"The Grapevine" By Vanessa Nichols

TITLE: The Grapevine

AUTHOR: Vanessa Nichols

EMAIL: Nessi_Anne@Yahoo.Com (Please tell me *which* story you are replying to. Thanks. :> )

ARCHIVING: Heliopolis yes. All others, please ask first.

DISCLAIMER: All publicly recognisable characters and places are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognised characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

SUMMARY: A kiss, a courtroom, an archaeologist playing lawyer and rumours... what else do you need?

RATING: PG

PREFERRED WATCHING: Knowledge of all episodes up to episode 208 "Family"

REQUIRED READING: "The Star's Seduction"

WARNINGS: Drama, Humour, S/J Friendship/Romance, D/Janet Friendship/Romance

AUTHORS NOTES: *see end of story*

DEDICATION: For all those who bug me for Happy!Fic's... this is for you guys (yes, including you shipper!) :>

Copyright Vanessa Nichols; August, 1999

 

~x~x~x~x~x~
The Grapevine By Vanessa Nichols
~x~x~x~x~x~

 

~x~x~x~x~x~
Day One--"The Incident"
~x~x~x~x~x~

 

I heard about it through the grapevine.

Naturally.

Captain Parkinson had heard it from Major Gormley who'd been talking to Private Petersen in the cafeteria when Lieutenant Goll burst in with the news from the Lieutenant Colonel's Bauman and Martin. *They* had apparently been working out in the gym when Captain Amey had overheard Major's Flowers and Grubbs discussing it in the hallway outside the Embarkation Room.

Regardless of the chain of communication, it wasn't long before I was informed--I try and keep it quiet but it's quickly getting around that I'm a closet gossip myself--and, of course, I took the news with a standard grain of salt, pinch of pepper and teaspoon of sugar... because it's not that I don't *trust* the underground communication system here on the Base, it's just that somehow I couldn't *really* see the Senator catching two of my team-mates having wild monkey sex on the General's desk whilst the President listened over the 'red phone'.

Somehow, it sounded just a little *too* preposterous to be true, but then again, I knew I couldn't just dismiss the rumour outright. After all, the trouble with most rumours is that more often than not, there *is* an inkling of truth to them.

And I knew that I had to find out what this 'inkling' really was.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

I immediately knew which one of my team-mates was *not* part of the rumour. Teal'c, the stoic Jaffa, was still on P3X797 helping his wife and son settle in. So that left only two...

Sam and Jack.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

I *know* it shouldn't seem funny... but it does... kind of...

I finally found them hiding out in Jack's office--Jack in his chair but facing the back wall, and Sam on the office lounge, head in her hands. They looked so dejected that for a moment, as I closed the door behind me, I had to swallow a laugh.

"Well you two certainly don't look like the people who were apparently having wild monkey sex with the President in the Senator's car." I murmur conversationally, mentioning the now even wilder rumour circulating. Jack swivels in his chair to glare at me and Sam raises her head to do the same. "Or maybe you do..." I hypothesise.

Jack turns in his chair to face the back wall again. "Leave Daniel--this has got nothing to do with you."

"Jack..." I start, intending to apologise. "I didn't--"

"This has to do with SG1 in general Sir--Daniel has every right to be here! If we get split up because of this than--"

I stare at Sam in shock--*split* up our team?--as Jack turns back around to glare at her.

"No Carter--this has to do with *us*. Daniel doesn't--"

Sam returns the glare before turning deliberately to stare at me. "We kissed. Once. In the locker room. Senator Kinsey unfortunately walked in on us and since he's been dying for a reason to shut down the SGC ever since the President overruled him last time, he's quickly decided that splitting up our team is the next best thing."

"To make Carter's long story short, Daniel. Kinsey is throwing us under Air Force Instruction AFI36-2909... the court martial is set for tomorrow at fourteen hundred."

"Oh." I murmur softly, watching as Sam glances away, biting her lip. "Oops?" I offer hesitantly.

Jack doesn't even crack a smile. "Yeah--'oops'."

 

~x~x~x~x~x~
Day Two--"Plaintiff's Play"
~x~x~x~x~x~

 

Sitting in the back of the old Defcon room which has now been redecorated to look like a courtroom, I find myself coming to several conclusions.

Number one--I know next to nothing about military law.

Number two--I have no desire to change this fact by joining the military.

Number three--the lawyer-type officers on the plaintiff's side are absolute bastards.

Number four--the lawyer-type officers on the defendant's side are not much better.

And...

Number five--which is to say that despite my lack of understanding of military law, yet with an unsavoury view of my friends appointed lawyers, it's pretty damn clear that Sam and Jack are sinking... and sinking *fast*.

This could be a very quick, yet very destructive, trial.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

Sam and Jack are both in complete dress uniform, sitting side by side behind a barren wooden table, their two lawyers--also in dress uniform--are next to them. On the other side, the two plaintiff lawyers--again, in dress uniform--sit behind their own barren table. A 'ribbon' fence has quickly been erected behind the two groups, a series of chairs set up for the 'guests' which include people like me, General Hammond, Senator Kinsey, Lieutenant Colonel Samuels and so forth. And at the front of the room there's the standard 'judge's throne' area, and on the other side, the clerky-type-person.

There's no jury, only the judge--it was decided that unlike a 'proper' court-martial where there is a panel of 'judges', the less people who know about the Stargate in this scenario, the better--and she doesn't look happy.

I know how she feels.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

Despite my occasional watchings of tv shows like 'JAG' and 'The Practice', and yes, I admit it, even 'Ali McBeal', most of the jargon flying around me is unrecognisable. However from what I can gather here's the general proceedings.

The prosecutor's keep referring to the fact that Sam and Jack are having 'relations'--whatever the hell *that* is meant to mean--and that it's against all these thousands and thousands of reg's--well, that how it seems to me--and that for a defence team who travel the galaxy it 'just ain't right' and that at least one of them should be reassigned and both should be 'punished'.

And the defence lawyers, bastardly enough, don't seem to be doing much defending as far as I can see.

It all seems ridiculous. I feel like jumping up and shouting that this is meant to be the Air Force, not 'Days Of Our Lives' and what's all this crap about 'relations'--it was one measly little kiss! The judge seems to agree with my thoughts because it's not long before she demands proof from the prosecutor's that these 'relations' are in fact 'relations'--or something weird like that!

Of course, the evidence the prosecutor's give is even weirder. Suddenly they're quoting mission reports from our travels to P3X797--The Land of Light and Dark--and the subsequent infection of our Base... when an infected Sam sexually accosted Jack, who in turn became infected and jealously accosted me.

Oops.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

It's getting on to six pm before the judge decides to call it a night, stating that they'll 'reconvene' or whatever at ten-hundred tomorrow morning. Standing with the General, I watch as Senator Kinsey and Samuels start talking to their plaintiff lawyers, whilst Sam and Jack simply leave the room. They don't look at each other, or me, but their expressions are clear enough... and they ain't happy.

"Excuse me, General?"

The elder man turns to look at me, his face no doubt as troubled as mine. "Yes Son?"

"Um, I was just curious... what just happened in here?"

He sighs softly, shaking his head. "Son... I don't think you really want to know."

"Oh... that good huh?" It's soft sarcasm, delivered with a sad smile, yet even I know that it's far from funny.

He shakes his head again, answering my slight joke. "No Son--that *bad*."

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

Sam and Jack, though not confined to quarters, are restricted to the Base for the duration of their court-martial so after leaving the General I find myself wandering the hallways, wondering where they have gotten to. Having checked their quarters, Jack's office and Sam's lab and found them all empty, I'm momentarily stumped.

Finally I decide just to wander and it's during this random journey that I eventually find Jack. He's appropriated one of the gym rooms, a hockey net against one wall and he at the other with a stack of pucks and a hockey stick. And judging by the speed these pucks are hitting the net and surrounding wall area, I quickly deduce that he isn't in the mood for a talk.

Backtracking, I continue, eventually giving up on the search for Sam as I head to the surface for some fresh air. As fate would have it, I've barely taken a handful of steps, when I hear the sound of someone nearby, and sure enough, it's Sam.

"Hey." I murmur, walking towards to her. She'd been staring at the stars but at the sound of my voice she quickly drops her head, a hand brushing across her cheeks. "You ok?"

She sends me a bemused half-smile. "No." she answers honestly. "But I will be... I guess."

I smile sympathetically, shifting from one foot to another. "Wanna talk?" I offer quietly.

She starts to shake her head but at the same time her voice is belying the negative action. "It's just so unfair! I mean, they're making out that we've been having this long and torrid affair since we first started working here, when that's all bullshit! It was just one kiss--if you exclude that P3X797 infection crap--*one* kiss for crying out loud!" she sighs angrily, running her hands through her hair. "And now I'm getting reassigned, we're both getting black marks on our records--the promotion I thought I was expecting will be forgotten about... it's just so fucked! It was one kiss and it didn't mean anything! And now my career is being screwed because of it!"

A closet romantic and secret hopeful that Sam and Jack *will* one day get together and cut out all this 'UST' bullshit, I can't resist querying her last statement. "Are you sure that it didn't mean anything?"

She groans, dropping to the ground and gesturing that I follow her. Sitting there, playing with tufts of grass, she shakes her head. "I don't know... we were mucking around--laughing, joking, you know? We got into this faux-wrestling match over who was going to have the first shower--him or me--and then the next thing I knew, we were kissing. Our lips were probably in contact for a total of about thirty seconds before Kinsey walked in and caught us."

Smiling softly, I try and coax a mimicking expression out of her. "Thirty seconds? That's no peck on the cheek."

She does a fair imitation, but unfortunately it doesn't quite reach her eyes. "It was a kiss Daniel, *just* a kiss. I know you've been secretly hoping that the Colonel and I will one day suddenly declare that we're in love with each other but--"

Surprised by her statement, and secretly embarrassed at having been found out, I stare open mouthed.

"--that just ain't gonna happen from one little kiss. Beside's which, the Colonel won't even *look* at me now."

Closing my mouth I nod, chastened. Silently I reach out, offering her my hand and after a moment she grasps it. Squeezing gently, I give her another smile. "It'll all be ok Sam."

But she doesn't return the smile, and her face belies her deep unhappiness at her current situation.

I squeeze her hand again. "Trust me."

 

~x~x~x~x~x~
Day Three A--"Defense's Disport"
~x~x~x~x~x~

 

We need Rabb and Mackenzie, or Donnell and Dole, or 'The Biscuit' and Porter or... or *anyone* other than these *idiots* who are only *pretending* to defend my friends from career ruination! I've seen apes in ties with banana's for microphones and palm leaves for notepads who could do a better job in this court room than these two!

As far as I can tell, the defense's strategy is not to deny any of the accusations--which granted, they can't really do--or down play the actions--which I think perhaps they should do--but to simply say 'it happened, let's deal with it'. They're not defending so much as agreeing! And they don't seem to be trying to make this go away but rather they seem to be perpetuating this farce!

Bastards!

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

Sitting here, watching as the judge frowns every so often, as Sam and Jack stare straight ahead--their stiff, unhappy poses speaking volumes--and as their lawyers do nearly nothing to help them, my anger at the situation increases. I'm about to jump up and start complaining when the judge finally declares a recess.

