Disclaimer: To the tune of 'Clementine'
I don't know them
I don't own them
In fact, they're aaaaaall just characters
That come and go, and
Play tin soldiers, and
leave no cash for me when they go.
Sam glanced again from the screen of her laptop computer up to her lab's ceiling. More accurately, she was studying the fluorescent light bulb directly over her head as it fizzed and sputtered, trying to stay alive and light the underground lab, but she knew it would go completely out if given enough time. She better call in her requisition order right now to have it replaced, before the light bulb's untimely death plunged her lab into shadows, making it too hard to work in the room any longer.
She picked up the receiver of her internal SGC phone, then
made her request to the officer who answered her call to the Tech
Yeah, that's right, a
fluorescent light, right above my computer. It's going out even
as I speak. I don't want to be standing right under it if it
decides to blow up in my face... You know how touchy those
fluorescent lights can become when they die. I would really
appreciate it if you can have it changed today. Its flickering
on and off all the time is making me sick. She listened for
a second, then replied,
Thanks, I'll look for Sergeant Siler
to stop by my lab sometime this afternoon. And thanks for
bumping this to the top of your priority list. Or, at least,
The Daedelus will thank you... That's what I'm working on
right now. It's awfully hard to design a ship when the
schematics on the screen keep winking at me. Thanks, she
I appreciate it.
She hung up the phone, then glanced again at the offending light. That bulb was blinking on and off with such franticness that it should...
... POP, FIZZ, SPUTTER, WILT, SPUTTER AGAIN, THEN DIE IN ONE BIG BURST OF LIGHT.
Well... Sam regarded the light fixture and its now dead bulb with alacrity. The message it was giving her was as obvious as it was unavoidable... leave now. She sighed, then logged off on her computer, then closed her laptop.
'Time for lunch,' the lights seemed to be saying.
* * *
An hour later, Sam returned to her lab, only to find that Sergeant Siler was already trying to find a level spot on the floor so that he could climb the ladder he had brought with him so that he could replace the defunct bulb directly above her worktable.
Sergeant! Sam blurted, surprised to see him, though
she herself had requested that he visit the room assigned as her
I hadn't expected to see you so soon! she
Siler glanced at her and grinned.
You wouldn't have,
Colonel, except that I'd already gotten this light for the
General's office, so I had it with me when I just happened to
mention that your lab was the next stop on my 'light list.' He
insisted that I change your light first, even though his
requisition form was dated two weeks ago.
Two weeks! Sam exclaimed, repeating him.
never have gotten anything done in here if it took two weeks to
change that light.
Siler shrugged at her.
Well, the 'Gates finally working
again, nothing else needs immediate repair, and Maintenance
needed a helping hand, so here I am. Besides, the General was
thinking that your work on that new ship that they're gonna build
is too important to be held off by something as silly as needing
a new fluorescent bulb. Siler shrugged his shoulders a
It does seem a bit ridiculous about the whole
two week thing, if you ask me, he casually remarked.
don't know why it took so long for someone to notice that the
General's light was getting dim... Then he peered more
shrewdly at the Colonel.
But he must like you quite a bit to
give up his spot in the whole 'Light Brigade.'
Sam did here best not to blush at the hint that General
O'Neill gave more regard to her than he might have given to the
others under his command, or that he 'liked her' more than was
'Light Brigade?' she mockingly asked as a way
to distract him from the subject of the General, which was a
topic too volatile to discuss with anyone. Period.
Sergeant Siler wasn't unaware of what she was doing, but he allowed her to veer their conversation in whatever direction she wanted to take it in. Over the years, he'd noticed that Sam Carter, no matter what rank she was at the time, always changed the subject the second that anyone mentioned Jack O'Neill to her. In fact, he had brought the topic up merely to see what she would do with it. The fact that she had immediately changed the subject of their conversation from centering on O'Neill to centering on lights in general didn't surprise him in the least.
Yeah, he answered her now.
That's what the guys
in Maintenance always call it, he explained to her.
all systematically go through the assigned rooms in the SGC when
we have time, and change all the lights that are out. The fact
that yours and the General's seem to be playing hooky at the same
time is interesting... I wonder if there's something wrong with
the electrical connection in the Wire Room that leads to the fuse
that controls the lights to both rooms... Hmmm...
Sergeant, Sam said in order to return his wandering
attention to the matter at hand.
If you need some help
changing my light fixture, I'll hold the ladder steady while you
climb up to see what's wrong with it, she offered.
Siler grinned at her as he shoved his glasses up his nose.
