The Challenge

*Col. Jack O’Neill*
Y’know -- it started out innocently enough.
The SGC is located in a mountain, right? Well, a mountain-based facility can mean rockslides. We had one. Not a large one. No one was hurt. We just had a road partially covered.
I know I’m making a short story long, so let me cut to the chase.
SGC was undergoing some major computer reprogramming which affected the entire center. No one was going off-world, no one was *allowed* off-world, and we were bored. I mean, really bored. Really, really bored. It had been three weeks. Most of us had caught up on our sleep after week one, and our paperwork, research, what have you, by week two. So we were itching for something to do.
The rockslide would have -- could have -- and probably should have been taken care of by base maintenance. But, hell, it was beautiful warm summer weather here in Colorado and we would do just about anything to get outdoors. We’re 28 stories down, which means no windows 'duh -- ya think?', and most of us longed to take advantage of the fresh air and sunshine. So the jar-heads -- er -- Marines -- volunteered to clear up the mess and their Captain casually tossed a challenge our way. Personally, I think the guy trained under Makepeace.
It went something like, "let real men do this work, O’Neill. Don’t want to damage the prima donnas of the Stargate program."
Whoa. Glove across the face or what? Wasn’t gonna take *that* lying down.
"We’ll be right beside you, Captain" I told him. "Just try to keep up with us."
"Fine. Tomorrow morning -- 0700 hours?"
So that’s how Dr. Daniel Jackson, Teal’c and I managed to find ourselves outside, heaving rocks and boulders with the "Semper Fi" guys.
We didn’t get started right at 7 a.m. Oh, not that we weren’t all there -- and eager. It had something to do with waiting for a member of base maintenance to appear to ‘foreman’ the job. Y’know, tell us in which direction to heave the rocks and such.
So work really got underway by about 9 a.m. By which time the sun was, to say the least, a bit warm on our respective shoulders.
The Marines had long since stripped down to fatigue trousers and boots. Plenty of broad backs, tanned skin and not a few muscles and tattoos exposed to that warm Colorado air. Major Samantha Carter and Dr. Janet Fraiser had often claimed these guys thought they were in the best shape of any of the men here on base -- and God’s gift to women -- so I guess they were in a hurry to show off.
We all kept our T-shirts on, at least for a while. Teal’c had on fatigues. Daniel was wearing some faded jeans obviously left over from some past dig; a little tattered in the knees. I wore jeans also, but mine weren’t quite as -- er -- snug or worn as his. His looked like he hadn’t had them on them since grad school. All of us wore heavy work gloves. We didn’t look bad, but I had to admit, those jar-heads were pretty impressive.
Of course, Teal’c’s the most impressive of all. My God, the man rivals Cheyenne Mountain in strength and stature. What am I saying, Teal’c * is* Cheyenne Mountain. But then, that’s Teal’c. Built like the ideal defensive linebacker. He gets his fair share of admiring glances, but with junior secured away in that X-lined pouch on his stomach and that gold tattoo on his forehead, he’s still - well, alien enough for most of the folks on base to keep their distance.
So, there we all were. Me, Danny and Teal’c on the left side of the pile of rocks; the Captain and his boys on the right, exchanging good-natured jibes as we worked under the rays of the ever-strengthening sun.
So, when was it that I first noticed we had an audience?
I think the Marines saw them first. A small crowd of -- women?
Yep. There was Major Carter. And Dr. Fraiser. Plus a few of her nurses and about a handful of the enlisted personnel -- all women -- from records. And more were joining the crowd every minute.
Just standing around. Watching us work. For cryin’ out loud - some had brought lawn chairs!
Maintenance had set up a large cooler of water on a folding table and most of the gals were gathered near that. Someone had brought a supply of towels, which were folded near the cooler, and someone else had found a water bucket and dipper.
I moseyed over to where Sam and Janet were standing.
