Advice From a General
“Wait up, Major Sheppard.”
John turned, adjusting his vest. He responded to this summons calmly, “I’m not going anywhere yet. We don’t leave for an hour.”
“I knew that!” General Jack O’Neill winked.
John wasn’t sure the General did. It was hard to tell with O’Neill – the man was an amusing enigma. Sheppard waited patiently. Sure enough, Jack declared, “I’m stuck here while you’re going to enjoy adventures in the wild blue yonder.”
“I guess so…” John said, slightly bemused.
“Now, while there is only one of us out there, you’re going to have to follow the rules.”
“Rules?” repeated Sheppard. “You’re not going to give me prime directive crap are you?”
Jack O’Neill shook his head vigorously. “No, no, none of that crap. I’m talking about the rules of life in the universe. I figure there needs to be at least one of me out there.”
John said nothing, merely tapped his foot. The General got the hint and continued, “First of all, hide your assets. I read your report – it says you’re a brilliant mathematician. You’ll want to keep that to yourself. Do you think I’m half as dumb as I appear to be?”
“Erm…do you want me to answer that truthfully, sir?” Sheppard asked, hiding a smile.
“My point exactly!” O’Neill said triumphantly. “The reason that the Goa’uld have made so many mistakes with me is that I’m smarter than they think I am.”
“Right…so no showing off until a life or death situation?”
Jack thought this over for a moment. He shrugged. “If you can algebra your way out of something.”
“How about magic squares?”
“Let’s not get complicated,” suggested the General. “Now, attitude. The right way to getting anything out of a prisoner or pissing your enemies off is sarcasm.”
John wasn’t sure if O’Neill was joking. The older man certainly had a serious expression on his face, but everyone knew the General’s moods were a little unpredictable.
Sheppard cleared his throat. “Do you really think we’ll have enemies in the Pegasus Galaxy?”
“You never know.” Jack shrugged again. “Weir may be good, but not everyone is a nice guy.”
“Ok…so I need to act dumb and be sarcastic. Anything else?”
The General leaned forward and whispered conspiringly, “Call your enemies names. Like…Steve.”
“What’s wrong with Bob?” John demanded.
“Steve is better.”
“…no, Bob is.”
“Well, whatever,” Jack O’Neill finished the tirade quickly. “With any luck you’ll get to use both names. Next is a very important rule – challenge authority.”
Sheppard didn’t say anything for a moment, wondering if he’d heard correctly. He pointed out after a second or so, “I don’t think Dr Weir or Colonel Sumner would appreciate that.”
“Take it from a veteran who’s saved the world from disobeying orders.”
“I’ll…give it some thought,” John promised.
“Right…the next rule. Only military personnel are restricted by the Regs so if you find someone you like who isn't military, don’t beat about the bush.”
Sheppard frowned uncertainly. “Uh…if you say so.”
“I speak from personal experience,” the General told him seriously. “Make sure you don’t waste what you’ve got. One last thing…”
“This has to be the clincher, right?”
Jack nodded. “Yes. Always follow the yellow brick road.” He glanced at his watch. “D’oh! I haven’t had my coffee this morning.”
He disappeared before John could say anything. The Major stood in the corridor, nonplussed but pensive. He said under his breath, “Yes, sir.”
A group of excited scientists appeared at the other end. Deciding not to be swept up in the crowd of animated geeks, Sheppard moved into the gate room and looked up at the giant ring.
This was going to be some ride.