Fandom: SGA & SG1, with a bit of The Rundown
Warnings: Canon Typical
Word Total: 3842
Cooper walked through the gate back to the SGC and suppressed a sigh. The gateroom was far less welcoming than Atlantis, what with the Ancient device being at the bottom of a missile silo. Speaking of, she tilted her head back and looked up the shaft. She couldn’t see the ceiling
“Chief Cooper,” the voice of one of the techs in the control room rang over a loudspeaker. When she looked up at the window the voice continued. “The General left a message stating he wants to talk to you when you complete Medical.”
“Thank you!” Cooper called as she shifted her backpack on her shoulder. Turning on her heel, she headed in the direction of the elevator that would take her to the vampire brigade.
Medical was medical and she powered through the whole uncomfortable process with grim determination. Fussing at them for making sure she wasn’t bringing a plague home was stupid. And, if she didn’t make waves, she would get done faster. Once out the other side, Cooper headed back down to level 27, dropped her backpack outside a specific office door and knocked.
Opening the door, Cooper took a precise three steps in before standing at attention and offering a salute. “Chief Beryl Cooper, reporting as ordered, sir!”
General O’Neill stared at her for several heartbeats before returning the salute. “At ease, Chief, and have a seat. We need to talk.”
Cooper fought the urge to swallow heavily and dropped the salute before sitting down. It took an effort to not let her nerves show on her face. Getting called on the carpet by the General was nerve-wracking.
“Relax, Cooper. I haven’t recommended that you be sent up for non-judicial punishment or even courts-martial,” O’Neill snapped as he watched her. “Not that you totally don’t deserve something for the shit you pulled with Everett. Want to explain that cluster fuck?”
Cooper gritted her teeth and tried not to growl at the reminder. Damn Everett and his stupid fucking orders. “Which cluster fuck, sir? The one where Colonel Everett tried to get my people to man rail guns they weren’t trained on? The one where if we had manned the rail guns, the civilians sheltering in the emergency shelters we set up would have been left mostly helpless? Or the one where I refused his order and said so in front of everyone?”
O’Neill stared at her for a moment before he ran a hand over his face. “How about all of the above, chief?”
The gesture of frustration relaxed something in her and Cooper drew in a careful breath. However angry she was at Everett’s actions, it would serve no one if she dumped that all over her verbal report. Calm and rational had to be her goal.
“Colonel Everett sent a sergeant to order my crew to man the guns, General. I was at the meeting when Col. Sheppard informed him of the defense plans we had put in place. So he was aware my people had been drilled in limited defensive tactics only. We were there to defend the rooms where most of the civilians had been told to retreat to and had constructed our defenses around that idea. By that I mean, we moved most of the container gardens to form barricades and firing lines to control any invaders.”
Cooper pulled in a measured breath. “At the time of the briefing, there were no orders given to pull us off of our predetermined positions. For three days, there were no orders, no training, no nothing. Then on the eve of the invasion, the Colonel directs that we man rail guns we have no training on? No.
“When I asked the sergeant if there were any plans to guard the civilians, he said ‘no’,” Cooper clenched her fists in remembered rage. They had tried to train everyone, but there hadn’t been enough bullets to spare and acquiring stunners? That was not a safe endeavor, but Sheppard had tried. “Most of our people barely knew how to use a stunner, much less a .9mil. Can you imagine what could have happened if a Wraith had gotten into one of the safe rooms? It would have been like shooting fish in a barrel.”
The General pulled an unimpressed face before smoothing his expression out. Cooper ignored him and plowed on. “None of us are fantastic shots, but Col. Sheppard made sure we drilled and knew what to do when faced with a Wraith. And that training paid off, sir. We took down four drones and half a dozen officers and none of our civilians were in danger. Everyone on our side lived and none of the people I was responsible were injured.”
“So Everett wanted to take your people, who had been trained for up close-quarters defense and put them on rail guns with no training?” O’Neill stated after she stopped speaking. “And when you called him on it, he got pissy.”
Cooper shrugged. “Yes, sir.”
“Do you know if Sheppard said anything to Everett about the plans he had already worked out for the battle? Beyond that one meeting where your command laid out what plans you had?” the General asked
“No, sir,” Cooper responded. “If there were any additional meetings between Col. Everett and then Maj Sheppard, I don’t have any information about them.”
“Right. Now I need to figure out what to do with you,” the General said with a sigh. “Technically you disobeyed orders, Chief.”
“It could be argued that you willfully disobeyed a direct order while in a combat situation. And the US Military establishment takes a very dim view of that type of thing and rightly so,” O’Neill continued, voice transforming into the harsh tones of a field officer. “So it shouldn’t surprise you that both Colonel Everett and then Major Sheppard took the time to note that you had refused your orders from the commanding officer of the base.”
