Disclaimer: 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 and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s).
Brigadier General Jack O'Neill strode quickly down the hall of the SGC at the head of a small phalanx of assistants and Pentagon attaches, next to Brigadier General Landry. Only a few officers who knew him from gating days, before he assumed command of Homeworld Security and moved to DC, dared to step in front and shake his hand, welcoming his visit. He was surprised at how many of the faces he passed were strange to him, so many new people at SGC, already.
They turned right into a transformed gym. Two new sets of pull-down bleachers ran along each of the long walls. All the boxing, weight machines, and other exercise paraphanelia had been moved under the bleachers. On each end was a basketball hoop. The result was a slightly narrowed full-length basketbal court. All ready the non-coms and staff on the opposite wall had grown boisterous, but stood to attention as the generals walked in. Two hands waived them to ease.
Colonel Reynolds took the floor. " As you know, each of the best six intramural teams of officers and of non-commissioned officers and staff get to contribute one player. That's five starters and one substitute. Today the officers will play one man short. One of SG-1's officers is off-world, and Colonel Carter dislocated her shoulder returning through the gate yesterday. Chief surgeon Jordan will referee. The game, in the interests of getting work done, is the usual one half-hour engagement."
"I'll play for SG-1." Heads snapped to look at General O'Neill, who was already unbuttoning his jacket, removing his tie, and handing both to Landry. "I need to borrow a pair of size 12 sneakers." Reynolds, team captain, came to the side as two pairs of sneakers were handed down the officer bleachers. O'Neill grimaced apologetically at him. "These knees don't jump."
"Yes sir. I'll start you at center, and can rotate Griff in for you."
"We call shirts!" O'Neill turned and glared at Siler. "We're a mixed team, Sir." Glancing over at the non-com team, the general recognized the six foot four female marine sargent from commissary. His glare fading, he looked at the doctor-referee and nodded. Briefly his eyes sought out Carter's, wondering what they would have done if she hadn't dislocated her shoulder, and was pleased to see her blush as she picked up his thought. Shoes on, he struggled briefly with his cuffs, and then his shirts joined his jacket on the bleacher next to Landry. As he straightened up, the non-coms behind him stepped back, in unison.
O'Neill stepped out onto the floor to join his team for the jump-off. First the other players, then both bleachers, fell quiet. Naked from the waist up, he stood looking baffled at center court. The game lighting highlighted the white scars, making them stand out almost florescently.
Even Carter stared. Although she knew the history of most of his wounds, she couldn't remember when she'd seen them in the altogether. There was the wide, but straight-edged burn across his midrift from the day Janet Fraiser died. And on his upper arm, the burn from protecting Reetou Charlie and Mother. It was scarcely an inch to the bullet wound scar he'd gotten saving her from being killed when she'd been kidnapped as a research specimen for a rich man's desperate attempt to cure himself with a goa'uld. And the arrow wound near that. As he turned, she saw the knife scar in his back, and the staff burn on his side. Hathor's goa'uld scar in the back of his neck. Those multiple wide slits and circles on his back were from the broken glass of the black hole incident, and from the gouges of the replicators on the submarine. The surgical scar across his lower chest was to stop the internal bleeding from the broken ribs in the Antarctic crevasse. The long one across his abdomen he had once told her was to remove shrapnel he'd gotten, couldn't say where, classified mission. Doctor-referee Jordan was staring slack-jawed at them, too, she noticed. Probably trying to figure out what internal organs had been targeted by each of the dozen surgical scars that marked him, sometimes in parallel. God, General, she thought. And all the viruses, freezings, druggings, nannites, and whole civilizations of living and dead that had occupied him, didn't even show!
The players on the court had stepped back and instinctively come to attention. Slowly, one by one, the silent crowds on both bleachers rose respectfully to their feet. O'Neill had at first thought they were looking at the spare tire he had started growing behind his desk, but suddenly he understood. He spread his hands in a dismissive gesture to the crowd. "What? I had a good doctor." Looking at the doctor-referee, he commanded, "Play ball!"
At first the players were careful of him, treating him to his disgust like a china doll they could damage, passing and dribbling around him- even his own team! But after he dived for a loose ball and managed to scoop it up to Reynolds for a dunk, the gloves came off. Twenty minutes into the game, he slid sideways, cat-like and unexpectedly, raised his arms and got firmly planted in position to take a hard charge. The force of the collison threw him backwards several feet to a hard landing. His breath knocked out, he gratefully accepted Reynold's hand-up and stood bent over, rubbing his knee. Still struggling to catch his breath, he stood at the free throw line as though in a spotlight. People stared, each finding scars they hadn't noticed the first time. He managed to sink one of his two shots, and Reynolds substituted for him quickly. As he left the court, both teams, and then both bleachers, gave him a standing applause and a few whistles.
As O'Neill approached the bleachers, he met Landry's eyes with a wry smile. Landry responded with a knowing nod and a twinkle of respect, knowing that O'Neill had just retaken command of the SGC.
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