Prompt: Carter, Mitchell, Sheppard, "what regulations?"
Summary: Sheppard and Mitchell plot to help their families.
Notes: Originally written for the lostcityfound 2008 Fic Battle for the prompt "what regulations?"
"You're insane!" Cam protested.
Sheppard smirked at him from across the table, and behind the smirk Cam could just detect the edge of desperation.
"We'll never get away with it," Cam insisted, resistance beginning to fade under the weight of his own desperation.
"Won't know unless we try," drawled Sheppard, still grinning wildly, and after a long moment, Cam nodded.
It had all begun, Cam decided, in the cafeteria. Some people might have traced the genesis back earlier, to the moment when a handful of cells had failed to stop dividing when they should have and thrown everything out of whack, but Cam preferred to trace it back to the moment when he saw John Sheppard in the cafeteria, looking worn and tired and out-of-place, and invited him for a drink.
They'd struck up a casual sort of friendship during the six weeks the Asurans had occupied Atlantis: a few drinks here, a game of basketball there, some bonding over what it meant to have the responsibility for a whole world resting on your shoulders. It was enough that, once they were settled in the bar with drinks in hand, and the handful of people who had stared when they had come in had turned back to their own drinks, he felt comfortable asking Sheppard what he was doing on Earth. Sheppard had taken a long swallow of beer, and for a moment Cam thought he had overstepped the bounds of their friendship. But then Sheppard had set his glass down and looked across the table at Cam and told him, in a deceptively off-hand way, about his three-year-old nephew, who had been recently diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. And Cam had nodded in sympathy and understanding, and told his own story of his cousin--closer to a sister, really--who was suffering from late-stage ovarian cancer, and who was trying to figure out how to say goodbye to her two children. They toasted their families, and turned to discussing the many downsides of being public celebrities.
The issue of the Ilusians didn't come up until three drinks later. By then, they were both well under the influence of Tabby's truly excellent single malt (having decided that beer wasn't sufficient under the circumstances), and the idea of completely disregarding regulations and possibly ending their own careers seemed less...dangerous than it might have under more sober circumstances.
The new and improved SG-1 had encountered the Ilusians about six months before the Stargate program went public. The Ilusians were a gentle people with middling technology who had somehow avoided both the Goa'uld and the Ori, making a visit to their planet unusually pleasant but otherwise unremarkable, save for one thing. The Ilusians--any Ilusian--could diagnose and heal any form of cancer with a simple touch. That discovery had attracted all sorts of attention from the SGC medical staff, who had brought in all forms of measuring and detecting and sensory equipment, trying to figure out how the Ilusian did it. The project was still ongoing, with dedicated researchers monitoring each healing as the Ilusian carried it out, but progress in adapting the method for use on Earth had been virtually non-existent. Public knowledge of the Ilusian ability was also non-existent, the SGC and IOA having jointly concluded such a revelation--without the additional knowledge of how to transfer the ability to Earth--could only end badly. SGC personnel diagnosed with difficult-to-treat cancers could sometimes slip through by volunteering as research subjects, but civilians were not, under any circumstances, allowed onto Ilusia. Which would have been the end of it and the whole thing not worth mentioning, save for one detail: Earth's upcoming First Inter-Galactic Summit Meeting.
Cam skulked in the park across the street from the hotel, trying to appear both inconspicuous enough not to be noticed and intimidating enough not to be questioned. He found himself wishing for a moment that he still smoked; then he could go join the small crowd outside the hotel in a way that wouldn't draw attention. Instead, he was stuck under a tree feeling ridiculously like a character in a bad spy movie. The whole thing would have been funny if it weren't so urgent.
"I hate waiting," he muttered, shifting his weight from one foot to the other.
After an eternity of waiting, he saw Sheppard strolling down the path toward him. Cam breathed a sigh of relief and met him halfway, almost jogging in his eagerness to be doing something.
"Did you get through?" asked Sheppard as they headed back to Cam's semi-secluded spot under a patch of cottonwoods.
"Yeah," said Cam in a low voice. "The meetings break at 17:00 and resume at 08:00 tomorrow. There's a formal dinner tonight, but she said she thought she could get out of it."
"Fifteen hours," said Sheppard thoughtfully. "That's not a lot of time."
"It's the best we can do, unless you want to cause an international incident and leave both of our careers deader than week-old road kill."
Sheppard grimaced and nodded in agreement.
"She said it would be enough," added Cam, hoping she was right.
"All right," said Sheppard. "What's the plan?"
"She's on the second floor," said Cam. "Said she wouldn't have a problem climbing down."
"It'll still be light out at 17:00," observed Sheppard. "I think people might notice an Ewok scaling the wall of a Colorado Springs hotel."
"She said she'd use her personal cloaking device to keep from being seen." He tried to keep his tone neutral, but something must have come through, because Sheppard looked at him sharply.
"But?" he prompted.
"Well, I've seen those things work," said Cam. "They're not really cloaking devices--more like camouflage screens. Sort of like a chameleon. I'm not sure it's going to fool the marines outside."
"Great," said Sheppard, and Cam could read his own dismay and concern in Sheppard’s voice. They only had one chance at this.
