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Aberrant: Stargate Universe - Fair Game [Complete]

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[set two weeks before Olivia touches the Artifact]

"Ah, Dr. Jenings-Izumi," the man at the table greeted her, smiling widely. He rose and offered his hand, and Olivia shook it as she took his measure. He was average height, which put him almost half a foot taller than her. He was very fair skinned, with sandy blond hair cut neatly. Sparkling blue eyes gave her a casual, non-invasive glance; she felt like he was looking at her rather than looking at her. He was wearing Air Force blue, and eagles shone on his shoulders. "I'm glad you could meet with me."

"I wasn't aware I had a choice," Olivia said softly, smiling to show she wasn't upset about it, not really. "It was phrased as an order to me."

"Sorry about that," the Colonel said, nodding. "I wanted this to be friendly. You are a civilian, and not as subject to the military per se. I'm Colonel Todd Mietzen of the SGC."

"Nice to meet you," Olivia said with a smile, a real smile. He waved her into a seat, and she sank into the chair. "What can I do for you?"

He smiled, and Olivia suddenly wished that she hadn't given him that opening. She felt like the mustang must when it steps into the box canyon and hears the gate close behind it. "Right to the point. I like that," he said, clasping his hands in front of him. "I need your help, specifically your expertise."

Olivia spread her hands. "I'm here. What do you need me to analyze?"

"What I need you to analyze isn't here," he said. "I need you to come with me to the field."

"They don't like me doing field work," Olivia said dryly, pressing her hands into the table top. "Things seems to be unpredictable around me."

"You won't be exposed to an artifact of any kind," Mietzen assured her. "This is solely an Earth-side project. The most dangerous thing I intend to expose you to is small talk." Olivia's face expressed her disbelief. Mietzen chuckled and continued. "I reviewed the work you did in 1975."

Olivia felt herself stiffen; she didn't need to see a mirror to know she'd just reacted strongly to his words. It was six weeks done, but she still couldn't think about it without a surge of guilt and grief. Even two weeks off and mandatory time with the base's psychiatrist had done little to help. Like many smart people, Olivia was capable of diverting a psychiatrist from anything she didn't want to talk about. "I'm not mucking about in time anymore," she said, her voice harsh with emotion. "Also, I need to verify that you have the clearance to talk about such things." The clearance was pretty high; Olivia wouldn't have it herself save that she'd been involved from that beginning.

"I'm not asking you to 'muck in time'," Mietzen replied, his voice so gentle that Olivia knew he'd heard about her claims regarding her niece and nephew. And claims were all they were; no one else had any memory about the children, no way of knowing she was telling the truth. He picked an envelope up from his lap and extended it to her.

Olivia opened the papers inside and scrutinized them. They seemed legitimate, and after a moment, she passed them back. "So what do you need to know, because I've been assured they'll be no more field work in 1975."

"I reviewed it because there are some unanswered questions about what happened."

Olivia tilted her head at him slightly. "Are you suggesting that I've withheld information?" she asked, her voice getting testy.

"What? No, no," Mietzen said, sighing. "Look, let me restart. Hoski-kai, otherwise known in Japan as a small keiretsu that creates propulsion devices, was created from the Fuyo Group, who had a pavilion on the Aquapolis. It's also not well-known that they supplied the Tel'tak Jaltor tried to steal. The problem is, we're not sure where they got it from and whether they were complicit with the plan to get Jaltor to the past."

"Maybe you could tell me more about that," Olivia said softly. "I never got the full story on that. Like how a Goa'uld infected an Area 51 scientist and got into the heart of the warehouse."

"I guess you have earned the right to know what we know about Jaltor," Mietzen said, his voice soft. He reached to the floor and pulled a file folder out of something, probably a briefcase. He opened it and scanned the first page, then looked at her and began to speak. "We don't know much. We have determined that Ken Sato was infected somewhere during his transfer from the Air Force Research Laboratory at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and Area 51. Interviews with co-workers at Wright-Patterson indicate a very different person than the man who arrived here. We found some of his personal items that had been dumped off I-70 near Topeka, Kansas. We're not sure if that's where it happened, but that's immaterial.

"He was here for three weeks, and spent that time learning about the mirror when he wasn't working, from what we've been able to reconstruct," Mietzen said. "We tracked his research through the files at that he accessed, and it was pretty focused on the mirror. In his apartment, we found maps of Japan from 1975, as well as names and contacts to various suspected Yakuza people. In short, he planned this very well; you were the only cog in the machine, thank God."

"Hmm," Olivia grunted noncommittally. Her faith in a benevolent higher deity was stretched very thin now. "What condition was the Tel'tak in?"

"It would have gotten in the air," Mietzen told her gravely. "In fact, aside from some minor repairs, a couple of hours of work, it was intact when he found it. From what we were told when we got the Tel'tak from Hoshi-kai, they hadn't been able to get inside of it until Jaltor opened it. They didn't devulge much information about what they knew before that, or where it came from originally. But after they tore it apart, and we got it in pieces. Which leads me to what we need you for."

Olivia shook her head. "I'm not experienced in technical details, but you know that. So please come out and tell me what you want."

"In three days, Hoshi-kai is having a party for their shareholders. You and I are going to the party, as I am listed as a shareholder, and while people are distracted at the party, we're going to break into one of the corporate officer's computer and see what information they have about the Tel'tak. They said they turned over all research but we have evidence that suggests otherwise. Same with the Goa'uld."

"You are joking," Olivia said, and it wasn't a question, in any way. "I'm about as qualified to do corporate espionage as I am to go through the StarGate."

"I'll do most of the actual espionage, Dr. Jenings-Izumi," Mietzen replied. "I need you to search the computers and pull the data we need."

"You can find someone more qualified," Olivia insisted.

"Someone who had knowledge of Japanese culture and customs, who can speak fluent Japanese, who also knows about the goa'uld, who can guess at the words and language that the Japanese would develop to describe the various aspects of the goa'uld... I think you see my point. Given your previous experience, I honestly don't know who else I would have picked."

