Title: Deconstructing the General
Rating: R George curses a lot.
Synopsis: In the beginning of the series, Maj. General George Hammond was irked with Jack O'Neill when they first met. Some people believe that it was because Hammond was angry that his easy job to retirement had been shot to hell. The truth of matter is simple, really.
For thirty years, George Hammond has held onto a folded piece of yellow paper. In his own handwriting, he requested assistance for four 'Soviet Spies' and there are two dates and times listed. Now thirty years later, with the foretold General stars on his shoulder and Jack O'Neill in front of him, Major General George Hammond is wondering if the four Time Travelers were worth the personal price that George Hammond had to pay.
We had left George and Samantha on the planet, still unable to get home. Unexpectedly (at least to the author), the two have bonded in more ways than one. But that's ok, as we went off the Cannon track a while ago.
"Now, I want to remind you of the basic first aid treatment for hypothermic patients," said the short doctor. "General Hammond and Captain Carter's lives could be saved or lost depending on your first aid skills."
Her high heels clicked, clicked, clicked on the floor as she walked toward the front of the debriefing room.
Dr. Fraiser continued explaining to her captive audience why it was imperative that severely hypothermic patients be treated as gently as possible, as rough handling could cause the patient's hearts to go into ventricular fibrillation. Everyone was busy taking notes, except for the back row. Well, two people in the back row, as Teal'c was energetically scribbling notes as First Aid was a foreign concept to the Jaffa.
"Why is she telling us this? Isn't she coming along?" Daniel whispered to Jack O'Neill.
"Might lose her in a snow drift and we wouldn't find her until springtime," Jack quipped.
Jack moved his hand quickly so he just missed getting his knuckles rapped by a blackboard pointer by one very short, one exceeding irate CMO of the SGC who was either annoyed by his short joke or the fact that he blowing off her refresher course. Janet Fraiser glared at Jack O'Neill. The Colonel pretended innocence, though secretly he was impressed that the short doctor had heard his quip all the way in the front of the room as he, Daniel and Teal'c were sitting in the 'cheap seats' in back.
"I would think that you'd like to pay attention, Colonel. After all, weren't you the one that took the General off world?"
That was said in a very controlled voice, but Jack knew that Fraiser had sliced and diced him verbally.
"Low blow," Daniel admitted dryly.
"There is a saying on Chulak. The lowest blow is the one that hurts the most," Teal'c said dryly.
The base shook as Davis entered the last chevron's coordinate. Jack O'Neill, having barely escaped with his fingers intact from Janet Fraiser's Hypothermia Review class, was feeling reckless and had decided to make a command performance in the Control Room the next time they tried to contact Hammond. SG1, SG3, SG9 and SG12 meanwhile were in the Gate Room, all suited up in their cold weather gear and they were all ready to tango. The teams were joined by Doctor Fraiser and her medical team who were also itching to go and even Sgt. Siler had outdone himself by creating a snow plow attachment for the FREDS. Fortunately, Teal'c, being a natural born observer of the human nature, had recognized that O'Neill was feeling both a tad bit feckless and rather reckless, and had decided to keep an eye on him.
"I really have to find money in the budget to get them some sort of super shocker absorbers for that thing. NORAD must be freaking out," Ryan mused even as the after tremors diminished. "George had put in an emergency request in for shock absorbers, and I remember thinking, 'George, how badly can this little gadget of yours shake Cheyenne Mountain that you want fifty million dollars for shock absorbers?'. Remind me to apologize to him when he gets back."
That was said to a silent Jacob Carter, who was obsessively staring at the wormhole as though mentally willing it to work and work properly.
"Jacob, they're fine," Mike insisted.
"It's been twelve hours since we last spoke to them," Jake stated. "Yes, I know you're aware of that."
Ryan, having dealt with Jacob Carter's assorted personality quirks for far too long, did what he normally did when Jake got short tempered, he ignored it. Instead, he grabbed for the mike, keyed it and prayed for a response.
"George, this is Mike? You copy?" Ryan questioned.
"George. Respond please."
The only noises came from the wormhole, as it flickered and ebbed like a giant cosmic wading pool.
"Sgt. Davis, I would like you to send a MALP through the wormhole, please," Ryan decided.
"Yes, sir!" Davis agreed as his fingers danced quickly over the keyboard.
