“Daniel,” she paused, annoyed.
“Daniel,” she repeated, more sternly, unable to believe that this was happening again.
“Daniel!!!” Sam shouted as she shook him, her tone no longer as pleasant as before. She knew there was nothing wrong with him, but he wasn’t going to awaken easily, the late nights having taken their toll. He sat up slowly, removing his glasses, visibly bent into an unnatural shape. Repairing them best he could and placing them back where they belonged, he looked up at Sam, his blue eyes still trapped in the realm between awake and asleep.
“What time is it?” he asked, his voice dry and cracking, and stood from his seat, stretching a bit. He scanned the lab, his small desk in the back, the old school wooden table in the center, reorienting himself to the world around him. Reaching under his glasses, he pinched the bridge of his nose rubbing his eyes once more, his mind starting to catch up with his body.
“Five,” she answered bluntly, folding her arms across her chest, continuing her imposing glare. She looked so official standing there, so much like a boss, in her navy blue skirt and dress uniform shirt, her now long hair braided in a careful pattern, tightly resting on back.
“Five, really? I don’t think I have ever fallen asleep before five,” Daniel asked, genuinely confused, “Maybe I should swing by the infirmary before dinner and see if I am coming down with anything.” Still moving groggily, he reached and grabbed his black uniform jacket from the back of the chair, pulling it over his arms. Sam didn’t speak at first, she just stood there in silence, watching him when she let out a sigh. Not seeming to notice, Daniel started to walk past her, stretching his legs again as he broadened his stride. Shaking her head, Sam knew, she knew she needed to speak.
“Daniel, it’s five a.m. A.M. You missed dinner and apparently never went home,” Sam said, stressing the final three words. Daniel had made it to the doorway, but stopped short, spinning back around to face her and rubbing his face with his hand.
“Please tell me you are kidding,” he replied, glancing embarrassingly at the floor, knowing full well by the tone in her voice that she was not. He had done it again.
“I wish. Daniel, this is the third time this month,” she started, pausing to control her tone. She didn’t want to scold, she wanted him to know that she was worried.
“You can’t keep doing this,” she pleaded kindly. Resigning himself to the truth, Daniel closed his eyes and removed his glasses, pinching the bridge of his nose and keeping his gaze at the floor.
“I know, I know. It’s just that there’s - “ he started, refusing to continue, knowing that he was about to admit defeat.
“There’s too much to do, I understand. No one said that sorting through the entire history of the Asgard civilization was going to be easy,” Sam’s tone cooled and her face softened. She had been there on the Odyssey, she understood what a great gift they had been given. Maybe too great a gift. Looking up slowly, Daniel pushed his glasses back up and shoved his hands into his pants pockets redirecting his gaze. It was then she noticed the deep dark circles magnified by the curved glass of the frame. He just looked so tired, so worn, so beaten and it worried her, greatly. He couldn’t continue like this.
“You could ask for help,” she stated simply, uncrossing her arms, trying to be less intimidating. Again, he didn’t seem to notice, cutting away his eyes and walking by her, returning to his desk and sitting back down in his chair, shaking his head.
“From who Sam? We’ve been through this before. Teal’c has enough to deal with with the Jaffa council and you’ve got Cam running most of the training academy now. Vala tried, she really did, but this is way beyond her knowledge of the universe. It’s barely at mine....” there was a sense of desperation in his voice as he went through the names of the rest of the members of his team, his friends, people who he knew would be willing to help but just couldn’t. This was something he was going to have to face alone.
“What about someone outside of the team?” Sam suggested as she continued to stand, fighting the urge to sit and comfort him. She needed to hold her ground and she was not going to sit here and allow him to drive himself mad. Nothing was worth that.
“What, like Satterfield? Sam, don’t think I haven’t considered that route. The truth of the matter is that each and every one of them cannot be expected to do my work and what they are assigned to do on their respective teams,” Daniel insisted, his face drawing into its customary frown. It was true, he had tried to bring in other various staff members; Satterfield, a few newer SG cadets. However each and every one of them was assigned to a team as he had been, so other than a day or an afternoon here or there, he was still working virtually alone, and it was taking it’s toll, slowly but obviously.
“That’s not what I mean,” Sam replied pausing for a moment, “I mean, bring in outside help.” Sam had stressed the word outside subtly and looked at him, waiting for the argument that was to come.
“Like who? Some IOA patsy that’s going to question my every move, or better yet, how about some graduate student who knows nothing that I’m supposed to train on top of everything else I have to do,” there was a tone of disgust in his voice, a marked difference from just seconds before. The reaction she’d expected. Choosing not start a fight with him in this state, at this hour, Sam simply shook her head and approached her friend to place a hand onto his shoulder and paused, making a face.
“Actually, once you, uh, brush your teeth or something, come down to my office,” she requested, forcing back laughter and winked at him, turning quickly to leave the lab before she lost complete control of her giggles. Daniel instinctively put his hand to his mouth and blew, cringing at the result, and stood hoping he had something in his locker.
The walk to Sam’s office was considerably shorter than it would have been were they still at Cheyenne Mountain. After the Lucian Alliance bombed the SGC base there over two years ago, operations had been moved to the lower levels of the Pentagon, which had held many more levels than Daniel had expected, many more. The uppermost levels were reserved for on base quarters, as housing in DC had proven to be a bit of a problem. The middle levels were set aside for scientific research, rooms like Rodney’s lab and Sam’s personal lab, that she insisted on keeping, and various other departments, the infirmary and the gym with the lowest and most secure level housing the gate, the head of SGC office and Daniel’s lab. Just like in the mountain, the head of main office overlooked the gate room, with the briefing room attached, albeit everything was much smaller.
Daniel scaled the simple military metallic stairs quickly, skipping a few stairs and walked past the entrance to the observation room, approaching the door and smiling as he ran his hands over the name plate.
Chuckling, he shook his head and knocked lightly.
“Come in!!” he heard from the other side, and still smiling, twisted the knob to let himself in.
“Still haven’t fixed it?” Daniel asked, as Sam turned from the bookshelf, placing a volume on her desk.
“No, and it’s gotten to the point where I think that Jack has something to do with it. I mean, how hard is it to hyphenate?” There was a smile on her face, one that let Daniel know that she really didn’t mind, and pointed to the chair on the other side while taking a seat herself. Imagining Jack snowballing the process, Daniel sat down, leaning back comfortably in the seat. He had noted that the nameplate even left out the S for Samantha, so he was almost certain Jack was having fun with it. After all, isn’t that what marriage is for, to torment your wife until the end of time?
“Laugh it up Daniel,” Sam continued, “but some day you’ll meet your match and when you do I’ll be the one waiting to harass you.”
He shrugged, lacking a response and watched as she just opened the lid of her laptop and began to type something in. His curiosity sparked, he sat up in the chair, leaning forward across the desk, trying to make his snooping not too obvious.
“So, now for your idea?” he lead, figuring that was where all of the typing was going.
“I was just getting to that,” she grinned as she finished and hit enter, turning the machine toward his line a sight. Daniel adjusted his eyes to the glare and pushed his glasses up that were slipping down the bridge of his nose. On the screen popped an image of a huge Roman Coliseum with a picture of a young woman standing in front of it, her hands on her hips like she was celebrating a conquest. She had shoulder length brown hair and brown eyes, and was wearing jeans with a fitted black t-shirt and combat boots. There was some bright purple lettering that Daniel leaned over to read more clearly, squinting at the screen.
“Ass Kickin’ History”
Blog by Dr. Adrienne Rowan
Professor of Classical Studies
Delgado Community College
New Orleans, LA
“Ok, a blog, fantastic, how is this supposed to help?” Daniel asked perplexed, but Sam simply smiled, that look she gave when she was up to something plastered across her face as she tapped lightly at the screen, at the picture of the woman, the girl really, glancing back at him.
“Her,” Sam stated simply. Daniel’s jaw dropped.
“What?” he exclaimed, hoping that he was misunderstanding her, or better yet, still asleep, “That woman? How did you even find that woman?” he asked in disbelief; there was no way that Sam was sitting here trying to sell him on this insane idea.
“Cam taught Vala how to google names and she was googling yours and apparently....” Sam started to reply, turning the laptop once more to click around on the website. She paused and giggled for a moment before turning the screen back to face Daniel and continued, “she’s a.....fan....”
The site flickered again, this time settling onto a page entitled, “Aliens and Egypt? Nice try, but they just got lazy.”
“Lazy?” Daniel asked, turning the laptop and pulling it toward him, sitting back in the seat to read, Sam smiling as he scanned it with his eyes, moving quickly back and forth behind his glasses. Before diving into the text, Daniel ran his gaze over the images of pyramid looking spaceships flying above the Egyptian desert. Well, she got those right, he thought to himself and turned his attention to the text, noting the subtitle,
“A critical review of Dr. Daniel Jackson’s book The Truth About the Pyramids”
Not surprisingly, it tore into him right in the first few lines, not unlike most articles that criticized his work, the only difference here being her obvious attempt to make it read ‘cool’ for her students and readers. Just another critic; Daniel didn’t see what made her so special.
