TITLE: Nondisclosure Agreement
CATEGORY: Drama,a little humor
CONTENT WARNINGS: A little snark toward a certain senator doesn't hurt
SUMMARY:General Hammond finds an unexpected ally against Senator Kinsey.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Stargate SG-1. Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only. No money has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. This story may not be posted elsewhere without the consent of the author.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I always thought that Disclosure was hiding a secret, and Thor's appearance made me think that perhaps "he" was the secret. Big thanks to Jmas, Lex and Seanchaidh for alpha/betaing this story. Thanks, guys! This story was originally published in the zine Redemption 5 from Ashtonpress.
General Hammond was on the verge of a full-fledged headache. Paperwork, forms, requisitions, formal requests, historical documents – there was a great deal of information to read and organize in a very short amount of time.
The best-kept secret in the United States wasn’t a secret anymore.
He leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes for a moment. All the words and paragraphs he’d read over the last hours were echoing around his mind. Yes, a headache was definitely forming.
It had started with a phone call.
“George, we have a problem.” The President only called him George in extreme circumstances. In truth, it had only happened four times. The first was when the decision to reactivate the SGC was announced after Apophis and Klorel’s unsuccessful attack. It was a happy “George, you’re back in business!” The second was when Hammond had “retired” after his granddaughters were threatened. That was more of a disappointed “George, I can’t say I like it, but I understand. You’ve done an incredible job. You’ll be missed.” The third time was after Doctor Jackson’s ascension. The President was particularly proud of the SGC’s ranking civilian and his accomplishments, and that phone call was perhaps the most poignant, honest and heartfelt conversation Hammond had ever had with the Commander-In-Chief.
Yet, it was phone call number four that could spell the end of the SGC as they knew it.
Somehow, someway, the British, French and Chinese governments had discovered the existence of the Stargate and wanted to know more. Ah, well, something as secret as the Stargate couldn’t stay secret forever.
Some years ago, he’d told Jack O’Neill that it had been one hell of a ride. Like so many others, he’d experienced friendship, fear, camaraderie, loss, elation, excitement, terror – the entire gamut of emotions. Was it selfish to want to stay on the ride’s lead car?
All the paperwork scattered on his desk stared back at him. So much information, so little time. How were they going to talk their way out of this one?
He glanced up at the man sitting across the desk from him. He was too tired to be too amused as he saw Major Davis try to stifle a yawn.
“Major,” Hammond said tiredly, “why don’t you go get some rest? You haven’t had any sleep in 36 hours.”
The major shook his head as another yawn tried to escape. “We don’t have much time to prepare our arguments, sir,” Davis countered, his voice betraying his fatigue. “We have to be prepared for anything.”
“We’ll be as prepared as we possibly can be, but I’d also like us to be at the top of our game. That means sleep.”
“With all due respect, sir, you’ve yawned a few times yourself.”
Hammond couldn’t argue the logic. He’d thought he’d been sneaky, but Davis didn’t miss much.
“I wish that… I’m sorry, sir. I don’t mean to speak out of turn.”
“What is it, Major?” Hammond asked, grateful for a brief respite from the work.
“Sir, I’ve helped negotiate agreements and represented the SGC at a few Senate Committee meetings. I know what I’m doing, I know how to do my job and I’m good at it, but we need Doctor Jackson for this one. He talked Colonel Chekov out of their DHD; he’d have no trouble with these representatives.”
Hammond regretted that he didn’t have Daniel to take the lead in the meeting. He sat back, remembering his friend fondly. Yes, Doctor Jackson’s skills and expertise would be a true asset at the upcoming meeting. “I won’t argue that fact. Researching points of negotiation seemed second nature to him. Unfortunately, we don’t have the advantage of his skills this time. We’re on our own.”
“He probably could have convinced the Russians to rent us their Stargate at a much cheaper price.”
“I have no doubt of that. Neither did the President when the final amount was agreed upon.” Hammond saw Davis try to hide another yawn. Enough was enough. “Major, I mean it. Take a break. We’ll start back again in the morning. I think we could both use the rest.”
