Underestimation

The Adventures of Nerdy Carter and First Sergeant O'Neill: Episode VI

Based upon Stargate: SG-1.

Set chronologically after "The Feynman Lectures."

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First Sergeant Jack O'Neill entered the briefing room where he found Major Jackson and Teal'c already seated. There was another man, a captain, standing at the head of the table.

"First Sergeant," the Captain said with a forced smile. "Thanks for joining us," he said with false sincerity. "Please take a seat."

Felger, Jack took note of the man's name. He already didn't like him. "What's this about, Sir?" he asked Major Jackson.

"I have a proposal for SG-1, First Sergeant," Captain Felger answered him.

"Where's Doctor Carter, then?" Major Jackson asked before Jack could.

"I didn't think her presence was necessary," Captain Felger said off handedly, pushing manila folders at each of them.

"When you want to speak to my team, it is my decision who's presence is necessary, not yours. Do you understand, Captain?" Major Jackson asked, his voice low and sharp.

Captain Felger choked a small cough, hiding his embarrassment. "Of course, Sir, my mistake. Shall we wait for Carter?"

Jack glared at him while Major Jackson answered. "No, I'll fill Doctor Carter in later."

Captain Felger choked another - slightly smaller - cough. Jack could tell he was realizing that he was digging himself a hole.

"So, start, I have things to do today," Major Jackson said.

Jack was glad that he was giving Captain Felger a hard time.

"My proposal is that I serve as Doctor Carter's replacement on SG-1," he said with a toothy smile. Jack immediately decided his front teeth were too big.

"Replacement?" Jack repeated. He turned to Major Jackson, "I wasn't aware we were looking for a replacement for Doctor Carter."

"We're not," Major Jackson replied deadpan, continuing to glare at Captain Felger.

Captain Felger coughed again, this time hiding a nervous giggle. "I believe that SG-1 would be more effective with all four members with military experience and combat training. The fact is that I am an Air Force officer and have some combat training as well as all of my standard weapons qualifications while Doctor Carter does not. I am a good replacement for her because I have sufficient technical knowledge to fill the scientific void she would leave. The folders contain a record of my technical experience."

Jack flipped open the folder and glanced at it quickly. He didn't give the Major enough time to come up with a rebuttal. "So you've been commissioned for five years?" he asked, as more a rhetorical question.

"Yes, First Sergeant."

"So in your five years at . . ." he glanced down at the folder to double check, "Excuse me, three years at R&D at Wright-Patterson and two years as ground control at Edwards makes you the person to determine the combat effectiveness of someone?"

Captain Felger stuttered to answer.

Jack continued, not allowing him to speak. "You think your five years of commissioned service makes you a better judge of combat effectiveness than my twenty five plus years in the special forces?"

Captain Felger started to shake his head emphatically. "N- No, First Sergeant."

"And you think that you'd be a good technical replacement for Doctor Carter? You worked in R&D for three years," he glanced in the folder again, "developing laser detectors?"

"It is a system a that uses a laser to detect and identify explosives," Captain Felger explained.

"Does it work?" Jack asked.

Captain Felger showed his teeth nervously. "It works, but the laser tends to melt through whatever you're scanning."

"So, no, it doesn't work." Jack nodded and quickly continued. "You think that makes you an effective replacement for the woman who led the team that designed the dialing system for the stargate?"

Captain Felger stuttered, his head bobbing around from a shake to a nod.

He glanced in the folder again. "I see you have a bachelor's and a master's in Chemical Engineering?"

Captain Felger smiled and nodded, feeling some confidence.

"So, you think this makes you sufficient replacement for Doctor Carter, who has a bachelor's degree in Engineering Physics with a concentration in Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences, two master's degrees in Physics and Materials Engineering and a Ph.D in Astrophysics?" Jack knew he would have to congratulate himself later for properly reciting his wife's education without stuttering, screwing up, or skipping anything.