"This is nothing like what I agreed to do when I took this job," Olivia said, her voice tense.

"No, it's not," Mietzen agreed. "I could order you to do this." There was a tense moment as they stared at one another. "I'd rather you come willingly." He turned a charming smile on her. "Come on, a free trip to Japan-"

"I hate the country, because of my temporal trip and because my family there hates me."

"A free trip... all expenses paid," Mietzen cajoled.

"Just order me to do it," Olivia said, her temper flaring.

Mietzen sighed. "Fine," he said reluctantly. "Pack your bags; we leave on the midnight flight from McCarran International tonight."

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That could have gone better, Todd sighed to himself as he started the long check-out process from Area 51. As a guest, they carefully examined everything he carried out, even moreso than they had what he'd carried into the area. He patiently let them do their job, knowing that they wouldn't find anything. All the incriminating stuff was safely elsewhere.

Still, he was aware that it was getting too hot around here. The SGC had found SG-4's bodies, some of them, and were aware that one had gone missing, and they were getting antsy. Eventually, someone would remember that he had been taking note of which SG team would be sent to secure the Artifact, and when they'd planned to be there. Sooner or later, he'd come under suspicion, and people would remember other things he'd known, things that later had gone wrong. That was why his mission with this chick was his last undercover one.

Todd thought about his future traveling companion and allowed himself a little smile. She was no beauty incarnate, but she wasn't hard on the eyes either. Get her out of those baggy rags and into something halfway sexy, and she might shine. And if she was as hot out of those sack-clothes as he thought she was, he was going to hit that after the mission.

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Olivia bowed her head and accepted her passport back from the Japanese official. The man hadn't stared much, but this was Narita International, a major transportation hub. Here, one half-Japanese, half-black woman wasn't that eye-catching. She stepped forward and let Mietzen pass over his passport. He was dressed in a casual button-down shirt and dark khakis; with the sunglasses tucked up in his hair, he looked like the penultimate American tourist.

"What a nice airport," Mietzen said after he'd been catalogued and red-taped. He fell into step next to Olivia, then reached out and took her hand.

She jerked away from him. "What do you think you're doing?" she hissed at him.

"Honey, this is going to be a long trip if you stay mad about the packing thing," he said chidingly, stepping close. His voice dropped and he said, "You're my date to the party, remember?"

"The party that is tomorrow night," Olivia pointed out coldly.

"But we're getting picked up at the airport by our hosts," he said, easily catching her hand again. This time, his grip was harder; she could escape only by making a major scene. Instead, her entire body stiffened in protest. "Hey," he said, stopping and pulling her to a stop with him. "You know Japanese culture. If they think we're fighting, they're going to be uncomfortable." His blue eyes twinkled as he grinned at her. "You don't want to make them uncomfortable, do you?"

"Public displays of affection are also offensive," Olivia pointed out, lifting the hand he was holding.

"Touché," Mietzen laughed. He had a nice smile, she noted quietly, but that didn't stop her irritated expression. "Alright, let's have a deal. You pretend to be my girl from here on out, including calling me some sweet name in public, and I'll limit my PDA to what is appropriate to the culture without complaint."

"That's not a good deal for me," Olivia said.

Mietzen looked down at the floor, then back up at her. The crowds milled about them, ignoring the tiny drama playing out before them. "Olivia," he said, and his voice caressed her name. "We're here for a reason. I want that to be a success, and I know that no matter how much you didn't want to do it, you know that we have to do it. We need that information. We need to know what they know." He reached out and took her other hand. His blue eyes bore into hers. "I need you. Not anyone else in your office or mine - you. So many of them study what goes on away from here and aren't good at being part of this world. You have the common knowledge and skills I need, all bundled up in a beautiful package that every man at that party is going to be jealous of me having. You're the one I need, Olivia, only you."

His sincerity was intense, and either completely true or cunningly hidden. She felt herself relent; while the words were uncomfortably like he was seducing her, he was also talking about her intellect and skills mostly, with her appearance an afterthought. Mietzen was the first man in a long time to appeal to that part of her before jumping straight to her body, and it did sway her. She could admit that. Sighing, she said, "Fine, but only for the sake of the mission."

"I knew I made the right choice in you," he murmured, his warm smile returning. He dropped her hands and said, "Shall we, sweetheart?"

"Alright, Asshole," Olivia said, smirking as she grabbed her suitcase's handle and started walking.

"That's your idea of an endearment?" Mietzen asked as he caught up with her. "Don't you think a term of endearment should be... endearing?"

"Actually, that's what I called one of my boyfriends," Olivia said, barely holding back giggles as she tried to play it straight.

"Really?" Mietzen asked, staring at her. At her nod, he chuckled. "Must have been an interesting relationship, then."

"It was until he abandoned me," Olivia said, her smile fading.

"Your term of endearment for him was 'asshole' and you were somehow surprised that he turned out to be one?" Mietzen asked curiously.

"Yeah," Olivia admitted, sighing. "I thought he loved me, I mean really loved me. Guess I was just a fool."

He reached out and touched her shoulder, causing her to look at him, surprised. "Hey, Olivia," he said, his tone earnest. "Love is one of the trickiest things out there. There's a billion ways to mess it up, and so few to get it right. If this guy jerked your heart around, that's his fault, not yours."

"Easy for someone who didn't get left to say," Olivia said softly.

"Are you kidding?" Mietzen barked with laughter. "I got left by a woman after I'd bought her a house. I put it in her name and everything; turns out she was just using me to get what she could, and I was the fool willing to sign the dotted line for her.

"But here's what I learned. I may have been the one willing to risk for love, but I did it in earnest, with an open heart and for the reason of love. She's the one who was the bitch, not me. She's the one who deserves my anger, and I shouldn't beat myself up for love."

"What happened?" Olivia asked, drawn in despite herself. "Did you get the house back?"

