Balls & Scars
"So, we got to the ball part. My research tells me it was quite a surprise" Malcolm said
"Well, it was…" Sam started
"Interesting " Jack shrugged
"Sam? Where are you? I thought you should be here about now"
"Well. There's a slight change on plans"
"No kidding," she sighed "What is it?" he said concerned
"Well, it was agreed with the Committee of ordering-around-for-Today that the Military Service Chiefs will join"
"But…" he started to argue
"They said it will look like we support you; like we don't… hell! You are there because they forced this upon us.."
"But… you are supposed to dance with me and all that jazz!" he whined
"Yeah… but they don't know it; anyways… Cassie, Vala and I have a plan. Hopefully it won't fire back"
"Sam.." he trailed and sighed "I am not dancing with Vala." He affirmed and she smiled even knowing that he couldn't see her.
"No, you won't"
"Well, at some point of the meeting that was held prior to the ball; the committee in charge of organizing the ball added the participation of the Military Service Chief"
"So 'General Carter' was to be there too," Malcolm said and the couple nodded
"Ladies and Gentleman," the voice said and in the backstage, Sam grew nervous, "in preparation for the Inaugural Ball, we want to introduce you the current Military Service Chiefs. Chief of Naval Operation Admiral Rabb."
Harm, smiled at them and left the backstage, in his perfectly fitting navy dinner dress. They watched him walk to the front, salute to the crowd or to the cameras and then walk to the right side where he saluted the Senior Enlisted Advisers before walking to the left side and stand.
"Chief of Staff of The Army, General Holden," he followed the steps of the navy guy in a neatly done Army mess dress. Once he disappeared from their view the voice started again
"Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Mackenzie,"
The marine General turned to Sam and smiled
"Wish me luck," she told Sam before following the steps of the two males
"Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Franklin,"
"Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Vidrine," he was wearing the Air Force Command Uniform
"And last but not least, and I believe this is a first since I don't think you have seen him before, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Carter," Sam inhaled deeply before getting out of the back and walked to the front trying not to be blinded out by camera flashes. Her uniform was identical to General Vidrine's and considering there wasn't a female command uniform, yet. She was very happy about using the well pressed pants. She got to the front and saluted the crowd, someone howled and there were some whistles; but she remained stoically serious as the situation demanded it. She walked to the line of enlisted advisers and exchanged salutes before walking to the Generals and Admiral and they all saluted her; she saluted them back and stood at the furthest end of the Stage.
The flashed died down and people stood quietly before the voice took over again
"Ladies and Gentlemen, The President Of the United States," Jack appeared on his black tux and people went crazy with claps and pictures; and he, as the people before him, went to the Enlisted Advisers and shook their hands. Then walked to the other side of the stage and he was received by a line of Generals and Admirals already saluting him. He smiled at them and he went one by one saluting them.
He got to Sam and they looked at each other straight into their eyes
"What's the plan, Sam?" he said, using the link
"You'll see, now go, " she answered. For the people out there; it only looked like they did exactly the same than the others.
Jack walked to the podium and started his speech; Sam looked straight and then she got her cue, on the side of the room Cassie was waving for her to come down. She walked down the stage trying to be as invisible as she could.
"So, you appeared as the Chairman and not as the First Lady?"
"Well, I did both actually"
"And that's why there's that news with the history of the bathroom, of course!" Malcolm said
"Well, it was one of my favorites when I was doing my research, It was written by a Stella Johnson," he said passing them the holo-news. It's any of it true?"
Stella Johnson, first assignment was to cover the Commander in Chief Ball. She was concentrating on the words coming out of the POTUS; when she noted someone giving signs to the Chairman and later on she walked down the Stage using the side stair and out of the saloon where the ball was being held. She decided right there that it was worth to follow them, she could get the words transcribed later; so, she told her camera man she would go to get some air.
She got out of the room with time to see the two women walk fast to the end of the hall and disappear. She walked to where she saw them and looked puzzled at the bathroom door.
"Cassie, where is it?" She heard one say and she entered the room.
"Sorry, I put it on the handicapped one… there's more room there, " she said, and smiled sheepishly to Johnson, and of the corner of her eye, she saw the blonde disappeared on the handicapped stalls. "They are all free" the woman, 'Cassie', said to Johnson
"What about the makeup girl?" Sam asked loudly
"She will be here in a few"
"Crap! And the shoes?"
"Sorry, I have them. There," Stella heard a box being pushed.
"Hi… anyone here?"
