Summary: There's a Goa'uld using a local elementary school as a front to harvest slaves from among the best and brightest. SG-1 takes an unexpected approach in order to go undercover and neutralize the threat.
Category: General/Action/Adventure and of course, some humor, angst, H/C, and other good stuff…
Season: Seven, minor spoilers for many episodes. Takes place approx. 9 months after the events in Growing Pains, but I'm not calling it a Sequel, this story fully stands alone.
Warnings: Minor language, possible violence
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author.
A/N: This story is an idea I've been kicking around since writing Growing Pains. Anything you need to know will be explained in this story. It is not necessary to read (or reread) GP before reading this story. (Unless you want to.) You only need to know that in GP, SG-1 found a machine that transformed 3/4ths of SG-1 into children, leaving them in the nominal care of Jack for approximately three months.
A great big THANK YOU to Nyx Ro (The Continuity Geek from Hezmana) and Janissima, for their beta reading and numerous suggestions for improvement. Thank you ladies!
I hope that this story will have enough team relationship for all who read it. I know I've tried for team in the past, but usually ended up focused on one character, but I feel like this story is different. Additionally, both betas, one being a Sam fan with an S/J slant, and the other a Daniel fan with a love for S/D and Jack/Daniel friendship have both found things to enjoy and surprisingly, compliment on! So here goes, I hope you enjoy it, and please take the time to click that little submit review box once in a while!
It's All Elementary by iamdragonrider
Chapter 1: A New Mission
"So, what do you think the General called us here for?" wondered Dr. Daniel Jackson. The tall, light brown haired man didn't turn away from where he stood, his arms crossed as he peered through the large window down into the gate room. SG-3 was just departing, and General Hammond was no doubt in the control room seeing them off.
Colonel Jack O'Neill, his short, salt and pepper hair sticking up in places, flopped gracelessly into one of the large, padded leather chairs surrounding the polished wood table in the center of the briefing room. His chair was sent spinning, and the man stopped the motion with practiced ease. "Ten bucks says it's a diplomatic mission. First contact on some backwater place where the natives think the MALP is the 'messenger of the gods.'" The comment was made with a hint of sarcasm and Jack forming loose quote brackets with his fingers as he said the last few words. A slight grimace betrayed his distaste for the sort of mission that was all too common for SG-1.
"I believe we will be asked to procure intelligence on a possible location for the lost Ancient city," countered Teal'c with his usual confidence. The large, dark man sat passively across the table from SG-1's leader, his hands folded on the table.
Seated next to him, Major Samantha Carter shook her head and smiled briefly in encouragement. "It's got to be scientific. We must have picked up something interesting on one of the recent planetary surveys." Her blue eyes sparkled with excitement.
Jack rolled his eyes, but replied, with a quirk of his mouth, "As long as it's a space gun."
Sam looked down at the table to hide her amused grin. Teal'c directed a comment toward their companion still standing at the window. The flash of warning lights reflected off the window and the younger man's glasses as the stargate was dialed below. "What is your theory on our next mission, Daniel Jackson?"
Daniel looked slightly amused, as he glanced back over his shoulder at his teammates. Even though he'd started the debate, he'd seemed more engrossed in the departing team below than in the speculations he'd inspired. He shrugged, turning back to watch the gate room, the watery reflections on the walls now telling the rest of SG-1 that the wormhole was open. "Oh, you know I almost never win," he demurred.
"Ah!" Jack scolded, "You started it," he accused. Daniel frowned, returning his attention to the rest of the team as the wormhole closed and the warning lights turned off.
"C'mon Daniel, you don't do all that badly you know," Sam informed him with a cajoling grin. Teal'c inclined his head in agreement.
A small, answering smile graced the young man's lips. With a last look at the window, he wandered towards the table and uncrossed one hand to push up his glasses. "Fine, Earth based mission, something covert," he suggested, shoving hands in his pockets.
"Oooo, good one Daniel," Jack looked like he wished he'd thought of it first.
"Dr. Jackson is indeed correct," came the voice of General Hammond as he entered the room, the portly, balding gentleman carrying a stack of thick file folders. He gave a wave of one hand to abort the rest of the team from rising as he set down the folders and took a seat. Daniel hid his amused satisfaction in taking his own chair, pretending to ignore the groan from Jack while returning Sam's look of graceful defeat and Teal'c's nod.
"Cheater," Jack leaned towards the man and hissed as everyone settled.
Daniel looked affronted. "Did not," he protested, whispering back. Sam ducked her head and Teal'c looked amused as Jack opened his mouth to respond.