“Again, so?” Daniel asked Sam, “Another ill informed academic, except this one wants to look like Lara Croft.” Sitting back in the chair, he shoved the computer across the desk.
“You have to read it....” Sam insisted and pushed the computer back, a playful smile creeping across her face once more. Sighing, Daniel jerked the machine back, crossing his leg over his knee and sitting the laptop across his calf. Peering down he read over the article for a second time, paying closer attention to it in search for what Sam was talking about, what she had seen in this that he somehow had missed. It was about midway through the third paragraph that he found what he assumed had impressed Sam.
However, there is one aspect that I can see the point Dr. Jackson tries, and fails to make. Considering the rapid decline in technological advancement during the later Egyptian dynasties, one could feasibly make the argument that a loss of contact with said alien overlords led to the eventual fall of the empire. After all, I’m sure losing to the barbarians of Rome would be an easier pill to swallow if the people of Egypt could claim that ET simply phoned home. But, hey, I have an open mind. If any of you people know Dr. Jackson or where he as disappeared to for that matter, I would love to chat with him, if not for anything else to see if he wears a cone of aluminum foil on his head.
“Cone of foil on my head?” Daniel asked, the sarcasm dripping from his words. Sam really couldn’t be serious, and he was relieved to see that her grin had turned into light laughter. It was a joke, thankfully. Once more, Daniel pushed the computer back to the general and relaxed into his seat.
“I like her,” Sam said, containing her laughter, “and besides, not only does she seem to accept the possibility that you were correct but she’s volunteered to meet you.” Daniel wasn’t sure if his jaw dropped or he was just imagining the feeling, but the look on Sam’s face as the laughter subsided indicated to him that she wasn’t kidding. Shaking his head, he found himself unable to form words, holding on to the hope that Sam would read his face. Instead, she just cleared her throat.
“Daniel, I’ve looked into her background, you’d be impressed. She’s bright and competent, despite her appearance here.”
He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Her “appearance” in this ridiculous excuse for a writing medium should have been enough of a deterrent.
“You can’t be serious; you don’t even know her! And look at that picture, is she 12?” Daniel demanded emphatically, shocked that Sam was suggesting hiring him an assistant based on an internet search. One that looked like this. One that carried herself like this. One that had no business here.
“She’s 31, and a bit of a whiz kid. Graduated top of her class from Tulane at age 19, Master’s and Doctorate finished by 26 from Tulane as well. Been teaching ever since,” Sam continued, unhindered, reaching for a file on her desk. Opening the folder, the red words CONFIDENTIAL warning them all of the contents inside, Sam turned it so the text would face him and pushed it toward him as she had the laptop. A file? On her? Daniel was amazed. Apparently, this was not a recent idea, if Sam had compiled all of this information that was sitting before him, pages and pages of transcripts, employee reviews and a background check. Daniel didn’t bother to read anything before him, glancing back up at Sam in an effort to convince her exactly how bad of an idea this was.
“Not to downplay the community college system, but if she’s so great and so brilliant, why is she teaching there? Why not back at Tulane, or at least doing research? It is a research institution.” Standing, Sam leaned over her desk, tapping her finger on the folder, her smile one of seriousness rather than play.
“You can ask her when she gets here,” she replied, “she should be touching down at Reagan anytime now.”
“What? You’re bringing her here?” Daniel stood, his voice louder as the words crossed his lips. He simply could not believing what he was hearing.
“Yes,“ Sam was back in general mode, her mind was made up, “and you are going to interview her. I’d start thinking of anything you’d like to ask.”
Two hours later Daniel was sitting in the briefing room with a folder, a pen and a legal pad, which was empty, save for a few doodles along the margins, a chevron symbol here, a hieroglyph there. He had no idea what Sam expected him to ask or to say for that matter. He just hoped this woman would stick her foot in her mouth fast enough where Sam would end this fiasco and let him go on about his business. Did Sam think he couldn’t so his job anymore? After so many years together, how could she not have come to him before entertaining this absurd proposal? He didn’t need an assistant. Sure, he could use some help here and there, but not an outsider. Not someone he didn’t know. Not that woman. Coming to the conclusion in his head that this was just a show he needed to perform for Sam, he decided that he probably ought to requisition a cot or something for the lab, so at least he could sleep on a bed when he wanted to work late. He turned the pen around, jotting a reminder to himself beside a poorly sketched Earth Chevron. A cot, that was something worth writing down.
At 9:15 a.m., Sam entered the briefing room and swept her hand in front of her, inviting her guest inside. Behind her walked the woman from the internet, considerably less confident than her blog photo. She wasn’t dressed like a wanna be Indiana Jones either; she was wearing a black formal pants suit and her hair had been tamed, pulled up into a clip behind her head. Had Daniel not seen her ridiculous online get up this morning but a picture of her like this instead, he might have been more inclined to take this entire fiasco seriously. Still, in an attempt not to be rude, he rose from his chair.
¨Dr. Rowan, I would like to introduce you to Dr. Daniel Jackson,¨ Sam motioned at Daniel. He reached forward to shake her hand, which she took kindly but hesitantly, shook and let it go quickly.
¨Pleased to meet you Dr. Jackson; I have read many of your books,¨ she said politely, but with a tinge of nerves behind her voice. Some Lara Croft, Daniel thought.
¨So I’ve heard,¨ Daniel responded curtly and sat down, ignoring the look that Sam was giving him. She and the woman took their seats as well, Sam making her way around the large table to sit beside Daniel while Dr. Rowan pulled out the chair across from them.
¨Dr. Rowan, please take a seat here and we promise this shouldn’t take very long. Thank you for coming so far on such short notice,¨ Sam spoke professionally, waiting for the young archaeologist to take her seat before she took her own.
¨Thank you General, and please call me Adrienne. It was no trouble at all, although I am a little confused as to why we are meeting at the Pentagon. When I was called to interview for a position with the government, I was assuming it was for one of the positions listed at the Smithsonian,¨ Adrienne inquired as she sat down quietly and adjusted her jacket.
¨We’ll explain Adrienne, but first we have some questions for you,¨ she replied, taking her own seat but not before looking over to see what questions Daniel had written on the note pad that she would combine with her own.
Request a cot
Her eyes widened and she kicked him under the table, redirecting her attention to Adrienne since Daniel obviously was not going to take this seriously.
¨Now, Adrienne, you do realize that this position is for a research assistant and not a teaching job. It will be long hours and most of the time in a lab, but you would be taken out of the classroom,¨ Sam explained, opening a folder in front of her, presumably a copy of the file or maybe some questions of her own. Either way, Daniel needed to make his position clear sooner in this interview rather that later. Sitting forward, he looked at the woman sitting in front on him, her hands folded gently on the table and spoke.
¨Yes, this will be completely different from what you are used to,¨ he added quickly.
¨I understood that from the call. I welcome the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of any research in my field. I enjoyed my research when I was at Tulane and I am very excited for the chance to get my hands dirty again so to speak. Honestly, General, I am looking for a change.¨ Adrienne answered, the volume in her voice dropping at the last words. Catching the change in her demeanor, Daniel frowned, looking her over.
¨Why is that?¨
¨I have nothing left to keep me in New Orleans. I just need a fresh start,¨ Adrienne continued but Daniel was not impressed. This woman was awfully quick to leave a job she had held for five years. He looked over at Sam, expecting her to react the same, but she was unfazed, just flipping through her folder to continue.
¨Is that because of your father? ¨Sam asked gently, Adrienne’s eyes widening. She had appeared slightly nervous in the first place but at the mention of her father, her hands began to tremble and Daniel could see her pull them off of the table and slip them into her lap.
¨How did you - ¨Adrienne started anxiously, but Sam lifted her hand lightly to halt her question.
¨This is the United States Government Dr. Rowan; we did a thorough background check before contacting you.¨ Sam explained. Adrienne took a deep breath and looked down at her relocated hands before glancing back up at Sam and Daniel.
¨I probably should have figured out this was more serious than the Smithsonian when I came through all of that security,” the woman tried to joke, but it was clear to Daniel at least and he hoped Sam, that the idea of her being led down to the bottom-most levels of the Pentagon was unnerving, “ I am assuming that working in a dusty basement does not require a background check. But yes ma’am, partly because of my father.”
Confused, since he really hadn’t read the file carefully, Daniel opened it again to read over her background. Father, Francis Rowan, age 64, died of lung cancer about seven months ago. His stomach sank. Seven month? That was a wound that was relatively fresh and it explained her demure attitude. Explained why she didn’t need to be here. Sick parent or not, if she was so brilliant, so talented as Sam was claiming this morning in her office, shouldn’t she have done something else? Something more?
