Breaking Walls

Twisted Justice

Sitting in the quarters of a beautiful woman, completely at her mercy, Radek wasn't entirely sure whether to be completely furious with Rodney or just a little bit grateful. Recalling the snickers and outright laughter in the halls, Radek decided on furious.

Whatever the children of M7G-677 had put on his face had been impossible to wash off. It seemed that Teyla had expected he'd have difficulty when she'd heard of his predicament. So this blessed angel had come to him and offered to help him clean it off.

Of course, she too had taken a minute to laugh first. But she seemed to need it, so he did not mind as much.

At least the mirror once again showed his own face, and not something a proud mother would stick to a fridge. Teyla was now working on the colourful decorations and straw woven into his hair.

"Tsst," Radek hissed and involuntarily pulled back from a sharp tug.

"I am sorry," Teyla quickly apologized and tugged at the straw more gently. "You are fortunate that the face dye's they used are so similar to the ones the children in my village sometimes play with. But, I am afraid the straw is proving to be more difficult to un-weave."

Radek tried to turn his head to look at her. Another tug reminded him that he was supposed to sit still, "You have no need for apology. I am exceedingly grateful for your help. Rodney, however! All I do is ask him why he does not like children! And what do I get? He sends me to hell planet populated only by children for object lesson! I never should have agreed to be on Sheppard's 'special ops' team."

Teyla drew a single strand of straw from Radek's hair with a look of triumph. One gone, about thirty to go…"I thought he assigned you the task because you were the most qualified to assist, on the planet I mean."

"Pfft!" Radek exclaimed, "Yes I was qualified. But others could have done it. He sends me because he is bitter, mean-spirited, little man. Next time Colonel Sheppard wants to pry he can do so himself. Rodney cannot be forced to talk to anyone and he will not be coerced by me. From now on I stick to safe subject, like city weapons, and power distribution."

"It is good that you try." Teyla tried to encourage.

"I am sorry. But how is it good when it is completely useless?" Radek threw up his hands in a gesture of frustration, "He does not want to talk to me."

Teyla sighed sympathetically, "He is improving, although he is still overly cautious."

Whatever else Teyla was going to say was interrupted by a city-wide announcement. 'This is Dr. Weir. We have had a serious security breach. For your own safety all non-essential personnel are to go to their quarters and remain there until further notice. Shortly, some of you will be escorted to the infirmary for examination. The situation will be explained to you as soon as possible. Thank you for your co-operation.'

Teyla looked at Radek with confusion and concern.

He began searching his pockets for his ear-piece. He had taken it out when he started getting trivial requests to go to the lab, no doubt because they wished to see his face and hair. Rodney McKay would pay for this humiliation. "Perhaps they are concerned that there may be more Goa'uld?"

"No." Teyla answered thoughtfully, as she turned and searched for her radio. "It sounded as though something else has happened."

They found and turned on their radios almost simultaneously, and were greeted by pandemonium. Orders were being shouted on all channels, and several separate conversations seemed to be happening on each of them.

Lorne, report…Dr. Parker has been tracked to power station three…How long before the Daedalus is in the air?…I'm still not picking up anything on sensor's or sensor logs sir…Where the hell is Zelenka? … I want all personnel accounted for…Repairs to the Daedalus will take at least thirty hours…too slow…We have Dr. Parker in custody…

There was no pause in the deluge to ask what was going. There was a tight edge of urgency to Dr. Weir's voice, and Colonel Sheppard sounded near frantic.

It was then that the doors of Teyla's quarters swished open to admit Ronon. Zelenka felt his heart skip a beat and his jaw drop at the sight of the imposing man glowering in the doorway.

Ronon looked ready to rip an army apart with his bare hands… and possibly his teeth. "McKay's gone. The Goa'uld took him."

Zelenka swallowed down the bile that threatened to rise into his mouth. How long had they been trying to reach him? How long should he have already been helping to track down the ship, or to stop the rings from even entering Atlantis? And Radek had stupidly turned off his radio! McKay was paying alright. His friend's worst fears were being realized. The coloured straw still hanging from his hair was the last thing on Radek's mind as he ran down the halls towards the command centre.

