Characters: Ancient!John + SG1 + NCIS
Pairings: Ancient!John/Rodney McKay; Evan Lorne/Radek Zelenka, Sam Carter/Jack O'Neill
Summary: Atlantis has a very high casualty rate. This makes certain people very curious.
Series: part 2 of #40-something in the Ancient!John 'verse (see part 1) . Part of Locality.
An Ancient!John/NCIS Crossover Story
20 November, 2007 – Columbia University, Terra, Avalon
Colonel Sheppard offers him what must be his most winsome smile. "Alright," he says – rather cheerfully, all things considered – before turning back to the curious crowd and continuing, "Well, I guess we'll have to cut the questions short for today. If there's anything you really want to ask, the event organizers have my contact information. If not, I'm afraid this is where we part ways." He steps away from the podium then and, continuing to smile at Gibbs as he attempts to arrest him, asks, "Mind if I grab my jacket before you throw the cuffs on? I'd rather not freeze to death before you get me to wherever we're going."
"Alright," Gibbs agrees wearily, "but DiNozzo and I are coming with you."
The Colonel's smile, if possible, gets even bigger. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
He gestures them up onto the stage before leading the way down a long what seems to be an endless warren of clothing racks, narrow corridors, and unmarked doors, they arrive at a well-proportioned dressing room – at least, well-proportioned as far as dressing rooms go. It's on the larger side, with a pair of elegant, if worn, couches and some artwork that might have been in fashion back when the building was built, but it still suffers from the hideous bare-bulb mirrors that all theatre dressing rooms do, as well as a particularly lurid wallpaper that time had done few favours. A pair of suitcases – matching, and likely as expensive and new as their clothing – are in residence on the nearer sofa. On the farther, Doctor McKay is sound asleep, still dressed down to his shoes.
"Rodney," the Colonel says, placing a hand on McKay's shoulder and shaking him slightly, "buddy, time to get up. We've got company."
"Are they here to kill us?"
"Probably not," Sheppard admits, moving away from the couch and towards the coat rack next to the door.
"Then tell them to go away. If I've got to spend the next thirty-six hours with General O'Neill and that squalling infant of his, I want to be well rested."
"Jake's almost two."
"Screaming toddler then. The point stands," McKay insists, rather forcibly all things considered, as he climbs to his feet. He's dressed almost exactly the same as yesterday, with the same jacket but a different scarf, which he adjusts with an anxiousness that makes Tony wonder what he's hiding. An unfortunate birthmark, perhaps? No – the pictures they'd dug up researching his past hadn't shown anything like that. Something more recent then – a scar, maybe? He's given to understand from some of the former colleagues they'd been able to track down that the urge to strangle Doctor McKay isn't all that unusual. Maybe someone had given it a go recently.
"What are these two doing here?"
"That," Sheppard says, the door closing firmly behind them, "is what I'd like to know."
Tony goes for his SIG, but it's too late: when he turns around, he finds Sheppard standing in front of the door, one hand still on the knob, the other aiming a Colt quite steadily at Gibb's head. "You don't want to do this, Colonel."
"Not particularly, no," Sheppard agrees, taking his hand away from the door handle. It glows faintly red, what's left of it anyway, and Tony doubts that anything short of a battering ram could open it now. "But you've left me no other options, so…" He waves his free hand at them and, too Tony's shock, his SIG flies out of his hand, as does Gibb's, coming to rest neatly at Sheppard's feet.
"What the hell…?"
"I'm not entirely powerless," he continues, as if that comment makes perfect sense. "Rodney, d'you mind?"
"One second, I just need to… Here we are." There's a bit of shuffling behind them before McKay appears in Tony's vision, waving what looks like a particularly sleek PDA in front of each of them in turn. "Well, they're completely human. Though I'm fairly certain that this one," he gestures sharply at Tony, "has the gene – not a particularly strong copy, but enough to mess with the sensors on this thing."
"What gene? What are they talking about, DiNozzo?" Gibbs asks, not that either of the men they were meant to be arresting pays his question any mind.
"Exactly the sort of thing that would be useful if you're trying to get your hands on something you're not supposed to have, or don't want anybody to know you have. Now," Sheppard takes a handful of steps forward, still holding his weapon on Gibbs as he turns his attentions back to them, "why don't you two take a seat and tell me what you're hoping to accomplish with this witch hunt of yours."