He shrugged and let go of her shoulder. "I didn't want it back. If she was that greedy, fine, let her have it, let her choke on it. That's what was important to her, stuff. So she could have it." He gave her a smile. "I went out and found a woman who loved me, which was what I wanted. And when we broke up, it was simple incompatibility, not because she was an iron-clad bitch." They exited out onto a main hallway, and he dropped the conversation to scan the area, looking for their contact.

It allowed Olivia to stare at him and study him. He was turning out to be someone completely other than she she had thought he was. She wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not.

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Todd led Olivia over toward the sign bearing his cover name. He smiled and bowed to his host, but the back of his mind was considering himself and his reaction to her. As she introduced herself and bowed as well, he decided that she was either the best con-artist ever or something more dangerous: one of those people who can forge emotional ties to others easily. He liked her, not in any specific way, but as a sense of she was a good person. He couldn't let that sway him. For instance, her mention of 'Asshole' - or rather, the original Asshole, since he seemed to be Asshole part deus - had given him a fairly strong desire to find the man and hurt him. He deserved at least a kick to the cock, and probably more.

The problem was, such feelings like that were dangerous to Todd. He had to remain above such considerations. She was supposed to be a tool. Still, he'd been here before. When you played people, they sometimes played back. Sometimes, they did it intentionally. Todd was pretty good at reading people, and he suspected that Olivia didn't mean to manipulate him. Regardless of whether she was a natural, he was the professional, and he had no doubt about who would come out on top in any social struggle they had. This pretty will be eating out of my hand by tomorrow night.

The man picking them up introduced himself as Mr. Satou. Todd recognized him as a medium-level official in the firm, someone who wouldn't be sent out to greet just anyone. He idly wondered how much of Hoski-kai stock was in his alias' name; enough for some preferential treatment, by all appearances. He bowed deeply to both of them and began a pleasant chatter as he ushered them into the backseat of a limo. Todd sank back into the leather seat, pleased at the perks that were coming with this particular mission. That didn't happen often, and he intended to enjoy them. Olivia was next to him, and he let his arm brush against hers; had Satou not been there, he would have done more. She moved away from him, but not after he saw her note the arm and consider what to do first. He hid his triumphant smile as they drove into the heart of Toyko.

Just a matter of time...

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The hotel was incredibly nice, and their host left them alone. This was both good and bad; Olivia was unsurprised to find that they were to share a suite. It was a spacious suite, but a single suite still. "You're on the couch," she said the second the porter had left the room.

"If that will make you more comfortable," he said, nodding with that ingratiating smile.

"It will," Olivia said, feeling a ball of tension ease away. It snapped right back when he picked up his suitcase and walked into the bedroom. "So where are you going?"

He pointed to the closet. "The maids will wonder if I live out of my suitcase in the living room."

"Let them wonder," Olivia said, hearing a twinge of panic in her voice. The bedroom was supposed to be her safe place from him.

"We have to keep up appearances, Olivia," Mietzen told her. His tone was soft, almost chiding again, and just like when he'd used it in the airport, it pissed her off.

"You know, that tone of voice doesn't help your argument," Olivia snapped, fighting real panic as he began to hang clothes up.

"Olivia, please," he said, turning to look at her. He leaned casually against the dresser, his long legs stretching before him. "Are you going to fight with me every step of the way?"

"Maybe," she said, crossing her arms.

He smiled at her, as if her recalcitrance didn't bother him, but somehow amused him. "What can I do to get you to stop?" he asked. "As fun as it is, it's slowing us down."

Unfortunately, he'd made her feel pretty unreasonable, which she hated. "I..." she sighed, then waved a hand around in the air. "Sorry, I'm out of my element, and it shows in my poor attitude. I'll try not to be..."

"Bitchy?" he asked with a smile meant to - and succeeding in - take the sting out of his words.

"Yeah," she admitted, laughing a little. "I'll try to be more professional."

"You're fine," he said, standing. "If this weren't such an important matter, I wouldn't mind at all."

"Right," Olivia said, reminded of that guy from Kuwait. He'd liked her best when she was bitchy, too. His face hovered on the edge of her memory, and she shoved it away, just like all the other jerks she dated and wanted to forget.

"You're so cynical," he said softly. "Was the Asshole really that bad?"

"Who says it was him?" she replied. It wasn't, not really. Other men had done much worse to her.

"I just guessed," Mietzen said easily. "He's the only ex you've mentioned, and his nickname is rather leading."

Olivia nodded. "That was a long flight," she said, changing the subject. "Would you please finish putting away your clothes? I'd like to take a nap."

He nodded and turned back to his task. "Of course." Olivia had started to relax when he added, "I'll wake you for dinner, and then we can go shopping."

"Shopping?" Olivia asked, frowning.

"Well, unless I miss my guess, you have no clothes suitable for the party," he said.

"I packed a dress!" she snarled, getting angry.

"Let's see it," Mietzen said, abandoning his own efforts to wave at her bags.

She pulled out the dress, digging it out of her garment bag and holding it up. The long, pleated skirt was made of navy-blue wool, the same as the matching jacket. She had a white blouse to wear under the jacket. It was very nice and very conservative. But Mietzen was frowning. "Oh, no," he said, shaking his head. "No, no, no... good enough for the National Librarians Conference - not for this party."

"Are you seriously trying to tell me what to wear?" Olivia asked, her eyes narrowing.

"I'm telling you what is and isn't going to work for this mission," Mietzen said evenly. She studied him, wanting to refute him, knowing that for her own dignity, she probably should.

"I'll look at your suggestions," she said, "but I'm only buying something I'm comfortable with."

He waved her statement away. "I'm buying, regardless."

"No, you're not," Olivia said.

"Yes, I am," he told her seriously. "I dragged you on this mission; I said all expenses paid, and I meant it. Enjoy a dress on the US Government."

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Todd kept dinner low-key. He didn't want to startle her by moving too fast, so he kept up an idle banter. It was designed to allow her to tell him about herself, without letting her dig too deeply into his background. He played things cool, saving up strength and stamina for the coming conflict. There would be figurative blood tonight, he knew, because he knew that she would object to the clothing he wanted to get on her. He was really anticipating the fight.

