I'd like to give credit to Widespread Panic and their song, "Mercy." This is a wonderful, poetic tour de force that describes someone very bitter, drinking alone and haunted by the spirit of someone they hate. It inspired me to wonder what could ever make someone hate Daniel that much. The other song that should be mentioned is "Harlan, Kentucky" by Patti Lovelace. As I was formulating the story inspired by the first song, the second pointed me to a background for DJ.
Thanks my wonderful betas, Jess and Monica.
Dr. Daniel Jackson read through the field report, his incredulity increasing with each screen. Twice he paged back to the beginning to make sure he was correct about the identity of the author. He didn't really notice when Dr. Ian Koch rapped on the door jamb and entered the office without waiting for an invitation.
"What's up Daniel?" Ian asked his colleague and the head of the Archeology Department who was staring, transfixed, at the screen of his laptop, an expression of patent disbelief on his face. "You look like someone's reported evidence of leprechauns in their dig site," Ian observed idly, not really expecting anything very interesting by way of an answer. Daniel got excited about an awful lot of stuff over which Ian just could not work up any enthusiasm.
Daniel swiveled the computer around so that Ian could see the screen and the first page of the report. "Ah," Ian said. "Carl has turned in another one of his embarrassingly bad write ups. He's got to know where a body is buried to have ever gotten on this project."
Daniel briefly looked a little angry thinking about the infamous Carl. Sloppy careless scientific work bothered him acutely and his long running effort to ease Carl off his staff was well known. "Actually," Daniel said, "It's from Carl all right but it's absolutely excellent. It's like he got a new brain."
"Maybe he did," Ian said cryptically. "What SG team was he with when he did the work?"
Daniel scrolled down and supplied the answer, "SG-24."
"There you go," Ian said as if that settled everything.
"There I go where?" Daniel said, not tracking.
"Carl didn't do the work. Captain Cox either told him what to write or wrote it for him," Ian explained, making himself comfortable in Daniel's visitor chair.
"We don't have anyone on the archeology staff named Cox. For that matter we don't have any military personnel on the archeology staff by any name," Daniel pointed out.
"Yeah, I know. Deeje Cox has actually got everything needed for a Ph.D. in archeology except the dissertation. Passed all the courses and the prelims. I checked."
"Right," said Daniel, suspicious now that he was being teased yet again. His intensity and immersion in his work frequently made him an easy target.
Ian shrugged. "Believe what you want, Daniel. Not to change the subject but I came in here to talk to you about that funerary urn I brought back from P4H89 last week."
Daniel intended to investigate Cox further himself but the funerary urn led to something else which led to something else REALLY fascinating. It was two weeks before he came up for air again. He was catching up on his e-mail and came across an interesting looking informal paper. The scientists at Cheyenne Mountain were a frustrated group who couldn't publish out in the real world. They had taken to informally publishing among themselves and hoping in their hearts of hearts that, when the gate became public, they could rush all these neat articles right out to real journals. The paper that caught his eye was in the discipline of linguistics and presented a fascinating and very convincing explanation for a hitherto, truly puzzling aspect of Ancient script. The explanation incidentally undermined, very effectively, some theories he had put forward. Despite being disappointed to have the air let out of his personal balloons, he was very impressed when he finished. He went back to the beginning to see who had written it, not having noticed that fact when his eye had fallen first on the abstract and its tantalizing premise. The paper was by D.J. Cox, Ph.D., Linguistics, University of Chicago.
This was hard to believe for many reasons, most significantly, Daniel's secret prejudice that military people just weren't all that bright academically, Sam Carter being the exception that proved the rule. He did a look up on Cox's dissertation and read it at one sitting. It was good, not incredibly good, but good. He noted in passing that the dedication was a trifle eccentric. It was written in dialect, as if by Mark Twain, and said, "Fur papaw an' memaw an' mama. Purely do miss you'ins. I won't furgit."