88888888888888

Cheyenne Mountain - Earth

Woolsey jogged down the halls of the SGC, towards Sam's office. He'd just arrived on base and had been told he could find her there. Clutched in his hand was a disk of very sensitive information, too sensitive to e-mail or give over the phone.

The long trip home on the Daedalus, and hiding from the odd behaviour of Lt. Freeman and that Atlantis scientist, had given Richard plenty of time to reflect. That reflection had led him to decide that ridding the NID of the corrupt influence of the Trust needed to be his top priority.

General O'Neill had graciously welcomed him on board. Though he still worked for the Civilian Oversight committee, he now also functioned as something of a double agent. He was a primary advisor for understanding the corrupted NID would move and communicate. It was rather exciting.

Naturally, he realized that even if these criminals believed their communications to be secure they would never communicate openly. They would use codes that would make it seem as though they were talking about one thing, when they were actually discussing something else entirely. That had to be why the program Col. Carter had discovered was still uncovering so little communication. It had, for example, found nothing of the bomb in Atlantis. That had been uncovered in careless phone conversations, almost as if the Trust had wanted the SGC to know that Atlantis was in danger and focus all their efforts on that.

The information he now held, he had personally extracted from the ex-CIA man responsible for fingering McKay as the ideal candidate for those experiments. He had a new list of key words. He had the codes they communicated with. He had names so that the search could be focussed on communications to and from specific people. Getting the information from him had been extremely satisfying. Woolsey almost didn't mind that he was probably going to get fired…. Almost.

Once he'd learned of Colonel Carter's suspicions, that the Trust knew precisely where Dr. McKay was and was had a plan to take him, he'd realized that conventional methods of interrogation would be too slow.

"Colonel Carter!" Woolsey panted when he finally reached her office.

She lifted her head from her work and looked at the man panting in her doorway. "Mr. Woolsey?"

"I have information that could help you find out more about the bomb in Atlantis if we act fast." He spoke quickly as he placed the treasured disk on her desk.She didn't look as interested as he'd expected. "It's too late. The Daedalus has moved out of range. Even the twilight bark won't reach them now."

"Twilight Bark?" Woolsey repeated stupidly, "As in 'A Hundred and One Dalmations'?"

Sam smirked at him, "You didn't hear about that?"

"I just arrived on base," Woolsey frowned. "But that doesn't matter. In my experience, it's never too late for more information to be of use, even as hindsight. You never know, we might find something that can help."

Sam's expression changed as she scrolled through the information, "How did you get this?"

"Our ex-CIA friend told me everything." Woolsey answered honestly if not completely.

Sam turned and regarded the straight-laced man. "I thought he stopped talking as soon as he was cured of the Goa'uld brain-washing."

He sighed and snapped, "Does it help, or not?"

"Not. The Trust will probably stop communicating and change all their codes as soon as they realize that we've got one of their people in holding, if they haven't already." She frowned at the non-answer and turned back to the screen.

"Well…" Woolsey searched for another solution, unwilling to give up when they were so close, "Can't you scan communications they've already had?"

Sam looked at him in surprise, "Yes! McKay's program is set up to quietly watch communications as they happen and only activate the moment the keywords set it up. But if I can modify it and send it into the back-up data storage servers…."

Woolsey leaned over her shoulder and watched her work, his expression intense, "If you can prove the involvement of rogue Goa'uld using stolen Asgard Technology…"

"They just might help out." Sam finished the line of thought without missing a key-stroke, "Their ships are faster and they might even have one or two passing near Pegasus or in another neighbouring galaxy."

"How long?" O'Neill's quiet entrance caught Woolsey by surprise. How long had he been listening?

Sam seemed unsurprised, "Everything I need is right here, keywords, names… I just need to get into the backup servers and…" Her voice trailed off as she became completely absorbed in the information scrolling down her screen.

O'Neill cleared his throat and summoned Woolsey over with twitch of his head.

Here it came, the consequences. Woolsey took a brief moment to school his emotions before strolling over to the imposing general.