She didn't disappoint. He let her loose first in the store, and she found the three frumpiest items available in Louis Vuitton's. It was amazing, like some kind of bizarre sixth sense for finding the saggy and the ugly. He, meanwhile, had been just as busy picking out dresses, timing it so that when she reached the dressing room, he was waiting with his picks. "I'll take these," he said, plucking the dresses out of her arms and dropping his in their place.

"Hey!" she said, her eyes lighting up with that fire that promised such fun later.

"Is for horses," Todd said, then cracked up and steered her into the room. "Sorry, was back in grade school for a moment. Change, sweetheart - I wanna see your catwalk."

"I'm not wearing these," she protested after the door was shut.

"You'll look funny at the party in just your underwear," he said softly, enjoying the mental image despite trying to dissuade her from it. That would be for his private viewing later, after the party and the mission. The first rule of espionage- never sleep with the woman before the mission, only after, so that she can't get emotional and fuck it up somehow.

"Oh, haha. Seriously, give me one of the ones I picked out."

"Can't. They were an affront on humanity. I already bought them and paid a homeless man to burn them."

"You are an asshole."

"I was doing a service to mankind. Just put on the first dress," he said, grinning.

"Fine, anything to shut you up," she sighed. He fell silent, listen to the rustle of cloth and trying to imagine what piece of clothing was being removed or added to her body. "Ready?"

"I'm always ready for you," he replied as she stepped out. She wasn't perfect; her body was showing the first signs of aging and her waist wasn't as flat as it could be. But she was still attractive, and the black dress slimmed and hid her flaws. It was easy to let his face slip into an slightly-shocked expression of appreciative lust.

Oh, yeah. He was going to hit that so hard.

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They went back and forth until she finally agreed to a dress. Mietzen had favored the one with bare shoulders that confirmed fairly closely to her body; she'd held fast to the one with spaghetti strap shoulders and a flared skirt. She won, but only after giving him a quick twirl to demonstrate how nicely the skirt framed her legs in motion.

It wasn't until they were back in the room that she realized how much protection being out to dinner and in stores had offered. Here in the room, there were no barriers in the form of watching people. It was just them, alone, and she was very aware of how alone she could be with this near-stranger.

"Well, I'm going to bed," she said, realizing that she'd been standing pensively in one spot for several minutes. "You should probably use the bathroom now, before I lock the door."

Mietzen frowned. "You're going to lock me out of the bathroom all night?"

"No, I'm locking you out of my bedroom, which just happens to have the bathroom in-suite," she pointed out, even as she saw his point. "I just... I don't know if I can sleep knowing that you can come to where I'm sleeping at any time."

He looked at her, frowning for a moment. "Ok," he said softly, nodding once. "Lock the door. I'll use the lobby's restroom." He smiled suddenly, and it was all the more dazzling for the relief she felt at his words. "But you have to let me in in the morning for a shower, right?"

"Gladly. I wouldn't do that to myself," she said, smiling at him. She sat on the bed, pretending to read a book as he used the bathroom to change into his night clothes, which were silk boxer shorts. She averted her eyes politely as he crossed her field of vision, then followed after and shut and locked the door.

"Night," he called through the barrier.

"Night," she answered, and then finally she was alone and mostly safe. She thought about hooking a chair under the door knob, but she'd seen the latch, and it was solid. She changed into her own night clothes and prepared for bed. Once she was tucked into the fantastic bedding, she fell asleep quickly, tired from the long flight and busy day.

She'd been talking and thinking about him, so it was only natural that he was waiting for her when she dreamed. Asshole stood in the sun, smiling as she'd last seen him. It was all eerily quiet; the normal sounds of construction were inaudible. In the dream, she didn't remember what had passed after Kuwait; in the singular illogic of dreams, she was happy here again. Given his stance and his clothing, she should have been in the van, riding away from him forever. But she wasn't, and she broke into a grin as she ran to him.

But he turned and walked away. She ran faster, and shouted at him to wait, but she couldn't run faster than he walked, and her words were silent. There was a smear of bright light, and she saw him reach out and touch it-

He was gone, and she was in her apartment. Shakily, she looked around, only to be stung by a black wasp made of glass. She slapped it to the ground and stomped on it, as hands grabbed her from behind.

She struggled until she turned her head and saw Asshole holding her, cradling her against him as if she were his safety blanket. A small form bumped against her, and she looked down at the dark-haired boy wrapping his arms around her legs. Dusky skin and slightly-slanted dark eyes marked him as partially hers, and she knew who he was. "Baby," she whispered, but heard nothing, save the sudden pounding of her own heart.

The door exploded inward silently and black-uniformed commandos burst into the room. Yellow letters were blazoned with the acronym NID. They pushed them to their knees, her son in her arms, holding her and sobbing. The commandos thrust something at her, screaming words she couldn't hear. As she shook her head in confusion and denial, they leveled a gun at her husband. She was unable to look away, even as she sheltered their son from the sight of them gunning her husband, his father, down.

They thrust it at her again, and when she stammered something, they pulled him out of her arms. She lunged after her son, and they slammed the rifle into her, forcing her down. She saw little Matsu, smiling cruelly and dressed in a tiny NID uniform, point the gun at the other important man in her life. In agonizingly slow motion, she saw the muzzle flash, saw the bullet flying through the air, toward her baby-

"Olivia? Olivia! Wake up!"

The strange voice and hands on her brought her into full wakefulness. She pulled away from Mietzen with a shriek, scrambling to get away from him. He let her go, let her collect herself against the far wall. "You were having a pretty bad nightmare. Are you ok?"

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Todd was having trouble sleeping. It was common for him to be tense and wired in a strange room, and the couch he was lying on was not the most comfortable in the world. He grunted and shifted, punching the pillow under his head. When he fell still again, he heard a whisper of sound.

