General Hammond suppressed a sigh as he gazed through the briefing room window at the idle stargate. A half hour ago the gate had burst to life, returning three members of SG-1 to Earth. Just three. The fourth member of the team had returned hours earlier.
And she was fuming.
"The treaty is very good news, Colonel, but that's not what I asked you about," Hammond said as he returned to the table.
"It isn't?" Jack asked with an innocent look that hadn't fooled anyone since the eighth grade.
"This is the third time this month Major Carter has returned, alone, long before the rest of the team," Hammond said. "I'd like to know why. And no, Colonel, I'm not going to buy the 'Daniel forgot to feed his fish' excuse again."
"Well, sir, it's like this... " Jack said. A low, feral growl seemed to emanate from Major Carter's position. "Aw, c'mon, Carter. We have to tell him sometime."
"Why?" Sam snapped.
"What did Major Carter do?" Hammond asked, perplexed. Generally speaking, Major Carter was one of the more dependable members of SG-1. Not that that was saying much.
"It's not so much what she does..." Daniel said.
"It's what she is," Jack concluded helpfully.
Sam's eyes shot daggers at both men.
"What she is?" Hammond questioned.
"Er... well," Daniel stammered, rethinking the decision to tell Hammond the truth. After all, Sam knew where he and Jack lived. And Daniel preferred to keep his gonads attached. He had plans for them. For Jack's, too.
"It's this little problem Carter has with men...," Jack began.
"Hair!" Daniel interjected before Jack could endanger their sex life further.
"Yes, the hair. That's what I meant," Jack agreed eagerly.
"Hair?" Hammond asked skeptically.
"It's... fluffy. And kind of..."
"Girly," Jack said.
"The natives made Major Carter leave because her hair was girly?"
"What's wrong with having girly hair?" Sam demanded. "Nothing," Daniel said.
"If you're auditioning for a role in the remake of Charlie's Angels," Jack added.
"I may have girly hair but I can still castrate a man with one kick," Sam said.
"So maybe it's not the hair," Jack said quickly, cupping both hands over his crotch. "It could be the..."
"Lipstick," Teal'c said.
"Really?" Daniel asked, staring across the table at Teal'c.
"The lipstick's a little bold, don't you think?" Jack said.
"For a daytime look... yeah, probably," Daniel agreed.
"I'm sorry, gentlemen," Hammond said, sounding anything but. "But I don't believe the inhabitants of M4U exiled Major Carter because of her hair or her lipstick."
Jack, Daniel, and Teal'c all sat deep in thought for a moment.
"Um... mascara?" Daniel suggested in a small voice.
"Mascara," Jack and Teal'c agreed vehemently.
Sam just growled.
"Dr. Jackson, I don't believe Major Carter's mascara was any more of a problem than her lipstick."
"She is domineering," Teal'c said.
"Oh, yeah?" Jack asked, brightening at the thought of Carter in black leather and cracking a whip.
"Bossy," Daniel translated for Jack.
"Take that back," Sam said, punching Teal'c in the shoulder.
"It's true. You're always telling us 'do this' or 'stop that'," Jack said.
"Maybe because I'm the only one on the team who knows what the hell we're doing to begin with," Sam argued.
"I know what I'm doing!" Jack protested.
"Doing Daniel doesn't count. Sir."
"It oughta," Jack muttered.
"And speaking of Daniel..."
"We were?" Daniel asked.
"If I have to listen to one more night of Colonel O'Neill showing Daniel the 'meaning of life', I'm going to shoot them both," Sam said.
"Meaning of life?" Hammond asked, knowing he shouldn't. Ignorance, when dealing with SG-1, was not only bliss but damn near a job requirement.
"Daniel Jackson refers to O'Neill's penis as the 'meaning of life'," Teal'c explained.
"I did not need to know that," Hammond said.
"Neither did I," Sam said. "But I didn't have any choice."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Daniel asked.
"You're loud, Daniel."
"I am not!" Daniel said indignantly.
"Actually, she's got you on that one, Space Monkey. You are loud."
"Vociferous in the extreme," Teal'c said sourly.
"Sam's a black widow," Daniel blurted out.
Janet Fraiser, who had just stepped through the door, shook her head and said, "Uh uhno wayI'm not getting involved in this," and immediately turned around and left.
"I know I'm going to regret this but... black widow?" Hammond asked.
"Carter humps'em and dumps'em," Jack said helpfully.
"Discards the spent carcass," Teal'c explained.
"I notice you're still alive, Colonel," Hammond said.
"Pfffftyeah!" Jack said.
"What is so wrong with having sex with me?" Sam demanded.
"Aside from the bloody corpses littered in your wake?" Daniel asked.
"Besides, I have to answer to Jacob. You knowGeneral Carter. Dad," Jack said.
"You're a bigger wuss than he is," Sam said.
"You should not be disrespectful of your father," Teal'c admonished.
