Foul Game was one of my early experiments with fic writing and possibly my first crossover. Though I had a sprawling collection of notes that I wrote down attempting to make the crossover as smooth as possible, I had no clearly defined plot-line to guide me and the story died soon, as oft happens to stories in this situation. I am uploading this now mostly for archival purposes and because someone asked me about this one.
0. BEFORE THE STORM.
11:33 (GMT -7). 02/15/2002.
Residence of Jack O'Neill. Colorado Springs, Colorado (USA).
John O'Neill, colonel of the USAF and commander of the first contact team known as SG-1, was not a happy man. Daniel Jackson, one of his best friends, was gone since last December. The members of SG-1 were almost family for each other and losing Daniel had been a hard blow for everyone. Even worse, his relation with his other teammates had been strained for the last weeks. Not even Teal'c understood O'Neill's request to keep SG-1 on active duty, although he had not voiced his objections, and Carter had started to consider him some kind of heartless bastard over a month ago. Of course, she hadn't said that about her superior officer, but O'Neill knew how to read her eyes. And something O'Neill had learned with SpecOps was that the eyes never lie. Mirror of the soul, they called them, and rightly so.
No one seemed to understand his reasons. Daniel wouldn't have wanted them to crumble. The spacemonkey would have wanted them to continue fighting the damn snakeheads. And fight they had, saving the little grey butts of their more powerful "allies" and then scouting planet after planet with signs of Anubis' return along Teal'c and Carter. That particular snakehead, returned to power after being exiled by his own species a thousand years ago, was becoming the greatest threat Earth had faced since Apophis. The Tollans had been blackmailed by his vassal Tanith into destroying Stargate Command with a weapon of mass destruction that would have ignored Earth's iris. Narim had saved Earth... and doomed his own people. The eggheads suspected that he was also behind the enormous asteroid that had almost destroyed Earth. And by attacking the Asgard themselves, Anubis had made the Protected Planets Treaty that had saved the world from obliteration for two years null and void. The future was not looking bright. Not at all.
Unfortunately, Fraiser did not agree with him. The good doctor had said that he was pressing himself too hard and eventually had pulled rank as the base's chief medical officer. Hammond had complied with her recommendations and pulled SG-1 off of active duty on the grounds of "severe emotional trauma". The commander of the SGC had actually told Jack that his behaviour in some of the recent missions had been reckless, rash. And then he had ordered him to talk with Mackenzie, that thrice damnable shrink who had drugged Daniel and put him in a straightjacket. Mackenzie had told him that bottling his emotions was a bad idea and suggested some quality time with his friends, speaking about times past. "Let the emotions flow," had been Mackenzie's very words. And he even had had the nerve to suggest that he had endangered the lives of his team with his recklessness, which, according to the psychiatrist wannabe, was a result of his emotional tension.
In a nutshell, it sucked to be Jack O'Neill. He had decided to stay in Colorado Springs, instead of heading for his cabin. He had believed Hammond would need him at hand for the next crisis. But nothing had happened in the last month and Hammond didn't seem to be in a hurry to bring back his second in command. Ferretti was a capable substitute and Fraiser had not been satisfied with Jack's efforts "to cope with the burden of his repressed emotions".
At first, Teal'c and Carter had felt it was their duty to offer him help, but the colonel had rebuffed their efforts in not very subtle ways. He didn't need pity and, in fact, he had felt the urge to start a shouting match with Carter a couple of times. But after Daniel's death, that would break the team for good and when he had diplomatically explained to Carter how he felt, the scientist had reluctantly agreed. Finally, he had been left on his own. And after a month, the lack of action was starting to weigh on him. Out of sheer boredom, he had almost called Angus.
