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Chapter 2

Jessica massaged her temples, trying to alleviate the growing tension there. This Ancient translation was giving her fits. Pushing away from the table, she stood and stretched, feeling her back pop in three places. What the hell was it about Ancient that gave her such a problem? Letting out a sigh, she looked at her surroundings, then smiled to herself. What a difference a year could make. Twelve months ago, she had just completed a dig in Egypt involving one of the more obscure pyramids, translating and documenting the ruins. Today, she was a member of one of the elite teams at Stargate Command. Jessica poured herself a cup of coffee, contemplating her situation. She had managed to combine her two loves, language and artifacts, into an enjoyable career, though she was used to being considered somewhat of an oddity. Before she had completed middle school, she had mastered Spanish, French and German; at the end of high school she was proficient in Japanese, Russian, Swedish and Latin; by her senior year in college she had added Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, Portuguese, Greek, Swahili, Italian and Navajo. She had the natural ability to immerse herself in a different language and make it a part of her. Her interest in artifacts started when she dug up an arrowhead in her own backyard at the age of six. Listening to her mom and dad tell her about the history of the land, the Indians, their way of life, well, it was like visiting a magical place; a place she wanted to go to again and again. It hadn’t taken her long before she had the title of "Doctor" in place before her name. Being a prodigy had its advantages. It opened up doors not available to others, and she took advantage of every opportunity as it presented itself.

She had been a bit surprised when officials from the Air Force paid her a visit, with a job offer at NORAD. She figured it had to be the linguistics aspect, perhaps dealing with dignitaries; she didn’t think NORAD would offer much along the lines of archaeology. Out of curiosity she agreed to a meeting, signed the required nondisclosure forms, and then proceeded to have her view of the world changed forever. The enormity of what she was being offered, the infinite possibilities were overwhelming. She took a day to think about it, but it didn’t take her that long to decide. She couldn’t let an opportunity like this, the opportunity of a lifetime, pass her by. Hence, she took an entry-level position in the archaeology and linguistics department under the guidance of Doctor Daniel Jackson. He had actually mentored her at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute. She had heard about the disastrous results regarding his lecture on "The Old Kingdom and the IV Dynasty", and after that he just disappeared from the academic world. A disappearance she now understood. He was a very patient man, a wonderful teacher, and she felt honored to be able to learn from him. His wife Casey worked with him side by side, and together they dealt with the more important translations and documentation, on top of being a part of SG-1. She and Jessica had quickly become friends, which surprised Jessica, since she didn’t make female friends easily. Usually women didn’t take the time to get to know her. Her physical appearance alone was normally a source of jealousy; combining that with her unusual intellect made things even worse. Casey was different, though. Jessica didn’t find out how different until some time later, but once she discovered her special gift of being a seer, everything made perfect sense. Casey knew Jessica wasn’t a threat; in fact, she viewed her more along the lines of Daniel’s sister, if he had had one. She had the same ability to lose herself in her work, ignoring anything and everything once she was in the zone. And despite Daniel’s good looks, the fact that he was taken completely negated any attraction Jessica might have felt towards him.

Jessica had learned quickly, so much so that there began an earnest discussion about making her a member of one of the SG teams. That intent brought on a new set of lessons, namely hand-to-hand combat. She was in a good shape, a runner, had taken kick boxing a few years back, but basic training was a whole different ballgame. Sam had helped tremendously with that, coaching her along until her skills became more proficient. Jessica really liked Sam. Her knowledge of "doohickeys", as Jessica called them, fascinated her. When she wasn’t working on translations or other duties Daniel assigned to her, she could be found in Sam’s lab, marveling over the different items, trying to comprehend how they worked. It was a new challenge, and Jessica loved challenges.

Along the way she had met General O’Neill, Teal’c and Colonel Mitchell. Even though Jack had been promoted to General and ran the SGC, he still went on select missions with SG-1. General Hammond shuttled back and forth between Washington and Cheyenne Mountain, assuming command whenever necessary when Jack was off world. It took a while for Jessica to figure Jack out. She soon realized that even though he "played" dumb, he was anything but. She also knew that he was in love with Sam, and vice versa. A person would have to be blind not to see it. But she kept her observations to herself, not truly understanding the strange protocol and rules the military had in place, which kept them apart. Teal’c was intimidating as hell at first, but that lessened as she got to know him, and she came to view him as a gentle giant. He was more than willing to help her in her attempts to learn Goa’uld, though in the beginning her mispronunciations had resulted in some highly amusing translations. And then there was Colonel Mitchell—A Southern gentleman with a sense of humor, fair in his dealings regardless of gender, and had a bit of a reputation of being an accomplished ladies man. Not that he was one to hit and run. No, apparently he was very selective in his partners, and very talented if the stories were to be believed. Jessica could believe them, given those boyish good looks, baby blue eyes and the sexiest mouth she had ever seen on a guy. Yep, that one could definitely be trouble.