Tony, having long since learned to play to his strengths, allows himself to chatter somewhat inanely, "Well, yesterday we were just hoping to get a lead on a man responsible for the deaths of a lot of innocent Marines. Today I'm looking to take down whatever crime ring you've got going on here. Must be quite an operation if you're willing to risk all this," he gestures expansively at the room. The room itself might not be much, but the combined lecture fees for the sixteen colleges Sheppard is visiting over the next three weeks numbers just south of the absurd, and even that is barely a drop in the bucket compared to all that he's already earned. Apparently being a big-shot mathematician pays, "for whatever cut you're getting. Or maybe you're not in it for the money. Maybe you like seeing good Marines shot down in cold blood."
Tony knows the gun will waver before it does. Anyone who had reacted to as strongly to slights against his XO's character is bound to react even move strongly to slights against his own. He just has to keep Sheppard's attention on him long enough for Gibbs to grab the gun and then they can figure out what the hell is going on here.
The Colonel shifts his aim from Gibbs to Tony, as expected. The movement is quick, efficient (whatever Sheppard has been doing for the Air Force, he's had training) but there is a split second when his Colt is pointed at neither of them and that is when Gibbs goes for the gun.
Sheppard, however, is faster and manages to get two off into Gibbs shoulder before he's taken more than three steps in his direction, sending Gibbs back, bloody and reeling into the couch. He turns the gun on Tony, jaw hard and eyes cold, and Tony obligingly holds up his hands, palms out, and backs very, very slowly to the couch.
"Now," Sheppard says, all earlier humour missing from his voice, "I'm going to ask you one last time: who are you really and what do you want with Atlantis?"
"We told you. I'm Special Agent DiNozzo. The guy you just shot is my boss, Special Agent Gibbs. We're with NCIS."
"That's the who. How about the what?"
"All we want – well, wanted, because now I'm pretty sure we're going to be adding resisting arrest and assaulting a federal officer to the list – is to ask you a couple of questions about Major Lorne. We thought you might know where he is and what he's been up to. That's it. That's all. I don't know anything about any Atlantis, unless," he continues mulishly, trying to see how bad Gibbs' wounds are without taking an eye off of Sheppard, "you want to talk about that awful George Pal flick, or maybe that Disney movie that came out a couple years ago."
"Y'know, I have a hard time believing that, seeing as how one of my conditions for even stepping through the porta was that they drop the charges against my people."
"What the hell is a porta?" Tony asks at the same time Gibbs' coughs wetly-
-which at least lets Tony know he's alive and conscious.
"No, no, no. You don't seem to understand how this works: I have the gun, which means I ask the questions. A difficult concept I know for some folks to get, I understand, but one that doesn't have to end badly for you two if you tell me the truth. And since I highly doubt that a couple of mid-level flunkies like you suddenly got it in your heads one day to go after the imperator of Pegasus all by yourselves, someone had to put you up to it. Who was it?"
Tony blinks. "Have you always been completely insane or is this a new thing with you?"
The Colonel jaw twitches and for a moment – a moment that seems to stretch out into eternity with the Colt pointed directly between his eyes – he's certain that Sheppard's going to shoot him too. Then McKay, who Tony admits to forgetting about entirely during all this, steps up and places a hand on Sheppard's arm. "They need to be alive to answer questions John."
The face Sheppard makes at this would be hilarious if there wasn't still a gun pointed at Tony's. "Did you call the SGC?"
"What do you mean did you call the SGC? Of course I called the SGC. Watching you hold people at gunpoint isn't exactly my idea of a good time, no matter why you're doing it.
"Anyway, I called General O'Neill. He's got people running background checks on these two as we speak. If there's anything to find, they'll find it. Someone from Homeworld Command should be here any minute to take us to take us – all of us – to The Pillbox so we can sort out this mess without you having to shoot anyone else."
"I hate this planet," Sheppard says incomprehensibly, barely relaxing his hold on his Colt.
"Everybody with any sense hates the east coast."
Sheppard shrugs indifferently.
Before anyone can say anything else, someone pounds on the dressing room door. "Lord Iohannes? Doctor McKay? This is Captain Lopez with Homeworld Command. I'm here to escort you and the prisoners to General O'Neill."
The Dag Hammarskjöld Centre for Universal Peace and Security, Terra, Avalon
"You mind telling me how something like this happens? You promised us that you'd sorted everything out, that if we agreed to this little field trip that there wouldn't be any problems – for anyone."
