Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own Stargate and all the characters, NBC/Aaron Sorkin/Whoever own The West Wing and all the characters. This is just for fun!
Spoilers - Stargate: 'Touchstone', general knowledge of the show. West Wing: 'In The Shadow of Two Gunmen', general knowledge of the show.
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"Carol," CJ Cregg began the moment she stepped out of the White House pressroom, "How is it even possible that you made it through high school?"
Her assistant was quite clearly puzzled as she strained to keep up with the fast moving long legged Press Secretary. "CJ?"
The CJ in question didn't even pause, merely diving down another corridor and pushing open another door as she responded. "Illiteracy is spelt with two l's."
"And you might also want to peek at the next dictionary you come across just to double check the meaning of the word 'enunciation'."
"Enunciation," CJ repeated back at her, handing a piece of paper to someone and taking another from some else. "It doesn't - despite what you seem to believe - have anything to do with keeping details or lists of information."
"That would be...?"
"That would be enumeration, Carol. Look it up." CJ paused long enough to smile at her. "But you are getting better. Well done. Keep it up." Then she shot off again, leaving Carol behind.
She was nearly at her office when Josh fell into step next to her. Good. Just the person she wanted to see. "So Josh, would you care to explain to me exactly why I just lied to the entire White House Press Corps?" She'd only seen him a few scant seconds before she was due to go into the pressroom. Although he managed to get his message across and she managed to relay that to the eager press, she didn't know why.
"Somebody asked then?" He replied, not yet answering her question.
"Yes, somebody asked," CJ responded, reaching her office and walking to the other side of her desk. "Danny asked and then Steve followed up. What's going on?"
Josh closed the door before looking back at her, his fingers still resting on the handle. "He's gone AWOL."
Rolling her eyes, CJ collapsed into her chair, threw her wad of papers onto the desk, and smothered her face in her hands. "I was under the impression he wasn't going to do that again." Her hands obscured her words, but the meaning was clear.
Josh shrugged. "You were under the wrong impression."
"I'm the President's Press Secretary, Josh. If he's going to do something like this I really need to know in advance so I can cover our butts."
"We only just found out ourselves!"
Her hands fell from her face. "Who's we?"
"Me and Leo."
"And Danny and Steve and whoever else was in the pressroom..."
"It's kind of worrying that they have better access to information than we do."
"Not always," She rebutted. "Where's he gone?"
"I don't know, actually. Something to do with radar's."
"That's what I heard. I think Leo's going after him."
"Why would he be interested in radar's?"
Josh shrugged. "You know how freakishly knowledgeable he is about all things trivial."
She had to agree with that. President Bartlet definitely had-
Someone knocked softly on the door. She knew who it was immediately - only one person had a knock that soft, that misleading.
"Come in, Toby."
Josh opened the door for him and Toby Ziegler - a man who may have been the Communications Director but was also in a perpetually bad mood - waited impatiently outside.
"How is it," He began with deceptive softness. "That you tell the entire pressroom about this before you tell me?"
Jack peered around the corner of the corridor, well aware that his 2IC was doing the exact same thing beside him. While the President was demanding to be let in, he had actually managed to get a considerable distance into the mountain on his own.
Well, not exactly on his own. There were a couple of guys with him - no doubt his 'security' - and a young black kid.
Siler was quite right, however, about the man's temper. He had an impressive set of lungs, as the saying went.
Carter shrugged in response to his question, the movement rubbing against his shoulders. "He's shorter than I thought."
Jack sighed, exasperated. "Oh I'm sure he'd love to hear you say that one Major."
He turned back to face her, again hiding around the corner. "Okay," He pulled at the hem of his shirt, then at his sleeves, not having had the time to dress up. "How do I look?"
She seemed to spend an inordinately long amount of time deciding that.
"Oh!" She looked rather surprised before...was she blushing? "You look fine sir."
Nah, she couldn't be. "Okay. Let's do this." Clearing this throat, he turned the corner with Carter at his side. The President spotted them immediately, causing his tirade to pause.
Obviously recognising that O'Neill was of higher rank than the poor Lieutenant he was currently grilling, he faced the Colonel. "Are you the jackass who won't let me in?"
Well, so much for first impressions. Still, Jack O'Neill had long known he could give as good as his got and he calmly slid his hands into his pockets as he stopped a few feet away. "No sir. I'm the jackass who's going to let you in."
That obviously surprised him but he wasn't ready to admit it. "Oh...well it took long enough."
"Just as soon as I see some identification."
Oooo, that look was memorable. Still, the man had called him a jackass. Even if he was the President he wasn't about to let it go without a little punishment.
Carter couldn't decide whether to smirk or cringe.
Jack just kept on grinning.
"Well," Bartlet ranted. "As I've already made my way through five security checkpoints and suffered the kind of indignities I wouldn't have suffered if I'd been carrying a kilogram of cocaine at an airport, I can't possibly understand why yet another person would want to see my identification. Nevertheless, have a word with this man," He nodded towards one of the very large men behind him, who might as well have the words 'stay away from me and the man I protect' stamped on his forehead. "He carries a very big gun."