“Tell me Dr. Rowan,” he asked as he sat forward again, noticing that Sam had been looking at him for a moment while he read the folder, “ you seem to have graduated high in your class, with a LOT of potential for upward momentum in your field, yet you have been satisfied to spend your entire career at Delgado, teaching freshman level world history?”
“Yes,” Adrienne began to answer, clearing her throat, “I needed the time to spend with my father and to be honest, the state benefits covered almost everything that Medicare didn’t.”
“What about your mother?” Daniel continued, unable to grasp why a young woman would be expected to take on the responsibility of caring for an ailing parent, essentially giving up her own future. Quietly, Adrienne looked down at her hands again and Daniel could see she was picking at the skin of her fingers in what looked like a nervous tick. She only did so for a brief moment and then stopped, but it seemed to take an eternity as he watch her scrutinize her index finger and peel a fragment of flesh from her non-existent nails. Finally, she glanced slowly in his direction, any earlier instance of confidence seemingly fading away.
“She died when I was born. My father raised me, alone. I couldn’t leave him; he never left me.”
Daniel sat back in the chair a bit torn. Yes, what an awful story, but to throw away everything? She could have been dancing circles around any archaeologist he had ever met just based on the information he had quickly scanned in this file, but she chose to stay behind to take care of Daddy? Why not hire a nurse? Why not do something?
“You do realize how that might look to us.“ Daniel spoke, awaiting her reaction. She didn’t flinch at first, her eyes caught between himself, Sam and those decimated fingernails, but he did she her swiftly glance to her side, her lips moving slightly.
“Certains d'entre nous ne sont pas nés avec une cuillère en argent dans la bouche,”
(I understand how it would look to those with a silver spoon in their mouth.) Adrienne mumbled in a strange, drawly, accented French but french he understood, clearly. Daniel froze dumbfounded. Did she really just say that? In an interview?
“Excuse me?” Daniel asked curtly leaning even closer to the woman, trying to meet her gaze, while Sam just looked back and forth between them, puzzled and silent.
“No, I was just saying that yes, I know how it might look, but my father was all I had. I couldn’t just abandon him,” she answered quickly, but startled, sitting upright in the chair again, picking her nails. No, that was not what she said, and he wasn’t about to let her get away with it, even if Sam was sitting right there.
“J’ai entendu ce que vous avez dit,” Daniel said to her, point blank, wiping all emotion from his face. His blue eyes were cold. (I understood what you said.) Adrienne’s widened in horror.
“Pour votre information, mes deux parents sont morts et j'ai été sauté à la maison en famille d'accueil,” Daniel continued coolly, “Mais cela ne m'empêche pas de mes objectifs. C'est une excuse, pas une raison.” (For your information, BOTH of my parents died and I was hopped from foster home to foster home, but I still manage to achieve my goals. That is an excuse, not a reason).
“Une excuse?!” Adrienne repeated, the look on her face changing from shock to insult, a slow fire burning behind her deep chocolate eyes. Maybe there was something there like Sam had insisted, but he refused to allow himself to entertain the notion, sitting back into the chair confidently, crossing his arms across his chest.
“Oui,” his response was short as was his tone. Daniel was finished.
“Ensuite, vous êtes aussi fou que je pensais. Profitez de votre trou ici, je serai de retourner à mes élèves," she spat, her eyes darting back to Sam. “Thank you General, for the opportunity, but I can sense when I am not wanted.” Standing to leave, Dr. Adrienne Rowan adjusted her pants and jacket, wiping away a loose hair from her brow and walked briskly to the door, leaving without a further word. Sam leapt from the table, glaring angrily at Daniel.
“What did you say to her!?!” Sam demanded, not knowing much french but having picked up words like parents, dead, excuses and crazy, enough to let her know their very short and very terse exchange had not gone well.
“Nothing, I told her that she needed to not use her father as an excuse for underachievement,” he answered plainly. Sam’s jaw dropped.
“What?! Are you nuts? You know, Jack’s right about you. You are impossible sometimes and you seem to just get worse as the years go by,” Sam hissed, shoving the folders aside to chase after Dr. Rowan.
Annoyed, Daniel tapped the pen on the table, his eyes staring blankly at the legal pad. He had a passing thought and made another note to himself on the bright yellow paper.
Send Sam flowers
Daniel awoke to sharp, stabbing pain in his neck as he tried to pick his head up slowly, looking left at the gray cinderblock wall of his lab and right in the direction of the drab gray file cabinets. Peering out of the corner of his eye he saw from the computer screen it was 7 a.m. and quickly came to the conclusion that he had slept through the night at his desk again, face on keyboard. He instinctively brought his hand to his face, feeling the slight one centimeter by one centimeter indentations pressed into his cheek. When was that damn cot going to arrive? As he started to negotiate with his body to get up, taking off his glasses and cracking his neck left first, then right he heard a faint clicking sound behind him. Curious as to who had slipped into the lab so early this morning and without his noticing, he glanced over in the direction of the noise when he saw her.
Sitting at the spare desk he kept stowed against the wall by the blue door to the lab, was Dr. Adrienne Rowan, brow furrowed in concentration, typing away at a small silver laptop computer covered in stickers. She was wearing a plain black t-shirt, jeans and combat books, her shoulder length brown hair messy and down, a few strands running down her cheek but most of them tucked tightly behind her ear. No suit, no uniform, the woman sitting in his lab looked just like in that ridiculous internet photo. Stunned, and at a loss for words, Daniel remained seated, starting at her in complete and total shock. He must have made a noise or something because just as he closed his eyes and opened them quickly, hoping that she would disappear, he saw that she was looking right at him, a friendly smile on her face. He tried not to let her see him roll his eyes.
“Good morning. Sam said just to leave you alone and that you would need this when you woke up,” she said as he saw a small white bottle come flying through the air headed straight for him, but it never made it, instead hitting the corner of his desk and bouncing onto the floor.
“Sorry, I was never really good at games involving the throwing of round objects,” she tried to smile again, apparently sensing that he was not too happy to see her. He wasn’t. He thought she had figured that out yesterday.
Daniel stood and leaned over to whisk the bottle from the floor, opening the cap, shaking a few tablets into his hand and tossing them into his mouth. Without so much as a thank you to Dr. Rowan, who was still sitting there smiling uncomfortably, he grabbed a bottle of water from his desk and chugged the warm liquid that had sat there overnight. He swallowed quickly and closed the bottle, glaring back over at his unexpected guest.
“What exactly are you doing here?” he demanded, setting the bottle down forcefully on the desk.
“Working,” she responded simply and looked back at the screen of her lap top, returning to clicking and tapping away at the machine. Taking a step towards her, Daniel made a face and cocked his head, puzzled as to what exactly was going on.
“On what?” he started, but stopped himself, throwing up his hand and waving them in front of his face, “Wait, don’t answer that. Why, How? Under who’s authority?” He paused only a few steps away from her as she looked at him emotionless. Clearly flustered, Daniel turned quickly on his heels and started to walk over to the phone to call Sam. This had to be a mistake. He didn’t need an assistant.
“She said don’t bother calling; she’s not there,” Dr. Rowan said from behind, that same flat tone in her voice making him turn around to face her once more. She stood from her desk, adjusting her t-shirt and walked over to a backpack leaning against the wall, kneeling before it and pulling out a composition book, taking the book, returning to the desk and opening it to make some notes, the entire process completed without one word or glance in acknowledgement of his presence.
“I don’t NEED an assistant,” Daniel said out loud, to no one in particular, most certainly not her, her, who had now taken her seat and was scrolling her finger down the trackpad of the computer, mouthing some words to herself and then putting pen to paper.
“She said you would say that too,” the woman responded calmly and continued to write, not looking up from her task. Turning away from the phone, Daniel strode angrily to this woman sitting at the desk, this woman who was just sitting there working away as if she belonged here. She didn’t belong here.
“I thought you said I was insane!?!” This time, it was clear to whom he was speaking. He stood by her desk glaring down at her with his arms crossed firmly across his chest, searching for a reaction. But he didn’t get one. Instead, Dr. Rowan clicked around at a few things on the keyboard, made another note in the composition book and only when she was finished, glanced back up at him.
“I still think you are. But Sam says that you’re really a great guy if I give you a chance, and well, she made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.” she smiled, returning her attention quickly to whatever was on that computer screen and continued scanning the information, her dark brown eyes darting back and forth rapidly, only interrupted by the raising of her pen as she began to make more notes onto the paper.
“What offer?” he asked taking another step forward to where she was in reach and he could almost make out writing on the computer screen, a manual of some sorts. For a moment he thought that she had just chosen to ignore his question, when suddenly she set the pen down gently in the crease of the book and glanced back up at him.
“Housing, pay, new life,” Dr. Rowan started to list, halting her speech as her face broke out into a smile, “And she showed me the Stargate, so I need to correct myself. I still think you’re crazy, just not for my original reasons. But that thing is too cool to pass up.”
