Daniel Jackson hurried through the halls of the SGC followed closely by Teal'c. The two men had been going over the weapons that they had recovered from Seth it had been totally by chance that they had discovered that at least 300 zats were missing. They had been tagged themselves, as they couldn't risk the ATF or local constabulary finding the weapons. Daniel knocked quickly on the door to Jack and Colonel's office.
"Jack!" Jackson said before the man could respond the older man turned raising his head to stare at the two men before him.
"No need to shout Danny, I ain't deaf yet." He muttered rubbing his head tiredly.
"Sorry." He said quickly pushing his glasses up his nose, he walked forward followed by Teal’c. "Teal’c and I were going through the weapon intake from Seth, and well," he paused swallowing as he studied the older man. "300 zats are missing".
"WHAT!" Jack O’Neill shouted rising to his feet as he looked at the anthropologist. Before turning to the large man behind him.
"It is true O’Neill, I checked it myself" Teal’c informed the enraged and shocked man.
"Damn!" Jack muttered leaning on his desk "I take aspirin thinking my headache will go away, and what happens it get worse, Sweet”.
Jackson looked at him sympathetically, as he took in the tired pained features of the older man. "Sorry" this time the sincerity could be heard.
The colonel smiled tightly as he nodding at Daniel, “Come on boys lets go break bad news to the General.”
"This should be fun." Jackson muttered as he rubbed a hand through his brown hair.
"And what pray tell are these?" Ezra Standish drawled in his smooth southern accent looking at the small wiry man in front of him. The man seemed to shift under the cool green gaze.
"There real good I promise sir!" The man said quickly lifting up one of the stun guns.
"Yes, well they are certainly colourful, but I believe Mr Taggart said that you had arms, and I am in the business of arms, not toys,” Standish said taking the gun from the wiry man.
"But, Mr Simpson I have been assured that these guns are unique" he drawled urgently, looking over at the three men behind him. "Mr Simpson please”.
Standish looked at the panic and fear written on the smaller man's face, and studied the three large men behind the small man. It was obvious that he had his life riding on this deal. "Please?" Ezra mocked his eyes sliding over to his bodyguard Buck Wilmington, who saw the slight flick to the man and guns. Buck shrugged slightly, they had no idea what these things were, but if they were some new technology than it was important that they acquire the weapons.
"But Mr Simpson..." The dealer said desperately as he looked over at his employer.
"Mr Simpson and his companion need a demonstration,” the man in the Armani suit said as he walked in to the small warehouse.
"That won't be necessary." Ezra said quickly his eyes assessing the bareness of the room.
"I believe it is" Taggart drawled he nodded over at one of the men, who moved forward taking the gun from Ezra he held it up and fired three quick shots at the small dealer.
Standish stared in disbelief "My God." He whispered cutting a glance to the lanky man next to him, who was staring now at the empty space where the man had just been standing.
"What was that?" Wilmington stuttered his blue eyes looking at the box in front of him.
"That was my guns, gentlemen" Taggart drawled taking the gun and walking over to him.
"And you have how many?" Standish drawled the shock disappearing as he fell once again into his persona of his cover.
"I see you are interested now Mr Simpson, I apologise for Gerry but good help is so hard to find." He said smiling at the two men. "The price will have gone up since I lost a man, 1 million for the rest of these”.
"Well, that most certainly is an agreeable price" Standish drawled his face dimpling as he tapped his bottom lip with his thumb. "Shall we say tomorrow?" he said cocking his head to look at the well-dressed man.
"Tomorrow Mr Simpson, might inquire as to why you need so many guns”.
Standish smiled looking over at Buck who also smiled before they looked at the rest of the men. "If this is your first undertaking in the arms business, you may not wish to ask that he again Mr Taggert" He said coldly the smile never leaving his face.
"Quite right, sometimes curiosity gets the best of me" Taggart appeased.
"But not compassion" Standish said as he placed the gun back in the box, but Taggert shook his head.
"Compassion is wasted, Gerry had outlived his usefulness"
Ezra tilted his head as he returned his gaze to the box of weapons.
"Shall we set this up for tomorrow, I'll page you with the information" Taggert said smiling and with that he nodded to his henchmen picking up the crate. Taggert nodded at the man, and they left.
Wilmington followed the southerner out to his Jag neither said a word their faces set in grim masks. They knew the rest of the team would want to know what had happened. They hadn't been able to be wired as Taggert was fond of gadgets, so both knew that it would be an up hill task to convince the other men.
Buck stared out of the windscreen. "Poor bastard" Wilmington said looking over at the undercover operative who grimaced.
"Poor bastard indeed" Ezra muttered as they headed towards the ATF building.
"Your saying he just vanished" Chris Larabee said looking back and forth between his two agents.
"Yeah Chris, it was the darn'st thing.” Buck said his eyes wide as he sat back in his chair to look at his old friend. The blond haired man stared back at him his face a careful mask. Standish stood staring out the window hands shoved into his suit jacket.
"Vanished?" Vin Tanner repeated from his position in the doorway.
"Yeah they fired, and he was gone" Buck said looking at the man.
"There was smoke?" JD asked from his place beside Vin.
"No, there wasn't smoke JD. He just disappeared." Wilmington said exasperated, as he looked at the other men. They had been trying to convince them for the past hour and half that what they had seen had actually happened.
Standish turned back to look at the group. "You know I can feel the love." He drawled sardonically raising an eyebrow at the ladies man who smirked back at him.
"Oh yeah its all happy families here" Buck quipped.
"You say he picked up this stun gun?" Tanner asked again trying to redirect the conversation. Ezra sighed, his jaw clenching as he gazed at his workmates.
"He picked up the gun, fired three times with this thing, it emanated some sort of blue light and struck Gerry, and then he was gone, we presume dead since there was nothing left." Ezra drawled.
Larabee shook his head "It's not that we don't believe you its just..." he looked over at the other men.