General Hammond intervened first.
"Ahem," he coughed. SG-1 collectively sat a little taller, giving the General their undivided attention. "You are no doubt wondering why I've gathered you all here," he asked them as a group, and they all nodded. Their next mission wasn't scheduled for two more days. "I am canceling SG-1's mission to P5X-475."
Jack and Daniel straightened in surprise. Teal'c cocked his head. "Sir?" Sam questioned, her forehead slightly wrinkled.
The General continued like he hadn't noticed, instead, drumming fingers on the folders he had yet to hand out. "In fact, I'm taking SG-1 out of the off-world rotation as of this moment."
Sam gasped, the sound echoed by Daniel. Even Teal'c' looked startled. "General?" Jack asked, a deep frown marring his features. "Did we do something, or am I just not getting my memos?"
At that, Hammond looked up and raised his hands in a placating gesture. "No, Colonel, nothing like that." He looked back at the stack of folders, then picked them up and passed them out. "I have another mission for SG-1. As some of you have already guessed, it's a little closer to home."
"That's more like it," Jack grinned, as he took his own folder, moving to open it. The rest started to do the same.
"Before you open those," Hammond interrupted them, pausing until he had their eyes again, "I need to tell you a few things." He looked around the table, exchanging looks with each member of his premier team. "There are certain parts of this mission that will be strictly voluntary."
"Voluntary, sir?" Jack asked. "What sort of mission is this?"
In reply, Hammond picked up a remote, dimming the lights and bringing up a logo on the screen. "Are any of you familiar with Providence Day School?"
"Isn't that the school whose founders have established new teaching methods that stress independent study and individual attention?" Daniel supplied, studying the logo on the screen.
"For a price," muttered Sam. She'd heard of the school too. They were private, and while the price for the yearly tuition wasn't astronomical, it did limit the population attending to some extent, especially if they intended to send their child there for the full thirteen years of schooling offered there.
"So what," wondered Jack, "they really building up an army or something?" Teal'c turned to watch the General.
Hammond couldn't hide the brief twitch of his lips. "Not quite Colonel." He pressed another button on the remote. The picture changed, this time showing a body in a morgue.
A soft gasp, and the soft shuffling of clothing could be heard, as SG-1 shifted in surprise. Not at the body on the screen, no, none of them were strangers to death. They were surprised at the cause of death.
Teal'c recovered his voice first. "This man has been killed by a staff weapon."
"Who was he?" Daniel asked, brows creased as if he could discern the man's name just by studying the picture.
"Joseph Collins. He was an instructor at Providence Day School. At least until last week. His body was found in a nearby park. A couple, out for a late night stroll, went to investigate strange noises. When they came upon the scene, they saw two men fleeing, one of them carrying a large stick or staff." He turned off the screen bringing up the lights again, and SG-1 swiveled to face him. "Our contact with the local authorities picked up on the case. The President and Joint Chiefs have ordered the SGC, particularly SG-1 to investigate" Hammond looked down at the table, tapping his fingers thoughtfully, before he looked back up at them. "And that's not all, people. Mr. Collins is not the first person to disappear from that school. Since they opened their doors in 1991, eight teachers and twenty-four students have disappeared." He inclined his head towards them, signaling that the discussion was now open.
"What?!" demanded Jack in outrage, "Kids getting murdered? Why hasn't this place been shut down before now?"
Daniel held up a hand. "Whoa, wait, Jack," he shook his head. "General Hammond said they disappeared, not that they were murdered." He looked up at the General. "I assume that few, if any, of these cases were deemed 'suspicious'?"
"Yes, Dr. Jackson. In fact, twelve of the twenty-four children were declared as runaways. Four were ruled as suicide. The rest were suspected having been taken by estranged parents, most of those also missing. The same is more or less true for the missing staff. Few bodies, and no evidence of foul play in any of the cases. Most of the time there were notes or other explanations. Our contact only discovered most of the cases when he began to search the missing persons lists, and recognized a connection with the school."
Jack lifted a hand and formed his fingers into a gun, sighting it along the table. He mimed firing. "Three shots with a Zat, no bodies, no evidence," he grumbled, his features set in a hard mask.
Teal'c nodded in agreement, and then added, "Many may have been taken aboard a ship or removed in another fashion."
"What exactly are we looking for, General?" asked Sam, tapping her pen on her note pad.
Beating the General to a reply, Jack answered her. "Where Jaffa are Carter, their God is not far behind."
