Finding the Right Mix

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Pre-Slash, Drama
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  S1 - March 13, 1997
Spoilers:  None
Size:  22kb, ficlet
Written:  August 5-7, 2017
Summary:  In the early days of Stargate Command, Daniel finds himself embroiled in a fight with Jack, which is nothing new for the pair.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
2) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s):  “Peaceful Negoiations”

Finding the Right Mix
by Orrymain

Jack was in Daniel's office, but was questioning his decision to be there.  The reason for his possible regret was due to the argument that was in process.

~Paperwork would be preferable to this latest argument.  Geez, sometimes it feels like all we do is argue,~ the colonel thought.

~He hates me. I ... maybe I should just be quiet, but I can't.  All I have anymore are my beliefs.  What's the point of being here if I'm the only ... me out there?  Gawd, he's going to kick me out of the house,~ the archaeologist cogitated with dread.

“We have our standing orders, Daniel, and they do not include spending time shaking hands, kissing babies, and figuring out why they live in huts instead of igloos.”

“Gawd,” Daniel expressed unhappily.  “You try to devalue everything, Jack, that isn't about war and combat.”  He sighed and suggested, “Stargate Command's standing orders *should* be to seek out new allies and friends and procure technologies to aid in the defense against the Goa'uld.  We just talked about that a couple of days ago and you said you agreed and would listen instead of snapping to decisions about ways to outdo enemies in a fight.  We *have* to make sure we're looking at the origin of a new world and any new races we come into contact with.”

“And we have nine teams.”

“Nine *military* teams made up of combat fighters and, and Marines.”

“What's your point?”

“I'm an archaeologist, an anthropologist, and a linguist.  I'm considered a cultural expert specializing in ancient civilizations.”

“So?”

“I'm one person.”

“And your point would be?”

“Jack, SG-3's idea of making new allies is going to a planet and asking how much it will cost Earth to *procure* their weaponry.”

The colonel let out a groan and responded, “Danny ...”

“Daniel!”

“Whatever,” Jack snapped.  “We have our standing orders and it's working well.”

“And when did you get your degree diplomacy and negotiations?”

“What is it you want?”

“We need each team to have some type of cultural expert on it and that expert should be in the fields of archaeology, anthropology, and philology, or some combination.”

“What does playing in the dirt have to do with meeting new allies?”

“Gawd, Jack, you're smarter than this.”

“Daniel, I helped Hammond form these teams.  I *personally* selected the vast majority of the main thirty-six *plus* the backup thirty.  They are good men and women, some of the best in this country.”

“That's nice, Jack.  I'm sure they'll all come in handy when we start another intergalactic war under the guise of making new allies.  Excuse me,” Daniel stated angrily as he passed by the other man and stormed out.  ~I'd thought he listen, really listen now.  I was wrong.~

“Daniel!”  Jack groaned, full of frustration as he realized his teammate wasn't coming back.  ~What does he want from me?  We just started this Program.  Let it get some momentum going before we change it all around.~

====

Two hours later, Daniel was back in his office trying to work, though his focus was still on the problem that was churning in his mind.  That problem included Jack going back on what he promised, at least in his view.  It was only two days ago when he and Jack were involved in a another major disagreement.  The archaeologist wanted more time spent to explore the people and historical aspects of a planet, but Jack was focused on weapons and little more.

//Flashback//
“You're not listening,” Daniel bemoaned, staring back down at the grass.  ~No one listens.~

Jack twiddled the bottles of beer in his hands for a minute.  He had a job to do and he was focused solely on that job.

“My job is to protect Earth.”

“Then protect it,” Daniel put forth, though he was far from submitting to the other man's point of view.  “Isn't part of protecting our world keeping it safe?  Jack, you don't know what you're turning your back on.  There could be a cure for cancer out there, or ... or  a ... a way to make ... better aircraft,” he suggested, trying to come up with something Jack could identify with.  A bit eagerly, he turned his body just a tad to indicate the passion that he felt about the subject.  “Maybe you can find better, more economical ways to build planes.  Just maybe there's a world out there who has been through what we have, maybe not with the Goa'uld, but with some other race.”
//End of Flashback//

Jack walked into the corner office, unintentionally interrupting Daniel's thoughts, and informed, “Daniel, Hammond wants to know if you've found out anything about that thingamabob that SG-4 brought back the other day.”

“No.”

“No?”

