Disclaimer: I don't own them and I made no money from this story - so in short, I'm a poor obscure fanfiction writer who owns nothing but her computer at the end of the day. (Do we all see some disparity going on here? A lack of balance?)(Of course, I excel at the 'lack of balance' part, so maybe this situation is not really so surprising after all...)
The incessant ringing of the phone brought Sam at a run from
her spot sitting outside on her deck. She was able to answer the
phone just before the answering machine intercepted the call.
Hello? she greeted, expecting the other person on the line
to be either, Pete, trying once again to convince her to change
her mind and to give them another chance; one of her team members
(including General O'Neill - he would always be part of her team
according to her); or the SGC, claiming that 'the artifact' was
broken again and needed her immediate attention, and could come
in for an hour or so to fix it?
Instead, the voice that responded to her casual greeting
when she answered her phone belonged to the last person whom she
expected to hear from right now.
Sampster! came the
exuberant teasing of her brother in California.
Mark, Sam declared as she dropped onto the sofa that
was placed near the phone. She utterly hated that pet
name he'd called her, but she had to admit that he was the only
one who ever called her by the particular monicker - even her
parents had called 'Sam' or 'Sammie.' Only her big brother
called her 'Sampster.'
Now Sam continued.
What are you doing calling me today?
You and the family were here just a few days ago for dad's
funeral, she protested. Then a chill coursed from her head
to her toes.
Oh God, you don't have more bad news for me, do
you? I don't think I can take anything more. And she hung
her head, waiting for him to impart the 'more bad news' that she
But Mark surprised her - a chuckle came over the line from
his end in California, hundreds of miles away.
No, no bad
news, he insisted.
Sam scrunched her forehead, puzzled.
Then why are you
calling me? she bluntly inquired, immediately suspicious.
Sam! Mark howled, sounding mockingly offended.
Can't a big brother call his sister just to check up on her
every now and then?
Sam rolled her eyes.
Of course you can... but you were
just here. You saw for yourself that I'm doing okay - not
great, she admitted,
but okay, especially considering the
circumstances. Then her forehead wrinkled again, this time
How are you doing with all this?
That was when Mark's feigned sense of jocularity vanished
along with his sigh that gusted over the phone connection.
Actually... I'm angry that I don't really know what happened
to Dad at the end - what killed him... but there's nothing new in
me not knowing what was going on, he pointed out in a heavy
I haven't really known what was going on with Dad since
you told me years ago about his cancer miraculously went into
remission... but for six years? he sarcastically inquired.
That story just screams 'classified.' Mark paused, and as
Sam tried to think of something to say to him that would soothe
him as well as explain away his 'classified' concerns, softly
All you'd have to do is tell me that you can't tell me,
and that would be good enough for me, ya know.
The sound of a chair squeaking in the background filtered over the phone now that it was quiet enough for Sam to hear it, and she assumed that Mark was on the extension in his study that housed just such a chair.
But Mark went on,
I've been around the block a few times
with the whole 'classified' thing. I may never learn to
like it, but I know when to keep my mouth shut and not
probe too deeply.
Sam was taken aback. Wow. Mark's was a completely
different attitude than Sam was used to dealing with. It was
so... understanding... compared to the 'gotta know
everything right now, and damn the consequences' attitude that
Pete had often showed to her.
Wow, she said aloud now.
That's... that's really... understanding of you, she
Why? Mark asked, surprised.
Do you have some
reason why I shouldn't understand about the whole 'this is
Sam grimaced, and gently explained,
Well, Pete wasn't so
great at... She hesitated, then finally decided to just tell
He wasn't good at... at the whole... classified...
thing... and I guess that's what I'm used to now from
Sam instantly heard her brother's own vocal grimace.
Pete... Actually, that's why I called.
Sam's heart thudded twice in her chest, then fell.
Why? she asked in what she thought was a tone of mild
Is there something going on?
No, nothing's 'going on,' Mark insisted.
wanted to tell you... He cut himself off, sighed, paused as
he must have weighed the consequences of speaking, then paused
All these pauses were too much for Sam to take.
Mark, she began, her tone now one of regret, but firm regret.
I know that Pete is a friend of yours, and all, and that you
must have been thrilled to have played matchmaker to your little
sister... You should know that I'm so sorry...
But Mark interrupted to blurt,
Sam, you did the right
thing concerning Pete.
Which was exactly what Sam was not expecting to hear,
especially from her brother.
What? she asked, confused.