So, in the few seconds since they'd first met, their new President had called him a jackass and threatened to have him shot.
Somehow he just didn't think things were going well.
"What's this about Colorado Springs?" Sam Seaborne asked, bursting into CJ's office.
Everyone present stared at him.
Toby asked the question. "What about Colorado Springs?"
"Well, I...don't know. I heard something about it."
"Well from..." The person he was just about to mention appeared in the doorway. "Donna! Great, tell them what you heard about Colorado Springs."
Donnatella Moss - effectively Josh Lyman's secretary but mostly the thorn in his side - looked confused. "Colorado?"
"What you heard from Margaret..." Sam prompted.
"Oh! Oh, that's where he's gone."
"The President," CJ stated.
"Something about deep space radiator-"
Josh smiled happily from the chair he'd procured. "I knew it was radar's. 'You're wrong', they said, 'why would he be interested in radar's'?"
"Why *would* he be interested in radar's?" Donna asked.
Josh's smile faded as he surveyed the group of friends sitting at various places and on various pieces of furniture in CJ's office. "I'll find out."
And he left them to it.
"Care for a drink, sir?" The man who asked was pouring one even before he even asked the question, and had it placed in front of Bartlet before he finished.
Bartlet, for his part, felt bemused as he studied the glass of water. "Rather late for me to say no, isn't it?" He was definitely under the impression that this was unusual treatment.
The man who poured him the drink - the same man who had earlier granted him access to the lower levels of this facility - smiled. A kind of sarcastic smile, as it happened. Placing the jug on a small table at one end of the room, he retook his seat.
The President was - so he'd been told - in the briefing room. He was sitting around what was presumably the briefing room table, apparently used to discuss briefings. He would assume.
His only companions in the room at the moment were the two people who'd greeted him earlier; the man with the attitude problem and the woman with a perpetual smile on her face.
"So," Bartlet tried to look friendly while still looking threatening, deciding they just might have gotten started on the wrong foot. "Who are you?"
The man studied his co-conspirator before speaking. "I'm Colonel Jack O'Neill, and this is my second in command, Major Samantha Carter."
At least he had names to go with faces now. The journey down in two elevators (just how deep had they dug under the mountain?) had been a study in silence; he hadn't even heard any breathing. "All right Colonel Jack O'Neill and Major Samantha Carter, would you mind telling me just what the hell it is you do here, and what could possibly justify spending seven billion dollars?"
They were saved from answering - and both of them looking very relieved when they didn't have to - when two new people entered the room.
"Uh, excuse me..." It was the shorthaired one with glasses who'd spoken. Behind him was a big - not to mention bald - man, who...what the hell was that thing on his forehead?
"Daniel!" O'Neill greeted, standing up, relief all too evident. "Teal'c! Please, come in, take a seat."
Tealk? What kind of name was that?
Daniel was apparently the man with the glasses and before sitting he quickly shook Bartlet's hand.
"It's a pleasure sir."
"Took you long enough," O'Neill muttered when they were done.
Daniel shrugged, not in the least bit intimidated. "You're not the only one with things to do, you know."
The President turned his head only to discover the large tattooed man standing beside him. It was only a supreme act of fate that he didn't jump out of his seat. "Hello," He managed, one of the only times in his career where he seriously felt threatened.
"It is an honour, President Bartlet."
"And you would be Tealk?"
"Teal'c actually," The Colonel interrupted.
Bartlet couldn't hear any difference between his version and O'Neill's version. "Tealk."
O'Neill sighed. "T-E-A-L-'-C."
Hmm. That was an interesting name. "So you're not from around here then?"
Teal'c nodded as he took his seat. "That is correct."
"Mr President, I'd like you to meet Dr Daniel Jackson."
"Ah." Why would an archaeologist be working here?
"And - as you know - this is Teal'c. Who," O'Neill paused, a smile playing on his lips. "Is not from around here."
They were all grinning to varying degrees, and Jed knew he was missing out on the joke. He didn't like the feeling.
"Okay. Nice as it is to meet you all, enough of the pleasantries and sucking up and drink pouring. Tell me: what do you do here?"
O'Neill cleared this throat. "Daniel, you wanna handle this one?"
She appeared in his doorway in a matter of seconds. "You called? And so delicately I might add."
Josh tried ignored the little barb, still engrossed in the paperwork he was looking at and talking around the pencil in his mouth. "Where's Leo?"
"In a meeting with Senator Holland."
The mention of that name caused him to spit the pencil out and look up at the same time. "Holland?"
"I think Leo's explaining why the President is MIA."
"I thought we were using AWOL?"
"Did you know that we spend seven billion dollars on deep space radar telemetry?"
"No. But that's a lot of money."
"I know," He stood up, grabbing his jacket from the back of his chair and slipping it on. "Look, I gotta see a man about a thing. I'll only be ten minutes. Let Leo know I wanna see him as soon as possible."
She turned, following him as he left his office. "Is he going to Colorado?"
"If he's not I am."
"Sure. Seven billion dollars? I wanna see what the hell we're spending it on."