Sgt. Siler was standing next to MALP and he gave a thumb's up gesture to the Control Room before the MALP slowly began rolling up the ramp and through the pool of blue. The machine disappeared from view and the two Generals turned to face the computer screen that detailed the MALP's trip through the wormhole.
Even Jack O'Neill was holding his breath, silently praying that this time; they'd get their people home.
"Jacob," Ryan asked, his voice slightly puzzled. "Did someone paint a Texas Flag on that very expensive piece of USAF equipment?"
"I believe someone might have, Sir," Jacob said blandly.
Jacob had turned the other eye when he had caught Siler painting the flag on the MALP except to comment that the flag needed a little more blue in it.
"Whoever painted it put a little too much blue in it," Jack O'Neill said after a long pause.
"Actually, I think Siler did a very good job," Mike Ryan announced, proving once again that he was clairvoyant or that there was a snitch among the members of the SGC. "Unofficially, of course, because the USAF doesn't condone nose art."
"Sir! We've got telemetry," Davis exclaimed excitedly.
Scientists, Generals, Commissioned Officers and assorted various personnel all leaned over Davis' shoulder to view the fuzzy image. It took a moment for them to comprehend the reason why the picture was so unclear.
"It's snowing," Jack said helpfully. "What a surprise!"
"There's a lot of snow on the ground," Jacob pointed out. "The FREDs should be able to handle it."
"Dr. Lee, Dr. McKay, we finally have a MALP that is more or less intact on the other end of that wormhole. Is it safe to send our people through?" Ryan questioned.
The two scientists muttered amongst themselves for a bit, not wanting to commit themselves to an answer and Jack O'Neill, not the most patient for what he considered glorified geek talk, finally lost his cool.
"General Ryan, permission to get our people off that frozen rock?" He snapped.
"I'm not sending people off world until I can be assured that we can get them back," Ryan retorted.
"Sir, with all due respect, they're not responding. For crying out loud, give me two of the FREDS; load them high with medical supplies, food and whatever we might need. We need to get there as soon as possible, because time is of the essence. I took Dr. Fraiser's refresher course on Hypothermia, so I'm your man for the job," O'Neill insisted. "Our people are turning into ice cubes out there!"
Jack O'Neill knew the need for patience. He understood why sometimes running off half-cocked and ill-informed could lead to a mistake of epic proportions. Yet as the seconds ticked by and turned into minutes even while the geeks refused to commit to a definite yay or nay about whether or not the MALP's molecular structure was currently the same as it had been before it had gone through the wormhole, he knew that Hammond and Carter were in a lot of trouble.
Call it instinct, call him a worry wart, but he knew time was of the essence, and that McKay was dicking it away.
"Sir, I'm heading down to the Gate Room. I will be suited up and ready to go the second you give permission for me to do so," he informed Ryan. "I have two FREDS and once I get through on the other side, I'll send the MALP back. If that goes through ok, and it comes back in one piece, send all the manpower you can after me. I promised his grandkids that I would do everything I could to make sure their Papaw George got home safely, and I will not break that promise."
"I will be going also, General Ryan," Teal'c stated.
"I don't want to lose two people, Teal'c," Ryan disagreed.
"I am responsible for what occurred. It is my fault for I chose that planet thinking it would be safe."
Left unsaid was that Teal'c was planning on going through the Gate, even if General Ryan forbade him, but his silent intentions to do so were heard loud and clear.
"Very well, but before the archeologist decides he wants to play action hero, he is remaining behind," Ryan tersely snapped.
Teal'c and O'Neill then left the Control Room at a fast clip, but O'Neill still managed to quip, "I'm not telling Danny, he can't play, are you?"
"I believe Daniel Jackson would be most disappointed… if he were unable to play with the Big Dogs," Teal'c stated dryly.
"Teal'c, I've warned you about watching too much television," O'Neill joshed. "It rots your brain. I'm a prime example of what happens when you watch too much television."
"O'Neill, I will immediately curtail watching television thanks to your warning," Teal'c retorted. "Thank you, O'Neill."
"Don't….mention…." Jack paused as he realized that Teal'c had gotten him pretty good, and in fact, he had left the door wide open for the alien to zing him.
Daniel Jackson didn't consider himself a hero.
He had allergies.