He called the adviser listed. The man was a respected figure in linguistics although Daniel had never actually met him. He reached him during his office hours while he was working with a student and had to accept a promise of a call back. He waited impatiently until the elderly faculty member returned his call an hour later. "Deeje Cox is flat out miraculous," the man said.
"I read the dissertation and it was good but not really on that level," Daniel demurred respectfully.
"Ah yes. The final product was a lot less than it should have been because it was done in parallel with an undergraduate degree in Computer Science at Illinois Institute of Technology and participation in their Air Force ROTC program. She also did most of the coursework for a Ph.D. in Archeology during that time period," he explained. He went on to heap additional praise on Cox's head including divulging the fact that Cox had entered the Linguistics Ph.D. program at 18, having already earned an undergraduate degree with a double major in linguistics and archeology.
Daniel absorbed this information in stunned silence. D.J., or as everyone seemed to pronounce it, Deeje, Cox had the presumption to make a damned hobby out of linguistics! He had taken an unreasonable dislike to Cox for being military and this reinforced it.
A few days later he was in a meeting where he was the only civilian present. The room was full of military types discussing the best approach to getting at a valued find of ancient artifacts on an incredibly hostile world. Daniel broke in to say, "There needs to be someone along with some sense of archeology or you could end up damaging what you are trying to take away and negating the value of the whole mission. Let me come along."
SGC's commander looked with disfavor at Daniel and Daniel realized he had probably sounded condescending. "We have considered the archeological aspect, Dr. Jackson, and that's why we are going to send SG-24."
"I believe I am much better qualified than some amateur like Captain Cox," Daniel said, unwisely letting his feelings lead him into an unnecessarily pejorative statement.
"Actually, Dr. Jackson," came the reproof, "you are not better qualified. Not only has Captain Cox demonstrated repeatedly that she knows more about archeology than some of your staff members, she is extremely effective in combat." Daniel cringed at the oblique reference to Carl and resolved to redouble his efforts to dislodge him from the department.
"A regular raptor," another officer contributed.
"A raptor?" Daniel asked.
"She was black ops before she came here. She's the perfect soldier for that sort of work. Starts killing when you order her to and doesn't stop until ordered to. Very, very dangerous."
Daniel walked out the meeting not feeling friendly AT ALL to Deeje Cox. Two men from the briefing were right behind him. Colonel Harrison, who'd known Daniel since his first year on SG-1 15 years before, said, "Sorry, Dr. Jackson. You are a good man in a fight for a civilian and the gate affect has kept you in better shape than many 20 years younger than you but you're no Deeje Cox."
"Evidently not," Daniel said with ill grace, "especially since Cox is a woman." He was not in a good mood and he hated it when people brought up the gate effect, the recently confirmed age retarding affect of years of trips through the gate. It made him feel like a damn sideshow freak.
He went on his way then but just after turning the corner, he remembered he'd left a folder in the conference room. As he started to come back around the corner, he caught his name being mentioned in the conversation between the two officers who were still standing where he had left them. The other officer was telling Harrison, "I ran into Cox before the meeting and picked her brain a little about the situation on the planet since SG-24 had done a reconnaissance there. She was very circumspect but she raised some real doubts in my mind about whether we should really be letting Jackson go off-world where there's any risk at all."
"Really?" Harrison said and then the two men moved off and he didn't hear any more.
A few weeks later, he and Teal'c had decided to drop by a bar popular with Cheyenne Mountain personnel and play darts. Daniel pretty much sucked at darts but it seemed to really make Teal'c happy and they saw each other infrequently any more. Since the break up of the original SG-1 team after the disaster that had occurred under new leadership, Daniel had stopped going off world regularly but Teal'c continued, now a member of SG-10. When they entered the bar, they immediately spotted a group of Cheyenne Mountain noncoms. Daniel and Teal'c waved to them cordially and two of them burst out laughing uncontrollably. Daniel looked at Teal'c who looked back. Neither had a clue. "Do I have a kickme sign on my backside?" Daniel asked.
