SG-1 FIC: The Delicate Balance of Trust
Haven't written anything at all in a very long time. Thank goodness for the Stargate Alphabet Soups!
Title: The Delicate Balance of Trust Rating: G Warning: N/A Summary: SG-1 thought they were being detained due to an off-world compromise situation. They were wrong. Author's Notes: Written for the On World Alphabet Soup Anthology sponsored by sg_fignewton, who also beta read this for me and provided some very excellent suggestions which prompted me to rewrite the ending. I am so glad she did!
The Delicate Balance of Trust
Daniel looked up from the book he was trying to read and sighed. Keeping Jack down for longer than five minutes was a trial in itself.
"Yeah, well so am I," he said with just a trace of aggravation in his tone.
"Well at least you have something to read," Jack grumbled. "And Carter has her laptop, and even Teal'c has... well he can meditate." This last was said with a firm nod as if to prove his point. Daniel just stared at Jack in amusement.
"You could try reading something too," he said, knowing full well that reading was not what Jack wanted to do.
"Read?" The look on his face affirmed Daniel's suspicions. Jack definitely did not want to read. "No," he said as he began to pace around the room. "I need to be doing something else."
"We're being detained," Sam said from her desk. "We have to deal with what we have."
"Not enough," Jack announced with a flair. "We need to... I need to do something... constructive."
"Perhaps you should work on your mission report," Teal'c suggested. Daniel couldn't help but think that was the wrong answer in Jack's view, but he understood Teal'c's reasoning behind the suggestion.
"No," Jack said with a grimace, giving credence to Daniel's thoughts. "Not even close."
"Okay," Daniel said giving up on his book for the moment. "What do you have in mind?"
"Well, I don't know," Jack said vaguely. "How about a game..."
But whatever Jack was going to say was lost in the sound of gunfire in the hallway. Daniel stared at Jack in shock, but Jack didn't stop to acknowledge anything. He ran to the door, with Teal'c right behind him, both ready to defend themselves with fierce determination. Daniel jumped up to join them, getting there just as Sam did. They had been locked in the room and now they were trapped while the base was under attack. This didn't bode well for anyone.
"What's going on?" Sam asked, her eyes wide with concern. Sirens filled the air as another blast outside the door and a loud thump told them that the guard outside the door had been taken down. Daniel stepped back when the door handle jiggled.
"Get down," Jack shouted. Daniel did what he was told. Too many years relying on Jack's instincts taught him to move when the order was given. He jumped to the side and ducked down with his arms over his head, while the door blasted off its hinges and the floor shook with the explosion.
He looked up before the dust settled to find a very irate Jack O'Neill trying to strangle a man that Daniel was surprised to see.
"Let me explain," Colonel Maybourne said as he valiantly tried to save himself. His companion wasn't any help, as Teal'c already had the man in a headlock. "I needed to get you out of here, and no one was cooperating."
"Why didn't you just grab the key and unlock the door," Jack said through gritted teeth. Daniel thought about coming to Maybourne's aid mainly because the blue tinge to the man's face made it clear that Jack was succeeding with his intent, but Maybourne's words stopped him in his tracks.
"Wanted to make an entrance," he said struggling for breath. "Ease up a little and let me explain. You owe me that much."
"I don't owe you anything," Jack snarled. He loosened his grip a little though, apparently deciding to give the man a chance anyway. "Start talking."
"I heard you were being held here, and we... my friends and I, realized what was going on, so we came to get you out."
"That's it?" Daniel had to ask. "You thought we needed to escape?" None of this made sense, and Daniel needed things to make sense. He hated being on the wrong side of logic. "We're here because the General thought we were compromised when we got back." Maybourne shook his head, but Daniel kept on talking. "We'll be out of here as soon as they realize we're okay."
"We do not need to be rescued," Teal'c interjected quietly. He was still holding Maybourne's buddy in the headlock, although not as tight as before. The man was actually breathing normally.
"Yes, you do," Maybourne insisted. "Jack, do you think you can let me go sometime soon? I really would like to get some air in my lungs."
"You're breathing well enough," Jack said in a surly tone, but he let go and stepped back to give the man some space. Daniel looked over at Teal'c to see that he too had let go of his prey. Both men were on their guard though, as were Daniel and Sam. They didn't have much trust for Colonel Maybourne.
"You’re not at the SGC," Maybourne said. He massaged his throat while at the same time glaring at Jack.
"Yes, we are," Sam said. "We came back through the Gate, and we were immediately taken into custody."
"Why?" Maybourne said quietly.
This was a strange question, Daniel thought as he and his teammates shared confused looks with each other. He had already told the man why.
