The Past

Jack headed down to the next level, intent on sneaking into the records room. He should probably have taken Kowalski's advice and just left--but the thought that the General could actually have something to do with all of this drove him on.

Holton may not have the respect of his peers, but he did have a lot of power.

It was fairly late, and having nothing but a skeleton crew made it easier for him to slip into records unnoticed. He'd just closed the door behind him when he heard the screech of a sliding chair and a muffled curse.

Jack placed his head in his hands. Someone was already here. He'd been so careful about the people in the hall he hadn't checked to see if someone was here. And they had heard him shut the door.

Jeffries had spun around, a pair of manila folders held tightly in his right hand. He stared at Jack with wide eyes, and Jack gradually relaxed at the other man's apprehension. Jeffries wasn't supposed to be here either.

"Jeffries," he said. "Whatcha doin'?"

"Captain," he gasped. "Um, I'm getting some information for General Holton. He asked me to. I'm--I'm---what are you doing here?"

"A favor for General West," Jack said smoothly.

"General West?" Jeffries eyes continued to widen.

"Yep," Jack said with a grin. He nodded towards the files in Jeffries grip. "So what are those?"

Jeffries held them closer. "That's classified, Captain."

"I'm sure. But you have clearance for them, do you?"

"I'm just taking them to General Holton."

"I'll bet you are," Jack agreed. Jeffries couldn't be doing this by himself. He was just doing the grunt work.

Jack moved closer, deliberately backing Jeffries into a corner. He easily plucked the folders from the shaking man's grasp. "Who are you working for, Jeffries? Holton? Just what are you trying to do here?"

"I don't know what you're talking about," Jeffries said weakly.

"Jeffries, I just caught you in here with some classified files, don't play games. Tell me who it is."

"O'Neill, you don't understand--"

"Tell me," Jack demanded.

"Fine, fine--it's--" Jeffries was cut off as the door to the room swung open. His eyes widened at the new arrival, and before Jack could turn around the sound of a gun going off filled the room. Jeffries slid down the wall, the bullet pierced straight through his forehead.

Jack backed up from the body in shock, and turned towards the shooter.

Holton was in the door way, the gun at his side still smoking. "You just couldn't go home, could you?" he demanded, aiming the gun at Jack. "You're a stupid bastard, O'Neill."

Kowalski barreled into the room a beat before Holton could pull the trigger, and he tackled the General to the floor, trying to wrestle away the gun. Jack started towards them, shouting Kowalski's name.

The gun fired again before he could reach them, and Holton pushed Kowalski off of him. Charlie moaned as he hit the concrete, holding a hand to the bullet wound on his arm.

Jack slammed into Holton before he had a chance to fire another shot, and the gun when sliding across the floor. Holton was trying to push him off, but Jack punched him solidly, knocking him out in the one hit.

People began to file into the room, screaming orders and demanding to know what happened. Jack told them quietly that Holton was a spy, and handed over the files he had taken from Jeffries. He hadn't looked at them, but he was assuming they held something incriminating.

"Jack?"

Jack dropped down beside Kowalski, ignoring the medics efforts to get him out of the way. "Hey. How are you doing? You going to live?"

Kowalski coughed, shooting Jack a mock harsh look. "Like I would let myself die. Don't think I don't know you have designs on my stereo."

Jack grinned. "I'm not in a hurry to get it," he laughed. "I can wait. You stick around, got it?"

"I'm not going anywhere for a long time, O'Neill. There are big things in my future," he grinned.

"Good," Jack said, smiling back. Watching as his friend was loaded on to a gurney and led off. He turned back around. Someone had placed a sheet over Jeffries, and an airman was placing cuffs on the still unconscious General.

He leaned back against the wall, the bustling people around him snapped question after question in his direction--but he didn't answer. He slipped slowly down, placing his head in his hands, and wondered why David's death didn't hurt any less now that the cause of it had been captured.

______________________________________________________

The Present

Daniel looked at his missing device, and then rolled his eyes upwards to look at his captor. "I don't know how to use it," he said.

Grant sighed, aiming the gun at Sam. "I hate it when people make me do this the hard way."

"He's telling the truth," Sam snapped. "He didn't have enough time to figure it out before you stole it."

