Jack nodded to the SFs guarding the guest quarters, then knocked on the door before sticking his head in. The young man sprawled loosely on the edge of the bed, his elbows resting on his knees and his chin resting on his hands.
"Hey," Jack said. The young man looked up. "Can I get you anything? Water? Coffee? Coffee? Water?"
Sam rubbed his forehead. "No thanks," he answered, sounding tired.
"You don't know what you're missing." Winchester shrugged. "No, really," Jack continued. "You don't. And you don't want to know, either. The coffee is terrible." He stepped in and shut the door.
"I'm pretty sure that's not how you're supposed to start an interrogation," the kid said. "And it's usually a two-man job."
"Interrogation? No interrogation." He puffed out his cheeks and then blew out a breath. "This is just a, a...chat."
The kid gave him a look that said clearly that he thought Jack was taking him for a fool. "A chat. Of course."
"No, really. We just need to know what the hell's going on here, Winchester, that's all. National security, the fate of the world, you know, that kind of thing." He grabbed the chair from the desk, spun it around, and sat down in it, propping his arms up on the back.
Winchester sat up and ran a hand through his hair. "Yeah, ok. Whatever." He took a deep breath. "Look, I really don't know anything-" The kid's face was earnest, and his tone was sincere. It was pretty familiar- for example, see the response any time Carter was asked, "What are you guys really up to, under that mountain?"
So Jack ignored it, interrupting a doubtlessly convincing spiel with, "So, did you see the Simpsons last week?"
Sam's brow wrinkled in confusion. "Uh, no...?"
"It was a good one. I think. I was off-world." He shrugged. "I'll catch up on it later. Good show, the Simpsons."
The kid's frown deepened. "What does that have to do with anything?" he asked, bewildered.
"Not a thing. Just making conversation." He stared at the kid. The kid stared at him. Sam blinked first.
"Why do people on other planets speak English?" he asked. He seemed genuinely curious, but there was something lurking underneath it, like a smart-assed comment waiting to be born.
Jack waited for a second, then, with as much gravity as he could manage, "Magic." It was not the answer the kid was expecting, and it stunned him into silence for a second. What could Jack say? It was a gift.
"Wait- What? Did you just say- magic?" Sam managed at last, sounding completely exasperated. He sat up straight, abandoning the slouch he'd been cultivating as a way of minimizing his height (or so Jack suspected).
Jack let him hang there for a minute, before conceding with a shrug. "Or, you know, something like that. I've often wondered myself, but if you ask, it tends to set Carter and Daniel off and they'll argue for hours." Sam look unconvinced. "No, really. Hours." Jack continued.
Sam said nothing, just glanced away. It was not quite an eye roll. "So. I understand you think we're fictional." Sam's head snapped back, with neck-breaking speed. Ahah, now he had the kid's attention.
"Don't get me wrong, it makes my life a lot easier. Don't have to worry about non-disclosure agreements being followed. And you know, there's nothing that says 'plausible deniability' like honest-to-god crazy."
Sam opened his mouth, then shut it again. "We're not crazy."
"Oh yeah? Sounds pretty crazy to me," Jack said. He held his hands up in a pacifying gesture. "Just saying, kid."
"You're the ones fighting aliens pretending to be gods flying around in pyramids, how does that make sense?" Sam asked, exasperated. He'd obviously been expecting logic in this conversation.
Jack shrugged. "It's a fair enough point. Why don't you tell me your story, and then we'll decide which is crazier."
The kid's cheek twitched. "I thought you said this wasn't an interrogation."
Jack held his hands up, the picture of innocence. "It's not. I'm just..."
"Making conversation," the kid finished, and sighed.
They sat in silence for a few minutes. Jack didn't mind. Eventually, he tried again. "So Sal'ek tells us you killed Paris Hilton. Not a fan of 'The Simple Life'?" There was silence for another few minutes. "Me either," Jack tried.
At last, the kid said, "It wasn't really Paris Hilton," then stopped.
"Oh yeah?" Jack prompted, keeping his posture deliberately relaxed.
Reluctantly, Sam continued, "It was old eastern European forest spirit that took the form of its victims' idols." Jack grinned inwardly. Underneath under all the muscle and combat training there was a geek.
"Victims? Forest spirits have victims?"
"It got tired of waiting to be offered human sacrifices and went for the self-serve option."
"Ah." Jack waited a beat, then said, "So how do you kill a murderous eastern European forest spirit?"
