TITLE: Moving On Up
CATEGORY: Little drama, little humor
SPOILERS: New Order
CONTENT WARNINGS: None
SUMMARY: How Jack's promotion scene in New Order could and maybe should have played out
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: This story was originally in the Ancient's Gate IV zine Recognition at Ancientsgate.
Jack stood outside the gate room and nervously wiped at the stars on his shoulders. Brigadier General Jack O’Neill. A one-star general. Next rung up the ranking ladder. The title still sounded strange to him. He felt like he had bitten off more than he could chew, but even Daniel had asked who knows better how to run the base. He was probably right – Daniel always was. Jack knew how to deal with the daily ins and outs of the SGC, what was needed, how it felt to be one of the soldiers risking life and limb through the wormhole…
Damn, he still didn’t want to be in charge of anything. He didn’t want to be “the man.” He just wanted the prestige, the paycheck and the parking space.
He did like the sound of that, even if it meant he had to be “the man.”
He listened through the closed door as Doctor Weir gave her farewell speech. It wasn’t that he didn’t like Weir; he didn’t really have an opinion about her. Even if she did okay negotiating with the Goa’uld, the truth was that she was completely unqualified for the job of running the base. She had tried; Jack could give her credit for that. She knew her limitations, knew what she could and couldn’t do, and relied on more experienced people to handle the things she couldn’t. That and red tape slowed down the process to a crawl at times, and they were in a business where crawling wasn’t an option.
She didn’t really have any leadership skills – maybe that was the main reason why the president appointed Daniel to be the second-in-command of the base. Everyone on the base followed his orders even though he didn’t really order people around. He’d ask, personnel would do, it was a good arrangement. Besides, Daniel had been praised for his ability to work with both civilian and military and help them to work together. He was a natural. When Weir was put in charge, many of the military personnel were uncomfortable with a civilian commander. Daniel was the perfect go-between.
The reasons behind the president’s appointment for Daniel were sneaky and practical. It was the type of sneakiness Jack could appreciate, and he couldn’t wait to tell Daniel all the little details behind his job promotion, but he had a job to do first. The president had given him his first order as a general.
After the president pinned the stars on Jack’s shoulders and saluted him, he said, “Brigadier General Jack O’Neill, as your commanding officer, I hereby order you to correct an egregious oversight made not only by myself but by my predecessor and not to mention a few high ranking government and military officials. It has come to my attention that a certain individual of your command has not been rewarded or acknowledged for his actions.”
His first order given to him by his commander-in-chief, and it was one he was happy to carry out. It was a shame that neither Hammond nor the president could be there. With the political unrest concerning the Antarctic base, they both had a lot of work to do and couldn’t spare a day to visit the SGC yet.
He heard Weir’s voice though the door. “Although my time here has been brief, it has been, without a doubt, indelible. I will remember every one of you, and I thank you all for your hard work. I'm not one for long goodbyes, so without further ado, it is with great pleasure I introduce you to your new commanding officer, Brigadier General Jack O'Neill.”
The gate room door opened, and Jack stood up straight. As he walked in, he saw Carter, Teal’c and every person in the room come to attention, even Daniel who was nearest to the podium. That was probably the one and only time Daniel would ever stand at attention in his presence – Jack wondered if the gate room cameras were recording the event. He needed good blackmail material.
He walked up the ramp to the podium as Weir moved away. Looking out over the small group assembled in front of him, he felt like he was now a breed apart. This is what it was going to be like being “the man.” He wasn’t just “one of the guys” anymore.
He cleared his throat, and immediately said, “At ease.” As the group relaxed, he saw Daniel’s little grin. Oh, yeah. That was the one and only time his friend was ever going to stand at attention. Ah, well, to business. “You all know how much I love speeches, so I'll make this short and sweet. I wish I could say I didn't owe anything to anyone or that I got here on my own, but the truth is I wouldn't be standing here if it wasn't for the courage and support of each and every person here at this base. We’ve pulled through some rough times together, both here and off world, so I hope I can be as good a leader as we've had in the past and as good as you deserve.”
Daniel was the first to respond with “Hear, hear!” and started applauding. As usual, everyone followed suit. The president was right. Daniel would have made an exceptional commander of the SGC. People followed where he led even if he wasn’t aware of it.
