Title: One Slump Day
Disclaimers: Stargate SG-1 and all the characters are not mine, shame really.
Thanks for JayBee-Bug who beta this story for me.
Major Samantha Carter took one last look at her computer screen. The numbers in front of her had transformed into simply numbers, not some scientific calculation that an astrophysicist would find fascinating.
Her big blue eyes blinked. And then she leaned back into her chair and sighed. There was no point in continuing what she'd been doing for almost four hours. She couldn't even remember what the calculation was about.
This was it, today was the day. The day that she dreaded the most, when the scientific part of her brain was inaccessible anymore, i.e., off-limits. Writers get writer's block, artists might lose their muse, but Samantha Cater? She got a slump day.
She never believed in superstitions, but there was no other explanation that wouldn't contradict the facts. When this happened, she got a bad day, so bad that she usually spent it in her bed. It had only happened to her a few times and scarily enough it came out of nowhere. There was no single particular event or effect that induced this condition nor were there any symptoms that could tell her that it was coming.
She had accepted long ago ... there was nothing that she could do.
Except not doing any sort of experiment that could cause the school's lab to blow up if she was not being careful and clueless to what she was doing (thank God that she was the teacher's pet -- therefore the blame laid solidly on the faulty lab equipment). Or tweaking with any sensitive programming that could crash the whole Pentagon's computer system (thank God that no one found out). Or cooking any kind of food using the microwave or the oven or anything for that matter as she could turn it into a big fire accident (thank God for those men in the fire-fighter uniforms -- it was the only time where she didn't curse her misfortune).
Yup, Samantha Carter had already learned long ago, when she was in one of these days, she was a walking disaster.
That's why she intended to go home as soon as possible. But first, she had to call for a taxi. She couldn't trust herself to drive right now. Her car could end up in the junkyard, no, she could not do that. Her beloved Volvo deserved so much better that that.
Carefully, she scanned her lab, looking for any active machinery that could lead to disaster if she didn't turn it off. But all that she could see were the colourful blinking lights produced by her fancy lab equipment. She threw her hands into the air and gave up.
Even though the scientific part of her was gone, her other brain parts were still functioning normally. So, she picked up the phone from her lab's wall and dialled. "Simmons? This is Major Carter speaking. Could you check in my lab in about half an hour and turn off the experiments that I've got? I need the machine running for a little while, but I won't be here when it's done. Thank you."
She put the phone down before Lt. Simmons could say a word. She didn't want to go into lengthy detail on why she wouldn't be in her lab when the experiment finished. She knew that Simmons was familiar with all the trials and machinery in her lab, and he would turn off whatever needed to be turned off when he got here. He knew what he was doing.
Lab's problem was sorted. Now, the taxi. She picked up the phone once again.
She had passed this SCG corridor many times, but never once during those times had she ever been on the floor like this. Sprawled on her back, facing the ceiling.
"Ma'am, I didn't see you there. I'm ... I'm ... so sorry," the stuttering Airman looked so pale that she didn't have the heart to shout at him.
Her head was hurt; it might of had something to do with the door that had just hit her, hard. She was on her way to the elevator when suddenly a door opened and she was in its way. She was thrown back a little, lost her balance and landed flat on her back. She could only be grateful that no one had actually seen it; the corridor was barren
Had she ever mentioned that Slumpy Sam was one Hell of an accident prone?
She attracted trouble, disaster, catastrophe and everything resembling those like sugar attracted ants. Slumpy Sam was the least favourite company of Lady Luck. She could collect more injuries on that one day than she could ever collect in a year, on the note that it was not an SGC's year.
"Ma'am, are you alright? Oh ... I didn't mean it ... It was unintentional ... I swear," the Airman was nervous and afraid, he was still standing there, holding the door handle and didn't move an inch. Too shocked to do anything.
She took pity on him, it wasn't really his fault anyway, her misfortune had a lot to do with this, "I'm alright Airman, just make sure to be careful next time you open any doors," she told him in a professional manner while she was trying to get back to her feet at the same time.
His face lightened with relief, "Thank you Ma'am."
"You're welcome, just make sure that no one hears about this," she put her commanding tone in those words. She didn't want any of the SG-1 members to find out, especially Colonel O'Neill. She would never ever live it down if he knew about this.
"Yes, Ma'am," the Airman knew not to press his luck, so he made a quick run from her sight. And she was grateful for that. She continued her walk and just stopped right in front of the elevator.
She eyed the door warily, would she have enough luck left to survive the journey to the top? Or would the ... oh for crying out loud, it was just an elevator. What could go wrong with it? She's been in there with a Goa'uld and survived, surely this was nothing to compare to that. She took out her card and slipped it through before the indecision started to assault her again.
The elevator doors parted, and she was greeted with an empty cart, inviting, alluring, and taunting her name so softly to enter. If she was not being paranoid, then she must've been crazy. She shook her head to clear her doubts. Stop it! it's just an elevator. Nice, clean, simple, standard, and safe elevator. She put one foot in the elevator.
