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All In a Day's Work
It was nearly seven-forty-five when Daniel and Casey raced through the check points. For once their tardiness had nothing to do with passion they were unable to ignore, and everything to do with a multiple-car accident on the single highway that led to the mountain. Fortunately, no one had been hurt, but traffic had been tied up for nearly two hours. The Jacksons had spent forty-five minutes in an ever growing line of cars, waiting to approach the base.
Jack made a show of checking his watch when the two hurried into the commissary. He even inclined his head in Teal'c's direction, indicating that the Jaffa had managed to arrive on time.
"How did you get through the traffic?" Casey demanded.
"Huh?" Jack asked, totally taken aback at the question. "What traffic?"
Daniel explained what had happened, and the reason for being late.
"That explains why the place seems so empty this morning," Jack muttered.
"So if you were here before that accident, you were here before six-thirty!" Casey exclaimed.
The silver-haired man winced slightly. "Yeah, well, at about four-thirty this morning, Sam sat up in bed and shouted 'I've got it', and then she was running around, taking a shower, muttering something about the ATVs that she's been working on, and that I needed to contact the Tollans."
"Coffee," Casey murmured. She squeezed Daniel's hand, and then headed for the coffee urn and the stack of mugs.
"She really thinks the Tollans will help us?" Daniel asked skeptically.
"I guess so," Jack shrugged. "Thanks to Radar's psychic radio, we were able to prevent them from being taken over by Goa'uld. I'd say that rates a bit of payback."
"I thought that was what the medical equipment was about," Daniel said. "A 'late' gift of thanks."
"Yeah, a couple of years late," Jack grumbled. "That was one of the first things Radar saw when she showed up here. In fact, if I remember correctly, only because Narim had a thing for Sam was he even willing to listen to what was being said."
"As I recall," Daniel said, "the attack Casey had seen had already happened, and only the fact that she had told them almost word for word what the leaders had discussed in their private council meeting made them pay attention."
"Well, she tossed in a couple of other little tidbits…something about a government coup or something, right?"
"Right," Daniel replied.
"Yep, they so owe us for that," Jack nodded solemnly.
Daniel frowned slightly. "I think I was the most surprised that Omoc was the one who ultimately believed her…in fact, I don't think he questioned what she'd seen at all. And once she'd pointed out that his life was in danger, because of political adversaries moving in to take control, he moved pretty damned quickly to stop both the coup and the advance by the Goa'uld."
"I say we talk directly to Omoc. They so owe us," Jack repeated.
"Who owes whom for what?" Casey asked, handing a mug of coffee to her Husband before sitting down and sipping from her own mug.
"The Tollans owe us for the fact that you kept them Goa'uld free," Jack replied.
"I doubt they'd see it that way," she said quietly. "The leader…um…"
"Omoc," Daniel supplied.
"Right…he already knew something was up. All I did was confirm it for him."
"Which means they still owe us. He'd be dead if you hadn't warned him."
She shrugged. "Maybe. He certainly didn't seem surprised by the information about the coup plans, or the list of people involved."
"But if he'd hesitated, they'd have killed him," Daniel insisted, agreeing wholeheartedly with Jack on the issue. The thought that he and his best friend had been agreeing on things lately tickled the back of his mind. He and Jack rarely agreed on anything! For it to happen more than once, and in just a few weeks time…he shook his head mentally. Should he be worried that he was becoming too much like Jack? Or was Jack finally seeing the many facets of the world, and universe, around him? And do I really care? Yeah, I care if I’m becoming like Jack! Nah, that would never happen. God, I hope it never happens. Jack is a good man, but he's a complete idiot at times! He frowned again. "Shouldn't you be contacting the Tollan like Sam asked you to?"
"Done," Jack replied. "We'll hear back from them after the council has discussed the issue."
"I'm assuming that Sam's idea has something to do with the solar cells for the ATVs?" Daniel asked.
"I think so," Jack said. "She said that the Tollan rely completely on renewable sources of energy, so she was certain they'd be able to give her an idea of how to build a self-contained solar battery that's more powerful and reliable than what we have access to now."
