Crown Infernal

Angle of Incidence

Part 7

Thursday - 17th August

Hammond had organized a UH-60A Black Hawk, as although it was nearing the end of its service life, it had a long ferry range. It was also the only one available at short notice.

On O'Neill's order they were rapidly on their way to Area 51. As everyone except Jack expected, there had been no one trespassing anywhere on or near the base, only the usual U.F.O. spotters and conspiracy theorists. The pilot took the opportunity to refuel for the anticipated trip to California and they were off again.

They'd only been in the air a couple of minutes when Sam, looking idly out of a window on the port side said, "Sir, I've got an idea."

"Go on," Jack said.

"He's carrying around a lot of money. I presume it will be in identifiable sequential bills. Las Vegas could be a way of sort of laundering the money?"

Jack was skeptical. "More like a good way to lose money."

"Not necessarily. You buy a stack of large denomination chips, play a couple of games - win a little or lose a little, it doesn't really matter - then cash in the chips."

"It's possible I suppose," Jack conceded doubtfully.

"Actually, it's not a bad idea at that," Harry said. "Jackson's a good poker player. He's very good at reading body language - plays the people, not the cards. Good at blackjack, too. With his interest in cryptology, he's good at spotting patterns. Hasn't ever taken it all that seriously, except when he needed funds and he's been thrown out of a couple of casinos for card counting."

"But Las Vegas is a pretty big haystack to start looking though," Jack objected. "Besides, even he did as you suggest, he may be long gone by now."

Looking out over Las Vegas, Harry said, "Well, while Your Las Vegas is a whole lot bigger than ours, Jackson usually only visited one place - the Karnak Hotel and Casino— "

"Karnak?" Daniel asked. "Wouldn't have a big black pyramid and a rather kitsch sphinx outside, would it?"

Harry stabbed a finger in Daniel's direction. "Funny you should ask that..."

"Wouldn't hurt to look in at the Luxor on the way, would it, Jack? Wouldn't take that long," Daniel said.

Jack surrendered to his numerical disadvantage and ordered the pilot to set them down anywhere close to the Luxor. Fortunately, the parking lot across the strip from the Luxor was almost empty, and the cars present were all conveniently gathered together at the far end like a herd of wildebeest at a water-hole.

As Daniel alighted from the Black Hawk, he stared at the sphinx and cringed. The sphinx stared into the middle distance, apparently aiming for inscrutable and failing. It looked bored more than anything.

"Ok, split up and be back here in thirty," Jack said as they entered the casino. Daniel wandered around the labyrinthine complex, not so much looking for the other Daniel Jackson as looking to see if anyone who looked at him showed any sign of recognizing him. It didn't seem like it. Oh well. He looked at his watch. Nearly time to go - assuming he could find the way out. He walked down an avenue of slot machines, turned around the end and nearly collided with a tall African-American guy.

"Oops, sorry," Daniel smiled.

"Hi." The other guy returned his smile. "You giving up already?"

Maybe not a bust.

"Giving up?"

"Yeah. You dropped about eighty Gs back there. Still, I guess trying to win it back is probably a loser's game and you don't look like the losing type."

"I - I don't?" Daniel's mind was whirling, trying to assess the situation. "You seem to be taking an unusual interest in me, Mr—?"

"Brown, Warrick Brown. I used to have a bit an addiction problem one time. Didn't help that I got caught counting the cards. You do that too, don't you?"

Daniel shot him a curious look.

"Well, you were winning steadily. You were what, two hundred Gs to the good, then suddenly you start to lose. Saw the goons watching you, didn't you, so you drop eighty, and now you're leaving with what - double your stake and then some."

Daniel continued to look at Warrick Brown, who seemed quite willing to talk without any assistance from him.

"Had better luck here than the poker table at the Mandalay Bay, didn't you? Pretty much lost the lot, didn't you, yet here you are, winning big at blackjack. Did I blink and miss you winning back enough to stake here? Or... there are other ways of regaining your losses... aren't there?"

Shit. This was not going anything like any of the ways Daniel had considered.

"What are you saying?"

Even less did Daniel like the feeling of something hard and pistol-like pressing against the small of his back and a foot trying to kick his feet apart. Or the voice near his ear which growled, "I'm saying Brass, L.V.P.D. Get your hands in the air and spread 'em."


"You heard," Warrick Brown said.

"Is this a mugging?" asked Daniel, who hadn't really taken on board what Brass had said, "because I really have very little cash on me."

