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Sam in The Avengers

A reader asks, "You said Sam was going to have a bigger part in The Avengers. Any chance of giving us a preview of that?"

A lot of Sam's stuff is spoilery for Allegiance, but I think there's one scene I can do -- in which Sam is sending an email home to Cassie. Those of you who are SG-1 fans may remember Cassie, but for those who don't, Cassie is the little girl the team rescued in Season One who was adopted by Janet. Janet was killed when Cassie would have been a senior in high school, and it seems like Sam stepped up as Cassie's mother even if she never officially adopted her. From the future scene in the episode 1969 it seemed clear that Sam and Cassie were still very close. So -- Sam's letter home from the Hammond. Have I mentioned that I love Sam to pieces?



Her cabin was the largest on the Hammond, nine feet by eight, with a private head three by four, nice enough if you didn't mind having your feet in the shower to brush your teeth. There was a small single bed built into the wall, storage space beneath it, the other wall occupied by a metal desk similarly bolted down. The chair wasn't, as that would be really annoying. The wall between the door and the desk held a closet ten inches wide and a bolted on mirror. Above the bed a framed picture of the Hammond was likewise screwed in with four big screws.

Her laptop was on the desk, sharing the cramped space with her mp3 player and its mini speakers, currently blasting ABBA at the top of their tiny voices, When All Is Said and Done from one of the late albums, her email open on the desktop.

September 24, 2009
Dear Cassie,


Sam looked up at the pictures held to the wall above her desk with magnets. There was Cassie smiling back at her, her mortarboard on her head, Jack with his arm around her grinning like a loon. Cassie had a bottle of champagne in her hand, and was holding on to her mortarboard with the other hand, a smile that ought to light the world on her face. Yellow letters printed across the bottom of the picture proclaimed ‘Congratulations Class of 2009!’

It was hard to believe that the young woman in the picture was the mute child they'd rescued so long ago, the one who had clung to her in the darkness waiting to die. Now she was the assistant's assistant for an organization that helped refugee children around the world, the kind of starting position that a liberal arts degree got you these days. Mostly, she answered the phone.

I hope you're doing ok, and that work isn't too boring. It probably is, but it's a start. There aren't many jobs where you get to save the world at twenty two.

Sam hoped that didn't sound too sanctimonious, or like the kind of letter Jacob had sent her when she was twenty two.

When she was twenty two she'd been in Saudi Arabia, part of the build up called Desert Shield. Her top ten class rank at the Air Force Academy had at least won her that. Not a top posting to a top squadron, not F-15s or F-16s, the best of the best, even though she had more than earned it, but at least she could shuttle a Warthog around behind the lines. Congress forbade women to fly in combat positions. It didn't matter how much she deserved it or how well she had done, or even how much her superiors wanted to give her the chance. Congress said that her uterus disqualified her. The American public would not stand for women being killed.

She'd been bitter. Of course she had been. Bitter, and certain that it would not be long before that asinine rule was overturned.

Nineteen years later it was still here, ignored more than obeyed, gotten around by a generation of Air Force commanders her age who came up with baroque excuses to avoid saying they were actually sending women into combat, actually letting them compete on a level field with men. Congress hadn't budged. But more and more positions were open to women, at least in her service.

Technically, captaincy of the Hammond wasn't a combat position. Technically, the Hammond was a research vessel. Of course officially the Hammond didn't exist, which made it much easier to ignore that its captain was a woman.

Mel Hocken was in the same position. It wasn't technically prohibited for a woman to fly a 302, because technically they didn't exist. And if they did exist, they were technically a research project into high altitude aircraft. Which certainly did not involve engaging in air combat with alien spaceships.

Sometimes she thought that the sheer dishonesty involved negated the honor they were supposed to embrace, but then Congress couldn't be expected to be as progressive as the military.

All of which was not Cassie's problem.

I hope you're finding the work rewarding. I know that when you're in a starting position, not directly in the field yourself, it may seem like you're not really doing anything. But you are, even when you can't see it yet. Even if you're not the one out there working with kids directly, the work you do makes the field work possible. There's nothing wrong with learning the ropes in a support position.

