daniel asked. His question was innocuous, but Sam saw Detective Wallace stiffen slightly as he walked across the neatly mown grass to the waiting cars.
She shot Daniel a querying glance to which he lifted a shoulder in a shrug of perplexity.
Detective Wallace answered the question, though. "One man was shot dead, another three joined the hostages up in the building. We haven't had any contact with them - one of the hostages threw their weapons and flak jackets off the balcony and into the street below. By that stage he was making demands..."
"And he asked for us?"
"Specifically for you and your team, Colonel."
"No idea why?"
Detective Wallace turned at the two police cars that waited to take them into the city. "We were hoping you'd be able to tell us, Colonel."
"Not I. Although a hostage list might help." He pointed at the other car and the grim-faced police officer standing beside it, "Teal'c, Daniel, you're with Mr. Cheerful over there; Carter and I are with Detective Wallace."
Sam saw Daniel roll his eyes as he strode off alongside Teal'c towards the blue and white cars, and a hint of a smile touched her face at her friend's exasperation. She wiped the smile clear as the Colonel turned to her and arched a brow, affecting her best 'innocent' look at him, and causing him to narrow his eyes at her. "Carter?"
He indicated their car. "Ladies first."
Accustomed to the Colonel's occasional gallantries, Sam didn't think twice about sliding into the back seat of the car behind the driver's wheel. She briefly greeted the officer who'd been sitting in the car - a junior officer judging by the youthfulness of his face - and glanced out the window at the sun beyond. Then the Colonel and Detective Wallace were inside, and they were pulling away from the kerb.
Detective Wallace turned around in his chair and handed a file to the Colonel. "That's the brief of the situation, sir, what you need to know about it. Your companions are being handed the same in the other car. It includes a list of the hostages we suspect he took. From what we can tell, it's less than eight people, but since he got the SWAT team, well..." He trailed off, leaving the sentence unfinished. Sam got the feeling the Detective was a little disturbed by the fact that the SWATs hadn't been able to deal with the situation.
The Colonel accepted his file and began flipping through it as Wallace handed Sam another file. "That's the background we have on Michael Stambaugh - what we could access of it. A lot of his history is classified." Sam could hear the question in his voice as he looked from her to the Colonel, subtly asking if the work they did was also classified.
"That would make it difficult," she said, non-commitally, opening the file and browsing through the rather uninformative papers there.
Something in the quality of the silence on the other side of the car made her look up. She found the Colonel staring at the papers in his hand with disbelieving intensity before he ground out, "You're sure that these are the hostages?"
"They're the owners of the swipe cards who accessed the fifth floor this morning." Wallace eyed the Colonel sharply. "I'm guessing you know one of the hostages then?"
In spite of the warm day outside, the Colonel's expression was cold as the wintry storms that howled around the mountain in December. "You could say that." He pointed to a name on the list.
Sam wasn't able to see the name, but Detective Wallace obligingly read it out. "Sara Mulholland."
There was only one Sara whom Sam had ever known was associated with the Colonel.
End Part One