Unofficial Morale Officer
by marzipan77
GEN
Rated T
Early Season Two, Jack accesses his inner morale officer when the team is imprisoned on an alien world.

The warmth against my side wakes me from a doze.  Warm breath breezes across my neck.  I try to slit my eyes; it takes a lot more effort than usual to tear through the crust that glues them shut.  I can feel the rough wall against my back, the soreness in my tailbone from when I was knocked on my ass by that huge native three days ago, the perpetual ache in my knees.  Head still hurts, mouth still dry, same stale vomit smell pervading the air around me.  Yep, still alive.

I shift my aching shoulder a few inches and the breath on my neck stops with a gasp.  The warmth retreats.  “Sorry, sir,” the weary voice mumbles.

I shouldn’t have moved.  Carter had curled up against me reaching for something – comfort, a reminder of life, a shared humanity.  “No problem, Captain.”  My own voice is rough, rasping.  A thimbleful of water every day doesn’t make much of an impact on the Sahara of my throat.  I shift onto my knees, ignoring their protest - within the cramped cell none of us can stand, the roof barely five feet from the floor.  Carter has her back to me now, curling up in the corner between me and Teal’c.  I don’t think Teal’c has moved since I closed my eyes I don’t know how long ago.  They took our watches, vests, belts, boots, hats, jackets along with our weapons – yep, just about everything useful, when they pushed us into this little home away from home.

“How long has he been gone this time?”

Teal’c’s eyes are bright in his dark face in the perpetual twilight of our unwindowed cell.  “Perhaps forty minutes.  You did not sleep long, O’Neill.”

“You know, just sitting around for three days doesn’t really tire a man of action like me out.”  Yeah, quips are good.  Gotta hit that perfect combination of ‘what, me worried?’ and ‘too tough to kill’ when morale is low.  Three days as guests of the hulking natives of P7S-336, little water or food, and daily reminders of the native’s gentle mercy all over our still missing teammate’s body and it couldn’t get much lower.  Enter Jack O’Neill, unofficial morale officer.  Reporting for duty, sir.

Some kind of freaky Jaffa hearing alerts Teal’c before I notice movement outside the heavy door.  He’s crouching next to the opening before I can crawl over there, but, as usual, the creeps outside open the door just wide enough to throw in Daniel’s limp weight, and Teal’c automatically opens his arms to catch him before the archaeologist hits the ground.

“Dammit.”  Teal’c moves back to lay Daniel out in the middle of the cell and Carter and I move in to check him out – again – or as well as we can in the dim light.  “Okay, Danny-boy, let’s see what you’ve been up to this time.” Keep it light, O’Neill.  Keep it light if you have to bite clear through your tongue.

Carter brushes back the sandy hair from his face, and I try to ignore the way her hand is shaking – from pain, fatigue, dehydration, or, more likely, from holding back her anger over her science-twin’s treatment.  There’s new gash above his left eye - too many smacks in the face can do that, and another layer of oozing abrasions around his wrists.  I lift up his t-shirt to reveal another series of welts across his stomach and hear Carter catch her breath at the truly impressive bruise over his right kidney.  I sketch his ribs lightly and some unconscious shifting away from my touch reveals new pain.  I pull his shirt down, hiding the wounds we can do absolutely nothing about.

She leans over and starts running her fingers over his scalp through his too-long hair for bumps, breaks in the skin, or, God forbid, soft spots.  Sitting back on her heels, Carter sighs.  “It doesn’t feel like there’s any head injury, sir.”

Thank God for small miracles.  “Exxxcellent,” is all I say out loud.  Gotta keep up the ever-optimistic colonel act.  Teal’c understands, keeps quiet, he’s an old soldier like me.  But Carter has taken a boat-load of crap over the past year, barely recovered from having her body kidnapped by a slimy snake, oh, excuse me, Tok’ra, and then she finds out her dad is sick.  Amazing.  Perhaps the most well-adjusted officer I’ve ever met.  Just needs a little nudge from time to time to help her keep focused; something to break her out of that thinking-too-hard track she gets stuck in sometimes.  ‘Stupid, annoying CO’ usually works.