Making my way outside, I watch as Sam and Jack separate--Sam briskly heading towards the nearest bathroom, Jack moving over to the nearby water cooler which has obviously been placed here for this specific occasion. Deciding that the lack of hockey pucks is all the invitation needed, I take it upon myself to accept.

"You ok, Jack?"

"Never been better." comes the quick, sarcastic reply and I find myself taking small heart that at least *that* part of his personality hasn't changed. Watching the formal, almost unresponsive airman in the 'courtroom' is disturbing to say the least.

"Nice lawyers you've got." I offer half conversationally, half annoyed.

He sends me a dark smile. "Aren't they great? Though I seriously doubt they could defend a picked nose successfully."

Smiling at his agreement, I nod. "Yeah, I got that impression too." An uneasy silence begins to descend and with my limited repertoire of witty one-liners currently dried up I decide to settle for honest compassion. "How are you really doing, Jack?"

He sighs, running a hand over his face before glancing up and down the semi-empty corridor. "I've had better weeks Danny-boy, hell of a lot better."

Because of the situation he's currently drowning in, I refrain from expressing my distaste over the nickname 'Danny-boy'. Instead, I query a complaint of a different nature. "Um, Jack... why aren't your lawyers *doing* anything? I mean, I know they're 'imbeciles', but shouldn't they at least *appear* to be helping your case?"

"Unfortunately, there's not a lot they can do, Daniel. Carter and I locked lips, that's a big no-no, and now we get a slap on the hand." he tells me straight.

I frown. "Reassignment and demerit is a pretty harsh slap on the hand, Jack--especially for Sam." I watch for a reaction to her name but there's none. "You know a woman has to deal with a lot of flak in the military these days--an 'ay-eff-eye-three-sixty-niner' or whatever the hell that code is, won't help Sam's standing or career at all."

Jack still looks nonplussed. "Look, she still has a job here, so do I. All that will happen is we'll both get a black mark on our record and she'll transfer to another team--that's it."

"That's it?" I repeat, bewildered by his attitude. "Jack--I don't *want* Sam out of our team."

"*Neither* do I--but it's a case of ranking. She's a Captain, I'm a Colonel. One of us will have to leave the team and by chain of command, she'll be the one to transfer."

Glancing around I spy a storage room near by, its door ajar, and making a split second decision I grab Jack's arm and pull him towards it. No doubt surprised, he follows me, only slightly protesting.

Once inside, I glare at him, showing my shock at his cavalier attitude. "Damn it Jack--Sam's our *friend* and she's being raked over by this, something which I know you know because you've just admitted it!"

Away from the glare of public scrutiny his composure--finally and thankfully--drops. "Don't you think I *know* that Daniel?" he hisses angrily. "Do you honestly think that I don't *care*? Carter's my friend too and I know this is rough on her, rougher than it is on me, and if I could do something to change this I would! But the fact of the matter is, I *can't* change this and I *can't* help her or myself!" he rubs his temples for a moment before shaking his head. "I wish I could help the situation but I can't."

And *that's* what's turned him into the silent airman who stares at nothing in the courtroom. I like to think that I know Jack quite well, and one of the things I like to think I know is that Jack does *not* like to be not in control. His unresponsiveness is not from some perversion to be a bastard, but rather to be as 'perfect' as he should be to avoid further damage towards Carter.

"I know, Jack." I offer then, my anger dissipating.

Glancing a look at his watch, he sighs. "Gotta go--recess is over."

Nodding, I follow him out, pausing at the water cooler as he continues down the hall and into the room. Pouring myself a drink I sip it slowly, wondering if I really want to go back in there or not.

"Hi Doctor Jackson!"

Startled, I turn abruptly, only narrowly avoiding a cupful of water down my front. "Oh! Private Kolaski, hi."

I'm about to ask what I can do for her when she leans forward, smiling conspiratorially. "So, Doctor Jackson, if you don't mind me asking... is it true what they're saying?"

Confused, I shake my head. "What 'who' are saying?"

"You know... about Captain Carter and Colonel O'Neill?" she prompts, her eyes--and smile--widening.

"I still don't follow." I answer, confused but slowly recognising the Grapevine in action once again.

"About how they've been married for almost a year now! Since just before they started working here together. Apparently," she lowers her voice even further, as if sharing the cure for cancer with me. "Captain Carter was the reason why Colonel O'Neill's previous marriage broke up, or at least, that's what Private Stouse heard."

Rolling my eyes, I shake my head. "Even for the Grapevine Private, that's out there." I comment, chuckling under my breath. "Let me assure you--Sam and Jack are in *no* way involved, least of all marr--"

An unexpected explosion of thought suddenly caresses my mind and startled by my own twisted brain waves I pause in mid-sentence, throwing the water cup away. "Gotta go Private." I murmur then, walking past her in almost complete ignorance of her confused stare as my brain begins to churn and froth.

I just got an idea...

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"General!" I whisper urgently, crouching beside him.

"Shh!" he admonishes me and I glance around, sending an apologetic look towards the judge.

'Sorry', I mouth before turning back to the General. "General--please! It's urgent!" I whisper again.

Glaring at me, he sighs under his breath, before following my example and leaving the court room.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"This better be good, Son!"

Nodding nervously I pace the corridor briefly. "It is, Sir--I have an idea... on how to help Sam and Jack that is... but I need some time... can you get them to stall or something?"

"*What*?" his incredulity is matched only by my sudden excitement.

"Please Sir--it's important. Give me two hours and I guarantee you..."

The great thing about General Hammond is that once he's decided on something, he goes about it quickly and efficiently. "You have one hour Son--and it better be good."

"One and a half," I bargain, already backtracking down the hall.

"It better be *bloody* good!" is his only response, and with that, I leave.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~
Day Three B--"The Idea"
~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"Doc? Doc Fraiser!" Darting into the Med wing I peer desperately around the nearest curtain before spinning on my heel, about to try somewhere else. "Doc!"

A familiar voice, however, quickly halts me. "What is it? What's the emergency?" asks Doc calmly.

"Great--you're here." I reply, grabbing her arm and all but pulling her into the hallway.

"Daniel!" she half laughs, half complains. "What are you doing? I'm in the middle of--"

"It can wait." I tell her quickly, still urging her along the hallway. "I need your help."

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

Skidding to a stop at the administration slash library slash archive slash whatever room in the Base I promptly catch the eye of the quietly reading staff member as the Doc bumps into me slightly, halting a moment too late.

"Hi! How you going? That's great!" I reel off quickly. "Listen I need a copy of the Air Force Instructional Manual, specifically the section on AFI..." I pause, trying to remember the numbers that come next but before I can, the staff member--her namebadge reads 'L. Pandora' and the vague image of a crowbar comes to mind--smiles, pushing her glasses up further on her nose.

"Interested in the scuttlebutt about O'Neill and Carter, are you? Well, we only have one copy at the moment so you'll--" I watch as she pulls it out from behind the desk. "--have to read it in here... hey!" she exclaims as I grab the manual out of her hands and turn to leave.

"Sorry!" I call out. "I'll bring it right back, promise." Tugging on the still confused Doc's arm I drag her back out of the room. "Come *on* Doc!"

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"Um, Daniel? I think that was a stop sign."

Glancing in the review mirror, I watch as the object recedes into the distance before shrugging. "Oh well." Squaring my shoulders I indicate to change lanes and glance briefly at Doc. "Ok, so here's the deal--"

"Finally!" she mutters under her breath and I smile a little ashamedly before continuing.

"--remember a couple of months ago when Major Kenzie from SG6 married Colonel Adams from upstairs in Norad? And at the same time there was a whole lot of talk going on about how Lieutenant Colonel Stevens was having an affair with Captain Lawrence and how Stevens was transferring out because of it?"

Out of the corner of my eye I watch as Doc nods, her face still confused. "Yeah..."

"And do you *also* remember how we had a long conversation about the reg's on relationship's between officers and you explained to me how it's not all as Draconian as it's usually made out to be?"

"Yeah..." Doc murmurs again, still--I know--unsure as to where I'm going with this.

"Well--all that stuff you told me, is it in that Manual? I mean, can what you told me be proven by it?"

"Well, yes, but--"

I cut her off. "What about that marriage stuff? That too?"

"*Yes*, but Daniel--"

"Great." I murmur, cutting her off again. Glancing over I send her a bright grin. "You're a lifesaver Doc," I nod towards the Manual lying in the back seat of my car. "*Especially* if you can point out those passages in the Manual for me."

Sighing loudly she shrugs, reaching over to retrieve it. "May as well," she mutters under her breath. "At least *it* will make sense!"

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"Alright..." I murmur under my breath as I glance around my living room. Spying the cardboard box my latest 'Ancient Egyptian Mythology Artefacts' volumes had arrived in hiding behind the lounge I grab it, tossing it to Doc as I point to my bookshelf of red journals. "I need my journal's for P3X593, P3X797, P4A771, P3X989, P3R233... fuck it--just grab 'em all!"

"Aye, aye Boss." she comments sarcastically as she drops the box at the base of the bookcase.

Rolling my eyes I turn and begin to make my way into my study before halting at the doorway as a thought occurs to me. "Oh," I add, smiling ruefully. "And make sure you grab the P3X595 journal... it's an absolutely *last* resort but still..."

She pauses in her actions to stare at me, a raised eyebrow appearing. "P3X595... isn't that the planet where Sam and Colonel O'Neill can't re--"

"Remember what happened?" I offer, nodding. "Yes, yes it is."

"And your journal... you know what happened?"

Grinning devilishly, I wink. "That I do, Doc. That I most certainly do."

 

~x~x~x~x~x~
Day Three C--"The Pitch"
~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"You're gonna say *what*!"

Having just explained my plan to the Doc, I'm not really surprised by her reaction. After all, I have a feeling I'm going to be getting it a lot before the day is out.

"You heard me." I murmur as I come to a stop at a red light, wincing as the box of journals collides with the box of books in my trunk.

"Yeah, I heard you alright, I'm just praying I'm wrong that's all." Glancing across I watch as she shakes her head. "They're gonna kill you... you do realise this, don't you?"

I nod. "I know."

"I mean, first of all, it's gonna take a hell of a lot of fancy talking for this to work. And second of all, even if you do succeed--they're *going* to *kill* you!"

Nodding again, I smile nervously. "I know."

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"First thing's first--let's find General Hammond."

Doc nods, propping the box of journals on her hip whilst she grabs the still present Air Force Instructional Manual. "Right. Where would he be?"

Grinning, I shut the trunk, my own box of books at my feet. "No idea." I answer cheerfully.

Doc frowns. "Daniel... you have about fifteen minutes left in your 'stalling time'--we can't afford to be running all over the Base looking for the General--"

"And we don't have to." I respond, cutting her off, as I precede her towards the carpark elevator. "I know just who to ask."

"And who, pray tell, is that?" queries Doc as the elevator begins its descent.

As the sub-levels continue to pass I simply smile. "Just wait and see Doc--wait and see."

Muttering something derogatory under her breath about archaeologists and secrets, Doc repositions her box on her hip. Slightly abashed I send her an apologetic smile. "I'm sorry Doc."

Still grumbling, she nevertheless returns the smile. "Just wait until your next visit to my Lab Daniel--*then* we'll see who's sorry."

