Flies on the Wall
We've been sitting on a bench, almost out of sight of Blair and the others --at least almost out of sight by normal standards-- for a little more than half an hour... and the truth is that things are getting frustrating. It's not just that I don't have my guide with me --though Im not particularly happy about that one-- it's that O'Neill keeps pestering me, wanting to know what's going on.
"So what are they saying?" he asks... again.
"They are arguing," I tell him.
"Which one of us is best qualified to be the president of the Military Mother Hens from Hell Union, basically," I tell him with a smile, wanting to see how that goes over.
"Hey, I'm not so bad!" he defends himself.
"Tell that to Jackson, he is the one who is nominating you," I point out.
"But I'm not... it's just that he keeps getting in trouble and I..."
"Oh, believe me, I understand. Sandburg is the same," I say, deciding to let him off the hook, at least for now.
"So, what else are they saying?" he prods, realizing that we are in truce territory and deciding to take advantage of that fact.
"Sandburg just bluffed Carter into spilling the beans on your whole operation... and I don't think she appreciated it, to tell you the truth," I say.
"Can you say 'duh'?... Though I've got to hand it to the kid, bluffing Carter's not that easy."
"Oh, he's good, believe me, I know," I agree.
"Personal experience?" he asks.
"More than I care to think about," I say, shaking my head at the memories. "Now they are trying to turn the tables on Blair and bluff him... I could have told them it wasn't going to work."
"So, what's happening now?" he asks when he hears me chuckle.
"Well, Carter tried to tell Blair that if we join you, you could keep me safe from those who would have no qualms about using me to their ends... he asked her what was the difference between them blackmailing us and what she was trying to do by using my safety as a bargaining chip."
"Let me guess, she liked that even less than the whole bluffing thing, right?" says O'Neill, visibly wincing at the thought. Well, a good commanding officer is supposed to know the people under his command and it is apparent that --at least in that regard-- O'Neill is a good commanding officer.
"It's not fair that you can listen in on them and I can't," he all but pouts and I can't help it. O'Neill may be something I've been dreading for years--a military man who knows my secret-- but I actually like the guy.
"Yes, well, dont forget that right now your teammates are ganging up on my partner and I'm not too thrilled about that one either," I shoot back.
"Somehow I don't think the kids going to be a pushover," he reminds me.
"Nope, he's tougher than he looks, youve got that right... though Jackson is appealing to his curiosity and..."
"Let me guess, and that always gets him in trouble?" he interrupts.
"How did you know?"
"Daniel... and Carter, come to think of it. Do you have any idea how many times I've told those two not to touch one thing or another?" he asks with a resigned look on his face.
"Let me guess: they do it anyways?"
"Yups... and you wouldn't believe how many things are out there that really shouldn't be touched."
"So Carter isnt really much better than Jackson when it comes to keeping herself out of trouble?" I ask.
"She's not that bad... and, in case you are wondering, by that I mean that she usually looks before she jumps head first into stuff ... of course, that doesn't always keep her from jumping. On the other hand, Ive got to say that at least Daniel's rocks aren't usually explosive so..."
"And you are sure that having the three of them on the loose together is a good idea?" I ask, feeling suddenly worried. We had factored in Blair and Daniel when we tried to figure their combined trouble quotient, not Carter.
"No, but that's why we are tailing them, isn't it?" he reminds me.
"You've got a point there," I agree.
"You know, we really could use someone like you out there," he says, gesturing toward the sky.
"So we've come to the recruiting part of this whole thing already?" I ask.
"Nope, not recruiting, just making an innocent comment here," he says, though he is not fooling me... and he knows it.
"It's more than that," I say.
"Maybe," he concedes.
"Like Carter and Jackson trying to tempt Blair into joining you?" I push.
"They are probably just answering the kid's questions, Ellison. Theres no need for you to get paranoid."
"It won't work, colonel. We are a team, I'm sure you know what that means... and talking to us separately is not going to get you anywhere," I warn him.
"Hey, its not like I planned on us getting split up here, remember? That was our partners' bright idea!" he defends himself, still sounding far from happy about that one, and I have to admit he has a point there.
"Yes, but I still can't give you an answer without Blair here... and I can tell you that he won't give Jackson one without me there either," I say.
"So, you think they'll bite our heads off if we join them?" he asks, sounding almost hopeful.
I listen in for a moment, trying to decide whether or not they are ready for us. I know Jackson and Sandburg still have a lot of things they want to go over, a lot of catching up to do, but somehow I suspect they'll have plenty of time to get to know each other so I nod before saying:
"Nah, I think they wont mind too much."