|An Honor to Serve by majorsamfan
||[Jun. 15th, 2006|12:19 am]
Unconventional Crossover Pairing Ficathon
Title: An Honor to Serve
Crossover: Fandom: SG-1 Crossed with Fandom: West Wing
Rating: For Everyone
Written for: beatrice_otter
*Daniel and Carter give a report to the President's staff.
*Category preferred: gen/het
*I don't want: angst
1. This cross-over presented an interesting challenge. It might have been easier to go with an early-SG1-season fic, because the President was never named then. However, when I have I ever taken the easy road? So, with it *fairly* fresh on my mind, I chose to have Sam and Daniel meet with the new President Santos. So one could say it’s current-ish in time frame.
2. I expanded quite a bit on the “report to the President’s staff” prompt; I hope my following Sam’s lead still satisfies the request in spirit. I really didn't capture the witty banter of WW...*is sorry and woeful*
3. Since the request was for gen, there really wasn’t a pairing per se. I tried to include as many characters from the shows as possible. however, I chose to focus mainly on the two Sams – Carter and Seaborn. Though I know not everyone shares my obsession with Sam Carter, I did write this from her perspective. Sam Seaborn was one of my favorite WW characters from the very beginning, and it was with fangrrrrl glee I welcomed him back for the series ending. (I was able to watch Rob Lowe in “A Few Good Men” in London last fall, so that may have affected my choices ever so slightly…)
4. I didn’t get this beta’d, but I did run spell check (which includes grammar). If anyone spots a mistake, please contact me, and I’ll fix it.
5. See note at end, because I don’t want to spoil the story.
The driver dropped Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter and Doctor Daniel Jackson off at the gate to the White House. After displaying their credentials there for admittance, they proceeded inside. Sam removed her “cover”, tucking it in her overcoat pocket, and bent over to sign in again.
Sam felt a little intimidated, though, of course, she would never show it. Her years spent in the Pentagon (or the Stargate program) still had not prepared her to meet with the President of the United States. Especially if said POTUS expected General Jack O’Neill to brief him and got a mere Lieutenant Colonel instead. She gave Daniel a sideways glance to see if his nerves showed at all, and when they didn’t, she hated him – just a little.
“Lt. Col. Carter.”
Sam’s head whipped left, and she came to attention out of habit. Her eyes met equally blue ones.
“Sam Seaborn, Deputy Chief of Staff. President Santos has been delayed, but he asked me to extend his apologies and to have you wait in his office.” If the gender of Lt. Col. Sam Carter surprised him at all, he didn’t let it show.
“Daniel Jackson,” her companion stated, extending his hand to Mr. Seaborn, who gave no indication of surprise at the archaeologist’s presence.
“Doctor Jackson, pleased to meet you. This way, Colonel, Doctor.” The tall, dark and handsome fellow led them through to the Oval Office. He announced them to the secretary seated outside it; after taking their coats, she waved them on. Sam felt the eyes of the young man who stood at a second desk upon her, but not in a negative way; she wondered if she just imagined his appraisal of her worthiness to enter the next room.
It reminded Sam of that movie – one of Janet Fraiser’s favorites – “The American President”, and how overawed the female character had been when she found herself in the “rec room”. She tried, instead, to capture the “Capra-esque” moment as “Sydney Ellen Wade of Virginia” had done and to breathe deeply without being obvious. She wondered how often her former commanding officer had been called to this famous inner sanctum.
“Would you care for some coffee and breakfast while you wait?” Seaborn’s question brought Colonel Carter back to the here and now.
“Coffee?” Daniel seemed to come alive at the mere mention of his life’s blood. They had flown all night and had driven straight from Andrews AFB for this meeting. Both Sams looked at him with understanding smiles, Sam Carter’s eyes also reflecting her long-standing affection for Daniel Jackson.