“You don’t believe us.” Buck finished flatly.
Josiah shrugged his shoulders "Maybe it was a trick of the eye or something" he said trying to placate the two men.
"Kind of like magic trick." JD said excitedly.
Buck shifted uneasily as he looked over at the Southerner. Ezra smiled his cheek dimpling as he raised his eyes to the ceiling as he shoulders shook in a mirthlessly laugh. " You know I've spent most of my life spotting a con, I've made my life pretending to be someone else, and I've been undercover in many different situations, so believe me gentlemen when I tell you it was not some trick." he said coldly, his green eyes flashing with anger.
Jackson stared at them as he looked over at Chris "We understand that you believe you saw something, but you said it yourself Ezra it looked like a toy!" The dark eyes met the smaller man's. Vin watched both men's expressions fall, as they exchanged sad angry gazes.
"Then that would be a no to the meet." Buck asked his eyes flicking to the blond man who shook his head regretfully.
"I'm sorry Buck, Ezra, its just it sounds a little far fetched, next thing your going to be saying that aliens exist." Chris said smiling slightly, but seeing the anger on both men’s faces.
Standish shook his head in disgust pushing past the two men leaning the doorway, ignoring their look of surprise.
"Gosh, I ain't ever seen him that angry." JD said staring after the departed man, who slammed into his office.
Wilmington stared around at the rest of the men his eyes blue eyes dark. "Yeah, well you wouldn't be smiling either after what we saw - real or not." He muttered angrily leaving the room to their astonishment.
The men stared at each other in silence, "Could it be true?" Vin inquired softly, to the four men, who looked at him in disbelief.
“Vin.” Chris began warningly, holding up his hands in a gesture of quiet. “Let it go. They’ll calm down”
Tanner ran a hand through his hair, wincing at the slam of the door as Buck entered Standish’s office. "Chris, they seemed so sure and what if they’re right?"
“Vin, what if they’re wrong? I can’t justify sending two good men into a situation, where they have no back up, and we have no way of knowing what’s going on. It ain’t worth the risk or the ATF funds.” Chris shook his head “I can’t do it. Vin.”
“Yeah. Chris, but what if they’re right.” With those parting words he left, the office. Chris watched him go his blue eyes concerned, he knew that he couldn’t justify the risk, to his men. But he still couldn’t stop that sinking feeling in his gut.
"So what exactly are you saying Colonel?" General Hammond asked as he looked at the three members of SG1 standing before him.
"Well sir, I kind of thought it was obvious." Jack snapped as he stared at the portly man in front of him.
"That may be Colonel O’Neill, but I need to know what your intentions are." He said firmly as he rifled through his papers.
"Sir." Daniel said stepping forward and glancing at Jack who just stared at him, nodding for him to continue. "I think that we should do a check on the ATF agents involved, maybe they know something." Jackson said quietly his blue eyes darting back to his friends brown ones.
"Fine, but keep me informed, I don't need to tell you gentlemen that if those weapons fall in the wrong hands the entire operation of this facility could be compromised, and it could start a global panic." Hammond said seriously his eyes looking intently at Jack, who looked away sighing heavily.
"Can we stop with the doomsday General, I am really not in the mood." he rubbed his eyes tiredly.
"Colonel?" The general asked concerned, seeing the tired countenance of the man standing before him.
"Nothing wrong just a headache." He said stopping the man from suggesting a trip down to the Medical Centre.
"Fine, then gentlemen keep me informed." with a quick nod the team was dismissed.
"Should we call Sam?" Jackson asked as he followed the Colonel down the hallway.
"Nah. She’s got her family reunion, don't wanna spoil that." Jack said as they arrived at Jackson's office.
Teal’c nodded, "Yes, we do not know when she will see her father again."
"Yeah, Jack said his eyes dull, "Families are important."
The Jaffa exchanged a short look with the anthropologist who shrugged slightly, as he typed the information into the search engine of the computer.
"Aha here's something, an ATF team in Denver recently conducted a case with a weapons dealer who had some 'stun gun’. The case was filed as closed less than 3 hours ago." Jackson said looking over at the two men who stared back at him.
Jack frowned, "Denver?" he asked again seeing the nod. "ATF?"
Daniel sighed taking a sip of his ever present coffee, "Yes, Jack. An ATF team in Denver Team 7 - nick named the Magnificent Seven." He said reading from the scrolling screen.
"Hot damn that's Larabee's team." Jack exclaimed rising to his feet he hurried from the room.
The Jaffa made to follow but stopped turning to look at Daniel. "He does not seem himself, Daniel Jackson."
The anthropologist nodded his eyes heavy. "I think its Charlies birthday?" He said flicking through a calendar, before nodding his head as he looked at the date.
Standish watched as Buck Wilmington paced in front of him, “We gotta do something Ezra, and we need to do it now. The meet is five hours from now.”
Ezra grinned mirthlessly, his hands flying over the keyboard. “I know Buck which is why I made a few calls last night and called in a few favours.” He stood and intercepted the taller man, his hand reaching out to grab the other man’s arm as he made another circle of the room. “Do you still know that arms’ dealer?” The southerner questioned.
Buck raised an eyebrow, at the younger man. “Sure. Made a few calls?” He queried.
Standish smirked, straightening his jacket he stared out into the squad room where the other men were discussing the new case. “Indeed, I did.” Turning he looked at Buck who looked at him grinning.
“Well all right. Can I use your phone, won’t take more than five minutes.”
Ten minutes later the two men were exiting the office and walking down the corridor. The elevator dinged, and two men vacated, one man dressed in military fatigues, the other dressed casually.
Wilmington walking beside Standish watched them curiously. “Military here? Wonder what’s that about?” He drawled.
Standish shook his head. “We don’t have time to find out. Now where did you say we have to go?”