"Well, here's hoping."
"Yeah, not having to hike on every mission would be nice," Jack said, taking a sip from his mug.
Casey looked at Teal'c. "So how did you manage to be on base before the accident?"
"Janet Fraiser had duty last night. I remained in my quarters for the night," was the calm reply.
"Humph," Casey grumbled.
Jack grinned, then took another look at his watch. "I suggest we all get to work."
"Right," Daniel sighed. He took another sip of coffee, grimaced at the bitter taste, then rose to his feet. As soon as they were in his office, Casey would start a pot of Sumatra Mandheling.
A A A A A A
He looked up and smiled as Jonas entered his office. "Good morning."
"Good morning, Daniel. I hear your mission was a success," Jonas said, smiling in return.
"Very interesting information, at least,' Daniel acknowledged. He looked toward the door. "Isn't Beth joining us?"
Jonas shrugged. "I guess so. I haven't seen her yet this morning."
Before he could reply, the ring tone of a telephone began to play. He raised his eyebrows in surprised when the Kelownan blushed slightly, and reached for his pocket.
"Excuse me," Jonas said, turning away.
"Sure," Daniel replied, more amused at that moment than surprised that Jonas had a cell phone.
"Hey, sweetie…Yeah, I remember…I'll be there, I promise…Okay…Nah, I'll just catch a ride with your mom…Okay…Me, too…Cassie…I'm at work!…Okay, okay…love you, too."
Eyes wide, eyebrows nearly at the top of his head, Daniel tried to pretend he hadn't heard Jonas' part of a private conversation. Cassie? As in Cassie Fraiser? Oh, I don't freakin' think so! He took a deep breath. Calm down, Danny. Janet knows about every guy that Cassie dates. He studied the back of his assistant…wondered just when and how Jonas and Cassie had met. Granted, due to her true identity, Cassie had clearance to visit the SGC whenever she wanted. Which she did, regularly. And she always stopped by to say hello to him and Casey whenever she was in the mountain. But…Jonas and Cassie? No way. No friggin' way!
His cheeks ruddy, Jonas turned back toward Daniel, gave a weak smile and shrugged slightly. "My girlfriend," he said, in way of explanation.
"I gathered as much," Daniel said, trying not to allow his voice or expression to betray his feelings of confusion…and a bit of ire. Cassie Fraiser, in his mind, was still the little girl from Hanka that the team had rescued.
"Cassie is giving a speech for her class today," Jonas continued. "I'm really proud of her…she's going to graduate early, and she already has twelve college credits!"
Daniel was aware that Cassie was bright, and that she'd enrolled in an excelled program that allowed her to take college courses along with her high school courses. He was proud of the young woman as well. "Cassie?"
"Um…Doctor Fraiser's daughter," Jonas responded, swallowing quickly at the look of surprise on Daniel's face. Followed by a not-so-pleasant frown.
Oh, hell no! "She's just a kid!" Daniel blurted.
"She's eighteen. Doctor Fraiser has given me permission to see her," Jonas said defensively.
Eighteen? When in the hell had that happened? Memories of meeting Cassie and her friends at Grant Park on a particularly warm day came rushing forward. Along with Casey's insistence that Cassie wasn't a child any longer. When the hell had she grown up so much?
"I realize that being five years older than her might seem like a lot…but really, it's not. You're five years older than Casey," Jonas pointed out.
If Jonas was five years older than eighteen-year-old Cassie, then he was just a kid himself, at twenty-three. Somehow, he'd thought the Kelownan was closer to his own age. "Wow…I didn't realize how young you are," Daniel admitted.
Jonas' blush deepened. "I completed my own studies at a relatively young age. I have the ability to remember everything I've read." His admittance was done almost apologetically.
"Which is invaluable to the SGC…and to me," Daniel said sincerely. He offered a sheepish smile. "If Janet is okay with this, who am I to stand in the way of young love?"
Jonas visibly relaxed. "I really do care for Cassie. She's brilliant and beautiful and funny and sweet and kind-" He broke off. "She's so very special."