"Richard," O'Neill began coolly, quietly addressing the normally straight-laced man.

"General," Woolsey acknowledged.

O'Neill clucked his tongue and narrowed his eyes in scrutiny, "Would you be able to explain to me why our ex-CIA prisoner suddenly thinks that you're god?"

"Well, uh…" Woolsey swallowed, "We needed more information quickly for it to make a difference to Atlantis."

"Ah." O'Neill nodded, as though that explained it all. "So, just so we're clear, you took a sample of the Goa'uld brain-washing drug and fed it to the prisoner so that he would talk?"

"Yes."

"You…" O'Neill raised his eyebrows disbelievingly at the man that was usually straight-laced to the point of obnoxious.

"Me." Woolsey confessed again.

The General gave an approving nod, "This is the part where I'm 'supposed' to tell you not to do it again."

"It is," Woolsey agreed cautiously. Was he really getting away with this, career intact?

General O'Neill shrugged casually, "Alright then, hold up your hand face down."

Richard's brows furrowed in confusion, but as the delay seemed to annoy the General he complied. The General proceeded to slap him on the wrist.

"Take note, you have been slapped upon the wrist," the General pronounced.

"Noted, but um…" Woolsey was speechless for a moment… "I don't think that's supposed to be literal."

General O'Neill raised his eyebrows, "You wanted more?"

"No, no, that's fine!" Woolsey quickly back-pedalled.

A jubilant shout came from Sam's desk, "I've got it! The cloning tech is definitely Asgard. Communications can be traced to Ba'al's organization. And there's a Goa'uld Mother-ship in Pegasus."

"Great!" O'Neill congratulated, "Let's go tell the Asgard."

"There's more," Sam grew more serious, "I think Colonel Caldwell has been compromised."

"Talk as we walk," O'Neill motioned to the door.

88888888888

Atlantis –

Everyone was too busy to pay much notice when Kavanagh wandered into the City Command Centre. If anyone did notice his ghostly pale face and slack expression, they must have attributed it to his recent near-torture experience. He wasn't sure how long he stood there, watching the technicians, soldiers, and scientists bustle around frantically. He couldn't believe this was happening. He didn't want to acknowledge that his professional jealousy had caused this.

But here it was. And here he stood, trying to work up the courage to admit what he had done. Maybe if he watched long enough he could see a way to help and lessen the reprisal he'd face.

Harried scientists and technicians manned every available sensor station, futilely searching the skies for any sign of the long-departed craft. Medical staff hovered around the room in teams, taking blood samples and checking them for any sign of the Goa'uld mind-control drug or the traces of Naquada left by a Goa'uld infestation. More medical teams were visiting the living areas and labs that had been locked down, to carry out the same tests. Zelenka had been asked to personally make certain it was safe to dial earth with the Stargate.

By now, everyone knew that McKay had been snatched by the Goa'uld and that there had been inside help. Efforts were torn between finding a way to mountain a rescue, which was increasingly unlikely, and securing the base. Which should be the priority continued to be a strong point of contention between Dr Weir and Col. Sheppard.

Dr. Weir faced Colonel Sheppard, her stance one of comforting controlled assurance for all to see, "Our priority right now has got to be securing this base. There's nothing we can do for Rodney right now."

In contrast, everything Col. Sheppard's stance sent shivers up Kavanagh's spine and alarm bells off in his head. His expression, too, was one of tight control. But it was military control. He was a weapon needing only a direction. It was a glimpse of what Kolya's men must have faced when they tried to take Atlantis. The two Pegasus-born team members flanking either side of him looked ready for a fight as well. "We need all of our people finding a way to get the Daedalus in the air and get McKay back!"

Sheppard was disputing the way the majority of military resources was now being used to isolate people who hadn't been tested yet, and so many scientists hadn't yet been approved to return to duty.

Weir raised both her hands in a gesture meant to calm the coldly furious Colonel. "I understand how you feel, John, believe me. But we've had three people compromised and we can't afford anymore surprises. The Daedalus isn't going anywhere anytime soon and even if that weren't the case we have no idea where to go. Dr. Parker doesn't have the necessary access or knowledge to have done this alone, and Sergeant Freeman certainly didn't. I'm sorry, my decision stands until we know more."

