Sam, Jonas Quinn, and Teal’c had been on downtime for about a week. Janet had ordered that they rest and recuperate for some time after the mission to Antarctica, where they had found an Ancient woman, whom one of the researchers had named Ayiana, frozen in the ice. When she had been thawed, it had turned out she carried some sort of deadly plague, and many of the people, including Sam, O’Neill, Jonas, and Janet herself, had become very sick. Ayiana had healed as many as she could, but it had weakened her, and she had died before she could heal O’Neill.
Out of options, they had contacted the Tok’ra, who had arrived to see what they could do. They had ended up suggesting a Tok’ra named Kanan blend with O’Neill, as they did not have the technology to heal a virus this advanced and aggressive in any other way.
It had been difficult to convince O’Neill, but they had finally succeeded, and he was currently with the Tok’ra, waiting for Kanan to regain his strength and be debriefed, before leaving a now cured O’Neill.
Sam had spent the time off working in her laboratory at the SGC, something she almost never felt she had enough time to do normally. Jonas had commented that she did not know how to relax, but she had just laughed and told him he should stop listening to O’Neill.
After Drey’auc’s death about a month ago, Teal’c had worked on his relationship with Rya’c as often as he got the chance, and he had left for a short visit.
Jonas was spending the time off familiarizing himself some more with television - especially the ‘Weather Channel’ - a habit he had picked up shortly after coming to Earth. He was not allowed to go to the surface unaccompanied, and there was not much for him to do on the base. Sam felt sorry for him.
She had just stepped by his room and talked to him, checking if he wanted to have breakfast with her. He had already eaten, though, and Sam were just on her way to the mess hall, when she met Harriman, who greeted her.
“Major Carter, could you step by General Hammond’s office as soon as it’s convenient?”
“Harriman,” Sam smiled at him. “Yes, of course. I was just on my way to get some breakfast, but that can wait.”
“No, it’s not that urgent. Get something to eat first.”
“Okay.” Sam nodded. “I will.”
Hammond sat in his office, pondering the orders he had received. The Tok’ra had contacted the SGC very early this morning - while it was still night, actually - and he had been called to the base, where the seriousness of the situation had become clear.
Several representatives from the US government had already been there when he arrived, as well as a couple of Hammond’s superiors from Washington. Other than those, there had been a small group of people whom Hammond suspected of being some sort of secret intelligence. The Tok’ra present were all members of the Tok’ra Council - Garshaw, Delek, and Selmak - and they brought troubling news indeed.
The danger of the situation became truly clear to him when Anise insisted on performing a zatarc-test on him before he was even told what it was all about!
The Tok’ra had first become suspicious almost a year ago, when a gravely injured operative had reported his suspicions. A discreet investigation had been launched, its existence known only to a handful of Tok’ra.
They still did not have all the information, but they knew this; the Tok’ra had been infiltrated, and it was unknown exactly who was involved. They also knew there were people on Earth involved, almost certainly someone at the SGC - something which the intelligence people agreed to, much to Hammond’s surprise and unease. They also knew that these infiltrators were working actively to bring down both the Tok’ra and the Tau’ri, and that the one behind it all was almost certainly a Goa’uld, allied with Anubis.
The fact that no one knew exactly who could be trusted, meant this had to be kept as secret as possible, involving as few as possible. The Tok’ra had an operative, who had proof of some of those involved, and he had been working deep undercover for some time, attempting to dig deeper. It was becoming too dangerous, and he needed somewhere to hide. The Tok’ra tunnels were not a safe place, since there were those there who could not be trusted. The operative had survived until now, because no one knew he was even alive, and that was how it could hopefully remain until the investigations were over.
It was all made worse by the fact that the Goa’uld had been discovered to use a changed form of the zatarc-programming to create several of the infiltrators. That meant anyone could be affected, or become affected, and so they could not risk letting anyone know about this, unless it was absolutely necessary.
The Tok’ra wanted to hide the operative on Earth, and Hammond’s superiors agreed. He had been tasked with finding someone completely trusted, who could guard him, and also help him fit in on a world he knew little about.
Hammond had suggested Sam, since she had a unique relationship with the Tok’ra, having been host to Jolinar, and so he felt she would understand the operative best. The Tok’ra had agreed, and the operative would arrive later that day.
Selmak had given Jacob control, and he had asked to speak with Hammond in private. It soon turned out he had truly meant complete privacy, as he had insisted they go topside and away from the guards. Hammond felt Jacob had looked guilty, and it had soon become clear why, when Jacob told him the identity of the operative. However, secrecy had been of the utmost importance, and since a human could be forced to give up their secrets if they were taken over by a Goa’uld, Jacob had been ordered not to give his daughter this information before.