You think I did 'the right thing?' she asked
incredulously, repeating his words back to him.
Mark answered, sounding uncomfortable now.
Again Sam's brows furrowed in confusion.
Um... I would
have expected that Pete would have called you to regale you with
my insufficiencies by now, and that this call is to yell them at
me at the top of your lungs. Not to tell me that I did right by
breaking up with him. Her puzzlement grew.
Mark breathed in a fortifying gulp of air.
Pete did call
- twice. Or was it three times? he asked himself.
don't remember now, he said, the shrug sounding loud in his
All I remember is that the first time he called, we
were in Colorado for Dad's funeral.
They both paused, and Sam's heart thudded again.
Then Mark went on,
Pete told me later that he didn't even
know about Dad's funeral - that you never told him... Why didn't
you? he asked curiously.
At her brother's question, Sam dropped her head into her
hand in consternation. Finally she softly admitted,
want him... hovering. She further explained,
didn't think I could handle Dad's funeral if he was there...
always in my face, asking me if I was okay, constantly reminding
me of... She swallowed a new surge of pain as she managed to
finish her explanation with the whisper,
of why we were
There was another pause, then Mark said,
But your team
guys... fellas... were all there, and they seemed to be watching
over you, he pointed out.
So what's the difference
between what they did and what Pete would have done?
Sam started in surprise.
You spoke to... Then she
You saw my team at the funeral?
At the funeral itself, not so much. But at
the reception party thing at your house after? he asked, then
answered his own question.
Sure I did. I even talked to all
three if them at one time or another.
The hair on the back of Sam's arms prickled.
spoke to them? She sounded as if that thought
What did they say?
Mark hesitated. Finally he said,
Well, that high-ranking
fella... the General guy...
General O'Neill, Sam supplied for him.
Yeah... him, Mark continued.
He was really
friendly at first... don't know what Pete has against him... then
he became really taciturn and noncommittal the minute I brought
up your name. He stopped speaking to consider the remembered
situation. At last, he said,
Which seems strange, now that I
think about it. I mean, naturally I would want to talk to him
about you - I'm your brother, and he was your Commanding Officer,
it was your dad's funeral...
Actually Mark, General O'Neill is my
Commanding Officer, Sam jumped in to correct him.
Mark allowed for the correction.
Okay, is your
Commanding Officer... and he was your team leader for years and
years... a long time, especially considering how the military
Mark, Sam remonstrated,
this isn't the time for
you to bring up yet again how you feel about the
military... I know how you feel.
I know you do, Mark told her.
But I don't want to
talk about that right now.
That stunned Sam.
You don't? Usually Mark wasted no
time in telling Sam exactly what he thought of military tactics,
especially those practices concerning its personnel.
strange... Are you feeling alright?
Mark laughed another soft chuckle.
I don't blame you for
asking, but I'm feeling fine... We were talking about... what's
his name again?
General O'Neill, Sam responded.
Jack! Mark echoed.
Yeah, that's right - he asked
me to call him 'Jack'
Even I don't call him 'Jack.' Sam told him.
But your other team guy... fella... the civilian dude...
he calls him 'Jack.' Why don't you?
Sam sighed. What could she say that would make Mark
understand this name situation of hers and Jack's?
complicated, she tried to explain. Eventually she fell onto
the old excuse of,
It's a military thing.
Boy, have I heard that one before!
Mark went on with no more prompting.
Daniel Jackson, Sam said.
Yeah, him, Mark agreed.
He was a true font of
information when I asked him about you.
You talked to Jack... Sam couldn't believe her slip
- she must be more upset by the whole funeral thing than she
General O'Neill, she corrected herself.
you talked to Daniel...
I tried to talk to that tall, muscled dark guy, too - the
one with the strange name? But he didn't have much to say,
Sam groaned - he had spoken to Teal'c as well? She was
going to ask who else he had spoken to, but found herself instead
What did he... she clarified,
What did he say about me? She was burning with inexplicable
curiosity, and she instinctively knew that if Mark had gleaned
some information about her, it had come from Daniel.
About you? Mark reiterated, obviously thinking about
his encounter with Daniel when he didn't continue.
No Mark, Sam sarcastically said.
About the sofa.
Of course I want to know what he said about me, she
Mark could hear her anger starting to build, and to avoid
that, he instantly stated,
I pointed out that I didn't see
Pete at the funeral, or at the after-party, and did he know if
something was going on that I didn't know about?