"Forget the Daedalus! I can take a jumper," The Colonel reasserted.

"Take a jumper where? We don't know where they've taken him." Dr. Weir rebutted sympathetically.

"The jumpers aren't fast enough." Kavanagh reported numbly. He too was trying to consider the options, but all he could see were obstacles.

The Colonel snarled with frustration, "Why is he here?!"

Kavanagh hadn't really expected his input to be welcomed. People here rarely seemed to see the value in eliminating non-viable options.

"He's right." Weir took back control of the conversation, "We'll find a way to get Rodney back but first we need to make sure Atlantis is safe and update earth. I'll get Zelenka to help with the Daedalus repairs once he's confirmed it's safe to dial earth. In the mean-time we have to find out who else was working with Caldwell."

"It was me." Kavanagh barely had a moment to realize he'd spoken out loud before Sheppard was in his face.

"What was you?" The calm in the military man's tone held more threat than anything Sheppard could have yelled.

Kavanagh flinched and took a guilt-ridden breath before continuing, "I didn't know. I swear I didn't know that Colonel Caldwell was a Goa'uld. I was acting under his orders."

"What did you do?" The simple four-word question was filled with accusation and threat.

Kavanagh swallowed fearfully and tried desperately to explain his actions, "Colonel Caldwell told me that he was looking for evidence of misappropriated resources and unauthorized research. That's all. I helped Parker get the access she needed to hack into Dr. Beckett's files."

"Lorne!" Sheppard barked, "Get Kavanagh into the brig before I do something I won't regret. Beckett!"

The leader of the medical team had been overseeing some blood tests nearby when Kavanagh had made his confession. At some point during the confession he'd snatched a laptop from one of his nurses.

"I heard." The physician moaned as he stared at the screen. "I should have bloody checked sooner but I didn't think there was a need! Rodney set up this program to log every access and attempt at access to my more sensitive research. I was supposed to check it every day but with everything that's happened…." He shook his head and closed the lap-top, "She got away with everything on the ATA therapy, the Wraith retro-virus, and Rodney."

Why would the Goa'uld be so interested in McKay's medical files? Better yet, why would they be classified on the same level as the ATA therapy and the Retro-virus? It was a pointless thing for Kavanagh to wonder, as he was being roughly guided away by Major Lorne. Pointless because he had about as much chance of finding out about those files, as they all had of rescuing McKay. Kavanagh hated wasting his mind on problems that had no viable solutions.

Insanely, even as he was being dragged away his mind kept drifting to the advice McKay had given him against single mindedness. If McKay were here he'd probably say something obnoxious about focussing on what can be done rather than what can't be done. What good is what can be done when as soon as it's done the larger obstacles remain in place? All you have then is wasted time. Case in point, there is no way to follow that cloaked ship even if it could be tracked. Which it can be tracked…wait that's it. It's not much, but it's something!

"Wait. Wait!" Kavanagh blurted. "Wait, I can help. Let me help. I have an idea!"

With a quick motion, probably some military code, Sheppard commanded Lorne to wait.

"Talk fast," Ronon advised when Sheppard just glowered darkly with his hand flexing dangerously close to his side-arm.

Kavanagh gulped and talked fast, "I can configure the sensors to pick up a trail that the Goa'uld scout-ships leave behind. But I have to do it quickly before it has a chance to fade. Sam Carter, of SG1, figured out how when…"

He cut off in his explanation when Sheppard took hold of him and dragged him over to a command console, "Just do it!"

Kavanagh worked as quickly as he could, inputting the chemical profile of the ionized fuel the sensors should be looking for. Anything less sensitive than the Atlantean sensors would have no hope of picking it up… but just maybe… "I've got it. There."

He was acutely aware of Colonel Sheppard hovering behind him as he brought the map up on the main screen. It showed a relatively short line. "The range isn't much but it at least gives a general direction. But there's know way of knowing if the ship changed direction after that."

