VARIEGATED GREY BY PHOENIX
Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves
Angst. Drama. Episode Tag.
A Major re-telling of 'Shades of Grey'.
Grey from the perspective of one of the members
of SG-1 who was left in the dark.
I haven't been able to track down an original Part
0 for this one (it's old!) but it was written
some time in early 2001. I think.
of Grey' from another perspective.
easy, actually. I just got up, and walked away. Remembered
my jacket, even. It's brand new, after all. I wasn't
up to shopping for another one. Not like I'd ever be seeing
it again, if I left it behind.
a strange, anti-climactic calm around moments like this.
No clashing cymbals or rousing fanfares, no rockets exploding
in space. Just cold, quiet emptiness. It's only been
a few short minutes since I left him, and the sterile serenity
of nothingness still surrounds me.
old, familiar friend.
this place. I've been here many times. Each time I come
here it's just that much easier to keep on going even though
all this sucking void wants is to hold you fast within
it and absorb you into narcoleptic oblivion. It gets just
that much easier to walk through a world whirling around
you in slow motion with the sound off. To take each step
through thickening confusion, still going forward without
thought or direction.
a shit why you're even moving.
out of his house and he didn't stop me. Not that I was
expecting him to. I mean, why would he? What did he care
if I left? Bring me an ion canon, Daniel, and we'll talk.
I can do.
in my car, behind the wheel, staring through the windshield,
seeing nothing, and I don't remember how I got here. I
remember every distinct, appalling second of getting up,
walking away from him, and reaching his door, but nothing
of what I did on the other side. Somehow, I got from there
to here. I presume I walked. I think it's a fairly safe
assumption. I also should be doing something else right
now. I'm pretty sure there's more to life than sitting
here in my car staring at nothing. Staring at his house.
I can't stay here. But I don't know where to go. Trying
to figure that one out is a hideous leap my mind just can't
make right now. Too much, too much all at once. One step
at a time. Finish leaving, first. Then we'll worry about
where we're going.
something in my hand. Keys. Keys. I know what these are.
I even know what they're for. Okay, this is good. This
is progress. Something to focus on.
is in the ignition. Motor running. I even have my seatbelt
on. Look at me, Jack, I'm a goddamned genius! It's only
taken Mister Sweet and Nice three hours to figure out how
to turn his car on. Maybe not quite that long, but close
enough for the way it feels.
de doo, I've managed to get it in gear. Someone call the
media. Doctor Daniel Jackson discovers the secret to forward
motion. For all the good it's going to do him.
he sure 'n hell can't go back again. And that's all he
wants to do right now.
It's something to do. Nothing I'm seeing going past my
mobile glass and steel bubble is making any sense, but
it pretty much agrees with what's happening inside it as
well, so I guess you could say for once, I'm in harmony
with the world. Hey, that's a nice change. Finally,
I've found sense in senselessness. Achieved oneness in
foolishness. Company in confusion. One of the gang, at
you know, I'm finally fitting in. I've arrived.
said I'd never amount to anything. Shows you what he knows.
to pull over, because I'm not that far gone I don't know
I can't drive while I'm shaking like this. I might not
care if I drive off the side of a mountain but I don't
want to take the chance of taking anyone with me. They
might have someone who cares about them. Someone to go
of the thrust finally hits me, splitting me end to end.
I hug myself and hold on tight, to keep the sundered sections
from getting away from me. I've got to keep it together,
keep myself from falling apart all over the passenger compartment,
because there's no one else here to pick up the pieces.
No one to reassemble me if I let myself get scattered.
on your own, here, Doctor J. Nothing new, you've done
it before. You can do it again.
do this, I can do this. I'm not going under, here. No
how, no way. Not gonna happen I just need something, something
to focus on.
cease to amaze me with all your talents.
fact, Jack? That a lie too, Jack? How many other lies
did you tell me, Jack? Was all of it a lie? Everything
you ever said to me? Everything you ever were?
lies, Jack? Your friend? The only one you trusted? The
one who thought he knew you the best? Mister Sweet and
Nice? Lies? All lies?
no, I guess you could no more relate to me than I could
of a foundation there.
leave me, will you, Danny?
a bright guy. You must have sensed SOME of this.
ya been, Danny? I missed you lots. Lots and lots.
I'd never see you again.
get this out, and you're the only one I can trust. Only
one I DO trust.
have sensed SOME of this.
get his voice out of my head. It's the last thing I want
to hear right now, but it won't go away. HE won't go away.
dammit dammit, Jack! When will
you ever be satisfied? Destroying everything you are wasn't
enough for you? Annihilating everything I believed about
you - still not doing it for you? You've achieved your
objective. Strike successful, Ground Zero. Completely
blasted, here. Even the Goa'uld didn't do as good a job
as you've just done. Good job, colonel, sir. Damned fine
job. No more worries about objections from honest archaeologists.
least have the decency to go away and let me die in peace.
than a Goa'uld.
hates the Goa'uld.
be a thief and alive than honest and dead.
the Goa'uld. Hates thieves.
are thieves. They steal everything they possess. Their
knowledge, technology, the very bodies they inhabit. Steal
them. Thieves. Lousy, stinking thieves. Jack hates thieves.
Hates 'em. Hates the Goa'uld.
now he wants to
become a thief in order to defeat them? If you can't beat
them, join them? Skaara wouldn't buy that for one second.
He's free now, because of Jack. Jack doesn't like thieves.
like the Tollan don't want to share then we should just
not what you said to Hammond when he told us we were going
to lie to the Salish and cheat them out of their trinium.
Pretend to be their friends, wait till they moved on and then
take what we wanted while they weren't looking. Against their
wishes. Hell with what they wanted. They had it,
we needed it. End justifies the means. Whatever it
took for the sake of Earth, no matter how rotten, dirty, low
I remember, Jack. You were really up for that idea. Eager
to go with the program. All the way for Earth's interests.
there when Hammond gave you the good news. Mister Sweet
and Nice had already been sent out of the room. Get the
he pesky conscience out of the way by having him keep the
victim conveniently out from underfoot and ignorant as
there, but I heard plenty about it later. Jack had LOTS
to say about how he felt. Lots. He said it to me. Once
the smoke had cleared and we'd managed to convince the
'spirits' not to give us the thanks we deserved for what
we had been planning to do to the Salish, Jack made sure
I got the full story. Loudly. At great length.
knew a man of honour when they saw one. So did 'Mother
Reetu'. She only watched Jack for a couple of weeks and
that was enough for her. Enough for her to know he WAS
a man of high principles and integrity and she could trust
her faith misplaced, nor her evaluation incorrect.
only known him from afar for a short time. I've known
him up close and personal for three years. Longer, if
you count from the first time we met.
- Teal'c had less time or cause than 'Mother', even. Teal'c
turned his staff weapon on his own men, turned his back
on everything he knew, abandoned his life, his wife, his son,
saved our lives and threw in his lot with us. Made his
decision to do all of this in a split second on the strength
of a single appeal from one man.
no choice but to take whatever steps we need to get what
him say that yesterday. Say much more of the same thing
today. Say we should take from the Tollan. Like he'd
tried to on Tollana.
he really believed that, he's already had a shot at getting
technology from the Tollan. A way better shot then we
and the NID wanted to take Omac and his people into 'protective
custody'. God, don't you just love euphemisms? 'Protect'
them. For the rest of their lives. Hold them against their
will and suck them dry of everything they knew.
all for the good of Earth. Doesn't matter if it stinks
to high heaven. This is war. Desperate times call for
the Goa'uld wipe us out because we have nothing with which
to defend ourselves, I'm sure we'll all feel GREAT about
ourselves and our high moral standards.
say that yesterday as well. Bullshit! It's total,
utter bullshit! We play by those rules, we're no BETTER
than the Goa'uld. Jack knew that when he refused to let
Maybourne take the Tollan. Jack hates Maybourne and the
NID and everything they stand for. He hates all of it
with a passion. If I hadn't been able do the actual 'dirty
work' for him, he would have thrown his career away, gone
to jail, even, to keep Maybourne from getting his hands
on the Tollan.
like a bastard to keep our friend Teal'c out of his hands
when he was infected with that insect retrovirus. Jack
hates Maybourne's guts.
the same man who now is expecting me to believe he's decided
to play by the same rules as Maybourne, the Goa'uld and
everything he holds in the utmost contempt. And always
has. ALWAYS has.