“I'm one person, Jack,” Daniel replied, seizing the opportunity to try to bring home his point to the colonel.  “Let me ask you something.  How do you even know it's a ... thingamabob that matters?  How old is it?  Wha, what civilization made it?  Was it for their protection or was it some kind of,  of luxury item?  What part did it play in the destruction of that world, or did it?  Maybe it's a children's toy, or maybe it's a piece of, of ... of a nuclear bomb.”

“Whoa, Danny, you're out of control here.”

“Daniel, and I don't think so.”  Daniel looked around and suggested, “If there were more people out there, in the field, like me, some of the initial questions could be answered ... out there.”

“I hear ya, Daniel, but this is a new Program and there's only so much green in the budget.  We can't make these five-people teams.”

“Jack ...”

“This is getting old, Daniel.”

“I thought you said you were going to listen.”

“I *am* listening.”

“What is listening, Jack?”

“You're the linguist, Daniel.”

“Am I?”  Daniel let out a snort and responded.  “You know what, Colonel.  I'm not a linguist.  I use the term because most people don't know what a philologist is, including you.”

“Sure, I know what it is.”

“Then what is it?”

“Okay, I don't know.”

“Philologists study languages in an historical sense.  We examine language in terms of literary texts and written records.  We seek out the origin of the words; discover their authenticity, and then we determine their meanings.  We compare one language to another and analyze their relationships, and we learn.  We learn, Jack, about other peoples, other lifestyles, and other ways of doing things.  It's different from linguistics that studies human language and the science of it.”

“And your point would be?” the colonel questioned.

“You know what, Jack.  It doesn't matter because you don't care.  All you care about are fighting the bad guys.”

For the second time today, Daniel walked by SG-1's leader, leaving an argument unsettled.

“Daniel, this is *your* office you're leaving,” Jack called out to no avail.  ~That man can be insufferable sometimes.~

====

Jack was about to tap on General Hammond's door when he heard a raised voice and opted to barge in.

In a harsh and stern tone, Hammond communicated, “Doctor Jackson, we've gone on this path before.  I respect your dedication and determination to make your feelings known, but our mandate remains the same.”

“So, we just take their weapons and don't even care who it is we're taking the weapons from?”

“Daniel,” Jack chastised.  “This isn't the time or the protocol.”

“Oh, you're going to tell me to follow protocol.  That's rich, Jack, really rich.”

In a huff, Daniel left the general's office, leaving Jack to apologize for his team member's behavior and delve into his own reason for being there.

====

At the end of the workday, Jack entered Daniel's office yet again and inquired, “You ready?”

“For what?”

“To go home.”

“I don't have a home.”

Jack took a big breath and walked closer to his friend's desk.  He reached for object and then felt his hand slapped.

“Don't touch that.”

“Touchy.”

“Apparently, that describes you.  It's not a toy, Colonel.”

~There's that colonel thing again,~ Jack lamented.  “Daniel, it's the end of the day.  Can we table this argument for tomorrow?”

“What argument?  Well, maybe it is one, but that's not the problem.”

“I'll bite.  What's the problem?”

“You lied.  You said you'd listen, and you haven't.  All you've done is quote military mandates.”

“I am listening.”

“No, Jack, you're not.  You're hearing, perceiving sounds; you're not listening, processing what I'm saying to you.  You see, you made a decision before even thinking about it, and so has General Hammond.  Why am I even freakin' here, and *do not* mention Sha're to me.”

“You opened the Stargate and you understand the cultural references.”

“... and I can't be everywhere, on every mission, and I shouldn't have to be.  Yes, this is a new program, but it's not going to go far if we can't ... make it work, and if we don't put the time and attention into these worlds we're befriending, it won't work.  We'll just be a planet in search of weapons, and, oh, hey, so sorry, if you don't have weapons that are bigger and better than what we already have, see ya; have a good life because Earth doesn't care.”

Jack let out a big sigh as he finally heard what his friend was saying.  Even so, he didn't really believe anything could be changed.

“Daniel, what do you want?”

“SG-2's mission to P3R-446 required a follow-up because they don't have an archaeologist on the team who could have given Ferretti the ... Intel he needed about the device they found in that cavern.  Jack, a scientific member could have told him that the device was nothing more than a music maker, not one of your weapons.  It might bore the Goa'uld, but it won't help defeat them.”

“What do you want?” Jack repeated.

Daniel stared at the other man and then went to his desk.  He opened up a drawer and pulled out a piece of paper.  He walked over to the colonel and held the paper outward.

Taking hold of the page, Jack's glance shifted from Daniel to the words on the paper.  His look grew more serious when he realized that what was listed on the page were the personnel assigned to the nine recently formed teams.  Next to each team were alternative names.  In fact, there were two to three possible alternates listed for each unit.

