True Function



Dr. Daniel Jackson threw his hands up in frustration. He felt so close to getting through to Lotan, to finding a solution that would save the Enkarans, but he was virtually running out of time. He knew the ship would explode any minute; Jack had no choice. Concentrate, Jackson. There was something he was missing; something Lotan had said. Something about serving the life on this ship. Yes!
Daniel turned, a spark of hope glinting in his eyes. He reminded Lotan of the laws, justice, and respect for life inherent to the Gadmeer, all of which Lotan acknowledged. Daniel's eyes blazed with triumph.
"Then how can their world be re-created through an act of mass murder? Wouldn't that be a betrayal of everything they stood for?"
Lotan considered Daniel's words.
You've got him. Don't stop. "You said you were made to communicate. You're not here simply to serve life on this ship. You're here to protect the integrity of life on this ship. There's a big difference. Are you really fulfilling your true function by allowing this to happen?"

Lotan stared, thinking.

Bingo.

*********

Jack gazed at the hateful object in his hand. It was small, and so light in his palm, but unbearably heavy on his soul. Major Carter's voice assaulted his ears; "If you're going to do it, you have to do it now." Jack's hand clenched. God, help me, Daniel; I don't know what to do.

Teal'c studied the face of his friend and the agony of uncertainty etched into the chiseled features. 'Daniel Jackson has made his choice, O'Neill.'

Jack looked up into the steady, dark eyes of his teammate. He saw no judgment; no condemnation for the action that he was about to take. Jack gratefully accepted what solace he could from Teal'c's words and looked down at the timer in his hand.

'Yeah,' he muttered soulfully, before pressing the button, activating the bomb. The bomb he ordered Carter to build. The bomb that would destroy Lotan's ship. The bomb that would destroy an entire, advanced civilization. The bomb that would destroy his best friend, Daniel Jackson. For the moment, Jack could put the Gadmeer out of his thoughts. They weren't real; they were tissue samples in a vast catalogue system. They were `freeze-dried' aliens and had been for a thousand years. But Daniel...

Jack looked up at the ship. He looked for a miracle.

"The ship has stopped, O'Neill."

Jack's head jerked up. Teal'c was right. The ship hovered, and the billions of microbes transforming the planet were no longer being released.

"Daniel must have gotten through to him," Carter's voice rang in his ear.

Yes! That's my boy! Jack's tremendous surge of relief was short-lived, however. The bomb was still active.

"Daniel, if you can here me, you've got thirty seconds...three...zero...over."

Jack's gaze was fixed on Lotan's ship as Carter counted down the last seconds to detonation.

"Five...four...three,"

God, Danny, I didn't even say good-bye.

"Two...one."

I hope you find Sha're, my friend.

Jack's gaze was suddenly averted from the ship by a streak of light that shot out of the craft and exploded. They jettisoned the bomb. He's alive! Jack was elated, but he kept his gaze neutral. Daniel was alive, but they were no closer to a solution.

**********

The sudden materialization of Daniel and Lotan aroused mixed feelings in Jack. He didn't know if he wanted to hug Daniel, hit him, or kill him. Instead, he opted for a, "What's going on?"

To everyone's amazement and delight, Daniel had given Jack another choice, the perfect choice. Daniel had single-handedly turned a no-win situation into a win-win situation. No, make that a win-win-win situation. The Enkarans were going to go to their original homeworld. The Gadmeer civilization was going to be re-born on this world, and Lotan, a 'day-and-a half' old 'biomechanical representation', had just opted for life as an Enkaran.

Jack looked over at Daniel. The young man was positively beaming, and well he should. Daniel looked at Jack, joy radiating from his eyes. Jack felt unnerved by Daniel's gaze. I can't share this one with you, Danny. This was Daniel's show. Daniel had averted the disaster that Jack had set into motion. A clipped, half-smile was all Jack could muster before he had to look away.

Daniel's brow creased with worry and concern. Jack should be thrilled, but instead, he looked defeated. The jubilation of the Enkarans grabbed Daniel's attention, however, and he was soon caught up in the preparations to move them to their new home.

*********

SG-1 returned home to a hero's welcome. General Hammond, grinning from ear-to-ear, extended his congratulations. "Well done, SG-1." He pumped Jack's hand vigorously.

"It was Daniel, sir. He found your 'other way out'," Jack said solemnly.

"Dr. Jackson, you never cease to amaze me," Hammond declared as he enthusiastically shook Daniel's hand.

"It was a team effort, sir, like always," Daniel hurriedly explained, embarrassed with the attention.

"Daniel, take credit where credit's due," Jack said wearily.

"Well done, all of you. We'll debrief in one hour. Dismissed."

Hammond was still smiling as he watched SG-1 file out of the room. So few missions ended as well as this one. He was particularly glad that Daniel Jackson finally had a good memory to hold onto. He more than deserved it, and it was truly, long past due.

*************

The debriefing was short and sweet, and Hammond had punctuated it with a three day leave for the team. Initially, he was perturbed at Colonel O'Neill's order to destroy the alien ship, but he was placated somewhat by Daniel's support of Jack's actions. When Hammond dismissed the team, his feeling of well-being was restored.

