TITLE: Rhyme or Reason
CATEGORY: Drama, maybe a little humor
SPOILERS: Early season 9?
CONTENT WARNINGS: None
SUMMARY: Landry reflects on some of the surprises of taking command of the SGC
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Stargate SG-1. Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only. No money has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. This story may not be posted elsewhere without the consent of the author.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Originally in the Ancient's Gate zine, Shadows
Rhyme or Reason
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
George Bernard Shaw
I’m a reasonable man. I’ll admit that right off the bat, but when Jack O’Neill came to me and told me about something called a stargate in a base under NORAD, I thought he had been drinking. Then when he told me he’d been transferred to Washington and he’d recommended me for command, I thought he was drunk. Then he showed me the stargate – I needed a drink.
A reasonable person might ask why he chose me when there were other generals involved in the Stargate Program who would jump at the chance to command. I know. I asked.
I couldn’t believe what Jack said.
“SG-1 is disbanded. We beat the Goa’uld and kicked some ass, and now it’s someone else’s turn. A lot of generals up for the job are either by-the-book pencil-pushers or professional desk jockeys who haven’t seen the bad end of a gun outside of a Clint Eastwood movie in years. The SGC needs a general in charge who knows how to get his hands dirty and knows how to be a smart ass.”
Those were the qualifications he was looking for?
“And?” I asked him. A reasonable man would guess that there was more to this story.
“And… maybe you can talk Daniel out of going to Atlantis.”
At this point, the idea of being reasonable flew out the window. I’d met Daniel a few years earlier at some political function in Washington. Jack had introduced us – and let me just say that Jack being friends with a scientist is something I never expected. The guy really doesn’t like the academic crowd, but there he was, introducing Daniel to some of the top brass and suits in Washington. I found out pretty soon that this Doctor Jackson was very important to certain parties like senators and congressional subcommittees. I couldn’t figure out why an archaeologist/linguist would rate a hello from some of the president’s cabinet, let alone merit a dinner invitation at a state dinner, but it all added up to the fact that he was involved in something big. The other times we were in the same place at the same time, I got to know him a bit better. He wasn’t your typical scientific type. He didn’t babble on about things no one could understand or bore people with long lectures. He didn’t talk down to people, he talked with the people around him. He also had a great sense of tact that I saw in action when it was needed, like the time I saw him tell off Senator Kinsey without raising his voice or a ruckus or anyone’s attention. Jack told me then that Kinsey should have known better than to get Daniel in a battle of wits since Kinsey was going in unarmed, and no, he wouldn’t stop Daniel from having a go at Kinsey. When Daniel got that focused, it was better to stay out of the “verbal line of fire.”
If there’s one thing in this world that I know is a certainty other than death and taxes is the fact that nobody can talk Daniel Jackson out of anything once he’s made up his mind. Sure, he’s probably one of the smartest people I have ever met, but he’s stubborn as hell and is the only person known to have shouted – SHOUTED, mind you -- at George Hammond and got away with it.
“Jack, it’s Atlantis. It’s an archaeologist’s dream. He’s the one who found it, right? Why isn’t he there now? Why isn’t he leading the expedition?”
“Look, Hank, you’re gonna need Daniel. Hammond and I found that out when we ran the place. Teal’c’s on Dakara and that’s a few seconds away by gate. I’m in Washington which is a few hours by plane. Carter’s at Area 51. Same story for her. But Daniel, if you need him and he’s at Atlantis, it’d take three weeks minimum to get him back here, and it’s a six-week round trip ticket. That’s too many weeks too long. Besides, he knows everybody at the base, everybody knows him, he’s part of the chain of command and can get things done.”
Now anyone else might believe that, but I know Jack’ O’Neill.
“You don’t want him to go, do you?”
“No. He was up for command of the SGC when the president wanted a civilian to run it since he had the most experience and the best qualifications, but he got wind of Kinsey’s dealings and decided not to put Daniel in Kinsey’s sights. He might have been assassinated. When Daniel discovered Atlantis, he was a shoe-in for command there, but we thought it was a one-way trip then. There’d be no coming back, and I needed him at the base. He was my second-in-command. Unofficially. And I know Atlantis is going to look great on his resume and he wants to see it with his own eyes, but…”
“We need him here?” I ask.
In the years I’ve known Jack, I’ve never known him to be too unreasonable or to beg. Yeah, I know where he’s coming from. Commanding a team as a colonel is a far cry from commanding a base as a general. You have to look at the bigger picture, not just the small details. You need different information from people, a different way of looking at things, a different set of advisors to keep you focused on the grand scale. That’s not always easy when you’re used to focusing on the small details like your team, getting that small group back to base alive, stopping the bad guy. It takes a little time to re-learn how to re-think a situation, and a commanding officer needs people around who will toss all points of view in for consideration. Take Daniel for instance. He’s one person who will argue with Jack, yell at him, question his judgment and, if rumors are to be believed, call him an ass while no one else can. Jack could trust him to be honest which meant he could trust him – which he already did. That is a very important thing to have when commanding hundreds of people. Atlantis was Jackson’s discovery. Jack knew that. He’d have given a year’s pay just so Daniel could see it first-hand, but Jack had needed Daniel helping him more. He wouldn’t beg. He didn’t beg. He told everyone including Hammond “I need Daniel here.”
My first day at the SGC, Daniel gave me the grand tour and made the formal introductions. It was then I understood why Jack said some of the things he did about Daniel. He really did know “everybody,” and he was on a first name basis with almost everyone. He introduced me to Jaffa, Tok’ra and Asgard as well. Just like the time I first met him at that political function, I saw he was regarded as an important person by our off-world allies and on-base personnel. I’ve worked with civilians before, but I don’t remember any of them regarded by the military personnel as Daniel was. The only way I could describe it was to say the only thing keeping Daniel from being military was the enlistment papers. He held the respect and regard of a high-ranking officer who’d been on the front lines with the troops time and again.
If I had known that from the time I first met him, I don’t think I’d have wondered about Jack’s not letting him go to Atlantis.
So here I sit in my office. I’ve been in command for over a year now, and I understand better why Jack did what he did. He wasn’t being unreasonable. He found out in double-quick time that this place wasn’t ready to operate without certain peoples’ unique abilities; Daniel’s talents definitely being at the top of the list.
Translator/negotiator/peacemaker -- it was a tough group of jobs he did, he did them well and Jack depended on him. That was why he “needed Daniel here.” Maybe it was that year that Daniel was gone that made Jack really understand what he brought to the team and the base? I don’t know, but I think it was when Jack was in command here that drove the point home. It’s always better to have an honest friend who’ll call you an ass than to have a “yes man” on the payroll.
As for me, I didn’t keep him from going to Atlantis originally. A good run of bad luck did that, but maybe that was a good thing. I’ve found out that he’s a definite asset to this base, but more than that, SG-1 needs him. Daniel’s still at the top of the list to command Atlantis or be the civilian leader of the SGC. He doesn’t know it yet, that’s all.
Now like I said before, I’m a reasonable man. I know there’ll come a time when the SGC can function without certain people’s unique abilities; Daniel’s being among the top of the list, but I don’t think it’ll be during my tenure as commander here. I think that’s a reasonable thing to say.
The "reasonable person"is a hypothetical, rational, reasonably intelligent individual who is intended to represent a sort of "average"citizen. The ability of this hypothetical individual to understand matters is consulted in the process of making decisions of law. The question, "How would a reasonable person act under the circumstances" performs a critical role in legal reasoning.
Thanks to Whisper for betaing this story
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