Title: Naquadah Tipped Warheads & Banana Smoothies

Author: AM Richardson


Category: SG1 Complete Story. Set in the TV Universe up to S9 then Alternate Reality after that, Future Fluff

Rating: Teens

Content Warning: Babyfic. Mention of sex (though not graphic)

Season: The start of S9.. Sam was at Area 51/Washington

Spoilers: Umm.. loads as in vague mentions of past missions but nothing specific.

Summary: Jack is captured on a mission, a typical situation for SG1. But this time he left something behind that Sam wasn't.. expecting.

Disclaimer: Just playing, not mine, if you're looking to sue, you're looking in the wrong place, I have absolutely no money!


Copyright (c) 2008 AM Richardson

MANY thanks to my betas - Tricia & Arrietty. They found loads of mistakes, any that are left are mine alone :smooches ladies:

The story is dedicated to the four Kawoosh Girls, three online and one off. I won't embarrass them by naming names (also in case they are horrified by seeing their monikers to a babyfic fic, lol) but this is for you ladies, for your hard work, your determination, your talent and for firmly believing that the 'ship is just in for repairs at the moment :)

Premise: This whole fic was generated by a prompt in one those 'Make an Effort to Improve Your Crap Writing' books. The idea was to start a journal in the middle of a story, go back and relate the first half, bring it up to date and then complete the story, all in the style of journal entries. Basically an exercise in tenses, which I desperately need practice in.

In the end, it will always be for Ruthie x

It was one of those 'thangs' that wrote itself. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but if you struggle through the end, any feedback is very much appreciated xx

If you want the whole thing now, it can be found herein my livejournal aud(underscore)iris. You can also find adult versions of some of the chapters, illustrations and podfic, if podfic is your thing :)


May 14th 2007

Okay, Jack.

So Daniel said I should do this, so blame him.

But you know what? I haven't a clue what to say.

It was Mother's Day yesterday, and….

This is dumb.

Forget it.

May 15th 2007

So I slept on it and thought over the whole business again.

You know me; I never over-think things, do I?




That's me. I'm looking for a neat little pattern and hopefully a cute little theory to make this sound sensible and logical..

… and I'm babbling.

I thought I'd try again but I'm having a real big problem getting the words down – but I guess if you were actually here, I would still have an issue with communication. Of course, if we got close, you'd soon figure it out faster than light speed.

I still can't say it.

I miss you so much.


May 16th 2007

Daniel just called me and asked how I was getting on with this - he can be so annoying without even breaking a sweat. I told him I'd bought a new laptop and then rebuilt it with my own version of security protection especially for this little 'project'. Ah, shiny new Sony VAIO, with your 7" screen, thy name should be desire.

I also spun Dr D. some line about the Nevada heat accentuating the nausea and although I'm convinced he didn't buy it for one minute, he stopped nagging. Ha. If he'd bothered to check, he would know that the temperature is about the same as Denver at this time of the year. Jonas would have known. Procrastination!Sam. Oh yeah.

I miss Jonas.

Do you miss Jonas?

I really want you here with me. Stay with me. I hope you're still alive.

If you think I'm stalling, you'd be right.

Love from Sam the Coward

May 18th 2007

I can't put this off any longer.

Don't stop me, I've had a banana and mango smoothie and I'm experiencing a sugar rush – I'm doing this before I start crying again when I'm coming down off of it.

The thing is..

Something new ..

Okay.. I'm gonna get another banana smoothie, brb (that's Be Right Back; I do a lot of instant messaging with Cassie)

You see, I'm pretty sure that I felt the baby move this morning.

I'll wait while that sinks in.

Yep, we're going to be parents. Sometime around the end of October, Carolyn thinks with her little charts and calendars.

Jack, I think perhaps it's time I started at the beginning.

When you left for that mission there was something you didn't know, simply because I hadn't had a chance to tell you yet.

I was waiting until I got back from Washington and we were definitely going to have that weekend together. Ironic that you should be the one off-world and that I was the desk jockey in DC. Maybe if I had been there, I could have stopped you. I could have told them to shove their 'diplomatic mission' and grabbed you hard and fast and locked you in my bedroom to make love to you for two whole days.

Maybe you wouldn't have been ambushed and maybe Ferretti wouldn't have died.

I can't bear it.

I'm not sure I can do this, maybe Daniel was wrong.

Later on May 18th

After another banana smoothie (don't ask) I've pulled myself together.. not exactly front and center, but it'll have to do.

