Jackfic Fiction Archive Story

 

A Great Day Was Had By All General Jack Year Three - Part Two

by Flatkatsi


Series Info: Part Two of General Jack Year Three. Sequel to Fine Weather For Shooting

A Great Day Was Had By All

I materialised on the bridge of Thor's ship, waving my pistol and swearing violently.

Actually - it was more like screaming.

"Put me back, god damn it! NOW! Before I nail your little grey slimy skin to. . ."

It was probably a good thing I didn't get to finish. Asgard/Earth relations would have seriously suffered. The sight of an obvious deranged man with a gun must have been too much for Thor. He blinked once and vanished - or rather I vanished amid the obligatory sparkly white light.

Panting, I looked around, relieved to find the hut was still empty and my amazing vanishing act hadn't sparked mass hysteria. I reached for the door again, pushing it open, my heart rate heading up through the roof and on it's way to climbing out the hole in the ozone layer. I made it to the range with seconds to spare, the officials making obvious movements towards their watches and throwing me irritated looks.

I took my position and prepared to fire.

My first shot pulled to the left and the next two were still off. So much for my advice to Airman Matthews about focusing. I compensated, managing to position the next few well, and allowed myself to relax a little.

I took a second to reposition myself as a slight cross breeze blew across the range.

There he was, a satisfied smirk on his face, clearly thinking his goons were the cause of my discomfort. Ramsey aka Bastard.

My gut rolled again and I felt the urgent need to pee. The next shot went wide, barely hitting the target.

I tried as hard as I could to block out everything but the target, but nothing worked. All my training washed down the drain as the combined effects of my injury, Ramsey's presence, Thor's intervention, and a good old fashioned warning off by way of a few punches, conspired to remind me that I was human after all.

xxxxxxxxxx

"It's alright, sir. Under the circumstances it was a good result."

Sergeant Morley didn't put his hand on my shoulder, but I could tell that if I'd been anyone other than General O'Neill he would have. I nodded, unable to say what I really felt. I had let the team down. The rest of the members had shot exceptionally well, almost, but not completely, making up for my dismal performance. Now, back in the team's hut, we had held a strategy meeting, with Morley adding up the scores and doing complicated calculations I knew would tell him what I'd already worked out - that we couldn't win this competition. In fact, we'd be lucky to make the next round and Camp Robinson was a fast fading hope.

They were all being very nice about it, but their disappointment was palatable. Under the circumstances it was a good result - said circumstances being a team member who had allowed himself to be distracted to the point of incompetence.

It was a sobering lesson.

"Will you be joining us for lunch, sir?" Lieutenant Hong asked. He had shot a near perfect round. I couldn't have been more proud that it was one of the SGC's own who had saved us from total disaster. I had made sure he knew exactly how pleased I'd been at his performance.

Shaking my head, I answered him. "I have something to do before I eat, Lieutenant, but would you mind finding Colonel Carter and the others and letting them know I'll be meeting them shortly." I described where SG-1 were seated and watched him leave on his errand before forcing myself to stand and going to carry out mine.

xxxxxxxxxx

The first aide room was fully staffed, with an Academy Hospital doctor and a couple of nurses sitting around a table, sandwiches in hand. They were rather startled by my sudden appearance in their midst, especially given that the shooting of deadly weapons had stopped, without incident, several minutes before.

One of the nurses stood and came to meet me as I entered. "Can I help you, sir?" She was already eyeing the sling, so I gestured to it and asked that it be rebandaged. She led me over to a chair and soon had it unwrapped.

"Doctor."

The doctor had been on his way over, after washing his hands, but he hurried his steps at the nurse's call.

"That's a serious wound, sir. It really needs to be properly treated. Have you bumped it?" He was carefully dabbing it with some sort of liquid as he spoke and despite my best efforts it must have been obvious it hurt, because he turned to pick up a syringe.

I shook my head. "No - no drugs. I'm competing."

His face registered his surprise. "You're left handed?"

I sighed in resignation. "No, right handed." I didn't give him a chance to react, hurrying on. "I'll get it looked after properly after the competition, for the moment I'd just like it dressed and rebandaged."

The doctor reluctantly agreed and I soon walked out of there sporting a new sling and a vastly improved state of mind, courtesy of some serious thinking time while enduring what had ended up being a rather painful experience.

xxxxxxxxxx

"You ready for lunch, guys? Sorry I kept you waiting."