Wincing at what I hope is a joke, I nod, gesturing that she precede me from the elevator as we reach our desired level. Pausing in the middle of the hallway I glance both ways. "Now... let's see..."

"Fourteen minutes." Doc reminds me impatiently.

"I know, I know." I shush her before grinning as I catch sight of my 'target'. "Ah, here we go." Moving quickly, I start after a departing airwoman who's just exited a nearby office; the Doc on my tail. "Major! Major Gormley!"

"Yes?" the woman asks, turning around. "Oh, hi Doctor Jackson... how are you?"

Nodding, I return her offered smile. "Well thanks, how 'bout yourself?"

She returns the gesture. "Fine thank you. What can I do for you? Oh, hello Doctor Fraiser."

"Hello, Major." the Doc offers, smiling politely though shooting me a look that plainly states: thirteen minutes.

"Listen Gormley, I was just wondering what the latest was on the Grapevine?"

Instantly I get a wide, knowing grin. "Oh, *that*." the Major replies happily. "Where you up to?"

"Marriage and past affair." I mention quickly.

Gormley nods, sending a brief and cautious glance towards Doc before speaking. "Ok, well the Grapevine says that Colonel O'Neill's previous wife was so pissed off with Captain Carter's affair with her husband, that she filed for and achieved a restraining order against the Captain. As for more recently, General Hammond is so furious at being duped by his officer's--he's only just found out about the whole marriage thing apparently--that he put a hold on the whole trial so that he could pull Captain Carter and Colonel O'Neill into his office for a reaming. The Grapevine is now betting on whether or not General Hammond will allow Captain Carter and Colonel O'Neill to remain on the Base... regardless of what Judge McDonnell decides."

Sending a satisfied, 'told-you-so' smile to Doc, I nod briskly. "Thanks for the info Gormley--I owe you one."

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"You want to say *what*?"

Shifting from foot to foot I nod quickly. "I want to say that--"

"Oh, I heard you alright Son, I just don't think I can allow it. This is ridiculous!"

Wincing from the General's glare I exchange a worried look with Doc. Outside the two defence lawyers are waiting with Sam and Jack, the four having been shooed out of the General's office upon the Doc's and my arrival. Understandably, I wanted to pitch the idea to the General alone first, and though his reaction is expected, it's not exactly time-compatible.

Licking my lips I try and explain again. "I know it's out there General, but--"

"General Hammond, Sir, I've gone through the appropriate section's in the Manual, and though I obviously don't have your expertise on such matters, I do believe that Doctor Jackson has a chance at making this work. In regard's to the first argument about propriety--he has the United Nations on his side. In regard's to the second argument about reassignment and demerit--he hopefully has *you* on his side."

I watch, silently, as the General tries to absorb the Doc's almost-passionate plea on my behalf. The clock on the wall ticks away slowly, all of us hyper-conscious as to the passing of time.

"Bring in the lawyers--Major Beauman and Major Tillyard." he says finally. "Let's see what they have to say about this."

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"Absolutely not, General, Sir. An argument like--"

"--that is the very *basis* for a mistrial. The prosecutor's--"

"--for a start would never allow such a testimony or--"

"--presentation and neither would the Judge, in good--"

"--conscience. It is a slanderous interpretation of--"

"--the Air Force Instructional Manual and despite the--"

"--unusual nature of this trial due to this facility's--"

"--secrecy, it is our recommendation that you deny--"

"--this civilian's request."

It's like watching a pair of talking bookends. I don't think I've ever seen them answer a question or make a statement alone. They've probably been best friends since birth, and their first word was more than likely 'Da--' and '--da'. I feel like asking them where 'Louie' is since they're doing such a damn fine job as 'Huey' and 'Dewy'.

Simpleton's.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~
Day Three D--"Permission"
~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"Alright Son," the General sighs finally, shooting a hard glance towards the lawyer-type officers. "These two," he jerks his thumb towards the lawyers. "Have made up my mind. Since they're completely against it, it must be a 'do-able' plan... *and*," he adds when the Major's look to complain. "It's a damn sight better than *anything* you two have come up with."

"General, Sir, on behalf of our clients and with--"

"--a responsibility to uphold the law and defend--"

"--our clients to the best of our ability, we hereby--"

"--state for the record our disagreement with your--"

"--decision and--"

"Fine," the General states, cutting them off. "Objection noted. You're both dismissed from this case, effective immediately."

The two men snap to attention, saluting sharply and the General returns it solemnly.

"Please send in Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter." he asks as they leave and Doc shoots me a frantic look as I finish scribbling in the back of my P3X595 journal.

Placing it back in Doc's box, I look at the General. "Uh, General--how much time do we have?" I ask quickly.

"Not nearly enough to explain this to them properly I fear," the General responds with a sigh.

"Good." I answer promptly and at his confused--and slightly impatient--look, hasten to explain. "Their reactions for this will work to our advantage the most if they are completely unaware of my testimony before hand--I recommend that we don't reveal my--"

"Don't reveal your *what* Daniel?" questions Jack sharply as he steps into the office, Sam on his heels. "General." he offers, inclining his head.

"Colonel, Captain." the General states. "Doctor Jackson has--"

"I've come up with an idea that may just save your butts." I cut in quickly, sending an apologetic look towards the General for interrupting.

He takes it in stride, nodding his head. "Yes, and since your lawyers were against it I've dismissed them and have given Daniel an all clear for his testimony... providing, of course, you agree."

I watch as Sam and Jack exchange a baffled look. "Well, what is it?" asks Sam after a moment. "What's your idea Daniel?"

I shake my head, already gathering my box of books as Doc does the same. "Don't have time to explain guys, you'll just have to trust me."

"Like hell." answers Jack impatiently. "General--you pull us out of the trial for an hour and a half with no reason whatsoever to leave us cooling our heels and *now* you're telling us that our lawyers have been told to piss off because Daniel has some wonder-fucking idea that we now have no time to hear! Now forgive me for being impertinent but this is our asses on the line and I want to know what the hell is going on!"

Jack's pissed, and he's got good reason to be, I know. However, explaining this to them will only cost us more time--which we no longer have--and it will also mean that their response in the courtroom will be one of 'unsurprise'--something which will not be as effective as complete astonishment.

"General, Sir, our time is up." murmurs Doc quietly, hefting her own box.

I nod frantically, well aware that overstepping bounds with the judge now will not favour us in any way. Turning to Doc, I lower my voice. "Doc, you've been an angel so far..." I start and I watch as she rolls her eyes.

"What do you need Daniel?" she asks tiredly.

"In my office, there's two more books I need--'People of Mongolia: The Forgotten Nomads' and 'Pierre Paul Broca: The Anthropology of Modern Craniology'... could you...?"

She nods. "I'll meet you in the court room with them." With an awkward salute to General Hammond, she quickly exits the room and I turn back to find Sam and Jack staring at me. Sam looks confused, where as Jack just looks angry.

"Dan-iel..." he begins in a warning tone but it's Sam who steps forward.

"Daniel," she starts quietly. "Your plan--what does it entail?"

I shake my head again. "Guys--we're out of time and it's better if you don't know beforehand anyway. All I can really say is that if this works like I'm hoping it will, you will both come out of this trial with no demerits, no transfers, no nothing... life will just go on as it always has."

She nods, her eyes troubled, even as Jack now turns to General Hammond. "General!" he complains but before the older man can reply, Sam once again intercepts.

"General... do you think Daniel's plan will work?"

General Hammond sighs softly, spreading his hands slightly. "I don't know Captain--it's a risk, a pretty big one at that I'm afraid, but I do know that it's giving you a better chance than anything your lawyers could come up with."

I watch as Sam turns to face Jack, her eyes troubled as she stares at him. "I think we should let them do this Sir..." she half-pleads.

Jack shakes his head. "Remember Cartago and the Byrsa's, Captain? Daniel's testimony didn't go over too well that time!" he points out. "And as for US hearings, I think our little tete-a-tete with Senator Kinsey *last* time proved how favourably Daniel's theories were accepted."

"Jack..." I answer his accusation. "I can do this... I *know* I can... you just have to trust me."

My team-mate laughs harshly at this but I take no offence--it's the situation he's angry at, not me.

"Our time's up people and you have two choices. Daniel's plan, or your lawyers." the General states then, rising from behind his desk. "Either way, we're due back in that courtroom."

I watch as Jack stares at the General and then me for a long moment before finally turning to Sam. Silently, they look at each other and after what seems like eternity, Jack finally sighs. "Alright, fine." he answers tiredly. "Do what you think's best General." he agrees, still staring at Sam. "Either way," he adds dryly. "We'll probably end up screwed... at least this way we'll go out in a bang."

Smiling at the permission, I nevertheless swallow dryly. This had better work, I think slightly anxiously, otherwise... that 'bang' might be me.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

Well our time is up and the 'court' has reconvened. Understandably, the judge appears less than pleased at having had to wait, and when it becomes apparent that there are no more defence lawyers, her displeasure rises. Perched on the edge of my seat, the box of books at my feet, my anxiety begins to ascend. Where is Doc? And will this work? are my main two thoughts and a favourable answer doesn't seem forthcoming.

After a quick speech from the judge about how this Base's uniqueness is not an excuse for a mockery of a trial, General Hammond stands up to explain the lack of lawyers for my team-mates and also to ask the court's permission to allow me to state a case for Sam and Jack, a sheaf of papers we'd quickly enticed Jack and Sam to blindly sign--giving permission among other things--in his hands.

The judge's expression after this is classic. It plainly states: Hello? Haven't you been *listening*? I just said *no* *more* *stunts*! But General Hammond didn't get to where he is today by relying on his good looks.

Well, not *only* his good looks.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"You do realise, Doctor Jackson, that as a civilian you are not under any obligation to testify in this hearing?"

My back straight, I stare at the judge solemnly, nodding. "Yes Your Honour, I know." The previously bare table is now smothered with my books and the Air Force Instructional Manual among other things, Jack and Sam sitting like statues beside my discarded chair as I stand. "However, with the court's permission, I'd like to present a defence on my team-mate's behalf anyway."

"Objection Your Honour! This is completely unreasonable!"

The prosecutor's response is now tiresome--their tirade already well presented during General Hammond's request--and the judge must now feel that way as well because she bangs on her gavel sharply, silencing them with a look, before turning her gaze to me.

She looks at me for a long moment--her features unreadable--before nodding briskly to me. "Very well, I'll allow it. Please, Doctor Jackson, proceed."

Clearing my throat I glance down at my reference material. Where the *hell* is Doc? Then, staring straight ahead once more, I begin to speak.

"Now you'll have to forgive me Your Honour, my knowledge of law--and the military for that matter--is rather thin. But," I pause briefly. "From what I can gather, the main problem here is that Senator Kinsey caught my team-mates, Captain Samantha Carter and Colonel Jonathon O'Neill, kissing."

"We're well aware of the reasons for our being here Doctor Jackson, please don't waste the court's time any further."

Inclining my head, I apologise. "I'm sorry Your Honour--I meant no offence." I'm just about to consider a *less* offensive stalling tactic when the sound of the rear door opening catches my attention I turn around quickly.

"I apologise Your Honour." comes Doc's breathless plea for forgiveness as she enters the courtroom, her arms filled with the box of journals and what looks like a stack of paperwork large enough to sink the Titanic.