He sat up, pulling his gun out from under the seat cushion. Eyes wide in the dim room, he folding himself into a crouch on the floor, near the end of the couch. Listening, he heard that soft cry again and realized it was coming from Olivia's room. Cursing, with visions of her being kidnapped or killed, he pulled his lockpicks out of his shaving bag and set to work on the door. It was a simple interior lock, and it popped open quickly.

Olivia was alone, thrashing on her bed. "Vinny!" she gasped, her voice strangled. "Baby!"

Calling out another man's name in her sleep. Not a good sign for your chances, he grumbled to himself, even as he knelt on the bed. Hmm, he could be a dead suitor - the one that got away. "Olivia? Olivia! Wake up!"

She jerked away from him, throwing herself off the bed and flattening herself against the wall. She looked utterly terrified, but he wasn't sure that she was even seeing him. Just in case it was him, he took a seat and carefully asked, "You were having a pretty bad nightmare. Are you ok?"

After a moment, the look of terror left her face and she shook her head. "I... I'm fine," she murmured.

"You sure?" he asked softly, judging that it was he could move closer and risk touching her. He offered her a hand and she took it slowly, allowing him to pull her up. When she was on her feet, he put a steadying arm around her. She looked up at him startled, and he considered kissing her. But it was pre-mission, and he stifled the impulse, even when she gave a sexy little shiver and dropped her eyes shyly.

"Yeah, I don't remember my nightmares very well, so once its done, I'm fine," she answered, pulling away from him and looking at the door. "I know I locked that."

"Yes, but when I heard you crying out, I thought someone might have been attacking you," he said. "So I picked the door and came to see if you needed rescuing." That should be worth some sex, you know, sweetheart.

"I'm fine," she said softly, hugging herself. "You can go."

"Night, hope you sleep better," he said softly, and left her be. No point in pushing yet. She was already well on the way.

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The next morning the real work began. Mietzen sat her down at their dinette set and began to review the operation. They went over the details of his plan, over and over again while eating breakfast. No matter how personally pushing she might find him, Olivia had to admit that the Colonel was very professional. While they were discussing the mission, she had no problems dealing with him. It was the rest of the time that he made her nervous.

Finally, he sat back and smiled at her, and again she noticed how attractive he could be. And charming - he could make her smile without effort, it seemed. "You feel comfortable with that?" he asked her as he leaned back in the chair.

She was startled, wondering if he'd somehow read her thoughts in her body language, then realized he meant the mission. "I think so," she said softly, looking at the maps and procedure notes. "We slip away from the party at 9:30, go down two floors to the IT room, access the hard drive backup we want. While you keep watch, I'll skim it for the relevant data and copy what I find. Then we extract ourselves back to the party and stay there until we feel that we can leave."

"You got it," he said, grinning as proudly as if she were his honor-roll child. She couldn't help but smile back. "Now, where are the gloves going to be?"

"In the compartment in the bottom of my purse," Olivia said, smiling happily at recalling all of this without a fight. That was a sweet pleasure after her run-in with the pentagon.

"And when do you give mine to me?" he asked.

"In the elevator," she said.

His smile softened, and he murmured, "Perfect." His eyes lowered, dropping to her lips before rising back to her eyes. Olivia felt blood climb up her face; he stood suddenly and said, "It's lunch. Let's go out and get something, and we'll relax for a couple of hours. Then we'll come back here to get ready and review one more time."

"Alright," she said, standing up and getting her coat. They went to a sushi bar and indulged in some delicious raw fish and rice. As they walked around Roppongi, looking at the sights, she allowed him to take her hand. They were in public and she'd agreed to this, and in the foreign-heavy area such as Roppongi, they weren't drawing looks. But she didn't know him, she reminded herself, thinking she should pull away from him. Tt had been a while since a man had touched her - since anyone had touched her. Not that she was comfortable with that, normally. Intimacy was a process for her, like putting a toe into cold water, then a foot, then a leg and so on until she dunked her head.

"Whatcha thinking about?" he asked softly.

She was startled by his question, and thrown on the defensive. The last thing she wanted to do was get involved in a personal conversation with this guy. "Nothing important," she told him, wondering if she'd broadcast her thoughts.

He stopped walking and turned her, looking down at her. "I'm interested, even if it's not important," he said, smiling.

"Getting into the role a bit, aren't we?" she murmured, careful to pitch her voice only for his ears.

"Maybe, all roles aside," he said softly and his expression became serious, "I find you to be an interesting person." He lifted his hand to cup her cheek; as her eyes widened, he stepped closer and kissed her.

The kiss was nice, very nice. It stirred things in her that hadn't been touched in too long, but it was all hormones, she knew. Uncomfortable and very much aware of the cultural taboo they were committing, she turned her head, breaking the kiss. But she didn't push him away, and his body remained close to hers. "You shouldn't have done that," she murmured.

"I know," he murmured back. "But I really wanted to." His blue eyes studied her for a moment. "I'll be professional for the rest of the mission."

"Good," she said softly. He didn't move, and she looked at him expectantly.

"Can I take back what I just said, long enough to kiss you again?" he asked her quietly. Her breath caught at the heat in his voice.

"I don't think so," Olivia replied, her stomach tightening as she borderline denied him.

But he just nodded. "Let's go back and get ready," he said, his hand still tight around hers. Fingers tingling, she nodded and he took the lead.

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He wished that he was just here to enjoy the party, especially with his companion. His Japanese was adequate, so most of the talking fell to Olivia. Todd enjoyed that; while he could have engaged people in English, watching her mingle and make small talk for the both of them allowed him to just sit back and watch her. Todd realized that was setting him on a slow burn, one that would only be quenched by sex later. Many might have found it distracting, but he found it was awakening his senses, making him feel more alive than he had before.

Olivia looked gorgeous, and he felt awesome with her on his arm. He had to admit privately that she was right about the dress; she looked great in it. He was getting envious looks, and not just from the foreigners there; some of the Japanese men were eying his date, racial purity or no. If he'd had his way, they'd have politely excused themselves from the party already, and he'd be making her scream in that king-sized hotel bed.

