Disclaimer: I do not own Yu Gi Oh!, Stargate SG! or any of their affiliates. Anything that you recognise is property of its respective owners. Any relations to persons living or dead are purely coincidental.
Base/s: Yu Gi Oh! & Stargate SG1
Summary: Daniel, needing a little help in translating some interesting riddles on an uncovered tablet, calls in a specialist from Cairo. One Dr. Marik Ishtar. No slash.
Music used for inspiration: My Prerogative – Britney Spears (No, I don't know why either),
A/N: This begins sometime after 'Message in a Bottle' (Season 2) but before 'Family'.
Marik stared out of the window of the jet he was in, a cup of coffee in one hand. Taking an idle sip, he watched the clouds below as they skimmed over them, cruising at thirty five thousand feet. He always enjoyed flying, especially when he wasn't flying economy.
Hearing the familiar rattle of the hostess making her way up the aisle, he drained the last of his coffee and when she passed, handed her the empty cup, which she took with a smile.
Already turning and not paying attention to her, he resumed his staring out of the window.
Tapping his fingers softly on his knee, he sighed. He wasn't really flying to Denver on a business trip, unless you counted fishing for information. Information was his business, and he was damn good at it, if he did say so himself.
His foot nudged his briefcase in which he carried printouts of the e-mails Daniel had sent him, more specifically, the 'puzzles' that had been attached. He'd recognised the excerpts immediately. It was the same language that was printed on the bottom of the Egyptian God Cards, the same that only his family and a scarce few others could read. He'd translated it immediately, and had lied about how long it took him on the e-mails. The scripts themselves were rather mundane, speaking about the glory of this and that and the wonder of the gods. But that Jackson had got his hands on even a small amount of the sacred text... it definitely bore investigating.
Shifting in his seat as he heard the intercom chime and a voice ring out, telling him that they were about to start the decent, he rested his elbow on the arm rest and let a tiny smirk cross his features. He always did love a challenge.
Daniel was currently sitting in the Generals office, Jack sitting, slouched, next to him.
"So he's coming then?" the Colonel asked.
"Yes, I arranged a meeting for the seventh." He said.
Jack nodded approvingly.
"Good, you want bugs?" he asked.
The archaeologist shook his head.
"No, I don't think that'll be necessary." He was about to go on, when he was cut off by the Generals voice, who had just entered the room.
"I'm afraid it might be." He said, his tone serious.
Daniel was surprised, Jack raised an eyebrow. The General continued without being prompted.
"It seems Dr. Ishtar isn't quite as clean as we'd thought." He said. "Someone's been running checks on you Dr. Jackson."
Daniel looked nonplussed.
"When you did your digging, you used government channels. It seems Dr. Ishtar found out that someone was running background checks on him and called in a few favours. It seems paranoid but..." he trailed off.
"It's likely because he's got something to hide." Jack finished.
Hammond nodded in agreement.
"Exactly. It seems one Seto Kaiba has been throwing some serious political weight. Seto Kaiba, CEO of KaibaCorp and coincidentally, Dr. Ishtar's brother in law. Not only him, but another anonymous source was also poking around. They didn't find much, but they were obviously good at their job. We only found out about Kaiba because of a CIA informant happened to stumble across some electronic money trails before they were covered up. I got some people to dig deeper and it seems there has been a history of transactions between Mr. Kaiba and Dr. Ishtar. Our good doctor, it seems, is a little more than just a researcher."
While Daniel was still stupefied, Jack broke in.
"What kind of transactions?" he asked seriously.
"We're not sure," the General admitted, "But it does seem that they aren't limited to just Mr. Kaiba. Some very important people have been in contact with Dr. Ishtar. Several intelligence agents from various countries including the US, one or two undesirables and, most worryingly, some very high ranking officials in the Egyptian, Russian, British and American governments. We're not sure what he deals in, but this is getting messier by the minute."
Daniel cut in.
"You still want me to meet with him?" he asked, defensive, trying to think the best of his friend.
Hammond stilled before nodding slowly.