Standing there, beside the desk, her desk, Daniel removed his glasses and rubbed his face. Sam had just overruled him, something he NEVER thought she would do; she had taken the power of the promotion and shoved it in his face. Anger could only begin to describe what he was feeling at this very moment, watching this woman, this stranger invade his space like she was supposed to be here, sit at this desk like it was hers, carrying on like she had just been working here all along. Breathing in deeply, Daniel stormed over to his desk in silence, straightening up the mess from last night and shoving a few items into a bag which he stuffed under the desk. Without a further word to Dr. Rowan, or even an attempted phone call to Sam, he marched right past the confused video game archaeologist wanna be and through the door, on a solo mission that he had every intention of seeing through to the end.
“Good morning Blue Eyes,” Vala bounced up happily to greet him the moment he entered the commisary, “why so glum?”
“No reason, Vala, have you seen Sam?” Daniel answered curtly, pulling away from her as she tried to run her arm through his. She stood back, looking hurt, she thought they’d talked about this, that they were going to try to back up and start anew, but Daniel didn’t have time for her feelings right now, there were much more important things to accomplish.
“Not all morning and I - “ Vala started when Cam entered the commissary, power walking right in Daniel’s direction, shouting as he moved.
“Jackson, who in the world is that woman working in your lab?!” Cam seemed intrigued by the prospect of someone new on base, probably because that someone was female, Daniel thought to himself as Vala looked over at him, a look of shock and jealously in her eyes.
“There’s a woman in your lab!?” Vala clarified, her tone changing, but Daniel didn’t have time to analyze exactly what her reaction was to his uninvited guest. Sighing, he gave them both the only thing running through his mind.
“She is NO ONE and she will be gone soon,” he answer gruffly, scanning the cafeteria tables for the general, but there was no sign of her or anyone who might know her whereabouts. Intending to avoid further discussion of his current predicament, Daniel turned quickly and left the commissary, continuing his search.
He had hunted all over the base for her, from the housing level back down to the gate room and her office when he gave up and decided to just return to the lab. She knew what she had done and eventually she would have to come down to check on him as he knew she would. Sam might have gone behind his back in hiring Dr. Rowan but eventually she would have to face him. As he rounded the corner heading down the hallway he heard what sounded like a small party coming from his workspace, voices, laughter and music. He picked up his pace.
“Wow, really? See, I was so obsessed with it when I was younger that I even wrote my master’s thesis on why Anakin Skywalker was similar to Jesus Christ. It was great, but I must have offended half of the faculty of Tulane!” her voice could be heard speaking as he approached the open doorway, peering inside to find Teal’c standing at her desk, no, the extra desk, listening to the story. He was laughing loudly and motioned Daniel over to join them as he crossed the threshold, nodding his head appreciatively at her tale.
“DanielJackson, I have met your new assistant and she is also a fan of Star Wars. We shall be good friends,” Teal’c smiled, looking to Daniel as if he expected him to agree. Daniel didn’t return the gesture, simply ignoring the remark.
“Have you seen Sam?” he inquired instead.
“Yeah,” Dr. Rowan answered, completely ignoring the fact that the question had not been directed at her, “she came by right after you left with something to translate. You were gone so long that I went ahead and did it for you. It’s over there,” she pointed over to a file sitting on the corner on his desk, stamped with the typical markings of a folder of work from Sam. Daniel paused, glancing back at her confused.
“Wait, you did it FOR me?” he asked, heading over to the desk, his gaze alternating between the dark haired pest sitting in the chair by the door and the work that had been completed for him. She was smiling, even more brightly than before, as if she was hoping to impress him. He tried not to give her the satisfaction, doubting that she could have really done much with the file, whatever language it was in.
“Yeah, it was pretty easy, a slight derivative of Latin with a few unknown words thrown in but I managed. Sam said some machine on that planet written on the top of the folder kept repeating it over and over. It was pretty short. I hope that was alright,” she stated, trailing off a bit at end as if she was unsure or looking for approval. He wasn’t going to give her that either.
Daniel reached down onto his desk, a frown on his face, taking the folder and opening it. There was a CD tucked inside, a recording of something he assumed and a series of pages of legal pad notes in what he took as Dr. Rowan’s handwriting. Stepping over to his computer, he took the CD and slid it into the side, pulling his headphones over his ears, listening carefully as he scanned the notes she made onto the page. A lot of it was right. A lot of it. Not all, but a lot of it. He felt his mouth open in amazement.
“How did you do this?” he asked, jerking the headphones to his neck and turning to face her, noting that she was still sitting in her chair, no the chair, waiting for him to address her once more.
“I told you it was like Latin, with a few unknown words and - “ she started to reply but paused as Daniel took the folder in his hand and walked back over to her desk, shaking his head as he approached.
“No, this is Ancient, yes it’s very similar to Latin but there are words here that are not Latin. How did you figure them out?” he stopped before getting too close, reminding himself silently to keep his distance, but he was fairly certain that she had already seen the look of amazement on his face.
“Context clues,” she responded, as if this was something she did everyday, “You have to do that a lot with Roman/Etruscan tombs and such.”
He made a face and headed back to his desk, sitting down to go back over the information in the file to correct her mistakes. Sensing the tension in the room, Teal’c bid them both a farewell and left quickly, leaving the two archaeologists alone in the lab. As if he had never come by, Dr. Rowan was clicking away at the keys of her computer. He tried not to overanalyze it, but Daniel was completely puzzled. How could she have figured it out, so fast and so close to correct? Was this was Sam meant? If she knew this much already, or at least had the tools to figure out this much, what else could he teach her? And, if he was supposed to be her boss and he had given her nothing to do yet what was she working on? What did he need her to work on?
“Dr. Rowan?” he called out, trying to sound official, to sound like a boss. That was a new role for him, boss.
“Adrienne,” she said, still not looking up. Alright, so she wanted to go by her first name, he thought, that’s fine, everyone else here does.
“Fine, Adrienne. What are you doing over there?” he asked politely.
“Sam said that until you came to your senses, I should start with learning how to work the DHD and memorize important dialing sequences. They’re constellations, right? That didn’t seem so bad. She gave me this nifty guide so I think I am good to go,” Adrienne responded plainly, tapping a small booklet that was open at her hand.
Not so bad? Daniel was stunned. It had been easy for him sure, well all but the last symbol, but many of the other staff members still confused some basic symbols even with intensive training and ending up dialing themselves into more trouble instead of dialing home. This woman was sitting there calling it easy. He looked at her as she continued to go through that list Sam must have given her of things to do, clearing his throat to get her attention once more.
“How many languages do you speak?” Daniel asked, thinking this was something he should have read in that file Sam gave him and wondering if there were other things he should have looked for.
“Speak implies that I have anyone to speak them to,” Adrienne answered, a slight smile creeping across her face as she looked over at him. He turned his head, looking at her strangely. That was an odd response. He decided to rephrase his question.
“Fine, how many languages do you know? Or can you read?” he tried again. Adrienne stopped the typing she had resumed and scrunched up her face, her eyes gazing up to the ceiling, and started counting on her fingers. She paused a few times and shook her head and then resumed the count, repeating this action a few times before finally opening her mouth.
“I think 10, maybe 12,” she finally replied, still looking at her fingers. Daniel was amazed. He spoke 23 himself, but most of the rest of the multilingual staff were limited to 2 or 3, except for Sgt. Keenan and he was amazed she spoke 6. But 10 or 12 and she wasn’t even sure?! He really should have read that file more closely.
“Well, if you’re going to work here, we might as well make it 11... or 13,” he stood from his desk and walked over to the bookcase, grabbing an older leather bound journal, heading for her desk. Stopping right by her chair, he reached the book out towards her carefully.
“Here,” he said as he handed her the journal, “This is written ancient. Trust me, it’s not like what you just heard. There is no grammar book, no dictionary, no ABC order. You will have to learn like I did if you expect to figure out how I work down here. When you can get through this, I have about 10 others.”
Adrienne smiled slightly and took the book, “Thanks.”
“In the meantime,” he continued, “I’ve got things to do over here and I really need to concentrate on them.”
Standing there staring at her, he began to notice a few more things he had missed in the interview, a few very interesting details. Dr. Adrienne Rowan’s face was almost completely decorated in metal, her eyebrow, nose and lip were pierced and her left ear had so many things in it that he would have had to place her head under the magnifier to count them all. How did he miss that during the interview? How had Sam missed that? Where did this woman come from?? Never in his entire career had he met a professional that looked this way, looked as if she walked right out of a heavy metal video and into his lab. On the other hand though, she had completed a large portion of the translation and she seemed pleasant enough, so he decided to give her a chance, for now, but didn’t want her to feel as if she had won. He was the boss. She was the employee, albeit a very unique one. As she turned to open the book, her eyes scanning the information in that quick way she had been scanning the screen before, he paused for a moment, expecting her to say something, anything, pose an argument, a sigh, a “yes sir” in submission, but he got nothing, instead, as he walked back over to his desk to pick up where he left off from last night, he saw her reach back into a backpack, covered in buttons like a teenager’s school pack, and pull out another composition notebook and some headphones. Silently, she plugged them into her computer, popping them onto her head and opened his book, jotting some things into her ledger. Ok, so she likes to listen to music while she studies, must be a habit from college that didn’t die, he thought to himself, deciding to let that go as well and attempt to get something accomplished today since he had already wasted a considerable amount of time this morning trying to get rid of her.