And...? Her heart was steadily pounding against her
Mark complied and went on,
Dr. Jackson gave me this funny
look, then became very guarded himself. He asked me if I had
heard something myself. Sam could hear Mark's shrug in his
I said that I hadn't heard anything yet, only that I
noticed that Pete wasn't there, we all would have thought he
would be, and when I asked, nobody would tell me anything one way
or another, and this was what I hated about the military, always
keeping secrets, and...
Daniel's not military, Sam immediately explained, as
if knowing that information would make a difference to her
I know, Mark instantly stated.
That was when
Doctor Jackson... Daniel... gave this big sigh, and looked like
he was just giving up on something, and asked me 'What are your
real impressions of Pete?'
Sam prodded him after he remained silent for a second.
And you said...?
Mark made a noise over the line, as if he was trying to
decide what to tell her now, then firmly stated, as if he'd made
up his mind,
I told Daniel that I was 'concerned...' Yeah,
'concerned' that my little sister was about to make a huge
mistake, and I wanted to know what he thought, that I had already
tried to ask the General guy... but he wasn't saying anything,
and... Was there something that I needed to know? Mark
paused again, then went on,
That was when Daniel kind of
rolled his eyes, then drew up real close to me, like he was about
to say something that he didn't want anyone to hear, and told me,
`I'm worried about her, too, I don't think she's happy... or
not as happy as she could be.' Mark paused again, to
let Daniel's comment settle into Sam's mind.
What did he mean
by that, Sam? he asked.
You want to tell me what's going
His tone of 'tell me or suffer the consequences' irritated
Sam enough to arouse a feeling inside her that made her feel as
if she needed to defend her actions and emotions again. It was a
feeling that wasn't far below her surface exterior these days.
What business is it of yours? she sharply asked.
don't go around grilling you about...
Whoa, Sam, down girl! Mark instantly halted her
I guess that I should let you know that now that Dad
is gone, and not around to make sure you're alright, I feel like
I need to pick up the slack he left. That's all - I'm not
passing judgment, here. I just want to know what's going on in
your life... for once, he couldn't help but add, a touch
I want to help, if you'll let me, but you never
give an inch, do you? Mark's sigh exploded over the phone
line, it was so loud.
This was a dumb idea, he said at
Nothing's ever different. Sorry to take up
Sam interrupted his sad and defeated voice.
Don't hang up! she ordered without thinking about who she was
talking to. But Mark was offering that olive branch that she had
been unable to offer herself for years, and now she was shutting
him down by telling him that her decisions weren't his business.
No wonder he sounded so defeated!
She instantly capitulated.
Okay, I'll tell you what I
can, but you have to promise not to say a word - ever - to
anybody. She sighed another strong sigh into the quiet of
the room, then mumbled,
I figure that now is the right time to
talk if there was ever a time...
Her muttering continued until Mark stopped her.
Okay... I'll just spill it all out here... This needs to stop.
We've been like this - at each other's throats, me always asking
questions, you telling me 'it's classified' all the time, and me
getting mad at the constant military secrets... not that I want
you to tell me details if something really is classified -
I can understand if something's necessary for National Security
and all - but I keep getting the feeling that you're not telling
me the things that you can tell me, even the non-classified ones,
and how do you expect me to take that? he rhetorically asked.
I couldn't help getting so mad all the time when you and Dad
would never tell me anything that was going on in the past, and I
feel the same thing happening all over again. Sam, I...
But Sam interrupted.
Why didn't you tell this to Dad
when he was alive? she instantly asked.
He wasn't so
bad. Then she corrected herself.
At least, not these
last years... and...
Me and Dad - there was too much water under the
bridge, Mark explained.
Too much damage - you know that
I'm not as forgiving a person as you are.
Yeah, okay, Sam reluctantly conceded.
you a few things... but you have to promise not to judge me like
you always do! she warned.
Promise, Mark instantly said.
Now, give me the
whole 'Pete' story, he said.
I've heard his side - over
and over again - now I want to hear your side.
Wow. That was... so mature... for Mark. Again, Sam wasn't used to having the men in her life be so... understanding of her... except for maybe Daniel...
Sam sighed again, but gathered her thoughts, and started the
I know that Pete is a friend of yours... and I don't
mean any disrespect to your friendship... This was never about
Did you break up with him? Mark asked for
clarification, no sound of accusation is his voice, only a bid
Yes, Sam bluntly replied. She knew from experience
that bluntness might lessen the pain of this forthcoming
But it was Sam who was surprised when Mark blurted,
Thank God? she repeated, stunned.
relieved? she asked, again incredulous.