Today had been almost the same routine as the last few weeks. Driving to the base for the meeting with Fraiser and Mackenzie in the morning, scolding included. Stop to pick Chinese takeout in that little restaurant. Returning home to rot slowly in front of the television until the next day. Almost, because today there had been a stop to pick something else. Something had snapped when the little Napoleon had told him to get over Daniel's departure and continue with his life. Jack considered that he had shown a great deal of restraint, just by not offering Fraiser a little piece of his mind, but now felt like forgetting his griefs for a while. And the obvious way to gain oblivion for some time was by drinking the two bottles of Jack Daniels (quite fitting, all things considered) he had acquired. Jack had had some seriously bad experiences in the past and this would not be the first time he drunk himself unconscious. The few hours of peace would be worth even the monster hangover that would come the next morning.
Once back home, Jack left bottles and food in the kitchen, ready for an afternoon of booze, and was about to swallow the first glass of liquor for ol' times sake when someone knocked the door. He turned to find an unusually serious Maybourne standing outside his kitchen door. Usually, the appearance of a fugitive who numbers among the most wanted by the government of the United States results in some kind of reaction, but O'Neill was beyond caring and Harry Maybourne, in spite of being an annoying nuisance, was also an useful acquaintance. If the ex-NID had decided to show up, something serious was bound to happen. Sighing, O'Neill opened the door and allowed the secret agent to enter.
"What's up this time, Maybourne?
"Jack, first and foremost, I offer my sincerest condolences for the passing of the late Dr. Jackson," replied the spy, observing the bottles and the glass full of alcohol. "I am not privy to the details, but I have heard that it was an agonic death. I am truly sorry. My contact with the doctor was minimal and fairly unpleasant at best for him, but he did not deserve such a fate."
"I am sure that Hammond will be glad that you are not privy to the details, Harry. Now, stuff your condolences wherever you want and spill the beans. What is going on?"
"Sit down, Jack. You are probably not going to like what I'm going to tell you."
"For crying out loud! Cut the crap and get to the point. If you don't tell me right now what do you want, I am calling your NID buddies."
"I knew that Jackson's passing would have affected you, but I did not expect to find you wallowing in self-pity. I am starting to doubt the..."
"Maybourne. Your time is running out. Your next sentence better be interesting or..."
"The terrible or... OK. Going to the point, Jack. No need to raise that gun, really. You might remember my deal with Adrian Conrad."
"Yes. Why don't I like the path this conversation is taking?"
"Please, drop the grumpy'n'cranky act, Jack. I like better the wiseass remarks. Back on topic, that particular deal was just one among many. I sold a lot of information. Not something I am proud of, but very profitable at the time. But, it seems that the information is spreading and this might cause you problems. A certain individual has acquired some information from one of my former clients. This individual has managed to locate and contact me. He has a proposal for you, Jack."
"I think that this time you have touched the deep end, Maybourne. No "out of jail" card is saving you if they catch you now. But thanks for the heads up, Harry. Who is the bastard this time?"
"He doesn't want to blackmail you, Jack. If he wanted that, he would not have bothered to use me as a messenger. He wants a deal that can be profitable for all parts involved. He wants to sell the SGC technology. How he acquired it, I don't know. I saw some things that are the real deal, advanced alien tech, unlike anything you or the grey teams have ever brought home. I have proof here. As for the client, I do not know his name. Actually, I don't even know if he is a "he", a "she" or a "they", although I think it is only one person and I have my ideas about his identity. But whoever he is, he is good, and therefore he can be dangerous.
"He used a middleman to contact me, a former free agent who used to work for the CIA and several foreign agencies in the mid and late eighties. The mission reports about his activities are sealed well beyond my reach. Perhaps even Hammond's. Whatever he did is as big a secret as the Stargate. Most certainly, he can be dangerous, but from all I have heard he is reliable. Maybe you knew him during your time in Special Ops. Does Manservant ring a bell? It used to be his codename when he worked for the CIA."
When he heard the name, O'Neill paled slightly and put his gun on the table. A trembling hand picked the forgotten glass and he swallowed it whole.
"What does he look like?" asked the Colonel after putting his nerves back under control.
