Crimson Melee by Layton Colt

Hammond is forced to recruit a pair of assassins into the SGC. Their first assignment: Killing Apophis and his queen.

Author's Notes: This takes place first season, shortly after the episode The Nox.

Part One: Death Sentence

General George Hammond of the SGC carefully replaced the red phone in its carriage. Staring sightlessly at the wall in front of his desk he leaned back in the worn custom made chair. The leather creaked as he slid forward, the slight screech echoing of the barren walls. Hammond ran his right hand over his weary features before raising himself and letting out a calming sigh.

With one last steadying breath he reached forward and pressed the intercom. The resounding click sounded louder than usual as did his secretary's cheerful voice as she asked him what it was he needed.

"Have Colonel O'Neill report to my office, Judy," he said tiredly. "Immediately."

"Right away, sir," Judy responded. Her voice had become subdued as she picked up on the Genera's current mood.

She quickly dialed the number for the Colonel's office. Whatever the President had said to the General, it obviously hadn't been good news.

* * * *

Seven minutes later, Jack O'Neill was strolling past Judy's desk. He flashed her a winning smile as he tapped twice on the General's door. Without waiting for a reply he opened it and peeked his head in.

"Sir, you wanted to see me?"

The General looked up and distractedly waved him in, "Come in, Colonel. Sit down," he told him.

Jack entered warily, bracing for bad news. He shut the door behind him and went to sit across from the General.

"I just received a call from the President," Hammond began. "He was rather disturbed by what happened on the Nox planet with Apophis . . . he wants Apophis to be taken care of."

Jack looked bemused, "We're doing everything we can to stop him, sir."

"I know that, he doesn't think it's enough."

"What is he proposing?" O'Neill asked guardedly.

"He's recruited two assassins from the CIA, Jack. He's given them orders to go to Chulak and kill Apophis and that's not the worst of it . . . they're to kill his queen as well."

Jack shot up from his seat. "They can't do that!" he cried. "What about the hosts!?"

"The President believes them to be acceptable casualties."

"General, you can't let this happen! Are you really going to let assassins into the program?"

"Don't be naïve, Jack. There are already assassins in this program. They're retired, granted but they're killers none the less. I'm sorry about Dr. Jackson's wife, Colonel. It's unfortunate but I can't say I entirely disagree with the President's methods. The Goa'uld need to be stopped."

"And what makes you believe these *assassins* will just be able to waltz through the 'gate and take them out? They aren't easy to kill, General, I assure you. Or Apophis would already be dead."

"Deputy Director Dennis Coben recommended them personally. They're fairly new to the organization but they have apparently already had a lot of experience. I know Coben and I trust him. He believes they will be successful."

"With all due respect, sir, the deputy has never seen the 'gate let alone the other side. He has no idea what they will be up against."

"I realize that, Colonel, but it's out of my hands."

"So you're just going to let the President pull your strings?"

"Colonel," Hammond reprimanded sharply. "I am sorry this situation makes you unhappy but you're going to have to deal with it. It's a necessary evil."

"What about Daniel, sir, you think that speech will work on him, too?"

"I was hoping you'd tell Dr. Jackson," Hammond said not meeting Jack's eyes. "I thought it would be best coming from you."

"Fine," Jack said bitterly. "I'll break his heart but you better prepare for a fight. I may need to follow your orders but Daniel sure as hell won't."

"Dismissed, Colonel," Hammond said tersely.

Jack left without another word.

"Well, that went well," Hammond said to the empty room.

* * * *

Jack was still seething by the time he reached Daniel's office.

He didn't enter immediately. He wanted to calm himself down so he would be able to handle Daniel's anger. As he lifted his hand to knock he remembered his promise to Daniel. He'd said they'd find them. Both Sha'uri and Skarra.

But the chances of him coming through were becoming less and less.

Jack's fist connected lightly with the door and Daniel immediately called for him to come in.

"Oh, hi, Jack," Daniel said as he glanced up from the book lying open on his desk. "What brings you by?"

"It's about Sha'uri."

This got Daniel's full attention.