But I thought
that Pete was your friend, and...
Yeah, he is my friend, Mark assured.
That's why I know what he's been like this last year, ever
since his divorce.
How he'd been since his divorce? Completely flummoxed, Sam
wondered what Mark meant by that. At last, she inquired,
How has Pete been?
Mark blew another breathy sigh into the phone.
lie to you... for a change... I've been worried about you for
months, but I didn't think you would listen to me if I was the
one who told you...
You've been worried... about me?!
She thought back on the times she'd felt uncomfortable concerning
her relationship with Pete over the last months, and demanded,
Why did you think that?
Mark snorted again.
You have to admit, Sam, that
whenever I told you something before, you always got all stubborn
on me - you are the most stubborn person sometimes... It
sounded like he was shaking his head at her over the phone.
And I was pretty sure that if I said something before now, you
wouldn't listen to me, even if you really agreed with me,
Sam gave a grimace.
You're right, she at last
I would have done that, and probably told
you not to interfere...
I'm not interfering, Mark assured.
I just want to
tell you what Pete's been like... as a kind of warning... But
you already broke off your engagement... another
Mark, what do you know? Sam asked. She really didn't
want to talk to him about another of her failed engagements, so
she distracted him with a question.
Successfully distracted, Mark replied,
I only know Pete's
side of the story... since you never talk to me... do you talk to
anybody? Mark wanted to know.
I sure hope so,
since... Then he sounded uncomfortable.
friend of yours... died.
His voice sounded so final, yet hopeful at the same time,
that Sam found herself divulging,
I guess that I've talked to
Daniel a time or two... thousand... over the years. Her
breath wavered a bit.
But I admit that... I really
miss... She couldn't go on. First Janet, then her
A minute passed, then she gathered her shaky emotions
together. Finally she was able to go on,
Janet would have
stopped me before any of this Pete deal got started - before I
did something so stupid... She rested her head on her hand
again, a wave of regret for her past actions engulfing her.
Sam, Mark's voice gently asked,
what do you think
you did that was so stupid?
God! Did she have to spell it out even for him?
Oh, she said, irritated with herself, with him, with Pete,
with the situation, with the whole damned world... Finally she
couldn't stay silent anymore, and simply blurted,
I was never
in love with...
I know, Mark softly interjected.
I wondered what
you were doing when you said 'yes' to Pete's proposal in the
first place, but I thought you might... not... talk to me if I
asked what you were doing... so...
Damn! Mark was right! But he could have stopped so many
people from feeling so much pain if only she wasn't so dumb and
would have listened to him for a minute! The way the past could
have worked out, but didn't, was galling in the extreme! At last
she was calm enough to say,
I wish I could say that I would
have listened to you, Mark, but you and I both know how I would
Don't be too hard on yourself, sis, Mark advised.
You can only be how you've always been...
Just tell me what you know, Sam remarked.
Okay. You know that Pete has an ex-wife, right?
Do you know why she became his ex-wife?
Well... no. She knew why Jack... General O'Neill... had
gotten a divorce, but she had no idea about why Pete felt that he
needed to get a divorce. That fact alone should have enlightened
her to the truth of the situation. But she was as good at not
listening to herself as she was at not listening to others.
What happened? she asked on a sigh.
Mark sighed as well. Then he rallied enough to explain,
Pete had suspected that something was wrong for years, but
when his wife asked him for a divorce three years ago, he said
no, that they could work it out, that they didn't need to get
divorced. That was when they went to counseling, I think... No,
that was when her mom died... then they went to counseling... I
don't know if her mom had always suggested that she stay married,
or what. Anyway, they went to counseling, but it didn't seem to
change anything. She asked for a divorce again, he said no
He is a sort of 'needs to be in a relationship' person,
isn't he? Sam asked, confiding something she had always
suspected, but never voiced.
Yeah, he is like that, Mark agreed.
the second time it was like Jenny just gave up...
Her name was 'Jenny?' Pete never told me what her
was, Sam said.
Um... yeah... Jenny. Anyway, she sort of threw in the
towel after that, and started acting like she was a swinging
single again, even though they were still married. You know, she
was going out all the time alone... sometimes hanging out with
friends... coming home at all hours... not doing things with
Pete... It was almost as if she thought that if he wouldn't give
her a divorce like she asked, then she was not gonna let that
Well, she did ask, Sam pointed out, feeling as
if she had to be fair.
