Disclaimer: Don't own them, made no money, so suing will get you nowhere.
A/N: Sequel to ''Threads' Continued - Carter Style'
General O'Neill's office, may I help you? came the
banal voice of the secretary as he answered Mark Carter's phone
call in the General's Pentagon office in Washington DC.
Is the General available? Mark asked, his voice
slightly tinny over long-distance.
No, I'm sorry, but the General's in an important meeting
right now, responded the secretary.
Can I forward your
call to someone who is free?
No, I just need to speak to General O'Neill - I'll call
back at a more opportune time. Goodbye, and thank you.
My pleasure - goodbye.
* * *
General O'Neill's office - how may I assist you? came
the banal voice of yet another secretary, a female this time.
Is General O'Neill available? Mark asked, sounding
like he feared the answer she was going to give him.
Mark was right to fear her response, as it turned out.
No I'm sorry, the girl informatively said.
currently meeting with the President and the Joint Chiefs. Is
there something that I can help you with?
The... Is that... Mark choked.
Do you mean...
the President? As in, the President? Who was
this guy that his sister had connected with in such a seemingly
Yes, the female voice answered in a deadpan way, as
if it was common for General O'Neill to meet with the President
every other day of his life.
Which was silly. No one just 'met' with THE PRESIDENT! Did
As in, the real President?
A brief laugh erupted over the line.
As opposed to a
fake one? she asked.
She was joshing with him, Mark figured... right?
take that to mean a 'yes.'
Um.... Mark choked a cough for a second time. How
did one ask about someone who was important enough to meet with
Do you know when General O'Neill will
The response was swift, at least.
I'm sorry, but I don't
know the answer to that question.
She couldn't answer that question? What was that
supposed to mean? It wasn't like a meeting time with the
President was classified... right? She should know what time
such a meeting was scheduled to end... right? Mark sighed. This
mein of secrecy was the very reason he disliked the military.
But he ignored his feelings for now to say,
Well, I hope he
pays you really well to say such a silly line.
Actually, I could do with a raise, she announced with
a lilt of amusement in her voice.
Well, Mark could at least put in a word of encouragement for
that... if he ever spoke directly to this General, that is.
Tell me your name, and I'll let him know, or my sister,
Colonel Carter will fill him in.
Again came the banal laugh, as if she didn't believe him.
I insist. The least he could do was mention it -
Well... Okay, she said at last, giggling the entire
time, as if she was thinking, 'what the heck - I'll do it!'
Are you really Colonel Carter's brother?
Yep, my name's Mark, what's yours?
Her answer had been too quick, too decisive. It sounded
like a cover to his seasoned ears.
Now your real name? he
asked on a sigh.
But she was insistent.
That is my real name.
Mark heaved another sigh, this one long suffering.
Sorry, but I'm an Air Force brat, and know when I'm getting
the bull line...
Caty, she said,
With a 'C.'
Her hesitation let him know that she was not telling him the
As in Catherine? he guessed.
Catrina... yes... Mark, isn't it?
That's who I am... at least, that's who I was the last
time I looked in the mirror...
Another giggle sounded over the line.
Okay, Mark, I'll
tell him that you called.
And... trust me. You'll want to see that he actually
gets my message this time that he needs to call me back - he
already has my number. I think. I told Sam to give it to him
Yes, here it is, right here in my Rolodex.
Good, then I guess I'll let you go. Hey, is there any
time that O'Neill isn't in a meeting?
A hiss of doubt came over the line.
He has an opening on
Thursday at 0800...
Dang. That's too early for me to call - I live in San
Yes, I know, that's what my card in my Rolodex
Well. This conversation was going about as smoothly as Mark
had expected it to go. If he didn't know better, he'd say that
this General friend of Sam's and Daniel's was avoiding him. But
how could he be avoided if the General didn't even yet know him?
It wasn't like he had ever spoken to the guy before!
my address, my number, and my name. He's got everything,
Mark said just for the sake of saying it.
Well, Mark Carter of San Diego, I'll forward your
message, the secretary - Caty - cheekily promised.
That's all I can ask... thanks.
No problem. Bye.
* * *
Yet a third of the many... manymanymany... secretaries
answered his next call to the Pentagon office. Mark was
beginning to think that the secretaries were the only people who
really did any work in the governmental office, and that this
General O'Neill fella that his sister kept telling him about was
in truth just a monicker on a nameplate affixed to the office's
General O'Neill's office, how may I...
Mark didn't waste a second in responding this time.
is his brother-in-law, can you..?
The secretary - a smooth, calm, collected one - and one who
knew her boss fairly well, it turned out... answered Mark without
letting him finish his comment.
The General has no
brother-in-law that I know of. Perhaps you can call him again
during off hours?
No, please, don't hang up!
* * *
A male voice again answered the ringing phone.
