The chinking of crockery and glass seemed louder than usual as Jack turned his cereal over in the bowl of milk. A night spent in the infirmary on a rock hard bed instead of his own soft mattress had done nothing for his aching back and grating knees, making him irritable and even conversational than usual. Despite his protests, Doctor Frasier had been quite insistent he stay over night for observation, though secretly he suspected she just wanted to make up for lost time poking him full of holes.
The woman was obsessed.
He been subjected to every scan, needle and examination since becoming visible again, which only made him wistful for the brief time he'd escaped her clutches.
'Are you okay?'
Looking up from the fruit loops, Daniel was frowning at him from across the table with a small smudge of pancake syrup on the edge of his mouth.
'Just peachy, Daniel' he answered dispassionately, less keen to chat and more to return to the companionable silence.
This was always how it started over breakfast where Daniel would try and engage them in some kind of thought provoking debate that he would tune out of while Sam diligently paid attention. However this morning she was late which meant he had no one to rescue him. Teal'c was far too engrossed in his mountain of fruit, waffles and orange juice even if he was listening.
'I thought you'd be pleased to be out of the infirmary' Daniel pressed
'So, what's up?'
'Can't we just eat breakfast?' he almost pleaded, keeping his head low
'Hey guys, sorry I'm late. I was working on the cloaking device and forgot the time' Sam interrupted
There was nothing like a dose of Carter tech talk to keep the Archaeologist busy for a while and buy Jack some time to zone out. As she set down her modest breakfast across the table, Jack welcomed the shift in Daniels attention to her.
'Any luck figuring it out?'
'Actually yeah, it was bugging me last night after you told me how the Colonels uniform became visible after he took it off' she explained
'So what did you find?' Daniel asked while shovelling another forkful of pancake into his mouth, coated with enough syrup to drown a small country.
'You remember how I said the Colonel was bombarded by subatomic particles? I think it was the minute charge present in the body that kept them bonded to him in the same way they could temporarily bond to the ship's charged hull but not with the fabric, possibly some kind of super quark that reacts with incident photons causing them to become highly energised. Effectively the photons gathered momentum, shortening their wavelength and shifting to a higher frequency in the electromagnetic spectrum to somewhere near the x-ray band, where they passed through him. The process would be brief as the photons would loose the extra momentum, radiating energy and returning to its original wavelength. To the outside observer it would appear as though nothing is there'
Her eye's sparkled with excitement as she explained before taking a sip of her orange juice and digging into the healthy option cereal that Jack had previously winced at while making his own selection. It should annoy him that she had so much energy given that it was before 8am, but as she rarely seemed as happy as when she enthused over some mysterious doohicky she'd unravelled he let it slide a while.
'Uh huh' Daniel humoured her, though Jack wondered how much of it he really understood.
'Is it possible to repair the cloaking generator?' Teal'c piped suddenly up between mouthfuls.
'No, unfortunately the device was too badly damaged by the power spike' Sam sighed. Jack's hopes crashing once with the confirmation that his few days of fun were finished.
'Do we really have to go over this again?' he complained sharply, surprising them.
'Jack, you can't still be upset about being visible again?' Daniel asked
'No' Jack answered sullenly.
Daniel threw him a sceptical look
'Okay, yes, I admit it. As a matter of fact I am a little miffed'
'Just the other day you were complaining that you might be permanently invisible, and now you want it back?' Daniel gestured to him with his fork
'I'm just saying that I wouldn't have agreed to the test if I'd known you might blow the damn thing up' Jack grumbled, taking another scoop of fruit loops that we doing nothing to improve his mood
'I'm sorry, Sir. But I had a feeling you might have say that' Sam explained, deliberately avoiding his gaze as though guilty, which didn't go unnoticed.
'You knew it would happen?' Jack accused.
'Not exactly' she winced 'I didn't know for sure the device would short out but I hoped we'd convince you to let me try it anyway'
'All that stuff about health implications and tests at Area 51?' he asked
'Possibly, maybe, very slightly, exaggerated a little, Sir' she told him apologetically.
'Maybe exaggerated?! Carter!'
'Jack, before you start yelling, General Hammond ordered us to try and convince you' Daniel tried to placate him but knowing the General was in on it too just annoyed him further.