Captain Felger's smile sunk immediately.

Jack shut the folder and pushed it away from him. "So, let me guess, Captain. You wanted to join the program, General West told you that if you could find a team that would take you, you're in. So, you thought he was making an exception for you because he liked you, so you started big.

"Understand this, I will be making a full report to Major Jackson, Colonel Harriman, and General West that explains why you should not replace Doctor Carter. Even though you have five whole years of commissioned experience, Doctor Carter is more qualified than you are. She has superior technical skills. She is more than qualified in standard weaponry and excels in interpersonal combat. I wouldn't be surprised if she could kick your ass, Sir," he added the 'Sir' as an afterthought.

Major Jackson shook his head. "That's not necessary, Shirt. It's my decision, and I say no. While Doctor Carter is clearly more valuable, I just don't like him."

Captain Felger's mouth was still hanging open.

Major Jackson stood, Teal'c and Jack stood as well. "I think we're done here." Jack followed Major Jackson out, with Teal'c right behind him, and a smile on his face. They were quiet until the elevator doors closed. "I don't think he knows you two are married."

Jack shook his head. "Probably not, Sir. Or I wouldn't have been invited to that meeting."

Major Jackson chuckled. "Why don't you go tell Carter that her job is safe. Felger's not going to be on SG-1 as long as I'm here and I'll fight for him never leading a team." He chuckled again. "Kudos for spitting out Carter's education history without tripping."

Jack laughed. "I practice, Sir."

Major Jackson chuckled again as the doors opened and he stepped out. "With a resume like that, you have to."

Jack glanced at Teal'c. "What'd you think, T?"

Teal'c made eye contact. "Doctor Carter is a most effective member of our team. Captain Felger is quite humiliated."

Jack smiled. "I shut him down hard, didn't I?"

Teal'c turned his head back towards the door. "It was nothing he did not deserve."

The doors opened and Jack walked out, leaving Teal'c without saying goodbye. He made his way to his wife's lab. He found her hunched over her lab table, pencil in hand. The table in front of her was covered with papers covered in math. There was a white board behind her, also covered in math, with papers covered in math held up on the board with magnets. She was proving something. Probably something physics related with 'gate.

He withheld a groan. She was so sexy.

She muttered to herself and then leaned back, trying to see the big picture.

He smiled. She was so adorable.

He knew he was in her field of vision, but she was concentrating too hard to notice him. He stepped over to her, snuck up behind her and wrapped his arms around her.

She stood up and leaned back into him. From her posture, he could tell she was still concentrating on her work. This wasn't unusual. It happened a lot at home. He would come get physical with her, and she would ignore him for a short while and find a good stopping point before giving him the attention he desired.

After a few moments, she snaked her arm around the back of his neck and fingered the hair at the base of his skull. "What's up?" she asked. From her tone, he could tell a sizeable percentage of her brain was still thinking math and physics.

"What are you doing?" he asked in a soft voice.

"Working out 'gate power requirements. I think we can maximize efficiency if we can calculate how much power is going to be utilized with each trip," she explained.

"What are your variables?" He had learned some useful questions to keep her talking.

"Distance between 'gates. Relative velocity of the 'gates. Mass of the travelers." She paused. "I feel like I'm missing something. Those almost seem too obvious to me."

"Want to talk me through it at home?" he asked.

She turned in his arms, giving him her full attention. "You're a little feisty today."

He smiled. "Some guy came in today and tried to steal your job. I had to tell him why you're more qualified."

She blinked. "Which is why?"

"Your four degrees, weapons quals, and hand-to-hand skills." He nuzzled into her neck. "Not to mention you're sexy as hell."

She released a nervous giggle. He was sure that no matter how long they were married, he would always be able to embarrass her.

She took a small step back, kissed his lips and turned back to work.

"Is that a yes?" he asked.

She nodded. "Yes, Shirt. It is."

He groaned. "You're hot."

- . - FIN - . -