"Yeah, she will be out in a few," as soon Cassie said it, Sam opened the door and got out. She sat on the bench that existed on the bathroom and her hair and makeup process started. After less than 10 minutes; she was ready to leave the bathroom and be presented as the First Lady. She turned around to look at mirror image when the makeup artist picked up something on her back
"Eww! We should cover those, " she said
"Those scars on your back, they are awful" Sam clenched her jaw; the transformation into her younger self had taken most of the scars out of her body; but the ones that were too deep or connected to deeply to her remained.
"I'm sorry my scars disturb you; but I am first and foremost a soldier. We come with scars, they remind us of what we lost and what we survived. I am not covering any scars I might have. I am proud of them. They are also a reminder that someone else didn't' need to go through the pain, they remind me that someone else survived, they remind me of the people I've lost, they remind me the things I can't forget and if by getting it, I've saved one person, that means a mother or father, a brother or sister or a kid, still have their loved ones; and they remind me how badly I failed to some of them." She said, "Cassie." She said and left the room
"I'm sorry for her outburst," said Cassie "but the one you pointed out… that's one of the hardest ones"
"How come?" Said Stella, she saw the scar from her position and it looked pretty bad.
"She got that one by saving a junior officer.., And with that one, she also failed to save her best friend," they gasped, "it was February 20th, 2004. She was on a mission and they were ambushed; the medical team was there and the CMO, who was Sam's best friend, was also deployed to help an officer who got injured. They were protecting the area when Jack spotted someone to the side; he moved to get rid of him and he got shot; Sam ran up to him and checked, thankfully, his vest covered him and he was alive but unconscious, she was his 2IC, which meant she was in charge. She radioed the CMO and conferred to decide if they could take their retreat, and that's when she saw it; there was a guy about to shoot at one of the younger kids off the team and another guy about to get to the medical team, she had to decide between the kid and the medical team; she warned the medical team as she tackled the kid and got that shot in the back. She fell, and that's when she saw it. The medical team... they didn't hear her and the CMO got shot... She saw her go down. The Doc didn't survive and that's the history I can tell you. The rest of it is classified"
"How do you know that's true?"
"The CMO…" she said with a sad smile, the two women nodded, "she was my mom. I could have lost Sam and Jack and my mom that day; they were all parents figures to me. I don't know who took it worse… but I know all of them, Jack and Sam and Daniel and even T, blame themselves for my mother's death... But out there, there's a girl named Janet, that got to meet her dad… and that, that's what my mom wanted you know? To save as many lives as she could," she wiped away her tears and walked to the door. "I saw you with a camera man; please if you are going to write about this… be fair"
"Cassie," Stella called remembering the name she heard
"Who is this Jack that you talked about?" Cassie smiled mischievously
"You probably wrote a lot about a Jack O'Neill lately, it shouldn't be as hard to figure." And as soon as she opened the door it could be heard "The First lady of the United States"
"Aww, now I missed Sam's entry," she pouted and left
"Well, yes, I escaped the stage as soon as I spotted Cassie, got changed, told the makeup artist I was proud of my scars and left"
"But the history Cassie tells… it is true; except they were staff blasts and not guns"
"My injury.. Well, I wasn't concerned about it, I just saw Jack being badly injured, and then I just lost my best friend; a nurse spotted my shoulder bleeding a couple of hours later, when I passed out waiting for news on Jack. We never learned what they fired to injured me, it wasn't a blast because those cauterize the injure. Anyways, they took the shrapnel and dirt out and patched me"
"According the Council; those scars are too attached to us; that's why we still have some of them," they went silent, remembering Janet; it was many years ago, but they still felt guilty and felt the lost as if was the first day. Malcolm cleared his throat
"I'm sorry guys; what about the ball?"
"Well, I gave my speech, called Sam, we danced, we got down, had dinner… you know the usual"
He turned around and walked to the podium; the applause and the music finally died out.
"You know, I will probably get used to be called that! And two months later it will be the end of my term… yeah, yeah, laugh all you want but you all know it is true. These are the kind of things which happen when they make me do speeches several times a day; that's why my best friend is a linguist. He can talk... incessantly, but we are not here to hear me ranting about old friends! We are here for you. And let me say I really hope you are somewhat comfortable in your fancy dresses. I actually hated the dress blues, but hey! It was good to get girls. Oh crap! The wife can hear me and I don't think the Secret Service would be very happy with 'eagle one' sleeping in the rose garden.