Teal'c looked blank. He had not been a geeky teenager and the butt of way too many jokes. "I do not understand, DanielJackson," was all he could contribute.
The dart board had a game already going and Teal'c and Daniel stood at the bar, nursing their beers and waiting their turn. A few minutes later a sergeant from the table that had greeted them so oddly when they entered passed them heading for the restrooms. Daniel didn't know what caused him to challenge the man. Maybe, on some level, he was wishing he had faced up to the bullies as a shy teen, years ahead of himself in school. "Sergeant Kelly, excuse me."
"Oh, hi, Dr. Jackson," Kelly returned, obviously a little embarrassed.
"Could you shed some light for me on what was going on when we came in? I don't mean to sound paranoid but it sure looked like the outbreak of hysteria was directly related to Teal'c and I," Daniel asked his voice even and non-confrontational.
The man was clearly uncomfortable but squared his shoulders, telegraphing his intention to be a stand up guy. "Look, Dr. Jackson, you're a good guy and you probably saved my friend Bobby's life during that incident on P3H89 so I'll be straight with you. Captain Cox was in here earlier with a couple of other officers. They were sitting at a table next to us. She did the most hysterical and, frankly mean, take off on you I can conceive of. She had your voice, your mannerisms, the whole thing down pat. She made you look like a confused geek who endangered the soldiers you went out with through utter cluelessness. She's good. I mean, I'm on your side but I still have to say, it was about the funniest thing I have ever seen in person in my whole life. I have to apologize to you for laughing at her." Daniel smiled and nodded his understanding. The man turned to go, but then turned back. "I'd watch my back, Dr. Jackson. I don't know why she hates you but it seems like she does. Be careful, sir. She's a raptor and dangerous to know."
Shortly after that, Daniel entered Sam's lab/office unannounced. She was so wrapped up in whatever was on her computer screen that he didn't want to startle her. He walked up behind her and saw that she was reading an e-mail and she looked aghast at its contents. Still, she kept reading. He didn't think much of people who snooped over other people's shoulders but his curiosity was killing him. Unfortunately, just as he started to read, Sam noticed him. She immediately stood up and blocked his view of the screen. "Hi, Daniel," she said, feigning a phony cheerfulness.
"Sam," Daniel said, moving very carefully through some unimaginable social minefield, "what's going on? What were you reading?"
"Reading?" she said as if she didn't know what the word meant.
"Reading on the screen," Daniel answered patiently but was unable to completely keep a little aggravation from creeping into his voice.
Sam sighed and came to a decision. "Okay, Daniel, I guess you really ought to know about this. She stepped aside so that he could see. It was a very scurrilous and clever poem at his expense. Sam said, reluctantly, as he read, "It's been circulating around the base for a week or so. I think it originally showed up in a restroom and people started quoting it to each other."
Daniel ducked his head and put his good analytical mind to work. It was only a matter of moments before he said, "Deeje Cox."
Sam was completely bewildered. "Who is Deeje Cox?" she asked.
"Captain D.J. Cox, SG-24," Daniel elaborated. "She seems to have it in for me."
"Why?" Sam asked. "You have to be the least offensive person I've have ever met. Sometimes you might run on a bit but your heart was so obviously in the right place and you care SO much. I can't imagine anyone going out of their way to make things unpleasant for you."
"Thanks, I think," Daniel said, thinking she made him sound a bit like an aging, toothless basset hound. Why did he keep letting it hurt him that her image of him seemed to be stuck between eunuch and the afore mentioned floppy dog? "This completely baffles me, Sam."
"Have you tried talking to her?" his friend asked. Daniel shook his head. "Well, shouldn't you?"