"An iron axe." The kid's reluctance was fading as he relaxed. Give a geek an opening, and they'll tell you everything you never wanted to know about their pet subject. God help them if the kid ever ended up spending an extended period of time with Daniel.
"That'd kill most things, I'd think," Jack said mildly. He inserted a note of false heartiness to his voice. "So. Fan of beheading, are we?"
The kid, whose gaze had drifted back to the ceiling, turned his head sharply and looked at him directly. "What? No."
"You do seem to do a lot of it." Jack pointed out.
Sam looked up and away, as if running a mental tally. He gave up eventually. "It's just the job," he said at last.
"What job is that?" Jack asked. Sam gave him a look. "Just curious," Jack added.
Sam rolled his eyes, and then said in a voice laced with irony, "Saving people. Hunting things. The Family Business." He sounded like he was quoting someone. Jack got the idea that Sam wasn't as gung-ho as the motto implied.
Sam rolled his shoulders. "My brother used to say it. It's not untrue."
"Yeah." He twisted his lips into a wry smile. "I always thought he was full of it, 'the family business.' As if we'd even been doing it if- Well. Anyway. I thought he was fooling himself. Making it noble. The 'family business' was nothing more than my father's revenge."
Jack said nothing, figuring that the kid wasn't really talking to him. After a minute, Sam continued. "The irony is, he was right. It was the family business. Just not on that side of the family." He smiled sardonically.
"Your mother?" Jack guessed.
"Yeah," the kid said. He shook his head. "I don't blame her for getting us stuck with this crap. We were all screwed, one way or another."
"Wow. Depressing," Jack said after a beat. He raised an eyebrow. "You should swap stories with Daniel."
The kid smiled then, and it was the first genuine thing he'd seen. "Sorry."
"It's alright, Winchester." He tapped his fingers on the chair, and then leaned forward, resting his arms on the chair back. "So, hunting monsters, what's that like?"
The kid made a face and shrugged. "Can't be too different from what you do."
Jack cocked an eyebrow worthy of Teal'c at that. "Really? Bad guys? Politics? Armies?"
"Ok," the kid conceded, "Maybe not." He rubbed his temples. "We definitely don't have the back up."
"Everyone's got back-up, Winchester."
Sam twisted his mouth into something that resembled a smile, bitter and without warmth. "I guess I'm just tired of watching them die. We've got each other. And we've been working with this one...guy."
"Yeah?" Jack leaned back and cracked his neck.
"He's helped us out of a few tight spots," Sam admitted. "But he can't seem to get us out of this." The last was more to himself than anyone else. Jack suddenly understood what Daniel had meant about the Winchesters' sudden bouts of ignoring everyone.
"So what's 'this'?" Jack asked, trying not to push too hard.
Sam gave him a long and calculating look.
Jack shrugged. "You've told me this much, what's a little more?"
The kid's nostrils flared. "I hate it when shows break the fourth wall. Postmodernism is overdone. And it's nuts."
"Right, I'll just pretend I understood the rest of that. But crazy? Crazy I understand. Come on, try me." Jack leaned back with his arms open and his palms up.
Sam stared at him hard. "Fine." He blew out some pent-up breath. "It's my fault, anyway. We're trying to stop...this thing," he said. Jack didn't miss the fact he didn't seem to want to elucidate. "And there was this trickster god. I thought he might actually be an ally, can you believe that? After what he did the last time-"
"What'd he do the last time?" Jack asked, interrupting the rant. He wasn't feeling up to a round of self-recrimination.
"Oh." Sam stopped, and blinked. "He wanted to 'teach me a lesson'. So he forced me to watch my brother die again and again in a hundred different ways, always almost managing to stop it but never enough." Jack'd call the kid's tone bitter, except that it didn't really even begin to cover it.
"Groundhog's day?," Jack prompted." Something passed over the kid's a face, something like recognition. Jack took that as a 'yes'. "Those always suck. In any case, you do what you have to do."
The kid was giving him a very strange look, as if he expected a different answer. "Yeah? Well in this case, doing that got us stuck in some fantasy land based off TV. We've got to 'play our roles' " - he mimed air quotes - "Or suffer the consequences."
"Ah." Jack waved a hand vaguely around. "So that's why all the- fiction... thing. So. Zapped into TVland? What's this guy look like, anyway?"
"Anything he wants." Sam stared into Jack's face with a calculating look in his eye. But then he relaxed, apparently deciding that Jack was an unlikely candidate for trickster-hood.
Jack took that as his cue. He stood up, stretching a bit theatrically.