Cooper wasn’t ashamed to admit that she flinched at that. All the little gods knew she deserved anything they had written in their reports; she just hoped that they had put in a few good words for how her people had conducted themselves. If she was going to get in trouble, she didn’t want them to also.
“But you kept your people alive, protected those in your care, killed some Wraith and even rescued several of your shipmates,” O’Neill continued, eyes level as he stared at her. “Then your people went on to reopen the mess, clean up Atlantis, feed all the people on the city and help with recovery operations. Sheppard stated that thanks to Sgt. Omar Spenser and MS3 Keen, Sgt. Markham was recovered from the wreckage of his jumper and made it to medical in time to save his life. It can be argued that if your people had been manning the rail guns and thus targets of the darts, none of this would have been possible.”
Cooper gritted her teeth and tried not to blush. What she and her people had done was what they had trained for. Her teams were the magicians that made life on Atlantis possible. Food, sanitation, entertainment, it all fell on her shoulders. What the General had just listed was no more and no less, than what her people did every day.
Minus killing the wraith. Those bastards were their own special nightmares and everyone on the city was in agreement with the Teams. Every Wraith in Pegasus really needed to be dead. The sooner, the better.
O’Neill stared at her for several heartbeats before putting his chin in his hand and rubbing the fingers of his hand over his lips. “So here’s what we are going to do. I’m not going to take this leave away from you since you earned it with your blood, sweat and tears. But you will be restricted to Colorado Springs for the second week of leave, the first is still your own. When you get back on base, you have to be in your assigned barracks by midnight and you get to help the botanists for the last week you are here. And this won’t be recorded on your file.”
That had not been what she had expected to happen, Cooper acknowledged. She had expected to be busted in rank, with money taken away, at best. Her worst nightmare would have been to face courts-martial. And she hadn’t really believed him when he had said he wasn’t going to send her up to Mast. After all, she had disobeyed a direct order in a war situation. She could take the restrictions on her movements and a week working with the science corps could be fun with the right motivation.
“Thank you, General,” Cooper said, voice steady.
“Don’t thank me yet. You still have to get by Danny,” O’Neill told her, voice smug.
“Dr. Jackson? What’s wrong with him?” Cooper asked, attention diverted. As far as she knew, the number one civilian in the mountain had nothing to do with her fuck-up on Atlantis.
“Your replacement is making him crazy. He keeps trying to ration Danny’s coffee,” the General told her. From the amusement breaking through his voice, the attempt wasn’t going so well.
“Uhm,” she said before rubbing a finger between her eyebrows in an effort to stave off the suddenly appearing headache from the emotional whiplash. “I’m quite certain I told Beck that Dr. J’s coffee was mission-critical and not to mess with it.”
“Well, he didn’t listen and Danny’s already had a fit over the restrictions. Every time he brings new beans in, they disappear,” O’Neill reported.
“Oh, fuck me,” Cooper muttered before rubbing her hands over her face. Thank all the little gods she didn’t wear make-up, she thought before looking back at the General. “I’ll go talk to him and get this fixed. Please tell me SG-1 is off-world.”
Cooper sighed in relief. “Well thank goodness for small favors. Lemme go talk to Beck.”
O’Neill nodded once. “Dismissed.”
“Thank you, sir. Have a good day,” Cooper said before heading out to corner her replacement and lay down the law.
“Beck! Where are you hiding, you giant menace!” Cooper called as she entered the main mess.
“What?” A man’s bellow floated out of the back recesses of the room.
“It’s Cooper. Get out here, you oversized squid!” she yelled.
She kept an eye on the kitchen and tried not to tap her foot in frustration as she waited. None of the people in there deserved her temper. Looking around, she took in the changes that a year away had brought her former workspace.
The staff mostly ignored her, concentrating on their jobs and she nodded. It was lunchtime and they had more important things to concentrate on than her. From what she could see, the food was plentiful, smelled good and looked appetizing. And even though McKay was on Atlantis, there were signs detailing ingredients and potential allergens. Beck was running a tight ship.
Speaking of Beck, the man was finally heading in her direction. Tall, voluntarily bald, with deep bronze skin, a white smile and dark brown eyes that reflected his amusement with the world, he was a damn good looking man. He was also bigger than she had last seen him. It looked like he had been hitting the gym a lot. She wasn’t going to inform him all the extra muscles looked good on him.
“Cooper! What are you doing down here? I thought you would be heading away from here as soon as you stepped through the gate,” Beck said, a big grin on his face.