Anyway, we were MIGS that passed in the night – I was on my way to DC from Colorado and you were heading to Cheyenne. We were to meet up at my place on that Friday and spend the entire weekend basically ignoring everything and everyone and having great sex. Lots of it.

And then there was that something that I hadn't had a chance to tell you.

I kind of suspected on the scheduled flight up to DC. I think perhaps the flight attendant also had a sneaky suspicion because I threw up into those little sick bags that the airlines put in the pocket on the back of aircraft seats that they think no-one will actually use. Well, I proved them wrong. Three bags later and I'm down to bile and water. And before you comment, I didn't have a big lunch g (that's 'grin' to you)

I should've sat with my back to the engine, or something.

Anyway, I did some quick math (and you know how good I am at that). Remember the Groundhog Day Hop we went to at Petersen? And we kinda let our hair down because there weren't too many people we knew? Perhaps I should say 'barely' remember as I recall Sambuccas, a Guinness cocktail (a Guinness cocktail?!) and something with a sparkler in it.


I'm not entirely sure I remember a condom. And I did tell you I was coming off the Lunelle (injectable contraceptive to you) as it was playing havoc with my cycle.

This makes it totally all your fault that the sex was That Damn Good.

I do remember that I did a quick calculation the day after – actually the afternoon after we had surfaced – and I was sure I'd be okay anyway.

So, maybe I'm not that hot on the math after all.

Lock'n'Load, baby.

And just what do you put in your sperm, O'Neill? Naquadah tipped warheads or what?

After we had said goodbye on the tarmac that weekend, I went on my oblivious merry way, back to Nevada, and I'm fine.

I miss a period. No problem. I blame the Lunelle.

But then a couple of weeks later, maybe three, there was the whole barfing all the way to DC thing.

And more quick math. 2+276

So, on the way to my bunk at the Pentagon visitors quarters, I stop by a drugstore (not the Kwik-E-Mart, sadly) – much to the amusement of the staff driver who'd been detailed to pick me up, because I practically ran in.

I wonder if he guessed?

Anyway, I take my little 'package' into the ladies room near the Pentagon Army Library (hey, it was the closest!) and you wouldn't believe how much my hands were shaking. If you had seen that, there would have been no way you would have let me anywhere near that mine in the Tobin system four years ago; I would have blown us all to Netu. Remember that mission? Is that the one where Dad came and Daniel declared himself the Wizard of Oz? Sometimes it seems like only yesterday and other times, so very long ago now.

So I pee on this strip – do you have any idea what a mid-stream sample is and how difficult it is to get your water on the mark?

And I get a smiley. What happened to a blue line? I GET A DAMN SMILEY, for crying out loud!

And I look at the smiley.

And cry over it. Lots.

I have no idea at this point whether I'm crying because I'm happy or sad.

But I do know that I desperately wanted to talk to you.

I'm late for the briefing and Paul Davis must have sensed something because he hovered around me all afternoon offering me Evian and M&Ms and just generally bugging me because all I could think about was my purse nursing a little stick with a smiley and my pee on it, all wrapped up in regulation toilet tissue.

I'm pregnant.

I know that our relationship is going well - very well – but we hadn't really got around to that bit yet. It's shiny and new and very discrete. I have no idea whether you want any more children, I have no idea how you would feel being 'stuck' with me – and I'm making an assumption that you'd want to stick around and...

… and I'm firing too soon with that discussion.

I'm sorry, I'm leaving it there; I'm crying again.

I love you


May 19th 2007

Me again. I'm not crying and there are no banana smoothies in the vicinity.

Daniel called me last night and we talked a lot. I told him what I was doing with this journal thingy, whatever you want to call it, and he sounded pleased. He keeps telling me that when you get back you will want to know everything about what happened when you weren't here and that you will also want to know every detail about the baby and how I felt at the time.

Easy for him to say. Not so easy to write.

We didn't say that we both have thought at some point that you were probably dead and that he was encouraging me to get my thoughts down to keep me occupied while I'm in Nevada. Did I tell you I was at Area 51? I think I did. Working on the Hermes, which you haven't seen yet and you'll think is very cool.

I think you're still alive.

I have to think that.

I have to hope that.

Anyway, back to March, that smiley and that Pentagon briefing.

The discussion centered on the Hermes - a smaller, light speed version of the Daedalus, designed for galaxy-to-galaxy hops using the Intergalactic Gate (Did you know that McKay calls it the McKay-Carter Bridge? The arrogance of that man! Why isn't it Carter-McKay...? I want top billing!). It's longer than a puddle jumper, designed to carry approximately 30 personnel plus equipment. Project codename Hermes. Like I said, very cool.