She did, Mark agreed.
Several times. I even
heard her do it once... It just about embarrassed Pete to death,
but she said that he wouldn't talk about it when they were alone,
so she figured that she might as well ask when they weren't
alone... Anyway, he finally caught her cheating on him. He had
her followed - hired a detective... not himself... had the
detective take pictures, keep a record of her activities... that
sort of thing. Still, even though he should really have seen it
coming, the divorce devastated him. He said more than once that
he would never be able to trust another woman in a relationship
again. He paused tellingly.
Until you came along, that
is... less than a year later.
Sam immediately protested.
But you set up my meeting
with Pete! She gave a start.
That was why he even sought
me out - because I'm your little sister!
Mark gave another regretful sigh.
That's what I
thought, he divulged.
What's that supposed to mean? Sam wanted to know.
He... he was so depressed, Mark told her.
moved from California to Colorado after the divorce...
He told me that his wife had thrown all his
stuff out on the lawn.
Weeeell... Maybe that's true, maybe it isn't. I don't
know any of the details, Mark divulged.
I only know that
I told Pete about you working in Colorado Springs years ago, not
long after you moved there. I told him about you way back when
he was still married. Mark shrugged again according to the
sound of his voice.
After he moved there, he must have gone
through all the people he'd ever heard of who lived in Colorado,
and found your name...
Sam balked again.
You mean that you didn't set us
Did he say my name? Mark inquired.
He did, and he said that you'd told him to
look me up...
I told him that years ago, Mark assured.
known what all would have happened, I'd have warned you about him
being so depressed and all...
He sure never acted depressed! Sam argued.
Pete's kind of like that, Mark told her.
be down in the dumps, but if you don't know him really well, you
would never guess, ya know?
Trouble was, Sam did know. She had faked smiles, faked good
moods, faked lightness so many times over the years to cover up
any connection between her and the Colonel... General O'Neill...
that she well understand what Mark claimed that Pete had done.
Are you sure about this? is what she finally asked.
Yep, Mark firmly said.
Look, I know Pete Shanahan
- we were roommates in college, even though I was older - we've
been friends for twenty-five years... I know him probably at
least as well as his ex-wife knows him...
Sam considered how one might also be fooled by Jack and his
projected good moods if one didn't know him so well, as she did.
Yeah, I get it, she said at last on a sigh.
I wanted to tell you about all this months ago, Sam,
honest, Mark entreated.
But you wouldn't have believed
I know that you're right.
I was actually very worried about you until Dr.
Jackson... Daniel... Until he told me that he thought you
weren't really all that happy. That was the first time I'd had
reason to hope that you might end things with Pete without me
having to interfere. He paused, then added,
Not that I
wanted something bad to happen to either of you... It's just
that I don't think getting married is the answer that Pete needs
right now, and I didn't want you to be saddled with a husband who
seems normal, but underneath has some serious issues.
He's not the only one who was going to have issues,
That's really the reason I broke it off, not
because of him... though I had noticed that he seemed almost...
too excited... about our relationship, she told him.
seemed too eager for it to work... and he proposed so soon... and
it didn't make much sense about him being around just in time to
mess up one of my missions... Boy, she recalled, had the
Colonel ever been mad about that!
What do you mean that he wasn't the only one with
issues? Mark asked, suddenly showing more interest in the
conversation than he previously had.
Is there something that
you want to tell me? he wheedled.
No! Sam forcefully stated.
And don't pretend that
there is, either!
Sam, I know you better even than I know Pete. I only
know my own wife better than you, Mark pointed out.
you might as well tell me...
Mark, Sam stated in a firm tone.
I can't say
anything. You know how the regulations in the military
Fine, Mark interrupted with a huff.
won't stop me from thinking, and from watching, and from...
Besides, I've seen you often enough over the last few years. I
bet I can figure it out on my own.
Mark, don't start playing detective! she warned.
This isn't a case for the Hardy Boys! There's no scoop, no
mystery to solve... This is my life!
Okay, okay, you don't have to get so defensive! Mark
I'm just wondering, that's all.
And that's all you're ever going to do, too! Sam
This is an insecure phone line, and you never
know who's listening in, and...
Are you saying that the military would tap your phone
line? Mark demanded to know.
