Story portraying the strong friendship
between Jack O'Neill and Daniel Jackson
A glimpse into Jack's morning routine
Shit.” Jack moaned
at the throbbing ache in his left shoulder as he cracked an eyelid at
illuminated digital clock on the nightstand. 4:55. Same as every
hand shot out from under the covers to slide the switch into the off
before the annoying buzzer had a chance to beep. The alarm was strictly
backup plan that he rarely needed. After twenty-five years in the
Colonel’s internal timekeeper proved much more effective.
and grabbed at the shoulder. His neck was shouting ‘good morning’ as
exactly did sleep start causing pain? Must have been a day when that
but it was too gradual a change to spark a specific memory. He forced
to sit up, legs dangling over the bed, getting his mind and body in
the effort it would take to get his stiff, worn out knees up and
first few tentative steps were always excruciating. He wobbled back and
on his way to the bathroom, evenly distributing his weight like an old
coming home from a trip to the market. Damn. The knees, the shoulders,
back, and now the neck. When the hell did he get this old?
going off world
today at 1100 hours. Jack’s off world routine never varied. He'd get to
mountain early and carefully go over all the reports, then review video
from the MALP and UAV readings before meeting with his teammates.
He cursed at his
uncooperative body. Some mornings, a few minutes was all it took to
the kinks. Days like today he needed a more aggressive plan of attack.
walk would help. It used to be a morning run, then a jog, now it was a
walk. His knees could no longer take the incessant pounding.
grimaced as he
pulled on the sweats and knit hat. He was out the door by 5:15. The
neighborhood was dark and peaceful as he rounded the corner and
pick up the pace.
always danced in his head during these rare, pain-motivated, crack of
exercise sessions. Retirement definitely had its ‘pros’. It would be a
ease into the day instead of declaring full-scale war on it.
positive. And reading. Top ten, garden-variety espionage novels instead
evaluations, assessments, scientific findings, and tedious mission
started working its way out of the worn knees while the pain clung
more time for
sports... hockey, football, baseball and basketball, the four main
military and sports were a cliché... your basic macho image of
tough, manly men
cracking beers on a Sunday afternoon. In reality, macho had little to
it. For Jack, sports mirrored his line of work. He loved the concept of
team placed above any one individual. In the military, as in sports,
discipline, preparation, and teamwork were the keys to success.
professional sports lost most of that with free agency, million dollar
contracts and players changing teams quicker than most people changed
underwear. Despite all that, Jack followed the games out of habit. Yes,
retirement had its perks... fishing, reading, sports and not jumping
out of bed
at the crack of dawn.
up,” he ordered his
screaming ACL as he picked up the pace and headed for home.
know when it was
time to walk away? Jack feared becoming a kin to one of those famous
who plays too long past his prime... the last to know he's outlived his
usefulness and, in the process, lost the respect of former friends and
colleagues. He cringed at the thought of those tired old jocks enduring
humiliation of being cut or traded in search of one last adrenaline
Retiring, only to come out of retirement in a vain attempt to relive
short fall from
hero to laughing stock.
never let it come to that. He understood it though, the ‘cons’ of
still outweighing the ‘pros’. The action was an addiction and he was a
The sweet high of being counted among a handful of people in the world
of doing what he did. And the added thrill of doing it the best. His
choice was the unknown adventure calling to him from beyond the 'gate.
retirement. Jack knew it with certainty because his body never betrayed
the other side of the event horizon. His knees ran and jumped and
without much conscious thought. His back bent, stretched and stooped
like a man
half his age. When he slept outside in bitter cold, or extreme heat,
bounced back every morning, as if he were ten years younger. A few
they’d return, reality would sink in, along with the need for ice packs
heat pads, and draining and massage therapy. For him, the Stargate was
veritable Fountain of Youth.
Much better. Jack
jogged the last half block to his house. The walking was exactly what
needed. The pain and stiffness had worked their way out, albeit under
shower and his
daily dose of Ibuprofen should finish the job.
whistled happily as
he made the routine drive to the Mountain, the pain and his retirement
now a distant memory. He even had time to stop and treat the kids to
bagels. Jack snapped on the radio and joined the Righteous Brothers in
belting out a stirring rendition of Unchained Melody.