Daniel's smile widened. "Sounds like love…and I know the feeling. I'm happy for you, Jonas."
Beth chose that moment to hurry through the door, a slightly guilty expression on her face. "I'm so sorry…time got away from me!" she exclaimed.
"No problem," Daniel said, offering her one of his famous smiles. "Let's get busy, shall we?"
Thirty minutes later, satisfied that projects on the archaeological level were proceeding as planned, Daniel closed the folder of notes Beth had given him. "I don't see any reason to change anything at the moment. I'll type up what we learned about Zeus, we can add that to the file we have on him."
Beth nodded. "I'm certain Casey will add the information to the database as well."
Daniel chuckled. "Probably. Although somehow I don't think she's going to be happy about having to go back to work on his entry."
"We're actually almost finished," Jonas announced. "At least as far as inputting information about known Earth god identities and their descriptions."
"That's great!" Daniel declared. It would certainly make Casey happier about coming to work each day.
"I have a meeting with the team. We're going on a mission," Jonas said, rising to his feet.
"Go ahead," Daniel said, nodding his understanding.
"Thanks. We leave early tomorrow morning."
"Well, if I don't see you before then, good luck…and be careful," Daniel admonished.
"I will, thanks." With a nod and a smile, Jonas hurried out of the office.
Beth closed her own folder, then toyed with the edges. "I'm so sorry about being late this morning," she said softly.
"Don't worry about it," Daniel replied easily. "It's not like I've never been late."
The older woman smiled. "We were talking over coffee, and I'd been watching the clock, and then suddenly I realized I was late!"
"That happens," Daniel acknowledged.
"George was late to his first meeting, too. And we've been trying so hard-" Beth broke off, a blush rising in her cheeks.
"George?" Daniel asked, his curiosity opening his mouth before his brain had time to intercede.
The blush deepened. "Hammond." The response was barely whispered.
It took several seconds for the name to impact on his brain. "General Hammond?" he asked. For the second time that morning he felt knocked for a loop.
Beth nodded shyly. "We've been seeing each other for a couple of months now. I…he…well, we were both in the commissary for coffee one afternoon, and there wasn't anyone around, and we started talking…we both love Bette Davis movies and classic jazz and Italian food-" She broke off again.
"Beth, your private life is none of my business," Daniel said gently. "To be honest, I'm happy that you and the general have found interests to share."
"You don't disapprove?"
"No! Why would I disapprove?" Daniel asked, genuinely surprised at the question.
"Well, he's the base commanding officer-"
"And one hell of a good man," Daniel cut in. "And I think you're a terrific woman. If the two of you have hit it off, well, that's great in my books." The thought that the general had found someone…that he wouldn't spend eternity alone…flittered through his mind.
Beth sighed with relief. "Thank you. We're trying to be…discreet."
"I won't say a word," Daniel promised. "Chances are, people probably already know. My guess is that everyone here in the mountain will be just as happy for the two of you as I am."
"Thank you, Daniel. You don't know how much that means to me," Beth said, smiling brightly. She held up her folder. "I'm going to get busy on these notes. And I'll be sure to let Leanna know that she has the go-ahead to move the artifacts from the storeroom here to level fourteen."
"You're welcome. Just be sure that all of the artifacts remain grouped by civilization."
"I'll remind her," Beth promised.
As soon as she was out of the office, Daniel dropped back into his chair and rubbed his hands over his face. Jonas and Cassie. Beth and General Hammond. Teal'c and Janet. "I know way too damned much about far too many couples," he muttered. "Who slapped a 'screw with Danny' note on my forehead?"
He looked up to see Casey walking through the door. Her meeting with the general…he paused in thought. That was the meeting the general had been late for. He couldn't help but grin. "So, how was your meeting with General Hammond?"
"Fine," Casey shrugged. "Why?"
"He was a few minutes late…but other than that, nothing to worry about. None of the MALP reports had anything interesting in them. Two of the planets are so arid that he decided to scrap them. The other wasn't much better. He has it on the 'look-at-later' pile."
