The Number System
Summary: Gossip around the office of Homeworld Security.
Disclaimer: Stargate is not mine, I make no money from this and do it for entertainment purposes only.
"Ms. Johnson," Sgt. Valerie Michaels greeted as the pretty curly-haired woman made her way into the office of Homeworld Security deep inside the confines of the Pentagon.
"Sergeant," Agent Kerri Johnson returned, smiling prettily at the young officer sitting at her desk in front of the office of Major General Jack O'Neill. "I'm here to see General O'Neill, he should be expecting me," she finished, her eyes darting from the sergeant to the closed door of O'Neill's office and back again.
"Yes, of course. If you will just have a seat, I'll let him know you're here," the sergeant replied politely and picked up the phone on her desk.
Kerri smiled back. "Thank you," she said with a nod, then walked over to the row of chairs along the wall and took a seat in the middle one.
A moment later, General O'Neill opened the door to his office and stepped out. The tall thin-framed man stood to his full-height, even in his late fifties, he cast a shadow of intimidation and intrigue that melted the hearts of women and drove in fear to the hearts of men. He smiled broadly at the auburn-haired CIA agent, and gestured for her to enter his office.
"Kerri," he greeted warmly. "Come on in, take a load off, yada, yada, yada," he joked, his eyes dancing in merriment as he escorted the younger woman into his office and started to close the door behind him. Just before the door was to click shut, the general's strong hand wrapped around the door and pushed it open again, his eyes landing on his aide, Sgt. Valerie Michaels. "Val, hold my calls," he ordered.
"Yes, sir," Valerie responded just before the general disappeared and the door clicked shut. The ominous sound of the lock snapping in place following a second later and echoing hollowly in the quiet office space.
"Damn, he's one lucky SOB!" Sgt. Kyle Jones announced to the quiet room a moment later, his eyes still locked on the closed door to the general's office in awe.
"Oh, come on, Kyle! Are you on that trip again? They could very well be working on top-secret work in there," Sgt. Shannon O'Brien replied from her spot at the copy machine. She pressed a button to start the machine whirring into life again, then propped herself against the large machine as she pulled out her nail file and started working on her fingernails.
"Top secret my ass!" Kyle replied with a large grin and a laugh. "She's hot, he's male, they're propagating like bunnies, I'll bet money on it."
The two women in the office groaned, but before either of them could snap off a retort, the door to the general's office opened and out walked the two topics of conversation.
General O'Neill nodded over at Michaels. "Val, Agent Johnson and I are heading to lunch before the meeting, I'll be back after that."
"Yes, sir," Michaels replied, jotting down the general's schedule onto a sheet of paper. "See you this afternoon, sir."
Jack nodded and looked around the room at the two other aides. O'Brien had quickly hidden her nail file and was pretending to be engrossed in the copies coming out of the machine, and Jones had his head down while he wrote on a file on his desk.
Jack wasn't fooled for a minute. "Try to actually get some work done around here," he ordered before turning and leaving with the pretty CIA agent.
Kyle watched as the general's hand came up and rested on the agent's back as they made their way out of the office. Once he was sure the door was shut all the way and the general was a good distance down the hall, he proclaimed, "They are so doing it!"
The women groaned again. "So what if they are, Kyle? Shannon responded, rolling her eyes. "I'm young enough to be his kid and I'd do him."
Kyle fell out of his chair. "What? He's….he's old!" he whined.
"But hot," Shannon declared with an evil grin.
"Definitely hot," Valerie put in.
"What? Not you too!" Kyle cried. "He's……old," Kyle repeated, having nothing else bad to say in his defense.
"So? Look at him. He's hot, he's a general, he's hot," Shannon trailed off as she got caught up in visions of the general.
Kyle rolled his eyes in frustration. "What about me?" he whined.
The two women turned and looked at the young man, sitting at his desk in front of the office of Lt. Col. Paul Davis. "Well," Shannon began. "You're okay. You've got good looks and all, but you don't have that certain quality, air of finesse that General O'Neill exudes."
Kyle scrunched up his face and mocked the other sgt. "Air of finesse that General O'Neill exudes," he repeated in a childish voice. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?
This time, the two women laughed out loud at the officer's child-like jealousy.
The gossip continued to center around the general and his muscular arms that Shannon was very fond of and spent a lot of time admiring when he wore a short-sleeved shirt. She was twenty-five, and she had dated her fair share of men, but none of them had arms like the general. He was a very good-looking man from head to toe, but there was just something about his arms that turned her on whenever she saw them. Almost to the point of drooling over important documents and files.
It was probably a good thing she didn't get to see his arms too much.
Little work was done in the beginning hours of the afternoon, and before the three were aware, Lt. Col. Paul Davis came sauntering into the office.
"Sir," the three aides greeted.
"Is the meeting over, sir?" Valerie added.
"Yeah, just ended. General O'Neill is caught up with the appropriations committee, but he'll be here shortly, I hope you three got some work done today."
Three sheepish eyes diverted from the warm ones of the colonel.
Davis smirked. "I'll be in my office if you need me," he stated before walking to his office behind Kyle's desk and closing the door.
Before the three could begin their chatting again, a new person entered the office. Val heard Kyle's pen drop and assumed he was gaping at the pretty woman who had just entered the office of Homeworld Security.
"May I help you, ma'am," Val asked the lieutenant colonel.
The tall, blonde woman smiled down at the sergeant behind the desk. "Yes, I'm looking for General O'Neill."
"He hasn't returned from his meeting. Is he expecting you?" Val questioned, trying to figure out who this woman was.
"Ah, yes, he is. But, it probably wasn't scheduled. I'm Lt. Col. Samantha Carter."