Daniel Jackson, smiled politely at the two smartly dressed agents in the hall. For some reason he had expected the ATF agents to be wearing jeans, not suits. Oh well he sighed live and learn. Glancing across at Jack who saw that the man had perked up with the activity of flying to Denver and having a mission, well at least he wasn’t dwelling on Charlie, he mused.
Jack sighed, “Daniel, are you even listening?” Jack rapped the other man on the head. “Now you can’t say anything...”
“That would jeopardise the SGC. I know Jack, now you said that you know this Chris Larabee.”
“Yeah high school.” Jack affirmed, marching through the squad room oblivious to the stares from the four men. Knocking firmly on the door he entered ignoring the shouts of disapproval, Daniel smiled apologetically before he followed Jack into the office.
“What the Hell?” Chris began then looked up, “Jack?” He laughed. “Jesus, what the hell are you doing here.” He asked standing, and circling the desk and giving Jack a hug of greeting.
“You call that a greeting?” Jack quipped, slapping the blond haired man on the back gently.
Chris laughed, “Yeah I do.” Daniel coughed softly and Jack started.
“Chris Larabee, Daniel Jackson.” The two men shook hands in greeting.
"When do you want to page guys?” Wilmington asked checking the address Larry had given them.
"Oh, I should say that Mr Larabee should be getting the page shortly." Standish replied looking at his watch as he smiled mischievously his green eyes dancing, before his looked seriously over at his companion. "You do realise Mr Larabee will have us for dinner, if they are indeed toys".
Buck gave a harsh laugh, “I don't care I can't sleep knowing that some idiot might use it for fun" he said angrily thumping the steering wheel for emphasise.
The southerner nodded as he stared out the window of his car. "A scary prospect indeed" he drawled as the jag sped along the streets.
Chris gestured for the two men to take a seat. “Now what brings you here?” Jack threw a glance at Daniel who pushed his glasses back up nervously.
“Now, ya know that toy gun case?” Jack asked, continuing when he saw Chris nod. “Well it seems some high up official would uh...Lost these toy guns from the market. And the military or the brass would prefer that they were taken off the streets.”
“What.” Chris said inclining his head in confusion. “Are you saying that military wants toy guns back?” His blue eyes pinning Jack’s, who grinned.
“What can I say? It’s an easy assignment, I thought it would be a good chance to catch up with an old friend.”
“Right.” Chris said, shaking his head. “Are you going to tell me the truth, now.”
Daniel snorted in surprise hiding a grin, he hadn’t thought they were that transparent. He glanced at Jack who was still watching Chris. Jack held up his hand. “It’s classified. Chris. I wish I could tell ya but I can’t.”
Chris nodded, “Ok. I can accept that.’ Chris smiled guilefully leaning back in his chair, lacing his fingers together.
Jack shifted his eyes observing Larabee carefully, he knew that the other man was playing something through his head.
“One question.” Chris drawled softly. Jack leaned forward, gesturing for the man to continue. “So if some one was to fire these ‘toy guns.’ They could stun someone, or kill them.” Jack raised an eyebrow at Chris, nodding his head.
“Its classified Chris.” He reiterated. Chris smiled at Jack. He was about to respond when his pager went off.
Vin watched the two men talk with Chris, it was obvious that the older of the two was familiar with his friend. The younger man just seemed more like a strange odd mix of JD and Ezra. He was pulled from his observation by Sanchez, Jackson and Dunne walking by, “Hey Vin you coming to check this place out?” JD called looking curiously into the office before looking at the Texan.
“Nah kid, don’t need four men reckon I might stay here catch up on my paperwork while I can” he said looking ruefully at the men, who nodded sympathetically at the man.
“Yeah well I would say have fun, but...” JD said laughing ducking away from the light punch the lean man threw at him. “Hey Easy Vin, not the hair” he said still grinning as Sanchez dragged the younger man with him towards the lifts where Jackson was now waiting. “Josiah!” he said trying to sound annoyed but giving up.
The three men gave a mock salute to the man who still leant against the desk. Vin returned it watching as the exited the office, before turning his gaze back to the men in office. Standing quickly as he saw Larabee slam his cell phone on the table opening the door he ignored the two men who were now also standing.
“Chris?” Vin inquired urgently seeing the anger and fear in his bosses eyes.
“Damn those two?” Larabee fumed running a hand through his blond hair before throwing his pager to his tracker. Seeing the text message he swore violently looking back at Chris
“Want me to call JD and the others back?” Vin asked quickly taking in the angry man before him.
Chris bowed his head resting his hands on his hips as he shook his head. “Nah Jack and Daniel here are better qualified on this occasion” he said looking over at the two men who were exchanging mutually confused expressions.
“Chris” Jack asked raising an eyebrow
“Those two agents we were just talking about - just went AWOL.” Larabee muttered.
“So we got everything that we need?” Ezra asked handing the bag to Buck as they walked over to the Jag. Wilmington nodded, slipping on his sunglasses, once they reached the jag, he opened the bag and handed Ezra a handgun and a Colt .45. Ezra checked the gun then slipped into the back of his pants.
Slipping out his cell phone he punched in a number. “Mr Taggert...its Mr Simpson here.” He drawled, throwing the car keys to Buck who caught them deftly. “I am all set for the meet. ” He smiled as Buck placed the bag in the car. “Good glad to hear it, now where is it?’ He queried, slamming the car door shut as he hopped in the passenger seat. “Right. Thank - you. See you in three hours.”
Buck looked at the Southerner questioningly. He listened silently at Ezra explained the directions. Buck whistled, “Take us an hour to get there.”
“I know.” Ezra returned, rubbing the back of his neck tiredly, he suspected that he had gotten about as much sleep as Buck. “Why do you think?” He asked.
“Its kinder isolated Ezra, perfect place to spot a set up
“That’s what I was thinking.” Ezra responded his green eyes thoughtful as Buck started the car.
“Guess Taggert doesn’t trust us.” Buck said wryly.