"So, no new missions coming up?"
"Not for a few days." She cocked her head sideways. "Daniel, are you all right?"
Oh, hell. All he needed was for her to figure out he was still reeling from what he'd learned, especially since he knew she'd be delighted for both couples involved. "I'm fine."
She continued to study him. She could sense his disquiet. But until he was willing to discuss whatever was bothering him… With a slight shrug, she settled behind her desk and began to sort through the notes that were waiting for her.
"Did you know that Jonas and Cassie are dating?" he asked abruptly.
She didn't look up. "Mmmhmm."
"Why didn't you say something?" he demanded.
Green eyes met blue. "For one thing, it's not really your business. For another, I figured you already knew…I thought Jonas might have told you."
"Well, he didn't, and I didn't, and I got blind-sided this morning when he took a call from Cassie."
Knowing how protective Daniel felt toward Cassie, she wondered if her Husband had made any threats, subtle or otherwise, to the Kelownan. "I take it that the two of you are still speaking to one another?"
"What? Two of us speaking to one another?"
"You and Jonas."
"I said I was blind-sided, not that I didn't approve," Daniel pointed out.
"You don't approve," Casey replied easily.
"What? I…she's…he's…he's twenty-three! Okay, granted, he's a lot younger than I thought he was…but…he's twenty-three!"
"And Cassie is eighteen."
"That's five years!" Daniel exploded.
Casey raised one eyebrow. "And that's a bad thing?"
He waved a hand, dismissing her comment. "We're older…and we're not discussing our age difference."
"Which is five years," Casey reminded him.
"It's just…" Daniel shook his head.
"Had we met when I was eighteen and you were twenty-three, would you have walked away because of the difference in our ages?" she asked quietly.
Daniel frowned. "Probably not," he admitted. He had no doubt he'd have been just as eager to put a ring on her finger at age twenty-three as he had been at age thirty-two.
"Age is relative, anyway. Cassie is more mature than most girls her age…she's gone through a hell of a lot more. She knows about other planets and the Stargate and the Goa'uld…she's been kidnapped, been forced to-" Her voice caught slightly. She shook her head, as if physically doing so was the only way to mentally deal with the memories. "Daniel, she's light years ahead of her peers. Janet told Sam and I that she thought the reason Cassie was so dissatisfied dating guys her age is because she outgrew them long ago. Janet thinks Jonas is cute and sweet, and she fully approves of the relationship between him and her daughter."
"You're right," he sighed. "It's just…when the hell did she grow up? It happened so damned fast!"
Casey smiled. "It usually does."
"Did you know that General Hammond and Beth are seeing one another?"
Again the blonde head moved up and down.
"You couldn't have told me about that, either?" he asked, his voice filled with exasperation.
"I didn't know until I got a download about them the day we left on our mission. I knew that General Hammond wanted to keep things quiet, so I didn't say anything," Casey replied.
"Download?" He vaguely remembered holding her for a download that day. She'd frowned, kissed him, told him she'd be right back, and then had dashed out of their office.
"Yeah. Apparently the Big Boys are willing to make Beth-" She broke off, glancing toward the open door.
"Got it," he said softly.
"And we don't have to go to that planet to do it, either. Just the woods outside of the loading dock on level five."
"Okay. What do we do?"
Casey shrugged. "I suppose Miss Eloise will let me know."
"Good." He leaned toward his desk. "Is there anyone else who's suddenly dating around here that I should know about?"
"Not that I know of," was the absent reply. Casey's attention had reverted to the notes on her desk.
"Good," he muttered. And wondered just when the SGC had become like a flippin' soap opera, with people dating and falling in love and people becoming couples, and role-playing in their love lives…yep. Soap opera. As long as nobody else wants my advice on their sex life!