Anyway, I'm almost sure I said some things during the briefing and hopefully they sounded intelligent, like I was actually paying attention… not.


I am pregnant with your baby. And I love you so much and I want to share everything with you.

I was happy though; a quiet, joyful happiness squashing down all the thoughts that surfaced later.

When I got back to my billet, I lay down on the bed and started to really think about the situation.

I'm under no illusions that I'm relatively old to be a first-time mom, (apparently I'm an 'elderly prima gravida', don'tcha think that sounds so sexy?) and I'm vaguely aware that there could be complications arising from that fact. Down's syndrome I thought at the time, but later I learned that there can be other complications; a greater risk of miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, intervention at the birth. Enough of that for now – I'll explain later.

I take another test and I'm still getting a smiley.

Yeah, basically, I'm – 'we're' if you want to be all post modern about it – pregnant with your second child. I had basically assumed that children were not going to figure in Sam Carter's life; any hope of that had died with the end of my engagement to Pete. And it was a hope – I've always liked kids and had never discounted the possibility up until then. It's just that Life and the Universe had got in the way of any domestic-type plans.

Have I just made the biggest, scariest, most nerve-racking mistake of my entire life?

I blame the Guinness cocktails.

I really wanted to talk to you.

Your lover, Sam


May 20th 2007

Jack, I've read over what I've typed already and apart from sounding like an abject coward, it seems as though scientists have no need for the correct use of tenses.

So, I wasn't an English major – get over it.

To continue where I left off: I did not in fact cry myself to sleep that night; I think that I was just too wrung out and felt so awful. And ecstatic.

But you know what? I woke up the next day feeling much more philosophical and even-tempered, so it's Hi-Ho Hi-Ho, it's off to work I go. I can pretty much immerse myself in my workload. Almost; but not quite. During lunch, I high tail back to a drugstore and pick up another little packet. Actually I buy two.

Back to the ladies.

Pee on strip.

Check for smiley.

Still smiley.

Still pregnant.

Take out another strip.




Still pregnant.

I get the idea that doing two tests one after the other is not going to change the result and I hate that damn smiley by now!

I really wanted to talk to you.

I'm due back at the CMC on Friday morning and if you'll remember, we had a hot date for sex, sex and, oh, more sex the whole damn weekend. The next two days pass in a total blur and I can hardly wait to get back to you and tell you, although I have absolutely no real idea what your reaction would be. I manage to hitch a lift on a Hercules C-130 cargo transport out of Washington, a relief, because there's hardly anyone about to see me barfing up in the head again. I knew that you were due back from your mission around Friday lunchtime and after your de-brief, you were supposed to be coming back to Casa Carter. I figure I can head you off at the pass and surprise you at Cheyenne. Perhaps in some random storage closet or so.

I was the one that was... surprised.

I walk into the control room, it's the usual controlled chaos, condition code red... but this time you were MIA, Ferretti and an SF was fighting for their lives in the infirmary and another SF was dead, killed trying to protect you.

Some diplomatic mission.

I stood there in that room, with all the mêlée, the shouting and that blood stained wire grating… the sticky crimson globs dripping onto the polished floor beneath. I am effectively useless. I have no knowledge of the mission, I can't just demand the intelligence, and screaming TELL ME WHERE HE IS; HE'S THE FATHER OF MY CHILD. No-one has any idea that we are together, let alone anything else; we did such a good job of keeping 'us' quiet.

I talk with Landry, I sit with Ferretti for a while, just like I did all those years ago after the second Abydos mission. I thanked him for doing his best. I told him that I always respected him as an officer, and I held his hand while he choked to death as his lungs disintegrated.

I requested a bed at the CMC for the night.

When I ascertained I didn't have a bunkmate, I locked the door behind me, buried my face in the scratchy Government Issue blankets, and fell apart.

I have no substance. I am so ripped to shreds. Neutrinos pass right on by me.

No more ATM (at the moment).

