Clash of the Titans 4
He wondered why the Museum of Natural History had been chosen as the meeting place. He liked the museum, of course, but it was an odd place for a job interview. Especially for a mysterious government job that he hadn't even been looking for. It was odd and that tickled Bobby Goran's thoughts more than any of his recent cases had. It had been a long time since he had been to the museum for pleasure and not for work. The fact was, Goran was getting burned out. He was good at his job, but with Eames leaving for a less stressful position closer to her family, he was bored. Bored and possibly a little depressed. He accepted that possibility and didn't want to go down the road it led. Deep down, he knew it was his job. It was a job he loved, but he knew why the stereotype of the drunken, angry, bitter cop existed. It wouldn't hurt to look at other options.
He took a seat by the Egyptian exhibit and wondered if he was the only one who ever wondered why the pyramids were classified as "natural history". He had, as a child, read a great deal about the Egyptians, and the Greeks, the traditional ancient histories, to the point that he had taught himself Latin and Greek. Somehow though, he had moved on to other interests. Still, it was hardly natural history.
" Detective Goran?" Bobby stood up at the sound of his name and looked around. A young man, in his early thirties, was standing by one of the Egyptian obelisks. Bobby noted with some amusement that he towered over the nicely dressed younger man. He didn't need to play the cop intimidation game but it was always nice to know the option was there.
" I'm Detective Robert Goran." He said it pleasantly but he hoped the interview wouldn't take too long. He was curious but whatever the job was, it would need to be significantly better than what he currently had. He was well respected, after all, and if he wanted a change of scenery, even a transfer away from Major Crimes, he could easily get it. " And you are?"
The younger man smiled. " Dr. Daniel Jackson. It's a pleasure. I'm glad that you agreed to consider our offer."
Goran considered him. Jackson was nervous. His voice was pleasant but seemed tense, as if under normal circumstances he was more soft spoken. He was trying very hard to appear casual. If he were a suspect, Goran would immediately have assumed that he was hiding something.
And those instincts, Goran told himself, are why you want to consider a different line of work. There came a point when you looked at everyone with suspicion, where everyone was just a criminal. Even if he did move from Major Crimes to SVU or Narcotics, it was still chasing bad guys. Only, in those jobs, he would have twisted motivations and dead raped kids and drugs to deal with.
He mentally shook off that thought and returned his attention to Dr. Jackson. The man was uncomfortable, which was odd since he had chosen the meeting place. Goran quickly ran down the non-violent offender possibilities. Jackson probably didn't do a lot of interviewing, and might be shy in the bargain. People like that did overcompensate by trying to hard to appear outgoing. Plus, he realized in a sudden flash, Dr. Jackson just might not want to see the Egyptian display. He had been a laughingstock in the field due to his unorthodox views and before that… his parents were killed in an unfortunate accident. In a museum. That was interesting. It suggested that Dr. Jackson was very interested in talking to him. Or, that whoever Jackson worked for could twist his arm.
" I'm very curious to know what your offer is." Goran said pleasantly. He was. That was no lie. He had not been looking, not in any serious way. Yes, he was bored, and he had to admit he that he would welcome something new. Something different. It wasn't that catching criminals wasn't a good thing, it was just that he was bored. The reality of crime fighting was that most criminals were drug using flunkies. It was not difficult to outthink a drug using junkie. It was rare that he dealt with anyone who could outthink him or surprise him. Eames could surprise him, but he wanted to respect her wishes. Had he protested, she would have stayed in the city for him. For a while at least, and that was unfair to her. He decided to be bold. " I don't recall sending a resume to the United States Air Force."
"I'm sure you didn't, " Jackson said easily. " We aren't asking for applications. We're carefully choosing people who might be interested in the opportunity we have." Jackson glanced nervously at the display. " Colonel O'Neill is waiting for us in the food court."
Goran followed the younger man, finding himself more and more intrigued. O'Neill was a much older man, with grey hair and a definite military bearing. Physical intimidation was not likely to immediately cow such a man. No, Goran thought, the way to get the advantage was to be intelligent and on the surface, unintentionally superior witted. No flashy shows, just level headed common sense would be the thing that impressed O'Neill. Of course, that assumed that he wanted to impress O'Neill.
They took seats and Jackson made quick introductions. Goran took note of the careful respect Jackson showed O'Neill. It was not just the typical groveling of an underling to a superior. Jackson respected the man, was perhaps even friendly with him. That was potentially an interesting dynamic. It suggested that O'Neill was not typical military. While Jackson was hardly considered a serious researcher any more, it was unlikely that someone with his background would have a lot in common with a military man. Unless O'Neill had a lot of interest in Egyptian anthropology. Goran didn't think that was likely. O'Neill also seemed a bit more tightly wound than Jackson.
" So…" O'Neill drawled, looking him square in the eye, " You're Detective Robert Goran. The Sherlock Holmes of the New York police department. We… Dr. Jackson and myself, among others, work on a special project. In Colorado. We need a man with your talents."
"Really?" Goran let a touch of pique enter his voice. O'Neill was not coming off as desperate for anyone's help. He seemed annoyed by the whole process. The press to hire outsiders was not coming from O'Neill, that was obvious. " What talents would those be?"
O'neill sighed and rolled his eyes. " Let's cut the crap. You're a top forensic specialist who also happens to be a reputed mastermind of criminal motivation. You're a genius. You're wasted in your job because promoting up means you move away from the interesting work, and let's face it, you've mastered your job. Now it's just a matter of getting that rare interesting case that makes coming to work and dealing with the dregs of society worth it and that hasn't been so easy the last few months has it? You need a change and we're offering it."
What to say to that? "I'm not a genius."
" You are wasted here," Jackson said after a long moment. " I'm not saying that catching murderers isn't worthy… but you could be doing so much more. We can't get into details but we need someone like you."
" Really," he said again, " It doesn't seem like it. And someone has to work with the dregs of society. I do have some job satisfaction, you know. It's not all scraping up dead prostitutes despite what you see on CSI. And I work in Major Cases, not Special Victims so I'm not knee deep in dead kids." That caused a flash of anger from O'Neill.
" What's holding you here?" O'Neill asked. " It isn't your social life. You don't seem to have a girl friend, your partner left town, and your mom doesn't seem like a great conversationalist."
Goran smiled tightly. " Divorced, aren't you?" he said to O'Neill, letting Jackson drop from his focused gaze. " Yes, divorced. There was a tragedy, something you blame yourself over, and your wife left you. How many nights did you spend in your house, in your child's bedroom, holding your service pistol to your head and wishing you could find the reason to pull the trigger that didn't make you look like a coward." He was right, of course, every thing he said was hitting O'Neill like the well thrown verbal knives he had intended. But…. " I'd like to know more about your project."
Jackson and O'Neill both looked at each other and then at him. " Really?" Jackson said after a moment.
" I had the impression you weren't interested, " O'Neill said coldly. His look was dark, and Goran doubted that he would be forgiven anytime soon.
" It has to be very interesting if it stopped you from blowing your brains out."