I'm missing something. What did Jack say to me back there?
a bright guy, surely you must have sensed some of this.
was never anything to sense. Never. Never, ever the slightest
indication he ever felt this way. Nothing in any of his
previous words or actions even hinting he believed any
of this with the fervour he was professing today.
sure was going out of his way to sell it. To make me believe
it. To make ME believe it. Me?
What possible reason could he have had for needing ME to
believe he was indeed this scummy, ruthless thief? In
order to break my oh so sweet and nice heart?
Why? Why did he need to convince ME he was a completely
different man from the one I thought I knew? Why go to
such lengths? If he'd had enough of hanging around with
Drippy the Geek, why not just say so - just say, we're no
longer friends, I don't want to see you anymore? That
would have been enough. I don't need to be hit on the head
with an ion cannon. Why take it further, claim we never
WERE? Why negate everything so unequivocally?
he was interested in was telling me to fuck off and die
and get out of his life, why not do it at the door? Dust me
off cleanly and send me packing? Easiest thing in the
world. Why even let me in?
through that whole conversation? Why say all those things
if it was just me he was trying to convince?
it wasn't just me, was it? That conversation wasn't for
my benefit at all. Someone else needed to hear it, needed
to be convinced he'd truly turned to the dark side. What
better way to demonstrate his sincerity than by putting
the boots to Mister Sweet and Nice?
stinking son of a bitch, you did it to me again, you rat
have I been gone? I glance at my watch, which tells me
nothing because I haven't got a clue what time it was when
I left. I've got an idea. It's crazy, it's probably out
in left field, but if what I'm thinking is right, I should
be able to confirm it very soon.
up the engine again, turning the car around, and heading
back to Jack's place, hoping to see what I need to see.
his street, but don't make the turn. Just keep on going.
i don't want to take the chance I'll be recognized if I
drive past his house.
a black staff car parked in front of the house. Air Force
plates. A couple of uniformed types sitting inside. Another
man in uniform standing at the door.
got a visitor. No way I could see who it was, but it definitely
wasn't the mailman. Someone with a fair amount of clout
from the car, the goons and the stuff decorating the front
of his uniform.
right. I was right! I drive away, feeling exhilaration
and something else swelling in my chest. Jack's got company.
He's switched teams, playing with the big boys now. Out
in the cold, all on his own.
mad at Jack anymore. I'm scared.
as good a place to be as any. Quiet. Private. Coffee.
I need right now.
I am. Sitting drinking my third cup of coffee. Staring
at the phone. Needing to talk to someone about everything
I know, now, but not knowing who to trust.
over my head, here. I know it. I'm a linguist cum archaeologist
cum peaceful explorer, not James Bond. We're firmly in
the realm of the cloak and dagger stuff, and up to this
point in my life my curriculum vitae comes up woefully
short in the espionage department.
got a clue what to do now. Or who to trust.
out of my element when it comes to trying to figure out
the rules of THIS game. They - whoever they are,
presumably the 'they' Jack is going undercover to - whatever
he'd doing all of this for - anyway, they must have been
watching Jack. Saw me arrive. Had the place bugged.
Heard every word we said. Never even occurred to me at
the time. Why the hell would it have? Having to think
this way now is making me sick to my stomach.
is out there, all on his own, putting his life on the line,
doing his duty. No doubt in my mind that's exactly what
Jack is doing. Everything is making perfect sense, now.
Every single thing that's happened has been toward one
the bad guys to accept Jack into their ranks. It's been
a seamless chain of events, from start to finish. Pull
the job, make the noise, get the boot, sell the act with
the assist of an unsuspecting extra, the bad guys take the
bait, then off we go.
went down like a charm. Thanks to a little help from Mister
Sweet and Nice.
must have KILLED Jack to say those things to me! All the
more reason for me to be careful. He never would have,
never COULD have if what he was doing wasn't DAMNED important.
More important than anything.
the world, kind of important.
could tell him I've never been prouder to be his friend.
can't. i can't tell him a damned thing. Can't tell anyone.
This whole thing only worked because whoever these scumbags
were, they believed what Jack said to me. What he was
prepared to do to me is what convinced them. My reaction
is what did it.
any differently now it's very possible it could place his
life at risk.
So I have
to go on like I believe Jack is scum. That I bought every
word he said, and I'm still buying it. I have to make everyone
have no choice but to let Jack go on thinking I believe
it as well.
this, but it's time to make a start. The general is expecting
me to call him back, to let him know how Jack is.
first time in my life I'd better put honest on the back
burner or someone I care about very much could end up dead.
only it was true. If only this was just another, typical,
business as usual Monday morning at the good 'ole SGC.
I'm standing here with Sam and Teal'c. Waiting for the
general. Waiting to find out what's up next for SG-1.
I can almost pretend none of this has happened. It really
is a regular Monday morning, and Jack is going to be coming
to join us, any second now. Swaggering down that hall,
eyes sparkling, grin as defiant as his 'do', making with
some wise-ass remark about his watch still being on 'gate'
time. Filling the room with his casually charismatic presence,
walking up to me, throwing his arms around me in greeting
as he constantly does, while he thumps me on the back and
teases me with some comment like 'Daniel! I see you managed
to find your way to the mountain all by yourself again.'
it's not going to happen but that doesn't stop me from...stop
really sucks. This sucks. I can't believe how much I
miss him. I'm not the only one. We're all miserable.
Sam and Teal'c haven't said a word since we got here.
None of us have. We're just standing here, awkwardly occupying
space next to each other, visibly uncomfortable with ourselves
and each other.
of SG-1 being ill at ease with each other has got to be
some kind of first. After everything we've been through
together, we can't think of one thing to say. Can't seem
to find the familiar, unspoken sense of unity we effortlessly
flow into whenever we are together and four vastly disparate
and distinct individuals become that magic, unique synergy
that is SG-1.
we needed proof 'chemistry' only happens as a result of
a specific combination of necessary elements, we have it
right here. We're not four. We're three. The formula
is incomplete. Can't make it happen without all the ingredients.
is foreign and unfriendly to me today. I feel like more
of an intruder in the SGC then I did the first time I walked
in here. I haven't done much else this weekend except
think. Done a whole lot of thinking. Mulling the whole
thing over, coming to some conclusions. Most of which
have alarmed me considerably and are not helping to make
me feel at all comfortable in a place I've grown somewhat
accustomed to. For all it was stranger to me than Abydos,
even, when I first got here.
sense of paranoia has everything to do with some conclusions
I've come to while speculating on exactly WHAT it is Jack
has gotten himself mixed up in. What has he gone undercover
to try and uncover.
with the current technological theme of relevant events
the only thing making sense is that happy little band of
techno-bandits somewhere out there in the universe. This
has something to do with them. They have to be what Jack is
escaped, we sort of dismissed them. It was embarrassing
they had gotten away, but realistically, what harm could
they do? They were trapped out there, right? Cut off
from home and from whatever support they might have enjoyed
for their nasty little covert activities. The SGC had
control of both Stargates, so, with the way back slammed
and bolted the best they could hope for was to be hapless
refugees alone out there in the big, cold, friendless universe.