General O'Neill clicks his pen and tosses it haphazardly atop the paperwork still waiting for his signature. "I don't know if you realize this, John, but there are nearly two hundred countries on this planet, most of whom don't always agree and all of which you pissed off when you pulled off your little stunt last year. Just because they tell me they've dropped the charges doesn't mean there's not still bad blood."
John frowns and slumps back against the conference table, letting his legs dangle over the edge.
Rodney absentmindedly pats the elbow that ends up near his chair. He doesn't need to look to know that John's got his disappointed with humanity face on and decides time better spent glaring at the General. "Look, it would be one thing if it was the SVR sniffing around, asking questions about Doctor Chziov, or Mossad tailing us trying to get a lead on Doctor Ahavah. But we're not talking about some foreign intelligence service asking questions about one of their nationals they have every reason to think that Evan kidnaped, especially if they've not been read on to the Stargate Program. We're talking about your own military sending people to harass us about Evan himself and then attempting to arrest John on live TV. That's something that's entirely within your control."
"I've got my best people on it."
"Oh, your best people. That makes me feel so much better. Your best people are an anthropologist, an ex-con, and an overgrown frat boy. And Teal'c, if he's actually on-world this week."
"You're forgetting Jonas Quinn," O'Neill says, pointedly off subject. "He re-joined SG-1 after Sam left for Atlantis. They needed a science nerd and he needed off Langara. It worked out for everyone"
That actually makes Rodney feel a little better. He'd only met Jonas the one time, but he'd more common sense than the rest of them combined. Luckily, John seems inclined to pick up the thrust of the argument, and sits back up saying, "We were supposed to go to your place afterward. What if they had caught up with us a little later? Jake could have gotten hurt."
"Oh believe me, I'll be taking that up with our friends from NCIS as soon as they get here."
It's Rodney's turn to frown. "They're out of interrogation already?"
"Oddly enough, people tend to be a little bit more forthcoming when they don't have guns in their faces."
"I'll believe that when I see it," John snorts, turning his head to door as it opens. "Hey guys," he grins, jumping off the table and letting Vala pull him into a bear hug. "Long time, no see."
"And whose fault is that, Mister Popularity?" she teases, kissing both his cheeks in an overly European manner. "I've been keeping copies of all the articles about you. Daniel says I should make a scrapbook."
Wiping the bright red lipstick stains from his skin, John laughs, "You should definitely not do that."
"Of course not," Jackson says, offering John his hand. "She should hold out and open a museum library with them after the program goes public. Might make the transition easier for them or, at least, more real."
"Any news on when that will be?"
"It's still being decided, but we're looking at 2012 at the earliest. Maybe as late as 2016 depending on what Congress looks like after the next election."
"It takes five years to figure out how to say we are not alone?"
"It's more the we've been lying to you about it for a decade that we need to sort out."
As the rest of SG-1 introduces John to Jonas – and, surprisingly, Teal'c, who he's somehow always managed to miss in the past – Rodney watches the members of Special Agent Gibbs' team take seats around the conference table. They try to sit as far from him as possible, but one of them – a nervous-looking man in his late twenties or early thirties – end up in the chair across from him, gaping rather more openly than he probably realizes.
When he finally realizes he's been staring, he turns beet red before asking, "Are you an alien too?"
"What? No. I'm from Canada. I only work in outer space," Rodney adds somewhat wryly, getting a grin out of the agent he dimly remembers is called DiNozzo.
"It's just you've got a couple… blinking lights… right here."
Rodney's hand goes up to the Device inserted into the mastoid skin behind his right ear. It's slightly warm to the touch. "This version wasn't designed to operate outside of Atlantis for very long. I'm going to have to recalibrate the transmitter so it doesn't burn itself out trying to find a signal to latch onto." He starts digging through his pockets for his toolkit. He knows he brought it with him – unless he left it in the luggage? No, John had given him enough grief for not bringing his gun to the lectures. He wasn't about to earn John's ire by leaving his entire off-world kit behind.
"Oh. But they're aliens."
"Actually," Jonas says, sliding into the seat next to Rodney, "Vala and I are the same species as you. We were just born on different planets. Our genomes aren't actually that different from yours. Teal'c is a Jaffa, but that's mostly a cosmetic difference. But Icarus… Icarus is the real deal: a genuine real, live Ancient. Not that that means anything to you." He elbows Rodney, like that's something people actually do. "I heard about the wedding. Congratulations. He seems like a great guy."
