A new teammate for SG-1
Part Two: A new teammate for SG-1
Jack was holding a special session with SG-1. The purpose: to come to an agreement on a team member to replace him.
He had finally made his way through the pile of personnel reports, and he had made his choice. But he wanted to know that it was one that Carter, Daniel, and Teal’c approved of – especially Carter, who would be commanding her.
"I call this meeting to order," he said, banging an imaginary gavel on the conference table. The other three settled in. It was amazing, Jack thought, how Teal’c could manage to look both attentive and impassive at the same time.
"You know why you’re here. Before I tell you who I decided on, let me tell you my starting premises.
"First: I wanted someone with serious experience with the program. I want you to have someone tested, someone you know will be watching your six and not flake out on you.
"Second: I didn’t want to pick somebody who’s heading a team now. Everybody is already dealing with enough of a shakeup with General Hammond gone and me being quote promoted unquote to this damn desk job – no disrespect to General Hammond intended.
"You guys all know Captain Yolanda Cortez, right?"
Nods all around. Did Carter blink oddly, though?
"Her team leader has nothing but good things to say about her," Jack continued. "He recommended her, in fact, though he says he half regrets doing it because he’d hate to lose her. She’s been here more than a year and has been directly responsible for the success of a couple missions in very dicey circumstances."
Again, nods from everybody.
"Apparently she’s something of a hothead at times. This means she should fit right in. However, Major Johnson tells me, she does
follow orders. That would be different for SG-1" – looking directly at Daniel – "but I think we can cope."
"Sir, I’m not sure how to say this, but …"
"Spit it out, Carter."
"You’re not making this decision because you don’t think I can handle it if somebody tries to give me attitude, are you?"
"Absolutely not, Carter. I’d put my money on you against any macho asshole on the base." Almost the truth. Of course Carter could handle herself, but why should she be put through that? She was not only the new leader of the Stargate’s most important unit, but she was still doing double duty as a troubleshooter on their weird scientific problems. He’d be damned if he would add any more to her load if he could help it.
"Captain Cortez has proven herself to be most able in the field," Teal’c rumbled. "I believe she would be a very valuable member of SG-1 indeed."
"I agree," Daniel said.
"What about you, Carter? Any other reservations? Thoughts? Counter-proposals?"
"No sir. In the few dealings I’ve had with her, I’ve been impressed with her dedication and capability."
"Well, I guess that’s it then. Hearing no objections, SG-1 is now playing with a full deck again. Assuming Cortez accepts, which I don’t think is much of a stretch.
"One more thing before you guys scatter. It’s quiet around here for a change, and I’m going to take Friday off and make it a three-day weekend. I’ll have my cell phone with me, but I only want to hear from you if it’s the end of the world. Otherwise, Carter, I leave everything in your capable hands."
As Sam and Teal’c absorbed this, Daniel decided to live life on the edge. "She called, didn’t she."
"Yes, Daniel, she called. Now you are dismissed
This time, it was Carter who stayed behind when the others walked out the door.
"Sir, can I talk to you about something in confidence and completely off the record? It’s sort of personal but sort of professional at the same time."
Jack thought. "Of course, Carter."
"It’s about Captain Cortez, sir." Well, thank
She hesitated, then plunged in. "I just thought you should be aware. She’s gay, sir. And from what I hear, she’s not really on board with the whole ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ thing."
"Well, Carter, that gives her and me something in common right off the bat. I’m not too fond of the damn policy myself. In fact, there’s more than one damn military regulation about who people sleep with I could do without."
Carter was startled, but didn’t let it show. The general’s last comment came close to touching on a topic that was, by mutual unspoken acknowledgement, off limits.
Jack was still speaking. "Do you
have a problem with it, Carter?"
"Not at all, sir. I meant what I said. I think Captain Cortez would be a strong addition to the team."
"Do Daniel and Teal’c know?"
"I don’t think so, sir."
"Well, I want you to tell them, the same way that you told me. And I appreciate you giving me a heads up."
She turned to leave. "Oh, and Carter? We never had this conversation."
Once Carter was gone, Jack found himself alone with his thoughts, which was becoming an all-too-regular occurrence since his promotion. He didn’t like it; he didn’t really consider his own thoughts to be all that stimulating company, honestly. For instance, why would he want to dwell on the fact that he’d as good as brought the forbidden-fruit thing out into the open with Carter after years of (mostly) keeping it buried? Why now,
for Pete’s sake?
Switching mental gears deliberately, with a grinding he could almost hear in his head, Jack thought some more about Yolanda Cortez. He hadn’t had much to do with her directly, but knew her by sight and to say hello to. She was curvier than most Air Force captains, even considering her gender, with dark curly hair that even he could tell was carefully styled. He wondered if Carter’s intel could be wrong. But what the hell did he know? He was probably the last person on earth who had bought the Ellen sitcom character as a heterosexual.
Buffy had told him that her best friend, Willow, was a lesbian. Not only that, but he might get the chance to meet her, as Willow and a Summers family friend, Giles, were joining Buffy at the end of the weekend. What was it all of a sudden? How broad-minded did people actually expect an old guy to be?
Jack sighed and had a private, unvoiceable thought: Lions and tigers and dykes, oh my.
Late on Thursday afternoon, Daniel stopped by Jack’s office before leaving for home. A duffel bag was sitting in a corner. "All packed and ready for the big weekend?"
"Yup, pretty much."
"Any G-rated plans?"
"We’re going hiking tomorrow at Castlewood Canyon."
Daniel frowned. "But Jack, your knees – "
"Will be just fine. For crying out loud, Daniel, it’s only been a few weeks since I’ve been traipsing around every godforsaken, death-dealing planet this side of … wherever. I’m promoted,
damn it, not invalided out!" He took a deep breath. "Would you sleep any easier, mom,
if I promised to stay on the east-side trails?"
"Slightly. But, um, Jack?" This next bit was bound to be even more awkward, but Daniel felt it had to be gotten through, for Jack’s sake. He pushed at his glasses. "You made this date, when, early in the week? You’re sure you’re going to get to this girl’s motel and she’s, um, going to be there?"
"Well, she was there on Tuesday when we talked again, and she was there yesterday, and she was there 15 minutes ago, so I think I’m pretty safe in saying, yes, she’ll be there. But thanks, Daniel, it’s nice to know your opinion of my powers of attraction."
Daniel was totally thrown off balance. "So … you’ve been keeping in touch, then."
Jack just glared.
"OK, great, I’ll leave you to it," Daniel mumbled as he backed out the door. "Good luck with the hiking … and so forth."
Having had an enormously difficult time keeping a straight face through all of this, and eager to sign off, Jack was relieved to see him go. Best friends, he thought. Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.