I'm... nervous. Yeah, that... that's pretty accurate. Jittery stomach, sweaty palms, complete inability to settle down for any substantial period of time... an accurate diagnosis, Dr Jackson.
Unfortunately for me, acknowledging that doesn't make it any easier to battle these damn nerves. While truthfully, I'm not even sure I have a basis for reacting this way. I'm just... attending a meeting. Just... another first-contact situation. No different than a hundred-plus others I've participated with in the past, or the others I'll no doubt be a part of in the future. It's just part of my job.
Yeah, you keep tellin' yourself that, Jackson.
Running my hand over my hair for the third time in as many minutes, I try to force myself to be completely honest about my feelings. A difficult prospect, even if it's only me that's going to be privy to them.
Yes, it's just business as usual... to an extent. It's just -- things have been feeling slightly off-kilter ever since Jonas Quinn came back through the Stargate, bringing dire news about his planet's future. And once again, we discovered that we're dealing with Naquaadria. Once again, we're dealing with Kelowna, with their damn politics... and I think that we can all recall how our last few little encounters ended up.
Okay, take a deep breath... then I let out a sigh that almost closes up my lungs. I really have to focus on these notes, or all this prep is going to be for nothing.
Of course, it doesn't work that way. Although I'm often grateful for the brain that allows me to be in the position I'm in with the SGC, I must say that it's quite remiss that the damn thing didn't come with an operations manual. One with a whole page full of diagrams, all devoted to telling me exactly how to power the damn thing down. Even my computer has one of those! But, no... concentrating on work isn't going to cut it now. I guess I'm going to have to... work through the problem. Damnit.
It still affects me. What happened to me on Kelowna. Maybe it shouldn't, maybe I should have repressed, should have 'processed' or some such crap. I mean, I've had two years (though, admittedly, one was as an ascended being), to pick and option and run with it. But now I have my memories back where they belong (ie: in my head), I can't forget.
I nearly *died* thanks to them. Did, in fact, suffer through something that still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up straight when I remember. The effect my diagnosis had on my friends, the... the pain of the radiation slowly killing me, it just... it will always be with me. And it wasn't any one person's fault, I know that, I do. I don't even hold it against them, as such, but... I can't deny that I'm reluctant to work with them. I don't want myself, or my planet, to become scapegoats for their government should things go wrong, just as it did during our initial visit to Kelowna. And all that is warring with this... instinctive need I seem to have, to try and help people. I can't stand by knowing that their entire planet might be wiped out, I... I just can't help how I feel.
I turn to my visitor, my eyebrows heading to my hairline -- I've tried to cut down on that -- as I spot Jack O'Neill, leaning around the doorway of my office. "Hey," I offer back. Well, never let it be said that we don't know how to communicate.
"The signal just came through," Jack goes on. "The Kelownans are on their way. Hammond says he wants you in the gateroom to meet them."
Show time, I guess. My palms still feel uncomfortably damp, so I shove them in my pockets, in what even I know is an imitation of Jack -- I guess I'm trying to look as unrattled as he is.
I guess my acting skills aren't what they used to be, though, as Jack narrows his eyes, coming further in to the room. "You okay?"
In other words, I realize, he means, 'Are you about to freak out?'
I nod, as enthusiastically as I can. "Oh... yeah. Yeah, I'm fine. Just... you know. Not really looking forward to the whole political deal." Or, in Jackson/O'Neill speak, 'Close, but not right now.'
Jack sort of smirks. "I know the feeling. Which is why the job went to you." He gets this disbelieving look on his face. "For some reason, people seem to think that I lack the patience necessary for dealing with this crap."
I think what he's trying to say, is, 'Okay then.' See, I knew there was a reason I became a linguist. Besides the whole life's ambition thing.
The banter seems to be doing something for my nervous system, so I play along. "Really? I wonder where they came up with a crazy idea like that?" Besides Jack's total lack of patience for the diplomatic crap, that is.
Jack shrugs it off. "Who knows?"
The conversation seems to run dry then, but I notice Jack sweeping his gaze over me assessingly.
"So... you ready?"
I don't have an answer for a moment, and Jack's head tilts to the side. Apparently our little coded verbal exchange isn't all that reassuring in light of my not answering his last question, and he clears his throat.
"You... aren't doing this alone, y'know," he says quietly. "I figure, given the way these guys have screwed us around in the past, Teal'c and I might be needed to keep you from bustin' a few heads." He gives me another look, this one branding me some sort of closet Charles Manson. "I've seen you get frustrated at diplomats before, after all."
I'm in two minds, here. On the one hand, I'm sort of basking in the 'you're our team mate, and SG1 sticks together' vibe I'm getting -- not that I'd ever let *Jack* know that, of course. On the other, we both know full well that I'm not the one who pissed a room full of Goa'uld off, when they were holding Earth's Stargate to ransom. Finally, the side of me that's feeling the warm team fuzzies wins out, and I play along again. "You have?"
"Oh, yeah," Jack assures me, as solemnly as he can. "Not pretty. You don't want to go there." He then gives me his most earnest look -- the one that immediately clues me in to how full of shit he is. "Trust me."
The bastard still makes me smile, though.
"So... meet you in the briefing room?"
I nod, trying to regain control of my rebellious facial muscles. "Be right there."
Now he's smiling, fully aware that he's gotten one over on me by forcing me to show that I actually -- occasionally -- find him a *little* bit amusing. Just a bit. Then he turns, heading back out.
I sigh again, this one just a release of the nervous energy that's been holding my body hostage. This little meeting has just had the unexpected side-effect of convincing me that I *can* do this. After all, if I can get through five minutes with Jack O'Neill and *not* be a candidate for some of MacKenzie's brand of tender loving medication, I can certainly handle a few suits from another planet. Kelowna know what their problem is (this time), and they're going to deal with it. After coming back to Earth, confident that we would help them, they're going to have to.
Closing the file on my notes -- have to keep in mind the information in there I got from Jonas -- I head for the door.
Now my only real problem is convincing the delegates of that.
|Genres:||Missing Scene/Episode-Related, Vignette|
|Summary:||Daniel waits for the negotiations to begin.|
Author's Chapter Notes:
Just a couple of bad words.