There had only been one small blip during her training, and it had involved Lieutenant Calloway. He had been in charge of weapons training. Whether he didn’t like the fact she wasn’t military, she was female, or some other reason was unknown, but it became clear that he did not like Doctor Watson. She bore the brunt of his unsavory character silently, ignoring his yelling and the barely veiled innuendos as she learned how to use each weapon effectively. That changed, however, during one of the last days of target practice, when they were being graded on accuracy. Firing a half clip into the target as instructed, the little prick was only going to give her a 25% rating because he stated there were only two hits in the center, and the other six had missed. He also wouldn’t let her repeat the test, saying that she had one chance, and she had blown it. The argument had continued, even as they were cleaning and storing the weapons. At least until Colonel Mitchell had shown up. Seeing Calloway and Watson facing off, the aggressiveness of Watson’s stance caught his attention. During her time here he had never seen her argumentative, so he knew there was good reason for what he was witnessing.

"Watson, Calloway," Mitchell said, more to get their attention than an actual greeting. Calloway jerked to attention, giving a hasty salute, while Jessica turned to him, her posture acknowledging him respectfully, but the mutinous set of her jaw giving away her current mood. "Is there a problem?"

"No Sir," Calloway said quickly, "just one of the trainees unhappy with the score she earned."

"Bullshit," Watson said, adding "Sir" as an afterthought. "I hit the target as instructed, but he refuses to give me my full score."

Mitchell had heard rumors about this lieutenant. He motioned to Calloway. "Let me see it."

Calloway retrieved the target, handing it to Mitchell.

"I gave her credit for the two hits in the center. The other six failed to make the target."

"All EIGHT of them went through the center. He won’t let me do another test to prove it."

Mitchell placed two fingers through the hole in the target. Given the width, theoretically there could have been more than two shots that made it through. All eight? She’d have to be damned good to group it that tight. He held the target up, examining it closely, then turned his gaze first to Calloway, then to Jessica.

Pulling out his own Berretta, he handed it to Jessica. Pointing down range, he said, "That target over there. Half a clip in the middle, but space it out enough so each shot is recognizable."

Calloway smirked. He knew there was no way in hell she was going to be able to do it. Putting her in her place in front of a colonel, they’d send her back to wherever she had wandered in from, back to where she belonged.

Taking the gun, Jessica said, "Yes, Sir," and went over to the mark, the men following behind her. Clicking the safety off, she raised the gun and fired off eight rounds in succession. Engaging the safety once again, she handed the gun back to Mitchell.

Jessica watched as Mitchell made his way down to where the target was. Watched as he stood silently in front of it for a few moments, not moving. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. It looked as though his shoulders were shaking.

Calloway grinned. He had seen it, too, and realized Mitchell was laughing. He stood a little straighter as his superior came back, target in hand, waiting to see this little upstart slapped down.

Mitchell was laughing. He couldn’t help it. He could also tell from the expression on Calloway’s face what the ass was hoping for. He was going to put in a recommendation for this particular lieutenant to be transferred elsewhere. There were rumblings through the grapevine about his heavy-handed behavior towards female cadets. Negatively impacting scores and training due to his chauvinistic attitude was not something Mitchell would tolerate.

"Lieutenant Calloway."

"Yes Sir?" he replied expectantly.

"Doctor Watson’s training here is concluded. See to it that her accuracy score reflects a 100% and make a note in her record that she has successfully completed the training course as required." Holding the target up, he watched Calloway’s expression go from smugness to absolute disbelief. Perfectly centered in the middle of the target eight holes were clearly visible, the placement creating the image of a smiley face.

After making sure his instructions had penetrated Calloway’s brain, Mitchell folded up the target, slipped it into his pocket and motioned for Jessica to follow him. They walked silently until he was sure they were out of earshot of Calloway.

"While I’m sure training under Calloway taught you perseverance, you gonna tell me where you learned to shoot like that?" he asked.

"If it had been left up to Calloway, I wouldn’t have been able to hit the side of a barn at five paces," she said irritably. She took a deep breath, then let it out. "My daddy taught me to shoot when I was young."

"You grew up in the country?"

She nodded. "Just outside of Kerrville, Texas."

They walked silently for a moment while Mitchell mentally added this bit of information to what he knew about Jessica Watson.

"What do your parents do?"

"My dad spent more than a decade in the Air Force, but decided to change jobs when I came along. Didn’t want to be moving around so much. He went on to do consultation work for the government. Mom was a nurse, took a break from work when she had me, went back to working part time once I was in school."

Walking a bit further, Mitchell asked, "Do you think you’re ready to join an SG team?"

Jessica carefully considered her response before she said anything. "I’m still working on speaking Goa’uld, but Doctor Jackson said I know enough of it to be able to get by. Reading it isn’t a problem. I’ve gotten through basic training alive." That got a chuckle from Mitchell. "As far as whether or not I’m ready to be part of an SG team, I’ll leave that for someone more experienced to decide, Sir."

Unknown to Jessica, Mitchell had gone later and spoken with Daniel, Casey, Teal’c and Sam, gathering their opinions about her training and readiness since they all had been helping her learn the ropes. With a grin he recounted the incident between Calloway and Jessica, showing them the smiley face configuration on the target he had kept. After some discussion the decision was made, and Jessica soon found herself tagging along with SG-7, led by Colonel Mitchell, going off world on missions which at first held little possible danger, learning how to function as a member of the team, as well as employing the skills she had acquired. She was cautious in her actions, but her excitement was obvious when they would meet different people, experience different cultures, especially when her linguistic skills proved helpful. Her teammates watched as her confidence grew, and she became more comfortable with this new facet of her responsibilities.

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