The Feynman Lectures on Physics
Based upon Stargate: SG-1.
Well, I did it again. I decided to take one of my chapters from "Alternatives" and turn it into a real story. This one is based on Chapter V: "Redecorating." It is a prequel. Please read that as well, please.
For those of you who don't care to go read it: this takes place in an alternate reality where General West is still in charge, Daniel Jackson is a Major in the Air Force and the leader of SG-1. Jack O'Neill is a First Sergeant in the Air Force, and on SG-1 (FYI: the First Sergeant is often called "First Shirt" or "Shirt", or so Wikipedia tells me, I'm the Navy so I really don't know). The Samantha Carter in this story is basically the "Nerdy Carter" from Moebius.
The Feynman Lectures on Physics is a series of textbooks based on the lectures of Professor Richard P. Feynman at the California Institute of Technology from 1961-1962. Because of the rapid development of physics during that time, the entire college physics introductory system needed to be redesigned. Today, collegiate introductory physics are generally taught based on Feynman's lectures.
Onto the story.
Chapter One: The Interaction of Two Oppositely Charged Particles, or "Attraction"
- . - - - . -
If he was being completely honest, which was usually something he hated to do, he never ever would have imagined himself interested in Samantha Carter. She was about as confident as a chipmunk. Not a squirrel, even they had some gumption now and again. She barely spoke, even when spoken to. And when she did, you couldn't really hear her. She just couldn't speak up, with some determination in her voice.
He thought she was a generally attractive woman, not smoking hot, but not an eyesore. But she did have those ridiculous thick rimmed glasses, if anything made her look like a nerd, it was that. And she was smart. It's not that he preferred his women dumber than paint, but he'd never been crazy about women who did long division in their heads for the hell of it.
But now, things were different. He knew exactly when it happened, too. They were on some desert planet, and it was hot as hell. They were all chugging down water like there was no tomorrow. So, finally, Major Jackson had had enough and told everyone to strip off their blouses and just stick with their skivvy shirts, tactical vests, and war belts with a pair of canteens.
As he was stashing his blouse with the rest of his gear, he looked up at Carter. She had poured a little bit of water in her hand and was combing it back into her hair. She hadn't put on her vest yet, allowing him to admire her figure in just her skivvy shirt. He couldn't remember seeing anything that sexy. The image was still ingrained in his mind.
Samantha Carter in desert camouflage pants, boots, and a skivvy shirt, with a war belt around her waist and a 9mm Berretta strapped to her thigh, a light sheen of sweat on her skin and leaning back at the waist slightly, running both hands through her hair.
Major Jackson clapping him on the shoulder stopped his staring and shut his mouth, which had been resting on his shoes, he was sure. "Ready to move, Shirt?" he asked.
Jack stood up, checking his gear. "Yes, Sir."
"Carter? Teal'c?" the Major said, walking over to them.
Teal'c hadn't been wearing a blouse, blouses being impractical due to the size of his biceps. Teal'c simply nodded. Carter hitched her canteen back on her war belt and picked up her vest, slid it on, and zipped it up. Jack found himself staring again. He shook his head back to reality and followed the Major. He usually brought up the rear and walked a distance behind Carter, that time he decided to walk next to her.
After that, he found himself walking next to Carter more. He was sure she noticed. He even caught her looking at him sometimes, just like she caught him staring sometimes. She started talking more, not much more, but enough to notice. He realized that he could listen to her read the phonebook and be interested, no, enraptured (a word she taught him).
And, boy, was he wrong about those glasses? Okay, so it was the "sexy librarian/lab assistant/whatever" stereotype, but . . . Now that he was actually looking and paying attention, sure they made her look nerdy, but they definitely made her look sexy.
She was funny, too. She often made little jokes under her breath. He visited her in her lab a few times a day. He made sure she ate lunch, which she had had the bad habit of skipping. He liked spending time with her.
Now, right this second, he was sitting on a bed in the Infirmary. They had just gotten back from a mission and were getting their Post-Op physicals so they could go home and enjoy the weekend. He was watching her, and waiting for Doctor Fraiser to walk away so he could go talk to her. He didn't have plans for this evening and he knew she didn't either, but he was determined to change that.