At Seaborn’s behest, the President’s Secretary, Ronna Beckman entered the Office – Sam couldn’t help capitalizing it even in her mind – with a tray of refreshments. Another staffer carried a large pot of coffee and a tray with mugs; Ms. Beckman laid out a plate of bagels and sweet rolls, the latter of which caused Sam’s stomach to roil. She imagined the impact on her career of yakking on the President’s carpet and snagged only half a plain bagel.
The young man who had stood outside the Office came in and whispered something to Seaborn. He gave away nothing when he caught Colonel Carter eyeing him, but he nodded in acknowledgement when she gave him a weak smile. She began to wonder if her hair was sticking up funny or what.
Sam sat on the sofa next to Daniel and tried not to look pale. She didn’t know what was up with herself; usually a stiff inner talking-to and she’d be fine with meetings like this. Why was she kidding herself? She’d never had a meeting quite like this. General O’Neill and General Landry spoke with the president frequently, but Colonel Carter was new at this. Even during her years in the Pentagon, she had never met his predecessor personally, though she had been in the same room on several occasions. Hanging anonymously in the background and having a briefing with your Commander in Chief were two different things!
When the First Lady came through looking for a private conversation with her husband before his next appointment, she spotted Sam and Daniel and left, though not without greeting them politely. Sam thought she was even prettier in person than on TV and tried to show her regret for preventing the stolen moment Mrs. Santos had wanted.
Sam’s boss – Sam *Seaborn’s* boss – Josh Lyman wandered through just as Sam Carter tucked the last of the bagel in her mouth. Smooth one, she thought to herself as she greeted him with a mouthful. But she saw the humor in his brown eyes and a quirky grin that reminded her of someone else, someone, she thought, who should be here instead of her.
“The President is 10 minutes out,” Lyman said as several other staffers filtered in. “They’re all cleared for anything you have to say, Colonel,” he assured her and Doctor Jackson when they both looked at him quizzically. “Let me introduce you around.” Having done that, the Chief of Staff left to meet the President as he arrived in a helicopter.
Upon his entrance, Sam stood at attention. Acknowledging Sam’s salute and crisp, “Lt. Colonel Carter reporting as ordered, Sir,” President Santos greeted both SGC delegates warmly, ordering Colonel Carter to be “at ease” as he did so. As they seated themselves on the chairs and sofas, someone brought the President a cup of coffee, which he declined.
“I spoke with General Landry this morning. He speaks very highly of you both.”
Sam Carter felt her cheeks flush and gave the President a pleasant smile, her stomach arguing that it still felt queasy. She cast a quick sideways glance to Daniel, who had the same pleasant smile plastered on; it didn’t quite reach his eyes. He needed more coffee, which fortunately someone provided.
“As have both Generals Hammond and O’Neill. I believe we owe you folks quite a debt of gratitude.”
”It is an honor to serve, Mr. President. We’re just doing our jobs, Sir.” And that Sam sincerely believed what she said showed, even if Daniel did wince at her first choice of words.
“Yes, well. Speaking of your jobs. To the matter at hand.”
The briefing went well. Sam and Daniel answered the President’s – and staffer’s – questions with ease and managed, for once, to avoid going off on long, technical explanations that would bore their audience. Years of training under Jack O’Neill had prepared them well for this moment.
As the meeting came to a close and the President stood, the others followed suit, but no one made to leave. Sam wasn’t sure if they were dismissed or what.
“There’s one more item on our agenda this morning, Colonel Carter.” A smile crept onto the President’s face. Sam noticed several others – including Daniel – reflecting it and couldn’t help but nervously do the same.
Out of the corner of her eye, Sam caught a familiar silver head next to an equally familiar bald one. ‘What?’ Her puzzlement showed on her face, and it only grew as the door to the Oval Office admitted the two remaining members of her team and her commanding officer. A bright light enveloped the room momentarily; in its place stood one her favorite little grey men.
“Thor?” she exhaled as much as voiced. Sam blinked almost in tandem with the alien. She checked out the room and spotted at a glance which staffers had never been present for a visit from the Supreme Commander.
