A New Path
Summary: It’s time for Jim and Blair to make their decision known. Part of A New Direction series; continues on from Show and Tell; crossover with Stargate SG-1.
Author’s Note: Un-beta’d as usual.
Disclaimer: Jim, Blair, Simon, et al, and The Sentinel belong to Pet Fly, UPN, and Paramount. Jack and the gang belong to MGM, and the other Stargate Powers That Be. No copyright infringement is intended.
General Hammond and the rest of SG-1 were already in the briefing room when O’Neill arrived with Jim and Blair.
“Good morning, Colonel, gentlemen. I hope you found the accommodations adequate, Doctor Sandburg, Mister Ellison,” General Hammond greeted them with a smile. Studying them as they took their seats at the table, he though that both men seemed a little tired, but that was probably to be expected given the decision that they’d been asked to make.
“Good morning, Sir. Yes, thank you, they were fine,” Blair answered, slipping into the chair next to Doctor Jackson.
“Yes, Sir, thank you,” Jim said as he took the seat next to Blair.
“Before we start, Sir, may I ask that Doctor Fraiser join us, if she’s available?” Blair asked somewhat nervously.
“Certainly, Doctor Sandburg,” Hammond stood and made his way over to the phone affixed to the nearby wall. He spoke for several moments before hanging up and resuming his seat at the table.
“Doctor Fraiser should be with us in a few minutes, Doctor Sandburg. I hope that neither of you are unwell?” Hammond asked, a concerned look on his face.
“Oh, no, Sir, nothing like that,” Blair smiled. “But I think that Doctor Fraiser will need to be included in our discussion.”
Hammond nodded but remained silent, hoping that the CMO’s inclusion in the meeting meant that Ellison and Sandburg had decided to accept the positions offered to them. “While we’re waiting, why don’t we help ourselves to coffee or tea?”
The suggestion was quickly acted upon, and by the time the CMO entered the briefing room a few minutes later, everyone had the beverage of his or her choice. “Coffee, Doc?” O’Neill had lingered by the carafe after filling his mug.
“Thank you, Sir. Just white, please,” Fraiser accepted the offer with a smile as she took a seat next to Teal’c.
“To business, then,” General Hammond said once O’Neill had retaken his seat at the table. “Have you reached a decision on whether or not you are willing to become a part of Stargate Command, gentlemen?”
Jim glanced at Blair before answering. “Yes, Sir. Both Blair and I have decided that we would very much like to be members of this Command.”
“That’s excellent new, Mister Ellison, Doctor Sandburg,” Hammond’s pleasure at their decision was obviously genuine.
“Uh, there are a couple of conditions that we need to discuss with you first, General Hammond,” Blair said quietly before the General could continue. He paused, trying to judge how the General and the others had reacted to his words, but they were all well-schooled in concealing their reactions.
“Please, continue, Doctor Sandburg,” Hammond said encouragingly, wondering where this was leading.
“Thank you, Sir,” Blair breathed a silent sigh of relief that only Jim was aware of. “First, I’m not sure exactly what you were intending, but it is imperative that Jim and I are on the same SG team.”
“Why is that, Doctor?” Hammond leaned forward slightly. This was a little unexpected.
“Yesterday, we discussed what being a Sentinel means in terms of what Jim can do, but we never touched on the downside. I think we need to do that now. Basically, Jim runs the risk of becoming lost in his senses if he concentrates on using one too heavily. We call that a zone. In order to prevent that from happening, a Sentinel has, for want of a better term, a Guide – someone who helps to anchor him or her and prevents them from falling into a zone, or brings them out of it if they do fall into one.”
“And you’re JJ’s Guide,” O’Neill made it a statement rather than a question. It would certainly explain how two such apparently dissimilar people as Jim and Blair had become such close friends.
“He is,” Jim confirmed immediately. “We’ve experimented with the few people who know about me, but it soon became obvious that being a Guide is as unique as being a Sentinel – no one else has been as effective as Sandburg in grounding me or bringing me back from a zone.”
“I’m sorry, but I’m a little lost here,” Fraiser spoke up, looking from Blair to Jim in confusion.