Daniel was just sitting down when he heard noise, loud noise coming from that desk by the door. It wasn’t noise. It was music, and it was coming from Adrienne’s headphones, loud music, very loud music, very loud rap music. Very loud old rap music. Crap people used to listen when he was just starting to teach, things people played on boomboxes that they carried on their shoulder around the campus. She listens to rap music, he thought, why in the world does she listen to rap music? And look like that? Trying not to draw attention to himself, he glanced over at her again, noting that she was completely absorbed in her computer, the leather bound journal, the composition book and was dancing at her desk, hip hop dancing at her desk. Feeling a headache coming on, he reached for the bottle of ibuprofen that she had tossed his way this morning and sighed, wondering exactly how he was going to survive this.
Time clicked by quickly and before he realized how long he had been sitting and working, Vala stuck her head into the lab, informing him that it was time for lunch if he and Dr. Rowan cared to join them. Vala knew her name already, this was not a good sign. Sam must really be trying to ruin his life. Reluctantly he stood as Vala exited the lab chuckling, noting that his guest had not noticed the interruption and was continuing to work her way through the ancient vocabulary text.
“Baby got back!” he heard playing loudly from the headphones as he approached her desk.
“You have got to be kidding me!” he blurted out before he could control himself, loud enough to alert Adrienne to his presence apparently, since she was now looking straight at him with her dark inquisitive brown eyes.
“Huh?” she asked, slipping the headphones down to her neck so that he could hear the verse of the song, if you could call it that, spilling out of them. Why in the world did she listen to such awful music, he thought to himself, his rumbling stomach bringing him back to reality.
“Lunch. You hungry?” he said curtly, pointing out of the lab. Nodding her head gratefully as she removed the headphones from her neck and set them carefully onto the desk top, Adrienne seemed to be accepting his invitation.
“Oh, yeah, thanks,” she replied, clicking around on the keyboard a few strokes, thankfully to shut her ‘music’ off. Smiling, she stood from her desk, closed the lid of her laptop gently, placed the headphones on top of the machine’s absurdly decorated lid and grabbed the composition book, the journal and a pen, tucking the books underneath her arm as she headed for the door.
“No, no, no.” Daniel spoke and reached out, pulling the books from her and tossing them thoughtlessly on the desk, “I’m not going to have you march in there looking like I’m some kind of slave driver.”
“But I - “ Adrienne began to argue, that feistiness from the interview starting to creep back into her face. Nuh uh, he thought, this is not how this is going to play out.
“No arguments,” he stated assertively and put his hand on her shoulder turning her toward the door.
They walked in silence to the commissary.
He did have to talk to her once they arrived, discovering that Sam had not given Adrienne a tour of this part of the facility, therefore leaving him to direct her through the line and explain the hours and operation of the dining station. She nodded, thanked him again, politely, and grabbed a tray, proceeding toward the line of SG cadets, officers, teammates and officials who were waiting patiently for their turn. Daniel dropped to silence again, having nothing else to say to her and honestly not caring how her self- study of ancient was going, reaching to get himself a hamburger, some fries and a cup of pudding. However, as he did so, he couldn’t help but notice her selection of items. Unlike everyone else in line, she didn’t get a meal, more like a variety of rabbit food: two slices of wheat toast, she had actually asked if the bread was organic and Daniel almost erupted into laughter right there, some carrots, an apple and a cheese stick.
“What is that?” he finally asked as she was trying to convince the nice serving ladies to find her an organic skim milk after they had insisted that there was no organic milk nor skim milk to be found anywhere on the base.
“Food,” she answered smartly. There was that tone from yesterday. Not happening.
“No, a sandwich is food,” he said as he pointed to his tray, “or a slice of pizza. That’s a dysfunctional salad bar.”
“I have to eat like this; you have a problem with that too?!” she asked, some anger and spunk entering her voice, as she stared him down. If it weren’t for the fact that he was completely bemused by her behavior, he would have shouted back, but instead calmly looked down at her, waiting for her explanation.
“Why?” he questioned.
“I’m a distance runner. We have to eat every few hours. And we cannot eat that processed garbage you’ve put on your tray, it slows us down,” she responded and pointed disgustingly at his burger and fries.
Great, he thought to himself, she won Sam over with a smart mouthed blog, Teal’c with Star Wars and once Cameron knew she was a runner he would be joining the Adrienne bandwagon. Daniel would be forced to play the Vala card, which he hated to do, but it may be his only chance to rid himself of this inconvenience. He started to scan the room, looking for Vala when he saw that Adrienne had left him behind making her way to a table on the far left hand side of the room, spotting Teal’c, who of course was eating and chatting happily with Cam and Vala.
“This just gets better by the minute,” he said to himself and followed briskly, hoping she would not take the seat closest to Vala. He needed that seat.
“AdrienneRowan, may I present to you ColonelCameronMitchell and ValaMalDoran, also members of SG-1,” Teal’c introduced his teammates, who were regarding her with the same curiosity that they had this morning during Daniel’s hunt for Sam.
“So you’re the new Jackson?” Cameron stood to shake her hand as she set the tray down in front of her, taking the seat beside Teal’c, laughing lightly.
“Not exactly, just here to help I guess,” she answered, smiling, the attitude she had given him in line completely disappearing. Vala looked annoyed. Perfect, Daniel thought.
“Well girl, welcome aboard. What exciting life did you leave behind to pursue the great beyond?” Cam inquired kindly, reaching onto his plate to grab a fry and pop it into his mouth. Adrienne sat there across from him, her face still in that friendly grin, taking a quick sip of water before she answered.
“Just a teaching job; no big deal. After a while though, you get tired of lecturing to hungover freshman on the wonders of the ancient world. I actually had one girl ask me if the Greeks drove Beamers or Benz,” she giggled more as she told the story, soliciting a substantial grin from Cameron.
“No way, no one can be that stupid,” he commented, turning to explain to Teal’c that they were cars so he understood the joke, causing Teal’c to laugh as well, but Vala sat there quietly, eating her turkey sandwich and not saying a word. Pleased, Daniel sat down beside her and across from his assistant.
“I only got through the rest of the class telling myself that she must have been drunk, high or something, that no one could have ever enrolled in college that was that clueless,” Adrienne shrugged in response and picked up a carrot from her plate. No one else seemed to notice the complete lack of real food in front of her, as Cameron continued to beam and Teal’c nodded in agreement.
“Well, it’s nice to have you Adrienne. This is a pretty sweet gig we have here and going off world is definitely a life changing experience,” Cam continued, reaching for his soda to wash down his meal, Adrienne glowing at the mention of travel through the stargate. Wait, talking about going off world, already? She just got here. She wasn’t here to go galavanting around the galaxy, she was here to work on the database, wasn’t she?
“She won’t be going off world,” Daniel interjected, no longer able to contain himself. Everyone looked at him with mixed reactions, Teal’c with confusion, Cam with disappointment, and Adrienne in shock, while Vala continued to sit in silence, eating her sandwich.
“Why not?” Adrienne asked, hostility edging its way into her voice, so obvious that Vala finally broke her silence, chuckling into her hand.
“He must think you’re too pretty to get messed up,” she stated as she swallowed, seeming to take the wrong side. Dammit.
“Are you kidding me?!” Adrienne spat, glaring at him incredulously, evidently buying into Vala’s idiotic argument. Regardless, Daniel needed to make his stance clear on this, that she was hired as a research assistant, meaning her job was to stay in the lab and conduct research, but more important than that, going through the gate was not something one just leapt right in to.
“First, you’re not trained to take care of yourself, you have no idea what goes on on the other side. Secondly, researchers, historians, and the like don’t go off world,” he stated simply.
“You do,” she retorted, her eyes boring into his again, so dark they almost looked black. Were she not small in statue, at least smaller than him, she would have been very intimidating, but he refused to give her the satisfaction of letting her see him flinch.
“I never should have and have been taught since how to take care of myself,” he hissed in return, retreating from her gaze as he faced his food.
“Wow,” Adrienne said, leaning over to reestablish eye contact from across the table, looking him dead in the eye as if no one else was present, “so not only do you think I’m an underachiever, but an idiot and a helpless one at that? I’m really trying here, I am, but honestly I’m not sure why in the hell someone as nice as Sam thinks you are anything more than a washed-up pompous asshole!”
The word asshole had barely crossed Adrienne lips when Vala cracked up, momentarily choking on her last bite of sandwich, and putting her hand to her mouth to control her food and her laughter. Finally regaining her composure, she stood, swallowed and grabbed her mostly clear tray, leaning over to whisper to Daniel.