Ha! At last, Doc walked away and he made his move. He was standing in front of her before she finished buttoning her blouse. When they didn't go on missions, she wore regular clothes. She was a big fan of button up blouses and sweaters. But, seeing as they just got back from a mission, she was still in BDUs. She looked up, more than slightly surprised to see him standing so close to her. "First Sergeant."
"So, Samantha," it was the first time he'd used her given name. He liked it. "Have any plans this evening?"
She slid off the bed next to him and started out of the room. He was pretty sure that his use of her first name made her uncomfortable. She was probably headed towards her lab, her little safe haven in the Mountain. "This evening?" she said, a nervous waiver in her voice. "Nothing. Why?"
"Because," he said, falling into step next to her. "I was thinking that you and I could get some dinner." They stopped in front of the elevator.
She stared at him, wide eyed. "What?"
He reached around her and hit the button, realizing she was too shocked to move.
He flashed his teeth, something between a smirk and a smile. "We could have dinner. Tonight. Together."
The elevator arrived and she almost jumped inside, as if he wouldn't follow her. He did, and pressed the button for the floor her lab was on.
He heard her swallow. "Like a date?"
He smiled at her again, but didn't let it fade. "Yeah, like a date."
He furrowed his brow a little, unsure how to take that.
"It's just that . . . you're - you're not the kind of guy I usually attract."
He took a step closer to her, which she immediately retreated from. He met her eyes with a powerful gaze. "You're attracting me now."
The doors open and she slipped past him again, practically running to her lab. He followed her casually. He stood on the opposite side of her lab table, giving her some space. He knew he was making her uncomfortable. "What do you say?" he asked.
She didn't answer for a second. Her mouth hung open, but no words came out. "Um," she finally said. "What would we talk about?" she asked.
He leaned over the table. "Physics," he said softly.
She swallowed hard again. From the look on her face, he knew that he was the first one to ever make physics sound sexually enticing before. "Really?"
He smirked again. "Yeah. You can tell me all about attraction."
"What kind?" she whispered, slowly leaning forward almost as if in some kind of trance.
"There's more than one kind?" he asked, that excited him. He wasn't sure why, but that definitely excited him.
She nodded, her eyes wide. "Gravitational, electromagnetic . . ."
His smirk grew into a smile. "See, we'll have plenty to talk about. Pick you up at seven?"
She inhaled slowly and nodded.
He turned and left, pausing at the door. "Just wear something casual. We may be talking about physics, but you're not going to a symposium or anything."
She nodded again. "Okay," she replied, almost as an afterthought.
He was grinning like an idiot to himself as he made his way around the base. He had a date with Samantha Carter. She was going to teach him about physics. He had never, in his life, been this excited about school. But, then again, he had never been hot for teacher before.
- . - . -
Well, it was official. She needed new clothes. She needed a lot of new clothes. Hell, she needed an entirely new wardrobe.
Sam stood in front of her closet in jeans and a bra, staring at her shirts. She didn't want to wear any of them. She wanted to wear something kind of nice, but still a little casual. She glanced at her watch again, First Sergeant O'Neill would be there soon. She had changed her shirt four times, and was now not wearing one, and her date - she stifled a giggle, her date - was almost there.
She had never been on a date before. Well . . . not a real date . . . with a boy. She had gone out to dinner a few times, but it had never been just her and a man, and ordering pizza to the library at 1.30 in the morning didn't count as a date. She thought about Jack O'Neill. A sexy man at that. She blushed. Hey, she was a grown woman. She was allowed to refer to a man as "sexy." And he was. Jack O'Neill was sexy.
She suddenly realized she was grinning to herself. She was staring at her closet, without a shirt and grinning like an idiot. She shook her self back into reality and finally decided on a shirt. She reached for a plain, dark blue, button up blouse and reached for a white camisole. She then spent the next three minutes buttoning and unbuttoning the shirt, deciding what looked better.
She decided on neither, and dropped the blouse on her bed. She pulled out a sweater and put it on. But now, of course, her camisole didn't match. So, she stripped the sweater over her head and went searching for a shirt to go underneath it. She found one.
Just then her doorbell rang. She froze, not knowing what to do. She slid the sweater on and grabbed her boots, the knee high ones that zipped up the sides. She hadn't been gusty enough to by the stilettos, but she was proud of herself for buying them. She hurried to the door and opened it.
