|The truth is out there. About as out as you can get.
||[Oct. 12th, 2005|11:30 pm]
Rating: Language, mild sexual situations
Fusion: X-Files / LGM / SGA
Pairings: Canon pairings only
Length: 5000 words
Notes: Excuse? There is no excuse good enough. 'They Encouraged Me' isn't a good enough excuse.
Summary: "And the worst part was, Elizabeth thought, they'd probably manage to make it work."
"It's definitely a Genii operation," Dr. Langly said, poking one finger hard into the desk. "I recommend we run a black ops mission, crack into their data recorders--"
Dr. Frohike shoved him. "It's covert ops, dickwad, not black ops. Unless you were planning to assassinate someone."
At the other end of the conference table, Dr. Byers calmly crossed his arms. "Gentlemen, please do calm down. I'm sure Dr. Weir's anxious to finish this debriefing."
At the mention of her name, Frohike's gaze shot back to Elizabeth, as he suddenly recalled that she was there, and he sat up a bit straighter in his chair. Langly snickered at him: his crush on her was even more legendary than Zelenka's. Elizabeth shook her head and sighed. She's occasionally - okay, *frequently* - questioned the wisdom of putting these three on an offworld team together - even Sheppard thought it was a bad idea - but they *did* get results in the field. And after six months on Atlantis, Lieutenant Bond was the only military officer willing to put up with any of them. He was sitting beside Byers, watching his team with proprietary pride; he considered them all heroes and geniuses, which may well have been true in a way, but ... Dr. Frohike at least had military experience, Langly had the gene, and Byers had practically been brought up in the Stargate Program, since his father had been a civilian consultant since the beginning. You'd *think* they'd be able to manage at least one offworld mission that didn't leave Colonel Caldwell with his head in his hands, groaning in despair.
Langly and Frohike had moved on to some plan that involved inserting computer viruses in the primitive Genii networks, and whether it would even do enough harm to be worth it. Byers, the cultural specialist, suggested that on such a far-flung base undermining morale might be more worthwhile.
"Let's figure out how we're going to infiltrate, first," said Langly, with a wave of one hand by which Elizabeth deduced that he was losing the argument.
"That's easy," Frohike said. "Did you *see* their commandant? *Smoking* hot, and she was obviously sweet on Jimmy. We send him in first, to play femme fatale, and then once they're all sufficiently distracted, the three of us put on our black-and-" he glanced over at Elizabeth and changed course. "Our black and *inconspicuous* outfits and sneak in through the ventilation system and blitz all their data before they even notice. The security should be a cinch, considering those pieces of junk that they seem to think are motion detectors."
"We should see if we can sweet-talk Sheppard out of a puddle-jumper for this one," Byers said thoughtfully. "A quick in-and-out's going to be important, and we could leave Langly in the jumper to play backup."
Elizabeth asked curiously, "Don't you think it might be a good idea to let the person who actually has military training do the actual infiltration?"
"Of course not," Langly said, rolling his eyes. "Jimmy's an okay guy and all, but he wouldn't have a clue how to get the data we need. Right, Jimmy?" he asked.
"Hey, you know me," Lieutenant Bond said, smiling. "I can crash my laptop playing solitaire. What do you think, Dr. Weir? It sounds like a solid plan to me, with a little more detail. We've got pretty good intel on the bunker."
And the worst part was, Elizabeth thought, they'd probably manage to make it work.
All responsibility for sweet-talking things out of Sheppard fell to Jimmy, because the Colonel had an inexplicable soft spot for the boy. (Maybe it was Jimmy's original suggestion that they could civilize the Wraith by teaching them to play football.) He read the mission proposal and listened to Jimmy's request with the oddest expression on his face, but then he smiled. "Sure, you can have a puddle-jumper. I'm sure Dr. Langly's piloting ablity has improved since the last time, right?"
"Uh, yeah!" said Jimmy. They wouldn't have asked him if he hadn't gotten a *little* better, right?
"Tell Dr. Zelenka I said he should get Jumper 2 ready for you guys - the *special* jumper."
Rodney looked into the Engineering lab and found them all frighteningly cheerful. Zelenka was whistling.