“I like her, and not just because she told the entire internet you were an idiot.”
Adrienne 4 Daniel 0.
They finished the work day in silence.
As the days and then weeks past, Adrienne worked her way right into the SGC, acting as if she had been there all along. She no longer tried to call Sam ‘General’, even joining his old friend for lunch on a few occasions. She introduced Teal’c to a myriad of new movies, each more over the top than the next, “Night of the Living Dead”, “Halloween”, “Nightmare on Elm Street”, some awful campy movies from the 1980‘s and an abundance of British comedy, so much British comedy in fact that Teal’c had taken to quoting Monty Python which Daniel found quite disturbing. As he expected, she and Cam had gone on a few runs together and he had successfully talked her into running a charity 10K with him in the spring. Even she and Vala were getting along, Daniel having determined they bonded over making fun of him since whenever they were in the lab together they were laughing loudly right up until he entered the room, when both of them would promptly drop to silence.
Daniel also learned that her file contained a bit more information than just how many languages she spoke. The entire contingent of SG-1 were in the range one day, practicing throwing knives after SG-11 came back from a planet where Zats and P90’s wouldn’t work and had to resort to using only projectile weapons. Excused from this particular activity, having been deemed by Daniel as his “lab rat”, Adrienne was spending the morning pouring over some database information until she came upon a passage that stumped her. Daniel was just about to take his turn at the target when she entered the room to bring him something to look over.
“Throwing knives. Fun,” she said, an excited tone in her voice and a smile on her face. Daniel kept his eyes on the target.
“What do you need?,” he asked, pulling the knife to his cheek.
“I’m at an impasse; I need you to take a look at this,” Adrienne replied, walking a folder to him, opening it and pointing to a computer print-out. Not breaking his stance, Daniel turned his head to glance at the material, scanning the page with his eyes and returning them quickly to the mark.
“Put it over there,” he answered, cocking his head in the direction of an empty chair in the corner. Adrienne nodded quickly, closed the file and walked it over to the chair, placing the folder on its cold metal surface. But she didn’t leave, instead she walked back over to him, standing so close that he caught a whiff of cherry or some other fruit scent wafting off of her. Why was she still here?
“Can I try?” she inquired politely. He started to refuse immediately, but reconsidered, since after all, she had been trapped in the lab for three days straight. What could it hurt?
“Sure,” he handed the knife back to her gently, part of him expecting her to drop it onto the floor, but she didn’t, just held it in her hand for a moment, moving it around her right hand, transferring it to her left and back to her right again. Daniel stepped aside to allow her to face the target and she quickly positioned herself in front, repeating the transfer while she glanced from her hands to the target and back to her hands. She looked up one last time at the target, tossing the weapon into the air, catching the handle with her right hand and launched it. The knife landed dead center of the bullseye with a quiet thunk. Daniel’s jaw dropped and Cam’s eyes widened. Teal’c just stood there smiling.
“I love the weight of a K-BAR, thanks Dr. Jackson, ” she offered and left the room, heading back presumably to continue with her research as Daniel continued to stare, dumbfounded, at the target.
“She’s a black belt,” Vala chimed in, “In American Karate. Her dad made her learn.”
Leaving Daniel confused and staring out into the hallway after Adrienne, Vala walked to the target to remove the knife. He really should have read that file.
To make matters worse, despite numerous inquires, the cot never arrived, so Daniel had requested temporary on base quarters hoping that Sam would at least take that seriously. She did, and he was placed on the lowest level of the housing unit, the closest she could get him to his lab. Daniel wasn’t the only staff member needing on-base quarters, since finding an apartment an acceptable distance from the Pentagon had been a bit of a challenge, Sam had assigned Adrienne on base quarters as well. Not that he had anything against her, but Daniel really had nothing to say to her, so he tried to avoid her like the plague, hoping to head off an uncomfortable conversation. One night, when he couldn’t sleep, which seemed to happen a lot lately, he decided to trudge back down to the lab and see if he could get something accomplished while he was still awake enough to think. He left his room, made his way to the elevators and all the way down to the lab, deciding that he would just go through the next week’s mission files to get himself ahead of schedule. Stepping through the door of the elevator, he created a mental to do list, walking briskly down the hall.
He heard it before he even reached the entryway.
As he pushed on the partially opened door, and peered around the corner, he found Adrienne, in yoga pants and a neon t-shirt, her hair pulled into a pony tail, dancing around the lab to loud German club music blasting through a speaker on her desk with file folders in each hand.
“What’s going on in here?!” he shouted over the music, hoping he was only dreaming that he had walked into a rave in his lab in the middle of the night. At least she was alone.
“Oh, sorry, I thought you were asleep,” she said quickly, putting down the stacks of file folders onto the center table and running directly over to the speaker, shutting off her iPod and looking back at him.
“Too loud?” she asked, her face showing concern. It was, but she didn’t seem to be doing anything inappropriate, in fact, she seemed to be doing what he was intending to do, work in the middle of the night.
“Just a tad, what are you doing?” he asked, indicating the folders laid out on the tables.
“Organizing,” she answered simply and went back to her task.
“I already had those organized,” he replied, baffled, walking over to the spread she had created in the middle of the room.
“Yes, and no. See, you have them in ABC order, but some of the files are labeled with a planet name, sometimes a language name and other times the names of the people, but after I had some problems finding things for Sam’s meeting last week, I decided to reorganize them by planet code. That way,” she explained excitedly and ran over to the computer, “when we search for an electronic version and get a planet code we don’t need to try to figure out what heading it was filed under, planet name, people, etc. We just look for the planet number and everything associated with that planet will be in the same folder,” she smiled, presenting the screen with a wave of her hand, pleased with herself. Daniel stood there, speechless.
He decided to go back to bed.
After a while though, he had to concede that Adrienne wasn’t as bad as he thought. She was both efficient and a fast learner, and her little number system had proved very helpful, even though he didn’t want to admit that to her just yet. She was also pleasant to be around as well; she never seemed to completely lose her cool with him like she had in the interview, but the times where she was close to ripping into him, he had to admit that he deserved it, maybe even had provoked it just a touch. However, despite all of that, there was just something strange and uncomfortable about having this intruder in his work, his lab and his life, and he wasn’t sure exactly how he was going to come to terms with this new reality. It didn’t help that Sam was also impressed with not only her progress, but the fact that Sam had hired her, reminding Daniel often that very fact. So, he wasn’t totally surprised when just four short weeks into Adrienne’s employment at the SGC, Sam requested she attend a briefing with him. He didn’t argue, she would have to learn about what he was doing off world sooner rather than later, and maybe learn enough where she could be left in the lab alone while he was gone instead of being shifted to another part of the base in his absence. Adrienne was quite excited when he informed her that she would be attending the briefing, talking to him the entire way down the hall, asking questions and trying to start a conversation. He answered them, as politely as possible, but picked up his pace to get to the briefing room as soon as he could, ushering her in ahead of him and pointing to the seat beside his customary chair.
“Ok, guys, this trip should be a no-brainer. The Madronans have been having issues with their weather touchstone and are unable to read some of instructions that seem to have been left to fix it. I was thinking it was a nice easy trip, an excuse to get you guys off-world together,” Sam started the briefing, passing the files around the table. Daniel noted the entire contingent of SG-1 was there, every last member, no one missing to tend to their other various duties.
“Thank GOD,” Vala moaned, “ I’ve been so bored, reading intelligence reports gets old, fast. About time we get to see some action again.”
Sam smiled, understanding and wishing inside that she could go as well, “Not a lot of action, but I’ve had you guys doing too much administrative work and you need to stay sharp.”
Daniel glanced at the folder, labeled PX7-941. It contained all three of the folders in one place that he had created for the planet, thanks to Adrienne, and opened it to refresh his memory as to which language was carved into the column. Go’ould. No problem, he thought, this shouldn’t take that long and he could get back to where he had left off in the database, right at the rise of the Asgard kings. He wanted to get through that section fairly quickly since it seemed to work much like the begats in the Bible, offering little information other than who was whose father. Closing the folder, he peeked over at Adrienne to find her reading the information intently, her cocoa eyes darting across the pages.
“You all will leave at 1900 hours, so go gear up,” Sam concluded. Daniel stood from the table as the others began to mill out, all except for Adrienne who seemed to be rereading the folder for a second time. He was just about to tap her on her shoulder to bring her out of her trance when he felt a tap at his own.
“Daniel, go take Adrienne down to the weapons room and get her a tac vest and a Zat,” Sam informed him, smiling down at the young woman still at the table, who had looked up upon hearing her name.
“Excuse me?” he asked, seeking clarification. There was no way Sam was going to send her off world, only four weeks into the job, with no training, and with SG-1. She was just, well, she was just a lab rat, and he was about to say that very thing when Sam stopped him with a glare, cutting her eyes down at Adrienne and then back to him.
