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29 August 2012 @ 01:10 am
Ficlet: Growing Suspicions [SG-1]  
Title: Growing Suspicions
Word Count: 1673
Rating: PG
Original/Fandom: Stargate: SG-1
Characters/Pairings: Jacob, Jack, Sam/Joe
Warnings: character death
Summary: Jack may not be the only one who suspects the Aschen's motivations
Notes: written for writerverse prompts: crack of dawn, unexpected, enough. Part of my Countdown to 2010 series, set in the 2010 AU-verse. I reserve the right to tweak this in the future - wanted to post this but have to pack for Dragon Con tomorrow...
Edited version posted: 9/18/12. Tweaked some of the writing, but made no substantive changes to content.



Growing Suspicions


October 2002
SGC


A knock at the door broke Jack’s concentration. He had been reviewing plans for the Tagrea offensive for hours. He still wasn’t convinced the push was even necessary, much less worth the projected casualties. No scenario he came up with could reduce them to a level he felt comfortable with.

If only Carter and her team - the Aschen team, he reminded himself bitterly - would just finish that damn bio-weapon... Carter had never let him down, but he didn’t know what to expect with those damn, smug, humorless creeps in the mix.

He looked up, his irritation at being interrupted plain on his face, to see Jacob Carter standing there with a wry smile on his face.

“Jacob.”

“So, Jack, I heard about your new assignment.” Jack glanced back down at the paperwork spread across his desk. So much for small talk then. Then the older man continued. “Come on, let’s go grab some lunch in town.”

Jack paused at the unusual invitation. While they had almost always enjoyed a good working relationship, he and Jacob had never socialized except for a few dinners with Carter over the years. Still, there was a look of urgency on the Tok’ra’s face that had Jack nodding and locking up his office without a question. They chatted about inconsequential things on their way to the surface and through the security checkpoints: Sam’s latest letter home, the Avalanche’s chances in the coming season, Daniel’s reassignment to relocation liaison.

Once they were in Jack’s truck and on the road, Jacob’s tone turned serious.

“You may have been right all along about the Aschen, Jack.”

Jack shot him a sidelong look, trying to gauge the seriousness of the statement. The Tok’ra, as a whole, had readily agreed to work with the new Tau’ri ally, and Jacob had seemed just as happy as anyone to believe in the miracle that was the Aschen.

“Well, that’s... unexpected,” he replied casually. “Is this you, Selmak, or the Tok’ra talking?”

Jacob huffed. “It’s just me and Selmak, unfortunately. Officially, the Tok’ra position hasn’t changed.”

Jack struggled to tone down the bitterness trying to inject itself into his tone. He really could have used an ally a couple of years ago, before they were inextricably intertwined with the Aschen. “So, what caused this change of heart?”

Jacob was silent for a couple of minutes, watching the road disappearing under the truck. He shook his head. “I’ve been watching their tactics, which strategies they support, which they oppose, and which ones they will not give in on. I don’t know if you’re getting any of this; I get the feeling you’re not involved with the high-level discussions here anymore.”

Jack shook his head briefly. Kinsey had maneuvered himself into the good graces of the Aschen early on. While it was impossible to totally get rid of Jack, the senator had managed to do a very thorough job of marginalizing him.

“We’re losing a lot of resources by going on the offensive while they are developing this weapon of theirs,” Jacob continued. “Enough is enough. Both George and I have recommended that we hold the ground we’ve got for the time being. Sam seems to think that the weapon should be ready soon. There’s no need for us to maintain an offensive posture that we can’t support.”

Jack swallowed, thinking about the casualty projections sitting on his desk.

“I don’t disagree with you, Jacob. But I don’t know what you think I can do about, if you and General Hammond can’t change their minds.”

“Mostly, I just wanted to let you know that if you do find the proof I know you’re still looking for, George and I will listen.” Jack nodded and slowed to turn into the restaurant parking lot. “I don’t have the time right now, but maybe when I get back from this damned fool’s errand they’re sending me on now, the three of us could get together and compare notes.”

Jack nodded, a feeling of relief at potential allies slightly mitigating the feeling of foreboding that he hadn’t been able to shake almost since they had met the Aschen. By unspoken agreement, conversation over dinner turned back to topics more suitable for public consumption, as they enjoyed a pleasant meal before Jack returned Jacob to the Mountain.




THREE WEEKS LATER

P47-970 (the Aschen homeworld)


Sam woke to an insistent beeping. Brushing the sleep from her eyes, she made her way across the sparsely furnished room to the desktop communications panel. “Yes?”

A carefully modulated Aschen voice informed her that they were relaying an urgent message from Earth. She froze for a moment as she heard General Hammond’s voice. Communications regarding the project were routed through the Aschen control center; there were only a handful of reasons the general would be contacting her directly. Faces flashed through her mind in a dizzying, sickening cycle and she had to concentrate to hear his actual words.