"My 'assistant', Major Doctor Fraiser." I explain quickly towards the judge before turning to Doc. "Where have you been?" I hiss under my breath as I help her unload the items in her arms.

"It took forever to find those books and then the Grapevine ambushed me as I was quickly grabbing some official mission reports I thought you could use." she shoots back sharply, her eyes warily watching the judge.

Sending a quick glance in that direction myself, I then turn back to Doc, my curiosity piqued. Doc is one of the few people on the Base that the Grapevine *doesn't* reach. A firm believer in that patient-doctor privacy confidence thingy, Doc has outlawed the Grapevine in all areas of her Base 'hospital', and has let it be known--in no uncertain terms--that she will not listen to any gossip full stop. *So*, to hear that the Grapevine has braved Doc's temper--and medical threats--to tell her the latest... well, let's just say that I'm interested.

*Very* interested.

"Quick, tell me, what's the latest?" I beg whilst under the pretence of unpacking the journals, books and paperwork from her box.

She rolls her eyes and I just know she's kicking herself for even preparing to repeat the gossip. "Apparently Cassandra is their," she inclines her head towards Sam and Jack. "Illegitimate child and didn't come from another planet but rather they orchestrated for her to be on P8X987 because she'd been diagnosed with leukemia and they wanted me to use the Base Med Lab equipment to help treat her! *Plus* I never really adopted her and she's not really living with me because that's just the cover being used to hide the fact that she's their child."

Doing the math quickly in my mind I swallow a smile at the thought. For Cassandra to be their daughter, it would mean that she would have been born a mere one and a half to two years after Jack's son, Charlie.

Ah, the Grapevine... always good for fiction.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~
Day Three E--"We're *What*?"
~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"Doctor Jackson!"

Looking up, I can't resist the guilty expression that appears on my features at the judge's unimpressed and unhappy look.

"If you're *quite* ready, we'd like to hear your testimony now. Otherwise, might I suggest that you and the good Major stop wasting our time and let us return to this court-martial."

Murmuring another apology towards the judge, Doc quickly dumps the last of her stuff, leaving my side to take a position at the rear of the courtroom, a flush rising to her cheeks. Thoroughly chastened myself, I also murmur an apology, stating that there'll be no further interruptions.

At least, to my knowledge there won't be.

"Ok," I start, gathering a sheaf of papers only to discard them. "We're here, because they--" I gesture to Sam and Jack. "--kissed and because these guys--" I point to the prosecutors. "--want to have our SG1 team split up. The reasons they're giving is that the kiss was against Air Force regulation, instruction, whatever AFI36-2909. And to back this up, they're quoting our mission to the 'Land of Light and Dark', P3X797, as evidence."

The judge is beginning to look annoyed once again so bracing myself for the explosions, I leave the table to stand out of what I hope will be the blast centre.

"Now, my testimony, defence, whatever you need to call it, will show that reassignment and demerit are *not* viable options for two reasons. Or rather, my testimony is split into two portions--the first being why they didn't *really* break any rules, the second being a satisfactory resolution of that argument." I'm tongue-tieing myself and I still don't think I've explained myself properly. "Basically--they did nothing wrong and you can't split them up... *that's* what I'm trying to say."

Pausing briefly, I take a deep breath. "Now the reason they didn't break any rules by kissing is simple." Cautiously, I remove my glasses. "You see, Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter... well... they're already married."

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"We're *what*!"

"We're *what*!"

"They're... *objection* Your Honour!"

"Your Honour!"

"*Ex*cuse me Doctor Jackson?"

Can you guess who said which simultaneous outburst? No? Well try: Jack, Sam, Prosecutor One, Prosecutor Two, and Judge McDonnell. With additional outbursts from Senator Kinsey and Lieutenant Colonel Samuels of course. In fact, the only people *not* to be surprised by my declaration are the ones helping me make this work: General Hammond, Doctor Fraiser, and of course myself.

All in all, not a bad reaction.

Not bad at all.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"Order! Order!" Judge McDonnell is frantically banging away on her gavel as the court room erupts into fervoured talk at my statement and I have to admit, it's kind of funny. "There will be silence!" she orders again and gradually the talk begins to die away.

When the room is quiet once again she removes her glasses, leaning forwards to glare at me. "Doctor Jackson," she starts sternly. "I expressly stated that I would accept no more stunts in this court room."

Nodding, I agree. "I understand that Your Honour, however I felt it necessary to bring to light this information in order to help my team-mates."

"Objection Your Honour," starts Prosecutor One--her name is Nichols, Lieutenant Colonel--and my main knowledge of her is simply that's she's a bitch. She's worked on a few cases against SGC members before and the Grapevine is full of horror stories about her... some of which I've no doubt are true. "There are no documents or records that can testify to Doctor Jackson's statement--Colonel O'Neill is divorced, Captain Carter is single. I recommend that Doctor Jackson be held in contempt of court immediately."

The judge glares at her. "Thank you," she murmurs with a touch of sarcasm, "for your opinion Counsel. As for your accusation," she turns back to me. "I'm inclined to agree. If this isn't simply a stunt, Doctor Jackson, then where is your evidence and how does this play into your 'testimony'?"

The way she twists the word 'testimony' quickly tells me that I'm on *extremely* thin ice now, much more fragile than before. Plus, the death glares from Sam and Jack are not exactly inspiring towards the hope for a long and healthy lifetime.

Nevertheless, steeling myself mentally and physically, I draw in a deep breath, and begin my case...

 

~x~x~x~x~x~
Day Three F--"My Defence"
~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"Since they," I gesture towards Nichols and her partner. "Have already brought up the mission to P3X797, I may as well start there. Yes, Captain Carter sexually advanced upon Colonel O'Neill. That can not be denied. What can also not be denied, is that by doing so, she--for wont of a better word--'proposed' to Colonel O'Neill. Studies have shown, and proven, that low level female primates often go after the man they think will give them the strongest offspring. Not only was this a compliment to Colonel O'Neill," I smile to myself as I say this, imagining the embarrassed--but still angry--looks behind me. "But it also proves Captain Carter's intent."

Pausing for a moment to clear my throat, I retrieve my Broca/Anthropology book. "Now, this does not necessarily mean that Captain Carter and Colonel O'Neill are now married." I can literally *feel* the sighs of relief from the majority of the courtroom at that statement... but I'm not finished.

"It does, however, affirm the 'proposal'. Especially when we also study Colonel O'Neill's reaction to my concern over Captain Carter later on. His display of rage is a superb example of low level male primates and their extreme protectiveness over the woman they consider to be their 'mate'. Colonel O'Neill's reaction towards me shows his agreement and acceptance of Captain Carter's proposal. And even though Captain Carter and Colonel O'Neill never consummated their relationship, or rather 'proposal', during this mission it is left to be stated that from this moment, they are *engaged*."

"Objection Your Honour." states Nichols, rising to her feet. "This is--"

The judge holds up her hand. "Over-ruled."

"But Your *Honour*!"

"I *said* 'over-ruled' Counsel--sit down."

The Lieutenant Colonel takes her seat again, her face furious.

"Um, yes." I murmur, examining the book briefly before handing it up to the judge. "So you see," I conclude, pointing to the relevant passages. "At that stage, they were engaged."

"You've already stated this Doctor Jackson," Judge McDonnell answers sharply, closing the book after a quick glance. "What I, and the rest of this room, are more concerned with right now is why you claim that Captain Carter and Colonel O'Neill are *married*."

Nodding, I move back towards 'my' table, ignoring the death glares from Sam and Jack. Rifling through the objects on top, I select another mission report and book.

"Ok. Um, well, you see." Stopping I clear my throat and remove my glasses. "P3X593. Planet Simarka, home of the Shavadai." I go to pass the mission report to the Lieutenant Colonel but she glares at me, producing her own. Instead, I pass it up to the judge.

"Whilst on this planet, Captain Carter was kidnapped and later traded to a neighbouring chieftain, Turgin. To make a long story short, when our initial attempts to reclaim Captain Carter failed, Colonel O'Neill produced his sidearm and *traded* that for Captain Carter."

There's a slight pause in the courtroom and finally the judge raises an eyebrow towards me. "Meaning..." she hints impatiently.

"What? Oh, sorry." Flipping to the appropriate page in the 'People of Mongolia: The Forgotten Nomads' book, I clear my throat. "Basically, under the laws of the Mongolian's religion and code's of life--that makes Captain Carter automatically the wife of Colonel O'Neill."

"Your Honour," starts Nichols, rising up. "With all due respect--this is grounds for a mistrial. Not only is Doctor Jackson presenting a case when he is *not* a lawyer and for defendants who are without lawyers full stop, but he is using texts for his case that should, by all indications, be considered as evidence. And he is using them without my team even having had a chance to look at them."

The judge is silent for a long time, before finally folding her hands on the desktop before her. "Very well Counsel--you're right, and I apologise. And although I will allow Doctor Jackson's 'defence' to continue, I will also give you your due. We will break for a recess. Doctor Jackson--please give access to all of your 'evidence' to Lieutenant Colonel Nichols and Major Sheppard and their team for study during this time. We'll reconvene in sixty minutes." With a sharp rap of her gavel, she pushes away from her desk. "Dismissed."

I stand there, mixed feelings about the proceedings so far swamping me. Am I doing good? Or bad? Turning slowly, I prepare to make my way back to my desk, only for Lieutenant Colonel Nichols to suddenly be at my side, her fingers already reaching for the book in my hands.

"I'll take that, thank you." she tells me shortly, smiling insincerely.

I shrug. "Knock yourself out Lieutenant Colonel. They're all yours." I gesture widely towards the table top.

"You know Doctor Jackson," she murmurs, tucking a non-existent strand of hair back towards her tight hair-bun. "Out of all the reports I have on you, I have to admit that I never expected this." she regards me curiously for a moment before speaking matter-of-factly. "Congratulations--you surprised me... and I'm not easily surprised."

I widen my eyes slightly before shrugging. "You're... welcome?" I offer as politely as possible, hating the almost arrogant tone to her voice.

She rolls her eyes. "So sincere." she points out dryly. "But I do have to thank you I suppose."

"You... do?"

"Yes. Before you turned this trial into a three ring circus I was convinced the day was going to be a waste of makeup."

"Again... you're welc--Hey!" I mutter in surprise as I find Doc suddenly at my elbow, ushering me away.

"Say goodbye to the bitch-lawyer." she whispers quickly to me and I swivel my head.

"Bye..." I call out only to start as I catch sight of what Doc's suddenly decided I need escaping from. "Oh my."

"Exactly!" Doc murmurs. "Now move."

Coming up on my six, glares intensified to torture level, are two very pissed off airmen. A female Captain and male Colonel airmen to be precise.

"Doc..." I plead seriously under my breath. "You know reanimation don't you... of corpses?"

"Daniel..." she mutters under her breath and she fights a path through a group of milling airmen in the corridor. "You owe me big."

"If you get me out of here alive..." I answer desperately. "I owe you *huge*!"

 

~x~x~x~x~x~
Day Three G--"Recess"
~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"Now I'll be back as soon as I can, but in the meantime--*stay* *put*."

Nodding enthusiastically, I smile. "Sure thing Doc."

She narrows her eyes at me. "I mean it Daniel--they're after your blood."