The young man – Presidential Assistant Bram Howard, Sam later learned – stepped forward with a flat, black medal case. Sam heard the call to attention, and, not that she had really relaxed since entering the White House, obeyed out of instinct.
“Colonel Carter, in discussions with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as Generals O’Neill and Hammond, I have come to determine that Jacob Carter’s service to this nation, to this world and this galaxy, have gone too long unheralded. By disregarding his own health and safety for the good of the *universe*, he upheld the highest standards of our Air Force. Belatedly, and unfortunately, posthumously, I wish to present to you on his behalf, the Distinguished Service Award.”
As the President handed over the medal, General O’Neill, who had made his way to the front of the room, read the citation. Sam stared at her father’s medal with tear-filled eyes. She felt the loss anew even as everyone in the room clapped for her Dad’s heroism and devotion to duty. Daniel’s handkerchief appeared, and she used it to dab at each eye after shaking the President’s hand.
Sam’s, “Thank you, Sir,” to General O’Neill, as she took the paper from him when he had finished, meant much more than just for reading. He nodded and stepped back with a smirk that caused her to tilt her head with an unspoken question.
“Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter,” the President said with an authority that silenced the room again. Sam came to attention as another medal box appeared in the Presidential Assistant’s hands.
“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of your own life above and beyond the call of duty…” the President’s words washed over Sam in wave after wave, “It gives me great pleasure, in the name of Congress, to present you with the Medal of Honor.”
Sam felt faint. What? At least Mitchell was lying down when she had given him his medal! Couldn’t they give a girl some warning?
“I will be presenting this publicly to you in a few moments; however, because of the sensitive, classified nature of the operation in which you were involved, the citation must be edited for the public ceremony. Generals O’Neill and Landry thought – and I agreed – that you deserved a full reading of the full deal, and Supreme Commander Thor asked to be included. Since he cannot – for obvious reasons – attend the medal ceremony, I have asked him to read your unabridged citation.”
Thor began, “The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of Congress the Medal of Honor to
LIEUTENANT COLONEL SAMANTHA CARTER
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of her life above and beyond the call of duty:
Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter, United States Air Force, distinguished herself by numerous acts of conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary intrepidity on 25 January, 2006, by ….”
Sam could not believe this was happening. This just wasn’t done – surprising someone like this. Normally, you knew you had been nominated; you and everyone involved was interviewed. She turned her attention back to Thor.
“…Lt. Colonel Carter’s selfless acts of great valor, extraordinary perseverance, and intrepidity were far above and beyond the call of duty or mission and set a superb example of leadership and courage for all of her peers. Colonel Carter’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon herself, her squadron, and the United States Air Force.”
Still stunned, Samantha Carter remained, for once, speechless as the President again shook her hand.
“Carter, breathe.” Her former CO’s quiet order brought Sam out of her reverie; she looked at him, believing him to be largely responsible for this. Before she had a chance to speak to him regarding it, however, Thor interrupted.
“Congratulations, Colonel Carter. A much-deserved honor. Your stupid ideas have assisted the Asgard beyond measure.” Sam suspected he enjoyed their private joke a lot more than President Santos, who seemed unnerved by their diminutive galactic ally.
“Thank you, Thor. Always glad to help the Asgard in whatever way I can.”
“Mr. President, the press are assembled,” Bram Howard stated privately. He took Jacob’s medal box to keep for Sam during the ceremony.
Following President Santos as part of a large entourage, thoughts whirred like a blender on “liquefy” setting in Sam’s mind. As they neared the briefing room, the crowd thinned as people peeled off to line the hallway. General O’Neill stepped into her personal space and murmured into her ear, “Stop thinking, Carter. Just enjoy the moment.”
Her cheeks pinked, and she smiled. General Hammond cleared his throat, causing Sam to duck her head, further embarrassed at being caught out by their former CO.
“Your father would be so proud, Sam,” Hammond said, grasping her shoulders. “As am I,” he added. She kissed him on the cheek and whispered her thanks to him just before they both were ushered into the press briefing room.