Jack O'Neill stood on her doorstep with his hands in his pockets and a smirk on his face. He wore a long sleeve black shirt over jeans. "Hey," he said.
She swallowed hard. Sam didn't know what it was about him, but he was constantly leaving her without anything to say. She forced a smile, which she knew looked ridiculous, and gestured for him to come in. "Just - ah - give me a minute." She escaped down the hall and turned off the lights.
She came back to see him seated on the arm of the couch casually. She sat down on one of the chairs in the living room and put on her boots. Zipping them up and pulling her pants legs down over top of them, she knew he was staring at her. She looked up and met his gaze.
Whenever he looked at her, there was a strange power in his eyes. He was attracted to her.
She stood, trying to ignore it. "Ready?" she asked, feigning as much confidence as she could, which wasn't much.
He smirked again. "Yeah, let's go."
She followed him out, pausing to lock the door behind her. She turned to follow him to his truck, but he had been standing directly behind her and she almost bumped into him. She swallowed hard again. He noticed and chuckled. Sam followed Jack out to his truck, and he opened the passenger door for her.
There was relative silence on the way to the restaurant. She just didn't know what to say. They parked, and he opened her door for her again. He then offered her his arm. She took a deep breath and took it. He told the hostess that it was just the two of them and she led them to a table for two in the middle of the restaurant.
Their waiter came over and took their drink orders. He got a beer. She ordered a diet coke. He furrowed his brow. "Diet?" he asked.
She shrugged. "I like the taste," she admitted. She did. There was something weird about it that she liked.
Once their waiter was gone, he leaned in close. She did the same, she didn't really know why. "So," he said in that incredible tone - that "forbidden fruit" tone - he had used in her lab. "Tell me about attraction."
"What?" As soon as the word came out of her mouth, she knew she had to stop doing that. She needed to start thinking before she spoke around him. She was really beginning to sound like an idiot.
"You know, attraction." Oh my God, she loved the way he said that. "You said there was more than one kind. Gravity and magnets?"
She smiled. "Gravitational and electromagnetic, yes," she said. Sam detected a bit of confidence in her own voice. He was on her turf now. Okay, so she knew what he was doing. He was getting her to talk about something she knew about - knew a lot about - in order to make her more comfortable with him. That was okay. Knowing about something didn't nullify its effectiveness. Just because she knew about Van der Waals forces didn't mean her molecules were going to fly apart. "With gravitation, attraction is the common name for the force between two massive bodies."
"Massive?" he repeated questioningly.
"Yes," she said. "A body with mass. The attraction is proportional to the product of their masses and the inverse of the squared distance between them."
He seemed to consider it for a second.
Sam pulled a pen from her purse and unrolled her silverware from napkin. She wrote the general equation on the napkin. She then explained what each variable was.
He considered it a second more.
Their waiter returned with their drinks and Jack asked for more napkins. He smiled at her as he did.
"I don't know if I like that one. Massive bodies aren't exactly what I was hoping to deal with. What else you got?"
"Electromagnetic attraction," she said. Sam wondered why he didn't like gravity or massive bodies.
"Electromagnetic attraction is the interaction between two oppositely charged particles."
"Oppositely charged, you say?"
She nodded. "Yup."
"Like us, you mean."
She smiled through her blush, and nodded. That was why he didn't like massive bodies, he was trying to make everything about the two of them. She looked down at the napkin, trying to cool the skin of her face. She wrote the equation for the force of two point charges. She pointed to a specific term. "This kind of attraction, like gravitation, has a multiplying coefficient that contributes to the magnitude of the force."
"So, they're not all the same."
"Well, the coefficient is always the same for electromagnetics. But this coefficient is different than the one for gravitation. The electromagnetic force is much greater than the gravitational force, simply because the coefficient is so much larger."
"What about that one, on the bottom?" he asked.
"Again, like gravitation, the attraction increases as distance between them decreases."
"Decreases squared," he corrected.
She looked up at him through her lashes. "Decreases squared," she agreed.
He seemed to scoot a little closer to the table, maybe not, but that's what it felt like. "So the closer two things are, physically, the more attraction exists between them."
She swallowed hard and nodded.
They were interrupted by their waiter, causing the blush to return to her face. He took their order and told them he'd bring it out as soon as it was ready.
"So," Jack asked once the waiter had left them again, "what happens when two things are attracted?"
