Lieutenant General Jack O'Neill had a problem, actually he had lots, but at least three of them were going to come back and bite him in the backside one day soon.
He had finally decided to retire… nothing on earth was going to stop him, he was gone! Until the President himself called with just one sentence "Not goin' to happen" He could always quit, but if he did he lost his pension and everything else he had worked so hard for all his adult life, and though he knew two could live quite well on a Colonels wage he had no intention of being a kept man.
The whole reason for his wishing to retire was because he had been put in charge of everything alien in the world, so no matter which branch of the AF Samantha Carter moved into HE would be her commanding officer(they would never let her go into a 'normal' posting, not with her knowledge and smarts), and the frat regs meant he would not be allowed to be with her, which was a pity as they had got married two years ago, when they had a two week gap when she was in Area 51 and he was still in charge of the SGC, before his DC move.
Now she was almost 3 months pregnant and he had hoped to retire and avoid the courts martial that he could feel pressing against his spine.
He had to come clean, they had done nothing wrong until after they were married, (and really…was it wrong then?) though he had no proof of course, as his wife would say, you cannot prove a negative!
George! He would have a word with George, now that he was 'retired' himself he would be able to give advice without having to turn them in.
He shoved it to the back of his mind as he looked at one of his other problems and sighed.
His 'niece/daughter' Cassie… she had met someone while at the AF academy and it looked serious, they were talking about getting engaged! Though Jack knew she had a life of her own to live, and she was 21 now after all… he still saw the child who couldn't hold the puppy in her arms because it was too big! Added to that there was a 'problem' with the young man, one that no one but he knew about!
Which brought him to a third problem of his…the ancient gene therapy developed by Carson Beckett was failing, people who had been given the therapy were losing their ability to use the ancient tech, which meant more people had to be found who had the gene naturally.
Carson was dead, killed in Atlantis, and there were few people who had clearance and experience to try again, and those few all said the same thing… if it didn't work once, it wouldn't again.
Repeated attempts to reintroduce the gene in people who had successfully absorbed it before failed, and the ancient database that was still lurking in the back of Jacks mind was telling him that it would be dangerous to keep trying with the same people, it could lead to a breakdown of their natural genetic code!
So, they HAD to find people who had inherited the gene the same way he and Sheppard had, the old fashioned way. Though he could always use this as a reason why Sam was pregnant… yeah that would work… 'Mr President I can't find enough people so I decided to breed some?' he could see seven years in Leavenworth for that!
Everything was linked… everything connected…and everything was a mess!
"Wilby residence" the young woman said
"Is George there?" he asked
"Granddad! Phone!" she shouted
"Who is it?" he heard the Texan bellow
"Excuse me…" she started to ask
"Kayla!" he said, a small whine in his voice because she hadn't recognised him.
"Oh sorry…" he smiled as she recognised his voice "It's Uncle Jack!"
He heard the heavy footsteps approach and the receiver being handed over "Thanks honey… Jack! Anything wrong son?"
"You could say that" he told the older man
"Fancy a beer?"
"I'm in DC" he reminded him
"Then come to the Springs, I'm sure you can think of some reason to visit" he heard a chuckle. He knew he could, if it was urgent, but if he was going to travel all that way he wanted to spend every second with his wife! Much as he loved and respected his former CO, and needed his advice, he knew his hormones would not allow him to get anywhere near the Wilby/Hammond home… he would go straight to the SGC, and if she wasn't there he would go to his own home.
"Tell you what, I have a meeting with the Chief of Staff on Friday, can it wait?" it was Tuesday, hell it had waited this long…
"Yeah it can wait Sir" he said
"Jack! You don't have to sir me, remember. I'm retired anyway now" he said
"Yes sir" Jack grinned "See you on Friday… I'll send my car around for you when you finish your meeting, we can go for steaks if you fancy afterwards"
"Just don't tell Angie" George said "she has me on this damn diet… she says she wants me to live forever!" Jack laughed at the thought of the General on a diet, he had always been a rotund person but Jack had never seen him eat half the calories that he himself consumed, even now when he was no longer in the field
Jack replaced the phone still grinning at the thought of George Hammond not being allowed red meat. Well, with luck he would have one problem sorted by the end of the week, or at least an idea… now what to do about the other two?
General Maynard sat in the chair on the other side of the desk, Jack hid a grin inside as he watched him trying to get comfortable, Jack had deliberately swapped the nice chair he usually kept for visitors for the one he was now sitting in… it was HIS fault Jack couldn't retire, and he knew it was petty to play tricks like this, but it was about as far as he could go at the moment in revenge.
"You sure this is the way to go?" Maynard said
"Can't think of any other way, we can't start dragging people in off the street and testing them, at least if we start testing as they enter the Academy then we know who to concentrate on" he knew almost definitely that at least 2 at the Colorado Springs Air Academy would prove positive, and several more in other services, he had not abused his powers as head of homeworld security, but he hoped that his searches over the last 2 days had gone unnoticed.
