Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them
Spoilers for 'Children of The Gods', 'Learning Curve', 'Nemesis' and 'Ascension'.
Next part in the storyline last visited in 'Colonel of Cunning'. Set between 'Beast of Burden' and 'The Tomb'.
"Jack, I really don't think this is a good idea."
The Jack in question paused next to the entrance to Major Samantha Carter's lab/office/home away from home, and frowned at his friend. "What are you talking about? This is *your* idea."
Daniel's eyebrows lifted in further bafflement. "Breaking and entering is my idea?"
"Oh for crying out loud...is the door to her lab locked?"
"Is it even closed?"
"No," Daniel was forced to admit.
"Exactly. Therefore I am just...entering."
"All right," Daniel conceded, "But I still don't see how it's my idea."
Jack sighed in suffering. The man had the memory of a goldfish!
Now, where was he...ah! "Did you or did you not tell me to use my brains more?"
The confusion grew in intensity for a few seconds - judging by the new grooves carving themselves into Daniel's forehead - but then the spark appeared in his eyes and realisation smoothed his face into its normal inquisitive expression. "Yes, I...suppose I did."
O'Neill nodded. "Good. Now all you have to do is keep watch while I 'enter' her lab, okay? And let me know if she's approaching, obviously." Watching Daniel's expression, Jack frowned. "What?"
Daniel shook himself. "Oh it's nothing, it's just...I feel like you should be wearing a ski mask or something."
Rolling his eyes, Jack decided to humour him. "Nah," He patted Daniel on the arm. "I save that for when I sneak into *your* office." Turning away, he pretended to pull a gun out of an invisible holster. "Cover me!"
Daniel wasn't amused.
Jack lowered the imaginary weapon and tossed it to the floor. "Geez, grow a personality, will ya?"
Not waiting for a response, Jack turned away and calmly walked into Carter's office. There, on the main desk, was the latest version of the naquadah reactor. The one before it had been destroyed - the less said about 'Orlin' the better - and he knew she was working on making a new model that was hopefully better than the last.
'Hopefully'. Ha. Of course it'd be better than the last one.
He took the opportunity to fiddle with a few bits and bobs the way he usually did whenever he strolled in here, more often than not to discover her working on something, with determination and joy etched into her face in equal measure. He could almost imagine her sitting here now, turning down another fishing invitation...
His Inner Daniel told him that wasn't the right attitude.
Okay, down to business. Down to what he was really here for.
Jack searched everywhere he could think of. He found a few books that he was sure would come in handy at some point, but after five minutes of non-stop searching, he still hadn't found...
"What I'm looking for," He murmured to himself, half-singing.
Damn. Frustrated, he rubbed a hand over his hair, thinking that he really needed to get out of here soon, but-
There. Yes! The only place left. That cupboard on top of that big machine thing that Merrin had been trying to reach...
He made a mental note to visit her soon.
Marching over to the machine, he reached up and slid the cupboard door open. Feeling about he pulled out several big wads of paper. Drawing pad, another drawing pad...a ha!
Shoving the pads back into the cupboard he slid it closed before properly studying the jewels he held in his hands. He was kinda hoping for something entitled 'Astrophysics: A Beginners Guide'. No such luck.
There were three papers in all - although she *must* have written more and he made another promise to himself to get his hands on them at a later date - and as he glanced at the titles, he started feeling the first stirrings of...nervousness?
No, just slight concern. It was just that the term 'theoretical' disturbed him. He wasn't comfortable with things that were theoretical; he needed things in firm and no uncertain terms. No vagueness, no ambiguity; just plain explanations.
Well, he mused, studying the papers in his hands, not anymore. His own interest in astronomy would at least give him a good place to start, and-
Shit. Daniel's voice. Shit, shit.
"Hey Daniel. How are you?" Carter's voice.
"Oh good, good. You?" The archaeologist was starting to sound rather strained.
Jack himself was feeling rather strained. There was no way he could sneak out of here with Carter standing right outside.