“Yes, sir.” Davis started gathering up his paperwork, putting the errant pieces back in their respective files. He stopped moving, as if a thought occurred to him. “Sir, that ascended alien you encountered a few years ago – Orlin, I believe his name was. He descended. Why couldn’t Doctor Jackson?”
That was a thought that had occurred to Hammond on more than one occasion – every time he sat with SG-1 in the briefing room, every time he sent them on a mission, every time he saw them walking up the ramp. He knew Daniel Jackson well enough to know that he wouldn’t leave them without a good reason. Whatever laws of reality that governed the Ascended, Daniel Jackson would find a way to contact them even if his actions went against every rule they had.
And perhaps he already had.
So many strange ‘coincidences’ had occurred, too many for Hammond to discount. O’Neill’s miraculous escape from Ba’al; Major Carter and Teal’c using unheard of leaps of logic as they surmised why class=SpellE>Kanan had sneaked back into Ba’al’s fortress. Then there was the incident where Teal’c and Brata’c were ambushed and forced to share a symbiote between them to stay alive for three days – an amazing event made even more incredible by Teal’c’s almost incoherent fevered ramblings about firefighters, kidneys and a psychiatrist named Jackson. Hammond knew that O’Neill, Teal’c and Carter were very good at what they did, but there was something very “Danielish” about the events. Hammond believed Daniel was working behind the scenes to get his teammates safely home.
Hammond left his temporary reverie. “I’m sure there are rules, Major. Perhaps he has to stay ascended for a certain amount of time. We know very little about the Ascended, but what we know of Daniel Jackson, I think he’ll come back as soon as it’s safe for him to.”
Had Hammond suffered a slip of the tongue? Why did he say safe? “It may not be his choice to stay away, Major. There could be personal risks involved if he descends too early. For all we know, he might suffer naquadria radiation poisoning again.” That was something Hammond never wanted to see again – after everything Daniel Jackson had gone through, to have to suffer such agony and torment… “He’ll be back, Major. Someday. I’m sure of it.”
Davis smiled, shook his head, said, “Yes, sir. Good night, sir,” and left the room.
Alone in his office, Hammond leaned his head back on the seat and closed his eyes. He was tired, but he’d finish these last few points before going to his own on-base quarters for a much-needed nap.
He thought he was dreaming when he heard, “I think I can help, sir.” That voice… one he hadn’t head in months…
He opened his eyes – there, sitting in the seat that Davis had just vacated, was none other than Doctor Daniel Jackson. The man himself, there in spirit if not in the flesh. Hammond leaned forward, blinked his eyes in complete disbelief. Daniel was still sitting there, relaxing calmly in the chair, wearing an old, cream-colored sweater and grinning.
“Yes, sir. I’m here, just please don’t throw anything through me to prove it. It’s a little … disconcerting, if you know what I mean.”
“Not exactly, but I’ll take your word for it.” Hammond leaned back again, still not believing what he was seeing. “Son, you’re … here?”
“Yes, sir. I know it’s hard to understand, but my consciousness is here. When I ascended, I became energy, and there are an entirely new set of laws I’ve had to learn about moving, existing, being… everything. You were right about me having to follow a new set of rules.”
It was true. Daniel was really there. Hammond was looking at, speaking with Daniel.
“Are you all right?”
“Fine, sir. I don’t even need glasses anymore.”
“And the radiation?”
“Radiation affects the corporeal. But you were right that if I descend too early, the residual radiation that may still be inside of me could kill me all over again. Oma told me that it would take about a year before it was all gone. Then, if I wanted to descend, it would be safe.”
That was good news, some that Hammond hoped he’d be able to share with a certain trio of individuals who needed to hear such information.
“I take it you know about the problems we’re facing.” Hammond didn’t ask it as a question. He stated it as a fact.
“Yes, sir. The English, French and Chinese governments know about the gate and want information. One big obstacle is Kinsey because he’s heading up the American Congressional delegation. Kinsey’s up to something. I don’t know what it is at the moment, but we’re going to have to find out. We know he works with the NID, and that’s bad enough. Personally, I don’t think there’s any end to his ambition.”