Oh, hey, that would be a big help, actually. It's pretty rare
that we need two people to change a simple light bulb, but it's
awfully risky to be climbing all the way to the ceiling when
nobody's holding the ladder steady. Three people have already
broken their arms from falling off ladders just this
Really? Sam asked as she grabbed hold of the legs of
the ladder and held the wooden contraption steady.
Siler started to carefully climb the rungs of the ladder as
No, only a few people even notice the worders from
Maintenance and Tech support. Not that I'm complaining or
Well, you all have my interest now, Sam said.
I'll never take your light changing abilities for granted
Siler smiled down at her as he began unscrewing the
contraption that held the old light bulb in place.
like General O'Neill's been talking to you, then.
Sam's brow wrinkled.
Yeah, Siler responded with a grunt. He carefully
reached into his tool pouch strapped around his waist, and chose
The General is always saying this and that
about you and your wonder fixes for everything. You know, all
that saving-the-world stuff that you do all the time. Again
came Siler's smile as he grinned down at her from his exalted
position near her lab's ceiling tiles.
But he still notices
it when the lights come on.
That is pretty impressive, Sam remarked.
Wonder if General Hammond pointed that out to him at one time
General Hammond was always too busy explaining SG-1's
antics to the President to notice something so mundane, he
informed her. Then he must have realized how what he had said
would have sounded to her, for he went on.
intended by that comment, he added.
It's just that you
four got into, or caused, a lot of hot water over the years.
Hammond was always trying to smooth things over for your
Sam balked, and only remembered to hold onto the ladder at
the last moment.
I didn't know that! she exclaimed into
the quiet of the lab.
Does General O'Neill have to do the
same thing? she inquired.
Not since you took over, Siler gently informed her.
SG-1 seems to have calmed down now that you're in
Sam's brow wrinkled again.
Does that have anything to do
with the General, I wonder? she asked.
Once again, Siler shrugged.
Don't know. But I kinda
guess that he's somehow involved...
Sam laughed then, but her snort held as much affection as
I wouldn't doubt that it does, she said, still
But O'Neill never said anything about anything then,
Just like he doesn't say anything now, Siler
muttered as he kept trying to 'encourage' the new bulb to slide
into the slot the old bulb left vacant.
What do you mean by that? Sam asked.
Siler's face colored red then.
Well, he hemmed.
Then he glanced down again at the Colonel beneath him.
Um.., he hedged.
Sergeant? Sam inquired again.
What did you mean
by what you just said?
Siler had a guilty expression on his face.
I wasn't supposed to say anything to you, but I
always figure that it's such old news by now that...
Sam huffed a breath to interrupt him. Her brows rose in obvious interrogation.
Siler took one look at her raised brows and knew by the expression of irritated curiosity on her face that she meant business. She wouldn't be satisfied with anything less than a complete answer to her question.
So Siler decided that he would do his best in giving that
Well, he began.
You know that guy you're
engaged to right now?
Pete? Her brow furrowed even more.
Yeah, him, Siler asserted. He continued to glance
down at the Colonel, trying to decide how he could best say what
he had next to say.
Well... Um... He cleared his throat.
Sam huffed again. She was beginning to get even more irritated,
Siler could tell. So he quickly went on,
You know how he
showed up at the same place you guys on SG-1 were at, Dr.
Sam's cheeks now joined her brow in wrinkled anatomy.
Well, Siler went on. Then he paused and looked down
at her in puzzlement.
All us guys in the Tech/Maintenance
Department have always wondered about that, he divulged.
I mean, we know that you know that he followed you to
that stakeout of SG-1's... You've admitted to that. She
nodded again, encouraging him to go on. So he did.
don't get is... Siler peered down at her again.
get why you think that was okay for him to do that.
Meaning? Sam asked, her voice now a bit less certain
sounding than it had been before.
Siler went on,
Meaning that... You're such a kick-butt
Colonel, ma'am, he tried to excuse.
Thank you, Siler, Sam eventually responded to his
compliment. It was the only way that she could think of to
And back during that Osiris thing, you were a kick-butt
Major, Siler said. Then his eyes narrowed.
we can't figure out just why you think that him showing up there
was okay... Uh, ma'am, he quickly added, then shrugged.
I mean... That is... Uh, you certainly don't have to explain
any of your actions or decisions to me... I'm just curious,
he said with a laugh and pointed at his own chest.
you don't owe me anything.
Sam considered that she probably owed Siler more than either he or she suspected, but she remained silent as he continued to stutter on.
