Set season 5 cannon before 48 hours, spoilers up to then. Some spoilers from season 10 '200'
Teamfic, no pairings. Reviews and discussion welcome.
Can't see Jack
Jack O'Neill was beginning to wonder if the universe was conspiring to get between him and his breakfast, or if not the universe everyone at the SGC.
It was early even by military standards, and the usual morning coffee he had on route to the base hadn't quite lifted the fog from his mind. It was a simple idea: arrive at the base, change into BDU's and meet the team for breakfast in the commissary. It wasn't going to plan and that didn't exactly bode well for whatever the rest of the day had in store.
Less than a minute after leaving the locker room he practically barrelled into Sgt Harriman with a stack of files for next months training selection. It was getting freaky how efficient the tech sergeant always seemed to know exactly where to find him when paperwork called, and worse Hammond knew it. Before he'd reached his in-tray to dump the files the General had called his cell requesting his presence at 08:00 to go over the report from P9C-wherever. Pacing along the corridor he did his best to avoid being interrupted by anyone else wanting something that could wait.
He'd heard his name but Daniel was still a way behind him, just one more hall and he'd reach the commissary with breakfast and coffee to distract him while the archaeologist prattled away. Jack lengthened his stride slightly in the hope of getting closer to the doors before Daniel reached him at a jog.
'Jack! Didn't you hear me? I was calling you from down the hall?'
Damn, too late. He paused a moment to take in the sight of his team mate before continuing towards the promises of orange juice and oatmeal. Daniel had dark rings under his eyes, tenseness in his body and a slight whiff of stale coffee that spoke of a night involving more work than sleep. Why anyone would volunteer to work through perfectly good sleeping time was a mystery to him.
'What? Sorry, no' Jack knew Daniel knew he was lying, but he could still carry off playing dumb just enough to keep him guessing.
'Oh, well, I was just going to tell you that I've finished translating the first few paragraphs of the tablet we found in the ruins on P9C-849 and it turns out I was right'
'Right about what?' he winced, regretting the question instantly.
'About those ruins being another version of the Heliopolis – the place that Ernest Littlefield was stranded'
'So? Jack, those ruins are probably even older than the ones where we found Ernest. Who knows what else we could find there?'
'Right. Meaning of life stuff' he answered gruffly.
'Exactly!' Daniel continued, ignoring his usual morning grumpiness.
'That's great; send me a memo when you've finished the whole tablet' Jack stated dryly, hoping to humour Daniel just long enough to actually reach the doorway.
'I'm serious, Jack'
Before he had chance to respond Sam met them in the hallway junction looking disgustingly bright eyed and chipper considering the hour.
'Colonel, Daniel, great timing. I was just coming to find you'
Nuts, this can't be good, Jack mused. Raising his finger sharply he cut her off before she had finished taking her next breath.
'Ah! It's not even 07:00 yet! Breakfast first, techno babble and…' he waved his hand in a vague gesture toward Daniel 'meaning of life stuff, after'
'Actually, Sir, that's why I'm here'
He regarded his team mates sceptically for a moment. 'Just breakfast? No brain frying theoretical mumbo jumbo?'
The wrinkle in her eyebrows gave away her confusion at his behaviour and was that amusement creeping into her voice? Noticing Sam's arrival in the corridor had distracted Daniel from his prattling Jack seized his moment to make his break for the commissary door. Just as he reached his goal the base klaxon sounded loudly.
'Unscheduled activation, incoming wormhole'
'Oh for crying out loud!' He cried, exasperated, the conspiracy theory gathering momentum by the second.
With all hope of breakfast abandoned they arrived at the control room to find Teal'c and General Hammond greeting a woman from the Tok'ra at the bottom of the gate room ramp. Jack didn't recognise her though she wore the typical bland desert coloured robes with leather over that all the Tok'ra wore outside of their bases, and her mid-length light brown hair went without decoration. Despite looking every inch the opposite of the opulent system lords, the familiar Goa'uld inspired pool of unease swirled in the pit of his stomach every time the Tok'ra dropped by.
Scrubbing his hands over his face to hide his distain he schooled his expression waiting for the confirmation he knew was coming; this day was about to go from bad to much worse.
'SG-1 this is Alas'yia of the Tok'ra' The General introduced
Alas'yia bowed her head 'It is my honour to meet SG-1 together, your victories over the Goa'uld system lords are well known among all Tok'ra'
Surprisingly it was the host who spoke, of all of the Tok'ra they had encountered very few took a back seat to the host. Jack didn't really understand the symbiotic relationship and he didn't really want to, his and Carter's experience with symbiotes had been memorable for entirely the wrong reasons.