"Dr. Jackson," Hammond called, halting Daniel's retreat. "I'd like to hear more about Lotan, and how you feel he'll fit in with the Enkarans, considering his knowledge of the Gadmeer."

"Ye-es," Daniel said hesitantly, as he watched Jack's quick exit.

"Teal'c, have you seen Jack?" Daniel asked anxiously.

"I have not seen him since the debriefing, Daniel Jackson."

"Damn," Daniel muttered. "That was hours ago. Well, he hasn't left the facility so he's here somewhere," he mumbled abstractedly. "Teal'c, how did Jack seem to you in the debriefing?"

"Seem?" Teal'c repeated.

"Yes-uh-did you think he was distracted? Maybe, I don't know, depressed?"

"He was angry." Teal'c stated placidly.

Daniel's eyebrows shot up. "Angry?"

"Yes, Daniel Jackson."

"With me?"

"I believe so."

"Do you...know why?" Daniel asked, trying to hide his impatience.

"I believe he is angry that you tried to support his actions in building the bomb, and that you were reluctant to accept the accolades you deserved."

"Oh," Daniel said quietly.

"He is also angry with himself," Teal'c added solemnly.

Daniel looked sharply at Teal'c and waited...and waited.

"And?" Daniel finally prompted, his hands waving in the air.

"You have indeed spent a great deal of time in O'Neill's company. Your actions are very similar," Teal'c observed dryly.

"Teal'c!"

A ghost of a smile played on Teal'c's lips. He inclined his head gravely, and said, "O'Neill feels he did not perform his duties as he should have. He does not feel worthy of his command."

"What? You're not serious?"

The slight tilt of Teal'c's head caused Daniel to rescind his remark. "Of course, you're serious. Damn it. How do you know this?"

"I am a warrior, as is O'Neill."

"Right. Look, if you see him, will you let me know?"

"I will indeed, Daniel Jackson."

"Thank you," Daniel said, briefly touching Teal'c's arm before leaving to continue his search.

************8

Daniel found Jack in the one place he never dreamed of looking; in the SGC library. Daniel had entered the library to find some books for his few days off, and to hopefully clear his mind, before continuing his search for the elusive Jack O'Neill. He found Jack, in a secluded corner, asleep. Daniel smiled at the copy of Jules Verne's,' 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea', open on his lap. Space travel too boring for you, Jack? Daniel gently extricated the book from Jack's limp hands, and then he sat down on the floor and waited.

************

Daniel woke with a start, surprised to find himself on the floor, and doubly surprised to find Jack's jacket draped around his shoulders. Then, he remembered, "Damn!" Daniel scrambled to his feet, but a quiet voice rooted him to the spot.

"I'm still here."

Daniel whirled to see Jack step out of the shadows, two cups of coffee in his hands.

"Thought you might like some when you woke up," Jack said, smiling half-heartedly.

Daniel accepted the coffee gratefully. Jack smiled at the baffled look on his friend's face, and shrugged. "Didn't have the heart to hide on you, again."

Daniel returned the smile. "Thanks."

"I think you'll find it more comfortable over here," Jack said motioning to a small alcove, housing a well-worn couch.

Daniel silently followed Jack, and the two men settled themselves on the couch.

Daniel took a few sips of coffee before clearing his throat.

"Jack-,"

"Don't, Daniel," Jack warned. "Don't say I did the right thing, that I had no choice. I've gone over it a thousand times. I should have listened to you, but I didn't...again. If you hadn't convinced Lotan-"

"Jack," Daniel interrupted. "You made the only choice you could. It's like I said to Lotan; 'sometimes hierarchical command structures don't allow you to consider all the options.' Or, to put it another way, sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees."

"Great, more trees," Jack said glumly.

"Jack, what is your function?" Daniel asked.

"What?"


"What is your function?" Daniel repeated patiently.
"Give me a break, Daniel. I'm not a damn robot," Jack said gruffly.

"All right, I'll tell you. Your function is to follow the orders of General Hammond, right?"

"Right," Jack said reluctantly.

"And, under those conditions, your function is to explore planets, make new allies, and procure knowledge to aid in the defense of the Goa'uld."

"Ye-es," Jack agreed sceptically.

"But," Daniel said, holding up his index finger, "Your true function is to keep our butts intact while at the same time holding true to your ideals."

"What are you trying to say, Daniel?"

"I'm saying that you took the only course of action that you could. We befriended the Enkarans. We brought them to P5S 381 with the promise of a new life; a safe life. Jack, their lives depended on us, on you. You couldn't allow them to be slaughtered. By ordering Sam to do what she had to do, you allowed me to do what I had to do," Daniel pressed urgently.

"To give me another choice."

"Yes, which I couldn't have done if you hadn't lit that fire under my butt."

"In the form of a naquadah bomb," Jack smiled.

"Exactly!" Daniel said excitedly.

"So, your function is to show me there's always another way?"

"Or, die trying," Daniel grinned.

Jack's face paled and he turned away.

