Chapter 34 - in which Frank gets his come-uppance
Jack and Daniel arrived at the kliniki in the woods in double quick time and fully equipped. They'd had a great deal of fun in finalizing their plan of action on the ride there.
On being told that they were going to treat the interlopers to a Tau'ri Christmas tradition, Demris offered to help. She led them to the ward where the six men were sleeping peacefully, then went off to round up some of her staff to help too.
"Christmas tradition, Daniel?" Jack grinned while she was out of the room.
"Well, it could catch on," Daniel said, looking as innocent as a choir boy.
"Hey! I know this guy!" Jack exclaimed when he clapped eyes on one of the men. "I so owe you!" he snarled at the unconscious man.
"He was running the show the night I was kidnaped. 'Frank', he called himself. He was sitting on my right in the car."
Daniel took a closer look at 'Frank'.
"Oh yes, now you mention it, I recognize him too. Wasn't looking so pretty then. Well that makes this really personal then, doesn't it?" he stated grimly as the helpers arrived.
"For starters, they won't be needing these tunics," Jack said, leading his team in stripping the six unconscious men.
"Er, one of them will," Daniel reminded him.
"Right. Just not 'Frank'. Leave him to me."
The five of them got to work on the easiest part, gaffer-taping the hands of one across his eyes, of the next across his mouth, and of the third across his ears while Daniel wrote 'SEE NO EVIL', 'SPEAK NO EVIL' and 'HEAR NO EVIL' in indelible black marker pen across their chests.
The one who was allowed to keep his tunic was given white paper wings, a tinsel crown and a wand with a silver foil star. Daniel tied a placard round his neck reading, 'FAIRY NUFF?'
"Red - I need some red paint or something," he said next, standing by the guy closest to the door.
"Will this do?" Demris asked, picking a pot off a nearby shelf.
Daniel removed the lid, then held the pot as far away from his nose as he could.
"That'll do fine," he wheezed, putting the lid back until required.
He snagged the gaffer tape and tapped the guy's dick to his belly.
Looking over, Jack said with an appreciative grin, "Ouch! That's gonna hurt!"
Daniel wrote above it, 'Keep your pecker up, Boy Wonder!' then, holding his nose with one hand, smeared the orange-red unguent all over his victim's chest - very hairy chest - with the other.
"Peu! What the fuck's that?" Jack asked, "Essence of skunk?"
"It is for swyle of the arse," Demris answered with a smile.
Daniel sniggered provoking a demand for a translation.
Jack's eyes narrowed. "There's nothing funny about piles, Daniel!" he growled.
The rest of the team gathered round to see his work of art on 'Frank'.
"Inspired, that's what it is," Daniel grinned.
'Frank' had a big bow of red ribbon round his neck. His arms and legs were wrapped in Christmas paper, stuck with gaffer tape and across his chest was written, 'RETURN TO SENDER - ADDRESS UNKNOWN'. But the pièrce de résistance was a second red ribbon bow, with a bell attached and a sprig of mistletoe inserted, tied around his dick.
"Okay, all done now. Let's get these babies home. They're all partied out," Jack said with a very smug grin. Then his brow furrowed and he asked Demris, "When will they wake?"
"Long time," she answered, smiling.
The visitors were then loaded on to a couple of small horse-drawn wains or Arcadian goods wagons, and Jack and Daniel drove them back to the 'Gate.
It was mid-afternoon when Sergeant Davis, approaching the end of his shift, was disturbed again. He'd finished reading 'Naturally Naughty' and was halfway through 'My Sexiest Mistake', when the Stargate activated and Colonel O'Neill appeared on the monitor via the M.A.L.P. camera.
"Colonel O'Neill?" he said to a close-up eye that was almost filling the screen.
"Ah, yeah. Merry Christmas, Sergeant."
"Thank you, sir, and to you too."
"Listen, those last 'presents' you sent through"
"Yeah - six of 'em."
"Oh, sorry about that sir. Didn't have a choice."
"That's okay, sergeant, but I'm afraid we're gonna have to send 'em back. They're - uh - not up to standard."
"I'm sorry to hear that, sir," Sergeant Davis replied, grinning.
