Author: Amberfly
Title: The Devil You Know.
Warnings: Occasional bad language.
Category: General.
Time-line: Around season five.
Feedback. Yes please.



It’s late at night in the infirmary and O'Neill has an unwelcome visitor.


Suppose I should introduce myself since it seems we are to become acquainted. You can call me Jack. Well, if I were being formal, Colonel Jonathon O’Neill. Second thoughts; let’s just stick with Colonel. Better yet, how about get you get your sorry ass out of that seat and just fuck off?

No? Not keen? Well, ya can’t blame a girl for trying.

What happened? Why am I here? Well, since you asked so nicely, and I am under those pesky orders from General Hammond, guess I can chat about myself. A word of warning though, yakking about my private life isn’t likely to endear you to me. I don’t need to tell you what will happen if you repeat any of this.

How dare I threaten you? I never threaten people, but I am telling you; repeat anything I say, and you will discover how dangerous a man I can be.

Yes, I am crass aren’t I. But, I can see by the beads of sweat on your lip that we have an understanding.

Might as well get on with this, quicker I start the quicker you can… go away. See, I remembered you don’t like being cussed at. Okay, let’s see. I was born in Chicago, raised in Minnesota, and I am the middle child of middle class parents. Always wanted to play pro hockey, but I broke one arm and then the next in junior high, so, I looked for another career. Pops wanted me to be a musician like him, but that wasn’t my gig. I used to play a mean guitar, but broken thumbs put paid to that. Listening to the acoustic guitar gives me no joy now, only reminds me of what I’ve lost. Wanna see ‘em? Ugly aren’t they, shouldn’t have seen the SOB that broke them.

Where? You are a piece of works aren’t you? I broke them planting geraniums, where do you fucking think I got my thumbs smashed? You are one of the brightest and best, right? Jes checkin’.

Yes, I know, back to me.  Now, let see what happened after high school. Oh, that’s right, in ’74; I graduated damn near top of my class from the United States Air Force Academy. I have a Masters in both Engineering, and Military Strategic Studies. Betcha didn’t know them apples. I’m Special Ops trained, but you would know that, so let’s not go down that road. Suffice to say I never leave my people behind. Air commando course in ’92, and tap-danced around the Gulf war for awhile.

As a lowly major, I completed a course at the Defense Intelligence Center in Langley, Virginia, home of the CIA. Bless their black, filthy hearts. They taught me a few tricks that helped me survive a particularly unpleasant time in my life. Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I smell the blood and crap, and hear those gut wrenching screams. Course this particular nightmare is made all the more terrifying because those screams were always mine. Iraqi prisons just aren’t as much fun as they sound. Why? You really are an idiot! Wanna see my thumbs again? Here, look real close. So, why was I in Iraq? Guess I can tell you that. Me and my team were part of a special ops mission around ’91 that ended poorly. Somebody dropped a dime on the incursion; I got hit, and went down. Frank Cromwell, God rest his black soul, made a half assed judgment call to save the rest of the team. I watched them leave and then watched myself survive four months in a stinking Iraqi prison.

They say what hurts you will ultimately make you stronger, but I doubt they met my interrogators. It took me over six months to recover physically, but damn near twelve months to regain my sanity. Your broken bones eventually knit and mend, but the mind plays tricks that tear out your soul. You’ve read my medical file; PTSD is a tricky thing to ignore, especially when you’re so damn convinced your wife cowering in the corner is an Iraqi torturer. Sara is a tough little gal, and stuck by me, but we were never the same. God love her, she tried, but in her eyes I saw she never fully trusted me. By the time I got off the happy juice and became clean, my son shot himself with my hand gun. Nothing could save us then. She does, however, remain the only person whose forgiveness means the most to me, the only person who really understands Jack O’Neill.

Sweet Sara, she always said she could forgive but not forget, but I am the complete opposite. I can forget but I will never forgive myself. I concede that given my honest appraisal of myself that I may not sound like an ideal leader of men. Screwed up ex POW who still tortures himself over the accidental death of his child, but I have learnt how to move on. I care for those under my command, and this should be all that counts. No one will ever see what I don’t want them to, okay? Good, move on, you sanctimonious prick.

Please, cut the hurt look, I know what the Trust would do to gain control of the SGC. As long as I have breath in my body, I will protect this command with my life. Make no mistake here, I am every bit as dangerous as those bozos you bastards employ, and I will not hesitate to kill them. Oh, and I will sleep fine at night, blood washes off real easy.

God, what did you expect I’d be like? Pollyanna? Christ Almighty, this is a dirty war so don’t expect me to draw you a map. As my terrifying Sarge used to bellow, “Build a bridge, airman, and climb the hell over it.”

So, tell me, do we need to take a moment?