"Major Carter to the control room, Major Carter to the control room," the PA system crackled to life in the midst of the silent night.
One foot in the elevator, the other still on the corridor. What the heck? She was very tempted to ignore the call, but her sense of duty was very dominant, repressing all doubts and thoughts about her unfortunate day. Swiftly, she got inside the elevator and punched the Level 28 button. In just a few moments, the door closed, the elevator moved down and stopped at her destination. It all occurred without incident, until she realised ... the elevator door was not opening.
She did mention the bad luck, right?
An hour later the door was finally parted, revealing a slightly bemused Colonel Jack O'Neill on the other side. Wait-- Colonel O'Neill was the one who fixed the elevator door? Oh, Siler was next to him, with a toolbox in his hand. Thought so.
Slumpy Sam also had a tendency to let her mind wander ... too far.
"So, what's the big emergency, Sir?" she got out from the metal box and headed towards the gate room with the Colonel stalling behind her, running slightly. She was almost there when the Colonel shouted, "Carter, slow down. Someone already fixed whatever problem we had earlier."
She spun around and faced him, "They did?" So all her suffering in the elevator would be for nothing? Damn, she should've seen it coming.
"Yeah, but they need you to analyse something in the computer. A glitch or something similar to that," he shrugged his shoulders while his hands were in his pockets.
Her eyebrows drew close, "Really? Wonder what's wrong with it," she then turned around again and resumed her walk. Something caught her foot (that particular something happened to be her other foot) and she lost her balance, falling forward. She could see that her face would soon kiss the floor, so she braced herself for the impact. But a strong hand grabbed her arm, thus coming to her rescue, it was the Colonel's.
"Whoa, be careful there Carter," he helped her to get her balance back and let his hand linger on her arm for a little longer than necessary.
Another fact, Slumpy Sam was a complete klutz.
The Major smiled sheepishly at that, "Thanks Sir." She tried to avoid his gaze because she knew that she was blushing right now, and there was no way she would let him see that. She continued walking and then stopped. She stared at the stairs that lead to the control-room, that little incident with the Colonel had reminded her of her current situation. Unconsciously, she bit down on her lower lip. Stairs were dangerous; many people had died simply from falling down the stairs.
"Carter," a hand rested on her shoulder, "Are you alright?" the Colonel seemed to be concerned with her hesitant nature.
She cleared her throat, "I'm alright Sir, just thinking," he didn't appear to believe her, but that was his problem. Not hers. Okay, she could do this. One step at a time. Just do it slowly and carefully. That's it. Right foot first, and then left, and then right, left, right, left, ri ...
"Carter, why are you climbing up the stairs like it's a dangerous ice slide?" suspicion was rich in his voice. She lost her concentration and almost tripped, fortunately she had a death grip on the rail. She chose to ignore him when she was still in what she considered a risky position. Okay, where was she? Oh yeah, right, left, right, left, right. Finally, the control room. She let out a big sigh of relief; her hand was on her chest.
"Major, we have a problem with the gate inter-phase," Sgt. Davis didn't waste any time informing her about their current situation.
She approached him and the main computer, "Really, what's wrong with it?" She looked over his shoulder to see the computer.
"Well, the computer received an extra EM pulse after SG-5 returned from P6G 637, they arrived safely by the way. At first, I thought it was just nothing, but then when SG-15 was due to depart an hour ago, the gate wouldn't accept any commands from the computer," Davis explained their circumstances.
"What about the iris?" she asked him, knowing for sure that having the functional iris was more important than having a functional gate.
"The iris is good to go."
"I see, have you run a full diagnostic on the computer?" she asked him again, standard procedure when something was wrong with the computer.
"Yes, Ma'am. But the results don't make sense," he typed some command and then a window popped open. "Here, take a look at this," he told her.
"Let's see," she leaned in to take a better look at the computer screen. And then it hit her; her scientific brain was inaccessible at the moment. She knew that Davis was watching her, waiting for an answer from her. As was Colonel O'Neill, she could practically feel his eyes on her back since that event on the stairs. She knew that she had to do something, soon. She was only grateful that the General was not here.
She was thinking, not about the gate's problem, because she knew that she couldn't do anything about it and the iris was alright. The world could live with a non-operational gate for one night. She knew that her condition would pass away after she had a good night's sleep. So ... she was thinking of a way out of this mess. And she could only find one.
Well, you see, Major Carter is a good actress, but Slumpy Sam is a brilliant one. She is a Meryl Streep quality actress.
She straightened her back and looked down to the floor. What was wrong with the floor and her today? They seemed to be the best of friends in the past hour. The floor looked hard and cold and painful if she was to hit it. But there was no other way, so she started her 'act'. She raised one hand to one side of her temple and massaged it slowly, faking a wince on her face.
"Carter, you alright?" the Colonel finally spoke for the first time after he entered the control room.