“When the Program began, General Hammond sat in the briefing room and told us how it was going to be.  I remember what he said, Jack.  He said the President, 'has ordered the formation of nine teams, whose duties will be to perform reconnaissance, determine threats and, if possible, to make peaceful contact with the peoples of these worlds.'  Those were his words.  It may not be part of the mandate yet to pay attention to the cultural aspects of where we go and what we find, but it will be because it needs to be, and to do that, Jack, teams need to be diverse, like SG-1.”

“Where'd  you get these names?”

“I went by your office one day.  There were a pile of personnel folders sitting on your desk and while I was waiting for you, I took a look.”

“Daniel, that's not ...”

“Appropriate?  Yes, I know, so report me to General Hammond and let's see what happens.”

~He's one determined geek.~

The archaeologist continued, “The alternate names would give the teams someone who can help recognize the history and relevance of what is found on a planet, not to mention the alternates are probably more prepared to serve as ...”

“Meeters and greeters?” Jack put forth.  Upset, he challenged, “You want me to kick one person off each team and replace them with one of these alternate names?”

“Yes.”

Jack let out a puff of air and shook his head as he considered the ramifications.  This was potentially a turning point, not just for the Stargate Command, but for the budding relationship between Jack and Daniel.  He reviewed the teams he'd recommended to Hammond.  They were good, solid men and women.  Most were men.  Not all of them were people Jack liked much, but he'd put aside personal feelings in favor of what was best for the SGC.

~The best thing,~ Jack contemplated while still staring at the paper.  ~We have our mandate and there's nothing about meet and greets and cultural mumbo jumbo, but maybe their should be.  The United States is the most giving nation in the world.  Do we put that aside in space because our enemy is a snake instead of other humans, some of whom are snakes in human form?~

For a moment, the base's second-in-command almost laughed, but he reeled it in as he became aware of the reality he was about to face.

“There are going to be some unhappy campers out there.”

“Are?  There *are* going to be ... some?” Daniel questioned hesitantly.

“Maybe,” Jack responded.  “I'd have to convince Hammond.”

“Then convince him.”

“Daniel, this won't change the mandate and the focus of missions.”

“Maybe not, but maybe so.  Jack, the President cannot ignore the potential benefits of making friends with other worlds and learning their history.  What we could learn might change our own lives for the better.  We need to want more than to find bigger and better weapons.  We *have* to want more, or we're nothing more than scavengers, and a way for us to do this, is to find the right mix of personnel.  One cultural representative per team would be a great step in getting us where we need to be in the future.”

“I'll talk to Hammond in the morning.”

“He's still here.”

“Ah, Danny, I'm hungry.”  Jack paused and stared at the scientist.  “You didn't correct me.”

“It's your ... thank you for talking to General Hammond ... now.”

~Sneaky geek.~  With a nod, Jack agreed.  “Okay, but if my stomach growls, I'm blaming it on you.”

====

That night, Jack and Daniel were on the roof deck, each sipping their beers slowly as they sat side-by-side against the wall with about a foot or so between them.  Jack was giving the archaeologist more details about his conversation with Hammond before they left the Mountain.

“I thought he was going to chop off my head.”

“He wouldn't do that,” Daniel replied.

“But he wanted to.”

“But he agreed?”

“Reluctantly,” Jack responded, quickly adding, “with exceptions.”

“What exceptions?”

“SG-3 is a military combat team with a purpose: firepower.  They're Marines, Daniel.  Stopping to smell the roses is not part of their makeup.  If they run across something that might be of interest and *if* they have time to note it, they'll report it, but their first and primary duty is to their mission, whatever that may be.”

“Okay,” Daniel acknowledged.  When nothing more was heard, he prompted, “You said exceptions, plural.”

“I misspoke.”  Jack finished off his beer and grabbed another.  “You're going to be busy.”

“I already am.”

“Bus*ier* then.”

“How?”

“The seven replacements plus their backups will all be part of your department.  Since you picked out these alternates, you know well that they are scientists with military training.  Hammond said, you want 'em, you got 'em, and you train 'em, and you monitor 'em.  They're yours, Danny.”

“Daniel.”

“Why?”

“Because that's my name,” the archaeologist commented.  “Uh, what did the general say when you told him what I did in order to make the recommendations about who to put on the teams?”

“He said you're dedicated, but frustrating, and it was a good thing I was willing to review the files with you.”

“You lied.”

“Daniel, we're a team.  SG-1 is a team.  We cover one another's sixes, no matter what.”