"Do you have a better idea?" he asked, hoping the other man might.
"Better idea for what?" asked a cheerful voice behind them. Cam jumped and whirled around.
"Sam! Where the hell did you come from?"
She looked at them, entirely unperturbed. "So what are you two up to?"
For one wild moment, Cam thought about turning around and planting a kiss on Sheppard. It would, he thought, at least send her suspicions spinning in a new and non-career ending direction. But Sheppard was already eyeing her speculatively.
"How much do you know?" he asked. Cam was amazed at how calm he sounded.
"I know that we've got about twelve alien ambassadors in a hotel across the street, including one whose abilities extend to curing cancer with a touch. And," she turned to face Cam, "I know that your cousin is sick."
"Where'd you hear that?" He tried to keep his tone as mildly curious as Sheppard's had been.
Cam gave a harsh laugh and shook his head, still wondering how the hell his mother and Samantha Carter had ended up as friends. He gave up on that for the moment, and turned his attention to his current problem. Dissembling, apparently, was out, so he tried a new tactic.
"Sam, look, I know the regulations…"
"What regulations?" she interrupted. He stopped, looking at her in amazement. She smiled. "How can I help?"
"You shouldn't," said Cam firmly. "If we get caught…."
"I'll worry about my own career," said Sam. She regarded Cam gravely. "I've been there, Cam. And I got lucky. What can I do?"
"That depends," said Sheppard. "How did you get here?"
"I bypassed the Icarus's transporter security system and beamed down."
Which, of course, was how she'd managed to sneak up on them. Sheppard had apparently already figured that out because he was nodding in satisfaction, leaving Cam feeling a little slow.
“How’d you find us?” asked Cam.
“Your locator beacons showed where you were. Things kind of fell into place after that.” She looked at them seriously. “You really need to work on your conspiracy skills.”
"Can you get back up there and arrange to transport Ambassador Kitha'a from her room without being detected?" asked Sheppard.
"Where do you want me to send her?"
Sheppard handed her a card with an address. They'd arranged for both families to come to Colorado Springs, knowing they'd be working with a limited time frame. Rachel, near broke from medical expenses and too fragile for a commercial flight, had traveled on a private flight paid for by Sheppard. Cam was plotting how to pay him back.
"Can you hit the room?" Sheppard asked Sam.
Sam looked down at the card and nodded. "When?"
"As soon as she gets back to her room after they break for the day," said Cam. "Sometime after 17:00."
"All right," said Sam, sliding the card into her pocket. "When do you want me to send her back?"
Cam and Sheppard exchanged glances.
"She needs to be back by 08:00," said Cam. "Maybe arrange for pick up thirty minutes before that?"
"Done," said Sam. She held something out to them. "Make sure you get this locator beacon to her before the end of the meetings." She paused and looked at Sheppard as if she wanted to say something. Cam realized that she probably didn't know about Sheppard's nephew and had to be wondering why Sheppard was involved; maybe a kiss wouldn't have been as shocking to her as he'd thought. He thought about explaining, and then decided that was up to Sheppard.
"I have to get back," she said at last. "Good luck."
Cam looked at Sheppard after she was gone. "You wanna sneak inside the hotel this time?" he offered.
"The Ambassador knows you," pointed out Sheppard.
"So do the marines," said Cam. He paused, contemplating tactics. “I suppose I could find an excuse to be there.”
“You’re the hero of SG-1,” said Sheppard. “You don’t need an excuse.”
Cam cocked an eyebrow at him. “It’s not as thrilling as you think,” he said. “You’re lucky you get to miss most of the attention.”
Sheppard smirked. “I told you to transfer.”
“I’m still holding out for my own ship,” said Cam. “That’s closer to flying than living in a city is.”
“Transfer to Atlantis and I’ll let you take the city for a spin,” said Sheppard.
“Not the same,” said Cam. “And I don’t think I’d be allowed to fly the city.”
“There’s always the ‘jumpers.”
“And how often do you get to fly them?” asked Cam.
“More often than you fly now,” Sheppard said with a shrug.
Cam shook his head. “Not enough,” he said.
"Did you tell them?" Sheppard asked.
Cam blinked, trying to follow the abrupt change in topic. "Tell who what?"
"Tell your cousin what to expect when we show up?"
"Nah. Didn't want to risk anything leaking out," said Cam. It had been difficult to convince Rachel to make the trip without information, and only insinuations that he had access to still-classified technology had gotten her on the plane.
"Me either," said Sheppard. He grinned suddenly. "This will be fun."
"If it works,” said Cam. He’d had nightmares about the many ways this could go wrong. They all ended with him standing over Rachel’s grave, her children looking up at him accusingly.
"It will," said Sheppard confidently.
"You’re an optimist, Sheppard," said Cam, but he was strangely reassured.
“Nah, just desperate,” said Sheppard. He spoke lightly, but Cam thought he saw a crack in the armor; the first since that night in the bar. That too was reassuring.
“I’d better get going,” said Cam, pocketing the beacon.
“See you in a few,” said Sheppard.
Cam began walking toward the hotel.