O'Neill's office, how..?
This is Mark Carter calling for the General, and if he
ever wants to have sex with my sister again, you'll put me
through to him now!
There was a slight pause, then a suspicious voice came over
Who is this? I'm warning you, bud, I don't take
too kindly to...
Mark recalled what his sister had said about the General
liking the TV show, The Simpsons a little more than was
normal, but he figured that he would have nothing to lose now by
making a reference to it.
Homer should be a named a National
Hero, he decisively stated for no other apparent reason than
to gain the trust of the minions this General fella employed.
The telling pause sounded again before the voice came over
the line once more, though this time it was a bit more hesitant.
What do you know about Homer?
He's a Simpson - what more is there to say?
The pause came again.
For cryin' out loud, who is
this? the voice next demanded to know.
This is Lieutenant Colonel Carter's brother, and I think
that you secretaries have quite a racket going on here
The tentative voice coming over the line now attempted to
The secretary of the day is out to lunch right now
with all the other staff - I'm doing my paperwork till they all
come back. There was a thoughtful pause, then the
Is this really Carter's brother? Mark,
Yeah, how did you know? Am I beginning to get the
reputation of the world's most annoying caller, someone you can
discuss around the watercooler or..?
I'm too busy to hang around the watercooler, but there's
quite a betting pool going on right now among the staff as to who
will answer your next outrageous phone call. And I hear that
Caty wants a raise?
That's what she told me, Mark replied, remembering
his earlier conversation with the mythical Caty.
I told her
that I'd say that she really deserves that raise, too, if her
phone-answering skills are any indication.
I'll keep that in mind, the voice replied.
that all I can do is give a recommendation for her file, since
it's the Air Force that pays her salary, not... He cut
himself off, and then there was another pause, a remembering
pause. The voice next said in a far more cynical response,
Wait a minute, bud, if I was having sex with your sister, I
think that I would know about it - wild horses couldn't make me
forget something like that!
The pause sucked up the silence again, until a moment later,
a much more subdued Mark Carter hesitantly accused/asked,
is General O'Neill, isn't it?
The one and only, Jack replied.
Just don't tell
anyone that I sit in my office during lunch to play solitaire and
watch the phones - I mean, to do paperwork. I figure I have
about another month of hiding away for an hour a day until the
rest of the big wigs figure out what I'm doing... or not doing...
and crash my office. What the world doesn't know won't hurt
The pause deepened, then Mark slowly promised,
secret is safe with me. What Mark was really doing was
secretly comparing this enigma that was General O'Neill to the
more known commodity that was his Dad. Somehow, even given
similar ranks and military careers, the two images in his mind
The sound of a more amused voice cut off Mark's thoughts,
though, and next instructed,
You can tell Carter about this,
but no one else.
'Carter?' Not 'Sam?' Interesting.
Not even Homer could
wring it out of me, I swear.
The sound of a smile came through in the voice as the
General next inquired,
So, Mark, what can I do for you -
unless you're calling to tell me some bad news? Then he
But if something bad happened to Carter, I would
Jack's voice trailed off as Mark blurted,
You and the
Sampster... always ready to think that I'm the bearer of bad
new... you guys have got to be the biggest 'worst case scenario
couple' I've ever met! It sounded like he was shaking his
head wherever he was calling from.
Jack choked on the sandwich he was eating as he played
solitaire on his computer.
The 'Sampster?' he
Mark suddenly smiled, and his humor transferred over the
line straight to DC.
Yeah, Sam's told me about a million
times that she hates that name, but if an older brother can't
tease his kid sister with a name, then who can?
Indeed, Jack replied, aping the phrase Teal'c always
utilized. But he let his 'Teal'c persona' drop as he reiterated,
Again, I have to ask, why are you calling me if there's no
Mark's reply was casual,
Oh, just wanted to get to know
my future brother-in-law a bit better, that's all.
Future..! Jack began to cough and splutter into the
phone, his computer game summarily forgotten.
Now wait a
minute! There's... I haven't... You've... Finally Jack
paused to catch his breath and reorganize his scattered thoughts.
The first idea to come out of that scattered pile was:
been talking to our friend, Daniel, haven't you? he
The pause was more telling this time.
What makes you
think that? Mark evasively inquired.
Jack groaned in irritation.
Let's just say that a
certain irritating archaeologist of our acquaintance is going to
find his ass nailed to the wall one morning! Then he
Of all the...
Or at least Mark thought that the General mumbled something
along those lines. It was difficult to hear over all that
Daniel said that you might not be too conducive to
the idea of him hanging out with me.
'Conducive?' Jack mockingly echoed.
I'll be happy
to give him 'conducive...' Suddenly Jack took on a much more
Why? What did Daniel say?
Oh. Mark seemed to think for a moment.
this theory that the fricatives of old English are...
