Jack O’Neill jumped out of the military jeep almost before it stopped. He focused on the FBI agents and police officers coming from the warehouse, dragging out robed figures with Egyptian symbols on their clothes.
“Colonel! It looks like we’re too late!”
“Ya think?” He walked over to one of the agents. “Who’s in charge here?”
A man came up behind Jack. “I am. Special Agent Javier Boseman. What business is it of yours?”
“I think we need to talk in private. It’s about a guy named Kuk.”
That got Boseman’s attention. He led them to a secluded spot where they wouldn’t be disturbed. “Ok. What’ve you got for me?”
“Actually nothing. It’s all classified. We’re going to be taking Kuk and his followers off your hands. And as soon as everyone’s cleared out of the warehouse, it’ll be off-limits.”
“WHAT! If you think I’m going to let some arrogant little…”
Daniel held out his cell phone. “Uh, sir. These are orders straight from the president.”
“Right. And I take my orders directly from Abraham Lincoln’s ghost. What are you trying to pull?”
Daniel still held out his phone. “He wants to talk to you. You really should take this.”
Boseman snatched the cell phone from his hand. “Hello? Uh, huh. What’s the codeword?” All of a sudden the FBI agent stood up straight. “Sir. Yes, sir. Understood.” He folded the phone back up and gave it to Daniel without a word. If looks could kill… Boseman walked off in a huff to speak to his men.
Teal’c looked slightly amused. “It appears your president was able to convince him of the importance of our mission.”
Jack smirked. “Ya gotta love a man who can make FBI agents crumble with one quick phone call.”
Meanwhile, Blair still sat in the room where Jim had disappeared. It had been almost a half an hour. Some part of him seemed to believe that if he waited there long enough, Jim would magically return. He almost hadn’t heard Simon come up beside him.
“They told me Jim was missing and I got here as soon as I could. What happened?”
“They took him?”
“No! No one ‘took’ him anywhere. He vanished. I saw him. We met up with Kuk. There was a fight. The mirror was humming and glowing behind them. Jim tackled Kuk and they both fell into it.”
“What mirror?” Simon looked around, not seeing anything that remotely resembled a mirror. He was starting to worry about Blair’s frame of mind.
“It’s gone. It vanished in a bright light, too. Just like Jim and Kuk.” He saw the look on Simon’s face. “I know what I saw! I’m not crazy and I’m not that emotionally distraught. I’m having a hard time believing it and I saw it! I saw it! Come on, Simon. You believe in Sentinels and Shamans and spirit guides. You even believed Jim when he told you about his visions. Believe this, too!”
“Do you know how long it took me to accept those things? This…this just sounds…”
“Insane?” Blair jumped up, angry that Simon couldn’t just accept his word about what he’d seen. “If it doesn’t fit into your neat little definition of reality, it can’t possibly have happened, right? Then you tell me what happened to Jim and Kuk. You explain these weird weapons to me.” Blair squatted down to get a closer look at the curved energy weapon one of the guards had dropped.
Just then Rafe rushed in. “Captain! We’ve been ordered out immediately!”
“Agent Boseman’s really steamed. Some Air Force hot shots just showed up and took over the whole show. They’ve got their own teams and they’re taking the people we’ve rounded up. They said the ones we’ve already taken back to the station are considered officially ‘quarantined’. We’re not allowed to question them or even talk to them. Now the AF’s taking over the warehouse. They won’t even let us examine or bag anything.”
“The Air Force? On whose authority?”
“Someone said it came from the top.”
Blair looked up. “The Commissioner?”
“No. The very top. The President-of-the-United-States top.”
“Why would the President be interested in a cult?”
“Don’t know, but we have orders to clear out.”
Rafe left the room. Simon turned back to Blair. “I hope someone can shed some light on this mess.” He put a hand on Blair’s shoulder. “Come on, son. We’ll find out what’s going on here and find Jim. I promise.” Simon headed for the door. He didn’t see Blair pick up the curved weapon and hide it under his jacket before getting up to follow.
As they exited the building, Blair glanced over at the new arrivals. His eyes fixed on the group that seemed to be in charge—a very military looking man with a short haircut, a large African-American man, a blonde woman, and a younger man with glasses and longer hair. The last one didn’t look military at all even though he wore the uniform. Blair had seen him some place before, but he couldn’t quite… “Simon. I need a favor.”
“You’re not going to do something stupid are you, Sandburg?”
“Just fishing for information.” He took off his badge and gun and handed them to Simon. Then he carefully handed him his jacket with the energy weapon wrapped up inside it. He smiled at the stricken look on Simon’s face. “Don’t worry. I’m not resigning or anything. I just want you to hold onto these for a few minutes. I’ll be right back.” Blair slunk down the alley and came back through another so that he could approach the Air Force people as if he were just arriving from the neighborhood. He walked up to them so casually and quietly, and they were so busy organizing their people, that they didn’t notice him at first. He managed to catch a few words. Something about ‘SG’, ‘SGC’?
Tael’c was the first to see him. “Colonel O’Neill. We are not alone.” He nodded towards the stranger.
Blair went into his act. He walked up to the young man with glasses. “Man, you look great! I haven’t seen you in, like, forever! What happened to you, man?”
“Do I know you?”
“Aw, man. Of course you know me. Blair Sandburg. It’s weird running into you like this. I live around here and I heard all the commotion and came to check it out. This place looks like crap. Come on, don’t you remember me?”
Suddenly, recognition clicked in his eyes. “Blair? The anthropology student from Doctor Sebel’s Barbary Coast dig! I always wondered how you managed to snag a spot on his expedition.”
Bingo! Now Blair remembered where he’d seen him. “Charm, luck, and some heavy-duty sucking-up. Still in archeology?”
“To some degree.”
“So what’s an archeologist doing in an Air Force uniform? And what happened here? It looks like a drug raid or something.”
“Well…uh. I can’t really talk about that. It’s all classified.”
“Really? Maybe you could…”
The military guy interrupted. “If it wouldn’t be too much trouble, Danny. We have work to do. You can play catch up later.”
“Sorry. Maybe I could call you sometime to…” He turned back to Sandburg only to discover he was gone. “That’s odd.”
“No time to worry about that now. We need that brain of yours inside. They’ve found several weird symbols and marking on the walls.”
“Sure, Jack.” Daniel looked behind him one last time before following the others into the warehouse.
Blair made his way back to where Simon waited. He took his jacket, badge, and gun back.
“So, Sandburg. You going to tell me what that was all about?”
“Sure…when I figure it out myself.” So Daniel Jackson, archeologist, was working for the Air Force? If Blair remembered correctly, Daniel’s field of expertise was Egyptology. This guy Kuk thought he was an Egyptian god. But why would they need a real Egyptologist to study some nut? Did it have anything to do with the strange symbols he’d seen on the walls inside the warehouse, on the clothing of the cultists, and on the guards’ foreheads? And whatever they were working on was important enough to rate backup from the Prez himself. He couldn’t shake the feeling they knew exactly what happened at the warehouse. He wouldn’t be surprised if they were in on it somehow. Jim disappears, the military’s involved—Blair didn’t think it could get much worse.