"What is going on here?" he asked, feeling even grumpier than usual.
Zelenka looked up at him with a dazzling grin. "Have you not heard? Lieutenant Bond's team is on an offworld mission! We are free! Perhaps," he said thoughtfully, "they will not come back."
Langly set the jumper down, with only a bit of a wobble, several miles outside the Genii bunker. They scrambled outside to the forest, and set about making Jimmy's cover story believable.
"What do you think," Byers asked, "more mud on his face, or would that be overdoing it a bit?"
Frohike gave him a long looking-over. "Nah, we're going for the bedraggled-yet-attractive look, wouldn't want to obscure his best feature. How about another rip across the thigh. And get his shirt nice and wet."
"Right," said Langly grimly, pushing a long strand of blond hair out of his face, and flicked open the pocketknife.
"I hope he's all right in there," Frohike said as he gazed through the jumper's window, keeping his back turned as Byers changed into his black-and-sexy outfit with the shoulder holster.
"Hey, he's Jimmy," Langly said, carelessly flicking through the jumper's systems to see if anyone had installed Space Invaders yet. "I say, why worry?"
Byers came up behind him, "Remember, he's military. He's trained for this. As long as we follow our timetable, he'll be fine. Ready to go, Frohike?"
Frohike pulled on his black leather gloves - last step - and smiled grimly. "Ready if you are."
Jimmy was captured by Genii guards as soon as he crossed their perimeter - all according to plan. They smacked him around a bit (that's good, Jimmy thought, biting his lip as he tried not to fight back. Langly said the more pitiful I look, the better) and hauled him into the base and dropped him on the floor in front of their commander.
It was kind of unAmerican, Jimmy thought, to find quasi-Nazi uniforms that sexy, but damn.
She peered down at him. "You are one of those Atlanteans we chased away last week, aren't you? Stand up!"
Jimmy scrambled to his feet. "Yes, ma'am," he said meekly.
"Why have you come back?"
"I deserted," he said, starting in on the story his team had concocted for him. He really hated lying, and he didn't think anyone would believe this story anyway, but what did he know? "I'm disgusted with the way my people act - that they sacrifice life so easily, not caring how many they kill as long as they survive. And how little they care about the Wraith!" Jimmy shook his head. That much was true. He couldn't believe that none of them had moral problems with what Dr. Beckett was planning. "So when we found this base, I took my chance. I stole a puddlejumper and made my way back here. I want to help. You guys know who the enemy is."
"Hm," said the commander. "Could you get my team into Atlantis?"
"I-- I'm not sure," Jimmy said. "Security's tight. But maybe, with the puddle-jumper--" he considered for a second. Actually now that he thought about it, with a puddlejumper - he'd better talk to Bates about security when he got back; that was damned dangerous, if anyone really did desert.
"Well, that was a very brave thing you did," the Genii woman said admiringly. "Guards-- dismissed! Back to your stations. Let's take you back to my quarters and get you patched up," she told Jimmy, with an inviting smile.
"The guards are headed back!" Langly hissed into his headset. "You guys in yet?"
"Yeah, we're in," Frohike said. "Don't get excited. Byers, you alright?"
"It's a bit tight, but I think we'll both make it through. There don't seem to be any security devices in the ducts, so as long as we're quiet--"
"Right, cut the chatter!" Frohike said.
"Hey, I was just testing the signal!" Langly sulked.
His voice fritzed out a little on the last words, and Frohike tapped his headset, frowning. "You're breaking up. Is something wrong with the connection?"
"Nah," Langly said. "It's probably just the radiation."
Byers froze. "Radiation?"
"Genii bunkers are all radioactive-- didn't you listen to Dr. McKay's talk?"
"I never listen to Dr. McKay. It's a matter of principle," Frohike muttered.
"They store all kinds of enriched fissionables down there, so-- oh shit!" Langly said.
"What?" Byers asked. "What's going on, Langly?"
"Jumper's acting u-up!" There were a few muted retching sounds, and then Langly said, "Uh, I'm going to have to get back to you in a few minutes. Good luck."