"Well, thanks for the chat, Winchester." He glanced down at his watch. "It was...interesting. But as it happens, I'm due for another round of meetings about all this. You couldn't do me a favor and pop back out of this reality, could you? No? It'd save me a hell of a lot of paperwork." The kid shrugged. "I wish. Sorry."
Jack walked over to the door, put his hand on the door knob and stopped. He looked back over his shoulder and said, "Look, I'm not sure what's going to happen. But for what it's worth- I think we'll be able to get them to rule out...oh, dissection."
"Um, thanks. I guess," Sam said doubtfully. But there was something lighter in his eyes.
Without looking back a second time, Jack opened the door and stepped through. One of the SFs shut it behind him. He turned to one of them and said, "Hey, do me a favor. If the kid asks for anything, let me know?' The guard nodded. "Yes, sir."
Jack hurried down the hall towards Hammond's office. Inside, he found Carter and Jacob standing in front of his Hammond's desk, telling him something and occasionally gesturing unhappily.
"Knock, knock," he called, lightly tapping on the open doorway. Heads turned in his direction.
"Colonel O'Neill," General Hammond said. "Come in. Were you able to get anything out of our guest?"
"Not exactly, sir." Jack glanced over at Carter. "How'd the memory thing go?"
Hammond nodded to Carter, encouraging her to proceed.
"He outright refused it, sir," Carter said. Her eyes were calm but her frustration was betrayed by the minute wrinkle that indicated she was trying not to clench her teeth.
Jack frowned. "Is he hiding something?"
"I don't think so, Jack," Jacob answered, stepping aside to let Jack join them.
"He freaked out, sir," Carter added.
Jack raised an eyebrow. "Is that a technical term, Carter?"
"Nearly," Jacob said. He rolled his head as if trying to work a kink out of his neck. "He had some pretty major issues with it. I can't say it's the first time I've seen somebody react like that. He's got something he's trying awfully hard not to remember."
"POW?" Jack asked, looking over and catching his eye.
"That'd be my guess," Jacob said.
Carter shrugged. "I don't have a better theory," she said, a little grudgingly.
Jack pondered it for a second. "Well, that tells us...not much," Jack concluded.
Carter made a wry face. "And just creates more questions."
"Which is why we're all eager to hear what you've learned," General Hammond said, trying to steer the conversation into more productive waters. He picked up his pen and leaned forward expectantly.
"You're not going to like it, sir," Jack said, wincing a little as he did.
"Tell it to me anyway, Colonel," Hammond replied, unperturbed.
"Don't say I didn't warn you-" Jack started. The general gave him an impatient look. Jack shifted his weight, considering his words. "Well, sir. He definitely thinks he's in a television show."
"Could he be suffering from a mental illness?" the general asked.
"Maybe, sir," Jack replied. "It'd definitely read that way if he went around talking about the program. But I don't know." He tried not to fidget. "He's got an absolute doozy of an explanation for it, though."
Carter and Jacob waited patiently for him to continue. The general...not so much.
"And why is that, Colonel?" he asked, sounding a little testy. His pen was still posed over his notes.
"Well, you do know that Sal'ek said they told him they fought monsters, sir," Jack began, still hesitating.
"Yes, Colonel, I remember that." The general's patience was beginning to wear thin, which was always a bad thing. So Jack continued, "And that's what he basically said. He said they went after a, a," Jack waved his hands a vague circle, searching for a better way to put it. He gave up. "...some sort of 'trickster god' – yeah, don't even ask me about that one- and got stuck in TVland for their trouble."
There was silence. "Now I've heard some tall tales in my day, but that one certainly takes the cake," Hammond said, dropping his pen without taking a single note.
"That it does...sir." Jack agreed.
They stood in silence for another minute, sharing awkward glances. "The Ancients could do something like that," Jacob suggested at last, "Mess with perception, move people around the universe."
Jack was already shaking his head. "But they wouldn't," he stated flatly. "Just ask Daniel. They wouldn't move if you lit their asses on fire," he finished. He looked over at the general and then added, "Sir."
"I just don't know what to make of this Colonel," the general admitted, tapping his notes with his pen.
"You're not alone there, sir," Carter said. Her cheek twitched.
"What am I supposed to tell the Pentagon?"
"Couldn't say, sir," Jack supplied, though it was undoubtedly a rhetorical question.