He should have brought a coat with him. He had his jacket on but it was just turning towards winter, and an uncomfortable chill wrapped around his body. Josh shivered, wishing more than anything Donna would appear with a hot cup of coffee.
Of course, he thought wryly, no sooner would she have handed him the coffee then she'd be telling him how undignified it was that she had to get him his coffee.
He shook his head. There was no figuring out Donnatella Moss.
Gasping he swivelled, immediately feeling stupid. Yes, that really looked covert didn't it? He tried to cover his reaction by coughing. "Hi."
"It's been a long time. I didn't think I'd hear from you again - especially considering your latest place of work. If we're seen together..."
"We won't be." This wasn't his first time, nor was it Whitlow's, but the guy had always had the 'doom and gloom' air about him. "What's going on in Colorado Springs?"
Whitlow - his face inscrutable as ever - didn't look surprised. But then he never looked surprised about anything. "Colorado Springs is a fairly big place. Lots of troops stationed there. It might help if you were a little more specif-"
"Cheyenne Mountain. What's going on there?"
Whitlow smiled. "You know what's going on there Josh - it's all in official paperwork. USSPACECOM-"
"I don't mean USSPACECOM or any of the other programs the public is aware of."
"Then what do you mean?"
"Something we've just discovered we're spending seven billion dollars on. I can understand us spending that much on NASA, I could even understand us spending that on USSPACECOM, but I've looked at the figures. The money's going to another project in Cheyenne Mountain."
He was starting to lose his temper. "What are we spending the money on? It's something called Bluebook, but what is it?"
There was that damnable smile again. "You should follow him."
"Him?" How did he know about the President? Wait, stupid question. Of course he knew about the President.
"Follow him and you'll find it."
"I have to go."
Josh was going to object, then figured shouting loudly wasn't a good idea at the moment. Didn't want to draw any undue attention.
"Josh..." Whitlow murmured, still within hearing distance.
"I was sorry to hear about your father."
He felt the immediate sting of tears and lowered his head. "Thanks. So was I." When he looked back up, he was alone.
He shivered, only just realising that he had learnt nothing new at all.
"Seven billion dollars on-"
"-deep space radar telemetry, I know." Leo concluded, digging through the open briefcase on his desk. Whatever he was searching for he didn't seem to have much luck finding it.
Josh was practically hopping from one foot to the other, desperate to go out there and find out what it was.
Toby was also present, in the same place he always ended up when he was in Leo's office for any length on time; on the left hand side of the sofa, which was pushed against the wall to the right of Leo's desk. "Could someone explain to me," He rested the thumb of his left hand at the bottom of his face, with two fingers pressing against the side of his forehead - a movement Josh was all too familiar with. "How we were spending seven billion dollars on this and no one noticed?"
Leo answered. "I don't know Toby - do you perform our internal audit?"
"Oh come on Toby! You know as well as anyone what it's like." He finally gave up searching through his briefcase. "We're new. We're settling in. We're getting used to how things are done. We would have picked it up eventually."
"And have you seen the amount of paperwork this place produces?" Josh volunteered, quickly shutting up at the lethal flick of the eyes that Toby sent his way.
"I'm just saying," Toby continued calmly, flicking an imaginary piece of lint from his suit. "That maybe we didn't find out about this for a reason."
Wow. Josh's eyebrows went up. It made some kind of sense that someone might be trying to hide what was going on. "Actually, he might be right." Two sets of eyes focused on him. "I met with my friend."
His boss knew which one. "And?"
"Well, he was very careful to not actually give me anything that could get him in trouble, but he did suggest that we should go out there after him. That whatever is there is well worth seeing."
Leo slammed his briefcase shut with finality, a gesture that clearly said "Crap!" "I can't go. There's no way I can leave with Holland on my case. You'll have to go."
Josh's adrenalin level lifted. "Me?"
He nodded. "You and Toby."
Toby sighed, clearly displeased.
Josh couldn't have been happier.
"I'm supposed to believe this? Aliens, little worms that take possession of humans, a big round ring that takes you to other worlds? You know, I could be biased against this stuff; maybe I read a few too many biographies or historical books and not enough science fiction. Maybe I decided the only people who did read science fiction had big ears like that guy-"
"But that doesn't mean I'm wrong. That doesn't mean these things are possible. I am a man of extreme logic, and this just isn't logical."
So, it wasn't going well. Jack sighed, and nodded towards his friend. "Teal'c. Shall we let junior out for a walk?"
"Very well O'Neill." Teal'c stood and began pulling his black shirt out of his waistband.
"Oh yes," Bartlet pulled his glasses out of his chest pocket and quickly slid them on, leaning towards him. "You're supposed to be one of those Jaffa people, aren't you?"
"Well, come on. Let's have a look at the snake. Don't hold back."
Jack winced just thinking about it. "Uh, Mr President...I really wouldn't lean that close." When Bartlet glared at him he shrugged. "Don't say I didn't warn you."
Teal'c lifted his top, revealing the pouch.
Junior pushed free.
Ah. Maybe they should have had Fraiser here. Jack hadn't counted on giving the President of the United States a coronary.
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