“Okay, but, uh, thank you, because I ... I really need to be out there.  I have to find Sha're.”

“We will.”

There was more quiet as the friends took in the peace and calm of the night.

Jack looked up at the skies and opined, “It's gonna snow in a little while.”

“I prefer the heat.”

Used to hotter climates, Daniel was still adjusting to chilly temperatures, but even so, he felt more at rest than was usual for him.  Was it Colorado Springs or maybe the Stargate Program?  Was it Jack's house that he admittedly felt a connection to and an affection for right from the first moment he'd seen it?  He didn't know why he was so at rest, but he liked feeling that way.

“Then you're living in the wrong place,” Jack teased.

“I ... I guess I'll get used to it,” Daniel returned, his eyes getting a faraway look as thoughts of Abydos and his stolen wife stirred within him.

“We'll find her, Daniel.  We're exploring the universe now.  The Goa'uld are everywhere.  One of these days, we'll find her.”

“Jack, did you notice anything ... odd happening when we left?  I mean, it seemed like something was happening on the upper levels.”

“Heard some scuttlebutt about UFOs in Phoenix.”

“Oh, you mean, they think there's life out there?”

Jack chuckled, “At least over Phoenix.”

“Sam found a house,” Daniel said in between sips of beer.

“Real estate values must be going up with all the manpower we're bringing here.”

“She showed it to me at lunchtime.  It's nice.  Even the basement has multiple rooms.”

“Lunch.  I skipped it; probably why I was so hungry at dinner.”

“Jack, if you're not interested in Sam's house, just say so.”

“Danny ...”  Jack shook his head and held his hand.  “I know, Daniel.  Daniel, it's not that I'm not interested, but it's personal stuff.  Teams have to keep things a little more formal.”

“Like we're doing?”

“You're not military.  Carter's a subordinate.  There are limits.”

With a chuckle of astonishment, the archaeologist responded, “Do you really believe that?”

“Yes, most of the time.”  The colonel drew a breath and added, “Sometimes, you're in a situation when you have to make a hard choice; and sometimes, those choices are more difficult when you're close to someone.  That's why the rule is there, to keep things from getting messy.”

“I guess I understand that.”

After a full minute passed, Jack sighed, “What part of town?”

“What?”

“Carter's house?”

“I thought you just said that crossed that a line?”

“It does, but SG-1 is different, somehow.”

The friends continued to wile away the evening until, as predicted, snow began to fall.  After that, they said goodnight and each went to their individual bedrooms to sleep.  As each man prepared for bed, their minds were active with an array of thoughts, of the fight they'd survived, the team that was becoming a family, and how interesting life was at this point because of the Stargate.

For Jack, he'd lived in his small home since his return from Abydos on that first mission when he and Daniel met.  The colonel valued his privacy.  He stuck to himself, stargazing and listening to opera.  Sometimes, he'd chitchat with a neighbor and he was always available to help out.  Still, he loved his solitude, but things were changing.  His house felt more alive and he enjoyed having Daniel around, even though they fought a lot and, at least on the surface, were very different men.

For Daniel, life had been a quest for knowledge and learning.  The loss of his parents when he was eight forever changed his path.  Childhood happiness changed to teen angst and misery and then to adult survival.  He lived for his passion and his scientific theories.  Few were friends and even less ever really wanted to get to know him.  He was laughed out of Academia right before the Stargate mission, and he was used to living life through his lens, alone and unsupported.  Now, though, something was bubbling within him.  He wasn't sure what it was or how it started, but it was there.  His loneliness no longer lasted all day.  Now there were moments and those tended to be when he was with Jack.  It made no sense, but he experienced the feelings and had to acknowledge them, even if he was certain that Jack would soon tire of him.

Jack settled into bed, his right hand behind his head as he looked up at the ceiling.  Daniel slid under the covers of the small bed in the spare room and placed his right hand up over his head and his left hand on his abdomen.  He, too, stared up at the ceiling.

“*Hey, Daniel*?” Jack shouted.

“*Yeah*?”

There was silence until the colonel finally called out, “*Goodnight*.”

“*Goodnight, Jack*.”

Both men broke out with smiles, turned onto their sides, and quickly fell asleep.

The friendship was new, sometimes awkward, but always invigorating.  The SGC was similar.  Everything there was fresh and the rules were being enhanced and altered, sometimes daily, as General Hammond, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the President of the United States learned how to explore the universe.  The future was uncertain, except for one aspect, Jack and Daniel, friends and teammates whose bond was constantly growing and seemed destined to change their lives for the better.

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~

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