rigel: (sg1 team heads)

Ficlet Post "W is for Waiting"

For [livejournal.com profile] sg_fignewton's Hammond Alphabet Soup

Forty Minutes overdue

The old-fashioned carriage clock on his desk doesn't lie. He might have to wind it every day, but it still only loses fifteen seconds over the entire year. Even though he's expecting it, the sharp rap at the door is still startling and the status report that the airman hands over isn't any more enlightening than the previous one.

There's a protocol to follow, but even setting those procedures into motion does nothing to wear away at the burden of command that has settled around him.

In the five years that he has had the command of the SGC, offworld teams have missed their return window regularly. He has directed recovery missions in the hope that the missing men and women can be repatriated alive and well, celebrated with them on their return through the Gate – smiles and handshakes all around and a stern reminder about straying from guidelines. More often than not, that last is directed at SG-1, with O'Neill always making a flippant remark before heading to debriefing. He's seen joy and relief reflected on the faces of those around him and experienced the whole gamut of emotion from behind several feet of reinforced concrete and plexiglass, but he has also overseen the recovery of the fallen and waited solemnly at the foot of the ramp to see them home on their last journey.

It's hard not to think of these things in terms of percentages and the narrowing window of time before the odds tip over towards the worst kinds of outcomes.

Even harder is the enforced passivity. Counting down the hours until he can make a decision, and still hoping that it won't come to that. Eyeing the red phone on his desk and dreading the call that he'll have to make.

He's not the pen-tapping type, nor one for pacing up and down and wearing a hole in the carpet. There's just the routine of following through on all possible leads and trying to figure out what went wrong.

He's not above praying for intervention though; hope is never in short supply – it's what keeps them all going.


Nice! I loved the description of all the possibilities of return, and I especially love it that he knows that the clock loses exactly 15 seconds over the course of a year!
Thank you!!

Hehe, I figured that George would be the kind of man who would keep track of little details like that :D
Oh, so yes. I was just watching 'Nemesis' again, where recently-appendectomized Daniel's feeling the pain of having to wait and watch and wonder, and Hammond tells him that now he knows how it feels. This is a wonderful portrait of that, especially couched in the hard numbers of clocks and countdowns and percentages, with hope as something that keeps them all going (like the winding of that carriage clock).
I love that Ep. There's a lot of great moments between Hammond and Daniel in it.

*smishies* Thank you!
This is wonderful. It feels so very true to General Hammond. Really nicely done!
Yay!! Thank you.

I had fun with it.
I do love this. As Paian comments above, George told Daniel how difficult the strain of waiting should be. We know he's good on the front lines - we've seen it - so how hard must it have been to wait and wait and wait?

Love the metaphor of winding the clock. And waiting.
Heee! I deliberately chose W so I could do a leetle ficlet on this subject. It's always struck me as the hardest part of being on the Earth side of the Gate.
Excellent little study. Hammond of Texas is indeed a deep and wise man. I especially loved the last line.
Hammond always comes up with a good and pithy comment.