Daniel, General Landry, Teal’c and Cam added their quiet encouragements. Of those four only Landry followed the President, with General O’Neill and General T. Michael Moseley, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force (the USAF member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) and the SecDef. Sam received her team’s support gladly; she wasn’t sure now what had made her more nervous – meeting the President or meeting the press. As Sam looked about the room, she had the sudden thought that she would prefer to meet a battalion of Jaffa – or Super Soldiers…unarmed!
The ceremony wasn’t handled exactly like the few Sam had seen pictured. Of course the biggest difference was the location; it was too cold for an outdoor even (other than an inauguration). And rather than an East Room private gathering of high brass and family with no press, perhaps they felt this venue offered a more controlled environment, though Sam thought of it as being thrown to the wolves. She assumed it had to do with the nature of her duties. Another difference was the absence of a chaplain offering an invocation; though the President, she knew, was a practicing Roman Catholic and the honoree a somewhat lapsed one, any religious aspect would seem inappropriate for this setting. She tried to stop thinking about all that and focus on the President’s words.
“Good morning. Today is a special occasion: We are here to pay tribute to an officer whose service illustrates the highest ideals of leadership and love of our country. I appreciate the presence of several ranking officers who have served with Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter, as well as the Air Force Chief of Staff, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State. I want to thank the Colonel’s brother, Mark Carter, for coming from California, and her Uncle Irving Schultz from Florida.”
Sam hadn’t noticed Mark until that moment, and she inhaled deeply as she caught his eye. He looked so proud of her! After years of family feuds over the military, that he actually came to an event so steeped in military tradition meant everything to her at that moment.
Sam had to suppress a smile when Uncle Irving gave her a two-fingered salute. Urgo popped irrepressibly into her mind. She caught the look of surprise on General O’Neill’s face, too, and expected to be teased about his resemblance to the bane of their existence for a couple weeks all those years ago.
“Also present are her teammates and commanding officer and her ward Cassandra Fraiser. Sam nearly lost it when Cassie peeked out from behind rotund Uncle Irving and Mark.
“The Medal of Honor is the highest award for bravery a President can bestow. It is given for gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in the face of enemy attack. Since World War II, more than half of those have been awarded this medal gave their lives in the action that earned it. Fortunately, that fate did not befall Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter.
Because of the highly classified nature of the operation in which Colonel Carter played a key role, the citation we will read today, a copy of which also will be provided to you, will necessarily be vague. One day, the true nature of this fine officer’s contribution to the safety of this country will become public knowledge. I look forward to that day.”
Among his remarks, the President commented that only one other female ever had received the Medal of Honor, a Doctor Mary Edwards Walker, who had served as a surgeon during the Civil War. The mention of a medical doctor brought Janet Fraiser to mind, and Sam fought with every ounce of her being to maintain her composure. When he finished his brief statement – ignoring several reporters who already had tried to ignore that the Press Secretary’s edict that President Santos would be taking no questions on any topic – he called Sam up to the podium.
Cameras clicked right and left. She tried not to flinch as though they were mines and booby traps. General O’Neill read the abridged citation as the Commander in Chief took the medal from the box held by General Hammond and placed it around her neck. She sensed his attempts not to muss her hairstyle, a courtesy not generally necessary with male recipients.
When President Santos stepped back, he and all the other brass present saluted her, as is customary with a Medal of Honor recipient. Surprised at first, Sam recalled the President’s military record as a Marine pilot and returned his salute. Having Generals salute *her* would take some getting used to, though!
After the ceremony, the President and Mrs. Santos hosted a small reception. More accurately, Mrs. Santos and Sam Seaborn hosted the gathering. The President was called away only a few minutes after welcoming those assembled; he hastily introduced the guest of honor to his wife and made his excuses. Mrs. Santos realized quickly enough, however, that Sam knew half of those assembled very well and had already met the others that morning, so she allowed Sam to introduce *her* to Mark, Uncle Irving, SG-1 and Cassie.