An alien sunrise was just breaking over the horizon, throwing pinks and purples into the dimly lit room as she listened to Hammond’s gentle, somber voice relate the facts as they knew them behind her father’s death. A spy in the Tok’ra ranks; a betrayal to Bast; a hidden explosive on her father’s ship.

She sat, unmoving, for some time after the message ended, watching the slow progress of the sun as it grew, watching the light change color as it moved across the sky. The bright, vibrant colors only intensified the dull ache in her chest. She had never felt as alone as she did right now. The colonel was off on the other end of the galaxy, in the thick of the latest campaign. Teal’c was working with the rebel Jaffa and no one could say for sure where he was. Daniel was supposed to be have been here with her, learning more about the history of the peoples in the Aschen Federation, but at the last minute he had been reassigned to work with the refugees from the constantly shifting front-line worlds being conquered and reconquered by the Goa’uld.

Another chime went ignored until the control center must have gotten fed up and patched it directly through to her anyway.

“Sam? Sweetheart, I just heard the news. I’m so sorry.” Joe’s voice was full of sympathy and support and Sam shook her head to clear the fleeting disappointment that it wasn't one of the three voices she most needed to hear.




Tagrea, near the stargate

The burgeoning Tagrean archaeological site surrounding the stargate had been given over to a military encampment for this latest offensive. In the command tent, Jack sat reviewing the latest data received from Earth: troop movements, revised timelines on major projects, and stuck in the middle of it all was a Tok’ra casualty list. He stared at the names halfway down the list: Selmak and host, Jacob Carter.

As he flipped through the supporting documentation and read the summary of Jacob’s fate, an icy cold feeling settled in his gut. No way was he buying the official story. It was too much of a coincidence, coming right on the heels of Jacob’s growing suspicions. General Hammond including this document, technically an internal Tok’ra matter, in Jack’s latest strategic package, was his way of letting Jack know that he’d come to the same conclusion.

He sat back, rubbing a hand over the ache spreading up from his shoulders and throughout his skull. Carter must have already heard the news; they would have notified her directly. Jack played with the idea of using the stargate to radio her, but the Aschen were such sticklers for protocol that he had no doubt the “personal use of strategic assets” would be reported. Kinsey was just itching for a reason to come down on him. And while he may be spoiling for a fight, there was no need to drag Carter into that mess.

His scalp began to crawl as another thought hit him. Carter was now linked to two people known to oppose the Aschen treaty. Jack couldn’t, he wouldn’t, risk her or the others. Everyone talked about the bonds of SG-1, the lengths they would go to for each other. That had to stop now. The groundwork was already laid; their disagreement with him over the Aschen treaty had been fairly vocal at times.

But he had to make sure that whoever was behind this - and he didn’t for a minute believe that the Aschen didn’t have allies within Earth’s power structure - didn’t have any reason to think that Carter, or Daniel, or Teal’c might be picking up the flag of Jack’s opposition and running with it. They had to believe that the schism was real and lasting.

He was still deep in thought, regrets and anger crashing through his brain, when the sound of booted feet running toward the tent pulled him back to the present. Captain McCormick appeared in the doorway, breathing heavily. Jack was on his feet even as his aide began speaking.

“It’s a bloodbath, Sir.”

McCormick and Jack headed to mission control to find a chaotic din of sound and motion. Radio calls were coming in from each of the three companies that were supposed to be securing a nearby planet. The sounds of staff blasts, automatic weapons fire, and dying men accented the urgent tones as reports of platoons of Jaffa, death gliders, and aerial support fire came over the radios.

“Get them back,” Jack ordered. Orders started flying, relaying his call for the retreat, organizing cover support for the gate, alerting the medical teams. Jack listened with a sinking heart; it was too late. There wasn’t supposed to be a substantial Jaffa presence on this one. Intel had indicated only light resistance.

Losing resources. That was what Jacob had said. What he hadn’t said was, What if the Aschen wanted those resources lost? Stretch out the weapon development process while pushing for strategies that served to deplete military resources. Jack shook his head. Carter was on the development team; there was no way she would let them... But would she even know? She had admitted to him that the science they were working with was beyond her. Could they be pulling the wool over her eyes? Using her to give the project validity and to assuage the fears of Earth’s leaders as they waited for the miracle weapon?

The first casualties were returning through the gate and Jack’s thoughts were redirected as he oversaw the logistics of handling more wounded than had ever been anticipated for this site, prepared a sitrep for the SGC, and visited with airmen - wounded, dying, grieving young men and women who deserved better than this. And through it all, a cold fire took root and grew stronger.

He wasn’t going to keep quiet anymore.

 
 
 
Ami Ven: Carterami_ven on September 18th, 2012 06:44 am (UTC)
Very nice! This is a great look into the "between" of this episode.
magickmoons: sam jack just usmagickmoons on September 18th, 2012 04:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks :) There's a whole lotta 'between' in the ep to fill in!