Title: Pursuit of Happiness
Genre: Humour and team-dynamic.
Beta: I got nuthin'.
Summary: Jack is up to something.
Disclaimer: I made up the fic, not the show. The opinions expressed herein are the opinions of the characters and not of Francis Scott Key. The persons depicted are experts; this should not be tried at home. This ficlet was whipped up in about two hours, so apologies if it sounds, y'know, like it was whipped up in about two hours. Questions, comments and celebrations can be left in replies or directed to magistrata(at)gmail(dot)com. Thank you for reading!
Hammond turned on his way to the 'Gateroom to see Dr. Jackson approaching, thick manilla envelope in one hand. "Yes?" he asked.
"I have, ah, this new theory about the Stargate," Daniel began. "It's really quite fascinating – if I'm right, this could shed a lot of light on – "
"I'm actually on my way to meet Colonel Reynolds and SG-3," Hammond said in self-preservation, interrupting before Daniel could really get into the swing of things.
"Oh, yeah. Jack said he'd debrief them," Daniel said. "If you have time, I'd like to go over some of these notes. I think you'll find the implications are, well, pretty big."
Hammond glanced over. "Colonel O'Neill said he'd debrief them."
"Yeah," Daniel said. Hammond frowned. "...is there something wrong?" Daniel asked.
"No," Hammond said. He was about to add that O'Neill had just been acting strange, recently – but then, it was O'Neill. Acting strange was like a second profession to the man.
Besides, if he started endangering the base Carter would pay him a visit soon enough; if he came to work one day speaking an alien language, doubtless Dr. Jackson would pop in again.
With an unvoiced sigh, he turned back to his office and held the door open. "After you, Doctor."
Colonel Reynolds glanced up at the control room as his team maneuvered a small Goa'uld crate through the Stargate, quickly IDing all the techs and officers. Hammond was nowhere to be seen, and no one over the rank of Captain was, either. He headed back to his team.
"You guys head to the infirmary for your post-op," Reynolds said, putting one hand on the container. "I'm going to walk this down to the labs."
A chorus of "Yes, sir"s followed, and his marines headed off. Reynolds exhaled – this kind of ultra-compartmentalization wasn't really his forte – and hauled the crate into one of the halls. (He'd better be around here,) he thought quietly.
He'd passed two doors when Colonel O'Neill stepped out of a stairway, nearly causing him to jump. Reynolds would have bet just about anything that he'd been planning that entrance. "Reynolds," Jack greeted, with a large (and, to Reynolds' mind, slightly predatory) smile.
"Colonel O'Neill," Reynolds greeted. "Fancy running into you here."
"Yeah. I was just taking a walk, and look – here you are." Jack rubbed his hands together. "Have something for me?"
"Well, Pelsner grabbed the wrong crate," Reynolds said. "But they are guaranteed authentic Goa'uld munitions." Reynolds checked the hall, then twisted the scarab to open the crate. "Will these do, sir?"
Jack peered down into the container, frowning. "I'll check with Teal'c," he said.
"I'm sorry," Reynolds said. "Stupid mistake. Probably my fault."
"Nah." Jack closed the crate, taking it from him. "You did good on short notice. Really. I owe you one."
"We'll call it even, sir." Reynolds said.
Carter was, luckily, not in the middle of delicate calibrations when Colonel O'Neill walked into her lab. (She tended to put those off until times she knew the Colonel would be busy elsewhere.)
"Got 'em," O'Neill said, setting the crate down on her desk and flipping open the top with a flourish.
Carter sighed inwardly, peering over the top of the container. "...these are Goa'uld stun grenades, sir."
"Not just Goa'uld stun grenades, Carter," O'Neill corrected. "Ten Goa'uld stun grenades."
"They were supposed to be zats."
"I checked with Teal'c," the Colonel protested, before Carter had a chance to object. "These have those composite charge battery thingies too."
"Yes, sir, they do," Carter said. "The problem is, these are part of a much more complex system."
"So in the amount of time I have, I can't isolate them. And it will increase the weight of the rig significantly."
"So I'm not sure a reconstituted UAV will have enough thrust to take off with this payload."
"Ah," O'Neill said, poking at one of the grenades experimentally. "...what if we used two?"
"There was only one UAV in the scrap bay when I checked, sir."
O'Neill frowned. "We could break another?"
Carter snorted a quick laugh despite herself. "I think the General might look down on that, sir."
"Eh, what he doesn't know," O'Neill grumbled. He picked up one of the grenades, appeared to give serious consideration to tossing it, and placed it carefully back into the crate. "What about that Asgard thing?"