"So, Major, Doctor," I said, shedding my gloves and sunglasses and nodding in the direction of the women present. "What’s this all about?"
Janet, seemingly never at a loss for words, said "Haven’t the foggiest, Colonel. Well, *I’m* here strictly in a medical capacity..." I could have sworn I saw Sam give her a not-so-gentle kick in the shin. "This kind of work can be dangerous, so that’s why I’m here."
Uh-huh. So it takes you and five of your nurses to stand by on the off-chance one of us needs a bandaid?
"Major Carter?" I asked, pulling my baseball cap a little further down over my eyes, "why are you here?"
She licked her lips a bit nervously. "Well, sir, I *am* part of SG-1. Came to lend moral support. And -- and keep Janet company."
Uh-huh. Our own cheerleading section, huh? Oh, well, didn’t bother me. Liked having both of ‘em here, as a matter of fact. Especially Sam. As for the other women... I glanced in their direction. A few that I knew grinned my way, or waved. The others giggled. Giggled?
I shrugged and went back to work.

*Major Samantha Carter*
I guess it does seem a little foolish, being here. But I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.
Word of the challenge spread around the SGC like wildfire. The Marines were bragging about how they were going to ‘kick SG-1’s butt’ and inviting all the women on base to come see them do just that.
Funny thing, though. All the women who stopped me had just one basic question -- who from SG-1 was going to be present?
A couple asked me specifically about Teal’c. Quite a few more asked me about Jack. And quite a few asked me about Daniel.
So, here we all were, watching the guys work under the rapidly warming sun.
The Marines had shed their shirts early; my guys still kept theirs on. Since our team had a female member, and I was not included in the challenge, one of the Captain’s guys always sat on the sidelines, so that it was three against three. Still uneven, to my way of thinking, since that allowed at least one of the Marines to rest.
However, Teal’c really did the work of two; so I guess the groups were evenly matched.
Janet had two chairs brought up from the infirmary, so she and I settled down to watch this.
The Marines were really showing off for the ladies; even caught one or two of them ‘posing’ as they lifted heavier than usual loads; you know, letting the ladies see their muscles bulge from the strain. One of them -- a new second lieutenant -- what was his name? -- was actually cute, in a very clean-cut, Tom Cruise-ish, ‘Top Gun’ kind of way.
My guys weren’t showing off. They were working. Hard. And attracting more attention than the Marines ever thought of.
Teal’c was the first to shed his shirt. He looked for a place to drop it. I signaled him from the sidelines.
"Teal’c -- throw it here -- I’ll watch it."
Instead, he walked over to me and handed it to me with much more dignity and formality than the situation warranted. "Thank you, Major Carter."
I heard some intakes of breath around me. Clothed, Teal’c was impressive. Without his shirt, Teal’c was breathtaking. Large, brown, muscled -- alien, yet undeniably masculine. Back ramrod straight, he walked away and fell back into the rhythmic pattern of moving the rock with Daniel and Jack.
I was really proud of them. We functioned so well together that the guys fell into a team mode of moving the rock. They were actually keeping pace with, and occasionally gaining on, the Marines.
The crowd of women watching was growing. I saw several ladies from communications not too far away and a large number of the female civilians who worked on base had also come on their day off to watch the festivities.
About twenty minutes later, Colonel O’Neill walked up to me and dropped his sweaty T-shirt in my lap. "Watch this for me, will you, Carter?" he asked.
"Sure, Colonel," I said, smiling up at him. I swear I saw a couple of women to my right lick their lips.
Someone once described the Colonel as a’ gorgeous, aging tiger’ and the words fit him perfectly. Tall and lean, with chiseled features, sharp brown eyes and a killer wit, he stood before me, chest heaving slightly from the exertion. Tanned skin, lightly dusted with dark hair that whorled about his nipples and ran down his flat stomach, disappearing into the waistband of those form-fitting jeans. He was coated with a light covering of dust, marred here and there by drops of sweat that made irregular paths down his torso. And, just weeks before, he’d said he cared about me more than he was supposed to. Hmmm. Ask me if *that* didn’t make me go all warm and fuzzy inside.