But business before pleasure, and right on time, the president of the company stepped up to make his big speech. Todd had made sure that he and Olivia were in the back of the room, and as the lights dimmed, he took her arm and pulled her out of the room. Even if they were noticed, people would just assume that the American couple was being rude, rather than nefarious. The IT room was just two floors down, seconds in the high-end elevators.

The door to the room was locked with an electronic card-lock, but Todd disarmed that rapidly with a card-reader - one supplemented with Asgardian technology. It was just one example of why he did what he did, of why all the hassle and risk was worth it. They ducked inside, and he pulled out another device. As he sat down at the main machine, he stuck the tear-drop shaped object to the side of the computer. The small PDA-sized screen that had been attached to it was set next to him, and text began to crawl over it as he pressed a few keys on the computer's keyboard. "What's that?" Olivia asked.

"It's going to help me crack security. It's a password hunter," he said, feeling the pressure. He lived for this, though, and he was smiling as he got to work. "Five minutes or less," he promised Olivia, thriving on the challenge - and the expectations of the lovely woman with him. "You can time me."

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Mietzen worked for three and a half minutes before exclaiming, "Got it!" and hopping out of the chair. Olivia immediately set down, picking up his urgent excitement despite her own dread. She didn't like this at all; it was illegal, and she didn't have enough of a patriotic drive to write it off as a gift for her country. But she'd been ordered to, and without hesitation, she jumped to the task.

She began a search on the files in the computer. Mietzen was still in motion; he grabbed the password hunter off her machine and attached it to another. "What are you doing?" she asked, glancing at him for a second before returning her eyes to the screen.

"Hacking security. Need to loop the cameras." His reply was tense.

"Why didn't you do that first?" she asked, her throat closing in fear. "You mean we're being watched right now?"

"No, they would be here if they were," he said. "At the bottom of the hour, every hour, the security for this section has a ten minute walk-through. I have six minutes or so left to jack in and loop the cameras, and erase the footage of us being here."

"Six minutes?" Olivia gasped.

"More than I need," Mietzen replied calmly, his fingers working quickly.

"I'm going to hate you forever if you get me thrown in a Japanese jail cell," Olivia seethed.

"Will you love me forever if I keep you out?" he asked, grinning widely.

"That's not part of the deal," Olivia shot back, but quickly forgot the banter as she found what she was looking for. "Crap. I need that password thingy back," she said. "I have a likely-looking file, but it's password-protected."

"Just grab it," he said, "we'll break in later."

She shook her head. "It's copy-protected. I have to open it first."

"Give me just a moment," he muttered, his smile fading as his concentration became absolute. Olivia went back to her computer, initiating another search. She was aware of time ticking away and she focused on her work. She nearly jumped out her skin when Mietzen suddenly barked, "Ah ha! Hahaha! Got you!"

She glanced over to see him type something and viciously hit enter. "Ok," he sighed. "We have twenty minutes or so before we're missed."

"Good," Olivia said, relief painting her voice. "I need that toy."

Mietzen brought it over and reattached it her machine. "Ok," he said, reaching around her with his longer arms. He was almost hugging her as he typed, his chin resting on a shoulder. "Here we go. Now just let it work for a moment."

"Do you mind not leaning on me?" she asked softly. "You're very distracting."

"So are you, and what if I do mind not leaning on you? You going to tell me to stop?" he asked, turning his head so his breath tickled over her cheek.

Olivia shivered. She wanted to tell him to stop, but the words were stuck in her throat. Instead, she said, "How long will this take?" Her voice was soft and shivered a little, but it only seemed to please him; his hands curled around her elbows, the latex gloves a foreign texture.

"Give it time," he whispered, turning his head to nuzzle her ear. "Like all good things, it works best if you don't force it." The password entry box suddenly filled, and Mietzen murmured, "See?" He hit enter, and the folder popped open.

"This is it," Olivia said, forgetting about Mietzen's personal intrusion as she began to sort through the files. "Schematics, reports: it's all here. There's even a report about the autopsy done on Jaltor." She frowned. "But this note says that this was already shared with SGC."

"We can verify that now," Mietzen said after a beat. Olivia felt the hair on the back of her neck rise. Something about the way he'd said that was setting off alarm bells for her.

"Yeah," she agreed and started to copy the files. Trying to ignore the man almost draping himself over her, she worked to find more files. She found two more that were suspicious, but she couldn't say that they weren't relevant either. She copied them over and yanked the thumb drive. "I'm ready."

"Sure? We have five minutes," he said, glancing at his watch.

"I'm sure," she said as she put the thumb drive back in the bottom compartment of the purse. Reasonably sure. She wanted out of here and back where she was supposed to be. Being tossed in a Japanese jail was not her idea of a fun time.

"Then let's jet," he said, and they shut things down, put the chairs back where they had found them. Crossing to the door, he checked carefully before letting them exit into the hallway. They scurried to the elevator and hit the up button; to their relief, the doors opened almost immediately. They hurried on, only to have it go down.

"Where are we going?" Olivia asked, her voice full of panic as she pulled off her gloves.

"Down," Mietzen said, taking her gloves and shoving them into her purse with his. "Follow my lead." He turned to her and picked her up, forcing her legs around his waist. He pressed her into the wall of the elevator and began a searing kiss. Olivia was caught between the desire to get out of this - she completely saw what he was trying to do - and fear.

He released her lips, and she thought they might be done, but he muttered, "Put your arms around me. Do it, hurry up, before we stop and someone sees." Swallowing hard, she slipped her arms around his neck, feeling his hair curl over her skin. As she did, he kissed her neck, drawing a frightened gasp out of her. He responded by pressing his teeth against her skin and growling softly. Shivering with fear, Olivia clamped down on the urge to scream and thrash against him, forcing herself to go limp in his arms.

She did shriek in surprise when his fingers trailed the edge of her underwear as his hands locked her between the wall and his body. He ground against her, and she was very aware of his enjoyment of the moment. She heard herself whimper in protest, which only made him press harder against her.