“Mark, how was your flight?” Sam Seaborn asked casually, joining their little circle as Mrs. Santos excused herself for a consultation with a young, blonde-haired woman, who, Sam would later learn, was Donna Moss, the First Lady’s Chief of Staff.
“Great, Sam, thanks for arranging for me to be here.”
Sam Carter stood with her mouth open.
“Carter, you’re catching flies there.” O’Neill had escaped the AF Chief of Staff’s clutches and sauntered over to his former team; he looked from his Sam to the other one expecting someone to clue him in. That’s what he kept Daniel and Carter around for, wasn’t it?
“You two know each other,” Cameron Mitchell finally asked for his teammate.
“Princeton,” Sam Carter announced with some authority. Her brother smiled. Sam Seaborn smiled. General O’Neill tilted his head, raised his eyebrows and waited for her explanation. “My brother attended Princeton, Sir. The Gilbert and Sullivan Society, right?” Her brother and his former college buddy corroborated her recollection. “General O’Neill, you remember my brother, Mark Carter, from…”
“The memorial service for Dad. Yes, I remember.” If anyone thought it odd that O’Neill referred to Jacob Carter as ‘dad’, they didn’t comment. Sam felt certain she wasn’t the only one to notice the icy non-verbal communication passing between the two men as they shook hands, though. Mr. Seaborn, natural politician, confirmed that with his next move.
“General O’Neill, Sam Seaborn. We met two weeks ago at the last Home…land security briefing.” Okay, so at least he caught that before he slipped. If Sam‘s brother wanted to call his old college pal on it, he held his tongue.
“Hi, I’m Cassie,” the teen interjected, taking Seaborn’s hand as soon as it left the General’s. Teal’c’s eyebrow rose a centimeter. Cam and Daniel tried to hide their smiles, but they all knew Sam Seaborn had met his match. They also knew, Jack would never start anything with Mark – in front of Cassie or otherwise – but he might finish it.
“Miss Fraiser. Pleased to meet you.”
“Sam, you look parched,” Cam announced. “Cassie, how about we go rustle up a drink for her and ourselves.” He, Daniel and Teal’c steered the teen toward the drinks. Not willingly, but she went. It occurred to Sam only then that Cassie was cutting class to be here, and she hoped Cassie’s professors agreed that this qualified as an excused absence.
“And this is Uncle Irving, Sir. Uncle Irving, Major General Jack O’Neill.”
“My pleasure, Sir,” Jack said respectfully. The sparkle in his eyes told Sam exactly what he was thinking, though.
“We are all just so proud of our Sammie. Her father never mentioned any dangerous combat; he said something about radar and telemetry. And then the President said the citation was edited; what was that all about?” Irving blathered on a bit, until Jack cut in and suggested they might be serving food.
“Pie?” the corpulent man suggested. Sam and Jack both nearly lost it then, but the General maintained decorum in his own inimitable style.
“Or perhaps, cake?”
Sam ducked her head and grinned; she shook her head as the men left to search for refreshments. That left her with her brother and his college bud. She turned back to find them good naturedly arguing the merits of their respective law schools – Harvard for Sam Seaborn and Stanford for Mark Carter. She listened for a few minutes, but when she spotted her team headed back, she met them half way, leaving Mark and Sam to rehash old debates.
Team love lasted all of two minutes before General Landry paraded her, rather proudly introduced her around personally to all the brass in the room. When she finally escaped and tried to grab a bite to eat – having realized how far a half bagel does NOT go on a nervous stomach – Mark and the other Sam joined her.
Unfortunately, it was time for Mark and Irving to say their good-byes. Both had flights to catch, and Bram Howard had advised transport awaited. After hugging them both and wishing them safe journeys, Sam turned back to the food. Suddenly, she wasn’t so hungry again.
“I’m sorry there’s no blue Jell-O.”
Sam Carter turned to Sam Seaborn, confused.
“Mark used to send you a box of Jell-O once a month. I was sure it was blue.”
