Author's Note: Just a quick note to let everyone know there should be no delay in posting the rest of this story. The writing process is complete! Yay! As always, hope you enjoy! ~lg
Even though he didn't trust Marina, Cam still allowed her to go up to Rebekah's apartment alone. He hung out in the tiny foyer of Rebekah's apartment building, not willing to move much further away than that. Some guy in a business suit wandered in, nodding politely to Cam as he wearily headed for the elevator. Cam paced the opposite direction and wished this place had a security guard of some sort. He wouldn't be stuck down here if it did. He'd be able to keep an eye on things via the security cameras.
Jackson appeared when the elevator returned from taking the suit to whichever floor he needed. The archaeologist looked exhausted and worried. He didn't speak, just gave Cam a nod of his own.
Cam leaned against the wall. "How's she doing?"
"Tired of being trapped in the bed or couch." Jackson shrugged. "Can't say as I blame her."
Cam nodded and looked at the elevator again as another of the apartment building's residents came through the lobby. "Nora?"
"Talking to her." Jackson shook his head. "If I know Rebekah, we'll be seeing Marina show up soon enough."
"Think she'll toss her out?"
"I know she'll toss her out." Jackson pulled off his glasses and rubbed his eyes, a sure sign of exhaustion. "The only reason she won't toss me out if she ever finds out what I really do is because I told her I worked for the military. Classified work and all that. Marina was just a friend, someone who she met at the coffee shop. There was never any hint that she was someone other than Marina."
Cam nodded again as he studied the toes of his boots. Even he, a US Air Force officer, had been taken in by Marina. When they'd met, something about her instantly drew his attention, and he'd pretended not to feel that niggling warning in the back of his mind. Some women were just naturally vivacious, and Marina seemed like one of those women. Coupled with the fact that Jackson trusted her, Cam hadn't given a second thought to welcoming her into their little circle. Of course, those two women didn't know Teal'c was an alien, didn't realize that Sam commanded a space ship, and had no idea that Jack ran Homeworld Security. There were certain things that just didn't get discussed on a date. But the core of the group—who they were—led them right into Marina's trap.
How much had she managed to discover about the Stargate Program based on how Cam talked about his job? He was always careful, always on guard against accidentally spilling secrets. But people who knew about his life could pick up things in the very words he used. Spies were trained to hear those words and analyze them, and if Marina had turned any of their conversations over to the Trust's analysts. . .if they had analysts. . . .Things could get very bad very quickly.
Jackson's quick nudge drew him out of his thoughts, and the archaeologist nodded over his shoulder. "Let's go get a drink and let the girls talk things out." He pulled his keys from his pocket. "There's a place a couple blocks away."
Cam wanted to protest and say he shouldn't leave, but he knew they couldn't keep loitering around the lobby. It would draw attention, and Marina didn't need any more than she normally attracted. She'd agreed to work for the SGC, and Cam, ironically, believed her allegiances had changed. He couldn't be certain, however, and wanted to stay on location to provide assistance should Rebekah call. But Jackson was right. Their presence had already resulted in several glances as people came in from long days at work. A block or two away. . . .He could handle that. "Just do me a favor, Jackson."
"Don't let me get drunk."
"You wouldn't do that." Jackson opened the door to his vehicle. "Let's go."
As they drove away, Cam glanced back up at the window to Rebekah's apartment and wondered just how Jackson's girlfriend had reacted. If it was anything like how he felt. . . .He sighed again and simply closed down.
Daniel didn't drink much as a rule, but he could see that Mitchell desperately needed to get away from the questions and the situation just for a few moments. So, he found the place he'd mentioned and pulled into the driveway. Inside, they each ordered a beer and made a beeline for a booth in the rear. It was shadowed, semi-private, and allowed the two men to react to the current circumstances.
Rebekah's best friend had orchestrated the car accident, committed treason, and lied to all of them. Daniel was no stranger to that sort of betrayal, but it still infuriated him. Rebekah wasn't a woman who knew about the Goa'uld or the dangers they represented. She had no knowledge of the Stargate, of life on other worlds, or anything that he did on a daily basis. In many ways, she was more naïve than Sha're had ever been, but he still loved her. He still loved how she didn't ask questions, how she gently pulled his life with Sha're and her story—what he could tell her of Sha're's story—out of him without making it seem forced. He loved the way her eyes lit up when talking about a story, the warmth in her voice when she was tired, and the intense focus on her face as she managed to write novels faster than he could even think about typing. He loved her. Everything about her, everything she was and would ever be.