Ezra smiled maliciously, his eyes flying to that bag lying on the back seat. “Gee I wonder why?” He said acerbicly.
“Vin, did they say anything, this morning.” Chris asked, even though he knew the answer.
Tanner shook his head. “Problem is Chris, you know how close Taggert is about addresses, it was hard enough getting the information the first time.”
“Excuse me.” Jack said, “Why don’t you just call them.”
Looking at the two ATF agents in confusion as they rolled their eyes.
“Their phones show them who’s calling - neither will answer if it’s us.” Vin replied.
“Oh.” Jack sighed. “You have no idea where they might be going.”
“None Colonel O’Neill” Vin answered, running a hand through his hair angrily.
Daniel listened half-heartedly as the three men in front of him discussed the disappearance of Buck Wilmington and Ezra Standish. Glancing at some photos on the wall he realised that this group - Team 7, were a tight knit group. It explained the concern on Vin’s and Chris’s face, they were concerned not just for colleagues they were worried about their friends. He stepped closer to look at the photo.
“Hold on.” He said, waving to the other men, who stopped mid-sentence. “The men we’re looking for, they wouldn’t happen to be well dressed - in suits would they?”
Chris sighed, “Might do. Ezra’s usually in a suit. Buck on the other hand well he usually wears a leather jacket, shirt and slacks.”
Tanner shrugged saying at the same time as Chris, “Buck in a suit - not likely.”
Daniel frowned, looking at the photo then at the men in front of him. Jack walked over to examine the photo. “Well Jack and I saw two of these men in the corridor out there, and they were talking...”
Jack groaned, “That’s not unusual Danny. For people to talk.’
Danny sighed meeting Vin’s sympathetic gaze. “Yes but I think they were talking about the case.”
Jack turned abruptly away from the photo, marching out into the corridor, leaving the three men standing in confusion. They quickly followed the Colonel as he stood examining the roof. “Uhh. Yep there it is.” He affirmed pointing to a hidden camera to Daniel who smiled slightly.
“Do you mind.” Vin asked for both himself and Chris who was staring at the camera thoughtful.
“Security camera, if they were talking out here. Then we might know were they were going or at least some of the plans.” Daniel explained excitedly, following Jack walked he over to the lift.
Chris laughed. “Good thinking. Let’s go pay a visit to Security.” Jack grinned at his old friend, “Hope you don’t mind if I pull rank with the video do ya.” Chris said with a wry grin, raising an eyebrow. Vin smirked, gesturing that he would check on the two men’s office to see if they left anything behind. Chris nodded, “Anything specific?”
“Caller ID. I could find out the destination of the last phone calls from the office.”
“OK. Meet back here in 15 minutes.” Larabee ordered, as the doors began to close.
Ezra sighed heavily as he looked over at his companion “We should call Chris” he stated bluntly.
Buck nodded his blue eyes serious “Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, Taggert's been cagey at best, we’d be committing a rookie mistake” Wilmington sighed as he manoeuvred the car through the traffic.
“Can you imagine his face?” Standish said smiling slightly as he reached for his phone. Dialling Chris office number he was surprised when he got no response, as the answer machine piked up he quickly gave Larabee the directions to the meet.
“Not there huh?” he said grinning at the relieved expression on the undercover operatives face.
“Fortunately Buck, otherwise I would be deaf by now,” he said smirking at the thought of their leader’s rage.
Wilmington laughed shaking his head “He sure can yell that’s for sure”.
Tanner looked up just as the three men re-entered Larabee’s office. He gestured for them to be quiet as he listened intently on the phone, writing quickly on a piece of paper. Before hanging up. Chris looked questioningly at the man who was staring at the piece of paper frowning. “I don’t like this Chris, not at all” he said softly before handing the paper to the older man.
Tanner spoke to the other men. “Standish just phoned in with directions to the meet. I missed it being in their offices,” His blue eyes met Daniel’s and he saw the unspoken question. “They phoned because the meet is taking place in a isolated place just outside of town. I’m betting that they didn’t like that fact, and decided back-up would be wise,” he concluded as Daniel nodded in understanding.
Jack was watching Chris seeing the jaw clench tightly. “Yeah well, they ain’t stupid.” Chris muttered darkly his eyes flashing, continuing quietly. “We got the location of where they headed when they left here Donnelly’s, the old arms dealer”.
Vin sighed as he gazed out of the window. O’Neill watch the two men try to collect themselves, their worry for their friends obvious.
“Well should we go save their arses” Jack said grinning.
Larabee snorted looking at him “You haven’t changed a bit.” he said smiling tightly.
Jack shook his head in disagreement as he followed his old friend towards the parking lot. “Not true, I’ll have you know that I make it my duty to be a bigger pain in the butt of the military than before”. Larabee laughed slapping his friend lightly on the arm
“Yeah well I can believe that”.
“And, I have decided that for respect I needed to get grey hair, it looks more distinguished”.
Larabee laughed again shaking his head. “You just keep telling yourself that”
Vin shared a glance with Daniel who raised an eyebrow at him. “Jack certainly does make it is mission to annoy and scare the shit out of everyone”.
Vin smirked, “I can believe that too”. The two were silent in the lift watching the two men banter back and forth. Daniel was surprised to see Jack so at ease, it was like catching a glimpse of who O’Neill had been before his son and died and the military had screwed him over. He had always known the man had strength of character and seeing him now, he couldn’t help but admire the man.
“Daniel are you going to get out of the lift, or do you want to ride up it again” Jack joked.
Jackson jumped pulled from his observations as he walked past his friend. “Sorry, Jack” he murmured.
“No problem, Danny boy, just didn’t want to leave ya behind” he quipped but his eyes darkened with a memory of a time when that had happened. Jackson squeezed his arm gently as they followed the ATF agents.
“You never could Jack,” he said softly.
O’Neill nodded smiling tightly “Thanks Danny”.
