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4. Plans and Preparations

It was long after midnight when the two Tok'ra and two Jaffa left Sam's house - ensuring no one saw or heard them leave.

"Well, it's a good thing we didn't arrive one day later," Jacob observed, as they drove through the almost deserted city.

"Why is that?" Martouf asked, checking again that his seatbelt was fastened.

"It's New Year's Eve - and tonight people will be out and about everywhere," Jacob explained, then added, "It's a holiday."

"This is a strange mode of transportation," Bra'tac observed. "I have not experienced anything like it before. You are certain it is safe?"

"I have a similar concern," Martouf admitted.

"Of course, it's safe. Mostly, anyway!" Jacob grinned. "Sure, cars crash from time to time, but I don't think more than forty or fifty thousand were killed last year."

"What!" Martouf exclaimed, horrified.

"Perhaps we should walk instead. How far is it to this place 'Minnesota'?" Bra'tac asked, alarmed.

"The population of even just this country is vast. The number Jacob mentioned is in fact not even one percent of the population," Teal'c said. "There is no cause for concern."

"It's much less than one percent, Teal'c. More like a percent of a percent," Jacob said. "Sorry, guys - you really have no reason to worry."

"I see." Martouf frowned, but did not look completely reassured. He looked out the window at the trees and mountains. "How long will it take us to get to where we landed the teltac?"

"Not long. Another twenty minutes or so," Jacob said.

"And then we are going to O'Neill's cabin, correct?" Bra'tac asked.

"Yes, eventually, but not immediately. We'll stop somewhere on the way and sell some jewelry for cash, and then buy some more clothes and other things we'll need," Jacob said. "We'll need to find some other way of getting most of the money we need, though."

"Yes, you mentioned that it would seem suspicious if we brought large amounts of jewelry, gold, and other valuables to a store to sell it," Martouf said.

Jacob nodded. "Right. Selmak suggested we win the money at a casino, and after some thought, I agree with her. However, we also need some starting funds, and we won't get enough from selling jewelry - not without drawing attention. We've decided the best way to do that is regrettably to, ah, make several large withdrawals from a number of ATMs."

"What are A... T... Ms?" Martouf asked.

"Devices for withdrawing Tau'ri currency without having to go to a bank," Teal'c told him.

"So we will use the funds you have here on the world of the Tau'ri, Jacob?" Martouf wondered.

Jacob laughed. "I don't have that kind of money! No, I talked to Anise, and she gave me a small device which will scan the ATM and send a suitable signal to it, causing it to dispense a large sum. I will also use a jammer I got from her, which will make sure we're not caught on camera."

"Ah, we will be stealing!" Bra'tac said. "Interesting." He smiled. "I had not expected to become a thief, when I agreed to accompany you!"

"I'm sure the Air Force will repay it if we succeed in this mission," Jacob said. "Otherwise the Tok'ra will." He parked the car. "We can just as well get started. Time to hit the first ATM!"

"Damn that was close!" Jacob said, getting into the car and closing the door after him. "I was just about to activate the device and get the money from the ATM, when I heard someone approaching. I got away without being seen, but I think we should stop for today. It's almost 7AM and way too many people are out and about."

"That sounds like a good idea," Martouf agreed, looking out the window.

"Perhaps we should leave Colorado Springs?" Teal'c suggested. "There are many people here who would recognize me, and given the situation, that would be unfortunate."

"Right." Jacob nodded. "I thought we'd go to Denver. We can sell the jewelry we brought there, and go buy some of what we need - dark suits, a few sets of ordinary clothing... some supplies."

"When will we go to Silver Creek, Minnesota?" Teal'c asked. "Should we not contact O'Neill as soon as possible?"

"We will, but not quite yet." Jacob sighed. "We'll get the funds we need first, then we talk to Jack and see how much he knows. I also want to free Sam as soon as possible, but I realize doing so may compromise our chance of surprising Doctor Jackson. We'll have to trust that she is safe until we find a way of freeing her without causing suspicion." He looked at Teal'c. "You can drive too, right?"