He grinned at me, teeth white and strong in that tanned face. "Thanks, Carter." and turned back to work. I heard a breathless whisper behind me, "God, I wish he’d smile at *me* like that." and turned to see one of the ladies in programming shooting me jealous looks. Too bad, sister. That hunk is mine. Well, as much as military regs would permit.
In another ten minutes, Daniel walked over.
"Sam?" he said hesitantly. "Mind if I leave my shirt with you?"
"Sure, Daniel, no problem," I said, grinning at him. He’s *such* a sweetie.
"It’s pretty -- er -- wet. Sorry about that," he said, a shy smile on his face.
"Hey, not anything I haven’t dealt with before," I replied.
"Thanks," he said, and slowly pulled the T-shirt off over his head.
Even I was amazed. I rarely saw Daniel without a shirt on. And when I did, it was usually because he’d received some type of wound. But here he was, lightly tanned, nice shoulders, all in one piece and undeniably gorgeous. I really hadn’t realized he’d filled out since joining SG-1. His upper chest and shoulders were lightly dusted with freckles. His chest tapered into a narrow waist and flat stomach, and his snug jeans hugged his firm thighs and long legs.
The collective sigh I heard around me told me I wasn’t the only one who’d been holding my breath -- or the only one who was totally in awe of this young man.
Just then, his wonderful blue eyes caught mine and he gave me an ‘Isn’t all this fuss ridiculous?’ look and I had to smile. He walked back to where the Colonel and Teal’c were working, giving us a view of an equally nice tanned back and a great butt encased in those dirt-streaked jeans.
"Lord have mercy," a woman whispered behind me. Her statement was met with a chorus of "Amens."
And what made it all the more attractive was Daniel didn’t have a clue about his effect on women. None of them did, really. Teal’c felt he was too -- alien. And, in a sense, he was right. Jack -- well, Jack, I think, knew he was attractive, but felt he was getting too old. (Wrong, bucko! You are so-o-o wrong!) And Daniel. Daniel felt he was a geek. That people only loved him for his brain. If only he knew how truly short-sighted he was -- with or without glasses.
I leaned back in my chair, a grin playing on my lips. It was great to be the only female member of this team!

*Colonel Jack O’Neill*
Well, guess we impressed the ladies. When Teal’c stripped off his shirt I thought I saw a few drools throughout the crowd. And I think I turned a few heads myself.
Funny, though. I could have sworn Danny got the biggest reaction. Daniel was the last of all of us to remove his shirt. I thought it might be because the kid was self-conscious -- you just never saw him shirtless in public -- or because of his fair skin. Afraid of catching a sunburn, perhaps. Funny. For someone who subscribed to a "when in Rome" philosophy off-world, he was almost prudish when it came to calling attention to himself here at home.
I watched him pull the black Tee over his head and hand it to Sam. Whoa, Danny-boy. Been working out? And is that a hint of a suntan I see?
Somehow, the kid had broadened his shoulders and developed some respectable muscles. Must have been the sparring and self-defense lessons Teal’c and I had been throwing his way. Come to think of it, we all had been working out lately -- especially the last three weeks. Anything to overcome the boredom of inactivity.
And Sam -- damn, if she didn’t have a ‘shit-eating’ grin on her face. The keeper of our T-shirts. Our comrade. Our friend. The woman I love. Damn, wish I could make that public. Our eyes met briefly. Oh, well, as long as she suspects. And seeing that sparkle in those glorious blue eyes of hers, I think she does. Better wipe this grin off my face and get back to work.

*Dr. Janet Fraiser*
Oh, I am *so* enjoying this!
Not only are the Captain’s team members finding out big time that they are not the only desirable men on this base, I’m getting to see my three favorite men relaxed, healthy and slowly beating the pants off the aforementioned Marines.
