Story Notes: EMAIL:

STATUS: complete



SEASON/SEQUEL INFO: During Season 3 - after 'Fair Game' but before 'Shades of Grey'

SERIES: Best Served Cold - Part 1

RATING: PG-13, some bad language

CONTENT WARNING: Language, some rude gestures.

ARCHIVED: Heliopolis, Sam-and-Jack Archives

AUTHOR'S NOTES: I don't know where this story came from, but it was fun to write! I'm a bit annoyed that we don't get to meet more of the SGC women: Sam and Janet are the regulars - I'd love to see some of the women in the other SG-teams a bit more often. Thanks to jenni for beta'ing!

"That's the first bird we've seen today."

Lieutenant Reeve - Beth - points one hand lazily at the sky and the speck that sails across it.

Janet glances up, shading her eyes from the bright sun. "I didn't think the report said anything about sea-birds. Sam?"

Sam's gaze follows hers. "There were lots of birds reported in the rainforest areas, but SG-13 didn't find any signs of birdlife by the water."

"A migration, maybe?"

"Well, why just the one?"

"Oh, girls, come *on*!" Peta Meridian laughs, "It's a gorgeous day on a perfect beach and you're discussing work! The General cleared us to come here for a girls' day out, and we are *not* going to spoil it!"

Sam smiles and the conversation stops. She's so used to the SGC permeating every corner of her life that it almost seems strange to let it go - if only for a day. Almost.

They're sitting on a beach that goes on for miles, under an azure sky and a sun that would do Florida proud. Some of the younger women are out in the water, splashing each other, while most of the older women are reading on the sand. It's a perfect day.

Twenty-two female SGC personnel received permission from General Hammond to make a trip through the Stargate to P6F-420 for some R&R time. Twelve hours of it - from 0700 until 1900. Captain Meridian - Peta - and Sam argued the case. They were the ones to come up with the idea, and, for a wonder, the General cleared it. Of course, that meant two days of whines and whinges from the male personnel of the SGC. And snide comments from Colonel Makepeace and his cronies from the marines about all these helpless women unprotected.

Daniel became an unexpected ally at that point. "Actually, Colonel, there aren't too many places that would be safer than P6F-420. No civilisations within four hours flight of the gate, no carnivorous creatures larger than a dog. The soil hasn't even a trace of naquadah, meaning the Goa'uld haven't been there in the last several thousand years. And the beach looks pretty nice." He gave his best 'I'm just an innocent archaeologist' smile, and let Makepeace glare at him for a moment before the other man stalked off.

Daniel spotted Sam's expression and laughed, 'Come on, Sam, did you think I was going to leave you to Makepeace's tender mercies?"

"I owe you big, Daniel." She doesn't like Makepeace much. Despite the fact that the man's a career soldier, dedicated and faultless in the execution of his duty, she's never quite warmed to him. Possibly because the execution of duty is all there is to him. He's Colonel O'Neill without the hidden depths, the whimsical boyishness, the sense of humour.

"You can pay it off by doing those solar calendar calculations for the stone circles we found on P7R-981." He grinned at her and she grinned back.

"Get the Colonel to do it, Daniel. Astronomy is one of his hobbies, remember?"

"Hey, yeah." His eyes lit up, and without a further word, Daniel raced off to find Jack.

On the beach, Sam's smile becomes beatific.

That got Colonel O'Neill off her back for the remainder of the day - the man had been a pest since the memo about the girls' R&R day came out. Not half an hour passed by without him popping in the door of her lab or her office and asking questions about nothing in particular, or poking and prodding her experiments.

The sun is warm on her skin, and she's just beginning to relax. "We really should do this more often," she comments to Janet, "I could get to like this."

"What," jokes Peta, "You're not missing your naquadah reactor yet?"

"Or Colonel O'Neill?" Janet adds slyly, getting a mental black mark against her in Sam's books.

*Oooh, that's a low-blow, Janet! You're going to regret saying that!*

Sam tosses some sand at her but she's laughing as she does so, and the pair get into a sand-fight like a pair of teenagers instead of the thirty-somethings they are. As Sam chases her friend around the beach, dodging the sandballs that Janet lobs at her, she thinks how good it is to be 'one of the girls' again. She's used to being 'one of the guys' when she's on SG-1. That's the way she prefers to be treated on missions, but it's a pleasant feeling to be 'silly, frivolous, and crazy' in a way that her guys wouldn't understand.

When both women are tired out, they call truce and wander down to the water's edge to wash off the sand. The water is cool and pleasant on sun-warmed skin, and they wade in until the sea is over their hips and stand there for a while. "We definitely should do this more often."

"Maybe if we persuade the General to let the guys over here one day for some R&R they won't be so hostile next time we suggest it." Janet rolls her eyes, "And hopefully not much can happen to Daniel while on this planet. Nothing of interest to explore."