“This is a perfect training opportunity for her. No danger, friendly people. She has to go off world sometime,” Sam explained and she was right of course, lab rat or not, even Rothman had gone off world and what if Daniel were to complete an extended dig and needed her assistance. However, despite her achievements in recent weeks, he had hoped that maybe that Adrienne would either throw her hands up and quit before it got this far. If she was going on missions now, how long before she was on the team? She was like a feisty, talented virus that never seemed to go away, and one that he had no idea what to do with. Frowning, he just nodded his head to Sam in agreement, leading Adrienne out of the briefing room and down the hall to the main weapons storage near the gateroom. Using his keycode, Daniel unlocked the door and walked to the back wall where rows and rows of weapons, vests and training gear were displayed. Adrienne followed in awe, her quick eyes darting from each section in amazement, alerting Daniel to the fact that no one must have taken her into this area either. She had a lot to learn. Rummaging through the smaller sizes of tac on the rack, Daniel grabbed one that he thought would fit over her slightly curvy Cajun physique, removing it from the hanger.
“Try this one,” he ordered as he handed her a vest, size medium women’s. Thanking him with a silent nod, Adrienne undid the zipper and pulled it over her shoulders, reaching to fasten it once more and yanking it down. Arms up, she turned left and right, gazing down her back before crossing her arms across her chest and returning them to her sides.
“Perfect,” she said, smiling brightly.
“Ok, now you need a gun,” he moved on, not wanting to encourage her, since going through the gate was not something like she saw in those movies of hers she was always talking about, gate travel was not fiction, it was reality, a sometimes deadly reality. Yet, at the mention of the word gun, Adrienne, who had been walking over to stand beside him, froze in her tracks, the expression of glee fading.
“A gun?” she repeated, sounding a bit nervous.
“Well, a Zat gun it’s a stun gun, I’ll show you how to use it. You’ll carry a Zat for a good while before anyone with issue you a P-90,” he answered calmly, but puzzled by her reaction. The smile starting to reappear on her face and she was nodding again, resuming her approach.
“Ok, good, I’m not a fan of bullets,” she admitted quietly. For someone who had spent weeks trying to prove how tough and capable she was, she sounded unusually vulnerable right now. It made her more endearing for a brief moment, made her seem more, tolerable. He smiled in return.
“You can stick with the Zat as long as you like,” he assured her. Dropping the topic, she took the gun from his hand, turning it over in her palms curiously, finally placing in into the black leg holster she must have attached to her pants while he was securing the weapon and stood back, placing her hands on her hips.
“How do I look?” she asked proudly, the smile from earlier having fully returned. Like one of us, was what popped into his mind, but he pushed the thought away quickly.
“Like you’re ready for your first mission,” were the words he chose instead, stepping past her to head for the range intending on showing her how to use her new toy.
“Thanks,” she replied kindly, and still smiling, followed behind him blushing with delight.
When they crossed through the other side of the gate on Madrona, Daniel saw Adrienne shiver out of the corner of his eye, feeling bad momentarily for not walking through right beside her.
“You get used to it girl,” Cam said supportively as he patted her gently on the back.
“I hope so. Now I understand why Scotty never left the Enterprise,” she responded, trying to joke, and succeeding as Teal’c laughed at the remark. All team members accounted for, Cam watched the event horizon close behind them, pivoting on his heels to point in the direction of the city ahead.
Unlike most of the other planets, the Stargate was situated close to the Madronan main temple complex, home of the touchstone weather device. Walking ahead of the group feeling at home in familiar territory, Daniel was almost at a light jog as he made his way down the ramp, looking left and right, surprised that there was no one to greet them.
“Roham!” he shouted, “Roham, it’s Dr. Jackson, we’re here to fix the touchstone!”
The shot came from the jungle surrounding the gate, making Adrienne’s heart stop, a flood of memories rushing into her head, and time seemed to stand still as she watched her boss crumble to the ground. There was instant movement around and behind her, as the team pulled out weapons, preparing to fight, but Adrienne remained upright, terrified and frozen.
“Get down!” Vala shouted to her, yanked her forcefully to the ground by her vest, slamming Adrienne onto her elbow as she caught herself from the fall, just in time, as more fire came from the jungle. Panicked, the young assistant reached for Vala’s arm, shaking it violently, as she felt her own body tremble in a matching pattern.
“They shot Dr. Jackson!” Adrienne shouted over to her, glancing up again at the injured man lying just feet ahead of her.
“Yes, but if we hope to get him out of there we have to make sure that we don’t get shot as well!!!” Vala hissed, glaring back over her shoulder at Cameron and Teal’c, making some signals that Adrienne didn’t understand, but Cameron apparently did and nodded, scanning the surrounding forest, coming up onto his knees.
“Stay low and let’s make our way to the temple!” he directed, indicating the open building ahead of them.
Slowly waking up to the realization of what was happening around her, Adrienne moved first, willing herself forward amidst the gunfire, crawling quickly on all fours in the direction of her injured boss, hoping that he was still alive. Dr. Jackson might have been a little short with her, she had even called him a jerk a few times under her breath, but regardless she wasn’t going to let him die out here. Reaching him, she leaned as close to him as she could, bringing her ear to his open mouth checking his respiration and her first two fingers to the side of his neck, searching for a pulse. She was pleased to feel both his warm breath tickle her cheek and a faint throbbing underneath of her fingers, he was alive, but she needed to find the wound. Still pressed ever so close to his body, Adrienne ran her hands down his arms, his chest and his torso until she felt something warm and sticky, pulling back her fingers to discover they were covered in blood, red and thick. The side, he had been shot in the side and while she should wrap the wound tightly, there was no time and no dressing, so Adrienne pulled herself against his body, shoving the heel of her hand into the source of the bleeding and began to apply direct pressure, glancing over her shoulder to see the progress of the others. Cam was leading the pack, arriving to her first, still crawling and firing off rounds from his P-90 into the surrounding vegetation. The sound of the gunfire was making her heart race, so she redirected her attention once more to Dr. Jackson, leaning in to check his breathing, choppy and weak as it was.
“Come on, don’t die,” she began to plea when she felt a grip on her upper bicep causing her to turn in fear.
“AdrienneRowan, please allow me to take DanielJackson to the temple,” Teal’c requested, reaching underneath of her boss to pull him and swing one limp arm over his broad shoulder, Cam doing the same with the other. Reluctantly, Adrienne relinquished control to the Jaffa, pulling back her hand slowly, trying to pretend it was not a blackish brown color, stained in Dr. Jackson’s blood, and watched as the two men dragged him to the safety of the large stone edifice. Adrienne began to crawl forward in pursuit when she heard a terrifying shriek, turning to glance behind her just in time to see Vala’s head hit the ground. Without hesitation, she crawled over to her, grabbing her vest tightly and pulled her into the temple where Teal’c was dragging Dr. Jackson over to a corner of the room to examine him. Having witnessed the scene unfold in front of him, Cam rushed to help her with Vala, muttering under his breath as he did.
“Damn Lucians,” Cameron swore and pulled Vala the rest of the way to safety.
“Remind me to blow up the next ship we try to negotiate with,” Vala spat in response, causing Adrienne to breathe a sigh of relief that she was conscious, “I’m fine, it was a stun to the ribs,” she assured them, “I’m just not going anywhere for a while.” Reaching for the hem of her shirt, Vala lifted the fabric to expose a large bruise forming on her lower rib cage, wincing in pain. Cam just made her stay down. Remembering Dr. Jackson, Adrienne whipped her head over at Teal’c who was looking him over, his hand pressed firmly to his wounded side as Adrienne herself had been doing before.
“ColonelMitchell, I have taken a shot in my leg, and DanielJackson is bleeding badly. I cannot carry him and ValaMalDoran to safety. We need to contact Dr.Lam,” the large warrior informed him, holding back his own pain for the sake of the others. Adrienne respected the alien man already but seeing him right now just made her respect him that much more.
“Christ,” Cam swore loudly, his words almost entirely drowned out by gun fire as the Lucians were starting to change their aim and fire into the temple, “Ok, we’ve gotta dial back home and get help.”
Looking back at the gate, the few trees surrounding it riddled with bullet holes, she wasn’t sure how in the world Cam planned on getting the five of them back through the gunfire, up the ramp, through the stargate and to the safety of the base but getting through situations like this were why he was the team leader. Glancing back at him to see what he had planned, she was surprised to discover that he was staring right at her.
“Well girl, time to prove yourself,” he said seriously, in the tone of leadership she had expected even if she had never anticipated the words. On cue, gunfire erupted outside the temple and Adrienne’s stomach sank into the deepest pits of her body. Cam didn’t speak for a moment, just peered out into the chaos, and stood, walking quickly over to Dr. Jackson’s tac vest, removing a small black device from a lower pocket, tossing it to her. It must have been the fear, but Adrienne caught the gadget right away, examining the tiny box now in her hands. It didn’t seem to be too much, just a few lights and a button situated in the center.