Plus, the ‘floor show’ is almost as good as any of the clubs downtown, and, what’s more, we didn’t have to pay for it.
Those gung-ho Marines are attractive; no doubt about that. But, somehow, they don’t hold a candle to one massive Jaffa, one shy archaeologist, and one full-bird Colonel with bad knees.
Oh, I’ve gotten to see more of them than most people on this base; my nurses and I have, that is. But we’ve seen them wounded, hurting, defenseless; hooked up to enough machinery to keep a small town running for weeks. Not knowing if they’ll recover, wake up, open their eyes, breathe again. This way is so-o-o much better.
I’m sitting back in this borrowed infirmary chair; Sam laughing and grinning beside me. I can hear my nurses whispering very suggestive things under their collective breaths. Most of them have to do with what they’d do with Daniel if they got him alone. I have to smile. Damn, the man looks good! And totally oblivious to the effect he’s having on most of the women here. If he knew what was being said, I doubt he would have worn *those* jeans, or keep shifting his weight from foot to foot, or lift those rocks in that particular way -- that way that makes the muscles in his arms and upper back ripple. Whew! I’d better stop -- I need a fan!
And Jack -- well, he’s just eating this up. He may think he’s getting ‘too old’ for this sort of thing, but a number of women present would quickly set him straight. That, and the fact Sam’s here. I’d swear she’s devouring him with her eyes, and he’s certainly glanced her way often enough. This is all just too delicious!
Plus, if Teal’c’s not careful, he just might have more attention than he ever thought possible -- being Jaffa and all. I know a few women on this base that would consider him quite a challenge.
No, I’m quite content to just sit here beside Sam and enjoy the show. It’s so nice to see that Sam and the Colonel are finding each other, military regs or not. I hope it’ll work out for them. But Daniel! Look at him! Have I been blind? Any chance I could pry him away from his books?

I find I must admit some Earth customs are difficult to understand.
The challenge was not. Challenges are frequently exchanged between warriors on Chulak; competition is one way to keep the senses sharp and body honed.
Also, the custom of an audience is not foreign, either. During challenges many warriors have family, friends and supporters gather to cheer for their champion; however, the audience is usually mixed. This gathering of -- females only -- is -- different.
And, there does not appear to be any cheering. In fact, the crowd is strangely quiet. Watching intently, to be sure, but quiet.
And I am not so sure I understand the looks in several of their faces.
It is true I have seen men look at attractive women this way. And it is also true I have seen this same look in predators actively stalking prey. Is it possible these women find us attractive -- or do they consider us prey?
I will have to ask Colonel O’Neill to enlighten me about this at another time.

*General George Hammond*
If Sgt. Siler hadn’t alerted me about this impromptu gathering, I don’t think I would have believed it.
As it is, here I am on a beautiful Saturday morning, when I could be spending time with my granddaughters, overseeing what might become a ‘situation’.
I can’t believe the number of base female personnel -- military and non-military -- who have gathered to watch a bunch of men move rocks in the hot sun. Or am I just getting too old for this?
I find myself smiling and shaking my head. I must admit I have a certain ‘fondness’ for Jack and his team. And those Marines are certainly the loudest bunch of braggarts I’ve been associated with in some time. This new Captain of theirs -- Williams -- almost makes me miss Robert Makepeace. Almost.
Ah. Dr. Fraiser and her nurses are here, too. Hope we won’t need their services. On second thought, judging by some of the off-color remarks I’m hearing from them about Dr. Jackson, I hope they don’t start something.
I had Siler alert the Military Police. Just in case.

*Dr. Daniel Jackson*
Well, this has been an interesting morning.
Jack, Teal’c and I have been working well together. I’m glad I’ve been sticking with those workouts Jack and Teal’c put together for me, or else my muscles would have been screaming at me long ago.