But let me tell you, the wife is worth it. She can kick my butt and yours… and still looks as beautiful and hot as hell; can I even say hot as hell? I don't know probably I will get someone from the protocol office letting me know those kinds of things… tomorrow. I'm so not looking forward to that one.
I can help it, she is hot as… Netu! There... I didn't say it again. And you know what you will have the pleasure to meet her today."
"Yup! Hooray sounds good to me, and you want to know why? Because she deserves it, and so do you; and it was pointed to us today that it will be kind of fitting; you will learn why later on. So we got two things going on here; one my wife has to appear and the second one is contacting with some folks abroad. Then we dance and we leave you be. So which one you prefer first?"
"Is she really hot, sir?" someone dared to scream
"Like the Chairman?" another one did the same, covered by the darkness.
"Which Chairman? Chairman Josephson isn't my type. Sorry Matt, but you really aren't"
"Joint Chiefs? Oh, you have no idea. I guess that's a ladies first situation?"
"Well, let's call her"
"Ladies and Gentleman, the First Lady of the United States Mrs Samantha O'Neill"
"Oh, it's such a shame the cameras aren't working right now, you should see her in a close up. What's that?"
"Want me to take a look on the things?" she said once she reached his side
"Hmm, leaving you with doohickeys and fellow techs?" he said and she disappeared again "you know she is quite good at fixing those things; except Gameboys … she keep breaking those"
"You keep playing them while there are so much better games nowadays," her voice came from the speakers.
"Ladies and Gentleman, Doctor Samantha O'Neill," the voice in off said when she walked again
"Will he keep doing that?" She said pointing over to the back "Anyways, the connection is ready, no close ups yet tough"
"Cool, I'm not that handsome for a full close up anyways," he joked, "Hi, there!" he said and the screen shone showing several people.
"Mr President, sir"
"Okay, so tell us something about you?"
"Private First Class Roberts, Sir stationed at Lybia"
"Sergeant Donaldson , Kuwait"
"Petty Officer Ray, USS Bush, sir"
"Senior Airman Wiles, currently stationed at… General!?"
"At tease; I'm retired, Wiles"
"You are, sir, however, I already had an incident with the General; sir"
"Care to explain?" Jack asked and Wiles looked nervously at the pair.
"Go ahead, he is the Commanding in Chief," Sam said and they smiled.
"Uh, okey, I'm stationed at the Hammond, Sir. System support. I just started my tour and it is my first time as system support. The Hammond is full of civilian techs, sir. So, the door opens and this tech comes in and starts working around. We all looked at her; she is quite stunning and she looked smart and you know we are all guys and the last time that we saw someone like her… "
"I think we all get the picture, Airman," Jack cleared his throat.
"Well, we were kind of trying to impress her and by doing so we were about to screw things very badly. I have to say in my career, I never had someone dressing me down as hard as her; when she finished we all thought 'wow! She could be a helluva Drill Sergeant' and then, she started to keep us on our toes. Not an hour later everything was fixed and she was still working with something when we heard a 'General to the Bridge' call and there was not a single General there, sir; the Commander is a Colonel. Then, out of the blue, she walked to the phone and said 'Let me establish a secure bridge between you and here and I'll take it' she did something and there on the screen there was General Reynolds"
"Talked to Reynolds recently?" he asked, and Sam just shrugged
"No, sir; I didn't talk with General Reynolds, sir. She did. What scared the hell out of us was that she didn't flinch and she didn't salute him. He did! Then the call ended and once again the screen was on and we got there the whole joint chiefs, sir!"
"And let me guess, you manage to figure out who she was and she let you go if you promised not to tell anyone"
"Yes, sir; so you see why I can't avoid saluting her"
"At tease Sergeant; so you see, Jack this is why we should have go with plan B and not A," she said smiling at him
"Got it! Anyways; we just wanted to contact with all of you to thank you for the amazing job you make out there. Keep doing the good work and Wiles, try not to underestimate woman, or scientists."
"I learned my lesson, Mr President"
"Ok… so I guess we need to introduce you, Ms. O'Neill?"
"I think Wiles already gave all the clues"
"Anyways, let me do this… so people, let me introduce you my wife, General Doctor Samantha Carter-O'Neill, Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff," the room went silent for a while and the camera finally caught up with the first couple, zooming in to their faces, and a round of cheers and claps exploded. "So I take you like my wife"
"And for some reason world wide press was more concerned about what I wore more than on what we did that day"
"Yes… it was a nice dress though," Jack said looking mischievously at her