Hammond had received orders from his superiors, making it absolutely clear that the operatives name was not to mentioned until he was here, and already on the way to leave the base. They did not want to risk anyone overhearing anything, and Hammond got the distinct impression the intelligence people from Washington had a strong suspicion parts of the SGC were being wiretapped.
Now his superiors and the other important people from Washington had left, as had the Tok’ra, though Jacob/Selmak would be returning briefly with the operative.
Hammond was still turning it all over in his mind, attempting to figure out who at his base might be a spy, when it knocked on the door. “Come in.”
Sam opened the door. “You wanted to see me, sir?”
“Ah, Major Carter. Yes, I have an important task, and you are just the person I need for it.” He looked a bit uncomfortable. "We need you to look after a... ah... foreign dignitary, who has some important knowledge. He is at risk of being killed, and we need to hide him."
"You’re putting me on babysitting duty?"
Hammond nodded. "A potentially dangerous one at that... and long-term as well, several months at least, and potentially as long as a year. You’re released from your duties here for that time."
“A year ?" She frowned. “But what about SG-1?”
"Hopefully it will be less than a year, it all depends on how things develop, and the danger to the.... dignitary. Right now SG-1 is on stand-down anyway, since Colonel O’Neill is with the Tok’ra, but we’ll put a replacement on SG-1 if you’re not back when he is.” He looked thoughtful, as if he was considering to say something, then thought better of it. “If there’s something you need, or anything you need taken care of, then you should do that now. You’ll be given a gold credit card paid for by the Defence ministry, so don't worry about clothes and such." He looked at the clock. “If possible, try to be back quickly.”
"I’ll be back in a couple of hours, sir."
It was not quite noon when Sam returned, and reported in with Hammond.
"So, where is this foreign dignitary - and who is after him?" Sam wondered, preferring to have as much information as possible about a situation before she was in it.
Hammond frowned, and answered, somewhat evasively, “He’s currently with the Tok'ra."
"You hid him off world?" Sam looked surprised.
Hammond looked uncomfortable, and decided not to answer that. "He has knowledge about a threat to us, which is also a threat to the Tok'ra. There’s probably a Goa’uld behind the threat, one who is allied with Anubis, and there are criminals here on Earth working with him, whether they know who they work for or not. The man we will be hiding believes he may be able to help us identify them. If we can keep him alive long enough to capture them, that is."
"And that is where I come in." It was not a question. This was clearly big.
"Yes. We have had false identity papers made for you - you will carry both them and your real ones, should it be necessary to prove yourself to some of our allies in other countries. You will pretend to be a rich couple on their extended honeymoon, and you will start your tour in Europe."
Sam frowned. “Eh. I see."
A long journey. Months, perhaps a whole year, pretending to be on honeymoon with some guy? She hoped he was at least cute! If nothing else, it might get her brother of her back, and stop him trying to set her up with various guys.
“I am sorry I can’t give you more information right now, but the Tok’ra insists on giving you a zatarc-test first.”
“A zatarc-test !” Sam looked at him in disbelief. “Why? Do they really think I could have become compromised?”
“They gave me one also - and I am fairly certain everyone involved has gotten one.” Hammond sighed and felt relief when the off world activation alert was heard, and Harriman announced it was a Tok’ra GDO.
Sam and Hammond both hurried to the gateroom, where they were met by the normal guards, as well as a small group of guards that somehow looked fiercer , and which Sam had never seen before. Hammond knew they were sent here by the people from their own government he had talked to earlier. He had no idea which group they belonged to, but he was sure they were loyal.
Three people came through the Stargate, Freya/Anise, Jacob/Selmak, and a figure hidden under a cloak with a hood.
Hammond ordered the normal guards away, then greeted the new arrivals, as did Sam.
“Hi, dad, Selmak!” Sam said, smiling at her father and stepping forward to give him a hug, all the while throwing looks at the hidden figure beside him, trying to determine who he was and whether it was someone she had met before. “Hello, Anise, Freya.”
“Hi, Sammie,” Jacob said, looking very serious, but returning the hug. “I’m sorry about the secrecy, but we, ah, need to check you’re you...”
“Yeah, General Hammond mentioned something about a zatarc-test.” Sam shook her head. “I can’t believe it’s necessary, but okay.”
“If you would go with Anise - the equipment is still in a room here at the base,” Hammond said.
Sam shrugged. “Okay.”
She followed Anise, and she noticed that two of the large, unknown guards followed them as well. She had the distinct feeling it was her they were guarding, and not the Tok’ra.