“You gotta run to the gate, not get shot, and dial home. Hit the button on that thing before you go through, it’ll tell them it’s Daniel and they’ll open the iris. Get help, get firepower and get your ass back to here while I hold these assholes off,” Cam ordered, leaning over Daniel himself to see how bad the wound was. Speechless, Adrienne watched him check and then watched him frown, knowing that Cam had now seen the wound for as serious as she knew it was. Behind her she could hear movement, Vala trying to get up, and a thud accompanied by intense swearing and Adrienne knew that she wasn’t going anywhere either.
“You want me to run back!?! Through gunfire?!?!” she asked in shock and fear, rhetorically, she knew what his answer would be and the part of her that was accepting her role in this predicament was simply stalling, not knowing how she was going to be able to make it back to the DHD without being shot, or worse, just dropping dead of fright. Glancing back at her once more, one hand still on Dr. Jackson’s arm, Cam shook his head and sighed.
“Honey, that’s what you signed up for,” he answered simply.
Bullets peppering the sides of the temple, Adrienne tried to think, tried to come up with a reason as to why she shouldn’t dial for help, that she couldn’t dial for help. Her deep brown eyes started their scan, a slower scan this time, a scan of her coworkers, her boss and the gate. Was this really what she had imagined? She had been promised fascinating research and amazing worlds, not gun toting Martians. She was just supposed to be a lab rat. Maybe Dr. Jackson was right, maybe researchers and assistants didn’t belong off world. This was much more than she could handle and forty-five minutes in the range with a Zat wasn’t nearly enough preparation for the horror that was spread out in front of her, Vala’s ribs wounded, possibly broken, and Teal’c bleeding slowly from a hit to the leg. She heard a low painful grunt and saw that Dr. Jackson was starting to stir a bit, blood still oozing from under his vest and she knew, watching them lie there that she had to do what was being asked of her. Letting out a deep breath, Adrienne swallowed hard and looked back at Cameron.
“You’ll cover me?” she asked, trying to be as brave as possible, although she was starting to lose it as her brain began to catch up to the words she was uttering.
“Yeah, now go, I’m not sure how much time he has...” Cam answered, cocking his head at her boss. Adrienne turned back to the ramp and crouched as low as she could while still remaining somewhat upright and able to run, taking a deep slow breath before making a mad dash to the gate. As she took off she heard Cameron shouting wildly behind her, trying to draw the fire away from her and in his direction, but she didn’t have time to look back to see if he was alright, she just had to make it to the gate. Projectiles and beams were flying in front of her face, a loud buzzing that made her want to reach out and shoo a bee away rather than dodge an attack. Some were so close that she felt cool air pass by her face, and she could hear the dings and clanks of the gunfire hitting the gate in front of her and the temple behind her. There was a sharp pain, as Adrienne felt a bullet, a laser beam or something nick her right hand and then warmth as the the blood begin to flow from the blade and down her digits, flying off of her fingertips in cold red droplets. It hurt, it made her heart skip a beat but her adrenaline was pumping too hard for her to stop and the sheer fear of dying right here on this ramp, on some strange planet, alone, gave her the strength to keep running even if the endorphins were to wear out. Gazing at her goal, Adrienne saw large billows of gray smoke cascading from the DHD, making her sprint faster to see what was wrong, and even faster as she heard Cam’s screams, joined by Vala, who must have been trying to draw the gunfire away so she could dial home. She waved her hands frantically in front of the large machine, trying to clear the air so she could see, so she could find the symbols she needed to dial home and get them out of here. Her efforts were working, the cloud dissipated and she saw the familiar constellations from her guidebook, the first things Sam had made her memorize. Lifting her hand to dial as the chevrons became clear, she paused in shock. The Earth Chevron was gone, its button blown off of the device with what looked like a crude gun, and there was nothing underneath like there would be when a key was removed from a computer’s keyboard, there was just nothing there at all.
“No!!” she shouted, “No, no, no!!” slamming her hands onto the dialer. Someone knew they were coming, someone planned this, this was a trap, and that was being made all the more obvious as gunfire began to sound, closer to her this time, making her worry that Cam had been hit. She had to pull herself together, they were all counting on her to get help. Willing herself not to panic, she racked her brain....
and began to dial....
The wormhole formed, and looking forward, Dr. Adrienne Rowan hit the button on the small device given to her by Colonel Mitchell and ran swiftly through the event horizon.
Adrienne was racing down a large, clean, silver platform on the other side of the gate when two armed men in strange clothing jumped on her, slamming her face first onto the floor, pinning her arms painfully behind her. She dropped the small device that she had been clutching to her chest tightly as she fell, but managed to shout out one request before they gagged her.
“I need to speak to Jonas Quinn!!!”
Daniel looked up from his writing just as a young cadet was pushing the shiny silver food cart into the infirmary. He hoped Dr. Lam would let him out today; he was getting sick of eating like Adrienne, but he feigned a smile as the cart came to a stop and the side curtain was lifted, revealing stacks of plates for his fellow sick, injured and otherwise trapped colleagues. The young man set the tray in front of him and he frowned at the presentation, hoping that his waiter did not take it personally, he just wanted a burger. He was starting to pick slowly through the grilled chicken and vegetable medley with his fork when he heard his name from across the way.
“Dr. Jackson?” he glanced up to see Adrienne coming around the corner, a bag of McDonald’s in hand and a slight smile on her face, “I figured they were killing you with healthy food, so I went rogue,” she joked, walking over to his bed and handing him the bag, which she was holding out in front of her like it was a biohazard.
“Thanks, I was in the need for some death by french fries,” he joked right back, appreciating the thought. Nodding silently, she clasped her hands together uncomfortably and turned to exit the infirmary.
“Hey, wait. You want some?” he inquired as he was opening the bag, surprised she was leaving. For some reason that he couldn’t discern, he didn’t want her to go just yet.
“Not really,” she smiled, stopping and looking back at him. You might as well ask, he told himself, she did save your life.
“Ok, well, at least join me,” he said, pausing for a moment, anxiously waiting for her to accept and seeing that she was not going to leave, added an explanation.
“I still can’t figure out how you did it,” he admitted, having yet to hear the entire story, only bits and pieces from Cam and Vala when they came to visit and a little from Sam when she ventured down to debrief him.
“Did what?” she asked as she walked across the infirmary, grabbing a stool sitting near an empty bed, and dragging it back over to his bedside.
“Got us home. I mean, I know you called Jonas, but - “ he paused, hoping that she understood his question, but quickly ascertained that she had, a bright grin spreading across her face. She was proud of herself, as she should be, and he wasn’t going to say anything right now to ruin the moment.
“But what?” she lead, teasing him. Swallowing a fry, he laughed lightly, shaking his head.
“I just can’t believe you did it,” he admitted, and it wasn’t an exaggeration. In fact, he was not the only person impressed, Adrienne’s quick thinking had made her the talk of the base for at least three days, much to her dismay and embarrassment, or that was at least what Vala told him, that Adrienne didn’t really want the attention. Nevertheless, Sam had even made a note in her file, hoping that the powers that be would also notice her accomplishment, although Daniel was unsure if anyone would really care. After all, she was just a lab rat.
“What else could I have done?” she continued picking at her nails nervously like she had during her interview, “There was no way to dial home so I just tried to remember the names of any allies that we had. Then I remembered Jonas because there was so much information on him since he was a former member of the team and the dialing sequence for Langara was on that initial list that Sam gave me to memorize when I was learning how to use the DHD. The hardest part was just convincing them that I was who I said I was.”
“How did you do that?” he inquired, definitely not hearing this part of the story. Dropping her gaze slightly, he could just make out a faint redness in her cheeks.
“Cameron gave me that little dohicky that says it’s you. Once I found where I dropped it and showed it to him, he knew I wasn’t some lunatic or a spy. So, it was Jonas to the rescue,” she concluded, made a little da dut da da sound into her fist, which she quickly returned to her lap, smiling at him again.
“I’m not so sure about the lunatic part,” he teased, unwrapping his hamburger gratefully. Adrienne shook her head, scrunching up her nose at the sight and smell of his greasy meal, making a sour face at him.
“Gee, thanks,” she laughed, standing to go and get some things accomplished since she had taken up enough work time smuggling him lunch. She was just dragging the stool back to where she had found it, when she heard him clearing his throat loudly behind her.
“Adrienne?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she answered, spinning on her heels coyly to face him, wondering what else he could possibly want.
“I was wrong, I was wrong about you. You do deserve this job, and all of the opportunities that come with it,” he said plainly, watching her strong ebony eyes widen brightly at the compliment and her face flush once more.
“Thank you Dr. Jackson,” she answered professionally and started to leave again.
“And try not to turn the lab into a Discotech while I am gone!!” she heard him shout behind her as she made her way down the hall, heading back to work.