For such a martial people, Jimmy thought, the Genii had really comfortable beds. Elysee Vardowahl, the commander, leaned over him, her black hair falling in cascades around her shoulders. She danced her fingers down his bare chest. "You didn't really desert, did you, James?" she asked seductively.
"I don't know what you're talking about. Ma'am," he added, as her other hand landed on his upper thigh.
"Yes you do," she said, and kissed him deeply. "I like you, and I could never like a man who would betray his people." She rubbed slowly over his privates.
"Honestly, ma'am--" he said. He'd never had to fake innocence while being debauched before.
"If you insist on lying to me," she said, beginning to look slightly bored, "I'll be forced to take much less pleasant measures." Then she squeezed.
Jimmy closed his eyes, trying very hard not to squeal. Well, he was just supposed to provide a distraction, right? And he'd told them that the deserter story wouldn't wash. "Okay, okay, you're right! I didn't desert, I was sent in here to distract you!"
"Good," she said, and let go. "I was sure of it as soon as you lied to me about Atlantis, you know."
"Lied?" Jimmy asked, furrowing his brow.
"We know Atlantis was destroyed by the Wraith," she said smugly. "We Genii aren't as naive as you think."
"Oh, that," Jimmy said. Oops. Good thing she didn't believe him, really.
"You were trying too hard, offering me that. Although Atlantis would have been a sweet prize to bring home. Now, I'm glad you're here. I have a job for you. There are ropes in that cupboard against the wall-- I need you to tie me to the bed."
"Oh god," Langly moaned. They'd given him a defective jumper. That had to be it. He hadn't even hacked around with the crystals much while he was waiting, so it couldn't possibly be his fault. He felt a sudden lurch and just barely managed to grab hold of the DHD before he smacked into the ceiling, and then the gravity went null again. He groaned and clapped one hand over his mouth. The one thing worse than vomiting in zero-g was vomiting in zero-g when you had long hair. Goddamnit, he was parked! It had to be the gravity system acting up, but Zelenka had refused to show him where it was the last time he'd asked. Fine, then. It was going to be creativity and process of elimination. First though - he moaned again as the gravity turned into this weird swirly pull like the wormholes on DS9 - first, he needed to find a hair-tie.
Frohike helped Byers through the ceiling and then dropped down after him. This looked like it was probably a chemistry lab, but it did have a computer of sorts. All the equipment looked like the kind of stuff that Frohike had been building in junior high, which only meant he had lots of experience with it. The Genii had only discovered the magic of networks about a year ago, and since then they'd been connecting everything; if the tangle of enormous wires snaking through the wall was any indication, this terminal ought to give him access to the whole base. "Byers, you look for any paper records," he said. "I'll handle the computers. Langly," he added into his headset, "We're in, I'm heading for their network."
"Greatness," Langly crackled, sounding a bit worn, "You do that."
Elysee sat cross-legged and naked on the bed, with the rope draped her knees. She kept stroking it.
Jimmy, however, was a good soldier, and an officer and a gentleman, and kept his attention on what she was saying. Mostly.
"Commander Kolya's been getting worse and worse since Sora came back and Cowan died," she said. "She's quite mad and has too much influence over him - he's going completely out of control. He doesn't trust anyone, and of course, he's making his suspicions come true. And he's been using methods - against his own people!" She stopped and took a deep breath. "He has a group of scientists on this base working on dirty tricks chemical warfare. Mostly mind-control stuff, psychedelics. And of course none of it is targeted against the Wraith. Sometimes I think he's forgotten about the Wraith, it's all about you Atlanteans and traitors in the ranks."
"That has to be hard for you, ma'am," Jimmy said sympathetically.
She narrowed her eyes at him, but couldn't detect any deceit in his expression. "Yes. It is. Most of the research isn't nearly complete, but one of the scientists has come up with a formula that might actually work. I can't let Kolya have it, but I can't risk actively defying him. I need you to destroy all her data and kidnap her - get her off this base."
Jimmy nodded. It sounded like a good cause to him, but he'd reserve judgement on the propriety of kidnapping a lady. "Okay, who's this scientist?"
"Susa Modescy," she said, then looked at the clock. "If they took the obvious way into the building, your associates should be meeting her right about ... now."