"Nice try," Brass said drily, then his eyes widened and his voice changed in surprise. "What the fuck?!"

"Having trouble, Daniel?" came the very welcome laid-back tones of Jack O'Neill.

"I wouldn't do that," came a female voice from behind Warrick Brown as he seemed to be reaching for weapon under his jacket. He gave a grimace of irritation at being caught in a sucker pincer movement like they'd just used on Daniel, but relaxed.

"You won't get away with this, fella," Brass grunted.

"Oh, I think we already did," Jack said coolly.

"You're interfering with a police investigation."


"Yes. An investigation into the murder of Jasper Kitteridge, a.k.a. the Stone Fish."

"Uh-huh? Well, you're potentially interfering in a matter of National Security. So I suggest we take this somewhere a little more private—"

"Right. My men will be happy to take you down to headquarters."

"National Security? Yeah right," Warrick Brown muttered.

Jack snapped out of the free and easy act. "Listen, you want to get into a pissing contest about this, I warn ya, my stream reaches as far as the White House, taking in the Pentagon on the way. Now holster your weapon, detective."

"It's Captain - Captain Jim Brass," he said, turning to Jack and scowling as he stowed his pistol."

"Then I still outrank you," Jack said, reverting to type with a smug grin. "Colonel Jack O'Neill."

Brass commandeered an office and O'Neill opened the proceedings. "First off, Dr. Jackson over there is not the guy you're looking for."

"Sure looks like him," Warrick said, shooting a suspicious look Daniel's way.

Daniel raised a finger. "Wait, you're saying he's clean shaven?"

"More like five o'clock shadow. Just like yours..."

"Knock it off, Warrick," Brass frowned.

"So what can you tell us about... erm, David Johnson?" Sam asked with an encouraging smile at Captain Brass.

"It began with a 911 call from the Mandalay Bay. Mr Kitteridge had been playing poker from early evening and was winning big. Mr - er - Johnson? joined the table at 10.42 p.m. from the security footage with thirty grand in chips."

Daniel looked sick. "Thirty grand?" he growled. "Bastard!"

Warrick looked surprised at the venom in his voice.

"It was Daniel's money," Sam explained.

Warrick whistled. His expression changed from hostile suspicion to outright sympathy. "No wonder you want to get your hands on him!"

"Oh, that's nothing," Daniel scowled. "He's wanted for at least two, probably three murders on— in another state," he concluded quickly with a guilty look at Jack.

"Yeah," Jack said glossing over the near gaff. "That's why we have Agent Maybourne with us." He nodded at Harry, leaving the local guys to assume he was F.B.I. It wasn't that far off the mark anyway. "But pray continue, Captain Brass."

"Actually, Warrick was watching the play," Brass said with a meaningful look at his companion. Warrick's face took on a slightly shifty look, Daniel thought. Oh yes, he'd said he'd been a gambling addict, hadn't he? Maybe he hadn't entirely kicked the habit?

"Stone Fish had a big pile of chips in front of him and another guy left the table - cleaned out - when Johnson arrived. He slid into the guy's place and proceeded to lose, little by little. He got down to around five grand - sorry, Daniel - then he went all in baring one chip. Stone Fish won the lot. Johnson left the table and came back a coupla minutes later and presented Stone Fish with a drink to show no hard feelings. Said he was calling it quits for now but he'd be back tomorrow to win it back, then he gave him a smile and wandered off. Not long after that, Stone Fish said he was feeling tired— What?"

Daniel and Harry had exchanged a significant look. "You'd better do a tox. screen on the guy," Harry said.

"Sooner rather than later," Daniel added.

"Noted," Brass said. "Go on, Warrick."

"Stone Fish cashed in his chips - about two hundred grand, wasn't it Jim?" Brass nodded. " - and headed for the elevators, carrying a brief case. Security footage showed that Johnson followed him into the elevator car. The CCTV in the car isn't too clear, but as far as we could make out, Johnson pulled a gun. Stone Fish bent down to put the case on the floor and Johnson slugged him while he was bending. Johnson picked up the case and dragged Stone Fish into a semi-standing position, presumably so he'd just look drunk if anyone else called the elevator, which they didn't."

Brass took up the narrative. "The next we know, he's pulling Stone Fish out of the elevator car then posed him on a couch in an alcove on the top floor, like he was sleeping off one too many. We lost track of Johnson after that. Must've taken the stairs. It was a couple of hours before a guest noticed blood on Stone Fish's collar, and asked if he was ok. No response, so she nudged him, he fell off the couch, she checked for a pulse and called 911."

