When A Hero Falls
Season: Mid 9
SG1, along with General Landry, chatted comfortably in the Air Force VIP jet, a Gulfstream 200. They had been summoned to the White House for a special medals ceremony. Each member of the team, along with the General, was to be presented with commendations for their bravery in the face of the Ori threat by President Hayes himself.
Because of their work, it was a secret ceremony. But an honor nevertheless. Sam was particularly excited because Jack was to be there. Even slated to say a few words. Knowing him it would be very few, she thought with a smile.
And afterwards the two planned to head to his cabin to finally begin their relationship. Recently decided, and long overdue.
She couldn't keep the excitement from showing on her face, or the butterflies from flapping around her stomach. She still couldn't believe it was finally going to happen, and now that it was possible, nothing would stand in her way.
"So what do you think they'll serve for lunch?" she heard Daniel ask.
"Whatever it is, gotta be better than what we get at the base," Mitchell responded.
"Sam, what's your guess?" Daniel asked her.
"Fish," she responded, causing Daniel to laugh.
Daniel knew all about the upcoming "fishing" trip, and was very happy his two friends had finally gotten their act together. Although, it still grossed him out a bit. He'd never tell them that, but the thought of Jack and Sam...well...doing it...sorta felt like one thinking about their own parents...doing it. Oh well, he was sure he'd adjust. And he loved seeing that look of happiness on Sam's face.
Sam took a sip of her water, then looked out the window of the G200. Dreamily she tried to imagine what her upcoming week would be like. Before she knew it, she was fast asleep.
About the time Sam passed out, Daniel, Teal'c, Mitchell and Landry also fell into unconsciousness.
The Air Force Sergeant acting as the hostess took in the sight then spoke into her lapel, "They're out."
The pilot responded, "Diverting now. I'll inform Guierra. If any of them stir, be sure to inject them quickly. Do not under estimate any of them, and keep me informed. We should arrive within four hours."
"Roger that," the Sergeant replied.
Flashback, mid 80s, near Putumayo Colombia
The five masked men, all in black combat gear, stealthily moved in darkness toward the well guarded mansion. They'd already taken out the ten perimeter guards with no effort, now for the four remaining house guards. Each house guard armed with submachine guns and glock side arms. One of the men in black raised the sniper rifle to his shoulder, took steady aim, and silently took down the guard walking a path around the house. Now they needed to move fast before the other three were alerted. Like a wave they moved in.
Two hours earlier the five men had been holed up in a seedy excuse for a motel room going over the final plans. The Colonel had provided each with their assignment in detail, as well as contingency assignments in case one, or more, of them were disabled. They all knew what that meant.
The men had trained for the last two months specifically for this mission. They ate, drank and slept this mission. They were an elite Special Forces team, black ops experts. Their identities known only to each other, the President of the United States, and the Joint Chiefs. They were the best each area of the military had to offer, and only called into action when there were no other options.
Their missions never officially sanctioned, so if they were caught, they were dead. Their government would deny all and any knowledge of them, despite the fact that their lives, if given, would be for their country. Each of them knew this, and each of them accepted it unfailingly as their duty.
And this was the mission of all missions. Their target: one Emilio Guierra, aka, The Panther. Dead, at any cost. His American wife was also targeted, however, she could be taken alive to stand trial. Optional. Mary Ashton, former CIA agent, now wanted for high treason against the United States. This beauty had personally caused the deaths of fifteen undercover CIA, seven FBI, and three DEA operatives.
Emilio, or The Panther, was the king pin of Colombia's drug trade. He had his hand in everything illegal going into the United States from his small country. One year ago, Mary Ashton's traitorous involvement with the drug lord had come to the surface, when, in an attempt to stop Guierra's dealings, a co operative effort by three of America's leading law enforcement and intelligence agencies went horribly bad.
It was also learned around the same time that The Panther's influence did not stop with illegal trade, but that elected politicians were also on his payroll. It was suspected that other highly placed people, civilian and military, had some connection with him, but nothing could be proven. Emilio was brutal and ruthless, and would order the death of anyone who so much as smiled at him the wrong way. He was feared in his own country, and was fast becoming a very powerful influence in America. So now he was a bane to the U.S. President. The War on Drugs being his excuse of choice, but not the real one, the President called the elite force into action.
Sam woke with a start and struggled to sit. Her mind a cloud of confusion with pain ripping through her head.