"Yeah, well... Anyway, I'd like you to do something for me. Could you log the time of their return at around five minutes after they left? They're - er, they're asleep right now, so when they arrive, would you see to it that they sleep it off in the infirmary. Oh, and I'd like them quarantined - can't be too careful. Who knows what bugs they've brought back with them? And when Genghis Khan in Heels gets back, tell her they need a full medical, and no need to warm the lube. In fact if she'd like to give it a few minutes in the 'fridge first "
"I'll see to it sir," Davis laughed.
"Oh, and you might like to make a few video copies of the 'Gate room footage. Close-ups would be good. Doctor Jackson thinks we might've started a new Christmas tradition..."
"You'll see. Finally - this conversation..."
"What conversation, sir?"
"Good man. I'll let you get back to your bodice-ripper. O'Neill out."
Davis just had time to pick his jaw up off the floor and call all hands to the 'Gate Room, stat, when SEE-NO-EVIL came flying through the event horizon, closely followed by SPEAK-NO and HEAR-NO. They'd obviously been thrown into the wormhole with some force, landing butt first halfway down the ramp. Next came the Christmas fairy, the red, red robin and a bundle of the men's own clothes, baggage and weapons.
Jack had been reluctant to part with the weapons, old habits dying very hard - "Never know when we might need 'em, Danny" - but Daniel pointed out that they might have to give up their new life if they kept them on Arcadia, so he capitulated. They had too much to lose now.
Finally, after a slight pause, came the ghost of Christmas present, round whose neck Daniel had added, as an afterthought, a placard saying 'Ring my chimes, Big Boy!'
Had it been a diversionary tactic prior to a goa'uld invasion, it would have worked to perfection as open mouths segued into hoots of laughter. A number of infirmary staff disappeared to get their own cameras, and several S.F.s laid down their weapons and followed suit. Colonel O'Neill had sent them a very nice Christmas present, they thought, as they calculated the profit on the snaps they were about to take.
Sergeant Davis waited until the Christmas presents had been removed to the infirmary and normal service had been resumed, then updated General Hammond. He made a token gesture of disapproval but Davis could tell that his heart wasn't in it. Probably more annoyed at being left out of the loop on this one if anything. Old Stoneface did have a sense of humor...
Chapter 35 - in which Hammond is - apparently - not amused
As the Christmas holiday had fallen on a Monday and Tuesday, no missions were scheduled for the rest of that week. On Wednesday, Jack and Daniel returned to the S.G.C. and something of a heroes' welcome. The cheer on their appearance through the event horizon rather took them aback. The glower on General Hammond's face as he awaited them suggested that he was less impressed.
"My room, Colonel, Doctor Jackson," he ordered.
He turned on his heel and marched off up the spiral stairway. Jack and Daniel exchanged speaking looks and followed him.
"Good luck, sirs," muttered a poker-faced S.F. as they passed.
"Thanks, Colonel, Doctor. You did good!" said another.
"Close the door, Doctor," the general said once they were in his room. He didn't invite them to sit down.
"Now, what in tarnation were you thinking of?" he demanded. "I have six very angry men in my infirmary demanding that you be court-martialed and that they be let out of quarantine."
"You haven't rescinded that order then, sir?" Jack asked, trying to look grave. The slight muscle twitch at one corner of General Hammond's mouth hadn't escaped him.
"No, Colonel, I haven't - yet. I was awaiting your report on the matter..."
"Thank you, sir."
"You'd better thank Doctor Fraiser too. They were all set to walk out once they came round."
"We'll send her flowers, sir."
"And chocolates," Daniel added.
"You know, Doctor Jackson, I would have thought better of you," Hammond said, once Daniel had drawn his fire. "Couldn't you have done something to stop him?"
"Ah, it was a joint effort, sir."
"What am I going to put on my report about this?"
"I could - erm - I could write it for you, General," Daniel offered, "but I think you may not have to write a report, sir."
Hammond looked a question.
"Well, you see, sir," Jack said, taking up the baton again, "I recognized one of the men."
"Yes sir. He was in the car the night I was kidnaped."
"I see. That does put a different complexion on the matter."
"Permission to go infirmary visiting, sir."
"Permission granted," Hammond grinned. "I suspected there was be more to it than a mere prank."
Jack returned the grin.
"Can't fool me, sir. You knew there was."
"Oh, before you go, Colonel, you might like to know that we caught a third mole."
"Oh? How so, sir?"