Jack held up his hand to quiet the room. “The other reason I took this job was so I could do really cool stuff like this. I’d like to tell you a story. I’ll try to keep it short too.
“Eight years ago, I was
Jack saw Daniel squint his eyes at him. He’d been able to completely surprise Daniel. Finally. He wasn’t expecting anything since it was supposed to be Jack’s day. Good. Jack wanted this to be a big surprise.
“The moment he got here, he re-translated what the linguists got wrong and named the big round thing the stargate. In two weeks, he did what no one could intentionally do in seventy years. He opened up the universe for us.”
Jack looked out at the audience in front of him, saw heads nodding in agreement, saw Teal’c smirking, Carter standing at semi-attention. But Daniel? He still looked completely baffled.
“We went to
“On a personal note, Daniel Jackson and I are the only two here now that were here on that original mission. Sometimes, I think we’ve seen it all. We have, quite literally, been through hell together, been through life and death together. We’ve both had to make decisions, but he’s sacrificed more than anyone else here. A lot of you have been along for that ride from almost the beginning as well, so you know what I’m talking about.”
Again, he saw nodding heads. Again, he realized Daniel had no idea what he was doing. This was going to be a great surprise.
“Now, the reason for this little story is this. It is with great pride that my first order of business as commander of this base is to correct an oversight that’s been too long in the coming. It’s to present a special award to Doctor Daniel Jackson for everything he has done for SG-1, for this base, for the Earth and for humanity here and elsewhere.”
Jack stopped speaking as the applause echoed through the chamber. Daniel was staring at him, dumbfounded, when Jack jerked his head in the “get up here” motion. Sam had to give Daniel a little push to get him started, and he walked up the ramp beside Jack.
Again, Jack cleared his throat and whispered, “Since this was probably the one and only time I’ll ever see you stand at attention, I get to be formal too. Don’t think I’ll ever do it again.”
“I can’t see you doing it this time,” Daniel answered back.
“Doctor Daniel Jackson, the
President of the
“Jack,” Daniel started to quietly protest.
“Hey, I’m just saying,” Jack stopped him as he placed the specially designed medal around Daniel’s neck. It was a one of a kind, designed specifically for Daniel by the president himself. Then, in a loud voice, “For bravery above and beyond the call of duty for either a civilian or military personnel, for all the sacrifices you’ve made and for all that you’ve given to those who didn’t know they could ask, it is my privilege and pleasure to present to you this Special Medal of Honor. The president regrets that he couldn’t be here today to award you this medal, but it is my honor to be the one to give it to you. It’s a thank you that’s long overdue.”
Carter and Teal’c led the applause, and Jack knew that Daniel didn’t think he deserved any of it. Daniel didn’t know how wrong he was.
Given the almost overwhelmed look on Daniel’s face, it had been a perfect surprise.
“I’m still not calling you sir,” Daniel told him as they unpacked Jack’s personal items into his new office.
“You’d better not. I need one person here who can call me an ass and get away with it,” Jack told him as he placed a picture of himself, Sara and Charlie on one side of the credenza, another of SG-1 on the other. “Besides, you’re going to have a lot more to do from now on. You’ll be too busy to call me sir.”
Daniel stopped unpacking, turned and stared at Jack. “More?”
“An official second-in-command’s work is never done. Trust me. Besides, with me in charge, you’ll have more paperwork than you ever had before,” he said without missing a beat as he emptied the last box.
“What do you mean official second-in-command?”
“You’re second-in-command of the base. You’ve had that job since Weir was here.”
“No, I haven’t,” Daniel protested. “That’s Colonel Reynolds’ job.”
Jack glanced at Daniel who had
stopped unpacking. “Wait a minute, you didn’t know?” he asked Seeing
Daniel shrug and shake his head, Jack walked over to the door and closed it.
This conversation was not one to be overheard by anyone else. He then gave
Daniel a little push toward a chair, and he sat down in the other – the
comfortable one that
I’m guessing that you were kept in the dark on purpose. Originally, the
president wanted to put you in charge of the base when he moved
“What? Me? Why?”
How best to explain… what had the president said?
After the president gave Jack his orders of awarding Daniel his medal, they sat down to discuss base policy and future plans.