Byers stood from the desk with a clutch of hand-written notes. "Frohike--" he said, and then paused. There was a woman standing in the open doorway of the lab, looking just as stunned as he was. She was absolutely the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, in flowing Genii science casuals, her blonde hair short and sensible the way he'd always loved. "Er," he said, too gobsmacked to say anything more intelligent.
Frohike swung away from the computer. "What is it, Byers," he said irritably, then, "oh." He stuffed the pile of Genii data-disks and his palmtop into his pockets and scooted back toward the hole they'd come through.
"Hi!" Byers said with a sickly smile, easing after him. "Um, we were just going."
The woman seemed to find her voice. "Not that way, you aren't," she said softly. She stepped in and shut the door behind her. "You can come in through the air ducts, but if you try to go out that way, they're booby-trapped. You wouldn't get very far."
Byers mouthed a question at Frohike. He looked like a deer in the headlights, and shrugged back. I don't know. Byers clenched his teeth. "I don't suppose you'd be willing to show us a better way, then, miss?" he asked.
"It's doctor, actually," she said. "Dr. Modescy. And you are?" She glided over and took the papers out of his hand, sorting through them with a moue of disapproval.
"Dr. John Fitzgerald Byers of Atlantis, Doctor," Byers said, thinking that was the least they could do in return for trashing her lab. "And that's Dr. Melvin Frohike, my teammate."
"Ah, nice to meet you," he said, managing a reasonably credible bow.
"You Atlanteans seem to have honor, at least, of a sort," she said. "I know you could destroy my people at any time, but you choose to let us be - you don't abuse your power, like some might. Here," she said, thrusting about half the papers back at Byers, "These are the ones you need. I'll take care of destroying the samples - now, hurry, I have to get you out. Elysee can't find out that you were here."
"Wait a minute," said Frohike. "Just what is going on here?"
"Right, fake an escape," Jimmy said, reaching for the knife he had concealed in his boot. Elysee put a hand out to stop him.
"No, not like *that*," she said. "God, nobody would ever believe you had overpowered me physically or by guile." She looked him over again, and her lips quirked in a half-smile. "*Definitely* not by guile. But Sora would be more than willing to believe that I let my passions get the best of me again. That's why I need you to tie me to the bed - I'll call for the guards after you're well out of the way, and claim the depraved Atlantean tricked me into it and conked me on the head. Get off the bed so I can spread out."
Jimmy obeyed, a bit dazed, and followed her instructions for tying her up. When the knots were all secured, she said, "I slipped a map in your jacket pocket outlining the safest route to the lab and then off the base. Don't try to deviate from it. Got it?"
"Yep," he said, moving away and shrugging his jacket back on. At the door he stopped and turned back, with a sudden thought. "How advanced is your peoples' forensic science?"
"Why?" she asked, angling her head awkwardly up to look at him.
"Well--" he said-- "I was wondering if we ought to make sure there's a bit more evidence of the 'passion' part. Just in case."
She dropped her head back down and he could swear she was laughing. "Go on," she said. "Git."
Langly slid the last crystal into place and sighed with relief as he slowly sank down and felt blessed gravity - blessed, constant gravity - pressing on him again. He flopped back onto the floor of the puddlejumper. Ah, floor. He was never taking floors for granted again.
That's when the sprinkler system went off.
Frohike ducked his head out the door. Coast was clear. He flattened himself against the corridor wall and motioned the other two through. They followed, the girl first, then Byers, and inched cautiously down the hallway. They'd just turned the first corner when a sudden shout nearly made him jump out of his skin.
He spun around. Jimmy. It was Jimmy. What the heck was Jimmy doing here?
"Hey, guys!" Jimmy said cheerfully. "When I didn't see you in the lab I was afraid I'd missed you. Or Elysee's directions were wrong." He frowned for a second, and then took Susa's hand. "Dr. Modescy, I presume? Good work kidnapping her already, guys!"
"They didn't kidnap me," Dr. Modescy said, frowning. "I came of my own free will."
"Really!" Jimmy said, nodding. "Great! That'll make things a lot easier. Wait a minute," he added. "How did you know that we needed to take her with us?"
"Who's Elysee," Byers asked forbiddingly, "and why is she telling you to kidnap people?"