'Major Carter, your Father regrets he could not be here. He has been called to convene with the other council members and has sent me in his stead'
There was a barely perceptible release of tension in Sam shoulders as she shifted her weight. It had been months since she had seen her Father, and since the whole Netu experience unexpected visits from the Tok'ra always set her on edge until she heard of her Fathers whereabouts.
'It's good to meet you too. My Father has always spoken highly of you. What brings you to Earth?'
'The Tok'ra have recently acquired some information that may be of some interest and for which you talents may be uniquely suited'
They shared a brief look which told Jack that Hammond didn't like the sound of this any more than he did. When the Tok'ra asked SG-1 for a favour it usually resulted in a mission where they barely escaped with their hides in tact.
'If you'd like to come through to the briefing room you can explain there' Hammond invited, offering to lead the way.
Alas'yia bowed again before following the General out of the gate room with SG-1 in tow. Taking their seats around the briefing room table the Tok'ra woman continued.
'You recall when Apophis fleet was destroyed during our escape from Vorash we believed the technology to cloak large vessels was also lost'
'Sure, blowing up a Sun isn't something you forget' Quipped Jack smugly, which earned him a long-suffering look from the Major sitting across from him.
'We believe now that the Goa'uld responsible for developing the cloaking generator technology escaped and is now in the service of Tilgath. Tilgath's empire was previously growing to match any one of the ruling system lords but he has since suffered heavy losses. If the cloaking technology was to fall into the wrong hands then one of the system lords could quickly rise to domination'
'How is it you believe SG-1 can be of assistance?' Teal'c asked succinctly.
'The operative who brought this information to us could not gain access to the cloaking technology without risking revealing themselves, however we have obtained details of the location where the prototype is under construction.'
'And you want us to destroy it' Daniel concluded.
'Not exactly.' Alas'yia replied, with all the caginess they had come to expect when dealing with the Tok'ra. Jack ground his teeth and waited impatiently for what he knew was coming next.
'As you are aware, the Tok'ra depend heavily on our ability to remain covert. We are at our most vulnerable when changing the location of our bases, especially if we are under attack. A cloak of such magnitude would be of great use to the Tok'ra'
'So you want us to steal it?'
The surprise in Carters voice echoed Jack's own thoughts; although it wouldn't be the first time they'd been asked to do the impossible. Alas'yia took out a small orange crystal from the sleeve of her tunic and passed it to Sam.
'It is likely the device would be too large to easily separate from the main engine. First we would like you to gain access to the central computer and transfer the schematics of the cloaking technology to this data crystal. Then destroy the device, without being detected of course.'
'Of course' said Jack dryly.
He pondered how convenient it was that the Tok'ra could always get into high places to find information, but when it came to getting their hands dirty something always got in the way. So their original operative couldn't help them out, so what? They had the intel and could plan a mission like this on their own. There had to be something more they weren't telling.
'Why SG-1?' Jack cut straight to the point.
Alas'yia bowed her head while the symbiote within her took control.
'SG-1 has proved to be highly successful in similar missions in the past. Indeed, if it was not for your efforts in bringing down Apophis the system lords would not have been able to stand against his forces.' There was a short pause while Alas'yia seemed to register Jacks scepticism 'Also the Tok'ra at present do not have a sufficient number of operatives for such a bold manoeuvre, your assistance would be greatly appreciated'
Naturally suspicious of anyone who begins a proposition with flattery, Jack eyed the woman carefully. To his recollection each mission where they had 'assisted' the Tok'ra in destroying Goa'uld vessels hadn't exactly gone to plan. Before he could protest General Hammond intervened.
'Colonel, I'd like you and your team to review the intelligence provided by the Tok'ra and ascertain if it is possible to do what they're proposing. If successful, the technology to cloak any vessels would be invaluable to the development of the X-302. I'll expect your report at 09:00'
As General Hammond rose to his feet SG-1 and Alas'yia followed suit. With a firm nod he turned towards his office and reached for the red phone to apprise the President of the situation.
With some reluctance Jack had to admit the General had a point. They may be running an errand for the Tok'ra but it was certain that if successful the cloaking technology would give them a great advantage given they were still barely getting their toes wet with tactical spacecraft. The Stargate programme had finally begun to pay dividends in advancements through alien technology but the pressure to deliver the goods was ever-present. There was one thing Jack was sure of as Alas'yia switched on the holoprojector, retrieving their prize would be far from easy or the Tok'ra wouldn't be here so willing to share the spoils.
'OK folks, you heard the man. Let's see what we've got'