"I know Doc." I reassure her. "And I won't leave the room--I swear." I hold up my hand, fingers poised like a boy scout's.

She continues to regard me doubtfully until I send her another bright smile. Sighing to herself, and shaking her head, she opens the door and leaves, the door lock automatically engaging.

"Oh-kay..." I sigh to myself, glancing around the office.

Upon evacuating me from the courtroom, Doc quickly escorted me here to her private office. The plan had been for both of us to hide out in here--after all, even though I've been the one doing most of the talking, it's pretty obvious that Doc's considered to be a co-conspirator. But we'd only been here a few minutes when Doc was paged to the Infirmary--something about some test results she was waiting on had returned.

So... now I'm secluded away in her office, avoiding the hands of death--by definition, Sam and Jack's hands--and biding my time until Doc returns and the recess is over. Wandering over to the corner of the office, I fix myself a cup of coffee--gotta love Doc and her personal percolator.

I'm about to return to my seat when I notice Doc's phone. Smiling, I move over to appropriate the main desk chair, fingers itching for the receiver. It takes a moment whilst I sip my coffee to figure out who to call, but when the answer hits me I'm naturally surprised that I didn't think of her sooner.

Sipping the hot brew, I dial the extension, leaning back in the chair as I wait for it to connect.

"Base Communications, Lieutenant Shipper speaking, one moment please."

Rolling my eyes I wait as she puts me immediately on hold. After what seems like eternity, she returns.

"Thank you for holding. Which section please?"

"Grapevine."

"One moment please." Instantly I'm on hold again, but this time it doesn't last very long and before I know it, she's back, her voice as friendly as anything. "Doctor J! Hey, how you going?"

I smile as I sip my coffee. "Great Shipper, how about yourself?"

"No complaints. Now... which area today?"

"O'Neill and Carter." I specify, wondering briefly who else is on the Grapevine at the moment. I know Major Lewis was caught with anomalies in his blood work from his last physical... wonder if the rumour about steroids is correct? In the background, I can hear the rustling of paper.

"Ok... what was your latest update?"

Hard to forget. "Cassandra Fraiser was actually Cassandra Carter-O'Neill."

There's more rustling of paper. "Ok. True or false. Upon your return from P3R233 you revealed that the alternate reality consisted of a General O'Neill and a Doctor Carter--and that they were engaged?"

"True." I answer honestly, awaiting the next question.

"True or false. On the planet P7J989, Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter experienced 'memories' or 'fantasies' of their relationship?"

"False." Teal'c had been in Jack's memories, and Carter had been in mine--never had the two of them joined up.

"True or false. Colonel O'Neill killed Captain Jonas Hansen in a fit of jealous rage over his previous engagement to Captain Carter?"

Rolling my eyes, I take a swallow of coffee. "False." I answer emphatically.

There's a further rustling of paper and finally a sigh. "Ok--thanks Doctor J."

"No problem Shipper--what's your latest?"

"Oh-kay..." she sighs again and I find myself waiting with extreme anticipation.

If the Grapevine is a Company, then Shipper's best description is that of Company Director. The Grapevine is her baby and she nurtures and cares for it like no other person. Her information is always of the best quality that rumours can be made of, and it's mainly due to her unique system. If you want information from her then you have to specify what sort of information you require. You also have to answer three questions regarding to that category of information. Only then, will Shipper fill you in on her gossip.

It's a form of verbal trade and even though I've never had the chance to see them, 'rumour' has it that she has *many* log books filled with her 'true or false' information and general rumour information. Shipper has dirt on every single person on the Base, and some on our casual visitors as well, and the only restriction she places on her revealing of information is that you can't request information about yourself.

All in all, it's about as competent and beneficial as a gossip system can be.

"Alright Doctor J. Latest reports state that Captain Carter is currently expecting her second child to Colonel O'Neill, the first naturally being Cassandra. Apparently this is the reason for her frequent check-up's with Doctor Fraiser and that conception is estimated at being on the return from P3X666, the Nasya planet, and after Captain Carter's subsequent Goa'uld infection had been 'cured'."

For a moment I feel like pointing out that the frequent check-up's are because of the Goa'uld infection and nothing else, but the story's too good to interrupt so I stay silent, simply taking another sip of coffee.

"Currently, however, reports also state that Captain Carter and Colonel O'Neill are so furious at having been found out about their marriage that their relationship is in fact now suffering from it. Severe arguments have resulted and apparently only the matter of their impending child is forestalling the divorce talks."

Oh this just keeps getting better and better! I think to myself, stifling a burst of laughter.

"And that's the latest I have for you Doctor J... but listen, whilst I have you on the phone... I don't suppose you'd care to fill me in on some of the courtroom goss... rumour has it you're now defending?"

Smiling, I open my mouth to reply, only to close it suddenly at the sound of pounding on the office door.

"Daniel! We know you're in there, Daniel! Open up!"

Uh oh--Jack.

"Daniel! We need to talk! Open this door!"

Double uh oh--Sam.

"Listen Shipper... I gotta go. Thanks for the info!" I whisper quickly into the phone, replacing the receiver. Glancing a look at the clock I groan under my breath. Damn... still thirty-five minutes to go...

"Daniel!"

Oh I hope that door holds...

"Daniel!"

Doc... *help*...

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

Alright, now I'm not scared of a lot--despite what my reputation might ascribe to--but Sam and Jack banging on the door, shouting my name, with only one intent in their minds, and that being to destroy me, scares me just a tad.

The banging stops for a moment and I can hear their muffled voices--well, at least their talking... I think briefly only to jump as the phone rings. Cursing a blue streak, I pick up the receiver.

"Hello?" I answer cautiously.

"Daniel! It's me."

"Doc!" I whisper urgently into the phone, suddenly noticing the time. "Where the *hell* are you?"

"About two offices down... I was coming to spring you when I noticed our good friends. And uh, Daniel, I hate to break it to you... but they don't look happy."

"No shit!" I respond sarcastically. "The continuous door banging for the past thirty minutes was no indication at all!"

"Yeah, well. I'm not inclined to go down and shoulder them out of the way. My association with you has me targeted for destroyal just as much as you."

"I know." I groan softly, trying to keep my voice down. "But listen Doc--if I don't get back into that courtroom I--*we*--loose automatically--the judge won't take anymore setbacks, stunts or changes."

"I know." she snaps back sharply. "And I'll get you back there... but by the way, did I tell you that you're helping me do Cassie's slumber party next weekend?"

"Slumber party?" I repeat, suddenly feeling a little faint. "As in a group of giggling girls wanting to experiment with hair curlers and make up and to scream undying love to a girly-boy named Leo who's starring in his latest block-but-historically-inaccurate-buster movie?"

"Exactly that, Daniel."

Oh boy. "Sounds... 'great'... seven ok?" I agree weakly.

"Try five, Daniel--we need to pick some of the girls up first."

"Five." I echo. "But I still--"

"Need to get to the courtroom, I know." she responds. "Listen, I'm going to make a couple of calls. It won't take long but be standing next to the door for when I unlock it."

"Will do." I answer, but it's for not--she's already hung up.

Replacing the handset I shrug my jacket back on, moving over towards the door--which, I might add, is still shuddering under the occasional pounding. Nervously, I shift from foot to foot, watching the clock. Come on Doc...

"Attention--Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter, please report to the 'Courtroom'. Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter, please report to the 'Courtroom'. Your presence is required."

Nice job Doc, I think to myself at the sounds of PA. I can hear a series of muffled curses from the other side of the door and then footsteps leading away. A moment later there's the telltale sound of the door unlocking and as it opens, I lunge into the hallway.

"Thanks Doc." I greet her. "Which way did they go?"

She points to my left and I nod.

"Ok then--we go right."

"It'll take us longer." Doc points out as we begin walking.

Nodding, I send her a twisted smile. "Yeah... but we won't die as quickly."

"Ah." she murmurs as we break into a light jog. "Good point."

"I thought so."

 

~x~x~x~x~x~
Day Three H--"The Debate"
~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"Before we get started, first let me just say how incredible this facility is." Judge McDonnell's almost-cheerful voice is a pleasant surprise. "Major General Hammond was kind enough to give me a tour during the recess and I have to say, I am impressed by the work you people do here. Having said that," she continues. "I also took the opportunity to contact the President of the United States. He has given me full autonomy in this courtroom and as a result, my findings for this proceeding will be final and binding in all senses of the law. No appeals will be authorised or recognised."

I exchange a glance with Lieutenant Colonel Nichols', our faces mutually curious and surprised. Again, I don't know much about law but I do know that *that* is unusual.

"Now. To proceed with this trial, and in anticipation of the mutual requests, here are the following allowances--for wont of a better word, we are going to have a 'debate'. Doctor Jackson may proceed with his testimony. Also allowed, will be the prosecutor's ability to argue with Doctor Jackson over the points of evidence he states. I do ask, however, that everyone restrains themselves and shows proper decorum." she nods once, sharply, before looking towards the plaintiff's. "Lieutenant Colonel Nichols, you may begin with any questions or arguments you wish to pose to Doctor Jackson regarding his statements on the P3X797 infection."

"Thank you Your Honour," Nichols answers, rising to her feet. "Firstly, despite your rulings just now, I must state for the record my disapproval over these proceedings." her voice sounds tired, wearisome, as if she's merely saying this to cover herself against 'mis-council' accusations from her 'clients'.

"Noted."

"Thank you Your Honour. Now, I really only have one query to make over the 'engagement' that Jackson claims to have taken place as a result of the P3X797 infection, and that is that in no records does it state that the low level primates have a function, ceremony or vow *of* 'engagement'. There is either 'mating' or nothing. Therefore, Jackson's claim of engagement is invalid when using the primate way of life as his backing."

The judge nods and then looks at me. "Doctor Jackson?"

"That is a valid point. There is no primate 'engagement' vow. I was simply using that as an 'example' if you will, of what the actions of Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter accomplished. Had they consummated their relationship sexually, then they would automatically have become 'mates', translated by our terminology as 'married'. Since they all *but* consummated their relationship sexually, I use the term of 'engaged' to clarify this in our society."

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

Score at the end of round one?

Me--none.

Prosecutors--one.

Damn.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"Doctor Jackson, you may now finish your argument regarding the planet P3X593, and the subsequent marriage you claim took place between Captain Carter and Colonel O'Neill."

I nod towards the judge, clearing my throat. "Well, basically Captain Carter was traded for by Colonel O'Neill. The practice of trade in Mongolian history shows us that when a woman is traded to a man, she becomes his property, and as such, his wife. When Abu traded Captain Carter to Turgin, Captain Carter became Turgin's wife. As such, when Turgin then traded Captain Carter to Colonel O'Neill, she became *his* wife."

"Very well." Judge McDonnell adjudicates. "Counsel?"

"Mongolian laws state that a woman when traded becomes the property of the male, correct?" Nichols asks me.

I nod. "Correct."

"But does it not also state that in order for a woman to be legally entitled as 'wife', they--the couple--must go through a six day wedding ceremony?"