Buck waited patiently as the smaller man scurried through the brush to analyse the situation. “Well I see one more man than before, possibly to take the late Gerry’s place, but other than that it’s the same team” Ezra said quietly as he handed the binoculars back to the older man.
“Can we take em” Buck asked softly as he prepared the semtex.
Standish frowned thinking “Yeah, Taggert doesn’t like to get his hands dirty, but I think we can take out the remaining four. It will be tricky, but hopefully Chris will get here in time” Standish said quickly, as he checked his two derringers and handgun.
Buck shook his head, whispering quietly to the Southerner, concern heavy in his voice. “Just hope that pee-shooter will be enough Ez.”
The southerner looked over at him, his eyes serious “It’s gonna have to be Buck.” He responded his eyes bright. Standish gulped reaching over he to grip his friend’s arm. “Whatever happens Buck, it’s been an honour serving with you”.
Wilmington swallowed hard his eyes glistening, but he met the steady gaze of the other man. “It’s been my honour to serve with you too Ezra.” He responded softly, reaching out to grasp the forearm of the other man, who took it.
They stared at each other silently for a moment, before Standish released first clearing his throat he said huskily “Lets get this show on the road”. Wilmington nodded as they headed back down the hill towards the jag.
“How much further Vin?” Daniel asked as he brushed a nervous hand through his hair. It was one thing to take out aliens, but this was different, this was their own people. It was strange it wasn’t like he hadn’t been here before but, it was just different.
Tanner looked in the rear view mirror back at him “We should be almost there probably another 15 mins.” He answered taking in the apprehension on the anthropologist face. “Standish is a pro he can take care of it” He said reassuringly he looked over at Chris who nodded slightly. Tilting his head Chris looked at the two men in the back seat.
“Yeah.” Chris said seeing the apprehension that Vin had seen on the man’s face. “Standish is the best undercover operative this side of the galaxy” Larabee said his blue eyes narrowing at the slight flinch both men did. “He could talk his way out of trouble, better than anyone I know, and if he knows we’re coming then he’ll stall and Buck well, he can be over protective. He’ll look after them.” Chris finished confidently, turning to watch the scenery fly by.
“So, how many laws are you breaking?” Jack asked sarcastically.
Tanner laughed “None that aren’t worth breaking.” He retorted.
“So what you saying is its all a matter of perception” Daniel said deadpan then breaking into a laugh when he saw the look of surprise on Jack’s face.
“Something like that” Vin said slowing down as he turned onto a dirt road. “Okay boys they are about 10 miles up, I’ll drive 5 miles up and then we’re on foot” Tanner said as he heard the three men begin to check their weapons.
“So, Mr Simpson I see you found us.” Taggert said smiling at the two men, who had exited the Jag.
“Yes Mr Taggert, it was a most scenic route here.” Standish drawled as his clean cut features spread into a smile.
“I am glad, Mr Simpson.” Taggert gestured that the crates be brought forward and laid out for the two buyers. “I have 300 stun guns, now you have the money?” he asked his eyes flashing greedily at the suitcase.
“Yes, one million the agreed price” Ezra drawled his rich southern voice filled with sarcasm. Standish watched as Taggert had his men count the money before nodding, the crates were then placed in the boot of the jag, and Ezra smiled his cheek dimpling. “I should have brought another car,” he said looking at the man next to him, who smirked.
“Yes, I believe so Mr Simpson, but yes they do fit.”
Standish exchanged a slight nod with the ladies man who tilted his head. Neither of them saw the four men that were hiding in the brush watching their every move.
It happened fast, both men pulling their weapons as one, shouting. “ATF freeze!”
Taggert froze like a deer caught in headlights. Standish slammed his gun onto the side of his head and the man crumbled to the ground. The four henchmen watched their boss go down, and then suddenly there were more shouts and both Standish and Wilmington saw the Calvary arrive. Frowning Ezra saw one of the men sprinting into the brush, beginning to run he pointed to Buck who was already running after the man. Both he and Buck knew that Chris and the boys would take care of the other men.
The four men watched holding their breath as the deal took place. Chris and Vin knew almost immediately when the two agents would shout and were already moving to cover their friends followed by the two SGC members.
Larabee frowned as he watched Standish run after one of the bodyguards, followed by Buck. It went down smoothly, and you wouldn’t have known that it wasn’t a planned manoeuvre - that was if you hadn’t seen the angry glare that the two ATF agents fixed on the men.
“ATF Freeze, I said Freeze.” Chris hissed, to one of the men who was staggering back onto his feet.
“On your knees.” Vin said, casually slamming his foot into the kneecap so he would collapse.
Jack smiled impressed at their professionalism, his eyes were still following they exit of the other two ATF agents. Jackson was already looking at the guns.
“Yep, these are them.” he called to O’Neill who nodded his head looking at where the men had disappeared. He had a bad feeling. It was then that they heard the harsh scream of Buck.
Buck screamed, trying desperately to reach the Southerner as he saw the henchman fire the stun gun at Ezra, who with a small gasp fell to the ground a crumpled unmoving figure. Buck froze for an instant shocked to see that his friend was still physically there. Approaching the henchman - his face contorted with rage, he kicked the stun gun out of his hands.
Wilmington was surprised that he wasn’t putting up much resistance, but he kicked the zat away for good measure, he quickly handcuffed the man. Before telling him not to move an inch, the man just stared at him in shock, apparently surprised that the zat hadn’t worked. Turning away in disgust he knelt beside Ezra.
Touching him gently he was relieved to see the slight fall of his chest that indicated he was breathing. The southerner features were pale and slack. Buck could see no visible wound. The crack of twig beside him made him look up suddenly into the barrel of a gun. His hand reached out and caught the nearest gun and pulling it up he fired quickly and repeatedly at the man, whose eyes had widened suddenly in fear. With a flash of blue the man disappeared, Buck stumbled back in surprise staring at the empty space in surprise.