Carter's eyebrows climbed. "Asgard... thing?"
"About a less sophisticated approach." O'Neill gestured surfaceward. "I mean, it's not like we have any shortage of rockets around."
Carter thought for a second. Then she smiled.
Jack stopped mid stride to swing around, checking the hall. "Daniel?" he asked.
Daniel lowered his voice to a level of clandestinity that bordered on parody. "Anything more for me to do?"
"Yes, actually," Jack said, motioning him down the hall and similarly lowering his voice. "First I need you to smuggle about three file boxes worth of Carter's stuff out of the mountain."
Daniel ground to a halt. "What?"
Jack put a hand between Daniel's shoulder blades, steering him down the hall. "Look, Teal'c never leaves the mountain, I never take work with me, and most of Carter's toys would blow up if you hauled them up an elevator. If any of us try it, we'll arouse suspicion. You, though..." he raised both eyebrows pointedly.
"Yeah, but... three boxes?"
"You have some stuff to catalogue that you just can't wait to get your hands on, and you absolutely refuse to wait three days to do it."
"And if they want to check to see what I'm taking out?"
"Play the national security card." Jack shrugged. "It's not like any of the people who are going to be stopping you have the clearance to see half of your research, anyway. Besides, no one will. I guarantee it. In fact, I bet you twenty bucks that the surface guard will have nothing more to say than 'Have a nice evening, Dr. Jackson.'"
Daniel was shaking his head. "Jack, you're going to owe me so much for this."
"I'll take you out to coffee sometime," Jack said, just as he caught sight of someone down the hall. "Now, I really have to run," he said, and took off at a jog. "Hey! Siler!"
"...which means that the main strut has to be totally removed, and the bracing struts each need an extension bolted onto them exactly in parallel," Sam said, indicating the appropriate parts of the diagram with a pencil.
"I see," Teal'c said.
A knock sounded at the lab door. "Hey," Daniel said, poking his head around the threshold.
"Hey," Sam said. "The Colonel send you?"
"Yeah. He said you had 'boxes of stuff' to smuggle out."
Carter waved at two boxes stacked by the door. "Yeah, that. Plus, Siler should be bringing more supplies up."
Daniel glanced into the boxes, then up at Sam again. "What is all of this?"
"It's... complicated," Sam evaded. "Essentially a launch rail and some... modding equipment."
"And some explosives," Daniel observed.
"Is most of this even legal for civilian application?"
Sam shifted uncomfortably. "The Colonel has a rationale typed up."
"Just in case?" Daniel asked.
"Just in case," Sam agreed.
"So, what am I supposed to do with this?" Daniel asked, casting the C4 a dubious look. "Besides not drop it, that is."
"You will leave the boxes at our predecided spot on the slope of Cheyenne Mountain," Teal'c instructed. "Then I will come under cover of nightfall to finalize our preparations."
"Right. Top of Cheyenne Mountain." Daniel nudged one of the boxes with his toe. "I don't suppose you have a cart, somewhere?"
Sam's eyebrows shot up, and she exchanged a glance with Teal'c. "Um," she said.
Feeling more or less like an idiot, Daniel pulled a cart laden with fileboxes of pilfered supplies out of the elevator and down the long hall out of Cheyenne Mountain. "Hey," he said to the guard, carefully feigning casualness.
"Have a nice evening, Dr. Jackson," the marine said, and waved him past.
Daniel made sure to catch his nametag as he headed out. He swore the man sounded amused.
"Sir, I got the booster rockets and the sealant, but the spare UAV wing rigs are stored in the MALP room," Siler said, trying not to wonder why the base's second in command was requisitioning supplies without the base commander's knowledge. After all, the less he knew, the less he could be court-martialed for aiding and abetting. "I'm afraid that getting them to Major Carter's office would require us to go through the Gateroom and past the briefing room. General Hammond will probably ask what they're for."
Colonel O'Neill frowned with great gravity. "A diversion," he said.
It took Daniel five rings to answer his cell phone, not because he wasn't paying attention but because it took near-superhuman dexterity to maneuver the equipment cart he'd been given up the slope without spilling hazardous chemicals over everything and he really didn't have any hands to spare. Eventually he just parked the cart next to a tree to keep it from rolling, fumbled open the phone, and put it to his ear. "Yes?"
"Daniel. Where are you?" Jack asked.
"Lugging boxes of stuff up a mountain," Daniel snapped. "And you?"
"Hey, when you're done with that, I don't suppose there's any way you could distract Hammond's attention for about five minutes?"
"Jack," Daniel said, "I already made myself look like an idiot by presenting a theory I need at least two more weeks or research on. I really don't have that many excuses to accost the man on a day-to-day basis."