Sam laughs, "I wouldn't be so sure of that, Janet!" Daniel attracts trouble like light attracts moths. It's a gift.

"Well, you can't blame a doctor for hoping." Janet ducks under the surface of the water and rinses herself off. "This water is divine. I didn't realise how hot it is out here. We're gonna have to move into the shade for the middle of the day. Don't want everyone to come down with sunstroke." That's the Doc in her speaking alright!

"This planet has a longer day than Earth: we've got another four hours before the sun reaches its zenith. Peta suggested we retire back to the edge of the rainforest where we left the FRED. Most of the food is there anyway." They'll eat the food - a real picnic spread, *not* the usual MREs - lie down for a snooze, and wake up late in the afternoon with time for a dip in the water and walk back to the gate in a leisurely manner.

A perfect day.

Someone jostles her from behind and she loses her balance and falls into the water.

It's cold compared to the warmth of the sun, and she rises out of it gasping.

She tosses the water out of her hair and looks over at Peta Meridian, who grins with her hands on her hips. Janet is laughing in the background. "What was that for?"

"Honey, you were standing there just asking to be pushed in - what did you expect?" Peta's from Georgia, and she's got that 'southern belle' drawl to her voice. "Your Colonel would have done it in a trice!"

Sam groans. When will people get off this hobby-horse? "Sorry, 'honey', but he's not 'my' Colonel."

"Sure he's not." Peta giggles.

"Oh, you can talk," Janet intercedes, "Or didn't I hear correctly about you and Captain Torran flirting in the mess hall the other week?"

"That would depend on exactly what you heard, Janet," the other woman says archly. The two start bickering in a friendly manner, while Sam mentally rubs out the black mark she'd put next to Janet earlier. *Great rescue, Janet.*

She lies back in the water and floats quietly for a while. They're out beyond the breaking waves, and the rhythmic rise and fall of the swell is relaxing. She closes her eyes for a moment, then opens them again, and sees the speck of a bird circling the air above them - lower and larger, now.

Strange, she thinks staring lazily at the spiralling bird. The wings aren't moving, and they don't have the curve of a sea-bird's feathers either.

Realisation hits Sam suddenly, and she sits up and chokes on seawater.

Spitting salty water, she tries to organise her thoughts. It couldn't be. He wouldn't.

Oh, yes he *would*.

She begins swimming back to the shore with purposeful strokes.

"Sam?" Janet is following her out of the water. "Is everything okay?

She stops in the shallow surf, her ankles bogging in the sand and squints into the sky, shading her eyes against the sun.

From this angle, there's no mistaking what she's seeing.


"I'm gonna take the Colonel apart one joint at a time!"

"It's not a bird, is it?" Janet asks, looking at the circling object.

Sam is furious. It's their day off, and they *still* can't escape the guys.

"No. That's a UAV. They're spying on us."

There's a crowd in the control room of the SGC. Unusually enough, they all have their backs to the wormhole open behind them. They're watching the UAV screens.

"Who'd have thought the women undressed so nice!" comments one of the men from off the side. "Whooee!"

Yesterday evening, General Hammond abruptly found that his regular meeting at the Pentagon had been rescheduled to today. He left Colonel O'Neill in charge of the base with orders to see the women off at 0700, and watch for them at 1900. And he went.

Jack had been in a grumpy, restless mood all morning. Daniel kicked him out of his office because the pacing got on his nerves. "No wonder Sam couldn't wait to get to P6F-420 if you were like this around her for the last two days, Jack!"

Refusing to do paperwork on a day when Carter and the other women are enjoying themselves, there wasn't much for a man to do around base. Until Makepeace suggested the UAV. "Just to check they're okay," the marine wheedled. "You know the girls - they'll get themselves into as much trouble as that geek of yours."

Jack opened his mouth to snap at Makepeace's derision of Daniel. Geek he may be, but he's good at what he does - even if he is a trouble magnet. Then he thought about boredom and reports waiting to be filled out, and the prospect of a UAV launch loomed like the sun shining through clouds on a gloomy day.

Sergeant Siler wasn't on the base, which was probably just as well. Jack kinda doubted that the older man would have approved. Siler has a soft spot for Carter's technical brilliance. Still, they found the necessary technicians willing to set up the UAV and launch it through the Stargate and the unscheduled flight took place.

Ferretti located the beach the women were at, and a few minutes later, the UAV was circling lazily overhead while assorted men throughout the base came and had a look at what their work-mates and team-mates were doing. Some looked and went. Some came and stayed. Only one voiced his disapproval.

"You *do* realise that this is spying on them?"

Daniel Jackson. SGC conscience.

Oh no.