"I didn't say I didn't figure it out," Daniel said with a grin--causing Sam to look at him in panicked confusion. "I said I didn't know how to use it."

Grant frowned. "I'm not in the mood for games, Doctor."

Daniel grinned widely. "Well that's ironic then."

Grant chocked the gun angrily. "What the hell are you talking about?"

"That's what it is," Daniel said, motioning to the orb. "It's a game. The Goa'uld use it to occupy the time in-between all of their killing and pillaging. I'm sure it was quite entertaining. The text on the side reads that it's 'Fun for all Goa'ulds.'"

"Are you screwing with me, Doctor? Because I'm not bluffing about shooting Carter."

"Oh, I'm quite serious, I assure you. Embarrassing for you, isn't it? All of this for a game. I doubt even NID will waste the time to help you now."

"Daniel," Sam whispered warningly.

"You're lying. It's a bomb. You said in your notes you thought it was a bomb."

"Obviously you were reading my speculative notes. I was guessing it was a bomb--I was able to translate the text and realized I was wrong. If you were planning on using possession of that device to fight your way out of here--I'm afraid you're out of luck."

_____________________

Jack stood by as Siler prepared to burn his way through the labs steel doors. Watching both sides of the halls anxiously for Teal'c to return with Daniel.

"O'Neill."

His relief at hearing Teal'c's voice was short lived. "Where's Daniel?"

Teal'c frowned. "He was not in his office. I consulted security immediately, and they informed me that Daniel Jackson was last seen on the monitors entering Major Carter's lab."

"Great. That's just great. They're BOTH in there?"

"I'm afraid so. As is Major Grant."

"Major Grant?"

"I believe he is the spy, O'Neill. His bio was left on Daniel Jackson's computer screen and he was the only other person, with the exception of Daniel Jackson and Major Carter to enter the lab before the door was bolted closed."

"Why didn't Daniel come straight to me when he figured it out?" Jack snapped. "How many times have I told him--"

"Fifty five times, O'Neill," Teal'c deadpanned.

Jack threw him an assessing glance, trying to judge his sincerity.

Teal'c turned back to the door. "And counting."

_____________________

Grant spun around as Siler began to torch his way through the door. Sam made a slight move forward and he swung back around again, aiming the gun at his two hostages.

"You might as well surrender," Daniel said quietly. "Jack isn't going to be happy when he makes his way through that door."

"You might as well shut up," Grant snapped back. "Because you won't like it if I have to do it for you."

Sam glared at him, moving in front of Daniel slightly. "You're a disgrace, you know that?"

"Spare me the holier than thou' crap, would you, Major? We all gotta do what we gotta do."

"He's right, Sam," Daniel said with a solemn nod. "Some of us are meant to fight evil and save the world. Others to terrorize innocents and attain the alien equivalents of 'Lights Out.'"

Grant stepped towards Daniel angrily, pressing his gun against the younger man's neck. "I thought I told you to shut up?"

"You didn't actually say, shut up. You simply suggested it might be a good idea." Daniel stepped back cautiously. "I think you were probably right."

"Carter," Grant snapped. "I want you to open the door."

Sam looked at him surprised. "What?"

"Open the damn door. Now."

Sam looked at him appraisingly. He didn't seem the type to surrender easily. And walking to the other side of the room would leave Daniel unprotected. She grabbed onto Daniel's sleeve, and slowly began to back up towards the door.

Grant reached out and snagged Daniel's wrist, pulling him back against him into a headlock and holding the gun to his head. "Nice try," he said to Sam. "Now open the door."

"You can't possibly think you'll make it out of the mountain, you'll be shot first chance someone gets," Sam snapped.

"I don't have to make it out of the mountain," Grant said, increasing the his grip around the young man's neck. "I only have to make it to the 'gateroom."

Sam unbolted the door, careful of the sparks coming through from the other side, and glared at him. "You won't make it three steps."

Grant stood in front of the door, Daniel in front of him like a shield. "Open it," he said again.

Sam turned the handle and then stood back.

The door creaked open slowly. Siler had moved back, the visor of his helmet pushed up. Jack was in front of the door, an M16 aimed directly inside the room. Teal'c stood beside him, unarmed, but imposing none the less.

