Special Duty

Rated: PG

Category: Gen, Vignette, Carson Beckett focus. OC perspective.

Season: Three.

Spoilers: Sunday.

Summary: Sometimes, the things we least want to learn end up helping us most.

Note: This one's for the veterans. All of them.

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Eight year old George Abbot hated that he had to do this. He hated it so much that the only way he could get through it was to imagine himself doing something else. Anything else. With his mind elsewhere, he made more mistakes than most, but his father never let him quit.

He bombarded George with lectures on cultural history and national duty and never once allowed George to skip his lessons, even though his son's arguments about how his family had left their homeland when he was an infant were quite valid. With no other options, George soldiered on, and somehow, despite his best efforts, he became quite proficient as a teenager.

In time, he realized that perhaps his father was right. This wasn't such a bad thing. Of course, George's change of heart was due to entirely different reasons than national pride, like being able to impress girls with a talent few young men had, but that was beside the point. Eventually, George embraced his skills and he was mostly grateful to his father for insisting he learn them.

Like all young men, though, George grew up, and the pastimes of his youth fell by the wayside. George ended up a United States Marine in the time it took the universe to blink.

His career was fairly ordinary until fate stepped in and brought him a chance to distinguish himself enough to land an assignment with Stargate Command. He hadn't known of its existence before he was stationed there, but once he discovered the wonders that occurred within Cheyenne Mountain, he knew he never wanted to leave. George's job was such that he'd never actually go through the gate, but that was okay with him. He was content to watch from the sidelines.

Until now.

Two days ago, George had volunteered for a special duty. One only a handful of people were qualified for. Now, he was leaving not only the SGC and his planet, but his galaxy. He was going through the Stargate to Atlantis. He was out of uniform and devoid of any military gear, which left him feeling naked and nervous in front of the awe-inspiring event horizon. He was dressed in clothes he normally kept carefully packed away, and he had just one possession with him, but there was no way he would shirk this duty. He was going to do this, come hell or high water.

Until two days ago, George Abbot hadn't played his bagpipes in years, but today he'd play them like he never had before.

He'd play them for a fallen countryman.