"You are going to be late, young lady." Janet tisked.
"What?" Sam asked.
"Don't tell me you've forgotten."
Sam rubbed some of the sleep out of her eyes. It had been a rough week and she had only stepped on the Base about ten minutes ago. All she really wanted to do was stumble down to the mess and get some coffee. However the look Janet was giving her clearly said she was supposed to be doing something else.
"Have you saved the world so many times that it's become old hat?" Janet asked with a raised eye brow.
"What are you ta..."
Sam stopped suddenly. The realization of what was going on woke her up more effectively than being dropped into an ice bath.
"Oh my God, the Medal ceremony...that's today."
"That's in fifteen minutes."
"Janet, you have to help me." Sam said desperately. "I haven't even washed my hair today."
"Please tell me your Blues are at least on Base."
"Yes, I sent them down to be cleaned. They should be ready by now."
"You go take a quick shower and I'll go get them for you."
"You're a life saver!"
"So they say." Janet smiled.
Sam rushed off towards the locker room while Janet made her way downstairs. When she got to the on Base cleaners there wasn't anyone there. Knowing she didn't have the time to wait for someone to help her Janet slipped behind the counter and into the back.
There weren't very many female Officers on Base so Janet just quickly looked through the plastic draped clothing for a pair of Blues with a skirt. Finding them she grabbed them and headed up to the locker room.
Sam had already dashed through the shower and was frantically trying to dry her hair. Janet brought over her prize from the cleaners and pulled it out of the plastic. Sam took the white shirt and blue jacket gratefully and slipped them on.
In her panic she didn't notice that it was more difficult than usual to get the gold buttons secured. However when she pulled on the skirt she noticed the draft instantly. She pulled at the skirt as if that would help lengthen it.
The uniform was clearly not her own, it was about three sizes too small. Sam turned to face the mirror. Janet had to chuckle, she had seen Sam face entire Armies with less fear in her eyes than right now.
"Janet, this isn't funny." Sam said seriously. "I can't wear th..."
"Sam?" Daniel's voice called from outside.
"Sam, if you're not out here in thirty seconds I have a feeling that Jack's going to have you Court-martialed."
"Just go, it will be better than not being there. I'm sure no one will notice."
Sam had a moment of indecision, but she quickly realized that it was just costing her more time. Gritting her teeth Sam slipped on her dress shoes. Taking a deep breath she braced herself and stepped out of the locker room. Janet had been wrong, Daniel obviously noticed.
"I...um...I think those things are Dry Clean only, Sam."
"Very funny. They're not mine."
"Who's are they?"
"I...uh...don't know." Sam tugged on the skirt once more. "Look, Daniel, this is all I've got right now. Help me out, please."
"Despite what half the Base thinks I don't have any skirts in my closet, Sam."
"Just stand in front of me or something."
"I'll see what I can do." Daniel chuckled. "Come on, if we're late it will be even more of a scene."
Sam followed Daniel closely, keeping a step behind him at all times. She had trouble keeping up with him anyway because she had to take such small steps in the constrictive skirt. Every few feet she felt the need to pull it down again. Teal'c was waiting just outside the Gateroom for them. He did not seem to notice anything amiss and simply gave them both a shallow bow.
The Gateroom had more of a crowd in it than Sam had feared. Daniel did his best to shield her, however she could still feel people's eyes on her. General O'Neill was standing near the podium at the base of the ramp chatting with the Brigadier General who had come to perform the ceremony.
Jack and the other General turned their attention to the team as they approached. It was instinct in this situation for Sam to salute the two Superior Officers. She instantly regretted doing so as she could feel the skirt raising higher at the action.
Daniel failed to stifle a chuckle and Sam shot him a murderous glare. Despite a momentarily look of shock neither General said anything to her. The ceremony was a nightmare in every sense of the word. Sam couldn't concentrate on a word that the Brigadier General was saying.
Jack didn't seem to be doing much better. When it came time for him to speak Daniel had to elbow him in the ribs. Jack stepped up to the podium and replaced the Brigadier. For a moment he just stood there motionless.
"I...um...I have completely forgotten what I was going to say." Jack finally admitted. "I probably should have written it down somewhere."
The crowd chuckled as though this was actually meant to be the beginning of his speech. However it quickly became clear that he truly was at a loss for words. Sam flushed in embarrassment for them both, which only seemed to make matters worse.
"Anyway...uh...good job as usual team." Jack finished lamely. "Dismissed."
The spectators chatted amongst themselves for a minute and then started to make their way back to work. The Brigadier congratulated the team one last time and left as well. Sam tried to escape along with Daniel and Teal'c.
Sam froze. Daniel gave her a mock helpless look and scurried after Teal'c. For a brief moment Sam wished she was captive on a Gou'ald ship somewhere or pinned down under heavy fire. Turning around slowly she tried her hardest to act as though nothing was wrong.
"Carter, I know that the budget around here has been a little...tight, but I think the Air Force can afford to get you another set of Blues."
"Thank you, Sir." Sam muttered.
"Now then, go slip into something more comfortable...that's an order."