"Oh please," Sam snapped. "Like he's any help. Never did me any favors with Martouf, that's for sure."
"I thought you were concerned about the potential emotional confusion of getting involved with Martouf," Daniel said.
"Emotional, sure," Sam agreed. "But physically I couldn't wait to strip him naked and see what 2000 years of experience could do."
"Two...?" Daniel said.
"Thousand?" Jack said.
"That's...," Daniel said.
"Intimidating," Jack and Daniel said together.
"Indeed," Teal'c said, looking disconcerted.
"Yeah, sure ya betcha," Sam said smugly.
"People," Hammond pleaded. "Could we get back to the point?"
"The fact is that Carter's a black widow," Jack said. "And the news has gotten around the galaxy. When the natives see Carter coming they've got two choices: either send all the eligible men into exile or punt Carter."
"I am not a black widow," Sam protested.
"C'mon, Carter. Faxon. Hansen. Martouf. Orlin. Narim. Rothman."
"Rothman?" Daniel and Sam exclaimed in unison.
"Weren't you two...?"
"No!" Sam said indignantly. "Seeyou can't blame me for every man who's ended up dead."
"Actually, I think that one was my fault," Daniel said, frowning thoughtfully.
"How?" Jack asked.
"Well, Robert was snaked first."
"And we are all aware of the significance of that event," Teal'c said.
"No, we aren't," Jack said.
"Do we have to draw you a picture, sir?" Sam asked.
Jack just held out his notepad and a pencil.
"Sha're. Sarah. Hathor..."
"Hathor came pre-snaked," Daniel argued.
"Oh my... You were doing Rothman? Rothman?" Jack shook his head in horrified disbelief. "WaitKawalski?"
"I always felt bad about that," Daniel admitted. "I mean it was just a blow job."
"Jesus, Daniel. Okay, Kawalski I can kind of see, but Rothman? I thought you had better taste than that."
"Obviously not since I'm doing you, too."
"Let me see if I've got this straight," Hammond interrupted before Colonel O'Neill and Dr. Jackson could take their particular form of foreplay any further. "The inhabitants of other worlds have learned of the... unfortunate demise of several of Major Carter's... paramours, and they won't allow her to remain on the planet?"
"Just so, General Hammond," Teal'c said. "They fear for the lives of their sons and brothers."
"And reallycan you blame them?" Jack asked.
"It's just a coincidence," Sam muttered.
"OnceI could buy as a coincidence," Jack said. "Even twice. But nine times?"
"Nine?" Sam gasped.
"Eight or nine," Daniel said. "We haven't reached a consensus on whether that vampire counts. You knowgiven that it was undead to begin with."
"The effect does appear to cross the species line," Teal'c observed.
"Quite frankly, we're thinking of proposing that Carter be used against the Goa'uld," Jack said.
"I believe she would be a most effective weapon," Teal'c said.
"I can't believe you... you... you pimp," Sam told Jack.
"C'mon, Carter. Put out for the good old U. S. of A."
"Fucking to save the planet?" Sam said incredulously.
"It's always worked for us," Daniel said, nodding at Jack.
"I want this behavior to stop immediately," Hammond said to Jack and Daniel.
"What? Oh, so it's okay to kill or be killed to save the planet, but screwing the Space Monkey is wrong?" Jack asked, exasperated.
Hammond just stared at Jack. He thought Jack quite possibly had a point...of sorts. And that was truly frightening. Hammond wondered if SG-1 had finally driven him over that fine line between justifiable neurosis into full-blown delusional psychosis.
"I really think we should pursue non-violent methods whenever possible," Daniel added, sensing Hammond's weakening resolve.
"Just... not in the gate room," Hammond said, surrendering to the inevitable.
"Damn," Jack muttered.
"What about me?" Sam demanded.
"I'll talk to the Pentagon about having you declared a lethal weapon," Hammond said.
"That's not what I meant!" Sam said.
"Dismissed!" Hammond ordered.
Jack and Daniel jumped from their seats and ran from the room, not wanting to give Hammond a chance to change his mind. Teal'c walked out regally, head held high as though above all these petty human concerns. Major Carter's face looked like she'd just sucked a lemon, but she held her tongue and marched out the door. Hammond pitied whoever her next target might be.
"Sergeant?" Hammond called, knowing Sergeant Davis would be lurking just outside the door, ready to handle the fallout of another SG-1 debriefing.
"My report to the Joint Chiefshow do I explain Major Carter?"
"Well, sir, I'd be inclined to make a note that these particular cultures are misogynistic. That would explain the natives' reluctance to accept Major Carter's presence," Davis suggested.
"True," Hammond said, nodding his head. "But... if we proceed with the treaty with these people, the odds are that eventually another woman from Earth will go to M4U. How will we explain the fact that she doesn't get thrown back through the gate?"
"With any luck you'll be retired or dead by then, sir."
"One can only hope."