“Neither do I. It’s one thing for the other governments to want to know what’s going on, it’s something else entirely for Kinsey to be involved. We know Kinsey too well to doubt his motives. There has to be a covert reason for him to be there.”
“I think I can help you there. I’ll keep looking around, trying to find out exactly what Kinsey’s up to. Also, Thor and I had a little talk a few minutes ago.”
Oh? “He’s here to outfit the Prometheus with Asgard shields and weapons,” Hammond said.
“He’s going to be very busy, but we both think it would be a good idea if he were to make an appearance at your meeting if things look like they’re going the wrong way.”
“How can he if he’s busy?”
Daniel smiled, ducked his head a bit and looked up at the general. “Do you remember that game Jack and I used to play? Mimicking cartoon characters?”
“Yes,” Hammond nodded his head. “I believe you two had the Simpsons cast down pretty well.”
“Being ascended gives me an extra mimicking ability. I can pretend to be Thor.”
Now that was good news!
Unable to suppress a grin, the general said, “Doctor Jackson, have I ever said that I’m glad you’re on our side?”
Things were not going well. Kinsey was winning. He’d taken great SGC victories and tried to make the other ambassadors believe that they were luck, monumental blunders or sheer stupidity. He tried to make SG-1 and Hammond look completely incompetent. What was worse, the ambassadors were beginning to believe the arrogant senator. What exactly was he up to?
Hammond hoped that Doctor Jackson had found out something, anything, and could find the opportunity to tell them the information.
Kinsey continued droning on with his verbal assault against another incident at the base. “The situation should never have arisen. Not if you had been doing your job. And these incidents are just the tip of the iceberg. Face it General, under your command the Stargate program has lurched from one crisis to the next. Never averting disaster by anything more than the skin of your teeth. We can’t afford to let you roll the dice any longer.”
It was Kinsey’s typical brand of bovine excrement. Never give reasons, never suggest alternatives, just assign blame where there was none.
Before Hammond could comment, Major Davis approached. “Sir, I have some information,” he whispered.
Without hesitation, Hammond asked the ambassadors, “Would you excuse us please?”
He didn’t really wait to see the ambassadors or Kinsey nod their heads or start to talk among themselves. He led Davis far enough away from their companions so no one could overhear them.
“What do you have, Major?”
“Sir, I was making a few phone calls when I received one from an anonymous informant. I think one of my sources contacted him. It turns out that Senator Kinsey is being moved from the Appropriations Committee to Intelligence Oversight.”
Now it made sense. “That would put him in a position of direct power over the NID –“
“Which would ultimately put him in command of the SGC, sir,” Davis whispered back. “He set us up, General. He’s manipulated this entire situation to gain control of the Stargate.” Davis took a breath, presumably to calm down. “We’re losing.”
Hammond felt a slight breeze and grinned. “We haven’t lost yet, Major. I still have one ace up my sleeve.” Then, “Major, do you know who told you this information?”
Davis thought for a moment. “The voice was familiar, but I couldn’t tell you who it was.”
Familiar. Hammond knew who had made the phone call. Maybe the ace he had up his sleeve was more than a lucky card.
Hammond and Davis retook their seats. The general had to make one more plea to try to convince the ambassadors that the Stargate had to remain in its current ownership.
“Now, where were we?” Kinsey asked.
Before Kinsey could utter another word, Hammond raised his hand to get the ambassador’s attention.
“Gentlemen, I realize we’re in no position to make demands here. We’re trying to reach a consensus, but before you go back to your leaders and make your recommendations, I want you to consider something. Whoever is running the Stargate will be acting as representatives of this planet throughout the galaxy. They will be our ambassadors; meeting other races, establishing ties with other worlds. It is true that in the six years we’ve been running the Stargate, we’ve made enemies, but we’ve also made friends. I believe we’ve acquitted ourselves with honor. On that score I stand by the record. Our off-world alliances have proven to be a valid asset to our planet. We’ve helped them, they’ve helped us, and we have furthered our advances into the galactic power bases by becoming friends and allies with some of the most powerful beings in the galaxy. And allow me to add that it was SG-1 who forged those alliances, who stopped our enemies time and again. It is by the determination and willpower of Colonel Jack O’Neill, Doctor Daniel Jackson, Major Samantha Carter and Teal’c that we are able to sit here today. They have been extraordinary ambassadors for this planet, and I won’t let anyone, not even someone like Senator Kinsey, disparage their contributions.”