A A A A A A
Casey wandered into the commissary. She'd been working non-stop on the database, and after spending almost two hours on one entry, she'd decided she needed a break before she hurt someone. Daniel was in a briefing with SG-8, giving them information regarding the mission they were about to embark on. Sam was busy with one of her doohickeys, waiting impatiently for word from the Tollan. Teal'c was boxing with Jack. Janet had been busy as well, setting up a new piece of medical equipment the Tollan had decided the SGC was capable of utilizing. She was still smiling over Jack's reaction to the news…
"Gee, think we should have one of their doctors explain it to Napoleon? I mean, we're just learning how to use fire here," he'd snorted.
The room was empty. She sighed, filled a cup with what the cooks generously called coffee, and sat down at the nearest table. She'd just taken a sip when Major Ferretti wandered in.
"Hey, Mrs. J!"
"Taking a break, huh?"
"If I don't, I'm liable to go postal and hurt someone," she sighed. "I swear, I had no idea how absolutely entwined every pantheon of gods really is. So many gods who do the exact same thing, others who only share one or two traits. Or sometimes you have a dozen different gods linked by one trait, and each of them have like twenty other things to add. The cross-references are giving me nightmares!"
The Marine waved toward the empty chair across from the seer. She nodded and smiled. He sat down, and stirred his cup of coffee. "Doc says when you're finished, there won't be a database in existence that can compare to it."
"No shit! No one else would be stupid enough to take on a job like this!"
Ferretti chuckled. "Well, if anyone can do it, you can."
The older man looked down into his coffee, then almost shyly back up at the blonde seer. "You can call me Lou, if ya want."
Casey smiled. "Okay, Lou. And you can call me 'Casey'."
He shook his head. "Nah. That just wouldn't be right."
"Why on earth not?" she asked incredulously.
"You're Doc's wife."
She studied him for a moment. She could sense that for Major Lou Ferretti, showing respect was important. Using the name he'd given her, 'Mrs. J', was his way of offering his utmost respect to her. She nodded. "Fair enough."
Ferretti looked around. "So where's the rest of SG-1? Don't usually see one of you here without the others."
"Everyone is busy at the moment. I was afraid to wait," she confided, although she was smiling. "Seriously, I think I need someone to keep guard on me…just to make sure I don't completely lose my grip on my sanity!"
"Reminds me of a guy I knew right after I joined the Air Force," Ferretti chuckled. "This captain-"
Casey's head came up. Ferretti was a Marine! "Wait, you were in the Air Force?"
"Eighteen years," the grizzled Marine replied, sidetracked from his story. "I was Air Force for that first mission to Abydos. Then, when we all got called back, after Apophis came through the 'gate, the Pentagon decided they wanted a few Marine units attached to the SGC. Just in case."
"Okay," she said, nodding slightly. The fighting reputation of the Marines, and their ability to protect those around them, was one well earned.
"So, I talked to O'Neill and Hammond. Told them I figured that any Marines marching around here should be led by someone who knew what the hell we're facing…what the place is about. A bunch of gung-ho grunts could have been a problem. Those guys are trained to do one thing, and one thing only. They aren't often known for their ability to learn. And it's been an on-going learning experience, every time a team goes through the Stargate."
"Makes sense," Casey agreed.
"So Hammond talked to the president and a couple of Pentagon generals. They thought that maybe it was a good idea at that. My enlistment was about up, and so I volunteered to join the Marines. I had to go through two weeks of training...to prove I could handle being a Marine." Ferretti grinned, and his blue eyes twinkled. "I took pride in the fact that the first three Marine teams assigned to the SGC flunked out of our training the first time around. We have one hell of a rigorous training program, so tough that even Marines struggle with it."
She thought about the Marines who joined her and Teal'c, and Sam and Janet for their workouts. Marines and SGC team members alike had complained that the routines were grueling, and she had to admit that several of them were indeed challenging. But she'd never noticed anyone unable to keep up.
"When one of the Marine four-star generals showed up here, to make sure 'his boys' were showing everybody how it was done," Ferretti grinned, "he almost shit nails to find out his precious Marines hadn't made it through our course."
Casey giggled at the glee in Ferretti's eyes, and the wide grin on his face.