"That is also correct," I agree. "However--" I add when Nichols begins to look extremely pleased with herself. "That is *only* the case if the male is previously unmarried. All *initial* partnerships must be consecrated by the wedding ceremony--subsequent females who are 'acquired' need not be devoted to the tradition. They must simply be 'acquired' in formal recognition, ie. trade. And since," I conclude. "Colonel O'Neill has been married before--as you have so kindly pointed out, Lieutenant Colonel--that makes Captain Carter his *second* wife, since by Mongolian laws, divorce is not recognised. The act of trade alone is what married the Colonel and Captain--no other ceremony was required."

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

Score at the end of round two?

Me--one.

Prosecutors--one.

Slightly better.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"Before we go any further, Your Honour, I'd like to query Doctor Jackson on his intent towards this argument that his team-mates are married."

"How so Counsel?" the judge asks, her face suddenly curious.

"Well," starts Nichols, rising from her seat. "If he *does* prove his case and you subsequently find that Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter *are* married, then that is immediate grounds for the transfer of either Colonel O'Neill or Captain Carter." she shrugs and then looks at me. "You *are* aware of that, aren't you?"

Judge McDonnell also looks at me. "Doctor Jackson?"

"Your Honour," I say as I stand as well. "Reminding the court of course, that officer's *can* remain on the same Base regardless of marriage under 'join-spouse' conditions and providing your acceptance of my claim that Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter are married, I also have a 'defence' that should you also accept, will allow my team-members to continue serving on the same team despite their marriage."

I get an arched eyebrow for that. "Really?" the judge responds curiously. "Well, that *is* interesting." she glances down at the papers on her desk. "Very well then, we'll proceed. Doctor Jackson, your next argument."

I shake my head slightly. "Actually, Your Honour, I'm more interested in answering any questions or arguments the prosecutors might have right now... if that's ok with you?"

The judge nods, waving a hand, and I take my seat again. "Very well--Counsel?"

Nichols nods, standing again, a smile on her face that looks out of place. "Thank you Your Honour. Now, Doctor Jackson, even if the marriage you claim took place on P3X593 is taken as an actuality, how do you propose to make it legal here on *Earth*? By today's law, it would, for wont of a better word, fall 'short' on the requirements for marriage."

"Doctor Jackson?" prompts Judge McDonnell.

"Thank you, Your Honour," I start rising myself. "Actually, the Lieutenant Colonel is wrong. The United Nations has made it quite clear that any and all marriages, despite their religious or ethnic qualities, are to be treated as legal and as binding as common law marriages. I quote James Kent who said that 'a contract of marriage per verba de presenti amounts to an actual marriage, and is as valid as if made in facie ecclesiae'. The Latin, once translated, means that 'a contract of marriage using whichever version of *I do* that is present or needed amounts to an actual marriage, and is as valid as if made in a church'."

Sneaking a glance towards the judge I find her sitting there with an almost shocked expression on her face. What, I feel like asking, an archaeologist can't know a few famous trial's from history? Shrugging the thought away, I conclude my argument.

"It is therefore 'illegal' to discriminate or disbelieve a marriage--regardless of whether it is based on an almost extinct religion currently practiced on another planet or not. So, by today's law, the Colonel and Captain *would* be recognised as married."

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

Score at the end of round three?

Me--two.

Prosecutors--one.

Looking good.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~
Day Three I--"P3X595"
~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"Doctor Jackson? I'm assuming you're allowing the Prosecution to continue with their questioning?"

"Yes Your Honour."

"Fine--Counsel?"

"Thank you, Your Honour." Nichols stands once again, regarding me curiously. "Ok Doctor Jackson, now I'm going to believe--just for a minute--that what you say is true and that your team-mates, Captain Carter and Colonel O'Neill, were married on P3X593 by the act of trade--no other ceremony's required."

Silent, I nod.

"Now based on that, I'm also going to believe that the marriage is recognised as a 'common-law' marriage here in the United States." she pauses and sends me an insincere smile. "This is just a temporary belief, mind you."

Sending her my own insincere smile, I nod again. "Of course, Lieutenant Colonel." I answer sweetly.

She raises an eyebrow at that, but continues none-the-less. "And it's also been pretty much demonstrated," she glances towards Sam and Jack as she says that. "That the accused Colonel and Captain had no idea as to what your testimony was going to be, correct?"

"Correct."

"And if we take that at face value, we can also state that this isn't just some well constructed skit or ruse... to their knowledge they weren't married, also correct?"

"Also correct."

"And having established all that, I'm now going to play... well, I suppose 'devils advocate' would be an appropriate term. I'm wondering if you have any further evidence as to their 'marriage'... any other planetary-religious marriage's that we should know about?"

I raise my eyebrow, but before I can respond, she continues.

"Because, as I said, I'm going to be the advocate, and I'm going to assume that since Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter had no idea they were married on P3X593, they never..." she pauses and tilts her head, staring innocently into space. "Gee, how do I say this? Ok--bluntly." she decides on her own, sending me that self-satisfied, all innocent but insincere smile again. "Had sex, did they?"

Startled, I shoot my eyes towards the judge, rising to my feet even as I hear Sam and Jack's outraged murmurs beside me. "Your Honour! Can she say that?" I demand.

Even the judge looks startled. "Counsel?" she queries, and Nichols turns to face her.

"I apologise Your Honour, but I'm banking on the fact that Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter never consummated their marriage--experienced their wedding night, if you will. In which case--"

"In which case *nothing*." I interrupt suddenly, stepping forward. "I'm sorry Your Honour but this has nothing to do with their marriage being recognised. The act of consummating a marriage no longer plays a part in the recognition of a common-law marriage. If it did, then there would be a hell of a lot of people who are partaking in 'marriages of convenience' who would be in trouble. Aside from which, the only way the argument of no-sex means not-valid could be brought in is if we were in the process of trying to annul this marriage. And by saying that," I stress. "We would have to a, agree that the marriage was legitimate in the first place, and b, have *them*," I point towards Sam and Jack, "Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter, do the petitioning for an annulment. Lieutenant Colonel Nichols can *not* claim annulment on a marriage she claims doesn't exist when she isn't c, part of the marriage or d, their lawyer!"

The judge *and* Lieutenant Colonel Nichols both look surprised by this sudden explosion of defence from me, but--unfortunately--I'm on a roll and not about to be stopped.

"However, if we are going to go down that path Lieutenant Colonel, then lets takes a look at the mission to P3X595, shall we?" Spinning on my heel I quickly make my way back to the table, grabbing my red journal from the pile near the edge. Sneaking a quick look, I find that Sam and Jack are sitting there, faces confused and mutely surprised but with a touch of shock, and in the back of the courtroom, Doc has raised her hands to her mouth, a look of curious joy creasing her features.

"'The Pleiades', or the worship of 'Dionysus' on this planet occurs once a year. It is considered a time when fertility is high and on the night, or the peak of the ceremony's, there is a feast and later on, male and female partner's or husband and wife teams move into the forest to consecrate their unions and attempt for children."

"Your point?" asks Lieutenant Colonel sarcastically before sending an apologetic look towards the judge. "Sorry Your Honour."

The judge gives her a remonstrative look before nodding towards me. "Continue Doctor Jackson."

"My point is," I state carefully. "That Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter willingly, though perhaps unknowing of the consequences, took part in this ceremony."

"Even if this is true Doctor Jackson," the Lieutenant Colonel interjects. "The mission to P3X595 took place *before* the mission to P3X593--if you're proving a marital consummation, it can't be *pre*-marital!"

"I'm not and it's not. As you can see here in my personal journal, I have not only described the events of our mission but also placed some pertinent religious facts in the end of the journal regarding the planet's beliefs and so forth." I answer smoothly, flipping to the appropriate section of my journal--aka, the addendum I slipped in whilst listening to Sam and Jack's previous lawyers state their disapproval in the General's office--before handing it to Nichols.

"The morning after the banquet, I took the opportunity to further query Mashorka, the male chief on that planet, on the religious significance of the previous night's festivities. Not only was the act of physical and sexual consecration on that night a fertility blessing, but it also served as a 'marriage night'. Whilst the inhabitants of P3X595 naturally had their own wedding ceremony's and rituals, the night of the peak of 'The Pleiades' was considered a night when marriages could be made and recognised instantly by the physical and sexual consecration alone." I state efficiently, refusing to look at my team-mates behind me. "To conclude--on that night, Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter willingly married each other and experienced their wedding night at the same time."

There's silence in the courtroom after that, and I watch as Nichols frantically scans my journal entry. Finally she looks up.

"Then how do you know reclassify the events of P3X593? The reaffirmation of the vows they didn't know they'd taken?" she queries sarcastically.

I shrug. "Works for me."

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

Score at the end of round four?

Me--three.

Prosecutors--one.

Wow--I may just win this after all.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"Alright, order please." Judge McDonnell requests, using her gavel to quieten the murmuring's over my 'sex defence'. "Order!"

The room slowly becomes silent as I take my seat at Sam and Jack's table once again, Lieutenant Colonel Nichols doing the same.

"Doctor Jackson, do you have any more 'evidence' to present on the marriage of your team-mates, Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter?"

Standing briefly, I shake my head. "No, Your Honour."

"Counsel?"

"Prosecution rests, Your Honour."

"Very well, I'm calling a thirty minute break. Dismissed."

Not waiting to get cornered this time--be that by Lieutenant Colonel Nichols *or* Sam and Jack--I quickly sprint towards the back of the room, meeting up with a chuckling Doc as we exit the room.

"What's so funny?" I ask curiously, as we make our way down the corridor and into her office.

"What? Oh, nothing really. Just thinking about that P3X595 stuff... all your evidence really..."

"What about it?" I ask as she locks the door behind her and I move towards the coffee percolator.

"Well..." she pauses and stares at me curiously. "It's just that I never realised how many times Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter had been in situations that can now be ascribed to as 'marriage' ceremony's. I mean, I knew the rough details of all your missions, but it never even occurred to me that..." she lets her voice trail away as my grin becomes wider and more noticeable. "What?" she asks suspiciously.

"What? Oh, nothing."

"Daniel..."

"Ok... well," I pause, trying to think of the best way possible to explain this. "Well, lets just say that the situations they've been in... well, they *could* be interpreted differently from what I've been saying."

She's silent for a moment as she ponders over that, before finally raising her eyes to mine, shock appearing. "You lied." she exclaims as I pass her a cup of coffee.

I shake my head. "No..." I contradict her. "I just interpreted the facts in a way that would best suit our case."

"Daniel, you dog, you *lied*!" she reiterates, a smile appearing.

"Massaged the facts." I try again, thinking of my P3X595 addendum which is little more than fiction.

"Lied."

"Stretched the bounds of truthful translation."

"Lied." she repeats firmly again, her accusation holding more truth than my denial. "Daniel... how could you?" her tone is reproachful but her features are showing a thoroughly amused expression.

"Hey!" I defend myself. "I'm no lawyer, I didn't take any oaths to uphold this and that and everything else."

"But you're defending them... testifying..." she points out, shaking her head.

I nod slowly. "Well yeah..."

"Then you can be held in contempt of court, perjury and all that!" she dooms me.

I shake my head. "Um, no."

"No?" she repeats.

"No." I emphasise, grinning wickedly. "You see... I'm not under any oath's... they never swore me in."

 

~x~x~x~x~x~
Day Three J--"The Ruling"
~x~x~x~x~x~

 

Well, the 'court' has reconvened once again, this time for what I assume to be the final time. All that's left, to my knowledge anyway, is for my argument on why Jack and Sam shouldn't be split up--despite their marriage, which I'm thinking I've proven--and the judge's final ruling.

