Disclaimer: I don't own the Stargate franchise.
A/N: A tribute to General George Hammond, the wisest leader the SGC ever had.
General George Hammond wandered absently through the now-empty hallways of the SGC. The SGC: made up of grey cement hallways and bullet-proof blast doors, but over the past seven years it came to be more than that. Like him, its walls had seen scores of struggles, had seen many friends depart this life, had seen too much destruction. But at the same time, those walls bore witness to their greatest victories, and watched on as the countless people of the SGC bonded to become a family. The halls of the SGC had become more than just cement and steel, they became a home. A home he almost could not bear to leave.
He passed through his empty office, remembering the phone calls he had to make over the years. He remembered all the difficult decisions he had to deal with.
He visited the infirmary, thankfully free of any patients. This place harbored the most melancholy memories. Memories of missions gone wrong, memories of his fallen soldiers, good men and women who lost their lives due to his decisions. He still missed Janet, who despite the morbid nature of her job, made this place seem brighter. He missed her, but if he closed his eyes, he thought he could make out the faint click of her heels on the floor, or the sound of her voice humming as she went about her routine. She was a part of this place now: even though she was gone, she would always be here, just like he would be soon.
Perhaps subconsciously, George had left the gate room for last. Now he stood at the base of the ramp, staring at the grand metal ring that still held so much wonder, despite everything he'd seen in his years.
"Come to say goodbye sir?"
George turned to see Jack leaning casually in the doorway. He laughed. "Yeah. I've been here so long, and it's still amazing to me."
Jack came up the ramp next to George, kneeling to touch the gate. "Never gets old sir."
"My health would disagree."
Jack grunted as he rose, rubbing his bad knees. "Mine too sir."
"Please Jack, call me George."
"Where is everybody?"
George shook his head in exasperation. "You know, I'm really going to miss this place."
"We're all going to miss you too sir."
George looked at his 2IC—his best friend. He could see uncertainty in the younger man's eyes. "Nah, you'll do fine. Your people have a phenomenal capacity…"
Jack's face betrayed his panic. "Sir I don't know if I can do this. I'm not ready."
George sighed. "Son, they say the mark of a good leader is a man who can honestly ask that question of himself. But I won't lie to you, its no picnic. There were days when I thought we were all doomed. Some days when I was in over my head. But you get by, if you have a little faith."
"Yeah, you have to have faith Jack. Have faith in your people and their abilities. Have faith in the truth of your cause." George paused a bit, thinking. "Always keep at least two teams earth-side for rescues. Try to stay organized… always listen to Walter, he always knows everything that's going on. When the bad guy shows up…well, you know what to do then."
"Well, the first thing to do is to alert the ships we have, they're your first line of defense. You'll need to call the president and advise him to call a meeting of the Joint Chiefs and take us to DEFCON 1. Route all command procedures through the SGC, and have the President beamed here via the Prometheus. He'll need to go through to the alpha site." George smiled. "Got all that?"
"Oh... the drawer at the bottom of the desk sticks, you kinda have to jiggle it a little…"
Jack laughed. "Yes sir."
George clasped Jack's shoulder and smiled. "You'll do fine, I have faith." He turned and headed down the ramp, stopping to look once more at the stargate.
"So—George, ready to start your retirement?" asked Jack opening the blast door.
"Yeah, I guess so."
As George stepped through the door, Jack called "Attention!" Then he saw everyone who had been missing from his earlier wanderings. They lined the halls, at attention, paying silent respect to their beloved leader. Touched, George walked down the halls, as each officer saluted when he walked past. At last he reached the elevator—and the rest of SG-1.
Sam saluted, tears in her eyes. "It won't be the same without you, sir."
George gave her a hug. "I know, but you'll be okay."
Sam smiled. "Yes sir."
George turned to face Teal'c. He bowed his head and clasped George's forearm. "Your presence will be sorely missed General Hammond."
George looked around. "Nah, I'll be around. Undomesticated equines couldn't keep me away for long."
Teal'c let go, and George moved to Daniel. "Its been a pleasure doing business with you, son."
General Hammond turned to face Jack once again. The colonel saluted. "Its been an honor serving with you sir."
George saluted back. "Its been an honor serving with you too."
George turned and entered the waiting elevator.
In honor of Don S. Davis, who served his craft, and his country well.