"The same thing that happens to anything when a force acts upon them."
"Which is what?" he leaned forward again.
"Change in momentum with respect to time. But, since particles can't randomly change mass at will, they experience acceleration, or a change in velocity with respect to time."
"So, they speed up or slow down."
She smiled. "Yes. But, for completeness sake, velocity is a magnitude and a direction." He didn't answer, but she was sure - from the look on his face - that he didn't fully understand. She flipped the napkin over and drew a vector line. She labeled its length. "Velocity is how fast something is going, but also the direction it is going in."
"It has to be both?"
"That's what a vector is. Magnitude and direction."
"So, force is a vector?" She nodded. "And right now, there's one going from here," he pointed to himself, "to here," he pointed to her. "And about, two feet long."
She smiled. "Technically speaking, there is a gravitational attraction between the two of us, as well as an electromagnetic force. We just can't feel it because they are negligible when compared to the other forces acting on us."
"Like that other attractive force."
"I absolutely feel that one. It is definitely changing my momentum. Not my mass or speed, but definitely the direction I am heading in."
They ate their dinner when it came, enjoying a nice playful discussion. She taught - well told, he may or may not have been retaining much of it - more about physics, but she was comfortable enough to stay from her subject of choice. She did like him.
He wasn't as intimidating as she originally thought. He was engaging and he was interested as hell in her. She had never met anyone who seemed fascinated by every word that came out of her mouth. Well, that wasn't true. There was one student in one of the physics courses she had been a graduate instructor for. He fawned over everything she said. But she hadn't counted him then, and certainly wasn't counting him now.
Even after they had finished their meals and he paid the check, they sat and talked for a while.
She was in the middle of explaining "spooky action at a distance" of point charges when the expression on his face changed. "What?" she asked, the comfort she developed over their meal fading fast.
"Why don't we go back to your place to talk for a while."
She froze. Any and all comfort she may have built up in that conversation vanished with a poof. Going back to anyone's place to talk rarely involved talking. Not that she knew from experience, it was just one of those things that everyone knew. She didn't know how to respond.
"No," he gestured somewhat wildly. "I meant to talk. Really."
She blushed. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to assume . . ."
"No, don't be sorry. Don't ever be sorry, that's my job."
She smiled. "Alright, let's go."
"Really?" he sounded surprised that she agreed so readily.
She nodded, standing up. She took his arm again and they made their way out to his truck. When they arrived at her house and she let them in, she stood around uncomfortably.
"Listen, Sam," he said. "I can go home if you're uncomfortable."
"No," she said, probably a little too quickly. "I'm just not good at this."
He took a few steps towards her and took her hands in his. "You're plenty good at this." He held her gaze with a soft smile. He led her to the couch and sat down. She sat down next to him, hands folded nervously in her lap.
He put his arm on the couch behind her casually, but he didn't touch her. She looked at him and took a deep breath. Throwing caution to the wind, she leaned into him and he let his arm drop around her.
"That attraction must be really big right now," he said.
"What?" she looked up at him.
"The distance between us is really small, and I'm feeling a force trying to change my speed."
Feeling a sudden boldness, she shifted a little, facing him just a little more. "What would happen if you didn't fight that force?"
"I think I might kiss you," he said quietly.
"I think I would like that."
Bringing his other hand to cup her face he lowered his and brushed his lips across hers. Sam had only been kissed a handful of times in her life, but none of them had ever compared to that moment, right then. She snaked her hand up behind his neck and, for a second, didn't let him withdraw. When she did, he was grinning at her. She grinned back for a second before settling back into the crook of his arm.
They didn't talk for the next half hour, maybe more. The chimes of the mantle clock alerted them to the late hour and he told her he should head home. She walked him to the door, where he paused.
"This was great. We should definitely do it again some time."
"I had fun," she said.
Again, he cupped her cheek with his hand and brought his face to hers. This time, she moved to him for a sweet kiss. When he pulled away, he was grinning again. "See you Monday."
"Bye." From her doorway, she watched him walk out to his truck. When he started to back out of her driveway, she closed and locked the door behind her. She headed towards her bedroom, turning off lights. A smile stuck on her face.
The force coefficient must have been enormous, because even as the distance between them increased, she could feel an incredible force of attraction.
- . - - - . -
~~ Stay tuned for Chapter Two ~~