Jim and Vin gazed out across the pond, both standing at military rest, alert to their surroundings as only sentinels could be. Jim sighed to himself, he knew a full confession was needed. He and Blair had hoped to keep the Denver pair free from the needs of the Stargate program for a while longer, till they were more comfortable with their abilities and the responsibilities that came with them. Jim would have been happier if he had never found out about wormholes, aliens and what was really out there. Or that the needs of the planet surpassed the needs of their personal territories or wants.
Jim didn't like leaving Cascade for too long, he knew Vin felt the same way about Denver. In truth it was more about where their guides were located than about personal space or guarding any particularl city or area. The safer the territory where his guide lived the safer the guide. The better you know an area the better you could keep it safe. Jim would never tell Blair that. His guide had his theories about sentinels and their territorial natures and Jim didn't want to disillusion him. More importantly Jim didn't want to try and explain it to his guide, words weren't his strong point. This need to protect the guide went core deep into his soul, far beyond any rational thoughts. And if Blair had one question he had a hundred. Though right now Jim would give everything he owned to have Blair beside him asking those questions.
He knew that Vin felt the same way about Ezra. While Vin didn't show any outward emotions at having his guide kidnapped, his body betrayed his anxiety. Jim could smell the fear for his guide's safely in the bitter sweat of the Denver's sentinel. Jim knew he couldn't put talking to Vin off any longer. So he began:
"It looks like a rogue faction of the National Intelligence Division has our guides." When Vin didn't comment he went on. One of the men Chris is talking to is a Colonel in the United States Air Force, Jack O'Neill. He is not part of the NID, he is part of a highly secret project that is in charge of planet security." Jim heard Vin's heart beat speed up. "Vin?"
"Heard rumors that something was going on with the space program. That ET wasn't as nice or as friendly as he was in the movie. They got Ezra?" Vin sounded anxious.
"Not the people O'Neill works with, but he does have connections. There's one of them coming to talk with us, someone who has answers as to who has our guides."
"Now," Vin disagreed and turned to head for the house to demand this O'Neill take them to this informant now.
"Vin," Jim placed himself in front of the younger man stopping him. "The informant won't talk to us till then."
"Damn," Vin turned to look back across the pond. He knew from past experience that informants were skittish at best. If he was their lead to Ezra he'd try to control himself till then. But come tomorrow afternoon he was heading southwest, with or without Ellison. Ezra's spirit guide was calling to him and he really needed to follow that call. Unconsciously he leaned in that direction as his eyes found the cougar and the red wolf who seemed to be wanting for him to follow them. In a tired voice he asked. "Do you feel it too?"
"The southwest pull?" Jim answered him, "Yes, and I can see my spirit guide and Blair's waiting for me. Only the need for this information is keeping me from following them. I want them back alive and this will give us an edge." Jim was trying to be sympathetic to Vin's need to take some kind of action. He, himself wanted nothing more than to rush out and find Blair, retaliate against the ones responsible for taking his guide. But the older sentinel had more experience and he knew his guide was unhurt at the moment. The bond that let Jim know that Blair had been kidnapped would also let him knew if Blair was hurt. If that status changed then no power on Earth or off, would stop him from getting to his guide.
Vin lowered his head in defeat, he knew Jim was right but he didn't like it, hell and damnation he didn't like any of it at all. Vin had to remind himself Ezra was the best undercover agent in the ATF. He was more than able to take care of himself in most situations, but this wasn't the usual situation and he had a feeling this wasn't going to be a one way deal with O'Neill. Both he and Ezra would be paying a price for this information. He put this question to Jim.
"So tell me how obligated are Ez and I going to be to O'Neill's project?"
+ + + + + + +
The four men on the deck watched the two on the pier as they ate. It was Daniel Jackson who broke the silence.
"I thought that two sentinels couldn't get along in the same territory?"
"Neutral territory, neither sentinel claims this area. Both are bonded with guides so there's nothing for them to fight over." Simon seemed embarrassed that he spoke up. Hell I'm spending way to much time with Sandburg, he though to himself, getting too talkative....Simon tried again.
"Got Blair to explain it to me one night after a few beers. I wanted to know why the two of them," pointing at the two at the lake edge. "got along and that bitch Alex Barnes made so much trouble." (Barnes, a rogue criminal sentinel who got Blair to help her with her senses, which then set off a series of horrifying events. Events that nearly destroyed the Cascade sentinel and guide.)
After a few minutes of silence Daniel asked. "So... it's because they're in neutral territory and each have their own guides?"
"Yes and no..." Simon was trying to word his response carefully, this was Blair's area of expertise, not his...Simon was tiring to remember how Blair explained it. He was also self-conscious, too many years of keeping the sentinel secret made him uncomfortable talking about it.
"Blair said in the past there had to be some way to teach the younger sentinels and guides out there what they needed to know. If sentinels were fighting each other every time they crossed paths, then most sentinels would die before learning to control their senses. Once boundaries are established and limits set they seem to get along. On some level sentinels must realize when they come in contact with a good sentinel and react more violently to a bad one like Barnes. Personally I think teacher, student is a better description and the fact our pairs have got enough in common to be friends makes it easier for them to get along."
In the silence that followed Chris decided it was time. "I've got a question for you Mister O'Neill...." Chris let it trail off wanting to see if O'Neal would correct him.
"Colonel." Jack inform him.
"Col. O'Neill, what's your interest in my agents?"
Jack put down his bottle and stared Chris straight in the eyes. "I'm hoping that you, Agent Tanner and Agent Standish will be willing to help us defend this planet from some really badass aliens."
+ + + + + + +
Ezra came to slowly cursing under his breath when he realized they were back in the cell. Blair was laying on the other bunk still unconscious, an ugly bruise marked his cheek. Ezra rubbed his chest where the Taser's needles had struck him, his chest hurt and the rest of him didn't feel much better. He had been crouched down between two cars in the parking lot picking the lock on one of them when Blair had yelled out a warning. He stood up just as a guard stepped between the vehicles holding a Taser, shooting him with its needles. His last memory before passing out was of bouncing back and forth between the two parked cars as his body jerked from the electricity going through it. Forcing himself to move, he made his way to Blair's side only to see two blue eyes open and stare up at him.
"I am guessing we didn't make it." Moaned Blair as he sat up with Ezra's help.
Ezra sat down heavily beside Blair. His muscles were still stiff. "Ah'd say your were correct." Plucking at the orange jumpsuit he and his companion were now wearing he sighed. "Orange is just not ma color."
That got a chuckle from Blair. "I'm not fond of it either."
Ezra pointed to the senior guide's face. "Which one of the guards gave you that souvenir?"
- "Not sure, I was trying to stay out of reach of the two we met earlier when my face made contact with a large fist. There were stars and I woke up here." Having seen Ezra being hit with the Taser he asked. "Are you doing alright?"
"Surprisingly yes Ah am." Ezra stood and went to work getting the kinks out of his muscles, ignoring his own set of bruises. "After our encounter with the guards earlier Ah would have thought some form of retaliation at their hands would be forthcoming."
Blair shook his head and wished he hadn't. The right side of his face was sore and he had a headache. "My guess is were are not to be damaged till after the guys in the white coats get what they want from us." He stopped talking when the door of their room opened and a guard walked up to the cell. He tossed two brown bags through the bars. Not saying a word to either of them he left.
Ezra walked over to the bags and picked them up. Returning to his mentor's side he handed one of them to Blair. "MREs, this is a government run operation after all."
Blair forgot and shook his head wishing he hadn't. "Not necessarily, you can buy these things on the net from the manufacturer. Jim keeps some in his disaster supplies." He took one from the Southerner and opened it. "Not gourmet faire but it will keep us going." Laughing at the face Ezra was giving the MRE. "Eat up Ezra, they really aren't that bad."
Ezra sat down and opened his as well. Looking in disgust at what was inside as he pulled out what appeared to be a chicken dinner. "At least the dining company is pleasant." He said placing the vacuum packed meal down beside him. Ezra was going to forgo eating when Blair spoke up.
"You need to eat it Ezra, no knowing how often we'll get fed. I've got a feeling tomorrow will be a long day."
+ + + + + + +
The next morning at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Colorado, far underground: General George Hammond looked over the people at his conference table. When had the civilians started to outnumber his military personnel? Dr. Jackson as usual sat next to Col. O'Neill, Major Carter sat on the other side of the doctor, only Teal'c was missing from the SG1 team. Across from his people sat the four civilians, Jim Ellison and his police captain Simon Banks who were already briefed on the Stargate program. Next to them were the two ATF agents Chris Larabee and Vin Tanner, the other sentinel. The young man seemed impatient to get started. Only his superior's presence kept the young man in his seat. Hammond noticed that the two bosses were keeping a close watch on their sentinels. Did these men step in when the guides were unable to be there? Could they do the same job that the guide did? Hammond would have to ask Jackson later. His attention was drawn back to the men sitting at the table.
Hammond had seen enough action in his career to recognize when soldiers were on edge. Both Ellison and Tanner were ready to go into battle. Only Ellison was setting quietly waiting to be released, but he already knew what was going on with the Stargate program and why the SGC would know someone who had information about their guides. Tanner was still in the dark so to speak and the difference showed in his unease.
Vin looked up and saw the General looking back at him. "Sir, no disrespect but where is this informant?"
"Take it easy son, he'll be here shortly. You got here earlier than expected." Hammond liked what he saw in the young sentinel. Ex-army but still respectful of rank, something his own officers weren't always proficient in. Hammond had read Tanner's record, he had been an exceptional soldier. The Army had been fools to let this man leave the military without doing their best to keep him in. Hammond hoped when this was over, like Ellison, Tanner would agree to work at least part time (as needed) with the Stargate program.
Chris Larabee address the General; "General Hammond, what is this Stargate program? Colonel O'Neill mentioned aliens and he wasn't talking about illegal emigrants was he?"
"No he wasn't." Hammond looked at a bespectacled man standing by the door. "Walter,"
The airman came forward and passed out papers to the men from Denver. Gen. Hammond explained "Gentlemen, those are nondisclosure agreements, by signing these you agree never to discuss what you are about to hear with anyone outside this room. Both of you have been in the service and have had top secret clearance, you understand the need for them."
Chris looked over at Simon Banks; the man nodded his head confirming that the police officers from Washington state had signed the same papers. Chris looked them over anyway. Yep just like the ones he signed in the Navy. Chris wrote out his name and pushed them back along with Vin's to the clerk.
"Dr. Jackson, could you give Mr. Larabee and Mr. Tanner a brief summary on what we do here?" asked General Hammond
Jack interrupted. "Sir maybe I need to do that, you said our informant was going to be here soon ."
"Hey, I do not take that long to explain.... stuff." Daniel protested as he took in the look of skepticism on Jack's face.
"Yes you do Daniel." Jack understood the situation better than Daniel. These men were here for one reason only and they didn't need or want one of Daniel's long winded lectures. Probably wouldn't have the patience to sit through the whole SG1 story. He knew he didn't.
Major Samantha Carter touched Daniel on the arm and shook her head, indicating for the doctor to let it go. Daniel hmmphed and slouched down in his seat. He'd let Jack talk and straighten out their guests later. Muttering to himself "I don't either take too long."
Major Carter coughed, reminding Jack he was going to be briefer than Daniel.
"OK...here it is, the Stargate is a machine that allows us to travel to other planets. It opens wormholes between our gate and gates on other worlds. Kinda like a doorway. Our primary goal is to travel to these other worlds and find technology that will help us defend Earth from some really nasty bad guys call the Goa'ulds. In short the Goa'uld is an intelligent parasitic life form that uses humans for hosts. They burrow into the neck and wrap themselves around the upper spinal cords taking control of the host's body and mind." Jack was beginning to warm up to his subject as he talked. Besides getting to annoying Daniel, he knew the two sentinels were in no mood for a long explanation. The shorter the better.
"Anyway these Goa'ulds have been using these gates along with their spaceships to enslave a lot of worlds and the inhabitants on them, including humans.
"Humans?" asked Vin, Chris was interested in the answer to that question himself.
"Yeah humans, way...way back in our history the Goa'ulds enslaved the human race here on Earth claiming to be gods." Jack looked over at Daniel, pleased that the archaeologist/linguist hadn't interrupted yet. "Till we rebelled and kicked their butts off the planet. But before we did that the Goa'ulds seeded other worlds with humans so they would have a slave work force to fulfill their every need."
"And as hosts." Daniel did interrupted for that was an important fact.
Chris asked. "Who built the Stargates?"
Hammond was impressed, the ATF agent had caught on to the fact the gate builders hadn't been identified. Most didn't asked that question till much later in the briefing if at all.
Again Daniel jumped in and answered "We call them The Ancients, they lived on Earth millions of years ago. They built the gates. From our research we believe they left the Milky Way galaxy abandoning the gate system. So now anybody who can figure out how the gates work can use them to travel between worlds." Daniel gave Jack a look that seen to said 'See I can be brief, I left out a lot.'
Jack was about to add more when Vin snapped his hand down hard on the table.
"What does alls this have to do with Ezra being kidnapped?"
"I believe I can answer that Sentinel Tanner." said Col. Harry Maybourne as he walked into the room.
+ + + + + + +
Several states away Ezra and Blair were taken from their cell and led into a laboratory on an upper floor of the building where they were imprisoned. The only difference from their room downstairs were the chairs, computers and various types of equipment that shared the space with an empty cell. The two white coats were waiting for them. So were the two guards from yesterday, only this time the guards were taking no chances with the smaller men. Both had tasers on the ready if either of their charges tried anything.
Ezra and Blair only smiled at them and went along peacefully. Now wasn't the time to attempt another escape. They would wait and see what the two mad scientists were up to first. The taller of the two, clipboard man, ushered them over to a table with coffee and pastries.
"Dr. Sandburg, Agent Standish please help yourself. After your outing yesterday you'd probably enjoy a good cup of coffee." Seeing the men hesitate he added. "You have my word the food is not drugged. We have a lot to talk over today and drugging the two of you would be counter productive and I do want to learn from you. You, Doctor Sandburg, are the only expert on sentinels in the civilized world and you Agent Standish work on a team with the highest closure ranking in the ATF. I take it having a sentinel and guide on the team helped acquire that ranking. What I would like to hear from you are your thoughts of how a sentinel assists in the field and how you assist him."
Ezra had been studying their host as the man talked, he didn't pick up anything either from his body language or his emotional state that said he was lying. Even so he would rather not partake of the offerings. But not to do so would upset their host and at this time that wasn't a good idea. They still had no clue about what he was up to. Ezra poured a cup of the dark brown liquid for himself and Blair. As an afterthought he poured one for each of the men in white.
Blair knew there was evil in this room as soon as he entered. His shaman's teaching let him know it was here but he hadn't pinpointed the source yet. He was distracted by the clipboard man's demands on his attention as the man babbled on. It appeared that clipboard man was in charge and was trying to get on their good side. Blair had seen the same tactics used many times when he was still teaching full time; students trying to get on his good side with gifts and flattering remarks. He accepted a cup of coffee from Ezra and picked up a Danish. Clipboard man also accepted a cup of coffee and walked over to a small grouping of chairs.
"And who's word would we be taking?" Ezra asked "You know our names but haven't introduced yourselves."
"Of course forgive me, I am Dr. Lamarr and this is my colleague Dr. Faxes." He ignored the two guards. "Please gentlemen have a seat." waving his hand at the chairs before taking one for himself. He seemed pleased when Ezra and Blair followed and sat down.
Dr. Faxes merely nodded his head at the two guides but stayed in the background away from them, letting his colleague be the focal point of the conversation. As Lamarr talked Faxes seen more interested in getting some equipment ready.
Dr. Lamarr sat down and placed his cup on a small table beside his chair. With his hand free he picked up the pencil and held it over the papers on the clipboard.
"Now gentlemen shall we begin?"
+ + + + + + +
"Maybourne what the hell are you doing here?" demanded O'Neill.
"Good to see you too Jack." Maybourne replied as he sat down.
"General you can't expect us to believe the NID is going to give us anything useful on one of their own?" Jack yelled
Maybourne answered for the NID, "Jack we contacted the SGC program with our information. Not wanting the Sentinels to think the NID wasn't keeping to our part of the arrangement we have with them and for the record 'they' aren't ours. "
"What arrangement?" demanded Chris Larabee. The word arrangement had jumped out at him, if Vin and Ezra were going to be part of some government project he wanted to know about it. No one was going to take his men against their will, even if they felt they had to go it would be with Chris in attendance and possibly the rest of the team. This was their world too.
Jim spoke up for the first time. "Blair and I stumbled across the Stargate program on one of our cases. We were chasing a perp who's behavior wasn't normal, somehow he managed to stay ahead of us. At the time we thought he was on drugs, I couldn't get close enough to tell what he was on only that it was evil. We chased him into an abandoned building, part of the upper floor fell, a section of the cement slab fell killing him. Only...(Jim didn't like remembering the sounds the creature made as it tried to get free.) The body starting convulsing... lifting the cement slab up but not enough to get free. I...I zoned on the sound of it dying. Blair figured out it was something not of this world. He called a old friend of his from his days in the university circles who was now working with the military, Daniel Jackson." Jim went silent after his account of what happened to bring them to the attention of the military. It was Simon who finished the story.
"The fact that Jim and Blair knew there was something...wrong with the perp... that the local coroner would find something inside he wasn't qualified to deal with... And that we needed Jackson's contacts to deal with said body, brought one Jack O'Neill to my office with questions I wasn't about to answer without some assurance that my men weren't going to disappear some night."
"O'Neill knew from Jackson about Sandburg's work and they put two and two together and came up with Blair having found a sentinel. At the same time Blair was researching what Jackson had been doing for the last few years and found nothing within the academic world and didn't believe the deep space radar telemetry cover story. That left Jackson's early work on the pyramids being built by aliens. With the dead perp and the information that Jim came up with from his contacts it wasn't hard to figure out there was something big the military wanted to keep hidden. Something not of this world. Both of us had secrets we wanted kept private."
"An agreement was made, full revelation by both sides. The SGC needed Jim, and Blair's abilities as well as our silence on aliens being fought by Earth more than they needed a full time sentinel on base going off world. Under General Hammond's command, my men would come to the aid of the Stargate program as needed. Especially if it needed to screen personnel for Goa'uld parasites. As it turns out Jim can detect the parasite with his senses, Vin probably can too. As Sentinel's are territorial they wouldn't be comfortable gone from their territories for to long a period of time. All work done on the Stargate program would have to be part time."
"What about me and Ezra?" Vin asked.
"Blair demanded that any sentinel/guide pairs were to be left alone till they were comfortable with their abilities. Then and only then were they to be approached with any request of their serving their planet in the fight against a global danger. Only if they agreed would they be let in on the rest of it"
Jim looked at Vin, "After we found out what was really going on here we couldn't just walk away from it. We were going to talk with you and Ezra as soon as we could work out a way to meet without anyone watching us. Looks like we waited too long." Jim turned his glare on Maybourne reminding him of certain facts.
"Blair turned over all his research on sentinels and was willing to be of assistance with anyone you found who needed help adjusting to his or her heightened senses. I agreed as well as long as that assistance was long distance from my guide. No meetings in person till the sentinel found his guide and the first few meeting didn't take place in Cascade. And all contact between us and you for our help went through Stargate Command's General Hammond and our Captain, Simon Banks.
Maybourne nodded, "We have kept to that agreement."
"As if you had a choice." chuckled Jack, Daniel and Sam smiled at this. Even Jim, Simon and the General saw something humorous about the statement.
"OK, what's the joke?" asked Chris, neither Vin or him were finding any of this amusing.
General Hammond took up the story from there. "The NID showed up while we were working out the details, somehow they found out about the sentinels and wanted... no they demanded to be part of any arrangements we made with them." Gen. Hammond gave Maybourne a hard look, he was still unhappy with the NID over the matter of how they obtained that information. "I had no intention in giving anyone at the NID any authority over the sentinels and guides. Fortunately an ally of ours dropped by while we were beating out the finer points of this arrangement." the last was said with a barely contained smile on the General's part.
"I don't think Thor likes you Maybourne." laughed Jack
"Who's Thor?" asked a quiet Vin. Chris checked on his friend and realized that Vin was reaching the end of his rope. These people better get to the information on Ezra's kidnappers soon or Vin was out of here and Chris would be with him.
Jack explained, "Thor is an Asgard, a race of aliens that helps us out from time to time. They look like grays... you know...Roswell, the short gray guys with big eyes, skinny, no clothes. They've became our allies in our fight against the Goa'ulds. He beamed in and...."
"What do you mean beamed in?" interrupted Chris, "Like in Star Trek?"
"Yep, just like in Star Trek." Jack went on, "Actually he beamed me up to his ship and I told him what was going on. Apparently the Asgard have studied Earth's legends about warriors with heightened senses and their companions. Thor had great regard for the pairs he had met when he was on Earth being Thor. He then beamed everyone up to his ship and told us and the NID how it was going to be. If the Earth's governments wanted the Asgard's continued help they would leave all sentinel/guides pairings alone. Only if the pairing wanted to would they work for the SGC or anyone else for that matter ."
"He then beamed Maybourne and his group back down." Jack said the last with a snort.
"O'Neill..." warned Maybourne.
"Beamed them to the middle of the desert..."
"O'Neill..." Maybourne was obviously upset about something.
That didn't stop Jack, "Naked, ...buck naked in the desert." Catching Maybourne's murderous look. "Hey you were only a few miles from Area 51 so stop complaining."
Maybourne mumbled something under his breath, it didn't sound nice. Maybourne was certain that Jack had something to do with Thor materializing him and his team naked in the middle of nowhere.
Vin wasn't in the mood for this and let them know it as he started to get up. Only Chris' hand on his arm kept him from leaving. "Wait just a little more Vin." pleaded Chris' sentinel soft. Only Vin and Jim could have heard him. Vin settled back in his chair to wait a little while longer.
The same airman who had handed out the nondisclosure agreements earlier came in and spoke to Gen. Hammond, the General stood and excused himself, leaving Col. O'Neill in charge.
Col. Maybourne who decided to ignore SG1 turned his attention to Jim and Vin. "There is a group made up of mostly ex-NID agents who are unhappy with the way the fight against the Goa'ulds is being conducted. They believe that we should use any and all means necessary to protect Earth. They'll break any law, go to any length to obtain what they think is needed. Stealing alien technology for the betterment of mankind, kidnapping people, whatever. They call themselves the 'Trust'.
Maybourne opened his briefcase and handed out two sets of files to the sentinels. "This should show our good faith to you and to your guides. This is a general outline of all the classified information we could find on any programs dealing with people with heightened senses. It goes back to the WWII when some of the observers on isolated islands came back to civilization complaining of everything being too loud or to smelly etcetera. Supplementary information will be made available on request. The last file is the information we have on the Trust's study on sentinels."
Everyone in the room waited for Maybourne to continue as Simon and Chris looked over the documents.
"The NID has no direct contact with this group." Maybourne added nervously.
Jim had been monitoring Maybourne's vital signs all the while he had been sitting at the table. This was the first time the man's vitals had changed, he had told a half truth. Jim kept staring at the NID agent.
Throughout his career Jim Ellison had stared down many killers and habitual liars. Chris had put down the papers he had been examining and was now also glaring at the man. Chris didn't need heightened senses to know when someone was holding out on him. It was no wonder Maybourne was getting nervous. He knew there was no way he could get away with lying to these men. He had been ordered to do so anyway.
It was Simon Banks who broke the silence, he had been looking at the last file Maybourne had provided. "Hell! Why aren't these...these bastards in jail?" He had been going through the files in the set given to him and Jim, Blair would want to study them when they got him back. Simon took more time with the last file in the stack reading it over more carefully, it was the file on the group that had kidnapped Blair and Ezra. It was what he read there that had him upset, so much so that he wanted to damage the NID agent himself. He handed the file to Jim to look over and demanded again. "Why haven't you arrested these...these..."
As Jim reviewed the file on the Trust his eyes turned hard and answered his captain himself.
"Simon these people believe themselves to be outside the law and in a way they are." Jim looked up at Maybourne when he spoke . "And as long as the people responsible for keeping such groups as these from existing... keep looking the other way, they will never go to jail. Never be prosecuted in a court of law. They will either end up dead and all evidence confiscated or they and everything about them will disappear, only to set up shop somewhere else."
Vin had skipped the other files and had been reading the one on the kidnappers, the same file that had Simon so livid. He was on his feet and moving before the file he dropped hit the table. Suddenly Maybourne found himself pinned to the wall with a very angry man's arm against his windpipe. One wrong answer on his part and he was sure the furious sentinel would crush it. He was finding it hard to breathe as it was.
Jack held up his hand stopping Major Carter from summoning help. He wanted to see how this played put. After Ellison finished scanning the file that had upset his Captain he joined Tanner by the wall, his eyes deadly. Jack quickly glanced over the file Tanner had dropped, the information inside explained what set off the protective instincts of the sentinels. He passed it on to Sam and Daniel, asking at the same time. "We still have the address for Hadate?"
"Sir?...Hadate, the prison colony ...yes, we do....why?" asked a puzzled Sam as Daniel handed her the copy of the file he was reading. Reading through it quickly she understood and got up. "I'll dial it personally Sir, I'll be in the control room if you need me ."
Jack walked up behind the two sentinels, looking Maybourne straight in the eyes he told him "Talk."
+ + + + + + +
Dr. Sandburg, do you expect me to believe this nonsense about there being a spiritual side of being a sentinel or that there is only one true guide for each sentinel?" demanded Dr. Lamarr
"I expect you to have a open mind to everything sentinel, they are hard wired to be protectors. It's about more than heightened senses." said Blair. "Unless their moral code is completely screwed up as children they grow up with a need to help others even if their senses never go online. The same with guides, most of us go into fields that are about studying or caring about people. Why is it so hard to believe that each has a particular counterpart? The guide needs his sentinel to feel complete. The sentinel, if his senses are online, will either go insane or zone to a point of death without his guide to ground him."
Blair wasn't sharing information with Lamarr without a reason. One, Blair needed to give Jim and Vin time to find them and two, he felt Lamarr needed to understand what he was doing. If there was a sentinel here who had full use of his senses without a guide to center on then that sentinel was in big trouble. But he was still being careful not to give out too much information, not that Lamarr would believe in spirit animals or the mental bond between a guide and his sentinel.
Ezra had been watching the pair clash over their positions on sentinels. Lamarr was a hard line scientist, if he couldn't physically measure, weight and make a chart from the information he gathered from the subject he didn't believe in it. Blair was more emotional, more open minded and of course he was more experienced in dealing with a sentinel, having worked and lived with his sentinel for years.
Ezra kept looking around, not only to familiarize himself with the contents of the room,(in case an opportunity to escape came up) but as soon as he entered there had been a kind of itch bothering him. From what he hadn't discovered, not yet anyway. He went back to studying the room, there was another door on the far wall, a storage room perhaps but he got a bad feeling every time he looked at it. Dr. Faxes was puttering around in the background with the equipment seemingly uninterested in the conversation or the men conversing. Lamarr was more interested in disagreeing with Blair than to pay Ezra any attention.
One thing was obvious, there was a lot of money being spent here; the scientists, the top of the line equipment, the guards and buildings he saw in their brief moment of freedom. Someone was paying out considerable sums of money for all this. Maybe it was time to ask a few questions of his own.
"Dr. Lamarr who is your benefactor?"
"What?" the question startled the Doctor who hadn't been paying much attention to the ATF agent.
"Sir, who is paying for your research, to whom do you send your findings ?"
Lamarr looked over at the ATF agent. "A group of individuals who have nothing but the best interests of mankind in mind. Who will do what ever it takes to keep us free from enslavement under alien force."
"Alien?" asked a skeptical Ezra.
"You haven't told him?" queried Lamarr of Blair.
"Your intrusion into our lives has kept us from it." Blair told Lamarr and then countered with a question of his own. "Are you with the NID?"
Lamarr laughed, "Those pathetic fools..." he stopped himself from further commenting on the NID, to be compared to those fools was insulting. "No...no the group responsible for you gentlemen being here is called the TRUST. Some of us once worked for the NID before we realized that they like the SGC were unwilling to do what was necessary. Unlike the SGC or the NID, we will do what has to be done, no matter what the sacrifice."
"Like kidnapping ?"
"If that's what it takes."
"We are not the first your organization has abducted are we?" asked Ezra. Privately he wondered who or what the SGC was, he was familiar with the initials of the NID.
"No Agent Standish, we have a sentinel. A damaged one, but in the long run it has been for the best. He has been far more cooperative than say either your Mr. Tanner or Mr. Ellison would have been in his place. They would have fought us every step of the way as we tested their range of abilities. Yes the program is better off with the way things turned out. "
Both Ezra and Blair froze as they thought of their friends in this place, and by what Lamarr meant by testing the abilities of a sentinel.
"What...what have you...what do you mean by testing?" demanded Blair finding it hard to put into words what his imagination was giving him images of. Ezra turned and stared at the door on the far side of the room in dread.
Lamarr looked calmly at the two guides. "What we needed to. Your work, while informative Dr. Sandburg wasn't as in-depth as we required. How were we going to use an army of sentinels to fight the Goa'uld if we don't know all their strengths and weaknesses."
"What did you do?" Blair asked again expecting the worst.
Lamarr didn't pay any attention to the questions as he was more interested in his narrative. "Your sentinels were too well trained for our requirements, even before they obtained guides. That with their military training, no doubt making them strong willed and not easily manipulated. They would have fought every test, the results of those tests would have been dubious." With a wave of his hand Lamarr dismissed the two sentinels. "As I couldn't use them they are unimportant to my research."
"Lamarr..." Blair interrupted again, he was afraid of the answer but he had to know. "What..did..you..do?"
Lamarr kept talking, ignoring Blair, lost in his account of his work. "It took some time to find a sentinel young enough for our needs. Untrained in what he was, but old enough to have some control over his senses. Someone we could control and do tests on. The Trust had people out searching for years, even before your dissertation Dr. Sandburg. Two years ago they found one, Joe Patterson, a college student who just received his degree in forestry. Regrettably he turned down our job offer, he wanted to be a forest ranger. We had to take him by force." Lamarr shook his head and added almost to himself. "I believe now his bride must have been his guide, it was unfortunate that she didn't survive."
"What happened?" asked Blair softly trying to get through to the scientist.
Lamarr finally decided to answer one of Blair's questions. "When the Trust's people tried to take Patterson into custody, the boy tried to get away. Our agents, the clumsy fools, forced his car off the road. The boy lost control of his vehicle sending it crashing down a hillside. By the time the car stopped rolling both were badly injured. As I said before the girl didn't survive."
Ezra tore his eyes off the door and back to Lamarr. "What happened to Joe?"
"Fortunately he lived, his injuries healed, well most of them did. His skull facture left him with brain damage. Nothing too serious, just short term memory loss. It gets tiresome explaining the situation to him each day but it's wonderful for the tests. No preconceived ideas on his part." Dr. Lamarr took a stack of papers from Dr. Faxes. "Here Dr. Sandburg, the highlights of his life and some of the tests we have run on him." "Please familiarize yourself with them, you and Agent Standish. After all its why the two of you are here."
Years of reading essays and reports let Blair go through the papers quickly. His blue eyes turned to ice as he read. As he finished each page he handed it over to Ezra who grew pale when he read what the young man had gone through at the hands of these madmen.
"You exposed him to chlorine gas ?" demanded Blair as he looked over some of the tests and the results .
"Of course and many others substances, I needed to know how fast he could detect them, if he could filter them out and his recovery time."
"You could have killed him." said a shocked Blair.
"Nonsense, the gas was in trace amounts, after a few days in an oxygen tent, he was fine."
Blair was beyond words, how could Lamarr treat anyone that way let alone a person with the sensibilities of a sentinel? What other horrors had Joe Patterson gone through at the hands of this madman? All of it in the name of science.
"How did you explain the disappearance of his wife to him?" Ezra asked, he had gone back to watching the door.
Lamarr turned his attention to the Southerner. "That's the beauty of the short term memory loss. We simply tell him as long as he does what we ask of him, she'll remain safe and he will get to see her tomorrow. Of course he never remembers the next day. Any discomfort or pain he may be in from the last test we put him through is connected to the car accident. Joe never remembers the difference. The perfect test subject."
"If you have what you needed, why kidnap us?" asked Blair.
"The subject has become nonresponsive of late. If it's a zone it's a deep one, none of my staff has been able to bring him out of it. Your sentinels rarely zone any more. But they do have their guides by their side most of the time. The questions I have pertain to is this: Is this something they learn not to do on their own? Did you teach them how not to zone? Or is having a guide what keeps them from zoning?"
Ezra and Blair stared at Lamarr not sure how to answer him. Before either could think of something to say Lamarr added.
"That's why you're here of course. To bring Patterson out of his zone."
So saying, the door across the room opened and an emaciated man dressed only in an adult diaper was dragged out. Even from where they were sitting they could see the scars that covered his body. Ezra jumped to his feet and started towards him as wave after wave of pain and despair washed over him from the beaten man. One of the guards thinking Ezra was trying to escape shot him with his Taser. The near naked man suddenly came to life, pulling free of his keepers as he tried to get to Ezra as he fell. People rushed about as chaos broke out in the room. Blair got a glimpse of a collie and a battered looking bobcat behind what he took to be Joe Patterson. But it was Faxes, Lamarr's colleague that held his attention as he watched the man smile at the scene. Blair now knew where the source of evil was coming from.
+ + + + + + +
Maybourne was ever so thankful when Gen. Hammond walked back into the room and demanded.
"What the hell is going on here people?"
It was Jack who answered. "It seems that the NID isn't telling us all they know about the Trust activity General. It's real hard to lie to a sentinel, in fact its impossible. Add to that you got cops in here with enough experience to tell when someone is lying to them. Maybourne had no chance at all with getting away with it." Turning back to Maybourne he asked. "So why did you try?"
Maybourne tried to answer but only a croaking sound came out. Vin's arm was still pinned against his throat pressing down.
"Mr. Tanner if you please." asked the General.
Vin relaxed his hold slightly and Maybourne was able to cough out an answer.
"I was ordered to."
General Hammond didn't bother to ask by who, and instead asked. "Why? What does the NID hope to gain by allowing the Trust to kidnap Sandburg and Standish?"
Maybourne had a hard time taking his eyes off Tanner. Strange thoughts ran through his head. He felt like the bird watching a snake getting ready to strike. It wasn't until Tanner gave him a shake that Maybourne pulled his eyes from Tanner's face and looked over at General Hammond.
"Someone has convinced the Trust that sentinels are a weapon they can use against the Goa'ulds. It's someone within their ranks but we haven't been able to find out who. Every time we get an agent close they end up dead before they can report back."
"The rest of it." demanded Jim, he had allowed Vin to manhandle Maybourne. One to let Vin to get rid of some of his tension and Jim knew he would have crushed Maybourne's throat by now.
"Whoever it is they managed to get people in high places to start questionings the NID and SGC's ability to destroy the Goa'uld threat. We have discovered plans to infiltrate both organizations. The only weakness we could come up with is that the group fixated on the sentinel research."
"You allowed our guides to be taken?" Jim was in Maybourne's personal space now. He was furious with the NID agent and it showed on his face. Vin was also livid and his hold on the man tightened. Chris and Simon raced around the table to get to their men before they tore Maybourne to pieces.
Caught between the two of them, Maybourne feared for his life as he cried out. "I know where they are." That alone saved him from the sentinels. Vin let him drop to the floor as Chris pulled him away from the agent. Maybourne sat on the floor rubbing his neck. "I didn't...we didn't know when the Trust was going to act only that they had plans to."
"When were you going to let us know about it?" demanded Jim, still standing next to Maybourne. Simon stood ready to stop Jim if things got ugly.
"As soon as we could get a counter strategy in place." Seeing as no one was going to offer him a hand up Maybourne struggled to his feet and took his seat. Hostile eyes watch his every move. "We know the Trust watches the NID and SGC; that they would investigate any movement of a large number of personnel. It would have alerted them to our plans. We needed to have people in place before going after them. The plan was to slowly pull personnel from other areas till we had enough manpower to take them out."
"That still doesn't explain why you didn't alert us to the threat to our guides." said Jim as his hand dropped down on Maybourne's shoulder. Maybourne tried not to flinch as the hand tightened, there would be bruises there later.
"This was a chance to get the mastermind behind what was going on. Whoever is in charge is mainly interested in the sentinel studies. They have to be close by if they've taken the step to bring in the guides." This time Maybourne tensed as the hand on his shoulder tightened once more.
"Where?" demanded Jim.
"Arizona." answered Maybourne. "It's a small research complex near Rock Ridge. They will know military transports are coming before you get anywhere close to the place."
"Who says we'll use military transport?" asked Chris as he looked over at Vin and saw the Texan had already figured out what Chris was thinking. For the first time in the last twenty-four hours Vin smiled.
+ + + + + + +
Back in their cell Blair did what he could to make Ezra as comfortable as he could under the circumstances. Being shot twice in two days with a Taser hadn't been good for the empath, he was hurting both physically and mentally. The encounter with Joe Patterson had left them both shaken. Ezra had taken the condition of the sentinel hard. The details of what had been done to the young man had distressed the empath, and the fact that Joe was only a few years younger than his friend and colleague, JD Dunne. The papers Lamarr had given them had detailed some of the young couple's life. Joe and Elizabeth Patterson had grow up in the same neighborhood. Elizabeth had been Joe's childhood sweetheart and they had married right after their graduation from college. They had been on their honeymoon when the Trust had kidnapped them. Forcing the young couple's car off the road hadn't been one of the Trust's better ideas. The bride hadn't survived the crash, most of the physical injures to the sentinel's body had healed but not the emotional ones.
Hoping Ezra would stay asleep for a while Blair covered him with both of their blankets to keep him warm. He wasn't paying a lot of attention when someone came into their room. But he wasn't surprised to find it was Dr. Faxes who had entered. Blair didn't let it show but his shaman instincts cried out for him to be on his guard, evil had just walked into the room.
Faxes was a median sized man with dark hair, tan skin. Nothing out of the ordinary, he wouldn't stand out in a crowd if you could overlook the fact his eyes were glowing. As he came closer to their cell he pulled a small gold box from his lab coat . He then placed the box on top of his arm just behind his hand. There were bands on the sides that wrapped around his wrist like a bracelet holding it in position. Faxes pointed his hand toward Ezra and the device seen to radiate with a soft light. Whatever the light from the gadget implied it made Faxes eyes glowed brighter as he gazed down at Ezra with a hungry look.
"Just as I thought." Only then did he turn to look at Blair. It was as if he just become aware of the other man's presence and he smiled. "The System Lords will give me anything I want to have an empath for a pet."
"You're a Goa'uld." Blair stated the obvious as he kept his distant from the bars, not wanting to get too close to this new danger. He didn't like the way the Goa'uld was eyeing Ezra. Blair questioned the man, trying to get his attention off Ezra and on to him as he took a few steps away from his friend. "What's that on your wrist?"
Faxes took the box from his wrist and held it up in his hand as if showing the device to Blair. "This is a tool, an ally of the Trust acquired it for me from Area 51."
Having got at least one question answered Blair asked another.
"How is it you're here on Earth?"
"My Lord had me and some of my brothers sealed in canopies to await his return, I was released by a fool who I took as a host as soon as I was free from the jar." The man gave Blair a distasteful look. "Your kind gave my lord a great deal of trouble."
"Glad to hear it, but what exactly were my kind? They don't teach a class in Goa'uld history in school." Blair moved closer to the bars but not so close that Faxes could reach out and grab him. "In fact the Goa'uld aren't even mentioned, they didn't make enough of an impact on history to be noticed. So I have no idea who you are or what you are"
The man scowled. "Fool, I am Raxar, my first host was First Prime to Ra. When I matured and discarded the husk I was incubated in there were no suitable hosts for one such as I. My Lord had me sealed in the canopic till he could choose a host worthy of carrying one of his own. When he returns I will once again be at his side as his favorite." Raxar's eyes were wild and he looked more than a little deranged when he spoke of Ra.
Turning his attention back to Blair he looked at the guide with distaste as he answered Blair's question. "Your kind were the shamans, witchdoctors, high priests, holy men whatever you wanted to call yourselves. You brought the sentinels to Egypt and rallied the slaves against their god Ra."
Time to change the subject, thought Blair. "So Raxar how did you get together with the Trust?" asked Blair.
Raxar laugh, "Surprisingly easy. One of the thieves looting the museum where my jar was housed broke it and I took him as a host. He was part of a group of thieves that had been gathering information and artifacts for a faction looking for anything unusual in Egyptian curiosities. They paid well and didn't care how the relics were obtained. Many private collections and museums were burglarized for them. It was merely a matter of following the money path back to the source. I changed hosts as needed, leaving them dead. With each new host I rose higher in the organization till I had accomplished what I wanted. I then took over this body to be close to the sentinel research."
Blair watch Faxes/Raxar as he gloated about his accomplishments, then asked him. "Why hasn't Lamarr realized he has a Goa'uld as an assistant?"
Raxar laughed, "You've met that idiot. He doesn't see anything out side of his research. After he finishes his work I will take great pleasure in destroying him myself."
Blair was thinking fast, wondering why a Goa'uld who once served Ra was interested in getting the Trust to experiment on sentinels and not in destroying the StarGate program. In the end he simply decided to ask.
Raxar stepped closer to the bars of the cell and Blair took a step backward. "Why what little shaman?" he asked, his voice full of revulsion at having to speak to such an inferior subject. Still he enjoyed the unease that showed on the human's face.
Blair didn't care what the Goa'uld thought of him, the creature's ego wouldn't let him see Blair as a threat if Blair acted afraid of him and Blair was happy to let him think that way. It wasn't far from the truth. The less of a threat the Goa'uld thought him and Ezra to be then the less chance he would kill them outright.
"Why sentinels, why not go after Stargate Command?"
"To eliminate them as a threat to my master." Raxar acknowledged his true motives. "They aided the slaves with their rebellion and were key in any operation in getting behind our defenses. History will not repeat itself."
Blair stared at Raxar, didn't the Goa'uld understand that times had changed? That there weren't that many sentinels in modern society? Blair tried not to allow any of this to show on his face as he stood there. The Goa'uld hadn't finish.
"Through carefully placed suggestions my former hosts managed to convince the present leaders of the Trust to finance this study on sentinels, convincing them that this was a means to create the ultimate tool against the Goa'ulds." Raxar grabbed the bars of the cell and glared at Blair through the metal rods, his eyes wild and glowing, his voice deepening. "That will never happen, I have Lamarr's findings and will use that information to keep your abominations from troubling my master again. I will hand it over to Ra and regain my place by his side."
"As for the SGC, it will be dealt with. There are plans and people ready to move into place to take over that group when the time is right. Of course they think it's for the protection of Earth," scoffed Raxar . "When I find the rest of the canopic jars my brothers are sealed in they will be free to take hosts in the hierarchy of the Trust which by then will have control of the SGC. Till then the SGC is of no importance. Your God Ra will punish Earth for it's many offenses against their God and you will once more kneel down before him."
The Goa'uld continued to rave and Blair backed up away from the raving madman till his legs hit the edge of the bunk and he sat down beside Ezra. Finally Raxar stopped and without another word left, leaving Blair wondering if all Goa'ulds were insane. Raxar had to know that SG-1 had killed Ra if he had any intel on SGC at all. He must be refusing to believe that mere humans could have killed his master. Blair jumped as he felt a hand touch his wrist. Looking down he met the gaze of a pair of sad green eyes.
"Mr. Patterson is recovering his memories." said Ezra unhappily.
"Damn, are you sure?"
"Ah...Ah felt his pain, his despair . Why would he being feeling those emotions if he wasn't recovering his memory?" asked Ezra
Blair shoot his head. "I'm not sure, I have done some reading on the human brain, but not a lot. I do recall that sometimes the brain is able to develop blood vessels around a damaged area enabling the person to regain some of those lost connections."
Both men were quiet for a while each lost in their own thoughts. Finally Ezra asked.
"So Faxes is a Goa'uld? Ah think you need to fill me in."
"Past time actually." said Blair, so he told Ezra of the Goa'uld, Earth, stargates and how sentinels and guides figured into the story. Ezra fell back to sleep before hearing it all, but Blair knew he would have the time to finish it later.
+ + + + + + +
While Gen. Hammond stayed at the at the Mountain, the rest of the group met back at Jack's house. They took Maybourne with them to keep a eye on him and to pick his brain for any information he had on the center. After making sure that there were no surveillance devices in or around the house, Vin and Jim took a walk around the neighborhood. They found no one, Maybourne insisted that the Trust was more interested in watching the movements of large numbers of personnel moving off the base than in the movements of individuals. As the SG1 team often went places off base together, their movement wouldn't draw attention. Still the sentinels felt better after their scrutiny of the surrounding area.
They settled in to make plans, the only mishap was when Teal'c was about to be introduced to the men from Denver. Vin shot him before he cleared the hallway into the living room. Well he shot at him, it was clear that the Denver's sentinel could detect Goa'uld. Only fast action on Jim's part kept the Jaffa from getting shot in his sembient, pulling Vin's arm down, spoiling his aim just as he pulled the trigger on his gun.
Daniel looked up from his paper work and glared over at Jack. "This is what happens when you do brief Jack. You leave out too much."
"Indeed Daniel Jackson." agreed Teal'c and allowed Daniel to explain the Jaffa's part in the Goa'uld world. Chris and Vin listened but neither were easy around the Jaffa. Teal'c took it all in his usual manner, calmly with only a raised eyebrow as Daniel talked. When Daniel finished Teal'c spoke to the sentinels.
"There are legends of those such as yourselves, that the System Lord Ra ordered anyone who had these skills killed till none were left. None questioned these orders but many did wonder why."
"I wonder if there are any sentinels left off Earth?" asked Sam.
"Maybe" said Daniel as he thought through the possibility of non Earth sentinels.
"I don't see why not." said Vin, "I mean what are the chances that the people this guy Ra sent out after them got them all. If they were able to hide out in forests or the jungles they'd be hard to find, being on their own turf and stuff."
Even Jim had something to offer. "Blair said being a sentinel is genetic, their families would still carry the gene. If they're still out there, they've learned to hide what they are."
Jack was playing host with the idea of keeping everyone where he could keep track of all the players. He had pizza sent in from a local pizzeria (operated by an ex-service man who still had his security clearance.) Ideas were discussed and pizza eaten. Chris and Vin finally relaxed around Teal'c when it was obvious that junior wasn't going to jump out at them and try to take them over.
Major Carter had brought along on her laptop global terrain maps on the area and information on the small town of Rock Ridge. Rock Ridge had a population of two thousand, four hundred and sixty-three at last count. It's glory days had been in the mid nineteen hundreds when the railroad had passed through. The line was now abandoned and had been since the sixties. At one time ranching and farming had been the main source of employment in the area. Now there was some light industry and several research centers to bring in needed revenue for the town. There was also a small airfield close by consisting of a tower and some small hangers. Further investigation showed that the research centers use the airfield often. The landing strip was long enough to accommodate larger jet aircraft. The airfield was located outside of town near the industrial complex. According to the maps it was only a few miles from the airport to the research center that held Blair and Ezra.
Intel on the center was supplied by Maybourne. He had been given back his laptop but could use it only with Carter monitoring his every move, they didn't want Maybourne contacting anyone through his computer. "Ok here it is," Maybourne showed Carter the information on the monitor. The others stopped what they were doing to listen.
"The center is pretty much self-contained, sitting on four acres of ground, all of it fenced in, guards walk the perimeter 24/7. The compound consists of three buildings." Maybourne turned the screen around to allow the others to see. Carter made notes on her map to indicate the locations of the buildings as Maybourne pointed to each. "That one is for their vehicles and maintenance, there's a backup generator there if the electric from town fails. The one next to it is the barracks for the staff, there about thirty of them, mostly guards. The two head scientists live in the main building close to their work. That's the main building were they are holding the guides. Probably on one of the two sub-floors."
"You have schematics on the buildings?" asked Vin
"Carter, use my printer and print them out." Jack said. "Maybourne you got any intel on the guards schedules?"
Jim's attention was on the NID agent in a instant, Vin had picked up on it too, the hesitation in Maybourne's voice and manners. Maybourne wasn't telling them everything. Vin started to rise but Jim beat him to it.
"What is it?...What aren't you telling us Maybourne?" demanded Jim.
"The guards, they're not Trust personnel. They've been replaced by known mercenaries."
"How much of a different does that make?" asked Simon
"A lot, we won't be dealing with idealist soldiers following their convictions, who won't shoot on sight. Mercenaries are hired killers, we can't take chances with them." Jim was only being realistic and hoped Simon would understand.
"Which means?" asked Simon
"That the ones on guard duty have to be terminated." Vin said flatly. "Mercs kill on sight, that's what they're hired for, that's what they're paid for."
The look on Simon's face told everyone what he thought of that idea. The rest of the party wasn't happy about it either but understood the need. No one wanted this, not the sentinels, not the military nor the cops. In the end it would be their lives and the lives of their friends on the line against those of the mercenaries.
"Simon" began Chris. Simon held his hand up to stop Chris' inquiry, he wasn't ready to talk about it right now. "Later," was all he said to Chris.
The phone rang and Jack got up to answer it leaving the rest of the team to get more information from Maybourne. The call was from Gen Hammond. When Jack hung up the phone after finishing his call with the General he returned to the group collected in his living room and told them.
"The General is doing a thorough sweep of the base, though officially he's calling it a readiness response practice. Anyone watching would see nothing out of the ordinary. " Explaining to the nonmilitary there. "Part of the practice is to hunt down anything that might not belong on base or in the surrounding area. In our case that usually means a hostile alien."