"Oh, she's Commander Vardowahl. And I wasn't really planning to kidnap anyone, even though she told me to. Sorry, ma'am," he added to Modescy. "I'm sure you're very devoted to your work, but I agree with the Commander. A drug that dangerous can't be allowed into Kolya's hands. We're going to have to make sure your work is destroyed. I hope you won't hold it against us."
"But I agree with you," Modescy said, sounding confused. "That's why I was going with them. The drug's too dangerous to let loose - but Elysee agrees with me? Why didn't she *say* something? I thought she was Kolya's, through and through!"
Jimmy shook his head. "Well, she seems to think the same thing about you. On the face of it, I'd say you people have a trust problem, ma'am. Have you considered football as a team-building exercise?"
Fortunately, the alarms started going off wildly just about then.
"Elysee must have yelled for the guards," Jimmy said with satisfaction. "C'mon, we won't have much time to get out while they're busy." He waved the piece of paper with the map.
Modescy grabbed it out of his hand and glanced it over. "We can't go this way," she said, pointing to the route. "We'll be caught out for sure."
"Elysee doesn't know. She never talks to the scientists, after all. There are always one or two physicists in there at all hours. You know physicists. We'd never sneak by."
"Yeah, we know physicists," Frohike agreed.
"But Elysee said not to leave her route for anything."
"Well, then, I guess you'll just have to trust me, too," Modescy said, smiling.
"But-" Jimmy said.
"We don't have time for arguing," Byers said softly. "Now come on. We're taking Dr. Modescy's route."
"Huh? Oh. Okay," said Jimmy.
Langly answered the comm with one finger in his mouth. He'd just - *finally* - evicted the last of the dire squirrels who had invaded through the door that the fire alarm had locked open. He really hoped those vicious little buggers didn't carry rabies. He was trying to decide which would be worse, coming down with some alien squirrel disease, or putting himself at Dr. Beckett's mercy again. Mad old quack.
"Langly, change of plans," Byers said breathlessly, over the sound of klaxons in the distance. "We're meeting you over by the place where that little stream has a waterfall. You know it?"
"Yeah," Langly said, pulling his finger out of his mouth. Dang, it was still bleeding. Those were some sharp teeth.
"There's a secret entrance there. Get there as soon as possible, and stay cloaked. Got it?"
"Got it," Langly said, and spun back around. He started to pull up the piloting displays, and lifted off. Miraculously, all the flying systems seemed to still work. So did the cloak. He landed on the biggest clear spot that radar could find in the area, and waited. A few games of Tetris later, he realized that he'd landed in the stream, and the jumper was blocking the flow.
"Dam!" he said, and juked the jumper straight up through the forest canopy, to the detriment of several large tree limbs. Oh well, Zelenka probably wouldn't notice the scratches.
Sure he wouldn't.
They made it almost out of the base without any problems, although there were still two guards at the exit. Jimmy lured one of them away for Byers to knock out with a pressure point on the neck; Frohike took out the other with a totally unexpected flying kick.
"Ow ow ow," he said after he landed, clutching his thigh. "I keep forgetting I'm too old for that stuff."
"Actually it was pretty impressive," Jimmy said, his eyes shining.
"It was," Susa said. "Both of you were," she added, turning her admiring gaze on Byers.
"Oh shucks," he said. "All in a day's work. Anyway, you were pretty impressive too. This was awfully brave of you, Dr. Modesci."
"No, I'm not," she said. "I'm not nearly as brave as you think." She looked down at the floor and then back up at him. "I should have told you this before, but I'm not leaving with you."
"What?" said Jimmy.
"I thought I could, but I can't," she said. "God, you must think I'm the worst sort of coward. But - but I may have lost all faith in them, but the Genii are my people. Maybe - maybe with Elysee helping, I can do something, but even if I can't - I can't just leave. I don't know if you can understand that--"
"Yes, I understand," Byers breathed. "You're the bravest woman I ever met, Dr. Modesci. How could you possibly call yourself a coward? You're amazing."
"You - you really think so?" she said, coloring a little.
"Of course," Byers said.
"Oh for God's sake," Frohike broke in. "Kiss her already so we can get out of here."