"She's been ordered to be killed, along with Apophis. The CIA is lending us a pair of assassins for the job. Hammond doesn't have a choice in the matter," Jack continued. "This was the President's idea."

Cool blue eyes stared at him with unwavering intensity. "Really?" Daniel asked conversationally.

Jack nodded and waited for the outburst, for Daniel to jump up and lecture him about the innocence of the hosts.

But Daniel just sat there, studying Jack with an almost clinical detachment. This deadly calm frightened Jack more than any amount of anger could have. He'd been prepared to deal with Daniel's rage but this stony acceptance terrified him.

"Daniel say something," Jack said.

"They won't succeed," Daniel said it in a tone one might use to say the sky is blue.

"There's a chance they might," Jack interjected. "You've got to face that."

"Jack, if they send those assassins through the 'gate, they'll be the only one's that end up dead."

"You sound pretty sure," Jack pointed out.

"Jack," Daniel said exasperated as he slammed the book shut. "We've been up against the Goa'uld. We know what they are. We even managed to kill one, although it did take a nuclear warhead. Do you really believe if you send these two people through the 'gate with a couple of guns that they stand a chance?"

"I guess not,"

"It's a suicide mission, Jack. And the President is a fool for authorizing it."

"Daniel," Jack began.

"I wouldn't worry about it, Jack," he interrupted. "Sha'uri will be fine."

Jack sighed and left Daniel's office. Daniel was probably right, the two agents wouldn't stand a chance.

Jack shook his head and felt a rush of pity for whoever Coben had chosen for the job.

* * * *

Her three inch black heels barely made a sound as she strode through the stone corridors. Her high blonde pony tail swayed in time with her hips, it's ends curling up just above her waist.

She attracted more than a few appreciative looks as she made her way through the complex. She was beautiful with soft features that were deceiving.

Her companion, a male who was inches shorter than her impressive 5' 11 height had to constantly increase his pace to keep up with her.

Unlike the stunning blonde, the man passed by people unnoticed. If you were to ask one of the people who had passed them they would say they'd seen a pretty blond, they'd have no recollection of the man beside her. The Shadow as he was called could make himself unmemorable and disappear into crowds at will.

The woman, who was fondly referred to as 'Gunslinger' had talents that lied elsewhere. But both were equally dangerous.

Gunslinger strode through an open door and appraised the man sitting behind the desk.

"General Hammond, I presume," she said in a voice that was sweet and unimposing.

Like with her super model good looks, the voice was deceiving and could grow cold in an instant.

With a disarming smile, she held out her hand, "I'm Alexandra Shade, this is my partner, Tom Simon. We're with the CIA."

Hammond looked the pair over. They certainly didn't look like assassins. Shade looked like the girl next door, and Simon looked like he should still be in high school. And neither had the haunted look in their eyes that Hammond had expected to find.

Hammond stood, still trying to get a handle on the deadly assassins as he grasped Alexandra's hand. "Welcome to the SGC," he said.

"Thank you, sir," Alexandra said. "It's a pleasure to be here. I've been briefed on this facilities purpose and I am intrigued."

Hammond got the feeling that Shade wasn't being entirely up front with him. She was playing a part and he had to admit, she was a damn good actress. But Hammond could detect something amiss.

Whoever Alexandra Shade was, this wasn't her.

"Now, if you don't mind," Alexandra said primly, "We'd like to get right down to business."

Hammond nodded, "I thought you might. I've set up a briefing with my premier team, SG-1. They are best suited to tell you what to expect."

"You should never expect anything, General. You can never predict circumstances, it is much wiser to go into a situation prepared for anything."

"Yes, I suppose it is," Hammond conceded. "If you'll follow me . . ."

"Of course, sir," Alexandra said pleasantly.

Hammond led the way into the briefing room. Three of the SG-1 team had already arrived. Simon and Shade instantly began to assess the people before them.

The one nearest to Alexandra had graying hair and a tooth-paste ad plastic smile. She knew instinctively that he was Colonel O'Neill despite never having seen his picture.