Various men turn and glare at the archaeologist, and Jack mentally sighs. To be honest, he's getting bored with this. A UAV flight is much more fun when Carter's around to oversee it. He hasn't yet worked out if it's the UAV launch or watching her intensity during launch that's more enjoyable. Probably a combination of both.

The women aren't doing anything interesting, they're just sitting on the beach or playing in the water. Sure, some of the more daring swimsuits show some nice figures, but Carter's isn't one of them.

So he's watching more out of spite than anything else. Yes, it's childish and beneath him, but he's stuck in this base while they're off having fun in a paradise that makes Hawaii look like a tenement in the Bronx.

"Go tell it to someone who cares, Jackson." Makepeace snorts. He doesn't like Daniel much - hasn't got a whole heap of sympathy for geeks. In return, Daniel doesn't like Makepeace much - not a whole heap of liking for military assholes.

"Can we take it down any lower?" complains one of the men up the back of the somewhat-crowded room. "We're missing the action!"

*What action?*

Jack observes the scene. Some of the women are having a splashing-fight out in the surf, but most of them are sitting in clumps talking quietly. None of them seem to have noticed the UAV yet.

"We could probably take it down another fifty feet, but if we take it too low, it'll be too obvious."

The shadow of the UAV flits across one of the women, and she shades her eyes and squints up at the sky. She says something to her companions who look up, but their attention is taken by another woman. "Well, there's suspicious right there for you," Daniel offers. Men turn to glare at him and he deflects it calmly. "Come on! Sam knows the reports on the planet - she checked it out thoroughly before she and Captain Meridian talked to the General about it. Lots of lifeforms in the rainforests - avians, small insects, and reptiles, some aquarian mammals and fish and crustaceans in the streams and seas, but very few birds, and no waterbirds."

"They'll never remember that," snorts one of the men.

Daniel shrugs, "Sam would."

Even Jack is getting a little annoyed by Daniel's persistent disapproval now, and he tries to justify the 'spying' to his friend and team-mate. "Look, Daniel, the R&R day was allowed to raise the women's morale, right?"


"Well watching them raises our morale. Two birds with one stone, see?" Not a bad rationalization, if he does say so himself!

"Probably closer to raising hell," Daniel mutters, heading out the door. "You know they're going to get you back somehow."

"Danny-boy, I'll worry about that when it comes to it."

The reply comes from down the corridor. "You'd better!"

"So what are we going to do?"

"What *can* we do? It's up there and we're down here."

"Anyone got their sidearm? We could shoot it down."

"Who brings a sidearm to an R&R day?"

Standing watching Sam, who's staring up at the UAV, Janet sees a wicked smile briefly touch her friend's face and wonders at it.

"We're not gonna shoot it. Do you know how much those things *cost*?"

"I can't believe this - on our day off."

Sam's been silently chewing her lip for over a minute, but Janet knows that just means she's thinking hard. Suddenly she turns back to the group. "Has anyone got any radio equipment with them?"

Most of the women shake their heads, but one young woman blushes shyly. "I brought a little radio-transmitter.thought I'd do some fiddling with it."

"Helena!" groans one of her friends.

"May I borrow it?"

Helena's eyes go round as saucers. Major Carter wants to use *her* radio equipment? "Sure!"

Sam sees the question in the younger woman's eyes and asks, "Would you like to watch me work?"

"Could I, sir?" The girl looks like someone's just granted all her birthday wishes at once.

"Sure. And it's Sam, okay? We're off-duty." Absently, she recalls that in spite of being told time and time again to call the Colonel 'Jack' when they're off-duty, she never does. But that's a different situation. "Let's see this radio-transmitter of yours."

She checks out the gear and smiles. Exactly what she needs.

"What's the plan, Sam?"

Sam grins up at Janet, "I developed the UAV, helped put it together, and wrote the code for its programming. Siler has a pretty good idea of what goes on, but the technicians only know how to work it." She starts rummaging around in her pack, "And I know today is supposed to be R&R, Janet, but." she pulls out a laptop and brandishes it at the Doc, "I thought I'd type up some reports while I had the peace and quiet!"

"I wish they issued medication to combat workaholism," Janet grumbles as Sam turns on the laptop and begins explaining to Helena what she's going to do. Some of the women listen, trying to understand, others cluster around in groups, self-conscious now they're aware they're under scrutiny.

".send instructions to the UAV to cease transmitting the video stream."

"Aren't the UAV signals encoded?" Another woman inquires - one of the scientists who works in the upper levels of the base.

The blonde Major grins, "Yes." She opens up an application and begins typing intently. "But I programmed a back door into the system." A glance at Janet. "I'll need a diversion, Janet. Can you think something up?"

The CMO of the base thinks for a moment, then looks around at the other women. "Okay, girls, line up in rank and file." The looks she gets are disbelieving, and she grins and explains. "We're going to be the distraction. What man is gonna pay attention to someone fiddling with a computer when he's got a screen full of swimsuit-clad women?"