"So far, while he's a potential security risk..."
"The benefits outweigh the risks." Jack finished.
"Exactly. Now, when I said I could placate the Egyptian government, it seems I underestimated the good doctors influence. Apparently, the Egyptians are very fond of him."
"I wonder why? He seems like a regular hero." The Colonel commented dryly.
Hammond and Daniel ignored him.
"You'll go ahead and meet with him, but we're going to have to be extra careful. With all the recourses Dr. Ishtar seems to have, it would be unwise to bug the place. Civilians and all. While we're unsure of what he knows, it's best to err on the side of caution."
Daniel nodded stiffly, displeased at the opinions on his friend.
Marik walked out of the hotel he'd checked into the evening before and relished the breeze on his skin.
Checking his watch and making his way towards his desired destination, he kept a reassuring grasp on the briefcase in his hand.
It was pleasantly warm out, and he used one hand to unbutton the top button of his shirt as he walked. It always threw him for a loop when he went somewhere with such a different climate from Egypt.
Reaching the car park, he unlocked the hire car he'd picked up the day before and got in, firing up the engine and reversing onto the road.
It took him about twenty minutes to reach his destination, and turning off for the generous driveway, he slowed the car, pulling up outside a modest house surrounded by trees.
Grabbing his ever present briefcase, he made for the front door. Ringing the bell, he waited for a response. Soon enough, he heard shuffling footsteps that heralded the approach of the owner.
The front door was opened and Marik was face to face with a rotund middle aged woman, dressed in an apron. Flyaway hair streaked with grey was pulled back into a bun at the back of her head, and she absently brushed escaped strands from her face.
She looked at him uncomprehendingly for a few moments before her face broke into a wide smile.
"Dr. Ishtar! How wonderful to see you again, it's been a while hasn't it?" she greeted and pulled the door wider.
He gave a brief smile.
"Mrs. Benson." He acknowledged. "Is your husband around? I have a little business to discuss."
She chivvied him through into the kitchen where he could make out the figure of Mr. Benson sitting with his back to the house in the garden.
"Of course, of course. I don't know what you two talk about so secretively." she said, shaking her head. "Well, it's none of my business. He's just through in the garden, I'll bring you something to drink. Coffee?"
He answered her absently, still looking out of the window.
She nodded decisively and bustled off to make it. He weaved his way through furniture and out onto the patio of the garden, where an older man was reclining in a chair.
As Marik approached, he turned and his eyes widened and then narrowed.
"Ishtar." He greeted neutrally.
"John." Marik responded with a small upturn to the corner of his mouth. He sat down uninvited and set his briefcase down on the flagstones beside him. He relaxed in his chair.
John Benson scowled as he looked at the man opposite him. He looked much the same as he always had, wearing the suit and unbuttoned shirt like most other people would wear a t-shirt and jeans. As a former military man, John knew how to deal with bluntness and straightforwardness. But Marik Ishtar, he knew, was more than the suit, that behind the silk and pretty eyes and smooth words there was a steel that John could respect.
"So, what the hell do you want?"
Even if he didn't like it.
Marik smiled again, apparently serene.
"I know you don't appreciate indirectness, so I'll be blunt." He said, pausing for a moment as Mrs. Benson returned with a tray of coffee. She set it down and gave the two a beaming smile, before bustling off back to the house. Before she went, Marik thanked her, watching carefully as John's eyes narrowed. "Cheyenne Mountain," he said and watched as the older man stiffened. "I want to know what's going on in there."
John shifted uncomfortably and his eyes flickered to Marik, who was casually sipping from his cup of coffee.
"Cheyenne? Deep space radar telemetry I believe." He said nonchalantly.
"Oh come now John," Marik scolded, reclining in his chair. "Let's not play these games."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Of course you don't. But hypothetically, if you did..." he trailed off.
"I wouldn't be able to tell you anything."
Marik sighed and steepled his fingers.
"Wouldn't you? Because as much as I dislike these unpleasantaries, you do seem to insist."