Sheer survival would be their biggest concern. A HUGE
concern. I've been out there. I know what I'm talking
it's a bit of a blot on the record they were out there,
unaccounted for, but all on their own they couldn't do much
damage. No need to worry about them. Keep our eyes
peeled for four ratty looking Earth guys knocking about and
looking slightly dispossessed. Good luck to you, guys,
you're going to need it.
if the off-world set up was more organized than we'd figured?
If they'd planned for this contingency? What if the whole
thing was much bigger than the four guys we found? And
had been going on for a long time? Way before we got wind
of it and shut it down. Or so we thought.
we didn't bust the thing up at all? What if all us taking
the second gate away from them did was slow them down a
little, force them to alter their method of operations,
but not stop them? What if those four guys had a place
to go off-world, had a whole bunch of OTHER friends, and the
whole happy gang of off colour Merry Men are still out there
looting the universe, completely free of any restraint?
is the case, rather than shutting them down we may actually
have done them a favour. Handed them total license to
do as they pleased without having to worry about getting
caught. Or needing to hide their activities, to camouflage
their gate every time they used it. No longer needing
to worry about trying to coordinate their usage of their
gate with ours.
brings me to my next point of concern. The only way the
'switch and gate' gambit could have worked BEFORE is if
there was someone here in the SGC working for them. Feeding
them the scheduled activations of the gate. Mission details.
Telling them where to find what they were stealing based
on what we found out there. Erasing energy signatures from
computer back-up logs.
they had to have had someone on the inside. A someone
who's still here. Still feeding them information and working
with them in some capacity with regards to helping them
to decide where they go, what they go after and what they
do with it after they get it. I admit this is all theoretical,
I have no actual proof any of this is happening but seeing
as how there had to have been someone doing this BEFORE
we found out about the misuse of the second gate and I
haven't heard about anyone being suddenly found out and
clapped in irons for being a spy… But even if they had
found them and made them 'disappear' without a fuss - there's
still someone here at the SGC doing the covert operative
has to be.
more, it has to be someone fairly high up in the pecking
order. Someone who has access to sensitive mission information.
As well as knowing the command codes. For fooling around
with the computer. Altering backup logs, that sort of
thing. Like when someone tried to hide the energy signature
Sam went looking for, confirming the whole 'second gate'
hypothesis in the first place.
I don't think someone using 'Joe the Janitor' as his cover
would be of much use to them. It has to be someone close
to the top of the heap. Someone with the access, the ability
and the opportunity. Someone I know. Someone I might
purpose were we summoned?" Teal'c's deep, sombre voice
sounds suddenly, bringing me out of my troubled thoughts
and back to the remaining members of my family.
is we're getting our fourth," I reply, trying to sound
cheerful and encouraging. We have to keep the ole team
spirits up. This used to be Jack's job. I guess I'll be
taking over for him until...
god. I never thought. It still hasn't sunk in. Not really.
Jack has 'retired.' That means 'gone for good.' Never
coming back. I know that probably isn't really the case,
hopefully isn't really the case - he'll be back. Once
this is all cleared up and the bad guys are caught. He'll
be back. If he makes it through, okay. But he will.
Of COURSE he will. He's Jack. He'll do the job. He'll
I'm the only one who knows that and I can't let on - I
can't act like I'm expecting him to come back. I can't
behave like I know this whole 'retirement...thing...is just an
act. I have to make it look like I think he's gone for
good. Just like everyone else. And I have to learn to
live with what that means for SG-1. Just like Sam and
I hope for your sake I can pull this off.
you think it'll be?" Sam asks me a little apprehensively,
as she tries to go for an unconcerned and casual 'Jackian'
slump against the railing.
only one trying not to let on they're way more affected
by this than they can afford to be.
probably get someone like Ferretti, and you'll get command,"
I try to reassure her.
as I am concerned, that's exactly what should happen.
Sam can do the job and she's earned the right to command SG-1.
She'd be the last one to say this about herself, but she's
bright, she's capable and she has a very keen analytical mind.
Cracker jack, when it comes to tactics. I'd have no
qualms about putting my fate in her hands, and I don't think
I'd be getting any arguments from Teal'c about it either.
see from the look on her face she doesn't share my confidence
in her abilities, but then that's hardly a surprise. Nor
is her response.
I don't know about that, they'll probably go with someone
higher than major."
probably right, come to think of it. Since when does anything
that's done in the military have ANYTHING to do with what
SHOULD happen? What makes sense?
just - right?
to quell a reactionary burst of anger when I hear footfalls
on the spiral stairwell behind us.
nervously to attention as the general walks up to us.
Followed by the last person I was expecting to see.
plummets all the way down to the centre of the earth.
be happening. Of all the people George could have picked
- why - why him?
were," the general addresses us in a firm, but not unkind
tone. There is no way to make this a pleasant experience
for any of us. No way to make it any less horrible or
awkward then it already is. We hate what's about to happen,
he knows it, and he's doing his best to make a distasteful,
but unavoidable event as palatable as possible for those
who are about to get fed something they're not gonna like.
I felt as charitable. But I don't. Mister Sweet and Nice
has just about had it up to here with being made to swallow
stuff he doesn't want to.
nothing to do with Jack. THIS is about not wanting the
time all of us have to be without him to be any worse than
it already has to be.
can't help but notice we've taken in the identity of our
new 'fourth' with some degree of trepidation. He doesn't
have to, he's the boss, he can tell us 'this is the way
it is, like it or lump it', but he also cares how we feel,
so he's continuing onward in his best 'break it to them
SG-1 is considered the flagship unit, it falls on me to
assure that you have the strongest possible leadership.
Therefore, I'm reassigning the most senior officer we have in
the field as your new commanding officer. Colonel
Makepeace will be joining SG-1 immediately. I hope
you'll make him feel welcome."
that makes sense from your point of view, George, but it
doesn't from mine. Sam can do the job. We know her, we
trust her. We want HER.
make that me. My determination to have my wishes considered
only grows as I look into the cold, unfriendly eyes of
- ah - I - I don't want to seem out of line, here, ah...but
since I'm a civilian here, I'm probably the only one who
can say this…"
I do. I want to be WAY out of line. I want to jump up
and down and hold my breath until I turn blue. I'm NOT
credit Hammond can see this, and he's kind enough to allow
me the dignity of at least VOICING my objections. Again,
I know he doesn't HAVE to. I can tell from his expression
this isn't an argument I'm going to win, but he'll let
me talk anyway.
it out, Doctor," he says to me in a very tolerant voice.
no offense, ah, but doesn't Major CARTER deserve to take
charge of SG-1?
is giving me a look that could freeze molten lava. It's
starting to occur to me I might be making a significant
tactical error here, ticking off the new 'fearless leader'
before he's even had a chance to step up to the plate.
I've gotten kinder glances from System Lords.
a funny thing with me and puffed up assholes who give me
attitude. Who think they can push me around because they're
so much bigger than me. It makes me just a little bit...crazy.
Brings out that reckless streak in me which I'm sure is a
major contributing factor to the preponderance of grey in
got a very strong survival instinct but jerks like Makepeace
just bring out the worst in me.
Carter has an exemplary record on the team, as recognized
by her recent promotion to major. But major is a far cry
is still trying to be the peacemaker, still trying to make
the pill a little less bitter to swallow.
General," Sam pipes up suddenly, casting me a slightly
admonishing sidewise glance. She's embarrassed, wants
me to shut up. Doesn't want to make waves. As usual.
Sam, I'm not ready to come out of the water, yet.