"So," the Marine continued, "he decided he'd lead them through the course the second time around. Hammond insisted that Jack and I be the instructors. By the end of the third day that general was begging for mercy. By the time the course was completed, the Marine unit had managed to pass, and that general declared that our training was tougher than even the elite fighting units of any branch of the military."
"Wow…you mean it's tougher than the SEALS, or Green Berets?" Casey asked, wide-eyed.
"Yep. Mostly because we use a combination of the training techniques that each of those groups utilize. We also have the advantage of being able to train off-world on some of the most god-forsaken planets ever to be created." Ferretti took a sip of his coffee, then grinned wider. "The exercise routines that you and Teal'c came up with are killer, too. Newbies are always complaining about being expected to be able to do what you and the Jaffa do."
"Hey, it's just a combination of Jazzercize, Pilates, Zumba, and mastaba moves!" she protested. Her grin matched her companion's. "I suppose setting it to the music we use might make it a bit harder."
"A bit? I've seen the Marines hit the deck halfway through some of those exercises!"
"Non-hackers," Casey sniffed, just before breaking into giggles. "So is being a Marine different than being in the Air Force?"
Ferretti shrugged. "Just a new chain of command to learn. Different uniform. I guess I don't really notice a difference because I'm still assigned to the SGC. So far, I've been able to stay here each time my rotation date comes around."
"Yeah, normally you're only given one, maybe two tours of duty per duty station. I've been here for three now," Ferretti explained.
"Doctor Weir had questions about that," Casey mused. "I think she's going to push the president and the Joint Chiefs into making assignment to the SGC permanent."
"That would certainly keep things running smoothly," Ferretti said.
Casey finished off her coffee. "Well, I suppose I'd better get back to that data base. I swear, the next time I have an idea like that, I expect someone to shoot me."
Ferretti chuckled. "Yeah, I have paperwork that needs to be finished."
"Thanks for the coffee, Lou," she said.
"Any time, Mrs. J. Have a good afternoon."
"You, too." She wiggled her fingers, and then dashed out of the commissary in her normal fashion.
Ferretti chuckled again, and shook his head. "Whirlwind, that's what she is," he said to himself. He finished his coffee, and headed out of the commissary, his own work waiting. The unexpected…and totally delightful…company during his break had him whistling all the way to the level twenty three.
A A A A A A
Daniel looked up at the sound of a throat clearing. "Jonas! I thought you had plans for this afternoon."
Jonas smiled. "I'm on my way out," he admitted, looking down at his casual clothes.
"So I see."
"I just wanted to apologize for this morning."
"I was…I was a bit defensive," Jonas explained.
"No apology necessary," Daniel said quietly. "I wasn't the most receptive at that moment. Casey reminded me that Cassie is a lot more mature than other eighteen year old college girls."
"Yes, she is," Jonas replied.
"If you're happy, and Cassie is happy, and Janet is okay with all of this, well, then, all I can say is congratulations."
Jonas smiled. "Thank you."
Daniel held up a report. "I was going to email you…but telling you face-to-face is much better. This is excellent work. You're a great assistant, Jonas, and I appreciate your hard work."
The younger man smiled, then ducked his head. "I'm sure I'll never be as good as Cam-" He broke off. Then shook his head. "Cam was your assistant for several years."
"Well, three, anyway," Daniel agreed. "Jonas, no one can replace Cam. I wouldn't expect anyone to do that. You are, however, doing a fine job of filling his shoes. You're doing the job he did with as much efficiency and knowledge as he did. Don't compare yourself to him. I don't." His voice was gentle.
Jonas took a deep breath. "Thanks, Daniel. That…that helps a lot."
Daniel nodded, then glanced at his watch. "You'd better get going. Don't want to keep Janet waiting."
"Right," the Kelownan grinned.
"You hurt Cassie, and I'll break you into pieces."
Jonas grinned from ear to ear. "Got it."
Daniel grinned as well, and waved as the young man walked out the door, whistling loudly. And off-key. With a shake of his head, he returned his attention to the notes he'd been studying. "All in a day's work," he said aloud. And grinned at the thought.
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