'What the hell is going on?' she asked herself.
She tried to move but found that she was lying on a dirt floor, her hands and legs were bound and she was gagged. Confusion tore through her. The last thing she remembered was falling asleep in the jet, listening to Daniel prattle on about food.
Sam tried to clear her head and sit up, but found the effort unsuccessful. Then she tried to look around. What she saw made her heart stop.
Here, in this small concrete room with dirt flooring, a single light bulb illuminating from the ceiling above, Sam saw her entire team, and her commanding officer, in the same predicament she was in. She was the only one awake, and terror ripped through her as she couldn't help but wonder if she was the only one alive. Who the hell could've pulled something like this off? Five members of an important Air Force unit had been taken from an Air Force flight and kidnapped.
"What the hell do you mean it just fell off the radar!" Jack bellowed into the phone.
"It's one of our's, how the hell did you just lose it! Wasn't there any communication with the cockpit?" Jack stopped his ranting to listen to the speaker on the other end.
"Find it!" he finally yelled and slammed down the phone.
SG1's G200 had been due an hour ago. Initially no one was very concerned. Things happened on flights, small delays were sometimes inevitable. The Air Force Chief of Staff and Jack had been somewhat embarrassed as it was never fun making the President wait. Usually it was the President making people wait.
But when SG1 still hadn't arrived an hour later, the search had started. First, there were attempts to communicate with the jet to determine if it had run into difficulty. When those attempts were unsuccessful, staff were instructed to contact every airstrip from Colorado to Washington directly to determine if the G200 had been seen or heard from. Again, without success.
Apologies were made, and of course, the President was gracious as usual. He had also been very concerned as well. These were his heroes too after all, and he had been looking forward to spending some time with them.
Jack had headed straight back to his office to try and coordinate a search effort. It wasn't really his area, but these were once his people, dammit! And he had vacation plans, his inner voice reminded him. He shut that thought down before he could dwell and allow it to distract him. Once again he was having to suppress his emotions so that they wouldn't affect his judgement.
Now four hours into this crisis, Jack's hands were shaking, fearing the worst. He had personnel deployed and on the ground location where the jet's transponder was last seen on radar. So far the search had been fruitless.
He doubted there would be any sign of a crash. Knowing all that he knew, what he really thought was that there would be alien involvement in this somehow. Just what kind he wasn't sure, and the not knowing is what he was afraid of.
Jack picked up his phone again and barked into it.
"Get those jets back over the area. I want another aerial assessment, 40 miles out from the last search pattern. Instruct NORAD to position satellite imaging to the last known location and review all their GPS data for that Gulfstream. In fact, have them review all data for American airspace from the time that jet took off. I want answers. Now! Get them!" he barked into the phone before slamming it down again. At this rate he was going to need a new phone.
"Take it easy Jack. You're gonna give yourself a stroke," the President soothed as he walked into Jack's office at the Pentagon, three secret service agents not far behind but stationing themselves in the outer office with Jack's assistant. On the heels of the President, Jack saw his Chief of Staff.
"Sir...sirs," Jack said as he stood up from his seat, hands braced on his desk.
Jack was taken aback. He was usually summoned for, not visited. He was equally surprised when his Chief of Staff closed the office door. The full General's face was solemn and he refused to meet Jack's eyes.
Softly the General instructed him, "Call off the search, Jack. We need to talk."
"Call off the search?" Jack asked incredulously. "With all due respect sir, you can't be serious..."
"I am," the General cut him off softly. "Just do it."
Jack eyed his Commander and Commander in Chief suspiciously, then did as he was ordered. Finishing, he put down the phone, gently this time, but remained standing. The President however took a seat on the opposite side of Jack's desk.
"Sit down Jack," the President suggested, a sympathetic smile on his face. "We have some bad news."
Jack slowly sat, his heart doing flips. Reaching down he tapped into every training technique he'd ever learned to keep himself calm while he waited for the boon to fall.
Two words Jack," the General offered compassionately. "Emilio Guierra."
Jack's face went ghost white and every facial muscle slack, as his gaze went between the other two men, shocked and disbelieving. Impossible. When he saw their expressions he knew there was no mistake. Jack went numb. Sam!' his mind screamed over and over.