There was no way they could argue with that. The Chinese ambassador spoke, and Hammond believed he was speaking for all the ambassadors. “You have made an interesting case, General. However I must take this matter back to my government and recommend full disclosure to our people.”
The French Ambassador also agreed. “I must do the same, though I admit Senator Kinsey’s proposal of allowing the NID to command the Stargate is, shall I say, interesting?”
“Thank you, Mr. Ambassador,” Kinsey replied. He was positively beaming and gloating at the same time.
This wasn’t good. Under his breath, Hammond whispered, “Now, Daniel?”
At that moment, a beam of light shone into the room and centered in an area opposite Hammond. As the light dimmed, a new individual had joined the party – a small, gray creature sitting in a massive seat.
The ambassadors were startled, jaws dropping in unison, eyes transfixed at what they couldn’t believe they were seeing.
“Uhm, hello?” the British ambassador queried.
The creature turned his head toward the British ambassador, and then turned his head slowly, his gaze solely on one person at a time as if that individual were the only one in the room. Finally, in a clear voice, he said, “Hello. I am Thor, Supreme Commander of the Asgard fleet.”
Not to miss such an elegant opportunity, Hammond spoke up immediately. “Thank you for coming, Thor.”
“It is my pleasure, General Hammond,” a slight smile seemed to grace the small face. “After all, the Asgard are in your debt.”
“They are?” the British ambassador finally found his voice. As the others, he couldn’t take his eyes off their visitor.
Thor inclined his head, his huge eyes closing for a mere moment before looking directly at the British ambassador. “Yes. SG-1, under the command of General Hammond, has saved my people and yours on many occasions. They have risked their lives to help us fight our enemies, the Replicators, as well as aided us in other efforts. Not only are we allies against the Goa’uld, we are true friends.”
Kinsey stood, and Hammond hoped he’d make a complete ass of himself. He needed a little amusement after the day’s stressful events.
“Commander Thor, I am Senator Kinsey –“
“Yes. Senator Kinsey. O’Neill has suggested that I send you to a distant planet for your actions here today, but I am reasonably certain his statement was made in jest.” Again, Thor stared directly at Kinsey and repeated, “Reasonably certain.”
“I’m sure it was, Commander.”
Thor lifted his first finger in the air, saying with a strong conviction, “Supreme Commander.”
For a moment, Hammond felt like he was going to burst out laughing. The finger in the air routine was a Daniel Jackson mannerism that everyone from an SGC private to the President himself knew well. Hopefully, Kinsey didn’t pay very much attention to such things.
Hammond listened intently as Thor continued to speak. “It is the opinion of the High Council of the Asgard that Stargate Command should be left in the very capable hands of General Hammond and his team. They have proven their worth and are trusted by many of the great powers within this galaxy. However, while our continued friendship with Earth is not contingent on this point, it is preferred.”
Everyone was silent for a moment. Finally, the British ambassador asked, “You came all this way to tell us that?”
“That is not the only reason. I have come to Earth to install Asgard designed shields and weapons on the ship Prometheus. It is a small token of thanks for SG-1’s recent efforts in securing our galaxy and yours from certain destruction.”
“I see,” the ambassador commented.
Hammond looked around. It was evident that all the ambassadors “saw” what Thor was talking about.
Thor again inclined his head toward the delegation. “I hope I have been successful in convincing you. Good day, General Hammond.”
“It’s always a pleasure, Thor,” Hammond said happily. “Please drop in anytime.”
Thor’s seat shone with a bright light and was gone just as quickly as he had come.
The silence in the room was almost palpable. No one moved, no one spoke, no one dared do anything as if they were under a spell.