He wore glasses.
He was a geek, a loner, who had loved languages more than he had cared for his own existence until he had met a fiery woman of the dessert. She had blazed into his life and shown him that there was more to life than his books.
Love. Acceptance. Family.
Then the love of his life, the center of his existence, the woman whose his life revolved around had been kidnapped by a race of alien, intelligent mind snakes, who were now using her for their own nefarious means.
Then George Hammond had agreed to let him join the SGC.
Upon joining the SGC, he had found comrades… and yes… friends… united in his personal battle against the Goa'uld. Yes, they had their different reasons for wanting to fight the Goa'uld but they were bonded in their common goal.
Extermination of the parasitical race known as the Goa'uld.
Now… now Hammond was trapped off world, as was Samantha, a woman who had rapidly become a best friend/sister figure in his life. He couldn't bear to lose Samantha, not so soon after losing his wife.
And if anything happened to Hammond, would the next military commander of the SGC allow a civilian on his top team? From the way Ryan was acting, probably not. He'd be shuffled aside, viewed as too much of a liability to be allowed off world, and he'd be put into a small room on the one of the many levels of the SGC, trotted out for the rare occasions when they had something that they couldn't read.
Therefore when Ryan gave the ok for Jack O'Neill and Teal'c to go through the gate, Daniel decided he was going to be part of the rescue team. He managed to clamber onto a FRED as it rode past him on the ramp on its way to the wormhole, and then held onto it for dear life. Jackson and the FRED were already dematerializing through the wormhole before Ryan knew what Daniel Jackson had done.
With possibly two people injured, Jackson knew that Teal'c and O'Neill would need an additional set of hands.
It was a bumpy ride through the gate, and the FRED landed heavily on the ramp when it exited the wormhole. It was also cold enough to steal his breath away, and Daniel waited for the rest of the team to arrive. Then another FRED came through, and almost immediately O'Neill and Teal'c appeared. Unlike Daniel, the two of them had walked through the wormhole, rather than ride in style on the FRED.
It was too good an opportunity not to razz Jack O'Neill.
"What took you guys so long?" Daniel quipped. "I've been here for hours."
"Daniel," O'Neill said.
"Jack," Daniel retorted.
"Daniel…" O'Neill repeated.
Teal'c already familiar with the Abbott and Costello routine of his fellow team members, keyed his radio in order to duly report that they were alive and that the correct number of pieces had aligned up properly.
"General Ryan, General Carter, we are through the gate," Teal'c intoned solemnly.
"Is that archeologist with you?" Ryan snapped.
"Yes, he is, General, and thankfully in one piece, Sir," O'Neill answered. "We're going to send the second MALP through to you. If it reassembles properly, you can send the rest of the personnel through. We'll go on ahead, get things situated. Please advise us if for any reason you can't send the personnel through the gate. O'Neill out."
Teal'c entered the coordinates and the MALP slowly rode up the ramp and into the wormhole before disappearing.
"Daniel, I believe that General Ryan said that you couldn't tag along with us," O'Neill quipped.
"He might have," Daniel admitted. "But I figured you might need an extra set of hands."
"Good to have you along, Danny. Let's get our people home," Jack said with a touch of approval in his voice. "It's too damn cold to be standing here chitchatting. Let's go."
They began following the FREDs through the snow, and towards the guard house.
"Hammond? Carter? Do you copy?" O'Neill called, not expecting a response, but still hoping for one.
They found Hammond and Carter in the guardhouse. The two of them were huddled on the floor, on a thin mattress, next to an empty fireplace, and O'Neill noticed immediately that it seemed almost as cold inside the building as it was outside. The stranded duo had run out of wood hours earlier, Jack estimated from how cold the room was, and the two of them had probably drifted off to sleep thinking that they'd never wake up.
For a moment, O'Neill's heart skipped a beat when he thought that they had arrived too late for a rescue mission and that they were instead doomed to merely recover the bodies of their fallen comrades. Hammond was in the fetal position, wrapped in a light blanket. His skin was blue-tinged and his muscles were rigid. Carter, on the other hand, was wrapped up like the proverbial Christmas Present, swathed neatly in a cocoon of fabric blankets and a space blanket, duct taped closed to keep all her precious heat from escaping.
