Waking to Another Sky Ch5 bit – Problems

Janet bristled. “They got trapped by a madman,” she cut across Daniel’s words, almost wishing she had her hands on a scalpel. Sam was trying to hide it, but it didn’t take a doctor to notice how stiff she was; how the major was looking anywhere but at her teammates. This had to be like Jolinar all over again. Only worse, because Jack and Daniel knew damn well no one had volunteered for this. “They meant to play a game. Instead, they got locked into a waking nightmare. So help me, Daniel, if anyone tells these people it’s their fault some of them are dead-!”

Behind glass, blue eyes were bleak. “Janet, we have to use this.”

She gaped at the archaeologist, completely taken aback. She’d known Daniel could be cold-blooded under pressure. You couldn’t keep saving the planet by the skin of your teeth with Jack O’Neill and not develop a deep, dark streak of ruthlessness when the chips were down.

The problem was, the planet didn’t need saving right this minute. No one needed saving right now, unless you counted people suddenly petrified of stubbing their own toes. What was going on here?

“Why?” Sam’s voice was almost steady. “Daniel, they’ve risked their lives for two years. They aren’t a study group. They’re people. People who want to go back to their own lives.”

“Exploding pen,” Jack said dryly.

“Ribbon device,” Sam shot back.

“Difference being, we can lock up the ribbon device,” Jack pointed out. “We can’t lock up the fact that Asuna can drag along a guy her own size like a feather duster. Or that Tsuboi and every other clearer we’ve seen moves faster than a ticked-off rattlesnake. Or that Kazuto just flat-out disappears when he doesn’t want to be found. Much as I hate to consider it, Major, if you ever resigned, you could probably go the rest of your life without causing a security breach. Kazuto? Two words, Carter. High school.”


36 thoughts on “Waking to Another Sky Ch5 bit – Problems

  1. Ouch. And yet, Jack is correct on some level. Of course, he is considering how to keep things silent, keeping the Stargate and the interstellar war Earth is involved in secret, but I don’t know if they can keep the players under wraps. And trying to use what they had to do to survive against them? That can only backfire in the long run.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And this is the core issue. The goal of the SGC technically in this situation isn’t to help the players or allow them to reintegrate them into society.

    It’s to keep the rest of the planet of finding out about aliens and other such weirdness. Ergo while they can’t/won’t let the players go home.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thing is, they flat out can’t hold that many physically enhanced people, with skill, family who know they are alive, and a government that can go to bat for them. Trying to will spread more things further than getting consent from some of the players.

      Yeah, Kibaou is a loudmouth who will spill things. That incident with Thinker could be understood as attempted murder. Which is a way to isolate and discredit him.

      If the SGC briefs Asuna, she agrees to secrecy, and Thinker trusts her and goes along, Thinker can be a public spokesman for ‘yeah, some strange things happened, but the Air Force is looking at it, and I don’t know how Kayaba was able to do it’. That’s probably about the minimum possible disclosure, and might well work.

      Like Teal’c, Daniel comes from a different secrecy background than Jack. Teal’c hid secrets in his heart that were constantly life or death, but is now only guarding secrets that might have a smaller impact on a society he isn’t heavily invested in, so he rolls with what his brothers in arms from that society say. Jack says nothing except to people explicitly formally on the inside, as directed, but does have to accept that people will be able to put together and publicize all sorts of things from open sources. Daniel has only been privy to secrets as part of the Star Gate program, has been thought insane in relation to them, and is feeling guilty over his part in Kayaba doing what he did.