Then Davis coughed, and everyone became animated.
“Well,” the British ambassador started gathering his paperwork. “That settles it. General Hammond, you have our support.”
That was the hopeful answer. “Thank you, Mister Ambassador.”
“And ours as well,” the French ambassador agreed.
Colonel Chekov added, “And the continued support of Russia.”
Davis smiled at that. “Thank you, sir. It’s much appreciated.”
The Chinese ambassador leaned forward on his arms, but his eyes never left Hammond’s. “While I still have my reservations, I believe my government will agree that, for the time being, the Stargate is in the right hands.”
Amidst the nods of agreement, General Hammond stood and faced Kinsey. “Senator?”
Kinsey had the air of a man who had been dealt a full house but lost to an opponent who pulled a royal straight flush. “Well played, General. This time.”
Hammond didn’t watch Kinsey leave the room, but was left with the distinct impression of a skunk scampering away with its tail between its legs.
They’d pulled it off. Hammond had known that whatever Doctor Jackson had planned was going to be good, but he hadn’t expected such a command performance! It was brilliant, par excellence, the epitome of snarkiness unfolded to embarrass Kinsey in all its sheer magnificence.
The red phone rang, and Hammond picked up the handset. “Hammond,” he answered quickly.
“George, you did it!” the President’s voice was ecstatic. Hammond could almost hear the smile that must have been plastered on his Commander-In-Chief’s face. “You and Thor. When you see him, tell him I said thank you for all his help.”
“I certainly will, sir .“
“Now, is there anything I can do for you? As a thank you for all your efforts in this? style='font-style:normal'>”
Hammond thought about it but knew that this was a time to be politically correct… sort of. “No, sir, we’re fine down here, but I’m sure everyone would be glad to have you visit. I believe Thor has mentioned that he’d like to meet some of our leaders as well.”
“I may just do that. General Ryan was very impressed with your set-up. Just keep up the good work, and I’ll see what I can do about keeping Kinsey off your backs.”
Hammond nodded his head in relief. “We’d certainly appreciate it, Mister President.”
And that was all.
Hammond placed the handset back in its cradle, and then saw Daniel leaning against the far wall.
“Well done, Doctor Jackson. I certainly enjoyed the Supreme Commander Thor speech. Very effective.”
Daniel walked over to the nearby chair and sat down. “It did put Kinsey in his place, didn’t it?” Daniel smiled at the thought. “Well, I didn’t think Thor would mind. He’s not overly fond of Kinsey either.”
Hammond remembered a recent conversation fondly. “No. When Colonel O’Neill made that statement concerning Kinsey… well, let’s just say that conversation was very interesting.”
“That’s what Thor said when he told me.”
That’s right. That was how Daniel knew so much to give a convincing performance. He and Thor had been doing more than talking – they’d been conspiring. “I do know that the rest of SG-1 will be glad to see you when –“
“About that, General,” Daniel leaned forward a bit as if to emphasize his next statement. “Uh, I’m breaking the rules slightly by being here.”
Daniel scrunched his forehead up a little before answering. “Maybe a little more than slightly. To tell you the truth, the only reason I’ve been able to do what I’ve done is because the Others are busy and aren’t watching me.”
Daniel Jackson? Breaking the rules? Now there was a novel concept. “How much trouble could you get into, son?”
“Plenty, but they might not ever know I was here if you don’t mention it to anyone.”
What was another little conspiracy among friends? “Consider my lips sealed.” Then, “You can come back occasionally, can’t you? I know SG-1 would be happier knowing you were all right.”
Daniel stood and paced the room a little. This was a topic he didn’t want to discuss. “I can’t make any promises. There’s something big brewing out there now, and we may all be involved in it before long.”
That wasn’t good news. “How bad?”
