Was digging through some old files and found something... the start of a story I began a while back and now have no intention of finishing because - if I remember the storyline correctly, and I don't know that I do - it's basically a lengthened version of March, where Sam actually goes to work for the NID in order to try and clear his name (and now that I think about it, Ness, I think this was a revision of the 'something to come back for fic'. After "The Fifth Man" I overhauled it, then got bored with it. And then 2001 came along and screwed things up in ways I can't possibly explain at this hour.)
Anyway, since it doesn't work as a standalone story (well, maybe the second half does, I'm not sure) I figured I would dump it here and hope someone enjoyed it. If you want to think of it as a March prequel, knock yourselves out.
In the first section, Haskell, Garcia and Price are NID lackies/agents/whatever. Only they're aliases. (Hee!) 'Haskell' and 'Price' are actually characters on the show. Garcia is just there to look pretty and make the scene less un-PC.
Jack O'Neill was now expendable.
Senator Robert Kinsey savored the thought as he might a mouthful of fine wine, rolling it around in his mind, testing for aroma and tang. They were right, he thought: victory was not merely sweet, but as intoxicating as the glass of Grand Champagne-cognac he'd enjoyed earlier that night.
Through the window near his desk he surveyed the perfect nightscape of Washington, DC. The icy moon, the silken night, the stars blotted out by city lights; it all reassured Kinsey, giving him a sense of rightness with the world. Man had conquered the night with fire, had conquered the sky and wind with satellites and chemicals, had even conquered the moon. He could imagine his ancestors hundreds of years ago staring up at the pale sphere with excitement, wonder, and fear. Now the American flag flew on the lunar surface, and the footprints of Americans decorated its dusty face in testament to the human spirit and the greatness of the country, and there remained no mystery. Via the power of satellite technology, the close skies belonged to Earth... belonged to America.
The stars did not, but they were never meant to be ours, he mused, nodding to himself. The shimmering, sparkling 'threat' above was masked by the industrial glow below, and so the stars were as unimportant as if they did not exist at all.
"I think the Colonel has overstayed his welcome," he said, and his breath did not condense on the frosty windowpane.
Haskell, Garcia, and Price muttered unintelligibly amongst themselves for a moment, and then Garcia spoke up. "You do realize that you're taking a tremendous risk here, sir?"
Pulling the shade down over the window the Senator turned, noting with satisfaction as Garcia winced and her silent companions pulled away from her a bit. There had been a time when he would have rebuked the woman for saying such a thing - and in front of others no less - but he was still relishing the taste of victory, and anger would only sour its sweetness. Instead, he smiled; his visitors did not relax. "Of course I realize it," he said slowly, annoyed that one little incident could throw his capability into doubt and leave these toads questioning his every decision.
Haskell spoke up meekly, glancing at Price as he did so. The two men fancied themselves experts on the SGC - Hammond, O'Neill, and the rest of their sycophants - although they couldn't have known what Kinsey knew. "Lisette is right," said Haskell. "O'Neill doesn't exist in a vacuum."
"The entire base is very close," piped up Price. "Especially SG-1. If you had seen some of the things --"
Senator Kinsey snarled in disgust and the younger man fell silent, his eyes darting nervously around the room. For a moment, Kinsey decided, he would let them squirm. 'If you had seen'? There was nothing he could have seen that would have changed his mind in this matter.
'Close'? Yes, SG-1 was close. So was a colony of fire ants. So was a hive of vicious hornets. No, O'Neill's 'vanishing' wouldn't go unnoticed. But that was the whole point. This wasn't just getting rid of a troublemaker, of a rogue who didn't know his boundaries and didn't know where he stood in the grand scheme of things. This was sending a message, a very clear and distinct message, to any who might try to follow his example by trying to destroy Kinsey and his careful plans. SG-1 included.
"We have spent far too long catering to these people," he said quietly. "Far too long bowing at their whims, allowing them to run rampant through the universe, costing this country a great deal of money, costing many well-intentioned soldiers their lives. It's gotten out of hand. Even with the NID, there is no real accountability. There is no way for us to control them."
He had tried, of course, and they'd done an admirable job containing Hammond... at first. Then O'Neill had gotten involved: O'Neill, with that sniveling traitor Maybourne simpering at his elbow. No one needed to know about Maybourne; Kinsey would take care of him on his own time. But O'Neill... he'd abused his meager powers, disregarded his low position, been so uncouth as to call in favors from the President - the President! Of all people! - and he had threatened them. Threatened a United States Senator.
Kinsey prayed that O'Neill would have a second or two to regret that decision before he was dispatched to the judicious fires of Hell.
"The entire premise of their existence is a sorry joke," he continued, gesturing grandly, "and even in that ridiculous objective they've failed. Miserably. Every time that gate is opened, a needless risk is taken. And every day that Jack O'Neill is given to wreak havoc on our plans... it's another risk. He's good, I give you that. But he overestimated himself. He thought he could play hardball. Thought he could play with the big boys. All he did was make himself a target. He's no longer worth the risk."
Of course, the trick, Kinsey thought, was to get rid of O'Neill in a way that would appear quite innocent, as though he had made the decision to leave on his own. Or, even better, for him to become mixed up in something... to walk into something... for a foolish, reckless freak accident to befall him...
The truth - although he would never admit to these people, never speak the words for fear that they might come back to haunt him - was that he wanted more then just a risk eliminated. Jack O'Neill was more than just a thorn in his side. Now he was a mere annoyance, but given enough time, he could well become Kinsey's enemy. He and his team would become the Hounds of Hell nipping at the Senator's ankles. The closer he got to his goals, the harder they would fight, and he wasn't egotistical enough to think that he couldn't fail.
