"So, chief, how did it really go with Daniel?" asks Jim as soon as he closes the loft's door behind us.
"Are you trying to tell me that you didn't listen in?" I tease him.
"Sorry about that, I was worried, but that's not what I meant... how did it go?"
"It went great... though I still can't quite believe this is actually happening, I mean, that I have a brother and he's actually here, you know? Though I have to say that at the same time I'm also kind of worried by how they tracked us down. That could be a problem, especially because they are military, we don't have the first clue as to what it is that they are involved with and..."
"Sorry, it's just that..."
"We have too many questions they are unlikely to be willing to answer?" asks Jim.
"Pretty much. So, what do you think?"
"Well, I don't think they are out to get us but while you were talking to Jackson I was keeping an eye on his companions. I hate to tell you this, chief, but I think they know about me."
"I was probing them, trying to figure out how they tracked us down and some of their reactions seemed to indicate that they knew more than they should... they did a good job of trying to cover it but not quite good enough to fool a sentinel. I knew I couldn't ask outright without blowing my cover but let's just say that the circumstantial evidence certainly points toward them knowing."
"Oh man, that's not good, that's so not good... if they've figured it out then..."
"I know, but there's nothing we can do about it," he interrupts.
"Okay, what do we know about them... we have to find something we can use here, big guy. We need some sort of leverage here and we need it yesterday."
"Well, Jackson is your brother, he's the one we know the most about. O'Neill is a colonel and he was covert ops... and very good at it if the stories I've heard about him are anything to go by. Major Carter is some sort of scientist."
"According to Daniel she's a theoretical astrophysicist," I say, trying to help Jim fill in the blanks.
"Strange group, don't you think?"
"Tell me about it... the whole thing sounds like the setup for some lame joke. I mean, a soldier, an archeologist and an astrophysicist walk into a bar..."
"So what could they possibly be doing working together for the military?"
"Not deep space telemetry, that much is obvious, though I would believe it from Major Carter," I say.
"No, you are right... and even there the theoretical part doesn't quite add up," Jim agrees.
"What do you mean?"
"The way she moves... she may be a theoretical astrophysicist but the way she moves would seem to suggest that she is used to combat situations... and that's not the kind of scenario in which you are likely to find an Air Force theoretical astrophysicist in the first place. Whatever it is that they do, it is something that the Air Force believes is important enough to put her on the line of fire... and that's not something they take lightly. Let's just say that they do know better than to jeopardize the brain where the brawn will do."
"So we can assume that whatever it is that they do is not theoretical."
"I can pretty much guarantee it, chief."
"And that brings us back to the original question of what could possibly have brought them together... somehow I don't think it was a coincidence," I say.
"No, it wasn't. Whatever it is that they do I can pretty much promise that that team was not put together by chance and they are used to relying on each other, probably for their lives... and that definitely includes Jackson, even though he's not officially a member of the military."
"What do you mean?"
"He's as involved with whatever it is that they are doing as a 'civilian consultant' as you were when you were just a 'civilian observer'... and I can tell you that that's not SOP for the military. Civilians are not sent out to the front lines unless the circumstances are truly exceptional, not to mention that as far as we know they are stationed in Colorado... not exactly what I would describe as a well known battlefield. Did he tell you anything that could possibly give us a clue as to what is really going on?"
"I'm not sure, he was careful, guarded but he did let one thing slip: he mentioned that his wife died a few years ago..."
"But according to what we've been able to find there's no record of him ever being married in the first place so we have another neat little mystery to add to our growing collection of neat little mysteries, right?" asks Jim.
"Exactly... if he had been a suspect I would have said that he was definitely hiding something, but I'm not sure what it is. I can't quite put my finger on it."
"Well, at least we have something... we have one year missing and one nonexistent marriage that resulted in a nonexistent dead wife. Can we assume that that marriage took place during our missing year?"
"Yes, that would seem to be the most logical scenario," I agree.
"So what do we know of what he was doing before he vanished?" asks Jim.
"That's the strange part. Up until that point he was a bright young archeologist with some radical theories that the pyramids were much older than anyone thought and were actually built by aliens... needless to say no one was taking him seriously," I say, shaking my head.
"Aliens? As in little green men from outer space?" asks Jim in total disbelief.
"I know, it sounds crazy... wait a second... what did you just say?"
"Little green men from outer space?"
"Oh man, outer space, that's got to be it!"
"Okay, chief, slow down 'cos I'm not following you here."
"This is going to sound even crazier than Daniels ideas, I know, but what if he was right?" I ask.
"Think about it... what could possibly bring together an archeologist who believes that the pyramids were built by aliens, a not-quite-theoretical astrophysicist and and Air Force colonel with a background in covert ops? We've been thinking of Daniel as an archeologist without really focusing on his theories and that was why this picture didn't seem to make any sense at all but the thing is that if his theories were right, if the pyramids were built by aliens and the Air Force has somehow managed to make contact..."
"Then bringing their combined skills together would actually make sense," whispers Jim.