Teal’c’s a ‘still waters run deep’ kinda guy.  He’ll be all business and conserving his strength and all until there’s any hint of an opening, and then he’ll let loose and tear the people between his team and safety into bite-sized pieces.  Well, as long as he doesn’t fall into one of those ‘Jaffa-funks,’ and, when Daniel’s down, it’s my job to head those off.  And Daniel’s down.  Well and truly down.

Daniel’s breath catches, a tearing cough shooting him upright.  Teal’c’s there, large hands steadying the archaeologist’s shoulders.  The groan comes from somewhere deep within the battered young man and his head drops back to lean against the Jaffa’s broad shoulder.

“Hey, Daniel,” I lean forward until I can get a glimpse of blue from between Daniel’s lids.  “How come you get to see the sights and we’re all stuck here in the hotel?”

For Daniel it’s the oblivious, slightly patronizing older brother that works the best.  But only when he’s conscious.

“Sorry,” he murmurs through dry, cracked lips.  “Believe me, the sights aren’t that great.”  Daniel sighs and lets himself be cradled by Teal’c’s sturdy bulk.

“Daniel, can you tell what they want?  Why they keep… taking you?”  Carter brushes her fingers against his swollen cheek.

Wrong question, Carter, I mutter silently.  Even if he knew he still couldn’t seem to keep it from happening.  I pat him on the shoulder when he opens his mouth.  “Daniel can tell us all about it later, after he’s spent a few nights in the Frasier Hilton with a needle-full of the good drugs.”  I manage a half-smile.  “Okay?”

Daniel’s eyes say thank you.  “Okay.”

The thick door and walls have withstood all our attempts at escape and the natives have been just as unyielding.  If they keep to their schedule we have about twelve hours until the bastards come back for Daniel again, and I know I can’t let the team spend that time anticipating, worrying.  I might hate it, but any rescue was up to the SGC now – but it was my job to keep them all sane until help finally arrived.

“So,” I draw their attention with my best ‘I’ve got a secret’ voice.  “Does anybody know what day it is?”

Carter blinks balefully while Daniel groans at the familiar bantering tone.  I waggle my eyebrows meaningfully.

“It is Friday, O’Neill.”

“Thank you, Teal’c!”  Gotta love a straight man.  “To be more precise, it’s Friday night.  And we all know what happens on Friday nights.”

“Sir?”

“Jack, just let me sleep…”

Ah, I’d love to, buddy, but you wouldn’t sleep.  That genius mind of yours would turn in circles trying to find a way out and Carter would just stare at you and worry.  Can’t let that happen.

“I know we’re a little short of pizza –”

“– not to mention beer, colonel,” Carter attempts a quick smile.

Way to go, captain.  “Hmm, that too.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t do Team Night.”  I help shuffle Daniel into a more comfortable position laying on his left side, head pillowed on my thigh while Teal’c moves to keep the door covered.  “I think it was your turn to bring the movie, big guy.”

One eyebrow creeps towards the top of the Jaffa’s bald head.  “I find myself unprepared, O’Neill.”

“That’s okay, T, we’ll improvise.”  I pretend to think for a moment.  “Best spy movie of all time.  Carter?”

Sam shifts so she could keep one hand on Daniel’s arm.  “Kevin Costner in dress whites – I’ve got to go with ‘No Way Out,’ sir.”

…..

“I believe Sean Connery was the consummate Bond, and is recognized as such by many-”

“Yeah, but Timothy Dalton was hot,” Carter interrupts.

Three hours later the discussion has covered most genres, exhausted debate concerning the best Spielberg offering – with Daniel, the darkhorse as always, fighting for ‘American Graffiti,’ and led back to their standby: Best Bond Ever.

When the muffled sounds of gunfire finally penetrate the cell, I break off my argument with Daniel over the relative merits of film noir and crouch next to the Jaffa as the door opens on the grim face of Robert Makepeace.

“Marines,” I mutter darkly.  Turning back I see that Carter has Daniel up on his knees, ready to move.  We four lock eyes, sharing a moment of silent understanding before I grab my P90 from the leader of SG-3 and lead them home.  Alive.  Sane.  Together.

 

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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.