There was a dangerous but mischievous glint in his brown eyes that fit the sarcastic no-nonsense tone to his reports. She'd spent the most time going over O'Neill's reports, intrigued as she was by the efficiency of his command.

Seated across from O'Neill was a woman and a large black man with a gold tattoo on his forehead. Obviously Captain Samantha Carter and the alien Teal'c.

Which meant the missing team member was Dr. Daniel Jackson.

Shade found this surprising. She knew it was his wife who she had been ordered to kill. Or rather it had been his wife before she was taken as a Goa'uld.

Alexandra had expected him to plead with her but one glance at the man entering through the doorway and she knew this man was not one to beg for anything.

"Sorry I'm late," he said absentmindedly, looking decidedly unapologetic.

Alexandra was again surprised by Dr. Jackson, and she guessed it wouldn't be the last time. She'd expect the intelligent Doctor to be wearing glasses, she hadn't expected him to be gorgeous.

"That's alright, Dr. Jackson," Hammond said. "We just got here ourselves. SG-1, I'd like you to meet Agents Alexandra Shade and Tom Simon."

Tom smiled at them, Alexandra directed a clipped nod in their direction. Neither spoke.

Alexandra felt rather than saw Daniel's gaze on her. She turned green eyes lazily in his direction and he met her stare evenly. Shade found herself slightly unnerved by his eyes. He was looking at her as she might her next mark.

The agent known as Gunslinger forced herself to turn away from the intense blue gaze, "I assume you've all been informed of our assignment?" Shade asked.

At their nods she continued, "My partner and I have had many jobs but as you can imagine this is the strangest one yet. Anything you could tell us would be helpful."

"Helpful?"

Both CIA operatives turned to the speaker of the voice. Doctor Daniel Jackson raised his eyebrows innocently. "You'd need a lot more than our help to actually succeed in killing Apophis."

Alexandra Shade did not fail to notice he had left out mention of his wife. "Apophis and Amanuet, you mean," she corrected.

The reaction was instant and startling in its intensity. Daniel's eyes appeared to almost frost over, all traces of warmth in the blue iris's turned to ice. "You will fail, Ms. Shade," he said with a coldness Gunslinger hadn't expected of the pacifist scholar. "If you value your lives I suggest you leave here and go back to doing whatever it is you usually do."

"Daniel," O'Neill said warningly.

"No, Colonel," Alexandra interrupted. "It's alright. I understand this is a difficult time for you, Dr. Jackson but I am very good at what I do, as is my partner. Don't be so sure that we'll fail."

"Tell me, Ms. Shade, have you ever been sent to another world to assassinate an alien?"

"Of course not," Alexandra said impatiently.

"Then you don't have any idea what you're up against."

"That's why you're here. To tell us."

"Let me assure you, there's nothing I could say that would prepare you."

"Dr. Jackson," Hammond said tiredly.

Daniel backed down but his eyes never left Alexandra.

"Colonel O'Neill," Hammond said. "Maybe you should brief them."

O'Neill looked at Hammond as he spoke, "I can try, sir, but I don't entirely disagree with Daniel. There's no way to prepare someone for going through the 'gate," Jack sighed and then looked over to Daniel, the young man averted his eyes. "Chulak is enemy territory, there's an entire army of Jaffa there with the sole purpose of protecting their 'god'."

"Apophis," Alexandra said.

O'Neill nodded, "Yea, Apophis. Now, I can tell you right now, the guy's not a god, but he isn't human, either. He's more powerful and he's got technology that makes us look almost primitive in comparison. Personal force shields, ribbon devices, zats . . ."

"I read about the Goa'uld's technology in your report, Colonel," Alexandra said.

O'Neill's irritation at being interrupted was evident, "Then maybe this whole thing is unnecessary."

"Colonel," Tom said softly. All but Alexandra turned to him in surprise. This was the first time the young agent had spoken. "I'm sure that Agent Shade meant no offense."

O'Neill looked slightly appeased and continued, "Anyway, these aren't good odds. You'll be alone on an alien planet, looking for someone you've never seen."