I DON'T. What- what difference does it make what TITLE
she has, the - the point is the - "
starting to get a good head of steam up when she cuts me
off at the knees.
all right, Daniel. Really." She's had enough. If she could
get away with wrestling me to the ground and stuffing a
dirty sock in my mouth to shut me up she'd do it. But
not in front of the general, huh, Sam?
day. I'll be paying for this later. In more ways than
one. Way to go, Daniel, all shooting your mouth off has
done is give George more grief over this than he needed,
made Sam want to take you out back and pound the snot out
of you for drawing attention to her, and announced yourself
as SG-1's chief smart mouth and troublemaker to Colonel
'By the Book Chief Anal Asshole Sir Jar Head.'
the day is getting off to a fantastic start.
has done what he had to and without further ado, he dismisses
us and leaves. Makepeace's expression tells me just how
good a first impression I've made on him as he steps forward
to give us the requisite pep talk.
is going to put a bullet right between my eyes the first
chance he gets. He couldn't hate my guts any more if I
were wearing a dress. Oh boy. I'm going to be seriously
dead if I don't make up for some lost ground, here.
to join you folks. I hope you can learn to trust MY command
as much as you did Colonel O'Neill's."
have meant that last bit for all of us, but he aimed it
right at me. Nor did I miss the emphasis. Yes Sir, you
are the boss, Sir. Got it. Got it good. He's also reminded
me I'm supposed to be mad at Jack. Shit. Mad at Jack.
Can't forget that.
this shit but I'd better lie through my teeth. At this
point, resistance is just plain stupid. I want to live
long enough to see Jack get his team back and wipe that
smug look of, 'I am GOD, you WILL do what I say' right
off Colonel Asshole's face.
with his fist.
we will," Sam says with resigned correctness. "Sir."
right, Sam, suck up your disappointment and suck up to
the new boss. Smart thing to do. I'm about to do the
same thing. Got no choice. Gotta get the asshole off
my back and stick it to Jack at the same time. All for
the glory of the SGC.
really sorry about this, Jack. This is just about the
scummiest thing I've ever done, but it's the desperate
times, desperate measures thing. Something I'm sure you
can relate to. What I'm about to say will make it look like -
look like I've tossed you out with the trash. Like I'm
sorry I ever knew you. The way it's supposed to look.
it has to be done, but still, I just wish I didn't hate
myself quite so much as I do at the moment.
really trusted Jack's command but, uh...I'm open."
actually manage to make eye contact while I'm saying it,
but he buys it. Oh yeah, that came out as just the right
combination of sniveling toady and vindictive reaction
to betrayal. Petty and pandering, all in one. That was
good. Doctor Jackson's sour grapes opinion of his former
team leader and best friend will be all over the SGC by
I should consider a career on the stage.
I was dead.
sneers at me with a mixture of triumph and contempt. He
thinks he's scared me into submission. Thinks I'm not
even worth bothering with.
Just what I was going for.
good. Then I'll see you at our first briefing."
withering look at me and then he swaggers away. Colonel
Tough Guy. Top of the food chain. Look at me, folks,
I'm the boss of SG-1.
jerk on the block. I hope you trip over your ego and break
HATE the military.
has barely moved or made a sound during this entire, sordid
episode. He doesn't look at either us of as he abruptly
turns and glides silently away, wrapped in his stately
mantle of Jaffa inscrutability. So much class in that
exit it doesn't even bear comparison.
to Sam, and see she's seething. Whether it's because of
what I said before, or what I've just said now, but she's
damned unhappy with me and she doesn't hold back showing
me. I feel like I've lost another friend.
two. Whatever Teal'c has made of what has just happened,
he's choosing not to share right now.
it's clear I've slipped more than a few points in Sam's
estimation. She hurls a disgusted look at me and then
leaves me too.
me standing by myself and feeling even more alone.
in my office until the last possible minute before I absolutely
HAVE to go out there and go to the briefing. I just can't
deal with what I'm seeing on the faces of everyone I've
revolting combination of pity and scorn. I'm the guy who
was the best friend of Jack O'Neill. You know, ex-colonel,
good guy, action hero, and saviour of the Earth Jack O'Neill.
The THIEF. The blot on the escutcheon of the proud and
they forget. Jack O'Neill is a name no one mentions.
Most of them are ashamed to admit they even knew him, never
mind own up to having once admired him. After everything
he's done for Earth, how many lives he's saved - a lot
of them the same people now walking past me trying not
to look me in the eye - this is the thanks he gets.
of people walking around trying to distance themselves
from him, his memory, his very existence and anyone who had
anything to do with him.
the guy who was closest to him. The guy who more than
anyone should have seen this coming. Maybe I did. Maybe
I knew more than I'm saying. Maybe I was in on it, even,
just was smart enough not to get caught.
one's saying anything. Nothing like that. But they're
thinking it. I can see it in their eyes as their glances
slide by me as quickly as they do.
to the bottom of my soul, so it does.
even get into the ones who are resenting the shit out of
me for still being here while he isn't, when I've got no
business being here in the first place. And never did.
overreacting but I can't help it. Sam was so angry with
me. It hurts to even consider it, but I can't help thinking
Sam is falling into that camp. Rapidly.
owns the concession.
think I fully appreciated just how many people here still
resent my presence. Resent my 'special' status, the perceived
preferential treatment I've received as a member of SG-1.
Under Jack's protection.
afraid to call it the way it was. Jack has a lot of clout
around here. Had. Had a lot of clout. His acceptance
of me went a long way to clearing most of the obstacles
to me being here and becoming a functioning part of this
place. It wasn't easy. Plenty of people were less than
thrilled with the idea of having a wide-eyed, slack-jawed,
longhaired civilian wandering around. With his ideals
and less than kind opinions of their ways of doing business.
Not to mention his big mouth and propensity for expressing
himself at every politically incorrect opportunity.
Jack I wouldn't be here right now. If Hammond had had
his way, I'd be sitting in a back room somewhere, going
blind going over things other people were bringing back
through that gate. I wasn't exactly George's favourite
person when I came 'home'. He was at the top of the list of a
whole bunch of folks not exactly doing the welcoming with open
arms thing when Danny came marching home. No fatted calf
was killed for this particular prodigal archaeologist.
know for sure exactly what Jack did to get me on SG-1.
He's never said, and I doubt he ever will. But he went
in there fighting and didn't come out until he got what
I wanted. The first of many, many times he's gone to bat
Jack a lot more than I can ever tell him. I've never fully
realized it until this very moment. Just as I never realized
how much I've come to rely on the comforting, constant
buffer of his influence and approval between me and the
'reality' of the SGC.
what I said before. About him being my hero. Now I have
to be one for him.
through that door and walking the military gauntlet on
the other side scares the piss out of me. I'm not ashamed
to admit it, but for Jack's sake, I have to do it. I have
to face those hard cases and disapproving faces, and I
have to keep going no matter who gives me whatever kind of
grief they're going to.
to get on with it, keep it together, and do everything
I need to do to hold the fort at this end. Jack needs
to have a team to come back to. He'll have one. Whatever
I'm not stopping
there. A spy is hiding behind one of those faces. I'm
suddenly of a mind to engage in a little cloak and dagger
by the sound of my door opening. Makepeace barges in without
so much as a 'by your leave', slams the door behind him
and then stands there for a second, glowering at me.
guess being the leader of SG-1 means you don't have to
I can do for you, Colonel?" I inquire as blandly as possible.
at me and stomps around my desk, coming to a stop directly
in front of me. A burly hand fists itself in my T-shirt.
I find myself coming up out of my chair with alarming alacrity,
all the more disconcerting in that I've exerted no energy
or inclination toward arriving on my feet. I end up suspended
nose to nose with him, loosely dangling from the hand wrapped
in my shirt.
scrutinizes me for an uncomfortable interval. I'm trying
to keep my expression neutral, my breathing even, and most
importantly am attempting to resist an almost irresistible
impulse to reach up and….tweak his nose.
wouldn't be wise. I get out of this alive I've seriously
got to get my head examined.
like you make me sick," he says finally. "Big mouth, big
talk, think you own the world. You've got some nerve walking
around here dressed like that. You don't deserve to wear
been told," I reply calmly. Just - just one 'beep'. Just
one. What could it hurt?
you're funny, don't you?" he continues, his tone becoming
lower, more menacing. "You think you're pretty smart, too.