Maybourne, quite surprised to see such a reaction in the man who had faced court-martial threats, annoyed superiors, hostile Senators and murderous aliens without as much as flinching, started to talk. "A real mountain of a man and I don't mean that he is fat. Quite a bit bigger than Teal'c, around seven feet tall. Head shaved. Dark blue eyes. Weird features, like Chinese mixed with Caucasian. He carries a lot of weapons, rather well concealed, and I'm sure that I didn't see even half of them. Doesn't like smoking. Always wears classy, but functional. His name is..."
"Butler. Domovoi Butler."
1. SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE.
12:21 (GMT -7). 02/15/2002.
Office of George Hammond. Stargate Command Sub Level 27. Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Colorado (USA).
"May I have a word with you before the briefing, sir?" asked O'Neill from the doorway. The general lifted his gaze from the screen of his laptop and nodded, lowering it.
"Of course you can, Jack. Come in and take a seat, but better make it quick. With this mess all the higher ups are breathing on my neck, Davis is on his way here and I have to prepare for a security breach the size of the Great Pyramid," replied Hammond with tension clear in his voice.
"That's big enough for a Ha'tak to fly through, General. We can do without that at the moment, that's for sure" joked the colonel in an attempt to lighten the mood doomed to failure.
Hammond laughed mirthlessly, before looking intently at his subordinate. "What do you want to tell me? SG1 is still off duty. That is not going to change because Maybourne visited you. I happen to agree with Doctor Fraiser's opinion. Your pain over Doctor Jackson's demise was clouding your judgement, making you unfit for command. Daniel's death was a grievous loss for this organization. If you or Major Carter or Teal'c died now, the morale of the men and women that are Earth's last line of defense would plummet down to an all time low."
There were a few instants of tense silence, finally broken by Jack's neutral voice. "With all due respect, sir, if time is a commodity we have in short supply, we shouldn't waste it repeating past discussions. I have come to tell you something that was too delicate to speak about by telephone, even with a secure line, but first I must ask you if we are truly alone."
"A friend of mine gave me some time ago a present. A really amazing little thing that fries pesky bugs and eats them for breakfast. I have it in good authority that there are no plagues in this office," said Hammond pointing at a nondescript metal ornament in a bookshelf.
"Neat. Have you asked your friend about Manservant?"
"No, he is a very special friend, the kind of friend that only helps when you have no other options avalaible. With this Manservant, I don't think that I will need him. I expect to receive word from Langley any minute now."
"It will take more than that, sir. They have to compile a lot of information, decide how much they can tell you and then how much they will tell you. You might have some contacts with intelligence, but I spent half my career in there. I know how they work, I know how they operate. And something much more important: I know who is Manservant. His true identity, his abilities and more than a few things about his past."
Hammond scowled at the colonel, puzzlement evident in his face. "Is that the matter too delicate to broach in a secure line? Why, if I may ask?"
"Because I will have to tell you some things that you aren't meant to know, sir. In my good old days I was involved in some nasty business, the kind of things Uncle Sam isn't supposed to have anything to do with. Even keeping at a minimum the amount of information, you will learn things that some of the most unsavory members of the military would kill to hide, And in anticipation of your next question, sir, I'm not exaggerating in the slightest. Do you understand why I couldn't risk our conversation being overheard?"
The Texan pondered the ominous warning, before nodding in acceptance. "Very well. Continue, please."
"Manservant's actual name is Domovoi Butler. Despite his name and his unusual appearance, he is Irish and either thirty nine or fourty years old. I never bothered to learn his birthday. Beyond meaningless statistics, he is an extremely dangerous man who did freelance work in the eighties for the highest bidder. He worked for the CIA, the KGB, French intelligence... He was never short of work. Also, he always fulfills his contracts and is a man of his word, which isn't that common for a mercenary."
"What makes him 'extremely dangerous'? How would you rate him skillwise against our personnel?"