Buck looked at his hand and saw the zat; he dropped it like he had burned his hand. Buck shook his head in surprise when a young man appeared that looked no older than Vin or Ezra. He didn’t know how long he had been sitting there next to Ezra, it had seemed like hours. The man squatted beside him and reaching out he checked the Southerner’s pulse.
“He should be fine, Buck,” He said quietly as he pushed his glasses up his nose seeing Buck’s confusion he explained. “He was just stunned,”
“Who are you?” Buck managed to gasp from his suddenly dry throat.
The man grinned, his blue eyes lighting up “I’m Dr Daniel Jackson, and that there is my boss Colonel Jack O’Neill” he replied as he saw the unconscious man begin to wake up. Jack grinned at Buck, taking the zat away from his view.
“Oh.. God” Standish groaned his as he rolled on his side holding his stomach. “I think I am going to be ill” He murmured as he lost the contents of his stomach. Wilmington reached out with a shaky hand to rub the man’s back gently.
Vin and Chris arrived then, watching as Standish dry retched. “Where is the body?” Chris asked flatly looking at his two men and taking in Buck’s shocked expression, as he looked back at the tree, then at Chris. “Vanished?” Chris asked quietly his eyes drifting to Jack who nodded.
Vin and Daniel helped a shaky southerner to his feet. “Nice to meet you.” He said softly as his green eyes looked dully at the two strangers. “Told you we didn’t see things.” Standish whispered as he promptly fainted. Daniel and Vin caught him as he sagged limply between them.
“Well take him back,” Vin said to Chris, who nodded as he and Jack carefully squatted next to the ladies’ man.
“No you didn’t see things” Jackson murmured to Ezra as he they walked back towards the vehicles. Tanner eyed the two men curiously before looking back at the three men who remained.
“He was there and...” Buck stuttered, staring at the tree. “I shot him Chris, I killed him.” Larabee’s eyes flew to Jack’s and he saw him wince in sympathy.
Jack seated himself next to the taller man; he paused weighing his words. “It happens. You’re a good guy; they're a bad guy. Next you know poof you’ve fired and they’re gone.” He said seriously.
Chris looked at him raising an eyebrow. “You call that helping” he mouthed.
Buck reached and shakily rubbed his eyes, trying to block the image of that man disappearing in front of him - correction two men. Except this last one was by his hand.
“Come on Buck, let’s get you out of here.” Chris said, reaching out to grasp his friend’s arm and helping him gently to his feet.
Buck smiled half-heartedly, “We’ve got this the wrong way round Chris. I am the one usually taking care of everyone else.”
“Yeah well. Times are changing.” Jack joked, leading the two men from the area. “Come on they left us the Jag.”
Chris shook his head, and Buck laughed softly watching the Colonel, who stopped and motioned for them to hurry up. “Where you get this guy Chris.” He asked.
‘His an old good friend.” Chris answered. “Its Jack.”
Buck nodded, suddenly remembering the many stories that Chris had told about him.
The two men sat staring at the lone figure standing on the porch staring across the land that surrounded Larabee’s ranch. “He seems to be taking it pretty hard” Jack murmured cutting a sideways glance to the man standing beside him.
“Yeah but that’s Buck for you, he doesn’t kill unless he has too” Chris said quietly.
Jack snorted “That can get you killed in combat, no body kills unless absolutely necessary.”
Chris shook his head in disagreement. “Ya can’t tell me that you don’t care-”
Jack held up a hand to stop him. “It happens you deal with it, you move on.”
Chris’s eyes narrowed, “Easy said then done I’d say. And we’re not talking about Buck anymore are we.” He finished astutely, turning to look at his friend. Jack stared at him for a moment then with a shake of his head he strode away.
‘Damn.’ Chris thought, ‘should have handled that better.’ Watching the man bang cups together as he made himself a cup of tea, he sighed. Chris was aware of Daniel observing him, and he shrugged his shoulders and moved to follow after the Colonel.
“Jack.” He said softly, “I know it’s hard on the anniversary.”
“What you would you kno-” Jack snapped, then stopped mid-sentence. “Sorry.” He apologised softly, placing the cup on the bench. Matching pain in Chris’s eyes made the military man wince and he sighed heavily. Rubbing the back of his neck he opened his mouth to speak but, Chris only nodded at the den and without a word, he followed the ATF agent into the room.
Turning back to Vin, Daniel nodded satisfied that Jack was going to at least talk to someone about Charlie. “What you were saying?”
Vin shook his head smiling slightly, he hadn’t said anything he had been watching the by-play between the two men as well, he had seen an undercurrent of pain in Jack that reminded him of Chris. Whatever it was it wasn’t any of his business he mused, rubbing his jaw absently. His eyes darkened slightly as he saw Buck walk over and sit on the steps that led up onto the deck that surrounded the ranch house.
Buck rubbed his eyes tiredly with a shaky hand. He looked at his hand he could still feel that instant when he fired the weapon. It had happened so fast that he hadn’t realised what had actually happened, all he knew is that either he or Ezra was going to die right then unless he did something.
Pulling his lanky form up from his position on the steps he entered one of the side rooms, avoiding both Daniel and Vin who was watching with a compassion that he found disconcerting. Spying the bed, he lay down for a moment feeling exhausted and drained, his last thought before he drifted off was that he should have locked the door.
Vin smiled as Ezra reappeared. “Feel better?” He inquired as the Southerner, settled himself onto a couch. Dressed in an pair of Chris’s jeans and a his old work shirt, Ezra appeared to be relaxed and seemed to have recovered entirely from being shot with the zat.
“Much. Nothing like a shower to make you feel refreshed” He drawled softly, his eyes flicking over to Daniel, who shifted uncomfortably under the piercing green eyes. “So Dr. Jackson.”
“Daniel, how did you know about the..”