The Colonel flicked on
the lights in his office and found Daniel’s report thrown on top of
The MALP and UAV data were there as well. He reached underneath the
read Carter’s report first. It generally took longer. Carter wrote in a
scientific gibberish that had taken Jack months to master. Although he
fluent in Carter-ese, he was still in the habit of giving himself
time to figure it all out.
reports could be
annoying for the opposite reason. The brilliant archaeologist tended to
explain, assuming certain military types wouldn’t understand if he
slow.’ Jack couldn’t really disagree based on some of the questions the
generated from off base officials.
reading, he made a few notes and stuffed them into his pocket, then
the paperwork and headed for the conference room. On the surface,
looked easy. On the surface, they all did.
paused with a hand
on the doorknob, listening to the quiet voices of his teammates. He put
game face on and burst into the room with his usual zeal. “Good
nodded through sleepy
eyes. Daniel moaned and rested his head on the table. Teal’c was the
coherent enough for a verbal response. “Good morning, O’Neill.”
you dial it down a
few notches, Jack?” Daniel asked hopefully.
get enough sleep
and I slept here,
Sir, working on the particulars for P7J-822,” Sam explained.
whose fault is that,
every one can doze
off on the sofa watching hockey, sleep for eight hours and then bounce
bed in the morning all...” Daniel waved his hand, searching for a word
describe the Colonel in the morning.
eyed and bushy
tailed?” Jack filled in cheerfully.
not the exact phrase the linguist was searching for.
the bag of
treats on the table. “I brought bagels, cream cheese and... Starbucks
perked them up
considerably. Daniel grabbed the bag, pilfered what was his and passed
around the table. “Did you at least read my report?” he asked, happily
his French Roast. Jack knew everyone’s favorites.
skimmed it this
skimmed it?” Daniel
repeated suspiciously. “Any questions?”
replied, pleased at Daniel’s shocked expression. “Why is it printed in
let out a groan.
“I finished it at 1:00 am. I was tired and I didn’t feel like changing
cartridge. Is it a problem?”
said slowly. “A little... disconcerting maybe.”
take it?” Daniel asked cautiously.
be the first to
know, Sunshine.” Jack did have a few questions, but he decided he'd
he need to add
to his repertoire or work on his delivery? Jack glanced around the
was flipping pages of the initial scans of P7J-822, happily sipping
away at her
Tazo tea. Daniel was savoring his dark, rich roast, both hands cradling
warmth of the extra large cup. Teal’c was making subtle Jaffa faces at
his latte while reading the
security measures the Colonel had discreetly slipped him.
I do not
believe this is a latte.” Teal’c popped the lid of his drink to peer
Teal’c. It’s vanilla. Just the way you like it.”
not, O’Neill. It
is white. Do you wish to see it?”
need to see it,
T, I ordered you a Vanilla Crème. I’m sure of it.” Jack prided
getting the orders straight. He could successfully order coffee for
personnel on the base.
right, Sir. It’s
white,” Sam confirmed after taking a peek into Teal’c’s cup.
asked them to pass
it over. He was the unofficial coffee guru of the SGC. “It’s a steamer,
Teal’c,” he announced after a quick sip.
displeasure. “Teal’c, what do I always order you?”
vanilla latte, but
you, thank you
very much,” Jack said smugly in Daniel’s direction.
that’s it then.”
Daniel took another sip of his own brew.
me?” Jack asked cautiously.
said you ordered a vanilla crème. A vanilla crème is a
steamer, a vanilla latte
is a... latte.”
O’Neill.” Teal’c bowed slightly in appreciation.
that, Java Boy.
Teal’c wanted the, the...the white latte.”
called a steamer.” Daniel smiled, apparently content to let the ‘Java
comment slide for now.
right, didn’t’ I?”
Yes, you did,” he
agreed pleasantly, going back to his reading.
back with his
plain old, regular brew and smiled contently. It wasn’t the action and
adventure he was addicted to after all. It was this. Everything he
right here in this room... the trust, the teasing, the camaraderie, the
unbreakable bond the four of them shared. This was the reason old men
too hard for too long.
filled the room. Jack sipped his coffee and took another quick look
table. Retirement would have to wait. It had nothing to offer compared
at the SGC. Fishing, reading, sports...none of that mattered. Nothing
ever come close to what he had right here, right now. Jack decided to
his body. Let his body voice the occasional protest.