The care and feeding of Marines

When John wandered out to the balcony closest to his office, he swore to himself he was just getting a bit of fresh air. He was absolutely not hoping to run into his 2IC, especially not for the sole purpose of fobbing his paperwork off on the other man. Nope, that wasn't it at all; fresh air was his only objective. But when he saw two jumpers inexplicably skimming over the Lantean ocean in what was obviously a search pattern, he decided that the use of the jumpers without his knowledge was a good iexcuse/i reason for tracking down the Major.

John tapped his comm. "Lorne."

"Yes, sir." Lorne's response was immediate and professional. It didn't ease John's mind one bit.

"Have we lost something?" John asked mildly.


"Why am I watching two jumpers hovering over the ocean?"

"Oh, umm," Lorne trailed off, uncharacteristically evasive.

"Major," John put just enough of an edge in his voice to remind Lorne that he was talking to a superior officer, a reminder Lorne didn't usually need.

"It's a training exercise, sir, search and rescue."

John frowned. There wasn't anything wrong with the Major taking initiative; it was one of the things John liked best about Lorne. The last thing he needed was someone he had to hand-hold over every little detail, but something in Lorne's voice told him there was more to the story than met the eye. "Any special reason we're brushing up on our water rescue skills?"

"Yes, sir. The Marines are bored," Lorne offered by way of explanation.

John shuddered in sympathy. Bored Marines were dangerous Marines. "Understood," he acknowledged. That meant Lorne wasn't going to be free to help with paperwork anytime soon. "So what exactly are they rescuing?"

"I asked Zelenka to rig me a remote for a disarmed drone. I send it out, two teams locate it and return it to me. Then I send it out again."

John paused for a moment, not quite believing what he was hearing. "Major, are you telling me you're playing fetch with the Marines?"

Loren's silence was as good as an admission of guilt. "Maybe?"

Search and rescue sounded like something the military commander should be involved with, John decided. "I wanna play. Where are you?"