"He is an expert in most combat-related fields of the trade. Butler is an excellent marksman, proficient with any firearm you may name. I have seen him score a headshot from a distance of slightly over a mile with a custom sniper rifle he used for assassinations. He is also extremely good in unarmed combat. Rumour has it that he is a grandmaster in several different styles. Knows how to use explosives, very well too. Probably could make a living as a racing driver. He would certainly make a living as a chef, because I have never known anyone else able to make something tasty out of ugly lizard, tree leaves and sap for extra flavour. Can double as a fairly competent field surgeon. Last, but not least, he is strong. Probably Teal'c strong. In conclusion, I would give him better than even odds against SG3 in hand to hand combat. Of course, he can be defeated with superior numbers, but we will never have a chance to bring that to bear unless he lets us."
2. REFLECTIONS OF A DARK LORD.
Time stamp unknown.
Main Pel'tac. Karra'kles class mothership. Hyperspace.
The ship moving through the hyperspatial corridor was unusual. In shape, power and size it was different from every other existing spaceship, although in times long past there had been an almost perfect match. The memory of this ancestor was alive in the worse myths of many worlds, as symbol of ultimate evil. The Black Sun, Devourer of Light, Fortress of Evil... names invented by the victims, names that still terrified their remote descendants. However, the actual name of the ship that had been the scourge of a thousand planets was a secret known by few, mainly those who had tried and failed to erase the legendary Obsidian Citadel.
The legend of its master had survived as well an exile of millenia, much to his surprise. It had surprised him to find that his very name was enough to scare many of his enemies, but he knew the power of fear and he had used this unexpected advantage as much as he had been able to. Building a ship that so closely resembled his ancient flagship had been another step in that strategy. His new ship was larger and more powerful than any other in the Milky Way and used vastly more advanced technology that he had acquired during his long exile, but with its appearance it had gained the fearsome reputation of the Obsidian Citadel. Although it had yet to see battle, its dark hull already was impregnated with a nightmarish aura that spoke of millions slain and worlds razed to the ground. Yes, its master had every reason to be proud of his creation.
Yet what he felt wasn't exactly pride. He felt doubt, uncertainty and a tiny spark of fear. He had spent centuries planning his return to power, plotting his revenge against those who had wronged him. The schemes he had devised had been complex and had included every possible situation. Or so he had believed. He hadn't accounted a factor that had appeared long after his exile, a nuisance that threatened to change the order that had ruled the galaxy for thousands of years, the humans of a primitive world called Earth. When he had heard it for the first time, he had found most funny the Tau'ri struggle against the System Lords. Now he knew better and it wasn't funny anymore.
He had built from scratch a powerful army that had forced all his enemies into the defensive. His old enemies had grudgingly returned him his old titles. He had triumphed against enemies that his race had feared for countless centuries. And he had failed not once, but twice, to destroy Earth, because of the shortcomings of his vassals and Earth's damnable good luck. Fortunately, he had every intention to correct the situation in short order. There wouldn't be a third failure, although by all appearances the uncomfortable emotions intended to resist until the problem was solved for good...
The sound of steps behind him snapped Anubis from his reverie. He turned from the window in his throne room that he had been using to observe the blue and white marvel of hyperspace. The Jaffa that had intruded in his sanctum had knelt respecfully several meters away, but seemed unwilling to speak until ordered to do so by the greatest of the gods. An unpleasant trend that was spreading among his followers, particularly among those who had joined him after the fall of their former lords. For them their new lord was the last true god and to tarnish the divine presence was tantamount to blasphemy.
"Speak," ordered Anubis after sitting on his throne, staring intently at the warrior from the shadows created by his cowl.
"Lord Toth requests an audience, Lord Anubis,"reported the warrior. His voice was thick with emotion and a small, detached part of Anubis' mind decided that the young Jaffa would be removed from his personal guard. Inept underlings was a luxury he couldn't afford.
The rest of his mind, however, was feeling rather exultant. He had been warned, of course, when Toth's ha'tak had appeared in the conduit and the long minutes needed for both ships to dock had been a harsh test for his patience. The Goa'uld scientist was one of his most trusted lieutenants and he had been working for months in a very important project. His presence in the flagship could mean only one thing. Finally, the solution was ready and Earth's doom was assured. "Let him in. We are to be left alone for the duration of the audience."