When this was all over, Daniel was going to kill Jack.
Trekking all over hell's half-acre had a purpose offworld. New people. New cultures. New languages to play with. Daniel actually enjoyed early mornings when accompanied by copious amounts of coffee - but he held firm moral objections to swamps without ruins on the other side.
Daniel resisted the urge to roll his eyes. He wasn't certain quite what he'd done to piss off Major Greer, and he was at the point of writing it off as one of those incomprehensible military things he just didn't get. Normally, he was pretty good at the people thing. He liked people. They liked him.
Greer was the exception.
Manfully refraining from a response that sounded far too much like Jack for comfort, Daniel aimed for body language somewhere between non-confrontational and politely curious as he turned around. He hoped Sam was having a better time than he was, off playing hide and seek in the jungle. Frankly, if Jack didn't rescue him soon, Daniel was going to start pissing people off on purpose instead of accidentally.
"What part of teamwork did you not understand, Dr. Jackson?"
Daniel narrowed his eyes and resisted the urge to repeat the word back to Greer in thirty-one different languages. Including Farsi and pre-Dynastic Goa'uld. In fact, Daniel was experiencing a strong impulse to eschew language altogether in favour of a sharp right-cross.
Jack would be so proud.
Unfortunately, Greer would then proceed to disassemble Daniel, piece by bloody piece. The Marine was built like Makepeace and moved like Teal'c. All in all, not a resemblance Daniel desired to tangle with on a physical level. Which meant he was left with humble cooperation. Or sarcasm.
"Where is your team, Dr. Jackson?" Greer bit the words out slowly, as if Daniel were so stupid he didn't deserve to live.
Daniel eyed him with confusion. Instinctively he turned his head to the left to see if he had somehow lost Corporal Babcock. Not that Daniel could have seen him anyway. The Corporal was almost as good as Teal'c at playing least in sight. Just not as quiet.
He turned his head back to face Greer and was startled to find the Marine watching him with the same blank expression Jack used when something had startled him. Daniel resisted the urge to sigh. He would never understand military types. He really wouldn't. Clearly Greer had not meant Babcock.
Why Daniel should care about the rest of the team, he didn't understand. There was still five hours until dark. More than enough time to regroup. Besides, Daniel was under the impression that Greer had asked him to act as advance scout today. Probably hoping the archaeologist would walk them into that ambush site about an hour back so he'd have something else to yell at Daniel for doing. Not that anyone was going to thank Daniel for leading them into the swamp, but better tired than dead.
Even if it was just paintball rounds.
Greer was glaring at Daniel now and the archaeologist decided he wanted an answer. Reaching for his radio he pulled it from his vest and aimed the antenna back along the general way he had come. Two clicks inquired the status of the bulk of the group. A single click answered him promptly, and he watched the signal strength carefully. Another series of clicks inquired Babcock's health and well-being. There was a long pause, then a single click. A quick and dirty triangulation with the formula Sam had given him and...
"Approximately 5 clicks that way," Daniel said promptly, pointing with his radio antennae. Given the swamp and the average pace of the group, Daniel tried to recall what he had passed about 90 minutes back. "Near the edge of the swamp." Daniel frowned as he considered that they were moving alot more slowly than they had moved yesterday. But they had responded with a single click, so no one was injured. And no one had contacted him to let him know circumstances had changed.
He couldn't give orders to Greer's men, not with Greer standing right in front of him. Another of those picky points of military etiquette Sam was always translating for him. He'd be damn glad when SG-1 found the NID agents so Daniel could shoot them and go home. This was getting annoying. He keyed his mike.
"You on a coffee break, Peters? Tell the others if they want clean bathwater tonight, they'll need to get the lead out. Or we'll be sleeping in the swamp." Daniel thought a moment, then added,"With the crocodiles."
There. That ought to do it. Threats like that worked with Spellman every time. Peters was a competitive son-of-a-gun. Unfortunately, he had taken one too many video games to heart. The reality behind his self-image was a bit more special than ops. Daniel suspected Peters had entertained visions of holding his own with Greer's men. Instead, Major Greer and his team had walked the legs off everyone on the very first day, then proceeded to kill them all in a sneaky ambush that would have done Jack proud.