Well, I don't like comedians. Wise-asses. Know-it-alls.
Don't like any of 'em. But what I don't like MOST of all
- I don't like CIVILIANS."
saying this isn't the beginning of a beautiful friendship?"
narrow slightly; the side of his face pulls up in a tight,
like me much, do you, Jackson?"
refuse to answer that on the grounds I'm partial to my
face the way it is?"
all the right menacing moves, but he's coming across as
being very controlled. No way he's going to hit me. He's
not that stupid. He just wants to make me THINK he's going
to hit me.
in my face. "You've got guts. And a mouth to match.
O'Neill might have put up with your bull, but all attitude
is going to get you on MY team is a lot of trouble."
about had enough of the grandstanding. I get the point.
He's big, he's tough and he can bench press me over his
I know how to spell ignoramus. Pronounce it, too.
wouldn't mind, Colonel, would you please let me go, give
me the speech and get out of my face? I've got a briefing
to go in about five minutes and I'd like to get my notes
together, if it's all the same to you."
me back down in my chair so abruptly the breath is pushed
out of my chest. "You want the speech?" he hisses as he
leans over me. I can only stare dumbly back up at him
as he angrily continues. "You want the speech, Doctor
Jackson? I'll give it to you. I'll give it to you all
saying nothing, blinking stupidly up at him he continues
to hurl words at me. His face is turning an alarming shade
of red. I'm wondering if I haven't seriously overestimated
know what O'Neill saw in you, but it must have been something
to waste so much time on you. He cut you a hell of a lot
of slack. I don't get it. I just don't get it."
wouldn't. Not in a million years. I'd be wasting my time
and yours trying to explain it to you. Not that I feel
particularly compelled to, or that it would even be worth
in case you hadn't noticed, I'm not Jack O'Neill."
have to tell me once.
little deal you and he had going, that's all over now.
I'm the leader of SG-1 and nobody on my team gets a free
ride. Especially dead-weight, wise-assed civilians. I
don't care how 'smart' you are, brains don't cut any ice
So I see.
you on notice, Doctor Jackson. "You are going to do things
my way, and you're going to do them the way I say. You're
going to get with the program and pull your weight out
there or so help me I'll bounce you off MY team so fast
your head will spin. I'm gonna boot that sorry civilian
ass of yours until your performance in the field is up
to MY standards. No member of my team gets cut any slack
or places another in danger 'cause they don't know their
ass from the business end of their weapon. You hearing
deaf." I don't scare easy, either.
down at me, breathing heavily. "The flagship team of the
SGC. A civilian geek, an alien turncoat and a woman.
O'Neill was the only one of you worth a damn and look where
it got him. Jesus."
THAT was interesting. Very interesting. I mentally file
his last comment away for further consideration. I think
we're just about done with the 'new alpha male establishes
dominance' scene. I figure he's peed on me enough.
like I figured right. Makepeace is calming down, regaining
his composure. He affixes me with a final, piercing look
before he moves away from me, bound for the door.
he grunts as he approaches the exit. "Get your butt down
to that briefing. And don't forget..."
the door, then pauses. Turning back he flashes a contemptuous
smile at me. "I'll be watching every move you make.
We understand each other?"
worry, Colonel, I've got your number," I sneer right back
so it's not too smart. I was going to try and play Mister
Co-operative with the King of the Jar Heads, but you know
what? He just went and made me mad. I think it's just
about time to stop letting Neanderthals like him push me
around. Having Jack to fall back on was comforting, but
it's suddenly occurring to me that in running interference
for me, maybe he hasn't been doing me any favours. I might
not be anyone's first choice for soldier of the month,
but I haven't exactly been standing around here for the last
three years with my finger up my ass, either. I've paid
my stinking dues. I've done my stinking share.
More than pulled my weight and fuck you, Colonel Makepeace, Sir.
With no due respect.
bounced off your team, will you? YOUR team? I don't think
so! Threaten me? Well, we'll just see about that. See
about a whole lot of other things, while we're at it.
Maybe it's time to see just how much clout the geek really
has around here.
it on, you brain-dead, no-necked, arrogant, puke-faced -
mad I can't even think. He snorts at me one last time
and leaves, pulling the door closed behind him. I fumble
with the papers on my desk, trying to bring myself back
each other. Only too well. This is war. And the battle
lines have just been drawn.
yourself, Colonel. I'm not a soldier, but I know how to
fight. What's more, I fight dirty. And I fight to win.
Planetary survey. A walk in the park. Literally, from
the looks of the place and the telemetry from the UAV.
is less than impressed. To put it mildly.
put too fine a point on it, he's hopping mad. He had his
eye on P5X-281. First contact situation. Right down SG-1's
usual alley. Imagine his surprise when Hammond decided
to give SG-11 the nod for it and fobbed this 'milk run'
off on us.
going to be spending an invigorating afternoon collecting
soil samples instead of rushing intrepidly forward into
action and adventure. Makepeace is so disappointed he's
almost in tears. He's the envy of the SGC. Getting the
nod for the top spot on the number one team, he's been
so hot to go out there and start becoming the stuff of
legends he's been all but creaming his BDUs. And here he
is, passed over for his first shot at greatness. I could
almost find it in my heart to feel sorry for him right now.
Get the lead out and take point. I said, MOVE IT, Mister!"
let the GENIUS carry it. He could use some exercise
from the looks of him. Getting a little flabby there,
Doc? O'Neill's been taking it easy on you, letting you
get soft. We'll take care of that, no problem. We'll have
you whipped into shape in no time. You'll pull your weight
and then some. Take that one - AND that one. Come on,
pick it up and get out front. NOW."
I kidding? I hope he chokes on it.
steps forward and puts a restraining hand on my shoulder.
take point, DanielJackson," he says quietly, as he takes
one of the packs from me. I can't help but notice it's
the heaviest one.
can't help but notice it seems I still have at least ONE
friend on SG-1.
looks less than impressed by what Teal'c has said and done.
His displeasure is more than evident on his face as he
bears down on us.
he barks at Teal'c. "I thought I heard myself give an
ORDER. Not a suggestion. An order. I can understand HIM
not getting it," he continues with a disdainful toss of
his head at me, "but I was under the impression YOU were
familiar with the concept. Perhaps I was misinformed."
not." Teal'c has drawn himself up to his full height, shoulders
squarely set, the immovable object personified. His chiseled
in stone expression is equally unforgiving. "The order
was ill-conceived. It would result in a disposition of
the team members contrary to our accustomed field practices
and would furthermore be utilizing your manpower resources
in an inefficient fashion. This is understandable. You
are as yet unaware of our standard field procedures, strengths
or the customary way in which Colonel O'Neill deploys us.
You will learn. We will be happy to instruct you."
his head respectfully, Teal'c begins to turn and walk away
from the gate. "I will take point," he says smoothly.
right where you are, Mister," Makepeace barks at him.
"I didn't ask for your opinion, I gave an order. Jackson
takes point. You get our six. Give him back the pack
and bring up the rear. That's an order."
has stopped walking, but he doesn't turn back. "It is
not the way we do business."
see Sam out of the corner of my eye. She's getting just
as worried as I am. I don't know what's rattling us more,
the unsettling anachronism of the colloquial phrase Teal'c has
just used, or the deep, low, clearly dangerous tone it was
is shining but there's no mistaking the storm warnings
all around us.
care what you USED to do," Makepeace fires back at him.
"Now I'm here, I'm the leader and you'll do things MY way."
finally turns, a mildly troubled expression on his face.
"That is impractical. I do not understand your reasoning.
You have been granted the leadership of a fully tested
and proven field unit which has functioned smoothly as
a highly effective, efficient sum of its constituent parts.
We have been together for three years. We have learned
the capabilities of each member of this team and evolved
our procedures through experience and battle trial. I
do not understand why you would wish to 'mess with success.'