Sam dipped her chin, conceding the point. She turned back to face the General. "Any idea who we are trying to find, sir?"
The General shook his head in regret. "No, Major," Hammond admitted, "But, we haven't had very long to investigate, this Goa'uld, whoever he is, has been very secretive."
"Seshat," blurted Daniel suddenly, staring at the blank screen where the images had been displayed. He waved a hand slightly, not turning around. "General, can you put the logo back up?" he requested. General Hammond complied. Even though he didn't lower the lights, the seven-point star on top of what might have been a staff showing on the screen with a crescent moon covering it like an umbrella was clear to all.
"Daniel?" asked Jack. All eyes turned to the young archeologist.
Daniel just motioned towards the screen. "That's her, that's her symbol. I'm sure of it. Even with allowances for variations over the centuries, it's too similar to be coincidence. Besides, it all fits; Seshat was considered the Goddess of writing, mathematics, architecture… She was also said to be the wife and daughter of Thoth, God of Wisdom. Having her behind a school just makes sense."
"Wife and daughter? Now that's creepy." Jack shook his head, and continued. "Well, now we have the man, er, woman, we just need the plan," Jack stated dryly. He turned in his chair, and gave Hammond a significant look. "General?" he invited leadingly.
His lips upturned briefly in a tight smile, Hammond nodded. "SG-1 will be going in under cover at Providence Day School. In the folders, you will find details about your cover story. Now this is the voluntary part." Again, the General waited until he had their undivided attention. "Do you remember P35-437?" he asked.
Jack looked surprised. "How could we forget sir?" That was the planet was where all of SG-1 except Jack had been turned into children.
"What's P35-437 got to do with us going under cover here on Earth?" Daniel asked, puzzled.
"We would like to use the device you found there to give one of you the appearance of a child." He gave them a moment to let the idea sink in. "Children are universally ignored as unimportant by adults, the perfect cover. No one will suspect it. Children are also what this Goa'uld is after."
Rubbing his forehead, Jack looked thoughtful. "Bait and tackle," he mused quietly. He shared a considering look with Teal'c across the table.
"Sir? Didn't that machine take away our memories as well?" Sam asked, turning to the General.
Hammond nodded. "The science teams have studied the data you brought back on the device, and they feel they have unlocked the secrets to successfully control it. According to our team, the device was built to revert the user to the age requested, either with or without memory blocks, and later restore them back to their proper age. They are confident they can replicate the device's intended purpose."
Sam blinked, moving her head in disbelief. "Why, that's amazing. I mean the practical and scientific applications of such a device…"
Waving his hand, Jack interrupted. "While I'm sure all that is wonderful, that's not why you brought it up General." He paused, and took a deep breath. "I'll do it."
"Jack!" Daniel protested.
Hammond made a calming motion. "That may not be necessary, Colonel. We, that is the Joint Chiefs and I, have someone else in mind. Major Carter." Jack looked ready to protest, Teal'c sat up straight, his gaze speculative. Sam, after a brief look of surprise at the general, stared down at the unopened folder, clearly thinking hard.
"Why Sam?" demanded Daniel before Jack could talk. "Um, no offense Sam," he amended hastily.
Pressing his fingertips together in front of him to form a loose point, Hammond looked around the table. "Major Carter has one thing you don't Colonel, and that's her ability to detect the presence of a Goa'uld symbiote. While Teal'c can do the same, he is also less familiar with Earth culture, especially the expectations of childhood, making Major Carter, in our minds, the best choice," he told them.
"If I remember correctly, they can also sense her," Jack pointed out, frowning at the one obvious flaw.
"Not anymore, sir," Sam spoke up. At Jack's surprised look, she looked at Hammond, and the older man nodded his permission. Turning to face Jack in her chair, Sam explained. "Janet and I have been working on a compound that when injected, binds with the naquadah in my blood, making me undetectable, but I'm still able to sense when there is another symbiote around. Well at least it's worked so far with Teal'c," she granted.
"But, uh, Teal'c doesn't have a symbiote," Daniel brought up.
Sam winced, "We can still sense each other when we are near," she said, fiddling with her pen. "We've been able to experiment with at least those sensations. Practical tests are a little hard to plan out after all. It also wears off in a few days, the injections have to be taken regularly," she admitted.
"Sounds risky to me," Jack grunted, shuffling his papers around.
She straightened, looking him in the eye, suddenly coming to a decision. "I'm willing to take that risk."