"McKay increased the sensor range," Sheppard countered.

"Yes," Kavanagh rolled his eyes, "He increased the range for detecting Wraith Hive ships and Stars. This ion trail is a little smaller than that!"

"Then find a way," Teyla commanded coldly. It was the first thing she'd said in a while.

Kavanagh was beginning to see why McKay complained so often about the expectations his team placed on him. "Oh sure! I'll just wave my magic pixie wand and…" The death glare he received shut him up. Apparently their willingness to place McKay-like expectations on him didn't extend to a willingness to accept McKay-like sarcasm from him. Solutions. Focus on solutions as well as problems. "A jumper can be taken up to follow the trail farther but, but the Jumper doesn't have the necessary range or speed. He took another look at the trail and extended its predicted path. Based on it's current path I can project this much."

Sheppard leaned closer to the monitor, again making Kavanagh feel smothered, and muttered 'What would McKay do? …c'mon Sheppard think. What would McKay do?' He either didn't realize, or didn't care, that Kavanagh could hear.

Finally he stood up and asked out-loud, "Get me a list of Star-gates that the scout-ship is most likely to pass."

Kavanagh's eyes widened as he realized what Colonel Sheppard was thinking, "You can't seriously be considering following with a jumper."

"Just do it." Sheppard commanded.

Kavanagh obeyed without further protest. He realized the irony that arguing against this suicide mission now would probably be a suicide mission in itself. "I think these are the most likely planets, thus far. You'll need to recalculate once you pick up the trail again. I've preset the navigation protocols in the jumper to do that for you, but it's still a long shot."

"I'll take it." Sheppard looked surprisingly mollified. He wasted no time in heading for the jumper bay. "Can you reconfigure the Jumper sensors to see the trail?"

"I've already uploaded the data to the jumpers, they're ready." Kavanagh reported.

"Colonel Sheppard!" Dr. Weir commanded Sheppard's attention.

He was already half out the door when he turned, "We have a way to follow now, Elizabeth!"

She seemed to war with herself, "There's no easy way to say this. One jumper is no match for a Goa'uld Mothership! Even all the jumpers and all the fighters on the Daedalus are no match! I can't authorize a suicide mission."

"Try and stop me," Sheppard countered coldly. "Let me explain something. We don't leave a man behind. We don't leave a man in the hands of the enemy. And we sure as hell don't let the enemy get away from snatching a man out from under our noses."

Anyone who knew the two men were silently substituting 'a man' with 'best friend', though the two would never admit it out-loud.

Dr. Weir gave a resigned nod. "Don't attack the Mother-ship Colonel. You won't be able to help Rodney if you're dead. Just try to keep track of it while we work on getting the Daedalus in the air. Report back after you arrive at each destination to tell us where you are heading next."

Sheppard nodded but made no promises about not attacking the ship as he jogged towards the Jumper bay, with Ronon close behind. The truth that hung unspoken in the air was that it was virtually impossible the Daedalus would be in the air in time to go after the Mothership. In all likely-hood, the Mothership would leave the Galaxy first.

Teyla turned to follow but Dr. Weir lay a hand on her shoulder.

Kavanagh realized, with mixed pride and humiliation, that he'd hit and passed one of the learning curbs that Dr. McKay had tried to explain to him. And as he looked at the expressions of distrust and anger in his former colleagues he knew that it was too little, too late.

"Teyla," Weir silently communicated her request with a nod.

And Teyla acknowledged with a tight smile, "I will see that no risk is taken that cannot directly result in Rodney's safe return."

Teyla turned to hurry after her team mates. As an afterthought she threw an accusing glare at Kavanagh, "I told Rodney that he was foolish not to trust his own people. I said you would never intend harm upon him."

With those parting words, she ran to catch up with her team. Leaving Kavanagh to think again on how thoroughly he'd screwed up, and what his jealousy might cost. He honestly wouldn't wish even his worst enemy or most hated rival into the hands of the Goa'uld. As for his career, he'd be amazed if he was ever trusted enough to be part of a top-secret program again. He would be forever barred from such cutting edge research. He couldn't see how this could get much worse.