"And ask her what? I'd just sound paranoid with no more hard evidence than I've got," Daniel said, uncomfortably. This was all giving him flashbacks to a difficult adolescence. He hadn't understood why the cool kids, the jocks, the class clowns had all always come after him then and he didn't understand why Deeje Cox was after him now.
Sam laid a hand on his arm. "At least investigate her a little. Maybe you'll learn something that will help make sense of all this."
Daniel put a hand over Sam's and squeezed. "Thanks for being such a good friend, Sam."
"Any time," she said softly as he left.
Before he could figure out what he was supposed to do to get his hands on more information, Ian walked into his office looking troubled. "Daniel, I just heard something that really concerns me."
Daniel was surprised by how far from his usual laidback demeanor Ian was. "Yeah?" Daniel asked, encouraging him to go further.
"Understand that I feel like people's sexual preferences are up to them," Ian said, not looking at Daniel.
"WHAT!" Daniel asked.
Ian raised a hand as if to placate him. "That's not the point. It's just that the rumor going around about you is more than that. It could be career ending for Colonel Carter and send General O'Neill straight to retirement as well as damaging for you if the right people hear it and believe it."
"What did you hear?" Daniel asked slowly, trying to remain calm.
"They're saying that the three of you had some sort of group sex thing going on when General O'Neill was in SG-1 and then when he was the CO here. In fact, they say that you guys still get together and get it on occasionally, the Gate effect," Daniel winced, "making it all good, you know, even though General O'Neill's is in his sixties now." Ian added, grimacing, "I knew no one else would ever tell any of you to your faces and I felt like you had to know. When I first heard it, people were telling it more like a joke. Like 'Can you believe the crazy things that people will say?' but lately it seems like some people are starting to think there just might be something to it," Ian acknowledged reluctantly. "You're all real life heroes. I can't figure out how something like this ever got started."
Daniel was thinking Cox. He really didn't have any evidence but somehow he was positive that the elusive Captain Cox had something to do with this, just as the poem had somehow seemed like her doing. He was only mildly concerned about himself. As a civilian, it might not even cost him his job. The thought of people believing this of Sam, the finest woman he knew, or his friend, Jack O'Neill, a man whose integrity was absolute, was another thing. Added to his concern for them was the fact that unbidden images started appearing in his mind of kinky scenes with Sam and Jack. He had been in love with Sam for years and had suppressed it so ruthlessly that absolutely no one had any idea. Sometimes he doubted it himself and then she'd do something innocent, perhaps laugh a certain way, and the love would come rising up from a hidden depth and require a thorough bashing. Fact. Sam was in love with Jack. Fact. Jack wasn't capable of letting himself love anyone. So there they all were, light years away from group sex, that was for sure.
Daniel went to Walter then. The master sergeant would be the one to give him the information if anyone could. "I've looked her up on the Web and found out some information about her education at the University of Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Technology," he was explaining a few minutes later. "What I need to know is something about her personal life. Hell, I don't even know what D.J. stands for."
"Dr. Jackson, the kind of information you're looking for is part of her personnel record and that really isn't 'for public' information," Walter responded, troubled. Daniel could see that he wanted to help but he was a good soldier and not one to break rules.
"She appears to be launching some sort of vendetta against me and it's picking up steam," Daniel said. "If there's anyway at all, you could give me even some crumbs that might help me to figure this out, I would be eternally grateful."
Walter pushed a piece of paper around his desk, scooting it back and forth. Finally, he said, "I might just have a folder on my desk this afternoon. If I got up for an urgent call of nature, it might be at risk of being compromised. It's a good thing we have such honest people here at the Base."
Daniel nodded and said, "Yes. It is important to know our coworkers."
He returned on some flimsy pretext and the minute Walter headed for the restroom, Daniel leaned over the desk and pulled the file toward him. He hesitated for just a moment, suddenly afraid of what he might find, of what the initials D.J. were nudging at in the back of his mind. He told himself that he was being foolish, that he needed to protect himself and his friends and forced himself to open the file folder.