"I was here in the Luxor by then," Warrick said with a glance at Brass, "working on another case." Brass snorted and shook his head. "I happened to see Johnson at the blackjack table, and he kind of piqued my interest. He seemed to be doing very well and security had noticed. I guess he saw them gathering and started losing little by little, till the pile of chips was down by about half. He still had about a hundred grand or so left, said he'd better quit while he was still a little bit ahead and when off to cash in his chips. I was following him when Grissom paged me."

"Grissom?" Jack asked.

"My boss. We're C.S.I.s" Warrick explained. "Anyway, cell 'phones don't work in here, so I had to use a pay 'phone. He updated me about Stone Fish. I figured it could be Johnson and that he was here. By the time, I went back to the teller's, Johnson had gone. I checked around to see if he was still here. I'd just met up with Captain Brass when I spotted Dr. Jackson here. We managed to corner him, at which time, the rest of you showed up."

A light came on in Daniel's brain. "You were using me as bait!" he accused them.

"Bait Daniel?" Jack said, innocent look betrayed by the twitch at the corner of hiss mouth. "Just keeping an eye on you. Didn't want you to get into trouble and end up in jail. Again..."

"Well thanks for that," Daniel said with a wry smile. "Twice in three days is more than enough."

Brass and Warrick got their suspicious looks back on.

"Mistaken identity both times," he explained. "So the sooner we catch him, the better."

"So it comes back to you, Daniel," Jack said. "What d'you think he'll do next?"

"I'd guess he'll already have taken a room, somewhere like the one in Terrace Street. If he stole Stone Fish's money, he wouldn't want to carry around with him in case he got mugged himself. He'd want to leave it somewhere safe - maybe under the bed in his room. Then he's come out for this second foray, so by now, I should think he's probably tucked up in bed asleep."

"Not moving on already?" Jack asked.

Sam looked thoughtful. "He must be pretty tired by now, sir. Think about it. He can't have had that much sleep since he— since he arrived in the 'States. We broke in on him at 0300 on Tuesday morning and chased him half way round Colorado. He may have slept on the Greyhound, but I doubt he'd feel very refreshed by it if he did, not knowing if the cops were on his tail."

"He must have caught up on sleep in Albuquerque though," Jack pointed out.

"But he's had a very busy day since then. He was up before 0600, active most of the morning, then rode from Albuquerque to here. Even if he didn't stick to speed limits all the time, he couldn't afford to travel flat out in case he got pulled over, so he must've been on the road for around ten hours judging by when he showed up here - and while it's fun if you like that sort of thing, riding the Goldwing here would still've been very tiring."

"And then he's had to focus on the card play," Harry added.

"So we need to find his lodging?" Jack said.

"Wouldn't he stay here or at one of the other big anonymous hotels?" Brass asked.

"Maybe," Daniel said slowly, "but I think he'd go for something less... I don't know, less public - quicker to escape from than a busy multi-story hotel. I mean, plenty of people might've noticed him here, it would be fairly easy to find out which room he's in, and how's he going to escape from the 39th floor when the police break in?"

Brass pursed his lips as he considered Daniel's way of looking at things. "You could well be right," he said at last. "So now we just have to find a back street hotel?"

"Within easy walking distance," Daniel put in.

"Because?" Jack prompted.

"He wasn't wearing leathers so he must've changed, plus, he wouldn't want to walk too far carrying a lot of money, especially if he's tired and not too alert."

"He's good, isn't he?" Brass remarked to Warrick. "If you get tired of working for them, Daniel, there's a job for you here with the L.V.P.D. Just give me a call."

Jack shook his head. "Not gonna happen, Captain."

Brass grinned back. "Can't blame me for trying!"

"I don't know." Warrick spoke softly, almost to himself, "I can't off-hand think of any 'back street hotels' that are all that close. If I were a stranger in the area, I reckon I'd go for one of the motels across the Strip. There are at least half a dozen within in walking distance of here."

"Yes, that would work," Daniel nodded. "In Johnson's shoes, which one would be your first pick?"

Warrick's brow furrowed in thought. "Well the Laughing Jackal is set furthest back from the Strip with parking to the rear if he wanted to hide the bike, but... I think I'd go for the Sunshine Motel. It fronts on to East Mandalay Bay Road, but it's also right on the junction with the Strip which means there are more options for a quick getaway. It's also about equidistant between the Mandalay and the Luxor."