This is it folks--the end of the line. I just hope that the end is still strong enough to support me...

After all, it's a long way down.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"Alright." starts Judge McDonnell, glasses perched on the edge of her nose. "I'm going to take a leaf out of the Prosecutor's book now, and under the *assumption*," she emphasises. "That you have proven that your team-mates are married Doctor Jackson, I'd like to hear your argument as to how they can not be reassigned."

The judge looks tired and I can sympathise--it's once again getting late and even *I'm* tired now. Well, that and hungry! The other's might have had a chance to eat during the day but I've been so busy either running around to gather information or simply running to hide from Sam and Jack, that food has become an unnecessary requirement in the day's schedule.

"Thank you, Your Honour." I begin, rising to my feet for what feels like the umpteenth time. "My defence for this argument is based on the provision in the Air Force Instructional Manual that allows married officers on the same base to continue in their present positions due to the fact that separation could 'cause extreme degradation in combat effectiveness and operational readiness'."

"Your Honour," interrupts Nichols, rising to her feet. "That special dispensation is an allowance reserved for judgement by the Commanding Officer of the officer's in question. Doctor Jackson can not invoke it."

"True," I acknowledge. "But Major General Hammond, who *is* Captain Carter and Colonel O'Neill's Commanding Officer is in agreement with this, and will back it."

The judge raises her head to stare past me. "Major General?" she queries.

Turning, I watch as Hammond stands, nodding his head. "That is correct, Your Honour." he answers simply.

The judge nods almost wearily again and removes her glasses as she returns her gaze to me. "I'm assuming, once again, Doctor Jackson, that you are prepared to show adequate reasons to validate this allowance?"

I nod. "Yes, Your Honour."

"And I'm also going to assume that your 'adequate reasoning' will include a diatribe describing the various missions your team has been on? And if not every mission, then all *but* every mission?"

I nod again, hiding a smile at the accuracy of her statement. "That is also correct, Your Honour."

"And Counsel," she continues, facing the prosecutors. "I'm also going to assume that your argument will be based on the fact that any other team-member of the SGC could have performed the same tasks and reached the same conclusions as that of Colonel O'Neill and or Captain Carter?"

Nichols rises to her feet. "In a manner of speaking, yes, Your Honour."

"Very well," she sighs, before looking down at the papers before her, replacing her glasses. "Then I think that in light of the time, and despite the fact that I've no doubt Doctor Jackson's arguments would be most entertaining, I think we'll put an end to this game right now."

Nichols and I exchange mutually curious looks for a moment before returning our gazes to the front, taking our seats once again. The whole of the courtroom is silent as we wait for Judge McDonnell to begin speaking again and you can literally feel the tension rising.

Dear God, I pray instinctively. If this doesn't work, and my team-mates do get their hands on me--which I've no doubt they will--please let my death be as quick and as painless as possible. Oh, and God? If you want them to feel guilty afterwards for killing me when I was simply trying to help them, I wouldn't object...

"Despite this facility's uniqueness," the judge's voice breaks the silence sharply. "I must confess to a certain amount of surprise. Never, in all my years as a member of the legal system, have I ever seen a team-member so willingly, enthusiastically and emphatically defend his friends as you have just done Doctor Jackson. I use the word 'friend' because from what I have now seen, the descriptions of 'team-mate' and 'co-worker' seem grossly inadequate. I have no doubt in my mind that if Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter return even a smidgen of your compassion towards a friends plight or friendship, that your team of SG1 is one of the most unique and beneficial in the military today. Comradeship has always been assumed, and for the most part, encouraged between fellow soldiers and officers in the military but I have yet to see a team, and or team-member, that responds to another's plight as you have just done. Congratulations, Doctor Jackson--you have just demonstrated one of the most elemental key's to human existence--friendship."

She pauses, reshuffling some of the papers before her. "Having said that, I now voice my disapproval towards the plaintiff's."

A shocked gasp appears from Senator Kinsey and Lieutenant Colonel Samuels at that but the judge just glares at them.

"I find it reassuring that they are not 'in the field' for wont of a better phrase, because of their obvious lack of compassion towards another. You, gentlemen," she directs to them. "Are lucky that you are not 'in the field'. I doubt that with your attitudes any team-members you might have, would vouch for you as sincerely as Doctor Jackson has now done for his team-members."

She pauses again, taking a sip of her water. "But I digress. The nature of this court-martial was to determine whether or not Colonel Jonathon O'Neill and Captain Samantha Carter had willingly infracted on Air Force Instruction AFI36-2909. The Prosecutor's evidence to this claim citing the mission to P3X797 as the grounds for an 'ongoing relationship'."

A deafening silence fills the room now, all breaths held as we wait for the judge's ruling. Readjusting her glasses she looks towards me, Sam and Jack.

"Would the defence please rise?"

Standing solemnly, Jack and Sam at attention, we face Judge McDonnell.

"I hereby find in favour of... the defence. All charges are dismissed, though I suggest that you refrain from sharing a locker room whilst on duty from now on, Colonel, Captain." she warns.

Ohmygod! I think faintly, hearing the loud exclaims of air being released from lungs filling the room, the beginnings of excited talk filling the air. We won! Ohmygod! We *won*!

"Order!" shouts the judge quickly, banging on her gavel. "Order! I haven't finished!"

Haven't fini--shocked back into silence, the room falls silent again, all staring at the judge.

"In lieu of the plaintiff's protests--which I have no doubt *will* arise--I also find the following." pausing for what seems like the umpteenth time, she raises her glance towards the back of the room. "Major Fraiser?"

"Yes, Your Honour?" Doc responds cautiously, rising to her feet and I turn around briefly to exchange a baffled glance with her. *Now* what?

"I trust that you can supply blood test results on Colonel O'Neill and Captain Carter?"

"Yes, Your Honour." responds Doc, her voice curious.

"Very well. Doctor Jackson, Lieutenant Colonel Nichols, if you wouldn't mind stepping forward."

Shooting Nichols a startled look, we make our way to the front of the room.

"Sign here." the judge directs us, pushing a piece of paper in front of us.

Surprised, we take a moment to examine the piece of paper. With a smile, I realise what it is and with a flourish I sign my name under Jack's, sending Nichols a glare when she hesitates. Finally she shrugs, and muttering a 'what the hell' under her breath, scrawls her signature under Sam's.

Returning to our tables, I struggle to hide my grin as Judge McDonnell holds the signed document in her hand.

"Under 'join-spouse' conditions and the 'special dispensation' act of non-separation; by the authority vested in me by the United States of America, and as witnessed by the members of this courtroom, it is my pleasure to announce Colonel Jonathon O'Neill and Captain Samantha Carter... as husband and wife."

The courtroom is shocked into complete and utter silence for a brief moment, allowing the judge to complete her ruling.

"Congratulations Colonel, Captain." she bids Sam and Jack briefly before rapping sharply on her gavel. "Court is adjourned."

And the room explodes.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"Congratulations, Jackson."

Turning away from the amusing sight of Sam and Jack, frozen rock solid from shock, I face Lieutenant Colonel Nichols.

"Thank you." I accept graciously, shaking her proffered hand.

"It was a blasphemy of a trial," she continues after a moment. "And I've no doubt my superiors are going to rail me for it, but I have to admit--its been awhile since a court-martial's been this much fun."

It's a sincere response and I think that's what shocks me most. "You're welcome." I offer inadequately.

She shrugs nonchalantly. "Hey, in the end, I guess the best woman won, right?"

Rolling my eyes at the semi-insult I sigh. "Its been a... pleasure... working with you Lieutenant Colonel."

She sends me one of her infamous, mostly insincere grins. "Likewise Jackson."

I shake my head at her then, only to find the air suddenly crushed out of my body as a pair of arms encircle me. "Hey!" I breathe out instinctively, turning awkwardly. The recognition of my 'attacker' spurs me into laughter, however, and I return the hug enthusiastically.

"You did it!" exclaims Doc through her laughter. "I can't believe it! You really did it!"

"I know!" I answer just as excitedly, grinning at her.

"A*hem*!"

Busted, I think fatalistically as Doc and I both slowly turn to face the voice.

"Daniel, Doctor." emphasises Jack clearly, he and Sam both standing with arms crossed against their chests, staring at us.

"Jack, Sam!" I exclaim, as if just running into them. "Congratulations!"

Beside me, Doc attempts to stifle a giggle of laughter at my innocent best-wishes.

"Daniel." says Sam, stepping forward slightly. "Firstly, thank you for defending us and getting the charges dropped--"

"But secondly!" interrupts Jack, all but glaring at us. "You got us *married*?"

There's silence for a moment between the four of us but I can feel my lips twitching. Glancing a look at Doc I can see she's struggling as well, and as our grins appear, we face Sam and Jack.

"You're welcome!" we chorus simultaneously, before bursting into laughter once again.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~
Day Three K--"The Party"
~x~x~x~x~x~

 

As decreed by General Hammond, an impromptu celebration was frantically organised to supposedly celebrate our victory. In matter of fact, I think it was General Hammond's 'romantic' nature wanting to congratulate and celebrate the marriage of two of his 'children'. Nevertheless, the mess hall was quickly reorganised, a shipment of champagne and other drinkable's delivered along with some finger food of some description.

A mandate was announced over the PA system stating that all off-duty personnel were invited to attend--including our guests on Base. All but Nichols and Judge McDonnell declined the invitation--the Senator and Samuels apparently slinking out of the Base with their tails between their legs so to speak.

Running a hand through my wet hair, I pause for a moment at the Mess Hall entrance. Finally having had the chance to grab a quick bite to eat and a shower, I can hear the sounds of the party emanating through the steel doors. And taking a deep breath, push my way into the room.

Silence descends as I enter, despite the crowd, as everyone stares at me and I begin to wonder if I've suddenly grown a second nose. Either that, or left my fly is undone. Confusion dissipates a second later however, as the room explodes into applause and cheers and I blush instantly.

Nodding, I hide a small smile, eyes searching the room for Doc. I can see her over the other side, smiling and clapping awkwardly with a cup in her hands and as someone presses an identical object into my own hand, she raises the cup. Grinning at her, a sea of people between us, I raise my own cup, acknowledging her silent toast, before turning to my provider.

"Congratulations, Doctor Jackson," Major Gormley wishes me, smiling as she leans forward to brush a kiss across my cheek. "I know who I'm going to call when I need a good defender."

Chuckling--and blushing--I nod. "Thanks Major." I respond, clinking my cup against hers as I begin to move away. "And thanks for the gossip earlier on."

She grins. "You're welcome, Doctor Jackson. Anytime."

Nodding, I catch sight of Sam on one side of the room and Jack on the other and I start to fight my way towards Doc, but naturally, my progress is halted.

"Doctor J!"

"Shipper!" I respond in kind, shaking hands with the enthusiastic airman.

"Congratulations are in order I hear?" she tells me, grinning and I nod.

"Something like that Shipper, but listen--I couldn't have done it without you or your baby."

She blushes good-naturedly, feigning embarrassment. "Well, the baby's a tyrant to manage but outcomes like this make it all worthwhile." she accepts modestly, clinking cups with me.