"Well, until I heard from you, I decided to keep them incommunicado. Working on the assumption that they're N.I.D., I didn't want any inconvenient intervention from someone higher up the food chain. One of the commissary staff was caught trying to take a message out when he was delivering their meals. He doesn't have access to confidential information so presumably he's the lowest placed of their operatives and hopefully their last.
Jack and Daniel went first to Janet's office. She looked up from writing a report and smiled a welcome.
"Colonel, Daniel. What can I do for you?"
"First things first - thanks, Doc. We owe ya," Jack began.
"So what have you been doing to them?"
"Well, sir, as per your instructions, I have them quarantined in the isolation room. I had General Hammond place an armed guard outside as it seemed likely they would attempt to leave, and thus spread the - contagion. We've - um - been unable to identify anything contagious in their bodies so far, but we'll keep trying... I think another couple of weeks should be enough to ensure the indelible ink has gone entirely, and the abrasions healed."
Good work, Doc," Jack said as Daniel sniggered. "I can see you've elevated medicine to an art form. Just remind me never to cross you."
"Right never to cross you again."
"And you thought cold lube was bad..." Janet said, grinning evilly as the pair before her winced. "Care to tell me why I'm really holding them?"
"Well one of them - called himself 'Frank' - was in charge of my abduction back in August."
"That would be Lieutenant-Colonel Frank Simmons, I should think," Janet informed him. "If I'd known, Colonel, I'd'a told my nurses to scrub harder. Dang it, I'd'a brought pan scourers from home!"
"Er yeah. Thanks," Jack said, a little stunned by the vitriol in her voice. "Any chance I could see them now?"
"Be my guest, Colonel."
"Hel-looo Frank!" Jack said with spurious bonhomie.
"Colonel O'Neill," Simmons said, eyes narrowing. "You won't get away this, you know."
"Get away with what, Frank?"
"What you did."
"Oh? What did I do, Frank?"
"You - you incapacitated myself and my staff."
"I did? Don't remember doing that. Do you, Doctor Jackson?"
Daniel made a show of racking his brains.
"Um... ah... Nooo," he said slowly in a hillbilly accent, "don't reckon ah do, Colonel. You got 'ny wit-ner-ssiz, er - Frank, wuzn' it?"
"Very funny, Doctor Jackson," Simmons said sourly.
"Glad y'all think so. Cuz wun thing ah do remember witnessing... was you in the fucking car wreck when Colonel O'Neill was abducted!" Daniel snarled, dropping the accent and looking for all the world like an avenging angel.
Simmons drew back a little.
"Y-You can't do anything to me in here," he faltered.
"Not in here, no," Daniel agreed smoothly.
The pair stood silent beside Simmons bed for a few seconds, just letting the threat hang there but there was no response.
"So I'm thinking you'll just crawl quietly back under your stone and stay right away from the S.G.C. from now on. Capiche?" Jack said, and tossed a handful of stills from the video footage into Simmons lap.
"You you bastard!" Simmons exclaimed after a glance at the photos.
"Yup, that's me. One hundred per cent solid gold bastard," Jack said with his trade mark smug grin. He threw the man a lazy salute. "Come on Daniel, let's go. Kinda smells a little... off in here, don'tcha think?"
The pair were heading back to Janet's office with a view to having Jack signed off for the duration when the P.A. announced an incoming traveler.
"Oy, what now?" Jack muttered, heading for the elevator. "No peace for the wicked, huh?"
Chapter 36 - in which an old 'friend' asks for help
Hammond was already in the control room when they arrived, hot on the heels of Carter and Teal'c.
"Receiving I.D.C.," Sergeant Bailey announced. "Sir we're receiving the signal on the I.D.C. frequency but this is not an authorised S.G.C. code.
Looking over his shoulder, Sam said, "It says 'Comtraya'..."
"Oh Jeez, that's all we need," Jack whined.
"Okay, he was a little annoying but he isn't a serious threat, sir."
Bailey looked up at Hammond who assented to his opening the iris. Soon, an agitated Harlan was standing at the top of the ramp looking round in terror at the S.F.s and their array of weapons.
In the briefing room, Harlan explained that his copies of S.G.-1 had been going out on 'missions', aided by a portable power pack invented by the robot Sam. Now, they were overdue from their current 'mission' to P2X-729, and in ten hours they would run out of energy.