I'm saying that I do a very dangerous job, and I've made
a lot of enemies over the years who are capable of... She'd
been about to mention the whole Adrian Conrad kidnapping affair,
but stopped herself at the last moment. She couldn't mention the
kidnapping to Mark, as it was classified. She reminded herself
that Mark didn't have clearance. So she said,
I just have
reason to think that my enemies would love it if I babble
something significant in a phone conversation with my brother,
and would use it to get to me later.
Would someone... Are they really all that dangerous?
Mark asked in disbelief.
Sam sighed - how had they got on to this topic? She
What I do is dangerous, as in life or
death stuff, and we've made enemies in really high places, and
nothing would please them more than to use you to get to me, and
have me thrown out of the military as a result so that they can
take over where I left off, only they would do... She didn't
even say what a horrible job Kinsey and gang would do if the SGC
ever came under their jurisdiction.
I can't say it, she
told him at last.
Just know that it can get very bad, so I
can't say anything to anyone over a phone. Or at all, she
If I do, and something bad happens because of
something that I once said, I would never forgive myself.
Do you really think that someone is trying to get you
thrown out of the military? Mark slowly asked.
Sam sighed again, and dispiritedly rubbed at her forehead.
Yeah, she finally admitted.
But it hasn't happened
yet, and if I'm careful, it never will. There's more than just
my life at stake, you know, she excused.
And I swear that
it won't happen because of me and my stupid tongue wagging,
It might be something else... God forbid... but
it won't be because I give away something that's supposed to be a
secret. Sam gusted a breath.
Pete never seemed to
understand that, either. He encouraged me to talk all the time,
and never quite got it that I could then be tried for treason,
even though I told him that all the time.
Mark was swift to agree with her,
It's not surprising
that Pete was that way with you. Mark went on,
secrets. Always has to get to the bottom of everything. He
rumbled a regretful sound.
I guess that's why he became a
Yeah... good profession, Sam sardonically said.
He chose well.
Mark laughed, then cut his own laughter off as sounds of
yelling, then crying, erupted over the line.
Callie's at her Yoga class, and I'm supposed to be in charge of
the kids tonight. Sounds like World War III just broke
Sam smiled, then suggested,
Tell them that Aunt Sam
threatens to conscript them into the Air Force for Basic Training
if they don't settle down.
Mark laughed again.
Maybe we should threaten a week of
grounding before I send them off for Basic Training, he said.
They're a little young for Basic still.
Give it a few years, Sam warned laughingly.
have them yelling, only yelling 'Yes Sir!' and 'No Sir!' all they
Can I quote you on that? Mark brightly asked.
You bet! Sam agreed, then added before she lost the
And thanks... for this.
No problem, Mark replied.
Call anytime, Sam next invited.
You have my cell
number, don't you?
Already got it, Mark said.
And you have
Yours hasn't changed?
Not for years, Mark said.
Look, I should go and
make sure they aren't burning down the house.
You can call me anytime you want, you know. Anytime you
want to talk, he invited as well.
Thanks, Mark, Sam said.
You too, and I mean
that, she added her heartfelt plea.
You got it, he said.
I really gotta go now -
Bye. Sam answered.
* * *
As Mark Carter hung up the phone from his conversation with his sister, he had to admit to himself that he hadn't felt this positive about his relationship with Sam in years. He just hoped that she felt the same way that he did.
Mark rose from his desk chair, then walked through the door, intent on settling whatever dispute his two kids were currently embroiled in.
As he went, Mark thought over all that he and Sam had discussed: Pete's way of hiding things: Sam's way of hiding things; the way that Sam had claimed that she had dangerous enemies who were out to try to catch her in any mistake possible (that part scared him, he admitted), the way that Doctor Jackson had been at his Dad's funeral... But he especially was curious about the way that Sam had so quickly assured that nothing was going on with this General friend of hers... She'd been so emphatic... too emphatic... almost as if there was something to hide...
Mark suddenly thought of something else: Sam might be part of the military, but... Doctor Jackson was a civilian. He could say anything he wanted... And if he was concerned about someone tapping his phone too, since he was part of the team, even though a civilian part...
Mark had had a nice time talking with Doctor Jackson while at Sam's house. They were both involved in the study of linguistic pursuits... albeit Mark himself was following a more academic study than Doctor Jackson was at this time. But, Mark ruminated as he walked, the man was known as 'Doctor' Jackson for a reason... Mark decided that he wouldn't mind continuing the discussion that he and this Daniel had started at his dad's funeral dinner.
Suddenly Mark smiled - he wondered if this Doctor Jackson had the abrupt but burning desire to vacation in sunny California for awhile?
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