rigel: (sg1 team heads)[personal profile] rigel wrote
on August 7th, 2008 at 06:50 am

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.

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