Carter gave me a bright smile, obviously already forgiving me my previous bad mood. "No problem, sir." She looked quizzically at my arm.

I forestalled her question. "The bandages got a bit loose and I'd bumped it earlier, so I got the doctor to fix it up."

She nodded, still seeming a little worried, but starting to collect her stuff rather than continuing with the topic. Teal'c was already standing, waiting for the others.

"Daniel, you coming with?"

"Uh?" Daniel glanced up, but immediately looked down again to continue reading. "I just want to finish this page. Won't be a moment."

"Perhaps you should meet us in the mess hall, Daniel Jackson?"

"No, T," I quickly jumped in, "If he doesn't come with us now he'll get engrossed in his book and forget to eat. Come on, Daniel." I pulled the book from his hands with a swift tug. "Lunch."

"Jack! Give it back." Daniel made a grab for it, which had the duel function of getting him standing and focusing his attention on me rather than the subject of the rather large volume in my hand. It was easy enough to fend him off, even with one hand, and finally he gave up, laughing. We both smiled as we realised our antics had been the source of several amused stares.

"Are you children quite finished?" For a second I thought my grandmother had decided to haunt me, then reality whacked me on the head as Daniel took advantage of the momentary distraction Carter's words had caused to cuff me lightly across the head with one hand, while grabbing his book with the other.

I put up my hand in surrender. "Okay, I give up. Let's go, I'm getting hungry."

"As am I." Teal'c's words were accompanied by a loud stomach rumble - another side effect of Junior's loss. He looked somewhat taken aback then smiled as we all laughed.

The lawn was still crowded with people, the uniforms of the different military branches mingling with the many bright sweaters and parkas of the civilians. We wove our way between the groups, occasionally stopping to briefly greet an acquaintance, but still making good time towards the large brick building that housed the mess.

"A complete liability."

The words were spoken loudly enough to be heard by both me and anyone else in my vicinity.

"I can only assume he insisted on participating and used his rank to get his way. His performance was laughable."

I stopped dead in my tracks, feeling my team's eyes upon me. Ramsey was standing a few feet to my left, various hangers on around him. The two large men I assume were my friends from the trees were smirking in that irritating fashion people have when they are just waiting for a reaction. The cadet was standing at Ramsey's right hand, and surprisingly enough, was looking embarrassed. He lowered his eyes as my gaze met his.

"Sir." I felt Carter's hand on my arm and heard the warning in her voice.

"It's okay, Colonel, I have nothing to say to Mister Ramsey."

I actually had plenty I wanted to say to him, but looking around I knew I had made the correct decision. Any discussion I had with him could wait until we were in a less public place, without interested spectators.

Carter's hand dropped from me and Daniel gave a tiny 'wuff' of relief as I turned away.

"Would you like me to speak to Mr Ramsey on your behalf, O'Neill?" Teal'c's voice was low but it held a tone of fierce anger. He was slowing his steps as he spoke and his face was even more expressionless that usual.

This time it was my hand that reached out. I squeezed his arm for a second before letting go. "No thanks, buddy, but I'll keep the offer in reserve if you don't mind."

"I do not mind, O'Neill. In fact I would be honoured if you accepted it."

We continued to the mess in silence.

xxxxxxxxxx

"That was General Ramsey, wasn't it?" Daniel must have decided that a full stomach and two cups of coffee were enough to calm me sufficiently to raise the topic of conversation without me biting his head off.

I nodded, realising that although my friends were aware of Ramsey's complicity in the betrayal of information to the Goa'uld, they weren't privy to the full story. They knew I had served with him, and that he wasn't one of my favourite people, but that was all. They didn't know why and I wanted to keep it that way. My private life was private for some very good reasons.

"He had no right to say those things, sir." Carter reached out for her cup and I saw her hand was shaking slightly. Teal'c wasn't the only one with anger control issues.

"In some respects he was right." I overrode the murmurs of protest and continued. "My performance this morning was pitiful."

"No one can blame you for not shooting as well as you normally do." Daniel protested, "You're injured."

I put my fork down next to the last few mouthfuls of chocolate cake. "I can, Daniel. I blame myself. I let myself get distracted at the worst possible time and let my team down as a consequence. I can't use my arm as an excuse - no one made me compete. It was my choice."