John gritted his teeth.
"There are some things that I can't speak about." He growled, his muscles tensing.
The blonde waved an indolent hand.
"I know that. All I'm asking is whatever you can tell me."
The former soldier was quiet for a moment before speaking.
"As I'm sure you know, it ain't 'deep space radar telemetry' they do in there." He began. "I don't know what it is, but odd things happen around that mountain."
He shook his head.
"If it were something as mundane as radar telemetry, would they really have security so damn tight? No way in hell. But like I said, that place is abnormal."
Marik's eyes had a hungry look in them as he leaned forward.
Daniel tapped his foot impatiently as he waited, leaning on a wall outside the train station. He was slightly early and had been waiting a good few minutes. His eyes restlessly scanned the crowds of people looking for a familiar flash of light sandy blonde.
He absently checked his watch for however many times on so many minutes. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, blowing out through pursed lips.
"Sleeping Dr. Jackson? You must be overworked."
Daniels eyes snapped open and caught with amused lavender.
"Marik?" he muttered. He was rewarded by a snort and a raised eyebrow.
"Who else would I be?"
Daniel allowed a grin to stretch across his face. Having met Marik Ishtar, you were certainly not going to forget him any time soon. He studied his friend. He looked the same as he always seemed to, save being a little older. The golden jewellery he wore in his ears caught the sunlight when he moved.
Daniel shrugged happily.
"I don't know. It's good to see you again." He said warmly and saw a small smile cross his companions face.
"You too Daniel. Now, what do you say we find somewhere to eat?" the blonde asked, turning to face the open street. Daniel stuffed his hands into his pockets and took a step away from the wall, still grinning.
"You read my mind."
Marik only smiled, a glimmer in his violet eyes.
As they sat outside a small café, drinks in front of them and feeling pleasantly full of food, Daniel fidgeted. He was happy to see his friend again, but unsure as to how to go about prying information from him. He wasn't particularly worried about surveillance, as the General had had the place discreetly swept for bugs before they had arrived and had cleared out any personnel who might have been conspicuous.
Marik looked over the rim of his cup as the archaeologist reached for his own glass.
He wanted to sigh. Daniel Jackson, while a friend, was certainly not cut out for the espionage gig. He did a quick mental calculation and decided on his plan of action.
Daniel spoke first.
"So, how's life been treating you?" he asked, then internally winced at how utterly lame his small talk was.
Marik set his cup down on its saucer carefully.
"I'm content, although the university is boring me. How about you? You dropped off the face of the earth a while ago, I couldn't contact you." He said, slightly reprimanding at the end.
He raised an eyebrow as the archaeologist choked on his drink.
"Sorry," Daniel apologised embarrassedly, "I was off on a dig in the middle of nowhere."
"I see. You're lucky, I was stuck in my office at the university bored out of my mind." Marik mentioned, his brow furrowing into a discontented frown.
Daniel huffed, "You have your own office now? Someone's doing well for himself."
The blonde chuckled.
"I think they just wanted me out of the way of their precious, impressionable little students."
The archaeologist grinned, relaxing into the flow of the conversation. He reached down for the bag he'd brought with him and pulled out a messy folder from within. Opening it and sifting through its contents, he pulled a paper out.
"Actually," he began, "I have an ulterior motive here."
Marik cocked his head to one side, wondering if Daniel was really going to divulge everything there and then. Thankfully for Marik's paranoia, he didn't.
"You remember those puzzles I sent you?" the brunette asked, sliding a paper across the table. Marik moved his coffee cup out of the way and skimmed over the words. "In truth, they were from a tablet I found a while back. I couldn't translate it, so who better than you to help me?" he said winningly.
The Egyptian gave him a look.
"Why not just ask?"
Daniel looked slightly embarrassed.
"I, um, didn't really want to admit to not being able to translate the thing…" he trailed off, hoping the other would buy it.
Marik snorted, not looking up.
Daniel continued talking.
"So I wondered if you would come to where I work and help me out, it's kind of important and-"
He was cut off.