Peters still hadn't forgiven Daniel for the lucky shot that had taken out Sergeant Winter.
Greer was eyeing Daniel like he couldn't decide whether to skin him alive or just stab him in the heart. Which really was an odd look to be able to recognize, if Daniel thought about it. He'd be very glad when this learning exercise was over. He got the point. He'd never leave his vest unzipped again and he would spend more time on the practice range. Now would Jack please just forgive him for being a civilian and come rescue him from Greer?
"They won't know who you are, Daniel,"Jack had said as he made a point of glaring at Daniel's unzipped vest. "Think about that."
"I know who I am,"Daniel had replied. "That's all that matters."
Jack had just sighed and muttered something that sounded like,"...your funeral."
At the time, he had thought Jack meant that none of Greer's men would know about the Stargate project and Daniel's part in it. He'd been fully prepared to be treated like just another civilian.Except Greer had it in for him and the other civilians were keeping their distance. He blamed Peters for that one and had planned to do some damage control today, but Greer had volunteered him for scouting duty.
He wondered if Jack would get mad if he just shot everybody.
Greer abruptly shook his head and sighed. "You have a gift for ruining other people's plans, don't you, Dr. Jackson?"
Daniel frowned. "Can you be more specific?"
"You'll see,"Greer said cryptically. Then he walked back in the direction of the rest of the group and disappeared into the swamp.
Daniel considered his options and went back to scouting an acceptable trail and radioing his instructions back to the group behind him.
Captain Batista eyed his Major warily as Greer thumped down beside him and yanked out his canteen. The Major was twice as covered in mud as the group he had rejoined, and the Captain doubted this had improved his temper.
"I think I may have made a mistake with Jackson,"Greer mumbled.
Batista raised one eyebrow and said nothing. Greer sloshed the water in his canteen as if debating another mouthful, then slowly put the cap back on.
"This is not going to go down the way I had planned,"Greer admitted grudgingly.
"I already told Barrett he could take his team home,"Batista admitted cautiously.
Greer's mouth twisted unhappily, but it had been obvious after thirty minutes that Jackson was not going to do the expected thing and walk his team into a nice, ego-destroying ambush.
"Uncooperative bastard,"Greer said.
Batista sighed. "I take it we're not going to find Jackson looking like something the crocodile dragged under?"
"Nope,"Greer said flatly. "We're going to walk this mud-covered, bug-bitten, sorry excuse for a team into base camp just the right side of exhausted and Jackson is going to be sitting there looking as fresh as a daisy and drinking coffee."
Batista winced. "Ouch."
"Yeah,"Greer said with a sigh."Ouch."
Which meant one of them was going to have to sit on Peters if Jackson couldn't handle him. Which, if his responses to date were anything to go by, he wouldn't.
"You still think he let Peters walk into that ambush last night?"
Greer nodded sharply. "Oh yeah. Bastard looked right at me when I gave Peters his orders. He knew -or at least he suspected - and he said nothing."
A fact Batista wouldn't have had any issues with if it had denoted a conscious choice to let Peters acquire a hard-learned lesson. Unfortunately, it looked more like a desire to see Peters fall on his face. Not an attitude Greer would want to foster and nothing in Jackson's actions had allayed their initial concerns.
"He spotted Babcock,"Greer said suddenly.
"Don't think he knew he wasn't supposed to know Babcock was there."
Batista blinked again.
"Asked him where his team was and he looked right at him,"Greer added.
"Babcock isn't part of his team,"Batista said cautiously.
Greer grunted with dry amusement."Don't think he knew that either."
Batista sat back as he tried to work out the connotations of that statement. "Well...damn."
"Man thinks he's a duck,"Greer decided.
"Wolf?" Batista asked seriously.
"Coyote, maybe,"Greer muttered, then held his right thumb and forefinger with only a crack of daylight between. "With baby teeth."
There was silence as both officers contemplated the many ways Daniel Jackson was going to complicate their lives.
"So what do you want to do?"Batista asked finally.
Greer shrugged. "Man thinks he's a duck. The ducks are annoyed with him for not acting more like a duck. Up to the wolves to show him the error of his ways."
Batista grinned. "Hoo-yah."