“I’m gonna level with you, Jack,” the president said. “There was
a lot going on here, and some of my decisions for the SGC had to do with
flushing out some bad guys here in
“Bad guys in Washington, sir?” Jack had asked, hoping that his sarcasm wasn’t inappropriate.
The president laughed. “I knew Kinsey couldn’t be trusted when we
were campaigning, but he practically delivered
“So you set up a trap?”
“Of sorts. I knew the SGC couldn’t stay secret forever with the NID trying to mess up things, and if we had a non-military person in charge, it might look a little better to our allies and enemies here on this plane when it went public. My first and best choice obviously was Doctor Daniel Jackson. He knows the people and the routines. He’s trusted by allies both here and off world. He’s got the experience needed, and there’s no problem between him and any of the personnel at the base.”
“Daniel would have been my first choice, too, but...” Jack prompted him
“But, Kinsey would have had
“So Kinsey’s been retired,” Jack answered, knowing he wouldn’t be the only one amused at the thought.
“Definitely. He’s too much in the public eye for me to retire him
permanently, so I’m settling for second best and removing him from public
life. Anyway, that brings us back to Doctor Jackson. After Anubis was defeated
and things were getting back to normal at the SGC, I found out that the NID was
still a threat, so moving
It all made sense. Still, there was one little problem. “With Weir being moved to the Antarctic –”
“It’s the best and safest place for her,” the president explained.
“She’s a negotiator and we’ve got a lot of different countries wanting in
on the Antarctic base. She’ll be more useful there, and with what she’s
learned at the SGC, she’ll have a better idea on how to negotiate with
everyone there. She understands what’s at s
“So I can keep Daniel as my second-in-command?” Jack asked.
The president smiled.
Daniel’s forehead squinted as he processed this new revelation in his life. “But I wasn’t the second-in-command. The president asked me to help her out since I was a civilian and she might have some problems in a military situation. That was all.”
“Yeah, I’m guessing that’s what he told you, but that wasn’t the truth.”
Daniel sat back and stared. He hadn’t known he’d been given that type of authority. “Now what?”
“Now, you and Colonel Reynolds will both be second-in-command with you in seniority. You’ll run the base when I’m not here and do all those second-in-commanding things when I am here; he’ll handle most of the military issues but you’ll have the final word.”
For the first time, Jack saw Daniel absolutely speechless. He really hadn’t known that he’d been acting as a second-in-command for Weir.
“Oh,” he finally said.
“Anyway, the president figured that since you and I can argue, fuss and fight and still be friends, we’d have the best chance of running this place with all the crap that’s going on out there. The last thing I need advising me is a yes, sir; no, sir; whatever you say, sir kind of officer. The president has put it in writing so it’s official now.”
Of all the strange, ridiculous, miraculous things Daniel had heard in his life, this was definitely a new one. He was second-in-command of the base? A civilian? And he didn’t know about it?
Was he not getting all of his memos?
Maybe he should have known something was up when Siler installed a red phone in his office, one that could be used to call the president. He thought it was so the president could check up on Weir’s progress without alarming anyone, but he was actually the second-in-command of the most top-secret base on the planet?
“Okay,” Daniel was finally able to say. “So what do I do?”
“What you’ve been doing for the last couple of months, only now it’s official. Your signature will have the same authority mine does, you get to order all those military types around, and you’ll be working with me instead of Weir.”
“Am I still on SG-1?”
“Yeah, and Reynolds is still a team leader too. Look, I know this is coming out of left field, but I need you. You know, with that personal advisor and friend kind of helpfulness.”
He thought it over. As many opportunities this opened up for him, there were a few things that took precedence. “Does that mean I get a raise and a better parking spot?”
“You bet, and the job does come with a bunch of other fringe benefits,” Jack said as reached into his pocket and then tossed Daniel a set of keys. “A bigger paycheck, parking spot, new car...”
Daniel looked at the keys in his hand, then at Jack who was sitting there with that self-satisfied smug look on his face. Jack knew, he knew what Daniel’s answer would be.
Still, there was one thing that Jack needed to know before they went any further, before they went over any new duties, and before they unpacked another item from any box. “Okay, but I’m still not calling you sir.”
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