Hammond knew Daniel was going to have to leave, but not without one final little parting speech. “Son, I have to tell you you’ve been missed around here. SG-1 hasn’t been SG-1. Jack’s cliché-mangling is at an all time low. Major Carter has no one to discuss her scientific theories with. Teal’c feels a little out of place. He’s always felt it was his job to protect you.” Hammond could tell that Daniel knew all this and more. He could also see that the young man was torn between two worlds, one he lived in and loved, another he’d been forced to leave behind. His friends – his family – were all in the corporeal world…
“I don’t know if I can do more this way or not, but I do know that I might be able to make some kind of difference. What I’ve learned, what I know now, it’s more than I could have ever imagined. There’s so much we can’t know or understand because we’re human, but the Ascended can go anywhere … it’s incredible, General. There aren’t words to describe it.”
If Daniel Jackson couldn’t think of words to describe the incredible, then the incredible must be truly astonishing. “But?”
“There are some things that the unbelievable can’t be compared to. Believe it or not, sitting in the commissary having coffee with your friends is one of them.”
Hammond was right. Daniel was torn, but there was something he needed to do first before returning home. “Try to come back to us, Daniel. Even if you have to wait for the Others to be looking the other way.”
Hammond saw Daniel give him a nod and a smile before the younger man was just… not there anymore.
The universe seemed a little smaller at that moment.
Several weeks later…
Hammond listened intently as Jack described the trouble the Abydonians were facing at the hands of Anubis.
“Obviously we can’t match forces with Anubis but apparently the Abydonians are willing to go it alone. They’re out manned, out gunned… we have to back them on this one.”
Hammond could guess the answer at his next question, but he wanted to hear the answer spoken. “Colonel, how did you come by this Intel?”
Jack actually looked sheepish! “Uh, I didn’t say?”
“No, Colonel, you didn’t.”
There was a moment when Hammond thought he was going to be wrong, but he was happy to hear Jack say, “Daniel told me.”
Jack had seen Doctor Jackson, but it was his next sentence that surprised Hammond. “Actually, it’s not the first time.”
Daniel had appeared to Jack before. Hammond should have known that those two would have been causing some trouble over the last year.
“Is he all right?” Major Carter asked worriedly. She had been mourning Daniel for a year; of course she’d want to know. Hammond had seen her in Daniel’s office as many times as he’d seen Jack in there.
“Yeah. He’s fine. No bandages, no scars, no radiation. He was walking and talking just like me.”
“What else did he say, Colonel?” Hammond had to get this conversation back on track. This had to be the big “Anubis trouble” the Ascended were worried about.
The utter look of shock on Jack’s face spoke volumes about the reasons why Jack had never said anything. Perhaps he hadn’t been under the same request Daniel had asked of Hammond? “Whoa, wait. You guys don’t think I’m nuts or anything like that?”
“Indeed not, O’Neill. I, too, have recently seen Daniel Jackson.”
Sam looked at Teal’c, the disbelief radiating from her eyes. “Really? You too?” From the tone of her voice, Hammond thought that she was a little upset that Daniel hadn’t visited her.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” Jack demanded.
“Why did you not?” Teal’c answered back.
Jack half-shrugged his shoulders. “Well to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure it was really happening the first time.”
“Neither was I,” Teal’c answered.
Hammond watched the interplay. He hadn’t seen this team this animated in… almost a year? They were talking over one another almost, actually engaging in a lively conversation. Hammond was brought out of his reverie when someone asked if Daniel had told Jack where to find the Eye Of Ra that Anubis was looking for.
“Uh, he doesn’t know.”
“He doesn’t know,” Sam asked.
“I know,” Jack answered, his voice almost frustrated. “Personally, I think this whole ascension thing is a bit overrated.”
Overrated? Hammond was sworn to secrecy for now, and he’d keep that promise, but right now, Daniel needed their help as much as they had needed his at the Ambassadors’ meeting. “If Doctor Jackson is saying that the Abydonians need our help, then that’s good enough for me, Colonel. I have no doubt that he’s right, and we have to find that Eye before Anubis does. SG-1, you have a go.”
SG-1, you have a go. For a brief moment, those five words held the same meaning they had held for five years. Hammond was sending SG-1 on a mission, an SG-1 with all its members present, even if one member was there in spirit.
Perhaps the universe was a little bigger than it was a few minutes ago.
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