Carter was wearing a face mask, made from what appeared to be Hammond's wool cap, and she had been positioned closest to the fireplace.
Damn it, Hammond, that's something I would have done, O'Neill thought with a grudging sense of approval combined with a burgeoning respect for his CO who had decided that his final efforts would go toward saving not himself, but his JO. For a desk jockey, you're pretty damn ok. It's a goddamn shame that I had to come close to killing you to realize that.
"Careful," Daniel reminded O'Neill. "Just check his carotid pulse for a minute and make sure about his pulse."
"I took the refresher course on freezer burns, Daniel!" O'Neill reminded him, even as he put his fingers carefully on Hammond's neck, hoping to feel a pulse beneath his fingers. "How's Carter?"
"She's got a weak pulse and she's breathing," Daniel said with noticeable relief. "Hammond?"
Jack shook his head, and leaned over Hammond's still form, "Come on, you old son of a gun, I'm not doing mouth to mouth on you as bald, ugly men aren't my type. You're too damn stubborn to roll over and die. I know your type. You're not gonna kick the bucket until you kick my ass through the Gate."
Teal'c raised one eyebrow questioningly at Daniel Jackson.
"I think Jack's trying to motivate Hammond," Daniel explained. "Though I think Jack's method of motivation is closer to trying to piss him off. It just might be a little… excessive…"
"Yes!" Jack waved his hand in a victory motion after confirming two…no… three… thready beats beneath his fingers. "The old boy's ticker is still working!"
"This is Sg Niner," Jack's voice held a trace of controlled excitement.
In the Control Room, Jacob Carter leaned forward in his chair, willing it to be good news. He didn't believe in superstition, but he was still rubbing his wedding ring for luck.
"We found our two little lost kids. They're both alive!"
Jake had to duck quickly as one of the scientist did a high five with another scientist right over his head. Filter? No, Felger and Chloe... Good God, no wonder George was losing his hair if he had to deal with civies all day!
"How are they? Can I speak to my daughter?" Jacob grabbed the mike from Davis and began questioning O'Neill.
"Your daughter is wrapped up like a Christmas Package, complete with a duct tape bow, so we're trying to carefully cut her out of it. Hammond appears to be in pretty rough shape, but we still haven't finished triaging. Doctor Fraiser and her team should be here shortly."
"I can see the guard house," said a female voice. "Be there in a minute."
She was warm.
Wherever she was, she was finally warm, and Samantha basked in the sensation of being warm. You never knew how good it was to be… warm… until you were freezing. There was hot, moist air blowing on her face and she realized that she was wearing an oxygen mask. There was a lot of beeping though, and she tried to drift off to sleep.
So good to be warm.
And in what appeared to be a real bed.
Plus, the blankets didn't smell. If this was heaven, she would awaken to discover a George Clooney clone as her personal nurse.
But damn it, couldn't someone turn off the beeping?
"Sammy?" said a familiar voice. "Come on, open your eyes."
The voice, which sadly, was not George Clooney's, was annoyingly persistent so Samantha finally opened her eyes with an almost Herculean effort. There was a familiar looking gentleman sitting next to her hospital bed and his smile went ear to ear when he saw that she was awake. Her brain was still freezer burned, or else his wide smile was completely out of character because it took several moments for her to realize that it was her father sitting next to her.
Her father must have been really worried about her, as he looked like hell.
"Sammy?" Her father repeated. "You're with us again. You're in the hospital. You're on Earth."
She nodded once, and her father rubbed his hand on her face. It was an astonishingly tender emotion from someone whom she believed had the hardest of hearts.
"Don't say anything, ok? We were all really worried about you but Dr. Fraiser says that you should be able to go home tomorrow." Her father's voice got shaky, and then he continued. "You scared the hell out me, Sammy."
"So..rry…," she apologized.
"I don't want to lose you, especially after we just you got back on Terra Firma," Jake admitted. "Now… go back to sleep."
She swallowed once and then questioned in a soft voice, "Hammond?"
Her father's smile faded slightly before he continued.