Daniel has a lot of theories, Jack stated.
I remember right, us even knowing each other started when Daniel
had 'one of his theories!' Jack grumbled some more.
put you up to this, didn't he? Without waiting for Mark to
The next time I see him, I'll do more than
nail his ass to a wall, I'll..!
Mark heaved a patient sigh.
Actually, Daniel didn't 'put
me up' to anything. He advised me not to call you, actually.
Calling you was my idea.
That statement undid Jack for a moment. In fact, Jack was
so quiet that Mark was about to ask him if he was alright when
the General finally responded,
If Daniel didn't put you up to
this.... Then why are you calling?
Like I said, Mark repeated.
'To get to know your future brother-in-law - I know,
Jack said before Mark could say it.
What makes you think I
even want to fill any in-law shoes?
Mark's snort was loud over the line.
Come on! I saw you
and Sam at that funeral after party thing - even I can see the
connection between you two!
Were they that obvious? Jack wondered. If so...
Time to do some damage control, at any rate - it wouldn't hurt.
Really, I didn't mean to mislead you into thinking
Now, don't get nervous, Mark advised the nervous
The only reason that I even noticed it in the first
place is because I know the Sampster so well that I...
There it was again... 'The Sampster.'
If I call her that
someday, do you think that she'll..?
Rip your lungs out - yeah.
Jack leaned back in his leather office chair, trying to
force himself to relax after what Mark had promised.
don't recommend it, he guessed, finally thinking that Mark
might be a treasure trove of 'Sam' information if he would only
I wouldn't call her that if you want to live, Mark
But she can't kill me - I'm her brother, after
all. I'm supposed to call her stupid little pet names,
and be really annoying, and...
Jacob had you pegged wrong, Jack bluntly told him
He said that you weren't brave enough to join the
Mark snorted again, this time in faint disbelief that Jack
would admit that his father had even spoken about hum.
just bet Dad was at his best when he...
Jack cut him off once more.
Jacob was wrong, he
You're plenty brave for the
Damn, Mark appreciatively swore.
I don't think
that I've ever heard anyone say that before.
Huh, Jack grunted, but didn't explain.
ask what's the reason that you're calling?
Oh, uh... Besides the obvious? And besides that Dr.
Jackson really did put me up to this...
I knew it! Jack crowed.
Mark went on as if Jack hadn't spoken.
wantedtotalktoyouaboutDad, he finished all in a rush.
Dad? Jack echoed in uncertainty. Then he hastily
Uh... I mean, Jacob? He fidgeted in
What about Jacob?
Mark's sigh was so loud that it nearly split the phone line
in half. He tentatively began speaking,
Um... How did Dad
always..? He seemed to change his mind as well as the course
of the conversation.
Did Sam ever..? He sounded so
unsure that he changed his mind again.
What I mean
Just spit it out, Mark, Jack advised.
have much longer before the staff all comes back from
So Mark hurried now. What came out was another sentence all
run together in his anxiety.
As used as Jack was to listening to Daniel's
mile-a-minute-drivel, that comment still flummoxed Jack.
Uh... care to repeat that?
Mark sighed a third... forth... fifth... time.
Yeah, I got that part. What about Carter? Jack was
getting worried now, and it sounded in his concerned tone of
She... How to say this?
Did she always seem like
a major rule follower to you over the years?
Jack instantly perked up. How could Mark know about their
need to 'follow the rules, come hell or high water,' especially
after the Za'tarc tests? How could Mark possibly know about the
way that Sam had requested that he and she 'keep it in the room?'
Yeah, Jack hesitantly began.
She sometimes came across
that way, he cautiously added.
Sam always was a big one for the rules, the regs,
Mark admitted then.
I guess it helped to give some sense of
organization to her life, he supposed.
It was easy for
her to say 'I can or can't do this because it it is or is not
against the rules.' That made everything so much simpler for
Mark sounded like he was talking about Sam in general, not
the way she was about certain incidents - Jack had to wonder why
he had jumped to that conclusion about Za'tarcs a minute ago. He
had never told Mark about the tests, and he doubted that Carter
had said anything. So this must be coming from...
from what you thought when you two were young... er?
I didn't notice much when I was in my later years of high
school, Mark confessed.
But I did notice that right after
Mom died, it was like she couldn't keep herself from making all
these rules and things. The shrug sounded loud in his voice
as he said,
I just wondered if you had seen the same thing
Ummmmm... yeah... a time or two, Jack admitted.
But what does this have to do with Jacob? Jack was still
Mark told him,
I think that Dad sometimes played off that
need of hers to always follow the rules, be the 'good little
soldier'... and I wanted to let you know what was going on over
the years in case you were... you know... confused, he lamely
Jack thought over what Mark had just told him, and his eyes
This sounds more and more like a Daniel setup if
you ask me, he said at last.