I smile and continue walking. It takes me a good thirty minutes or so to cross the room--every man, woman and dog apparently determined to congratulate me, and in turn modestly accept my thanks for their help or well-wishes. Parkinson, Sweeney, Petersen, Goll, Grubbs, Bauman, Martin, Amey, Flowers, Kolaski, Stouse, Birkby, Siegfried--the names and faces run together as I speak to them and more.

But eventually I reach the far wall, finally making it to Doc's side. Smiling, she nods absently to me, engaged in a conversation with a nearby airman.

"Daniel!" comes the enthusiastic greeting from nearby and I swallow the automatic sigh at the sound of my name as I recognise the voice and in turn respond just as enthusiastically.

"Cassie!" I answer, placing my cup on the nearby bench to sweep the urchin into my arms. "What are you doing here?"

"Mom called and asked Mrs Agnes to bring me in." the little girl rambles happily, scrambling out of my arms to reclaim her cup of soda and I smile at the reference to Cassie's after school carer and her new appropriation of the 'mother' nickname for Doc. "... is it true what they're saying about you?"

"What are people saying about me, sweetheart?" I ask curiously, bending closer to her as I bring my attention back to her.

"That you married Sam and Jack?" she answers questioningly.

Smiling, I shrug. "Sort of. It was really the judge who married them." I answer honestly.

"Oh." she mouths in a solemn tone. "But you helped, right?" she questions and I nod. "Good." she decides then, firmly.

"Why good?" I ask curiously.

She shrugs, her eyes wide. "Because they belong together." she answers simply, in a childlike fashion.

"And how do you know that?" I only half-tease, curious to all hell as to how she came by that observation.

"Because that's what the books say!" she answers in a voice that suggests I'm the child and she's the grown-up.

"What books?" I question her, sending a look that clearly states 'humour me'.

"The fairytale books here on--" she pauses and bends in towards me to whisper in my ear. "--'earth'--" before straightening again. "They say that the pretty girl-princess and the pretty man-prince always belong together."

Stifling with difficulty the wide grin and burst of laughter that wells within me, I nod seriously. "You're right Cassie, they do say that." I lean forward and lower my voice to a whisper. "And you know something?"

"What?" she whispers back.

"I think they belong together too."

And she smiles at me.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~

 

"Bye Cassie." I murmur softly to the half asleep girl in Doc's arms.

She yawns, wrapping her arms tighter around Doc's neck. "Bye Daniel." she mumbles into Doc's shoulder. "Come to party?"

"Your slumber party?" I clarify, exchanging a look with Doc. "Sure I'll be there."

"Good." the girl mumbles, yawning again.

Straightening I stare at Doc for a long moment before smiling. "Thanks Janet," I murmur sincerely, dropping the title slash nickname. "For everything."

"You're welcome Daniel." she responds, returning the smile. "I'm glad I could help."

Unable to stop smiling at her, I lean forward pressing a soft kiss to her lips, noticing her brief look of surprise. "I'll see you tomorrow, Janet."

Her smile returning, she nods, shifting Cassie slightly in her arms. "Tomorrow." she agrees, and I step aside to let her leave.

Moving back into the rapidly emptying mess hall, I watch as Jack wanders over to where Sam is refilling her drink, the two initiating a conversation for the first time since this all began. Despite their mutual banging on Doc--*Janet*--'s office door, I had heard them clearly enough to know they hadn't actually *talked*.

Wandering over under the pretence of 'mingling' through the last remnants of celebrator's, I pause only once I'm close enough to unashamedly eavesdrop.

"Only Daniel." murmurs Jack, shaking his head and I listen as Sam chuckles.

"Only Daniel." she agrees, taking a sip of her drink.

"So, Mrs O'Neill," he teases her and I almost flinch at the glare she suddenly sends him.

"No offence, Sir." she responds firmly, but I think I can see a glimmer of a smile hidden under the black look. "But if anyone in this 'marriage' is going to be changing surnames, you'd better start signing things as 'Mr Carter'."

He stares at her, surprised, for a moment before grinning and I watch as she returns it. "Fair enough," he responds, inclining his head. "So anyway, Mrs Carter-O'Neill," he continues, ignoring her indignant look. "Any chances this ain't real?"

She frowns slightly, regarding him curiously, before shaking her head. "I already checked Sir," she tells him honestly. "That piece of paper *is* our marriage certificate--signed, stamped, dated and everything." she shrugs. "We're legal."

"I was wondering," he muses then. "How they managed to get our signatures on that without our realising?"

Sam chuckles, taking another sip of her drink. "Oh that. General Hammond confessed to that one. Seems the permission papers they got us to sign so Daniel could testify for us weren't *just* 'permission' papers."

Grinning, Jack shakes his head. "Only Daniel..." he murmurs again and she nods.

"Sam?" Surprised, I follow Jack's gaze to the man who's just approached from behind Sam, causing her to turn around.

"Yes? Oh, Glenn." Facing Jack, she waves a hand between the two men. "Doctor Glenn Lansky, Colonel Jack O'Neill. Glenn's on special assignment here at the moment from the Pentagon." she explains efficiently.

"Husband." Jack quips promptly, completing the introductions and earning a look from Sam.

The newly-arrived scientist-Doctor takes it stride, shaking the proffered hand. "Date." he responds just as humorously. Glancing down at Sam, he smiles at her. "Ready to go?"

Sam nods, placing her drink on the table. "Sure." Looking up at Jack, she smiles. "See you tomorrow Sir."

He nods. "Tomorrow Carter." he agrees, smiling goodbye.

Swallowing a sigh, I shrug to myself, returning to the nearby conversation. Oh well... at least they're married now, I think to myself.

It's a start.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~
Epilogue
~x~x~x~x~x~

 

By the time Teal'c had returned two days later the entire Base, including Norad upstairs, had heard about the court-martial and the subsequent marriage of the SGC's second-in-command and leading scientist. Also publicised widely was my position in the whole performance, and in the proceeding days I received an average of no less than fifty or so requests for me to defend various personnel in a range of circumstances.

Explaining it all to Teal'c had been fun, if a little tiring. The poor Jaffa has enough problems understanding our earth culture to begin with--now he had to understand one of the most complex of our traditions in conjunction with its ties to other religions and beliefs from other planets.

Just as I'd promised, life returned to normal. No reassignments, no demerits, no changes whatsoever. The day after Teal'c's return, SG1 went on a standard exploratory mission and it was just as it had always been. I exclaimed over my artefacts, Teal'c stood guard, Jack made wisecracks, and Sam talked to her plants when not flirting with Jack.

Our return marked the first change in Base life, however, with Sam and Jack suddenly confronted with the Base's idea of a 'wedding present'. Seems as though married couples are fully entitled to shared quarters here on Base and a group of willing co-conspirator's had--under Janet's guidance and my urging--moved Sam and Jack out of their respective quarter's and into a shared one.

Upon finding their quarter's reassigned and the 'Just Married' sign stuck to their new quarter's door, the General had had to deal with two very irate team-members. Unfortunately for them, the General had admitted that separate quarter's were not available at the moment--according to the Grapevine, Major's Steel and Bradley's separation had been finalised the previous week so the accommodation switch was extremely welcome on their end--and that the Colonel and Captain were stuck with each other until something else became available.

The quarter's incident didn't go over very well and I found myself retreating to Janet's office for several hours after the mission--not that *that* was any great hardship mind you. According to all reports--namely the people in the neighbouring quarter's--a rather loud and angry argument erupted between the Colonel and Captain that night, accompanied by the obvious indications that Jack had spent the night on the floor or nearest equivalent.

The next day Sam left the Base and spent her day of downtime with Glenn. Jack, likewise, left the Base and I have it on good authority that he spent his day with his former wife, Sara. That night, however, Sam and Jack returned to their shared quarter's and when I woke the following morning to query their whereabouts after a mission debriefing with General Hammond and SG6, I was informed that Sam and Jack had petitioned for and received a week's honeymoon time starting immediately.

Finding them in their quarter's, I was presented with the sight of them supposedly gathering a few belongings but in reality, embracing as if the planet was about to go asunder. I wished them well and left them alone. Seven days later Sam and Jack returned from an obviously pleasant trip to Hawaii, both suntanned and by all outward appearances, happy to be together. If they weren't in love with each other then they were doing a damn fine acting job to make us all think they were.

Glenn and Sara were never heard from again.

Cassie's slumber party was a huge success and Janet was kind enough to only let the girl's practice with makeup on me once. Sweets, pizza and soda were consumed in frightening amounts and more than one pillow fight and giggling fit had to be adjudicated. Leonardo DiCaprio was King for the evening and when the girls *finally* went to sleep, I've no doubt each was dreaming that they were his Queen. Janet and I, on the other hand, took the opportunity of sleep-time to adjourn to her bedroom for our own--more adult--version of a slumber party, and likewise, we also had a great time.

The Grapevine has continued, naturally, with all events taken in stride, and for those who are curious, Major Lewis did *not* have steroids in his system--actual results are still inconclusive however and suspicion is rife.

Lieutenant Simmons, who I'd always suspected as having a crush on Sam, was introduced to Major Sheppard--Lieutenant Colonel Nichols' partner on the O'Neill/Carter court-martial--and the two seem to have hit it off fabulously. Judge McDonnell was taken on a quick off-planet jaunt with SG4 in thanks of her help with the court-martial, and according to all reports, Nichols is still raising hell in the courtroom's.

Closer to home, I've bought an answering machine to take my calls from those wanting my lawyer-ing abilities and the O'Neill/Carter 'will they or won't they' betting pool has now been upgraded to a 'boy or girl' and 'what's the due date' betting pool.

Latest on the underground communication network is the debate over Major Lewis' blood test results, Lieutenant Colonel Nichols apparent 'dead cat' courtroom technique, Captain Pandora's golden crowbar wielding antics, General Hammond's 'coming out of the closet' deadline, the ever-present O'Neill and Carter betting pool, Major Gormley's supposed romance with Colonel Makepeace, and whether or not Janet and I are really planning to elope to Vegas...

But that's another story altogether.

 

~x~x~x~x~x~
The End.

AUTHORS NOTES: Firstly, let me say that I hope you enjoyed the story! Second, I must remind you all that this story is *fiction* with a few facts added and then twisted to make it more interesting. :> The original concept for this story came to me whilst I was driving to my grandmother's in September last year, so for almost a year now it has been brewing and bubbling in the blackened cauldron of my mind. :> List discussions a few months ago on regulations helped boost this story along, and the marriage challenges made me smile at the similarity. On a more personal note, I just want to say that whilst I enjoy writing, this story was extremely *fun*. I smiled continuously throughout the writing of this, especially when creating the different rumours, and even if you guys don't think it was funny--that's ok, 'cause to me it was. :> Also on a personal note, let me say that I apologise to anyone who took offence at their name being added to the story. I intended no harm, only to include as many of you as I could. Apologies also to everyone I couldn't mention. As for why I put myself in there? Well, I didn't want to make anyone else the bad guy. :> The sequeling to "The Stars Seduction" was unintended but ended up working out perfectly anyway. Also unintended was the 'romance' between Daniel and Janet, but by the end I thought it also worked out great, apologies to anyone who disagrees. :> Anyway, enough soap-boxing. Hope the story was worth the ride. :>

Email: Nessi_Anne@Yahoo.Com

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