Sam smiled and blushed. She could not believe her brother had told anyone of their Jell-O war.
“Actually, it was red. Mark used to send me red. I sent *him* blue.”
“Because you liked red?”
“No, because I liked – still like – blue, and I wanted to win him over to my side. And he likes red best and wanted to convert me.
“Ah.” Seaborn gave her a genuine smile. “I had only met him once, and I went with some friends to at a party at his house. They were doing Jell-O shots. And suddenly, Mark stands up in the middle of the room and shouts, ‘Oh, my Gosh, did you use the red Jell-O? I have to go get some more.’ I wasn’t drinking that night because – well, I just wasn’t, and I had to drive him to the nearest convenience store so he could buy a new box of red Jell-O. In fact, at first it appeared they were out of red, and I picked up a grape. Mark said, ‘No! It has to be red!’ So the store clerk went to the back and checked. Sure enough, they had a carton of red back there, and Mark got his Jell-O. He hugged that thing to his chest all the way back to the house and wouldn’t let anyone touch it. I think he hid it in his sock drawer or something.”
“Then I’m glad I never ate any of it,” Sam said. “My roommate at the Academy loved red, liquid and still warm – ugh!” Sam shivered. “She traded me chocolate for it all the time, cuz her Aunt Gertrude sent it all the time, and she was allergic.”
“Does Mark know?”
“No, and don’t you go telling him…please,” she added hastily. Colonel Carter saw Generals O’Neill and Landry speaking in a corner of the room. As she suspected, that meant the end of their little soiree. Very shortly both men approached them.
“I’m sorry to have to cut your party short, Carter, but you and SG-1 are needed back on base. A helo will be here in five to take you to Andrews where transport awaits.”
“Yes, Sir, I understand.” She turned to Sam Seaborn and extended her hand. “It was a pleasure finally to meet you, Sam.”
“The honor was all mine, Colonel Carter.”
Sam had time only for hasty good-bye to her hostess and a tearful hug from Cassie before she and the rest of SG-1 boarded the helicopter. She watched Cassie standing with Jack and Sam Seaborn until the chopper turned toward Andrews and she lost her view past Daniel. Settling back into the seat, she clutched the box containing her father’s medal, which Bram Howard handed back to her moments before their departure. Sam wondered if she should have given it to Mark.
Cam leaned over and nudged her shoulder, encouraging her to look at the view out the other side. On this clear, crisp day, she could see much of the nation’s capital, at least the Capitol Mall area. With a thankful smile to him, she turned to Daniel and got his attention, nodding her head toward the view. He gave a quick bob of his head and smiled, too.
‘It is an honor to serve…indeed,’ Sam thought, and then she turned her thoughts toward the future, wondering what new adventure was in store for them next!
Author’s Note 5: I did a lot of online research about the Medal of Honor. Some of the speech came directly from actual ceremonies. I didn’t want to specify the particular event; first because I didn’t think I could write it that well but second because given all the types of heroism we know all the members of SG-1 have exhibited over the years, I didn’t feel it was necessary.
Even before my research, from the first airing of Avalon, I always thought it really odd that Sam Carter had presented the award to Cameron Mitchell. First off, medals are typically awarded by a superior officer, specifically one’s commanding officer. From my research, however, the Medal of Honor, is typically presented by the President, or in rare cases in the field by the general commander of the forces involved. So for Sam, an officer of equal or lesser rank to have presented it didn’t fit.
On the other hand, if she was merely *reading* the citation (as I had General O’Neill do in my story and as Sgt. Harriman did when she was promoted to Lt. Colonel) and General O’Neill actually presented it, I could accept that. I still think, though, that Mitchell would have been at Walter Reed in Bethesda, and that the President would have presented it after he had recovered enough to stand – or at least be vertical in a wheelchair – for the ceremony. They have two years to nominate and three to present the award, so there’s no rush, really.
And Note 6 - I am
insanelysomewhat proud of myself for not giving in to the desire to make reference to "the very model of a modern major general" in this...