Then Zelenka came jogging up from the gate level, "Dr. Weir. I can guarantee that there has been no further tampering with the gate. It is safe to dial earth." He paused as he reached the top of the stairs and noted the way the majority of staff were glaring accusingly in Kavanagh's direction. "What has Kavanagh done now?"

Kavanagh quickly ducked behind Major Lorne, "I've done all I can here. Maybe you should take me to that cell."

88888888888

Star Gate Command -

Landry sat in his office, regarding General O'Neill, Richard Woolsey, and the entire of SG-1. They just didn't seem to grasp the concept of a spacious meeting room. "While I'm impressed that you managed to convince the Asgard to relay messages to Atlantis for us, and ingratiated that you only now decided to let me know that this was your intention, I am curious about how you suddenly received this very convincing intelligence. That's a lot of old communications you've mysteriously intercepted. General O'Neill, do I need to remind you that SG-1 works within Star Gate Command, which incidentally is now my command. And Mr. Woolsey, I've decided that I don't even 'want' to know why you're here."

"I didn't encourage them sir," O'Neill defended. "You know how gun-ho these crazy kids than get." O'Neill ruffled Daniel's hair to punctuate the point.

Daniel just raised his eye-brows and regarded Jack with mild annoyance.

"General Landry!" Dr Lee called out moments before he landed panting in General Landry's office. "Atlantis just called in! Dr. Weir is asking to speak with you."

"Thank-you." Landry stood and swiftly and followed after Lee, with a quick glance to the others in the room to let them know this wasn't over. He decided that later would be a better time to remind the good Doctor of the utility of his radio.

When Landry reached the Gate-room he was aware he'd towed with him the assembly from his office. They all seemed to have invested a great deal of interest in seeing this through, so he pointedly didn't protest.

'Dr. Weir,' he looked towards the gate and spoke towards the microphones hanging nearby, "It's good to hear you alive and well."

'We're alive.' Dr. Weir acknowledged, "But we're not well."

"Are all present and accounted for?" Landry veiled the most pertinent question. If the Goa'uld hadn't succeeded then the rest should be conveyed on a secure channel to Dr. Weir's office.

'No.' Dr. Weir hesitated, choosing her words carefully, 'I'm afraid Dr. McKay was last seen being taken up in some Goa'uld rings. The Daedalus has been disabled, by way of sabotage. Colonel Sheppard is attempting to follow in a cloaked jumper through the Stargate's closest to the Scout-ships projected path. But we have no viable means of engagement should Colonel Sheppard make it as far as the Mothership.'

Landry nodded out of habit, "Colonel Carter was concerned of as much, so when we lost contact with you SG1, with the help of Colonel O'Neill, arranged a little extra help from the Asgard. They were on their way to warn you."

There was an audible sigh of relief, 'Oh thank god. How soon will they arrive? How fast are their ships?'

"As I was saying," Landry cut into the barrage of questions, "They were coming to warn you. I don't know how far they will be willing to go help. Only one research vessel was within range to reach you. They should arrive in Pegasus within the next two hours. It will probably go a long way to convince them to assist you further if Colonel Sheppard already knows where the Mother-ship is."

'I'll let him know as soon as he checks in. There's more. Colonel Caldwell was a Goa'uld host. Hermiod has removed the Goa'uld and Colonel Caldwell is recovering. Sergeant Freeman was brainwashed using some sort of drug, as was Dr. Sally Parker. Sergeant Freeman is deceased. He was killed in the act of abducting Dr. McKay. Dr. Parker is in custody.' Dr. Weir took a deep breath before continuing, with a cooler edge to her voice, 'Dr. Kavanagh was also assisting to Goa'uld, believing him-self to be acting under orders from Colonel Caldwell. He is also in custody. Further more, The Goa'uld have acquired all of Dr. Beckett's research regarding the ATA therapy, the Wraith Retro-virus, and Dr. McKay. I've sent a full report, including a copy of all the information the Goa'uld have.'