She faced him and then gave him a not-so-reassuring small smile, as her eyes fluttered shut, "I'm fi ..." she forced her limbs to give away and braced herself for the impact. Yes, the only way out of this was to fake a faint. Like the time when she had her final exam and this condition at the same time. The teacher didn't have a clue and even allowed her to pass the year without retaking the exam, considering her past marks were more than satisfying.
She waited for her body to make contact with the floor; instead she found two strong arms cushioning her fall before lowering her to the ground. Her head was supported and cradled gently.
"Major Carter!" Davis was shocked; she could hear it from his voice.
She could feel a hand checking her neck for a pulse and then open one of her eyes and then the other, "She's alright, Davis. Just fainted," the examiner who was also the Colonel tried to calm Davis down, "Phone the infirmary and tell them that I'll bring her up there."
He'll bring me up? She was startled, but she didn't and couldn't show it. "You'll bring her up, Sir?" Davis echoed her thoughts. She could feel one of his arms just below her neck and the other was under her knees, and then he lifted her up. "Yes, there's no point for them to come down here and then get up there again. I'll just bring her up myself. It'll save us time and manpower," he told Davis his reason. And it was actually a sensible one, besides it was late.
Davis seems to agree with him too, "I see, Sir. I'll let the infirmary know that you're on your way."
She could feel him moving out of the gate room, "Thanks, Sergeant. I'll be in the infirmary if there's an emergency," and down the stairs, along the corridor, and then stopped in front of the elevator. He asked for help from the Airman who was just passing by to call for the elevator. She could only imagine what the grapevine would say tomorrow. Once it arrived, he stepped in and once again ordered the Airman to push the button for Level 21 for the infirmary. He did as the Colonel asked him to do and then stepped out.
The door closed; the journey up to Level 21 was spent in silence. For all it was worth, she loved being carried like this, especially because the one who was carrying her was this man. And then the elevator came to a halt, they had reached their level. The door opened, "Hi, Doc," she could hear him speak to Janet, the good ol' Doctor Fraiser was ready in front of the elevator.
"Hi, Colonel. Why don't you put her down here," she was lowered into a gurney and ushered away into the infirmary. At last, a bed. She took this opportunity to sleep. She'd fix whatever needed fixing tomorrow.
Infirmary is safe ... isn't it?
She was awoken by a feeling that someone was watching her. She opened her eyes to be greeted by the sight of her CO staring at her. He was sitting on a stool near her bed; she could see that Janet had put the curtain around her to let her rest and that effectively separated them from the rest of the infirmary.
"Colonel," she whispered slowly, the remorse was starting to creep in. She had made him worried over nothing.
His hand reached for her bed without actually touching her, and his worried face had been replaced by a harsh one, "Now, what did I say about taking it easy?"
She winced at his scold, and knew by heart that she deserved every single bit of it. "Sorry, I didn't mean to faint like that," she replied in a small voice, acknowledging that she wasn't lying but he would take her statement as something else.
He relented at her apology and rubbed his face roughly, "Don't apologize, I should've known. You've been acting strangely since I saw you at the elevator." He sighed, "You were on your way home, weren't you? I shouldn't have called you down to the control room."
The guilt was doubled now. She studied him carefully, he looked tired. No doubt he'd been at her bedside all this time waiting for her to regain consciousness. There were dark circles under his eyes and his face was pale.
"Are you okay? You've been awfully quiet," once again he asked her out of his concern, "Should I call the Doc?"
And that had made the guilt at least ten-fold from the original now. She needed to do something to overcome it, before she broke down and confessed all of her 'sins' to him. She didn't want him to know about her awful day. It was her best kept secret, her only flaw that she didn't want anyone to find out. Not even him, well, not yet anyway.
The Colonel frowned at her quietness, "That's it, something's wrong with you. I'll call the Doc," he made a move to seek Janet when her hand grasped his wrist. She then pushed herself up and slid off the bed, standing right in front of him.
He looked at her in confusion, "Carte..." His speech was cut off by the presence of her other hand on his cheek. He was still sitting on the stool when she leaned in and fluttered her eyes closed before brushing her lips gently on his for a brief second.
One of Slumpy Sam's (good) qualities is that she is 'loose', she doesn't really hold on tightly to the Air Force regulations and she follows her heart's desire. In other words, she does whatever she wants to do ... in the absence of witnesses.
"Sorry ... and thanks for caring about me," she said as soon as the kiss ended. She felt better already. Giving him her best smile, she turned around and climbed up back to bed. She fixed the blanket's position and got ready to sleep again.
He was too stunned to move a muscle; his jaw hung slightly slack.
"Good night," she bid her farewell to his still bewildered figure and closed her eyes. A ghost of smile decorated her peaceful sleeping face.
This day turned out to be not so bad after all. And for the record, the 'having firemen in her house' had officially been downgraded to a runner-up spot for the position of her best slump day's moment ever.
- Finish –
So? What do you think?