TITLE: Hypothetical Radiation
SUMMARY: Sam's settling in, Jack's slowly learning about his new captain.
SEASON/EPISODE: Episode Addition for Children of the Gods, part 2
DISCLAIMER: Characters belong to MGM et al. The cat theory belongs to Schroedinger.
NOTE: Many thanks to Allie who looked this over months ago. I've made a few alterations since then, and constructive criticism is welcome.
NOTE 2: I've begun to tackle a project for which I'll be writing a Sam/Jack-focus fic for every episode. This is the second one of those fics.
He found her in the room that would eventually become her lab and home away from home. It was mostly in darkness; the only light came from the open door and the window that partitioned the room from the corridor beyond. Still, it was enough for him to catch sight of her blond head as he walked past.
Something made him pause in the doorway. He didn't want to - he was actually trying to find Daniel - but something about the way she was just... standing... there stopped him.
"Okay, Captain?" he asked, leaning against the door jamb.
She spun at the sound of his voice and straightened up. "Sir," she managed to say in surprise.
Jack pushed himself away from his post and stepped into the room. "Easy, Carter," he said, waving a casual hand. "So, what are you doing?"
She smiled. "General Hammond wants me to continue my research from here instead of back in Washington. It's amazing, I've even been given my own space and I've never had that before. With the resources available, I'll be able to begin working on the stellar drift calculations within the next day or so. From the information we were able to get from the room Daniel showed us, I should be able to extrapolate new gate addresses."
Somehow, he'd guessed she was going to launch into a speech even before she began. That was worrying, especially since he'd only known her a few days. He also realized he'd have to cut her short before he blew a brain fuse.
"Great, Captain," he told her, trying to inject some enthusiasm into his voice.
"I know," she said with a grin. "Just think of all the places we'll be able to go with that data. The idea that we can harness a wormhole and tell it exactly where to go is incredible. We'll be able to explore new planets, gain new technology, meet new people. The information we get from these calculations will forever change the way we look at our universe."
Jack already looked at the universe a little differently since his first trip to Abydos. He didn't need alien symbols to change his point of view. He did, however, have need of those symbols for another reason.
"We need that information if we're to bring back Shau're and Ska'ara," he told her.
Her face fell. "Of course, Sir." She paused. "How is he?"
Jack shrugged. "I don't know. I'm on my way to see him now. You're not the only one Hammond's given a work area. Daniel's office is just down the hall." He gestured the direction with his hand. "I guess there's a load of old crap he needs to pull out of storage."
"I don't think he'd consider it crap, Sir."
"Yeah, well, it's crap if it's not important to the SGC." For all he knew, Daniel's belongings consisted of nothing more than musty old books and souvenirs picked up from remote reaches of the planet.
"It's important to Daniel," she insisted. "And it's all he has left right now."
Okay, so he supposed she did have a point. Right now, Daniel was technically homeless. What little he'd had on Earth before the first Abydos mission was apparently boxed up someplace and the man was eager to get it back. If that meant having it at the SGC, so be it.
"What about you, Captain?" he asked, sticking his hands in his pockets and rocking back and forth on his heels.
"You're being reassigned here," he reminded her. "That means moving."
She smiled. "I know, Sir. To be honest, I don't have that much." She shrugged. "I guess there's some clothes. And my cat."
"You have a cat?" he asked. He instantly looked around for it, even though he knew it was an irrational thought.
She nodded. "His name is Schrodinger. After the experiment?" She must have noticed he didn't have the foggiest idea what she was on about because she rushed on. "You see, Schrodinger had this idea that it was possible for something to be both alive and dead at the same moment. So, you put a cat in a box, along with a bottle of poison. Then you add in radioactive material and close the box."
Jack didn't like where this was going. "Carter! I might prefer dogs to... cats, but this is animal cruelty you're talking about here."
She smiled at him. "It's hypothetical, Sir."
Ah. Well, that made him feel slightly reassured. At least she wasn't into non-hypothetical animal cruelty. He couldn't stomach that; he'd rather rescue the damned thing than leave it in a nasty situation. He wasn't sure he wanted a captain on his team who mistreated animals either.
"Where is it?" he asked.
"My neighbor feeds him when I'm away."
"Not with poison, I hope."
She giggled. "No, Sir." She paused. "I suppose I'm going to have to find someplace to live. I don't think General Hammond would appreciate having a cat on base."
"Does it go after the mice?"
She shook her head. "No."
"Shame. What about Goa'uld?"
The captain smiled. "It's never come across one before."
"Neither had you until yesterday."
"True. But I think I'll be better off finding somewhere to live other than on the base."
"Daniel as well. Maybe the two of you can team up together. The newspaper usually has listings. The housing assistance personnel upstairs might have something as well."
"I guess. Maybe I'll talk to him about it this evening."
Jack shook his head. "Actually, Daniel's not currently staying here."
Why did he feel awkward stating the facts? Was it because he'd taken an instant dislike to the notion of staying in this depressing-looking complex? "Um, yeah. He's been staying at my place. We've been catching up."
"Oh." She looked down to the ground. "Of course," she commented in a flat voice. "You two were on the first mission." Good grief, he thought. She almost sounded resentful.
Something in Jack's brain made him curious. This was the second time she'd come across as being bitter about the first mission. In their briefing, she'd implied that she should have gone with them. What the hell had happened that she'd feel that way about it. Normally, you didn't question why you were or were not sent on a particular mission. You just did your job, followed orders, and that was that. Why the hell was she so angry?
He resolved to ask the General about it.
"Captain Carter to the control room! Captain Carter to the control room!"
The technician's voice sounded frantic over the paging system. Seconds later, the siren sounded.
"Unscheduled off-world gate activation!" the technician yelled.
Her eyes widened as she met Jack's own worried look. There was no reason for anyone to be dialing in - unless it was that Apophis. Then she pushed past him, exiting her new lab. Jack was right behind her. As they jogged past Daniel's new office, the archaeologist popped his head out. "What's going on?" he called after them.
Jack didn't answer, but he wasn't surprised when Daniel joined them as they waited impatiently for the elevator to arrive. In an unusual silence that was composed purely of worried glances, they made their way to the control room.