Finished?

Good.

Anyway, I’ve been recognized for Excellence of Achievement while conducting special operations under the magnanimous patronage of the U.S Air Force Space Systems Command. You don’t need to know anymore. The expression, ‘It’s an ugly job but someone has to do it,’ was coined for someone like me.

For crying out loud? What now?! This means someone like you can sleep safe at night. Okay?

Nope. Don’t bother asking, you don’t need to know anymore. I’m a soldier from the highly secretive world of Special Operations. Names and missions are classified and closed to the prying and the curious. Men like me are protected and our files kept private for a very good reason. Knock yourself out, dig all you want, I guarantee my missions are written with invisible ink on paper that never really existed.

Have I hurt your feelings again? No? Shall I continue? I was stationed at Mildenhall Air Base, England, around ’90. Don’t want to blow my own horn, but I received a statue with a plaque from the Air Force Special Operations Unit there. I liked the English; they are a no bullshit kind of people, but they make crappy beer. They drink it warm, can you believe that? Warm beer! Christ, I would have sold my soul for a cold Coors. Of course, at that particular base, my soul wouldn’t have amounted to very much. Tough course, tough place, tough life.

You’ve seen the badges, so I don’t need to explain them; you know what level of expertise I have achieved. Trained pilot, of course, don’t wear the wings but I got ‘em. I am the unofficial 2IC of the most secretive military base in America, probably in the world. Not bad for a boy from the suburbs of Minnesota.

I’ve been a passable son, an absent husband, and an abject failure of a father. I am, however, as you can see, an outstanding soldier. A student of tactics, a leader of men, an instigator of chaos, that’s me. Friendships are important to me, I’m a loyal person, but in my line of business, we tend to lose people on the way. John Michaels, Charlie Kowalski, and even that bastard, Frank Cromwell, all died in the defense of our country.

Some men are born for peacetime and some men are born to war.

Guess which category neatly encapsulates me?

Why is that do you suppose? When I was born, did I slap the doctor back? Probably, I’m a contrary S.O.B.

I can see by the look on your face that you are wondering how I made it to a full bird colonel. Don’t believe everything you read, buster, I never made a move without first knowing where to step. I have done nothing that I didn’t want to. My humor and my irreverence don’t hide the fact I am a born survivor. Walking out of a Middle Eastern desert with a fractured skull should be enough for you. If it isn’t, bite me, asshole.

I suppose, given my obvious expertise and heroism, you are wondering why I’m laying flat on my back in the infirmary. Read the damn chart, its right there. I have a busted collarbone, bruised tailbone, and multiple contusions, not to mention the obligatory concussion. Concussions don’t sound very bad unless you’ve had as many as I have, and trust me; they make you feel like crap. Don’t get too close, I may feel the need to vomit on those neat little loafers of yours.

It may have escaped your notice but I have an extremely low tolerance for boredom. Don’t be offended, but I don’t like you. Consider yourself fortunate I have a broken collarbone because I may have bounced your ass out of here by now. Yeah, I know, you have your orders, so I checked my loathing at the door. Lucky little you.

The infirmary is quiet at night, except for my bitching and moaning of course. I would apologize to the poor bastards unlucky enough to draw the night shift, but why should I? I out rank nearly everyone and my tail bone hurts like a bitch. The nurse, whose name escapes me, looks like Bambi just before they took Momma away. I should find that appealing, most men would. Big brown eyes, long blond hair, she’s worth keeping. However, I’m too damn jaded, and she just irritates the crap outta me.

Janet has threatened me with her medicinal skullduggery, and if I upset one more of her nurses, the consequences will be dire. What she lacks in stature she makes up for with guts. I can’t actually remind her who the ranking officer is because she’s too smart to give me the opportunity.

Intellectually I understand Janet and her infirmary staff are not to blame but emotionally? I want to tear the fucking place apart. I’d drum my fingers on the bed if my shoulder weren’t in a sling.

The mission Daniel so trustingly took us on ended up an unmitigated disaster. The moment we fell through the Stargate, anything that could go wrong did. Carter said she didn’t make allowance for something, Christ knows what she was babbling about, and when we exited the event horizon, we did so at the speed of sound.

I bounced onto my ass, ergo the bruised ass bone. Carter cannoned into Teal’c and brought them both down, and Daniel? That’s a very good question, thank you for asking. Four went out and three came back. When SG1 picked themselves up, we were short one team member. Daniel didn’t come through with the rest of us. I managed to lose him somehow, and I won’t rest until he’s home. If the eggheads have to run the same data a thousand times, they will.

I know Danny is out there, and I will find him.

You’ve read my file; you know I don’t leave my people behind. Sign the report and get while the getting’s good.

The End

 

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