“Eh, I’ll explain that part later. What’s this I hear about you taking away Dr. J’s coffee?” Cooper asked after waving away his concern. If the gossip chain didn’t pass the news on first, he could find out when she showed up for her second week with the botanists.
“Huh, you’ve heard about that?” Beck didn’t seem surprised. “Come into my office.”
Cooper followed her counterpart into his office and settled down into one of the comfortable chairs he had available for guests. “Seriously, what gives?”
“Too much caffeine is bad for people. He needs to relax,” her friend said with a straight face.
“Oh, my, god. Please tell me you are joking,” Cooper begged. Dr. J was flat out evil when he wasn’t caffeinated. There were Goa’uld throughout the galaxy who had learned that very painful lesson before they died. Hell, even the General had learned that lesson, without dying even. No one she knew kept coffee away from Dr. Daniel Jackson if they wanted to keep their health.
“Mostly,” Beck acknowledged.
“Mostly? Mostly means there’s some truth to your statement,” Cooper said, eyeing her friend with suspicion.
“Just a bit,” Beck admitted. “He needs to drink less coffee and eat better. He’s no longer in his twenties and it’s going to affect his health. If he doesn’t take care of himself, he won’t have the energy to keep saving the galaxy like he has been.”
The urge to put her face in her hands and moan was strong and she just barely restrained herself. By all the little gods this was a nightmare. “He doesn’t need to be babysat, Beck. He’s an adult. And given his job, the boost that the caffeine gives him could make a life or death difference,”
God she hoped he was pulling her leg. “Yes, I am Beck. This isn’t like you. What changed?” Mentally she crossed her fingers and hoped that the answer was Beck trolling the archeologist.
Her friend shrugged. “You know how I feel about anyone who is my responsibility.”
“Dr. J is his teams’ responsibility along with the General’s,” Cooper told him, voice even. She was not happy with Beck and his answer was frankly stupid. Practical jokes were one thing, but this was way beyond the norm. Pulling her LSD out of her backpack, she turned it on with one mental command and started moving through the menus.
“Is that from Atlantis?” Beck asked as he craned his head around to look at the little machine.
“Mm-hmm,” Cooper agreed as she worked the level of detail down to something useful. “It makes a really nifty tablet for note-taking and when I get back to the city it auto-updates the mainframe and my database. Since I’m down here I thought I would see if there was anything your department could send to Atlantis.”
“Auto-updating to the servers would be handy. What are you looking for?” Beck asked as he moved around to see the screen.
Dr. Kusanagi had given her a ‘boss’ button and she hit that without a fuss. What showed was her never-ending project list, along with her budget. Well, her budget for all the extras she thought Atlantis could use. The Colonel had also slipped her some extra money to pick up things that they wouldn’t be able to get any other way.
Smuggling was, after all, the Navy’s fun. And she was sailor enough to have a lot of fun. No crate was ever completely full and there were always free crevices in which to slide one last item. All sanctioned, of course.
“I’m in charge of services, and that’s everything from recreation to food supplies to the maintenance of the public spaces. When the Daedalus arrived she brought enough food and basic goods to resupply us, but we need more,” Cooper informed him. “So I got with my people and we came up with a list.”
“Sounds good. Have you gone to see if the General will let you shop out of our stores?” Beck asked as he leaned against his desk. His attention was focused on her hands and that was just creepy. Beck had never been a gadget guy.
Cooper nodded once. “Yes. And I need to send an order to DLA to round out the mass of basics we got. While my budget isn’t in limited, it is generous and this will make sure we don’t have shortages.”
“So you are still planning for the worst-case scenarios? What are you thinking of taking?” Beck asked as he leaned over to look at the list.
She was 85% certain Beck couldn’t read Ancient, but she wasn’t taking any chances and stayed on her supply list with the search minimized. “Everything I can fit aboard the Daedalus. And as much as the General will let me get away with.”
“Sounds like fun.”
“If nothing else, it will be interesting,” Cooper said. The LSD had a ticker running along the bottom and she nodded as it updated. There were three entities in the office and two of them were standing beside her. She did her best to keep her discovery off her face and tapped out a command string and closed that program. “Before I go wandering through your supplies, I want to check out what DLA has available. Now, do you have a spare supply book I can review?”
“Sure!” Beck agreed. The big man moved to his filing cabinet and pulled a thick book out and handed it over.
“Thanks. Now remember to leave Dr. J alone about his coffee,” Cooper said with a smile as she took the book. If she hadn’t known that there was a passenger in her friend, his willingness to let her leave without discussing why she was still on base would have raised even more red flags. As it was, it just showed that the passenger was fully in charge.