"Daniel." Marik said, sounding probing, "You work at Cheyenne am I correct?"
The archaeologist nodded warily.
"So what would an archaeologist be doing working in a place that deals with 'deep space radar telemetry'?" he asked, looking out under hooded eyelids.
"I'm in a different wing." Was the quick reply.
Marik sighed. He carefully set down the paper and looked his friend in the eye.
"I understand the secrecy, really I do. But using a friend of mine to get to me? I expected that."
"What do you mea-"
Marik smirked and wagged a finger at the archaeologist.
"I mean that I know you know all about me, and that you know I know all about you." His smile widened.
Daniel opened his mouth to play confused but thought better and closed it, fixing the blonde across from him with a piercing, searching look.
"I see." He said neutrally.
"I haven't said I won't help you," Marik said lightly, "But I would very much like to know why you were digging so deeply into my life."
Daniel sighed and rubbed his temples. This was getting messy.
"Your help is needed," he explained, treading lightly, "But it's a little bigger than just my own curiosity. We needed to know if we can trust you."
"Oh, now that depends on what exactly you wish to divulge."
"I'm sure. However, I can't tell you here and now obviously, we're a little… exposed." He finished delicately.
"I understand." Marik said, leaning back lazily in his chair.
"I mean it. This information is very dangerous, and-" Daniel was cut off as the blonde chuckled.
"I know. Information is my business after all." Marik reassured, amused and half exasperated.
"I suppose it is. What I want to know is why I never knew about this." He said, giving the Egyptian a look. It was returned with an amused raising of an eyebrow.
"Oh? And how would that conversation have gone? 'Hello Daniel, how was your last dig? By the way, I buy and sell secrets. How's the weather over there?'" He said, sarcasm heavy in his words.
The archaeologist gave a small smile.
"Fair point." He sobered. "To be frank, all I need to know is that if we bring you in, you're not going to sell this secret."
Marik's smile dropped from his lips.
"Let me tell you something." He said seriously, pinning the older man with his stare. "A good information broker knows when to start talking, but a better information broker knows when to keep his mouth shut. I like to class myself in the latter category."
Daniel sighed again, looking searchingly at the other.
"But how do we know? It's bad enough bringing a civilian in, but a secrets trader? That's just asking for trouble."
Marik wasn't amused.
"If you'd read my file," he snapped, "and I'm sure you have, you would know I have a good reputation. Hell, your own government has used my services from time to time, although they don't like outsourcing very much. I am not going to put your oh so precious secret on the market to the highest bidder, I know better than that. For one, I don't want an enemy of the United States government. I'm not stupid. And two, I happen to rather like you Daniel, and I would rather we stayed friends." He finished, his brow furrowed.
The archaeologist winced slightly and nodded.
"You're right, I understand. You get where I'm coming from though right? If it were anyone else…" he trailed off.
Marik nodded, his ire slowly evaporating.
"Yes. You wouldn't even be having this conversation." The corner of his mouth lifted and he pushed the almost forgotten paper back towards its owner. He stood fluidly and looked down at the older man. "Tell your people that I'd be willing to help. I must admit, you've intrigued me. I assume you'll want to usual cloak and dagger routine? On your turf?"
"I keep forgetting you're used to this." Daniel muttered as he stood.
Marik's smile widened.
"Business my dear Daniel, business." He replied, a teasing note in his voice as he picked up his briefcase.
Daniel shook his head, amused despite himself.
"Right. I'll set something up, keep checking your e-mails. I assume they're secure?" he asked, feeling like he was in a bad spy movie.
Marik reached into his jacket and extracted a small rectangle of card. Daniel raised an entertained eyebrow, his lips twitching.
"Business cards Marik?" he asked as he took the little item.
The blonde smirked.
"I told you I'm good." He said smugly. "That's my 'work' e-mail, more secure than Fort Knox."
"Are you sure?" Daniel asked dubiously.
"Utterly." Marik replied flatly.
The brunettes face broke out into a wide smile. He held out a hand and the other grasped it firmly.