"Because they thought we were compromised," Sam said warily.
"You're not at the SGC," Maybourne told her. She looked skeptical, so Maybourne tried to clarify his statement. "Why hasn't anyone come running? They had to have heard the sirens and the door being blown open. Where are they?" Sam didn't answer, and Daniel was starting to believe the guy. Maybourne jerked his head toward the door and said, "Go on. See for yourself."
Nobody moved. Jack was staring at Maybourne with an intent look, while Daniel waited to see what Jack was going to do. They didn't have to wait long.
"Carter," he said. "Check it out."
Sam went over to the door, her movements slow and guarded. It was apparent she had her own doubts. She looked out into the hallway, paused a moment, then stepped out completely. Nothing happened. "Nobody's there," she said, before taking a step further into the hallway.
She didn't come back right away, a fact that had Daniel worried. What if Maybourne was right and Sam was walking into a trap?
"Daniel," Jack said, apparently tired of waiting. But he didn't get a chance to finish. Sam came back at that point and looked directly at Maybourne.
"Where are we?"
"Not at the SGC," Maybourne replied quietly.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Jack asked. "Carter?"
"He's right, sir," Sam said with a glance at Maybourne. "I'm not sure where we are, but this is not the SGC."
"See? I told you," Maybourne said with a grin. "You should listen to me more often."
"You say that as if I should trust you," Jack replied with a shake of his head. He suddenly reached out and grabbed Maybourne by the lapels. "Where are we and why are we here?"
"Okay," Maybourne said with an indignant air. "All right, already." He pulled back from Jack's grasp and stepped away. "You're being kept in a warehouse outside Taos."
"Taos?" Daniel couldn't help but say. "As in New Mexico?"
"Yeah," Maybourne said. "They found you on whatever planet you were on and brought you here."
"Who brought us here?" Teal'c asked.
Maybourne stared at him for a moment then said. "The NID."
"The NID," Jack said quietly. "Again?" Maybourne nodded while Jack ran his hands through his hair and started to pace. "Jeez, don't those guys ever give up?"
"Apparently not," Maybourne replied, the grin on his face an irritating reminder that the guy was not the best ally in the world, if he could even be considered one. "Look," he said. "From what I gather, they found all of you unconscious and decided to bring you here to exploit your talents."
"Fat chance," Jack mumbled. Daniel had to agree with him there. Whoever these people were, they had a fight on their hands.
"I'm having a hard time believing any of this," Sam piped up. "I mean we came through the Gate on our own, right?"
Daniel stared at her, trying his best to remember exactly what happened from the time they left their host's dwelling on P94-C3D to the moment they woke up in this very room. Everything was jumbled up in his memory. All he knew for sure was that Hammond's voice came over the intercom telling them they had come back dazed and confused and were being detained, or quarantined, until the doctors were absolutely sure the team didn't bring back any diseases. But now that he thought about it, he did remember thinking the General had a cold.
Maybourne must have recognized the dawning comprehension on Daniel's face, because he gave him a knowing look and continued on with his story.
"The NID were already on that planet before you got there and bribed the locals to drug you. They then brought you here." He faced Jack and said, "We found out about it and decided to come break you out of here."
"How did you acquire this knowledge?" Teal'c asked.
"We have our ways," was all Maybourne would say after a moment's pause.
"Right," Jack said with a heavy dose of sarcasm. "If what you say is true..."
"It is Jack. Believe me."
"If what you say is true," Jack repeated. "Then we need to get out of here." He glanced at Teal'c who nodded agreement. Jack turned back to face Maybourne. "What are we facing?" he asked.
"My people took care of the men guarding the warehouse, but I can't be sure if we're going to run into anyone else."
"Okay," Jack said. "Here's the deal." Maybourne raised an eyebrow at Jack's insistence of taking over, but Jack apparently decided to ignore it. "Maybourne, you and your friend over there lead the way. You got any extra guns?"
"We might," Maybourne said with a smirk. Jack reached out to grab him again, but Maybourne was quicker this time. "Not this time, Jack. You want me to supply you with a gun, you'd better be prepared to prove to me you won't use it on me."
Jack glared at the man for a moment, obviously debating on the wisdom of what he was going to say, then apparently deciding to play the game their way for the time being. "Let's go," he said with a growl.
Maybourne and his friend led the way, leaving SG-1 to follow. Teal'c picked up the gun their guard had dropped, although he had to roll the man over to get to it. Jack and Sam acquired their guns when they found two more dead men in a corridor. Maybourne's men did a good job of taking care of the bad guys.