"We'll start there then," Daniel decided, getting to his feet.

"What he said." Jack muttered with a look at Daniel that asked who was running the show.

The seven left the Luxor together and turned south. Brass called a couple of units to the Sunshine Motel, silent approach. If Johnson was asleep, it was not in their interest to wake him up too soon.

As he was speaking, Warrick spotted the Black Hawk, and pointed towards it. "Yours?"

Jack nodded.

"Cool! Hm. You don't think it might give the game away?"

Jack thought about it. "Maybe, if he saw us arrive, but with luck - and we're due a little - he was already asleep, and if we disturbed his sleep enough that he looked out, there're a lot of big rigs parked between him and the chopper. Not that it's particularly quiet round here. Besides, we're not all that far from McCarran International."

As they reached the Sunshine Motel, a couple of police vehicles arrived and parked across the exits. Brass drew a sharp breath and grimaced. No sirens, no. But the flashing lights weren't exactly inconspicuous. Later on, he would have words...

Daniel elected to wait outside. He figured it would cause less confusion. Rather than just hanging around, kicking his heels, he thought he would investigate the vehicles parked there. So far as he could see, there were only automobiles - the usual sedans, station wagons, pickup trucks and the like. Then, as he approached the eastern end of the motel, he heard the throaty roar of a powerful motorcycle revving up.

He ran to the corner of the building in time to see a biker heading towards a third exit at the rear. He picked up speed as he sprinted after it, not in any expectation of catching it - there was no chance of that - but in hopes of gaining useful information. It turned right and raced southwards, parallel to the Strip. The last view he had of it, it made a right turn as if aiming to rejoin the Strip further along.

He turned and ran back the way he'd come. S.G1 and the rest were outside and running too, looking around as they ran and calling his name.

"Jack! Jack!" he yelled as he ran towards them. "I've seen him, I've seen him!" The rest converged on him. "At least, I think I've seen him."

"You think?" Jack sounded both hopeful and doubting.

"Well, I couldn't catch up with him on foot obviously, but I got close enough to see from the lights by the exit that it looked dark red. I couldn't read the licence plate, but I'm pretty sure there were stars either side of it."

"Sounds about right. He paid up and signed out a few minutes before we arrived - about long enough to pack and load up."

"Did you see where he went, Daniel?" Brass asked. Daniel told him. "Giles Street, East 4 Seasons Drive and back on to the Strip," Brass nodded. "You say he's heading for the L.A. area? Looks like he'll be taking the I15 then."

"Well, doesn't matter how fast the bike is, he won't outrun the chopper," Jack said, looking smug, "and he's got precious little lead. I'm thinking half an hour and we should have him."

An hour later, none of the seven, nor the flight crew, had seen anything that remotely resembled the runaway rider, and the traffic was light at that time of night. The Highway Patrol had nothing to report either - no sightings on the road or at gas stations.

"What's the next most likely route he would've taken?" Sam asked Jim Brass.

"Probably the Blue Diamond Road - Route 160."

"Sounds a little... unlucky," Daniel remarked.

"In what way, Daniel Jackson?"

"The Hope family once owned a blue diamond. It was said to be cursed because, according to legend, it was stolen from a Hindu idol. Previously, it was called the Tavernier Blue after the French merchant who probably stole it. He then sold it to the king of France - not the one who was guillotined, though he did own it at one time and gave it to Marie Antoinette. It was stolen again during the French Revolution, and came into the Hope family around thirty years later. After a number of deaths and other... incidents ascribed to the curse, its last owner, a diamond merchant named Winston, gave it the Smithsonian. Winston lived into his eighties."

Jack bit back a sarcastic comment, remembering his vow to himself to make things right with his team - with Daniel. Snapping at him wasn't going to help, except as a release mechanism to get rid of the pent-up frustration of not being able to get his hands on the other Daniel Jackson, the real Bad Guy.

Looking on the bright side, at least they had their own Daniel back where he should be - with his team. The pilot flew back to the outskirts of Las Vegas and, with Brass' instructions, picked up the Blue Diamond road. There was virtually no traffic on it, and nothing on two wheels.

"You don't think he's riding without his lights on?" Warrick asked.

"Could be. He'd be invisible from this height." Harry said. "He'll certainly be desperate enough and he might know the road reasonably well."