“Oh, man, I’m sorry, Doctor Fraiser, I should have prefaced my remarks with a quick run down on what a Sentinel is,” Blair quickly filled the doctor in on the broad details of what he’d told the others the day before.
“That’s how you were able to know what injuries Billings and Taylor had suffered yesterday,” Fraiser said, nodding at Jim.
“That’s right, Doctor Fraiser,” Jim ceded the point. “The training I’ve had as a medic enables me to translate what I hear, see, smell, and feel into an understanding of what’s happening, or has happened, to the person I train my senses on.”
“That settles it,” Frasier declared, “you – both of you – definitely need to be included on rescue missions where there may be injuries!”
“I’ll take that under advisement, Doctor Fraiser,” Hammond said, with an amused twinkle in his eye when the doctor realised that she’d overstepped her authority.
“Uh, yes, of course, Sir,” she murmured, somewhat flustered that she’d let her enthusiasm overtake her.
Jim and Blair exchanged an amused glance before Blair continued.
“The second thing that you need to be aware of – and this is why it was important to include Doctor Fraiser in this meeting – is that Jim has atypical reactions to most medication. Drugs that would render most people unconscious barely make him drowsy, or knock him out for a fraction of the expected time. Other drugs that have no discernable impact on other people can knock him unconscious for hours, cause respiratory or cardiac arrest, or any number of other extreme allergic reactions,” he shuddered as he recalled some of the close calls they’d had with seemingly innocuous medications.
“It sounds as though you’ve had a lot of experience with this,” Jackson noted dryly.
“Way too much,” Jim grimaced. “The bottom line is that Blair has my medical power of attorney, because he is the person with the most knowledge about how various drugs will affect me, and is the best person to be consulted if I can’t speak for myself. I wouldn’t trust that to anyone else.”
“I have a comprehensive list of the drugs that we’ve had experience with over the years, as well as their effects on Jim,” Blair stated as he reached into a pocket and pulled out a dual CD case, which he handed over to Fraiser. “One disk contains the list, the other has a copy of my original dissertation – the, er, one that I publicly declared fraudulent.”
“I take it that it wasn’t fraudulent?” Frasier arched an elegant eyebrow as she accepted the CDs from Blair.
“The press conference was the lie, which Blair felt necessary to protect me when his dissertation was leaked without authorisation. The dissertation is factual,” Jim said seriously, then suddenly smiled. “Factual and long – very, very long!”
Blair slapped him playfully on the arm as the others laughed, breaking the tension that had grown in the room. “Laugh it up, Big Guy, but I bet they won’t have to look up the big words!”
“Jack probably will,” Jackson quipped, sending another ripple of laughter through the group.
“Gee, thanks, Daniel!” O’Neill adopted a hurt look before joining in with the laughter, deciding that it wasn’t necessary to mention that he’d already read the dissertation.
Hammond allowed the levity for a moment or two longer, pleased at the way the two newcomers already seemed to be meshing in with SG-1 and Doctor Fraiser. “Was there anything else, Doctor Sandburg?”
“Uh, just one thing,” Blair was obviously reluctant to continue and looked to Jim for help.
“After what Teal’c told us yesterday about the System Lords wanting so desperately to take any Sentinels – or Trak’tah, to use Teal’c’s term – as hosts, we need to develop a contingency plan that would, ah, prevent that from happening,” Jim was careful not to look at Blair as he spoke, knowing how upset his friend was about what he was proposing.
Once she realised what Ellison was implying, Fraiser was understandably horrified, even while she understood why it was necessary. The others merely nodded in acceptance of what Ellison had said.
“Understood, Son, and agreed, although I hope and pray that it never comes to that. I would suggest that you work on that with Major Carter, Teal’c, and Colonel O’Neill,” Hammond said, his heart heavy at the need for such measures, but impressed at the courage both Ellison and Sandburg displayed in facing the necessity head on.
“It’s one of the reasons – probably the most important one – that we need to keep the knowledge that Jim is a Sentinel, and exactly what that means, restricted to as few people as possible,” Blair added firmly.