Carter leaned forward, "I agree with the Colonel. I don't see this ending well."

Teal'c nodded, "I too most protest this course of action. We have tried on many occasions to kill Apophis and have yet to succeed."

"Oh, yes," Daniel said. "Killing them," there was a slight smile playing on his lips that confused Shade and Simon.

"Dr. Jackson?" Simon prompted.

"Don't tell me you never read about the sarcophagus in Colonel O'Neill's reports? Even if you do succeed in killing them -which I believe is highly unlikely- their Jaffa will only bring them back to life."

As Daniel watched their reactions he was able to see the slightest bit of uncertainly form in their expressions.

They had not thought of this.

Daniel had been counting on that.

"So you can see why I have my doubts . . ." Daniel let the comment hand in the air.

Jack had to bite his lip to keep from grinning. He'd known Daniel would think of something to destroy those two agents seemingly unshakable confidence, but he hadn't thought it would be so simple.

"Sir," O'Neill said. "As usual, Daniel's right. This mission is suicide."

"I'm willing try," Gunslinger said defiantly.

"I'm sure you are," the General said. "But my people are right."

"General, with all due respect this isn't your call. The President ordered this," Alexandra spoke coolly but never raised her voice.

Hammond nodded, "I'm sure if I talk with him and inform him of the odds he'll reconsider. Until then, Colonel, would you escort Ms. Shade and Mr. Simon to guest quarters?"

"It would be my pleasure, sir," O'Neill said affably. Anyone could tell the cheer in his voice was false.

Hammond nodded sharply and left the room.

O'Neill gestured to the door, "This way," he said.

Tom went first and then Alexandra reluctantly followed him. She could feel Daniel's eyes follow her out.

* * * *

Jack walked down the stone corridor with Alexandra Shade keeping pace beside him. Tom Simon was walking unobtrusively behind them and Jack could almost forget he was there.

"So . . ." Jack started. "You actually think you'd be able to pull this off?"

Alexandra gave him a sideways glance without breaking stride, "I think there's a chance I could."

"Look, Ms. Shade--"

"Lex."

"Excuse me?" "Call me Lex," she said. "It's either that or Gunslinger."

Jack eyed her curiously, "Alright then, Lex, I really don't think you understand what you're up against."

"I don't know, Colonel. I think you painted a pretty clear picture. They won't be an easy mark."

Jack looked at her sadly as they reached the guest quarters. "I just hope for your sake and your partner's that the President calls this mission off."

Lex smiled knowingly, "Worried about us, are you? I'm surprised. I thought for sure you were just looking out for friend's wife."

"That may have been one factor." Jack opened the door but Shade hesitated before entering. She turned to Jack and started to say something, the words never came, however and with a small smile she entered the room. Tom Simon followed close behind.

Jack watched as they shut the door, unsure what to make of the two. They certainly weren't like any of the assassins he'd ever met.

But then, these two were spies as well as killers. He guessed they were more like James Bond than any of the hardened war assassins he'd known.

With a sigh he headed back to the conference room to talk to Daniel. That Alexandra or 'Lex' Shade might just be as good as she obviously thought she was.

And if that were the case, Sha'uri could be in real danger.

* * * *

'Assassins?!' Daniel silently fumed. What *was* the President thinking? Didn't he understand that the hosts were prisoners?

Daniel had been trying to stay calm. He'd thought for sure when he reminded them about the sarcophagus that the mission would be immediately called off.

Of course, he knew there were ways to destroy bodies but they couldn't do that covertly. It would take time and draw attention. The Jaffa would be upon them before they finished and whoever they killed would be restored to life.

They had to see that this couldn't be done. There were too many factors.

Daniel didn't look up as Jack came back in the room, he was too focused on waiting for the General. What was taking so long? Surely the President could see reason.

Hammond entered the room moments later and Daniel shook his head in disbelief. He could tell he wasn't going to like this.

The General looked at them regretfully, "Agents Shade and Simon will go through with the mission as planned--"

"General--" Daniel started but the General ignored the interruption.

"And SG-1 will be going with them."

End Part One

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