Sam looked thoughtful. "I'm not so sure. Yes, his natural route from the Springs to the coast would be to take the I70 and then the I15 through Las Vegas as far as Barstow. Beyond that, who knows? I don't think he'll be traveling fast though. He'll be nursing his fuel consumption, and if he keeps his speed down, he won't attract unwanted attention. Yes, he might manage without lights, but that might get him noticed, as well as risking coming off the bike. Plus, if we're ahead of him and looking for him in front of us, he gets an easy run behind us and will see us before we see him."

"So he'll kill the lights then and take cover till we've gone? Dammit, are we never gonna catch a break." Jack was beginning to think that Doctor Evil was always going to be at least one step ahead and probably more.

"We're not doing too badly so far," Sam said in bracing tones. "We could be chasing our tails in Outer Minnesota..."

Jack pulled a face. "Meaning I've been wrong from day one?"

"Indeed you have O'Neill," Teal'c scowled.

Jack folded his arms and leaned back looking sullen.

It was over two hours later that they finally caught the break they were looking for. Dawn had already gilded the lower edges of the clouds along the eastern horizon and was spreading a clear golden glow across the land behind them. Below them, a lone biker was traveling along the Old Highway 58 out of Barstow. The pilot took the Black Hawk down to a hundred feet and slowed to match the biker's speed.

If they were in any doubt that they had their quarry in their sights, that disappeared when something pinged against a rotor blade. Daniel had spotted a flash of fire from the man below and a little ahead of them. He and Harry were watching intently. Of all those on board, they had the strongest motives for capturing Daniel's evil twin.

Warrick looked shocked. "Are we safe up here?" he squawked, imagining falling out of the sky in a ball of flame.

Sam smiled and gave him an encouraging pat on the leg. "Sure you are. The main rotor blades that can withstand hits by explosive or incendiary projectiles up to 23mm in size, so a 9mil. isn't a problem."

Jackson fired another shot before accepting that firing over his shoulder at a moving target was a waste of ammo.

"Shall I take him out Colonel?" the co-pilot/gunner asked.

"No, we want him alive," Jack replied. Under cover of these exchanges, Daniel was picking Harry's brains for information on the weaponry on his world as he focused on the man below.

The road ran through scrub land that provided little cover. To the north, the biker's right, the landscape grew rapidly more rugged. Although he couldn't hope to dodge the chopper in such exposed terrain along the highway, it would be difficult for the pilot to find somewhere convenient to land.

This was presumably what he had in mind as he swung a sharp right. Whatever the plan, it didn't include hitting a patch of loose dirt as he turned. The bike went east and he went west, colliding solidly with a lone Joshua tree.

Down, but not yet out...

Although he must be at least winded by the collision, the pilot put the Black Hawk down in a dip on the other side of the highway. Their quarry likely wasn't going anywhere in a hurry, but he was known to be armed and definitely dangerous.

Instructing the Las Vegas guys to stay put, Jack, with Daniel and Harry were first out of the chopper. Daniel in the middle, took the lead as, keeping low, they ran up the shallow embankment on their side of the road. Daniel felt the breeze as a bullet sizzled past his ear. He threw himself to the ground, just below the top of the embankment. The rest followed suit.

"Three," Daniel muttered to himself and fired at the tree, sending a shower of dead foliage over Jackson.

"That the best you can do?" came a mocking yell, as two more shots whizzed above Daniel's head. Clearly he'd removed his helmet to see better and was most likely using the Joshua tree for cover of sorts. The light at ground level was still pretty murky, but brightening minute by minute.

"Give it up!" Jack yelled back. "We've got you pinned down, so you're not going anywhere." Another shot sent up a cloud of dust just in front of him, getting in his eyes. "Dammit, he's good," he grunted, blinking.

"You might as well do as he says," Harry shouted. "We could cut you a deal of sorts."

"Maybourne?" The voice sounded shocked. "You... you..." Then he laughed. "You'll never succeed. Paul will run rings round you like he always does."

"Not this time. Davis is dead."

"You're lying, Maybourne!" Harry had already ducked, but Jackson's anger made him shoot wildly.

"No he's not. I was there," Daniel called.

"I don't believe you." Another wild shot.

"Tough. It's true. Your escape plan got screwed up," Daniel confirmed.

"Now it's you that's screwed." Harry sounded unbearably smug.

"Fuck you!" Jackson screamed, firing in the direction of the voice. "You can all go to hell! I'm not going back. Nine shots... I've got one bullet left," he called.

The first rays of the sun glinted on his hair as he came out from behind the tree. He had the Glock pressed to his temple. You won't take me alive!"

"This one's mine," Daniel said emphatically to Harry. He turned quickly to Jack and glared as he said, "Trust me."