That's because it is, Mark admitted.
Not that the
bit about Sam and our Dad isn't true, but Daniel did give
me the idea...
It was Jack who heaved a sigh this time, only it was a sigh
You can tell that...
You can tell him yourself, Mark surprisingly
The next thing Jack knew, the familiar voice of Daniel
And you'll listen to him if you ask me,
Jack, Daniel said over the line.l
Yeah, well, I'm not askin,' Jack gruffly said. He
had had enough of the two meddling...
What is this, a
dynamics language twins convention? he caustically intoned.
Look, I don't care what...
Mark again interrupted him.
I hope that you're not mad,
or think that this is none of our business, or...
This isn't your business! Jack barked, then
continued to mumble,
Of all the...
Mark again cut him off.
I just thought that that might
explain some of the things that Sam might have done over the
years, that's all, I swear! In case something never made much
sense, or something!
And Jack was suddenly back to wondering how much Mark knew about Za'tarc tests and things. Daniel was with him, after all. He could have so easily seen what happened in that room... But didn't he understand that neither she nor Jack could ever confess anything substantial? Outside that room, that is? That might lead them both to court-martial!
Of course, when had danger to his best friends ever stopped Daniel from doing anything? And it seemed as if Mark had become a willing accomplis in the archaeologist's endeavors.
Mark, Jack started, sounding reluctant now.
Neither Carter nor I...
Just as suddenly, Mark blurted a question that completely
Do you have a 'thing' for my sister, General
O'Neill? His voice sounded accusing to Jack now.
Jack didn't let him finish, but began in a conciliatory
tone, hoping to head the man off.
Hey, I know that this Pete
was a friend of yours, but that has nothing to do with me. That
was all your sister's decision.
Mark's voice turned nonchalant.
Oh, yeah, I know
that, he told Jack as if the subject that Jack had mentioned
And I told Sam that she'd made the right
decision on that one.
Mark had spoken to Carter? About Pete... her love life?
That was more than Jack was willing to chance! How had the man
survived to call Jack later?
Mark hesitated for a moment again, then admitted,
wanted to tell you that whatever reaction you might have been
used to getting from Dad - romance-wise - you won't get the same
thing from me. Mark added,
I'd like to think that I'm not
as judgmental as he was... and I'm not military.
Yep, the man was definitely uncomfortable. So Jack hedged,
Ummmmm... Do you think that Sam... Carter... and I... could
Yes! Now Mark sounded desperate.
You don't even know what I was going to
I can read your mind, Mark insisted.
Jack couldn't help but laugh again at that assertion.
Carter used to do the same thing when we were in the field
together. Maybe it's a Carter thing? he pondered.
blood? You know, Carters and O'Neills - bonded forever.
Jack had meant 'bonded by blood,' but Mark took it a bit
further than that.
If other bonds ever work out... He
sounded as if he didn't want to encourage any one type of
behavior even as he encouraged it anyway.
And even though the
whole Pete-thing happened... and ended... You won't get any
opposition from my end, he promised.
Well... That was nice... to know... he guessed...
But Jack really didn't know what to think about Mark's last
Um... thanks, he finally said.
appreciate it. Too overt - he tried again,
Or I mean, I
appreciate... knowing... His voice trailed off. He fidgeted
If anything happens, that is, he hedged once
Call her, Mark next encouraged.
What's she gonna
do... say 'there's no way?' He snorted a laugh.
that I saw at Dad's funeral isn't going to say 'no,' he
Jack still didn't know how much that Mark knew or not. He
Um... well, okay... um...
You two can complain about me, Mark next suggested.
Nothing's better than trashing a sibling, you know.
Jack didn't quite know how to take this new overture of
Um... Okay... But I doubt that Carter wants to
trash your name...
Mark snorted for a third time.
Right. Ask her to tell
you about me and Scott and her dolls...
Hmm, Jack hummed.
Mark laughed and goaded,
It's what Dad did to all her
boyfriends, and wouldn't you like to know all about it? But what
would be the fun in that!
Fun... But, yeah, Jack would like to know all about
I'm gonna call her up... Just then the group of
secretaries paraded down the corridor.
Look, Mark, gotta go.
Gotta stop that Solitaire thing... Mark stated.
Don't think this is my last phone call, Mark
threatened in amusement.
I know when you're available
Just don't tell anyone, he
Mark laughed again.
Mum's the word.
That's what Carter always says, too, Jack confided.
It always makes me nervous.
Yeah, well, I gotta go do genrally stuff now...
Yeah... later, Mark said, then hung up.
Bye, Jack hung up as well, then rose to
surreptitiously hear the latest comments as his staff gathered
for one final gossip around the watercooler before the
continuation of the day, thoughts of Mark, Sam, and Daniel
running through his mind.
Jack stopped very suddenly. Wait a minute - her boyfriend!
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