      So Daniel, Jack, and now Sam have some reasons to be a bit irrational about this discussion.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Same, Jack has some good points, but he’s going about it completely the wrong way if he wants cooperation in the long term. Most especially because Kayaba’s favorite manipulation targets are going to 1: recognize the tactic, even if it does work to ensure temporary cooperation in the short term and 2: deeply resent it.
    Tok’ra school of treating allies like tools and pawns much?
    Also, do you want the players to ally with Kayaba? Because while it’s vanishingly unlikely, this kind of stupid let’s the bad guys set up hooks along the lines of “See, EVERYONE is out to screw you but me? At least I have some standards.” Again, I don’t think it will happen but when you stick the good guys in a bad enough spot…
    (Although, if you ever get to a point where Kayaba is your least horrible option, I seriously pity you)

    Liked by 2 people

      1. And then publicly blackmail the entire government about it. Is it any wonder people were nervous?

        “We can do this kind of stunt with three people, and you can’t touch us afterwards because you *need* us.” Yeah, I’d want limits too.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Japan legit has a consulate in Colorado, too. They wouldn’t even have to run that far before they could gain diplomatic immunity.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Keeping this a secret requires either getting the players to cooperate, which means playing nice, or kidnapping 6000 mostly children from their families and throwing them through the stargate by force (as it’s the only thing they’ve got which would act as a secure enough prison), something anyone with any shred of decency would choke on.

    Jack should realise this. He only acts an idiot.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If you throw them through the gate, you get many times the staffing problems of imprisoning them on Earth, or they are free on the other side of the gate. Which means in addition to the Goa’uld, you get a six thousand cyborg army fighting against the SGC to get back through the gate.

      The SGC just has to calm down and work out that they don’t have any options they can stomach other than limited disclosure.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. It’s not just keeping the SGC quiet. Consider what even ‘support level’ survivors can do when stressed? Like Scilia? Kirito shows that with enough of a boost the survivors can turn pens into lethal projectiles. And you want to bet against some of them reacting first with SAO reflexes and only realize what is happening too late?

    Effectively they have a short regiment of PTSD soldiers just off the front line. Contents under extreme pressure, do not poke, puncture, shake, or subject to shock. They need to decompress, even if someone has to risk cracking open a valve. Heck, if they were all soldiers it’d be easier, they’d at least have some support structure to deal with this already in existence.

    And I think Janet misses the times Danny is quite ruthless. He wants to talk first, to know that there wasn’t another way out. But once convinced there isn’t? He and Jack came up with giving Ra the nuke back at the same time. He and Jack get along because Jack didn’t infect Daniel, it is just Daniel has a longer fuse.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. . . . I think I am seeing a lot of conclusion jumping in the comments section.

    This is a snippet and we the readers do not have full context for the scene or dialogue. We don’t know for certain what comments or topics lead to what responses.

    What we do know is Janet objects to the survivors being told they bear any responsibility for what happened to them. We know Jack and Daniel both think that they don’t have any choice but to use the resources they’ve got. In this case, that means the survivors.

    I suspect Daniel thinks so because for all the areas Kayaba royally screwed this up sideways, Kayaba’s also not wrong about how untenable Earth’s situation is. SGC just hasn’t had much in the way of options until now. I think Jack’s point of view is more ‘we can’t let them go because security breach, we can’t contain them, and we can’t control them. Our only reasonable option left is to aim them.’ It’s not a pretty thought process, but it may just be that the moment I’ve been waiting for – when Jack starts categorizing them as ‘child soldiers’ – finally happened.

    Daniel doesn’t seem to be thinking in terms of security and breaches thereof, but straight resources and human responses. Jack is still hung up on the fact that these people already know more than they should and are asking questions he’s not even allowed to say ‘I can’t answer that’ to until Hammond gives the go-ahead. Once Hammond does that’ll make Jack’s position easier because he can explain to the survivors why he’s saying ‘no, we can’t do that’. And Danny isn’t saying blackmail/pressgang them all, he’s willing to lean on a bit of emotional manipulation, but forcing people is just asking for disaster and Danny’s not that dumb. Daniel’s saying they have to ask for that help. Because to do otherwise, to just send these people back to their old lives and society when those aren’t their lives and it’s not their society anymore? Is asking for disaster. If the option is given and taken, then it gives the survivors a place – even to heal – and grants the SGC a resource they desperately need.

    I think Janet is having her own shades of Jack’s previous problem. She’s seeing disaster survivors and not what being and SAO survivor really is.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I think there are sone key things to consider:
    First, forceably isolating & containing victims of violent crimes is wrong, and when it comes to minors, without direct informed consent of their parents, explicitly illegal.