"He's in pretty bad shape, Sammy. You were pretty cold when we got you back here, but, George… George was pretty much a human Popsicle. He's in ICU right now. They think he'll bounce back, but he's on dialysis right now. They're warming his blood up that way, as he was pretty damn cold," Jake explained. "He's got tubes everywhere, and he's not complaining about it, which isn't a good sign. He's rather cranky, unlike me. That's why the two of us get along so well, he's crankier than a bear and I'm a ray of sunshine…"
"Damn him," slurred Samantha, failing to laugh at her father's witticism. Her eyes were full of tears, and she blinked to keep the tears from falling.
"Hey… hey… Sammy, it's not your fault. George decided what he was going to do, and he's stubborn. When he makes a decision, to hell with everything else."
Jake reached for something, and he then turned to face his daughter. He held a small envelope in his hand.
"I don't know if you remember this. Before he wrapped you in the Hypothermia Wrap, he put his journal in with you."
"Supposed to make sure his daughters got that and his wedding ring," Sam whispered.
"Don't worry, they got it. He also wrote a letter to you. Do you want me to read it?" Jake questioned.
She grimaced, and her father took it for a yes.
Oh God, please don't let it be anything too embarrassing, Samantha mentally prayed.
"Ok, there are two notes in this envelope actually. One is in an envelope that says you're only to open it if he dies. We won't be opening that one," Jake informed her dryly. "Not now, not ever."
"Ok," Samantha whispered.
Jake read the note for a bit and then he wiped his suspiciously moist eyes.
"Damn allergies," he cursed. "Anyway, here's what George wanted you to know….
This was the only ethical decision, and I did it knowing full well what the consequences might be. But I can assure you that one day you'll understand… why I've done what I've done… and how I knew you'd make it out alive.
My final orders to you are as follows:
Make sure Jocelyn gets my wedding ring and my journal.
When they bury me, I want you to tell my son-in-laws to make damn sure that there's a nice spray of yellow roses for my wife's grave, because there's a yellow rose in Texas that I am going to see…
It has been my honor and my privilege to be your CO for this short amount of time. I regret that our time together couldn't have been for longer as I believe you to be a truly remarkable officer, the type of officer that a commander is fortunate if they come across once in a career, and truly blessed if they come across twice in their career.
This is in fact, my final order to you. I want you to continue to stretch, to explore, to realize what awe inspiring and breathtaking potential the Stargate has for humanity and most importantly for you to comprehend utterly what a terrifying Pandora's Box we have opened by using it to explore the Galaxy.
Whatever you do, do not become blasé about the Stargate.
Respect it, and fear it for it is truly the most terrible device this world has ever seen and its terrible potential for good or for evil, is infinite and immeasurable.
I want you to continue working on the Stargate Program and as a personal favor to me, I want you to stretch your brain beyond the limits of what the military would want you to use the Gate for.
Perhaps the wormhole could reach another galaxy.
Perhaps the Stargate could be used to travel in time. Time and Distance are just different forms of one another, at least that's what all the quantum theorists say, so wouldn't that be something, Captain?
You figure out how to travel in time using the Gate, and who knows, maybe we will meet again sometime.
As that blond hair, blue eyed gypsy once told me my future, I will tell you yours.
Your adventures have just begun, Captain.
Now, at the end, I can assure you that I have no regrets, Captain.
With sincerest respect,
George S. Hammond
The tears were in her eyes again, and her father took a tissue to dab her eyes dry.
"Go to sleep, kiddo, I'll be around for a while. Then you can tell me all about your adventures in outer space, Sammy."
Samantha got released the hospital early the next day, and she demanded and cajoled, even threatened to hold her breath until she turned blue, that she be allowed to see General Hammond before she left. Dr. Fraiser, pint size Napoleon, and possessor of numerous sharp needles, finally relented only after George's daughter Jocelyn, insisted that her father wanted to see Captain Carter.
"Two minutes," Janet ordered. "NO more!"
The General rated a large private room, and she knocked before she entered the room. He gave a weak wave of his hand as an all clear, and Samantha wheeled herself into the room. Much to her amusement, he was still wearing a beard, and his hair was getting a little shaggy. Hammond grinned at her and he held out his hand.
"Getting released out of prison, I understand," he joked.
"General," Samantha said softly as she reached for his hand. "I'm exceedingly angry with you, Sir."
His smile of greeting faded, and George nodded his head.
"You should be. What I did was inexcusable…I took advantage of you…," George's voice was raspy and he coughed.
She reached for a cup of water, and carefully placed the straw in his mouth.