I love you,



May 20th 23:13 hours

It became rapidly obvious that you are essentially lost, captured by some faceless enemy. I shuttle back and forth between Colorado and Nevada and try to keep up with the news, saying nothing about you, me and Baby makes three. Teams are sent through the 'gate on recon and on intel missions, and Landry brings in Cameron Mitchell who manages to persuade Teal'c and Daniel to come back to reform SG1 and go out and help. He calls yours truly, but I manage to plausibly worm my out of that (I'm under General Kerrigan at Area 51, remember?). You are reported as MIA and I take a further seven pregnancy tests on and off during the next four weeks and the result is always the same and I studiously avoid the mission lists. I still say nothing to anybody. No, not even Daniel. Just calling Cassie and explaining you were MIA was hard enough. Actually, I nearly 'fessed up to Teal'c once; he has been very kind the whole time, but no, I don't breathe a word, I carry on as normal. I can't tell our friends and I don't know why. I have developed a phobia against all little yellow faces and have visions of driving their cheeky winsome countenances deep into gravelly dirt and crushing their cute little button noses.

Why don't I tell anybody? Why didn't I at least see a doctor? About the baby, that is, not about the smiley's.

Because of course, Jack, I wanted you to be the first to know; I was waiting until you came back.

Then there's the ol' 'I'm pregnant and the father is MIA at the moment' thing. A conversation killer if ever there was one, I thought, so best not start. Plus, I didn't really feel pregnant, just rather off-color and pre-occupied.

What I can't get my head round is the reality that you are not here and I cannot discuss this with you. Sometimes, as I did then, I picture your face in my mind and run through the scenario of you strolling back through the 'gate like you're late for the annual CMC hog roast and then me telling you that you are to be a dad again. I try to think like you – would you be sad because all you can think about is Charlie, would you be angry because we are way too old to have slipped up in that way, or.. would you be happy? Would you be so over the moon that your grin would show those deep cheek dimples that have always made my heart beat a little faster, and would you touch my face like when we kissed for the first time? I mean really kissed. Us as opposed to our alternative selves, or time slip selves and ourselves without any alien intervention or cranial contusion-induced hallucination.

If I close my eyes, I can hear the whippoorwills now, Jack, their calls sounding over the lake in the darkness that first night at the cabin. It had been so hot that day yet it was cold near the water. I had brought you a cup of coffee as you sat on the dock after supper and I remember the way your eyes looked when you thanked me for the drink but you knew that I knew that I hadn't come out with the cup to ensure you kept up with your liquid quota for the day. It was more that Teal'c and Daniel were otherwise occupied in the cabin teaching themselves canasta of all things, and that I was really hoping that you would say something nice or at least rip my top off and suck my nipples, but we kissed instead. Sweet and tender, my hand on your heart and yours on my face, your thumb over my ear and those gorgeous fingers wrapped around my neck. We couldn't take things much further then; it wouldn't have been fair on our friends but we stuck with the hugs and stolen kisses and that one early morning by the woodshed where you did manage to suck my nipples and finish chopping all the wood for the day. Ha! I love a man that can multi-task.

How will you react? I can imagine the scenarios, Jack, but I don't know which is the right one. Later I talked with some good friends of yours, and I listened, but truthfully, I still don't know.

Incidentally, timeline-wise, are you following me? Basically, I was seven weeks along at that time (although at the time I thought I was five; it's complicated – I'll get to the date thing in a bit) pregnant when I take the first tests. As I said, I told no-one for four weeks, not a soul. But it's hard. The barfing thing was under control as long as I didn't get into a moving vehicle. This made the drive to the mountain interesting and punctuated, but I was just so grateful no-one asked me to fly anywhere. My breasts were suddenly huge. In fact looks down they still are, oh boy, you would love my breasts. Me? Not so much. They ache and pull and I've just recently spent a fortune on two bras that could support an F-250. I had an irritating stinging sensation on my right side that just didn't want to go away and made me want to pee at the most inopportune moments. Yeah, Daniel, that's just a mighty fine PowerPoint presentation, but do you mind if I just pee right here on the briefing room carpet?

The one thing that didn't happen is a bump. To be more specific, a baby bump. I have one now, of course, only a little one, but it took its time appearing. I would lie in the bath with my hand rubbing my stomach up and down, feeling for more of a curve than usual. In fact, I lost quite a bit of weight in the beginning. Nausea, vomiting, literally being worried sick over where you were, (or indeed, if you still 'were') ensured that I didn't gain much weight to start with. I guess that helped to ensure that no-one had the least idea that I was preggers, as I looked thinner than I had done for years. Cam kept bringing me slabs of apple pie that his mom sent him, Teal'c kept me well supplied with Belgian chocolate and Daniel, well, Daniel kept trying to get me drunk on cheap Chardonnay. I cried him off so many times; I had a stomach upset, I needed to be up early for so many breakfast briefings it was ridiculous - he must have suspected something. I hung around the SGC trying to make myself useful while Landry organized search teams for you but also just gets on with the business at hand; after all, we've lost people before, haven't we? Dancing around off-world operations ensured I avoided the infirmary and Carolyn's pre-mission medicals, relatively easy since I was still technically seconded to Area 51.