"P2X-729? We've been to this planet before," Sam said. "It's called Juna, if I remember correctly."
Teal'c agreed. "We did engage in battle with the Jaffa of Heru'ur. And liberated the people of Juna," he added.
"I remember, but Heru'ur is dead, the Naquadah mine was dry, the people don't pose any threat, so what could be the problem?" Daniel asked.
"Another Goa'uld may have claimed the planet for different reasons," Teal'c surmised, "Possibly a strategic military position."
"And we told them they'd be okay," Sam said, shaking her head.
To try to ascertain the situation, a M.A.L.P. was sent to Juna. The first thing they saw was a Jaffa. Before anyone had time to do more than mutter an expletive, a zat blast took the guy out and a mirror image of Jack appeared.
"Woah. I'll never get used to that," Jack exclaimed, taking a step back.
His robot counterpart finally got around to a sit. rep. after a few sniping comments thrown back and forth. The news was not good. Cronus had come by ship bringing a large number of Jaffa. Worse, Daniel, Sam and Teal'c had been captured and taken into the pyramid. Worst of all, the robot Daniel had been beheaded, though Cronus's patent mystification had swung the natives back to atheism where the goa'uld were concerned.
"Ouch!" Daniel muttered, rubbing his own neck.
Sam and Teal'c had then been taken up into Cronus' mother ship in orbit above the Jaffa encampment.
"I have an idea," Sam said. "Harlan, how long does it take to duplicate someone - make a robot of him?"
"Ohhh, long time, yes."
"How long?" Sam said with a hint of gritted teeth.
"Ohhh, eight of your hours."
"Damn, that doesn't leave us much time."
"I could maybe do it in less if I had more power," Harlan said, trying to say what she wanted to hear.
"Um, if I could take the naquadah generator, sir...?"
"If you think it'll help," Hammond agreed.
"We could recharge the robots with it when we get to Juna too," Sam said, warming to the task. "Harlan, when you make a new robot, does it have to look like the original, or could you give it a different face? Oh, and voice?"
"Oh, I couldn't do that, no. Not unless I had something to copy a new face from."
Sam sat down beside Sergeant Bailey and searched through the archives on the base mainframe.
"Could you make a copy of one of us and make it look - and sound - like him?" she asked, pointed to the figure on the right.
"If I could take that with me, yes, I think I could," Harlan agreed.
S.G.-1 returned to Harlan's dingy, dying world.
"Ya know, Harlan," Jack said as they left the event horizon, "I really don't know why you'd want to carry on living on this lame-ass planet when there are so many better worlds - bet-ter - all across the galaxy."
"That is what the other you said," Harlan lamented. "That is why they keep going away on missions. Ohhh, missions, yes."
"So why don't you move?" Sam asked.
"But everything I need is here," Harlan said, the picture of abject defeatism.
Jack slapped his head.
"So move it!" he exclaimed.
Harlan took a step back, looking like a startled rabbit. "Ohhh, I couldn't do that, no," he shuddered.
"Why not, for crying out loud?"
Harlan thought about it. "I - I don't know. Hubbard said we had to stay here... "
"Oh, give me strength!"
"Sir, shouldn't we be making a start on creating the new robot?" Sam interrupted.
"Yeah, we can sort this out another time - or they can. Okay, any volunteers?"
Teal'c stepped forward.
"Oh no, Teal'c," Jack said, "We couldn't ask you - your clone - robot - whatever - to go around wearing the face of someone so offensive to you."
"O'Neill, you cannot deny that I am the best equipped to carry off the deception. Moreover, it would be better to wear my enemy's face than to look upon a friend and see it."
"Oh. Makes sense, I guess. Okay, Teal'c, tag you're it."
Daniel noticed Harlan watching him, an unhappy look on his face. "What's the matter, Harlan," he asked.
"Ohhh, you are dead," he replied sadly, "I mean, not you - no, not you. Our you."
"Oh, I see. You want to make another copy of me while I'm here. Is that it?"
"Mmm," Harlan nodded, "if you would be so good, yes."
"Actually, that's not a bad idea," Sam said. "If the goa'uld think they've - um - eliminated you, and two of you reappear"
"Like the hydra?" Daniel laughed. "Okay, Harlan, go ahead."