Why are there so many women here watching us? I would have expected Sam, I mean, she’s part of the team and all. But, all the nurses? And those ladies from records, communications, and personnel? Plus several from the cafeteria?
They’re awfully quiet, too. Glad I’m not wearing my glasses.

*Major Samantha Carter*
Well, this day is one for the record books.
Both teams finished around two p.m. By that time, somewhere between seventy-five and one hundred women had gathered to watch the ‘fun’.
At first, everybody just stood and stared at one another. The Marines, my guys, and all the gals. Then, the foreman from base maintenance began gathering up the shovels and pick-axes.
Finally, Colonel O’Neill whipped off his sunglasses and gloves and addressed the crowd.
"Ah, er, ladies," he said, clearing his throat. "While this has been *loads* of fun for us, we’re ready to get cleaned up, go home, and maybe slam down a couple of cold ones. So, although I can’t speak for the Marines over there, Teal’c, Daniel and I are outta here." And, moving over to where Janet and I sat, he motioned to Teal’c and Daniel to come get their shirts from me.
The women began to mill around. Those who had been seated started folding their lawn chairs.
Then, one of the Marines piped up.
"Yeah, ladies, if you enjoyed the ‘floor show’, the least you could do is ‘tip’ the ‘performers’." And he swiveled his hips suggestively.
I’m not sure I believe what happened next.
Women began pulling dollar bills out of their purses and approaching the men -- mainly ‘my’ men!
The Colonel’s face split into a wide grin. Teal’c just stood there, looking puzzled. Daniel began backing up.
Then -- it got a little crazy.
Someone ran into my folding chair and I went over backwards. The Colonel was busy trying to help me up and keep several women from shoving dollar bills down his jeans. Janet was laughing hysterically. I caught sight of Teal’c’s face as he was swarmed by six or seven eager ‘show-goers’ and thought his eyebrow was going to dislodge his gold tattoo. I couldn’t see Daniel for all the women surrounding him.
Then, I heard General Hammond and suddenly it seemed like the place was swarming with Military Police. They quickly brought about some semblance of order. General Hammond keep saying, "Ladies! Ladies! Stop this unseemly behavior at once before there are serious consequences!"
When the hypothetical dust had settled, most of the women were exiting the complex under the watchful eyes of six MPs, leaving behind four somewhat disgruntled Marines, and three shell-shocked members of SG-1.
Colonel O’Neill was finally able to help me to my feet.
"What the hell just happened here?" he said, red-faced.
Dr. Fraiser laughed up at him. "Well, Colonel, I’d say you three were the hit of the afternoon!"

*Dr. Janet Fraiser*
This day has been too much!
If the General hadn’t summoned the MP’s, my three favorite men might have landed back in the infirmary.
As it was, seemingly no harm was done. Once the women had ‘rewarded’ their particular favorites, they left quietly. I suggested SG-1 go down to the infirmary for a quick once-over, just to be sure their ‘dignity’ was all that had been injured!
General Hammond and I accompanied the Colonel, Teal’c and Daniel. I could see Daniel was in no shape to have any more ‘attention’ paid to him by my nursing staff. He was still blushing.
Once in the infirmary, the guys each took a gurney and began to sort out their ‘tips’. I checked the Colonel over first. He was fine, although one of his belt loops had been ripped loose.
"Seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty -- and a five!" he said, his eyes gleaming. "Not bad for an ‘old guy’, eh, General?"
General Hammond merely grunted.
Teal’c was next, and had suffered no damage. He, apparently, had been more successful in stopping the women from placing money down his trousers as he was pulling bills from his pockets. "I do not understand this strange Tau’ri custom, O’Neill," he said. "Is it common to pay workers in this fashion?"
I giggled, Sam snorted, and the General grinned. Colonel O’Neill rolled his eyes and said, "I’ll explain it to you later, Teal’c, over a coupla beers."
"Very good," he replied, laying the money out on the gurney. "Five, six, seven -- and two twenty dollar bills."