But you know I couldn't keep my special little secret a secret for ever.

It's late and I'm gonna go catch some shuteye,

Love you, father of my child,



May 22nd 2007

No entries for a coupla days - been busy. Don't worry, I'm taking it easy.

As I said, I couldn't hide it for ever. Things came to a head at 11 weeks. Not 11 weeks after you went missing, 11 weeks pregnant, you had been MIA for 4 weeks, are you following this? I either spent the time thinking about you and being pregnant or doing a really good job of immersing myself in work and pretending I'm not pregnant. I'm managing my schedule so well that I can spend more time in Colorado than Area 51, but all the journeys to and fro are quite frankly debilitating.

So… I get a call at home on a Friday – I'd just got back from Nevada - from Sgt. Harriman. Can I please attend an emergency briefing at the SGC? Now? I try to make it along the parkway without barfing up more than twice and when I walk into the briefing room, there's a buzz.

Teal'c, Cam and SG7 think they've found you.

My head swims, and I make to a chair before my knees go entirely.

Everyone is chatter, chatter. SG7 are still off-world following up some more intel and General L wants a team to rendezvous with them early the next morning. Daniel Jackson is heading back from England where he was visiting Sarah Gardner. (She's doing really well, by the way and loves being back in Cambridge).

He reads out my name as group commander.


Of course, he was just trying to include me; he's not dumb and knows we have a special relationship… although he has no idea how special. I sat in that chair being attentive and contributive for the entire briefing even though my mind is spinning like a centrifuge.

Thanks for trying to involve me, sir, but I'd rather not risk my unborn child on a potentially fatal rescue mission.

I hung about after the briefing, having to wait until all the hangers-on had dispersed. Harriman is flapping around like some attentive moth - I wanted to scream at him: "JUST FREAKING GO, WILL YA!"

Finally, the room is empty apart from Landry and me. He looks at me and I look at him and he knows something's up. "In my office, Sam," he says and pushes the door further open to allow me gentlemanly access to his command center. Yes, I do like that chivalry coming from Landry; so senior and Ivy League – it reminds me of my dad.

I'm so nervous, I can't sit down. I remember to hold my arms at my sides, because if I didn't, I knew that they would be twisted up like a pretzel. I am practiced at not showing any nervousness, but then, you know that. All those years facing up the male pilots at flight school, heading all male briefings and Academy lectures have made me cultivate an air of 'I'm a bitch that is all that so just don't bother with wisecracks'. I can do this; I am an adult after all.

Landry is saying something to me. I get the feeling it's not the first time he's said it. Damn; his mouth is moving and I can hear him making noises, but it doesn't make sense. He points to a chair. Chair. Sit. He wants me to sit down! How many times did he ask me? My blood is roaring in my ears and the room is spinning, please, no, I don't want to barf all over his Govt. issue short pile, high traffic carpet. I feel as though I should stand – after all, this confession is going to be on the record.

But I sit anyway. Mainly because my knees are knocking together and I'm worried the noise might drown out the conversation.

"Something on your mind, Colonel?" he asks with the practiced ease of a commander that knows that damn right there is.


It's gotta be now or he'll eventually get the message when I'm the size of Minnesota, waddling around the SGC eating my soon-to-be-considerable weight in Oreos. I sit with my back straight, knees pressed together, and my hands folded in front of me.

"It's about the S&R for General O'Neill," I faltered out.

He sits back and steeples his beefy hands on the familiar desk. "I thought it might be."

And he waits. He's waiting for an explanation. Geez, I'm smart.

I take a deep but discrete breath. "I regret to inform you, sir, that I will have to sit out this mission. At this time. I mean... I'm sorry, I can't go. Sir." Wow, I hadn't moved anything but my mouth; how's that for control?

Landry's eyebrows moved. The man has wonderful eyebrows; like two rare, hirsute caterpillars totally at home on his forehead. "Are you telling me you're refusing a command?" The normally genial blue eyes glinted like pieces of flint.

"Yes I am. What I mean to say is no, not refusing exactly..." Crap. This was not going well. I shifted in my seat and his eyes narrowed.