Then he stood up, the hand holding his Beretta hanging loose by his side. He walked confidently across the empty road towards his evil twin. "I wouldn't be too sure about that," he said with quiet menace.

"You?" Jackson growled. "Well, at least I can take you with me." He removed the gun from his own temple and pointed it at Daniel's heart.

"If you use the last bullet on me, you're definitely going back." Jackson ran his tongue across parched lips.

"If they don't shoot me after I kill you, I'll use your gun."

"You're already using my gun," Daniel pointed out calmly. "Go ahead, give it your best shot."

The watchers gasped in unison. Jack barely held back a cry of "No!" The urge to leap in and 'rescue' Daniel was almost uncontrollable, yet it had to be controlled. Daniel had asked— no, told Jack to trust him. In that single second - that heartbeat - he knew that if he wanted to put things right with his team, he had to keep still and stay stumm.

There was a sharp metallic click. Jackson looked at the Glock in disbelief.

"Yeah, you counted correctly," Daniel grinned, raising his arm and aiming at Jackson's heart, "nine shots. Thing is - like I said - that's my gun you're using..."

"Okay, kill me," Jackson said grimly, walking towards Daniel - trying to force him to pull the trigger. "Even you can hit me if I come close enough," he sneered. He stopped ten feet away and looked puzzled as Daniel lowered his weapon.

"Even I..." Daniel said, and fired.

Jackson screamed as he went down, both hands grasping his thigh. Dark red blood oozed between his fingers as he rolled in the dust. Daniel breathed a sigh of relief; he'd missed the femoral artery.

Jack and Harry were the first across the road, slapping him on the back and hugging him.

"Thanks, Jack," Daniel said. "Thanks for trusting me."

"So— Are we good?"

"I guess."

The rest arrived then, Teal'c toting the Black Hawk's medikit. Jack let Sam do the first aid. He figured Jackson deserved it. Daniel ferreted around in the contents. Found what he was looking for.

He went down on one knee beside the source of all his recent troubles and stared down into Jackson's eyes, looking like an avenging angel in the sunlight. He extracted the tool. Laid the tip of the blade at Jackson's temple. A quick flick of the wrist took the scalpel to the tip of his chin. Jackson screamed. Sam looked at Daniel in horror.

"Now," Daniel snarled, "no one's gonna mistake me for you ever again!"

Jack decided he was never going to piss Daniel off ever again.

Half an hour later, everyone was back on board the chopper, including a subdued and zip-cuffed Jackson. Sam had collected the Goldwing which she intended to have returned to Mr. Finneran. The fairing on one side was badly scratched and would need replacing, but it was otherwise ok.

The co-pilot took the controls and went on to Edwards to refuel. They would return Captain Brass and Warrick Brown to Las Vegas on their way back to Kirtland. They would also make sure that the Goldwing was returned to her rightful owner.

SG-1, Harry and the prisoner were left hanging around while their transport was readied for their flight back to Peterson. While they were waiting, they were treated to the delights of the Edwards commissary which proved much like military commissaries the world over. The prisoner was left in charge of a couple of mean-looking guards.

"If he just so much as opens his mouth, shoot him," Jack said. "In the other leg."

On their way to the commissary, Jack said softly, "Hardest thing I've ever done was watching him aim at you and shoot. Please don't pull a trick like that again, or you'll be the death of me!"

"What? You mean you didn't really trust me?"

"If I hadn't trusted you, I'd've been right there in front of you! It was because I trusted you that I didn't leap in to save you."

Daniel gave him a fond smile. "I was in no danger, Jack. I kept a close tally on the number of rounds he'd fired, and, as it's my gun, I knew there were only nine rounds in the magazine. When he said 'nine shots,' I knew he hadn't checked the magazine - just assumed it was fully loaded."

"But he might have put a new clip in," Jack objected.

"My spare clips were I left them. I checked when we went back to my apartment. I didn't think he'd have gone shopping for spare Glock clips while he was on the run, especially not with his picture across the media."

"But he might've."

"Ok, it was a calculated risk. Don't tell me you've never done that."

Jack sighed. He was going to say that he'd been trained to calculate risks, but highlighting that Daniel hadn't was likely to raise more trust issues. Right now, the team was back together, they'd completed their mission and Daniel was fine. It was a good enough result for him.

"Every time I go on a mission with you," he chuckled, ruffling Daniel's hair, "and I wouldn't have it any other way.


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Crown Infernal