"You know something" the Chief of Staff accused him
"Know? No…" he stalled, he had lied before to superiors, but not when it was important as this was. "I suspect something" he said, which was true… he didn't know for SURE as yet, though there was a very high probability.
"So… I have to ask myself why someone was looking through the personnel files of certain army people… last names" he referred to a paper, Jack's heart sank "Flynn, Cohen, and O'Brien" he looked up "and also searches for the same surnames in the air force, the marines and the navy"
Jack wondered how much he knew… really, he didn't want to spill everything if there was no need.
"Would you believe a hunch?" he asked hopefully, knowing as he said it that it wouldn't fly.
"O'Neill" lucky he was immune to that tone of voice now, having heard it so very very often in the past "What do you suspect?" the black man put huge emphasis on that last word
"Look, my mandate on this is to find people with the ancient gene, I just think it would be wise to test people with the same ethnic background, after all in the older European cultures inbreeding was rife, you never travelled far to find your partner, so everyone in a village was related, which would reinforce the gene if it was present, which it was, at least somehow I inherited it"
The Army officer looked at the paper "No mention of O'Neill here" he said
"No" Jack replied, now they were getting onto dangerous ground
"So, you had the only Irish Catholic parents in the 1950s that didn't have a huge family?"
Oh yeah, he knew! Jack looked down at the blotter on his desk, surprised to see a pen in bits all over it, damn, he thought he had stopped himself doing that!
"So… I had my aide run a check for a certain persons birth certificate, strangely he couldn't find one" Jack looked everywhere but at the man opposite
"So… what's your real name?" he asked
"Jonathan O'Neill" Jack replied
"Jonathan O'Neill" he insisted
"Why no record then?" Maynard asked
"Because O'Neill was my mothers maiden name, and you know how things were back then!" he said, his voice tight. His mother had married soon after his birth, but the damage was done, she had been thrown out of her family and was shunned and scorned by her whole small town for years. His grandparents O'Neill had never held his birth against him, in fact they looked after him through most of the long summer holidays on their farm in Minnesota where they moved shortly after his birth, but their daughter may as well not have existed. "The others… O'Brien was her married name, and Cohen and Flynn are my sisters married names, I know several of the kids have joined up in one service or another"
"Full sisters and brothers?" Maynard asked… Jack bristled at the implication, but he realised why the General was asking, if they were only half his siblings and he got the gene from his father…
"Yeah full sibs" he said "my father was posted abroad and never knew she was pregnant until he got back, I was a month old by the time he finally was notified, he married her later in the year and changed my name, he fudged the birth certificate, 'cos his cousin worked at the town hall," he snorted "but I was still the town bastard, everyone was careful to remind me often and later on I decided to change it back"
"You didn't get on with your dad?" he asked, Jack looked at him sharply.
"Will that be all Sir?" he asked his voice cold and saying everything he wasn't. The man opposite sighed and rose from the uncomfortable chair
"Yes Jack, that will be all" he stood waiting but Jack was in no mood to rise and salute, he was mad enough not to give a shit if he was reprimanded, but Maynard surprised him by walking through the door without another word.
"Jack" George Hammond was looking good, 'retirement' seemed to suit him.
"Sir… George" he stepped back into his office and allowed the older man to sit in the comfortable seat he had had returned into the room.
"I've just had a very interesting conversation with Francis Maynard" George started "How many members of the family do you have in the service?"
"Fourteen" Jack mumbled
"Jesus Jack, and you only just NOW mention that there are 14 potential users of ancient tech in the armed services?"
"It wasn't important before, the gene therapy was working!"
"It still needed someone with a natural gene to activate everything!"
Jack looked puzzled, he had no idea what the man opposite just said. George seemed to realise and clarified the situation.
"Take the puddle jumpers, Sheppard had to initialise each one before someone with the gene therapy could actually use it."
"Oh? I didn't know that" Jack said "But I didn't touch that much down in Antarctica"
"No, but one of the first people they brought in, while you were still frozen, was Dr Beckett and he had the gene too, he initialised the machines by accident before we found out about the actual gene and everything."
That explained it, he was asleep when it all happened. He nodded his understanding and watched as his hands took apart another pen… he HAD to stop doing this!
"Jack? I take it this was not what you had to tell me?" George leaned forward slightly
"Carter" Jack said "she's pregnant" he saw his old CO draw back to a straight up, stiff spine position, this wasn't looking good.
"I didn't know she was seeing anyone" George said carefully "anyone I know?"
Jack reached inside his shirt and took his wedding ring off his dog tags, he held it up so the symbol for earth was clear on the thick yellow band.
"You could say that" he said as he slipped it onto his ring finger, George closed his eyes and leaned back
"Oh crap" he said