Jack and Sam returned to the S.G.C. during the duplication process, and checked the situation on Juna. As there was no one in sight, they went through to see if they could find the robot Jack or Darien, the native man they'd seen with him. Dodging Jaffa patrols, they first tried Darien's home and were lucky enough to find the robot Jack there.
The robot looked at his rival.
"You're not looking so fit," he taunted, "Definitely getting a little paunchy."
Jack had to bite his tongue on that one.
"Yeah well," he said, playing it down, "you know how it is big celebrations - Thanksgiving, Christmas and... and such. Guess I've been kinda over-doing things a bit."
"More than a bit," his counterpart crowed, swaggering round and showing off his trim figure.
"But," Jack continued, smiling with an effort, "with a little work-out every day, two or three months, you won't recognize me."
"What?" the robot asked, when Sam snorted and put up her hand to hide a grin.
"Something I don't know here?"
"No - er - sir," Sam said, giving him a big-eyed innocent look. She quickly moved on to tell him the details of her plan, which he passed on to his Sam and Teal'c via an internal radio.
"Darien, if I remember correctly, there's a big area of swampy wilderness to the north and west of here," Jack said, which Darien confirmed. "Good, we'll see if we can't send a good few of Cronus's Jaffa off to - to Anoka and - and Owatonna - on the other side of it. Hopefully they'll get thoroughly bogged down there."
"Anoka? Owa-what?" Darien said, looking puzzled. "I never heard of them."
"No, probably you wouldn't. They're in Minnesota. On Earth. Thing is, the Jaffa won't know they don't exist here, will they?"
"Even if they do, sir, I doubt they'd question it," Sam commented.
It was mid-afternoon when Daniel and Teal'c and the two new robots stepped out of the wormhole. With the time difference on Juna, it was early evening, and Darien's wife was serving the evening meal when four more 'guests' arrived. She almost dropped the cooking pot as Teal'c, two Daniels, and Cronus entered. She'd been visiting her mother when explanations had been given.
"My Lord!" she gasped, horrified at apparently being caught giving sanctuary to known enemies.
"It's okay, Hira," one of the Daniels said, "It isn't really Cronus, just Teal'c in disguise."
Hira gave him a very old-fashioned look.
"Then who is he?" she asked pointing to Teal'c.
The other Daniel laughed. "Oh, he's Teal'c too!"
"Don't tease her, Daniel," Sam said, and explained the situation as well as she could before Jack cut her off in mid-flow.
While the humans quickly ate, the robot Jack was recharged from the naquadah generator. Afterwards, Sam and the two Jacks disguised themselves as warriors of Juna, then as darkness was gathering, the eight of them and Darien set off for the goa'uld pyramid.
Chapter 37 - in which plots are hatched
"So - what sort of forces are we looking at T? Strength and location and such?" Jack asked.
"There could be as many as a thousand on the ship, though several hundred of these will by now be deployed on the ground to maintain order. Most of the rest will be on the lower decks of the ship. Cronus will most likely remain on the pel'tac with his elite guards."
"The rings must be activated from the ship," Teal'c informed him.
"Huh? Don't they have any of those fancy ring-gizmos like Ra's guard had?" Jack asked.
"Only Cronus and his First Prime"
"Sindar," Darien said.
"Thank you. Only Cronus and Sindar will have a delma'kash."
"But there has to be some sort of communication between the ground and the ship, right? Or how do they know when someone wants - beaming up?" Jack asked.
"Sindar seems to spend much of his time in the pyramid or the encampment nearby," Darien said helpfully. "Perhaps we could overpower him and take the ring?"
"I'd rather not do that" the two Jacks said in unison, then stopped and scowled at each other. The robot shrugged and Jack continued. "We don't want to tip our hand to soon."
"If he is around here, though, I think I know how we could use him," Teal'c said and explained his plan.
"Yeah, that could work," Jack said. "Darien, you and Sam and the two of us will go to the camp. Teal'cs and Daniels, you all know what to do? 'Kay, let's go..."
When the robot Daniel silently radioed that they were in position, Darien led the other three 'Juna warriors' into the camp at a fast pace, calling out for Sindar.
"Who calls for Sindar?" bellowed a guard at the entrance to the Jaffa encampment.
"I am Darien," he panted, "warrior of Juna, loyal servant of Cronus, with my kinsfolk who bring urgent news from afar."