Jack turned and walked over to the security monitor someone had set u. It alternated between shots of the Winchesters, each in their separate quarters. He watched it for a moment, his back to the others. The two men were not doing anything interesting, just sitting with the resigned patience of men waiting for the next bomb to drop. But then movement in one of the screens caught Jack's eye.
He leaned closer. There, in the room with Dean Winchester was Sal'ek. He motioned Carter closer. The image flipped back to Sam Winchester's room as she came over, looking puzzled.
"Didn't Teal'c take Sal'ek back to his home planet an hour ago?" Jack asked.
She frowned at his apparent non-sequitur. "Yes, why?"
"Is he back yet?" Jack continued, his eyes not leaving the screen.
"No, sir," Carter answered. "If you don't mind me asking, sir, what's this about?"
The image flipped back to Dean. Jack stabbed a finger at the screen. "That, Carter. That. The kid told me he could look like anyone."
"Shit," she said. She turned around. "General?"
Hammond stood up and was already dialing his phone. "I'll trigger the base lock down," he said. "Go."
They moved to the door as one, Carter taking the lead and Jack following. He could hear Jacob behind him as they ran down the hall. And another. And a third, and on and on until they finally they skidded around the last turn.
"Open the door," Jack barked to the startled SFs.
"Sir," one of them protested.
"Open the damn door, Sergeant, before I open it for you." The sergeant complied, and the three of them burst into the room just in time to see Dean pin Sal'ek to the wall in one snake-quick movement.
"The Asgard are their allies," he hissed. Sal'ek smiled, and it was a creepy smile on his young face. "Well done," he said, morphing into a relatively ordinary-looking man. "I said you were getting better at this."
"Or you're getting more obvious. Asking me about Loki. Christ. I'm going to skewer you."
"Step back, Dean," Carter said, pointing a zat at the stranger. Jack did the same with his sidearm.
Dean ignored her, as did the other man. "Sure you are. It worked so well for you in the past," the man said. His entire manner was insincere, and every comment sardonic. He casually reached one arm up and grabbed Dean's, twisting it and shoving Dean to the floor...which he shouldn't have had the leverage to do, let alone the strength.
Carter fired as soon as Dean was clear. The zat apparently had no effect on the stranger. Neither did the bullet Jack sent his way after Carter's shot failed to drop him.
"Tsk," the man said, turning to face him. He wagged a finger at them. "You're taking away from my big scene."
Jack was willing to try shooting him again, but found himself unable. He was as trapped- and as immobile as a statue. He couldn't speak, couldn't breathe...but strangely enough, that wasn't presenting an immediate problem.
"Dean, Dean, Dean," the stranger said, turning back to the young man on the floor. "You know, you're a hard man to find. It took me ages to track you guys down. And now you don't want to play?" He pouted for a second, then cocked his head hard to the side, smiling once more. "That's not how it goes, sonny-boy," he said, smirking. "I'm the director, remember? I make the rules, and you... don't. Capice?"
"You son of a bitch-" Dean began, but he stopped, as if something had cut off his air.
"Ah-ah-ah," the man said. "Not in front of the lady." He gave Carter an exaggerated once-over. "Vacation's over," he said with an eyebrow waggle worthy of the old slapstick routines. He snapped his fingers and Dean disappeared, old-school Star Trek style.
"Well, fellas," he said to them, "It's been real." He stopped, as if remembering something. "And you miiight want to check out P2X-3401 in about, oh, a year or two. Tata." He smirked again and then vanished.
Jack found he could move again. He took a deep breath, and then bellowed. "I'll say it again. What the hell is going on here?"
Carter looked stunned. She kept glancing around the room, as if expecting to find them hiding behind a desk chair. "I – I don't know. I need to get to my lab." She turned around and hurried off, doubtlessly planning a whole slew of tests to conduct.
Jacob was still shaking his head and blinking, as if trying to clear his sight. Jack had a feeling Selmak was feeling just as shocked as the rest of them. Jacob managed to regain his voice. "Let's go check on the other guy."
"Bet you he's 'mysteriously' vanished, too." Jack said, as they walked down the hall to Sam Winchester's room. Jack nodded to the still-stunned SFs as they passed by.
"I'm not taking that bet," Jacob answered. "Have I ever mentioned how glad I am to be retired? I don't envy you. What are you guys going to tell the Pentagon?"
"I'm not going to tell them anything, Jacob. When we discover that both Winchesters are mysteriously missing, I'm going to go home and sleep for, like, a week in my nice bed and do my damnedest to pretend none of this ever happened."