Meanwhile, Sam continues tinkering with the laptop, having handed the radio-transmitter to Helena for tweaking. The girl is good with radio equipment, understands what needs to be done almost instantly and then does it without fuss. She makes a mental note to include the girl in the next scheduled UAV flight, and grins when the girl demands to know what comes next. Helena's interest has overcome her awe at getting to watch 'Major Carter' at work.

The other women have lined up in three rows. Janet gets some of the younger ones to dump the shirts they donned once they realised the guys were watching them. "Girls, we've got it, and we're gonna flaunt it. Make the guys regret that they ever looked, 'cos they sure as hell ain't gonna get to touch!" A wicked gleam suddenly appears in the doctor's eyes. "Hey, I just thought of something."

Sam checks out what her friend is doing and grins as she bends over the computer again.

*You're so dead, sir!*

Jack walks down the corridor back towards the control room, rubbing his wet hair with the towel he has hung over his shoulders. He went for a quick shower while nothing much was happening. A few steps behind him, Daniel has a pad in his hands and is scribbling notations and talking at the same time. ".might have had a Celtic background - two solstices, two equinoxes and four other 'sun points'."

"Hey, hey, O'Neill. Check this out!" Makepeace sticks his head around the corner and yells at Jack.

The stairs are negotiated in three leaps, and Jack uses the corner to pivot him around to face the TV screen. "Shit!"

"Nice language for the current commander of this base, sir," Captain Connor of SG-11 remarks dryly.

The women have lined up in three distinct rows of six women, facing the incoming UAV. They are standing at ease as if in military parade format. To one side stands Janet, evidently playing the part of drill sergeant. Whatever external clothing they were wearing has been shed, and they're all in their swimsuits. Bikinis, tankinis, board-shorts, and a couple of one-pieces.

*Sweet. The girls do undress rather nicely.*

"Looks like they found us out."

"How long ago?"

"About ten minutes." Makepeace grins without taking his eyes off the screen. "Major Carter stood off to one side giving us the evil eye for a few minutes. Then she went back to the others and they started getting into parade format."

Faintly over the speakers, they hear Janet's voice ordering: "Attention!"

The women snap to attention, their stiffly-held bodies incongruous with their unclad state.

"Ladies, salute!"

Every woman knocks off a salute, some are crisply perfect, some - the non-military personnel - are not. The men slap each other on the backs, laughing at the sight of the scantily-clad women in military format.

Daniel has come up beside Jack, and is softly counting along the ranks of the assembled women. He frowns, "Where's Sam?"

Jack's eyes skim across the screen, but the figure he expects to see isn't there. "Don't know." He's worried for a moment, before he clamps down on it. Nothing would have happened to Carter - she probably just refused to be part of the salute. He smirks. Pity.

One of the technicians monitoring the signal pipes up. "Uhhh. Colonel, I think we have a problem.we just got some non-standard data from the UAV."

Frowning, he glances at the man. "Non-standard.?"

"Jack, check this out."

Ferretti's call draws his attention back to the main UAV video where Janet is yelling: "Ladies, salute two!"

The women are still facing the UAV camera. As one, they place their left arm horizontally in front of them, and thrust their right arm vertically up under it. Some have their middle finger extended, some don't, but there's no mistaking the message.

*Get stuffed, guys!*

Again an interruption from the technicians. "Sir, we're.we're losing image integrity." The picture on the screen is drifting to grainy grey and the men are staring in stunned disbelief.

"Can you fix it?"

The man begins flipping switches, "I'll try a different frequency.uh-oh." He stops and stares at the board as a light begins to flash orange.

"What now?"

"UAV is losing altitude.two hundred hundred feet."

"I don't get it," another of the technicians mutters, checking his gauges, "It had fuel to last another two hours."

"We've lost radio control of the UAV, sir."

"We've lost the UAV video feed, sir."

"But we're still getting the datafeed back from the UAV flight. Everything's still working, but it's dropping like a stone. This is crazy."

Daniel leans back against the computer banks, and speaks one word. "Sam."

It takes a moment for Jack to comprehend what his team-mate means, before the penny drops. Of course his brilliant inventive 2IC wouldn't be saluting with the others! She'd be sabotaging the UAV with all her considerable knowledge. He can't help a grin.

"I think the show's over for the day, boys," he says. "Looks like Major Carter found a way to close the curtain." *Clever Carter! But we've still got the video recording!*

"Sir.we're getting another video signal. It's sending on the video datastream frequency."

On the screen, the grainy grey snowstorm drifts to black and remains blank for several seconds.

Then the words began appearing. Large white letters that are shown stark and clear on the black background.


The Control Room falls silent, and the men look at the Colonel.

Daniel's expression is replete with the triumph of the vindicated.

Jack grins weakly. "Uh-oh."


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