Dammit, the plan was supposed to be simple! Go into Carter's office, find some papers, make copies of them, then put the originals back before she noticed. How could anything possibly go wrong?
"Great, thanks." There was a moment or two of silence. "Did you want something? I mean, I doubt you're hanging around outside my lab just for the hell of it..."
"Uh, no. No, of course not." He laughed nervously. "I was...just wondering if you...you'd seen Jack. Yes, do you know where Jack is? I need to talk to him about something."
Oh, *that* was a great idea. Bring up the guy who was trying to become invisible and failing spectacularly.
"No, not since this morning." More silence. "Actually Daniel, do you have a few minutes? There's something I'd like to talk about."
"Thanks. Let's go into my lab-woah, Daniel, what's wrong?!"
Shit! They couldn't come in here! Dammit, there was only one place he could hide and hope to any God that wasn't a Goa'uld that she wouldn't notice.
"Uh, sorry Sam. There was a huge spider on your arm."
"Don't worry, I got it. Let's go INTO YOUR LAB."
Damn, he could have just told Carter Jack was in there and been less subtle. Curling himself into as small a form as possible - and ignoring the pain in his knees - Jack held his breath.
Two sets of footsteps casually walked in, until one of them suddenly broke away and rushed towards the table he was hiding under. Obviously Daniel had figured out where he was hiding and was doing his best to block her view.
"You don't mind if I sit here, do you Sam? Thanks." Grabbing a swivel chair he plonked himself in front of the table. "What did you want to talk about?"
Even more silence. "Daniel, are you sure you're feeling all right?"
Jackson was obviously trying to think up an intelligent answer.
"The coffee machine in the commissary broke down again."
"Oh," Carter responded in a tone of absolute understanding that Jack shared. He could almost imagine that she was touching Daniel's arm in comfort. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay," Daniel responded with false resignation. "They say it'll be fixed soon. Anyway, what did you want?"
Risking movement, Jack turned his head towards them. From where he was he could see their feet and most of their legs. Hers began to move backwards and forwards.
"Have you...noticed something odd about the Colonel lately?"
The colonel? Him? Did she want to talk about him? He almost sat up before he realised where he was, and just managed to keep his head from hitting the table.
Daniel tapped his foot on one of the floor struts on his chair. "There's always something odd about Jack."
O'Neill felt proud of that comment, although he probably should have been insulted.
Still, at least Carter's voice was warm with amusement when she responded. He could just imagine that smile... "True. He just...seems odder than normal."
Crap Daniel, you didn't need to keep her talking about it! Just end the conversation and convince her to leave with you.
"I don't know really, it's...he's not so bothered about putting theories forward. I'm not saying he lacked confidence - we both know that he doesn't - but in scientific matters...he tended not to speak up."
"And now he is?"
"Yes. And frankly, it's freaking me out."
He was freaking Carter out? That was...freaky. It was just what he was going for, but it was still freaky.
"Well you know Jack. He is a little freaky."
'Odd', 'freaky'...why did he sense a recurring theme here?
Daniel continued. "Maybe it's just a strange phase he's going through. We both know he has the attention span of a five year old."
Okay, now he was going to far. Risking further movement, he poked a finger onto Daniel's ankle, letting him know he wasn't happy. Almost immediately Daniel kicked back; not hard, just enough to let him know he'd have to put up with it.
"Foot cramp," Daniel explained for Carter's benefit, then he stamped his foot on the floor a few times for effect.
Carter sighed audibly. "I guess you're right. There's been no real evidence...I just pay more attention to these things than I need to, I suppose."
What did *that* mean?
"Tell you what," Daniel replied, standing up. "Let's go to the commissary. We can see if they've fixed the coffee machine, and if you want we can keep talking about this. How's that sound?"
Yes, yes, get her out of here...
"All right," She relented, and they both moved away from the table and towards the exit. "And then maybe you can also explain why Colonel O'Neill is hiding under my desk."
go to voice of reason
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