'And there really could have been a problem. I wasn't lying to you about those subatomic particles, they are…'
She stopped as Jack covered his ears.
'I don't want to hear it, Carter. I'm not invisible anymore and that's the end of it' as they fell silent he returned his attention to the fruit loops 'At least I get to eat breakfast in peace without the weird looks'
Jack caught the hint of a suppressed smile before Sam's attention shifted to something behind him.
'Sergeant Harriman, what can we do for you?'
Ah hell. Just when you think it's safe to go back in the water… Jack thought morosely as he slowly turned towards their unexpected visitor.
'I'm sorry to disturb you, Sir. I found this under the gate ramp and I thought you might be looking for it'
His lucky baseball cap.
For once he was pleased to see the tech Sergeant who was so often the bringer of things he'd rather not have to deal with, and glad of his ability to find almost anything. His favourite olive green cap had been with them on so many missions he'd missed it since he lost it in the gate ramp tumble. Suddenly Jack felt a little bad for giving him the run around, but only briefly as the memory of his little hide and seek games brought a satisfied grin to his face. It had been nice while it lasted.
'Thank you, Walter. I appreciate the thought' Jack told him, with slight affectation.
Harriman nodded before leaving him to return to his fruit loops, or at least he would have if not for the suspect looks he was getting from his team.
There was nothing quite like the aroma of fresh coffee mingling with the leather of his office chair to put him in the mood for another day doing battle in the senate. Taking a long slug of the dark brew Kinsey flipped through the correspondence dutifully laid out on the polished surface of the solid oak desk, savouring the time before the first meeting where he looked forward to dousing the pitiful proposal for some hippy green movement initiative. One that would no doubt lead to increased tax for his public which does nothing to get a Senator into the Whitehouse. As far as he was concerned the fine people of American should be free to do as they damn well pleased without being told what to do by crazy environmental scaremongers, especially if it meant they'd vote for him in the next round of elections.
Setting aside his cup for a moment, one of the files caught his attention. Marked "TOP SECRET; EYES ONLY" he recognised the report as an SGC update, which usually meant the dire consequences for Earth or a significant piece of alien technology had been procured. Since he'd heard nothing about emergency briefings with the President, it had to have been the later.
'What have those imbeciles brought back with them this time?' The senator mused, sitting back in the large leather chair with his coffee in hand once more.
Scanning the report he chuckled to himself to see that SG-1 had recently got themselves into a sticky situation with a system lord while attempting some half witted mission to destroy something of value. The fool leader had gone and made himself invisible.
Suddenly, a thought stuck him and a fresh wave of irritation sprang from the memory of his last encounter at the SGC. Cold realisation spread like a cancer wiping the smirk clean of his freshly shaven face.
Hastily turning back a few pages he checked the date on the front of the file. As he did so heat filled his veins causing his hands to shake and his lips tighten into a grimace
'That son of a bitch… kicked my ass!' he yelled, livid at the recollection.
Throwing down the file and snatching the phone out of its cradle he was about to dial Hammond and take his complaint to the top when he was interrupted by his aide.
'Please excuse the intrusion Senator, is everything alright? I though I heard you call'
It was about to spill out when the words choked him. There was no way on God's green Earth that he would admit to his aide that he'd been kicked in the ass by a jumped up Air Force Colonel. He would be turned into a laughing stock by that man.
Clearing his throat quickly, the coffee left a bitter aftertaste in his mouth.
'My coffee is cold; arrange a fresh pot will you?'
'Yes Sir' the young man nodded, acknowledging both the barked request and the foul temper, before closing the door behind him.
Putting the phone down slowly, his hands still shaking with anger, he realised he couldn't reveal what had happened to anyone. The idea that O'Neill had got one over on him made him sick to his stomach. Collapsing onto the chair backrest he eyed the report carefully, his lips twisting into a snarl.
'Oh you might have got away with it this time, O'Neill, but no one get away with making a fool out of me. Not even you, Colonel'
A/N Thanks for reading! If you liked the story please feel free to write a quick review. It's always great to hear back from the vast emptiness of cyberspace! Thank you to everyone who reviewed the chapters and added the story to alerts. It all inspired me to keep going to the end when life got very busy. I'm so grateful for your patience and questions!