Daniel sensed the immediate change in Jack's mood. Oh damn, that was stupid. Way to go, Jackson.

Jack stared at the floor, his hands knotted together between his knees.

"Jack?" Daniel ventured gently.

Jack glanced briefly at Daniel, and then returned his attention to the floor.

"I wrote out my resignation," he said quietly.

"What? Jack, you can't!" Daniel exclaimed, incredulously.

Jack looked up, locking eyes with his friend. "Why, Daniel? Why can't I?"

"B-b-because you can't," Daniel said flustered.

"Not very impressive for a linguist, Danny," Jack said sadly.

"Jack, you belong here. You're needed. The Enkarans just proved that."

"No, Daniel. You saved the Enkarans, and the Gadmeer, and Lotan, and...yourself," Jack finished softly.

"Damn it, Jack. Weren't you listening? You-," Daniel stared silently at Jack, then whispered softly, "It's me. That's why you're thinking of resigning. Because of me."

"No, Daniel," Jack said standing up. "Because of me," he said wearily. "I almost killed you. I activated the bomb with the full knowledge that you were on that ship. Damn it, Daniel. I sentenced you to death. Do you have any idea what that feels like?"

"Yes, Jack, I do." Daniel stood up and faced Jack. "I know exactly how it feels. Have you forgotten the Replicators? I ordered the bombs that blew up the sub, remember? I condemned both you and Teal'c to death."

"It's not the same thing, Daniel. You were saving us from a much nastier death," Jack explained, mentally shuddering at the memory of the Replicators crawling on his body. "Not to mention the small matter of saving the entire planet, as well," he added.

"Well, that wasn't what was going through my mind, Jack. You can spout all the fancy theories you want. Bottom line, I ordered my best friend killed. End of story. No, one more thing," Daniel said waving his hand in the air. "If Thor hadn't come through, I don't know if I could've lived with myself."

Jack glanced sharply at Daniel. The passionate blaze in Daniel's blue eyes was now a smouldering appeal for understanding. Jack searched those eyes and nodded.

"You do know what it feels like," Jack whispered hollowly.

"Yes, but Jack," Daniel said, grasping Jack's shoulders. "I'm here. We both are. We both did what we had to do, and yet, we're still here, together. I don't even want to think about what I would've done had the Enkarans died, or the Gadmeer. You forced me to find an alternate solution, and I thank you for that."

Daniel dropped his gaze to the floor, still holding onto Jack's shoulders. He looked up, and firmly squeezed the shoulders.

"Jack, you have to make life or death decisions all the time. I could never do what you do. I couldn't handle the responsibility. So many lives, always dependent on your actions." Daniel dropped his hands, and stepped back, giving Jack some room. "I know that I can be a thorn in your side, and that sometimes I can't always see the trees for the forest, or vice versa, but Jack, I have enormous respect for you. I always have, ever since that first mission to Abydos. And, as fascinating as this job is, I don't want to do it without you."

Jack gazed solemnly at his earnest companion. Smiling, he shook his head in resignation, and pulled Daniel into a tight, quick embrace.

"It's no wonder all my hair has turned grey over the last couple of years," Jack grumbled.

"Did I mention that my true function is to drive you completely wacko every chance I get?" Daniel chuckled as he pulled back from the hug.

"Well, Danny boy," Jack said, playfully slapping Daniel's back. "Let me just say, you function well above, and beyond, the call of duty."

"You wouldn't have me any other way, would you?"

Jack stared silently at Daniel. "No. No, I wouldn't," he replied seriously.

Daniel blushed slightly, then asked, "Do you have it with you?"

Jack nodded knowingly, and pulled the letter out of his pocket. He smiled and said, "I already decided not to go through with it when I woke up, and saw you on the floor. Somebody has to keep you out of trouble, and God knows, I'd be bored to tears without you."

Jack held the letter out to Daniel. "You're right, Danny," he said softly. "We're in this together."

Daniel wordlessly took the letter from Jack's hand, and tore it into several strips.

"You hungry?" Daniel asked.

"Yeah," Jack admitted. "I've got lots of food at my place. You could stay the night and we can watch the late, late show. I think '20,000 Leagues' is on tonight and I forget how it ends."

"I'd like that," Daniel said, unable to hide the elation in his eyes.

Jack smiled, and draped his arm across Daniel's shoulders. He turned and whispered, "Uh, Daniel. You won't tell anyone that you found me in the library, reading, will you?"

"Well, technically, Jack, I found you in the library, sleeping."

"Oh, well that's all right then," Jack said relieved.

Daniel patted Jack on the back and said, "Fear not, my friend, your reputation will remain unsullied. So, want me to tell you how it ends?"

"Don't even think about it," Jack said, smacking Daniel lightly on the head.

"Ouch, I'm just trying to help. You know you're going to fall asleep half way through it, just like you did with the book," Daniel insisted.

"Five bucks you don't make it through the opening credits," Jack challenged.

You're on, fly-boy," Daniel grinned.

"Give me strength," Jack grumbled as he rolled his eyes heavenward.

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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.