This is the sign of a poor leader. Colonel O'Neill would
not do this. He understands the necessity of flexibility
on the part of the leader, as well as those being led.
He would not summarily reject proven methods in an unjustified
attempt to impose his will. Colonel O’Neill recognizes
a true leader may only lead where others are willing, and
indeed able, to follow.”
flushes, a cruel smirk on his face as he strides up to
Teal'c and faces him down, practically nose to nose. I
have a hard time catching what he's saying to our friend
because the words are delivered quickly, in breathless, biting
snatches almost too low to carry far beyond the hearing of the
man to whom they are being directed.
got a HELL of a lot of nerve holding up O'Neill to me,
you yellow-bellied, back-stabbing bastard! After the way
the three of you turned on him? Turned him in? Talking
to me about teamwork? What the FUCK do you know about
it? I've SEEN the way SG-1 operates! Turns tail and runs
at the first sign of trouble, ratting to the aliens and
saving your own asses instead of backing up your CO. Jack
should have gotten a fucking MEDAL for what he did and
what did he get instead? Turfed out on his ass. Thanks
done ranting, but I don’t bother listening to the rest
of it. I've heard quite enough. More than enough.
Colonel Makepeace, What an INTERESTING attitude you have.
Downright fascinating. Fascinating enough to definitely
warrant further investigation. Later. But first, we've
got to get through this situation we have here and the
rest of this mission.
all right, Teal'c," I say loudly. "He's right. He's the
boss. We have to do what he says."
stops raving, he and Teal'c both turn to watch me as I
walk up to them. One pair of eyes considerably kinder
than the other.
what Teal'c's trying to do, and I appreciate the effort,
as well as the thought behind it. However, we can afford
to concede this particular battle. Teal'c doesn't need
to shield me from any consequences of this command decision.
It isn't like we're about to sally forth into a nest of
Jaffa. We're going to take a walk in a nice forest and
pick up some dirt, rocks and flowers. I'm not about to
get my head shot off if I stick it out there in front.
even if I was, keeping my hat in one piece isn't worth
risking my friend going up on charges trying to protect
point. Enough, already.
Teal'c's side, put my hand on his arm and start to take
the pack from him. At first, he won't let go.
okay, Teal'c," I say firmly as I tug on the strap once
more. "Let's just get the job, done, 'kay?"
eyes spark briefly with understanding as he lets go of
the burden he was trying to spare me. I smile at him,
shoulder it, and then set out through the trees.
the civilian is smarter than he looks!" Makepeace laughs.
"Come on, people, let's get moving."
you just bought yourself a pile of trouble. Jackson style.
a fairly pleasant afternoon, considering the way it started.
We're mostly after botanical samples this trip out. We
might not have been doing so hot in alien technology retrieval
but some of the alien flora specimens various SG teams
have been bringing back lately have caused a fair amount
of excitement in the medical and biosciences departments.
Nice to know not everything we find out here isn't considered
to be a waste of time if it can't be used to blow things up
flowers, Sam is bagging and labeling the samples, Teal'c
has gone a little ahead to scout around and see if there
is anything further of interest, and Makepeace? Well,
the good colonel is skulking about making no attempt to
disguise just how disgusted he is with being reduced to
supervising a bunch of daisy pickers.
the sort of duty you saw yourself pulling when you took
the job, huh, Colonel? Bet you're saying to yourself right
now, 'what's up with this, Jack O'Neill didn't have to
pick no freaking daisies!'
didn't. But, as you reminded us earlier, you're no Jack
O'Neill. Not in your wildest dreams.
I have to admit he has a point other than the one on top
of his head. This isn't the sort of mission SG-1 usually
gets assigned. Especially as I know we really SHOULD have
gotten the first contact mission. SG-11's anthropologist
has only just been transferred to the project. He's only
been through the gate twice - has never been in a first
contact situation before. I've got no doubt he can handle
it. Robinson is a bright guy, very personable, but still,
it's a little bit of a load to throw on his shoulders when
SG-1 was available and the mission itself was the perfect
bone to fling to the new leader of the flagship team.
Who was obviously eager to get out in the field with his shiny
new command and do the SGC proud.
has to make me wonder why Hammond didn't throw it to him.
is no idiot. He knows how damaging Jack's disgrace has
been to the morale of the SGC - and to the morale of SG-1
in particular. He also knows the people under his command.
You would think his first priority would be to try to put
the whole business aside as quickly as possible by doing
everything he could to ensure the 'new' SG-1 was up and
running as smoothly as possible.
off its new commander on its very first outing doesn't
strike me as the best way of accomplishing this. In fact,
this mission doesn't seem to have anything to do with promoting
the new SG-1 at all. It's almost as Hammond knows he doesn't
HAVE to worry about whether or not the team is going to
be able to make the transition quickly because he knows
this change in leadership is only temporary. As if he
is more interested in keeping US busy doing something innocuous
and SAFE than he is in keeping Makepeace happy. Makepeace
isn't his primary concern, here. We are.
us out of harm's way. He has to let us go out there -
it would look suspicious if SG-1 were indefinitely stood
down for no good reason. Almost as suspicious as it would
have looked if he hadn't replaced Jack immediately. Which
he did. With the only person he logically could, and have
it look 'right'. He had no choice. He had to give us a
new 'leader' and then he had to give us a mission. Business
as usual. Life goes on. That's the way it has to look.
he DOESN'T have to do is give us a mission that will place
us in any sort of danger. God, this is Jack's doing!
I can hear him now. 'General, I'll do it, but only if you
promise me you'll take care of my team while I'm gone.
You send them out there somewhere where they can get shot
at without me and I guarantee you I won't be a happy man
when I get back.'
I can hear him all right. That's exactly what he would
say. Exactly what he would have done.
have to worry about us, Jack. George is looking out for
us. You - you just worry about yourself. Take care of
yourself. We'll be fine.
this is all just speculation. Still, I'm willing to lay
money SG-1 isn't going to be doing anything but daisy picking
until Jack comes home. And seeing as how having us do THAT
for any length of time would eventually be suspicious in
itself, it can only mean Jack isn't planning on being away
for very long.
hope I'm right.
made contact. What happens next? Obviously, he has to
go where the action is. Which I would presume is - this
side of the gate. Another reason why it's looking more
and more as if Hammond is in on the whole thing. The only
way Jack can get through the gate is if the general lets
him. Guess if I'm looking for confirmation I'm on the
right track with all of this, Jack coming back to the SGC
looking for a ticket to the other side will be it.
of excited chatter from the branches overhead draws my
attention. This particular forest seems to be rife with
a primate species extremely curious about us and our
activities. They've remained pretty well hidden in the
overhead foliage and we haven't been able to get a good look
at them, but they've been watching us the whole time we've
been here. I'm not too concerned. They haven't
made any aggressive moves and don't seem to be dangerous, just
curious. They're spooking Makepeace, though. He's
pacing restively, fiddling with his gun, looking up at the
trees and scowling a lot.
had better not start shooting at them.
must have clued in I was watching him, because his head
suddenly swivels around until his unfriendly eyes fix on
me. "What are you looking at?" he snaps at me.
sir," I reply sweetly. Behind me, I can hear Sam stifling
a giggle, which proves she's got much more extensive knowledge
of English vocabulary than our fearless leader.
I'm impressed. That wasn't exactly a commonly used euphemism
in question is staring at me with a slightly perplexed
expression, suspicious I've just pulled one over on him
yet again but not knowing for sure. I've been doing this
to him all afternoon. Throwing hundred dollar words at
his thirty dollar capacity to comprehend them and watching
with great amusement and no small amount of smug satisfaction
as he demonstrates his continuing inability to make change.
slightest bit of sense out of a single thing I'm saying.
part is there isn't a damned thing he can do about it.
I'm not being discernibly insubordinate, argumentative
or confrontational, I'm speaking English, and answering
promptly and properly when spoken to. Sam understands
me. So does Teal'c. He, however - doesn't. But he can't
get me to stop unless he ADMITS he doesn't.