"Yes, well, he's an idiot, but he's my idiot, so…"
Jonas beams like this is the sweetest thing he's ever heard anyone say, the effect only somewhat marred by the still-livid scar that cuts across the left side of his face He'd spent the better part of two years fighting the Ori back on his homeworld only to be cast out by political rivals after finally succeeding, but it doesn't seem to have affected Jonas' outlook much. "But still. He seems like a good guy. I'm happy for you. Daniel's filled me in a little bit on the drama over in Pegasus, so you can't have had it easy."
"If I wanted easy I would have gotten a liberal arts degree."
"You know," he says, still beaming, "I'd forgotten how funny you were, Doctor McKay."
Before Rodney can think of the proper response to that, General O'Neill reminds them that Thanksgiving is the day after tomorrow and that he'd actually like to be with home with his son for it. Time to get down to business.
Gibbs' opinion of the Air Force isn't improved when Colonel Mitchel decides to use General O'Neill's suggestion they get down to business to stand behind his chair, place a hand on the back, and say like something out of one of DiNozzo's old detective movies, "Just tell 'em what you told us, Gunny."
Sparing Mitchell only the briefest of his most disgusted looks, he directs his answers to the General. "Three days ago, Major Lorne's file was couriered to my office."
DiNozzo's eyes practically budge at this information. They'd been in separate rooms for that part of the interrogation and he'd not see a reason to tell his team. "You brought us a case from out of house, Boss? That's asking for trouble."
McKay gestures impatiently, clearly unhappy with most of the current company. "Who sent it?"
If – and that's a very big if – everything Doctor Jackson had told him is true, than McKay's not just Sheppard's colleague: he's the man who intentionally built a flaw into the sensor grid that apparently surrounds the planet so that Major Lorne could pilot an alien spaceship into orbit and exfiltrate two dozen of the most brilliant minds in their fields to The Lost City of Atlantis, which apparently hadn't been lost, or even in this galaxy, for quite some time. That makes him a traitor in Gibbs' book, whatever his country of origin.
Some of this must show on his face, as the next thing any of them know Colonel Sheppard is slamming both of this hands on the table. "He asked you a question."
"Sheppard," the General sighs, as if such blatant insubordination is something that must be tolerated instead of nipped in the bud quickly and with creative use of force.
Colonel Sheppard pushes off the wall, never having bothered to take a seat at the conference table, and takes few steps towards Gibbs – and, by extension, Colonel Mitchell. "I'm sorry, but I tried playing nice."
"Shooting someone counts as playing nice?" Colonel Mitchell asks, clearly less amused than the General.
"It does when someone is threatening the safety of my city and my son!"
"Nobody's threatening anybody! In case you forgot," Mitchell spits, "Atlantis and Major Lorne are both still in Pegasus, three million light years away. We control the Gate, so there's no way anybody's getting there without a spaceship, and we know they're not goa'uld and not working for the Lucian Alliance."
"The person who sent them that file could be."
The General pinches the bridge of his nose. "Special Agent Gibbs, do you know who couriered you that file?"
"I managed to trace it to theJFCC ISR's Office of Special Activities at the Pentagon, but I haven't been able to put a name to anyone in the department yet. But my contact at OSI said the information on Major Lorne was legit, so I decided to move first and figure out the politics behind it later."
"You told us that those files had been destroyed."
"Officially, yes. But people keep grudges, McKay."
"Is that so? I guess I must have forgotten that while I was in Siberia," Doctor McKay says before sighing himself. "The Office of Special Activities for the ISR used to be one of the cover stories for Area 51's special projects in Washington."
"It still is," Doctor Jackson agrees, looking far from delighted about the fact. "But if that's where the file came from, my bet is that things are a lot worse than we expect."
"Worse? How can it possibly be worse than we think?"
"Because," the General explains, "I put Colonel Telford in charge of that department after it was decided Sam would replace him for The Third Expedition and he runs a tight operation. If he's gone rouge, I can guarantee the whole office has as well."
"Er, not to interrupt, Sir," McGee manages to choke out, still a little too on edge from their quick and dirty read-on to the biggest secret the American government has ever managed to keep, "but how big of an office are we talking about here?"
It's Colonel Mitchell who answers, voice more even than before but posture still tense. "In DC? About twenty. At the Antarctic Outpost? Close to a hundred."