SUMMARY: AU. Doctor Samantha Carter meets Major Paul Davis for the first time.
DISCLAIMER: Characters are property of MGM et al. I am merely borrowing and receive no revenue for my actions.
NOTE: For the au100 community on Live Journal, prompt #1 - Beginnings
THANKS: To Allie for the beta.
Doctor Samantha Carter sat nervously in the small ante-room, waiting for the officer she had been invited to meet. Inwardly, she was kicking herself for being late; her military father had brought her up to be punctual and would have severely reprimanded her for such tardiness. Being late was not a good way to start any meeting, even if she was just a civilian.
Silently, she reminded herself that this was not her fault. Her boss was in Colorado - making the trip she longed to make - and he surely must have known she'd been summoned to attend this meeting. Hell, he was probably supposed to have attended instead, but had considered it mindless bureaucracy and passed it off to her. Normally the man didn't speak to her unless he couldn't help it, but today of all days he'd actually wanted to speak with her. Furthermore, he'd kept her on the phone for far longer than he would normally deem necessary for any conversation.
She was still trying to figure out if the conversation had had any actual point to it, or whether he'd just enjoyed hearing himself speak, when the door to the inner office opened.
"Doctor Carter?" A man's face, framed by short brown hair, appeared. "Come on in."
She swallowed, got up, and smoothed down her tweed skirt before following him back through the open doorway. He wasn't smiling; ergo she was in trouble. She could only hope her job wouldn't be on the line. Although, that would be just like McKay to set her up like that…
The Major came to a stop behind the wood desk; all decked out in neatly-pressed United States Air Force dress blues. "Have a seat," he said and then he did smile. And it was such a warm and welcoming smile that she almost forgot her nervousness.
She nodded and took the seat across from him. "Thank you," she murmured quickly.
"Sorry to keep you waiting," he continued as he sat down. "I got tied up on a conference call with General West. You weren't waiting for long, I hope?"
"Er, no." She was astounded. His secretary had paged him when she'd arrived. Which had been at least five minutes after the meeting's scheduled start time. Why in the world was he apologizing when it should be her saying the words?
"Good." He flipped open a manila file that lay on the desk and glanced down at it. He nodded briefly, presumably taking in information, before looking back at her. "I've been assigned to the Stargate Project."
"Oh?" That possibly explained why she'd been requested to appear before him. The military did have overall control of the project, after all.
"You weren't aware?"
"No, Sir," she replied, adjusting her glasses. It really was time to get new frames; if she could actually find the time. "They don't really tell me much." She smiled awkwardly at him.
He shook his head and rolled his eyes. "Guess I'll have to fill in the blanks. My name is Major Paul Davis, and I'm the new liaison between the Pentagon and the Stargate Project. I've requested you here today, Doctor, because it appears you've made a sizable contribution to the program."
"Not that much," she hedged cautiously.
"I beg to differ. This file indicates that you were the one responsible for the current dialing program."
Sam blinked. "Wow. I mean, yes, I…" She trailed off. Frankly, she'd been surprised there was even any mention of what she'd accomplished since joining the research program a few years back. Most of the credit usually ended up going to one Rodney McKay.
"Quite frankly, Doctor, I'm a little surprised. It seems Doctor Langford added quite a lot to your file in the short time before she retired and Doctor McKay took over, and now there appears to be nothing besides an attendance record. What have you been doing recently?"
"Doctor, as liaison I'm required to look over every piece of paperwork that flows between the two facilities. That includes getting intimately acquainted with the personnel files for everyone attached to the program. I'm also required to look over budget proposals." He smiled. "It's actually quite tedious. However, your file at least proved to be interesting – if only for the lack of recent information. I need to make sure your employment with us is actually producing results."
"Oh." Great. Thank you very much, McKay, she fumed to herself. Maybe it was time to pull out her resume. It would be a shame, since the Stargate program was the most interesting position she'd ever had. "If you allow me, I can prepare a report using the notes I've compiled over the past few months." True, if her personnel file was anything to go by, McKay might not give her a reference. But maybe she could prove herself to this officer that she had actually done some work during all that time in her lab, and maybe he'd be willing to give her a reference based on that.
"That will not be necessary, Doctor. I don't like to dwell on the past. However, I do have one question for you."
"Given the qualifications that you have, that I'm seeing on this file…" He gestured with his hand. "Why the hell are you here and not in Colorado Springs? I'm no scientist, but I know a little bit about physics. You created the program that makes what they do there actually possible. It seems to me they could benefit from having you around the place."
She blushed, unused to the complement he implied. "Yes, Sir."
"So?" he prompted her. "Why are you here?"
"You'd have to ask Doctor McKay, Sir." It was something she used to wonder a time or two herself. But she'd quelled that line of questioning in her head a long time ago. Hers was not to ask why when it came to personnel decisions. 'Why' was strictly for the labs.
The Major grimaced but only for a moment. However, it told her all she needed to know about this man's feelings towards her supervisor. "I will," he told her, but in a tone that meant he knew he'd never get a decent answer. "In the meantime, Doctor, would you be willing to meet with me once a week? I'd like to get your file updated for one thing. This way I'll know that you actually are working and not just taking up a portion of our budget."
That stung. Sam Carter had put in long hours in the research labs. It wasn't her fault that her boss was an egomaniac committed to claiming all the glory for himself. She was about to say something, but the voice in her head reminded her that this man was military. You did not contradict military officers, no matter how wrongly they had been informed.
Still, at least he wasn't firing her.
"I'd also like to discuss any developments or discoveries regarding alien tech that are made between our meetings. I find Doctor McKay is often… unavailable."
He didn't need to tell her. More often than not, Rodney McKay was 'unavailable' for his staff, claiming he didn't have time. And if he did have time, it was usually to ridicule them.
But Major Davis actually wanted to meet with her? Wow! She'd never been asked to meet with someone outside of her department before.
"Yes, Sir," she replied quickly, worried that the offer might be taken from her if she wasn't swift enough. She'd get over the implied insult regarding her lack of work. She'd show this officer exactly who was producing the results the Stargate Project required.
Her mind was a mess, however - fluctuating wildly between supreme confidence that she could do this and complete fear of impending failure. What if he discovered she really did have little to offer? But what if he decided she really was much better placed at the actual Stargate Project? Did he really want to hear her opinion or was there something more suspicious going on?
But she'd already said yes; she couldn't back out now. According to her father, that just wasn't done. Your decisions had to be firm, he'd said. All she could do was pray she didn't fall flat on her face.
Major Davis said he knew a little about physics. She only hoped he understood wormhole physics. But if he didn't? Well, maybe she could teach him. If nothing else, it would be training for the academic position she was bound to end up in if her face did happen to meet the floor.