That realization had hit him a few hours ago, but he'd managed to keep it at bay for a bit longer. He didn't need Rebekah worried about him while she coped with her best friend's betrayal. But here, across from Mitchell, he couldn't keep ignoring it. Rebekah was as much a part of his life as Sha're had ever been. And he didn't know how long he could go on pretending she wasn't.
"You know," Mitchell said, pulling him from his thoughts, "we could use someone like Rebekah on board."
Daniel's eyes focused sharply. "Excuse me?"
"I'm not sayin' we put her on a team, Jackson." Mitchell shrugged. "Plausible deniability. Remember that show. . .what was it?"
Daniel groaned. "Wormhole X-Treme? You're comparing Rebekah's writing to that?"
"No, I'm saying a published author with killer science fiction plots—some based loosely on our missions—would be an asset."
Daniel waggled his head. "Yeah, I can see where you're going. But I don't know Rebekah would want to have her hands tied."
"That's the beauty of it. She wouldn't." Mitchell frowned. "Well, she'd have her hands tied in that she'd have security clearance and wouldn't be able to tell everyone everything. But, if we do this right, we could give her free reign with certain mission details and let her spin the stories. That way, if anything ever got out. . . ."
Daniel had to admit Mitchell had a point. "You think Landry will go for it?"
"After this, I don't know." Mitchell stared at his beer bottle. "I was just trying to make conversation."
Daniel nodded. "Yeah." He pushed away from the table. "Don't think it's working."
"Me, neither." Mitchell glanced at his watch. "Head back?"
The two men paid their tab and left, their beers virtually untouched. But it had given the women the time they needed to talk things out. Daniel expected to meet Marina in the lobby, uncertain of what her state of mind would tell them about Rebekah's reaction. If she didn't meet them there, she should have called them. It was part of their agreement. When they walked into the apartment building and did not see Marina, they immediately headed for the stairs.
Both men saw the open door to Rebekah's apartment at the same time. Daniel immediately reached under his jacket and pulled out the .9mm he carried everywhere. As he checked their six, Mitchell did the same thing and cautiously entered the apartment. The colonel's muttered curse drew Daniel's attention, and he frowned. "Mitchell?"
The place had been trashed. Rebekah's kitchen table was overturned, two of the chairs broken. One chair leg had obviously been used as a weapon, as had anything sitting on the tables or tops. Rebekah's laptop lay on the floor, broken but salvageable to someone who knew computers. Broken glass littered the floor from vases of flowers Rebekah had received while in the hospital. And two cell phones had been shattered.
The girls were gone.
Daniel forced himself to breathe, to get over the idea that yet another woman he loved had been abducted. This isn't happening; not again, he thought as he frantically checked every closet and room on the small chance Rebekah had managed to hide herself. No, no, no, no. . . . . The word played over and over in his head as he met Mitchell in the living room.
The colonel picked up on his distress. "Jackson? You okay?"
Daniel simply nodded, not trusting his voice. He looked around again. How had they missed the intruders? Who were the intruders? The Trust? That was a likely assumption, but Daniel suddenly couldn't believe he'd drawn Mitchell away for a drink. It had been a reckless decision he'd made trying to help out a friend.
Mitchell pulled out his cell phone and dialed from memory. A few words later, and he sighed. "Sir, we have a situation. Marina—Nora—and Rebekah have disappeared. . . .No, it looks like a war zone in her apartment. I think they. . . .Yes, Sir. . . .I'll call Sheppard, then. Thank you, Sir." He hung up and faced Daniel. "Landry's given us permission to do what's needed to get them back." He reached out and clasped Daniel's shoulder. "We will get her back."
Daniel nodded, understanding what the other man saw. But after losing Sha're and Sarah to the Goa'uld, the reaction to Rebekah's disappearance was almost overwhelming. He tried reigning in the swirling emotions but failed miserably.
Meanwhile, Mitchell turned to give Daniel his privacy, making another phone call as he did. "Sheppard? It's Mitchell. We've got a situation here."
Several hours later, Cam and Daniel arrived at the hotel where Sheppard's team had holed up for the long haul. The two men glanced around the lobby, seeing Ronon lounging somewhat listlessly against a column while Major Lorne stood nearby. The major had his hands on his hips and looked official even in civilian clothes. When Ronon spotted them, he pushed himself upright and simply smacked Lorne's shoulder. The two newcomers headed straight for them.
Lorne nodded to Daniel and met Mitchell's eyes. "Doctor, Sir. Welcome to Vegas."
Mitchell snorted. "Yeah."
Lorne turned toward the elevators, waiting until they'd crowded inside to speak. "Landry called after you did and filled us in on a few things, including the SGC's deal with this Nora to work for us?" When both men nodded, he continued, "Well, she's not the only one helping us out. You've been told about Emma? She's waiting upstairs."