When next she woke, Sam found herself bound to and sitting in a metal chair. Her team mates and CO in similar positions. Their chairs lined in a single row. They were still in the same room, or at least an identical one, but this time she noticed the steel door set in front of them. To the side was a desk with computer equipment set on the top of it.
The rest of the team had begun to regain various levels of consciousness and they were no longer gagged. General Landry was at one end, with Teal'c beside him, then Sam, then Daniel, and finally Mitchell on the far flank. They looked at each other in concerned confusion, no one knowing quite what to say.
Mitchell broke the silence with a yell toward the door, "Hey, gotta pee!"
"Really, really gotta pee!" he yelled again.
"Give it up Colonel," General Landry advised.
"Sir, I really have to pee," Mitchell said earnestly, trying to lean forward to look at the General.
"So who is stopping you?" came a thick Latino accent from the now open door way.
No one had noticed the door open, but now standing in the open door way were three men. In the forefront was the one that had spoken to Cameron, two others just slightly behind holding onto what looked like P-90s. The gun totters were wearing green camouflage army fatigues, but the speaker was wearing a black Armani suit.
"What can you do? If you gotta go...go," he said again to Cameron, smiling magnanimously, waving a hand at the Colonel. "But you might get uncomfortable as you'll be sitting in it for awhile."
Sam looked open mouthed at the man, not knowing what to think, but trying hard to come up with some sort of plan, any plan.
The man before them was approximately 5 ft 9, lean, with thick short black hair. Some grey had started at the temples. At one time he may have been handsome, but his face was disfigured by burn marks, one eyelid dropping ever so slightly. It must've been worse at one time because it appeared as though he'd had several surgeries trying to correct the worst of it. Small stitching and grafting scars could be seen in some places, most notably around one side of his lip, and another on his cheek.
"How rude am I?" he said again, smiling broadly at his guests. "Allow me to introduce myself."
With a mock sweeping bow the man enlightened them, "I am Emilio Guierra. Ever hear of me?"
Teal'c and Sam shook their heads. Daniel knit his brow trying to think, then shrugged.
Mitchell spoke, "No, should we have?"
"You're supposed to be dead," Landry stated matter of factly, staring straight at the man.
Hank's tied up crew looked down the line at him, each one unable to hide their surprise.
Guierra laughed and clapped his hands. "Good. You have hear of me! What else do you know?"
"Not much. Just that you were one of Colombia's biggest drug lords and was supposed to have been killed in an explosion back in the 80's. Along with your ex CIA wife I believe," Landry answered sincerely.
Guierra eyed Landry cautiously, then smiled again. "Yes, I believe you. This is all you know. Don't worry, you'll know more. Soon. I promise."
"We won't tell you anything," Landry stated.
"Good. You have nothing I want to know," Guierra answered with a huge grin.
"Then why have you kidnapped five American military personnel?" Sam dared to ask.
Emilio walked to Sam and bent down so that she could look straight into his eyes. They were the mirror to the soul after all and he wanted her to see just how dark his was.
"For revenge," he answered sweetly. Having said that he turned on his heels and strode out of the room, his gun totters following and closing the steel door behind them. Sam heard the locking mechanism engage.
"We found the jet, Jack. In Panama. The crew...dead. Single gunshot wounds to their heads," the General advised. "He wanted them found. An undercover CIA operative in the area received a note under his apartment door giving the location of the G200. The Agency has recalled him as his cover has obviously been blown."
"When our people got there, they found a copy of this," the Chief of Staff threw a loaded small tape player onto Jack's desk. "The message was sent directly to me over encrypted Sat Com. along with something else, and I alerted the President."
The General sadly watched as Jack picked up the electronic device and smoothed his thumb over it.
"The message is for you Jack," the President finished softly.
Jack's shoulders slumped; he closed his eyes and gently depressed Play'.
Flashback, mid 80s, near Putumayo Colombia
The remaining three house guards were quickly dispatched, and the elite Special Ops unit began their infiltration of the house interior. Quietly breaking up in different directions, they began their stealthy search through the hallways, rooms and stairwells of the sprawling mansion. There was little intelligence on interior guards, just that Guierra did not like to have too many in the house. So every step was taken with the utmost caution.
In an upstairs bedroom, apparently converted to a nursery, the target was acquired as he was reaching for something in a crib. Taking careful aim with his sidearm, the SF raised his weapon and took the target out with a single silenced shot to the side of the head. Slowly the soldier walked to the crib, weapon raised. In his sights he acquired a sleeping infant, no older than three months. No one had told them there would be a baby.