They broke off their gazing contest, both blushing now. "Go on, go on," Jimmy said, waving his hands and them and grinning. "You heard the man."
Byers looked at her out of the corner of his eye. "Would you - could you - " he stammered.
"Yes, John," she said, reaching out to him. "Always yes!"
Frohike rolled his eyes and leaned against the door.
"I love a happy ending!" Jimmy said. "Isn't this all just so romantic?"
"Not if they don't end this in another few seconds," Frohike said, glancing at his watch. "Death by oxygen deprivation is never pretty." But he was almost smiling.
Langly saw the three of them come tumbling out of the waterfall just in time to lower the ramp for them. Byers hung back, waving at someone -- there was a figure just visible behind the wavering curtain of water. A girl?
"What's with the dame?" he asked as they lifted off.
Frohike dropped in the shotgun seat beside him and shook some of the water out of his hair. "Tell you later," he said, and pulled a sheaf of papers and his palmtop out from under his jacket. He handed the papers to Langly. "Put the jumper on autopilot and see what you can tell me about this chemical, I'm going to see how quick I can crack their pitiful encryption. You look like Dr. Kavanaugh with your hair like that, by the way."
"Hey!" Langly said.
"You do, you know," Jimmy piped up from the back. "Hey, why's the jumper all wet?"
"Turns out the secret chemical's just a variant of scopolamine, which everybody but the CIA knows is useless for psych warfare." Frohike said over lunch in the mess hall. "So half that trouble was for nothing."
"That's not true," Jimmy said. "We made two very important contacts inside the Genii, and we learned a lot about their political situation. Plus there's all that data you got."
"Probably all faked," Frohike grumped. "That's what I would have done. I'd certainly have used something better than a stupid stepping-switch cipher for the real secrets, anyway."
Jimmy shrugged, then glanced at Byers, who was listlessly toying with his food. "Is he going to be all right?"
"Sure he's going to be all right," Frohike said. "Hey, give a man a chance to appreciate the first time he's ever kissed a girl."
When no reaction to that was forthcoming from Byers' corner, though, he frowned, then stood up. "Byers," he said in command tones.
Byers didn't react. Frohike leaned over and punched him in the shoulder. "John. C'mon. We've got important work to do."
"What?" Byers said. "Oh, important work. What kind?"
"We're going to pray that Langly hasn't returned the jumper to Zelenka yet," Frohike said, "and we're going to convince him to give us two bottles of his best hooch. Then, we're going to get you drunk. You wanna come, Jimmy?"
"Nah," Jimmy said. "If I knew there was illegal liquor in this city, I'd have to report it to Sergeant Bates." Besides, Colonel Sheppard had invited him over to watch football tonight, and Sheppard's smuggled beer was much better than that stuff Zelenka passed out.
Langly landed the jumper in the bay as quietly as he could, but of course Zelenka was there, lying in wait. Zelenka was always lying in wait. He was practically bouncing. Actually, he reminded Langly a little bit of a dire-squirrel.
"Ah, Dr. Langly!" he said happily. "And how was your mission? The jumper didn't give you any trouble, I hope?"
"Nope, no trouble at all!" Langly said. Teach them to spread rumours about Langly's lack of piloting skill. He'd only gotten up and down confused once, after all. "She handled like a dream."
"Really!" Zelenka's eyebrows went very high. "Well. That is good to hear. This jumper has been giving us constant problems with the environmental systems ever since Corporal Kyte died in that accident. But it behaves well with you. Good." He nodded decisively. "I will make sure it is available for you for every mission from now on. Oh, no need to thank me!" he added, when Langly tried to interrupt. "Very happy to do a favor for a fellow engineer."
Elizabeth looked through the reams of Genii data that had been uploaded to the network. Schematics, maps, battle plans, intel on the Wraith, a list of planets with Ancient installations -- she shook her head. And Langly and Frohike had cracked the primary encryption on it even before the puddlejumper made it back through the gate. She looked up when Colonel Sheppard ducked into the office.
"Dr. Weir," he said plaintively. "I want to register a formal complaint against allowing scientists to use their commanding officers in honeytraps. It's giving McKay *ideas*!"