“Uhh, Lets just say I have a unique employment position that lets me discover and work on things like the zat.”
“Government Research?” Vin questioned, leaning forward to look at the anthropologist.
“Something like that.” Daniel answered evasively. Standish nodded, his eyes met Vin’s and he saw that the other agent had realised that the Doctor wasn’t going to tell them anymore.
“Where’s?” Ezra began craning his neck to look out on the deck. Vin touched his arm gently and pointed to one of the bedrooms. “Asleep?” Ezra asked.
Vin shrugged. “Hope so. He’s keeping to himself at the moment - he’s taking it pretty hard.” Ezra sighed, rubbing his hair for a moment his eyes still on bedroom.
“Now, Ezra I thought we had broken you of this rogue agent mentality.” Vin deadpanned, distracting the other man from his thoughts, Daniel coughed hiding a laugh.
Ezra’s startled eyes met the Texan’s before they crinkled into a grin. “It wasn’t me - It was Buck. He is the one that was getting all hot under the collar. I merely went along for the ride.” He drawled, a slight smirk on his face and the expression of disbelief on both Daniel’s and Vin’s faces.
“I can believe that.” Vin laughed, his blue eyes twinkling at the Southerner who smiled in response.
Jack reached over and grabbed the family photo that had been positioned on the desk. “How longs it been?” Chris gently, as he saw Jack shut down slightly.
“Three years to the day. Chris..” Jack swallowed, trying to rid himself of the lump in his throat and the emotion of the memories that were coming unbidden. Memories like, Charlie playing with Chris’s son Adam. Glancing over at Chris he saw that he was also fighting the memories. “I miss him.” He whispered heavily, his eyes glinting with unshed tears.
“So do I.” Chris said, “Doesn’t get any easier does it. Everyday I feel like I lose them that little bit more, and I keep thinking that I could have done something - come home earlier, something anything. But the thing is Jack. I can’t change it no matter what I may wish, they’re still gone.” He trailed off wiping his eyes as tears threatened to fall.
Jack nodded, replacing the photo on the desk, “It wasn’t you’re fault Chris.” He said. “Charlie died because of me and my stupid gun if I had.”
Chris cut him off. “If what? If you had just been home later that day? If Charlie hadn’t made the choice to play with your gun. You can’t change it Jack. But you can learn to except it. You can cherish the memories you have.”
Jack leaned back and eyed his friend for a moment, he had aged he realised with the death of Sarah and Adam. Scratching his grey absently for a moment he realised that he had as well. “Is that what you do?” He said watching as Chris grinned half-heartedly.
“Everyday, I try to do that. It helps to talk about it occasionally.”
“Yeah. Its just today Chris, ... I never did thank you for going to the funeral.”
Chris nodded, “Thanks for going to Sarah and Adam’s” He said softly his eyes showing the pain of remembering that day that he had found out they were dead.
Jack smiled. “Wish I hadn’t had to.”
Chris nodded, his green eyes darkening. “Same here, Jack. Same here.”
“What was that?” Ezra asked urgently standing quickly, turning as he saw the door bang open to the den, with Chris and Jack racing out.
“What happened?” Chris asked, his eyes flying about the room rapidly. “Where’s Buck?”
They all heard it this time each of them freezing at the harsh scream that came from the bedroom nearby. Vin gently pulled open the door and saw the usually gregarious man, tossing on the narrow bed, his eyelids flicking rapidly. He was about to enter when Ezra stopped, ‘Let me.” He ordered Vin’s eyes flew to Chris’s and he nodded. Maybe Ezra could help him after all neither he and Vin had actually been with the other man when it all had gone down. Ezra at least knew what the other man might have seen or done. Pulling the door gently shut he gave the other man a brief smile before walking softly over to the bed.
Gently he shook the man awake. “Buck... It's OK.” Buck sat up abruptly his eyes staring unseeingly for a moment at the man that was squatting beside him.
“Go away.” He muttered, beginning to walk away.
“Not this time.” Ezra said, grabbing the other man’s forearm and forcing him to remain seated on the bed. “Tell me.” He ordered, watching as Buck closed his eyes as if in pain.
“ It was bad enough when we saw Gerry die Ez, but to fire that damn thing myself...” he trailed off shaking his head.
Standish nodded in sympathy “I’m sorry Buck” he said softly, his green eyes flashing with concern for the older man.
Buck sighed heavily “don’t go blaming yourself now Ezra, don’t need another Chris.” he said smiling weakly.
Standish bowed his head before looking back at the ladies man. “Hell, I know that no-one could hold a candle to Chris, although I suspect that our Colonel Jack O’Neill might.” He added as after thought. Buck snorted as Ezra smiled at him gently. “You did what you had to Buck, an I for one an grateful. He reached forward then and pulled the ladies man into a brief hug, before releasing him.
Buck smirked at him “Well gee Ezra, the other fellas aren’t going to believe you just did that”.
Standish smiled wickedly “Well best keep it between you and I then, some things have to be seen to be believed.” Both men fell silent then. The soft knock at the door pulled the men from their melancholy thoughts.
They both looked up to see Daniel peering at them. “Everything okay?” he asked as he stepped into the room. The two men looked at him silently before glancing at each other. Standish sat down beside Wilmington motioning the anthropologist into the room.
Daniel frowned suspecting what they wanted to know or more correctly needed to know. He sighed heavily, but at least it wasn’t Jack, he was so tightly bound by the SGC laws. Thinking of the discussion with Chris earlier he almost smiled, ‘Well sort of.‘ He amended.
“Government agency?’ The southerner questioned as the other man settled himself on the windowsill.
“Yes and No.” He responded as he gazed at the two men, it was then that he made a flash decision. Drawing in a deep breath he began to tell them about the Stargate. He briefly explained his theory, then his subsequent enlistment into the military. He glossed over the painful memory of the loss of his wife he saw Standish frown briefly. Daniel was relieved that the older man hadn’t picked it up.