“I’ll need to incorporate your list of medications and Jim’s reactions to them in his medical file, but there’s no need to make any mention of his enhanced senses in the file. They’ll just be considered as allergies as far as any medical treatment goes,” Fraiser stated decisively, hoping to ease Blair and Jim’s concern.
“That’s good news, Doctor, thank you,” Hammond smiled at the news. “Now, I think it’s time that we moved on to the specific duties and responsibilities that come with the positions you’ve been offered.”
“If you’ll excuse me, Sir, I don’t think you need me for this, and I’d like to get started on the documentation that Doctor Sandburg has provided,” Fraiser stood, holding the CD case in her hand.
“That’s fine, Doctor, thank you.”
“Come and see me later, both of you,” was Fraiser’s parting instruction to Jim and Blair before she left the room.
“Now, let’s get down to it, shall we?” Hammond opened the top folder in the stack on the desk in front of him as he spoke. “Mister Ellison, what I propose is to reactivate your Army commission, with an immediate promotion to the rank of Colonel, given your skills and experience as both a Ranger and a Police Detective, as well as your recently achieved Masters degree. You will report directly to Colonel O’Neill, in his capacity as 2IC of the SGC. Is that acceptable to you?”
Jim was stunned by the General’s proposal, but agreed, conditionally, after taking a moment to mull it over. “Yes, Sir. Ah, my only concern would be that I might be reassigned away from the SGC should the Army decide they want me somewhere else, Sir.”
“I understand your concern, Son, but I can assure you that’s not going to happen. No one – be they Air Force, Marine, or Army – is assigned to, or reassigned away from the SGC without my explicit approval. While it may be true that you will be the only member of the Army, and therefore the Rangers, currently stationed at the SGC, I have the backing of the Joint Chiefs and the President in this matter, so you may rest assured that you will be here for as long as you want to be.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
“Cool. You’ll be our token Ranger. Our Lone Ranger, if you will,” O’Neill quipped, drawing a disapproving stare from General Hammond, and muffled snorts of amusement from Jim, Blair, Daniel, and Carter. Teal’c merely raised an imperious eyebrow.
“If you would allow me to continue, Colonel O’Neill?” Hammond asked, the sarcastic tone offset by the familiar amused gleam in his eyes.
“Sorry, General,” O’Neill’s irrepressible grin ruined his attempt at contrition.
“Doctor Sandburg, you will be part of the Archaeology/Anthropology Department, which is headed by Doctor Jackson. I’m sure that you will have no difficulty in fitting in there, and your contributions will certainly be most welcome.”
“Thank you, General,” Blair beamed happily at the news.
“For the foreseeable future, you will both be assigned to SG-1, although I envisage assigning you to a new team some time in the future, once Colonel O’Neill and I have identified the other two team members. As Doctor Frasier so aptly suggested, I would hope that you would both be willing to participate in search and rescue operations, where your expertise will be invaluable.”
“Of course, Sir.”
“Both of you will be required to qualify with various weapons, and in hand to hand combat. You will undergo an initial evaluation of these skills, as well as physical fitness. I understand your reticence about carrying or using a firearm, Doctor Sandburg,” the General held up a hand to forestall the protest that Blair was about to make, “however, you will not go offworld if you are unarmed. It can be a very hostile universe out there, Doctor, and your life, and the lives of your team mates, may well depend on your ability and willingness to use a weapon.”
“Understood, Sir,” Blair was obviously still reluctant, but understood what the General was saying, and why.
“Very well. All that remains now is for us to discuss remuneration and miscellaneous personnel issues. Colonel O’Neill, I believe that this would be an appropriate time for SG-1 to withdraw from the meeting.”
“I concur, Sir,” O’Neill agreed readily, standing and moving away from the table. “C’mon, kids, I’m sure that Master Sergeant O’Meara mentioned something about pie when I saw him at breakfast this morning,” he grinned at his team before turning to Blair and Jim. “Get one of the SFs to bring you to the canteen when you’re finished here, guys. You need fortification before facing Doctor Fraiser – and pie to celebrate you joining the SGC!”