"You shouldn't be so hard on yourself, Jack. You have a tendency to take the blame when it isn't right to do so. You can't be responsible for everything."

All three of my friends were nodding and I couldn't help smiling. "It's part of being a general. Truman's saying 'the buck stops here' has taken on rather more significance in my life over the past couple of years."

"I think you were born with the saying tattooed on your ass, Jack. I can't think of a time since I've known you that you didn't feel responsibility for everyone and everything around you. You know, sometimes things just happen - it's not always your fault." Daniel's voice had risen and the people at the tables nearby were beginning to take notice.

I pushed my chair back and stood. "Come on, let's take this outside."

The sun seemed even brighter when we left the building and I pulled my sunglasses out of my top pocket, thankful not just for the protection they gave me from the light, but also for the fact that they hid some of my feelings from view. Of course I knew Daniel was right - not everything was my fault, but I couldn't change the habits of a lifetime in a few minutes.

"Damn!"

The unexpected exclamation from Carter pulled my attention in the direction she was looking, only to find Ramsey and his cohorts coming towards us.

"I hope you've decided to do us all a favour and resign from the match rather than further embarrass the Air Force with your dismal showing."

"In your dreams, Ramsey." I stepped forward, a movement echoed by Teal'c as he stood toe to toe with the two thugs.

"I always knew you were just wind, O'Neill. Full of yourself and nothing else, riding on the coattails of your team mates and getting all the glory." He nudged the young man who had been following him around all day. "Just remember - this is the sort of man you don't want to emulate."

Teal'c snarled - not a sound I was used to hearing from him. Daniel's eyes were narrowed and his hands flexed at his side until they formed into readiness for a karate blow. I didn't even glance at Carter to see her reaction, I just knew I'd have to act fast to prevent a bloodbath.

"I'm sorry, but I can't agree." With a swiftness that surprised me the cadet stepped away from Ramsey, taking up position between us. "General O'Neill is exactly the sort of officer I hope to become. I couldn't do better than study his career and follow his example as best I can."

Ramsey spluttered, his face a picture of confusion and consternation.

"Jack - I've been looking all over for you." Brian Kerrigan came striding across the grass, completely oblivious to the tension in the air around us. "I wanted to introduce you to General Costavich, he's here supporting the Marine teams and I mentioned your name. He said he'd heard a lot about you and wanted to put a face to the name. He's over there." He gestured to the other side of the area, then looked around. "Oh, sorry - was I interrupting something? General, it's good to see you, sir. Cadet Ramsey, I hope you've taken your grandfather on a tour of the facilities. Things have changed a lot since he was here."

Brian finally stopped talking and stood there smiling. The cadet had stiffened when Kerrigan arrived. He nodded respectfully.

"Yes, sir. I was just about to explain to my grandfather that General O'Neill recently spoke to the upperclass men, and how impressed we all were by his words."

Brian positively beamed. "Yes, it certainly was a moving speech." He turned back to the now stony faced Ramsey senior. "I understand Jack served with you, sir. You must have been pleased to have a man of his talents under your command."

"Yes, General Kerrigan, I was." Ramsey's lips were thin and bloodless and his tone was filled with contempt. "I was very happy to have O'Neill under me."

I didn't react.

Brian frowned a little. "Ah . . " he began, clearly at a loss as he began to pick up one the undercurrents behind what appeared to be a friendly little chat.

"Competitors please move to the marshalling area." The announcement cut through the beginning of his sentence and he looked down at his watch.

"Damn, it's later than I thought. I better get back to General Costavich. Perhaps you could join us in my office after the match, Jack?" I nodded and he faced Ramsey once more. "Good to see you again, sir. You should be very proud of your grandson. He's going to make a fine officer." After a few more pleasantries, he left.

"This isn't finished, Ramsey, not by any means." I watched his face pale slightly, taking pleasure in his reaction to my words. "Pleased to meet you, Cadet." I smiled at the young man and turned, heading towards the range, my team trailing along behind me.

They were silent, but I knew there had been a few things said today that would need to be explained. Not something I looked forward to - not at all.

Sergeant Morley was waiting for me so I parted from them quickly.

"I'll meet you in the same spot after the competition - okay?"

"We will be there, O'Neill." Teal'c's tone was remarkably sombre, even for him.