"I don't think you get to do that, Jack," Jacob said, rueful. "I never did."
"Ah," Jack said, holding up a finger, "But you were only dealing with normal-levels of FUBAR. We occasionally deal with levels of weird even they don't want to know about."
"We are talking about the same organization, aren't we?" Jacob asked, "Because in my day, they loved the weird stuff even more than the billion reports it necessitated."
"That was before they had to deal with our reports," Jack said, shrugging.
"Come on, Jack. This is the Pentagon we're talking about."
Jack stopped in front of the door to Sam Winchester's room. "Jacob, if you want to gloat over how much paperwork you're not going to have to do, go talk to Hammond."
"Who said anything about gloating? I'm still going to have to report to the Tok'ra high council," Jacob said innocently. "You're the one claiming the Pentagon isn't going to want to know. "
"Jacob, do you realize just how many times Daniel has died? A lot, that's how many. They don't want any more paperwork on the subject. For this? We'll type up the bare details, and then they'll take one look at it and bury it so deep you'd need a big damn drill to find it."
"I can't believe that," Jacob argued, shaking his head, "Even if it's damned weird, it's still a serious breach of security."
Jack nodded to the SFs and opened the door, then stepped inside. Jacob followed.
The room was short of anyone named Sam Winchester. Jack was not surprised. He turned to tell Jacob his concern was duly noted when the lights started flickering. A breeze kicked up, and the door slammed shut behind them.
"Uh, Jack, did you guys install a new ventilation system and not tell me?" Jacob asked, glancing around and using a deliberate and calm voice. Jack didn't answer him. Jacob was looking for a reason not to freak out, and Jack had no way of obliging him.
The breeze turned into a torrent of wind, and the lights exploded into sparks and glass. They ducked, shielding their heads from the falling shards of glass. The room was plunged into darkness.
A few seconds later, the back-up lighting kicked on, and for a moment, it threw a bizarre shadow on the wall that put Jack in mind of feathers.
They were no longer alone in the room.
There was a man standing a mere two feet from the end of Jack's nose. He was of medium height, blue-eyed, and wearing a suit and tan trench coat. He looked decidedly worse for wear. His face was covered in cuts and bruises, like he'd just come out on the wrong end of a bar fight. A trickle of blood ran down from the man's nose, but he didn't seem to notice it. He staggered even closer- having apparently no concept of 'personal space' - and demanded in a deep and hoarse growl, "Where is the angel?"
"Angel?" Jack repeated. "Angel?"
The man's eyes narrowed. "Gabriel."
"He's not here," Jacob managed.
Jack gathered his wits. It took a lot longer than he was going to admit. "Nobody here but us chickens," he said. He even managed to add some sarcasm.
The man looked around the room, as if seeing it for the first time. "No," he agreed. And then he, too, vanished into nothing, leaving behind only the sound of fluttering wings.
Jack looked at Jacob. Jacob looked at him. Jack could only hope his mouth wasn't hanging as open as Jacob's, but he doubted it.
The door banged open and Carter ran in. She slid to a stop when she saw them. She looked surprised to find them there. "Sir?" she asked, then, "What happened in here? You would not believe the readings we were getting-" she started.
"Jack," said Jacob slowly, "I think I see what you mean."
Carter turned her head, looking at them both in turn. "Wait- what- " she looked at Jack, "Sir," she said again, "What happened?"
Jacob stepped forward and put an arm around his daughter. "Sam, just trust me when I say you don't want to know."
She raised her eyebrows at that. Oh, really? Jack could hear her saying.
"I don't recall that line ever working on you, Dad." Her jaw had set in a stubborn line. She was going to worry at it like a dog with a bone until Jacob cracked.
"Sam, I'm not kidding here," Jacob responded, "It's already giving me a headache, and I was there. It's given Selmak a headache."
"Join the club," Carter answered, with a resigned exhalation. "But now I've got a bunch of anomalous readings to make sense of, so help me out here, Dad. We still have the memory-recall holographic projector set up, you know."
Jacob sighed. "That won't be necessary, Sam. It's just a whole new level of..." He seemed at a loss for words. "Insane," he finished at last, blowing out a breath. "Holy Hannah, is it ever." Carter's lips quirked for a second before she managed to get her serious face back on. "Let me see these readings of yours first." Jacob said, attempting to placate her. "Maybe we can figure something out without bringing anything more complicated into it."
Satisfied, she gave a curt nod to Jack and ushered her father out of the room. "When something's not crazy," Jack heard her say, "Then I'll know to start worrying."