Kinsey needed to neutralize the threat, but he also wanted his... oh, 'revenge' was such a dirty-sounding word, he thought. So was 'payback'. But they conveyed the right message. He wanted O'Neill dead, ultimately. But even more than that, he wanted the Colonel to see himself for the liar, the coward, the waste of life that he truly was. To finally recognize his weakness and wickedness, to think of the eternal judgment that awaited him on the other side, and to quake in fear.
And Kinsey wanted to see it with his own two eyes.
Turning away from the images of that wonderful day, playing in his mind like a continuous movie, Kinsey returned his attention back to his subordinates. He looked from face to face, as though he could plant within each small mind the wisdom to agree with him. Haskell was nodding slowly. Garcia had a small, tight smile on her face. Only Price looked like he still had reservations, but that was to be expected. He'd spent too much time around O'Neill and the others; he was almost one of THEM by now.
"Expendable," Kinsey added. Price flinched.
The Senator made a mental note to have him replaced as soon as this was over.
In a different part of Washington, Frank Simmons quietly seethed.
Simmons considered himself a man of intrigue, a man of mystery. He indulged in the cloak of the NID, and wrapped it securely around himself whenever he happened to venture into the daylight. He had power, he knew it, and he made damn sure that everyone else knew it too. Because what good was power if it couldn't be utilized to make your foes tremble when you walked into the room?
He poured another class of brandy, wished it was champagne. Simmons wasn't a big drinker; he'd have a glass of white wine at social events, but that was his limit. He hated being out of control, hated not having the sharpest recollection of every face that passed, every word spoken. In this age of information, a sharp memory could mean millions... or it could mean your life. But he was home now, holed up alone in his apartment, and he felt it was only right to spoil himself.
God, how he hated the SGC.
At first, the assignment had seemed like a wonderful gift from God - or Senator Kinsey, and in Kinsey's eyes he was His equal, after all - but now it was looking like more of a curse. None of THEM even blinked when he entered the room, much less tremble. Simmons pretended like he was in full command, like he always did, but the truth was, he could have been drunk off his ass and still would have more control then he did in that godforsaken underground bunker.
Simmons downed the brandy, not noticing its taste or lingering burning any longer. He despised combat soldiers. The desk-pilots were so much more... manageable. Too much time on their hands, time they could sit around and think about all the ways you could ruin their lives. But the ones who had actually been out there, had seen real action... they could be downright dangerous. They had no respect for authority, none at all. Like witnessing battle could somehow make homebound dangers seem predestrian.
And that was even more true for that damned Stargate Project. Those people had seen things that no one else had, had gone places no one else had ever been... for God's sake they'd all died a couple of times. And they were all so damned CLOSE, the teams especially. Simmons' chief talent was getting people - coworkers, friends, even family - to turn against one another. Sometimes it was 'for the good of the country'. Sometimes to save their own skins. They always did it, eventually. But the teams... and SG-1 in particular...
They wouldn't. Simmons had realized that as soon as he'd started talking to Doctor Jackson. The civilians were ALWAYS the easiest to crack, and Simmons couldn't understand why this one would be any different. But he was. Jackson hadn't started blubbering over the picture of his ex, and he hadn't gotten nervous when Simmons had brought up the topic of 'viability'. If anything, he had gotten upset AT Simmons... for doing his job!
It had gotten progressively worse from there on out. Teal'c had actually come out and threatened him -- at least that part was on tape, thought Simmons, shuddering, so if his body turned up in a ditch somewhere, they would know who had done it. And Carter... Sam Carter...
Simmons upended the bottle of brandy again, only to realize that it was empty. He scowled.
That bitch Carter had actually started interrogating him, as if she had any right to know where his orders came from, as if she would even understand. She'd completely brushed off his highly-polished speech about her fraternization with various aliens and had committed a most unpardonable offense...
She knew. She knew who he was. 4574.
The bottle was still empty.
He hadn't had a chance to speak to O'Neill; after Carter's little revelation, Simmons had decided that maybe discretion was the better part of valor after all - and if nothing else, it might save his job - and he had left. His interaction with O'Neill on the previous visit had been... pleasant enough. They had waited in Hammond's office for Carter to arrive; Simmons had showed O'Neill some of the surveillance pictures and made cracks about his immaculate second-in-command having a very unprofessional alien fling. Hammond had shot him glares only when he thought Simmons wasn't looking, but O'Neill had reacted badly. Simmons hadn't understood why at the time, but he hadn't finished going through all of SG-1's mission reports at the time, either.
Bobbing along atop a comfortable haze of alcohol, Simmons reached for his papers. Damn O'Neill for getting himself lost offworld. Damn Carter for interrupting his masterful expos� of her not-so-perfect record. If he'd been allowed to finish, it would have been beautiful. He would have made them BOTH squirm, blush... and yes, tremble. For the first time since returning from Colorado, Simmons smiled; he still might.
Not all of the fraternization on that base had been of the alien variety, after all.
He decided that he would call Kinsey after all. Better then waiting until news of his failure trickled to the Senator's ear. This way, he could put a better spin on things... and share his idea with the other, more influential man. Simmons looked at the phone, sitting on the dusty end table, and decided - tomorrow. He would call tomorrow, after he'd had some time to sleep away this ugly sense of defeat, mend his cloak, and regain control.