“Fine,” Beck smiled at her and she stood, careful to keep a bit of distance between them. “It was good seeing you.”
“Agreed. And I’m sure you’ll be seeing me around,” Cooper told him as she headed for the door. She was relatively sure whatever was in her friend wouldn’t do anything while people were just outside. Too many witnesses would make hiding things a bitch.
For once, her luck was with her and she got away without a chance at drama. Then she turned around and beat feet for the General’s office. This was way over her pay scale.
General O’ Neill was less than amused at her discovery. She got to go back through the MRI machine, twice before being parked in the main conference room for safekeeping. Cooper didn’t bother to fight for a new spot to wait and pulled out the catalog Beck had given her.
Since she was there and the conference room had a big table, she set up shop. The written lists she had detailing needed supplies were set to one side along with her LSD, the catalog took center stage, and the pens and highlighters she fancied were on the other. Then she got to work.
Five minutes in and she got up to hunt for post-its. Sgt. Harriman dropped a multi-pack off as she started to open doors to find the supply closet. “Thank you, Walter,” Cooper called as she settled back into her seat.
“Not a problem, chief. I have coffee coming up too,” Walter told her as he walked out of the room.
“You are so awesome,” Cooper told him as she opened the multi-pack and started slapping the little colored papers where needed.
“I do try,” Walter called before he closed the door.
By the time the coffee came, she was halfway down a stack and moving fast to finish the rest. Cooper hummed to herself as she spent thousands in virtual money without a grimace. Supplying the SGC had been her first taste of ordering from the DLA, but the base’s order was nothing like what Atlantis needed.
“Jesus. Cooper. How much is your shopping expedition going to cost me?” General O’Neill asked as he walked into the conference room.
“Not as much as you would expect, sir,” she told him, voice distracted as she wrote down product information.
“Wanna try again, chief? Because that’s a lot of post-its on that thing,” O’Neill commented.
“Yes, sir, it is,” Cooper agreed before sitting back in her chair. She had made a good dent in what was needed on Atlantis and now she needed an actual computer to start her ordering. Her LSD wasn’t going to work on Earth.
“Normally, when you have that many markers, it means there’s a lot of money being spent.” the general pressed.
Pressing her lips together, Cooper slid the book across the conference room table for her old CO to look at. “I know I don’t have an unlimited budget, sir, but there are things I need for my department.”
From the way O’Neill was flipping through the pages, he seemed to be okay with her choices. Occasionally he would linger on a selection before moving on. When he got to the end he signed and set the book down. “Please tell me you don’t expect to get this all on a single Daedalus run?”
“No, sir. It’ll be staggered over the next six months. The only things that are on the immediate ‘want’ list are the garden supplies to supplement what the colonel brought back and a mini John Deere tractor with the farm tool attachments. Dr. Z has stated he can convert the engine to run on a solar battery. It would help the Athosians plant their crops in sufficient bulk to not have to rely on Atlantis for food,” Cooper explained.
That actually was what the Colonel had given her the money for. Neither of them was sure the SGC or the IOA would allow them to purchase the machine with government funds. If that proved to be the case, she was going to crate it up, stuff the crate with more stuff and smuggle it aboard. With the General’s permission.
“So basically, you are trying to stay as food independent as you can?” O’Neill asked.
“We are on the far end of the supply chain, sir,“ Cooper reminded him. He, after all, had been the one to push for her to make the trip to Atlantis, and he knew just how far away they were. He had only himself to blame when she did what she had to do to protect her people. “It’s better for everyone if we don’t have to rely on the Daedalus for every morsel of food.”
“I know. I kinda wish you were still here,” O’Neill admitted, “Daniel certainly ate better when you were here.”
“Uh-huh. I’m not coming back, sir,” Cooper told him, voice firm.
“I know. I come in here to tell you, you were right, Beck had a passenger. He’ll be taken to Cimmeria to go through Thor’s Hammer. I’m hoping he’ll come out the other end without his the snake,” O’Neill told her.
Cooper let out a long breath. Despite being mostly defeated the Goa’uld still kept trying shit. “Any idea what it wanted?”
“No. We don’t. Everyone who enters the mountain is going through the MRI. No exceptions.”
“Good to know sir,” Cooper told him, eyes level as they met the Generals.
“Good work in noticing something was off,” O’Neill fired back. “Now, get going and we’ll see you in a week.”
“Yes, sir!” Cooper said with a bright grin. She had a convention to attend, a cooking slash service industry show to hit and a huge steak all calling her name.
I may write more Cooper Stuff as I can. She’s fun and seeing Atlantis from her POV makes a nice change of pace.
DLA: Defense Logistics Agency