Val scratched the name down on a post-it at the same time that Davis walked out of his office. "Sam!" he exclaimed.
Bright blue eyes met the dark ones of Paul Davis. "Paul, how are you?"
"Great! You look fantastic, Sam."
The blonde woman blushed and Kyle felt his knees start to buckle at the sight. Damn, this woman was hot!
"General O'Neill is caught up with the appropriations committee, why don't you come wait in my office and we'll….catch up," Paul asked with a hint of mischief in his voice.
The blonde colonel seemed to have picked up on his tone and was okay with it because her smile grew and she rounded the desk and made her way into Davis' office.
Davis looked at Kyle. "Hold my calls," he told him before walking in and closing the door.
Kyle forced his agape mouth closed, but it kept popping back open like a fish. The girls watched in amusement as his eyes finally refocused on the closed door and he swallowed hard. "Damn! Davis is one hell of a lucky SOB!"
The girls laughed quietly, knowing the two colonels were on the other side of the door.
"She's definitely not with him," Shannon announced nonchalantly from her desk, her feet moving to lay on an open shelf while she continued her work on her nails.
"Are you kidding me?" Kyle squawked. "Did you see that smile? Davis was practically drooling over her and she smiled!"
"You were practically drooling, too," Val put in.
"Hell yeah! Did you see her? Total hotness!"
"I'm telling you, she would not date Davis," Shannon continued.
"And, why not?" Kyle asked.
"Like you said, she's hot. Not that Davis isn't good-looking, plus he's a colonel, so he has that going for him, but so is she, so you have to go off the number system, and the two of them just don't add up."
"The number system?" Kyle asked while Val suppressed a laugh.
"Yeah, on a scale of one to ten, on looks only, how would you rate Colonel Carter?"
"On looks only. A ten, definitely. She's hot, she's tall, she's blonde, she's hot."
"Okay, okay, we get the picture," Shannon cut in.
"Now, take her career, obviously successful, she's a lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force, not an easy task for a woman, so we have to add on two points for her career, and a bonus point for making it in a man's field."
"Okay, go on," Kyle added, finding this number thing much more interesting than actual work.
"Okay, now take in her age. The woman is definitely passed thirty-five, so we have to take a number away."
"Why?" Kyle asked.
"Because, successful men over thirty-five, rarely date women over thirty-five."
Val laughed and Kyle nodded his head in understanding.
"Okay, so she's a twelve. Now, take in Davis. On a scale of one to ten, Val, how would you rate Davis?"
Val pondered the question for a minute and then replied, "On looks only, I'd give him a seven."
"Okay, now add two points for his career and he's up to a nine, way too low to date Col. Carter."
"A nine is high," Kyle protested.
"Yes, it is, and most women would be lucky to date someone like Davis, but as Col. Carter is three numbers higher than he, she will not be one of them."
Kyle squinted his eyes in disbelief at the red-haired woman still filing her nails.
Shannon continued, "You see, Kyle, women do not date men of a lesser number. They date men of an equal number and men of a higher number, but never, and I stress, never, men of a lower number. And, those who try to deny the number system and date below them, end up ultimately miserable."
"So, what number am I?" he whined in worry. Were these girls just pulling his chain?
The door to the office opened and Shannon's feet were back on the floor in a flash, the nail file completely disappearing from sight. General O'Neill walked into the office and scanned the office space. "Val, my wife should be arriving shortly, will you send her in when she gets here?"
Wife? The general was married? Although the words never formed aloud, they were running through all three of the aides' minds. No wonder Agent Johnson had been showing up lately and the general holding his calls. It sort of made sense.
Kyle glanced over at Shannon and grimaced. The general was definitely at the agent's number and, possibly, above it, so if they really were married, it would give validity to her whole number system theory.
This did not sound good to him and his dreams of marrying a supermodel at all.
Val seemed to recover first, as she was generally good at, and smiled up at the general. She, too, assumed Kerri Johnson was the misses. "Do you know what time Agent Johnson will be arriving, sir?" she asked.
Jack raised an eyebrow in confusion. "Agent Johnson isn't coming back today, is she?" he asked, wondering if he forgot about an appointment.
Val looked just as confused as the general and her heart rate picked up in fear that she made a mistake and just stuck her foot in her mouth. "Uh, your wife?" she started, but was cut off by the general speaking loudly to someone behind her.
"Sam! When did you get here?" he exclaimed, a huge grin Val rarely saw brightening his face.
"A little bit ago, Davis was entertaining me," Col. Carter announced and walked across the room and into the arms of General O'Neill.
Three sets of eyes bulged at the unexpected sight.
"Your…..wife……sir?" Val stumbled out.
The general looked down at the baffled eyes of his assistant and then searched the room, seeing two more identical sets of baffled eyes. "Carter, did you meet the kids?" he asked in a suspicious voice, well-aware no work got done while he was away.
"Briefly, they seem quite charming," Sam announced, grinning at the three sergeants.
"Yeah, charming," Jack grunted, then took Sam's hand and led her to his office.
Picking his jaw off the floor, Kyle burst out in an excited voice that was louder than intended, "They're the same number!"
Shannon's face reddened as she tried to avoid looking up at the general.
Jack cocked his head at the outburst and looked at Val for an explanation.
Val looked up dead-pan at the general, and with perfect military propriety, announced, "Sgt. Jones thinks that on a scale of one to ten, you're a twelve, sir."
"Oh, for crying out loud, do you three ever do any work!" he exclaimed, walking into his office and closing the door, muffling the sounds of laughter coming from his wife.
No one needed to tell Val to hold the general's calls, she was already on it.