Sam stepped forward, looking to General Landry for permission to speak. He nodded his assent, "Dr. Weir. The chemical the Goa'uld use is a biological compound. It's called Nish'ta. More importantly it can be isolated and eliminated by a single blast from a Zat gun. A wraith stunner might have the same effect."

'Thank you, Dr. Carter. Unfortunately we've already tried that. The wraith stunners appear to be sufficiently different that it doesn't affect the compound. In fact, the compound seems to grant the infected with a minor immunity to the stunner. Dr. Parker was shot twice before she was unable to move her body, and even then she was still able to speak.'

Sam thought on that a moment, "I'm sending you everything we have on the energy blasts emitted by a Zat gun, and mechanical diagrams. One of your engineers might be able to modify a stunner. I'm also sending our schematics of known Goa'uld Motherships. "

'Thank-you.' There was another pause, 'We confirm receipt of both your files on the Zat gun, and the mother-ship. Is there anything else I should know?'

"Not at this time." General Landry confirmed. "Call us when you know more."

'You can count on it.'

The room fell into silence as the transmission was cut off, and the gate evaporated. An entire galaxy away, their people were in trouble, and once again beyond Earth's help. It was an uncomfortably helpless feeling.

"So…" Colonel Mitchell broke the silence, "It seems that the Trust was McKay's concern after-all. Even though, he's all the way in Pegasus. Even though, he's Canadian…."

"Cam!" Sam exclaimed in shock and slapped his arm.

"What?!" Mitchell stepped out of reach, "I'm just saying he should have been helping us from the beginning. If he had, this probably wouldn't have happened."

"Are you trying to say he had it coming?" Daniel didn't like McKay anymore than the rest of the team but his shocked expression said he thought that was still harsh.

"No!" Mitchell rubbed his arm and pouted at his team, "Geez. What do you think I am? I'm just saying that once we get him back he needs to be a team player."

"I believe," Teal'c stepped in as Sam looked like she was going to say something scathing, "Colonel Mitchell is only saying that the situation was avoidable."

"Exactly," Mitchell pointed at Teal'c. "He's got it right there."

Sam pressed her lips together and marched out of the room and into the neighbouring briefing room. Mitchell and the others followed close behind and closed the door on the Lee and the other scientists. "Ok. Cam. I'm sorry I punched you. It's just… I think the situation is more complicated than that and you're being a little unfair to McKay. So what else is bothering you?"

Mitchell took a deep breath and let it blow, "What ticks me off about McKay is that as long as he doesn't trust his own people with dangerous secrets his secrets are dangerous to us. If he's so smart he's gotta realize that. We gotta know who we're dealing with. And he has to figure out whose side he's on, his own or earth's. You know I'm right. We've been here trying to help him while playing catch-up with the Trust all because he refused to co-operate. He might have had his reasons for being afraid up until now but endangering everyone else in the name of his fears is just, well…I'm sorry but it's selfish and it's cowardly."

"I'm sure he didn't want to put anyone else in danger. It probably never occurred to him." Sam countered calmly. Compassion was a strong trait that she and Daniel had always shared.

"But you admit that it did potentially put others in danger. The fact it never occurred to him reinforces my point that he was only considering himself." Mitchell countered back.

Landry interrupted the scuff just as Sam looked like she would protest again, "I will need to consult with the Secretary of Defence, but it's possible that Dr. McKay no longer has the luxury of complete privacy in this matter. As long as the Goa'uld or the Trust or whatever have him we have to assume that Phoenix is viable and they have acquired the proto-type of a powerful weapon, and very likely the ability to make more. The longer they have him, the more people will need to know the threat we're dealing with; beginning with our medical staff going over Dr. Beckett's research with a fine tooth comb. Everyone on those people know about the Goa'uld and about the Ori, I think they can handle knowing about Dr. Rodney McKay. Keeping absolute secrecy about whatever they did to him and might now be doing to him will not serve to protect him now."

Sam quieted reluctantly. As much as she hated to admit it, Mitchell was right. If McKay had cooperated from the beginning, this might have been avoided. His unwillingness to trust anyone might have brought about the very thing he'd been trying to hide from, and endangered Earth in the process.

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