SG-1 departed with smiles and murmurs of welcome for Jim and Blair.
“Let’s adjourn to my office,” Hammond stood, picking up the folders from the table, and led the way into his office, which was adjacent to the briefing room. Once they’d were all seated, the General got down to business.
“Colonel Ellison, you will find that the pay scale for SCG military personnel is much more favourable than that which applies to the rest of the military. We select only the best of the best for the SGC, and demand that they give of their best at all times. Remuneration is commensurate with these expectations, as I believe you will see,” Hammond said, passing the folder over to Jim for him to examine.
Jim glanced quickly over the summary sheet listing pay and conditions before lifting his gaze to meet the General’s. “It’s more than generous, Sir. Thank you.”
“If would care to sign the forms included in that folder, Colonel, your reactivation will be official, effective immediately.”
“Yes, Sir,” Jim accepted the pen that the General offered to him and set about signing the forms. Once that was accomplished, he returned the folder to Hammond, but retained the pen, twirling it idly in his fingers.
“Doctor Sandburg, the package that we offer to our civilian science personnel is also one that I hope you will find appropriate. Reviews are done annually by department heads, with ample scope for pay increases commensurate with increased skills and experience.” The General handed another folder to Blair as he spoke.
Blair opened the folder and quickly read the sheet outlining his proposed pay and conditions. His eyes widened as he read, and then reread, several sections.
“It’s like, totally acceptable, General Hammond. Thank you, Sir.”
“Make no mistake, Doctor, you’ll earn every cent working here,” Hammond informed him with a smile. “If you would sign the employment contract contained in the folder, I’ll have my aide process it immediately.”
Jim handed the pen to Blair and watched with fond amusement as Blair enthusiastically signed all the required forms before handing the folder and pen back to the General.
“Naturally, you’ll need some time to finalise your affairs in Cascade, and I understand you have a graduation ceremony to attend in two days, Doctor Sandburg,” Hammond chuckled at the startled look on Blair’s face.
“Oh, man! I completely forgot about that!” Between Jim’s injury and the job offer, the graduation ceremony hadn’t exactly been the most important thing on his mind.
“Shall we say the twenty-seventh, then?”
“That sounds fine, Sir,” Ellison answered for the both of them. The date would give them a little less than three weeks to sort out everything in Cascade, but he was confident that they could have everything well in hand by then, and he knew that Simon and Joel would help them where necessary.
“In the meantime, in the hope that you would both accept your positions with the SGC, I took the liberty of having the quartermaster check your clothing sizes when your bags were delivered to your rooms yesterday afternoon. You’ll both find several sets of BDUs waiting for you when you return to your quarters after this meeting,” Hammond told them as he stood to shake their hands and officially welcome them to the Command. “While there is no requirement that civilians wear BDUs, Doctor Sandburg, many of our non-military personnel seem to prefer wearing them while they’re on base. The choice is yours, of course.”
“Thank you, Sir,” Blair smiled as he shook the General’s hand. “Er, I don’t have to cut my hair, do I?”
“No, Doctor. That won’t be necessary,” Hammond laughed as he ushered them from his office. “Sergeant Halliday, please escort Colonel Ellison and Doctor Sandburg to the Security Office so that they can pick up their identification, then back to their quarters, then you may resume your normal duties – an escort is no longer required.” The General handed the required forms for Security to the Sergeant.
“Yes, Sir,” Halliday snapped to attention until the General had returned to sit behind his desk, then turned to Jim and Blair with a friendly smile. “If you’d come with me, please, Sirs?”
After changing into blue BDUs, black t-shirts, and boots, Jim and Blair made their way to the canteen, where they quickly grabbed some lunch before joining SG-1.
O’Neill studied them as they walked over to the table, a smug smile on his face. Over the years, he’d made it his business to keep track of any major events that might affect friends, both past and present, and the media frenzy had raised some major flags with regard to Ellison had resulted in also bringing Sandburg to his attention. Always on the lookout for additional manpower for the SGC, once O’Neill had looked into Sandburg’s records, he’d lobbied hard to get the General to consider both men for recruitment.