Jack followed them out, but turned left instead of right, heading back up to the general's office. He found Hammond on the phone, presumably with one of the higher-ups back in Washington, judging from the way he was laying on the assurances and speaking in that calm tone of command he used to emphasize the fact that he was the one sitting in the big leather swivel chair...and not whoever was on the other end of the phone.
"I understand that, Major," he was saying, "But what your superiors have failed to grasp is that this is why we follow protocol." Jack was happy not to be the person on the other side of that conversation. When generals disagreed, it was never fun to be the intermediary.
Hammond glanced up and saw Jack waiting outside his door. Jack moved to leave, but Hammond nodded to him and held up a finger. "No, Major." he continued, " I don't see it that way. You may tell them to rest assured. I have it firmly under control. I will happily answer any questions the President or the Pentagon may have once we have submitted the reports. Yes, Major. Thank you. You too." He hung up the phone. "Come in, Colonel," he said to Jack, shuffling some papers around on his desk.
Jack stepped into the office. "Thank you, sir."
The general rubbed his temple for a minute. "That was Major Davis," he remarked, seemingly apropos of nothing. "The Pentagon got wind of the lock down and are asking pointed questions."
"Ah," Jack said, noncommittally.
"It does not look good, Colonel. Senator Kinsey has been making trouble for us. I don't have to tell you, Jack, how important it is that we get this resolved as quickly and neatly as possible."
"About that, sir-" Jack began, rolling up on to the balls of his feet and then settling back down onto his heels. "Well. The thing is, General- and you know how I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but- .I don't think we're going to be so lucky."
Hammond took a deep breath. "What now, Colonel?"
Jack valiantly tried to keep from making a face, but failed. "Um, well, sir. The thing is- the prisoners... guests... Whatever they are- they've disappeared."
"The base is still on lock down. If they've escaped, we'll find them," Hammond said. He sounded like hew as trying to reassure himself.
Jack had a fleeting thought that maybe he would have preferred to be in Major Davis' shoes instead. He pressed on. "Yeah. Well, sir. That might be a bit tricky, sir, as they pretty damn literally vanished into thin air- before my very eyes. Or at least, one did and- just going out on a limb here- I assume that's what happened to the other as well."
"Could it have been the Asgard?"
Jack paused, trying to find someway to believe that. "No, I'm afraid not. There was definitely some beaming involved, but it was more of the Spock variety."
"Come again, Colonel?" The general asked, a little severely.
Jack sighed. "Star Trek, sir. With glitter and everything." The general's expression made it clear that he wasn't in the mood for jokes. "I am serious, sir. You remember the crazy story about TVland and some sort of trickster?"
"Yes, Colonel, I do remember that." Hammond was getting a worried look on his face.
"I'm not so sure they were crazy, sir." Jack winced a little as he said it.
Hammond blinked at him. "Colonel, are you trying to tell me you actually think that-"
"No, sir," Jack interrupted. "I have no idea what actually was going on. But I think it's going to be as close as an explanation as we're going to get."
Hammond leaned back in his chair. "I guess it will have to do. Find some way to put it in your report and I'll pass it along."
Jack hesitated. "I'm not sure that's a good idea, either."
Hammond sat up again. "Why not?"
Jack pursed his lips. "Angels," he sighed.
"Colonel- Angels?" Hammond was beginning to sound exasperated. "Are you talking about the symbols on their ribs?"
"Not exactly. But suffice it to say, I think we're going to need one hell of a cover story for this one. May I suggest...drugs?"
"Jack, are you seriously suggesting that I tell the Pentagon that the entire base was suffering from some sort of drug-induced hallucination?"
"Not the... entire base, sir, no. Just most of it."
General Hammond rubbed a hand over his bald head. "Sometimes I wonder why I didn't just retire while I had the chance."
Jack glanced back over at the security monitors. They were showing nothing but static, the cameras having been blown out in the power surge. "Me too, sir. Me, too."
A/N. That's all folks. Thank you so much for the wonderful reviews. I highly recommend checking out the amazing art created for this story by davincis_girl and skyl0rgrace. It's on my LJ.
On the possibility of a sequel: well, maybe. I've got a few ideas, but we'll see where we are after I finish Unique. I do plan (possibly this summer) to do a short one-shot semi-sequel to this in which Cameron Mitchell ends up having car trouble while driving through South Dakota. And then there are monsters. (Yeah, it's completely gratuitous and self-indulgent. But so was this, originally.)