"I'm waiting, Colonel."

My tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth and I was definitely going to be sick. I was sure I was as white as a sheet.

Landry must have noticed too because when I looked up, his expression was softer. "I thought you would jump at the chance to rescue an ex-teammate." He chose his words carefully; kudos to him.

"Normally I would have indeed, sir. But you see there is a very good reason why I can't head the team on this occasion." I ploughed on; fixing my center of vision somewhere above General L's left shoulder. "You see, I'd fail the medical."

The General sat right back and his caterpillars dropped a centimeter. He wasn't expecting that.

"The medical?" he clarified.

I nodded, by way of explanation.

"What's wrong, Sam?"

His voice was so soft, so full of concern, so un-military and so unexpected that it was nearly my undoing. The tears were welling... were my eyes glistening?

"I'd fail the medical." My vision was blurring.

"You said that." The steepled hands had disconnected and were resting on his blotting pad.

"I'd fail the medical because I'm p..p.."



For a moment I saw an expression of happiness. But then the experienced General snapped it off, in response to my corresponding expression of misery, I suppose.

"I see," he acknowledged. After a minute he added; "Are you sure?"

I was careful not to nod like a crazy woman. "Well, I've done several of those test things and I've had all the symptoms, I think I'm about nine weeks along-"

"What I meant was, have you seen a doctor?"


"Not yet, I thought it was too soon." The admission made blood rush to my cheeks.

"Oh, Sam." The eyebrows dropped again.

Squirming, I tried to placate. "I had intended to. In fact, I was going to make an appointment for next week."

"Please promise me that you will. I know Carolyn can come across as prickly sometimes but she's a damn fine doctor and discrete as hell. Of course, I'll reconsider the mission list – what about Colonel Reynolds?"

I nodded quickly, hoping the interview confession would be over just as fast.

"Sam. May I ask you a personal question?"

That was it; my vision caved in on me. Two small round pinpricks; double Landrys, four arms.

I don't remember acquiescing to his request, but he asked it anyway.

"Is Jack the father of your baby?"

Bam. Right between the eyes.

I lost it. Covering my face with my hands did nothing to quiet the raging sobs that erupted from my soul. I cried for my lost love, my unborn child, my dead father, and the fact that I really, really wanted my mom. I didn't even try to stifle the emotions that had been building up these past few weeks and when I felt Hank's arm around my shoulder, I cried even harder and grabbed onto to his shirt with all my strength.

If I was expecting cool retribution, I didn't get it. He held onto me as firmly as my dad would have and didn't say a word.

After many minutes of unmitigated sobbing, weeping and sniffling (repressed emotions, much?) there was a knock at the door and Harriman bustled through clutching what looked like briefing papers. Seeing me, complete with attractive tear-stained visage and Landry's arm around me, ensured he was stopped in his tracks and he began to retreat, full of profuse apologies.

Hank belayed him with a gentle; "Hang on a minute, Walter."

Walter looked like he would rather be walking on the moon without a spacesuit rather than 'hanging on'.

"Would you be so good as to bring Colonel Carter a glass of water, please?" Landry was calm yet authoritative. I suddenly realized that this man would be one to trust, not with my life – I had already done that - but with my secret. Our secret.

Walter murmured a quiet 'of course' and I went back to leaking on Hank's shirt for a further five minutes.

I miss you so much. Have I mentioned this?

When Harriman at long last returned he was carrying a blanket and a mug – tendrils of steam and the delicious smell betraying not H2O, but HCO – the desirable liquid compound of hotus chocolatii. Walter certainly knows me well. I managed to mouth him a thank you while Landry stretched the coarse blanket across my tight shoulders. Seriously, is it in the AF regs that those things have to be so damn itchy?

Landry patted me on the shoulder and disappeared for a few minutes and when he came back he announced that a driver would be taking me home and that he would contact me the next morning to give me an update on the mission, and no arguments.

I'm exhausted. I don't object.

The driver turns out to be Harriman (is that man ever off duty?) who treats me with kindness and concern, finds my coat and my purse for me, opens doors for me, pushes elevator buttons for me. Am I affronted by his gentlemanly attention? No way. I let him do all of the above and even let him take my house keys, switch on my lights and I take all the empty reassurances he dishes out, even though I can barely say a word in return. He doesn't seem to mind. And he doesn't ask what the hell is wrong with me.

Thank you, Walter, you're a sweetie.

I went to bed.

I even went to sleep.

Later, S x