Ok, she had more or less bitten Jacob's head off for saying the same thing, back when she was flying a Warthog around Saudi Arabia while Rotsy boys like Sheppard who barely graduated from state universities were flying vipers under enemy fire. Why yes, Dad! I should totally appreciate the chance to back up guys with half the brains and half the hard work because they have dicks!

Jacob had been reasonable then, even if he'd overestimated Congress too. Just a couple of years, Samantha. Just a couple of years, and you'll rise to the top. You'll pass them and leave them in the dust.

Now she was a full bird colonel with the Hammond in her hands, and Sheppard saluted her. She'd make field grade, if she wasn't killed, and he never would.

I know you want to make a difference, and you already are even if it doesn't feel like it yet. You are, and you will. And as far as the conventional wisdom that an undergrad anthropology degree doesn't lead anywhere, look at your Uncle Daniel. Sometimes you can't imagine the places things can lead you when you begin.

Of course Sheppard didn't want to make field grade. The last thing he wanted was a star on his shoulder and an apartment in DC, a desk job far away from Atlantis. He might not know it yet, but this was his last post. If anyone was ever stupid enough to try to transfer him out, he'd resign first. She'd make sure nobody was ever that stupid, if she could.

We've got a lot going on here, as I'm sure you can imagine. It's gotten kind of hairy, but nothing as bad as we've seen.

That was circumspect enough. It sounded like she was in Iraq or Afghanistan, which she reasonably might be.

I want to ask you a favor, seriously, Cass. I know you've got a lot going on with your friends and your life, but can you look in on Jack for me? Drop in on him and keep him busy? Get him to help you with something. There could be something wrong with your car or your apartment or something. Give him somebody to take care of. I know you can handle that stuff on your own, and that you're grown, but it's good for him to be needed.

If she knew Cassie, her car barely ran and her shower had water leaking in the ceiling from the upstairs neighbor. Nonprofits paid receptionists even worse than the Air Force paid second lieutenants, and Cassie was sharing a falling down townhouse with five roommates in a fairly terrible neighborhood of DC. But she'd never ask Jack for help unless she thought it was for him.

Sam smiled, imagining Jack with his shirt sleeves rolled up, fixing the showerhead in a mildewy bathroom, while Cass sat on the edge of the sink and told him all about refugee kids in the Sudan, both of them feeling so good about helping each other. Then he'd take Cassie out to dinner somewhere she couldn't possibly afford, smirking as everyone looked at his gray hair and three stars and the radiant girl with him. Dirty old man, they'd whisper, and Jack would soak it up until Cass said nice and loud, "Dad, this is just so swell of you!"

Take care of yourself too, and be careful. I wish I could say I'll see you at Thanksgiving, but I probably won't make it home by then. Maybe, if I'm lucky, and everything calms down here. It would be nice.

It would be nice, but unlikely. Cassie wouldn't be alone, not unless she wanted to be. She'd have Jack, and maybe they'd go home to Colorado and there would be Daniel too, and Cam and Vala and maybe Teal'c if he made it. And Vala would pocket the rolls and Daniel would get tipsy on one beer and they'd talk about how they missed her. She and Janet would be the ghosts at the feast.

"Absent friends," Daniel would say seriously, his glass lifted, and everyone would say it too, except Jack who never did, just silently touching his glass to theirs.

I love you, Cass.
Sam

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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
jo_graham
Jun. 6th, 2011 09:29 am (UTC)
Thank you! I love Sam so much!

One of the things that I realized early on I was "pushing uphill" against was the idea that Sam's life was emotionally sterile, that what she had sacrificed for the Hammond was closeness and intimacy in a really unhealthy way. So I thought it was very important to show that Sam does have a family -- just not a conventional one -- and she's very happy with that.
tricksterquinn
Jun. 5th, 2011 02:49 pm (UTC)
There is a lot of awwww contained there. A truly huge amount.
jo_graham
Jun. 6th, 2011 09:40 am (UTC)
Thank you! I think Cass doesn't mind having Jack take her out to dinner at all!
ssagey
Jun. 6th, 2011 12:08 pm (UTC)
I wouldnt mind jack taking me out to dinner..lol..another snip that just makes us want that book ...yesterday...cant wait
hugs and thanks for sharing
jo_graham
Jun. 8th, 2011 10:50 am (UTC)
I'm glad you like it! And yeah, Jack can take me out to dinner anytime!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )