Thanks: my husband for suggesting an idea, Barbara for her efficient beta reading and suggesting a word!

Copyright © Anakin David 2006


“Yes, here we go again!” Jack mumbled on the phone as Hank Landry told him about the latest prank from the Russians.

“I did what I could, Jack,” Landry replied on his end. “Now, my powers are not infinite as you very well know. I’ve talked to the president, and with the current crisis, he’s not the most available.”

“Don’t you think I know that? Hank, the Russians have been driving me crazy since the beginning of the program, or almost! Not to mention that ‘incident’ with the International Space Station and Anubis! Our hands, ankles and even balls are tied up! And now the Chinese think they should stick their noses into that, too! We have international teams! The Brits have two teams and several other people, the French have one and a special biology unit, the Chinese are mixed with Russian and American teams; what else can we do?!” Jack slammed his hand on the top of his desk in frustration.

“They’ve always wanted complete access…”

“Complete access?” Jack interrupted, “That’s command of the SGC, and it’s not going to happen.”

“I was thinking shared command….”

“Again, NOT gonna happen, Hank! If we grant shared command to the Russians, the Chinese are gonna ask for it, too, as well as the French and the British, and what will we do then in the middle of complete chaos?!”

“Maybe they have some ulterior motives,” Hank resumed.

“Of course they do!” Jack replied, his aggravation rising. He paused. “Look,” he said, his anger suddenly dissipating, in favor of lassitude and worry. “When do you have to give an answer?”

“Three days from now… more or less”, the other man replied.

“I’ll try and consider our options. We might have several within our reach, and I’m not going to relinquish the gate to those power mongers…” He heard a snort on the other end and raised his eyebrows.


“Yes, Jack… Just when you said ‘power monger’, it made me wonder for a moment what we are exactly. We want full control of the gate and operations, Jack. We were lucky the Russians did not have the technological nor financial means to sustain such a program as the SGC’s.”

“Who says they have them now?”

“No one, Jack, but they’re no idiots. You’re too good of a soldier to not know you shouldn’t underestimate our enemies…”

“Well, technically, they’re not our enemies anymore,” Jack smirked, “but yes, you’re right, they’re no idiots, if Dr. Markov was any indication…”

“I’ll leave you to think about it. I’ve given SG-1 their weekend; maybe you can discuss it with Carter?” He heard humor in the other man’s voice.

“As well as I can discuss it with Daniel or T’, Hank… Mitchell, I don’t know him well enough…” Jack smirked.

Landry snorted. “If you say so, Jack… I’ll talk to you on Monday…”

“Maybe I’ll come right down to the SGC and tell Chekov what I think of his blackmail…”

“Then I will have to have you restrained, Jack. No nonsense, I don’t want to have to deal with a diplomatic incident on top of that.”

“You know me, Hank,” Jack said with a touch of humor.

“Rightly so… Goodbye, Jack…”


Jack hung up the phone and pulled the already loose tie from his collar before putting his head in his hands, sighing. He almost jumped through the ceiling when he felt two slender hands on his shoulders but instantaneously relaxed when he realized to whom they belonged.

He closed his eyes and let her massage his tense shoulders.

“I thought *I* was the workaholic in this relationship…” she chastised gently.

“Managed to catch a ride sooner?” he asked, his eyes still closed.

“Mitchell had to take a 302 for a test flight; he needed a co-pilot…”


“Yes… feeling better?” she asked, as he finally raised his eyes to meet hers.

“You know, don’t you?”

“Yes, General Landry told us briefly once the connection with Vala was severed,” she said, rounding his chair to come and sit on his lap, her arms automatically coming around his neck. “They couldn’t have chosen a better moment,” she sighed, giving him a peck on the lips.

“Couldn’t we plead the urgency of the situation with the Ori?”

“Even you know better than that, Jack…”

“What about taking the Odyssey to an uninhabited planet, taking the Stargate, and relinquishing theirs?”

“Jack… there would be huge interferences; it’s impossible for two Stargates to cohabit the same planet. We could gate out from the SGC and potentially come back to the Russian base, or have problems with the wormhole… No, it’s not the right idea…”

“I am loath to suggest this, but I guess it’s our last card…” he said, kissing her hair.

“What?” she said, looking him in the eyes.

“A 304…”

“You want to give them a ship?”

“It’s the only way they’re going to let us get away with this… And I suspect that’s what they have wanted since the beginning of this.”

Sam considered his words for a moment. “You might be right,” she finally approved.

“The more I think about it, the more I think it’s the heart of the problem… To be honest, they have given their share with the expenses on the Gate, and they have never complained, save for the occasional heavy protest now and then. We haven’t exactly been fully cooperative in the meantime. Granted, they have their teams and access to the discoveries, but we still have very tight control even on this.”

“You planning on giving them a fleet of 302s at the same time?”

“No, they have access to the engine specifications of those; they can make their own! I think a 304 is enough of a compensation for a renewal of our Gate rent!”

She chuckled, nuzzling the part of his chest that was revealed by the undone two top buttons.

“You are a wise man, General Jack O'Neill,” she said, kissing the base of his neck.

“Don’t you know that by now?” he asked gently, relaxing as he felt her body starting to conform to the shape of his. His left arm had naturally snuck around her waist when she had come to sit on his lap, but the other one had been busy doodling on a pad then. He left his pen and encircled her waist fully.

“Are you trying to confuzzle me, Carter?” he asked after a moment of feeling her hand drawing slow circles underneath his shirt.

She raised her head, her look quizzical. “Confuzzle?”

“It’s a word…”

She chuckled, her eyes glinting with mischievousness. “You don’t like what I’m doing?”

“Let’s go home, Colonel, and I’ll show you what I like plenty…” he said, raising his eyebrows suggestively.

Hand in hand, they left his office and the Pentagon, hoping to find solace in each other’s arms while they still could…


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