The two men continued to listen in shocked silence at the amazing tale that the man wove. If he hadn’t seen the technology with his own eyes he wouldn’t have believed it. Daniel waited watching their shock turn to amazement than horror at the destructive nature of the Gou'ald, then finally disbelief.
Wilmington shook his head in amazement “Your serious ain’t ya?”
Jackson nodded closing his eyes briefly, before looking back at the two men. “It has been the greatest discovery of my anthropological career and to say the least the most painful”.
Buck frowned as Ezra nodded in sympathy as he explained to his friend “He can’t declare it, and its unrecognised, therefore...”
Buck finished the thought “it ain’t worth anything in the ‘real’ world.”
Jackson nodded his eyes awash with memories. Standish wondered briefly whether it was the career on something more personal, glancing at Buck he saw the man also scrutinising the lean young man. There was a heavy silence and Daniel fiddled with his glasses nervously. “Needless to say you can’t tell anyone.” He said, watching them both begin to smirk.
“Who would believe us.” Ezra said, remembering the jokes at their expense when they had tried to convince their friends about the zats.
Buck smiled, “Secrets safe with us, Doc.” Daniel grinned whatever had haunted him for a moment was gone Ezra noticed.
Standing the anthropologist moved to leave the room, Buck’s voice stopped him. “Ya mean I killed someone with alien technology?” Daniel frowned and then nodded slowly. “I am sorry.” He said softly, his eyes full of compassion for the two men in the room.
Both agents watched him leave his words about the Stargate still running through their heads. “Buck.” Ezra said quietly. “You saved many lives by taking those weapons off the street.”
Buck sighed standing he rose to stare out the window, the southerner moved over to stand next to him seeing the haggard expression. “I know Ez, I just feel...”
Ezra nodded understanding without words what the other man was saying. Patting he gently on the back he moved to follow the anthropologist out of the room.
Standish turned as Wilmington walked over, looking down at the younger man. He murmured one word before pulling him into a brief hug. “Thanks.”
Standish smiled it was the first step towards a healing. “Come on. Let’s have some dinner.” He suggested, leading the way out of the room, Buck watched him for a moment before shaking away the pain and joining his friends in the outer room.
As Buck walked out of the room he saw the other men were already seated around the wooden table. Tanner grinned at the bemused expression, “Playing poker. Do you want in?”
Buck shrugged, “Why not?”
Larabee eyed his old friend carefully as he sat down next to him. “Everything OK now?” He asked, watching as Buck frowned. “It will be Chris. It will be.” He said his eyes meeting Chris’s and Chris was relieved to see that they shock had begun to wear off a little. Vin reached over and tossed a beer bottle over to Jack, who caught easily, eyeing the agent he smiled.
“You guys play poker often?” Tanner’s blue eyes sparkled as he laughed at the other man.
“Obviously more than you - You’re showing your cards.”
Jack looked down at his hands, jokingly throwing them down on the table in disgust. “Ok deal again.”
Daniel smirked at the Colonel. “Gee must’ve been a bad hand for you to give up so quickly Jack. Laughter reverberated around the room, as Jack gave Daniel a mock glare who cringed pretending to hide behind Tanner and Standish. Both men laughingly held up their hands in surrender when both Chris and Jack got up to take the two ATF agents on for hiding the anthropologist.
Buck smiled at the antics feeling himself pulled into the jovial atmosphere, and as he caught eyes with Ezra he saw the Southerner raise his eyebrow at the ladies’ man and Buck grinned at the unspoken query. “It will be.” He thought catching Tanner’s subtle watchful gaze. “Everything’s gonna be ok.” He thought.
“Ya told them.” Jack said incredulously as they drove back to the SGC.
Daniel nodded nervously, “I had to Jack, after what happened they needed to know.”
“But Still, Danny... classified mean anything?” Jack drawled sarcastically.
Daniel raised his eyebrows as he stared over at Jack “Classified? What about you and Chris huh? What was that?” he retorted.
Jack snorted “Yeah but I didn’t say anything, I mean you gave them the whole cha-bang”. His brown eyes dancing with mirth.
Daniel sighed dramatically. “Well...what was I supposed to do?”
Jack burst out laughing, “Danny you’ve travelled the galaxy but you can’t come up with a plausible line?”
Daniel laughed before shaking his head “Didn’t want to lie to them Jack, it felt wrong, call it instinct”
Jack laughed as he nodded his head. “Yeah, I can understand that, but what’s this about you an instinct... granted you have the instinct to survive... but in that situation.”
Daniel frowned trying to be angry with his friend, but couldn’t hold it for very long. He smirked enjoying the banter between them. It was good to see Jack back to his usual lovable self.
Now, if he could just get Jack not to tell General that he had told civilians about the SGC things would be fine. “Ah Jack...” he began, but Jack looked over at him.
“Forget about it Danny, we came we saw no one saw a thing, they were just sitting there... huh?” Jack said seriously.
Daniel looked over at Jack. “I think that we had better come up with a better story than that Jack.”
O’Neill frowned “What’s wrong with that?” He asked curiously.
“Plenty Jack, the general will see right through it.” Jackson responded his blue eyes dancing.
“Fine, let’s think up something.”
They were still thinking of a story they could both agree on as they walked towards the General's office. “So Colonel Dr Jackson how was Denver, any problems?”
Both men shared startled glances. “Fine, General.” They both replied.
“You got the zats?” they nodded again.
“Okay, got a mission for you lets go to the briefing room”
As they followed the General out they shared relieved grins. “That was easy” Daniel muttered to Jack who nodded.
“Just smile an Nod.” He whispered back.
“How was Denver?” a female voice asked, they both looked up to see Sam enter the briefing room.
“Fine.” They responded, following her to the briefing room.
“Just fine.” Jack said as he smiled feeling happier than he had in a long time.
Back to The Heavenly Seven