"You have three seconds to let him go," Jack said softly--his voice far too controlled.

"I just want to get to the gateroom," Grant said. "You let me go and he won't get hurt."

"He won't get hurt anyway," Jack said. "Let him go or you will."

Sam was on the edge of the doorway, and one of the airmen had grabbed her arm and pulled her out. She watched shakily as the desperate man pressed his gun further into Daniel's neck.

"I'm going to start counting," Jack said.

"You won't risk hitting him," Grant said assuredly.

"Three," Jack began.

Grant looked around nervously--seeing only walls and guns aimed at him.

"Two," Jack spoke softly. Two was more than enough, he decided.

Grant had just turned to face him, his eyes locking with Jack's as Jack pulled the trigger. He hit his mark, and fell limply towards the floor. Jack reached out and grabbed Daniel, pushing him behind himself and Teal'c.

He looked down at Grant. There was a tranquilizer dart sticking out from his neck.

"Tranquilizers?" Sam said with a smile.

"Yes, well--I wanted to use bullets because they're cheaper, but then Teal'c here brought up the small matter of needing to know what he's told the NID."

Daniel pushed his way back towards the front of the crowd, and looked down at the unconscious Grant. "Good job, Jack," he said with a grin. "How come we never use those off world?"

"Didn't you hear me? Bullets are cheaper."

Daniel sighed. Small steps. He was helping Jack to make small steps away from the military mindset.

"You two okay?" Jack demanded gruffly--the teasing tone gone.

"Fine, sir," Sam said with a small smile. "I was worried about Daniel. He kept bait--" Sam trailed off as Daniel made frantic 'STOP' motions.

Jack turned slowly to face Daniel. "Daniel?" he drawled.

"Jack?"

"Were you being the quiet hostage I've told you to be in these situations?"

"Yes, Jack." This quite clearly meant 'No, Jack.'

"And did you come straight to me when you had found out who the spy was?"

Daniel bit his lip. "I thought maybe you would be in Sam's lab."

"Daniel," Jack snapped resignedly.

"Look on the bright side, Jack. I got my device back."

______________________________________________________

Epilogue

Daniel tapped his pencil along the edge of his desk, staring at the silver orb he placed in front of him.

"A game?"

Daniel looked up at the interruption. Jack was standing in the doorway. "Excuse me?"

"You told the guy it was a game? Is it a game? Sam said you bluffed so well she wasn't entirely sure you weren't telling the truth."

"No, no it isn't a game. Actually, it's a bomb with enough destructive power to take out an entire continent."

Jack froze. "Really?"

Daniel nodded. "Yes. Um.I think we should probably have it taken back to the world we found it."

"You mean to tell me that guy was carrying around a bomb all day long?" Jack snapped incredulously.

"Yes--we're very lucky he didn't accidentally set it off."

Jack sighed and sat in the chair on the opposite side of Daniel's desk. He picked up the phone. "General? Hello to you to, sir. I'm having a pleasant day, thank you. Would you mind sending a decontamination to Daniel's lab? What? No, no nothing's wrong. We've just got a bomb here that could take out North America on a whim. Yes, sir. That sounds like a good idea, sir."

Jack set the phone back down.

"What did he say?" Daniel asked.

"They'll be here in a minute. He's already ordered an emergency redial to the planet."

Daniel nodded. "That's good," he said as the emergency klaxons went off again.

"Oh and he says hi," Jack added.

The de contamination team stormed into the office, wearing their plastic contamination suits. Jack waved to them cheerfully as the carefully picked the device up in what appeared to be a giant pair of salad prongs and then left the way they had come.

"So what are you doing tonight? Have any plans?"

"Uh.no, I don't think so. Why?"

"I'm in the mood for some salad," Jack said. Turning and walking out of the office, knowing Daniel would follow.

Daniel jogged up beside him.

"Let's go get Carter and Teal'c."

The two got into the elevator, and leaned against the back of the car. The emergency alarms finally stopped blaring.

"I guess they got the device safely back to the planet," Daniel said.

"Yeah. Close call. Hey, you want to get some pizza with the salad?"

"I could go for some pizza."

The End.