"Does that happen often?" asked Chris
Maybourne laughed and answered Chris before Jack could. "More often than you want to know about Agent Larabee."
Jack ignored the question and Maybourne. " General Hammond will find anything or anyone who doesn't belong on the base. He is including a thorough examination of all personnel records new to the base for the last two years."
"What good will that do?" asked Maybourne.
"Hopefully it will give us a heads up on anyone who might be with the Trust or the person who has been supplying the NID with information." Jack gave Maybourne a meaningful look. Maybourne met his eyes and didn't look away. The two were about to get into a staring match when Chris interrupted.
"Simon and I have some news." He had their attention. "While you were talking to the General we called our people. They have taken in to custody men who were watching Vin's and Jim's homes." Forestalling the next question he added. "They didn't show up till this morning. Apparently this Trust of your wasn't worried about the sentinels till after the fact."
"Have they said anything?" asked Jack
"Not yet, nor are they being allowed to talk to anyone other than our men."
"How are you managing that?" asked Daniel
"Their paperwork has somehow been lost, till it's found and processed they're stuck waiting in a cell." said Simon.
"This means we need to work faster." said Jack
"Indeed, O'Neill, if these criminals are becoming concerned with what actions the sentinels might take, there could be an increase in personnel at the research center." stated Teal'c.
Maybourne had been studying the two sentinels, trying not to be obvious about it. Finally he asked a question. "From what I've seen today you two don't really need your guides to function, do you? " He physically flinched when two sets of cold blue eyes looked at him.
Chris had his hand on Vin's arm holding him in place as did Simon next to Jim. Each wondered if Maybourne had a death wish the way he kept antagonizing the sentinels.
It was Daniel who answered. "You didn't read any of the papers that were turned over to the NID did you ? Daniel accused Maybourne, then answered the question himself. "Of course not if you had you wouldn't be asking that question. It was through working with their guides that Jim and Vin have been able to handle their senses this well."
Daniel was about to go on and lecture the man when Jim interrupted changing the subject. He didn't want Maybourne to understand too much of what their guides meant to him and Vin. "It doesn't matter what he thinks or doesn't think. We need to get back to this." Tapping the maps. "How is it that the town doesn't ask questions why a research center needs armed guards?"
"Money...lots of money, the Trust has a lot of it to throw around." Maybourne answered. "Both the industry complex and the other research centers hire locals to work for them, pay fees and taxes, ect. It's still not a lot, not if you want to keep up the standards of your schools, city's works and still line your pockets. The Trust has bought the silence of the Rock Ridge officials. You can't expect help from that quarter."
"We wont need them." said Vin looking at the readouts of the buildings.
"After we take them out, are you prepared to take custody of the Trust's personnel?" asked Chris of Jack, but Maybourne answered first.
"Now wait a minute, that would be for the NID to take into custody any members of the Trust. But we haven't been able to get enough men together to take on an operation yet. We need at least a platoon to do this right...more." argued Maybourne. "And what about transport for that many men, how are you going to keep it from being noticed?"
Jack and his team would have liked an answer to those questions themselves but kept quiet. The sentinels and their bosses had driven back from the mountain together and obviously had put together some kind of plan. SG1 wanted to hear it out. But before that could happen the roar of a motorcycle came from outside.
Jim whined as the sound hurt his ears but manage to dial it down before it became to much to bear. "Yours?" he asked Vin
"Yeah, he's here to tell us if everything is in place."
All but Jack stayed seated as Chris and Simon were clearly in charge of this latest development. As Jack headed for his front door, the noise of the motorcycle ceased. Before he got there a voice yelled. "Uncle Jack, you home...Uncle Jack."
Looking over his shoulder he asked "Uncle Jack?"
"Cover story." Chris called back.
Jack opened his door and took a look at his new nephew.
+ + + + + + +
Ezra woke a few hours later feeling better but stiff. Blair had catnapped, waking at every sound not wanting for Faxes/Raxar to come back and not be aware of the Goa'uld's presence. Between their two discussions with Lamarr and then Faxes/Raxar it had been a long day. Both men wanted out of their prison badly, but neither had found any weakness in their cell or in their captors.
Shortly after Ezra woke one of the guards brought them supper, throwing brown bags between the bars of their cell and leaving, not saying a word throughout the whole exchange. Ezra was the closest and he picked up the MRE's and gave one to Blair.
"Ah don't suppose that you'll let me forgo this wonderful delicacy for a later time?" Ezra really didn't want to eat the contents of the brown bag.
"No, you've got to keep your strength up." Blair reminded him. Blair recognized the sights of a nervous eater in Ezra. The southerner didn't eat if he was upset and being held captive was a good reason to be upset. Still he needed to eat and Blair did too. With great reluctance both dug in and ate the meal provided. While they ate Blair finished telling Ezra about the Goa'ulds and the stargate.
"As interesting as all that is, how is it going to help us escape?" asked Ezra.
Blair held his napkin in front of his mouth and spoke softly. "It's not, but I wanted you to know what was going on with Raxar. It's something I need to warn Jim about though."
Ezra didn't hide his puzzlement from Blair but understood Blair's concern at being overheard. As he gathered his trash he leaned toward his companion and softly asked. "How?"
Blair got up and helped Ezra gather the trash making noises with the rubbish and using both their movements to hide their conversation. They didn't know if anyone was listening or if they'd put in cameras after their escape but why take chances.
"I'm going to meditate and take a spirit walk, I want you to go with me."
Ezra seemed uneasy "Wouldn't it be bettah if Ah stood guard so no one interrupted you?"
Blair countered with. "Vin will be with Jim," he told the southerner, "they will be meditating together. All you have to do is go into a meditative state, I'll handle all the rest, just stay with me."
With great reluctance Ezra agreed. He didn't like meditating, he felt too exposed and not in control. Nor did he fully understand Blair's abilities as a shaman, but he trusted his mentor and if it would help Vin in any way he would do it. Knowing Vin, the rescue was already underway and he needed to be warned about the dangers of the Goa'uld.
The pair rearranged the bunks so they blocked the door. Blair put their blankets down on the hard cement floor. No since in being too uncomfortable he told Ezra. After their escape Blair assumed that they would be watched or at least listened in on. Turning where he thought the cameras might be located he said cleverly.
"We are going to meditate in order to process everything we have been told today. We will be at it for some time. Don't worry or try to wake us it, would be dangerous for us to be wakened too suddenly. Remember Lamarr doesn't want us damaged."
Together they sat down, reaching out. Blair took Ezra's hand and lead him into a meditative state. "Take a deep breath, let it out. Breath in ... breath out... in... out.. in.. out.. Follow my voice.. Breathe in.. Breathe out ...in...out...follow me..."
Ezra let himself be mesmerized by the soft voice of his fellow guide and easily followed the sound, relaxing with each breath he took till the same voice told him to open his eyes. He was in a forest, everything had a blue cast to it, even the wolf in front of him. Ezra had no fear of the great beast for somehow he knew it was his friend. The wolf turned and ran off a few feet looking over it's shoulder at Ezra. Without hesitation Ezra followed. The two wolves ran off into the forest. One with eyes of blue the other green.