I just don't think he's going to do that. Hasn't so far,
anyway. Wouldn't do for the leader of SG-1 to admit an
ALIEN knows more English than he does.
kidding when I said I fight dirty. By the time I get done
with Makepeace he won't even know what day it is.
the most fun I've had in a long time. Sam's getting quite
a kick out of the show as well. When we first set out
she was so uptight and stuck in 'good soldier' mode I thought
she was going to hurt herself. In many ways her version
of this nightmare has to be the hardest of all to deal
with. As dedicated as we both are to SG-1, neither Teal'c
or I have as much of a personal investment in the actual
military as Sam does. It's literally - her life. She's
very committed to doing her duty. To being part of the
program. Not just the Stargate program.
her need to be seen as 'the good soldier' conflicts with
circumstantial ambiguities. Sometimes the 'best' thing
to do isn't always what the guy in charge is telling you
to do. Sometimes what you know is more 'right' than what
he thinks is the right way to go. Unfortunately her
training and conditioning don't support her confidence in her
own instincts and abilities during moments when thinking
outside the 'regs' is required. Moreover, the concept of
challenging authority is almost anathema to her.
no happier with the situation than the rest of us are,
but she'd never dream of letting it show. No way the 2IC
of SG-1 can 'act out' or speak up, but she's finding it harder
and harder to deny her vicarious enjoyment of MY covert
to up the ante. I'll have her in stitches before the day
is over. She'll kill me later, but it's worth it, seeing
qwerty pleonasm imbroglio, wouldn't you say, Sam?"
gibberish. Doesn't mean a thing, but I affix her with
an earnest expression and utter the nonsense sentence in
a deeply serious voice, as if I am asking her an actual
question. She bites her lip and ducks her head, fighting
the smile waging its own battle to be allowed to spread all
over her face. Makepeace peers at the pair of us darkly
as she wrestles with the part of herself wanting to cut loose
and tell the good soldier to go take a perambulation.
she looks askew at me, a decided glint in her eyes, and
says, "Gormless, but not inchoate." She punctuates her
profound obscurity with an authoritative nod of her head.
Way to go, SAM!
can't take it anymore. "Wrap it up, you two," he growls
as he begins to move away from us. "It's time to start
heading back. As soon as I round up the Jaffa we're moving
him walk away and waits until he's disappeared behind a
tree before whipping around and punching me soundly on
she scolds me with a stern look on her face and a smile
in her voice. "You're worse than the colonel!"
see the sharp pang of loss we both suddenly feel reflected
in the face of the other as we realize the 'colonel' she
is referring to is not the man who was just standing here.
I yell at the man taking aim at the little primate scurrying
across the clearing. "Don't SHOOT IT!"
jumps at the sound and jerks the barrel of his weapon up.
He utters a colourful expletive as he tries to regain his
composure and reacquire the target, but he doesn't quite
have enough time. I'm gratified to see the monkey make
it to the base of the nearest tree, and he's up it and
out of harm's way before Makepeace can blow his furry little
ass to smithereens.
carrying the pack he managed to snatch right out from under
little furball scared the crap out of both of us. We'd
just finished stowing all the samples and collecting paraphernalia
away when we heard Makepeace and Teal'c coming back. We
turned our attention away from the packs, I swear it was
just a second, and next thing we know this screeching mass
of hair was dropping down on us from directly overhead.
land on us or attack us. Wasn't interested in us at all.
Apparently it wanted what we thought was interesting enough
to spend so much time mucking about with. It grabbed one
of the packs and now it's up there in the trees.
and the pack.
which one, though, as I'm running to the base of the tree,
peering up the trunk, trying to see what I can see.
the hell did it get?" Makepeace demands as he reaches
Sam's side. 'Damned thieving little bastard," he curses.
"Why the hell did you yell like that and spoil my aim?
Coulda stopped the little fucker on the ground."
the way you advocate dealing with all thieves, Colonel?"
I can't help but snap at him as I keep trying to make out
what I'm seeing at the top of the tree. "Shoot them on
say anything. I wasn't expecting him to. Sam is quick
to fill in the more than pregnant pause.
all the samples, sir."
it did. Nuts.
takes off his cap and throws it to the ground in a vehement
gesture of total disgust. "I don't BELIEVE this!" he
storms. "I don't FUCKING believe this. What else can
still trying to salvage the situation. From what I'm seeing,
I might be able to help.
gather more samples, sir," she ventures.
have TIME, Major," Makepeace thunders back at her. "It
took you all damned afternoon to get the lot the GENIUS
over there let get……treed. We’re due to report back at
1730 hours. How do you propose to do the work of an afternoon
in less than an hour - which is about how long it's going
to take us to get back to the gate!"
yell at her!" I yell at him. "It's not her fault. Besides,
it might not be as bad as it seems."
has joined me and glances up where I'm pointing. He sees
it. Can barely make it out in the shifting shadows of
the waving leaves and boughs overhead, but there it is,
tightly wedged in a fork between two branches. The little
monkey is frantically tugging at it, trying to make it come
loose, but it's not budging.
is correct," my tall friend announces as he turns to look
at Makepeace. "It will be possible to retrieve the samples.
I will do so immediately."
me his staff weapon and is preparing to hoist himself up
into the tree when Makepeace announces he has other ideas.
he shakes his head as he begins to walk toward us, a slightly
frowning Sam in his wake. "Not you. Him."
Ah, that would be - me.
Teal'c voice their protests about the same time. Teal'c,
because he really does think it's HIS job to shimmy up
the tree, and Sam because, well, she knows about my 'problem'
know about it, but there's something she DOESN'T know,
and neither does Makepeace. It's true I've got a bit of
a problem with heights. I don't much care for them.
But then, any SANE individual with an ounce of self-preservation
probably doesn’t either. When faced with a narrow plank
and a yawning expanse I'm not the happiest camper in the
world, but not to the extent I freeze up with fear if I'm
higher off the ground than I can survive if I should happen
to fall down. As I don't enjoy the thought of falling
great distances and impacting with unpleasant velocity
on unforgiving surfaces I don't care to be anywhere where
there is a potential for this to occur, but I can still
function if I have to be.
this 'problem' definitely does not apply when I'm up a
a lot closer to the truth than he realized when he put
a five letter word starting with 'S' in front of another
word starting with 'M' and then addressed me by the rather
embarrassing combination in the middle of a crowd of people
stuffed into the gateroom.
haven't managed to put that one behind me.
a great deal of my childhood up a tree, which is one of
the reasons why I also spent a great portion of it stuck
with the nickname 'Monkey.'
trees. On the ground I might trip over my bootlace and
drop my ammo clip trying to get it in the damned pistol
but put me in a tree I'm as graceful as a gazelle.
definitely something wrong with that last analogy but I'm
going to have to leave it.
are still trying to intercede on my behalf in an effort
to spare me the ordeal of the ascent but Makepeace is having
none of it.
you two to report to the infirmary and get your hearing
checked as soon as we get back," he says as he eyes both
of them sternly. "There must be something wrong with it
- you keep questioning everything I say. And what I say
- is this: the Spacemonkey goes. It's his fault the stuff
is up there in the first place and besides, it'll give
him a chance to catch up with his relatives."
does he get off calling me Spacemonkey? He had NO RIGHT
to call me that. That - that's special. Jack called me
that. Jack is the only one who gets to call me by that
name. By any nickname.
so I make out it bugs me when people tease me about it
when really……. Never mind, never mind, Makepeace shouldn't
have called me that. Just…. shouldn't have. Now I DEFINITELY
have to climb this tree. If only to redeem the name my
nemesis has just sullied.
feel Teal'c tense beside me, preparing to debate the issue
further, perhaps to the detriment of Makepeace's face.