"Indeed, I learned it in 1969," Teal'c said, then elaborated. "When we accidentally travelled through time."

"Right. George told me about that," Jacob said. "It's lucky. While Selmak can keep me awake, or take over driving, it's better if we can take turns and rest now and then."

"As a Jaffa, I do not need sleep," Teal'c reminded him.

"I know. It's still not a good idea to rely on the same person keeping alert and driving all the time. There's other cars on the road, you know."

"We will be driving much?" Martouf asked.

"From time to time, yeah. When we're going to Jack, for instance, it'll take us maybe 14 hours from Denver."

"We will remain in this vessel for such a long duration?" Bra'tac asked, clearly uncomfortable at the thought. "There is very little room for my legs."

"Perhaps we should fly to Colonel O'Neill's cabin in the teltac?" Martouf suggested. "When we're going there, I mean."

"Relax, we're not driving for that long a stretch without some breaks - to eat and such." Jacob rolled his eyes.

"It also takes much longer to travel by this car," Martouf said.

Jacob sighed inaudibly and remarked to Selmak that their travel companions were reminding him of his children when they were little. "It's just better that we stick to the car. Not only is it easier to blend in, but we usually can't exactly land the teltac close to where we want to go!"

Jacob got back into the car, and handed a large, thick envelope to Teal'c. "I sold a couple of the necklaces and bracelets, and got about five thousand dollars. Together with what we got from the ATMs, we're at nearly fifty thousand dollars."

"Is that a lot?" Martouf asked.

"Depends on what you want to do with it, but yes, I'd say that generally that's a lot. Unfortunately not for what we want to do - which potenitally includes bribing people in high positions. We need a lot more for that."

"And we will get that at this 'casino' you mentioned?" Bra'tac wondered.

"Yes," Jacob confirmed. "Martouf? Do you remember the card games I taught you?"

"I do," Martouf said.

"Good. Casinos are places where people go to gamble for money. I'm hoping we'll be able to use the starting fund we have now to get enough for what we need."

"I know some Tau'ri card games as well," Teal'c told him.

Jacob nodded. "I don't doubt it, Teal'c, but I have reasons for wanting Martouf to do this undercover job."

"Teal'c does know much more about the Tau'ri and their culture than I do, Jacob," Martouf said.

"Yes, but he is a Jaffa. The large golden symbol on his forehead is conspicuous, and something that may make people remember him - and mention it to someone who knows him or at least knows about the Jaffa. Or people could just notice him because of that symbol, which is almost as bad. While I guess you could wear a hat of some kind, it could get knocked off. Besides, some casinos doesn't allow any kind of headwear, because it hides the face of the wearer - particularly for those looking at the surveillance cameras."

"Surveillance cameras?" Martouf asked.

"Yes, the casinos have people sitting behind the scene keeping an eye on everyone, trying to determine if anyone is counting cards, for instance. Which is illegal - and incidentally also what we are going to do, in order to win. Which is another reason I want a Tok'ra there - it's easier to count cards secretly if one does that while the other pretends to just have fun and chat with people around them."

"That makes sense," Martouf agreed.

"Indeed," Teal'c said. "I did not know the Tau'ri were so suspicious."

"At casinos they are - particularly the fairly high end ones, and we're going for one of those since it's more likely we can win enough in one sitting there," Jacob decided.

"I have been told the best place for gambling is in a place called 'Las Vegas'," Teal'c said.

"It should work for what we need at any rate," Jacob agreed, smiling. "Now, our first order of business is getting fake IDs, particularly for Martouf, but it's probably a good idea to get some for all of us."

"Did you not say you still had your 'Driver's License' and that you could use that?" Martouf asked.

"Yes, but on second thought, it's probably better not risking anyone knowing I'm here."

"Where do we get those 'fake I... Ds'?" Bra'tac wondered.

"Well, there's this guy that I served with - it's not something we've talked about openly, but I'm pretty sure he knows someone who can get it for us," Jacob said. "I just hope I can get hold of him - and that he can arrange it quickly."

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