"Hello Jack O'Neill ole buddy. Remember me, Emilio?" came the friendly Latino voice through the tape device.
"Emilio Guierra. I know, I know, what can I say? You thought I was dead. You thought you killed me. Si? But surprise!" this said with resounding flourish.
"Buddy! What you think? I could be taken that easy. No my friend," the voice laughed.
"That was my body double you killed in my son's room. He was to bring my baby to me. But alas, it was not to be."
The voice began to change from friendly to quietly angry, the accent thickening.
"I know, I know. We have never actually met, you and me. But we do know each other intimately eh buddy? You remember? My wife? My beautiful wife Mary. But what the heck eh? Water under the bridge as you American's say. Oh where are my manners? Congratulations I hear are called for. They make you a General now! A hero!"
The voice became friendly again.
"Tell you what buddy? You took something from me. My wife, my son, my life, my house, my business. So now I take something from you. We even? No? You know how long it take me to find out who you are? Then to find you, Jack? You are very good Jack. I like that. You remind me of me."
"I tell you Jack, it was so easy. Once I know who you are," the voice began to goad. "You American's think your telephone systems are so secure. I listen in. I listen in a lot. You really like her, don't you Jack? And this Daniel, he a good friend too eh buddy? Don't know who the other three are and don't care. Maybe you do though eh Jack? Collateral damage? Had to take them too, to get the ones I want. You understand how it is?"
Jack's heart was racing. He tried to follow the man's rambling to come up with some clues as to why and how and where but his mind was still reeling. All he came up with is that the most evil man on this planet in the 1980's had his friends, and the woman he loved. And he didn't have a clue what to do about it.
"I'm surprised though Jack, after seeing you with my wife. You are not the man I thought," the disembodied voice continued cutting through Jack's thoughts. "Buddy? You haven't even done her yet! And you call yourself a man! Maybe my Mary ruined you for other women? She was good wasn't she? Huh! Don't worry my friend; I will look after this Colonel Samantha for you, poor sweet thing. I am a man, I know what a woman needs!"
"You son of a bitch!" Jack growled at the machine. "You touch her..."
The Latino voice continued, "But first buddy, she will know all about you. She will see what I saw you do. They all will. So that they will know why they have to die. I watched the whole time buddy. And I have it all on disk from my old security tapes. It is sad for them, no? To have to see a hero fall from grace? To see him as he really is? A murdering, raping, baby killing monster. Good bye my friend, I will be in touch again. In a day or so, to let you know where to find their bodies."
The taped message ended.
"This is a copy of what was with it," the Chief of Staff said, as he handed a DVD shaped disk to Jack.
Slowly Jack loaded it into his computer, then quietly watched, fast forwarding and stopping at various spots, but only briefly. His mind went back and tried to dig up the detailed memories. He hadn't been aware of the camera position in that room way back then. Hadn't even given it a thought. Guierra was dead upstairs. Security cameras no longer mattered. The disk's contents however left little to interpretation.
His focus diverted from the scenes on his computer, his mind raced to find some answers. In a flash, it all came to him. Now to get them out of there. But how?
President Hayes had watched the flickering emotions cross his favourite Major General's features, masked as they may have been. When he saw understanding flash there, he gave Jack what he needed.
"Jack," the President began. "I read the reports on the way here. I know exactly what happened. You were ordered to do some damn distasteful things Jack, and you did them. In service to your country. You are a hero. Now let me try to return some of the debt that we owe you."
The President slipped a small piece of paper across the desk toward Jack. On it were what appeared to be five phone numbers.
"I have activated them," the President informed quietly. "They are on route to Florida as we speak and are to rendezvous with you there. They have been instructed to take orders from you, and you alone. As usual Jack, and I know I don't need to tell you this, but just so that it's said, this is not a sanctioned mission. I will deny all and any knowledge if it goes sour."
Jack only nodded, gratitude beginning to seep into him.
"Go bring em home Jack," the Chief of Staff ordered.
Author's Note: Tell me if you like and I'll post the rest.
DISCLAIMER: "Stargate SG-1," "Stargate Atlantis," and its characters are the property of MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, Gekko Film Corp., Showtime/Viacom and USA Networks, Inc. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations and story are the property of the author(s), and may not be republished or archived elsewhere without the author's permission.