"So... that's a no, then."
"Yes, that's a no. Besides," he gave the cart a good-natured rap. "I'm a bit busy. You know, hauling boxes of stuff up a mountain."
"Yeah. See, I told you you'd have no trouble."
"Can't you get Sam to do it?" Daniel asked. "I mean, I'm sure she has some new something to spring on Hammond."
"Sam is dismantling munitions," Jack said. "I'd rather not bother her."
"Oh," Daniel said.
"I'll ask Teal'c," Jack said.
Warning bells went off in Daniel's mind, upgrading to warning sirens in the space of two seconds. "Wait. Jack – "
Daniel exhaled, flipping his phone closed. "Yeah," he muttered, yanking the cart from its tree. "This is gonna go great."
"Has anyone seen Colonel O'Neill?" Hammond asked to the mostly-empty control room.
The techs exchanged glances before answering. "He came in here looking for Sgt. Siler a bit ago, sir," Walter said.
"He was supposed to debrief SG-3, but I can't find him anywhere," Hammond said.
"Should I page him to the Control Room, sir?"
"No," Hammond said, frowning at the Stargate. "That's all right, Harriman. But if you see him, could you tell him to come see me?"
"Yes, sir, I will," Walter said.
Hammond nodded, and started back up the stairs toward his office. Upon entering the briefing room, however, he was intercepted by Teal'c.
"General Hammond," Teal'c said.
"Teal'c," Hammond greeted. "Is there something I can do for you?"
"It has been brought to my attention that in all my time on this base, I have share very little of Jaffa culture with you. It would be my great honor if, in appreciation for all you have done for me, you would allow me to teach you of Kel'no'reem."
At the top of the mountain, a good half-hour later, SG-1 gathered around the innards of seven of the stun grenades, bits and pieces of three broken UAVs, various chemicals and chemical solvents, lengths of tubing, a drawer full of wires and bolts and odds and ends, a hand-drawn chart in Carter's handwriting, a spot welder, and a small portable generator. Jack patrolled the immediate area, half- keeping an eye out for anyone who might wander up and half- eyeing the proceedings. Daniel leaned against a tree, rubbing one bicep. Sam and Teal'c rifled through the supplies, referencing the chart as they did so.
"So, about how long is this going to take?" Jack asked.
"Well, sir, given that I've never attempted something like this before in my life," Carter started.
"Never?" Jack asked, mock-aghast.
"To be honest, pyrotechnics were generally Mark's department," Sam said.
"That's hard to believe," Jack said, pacing around the clearing once more. "I would have figured you for the kind of person who built nuclear reactors in the basement."
That elicited a small laugh. "Dad had a strict 'no nuclear reactor' policy," she said.
"I believe we should be finished with our tasks in time for sunset," Teal'c put in.
"Good!" Jack clapped once. "Then we can hide the rig and meet back up here tomorrow night."
"Yes, sir," Sam said.
"You're sure no one else ever comes up here?" Daniel asked.
"Not at all," Jack said. "But I can hope."
"You're sure Hammond doesn't think anything is up," Daniel said.
"George is a smart guy," Jack said. "Of course he knows something is up. What we have to hope for is that he won't check the supply logs or ask anyone on SG-3 whether or not they brought back a case of grenades."
"And you're sure he's not going to be a little irked when he finds out what we're doing with three boxes of military supplies and alien technology?" Daniel asked.
"Look," Jack said. "Trust me. Somewhere under that tough General exterior, there's a fun-lovin' guy locked in there. He'll get what we were trying to do."
"Alien. Technology," Daniel said.
"We'll clean up after ourselves," Jack said. "Besides, isn't it about time that we showed that we can use Goa'uld technology for something totally unrelated to the killing and the fighting? To show that we can also use it to do something just plain cool?"
Daniel threw his hands up, exiting the argument. Jack smiled.
"Besides," he said. "Two days from now, I guarantee you, you will have no regrets. You'll see. This is going to be the most awesome thing we've ever pulled."
Two days later, 08:00 found SG-1 lined up in the briefing room, standing at various states of attention, as Hammond stared at them with a mixture of three parts weariness, five parts exasperation, and four parts amusement. "Would any of you care to explain," he said, "why several local newspapers reported – and here I quote from one – 'an unearthly display of lights above Cheyenne Mountain, like a shimmering, sparkling Aurora Borealis' last night?" he asked.
Teal'c quirked an eyebrow. Carter glanced at the table. Daniel looked at Jack.
Jack looked straight at Hammond, totally unabashed. "Happy 4th of July, sir," he said.