"We'll be in contact." He said. Marik laughed.
"Now you sound like you're from a bad mafia movie." He mocked. "Next time, tell them to send a better spy hmm?"
Daniel rubbed the back of his neck.
"I'll be studying hard under Professor Bond."
Marik chuckled again and the crooked smile didn't leave his face.
"Until next time." He said, making to leave. His companion did the same.
"Don't call us, we'll call you."
Marik snorted and threw a lazy wave over his shoulder as he left.
"So? What did you find out?" Jack asked hurriedly as soon as Daniel entered the briefing room. The General was already seated, as were the rest of SG1. Daniel settled himself into a chair.
"Well, it was eye opening, that's for sure." He started. "It seems Marik knows more than we thought."
"Is he a security risk?" Hammond asked, getting straight to the point.
Daniel shook his head.
"I don't think so. He said, and I quote, 'A good information broker knows when to start talking, but a better information broker knows when to keep his mouth shut.'."
"I like this guy."
Sam cut across him.
"So that's what he deals in then? Secrets?" she asked.
The archaeologist nodded.
She raised her eyebrows.
"Not really the sort of person we want poking around this place sir."
"True. Did you find anything else Dr. Jackson?"
"I can set up a meeting, if you want." He shrugged. "Marik gave me his 'work' e-mail to contact him with." He said, producing the little card from his pocket.
Jack looked at it amusedly.
"That's what I said. He said he told me he was good."
Sam chuckled and studied the card.
"I might be able to get us in for a little snoop if you want sir." She offered.
"Aren't we taking this a little far? We're not the CIA."
Jack shook his head.
"Listen Daniel. I'm not going to tell you how important it is this place stayed a secret, you know that. But I am going to tell you that we shouldn't be taking such risks."
The archaeologist sighed.
"I know. It just feels wrong you know?" he shot the blonde woman a look. "Besides, he said that that account was more secure than Fort Knox, his words not mine."
She shrugged. "Worth a try at least."
Teal'c broke in.
"What is this 'Information broker'?"
Daniel looked at him in surprise.
"It's someone who buys and sells secrets. You know, someone who provides information that's usually hard to get." He explained. "They haven't got a very good reputation. It's kinda… shady." He finished, wincing.
The big man nodded pensively.
"Is it wise to bring such a person to a place such as this?" he asked.
The colonel threw his hands up into the air.
"Exactly. That's exactly what I said." He exclaimed.
Sam looked thoughtful.
"Maybe so, but if he were on our side…"
Jack stilled, then grinned.
"Dirt on Kinsey anyone?" he offered, looking positively evil.
Daniel interrupted before he could go on.
"Like I said, I can set up a meeting if you want me to. When, where and who?"
General Hammond looked pensive for a few moments before pinning him with a look.
"Do it. Take SG1 with you, I'll leave the date and location up to you, but make sure it's secure." He ordered.
The archaeologist nodded firmly.
The General stood up and with a short nod to the team, left the room for his office.
Jack leaned back in his chair and clapped his hands over his face with a groan.
"This is way more trouble than it's worth." He groaned.
"At least make an effort Jack."
The colonel looked though a crack in his fingers and gave him a baleful glare.
"I am. If I wasn't, you'd never get me off the base."
"We'd have just kidnapped you when you tried to go home." She said. Teal'c looked on, amused.
"Gee, thanks." Jack grumbled. "I'm really feeling the love here."
The blonde woman clapped him on the shoulder as she stood and made for the door.
"All I can say sir, is suck it up." She said as she left, leaving the men by themselves.
"So Jack, you know any nice, militarily secure buildings we can use?"
The colonel let his head thump onto the table top.
"I just wanted to go fishing." He mumbled, bemoaning his fate.
This was oddly difficult to write. Probably because I was bored out of my skull and worrying myself stupid over my A-level results. I'm scared shitless that I will have just missed my grades and I'll have to pay the extra couple of thousand pounds next year when the fees go up. : (
Sooo, review and make me feel better!