You're such a gung ho, shoot-till-you-drop,
don't-put-up-with-no-crap kinda person with a P-90... We were
all just wondering why you've decided to accept this kind of...
uh... stuff... That's all, Siler finished in a mild tone.
His voice belied the importance of his words.
Why now, and
why this particular guy? he asked.
Did he make a habit of
following you, for example? I mean, this bit about following
you, putting your own team in danger, really, that's not quite
like you to just accept such a thing and move on... Is
Sam scratched her chin for a thoughtful moment.
know. What do you think?
But Siler was shaking his head.
That's what I told the
guys at the time, he enthusiastically said.
matter I think. Only what you think. He
looked quizzically down at her.
What do you think?
he gently asked.
Sam considered his curious question. She was a bit
surprised that she didn't know what she thought about the
I don't know, Sergeant, she at last told him.
I guess I think... that I haven't thought much about it till
now, she finally admitted in a pensive tone.
Siler regarded her.
Well, don't you think that you
should? he asked. Then he started to retreat down the ladder
as if he hadn't just posed the question of the century to
As soon as he reached the semi level floor, he went on,
You can let go of the ladder now, and thanks, Colonel.
That really helped a lot. Siler grinned, shoved once more at
his glasses, then collected all the tools that he had arranged on
her workbench that he hadn't had to use, and replaced them in his
Well, guess I'll be seein' ya around, Colonel
Carter. He started for the door, but turned as he reached
Oh, and if you ever figure out that bit about...
you know.., I know a bunch of guys on Level 17, in the
Tech/Maintenance Department, who would love to listen to
what you have to say about... you know. Well, bye! With
that, he swung his ladder over his shoulder, and headed out the
I'm off to see the Wizard... Uh, I mean, the General
now. How he's worked for two weeks in a dark office is beyond
me... Hey, maybe that's how he's explaining not getting any
* * *
Siler stepped into General O'Neill's office, sans ladder.
O'Neill glanced up at the man as he entered.
he asked, as if he wanted very much to ask how something had
gone, but didn't want to appear too eager to the Sergeant.
Mission accomplished, Sir, he
O'Neill broke into a grin.
And you just planted the
right question in her mind? he ascertained.
Mentioned it, that's all, I swear.
The General smiled again.
Excellent. And he pulled
a gift card out of the top drawer of his desk and handed it to
As long as she suspects nothing... There isn't
anything more that we can do.
I can just happen to be glancing through the governmental
database the next time she comes though the Control Room if you
like, Siler brightly suggested.
She might catch a glimpse
of that background check that slime did on her.
General O'Neill considered the idea.
We'll leave that as
a possibility to use later, he decided.
I don't want to
tip our hand... s... our hands.., he repeated, then went on,
Not if we don't have to.
Siler grinned again.
Well, if you need any of us to do
anything more, we're just a holler away. I know some guys who
would roll over and play dead for her, if you know what I mean,
O'Neill sighed at that statement.
Her fan club, he
said, as if he had personal experience with just what Siler was
Siler put a hand on his chest.
You didn't hear it from
me, Sir, he said.
Then General O'Neill handed the gift card out to Siler, who
took it from him. O'Neill still couldn't quite believe how
smoothly, nor how quickly, Siler had wheedled it out of him,
$50.00 to O'Malley's, just as we agreed, the
Good thing I can always count on you
when Colonel Carter has lost her mind, Siler. His voice was
only slightly sarcastic now.
Siler smiled again.
Well, not everyone notices the
people who change the lights, he said.
This really wasn't
necessary, he added, indicating the card.
O'Neill scowled, wondering who was shanghaiing who here.
But thanks, Siler went on.
Any time, O'Neill dryly responded.
Now get out of
The phone rang, and the General sighed before answering it.
O'Neill, he said in his monotone, phone answering voice.
He listened for a moment, then said,
Okay, and hung up.
Then he turned to Siler.
The 'Gate's acting up
Siler instantly turned.
I'm on it, Sir.
What would we do without you, Siler? Besides be $50.00
You probably would have washed away in a flood let in by
SG-1 seven years ago, Sir, Siler joked.
Well, at least we didn't do that, O'Neill said,
agreeing with him.
Gotta see to the 'Gate... See you later, General,
Siler said, and turned to more fully leave the office.
Before he could go, O'Neill called after him,
around the walls, Siler!
See you in the Infirmary, Sir! Siler called back in a
equally as teasing tone.
General O'Neill had to quietly concede,
I bet you will at
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