"No….it's not that," Samantha protested while George sipped his water. "But since you mentioned it, I'm as guilty over what happened as you are. I didn't say no, I didn't tell you to stop. Don't even think of resigning over it, George."
"Too damn old. I'm in no shape to be running around on other planets," George protested. "Let me resign, Samantha. Making love to a junior officer is inexcusable."
"You resign, I'll go to Ryan," Samantha protested.
"I'll tell him that I took advantage of you," he retorted.
"I'll tell him that I seduced you," she rejoined in a soft tone that belied her sharp words. "I'll demand that I get court martialed. I have been told repeatedly that I'm irresistible. And I'll tell them that I seduced you dozens of times during our time off world."
Hammond shook his head and laughed. His laugh turned into a hacking cough, and Samantha poured him more water before she offered it to him.
"Dozens?" George laughed. "An old man is like a Model T Ford, Samantha. He'll never believe dozens…"
Dr. Fraiser stuck her head into the room to remind Samantha that it was almost time to leave, and Samantha nodded her head to acknowledge her warning.
"You never explained that to me," Samantha admitted softly, not wanting Janet or anyone to hear this private conversation that needed to be held.
"An old lover is like a Model T Ford. It might take a few tries to get the engine turned on, and you best enjoy the ride for as long as it last, as you can't be sure how long he'll go…" George explained before coughing again.
"They think that I have a touch of pneumonia," he explained. "I'll be in for a while."
"I'm not angry with you regarding that," Samantha protested. "I'm angry that you were willing to die to ensure I got home safely. How could I face your grandkids and let them know the reason why you had died… was because of me?"
"It was my fault. My decision. My choice, "George said intently. "My command."
"And it would have been my guilt," she explained. "That I would have carried for the remainder of my life."
"Guilt is an old friend of mine, Samantha. It rides your back and saps your soul, I know, but I'm your General. I keep an eye out on my people," Hammond said softly.
"You won't be able to do that, if you retire," Samantha informed him.
He sighed, and she squeezed his hand.
"What happened will remain between the two of us," she suggested. "Don't ask, don't tell."
"Your father should horsewhip me," George protested.
"And I'd take the whipping along with you," insisted Samantha.
There and then, the two of them vowed to keep certain events that occurred between them out of the official records. And while the two of them never were lovers again, they had a close, tight camaraderie for the remainders of their lives, much to everyone's surprise.
Janet Fraiser came into the room a few minutes later, and she grabbed Samantha's wheelchair.
"It's time for the Captain to leave," Janet explained. "Colonel O'Neill wants to see you also, General. Along with Dr. Jackson and Mr. Teal'c."
Samantha jokingly mouthed, "Mr. Teal'c? Mr. Teal'c?"
"O'Neill," Hammond growled. "Tell him I'm ill. I'm in a hospital, aren't I?"
"When are we going to see PAPAW GEORGE?" a little girl's voice carried down the hallway. "You promised!"
"SHHH!" O'Neill said loudly. "We have to be quiet to sneak you in to visit your grandpa. There's this short little doctor we've got to avoid at all costs."
O'Neill entered the room, and he was carrying one of Hammond's grandchildren. Kayla was trying not to giggle but O'Neill had managed to acquire without the doubt the biggest, ugliest get well balloon he had ever seen. It was three banged up peas in a pod, inscribed with "Peas Get Well Soon".
"Uh oh! Busted!" O'Neill said with great insincerity.
Teal'c was holding Tessa, Daniel Jackson was behind him, as was Jacob Carter. His daughters and their husbands were watching the scene from the corner of the waiting room along with Siler and Davis.
"Are we having a party? And I'm wearing my PJs," Hammond protested, as he sat up. "Everybody, come on in. Don't worry, Doctor. We'll keep it short."
Kayla scrambled out of Jack's arms and raced to her grandfather's bedside. She clambered into bed and she hugged him tightly. The poor thing was so scared, so he hugged and kissed her, before Tessa claimed her kisses and hugs.
"Papaw! Are you ok?" Kayla exclaimed.
Hammond took a long look at the various people crowding his hospital room. All this time, he had concentrated on how Maggie wasn't with him, but in fact, she was, and she had never truly left. She lived on in their daughters, their husbands and in their children.
"Honey, I'm the best that I've been in years."