The elevator doors opened, and the couple jerked with surprise. Olivia had almost forgotten what they were doing; from the disorientation on Mietzen's face, he was in a similar position. "What are you doing here?" the security guard asked, probably on reflex, since it should have been obvious. "You should be in the party."

"Yeah," Olivia replied to him in Japanese, "we um..." She flushed and shrugged, glancing helplessly at Mietzen. "We'll go back now."

"Let me show you the way," the guard said, looking scandalized. No doubt he'd be sharing this story with others for a long time to come.

As he joined them, standing in front of them with his back to them, Mietzen shot her a triumphant smile. Her return smile was much less assured. She wouldn't feel safe until they were back in the states.

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He waited until they were almost back to the hotel to point out the obvious. "The mission is done," he said softly. She looked at him, a little confused, or at least unsure of what his point was. Then recognition flared in her eyes, and her gaze dropped. He scooted over toward her, and she didn't move away, remaining very still. Todd smiled, wondering if her shy-girl routine was an act or real. He wondered if he'd find out tonight, or wonder forever.

He kissed her temple lightly, getting no response from her. He tilted her face up and kissed her lightly, catching the flicker of her eyes toward the driver. "Alright," he said softly and slipped back into his seat. She wanted to be shy. He'd let her be - for a bit longer.

Olivia was hugging herself as they exited the car, and he slipped an arm around her, not giving a damn about social mores anymore. The mission was done; she was his and he'd put his arm around her if he pleased.

She played the shy girl all the way up to the room, her eyes on the floor. It was strangely exciting for him, as Todd hadn't thought he'd like a shrinking violet like this. It made him feel strangely strong, more powerful than he had before. At the door, she hurried into the room; he was right behind her as she went into the bedroom. There, she slowed and stopped, and finally looked at him, her eyes large and filled with wariness.

Todd stopped, considering her. As he thought, he stripped off his jacket and shirt, dropping them to the floor. He wasn't sure what she was doing now, but he stepped forward and ran his hands down her arms. When he reached her hands, he kissed the palm of each softly, a little startled at how cold they were. He dropped her hands and moved to stand behind her, finding the black zipper in the sea of black and tugging it down. She shivered as his fingers stroked the soft skin of her back, following her spine. Her tremors increased and he smiled at how responsive she was; he ran his hands over her shoulders and took the straps of the dress with them. It pooled around her feet, leaving her in her heels, hose and underwear. Her head fell forward and her dark hair covered her face.

He circled around to her front, his arousal clear against the front of his pants as he reached for her breasts. Todd realized he was grinding his teeth lightly as he restrained himself from just throwing her down on the bed. His heart was pounding and his blood roared in his veins as he touched the smooth curves of her breasts for the first time, her skin soft and wet.

Wet? Blinking, Todd was jarred, nearly right out of the mood. He reached up and caught Olivia's chin, bringing her face back into the light. Tears had made ugly tracks on her face and he said, "Olivia? What's wrong?" She shook her head, dropping her face again. "No, something's wrong. What is it?" He pulled her chin up and took a longer look at her, removing the rose-tinted lust glasses he was wearing and really seeing her.

Olivia was afraid, and he was surprised to find she was afraid of him. "Did I hurt you?" he pressed, unsure how he could have. He hadn't done anything yet!

"Not yet," she whispered, her voice shaking. "I'll not fight you - please don't hurt me."

"Hurt... Olivia, I don't want to hurt you," he said, feeling confused and exasperated. "Quite the opposite." Why would she think that he'd hurt her? He hadn't been anything but kind to her.

"Sure," she said, and Todd realized she didn't believe him.

He licked his lips and considered the situation for a moment. She thought he was going to hurt her if she didn't do as he wanted; she acted like he wouldn't let her say no. "Olivia, do you want to do this?" he asked. "Do you want to have sex with me?" She shrugged and he hissed in frustration. "Come on, give me an answer. Yes or no?"

The small woman kept her eyes averted; after a long moment, she shook her head. She seemed to be waiting for him to have a bad reaction; part of him wanted to give her one. Frustrated, Todd asked, "Why didn't you say so before?" He should step back and give her room, but there was a deep ache in him that wanted satisfaction.

Olivia crossed her arms in front of her and murmured, "Sorry... I just don't want to be hurt."

She really thought he'd hurt her if she refused him. "Olivia, sweetheart - I'm not going to hurt you if you don't have sex with me. But you need to let a guy know you're not interested before you get half-naked with him. Someone else might not take no. It's a good way to get yourself raped." She flinched, and he rocked backwards on his heels in shock as the last piece clicked into place. She was so permissive because she already had been raped.

She'd made it clear she wouldn't fight him, and for a moment, he knew that if wanted to push it, he could make her do anything. The enormity of that was both frightening and enticing, and for a moment, his mind explored what that could mean.

Then he realized what he was thinking, and he felt a mix of horror and shame. He'd known that he'd done questionable things for his country, and that his moral code had slipped quite a bit, but until this moment, he hadn't realized how far that shift had been. Swallowing hard, he forced himself to face the fact that he'd actually considered to victimize a damaged woman for his own pleasure. What kind of man did that make him?

"Not much of one," he muttered angrily, drawing another flinch from her. Todd shook his head at her and said, "No, not you. Here." He stepped to the bed and pulled off the blanket, putting it around her. "You don't want to have sex, so we won't," he told her as she pulled the blanket around herself. "I'm going to go down to the bar, have a drink, try to unwind, and I'd like you to calm down and get dressed. And when you're ready, I want to talk to you about this. I want to know who made you think you can't say no when that's your right. You never ever have to give one of us horny bastards what we want unless you want it too. Ok?" She didn't answer and he tipped her chin up, making her meet his eyes. "Ok?"

"Ok," she replied in a small voice, and he wasn't sure if she agreed with him or just wanted him to think she did. But he'd done what he could for now.

"I'll be back in an hour, alright?" She nodded, and he gave her a blanket-swaddled hug. He grabbed a shirt, and still wearing his dinner pants, made his way downstairs to the bar. And there, nursing a stiff drink, he began the unpleasant task of searching his own soul, to see just how far he had damaged it.