Daniel shot a frown toward Mitchell, but the colonel's face was as unreadable as ever. On the appropriate floor, they stepped out of the elevator and waited while Lorne opened the hotel room. Once inside, Daniel blinked at the people present. Most of Sheppard's people—minus McKay—crowded the area. Jennifer Keller looked pale but determined. One woman wore a badge and gun on her hip while another stood next to her, speaking softly to a small boy as she gave him a snack. A dog bounded into the room to greet the newcomers, and Mitchell happily knelt to say hello to the boisterous animal. A third woman sat in a chair, somewhat older than everyone save Woolsey, and the final stranger eyed them from her spot next to Sheppard. Daniel took all of this in with one glance and sighed when he realized how much life in the SGC had changed him.
Sheppard stood and started making introductions. After waving to each of the members of his team, he turned to the strangers. "Detective Gin Stevens, LVPD. Araceli Velazquez, medical examiner. Marjorie Warlock, attorney-at-law. And this is Emma."
Daniel stared at Emma. She had the same wary expression on her face that Marina had worn. "Your. . .uh. . .asset?"
Emma's lips quirked. "Good way to put that."
Sheppard frowned. "What happened in Colorado?"
For the next several moments, the group stayed quiet while Daniel and Mitchell filled them in on the events in Colorado Springs. They left out very little save for Mitchell's true relationship with Marina and just how badly Rebekah's disappearance had affected Daniel. He'd managed to bury all of the emotions for now, but he would eventually have to vent them if they couldn't find the women quickly. For now, he chose to remain optimistic and as calm as possible.
Finally, after a long pause, Jennifer stood and wandered into the other room. Teyla and Amanda followed her, leaving the bulk of the group with Sheppard. Atlantis's military commander nodded. "Okay. We know the safe house where they're holding McKay. We know how it's laid out and what it'll take to get in there. Mitchell, you and Dr. Jackson will go in with us. Once the hostiles have been. . .eliminated. . .you'll find out if there's any kind of information on where they've taken Rebekah and Marina. Hopefully, we can get to the women before too much happens to them. Chuck here is planning to go through the video surveillance footage of McKay's kidnapping and try to identify some of the people there. We're also keeping an eye on the hotel, so we know if anyone approaches." He turned to Emma. "Any ideas where the Trust would take the women?"
She shook her head. "No. Last I knew, Marina was in place. I don't know what happened to bring her down save for me talking to you guys. How the Trust found out about that, I don't know."
Daniel met her eyes. "We had a mole at the SGC."
Ronon straightened. "Had?" he asked, emphasizing the past tense use of the word.
Mitchell nodded. "He's been dealt with." He pointed at the map Sheppard had spread out. "So, Jackson and I are with you. If they get back to Earth in time, Teal'c and Vala already have orders to join us. Landry's standing by with reinforcements, as well." He looked at Daniel as he said the next words. "We'll get them back."
Rebekah lay in the bed after Marina's little epiphany of just how much trouble they were in and listened to McKay pacing in his cell. She wished everyone would go away and leave her alone so she could cry. The pain in her leg had jumped from bad but manageable to excruciating as her last dose of medication wore off. She didn't want to create a scene by crying, but the jostling of the fight in her apartment and the lack of gentleness from her abductors had likely aggravated the injury.
Marina turned from where she stood next to the bars. "Be—Rebekah?" She sighed and glanced at Rebekah's bandaged leg. "It's bad, isn't it?"
"What do you think?" Rebekah closed her eyes and breathed through her nose to stop the sharp retort that wanted to come out. "Yeah. I wasn't supposed to put any weight on it for another four weeks. Even then, I'm not sure how much I should handle."
Realization dawned on Marina's face. "And they all but made you walk." Her expression crumbled. "I am so sorry!"
"Don't fall apart on me now!" Rebekah pushed herself up to a seated position and stared into her former best friend's eyes. "Look at me. You're part of this life. You're responsible for all of this. But we've got to put that aside for now. I can't walk, and I can't fight these people. But they trained you. They gave you the tools you need to get us out of here."
"You don't understand." Marina shuddered. "William? He's. . . .I've only heard stories about him. No one—absolutely no one he interrogates ever comes back alive."
Rebekah felt her face pale. "Then you've got to do something quick."
"I don't. . . .I don't know. I mean, they were very thorough when they searched me for weapons, and we'd just fought at your apartment. . . ." Marina patted her jeans, looking for anything their attackers might have missed. She obviously came up empty. "I guess we could. . . ."
Before she could finish, one of the men who had attacked them at Rebekah's apartment strolled down the hall and started unlocking the cell. He dismissed Rebekah with a quick glance and focused on Marina. "Time to go. William wants to talk."