    Second, you cannot keep force thousands of victims of violent crimes to keep silent. They have no legal nor moral obligation to do so, regardless of how inconvenient that is to people who wish to keep things classified. These victims of SAO are under no oaths to keep what happened to them quiet with the possible exception of the armed forces persons or other government workers.

    Especially if there is a risk it could happen again or that complicit persons are getting away with it. You only have to look at those who speak out against violent, oppressive regimes’ crimes against humanity to see that. People speak out knowing it will get them or their families killed. SAO survivors, if they feel SGC is complicit, have almost a moral obligation to escape and whistleblow.

    Third, forcing the SAO – directly or indirectly – to work or fight with SGC could constitute slavery/human trafficking. Forcing or even allowing underage persons to work in military operations is highly illegal internationally, because that’s creating Child soldiers. The President himself ought to smack down any senior military official who tried to advocate it.

    The survivors waking up is too big a secret to truly conceal and honestly I don’t think the secret of aliens would really leak – I mean with the exception of the pets (which as long as no DNA test is done, could probably be hidden as a new species discovery) – enhanced human abilities? People don’t think aliens exist so they think steroids, tricks, or just surprise. Because humans can do crazy feats of strength and flexibility and people know that.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The problem is what the Pentagon is going to order Hammond to do now that the players are awake. Considering the modifications etc that he will have had to report to them, I highly doubt they will tell him to simply let the players go home.

    Hopefully they will be intelligent enough to realize they can’t just keep everyone cooped up in the hospital facility.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This also feels a little like a brainstorming sessions for the characters. I mean it’s not them setting policy yet it’s them talking out options and getting all the problem spots more into the open so that when Hammond goes ‘Thoughts on what to do about this?’ They have reasonable options. Also part of brainstorming is bringing up lots of options and depending on who’s doing the brainstorming pointing out the flaws in the ideas. So it’s good that they’re talking about this now and not for the first time with the Japanese government, NID, SGC at the same table. Also vastly different priorities and assumptions are not helping.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. >So it’s good that they’re talking about this now and not for the first time with the Japanese government, NID, SGC at the same table. Also vastly different priorities and assumptions are not helping.>
      Would Japan even be part of the discussion regarding the fate of the players? I’d need to double check the timeline but I don’t think they’re in on the SGC secret at this point.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think Japan’s getting a place at the table whether they normally would at this point in the timeline or not, due to it being a few thousand of their citizens being debated.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. >I think Japan’s getting a place at the table whether they normally would at this point in the timeline or not, due to it being a few thousand of their citizens being debated.>
        That depends on what the Pentagon etc decide. Though if they do end up telling Japan anything, it will be as little as possible in every sense of the phrase.

        This is almost an entire season before “Disclosure” after all. And it was only by then that the USA and Russia felt comfortable in letting some of the permanent UNSC members in on the secret.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. >They’re not yet. Bets Kayaba only sent the SGC little gifts?>
        The question is to who and how much information is involved.

        I can see it as sort of electronic blackmail. He sends Japan (anything from the Prime Minister to the Emperor himself) information regarding everything he’s done to the SAOers and where they are being held etc. Maybe even something regarding the SGC as a bonus.

        The kicker is that unless the USA manages to convince Japan to send a deactivation signal, said info will get sent to every other UN country as well.

        Never let it be said Kayaba can’t think big.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. it strikes me that the only thing worse than not using the super soldiers dropped in your lap mid war.

    is using them mid war when they have a reason to turn on you.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. After reading the snippet and comments, I was wondering whether Hammond, as the guy in charge of SGC, doesn’t have plans for dealing with this kind of thing already? Surely contingency planning would have taken into account the possibilities of large numbers of the general public finding out, or refugees who can’t blend in, or needing to inform other countries who’ve been kept out of the loop; they wouldn’t cover this exact situation, but he’d have the groundwork and it’s a matter of combining and adjusting that. Are Jack & co brainstorming based on that, or trying to work from scratch?

    Liked by 2 people

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