"Good luck, sir." Carter gave me a tentative smile.

I returned it, with interest. "There's no luck involved, Carter, but thanks."

Daniel didn't speak, contenting himself with a nod, then he raised a hand, the fingers crossed.

I walked towards the other members of the team, determined to do my best.

That was all I ever asked of anyone else, and it was about time I did the same with myself.

xxxxxxxxxx

I finished the rapid-fire section and stepped back, surprised to hear a smattering of applause from the crowd. My score in the timed-fire had been a vast improvement on the morning's effort and I had hopes that my last shoot of the day was equally successful. I felt good about it. Despite everything that had happened I had managed to focus.

Or perhaps it was because of everything that had happened. I knew Ramsey was still watching.

"Well done, sir." Morley did the 'almost pat on the back' thing again with his hand. He looked at the results. "A near perfect score."

Sweet.

I sat and watched the rest of the competition, hoping Daniel didn't have his fingers crossed just for me.

I wasn't disappointed, but it was a close run thing. The Marines from Battalion 3/6 were clearly in first place at the end of the day, but we were on the edge of our seats waiting for second. When the results were announced I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. We beat Fort Wainwright by a few points to uphold the honor of the Air Force, assuring our team a place in the finals. Morley couldn't stop grinning as he stepped up to receive the award for second place.

I left the others to their celebration and went to find my friends. They were all smiles and congratulations, but I could see that none of the day's events had been forgotten.

"General Kerrigan sent a message, sir, to let you know that General Costavich was celebrating with his team. He said he'd contact you tomorrow to arrange a meeting before the general went home."

"Are you returning to the SGC now, O'Neill?"

"No - let's all go out for a meal. There's cause to celebrate." Daniel lowered his voice. "I have to say Jack, I really didn't think you could do it."

"Oh yea of little faith. You should know I can do anything."

He snorted. "Yeah, sure. Anyway, what do you say - a nice juicy thick steak and a few beers?"

I shook my head reluctantly. "Sorry, kids. The team is heading for a bar and a night of wine and debauchery, followed I'm sure by a morning of extreme regret. I really should join them."

Carter smiled again. "That's okay, sir, we understand." She was echoed by an 'indeed' from Teal'c and a 'of course' from Daniel.

I took my keys from my pocket and handed them to Teal'c. "Here you go, T. You're the only one I trust to drive my truck back to the base. I'll get a lift with one of the others or catch a cab, I don't doubt none of us should be driving by the end of the evening."

He nodded seriously. "I am honored by your trust, O'Neill."

My mind did a quick flip, trying to decide if he was joking, then I realized it really didn't matter as long as Carter the speed demon and Daniel the Volvoesque driver didn't get behind the wheel of my baby. I waved them off and turned back to find the others.

"So where are we going, Lieutenant?" I asked Hong, grinning at the way he jumped when I spoke in his ear.

"We haven't decided, sir. The consensus seems to be that it doesn't matter as long as food and lots of alcohol is involved."

"Sounds good to me."

I sat back and let the conversation wash over me. Eventually we all piled into various cars and headed for a small establishment Airman Matthews recommended. It was owned by a cousin's friend or something and served a mixture of Italian and Chinese cuisine - a strange combination that didn't seem so odd after a few beers.

I managed to stay reasonably sober, knowing that my position didn't allow for the same freedom the others had to celebrate to the full, and I left them soon after midnight, still partying on. Morley saw me into a cab with the promise that he would make sure they all got home safely.

In the privacy of my own home I indulged in a few more drinks, switching to whiskey and knowing I had the luxury of the rest of the weekend to relax before going back on duty.

The alcohol dulled the throb from my arm and soon I my eyes were drifting shut. With an effort, I dragged myself off the couch, briefly wondering what Thor had wanted.

My bed was a very welcome sight.

xxxxxxxxxx

I struggled to open my eyes, do anything, but I couldn't move.

I felt . . .

God - hands. All over me, touching, stroking.

Weight pressing me down, my stomach crushed against hard wood.

And I couldn't do anything.

The feeling of total helplessness was overwhelming.

Movement and pain and I switched off, my eyes still closed.

Long, long moments wishing I was gone. Wishing I had died.

Then coldness as warmth and weight were gone.

And I struggled to move, pushing aside the covers and finding myself in my own bed with only memories of long ago nightmares to haunt me.