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Olivia remained still for a long moment after the door closed. Then she burst into action, grabbing her suitcase and pulling out clothes to wear. With shaking hands, she changed, pulling on a comfortable shirt and jeans, and switching her heels for tennis shoes. Without hesitation, she immediately packed her suitcase, carelessly throwing everything into it, mindless of her clothes.

She didn't stop to think. She didn't want to think; she wanted to run. It was a safe reaction to have, a comfortable way to act. So she called down to the desk and had them call a taxi, scheduling it to pick her up at a side entrance. When it arrived, she was waiting nervously. When she was in the vehicle, she told him to take her to Narita. It'd cost her to get a flight back to the states, but it'd be worth it to be safely home.

The only rational thought she had was to leave the thumb drive for him. It was the point of this entire ordeal, and she didn't want to get him in trouble. He had, in the end, not hurt her, and she didn't want him to suffer because she was careless.

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Todd had gone through three whiskey sours and a bottle of sake before the hour was up, and he'd come to an unfortunate realization. He could still totally seduce her, if he'd had more time. But he didn't have more time, and any seduction right now would only succeed because she was afraid of him. He wanted his women willing, no matter what that momentary moment of dark longing had indicated. Anything else wasn't a fair game.

Rape is rarely about sex, but control, and Todd finally was drunk enough to admit that he liked controlling people. That's why he'd had that flash of desire, not because he got off on rape, but because the idea of someone being so submissive to him that he could do anything he wanted was a turn-on.

"Hit the Soaplands, bub," he muttered, even as he acknowledged that he might not be able to get in the door. Foreigners weren't always welcome in them. The point was, he needed a woman, and it wasn't going to be Olivia, not tonight. Probably not ever, if he was being honest with himself. He wasn't going back toSGC, and they'd start looking for him soon.

His phone rang and he answered, keeping his voice as steady and free of slurring as possible. "Mietzen."

"Are you ready for extraction?" Wiloughby's voice was welcome. Todd had served with him before and knew he was sharp and solid.

"Not until Vegas, or that was the original plan," he said. "I need to get out without making her suspicious."

"She's gone," Wiloughby said in his rough smoker's rasp. "Blew outta here about thirty minutes ago. Figured you were ready to go."

Well. I guess that's one way of saying 'No', Mietzen sighed to himself. There was no point in hanging around, so he said, "Give me twenty minutes" and hung up. He tapped the bar and said, "Coffee, stat, to go."

There would be time to consider the state of his soul later. Right now, he had a job to do: protecting his Country from all who would harm Her, even Her own citizens.

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She regretted her kindness later. She returned to work, and everything was normal for a couple of days. She made her report to her boss and got back to work. She was just returning to her routine when she was summoned to the conference room unexpectedly.

General Hammond was waiting for her; her report was in front of him. "Dr. Jenings-Izumi, it's good to see you," he said, rising to shake her hand. "You look well."

"So do you, sir," she replied with a smile. "It's good to see you when the fate of the world isn't hanging in the balance."

He chuckled a little. "Not so fast, Doctor," he said, his voice a little somber. "We do have some business to discuss."

"I should have known," she said with a rueful sigh. "You never call unless you need something." Her grin remained light-hearted and teasing. So she was in a good mood - she was home and the world wasn't ending, or at least she didn't think it was.

He smiled, but it was that slightly sad smile she'd gotten used to seeing on his face. "Colonel Todd Mietzen took you out of country on a mission. I need to ask you a few questions about your trip."

"Of course," Olivia said, folding her hands over each other. "Though, may I ask if you read my report? I detailed my trip there."

"Yes, Dr. Jenings-Izumi," Hammond said, "I did read your report. My questions are in addition to your report." He paused and collected himself. When he spoke again, his voice was strained. "It appears to us that Colonel Mietzen was an NID mole, operating within SGC. So you understand that your answers may be of vital importance. You said that you left the data for him to return to SGC with, but your report didn't say what data. What was that data exactly?"

Olivia swallowed, struggling to absorb that Mietzen had been the enemy. His strange kindness at the end of the trip didn't match what the General had just told her, and she said, "Wait, Mietzen? A spy for the NID? Are you... Is this confirmed?"

"No, but it's all but confirmed." He looked sad and tired, and Olivia remembered that he was the commander of Homeworld Security, and had probably known Mietzen better than she had. "We have evidence tying him to the betrayal of one of our StarGate teams to the NID, with the loss or disappearance of all members."

"He didn't hurt me," Olivia said, her voice disbelieving. "How could he be the same person who helped kill an SG team?"

"We think that's what your testimony could help provide," Hammond said. "And we'd like you to consent to a special test, one which will verify the veracity of your story once and for all." She started to agree but Hammond stopped her. "It's a Tok'ra device, and it's very precise, but it's very invasive as well. You'll have to tell us everything, including what you were feeling at each step of the way. If you pass, no one will doubt your story, however."

Olivia swallowed hard. "So this isn't just about Mietzen, is it? People also doubt me."

"Not everyone," Hammond said. "But it is in your own best interest to clear your name, completely."

"I'll do it, but may I request something?"

"You can request anything," he said, and Olivia smiled as she caught the unspoken, doesn't mean you'll get it.

"I'd like female technicians to run the test, and not people I work with or know," she said softly, hating how it must sound. She knew that others would hear the testimony in time, but she knew that she couldn't talk about it if there was a guy in the room. And she might not still with just women. But she would have a better shot, and she would try. "When?"

"I've cleared this with your boss, so you can leave for Cheyenne Mountain immediately," Hammond said gravely. "The guards outside the door will provide you an escort to your house for some supplies, since you'll be gone overnight."

"Sure." What else could she say? This was how you did things, when you played in the military game. At least it tended to be a fair game, when you were fair with it. Olivia had no doubt that she'd pass the test, and she'd help them find Mietzen. It was her job, and she'd do her best at it.

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