"It can wait until the morrow. Go!" growled the guard. "We do not have time for your petty squabbles."
"No! ..It cannot wait, or you will feel the wrath of our god, the mighty Lord Cronus," Darien insisted.
The guard considered it for a while, then called for Ma'lok. Another Jaffa appeared, silhouetted against the campfires behind him.
"Take three of your men and escort these scum to Sindar."
"Kel shak, Tek'nor," Ma'lok responded and went off to carry out his orders. "On your way, scum," he grunted when he returned with his men, "and this had better be good..."
Sindar received the four in the Throne Room inside the pyramid.
"Hail Sindar. Loyal servant of Cronus!" Darien began.
"Who is this?" Sindar demanded of Ma'lok.
"Warriors of Juna. They claim to have urgent news," the Jaffa replied in a tone of voice that said he didn't believe a word of it, and moreover, it had nothing to do with him.
Sindar came down from the throne to take a closer look, though not too close.
"I recognize you, boy. You brought in the shol'va, Teal'c. My master is most pleased. Speak. What news do you bring?"
"Ill news, I fear, Sindar. My kinfolk have just now arrived from Anoka and - and" "Owatonna," Jack grunted, keeping his head bowed in apparent terror at being so close to his god.
"The folk of these two towns"
"And - and others," Jack added.
"Don't overdo it. Sir," Sam, head down, muttered under her breath.
"have taken up arms," Darien was saying, "and are building a mighty army such as overthrew our Lord Heru'ur."
"What?" Sindar asked, midway between horror and a desire not to believe the message.
"They have several thousand men already, with more joining by the day," Darien continued. "The plan is to march here at sunset tomorrow, so they will arrive at the darkest time of night."
From behind him came a great roar.
"My Lord!" Sindar gasped, falling to his knees. "I did not see you there."
"They dare to rise up against their god?!" thundered the voice of Cronus. "What are you waiting for, Sindar? Despatch all Jaffa encamped outside to Anoka - north of here - immediately. I want them there by midnight at the latest. They will spare no one! Then return to me here."
"At once, my Lord," Sindar said breathlessly, making haste to obey.
"What are you waiting for?" Cronus demanded angrily of Ma'lok. "Do you hold yourself excused?"
"No, my Lord," Ma'lok replied, and hurried out with his men.
"Well, so far so good," Jack grinned at Cronus.
"How dare you address your god so impudently?" Cronus demanded with an angry scowl. "I will have you torn limb from limb for your disrespect."
"T?" Jack squawked, horrified for the moment that this was the real Cronus. Then he remembered that the real one would have no idea where Anoka was, and a hearty guffaw reassured him.
"Jeez, Teal'c, don't do that. You nearly gave me heart failure."
The real Teal'c and the two Daniels appeared then, carrying Jaffa uniforms. Teal'c had already changed his appearance, and covered his gold tattoo with Cronus's mark in black camouflage paint.
"We have disposed of the bodies,"he said with satisfaction as the Jacks and Sam changed clothes and added black symbols to their foreheads.
He turned apologetically to Darien and added. "All of the guards were taller than you, but you are known as a loyal servant of Cronus, so you should not be in danger."
"What, no 'one size fits all', Teal'c?" quipped the robot Jack.
"Never mind," said the real O'Neill.
They had just finished their change of identities and zatted the evidence when Sindar returned.
"It is accomplished?" Teal'c/Cronus asked.
"It is, my Lord."
"Excellent Sindar. Now summon all Jaffa from the lower decks and send them to Owatonna in the west immediately."
"All, my Lord?" Sindar asked in amazement.
"Do you presume to question your god? Do as you are bid, now!.. Sindar, Kree!"
"Kel shak, Cronus!"
Sindar hurried out of the Throne Room to the transporter room, followed closely by the two Jacks and Sam as a Jaffa escort. They waited until the order had been given then Sam zatted him. Jack removed the delma'kash from his finger, then the robot Jack zatted him twice more. The rest joined them, and Jack passed the delma'kash to the robot Teal'c.
Groups of Jaffa, prepared for a long march with an extermination mission at the end of it, began to arrive in the transporter room. The contingent from Earth stood at the back of the room and watched them leave at the double. It was going to take some time. The presence of 'Cronus' ensured no trouble. For a while...