I let him know he should back off and let me handle it - it's
under control - by giving his sleeve a short, sharp tug.
and I have a number of - signals - like that. As do we
all with each other. They've evolved over time as a matter
of course and of necessity. We've been in situations where
you can't communicate any other way. Can't talk to or
look at each other even. So we've learned ways to get
the message across without letting anyone else know what
it. I feel him relax. He doesn't know what I'm up to,
but I've just told him I'm okay so he trusts I can handle
it, despite what he's seeing.
been doing during my teammates' protestations is laying
on the 'Danny in distress' act with a trowel. All the
non-verbal body language stuff Jack teases me about, which
he says tells the world 'DANIEL'S NOT HAPPY' in big neon
letters. I'm duckin' the head, workin' the face,
blinking and hugging myself for all I'm worth. Makepeace
is totally buying it, too. He looks happier than I've
seen him all day. So damned pleased with himself he's
have a clue he's got me exactly where I want him.
me, Spacemonkey," he sneers the epithet at me again. Oh!
SO going to make you EAT that word! "Get your ass up there
and get that pack. And DON'T come down without it. I'm
not going back empty-handed on my first time out through
the gate with you goofs."
I can't resist putting a little quaver in my voice. It's
easy, actually. It's really laughter I'm having a very
hard time suppressing.
In a few
short minutes one of us is going to be looking like a monkey's
uncle and it isn't going to be me.
laces his fingers together to give me a leg up. I grab
the first branch I can reach, rest against his strong support
for a brief second, and give Makepeace my parting shot.
go away. I'll be right back. I see any representatives
of YOUR family tree I'll tell them you say, 'hi'."
upward thrust from the force of nature beneath my foot
and I'm flying.
up the tree in less time than it's taken me to realize
I feel like I'm ten again. Which actually isn't a time
in my life with a lot of happy memories, except involving
moments like this one.
out as a way to escape. I was scrawny, shy, strange and
way too smart, all of which is a dangerous thing to be
if you're ten. And, as I didn't care for being picked
on, which I constantly was, I evolved a few coping strategies.
Most of which involved me being somewhere where trouble
wasn't. Or couldn't find me.
with trees started as one of those strategies. One of
my most successful ones, actually. When trouble came calling
I made tracks for where no one could touch me. I was reckless,
fearless and went higher, farther and further than any
of them. Up high I was home free.
a while, I just liked being there. Not just the climbing
part, but finding a comfortable niche and staying there.
Sometimes for hours at a time, enveloped in cool, green,
living serenity. I was never afraid. Never scared I would
fall, never scared of anything. I felt like I was accepted.
I'd lost that state of grace when I grew up and had to
leave my green refuge behind. Thought it was gone forever.
met a man named Jack O'Neill.
how Jack would feel being compared to a tree. No. Way
too easy. Not going there. Well, maybe a little. We'll
my mind back to what I'm doing. I have a show to put on,
aware I'm being watched from below. It has to be obvious
to everyone by now I'm anything but at a disadvantage up
here. Definitely not hugging the trunk in quivering terror
as expected. Even though I'm still just straight climbing.
Rapidly ascending without flourishes or frills.
it will be more impressive to save the fancy stuff for
I may have had about getting into a custody battle with
the temporary owner of the prize we both are seeking have
been allayed. As soon as he saw me coming the little
monkey chittered warningly at me for a few seconds, but then
he scampered away. Obviously doesn't want it badly
enough to fight me for it.
made it to the object in question. Only about three-quarters
of the way up the tree, but still an impressive distance
off the ground. I'm glad the pack got stuck where it did.
The branches are already reaching the point where they'd
have no problem supporting the weight of a ten year old
boy, but expecting them to bear my current mass would be
a little unrealistic. I have to remember even though I
feel like a boy again, I'm a much bigger one, now.
which is going to be working to my considerable advantage
on the way down. 'Cause I'm bigger, now, in more ways
than one. Longer reach, for starters. More mass means
more momentum potential. Something Sam should be able
to appreciate. This is going to be fun. Did I mention
when it came to hanging around in trees I tended to get
a bit reckless?
I have to get the damned pack loose. The sucker is really
wedged in tight. I'm using the time it's taking to fight
the thing free to mentally map out the route I'm going
to be taking going down. I paid attention on the way up,
where all the branches were - spatial relationships, distances
between the intervals. I couldn't have asked for a better
tree for what I have in mind. It's a nice, big, mature
deciduous beauty with lots of strong, sprawling, conveniently
spaced branches, a thorough supporting network without
a lot of younger, immature foliage complicating things.
do to get hung up on something in mid swing. Would completely
ruin the effect.
I yell down to the others. I slip it on, settle the weight
evenly on my shoulders and back, make sure it's going to
stay put, before leaning back to yell once more.
stop, ground floor!!"
plant my feet firmly on the limb beneath me, gauge the
distance I have to cover to the next branch and launch myself
into empty air.
I hear Sam shriek below as my hands connect with the firm
support awaiting them. I swing, sight and drop once more
without a second's hesitation.
had a bicycle when I was a kid so I can't say this is like
never forgetting how to ride one. This is more like as
natural as breathing, even after all these years, and way
more fun. I can't resist letting a wild, exhilarated whoop
escape me as I plummet toward the ground, my seemingly
erratic, pendulous downward motion barely mitigated by the
tenuous contacts I'm making with the intervening branches.
I'm having WAY too much fun, and it's going to be over far
about….now, actually. I'm only about fifteen feet off
the ground, now, so I figure it's about time for the razzle
down on the bough I've just landed on. Directly ahead
of me is exactly what I need. The branch is perfectly
positioned over the 'landing site' and is just far enough
away to afford me enough clearance to give the last swing
out and down the right amount of 'oomph' the proper 'dismount'
enough of the 'showman' in me to want to really give them
their money's worth.
slight twinge of regret for the eventual end of the adventure
I leap to the waiting branch, clutch it firmly, give my
body an emphatic swing and let go. I ride unerringly down
the path of motion I’ve created to describe a clean arc all
the way to the ground.
neatly and deliberately dramatically in the midst of my
fellows. I flash them all a rakish grin, make a small
flourish with my arms and go, "Tah DAH!"
and die, Makepeace.
Sam says breathlessly. She staring at me wide-eyed, mouth
slightly agape, noticeably flushed. She's speechless,
her face plainly overtaken with an expression of frank
admiration that's startling her as much as it is me.
a side of me you've never seen before, huh, Sam? Never
quite pictured me as the 'Errol Flynn' type? Well, that's
me, I'm just FULL of surprises.
too overwhelmed for words as I shrug the pack from my shoulders.
She reaches blindly out and takes it from me as I grin
at her and say, "Here you go. Spacemonkey to the rescue."
hear Teal'c laughing behind me even though he isn't making
a sound. You just have to know how to listen.
Makepeace. Who's stunned mackerel impression would be
making Jack run for his rod and reel. Bingo. Gotcha,
performance satisfactory, sir?" I inquire mildly of my
unintelligibly for several seconds. About the length of
time it apparently takes him to work out he's been suckered.
Well and truly.
grin finally makes an appearance. He shakes his head as
he looks me up and down.
do," he concedes finally. "It'll do."
to look at each other for a minute. Something's happening
here, not something I honestly was expecting, but I'll
is mine; we both know it, and what's more, it looks as
if he's actually enough of a man to admit it.
he confirms my suspicions and gives me a slight indication
he might not be the total asshole I've previously taken
might be hope for you after all," he growls somewhat self-consciously
and turns away. "Okay, show's over, lets get moving.
You - " he nods at Teal'c. "Get your ass up front, there
and take Tarzan, here, with you. What's everyone standing
around for, show's over, move it out!"
drops his massive hand on my shoulder as we move past Sam
and Makepeace. A gentle squeeze conveys his vast, unspoken
a rocky start, Jack, but your team's still hanging together
until you come home.
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