Title: Square Root Day Aboard Hammond
Theme: Square Root Day
Category: Fluff, Romance, Humor

Season: post SGA
Spoilers: Enemy at the 'gate (SGA: 5x20); Air (SGU: 1x01)

Pairing: S/J
Summary: It's a few weeks into Sam's newest assignment when she gets a mysterious package from Jack. What could it possibly be and why?

Rating: K
Warnings: none
Disclaimer: see profile

A/N: I don't have a beta, so any mistakes are my own. I wouldn't mind feedback and/or constructive criticism or just a comment to let me know why you (don't) like it.

Commander Carter's Quarters
George Hammond, Milky Way

After a long day Sam had stretched out on the comfortable sofa in her quarters, leisurely looking through the 'window' and admiring the view one gets when traveling in hyperspace. It had been a few weeks now since she'd taken command of the ship but she wasn't sure if she would ever get used to living aboard a spaceship. Over the years she had traveled aboard many ships for a few hours to weeks at the time but this was different. Not only was this her ship, named after the late Lieutenant General George Hammond – a wonderful man and commander – but it would now also be her home for weeks if not months on end.

Of course she was in regular contact with Earth and more specifically Jack, who was still the director of Homeworld Command – previously known as Homeworld Security – and his department, but it wasn't quite the same as her year on Atlantis. Back then she'd had the command of an alien city in another galaxy on a planet very similar to Earth, with the exception of its five moons. After being relieved of command she'd been stationed Earth side and just as she'd gotten more or less used to that lifestyle and had been enjoying Jack's company, it turned out her new ship was ready. Now she spent her days in space aboard a spaceship. It was almost like a miniature version of the SGC only she didn't get to go home or off-world and her former teammates weren't here.

Again, she was 'The Man' here and everyone aboard answered to her but unlike Atlantis it didn't quite have the relaxed atmosphere and it was really her crew and her; it was much more of a CO and subordinates relationship and chances were it would always stay like this considering their situation and the constant danger they were in as they 'drifted through space in their tin can' as Jack liked to call it. It took some adjusting from her and also from her subordinates, considering she'd already met a lot of them throughout her years on SG-1 when they'd been on more equal footing. But so far everything was going fine with the ship, their deliveries to the Icarus base, other assignments, the crew and her. She could only hope the studies about so-called cabin fever not occurring aboard the battle cruisers due to certain implemented policies were correct…

One of the few things being stationed on Earth or even Atlantis couldn't offer though was the up-close view of the stars. It was one thing to study celestial bodies and astronomical objects through a telescope or even with the naked eye but it was another thing entirely to examine them from a spaceship. For a girl who'd always wanted to be an astronaut it was almost like a dream come true. Unfortunately her current assignment also meant being separated from those she loved, all of whom were back on Earth. She – and her crew – had her first leave coming up in a few weeks but once she would be done with all the accompanying meetings, exams and ship checkups only a few days, two weeks tops would be left, which meant she would have to squeeze all her social calls into those days as well as her time with Jack. Of course he would still have to work long hours and if they were lucky he might be able to get a few afternoons off, but it was unlikely he could actually spend a few days with her.

Sam grinned, shaking her head at her own thoughts and reached for her diet coke all the while eyeing the small package in her lap. Major Marks, her pilot and weapons officer had handed it to her when their shifts were over. Apparently Walter from Homeworld Command had given it to him before they left Earth with strict instructions from Jack to give it to her today, after her shift was over. She had no idea what it could possibly be and why Jack felt the need for this cloak and dagger routine. He could have just handed it to her before she beamed aboard or stuffed it in her things so she wouldn't find it until she'd unpack. Obviously there was something about today's date that completely eluded her and he hadn't trusted her to wait until now to open it up so he'd used Walter and Marks. Well, obviously he knew her well because she wasn't sure she would have been able to see the box for weeks and not open it! Marks had only given it to her half an hour ago and her curiosity was already getting the best of her. She chuckled softly at the address in Jack's familiar scrawl.

Colonel Samantha Carter, PhD
Ship Commander, Resident Genius
Deep Space Defense, Second Tactical Wing
George Hammond, Milky Way Galaxy

Using military precision she began picking away at the tape keeping the box's lids together and within a minute she was looking at the package's contents. A white envelope was lying atop a colorfully wrapped gift, measuring about eight by nine inches. Feeling giddy with anticipation Sam forced herself to reach for the envelope first. When she opened it a puzzling picture of a piece of carrot cake with a glass of root beer next to it fell out. Frowning, she picked it up and checked the back. To her surprise it was a photo card with a message from Jack on it.

Happy Square Root Day, Carter!

I was told this is a very special day and only occurs nine times a century! I missed the first two and I doubt I'll live long enough to see the last two but hopefully we can celebrate those in between together, huh? Since you're off playing space pirate I'm forced to celebrate it alone in style, with my carrot cake and root beer. Don't worry; I got you a little something to keep you busy now that I'm not around to bug you. I wouldn't want your brain cells to die of boredom and this way you can keep your mind and hands busy without your doohickeys around.

Love, Jack

Now Sam's curiosity was definitely piqued! She placed the card next to her on the sofa, making a mental note to tape it to the wall before going to bed and lifted the gift from its box. It wasn't heavy and when she shook it carefully it sounded like something was moving around. Smiling, she slowly began to unwrap it all the while making sure not to catch a glimpse of it until the paper fell away, just to keep the suspense. As the wrapping fell to the floor a wooden puzzle became visible. Sam quickly opened the plastic encasing and took the game out.

It was a handcrafted oak sliding puzzle with nine hardwood oak blocks of different sizes in the middle. She let her hands smooth across the oak in appreciation before glancing at the puzzle's box. Apparently it was a square root puzzle in which she had to maneuver the largest square out through the slot in the frame at the bottom without lifting, turning or removing any of the other pieces. Sam settled back into the cushions with a large grin and the sliding puzzle on her lap, ready to do some problem solving!