"Twenty?" The Colonel looked incredulous. "Did you say ‘twenty’, Teal’c? Some gal gave you a twenty?"
"Two twenties, to be exact, O’Neill," Teal’c replied.
Daniel sat apart from the rest of the group, head down, still beet-red, busily pulling money out of his jeans and placing it in a pile next to him.
"Hey, space monkey," the Colonel called to him. "How much did you rake in?"
Daniel looked up, an expression of pure misery on his face. "You know, this really isn’t funny, Jack," he said. "I can still feel some bills in my underwear. One of the ladies from communications -- I think it was Margie -- kept dropping quarters down the back of my jeans!" He stood up, and, sure enough, he jingled.
That did it. The whole room erupted into gales of laughter.
Daniel looked hurt, at first. Then, he too began to see the humor of the situation and a small grin creased his face.
The Colonel was the first to recover. Clapping Daniel on the shoulder, he managed to get out, "Sorry, Danny. This *has* been quite a day, eh? So, how much did you get?"
Daniel began to count.
When he got to $75, we all cast unbelieving looks at one another. Finally, he said, "Eighty four ones, four fives, that’s one hundred four, two tens, one hundred fourteen, and one twenty -- one hundred thirty four -- all that’s left is the *damn* change."
I looked him over. He did have a couple of deep scratches around his waistline, front and back, and what looked like some bruising on his arms and shoulders. I hoped none of my nurses’ fingernails had caused those scratches.
"If you’ll slip off those jeans and hop up on the gurney, Daniel, I’ll treat those scratches," I said, and handed him a sheet to wrap up in.
Just then General Hammond cleared his throat. "So, SG-1, what do you propose to do with this money?"
"I take it from your tone, General, that you suggest we don’t keep it?" Colonel O’Neill asked.
Major Carter spoke up. "Isn’t there a scholarship fund for children of deceased SGC personnel, General?" The General nodded. "Then I’m sure the Colonel, Teal’c and Daniel would like this money to go there," she said.
Colonel O’Neill looked ready to say something else, but must have thought better of it.
"You’ll see that the money is placed in that fund, General?" he asked.
"You can be sure of it, Colonel," General Hammond replied.
I looked over at Daniel, who had settled uncomfortably on the gurney. "Colonel," I said, "why don’t you and Teal’c go shower while I take care of Daniel. I’ll send him down there as soon as I’m finished."
The Colonel slapped Teal’c on the back as they exited the infirmary. "Those Chippendale guys have got nothing on us, right, Teal’c?" he said.
"I am unfamiliar with ‘Chippendales’, O’Neill," Teal’c replied. "Do they have something to do with horses?"
"That’s Clydesdales. Teal’c," the Colonel grinned. "C’mon, I’ll fill you in on our way down."
*Major Samantha Carter*
I found a manila envelope in Janet’s desk and stuffed the money in there; although Daniel kept insisting I ‘rinse off’ the quarters.
I could tell the Colonel was pleased by the day’s events -- although a little ‘put off’ that he’d gotten less than Teal’c or Daniel.
Daniel -- what a surprise! I’d known he had most of the women here wrapped around his little finger, but I never realized...
And he still didn’t have a clue as to why.
As the Colonel and Teal’c made for the showers, and General Hammond for his office to secure the cash, I lingered a bit at the infirmary door. I was about to stay and talk with Janet while she was working on Daniel, but she shot me a look and I thought the better of it. Hmmm, could sparks be brewing there?
Just before he disappeared down the hall, the Colonel called over his shoulder, "Beer and pizza at my place -- forty-five minutes! Carter, you bring the beer! Daniel, you bring Janet!"
"Whatever you say, Sir," I called back.
Yep, a day for the record books.


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  Hawk50 Nancy Bailey Carrie AnnO  
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Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate (II) Productions, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. This is a parody for entertainment purposes only. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. This story may not be posted anywhere without the consent of the author.