They had to stop once when gunshots came from somewhere in the facility. They dropped down for cover as they scanned their surroundings, but it was Maybourne who whispered, "I have a few men out there keeping an eye out for strays. That's probably them taking care of things."
Daniel wasn't so sure he was comfortable with the word "probably," but as they were sitting ducks with no idea of the layout of the place, they didn't have much choice. Jack finally nodded and they took off again, much slower and quieter this time.
They ended up in a shootout anyway. Freedom was only a few feet away when shots were fired from the direction of a stack of pallets lined up next to a wall. Maybourne's friend was hit first, and he went down yelling. Jack pushed Daniel down to the ground, then took aim. Without a gun, Daniel felt pretty useless, but he knew better than to get in the way of his teammates, so he waited until the shooting died down, all the while scanning the surroundings just in case there was a way to sneak up on them from a different vantage point.
The shootout didn't take long, or maybe it was forever, but the men who had ambushed them were lying in pools of their own blood, while SG-1 and Maybourne waited to make sure the going was safe. Daniel finally got up and watched as Teal'c went over and checked to make sure the men were dead. He wanted more than ever to get out of that place. He hated the worthless feeling of not being able to help.
Maybourne stood up next to Daniel and stared intently at the carnage. "Let's go," he said quietly.
Daniel was more than ready and they ran for the door, with Teal'c dragging Maybourne's friend along. Bright sunlight blinded him for a moment as he stepped outside, but that was a minor inconvenience as far as he was concerned. They needed to get out of there. Still, it seemed so easy. He glanced over at Sam and saw that she too was feeling wary about this whole thing.
"It's safe. I promise," Maybourne told them. "Let's just get out of here."
"Maybourne," Jack said as he stared at the man. "Why did you help us? What's in it for you?"
"We can have this conversation in the truck," Maybourne said instead, his eyes darting about as if looking for something. "You want to stand out here in case there are more of them somewhere?"
Jack didn't move right away, he just stared at Maybourne, who stared back. It seemed strange to Daniel, but it was almost as if they were communicating somehow. Jack finally nodded, then moved over to the truck. Daniel, Sam and Teal'c followed suit and piled in to the back. Maybourne and his wounded companion joined them.
Daniel watched as Sam checked his wounds. "Nothing too serious," she said. "But he does need to see a doctor."
"We'll take care of it," Maybourne told her. "Once we get to our destination."
"Which is where?" Jack wanted to know.
"The airport," Maybourne responded with a "you-should-have-known-this" attitude. "And you owe me for this Jack."
"What?" Jack said with an incredulous expression. "No way. This makes us even."
"No. It doesn't," Maybourne insisted. "I know you haven't forgotten that time you were..."
Their conversation droned on. Daniel tuned them out, not the least bit interested in their history. He had more pressing worries on his mind, like what really happened on that planet. And why were they ambushed by the NID. And most importantly, how did the NID manage to be on that planet in the first place.
"All in good time," Maybourne said when Daniel interrupted the personal history lesson to ask those very same questions. ""Suffice it to say that you are no longer in their possession."
It really wasn't enough, Daniel thought, as they rode on in silence. But as they were no longer being detained, he figured he could wait to see what would happen next.
A full regiment met them at the airport. Daniel was surprised to see Major Davis, but it quickly became apparent that SG-1 had been missing for quite some time. Maybourne didn't get out of the truck with them, choosing instead to stay out of sight. "It's better that I lay low," he told Jack with a knowing look.
Jack didn't argue and Daniel understood why when Major Davis nodded at the truck and asked, "Maybourne?"
Jack shrugged and Davis smiled. "We were surprised when we got the call from him," Davis said. "But we couldn't give him everything he wanted." He turned to watch the truck as it drove away. "I guess he was happy with what he got."
"I guess," Jack said quietly.
Davis stood aside and waved them toward the plane. "Shall we go?" he asked. "General Hammond is very anxious to find out what happened on that planet."
Daniel was more than happy to lead the way. They got settled in their seats and they sat in silence for a few moments, until Sam asked, "Do you really trust Maybourne, Colonel?"
Jack looked at her for a moment, then turned to look away. "No," he finally said. "Well, not completely." He looked back at them and said, "But he has helped in the past. I'll give him that."
Confusion spread across Sam's face. "But sir," she said. "It could have been a trap. Why were you so sure?"
"But it wasn't a trap," Jack said with a finality. "Not this time."
Daniel shook his head. It wasn't worth it, he decided as Sam sent him an exasperated look. Jack knew the man better than they did. But he still wondered what was going on.
Jack apparently didn't want them to brood on the subject. "I'm bored," he announced suddenly. "Who's up for a game of cards?"