Ellison had been an outstanding officer when he’d been in the Army the first time. He’d distinguished himself throughout his career, and had been one of those officers identified early as being worthy of inclusion on a fast track for future promotions. He’d completed a Bachelor’s degree with a double major – Political Science and Physics – as well as a Master’s in Physics, in the time it took most people to complete a Bachelor’s degree. After his return from Peru, where he’d completed his mission against all odds, his promotion to Major had, in fact, been in the works when Ellison had made the decision to resign his commission. It was no surprise to anyone that he’d served with that he’d gone on to distinguish himself as a top notch police detective, albeit one with ‘attitude’, especially when he’d been in Vice, although the positive influence of his former partner, Jack Prendergast, had been noticeable before his disappearance. Ellison’s arrest record had been impressive, even before the reawakening of his enhanced senses and his partnership with Sandburg.
Enhanced senses notwithstanding, Ellison was still exactly the sort of man that they needed at the SGC – intelligent, honourable, courageous, and dedicated to his team. The senses, as far as O’Neill was concerned, were just a bonus.
Sandburg’s academic record was more than impressive, even taking into account the difficulties with his doctoral dissertation. He’d been on numerous ground-breaking expeditions, often involving first, or near to first, contact with native peoples, and he’d published an incredible number of articles on a wide variety of subjects in various well respected anthropological journals. Both of Sandburg’s dissertations had been impressive pieces of work – and O’Neill had read both, although the first, denounced work was not supposed to be still available. Beyond that, the loyalty Sandburg had demonstrated in trying to protect Ellison by calling the press conference to denounce his first dissertation had impressed O’Neill even more than his academic record. O’Neill had quietly made sure that all copies of the first dissertation available online had been removed or corrupted beyond being able to be used, even before he’d approached the two men with the job offer. It had just seemed like the right thing to do.
Of course, if Carter or Daniel ever found out what O’Neill could do with a computer and access to the Internet, or that he’d actually understood the two dissertations without having to resort to a dictionary, he’d strenuously deny it…
“You seem to be out of uniform, gentlemen,” O’Neill drawled, an evil glint in his eyes, as the two men set their trays on the table and sat down.
Both men glanced quickly at what they were wearing and then at each other before returning their attention to O’Neill. Ellison knew his friend was up to something, he just wasn’t sure what.
“Welcome to the team, Jim, Blair,” Daniel grinned as Teal’c affixed the SG-1 team patch to Jim’s left sleeve, and Carter did the same for Blair.
“Welcome, Blair Sandburg, Colonel Ellison,” Teal’c inclined his head in a brief, regal nod.
“Good to have you with us, Blair, Sir,” Carter grinned.
“Thanks,” Jim smiled at their new team mates. “And please, it’s either Jim or Ellison – whatever you prefer,” he added to Carter and Teal’c.
“As you wish, Ellison,” Teal’c nodded again.
“As long as you call me Sam, thanks, Jim, but I’d better stick to ‘Sir’, at least when we’re on base,” Carter said with a smile.
Conversation dwindled while all six concentrated on their meals. Jim and Blair had been too tired to bother with breakfast and had opted to sleep in, so they were understandably hungry.
“So, Kemosabe, I guess you’ll be needing a lift back to Cascade to get started on sorting things out for your move to the Springs?” O’Neill asked once they’d all finished their lunches.
“Yeah. We still okay to head out in the morning?”
“No problem, but Carter will be your chauffer this time around. She’s been bugging me for a chance at the Lear for ages,” O’Neill said. “Actually, if it’s okay with you two, we thought we might make it a team outing. T’s been wanting to see more of the world outside the Mountain, and Daniel needs to get some sun and breathe some air that isn’t full of dust from all the old rocks in his office.”
“Artefacts, Jack,” Daniel corrected with a smile. It seemed to be a phrase he used regularly.
“It’s fine with me, if it’s fine with Kemosabe,” Blair laughed, nudging Jim playfully in the ribs.
“I wouldn’t laugh too loudly, Sandburg,” Jim smirked. “’Cos if I’m the Lone Ranger, that makes you Tonto.”