"Well what if I'm not?" challenged Jack, setting his pad down harder than he'd intended.
General Hammond intervened. "I'm afraid that I and the Joint Chiefs agree with Major Carter. Her ability to sense the presence of a blended Goa'uld, and identify his, or her, Jaffa, is too valuable to waste. It will allow our strike force to take her out with pinpoint accuracy. This is a school we are talking about people, and I want minimal collateral damage. I do not need to remind you that even one civilian's death, especially a child's, is one too many. We need to find this Seshat, whoever she is, and remove her as quickly as possible. Do I make myself clear?"
At the reminder of children, Jack subsided. The team flipped open folders, as if to hide discomfort.
The only one not opening his folder was Daniel, and he raised a hand tentatively before speaking up. "Um, I understand about the naquadah thing, but wouldn't it be better to keep Sam as an adult, where she could better protect herself, General, sir?" he questioned.
"That is a very good point Dr. Jackson. I can only re-iterate that we think disguising Major Carter as a child will be the perfect cover for her. No one will suspect a child, and we think that lack of suspicion will further work to protect her from detection. Additionally, no one except myself, Dr. Lee's team, and you all know that the device on P35-437 is now fully operational and most especially that it can restore a person with their memories intact." He looked around the table, briefly locking gazes with each of them, before he continued.
"I will also stress that Major Carter will not be going in alone. Through our contact with the local authorities, we've located someone on the inside willing to help us. They have made it possible for the rest of you to enter the school under assumed roles and identities. We have taken the available openings and given each of you cover stories." Hammond faced Daniel directly. "You, Dr. Jackson, will be taking over for early French immersion studies. This will give you contact with students as well as staff."
"You want me to teach?" Daniel asked in surprise, looking somewhat taken aback.
"I have full confidence in your abilities, Dr. Jackson. You will be following the schools pre-approved lesson plans and curriculum. You'll be acting as a resource teacher, so you won't be responsible for your own class. I'm sure you'll do fine," Hammond assured the man.
After receiving a hesitant and preoccupied nod from Daniel, the General's gaze moved down the table. "Teal'c, you will be the school's new janitor. Your position will give you the ability to move freely about the building and it's grounds at any time of day." Teal'c nodded, pleased with the solution.
"And you, Colonel," Hammond started, looking to the last member of SG-1 to be assigned a cover.
"Ah, General, couldn't I be like the new gym teacher or something?" Jack interrupted, tracing designs on the open folder in front of him.
The General shook his head. "You know Major Carter will need a guardian, Colonel, if she's to be believable."
"Not to mention if we want to avoid the authorities," Daniel suggested, as he suddenly realized one of the major drawbacks of the plan, hiding amusement at Jack's discomfort in the solution.
"Indeed," agreed Teal'c.
"Yes, but me?" evaded Jack. "You know I look no where near old enough to be Carter's dad. What about you General? You look old en… eh I mean not that you look old, I mean, well you do…. Well, of course, she'll look much younger than she does now… eh, not that she looks old…." Jack winced as he kept digging himself deeper, pinching the bridge of his nose as he trailed off under the General's keen, knowing look. "What about Uncle?" he tried. "I could do Uncle. Maybe."
Looking up from her intense study of the contents of her folder, Sam neatly changed the subject. From her face it was clear she'd been paying only partial attention since the General's announcement. "Exactly how old were you planning to make me, sir?" She flinched slightly, as if only just realizing the meaning of her words.
"Dr. Lee assures me that he and his team can revert your age to around age eleven or twelve," he told her, honestly, meeting her gaze. "Any older than that, and we think it will be harder for you to remain in positions where you can overhear conversations."
"Around?" picked up Jack instantly.
Hammond's eyes darted back to Jack. "He's quite sure, Colonel."
Jack narrowed his eyes. "How sure?"
"I'm sure Dr. Lee can provide you with the exact figures, Colonel," Hammond told him in a way that signaled debate on the subject was finished. "Are there any further questions?" He looked around the table. "You have until next week to learn your new identities and cover stories. Tomorrow, you will head to P35-437. Dismissed."
As the team stood to go, Hammond laid a hand on Sam's arm. "Major," he said, searching her face, "if you change your mind and decide not to go through with this…"
"I won't," she broke in, lifting her chin in determination under his piercing look.
Hammond squeezed her arm, a soft smile breaking across his features. "I know, but it needed to be said Sam."
"Thank you, sir," she told him, gazing warmly into his face. He let go, and Sam gathered her things and followed the rest of her team out of the briefing room.